Best Dry Bags
Every camper and hiker knows that the main accessory to bring with you on your journey is a dry bag. A dry bag’s purpose is to keep your important tools and supplies safe from the roughest weather conditions and make sure you have the gear you need while in the wilderness. The last thing you want is to reach your campsite and find that all your clothes and gear are wet and unusable. This is where a great dry bag comes into play. It gives you the security and reassurance you need to know you will have a great adventure.
But like anything, there is a variety of dry bags on the market, and each has their own advantages depending on the activity you will find yourself experiencing. When looking at purchasing a dry bag it is a good idea to know what terrain you will be putting yourself in and also what you will be transporting. Below we have created a list of the top ten dry bags the market, and why they made our list. We will also explain some criteria to look at when looking at dry bags, as they may all look the same but we assure you they all have there unique features. So keep your gear dry this summer and check out our list below!
- Earth Pak
- High-quality strip seal
- Abrasion resistant
- Sea to Summit Big River
- Trusted name
- Simple make
- Sealine Baja
- Completely waterproof
- Various size options
10 Best Dry Bags
Earth Pak Sack
With a thick 500D PVC material that protects against abrasions, this is built to last for years on end. For even the most rugged of users, it manages to withstand against water preventing any from seeping through.
Conveniently, there are hardened D-Rings attached that allow you to connect your bag to multiple items including a backpack and a boat. Plus, Earth Pak also includes their IPX8 Certified waterproof smartphone case.
Carry and Transport
Depending on the capacity that you choose, you will either receive a single shoulder strap (included on the 10 and 20-liter versions) or a backpack-style shoulder strap (with the 30 and 40-liter version).
The jury is already out on this one, as the choices are available for 10, 20, 30, and 40 liters.
All sorts of color options are available such as black, blue, forest green, light blue, orange and yellow.
The dry bag itself is nearly impeccable, but a slight issue with comfort does come into play. No matter the capacity you choose, the strap is not the most comfortable. Outside of this, everything is top-of-the-line.
- Includes hardened D-Rings
- The roll-top and buckle closure allows for air-tight protection
- Made from 500D PVC material to provide resistance to abrasions
- The roll-down latching system reduces the capacity of the bag
- The padding on the strap should be thicker
Sea to Summit Big River
Made of nylon, this waterproof, double stitched dry bag is perfect to keep all of your valuables safe and water-free. The TAPU laminated fabric has a 10,000 mm waterhead. The seams have been reinforced and sealed with tape.
The stabilizing construction keeps the bag from rolling. The wide range of sizes allow you to pick the perfect bag for you.
Carry and Transport
Thanks to the side sash loops, you'll be able to stack and store this back securely.
Sizes range form 3L to 65L with many options in between.
Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Black, Apple Green, Royal Blue.
These dry bags are a great option for any outdoor enthusiast or camper. They offer great protection for important belongings.
- Trusted name in adventure products
- Classic styling
Touch, scrim-reinforced vinyl makes up this heavy-duty dry bag. What this provides for you is reliable protection and the roll-top closure system ensures the same amount of protection against water leaks.
To provide you with a means to connect this bag to other items such as a backpack or luggage rack, there is an attached D-ring.
Carry and Transport
Again, a bit of a head-scratcher here but there is no integration of a shoulder strap. Instead, you simply must carry it by the top. While this is not too much of an issue when carrying it for short distances, it is not ideal for long trips (unless you can put it inside a separate backpack or attach it with the D-ring).
No matter your intended use, you should be able to find a size to accommodate for it with options for 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 55.
Black, olive, red, yellow, blue, green and orange colors can be chosen from.
Perhaps if this had an included shoulder strap, it could have landed higher on this list. This really is a huge deficiency, but do not get it twisted, but it still remains a fantastic product thanks to its makeup and design.
- Has a tremendous amount of size options to choose from
- When contents are inside, they will remain completely dry
- An attached D-ring is included
- There is no shoulder strap attached
- When packing it, it can be fairly difficult to access items near the bottom
It is both lightweight and durable and is suitable for quick submersion. The tough nylon provides a high amount of resistance to abrasions and punctures, while also protecting your contents inside from water.
While there are no exterior or interior pockets, Unigear includes their smartphone waterproof case that will hold smartphones up to six inches in size (diagonal).
Carry and Transport
For an easy carry and transport, the bag comes with an adjustable shoulder sling. In times where you only want to carry it by hand, you can simply detach the strap and you can use it as a backpack, as well.
Whether you are looking for a dry bag for day-trips or extended weekends, Unigear has you covered with options for 5, 10, 20, 30, or 40 liters.
