Garbage bags are an inexpensive indispensable addition to emergency supplies, although not
commonly mentioned on government sites. They can provide durable shelter from rain, snow and the elements
and represent the difference between life and death.
Every hiker in the wilderness should carry at least two of them in the backpack.
Currently they are primarily manufactured from polyethylene thermoplastic, which is extremely durable and has a large strength to density ratio.
You want to purchase the largest and strongest bags available. This is easier said than done. You may have to use the internet or have them special ordered.
Bags are sold with two designations:
(1) thickness and (2) strength of the plastic
The thickness may be 3,4,6 or 8 mil. Get the thickest.
(2) The plastic strength is designated by the letters LDPE, MDPE, HDPE. and UHMWPE. These
letters stand for "low density polyethylene, medium density polyethylene, high density polyethelyne and
ultra high density polyethylene
Bags are also available in different sizes (see illustration).
All bags will serve the purpose, but the thicker and higher density, the better. The colored bags are usually light density.