Best Paddling Bags And Cases
Whether you’re out for an adventure-seeking day of canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, one of the wisest choices you can make, in order to keep your adventure from becoming an expensive and unwanted disaster, is to stock up on at least one good dry storage container.
Even when you expect calm conditions or feel that you’ve prepared for the currents and changes of your chosen body of water, there can always be surprises that are completely unexpected. Gear and valuables can suffer in these cases unless you are completely prepared. Don’t be one of those unfortunate and unprepared paddlers out there, who sadly loses a smartphone or other items due to wetness. Be sure to check out our following list, and by the end, you will have a good idea of what you need to get you started
- Pelican Protector 1400
- Reputable brand
- Foam inserts
- Earth Pak Dry Bag
- Shoulder strap
- Waterproof phone case
- Watershed Ocoee
- 6 color options
- Compact design
10 Best Paddling Bags And Cases
Pelican Protector 1400
The interior is 11.81" x 8.87" x 5.18" (30 x 22.5 x 13.2 cm)
The Pelican Protector 1400 case is manufactured with a tough, polypropylene body with a polymer O-ring seal, water tight latches and stainless steel hardware and stainless steel padlock protectors.
This case is built with a solid watertight design with double throw latches and an automatic pressure equalization valve that helps balance the pressure of the interior while keeping water away from your valuables.
All of the Pelican Protector cases have an open cell core construction with a solid outer wall, Pick N Pluck with convoluted foam and have the option for a personalized nameplate. Six color options are available.
- Trustworthy and reputable name
- Variety of sizes for your specific gear transport needs
- Customizable foam inserts
- Any inserts do take away from inner storage space
- Cases are a little pricey
Earth pak original waterproof bag
Available in 10L and 20L
This dry bag is made of 500 denier PVC material and hard D-rings for securing to your kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Its hardy construction is built to make it through any foul weather you may fun into and any falls that could occur.
After all your dry items are inside, you can fold down the roll top and secure the buckle closure for simple, but watertight storage.
- Simple to use
- Shoulder strap for low-hassle transporting
- Includes a waterproof phone case
Only two size options
Watershed Ocoee Dry Duffel
1 lb 7 oz
15 L capacity
9”H x 16”L x 8”W
The Ocoee duffel is made with high-quality 420 denier Cordura ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating to create a bag that’s strong, scuff-resistant and abrasion-resistant. It has various hard D-ring attachment spots for securing to kayak, canoe or SUP.
It boasts a ZipDry closure that presses shut for an air and water tight seal. It’s submergible, keeping what’s inside dry even if and when it gets dunked.
- 6 color options
- Perfect small size for the adventure kayaker
- Option to add interior extras to customize your exact needs
- A bit pricey
Pelican 1040 Micro Case
Interior 6.5” x 3.87” x 1.75”
All Pelican Micro Cases are constructed of a crushproof, dustproof rugged hard casing with stainless steel hardware outside and a rubber liner on the inside.
The case is submergible under one meter of water for up to thirty minutes. It has an automatic pressure equalization valve to balance the pressure on the inside and keep water on the outside. All items inside should be well-protected even in the worst of cases.
A Pelican Micro Case will have a see-through clear top and a solid color bottom. A carabiner is attached and it has a tight, but easy opening latch.
- Customizable with foam inserts
- More size options are available to suit your specific needs
Rubber insert does diminish the usable interior space a bit
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
Options include 3L, 5L, 8L, 13L, 20 L, 35L and 65L
2.5 oz to 10 oz, depending on size chosen
This dry bag is made of TPU laminated fabric with 10,000m waterhead. The 420 D nylon fabric is strong without adding too much weight, and double-stitched to make it a long-lasting pick for rough and rugged trips.
With tape-sealed seams and a Hypalon strip with a buckle closure, the Big River dry bag seals up to provide the ultimate waterproof protection for any valuables stored inside.
The Sea to Summit Big River bag includes four Hypalon lash loops and two D-rings on the exterior so that you can easily attach it to your canoe, kayak, SUP. Five color options are available.
- Seven sizes to choose from
- Hardy without being weighty
- Reliable company name
- More pricey than many other dry bag options available
SealLine Baja Dry Bag
Bag sizes range from 5 L to 55 L, with the smallest size weighing in at 7 oz and the largest at 1 lb 12 oz.
SealLine’s Baja Dry Bag has a long-lasting, heavy-duty construction. Its 1000D vinyl-coated exterior and extra-thick bottom create a travel bag perfect for paddle trips out in nature’s elements.
In addition to the vinyl coating, the Baja Dry Bag features welded seams and a DrySeal closure, securing all the items inside from weather and water leaks.
The Baja is available in six sizes and four colors, allowing you to choose the bag most suitable for your adventure needs.
- Variety of sizes and colors to choose from
- Hardy, and ultra long-lasting
- Easy, water-tight roll-top seal
More expensive than some other dry bags
Outdoor Research Ultralight Dry Sack
5L, 10L, 15L, 20L, 35L, and 55L options available
1.2 oz to 3 oz, depending on size
Made of 40D ripstop 100 % polyester with a PU coating, this dry sack will hold up in tough, all-day, all-weather conditions.
The Ultralight Dry Sack includes a roll top closure, as many other dry bags do, with fully taped seams for reliable leak-proof storage.
The bag is mostly transparent, allowing you to get a glimpse of the items inside and more easily access them. There are two to four color options, depending on your size choice. It includes a sturdy loop for securing or hanging your bag.
