Being outside and connecting with nature is amazing, but sometimes the weather conditions can be unpredictable. Whether you’re planning to be on the water or you know you might get caught in a storm, you should definitely invest in a good dry bag to keep your electronics, clothing, food, etc. safe and dry. The good news is they’re not very expensive, and purchasing one can save you from the headache of having to replace damaged gear. The not so great news is that with so many styles, designs, and features, it can be nearly impossible to narrow down your choices. To make it easier for you, we have tested the best dry bags on the market and below are our favorites.
Our Top Choice: If you are looking for a simple but quality dry bag, look no further than the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag. Earth Pak bags are super durable, 100% waterproof and backed by a no question asked money-back guarantee. You seriously can’t go wrong with this dry bag.
Quick Answer: Best Dry Bags
Below is a list of the best dry bags for kayaking, canoeing, camping, and hiking:
- Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
- Unigear Dry Bag
- Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag
- Ultra Dry Waterproof Bag
- Leader Accessories Waterproof Dry Bag
- Dry Pak Waterproof Duffel Bag
- Aqua Quest White Water Dry Bag Duffel
- ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
- Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack
- Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack
What to Look for in a Good Dry Bag
Here are the main things you should consider before purchasing a dry bag…
There are two types of closures typically used for dry bags. The first is the Hypalon roll top and the second is a zipper seal. The Hypalon roll top tends to be more effective in keeping your belongings dry because you get all the air out and fold it over a few times, then it’s held in place by a snap buckle that provides an airtight, waterproof seal. The dry bags with zipper seals tend to be easier to use because they work just like a sandwich bag that you’d zip close.
D-Rings are especially important if you’re planning to do boat trips. Some models have them and others don’t. If you buy a dry bag without D-Rings but then decide you really need them, you should be able to buy them separately from an outdoor store. D-Rings are designed to help you connect your bag to a boat or other dry bags. Also, some backpacks have straps that can be adjusted by attaching it to one of the D-Rings.
The two main materials dry bags are made from are nylon and vinyl. Some bags even have a combination of both. Nylon is a lighter material, which usually makes it ideal for backpackers and those traveling long-term. Vinyl tends to be the best when it comes to waterproofing, but is also heavier. In addition, some dry bags have seams and others don’t. If you purchases a bag with seams, make sure to check the quality of the seams before your first trip to the lake.
These are a convenience you’ll most definitely appreciate, especially if you’re traveling for longer periods of time. Interior pockets give you some extra protection for things like your phone and keys, while exterior pockets hold things like your umbrella and your water bottle so they don’t take up extra space in your bag.
There are many different sizes of dry bags. Most companies will let you know their sizes in liters. There can be bags as small as 1 liter and ones as large a 110 liters. Typically once you get over 50 liters, they may be referred to as duffel bags. The size you need will depend on what you’ll be using it for. If you’re not expecting rain, but want to keep your phone and smaller items protected just in case, then a smaller dry bag should be fine. If you’re going camping for a few days and are only taking a dry bag, then the larger duffel bag sizes will probably work best for you.
How you carry it can make or break your experience with a dry bag. You don’t want your shoulders or back to be hurting when you wear your dry bag, you want to be able to wear it comfortably. The super small dry bags don’t always have straps. Usually, once you hit 5 liters you’ll see one strap for the next few sizes up and those you can just throw over your shoulder; then once you get to sizes like 30 liters and up you’ll start to see dry bags with two straps that you can wear like a backpack.
Other Convenient Uses for a Dry Bag
Those are some of the things you need to look for when shopping for a dry bag. Other than keeping your clothes, electronics, food, etc. safe, dry bags also have a bunch of other convenient uses. Here are a few of them:
- Laundry: Separate your clean clothes from your dirty clothes, or your wet clothes from your dry clothes. Also, depending on the size of your bag, you can even fill your bag up like you would a bucket and wash some clothes in it.
- Emergency Travel Pillow: Unfortunately you were in a rush and left your favorite travel pillow at home, but now your flight is delayed so you have some time to nap in the airport. Just add a little bit of air to it, and you’ll be all set to take a nap. Hopefully you remembered your travel headphones to block out all of the airport noise :)
- Flotation Device: If you come across a river crossing where the water’s a bit higher or more dangerous than you expected, your dry bag should be pretty buoyant, so just add some air to it and let it help you across the river.
- Carrying Case: Whether you need to carry firewood or water back to your campsite, the larger dry bags are great because they eliminate you having to make multiple trips to the river or back and forth between trees.
Best Dry Bag Reviews
So what is the best dry bag? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are some excellent options on the market right now, but what determines the best really depends on your travel style and what you need to take with you. Check out our list below of the best dry bags to figure out which one is the best for you.
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
Earth Pak continually ranks as the best dry bag brand, so you can be confident you’ll be getting quality products. Their dry bags are made from a thick, 500D PVC material and you can choose from eight different colors. The most popular size is their 10-liter bag because it’s super easy to roll down then throw over your shoulder, and it’s big enough to hold things like your DSLR travel camera and your lightweight travel towel when you’re heading out on the water. If you need to pack a little heavier, they have five size options ranging from 10 liters to 55 liters. Not only will you get a premium dry bag with your order, but you’ll also receive a free IPX8-certified waterproof phone bag! The next time you plan a water adventure, you can be sure your things will stay safe and dry when you choose the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag.
