August 16, 2021

7 Best Dry Bags

August 16, 2021

7 Best Dry Bags

Searching for the best dry bags can be a little bit tricky. Hence, you might want to check this guide first before you start shopping.

Dry bags are watertight and airtight containers with a roll-top closure that's often used for protecting valuable or important items. They're often used by people who enjoy water-related activities such as canoeing and kayaking or just by people who like to camp near bodies of water. 

In the past few years, kayakers have discovered that dry bags can be used for a lot more than just transporting food and other items. After placing their gear inside an airtight bag, they waterproof their bags by rolling the bag closed and using a double clip/buckle seal that keeps water out. Some people who kayak or canoe use dry bags instead of hard cases to secure other valuables on top of their boats.

There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of dry bags in the market today. But the following selections are considered to be the cream of the crop. 

7 Best Dry Bags

 Closure-Type Capacity
Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack Roll-top30 liters
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks – Pack of 3 Roll-top1 liter / 2 liters / 4 liters
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag Roll-top65 liters
NRS Bill's Bag Dry Bag Fold-down65 liters
SealLine Skylake Dry Pack Roll-top18 liters
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag Roll-top20 liters
MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Roll-top30 liters

1. Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack

PRODUCT LINK

The Ultralight Dry Sack of Osprey is one impressive option for a dry bag. It can keep your belongings protected and organized throughout your journey. It is available in multiple sizes and offers a rectangular shape so that you can pack your stuff inside it easily. This one is the 30-liter version of the Ultralight Dry Sack, and it provides plenty of space you can utilize for stashing your gear. 

This unit includes a watertight roll-top closure that prevents water and elements from breaching in. Its exterior shell is a coated nylon fabric with seams that have been sealed for further waterproofing. Of course, even if you drench this dry bag in water, your items will remain safe and dry!

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Backpacking
  • Gear capacity - 30 liters (available in different sizes)
  • Closure type - Roll-top
  • Material - 40-denier ripstop nylon
  • Weight - 1.9 ounces
  • Dimensions - 20 inches x 11 inches x 6 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

2. Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks

PRODUCT LINK

Needless to say, Sea to Summit is considered to be one of the best manufacturers of dry bags. Its Lightweight Dry Sack comes as a pack of 3: 1-liter, 2-liter, and 4-liter bags. Size and capacity are the only things that they differ; their construction brim with the same quality. Each of them has the proprietary Hypalon roll-top closure so that they can keep their contents dry even amidst damp and moist conditions. They are crafted from 70-denier nylon fabric that has been treated with a polyurethane coating for durable waterproofing. 

Moreover, the bag's exterior has taped seams to prevent leakages and unintentional entry of water and dirt. Meanwhile, the buckles of these bags have D-ring attachment points where you can hang small essentials and accessories. The base of these Sea to Summit bags are round, which means that they can store more items inside them. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Backpacking
  • Gear capacity - 1 liters / 2 liters / 4 liters 
  • Closure type - Roll-top
  • Material - 70-denier nylon
  • Weight - 1.1 ounces / 1.3 ounces / 1.6 ounces
  • Dimensions - 4 inches x 9 inches / 5 x 10 inches / 6 x 12 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

3. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

PRODUCT LINK

Do you want a dry bag that has extra-large storage? If so, then I suggest that you check out the Big River Dry Bag of Sea to Summit. This dry bag features a 65-liter capacity, enabling it to carry multiple items at once. It has a durable construction, too, as can be noted from its 420-denier nylon fabric laminate as its primary shell. At the same time, it has also been embedded with a thermoplastic polyurethane layer to make it more extra sturdy. In fact, this dry bag is a favorite bag for various water sports such as whitewater rafting and kayaking. 

The entire seams of this bag have been reinforced and tape-sealed to avoid leakages. With its Hypalon roll-top closure, you can guarantee that water won't be able to enter and ruin your items. It also has Hypalon lash loops so that you attach your small accessories to it. Since it has an oval base, its storage capacity has been increased while ensuring that it doesn't roll easily. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Paddling
  • Gear capacity - 65 liters
  • Closure type - Roll-top
  • Material - 420-denier nylon / thermoplastic polyurethane
  • Weight - 10.3 ounces
  • Dimensions - 33 inches x 15 inches x 10 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

4. NRS Bill's Bag Dry Bag

PRODUCT LINK

Another burly dry bag that you should check out is the NRS Bill's Bag. This dry bag has been in the market since 1977 and has been able to establish its reputation to weekend warriors, outfitters, and water sport enthusiasts. Without any iota of doubt, this dry bag can keep all of your gear dry. Unlike other dry bags here, this one is constructed from heavy-duty polyester and PVC. Its bottom has been reinforced too with PVC so that it can resist punctures and abrasion. 

Like the Sea to Summit's Big River, the NRS Bill's Bag has a 65-liter capacity. But interestingly enough, you can cinch this bag down using its four compression straps for more compact and stable packing. This unit also includes aluminum fasteners on the straps to improve their durability. Meanwhile, its StormStrip closure system ensures quick access and foolproof sealing.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Paddling
  • Gear capacity - 65 liters
  • Closure type - Fold-down closure
  • Material - PVC / polyester
  • Weight - 3 ounces
  • Dimensions - 14 inches x 24 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

5. SealLine Skylake Dry Pack 

PRODUCT LINK

The SealLine Skylake Dry Pack is a superb dry bag you can take during your canoeing and kayaking trips. The bag itself is capable of protecting your essential gears in your excursions. It has a capacity of 18 liters, which offers a perfect stowing space for day trips and overnight adventures. This dry bag is tailored from 250-denier nylon with polyurethane coating. Its seams have been welded for maximum protection against water breaches and leakages. 