Everyone should find a color that suits them with choices of yellow, red, blue, green, orange, black and white.
While it sure would be nice for there to be some sort of extra pocket, it does not hinder the overall quality. Just know, you must have great organizational skills to keep everything where you want it.
Sak Gear Premium
Constructed from heavy-duty 500D fabric, this dry bag is built to withstand the harshest of environments. In addition to this, the roll-down top design will seal the bag and the welded seams provide further protection from water, dust, and mildew.
Directly on the front of this bag is a splash-proof pocket. Being sealed with a zipper, this is a convenient location to store your key essentials such as smartphones, money, and IDs. But, be aware, the front pocket is not waterproof.
Carry and Transport
If you desire to carry this bag on your shoulders, you can do so with the detachable and adjustable shoulder strap. When not needed, you can simply detach it.
Not too many options here, only 10 and 20. This makes it ideal for day trips, but probably nothing further.
A strong selection of colors is available including black, yellow, gray, pink, army green, navy blue and Digi-camo.
Clearly, most notable here is the superior craftsmanship and exterior splash-proof pocket. As some dry bags do not have any excess pockets or storage, the pocket is a nice touch and prevents your key items from getting lost inside.
The Adventure Lion Premium Bag is one of the toughest bags around. It's made of waterproof polymer, so it feels a lot like rubber and is easy to see why it is so protective. The protection is reinforced by the roll close top and the securing buckle.
This bag is great for boating, kayaking or camping. But on the water, it can also be used as a floatation device for convenience in the water.
Carry and Transport
There is an extra-long shoulder strap that is included which is both adjustable and removable. This makes it very easy to carry and a comfortable fit for all bodies.
Wide range of sizes from 5 to 40L.
There are plenty of color options with the Adventure Lion: Pink, White, Black, Blue, Green, Light Pink, Orange, and Yellow.
It may sound a little familiar, but additional pockets and storage locations would have been nice. Though, the shoulder strap and range of sizes, and durability definitely make this a crowd favorite.
Leader accessories PVC
This dry bag is constructed from heavy-duty polyester trilaminate and reinforced with high-frequency welded seams. This makes it ideal for all sorts of outdoor activities while protecting the elements inside. However, it is only suitable for quick submersion.
In times where you accidentally lose the bag in a body of water, it will float on top. Thus, making it simple to find and retrace the bag’s location.
Carry and Transport
Including on the dry bag is an adjustable shoulder strap. With its adjustable nature, it can accommodate many different sizes. Note, though, that some variations will not include the strap.
As mentioned, seven capacity options are available including 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 55 liters.
Along with the seven size options are seven colors including black, yellow, red, blue, green, orange and white.
It has become a theme, but the shoulder strap can be stiff after long uses. However, as with the ones that have preceded it, it only slightly affects the overall quality and does not overshadow everything else.
With its 100 percent water-resistant exterior, this is an ideal bag for any outdoor activity that you can think of. This remains true even in the most severe of weather conditions.
Not only is there an outer mesh pocket that can hold items and accessories (such as snacks, tools or electronic devices) but there is also an inner removable pocket. This gives you a handy and convenient storage place for your keys, money, smartphone and other key essentials. In addition, a reflective stripe has been designed on the outside to allow the bag to be seen from a distance.
Carry and Transport
Unlike other dry bags, this can be worn as a backpack thanks to its shoulder strap design. While they are padded to provide comfort and adjustable, they should have had more padding. After a while, your shoulders will begin to feel it.
You have three separate options at your disposal and they include 20, 30 or 40 liters.
While there are a vast number of color options (black, yellow, camo gray, stone gray, deep blue and camo green), they are not very diverse.
There is no doubt about it, the multiple compartments for storage and backpack-like nature make this a must-have. It also does not hurt that the design works in a way that prevents water from leaking through and damaging your valuables.
Outdoor Research Ultralight
The ultra-lightweight bag, made from a blend of silicone and nylon, is perfect for a strong, waterproof bag, that doesn't weigh you down.
The standard 15L bag weighs about 2 oz and is large enough to be a day pack. The bags are ultralight and ultra small, overing a 2.5L option.
Carry and Transport
The bag rolls shut and a small buckle is used to keep it closed. There is one D-ring included to attach the bag to a backpack. This is great for smaller packs as there is no strap.
Goes as small as 2.5 liters and up to 55 liters.
Just two colors: gray or lime green.
Overall this is a great lightweight option. The lighter material can be worrying to some but it seems to hold up to most conditions. It might not be suitable for pushing beyond limits but it is a great option for average to advanced adventurers.
