Quick Tip: BagTex – A poor person’s VBL

In the latest taping of our silly little podcast; d-low biked over in the single digit temps of the recent arctic chill seen in Colorado.


And on this evening bike ride, d-low wore a form of a vapor barrier liner: bread bags over a liner sock and a merino wool sock over the bread bag.

A VBL, at its simplest explanation, simply keeps the heat and perspiration in without causing moisture to build up in your insulation layers. There are pros and cons of using VBL clothing, but seems using  VBLs for the feet seem to work for a wider variety of people vs other VBL clothing.

Be it skiing in sub-zero temperatures, walking through the Smokies in trail runners as my buddy Garlic did one snowy March or biking through Boulder in the arctic chill, VBLs work well.

You can buy commercial VBLs ..or you can use the dirt-bagger version: bread bags or similar.

A nickname for this method is BagTex.

Simply wear a liner sock, put a larger bread bag or oven bag roasting bag over the liner and then place your thicker sock over both.

Voila! A quick and dirty VBL.

Is BagTex as durable as commercial versions? Probably not. But for something quick, cheap, and easy, it works.

I’m wearing BagTex in this photo!

Many people use this method. And, as mentioned, Garlic did 70 miles of the Smokies using them while wearing trail runners.

The only caveat with VBLs are that you must dry out your feet adequately and let them breathe  (preferably at night)  otherwise you can get trench foot.

And if you are looking for a simple version for your hands? Nitrile or kitchen gloves work very well when worn under your liner gloves of choice.

So wear some BagTex and enjoy the winter!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Another Kevin
9 years ago

Double the bags if you’re hiking. A single-thickness bag tears. When you double them, they tear tremendously less often because they are well lubricated, rubbing against each other instead of against wool.

I’ve been doing the bread-bag (Sunday newspaper bags work too) VBL trick for years. Thanks for the cool silly name for it!

Shaun E. (“NTN”) Sexton
Shaun E. (“NTN”) Sexton
3 years ago

I find that lack of friction results in slippage of bagtex and outer sock. Got a experienced based remedy for that conundrum?