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The boat trip to Cabo in Tayrona National Park is apparently rough and the guidebook says to make sure to protect your baggage during the boat trip as it will get thoroughly splashed. Normally, I would simply place it in a large plastic bag except that Tayrona National Park has rules which include:

Entry of plastic bags and polystyrene objects is restricted.

What non-plastic cover can I use to protect an 80L backpack from splashing? It need not be protected from submersion, just regular splashing from saltwater for at least an hour journey.

  • Buy a cheap rain jacket and drape it over the pack. – user13044 Jan 29 '16 at 2:58
  • restricted doesn't mean forbidden, or does it? - maybe you can get a rubber bag. - another option, if this is allowed, might be a waterproof bag inside the backpack - basically, you put all your stuff in that bag, and then the bag in the backpack. the backpack would get wet, but that should not bother you too much if the stuff inside is dry. google for 'dry sack' – Aganju Jan 29 '16 at 3:41
  • @Aganju - That is the official wording but it seems to mean forbidden since every account found said that luggage was searched and plastic bags were taken away. Plastic bags are seen as environmental threat it seems, so they don't want any left within the reserve. It won't be allowed if it's inside either. – Itai Jan 30 '16 at 19:45
  • I understand their concern well. I would just hope that a 20$ dedicated waterproof bag is not considered a 'plastic bag' in their mind, same as nylon (which is 'plastic', actually the first one humans invented in 1935, even though some people think it's not) – Aganju Jan 30 '16 at 19:53
  • Yes, you are right that if it looks dedicated and not just a plastic grocery or garbage bag, they may understand that it won't be left behind. – Itai Jan 30 '16 at 19:58
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Use a rain cover. They are basically nylon or alike fabric sheets, with a bit of sewing on the corners and have elastic sewn on the outer edge, which will tighten it around your pack.
Covers are available in a wide range of sizes and it does not matter if the fit is not really close, as long as the bag is covered and the elastic can reach the back.

It does not waterproof a bag, but it is certainly enough to improve the bags own properties to keep splash water out.

(If you can not find a photo, make one..., when you google -rain cover backpack- you will see plenty of them, but not within the rules for the site.)

Photos of the rain cover on my bike bag, backpack and cover out of easy reach, but the covers work the same. raincover besides and over bike bag
Raincover with and over the bike bag. Photos by Willeke, can be used under creative commons rules.

  • since when is nylon not plastic? – Aganju Jan 29 '16 at 3:37
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    @Aganju A nylon rain cover is not a 'plastic bag nor a polystyrene object'. By the way, your suggestion of putting a waterproof bag inside the backpack is also taking it into the park, it is not just on the outside the restrict it. – Willeke Jan 29 '16 at 17:20
  • Great! There might be one that came with my bag. I'll look since it's been 14 year since I bought it and put away all the parts I had no idea what to do with :) – Itai Jan 30 '16 at 19:56
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Place your backpack in a large lightweight waterproof duffel-like bag, of the kind you'd use to avoid problems with straps getting caught in conveyor belts when checking in large rucksacks. I remember seeing Dutch backpackers use this method, and they had a lightweight cover/bag designed specifically to contain and protect their packs.

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