The 500D PVC material that this bag is crafted from is one of the toughest waterproof materials known to man. It is anti-static, UV protected and temperature-resistant. Also, the thermal welding ensures that the seams are watertight. Finally, the stress points have all been reinforced for extra toughness.
While it will depend on the mass and weight you have inside the bag, it will float on water if you lose it. Clearly, if the bag is too heavy it may not float.
Carry and Transport
This design implements a single shoulder strap and it provides you with an adequate means of carrying and transportation.
With the capacity options that are provided, 5, 10, and 20, this is an ideal dry bag for short trips.
There are enough colors for everyone to find one that is suitable for them. Among them is black, blue, green, orange and yellow.
Truthfully, this dry bag is absolutely fantastic. Even though you have already seen several bags like it, that does not insinuate that it is not worth the money. In every way, shape, and form, this is worth your cold hard cash.
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
The Effectiveness of the Craftsmanship
If anyone ever wonders why dry bags are so appealing and what their number one selling point it, it would undoubtedly have to be their ability to protect the inside contents from water. They do go beyond this type of resistance and waterproofness, but this is arguably the first aspect most people think of. Outside of the fabric that the manufacturer decides to utilize, whether strong and heavy-duty 500D Tarpaulin, 500D PVC, polyester trilaminate, nylon, among others, there are specific design elements that prove to you its effectiveness in stopping water penetration.
A couple of examples would be the fabric being highly-resistant to tears and abrasions (preventing water from getting in thanks to a hole), thermal welding at the seams to make it watertight, and reinforcement at the major stress points to provide extra toughness. However, you can also note the closure system and its ability to be submerged in water. With dry bags that use a roll-down top design, you may be able to get away with quick submersion. But, anything substantial could prove problematic and your valuables could be exposed to water damage.
The ideal word to sum up a dry bag is convenient. After all, its main designed purpose is to protect your valuables from any danger. But, the convenience of a dry bag goes far and beyond just this. For starters, much like any other bag, it is both useful and helpful to have additional storage compartments. Whether this is a zippered pocket in the front that can hold essential items, a mesh pocket to hold snacks and beverages, or an internal pocket for better organization, they come in handy.
Then, how about when manufacturers include additional products with their dry bag? While this has nothing to do with the dry bag itself, it sure is nice when they include a waterproof phone case or pouch that can fit right inside the dry bag. Of course, sometimes you will see convenient features such as reflective strips on the exterior to allow you to be seen from a distance in emergency situations or attached D-rings for attaching the dry bag to exterior objects. Finally, depending on the weight you store in your bag, some may even float on top of the water. Though this is a lot of information to soak in, keep it at the forefront of your mind as convenience is bliss!
How You Can Carry and Transport It
Here is where things can get a little tricky. Unlike the previous two sections, this one will vary significantly from one dry bag to the next. However, the most common form of carrying and transportation that you will find on this type of bag is via an adjustable shoulder strap. This allows you to either wear it on your shoulder or simply carry it by hand. With it being adjustable, you can properly adapt it for your height and weight. Each person will want a different fit, so this is vitally important. It is also nice when the shoulder strap is detachable, as it may get in the way when you are not using it.
Then, you have the variations with dual-shoulder straps, making them gimmick the properties of a backpack. For some, two straps will be significantly more comfortable than one. Of course, you will also run into variations with no shoulder strap whatsoever. Simply, prioritize the style that will suit you best. Through it all, no matter the style, do pay attention to the padding of the strap. This is one of the more common issues with most dry bags, especially on this list, and some will provide discomfort after too long.
The Capacity the Dry Bag Will Hold
It is fair to assume that when you come across liters, you have no earthly idea how to interpret that and how much it will hold. If so, there is nothing wrong with that as it can be hard to comprehend. But, because a dry bag has a volume it is measured in liters (as liters is the metric unit for volume). So, instead of going through and explaining how much a specific amount will hold (or coming up with an algorithm) here is a general guideline that you can reference when determining the appropriate size for a dry bag.
Anything under 20 liters is best suited for half-day or a couple hour trips. Do not expect to fill this with three days’ worth of necessary equipment, as you will be disappointed. Once you get in the 20 to the 35-liter range, you can then expect to fill a full day’s worth of gear. If you do want a dry bag to get you through a weekend, you better get around 40 to 50 liters worth. As you also saw some at 55 liters on this list, anything past 50 is suited for multiple-day trips.
It is never a bad thing to have a little fun and that is what this section is based on. Besides heat playing a factor (on extremely hot days you may want a lighter colored bag), the color of your dry bag is all about personal preference. The color will not affect the performance or design in any way, but it may improve the fondness you have for it. It seems rather simple, but do not take the visual appeal for granted. After all, you are a human being, right?
