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I am in the Balkans and have befriended a refugee who intends to crossing a river as part of their route. They are a very strong swimmer, having practiced it at a competitive level. They want to take their possessions across ideally without these getting wet. I am thinking they might be able to 1) tie a long piece of string to a tree on the near bank, 2) swim across with the loose end, 3) find a rock which fits well in their hand, tie the loose end to it, and throw it over a branch 4) tie the loose end to a tree, 5) swim back across, 6) untie the string at the near bank, 7) clip a waterproof bag such as http://www.iglusport.si/oprema/nahrbtniki-in-torbe/vodotesne-torbe around the string 8) tie a second piece of strong to the bag as a leash 9) tie the first piece of string to another rock, 10) throw it over another branch, 11) tie the first piece of string to a tree, so that it is as taut as possible over the river, 12) pull the waterproof bag with laptop etc inside across the river using the leash.

Is there a better method? I am aware you can keep valuables such as laptops in these bags (as long as you don't submerge them), but I thought suspending it across the river might provide a failsafe.

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    Godspeed to your friend!
    – gerrit
    Jun 16, 2023 at 14:50
  • do they have any sort of flotation device?
    – njzk2
    Jun 16, 2023 at 21:46

1 Answer 1

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Keeping everything out of the water is of course the ideal answer, but a standard plastic waste sack is usually waterproof for long enough if suitably sealed, the "dry bag" types you've linked are sometimes not as water resistant but they are easier to manage.

As long as there's a suitable external container to stop the bags being damaged, a couple of layers of "black sack" with knotted tops will be plenty to waterproof anything for your purposes.

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  • I would recommend a heavy-duty plastic waste sack; standard ones may tear a bit too easily.
    – gerrit
    Jun 16, 2023 at 14:51
  • Indeed, and a heavy-duty plastic bag inside a nylon stuff sack will hold up pretty well, and can even be inflated to provide buoyancy so you can swim across with it more easily.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 16, 2023 at 15:19
  • @JonCuster not a simple stuff sack. Many of those aren't in the least bit waterproof and won't make good floats. At the very least you'd need one made of coated fabric, and with a decent way of sealing the opening.
    – Chris H
    Jun 16, 2023 at 20:04
  • I'd use one tough plastic bag (rubble sack) to contain the valuables tightly, with the opening rolled over repeatedly and smoothly, and stuck down with duct tape. I'd enclose that, bulked out with clothes, empty plastic bottles, or anything light, in a second bag, similarly sealed. That way if there's a little seepage through the seal of the outer bag, the inner will still protect it's contents. (I've found this with small cheap drybags, so I carry a first aid kit in an inner bag, less sensitive emergency kit in the outer)
    – Chris H
    Jun 16, 2023 at 20:12
  • @ChrisH - the plastic bag inside is what is sealed, the nylon is only to protect the relatively more fragile bag.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 16, 2023 at 20:12

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