This dry bag has a front mesh pocket that allows you to store your small belongings. Meanwhile, its roll-top design is fully secured by a pocket strap to prevent it from opening accidentally. Since this one is designed like a backpack, carrying it won't become a problem. The straps are well-padded and offer the utmost convenience to its users. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Paddling
  • Gear capacity - 18 liters
  • Closure type - Roll-top 
  • Material - 250-denier polyester / nylon
  • Weight - 13.5 ounces
  • Dimensions - 21 inches x 10 inches x 6 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

6. Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

PRODUCT LINK

When it comes to dry bags, it's undeniable that the Earth Pak is one of the most reputable makers. Its dry bags are known in the market for their affordable quality and impeccable waterproofing. For instance, this particular dry bag possesses durability that can tackle even the most rugged applications. It is made from 500-denier polyester, which is ultra-thick. In fact, it is almost impervious to punctures and scratches. 

This unit comes in multiple sizes: 10 liters, 20 liters, 30 liters, 40 liters, and 55 liters. Regardless of your needs, these waterproof dry bags should be able to accommodate them. By the way, this one here is a 20-liter model. Keep in mind that the bags are integrated with a shoulder strap for more convenient carrying. Meanwhile, their roll-top closure guarantees that the items stowed inside remain dry. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Paddling
  • Gear capacity - 20 liters
  • Closure type - Roll-top 
  • Material - 500-denier PVC
  • Weight - 14.4 ounces
  • Dimensions - 16.1 inches x 4.9 inches x 1.75 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

7. MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag

PRODUCT LINK

If you want a high-quality dry bag but it doesn't cost that much, I recommend that you look at the MARCHWAY Floating Dry Bag. This features a roll-top closure with an overhead buckle that works as a carrying handle that you can use if you want to hand-carry it. The bag is constructed from ripstop tarpaulin with seams that have been fully welded for absolute waterproofing. It is rugged enough to resist physical damages such as punctures and tears. You can take it on challenging activities without the fear that it would get wrecked along the way. 

And as its name suggests, this bag is designed to float. Even if it is packed with your stuff, it will not submerge. It is one of the reasons why it is commonly used in watersports such as kayaking and canoeing. And while it is true that its sling strap is not the best in its class, it is still convenient to carry.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ideal application - Paddling
  • Gear capacity - 30 liters
  • Closure type - Roll-top 
  • Material - Ripstop tarpaulin
  • Weight - 1.3 ounces
  • Dimensions - 15.1 inches x 5.2 inches x 2 inches
  • Waterproof - Yes

How To Choose The Best Dry Bags

Honestly, I put off writing this post for a long time because I feel like it's going to be hard to write. But then someone asked me how I chose my dry bags, so obviously, there are other people out there who are interested in buying a bag and finding the best one for their needs, so here goes.

In choosing a dry bag, the following considerations should influence your choice. 

Material

Most dry bags are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), though there are some that are made out of nylon and/or rubber. Nylon is significantly more expensive than PVC, and it's also less strong in general; even the thicker versions aren't as strong. The exception is Silnylon which has a square-weave-like tarp material, which is made of nylon and silicone impregnated fabric to make it waterproof. Nylon can be used for rucksacks or expedition bags.  

Nylon does have the advantage that it withstands abrasion a little better than PVC; if you're using a bag on your back, this is not as big an issue. PVC is a little less environmentally friendly but not enough to worry about, and it's lighter and cheaper.

It's worth noting that some manufacturers make bags out of other materials with all sorts of special features. I've never been able to find any independent testing of the big-name brands, though, so you're taking their word for it (but you should take their word for it anyway if they're a big brand). 

Shape And Volume

The shape is worth mentioning because the bigger versions of each type of bag are not necessarily any stronger than a smaller version; just look at what they do for impact resistance to see that. You might think that a rectangular meter-long bag would be better suited for your needs, but it could turn out to have exactly the same level of impact resistance as a square meter bag because of this.

So when you're choosing volume, consider the space that you have available and how much stuff you think you'll need to carry, and then choose accordingly (of course, if there's no reason for one particular size over another, then just get whatever fits your budget).

One final consideration is that you can get fold-over tops with drawcords that are narrow but long enough to overlap at the top. This gives you the benefit of roll-top water resistance (though it could, in theory, leak if it's not tight) without making your bag too tall for packing; in my experience, a small amount of rain will be enough to wet the contents of a bag closed with this type of drawcord, but hopefully not too much. 

Waterproofing

Most bags are made of PVC, nylon, and similar fabric, which are all waterproof. However, there are still added methods that can improve the waterproofing of these bags. For  example, some manufacturers weld or tape the seams of their bags to prevent leakages and punctures.

To test if your bags will be waterproof, I recommend getting some salt water and putting it in the bags and leaving it there for a few hours. If you don't get any leaks after that, then they're probably going to survive your trip just fine; if you do get a leak, then reapply more tape and try again.

I should mention water-resistant zippers here, but I'll be honest: I've never used them, and I'm not sure whether they're any better at all than your typical zip in terms of keeping water out, but if you want one, then there's no reason to avoid them.

In Summary

You've got this far! Well done! I hope that you found this guide useful. I've tried to give a balanced and unbiased opinion of the different types of dry bags out there, and I think they're all worth considering depending on your budget, amount of space, and how much gear you'll need to carry. If you don't know where to start, then I'd recommend getting the ones I listed here.

That's it for now. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below! 

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