Q: How Do You Seal a Dry Bag?
Most dry bags will be designed with some sort of roll-top closure system. As such, if you do not seal it properly then it can’t be promised to protect the contents inside from water. Do not worry about this too much, though, as sealing this type of bag is not rocket science. To begin, ensure that you have removed most of the excess air (by simply pushing the air out as you would with a Ziploc bag). From there, you need to fold (not roll) the top of the bag. Folding instead of rolling creates more sharp bends to block water.
Make sure you fold the top at least three times for maximum protection. To finish off, snap the buckle shut and you are good to go. If you have sealed it properly, it will properly perform the duties it was designed for.
Q: What Are Welded Seams?
Throughout your search, you may run into the term of welded seams. As it sounds, it is a sufficient and superior way to ensure that the fabric is safe from penetrating water. How it works is it uses radio frequencies to merge two separate pieces of fabric together, bonding them to be one whole piece of fabric. As compared to sewn-and-taped seams, this is a far more effective method.
With the way that sewn-and-taped seams work, two pieces of fabric are held together with thread and protective tape. While this is not necessarily an incompetent way of constructing a dry bag, it certainly does not provide the protection that welded seams do. This can withstand two times more stress than that of sewn-and-taped seams. In other words, when you see “welded-seams”, you know that it has superior craftsmanship.
Q: What to Use When Repairing a Dry Bag?
Just like anything else in the world, there may be times where your dry bag becomes damaged. Whether you accidentally tear the fabric or puncture a hole inside of it, a situation may present itself that requires you to do a little DIY repair work. As long as the damage is not too significant, you should be able to use an adhesive to patch up the hole. There are a few different types you could use including a vinyl adhesive, Aquaseal, and Seam Grip. To find these, you can either search online or at your local sporting good’s store.
While it may be sufficient to view a tutorial video on how to properly patch a hole (as that will be more effective than simply reading it), always keep in mind that you want the surface to be clean before applying the adhesive. Especially with Aquaseal, as long as the surface is cleaned it works great to fill small holes and abrasions.
Q: Is There a Difference Between Waterproof, Splashproof and Submersible?
Some descriptions can become a little confusing. With one dry bag to the next, you may see the terms waterproof, splashproof and submersible be passed around. Yes, there is a difference between the three and, quite frankly, the difference is very substantial. When you see a dry bag that is submersible, it means that if you literally submerge the bag in water your contents will remain safe inside. Now, you may see some manufacturers state their bag is suitable for quick submersion, which basically means for a few seconds and not very deep.
As far as waterproof, these bags will not be affected by water until they are completely submerged in water (unless otherwise stated by the seller). Then, there is splashproof (which you may see some exterior pockets described as). As it sounds, this will withstand light rain and splashes. However, anything more substantial than that and the material can’t be promised to protect its contents.
Q: How Do You Remove Mildew from a Dry Bag?
Just as a dry bag can accidentally succumb to abrasions and punctures, it can with mold and mildew. When this happens, you obviously want to do everything in your power to remove it. Thankfully, you can do so without needing fancy equipment or products. That is, unless the mildew is too substantial. For moderate mildew and mold, start off with hand washing your bag in hot water (around 110 degrees Fahrenheit) with a sponge (being gentle if using the grit). Anything hotter than this can damage the tapes on the seams. To wash it, use a non-detergent soap. Be sure to avoid bleach and solvents as they can negatively affect the waterproofing of a dry bag.
If this does not seem to do the trick, you can also try mixing one cup of salt and one cup of lemon juice concentrate to your hot water. Either way, be sure to thoroughly rinse your dry bag to rid it of soap or the salt and lemon juice solution. To dry, do not do so in the dryer as the excess heat can damage the seam tape.
Q: What is So Special About a Roll-Top Closure?
As most dry bags are designed this way, you may be wondering why? What exactly is so special about implementing a roll-top closure system? The main reason is that of its effectiveness to seal the bag. Not only is it simple to get an optimal seal, you can control the number of times you fold the top over. Maybe the only issue, if you want to look at the glass half-empty, is that it can be annoying to re-open and close. Even though it is simple to seal it, it can be a little time consuming as you need to rid it of excess air and take the time to securely fold it. But, it is worth it for its protection.
Dry bags may not seem like an important piece of your gear when going hiking or camping, but after you have gone on an adventure without one, you quickly realize that it is one of the most important. Above we have listed the top ten dry bags and the reasons each one made our list. Now that you have read our top ten list you have a better idea for which one suits your needs best. But remember the best thing to do is to look at where you will be hiking or camping and also what you intend to take with you on your adventure, that will give you a better idea of which dry bag is best for you.