I have a 50-liter backpack which I used very little and that afterwards was kept stored for more than 10 years.

Today I noticed that some parts inside, I think the waterproof coating, has become sticky. This is apparently a common problem (read here and here) due to the breaking down of the urethane coating.

What one can do to remove the stickiness? From what I've read, one should avoid machine washing, and some people solved the problem by rubbing the inside with talc powder. Are there any other solutions?

EDIT: similar question: What is this brown dust/powder inside my old pack? However, in my case the coating looks perfect and is not delaminating; it's just sticky at the touch.

  • 1
    Sounds like the plastic is de-laminating. Not much you can do but try and protect it or buy a new one. Make sure you protect it from things like UV light as much as possible as this can increase the de-lamination process. – Liam Jan 11 at 13:31

I had this problem with a favorite fanny pack (L.L. Bean) a few years ago. I turned the pack inside out and used a stiff brush on it to get it all out. I even tried a wire brush for tough spots. But, you have to be careful not to damage the pack itself. As a result, I now try to find/buy packs that don't have this coating. There are some with a plastic liner. Or, I get an unlined pack and use zip-lock bags or plastic containers. Using the bags and containers actually keeps things more organized.

  • My experience is that if you heavily use the pack, the urethane coating just wears away and the stickiness/flaking never becomes a problem or is at least unnoticeable. The duffle bags that get used about once a year do show the problem, but the day-pack that I use every week since almost 10 years ago hasn't. – Gabriel C. Sep 13 at 18:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have temporarily solved the problem by rubbing the sticky part with talc. But this protection leaves a bit of talc around, and must be repeated every few days. Luckily I don't use the backpack for long trips.

This is far from being the best solution, but at least allows me to use the backpack (I don't want to throw it away).

I had a Deuter bagpack which had similar problem. I kept the bag in hot sun (covered in old cloth so that no fading happens) for few days and then washed it with detergent with a nice scrub on the sticky parts. Now its like new...

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