Unigear Dry Bag
The Unigear Dry Bag will have your back throughout all of your adventures, from catching a boat in Miami to camping in Big Sur, California. For only a small dry bag, their two and five-liter options are perfect, but if you’ll need a dry bag with shoulder straps for your trip, then go with their 30 or 40-liter options. They also have two other medium size options that are 10 and 20 liters. The five largest size options have straps that are removable and adjustable, so you can carry them in whatever way is easiest for you. The 600D material makes these watertight bags ideal for all outdoor adventures.
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag
This specific Sea to Summit dry bag is one of the best dry sack options you’ll find because of its weight. The bag is much more lightweight and easier to pack than traditional dry bags, which makes it a great waterproof bag for kayaking and canoeing as well as backpacking and camping because it can fit everywhere from the small corners of your kayak to the side pockets of your backpack. While this is an excellent lightweight dry bag, keep in mind that the bag is not designed to be submerged under water. If you’re a minimalist traveler looking for quality dry bag for camping or backpacking, this one may be the one for you.
Ultra Dry Waterproof Bag
The durability of Ultra Dry’s bags makes them some of the best waterproof dry bags on the market. The Ultra Dry Waterproof Bag is resistant to tears, punctures, and abrasions, and it’s designed to be effective even in the most extreme conditions. The seams are watertight thanks to the thermo welding technology and the construction is reinforced at all of the stress points. Along with your premium dry bag, you’ll get an IPX8-certified waterproof phone case that will keep your phone safe in case you get caught in a downpour while you’re touring Amsterdam or accidently drop your phone in the pool at your luxury hotel in Bangkok. The extra long straps on both their 10 and 20-liter models are removable and adjustable, making them easy to carry and convenient for all body types. If you’re not convinced yet, these dry bags are backed by a risk-free, money-back guarantee.
Leader Accessories Waterproof Dry Bag
Created for outdoor enthusiasts, Leader Accessories designed these to be the best dry bags for canoeing, rafting, fishing, and all other outdoor activities. Choose from seven color options and seven sizes (5 – 55 liters) of these heavy-duty vinyl polyester bags. When you’re on the move, these bags are light enough to fit in your carry-on bag without adding too much weight or bulk. When you’re on the water, if your bag falls out of a boat, it will float, and your things should remain safe even if the bag is immersed for a little bit. So if you have watersports in your future, then these are great dry bags for boating, kayaking, water skiing, etc.
Kwik Tek Dry Pak Waterproof Duffel Bag
While a small waterproof bag is okay for some people, the Kwik Tek Waterproof Dry Bag Duffel is an ideal solution for those who need to protect more things. Their 70 and 110-liter duffel bags are great for everyone from those traveling with their family to solo travelers taking cross country motorcycle trips. These bags are made from a heavy-duty vinyl polyester laminate, and they even have a zipper pocket with a storm flap on each side. The bottom is molded so the bag can hold its shape, and the large opening makes it much easier to store larger items. Not only great when you’re traveling, but they’re perfect waterproof bags for beach trips as well. When you need to carry more than 20-30 liters of stuff, go with the Kwik Tek Waterproof Dry Bag Duffel.
Aqua Quest White Water Dry Bag Duffel
Need a waterproof duffel bag, but don’t want it to be ginormous? The 50-liter Aqua Quest White Water Duffel Bag is one of the best waterproof bags you’ll find. It’s lightweight at only 1.6 pounds, but it’s very durable and should last through countless adventures. The Oxford 420D RipStop fabric makes it resistant to abrasions, and its coating and welded seams contribute to its premium quality. The bag has two exterior rubberized mesh pockets that let you keep your wet and dry gear separate, and they’re great for smaller items like your leather travel wallet and camping headlamp. Designing waterproof gear since 1996, you can be confident Aqua Quest makes some of the best dry bags available.
ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
Designed for nature lovers, it’s time for you to try out one of the best dry bag backpacks on the market. The 20, 30, and 40-liter bags are equipped to keep your things safe during all outdoor activities. Not only that, but the bag has a reflective stripe that can also help to keep you safe. The ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack has an outer mesh pocket that is perfect for things like your lightweight travel umbrella or for keeping your wet clothing separate from your dry ones. There’s also a removable, interior pocket that can fit smaller items like your keys and phone. Seven stylish design options make this not only a useful dry bag, but a cool-looking one as well.
Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack
Earth Pak is a super popular brand, so it should come as no surprise that they make one of the best waterproof backpack products on the market. This heavy-duty 500D PVC backpack has a 35-liter main compartment while also offering an interior pocket and a splash-proof front pocket. These are ideal waterproof kayak bags because their ergonomic padded back panel was designed to give you extra comfort for your long days on the water. They’re also great for tackling strenuous hikes because the sternum buckle can relieve pressure from your shoulders and the padded straps give you more comfort and stability than typical waterproof backpacks. Great for trips of up to 10 days, you’ll absolutely love your Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack.
Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack
This is a great alternative to more traditional backpacks if you know you’ll probably have to deal with rain. Created with a durable 500 PVC tarpaulin, the 22-liter main compartment is water and airtight thanks to the material and welded seams. In addition to the main compartment, there’s also a front pocket as well as two mesh side pockets, perfect for storing your stainless steel water bottle so it doesn’t take up extra space in your bag. Not only will your things be protected from water, because the bag’s designed to float, but they’ll also be protected from things like dirt, dust, and sand. Backed by a lifetime warranty, you can rest easy know you chose one of the best dry bags.
Unfortunately, we never know when the weather will take a turn for the worst or when our phone will accidentally topple out of a boat. To save yourself the stress and extra money later, invest in a good dry bag today.