Oilskin sack

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( Bag.png
Name oilskin sack
Appearance bag
Base price 100 zm
Weight 15
Material cloth
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

An oilskin sack is a type of non-magical tool that appears in NetHack. It is a made of cloth, and appears as a bag when unidentified.


As with other containers, the oilskin sack can hold items beyond the 52-character limit - it will also protect its contents from water damage unless cursed, in which case it will only protect its contents 23 of the time.[1]


An oilskin sack is incredibly useful for protecting your potions, scrolls and spellbooks alongside rust-prone weaponry and armor - other bags require a charge from a can of grease to offer similar protection, and the grease has a 12 chance of washing off each time water damage would occur.[2]

Placing your bag of holding in an oilskin sack useful for protecting the first bag's contents from water damage and the curse items monster spell, at the cost of some tedium when retrieving items in from it. Blessing the oilskin sack itself is optional, but may be worthwhile to give it a layer of protection from being cursed, especially once you approach the Plane of Water.

As with a plain sack, an oilskin sack can also be used to protect a wand of cancellation that is stored outside your main bag of holding; unlike a plain sack, the water protection allows you to reliably store other items such as blessed potions of full healing scrolls of remove curse without greasing it beforehand.


Oilskin sacks can be auto-identified by dipping them into any type of water, such as a moat[3] - be sure to empty any bags that you plan to dip-test this way. They are also fairly easy to detect via price identification: Looting a bag with a base price of 100zm and not being bitten eliminates it being a bag of tricks, and stashing heavier items in it to observe its effects on encumbrance can eliminate the bag of holding.


The oilskin sack first appears in NetHack 3.1.0. From this version to NetHack 3.6.0, including some variants based on these versions, the oilskin sack was the only bag to not produce a message when subjected to possible water damage, allowing it to be informally identified by process of elimination.[4]

The feedback for water sliding off an oilskin sack was introduced in NetHack 3.6.1 via commit 2b7b2af, after Alex Smith asked on IRC about an idea for a small, easily implementable feature.


Some water slides right off your <sack>.
Your oilskin sack stopped water from damaging its contents, auto-identifying it.


In variants that import the advent calendar patch, an oilskin sack is among the various items that may appear as the Christmas present on day 24.


In SLASH'EM, upgrading a sack will produce an oilskin sack 45 of the time; upgrading a bag of holding always produces an oilskin sack. Among other things, this makes the amulet of reflection from Sokoban a much more valuable prize, and also provides an additional use case for multiple bags of holding, including creating a safe container for wands of cancellation and other explosion-inducing items.


In dNetHack, Pirates always start each game with an oilskin sack.


In SpliceHack and SpliceHack-Rewrite, an oilskin sack can be made at a furnace by combining a can of grease with any other type of bag except the bag of tricks.

Pirates start with an oilskin sack, and merfolk roles that would start with a sack will start with an oilskin one instead.


In EvilHack, tortles have a 14 chance of starting the game with an oilskin sack, except for Archeologists - a tortle Archeologist will always start with an oilskin sack in place of the role's normal sack. The Infidel role also starts with a fireproof oilskin sack.

The Bag of the Hesperides is an artifact bag of holding that repels water like an oilskin sack.


In SlashTHEM, Pirates, Corsairs and Rogues start the game with an oilskin sack. Divers begin each game with the oilskin sack identified.


In Hack'EM, Rogues and Infidels start the game with an oilskin sack, while Pirates may start with either an oilskin sack or a grappling hook.

The Wallet of Perseus replaces the Bag of the Hesperides from EvilHack and is changed so that it possesses the same traits, including the ability to prevent water damage.

Encyclopedia entry

Summer passed all too quickly. On the last day of camp, Mr.
Brickle called his counselors together and paid them what he
owed them. Louis received one hundred dollars - the first
money he had ever earned. He had no wallet and no pockets,
so Mr. Brickle placed the money in a waterproof bag that had
a drawstring. He hung this moneybag around Louis' neck,
along with the trumpet, the slate, the chalk pencil, and the
lifesaving medal.

[ The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White ]