- Variety of size options
Joto Universal Waterproof Case
Fits devices up to 6”, or 100mm x 170mm
Clear window 70mm x 140 mm
Joto’s case is a best-selling, customer-proven pouch that has secured thousands of phones from the harsh effects of water.
The Universal Waterproof Case is submersible in up to 100 ft of water.
The case includes a neck strap for those who want it within the closest range for the easiest access. It has a simple and secure snap and locking system at the top, and is available in eight colors.
- Incredibly inexpensive for the amount of security provided
- Easy to carry and use
- Would need to be secured on your body or within another dry bag
NRS Taj M’Haul Deck Bag
17”L x 5”H
Tapers from 13” to 11”
The Taj M’Haul Deck Bag is crafted with a durable 400 denier nylon, making it a good choice for outdoor sports.
It includes an interior dry bag of bomber polyurethane Infinity float bag material. The urethane exterior and waterproof Hydrolock zip-seal closure keep dry items safe and protected from water spray.
The red and black bag with adjustable bungee lacing also has outer pockets made of stretchy mesh, an easy carrying handle, reflective tape and a clip for attaching a cup holder.
- Puts often used items (water bottle, phone) within easy reach on deck
- Sits low on the board and doesn’t interfere with paddling
Soft inner shell that doesn’t retain hard shape
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack
The pro of this particular dry sack is how inexpensive it is, so you can spend more on other important items and devices for your trip.
Because of it's nylon and lightweight design, this bag is made for backpackers and others who are on the go.
The interior of this bag is bright white, so that it is easy for you to find all of your belongings with ease.
Overall, if you need something simple with no extras (that is affordable) this is the option to go for.
- Less expensive than some other deck bags
- Low profile, no paddling hindrance
- Color options
- Not completely submergible
Here Is What We Looked At
Materials Used for Construction
Denier (D) is a unit of measurement used to describe the thickness of a material’s fibers of individual threads. You will see this term often on the specifics of outdoor product information. Basically, the higher the denier number is, the greater the thickness of the fibers with which it is made. The lower the denier number, the more fine and thin the material will be. When investing in storage bags that will be housing your important and/or valuable items, you will most likely want a higher denier count. The fabric will be of a sturdy, thick construction. This is necessary not only for holding valuables and keeping them safe on the inside, but for withstanding weather, bumps and falls on the outside. Before investing in a dry sack or bag, consider what it is you need to keep safe on the water as well as the denier count of the material potential bags are made of.
Polyurethane (PU) is a safe and effective chemical formulation that is used in various forms. It is often used in building construction to create durable barriers to all sorts of elements. It is a water repellant formula used on wood as a waterproof membrane and as a sealant on boats. It is often used in foam insulation, adhesives, mattresses and even in dams and dykes. On outdoor gear, polyurethane is often used as a coating to create a hardy, sustainable, waterproof product.
Nylon was invented in the early 1930s. While it was popular for women’s stockings for a time, it’s sturdiness found many other uses. A synthetic fiber, it is strong, elastic, lightweight and mildew-resistant. I can be found in toothbrushes, carpet, and surgical sutures. During World War II, it could be found in parachutes, tire chords, and aircraft fuel tanks. Nylon is a soft yet strong material, making it an ideal candidate for many manufacturers. It is stretch, shrink and wrinkle resistant, and durable while remaining light. Because of these qualities, it is often used in the construction of outdoor bags and other gear.
Polyester, popular as it was for outerwear in the 1970s, is another material often used in the production of outdoor bags, saks and gear. Similar to nylon, it is also a strong and durable material. Like nylon, it is resistant to stretching, shrinking and wrinkles. It is heat-resistant, flame retardant, abrasion resistant, quick drying. Both polyester and nylon are high-quality materials for use in outdoor gear.
Cordura is a brand name fabric used around the world with retailers and militaries alike. It is crafted to be durable, reliable and long lasting. It is of high quality and reserved for those products worthy of the name. Cordura is a tough fabric used for products in need of long-lasting, wear-and-tear use, such as upholstery, luggage, military products and outdoor gear. It is resistant to abrasions, scuffs and tears. If you’re into extended outdoor adventures, Cordura may be a fabric to look out for.
Usually, when a consumer is looking at purchasing dry bags and dry cases, it’s because there are precious belongings that need protecting. While some items purchased can be done with little thought, the risks involved while on the water with valuables greatly increases each time we paddle out. This is one purchase that carries some weight. If money and goods hadn’t been lost in waters before, there would never have been a need for, and the creation of, high-performance dry bags and cases.
Dry Bag VS. Dry Sack
Dry bags are usually tougher, more durable, and crafted of a thicker material than dry sacks. These are ideal for water sports. They are built to withstand elements, carried through and over rugged terrain, and to take a dunk or two into the water. They come in an array of sizes and colors. Some are solid while some have clear, see-through windows for easy access to needed items. They can hold small items like a lunch and a phone, or they can carry large items like a sleeping bag and a change of clothes. There is a large selection of dry bags available as many outdoor companies have recognized the need for dry and simple storage for outdoor water sports.
Dry sacks are lighter weight, thinner, and often transparent. They are often used for separating gear inside a dry bag, or for providing that second layer of protection. Some outdoor gear companies advise “double bagging” dry items, particularly electronics. A dry sack would serve as the thin but water-resistant first layer. The sack would then be placed into a thickly constructed dry bag for extra waterproof and dingproof protection. Also, those concerned with the weight of each object carried, such as long-distance backpackers, would opt for a lightweight dry sack as every ounce would count and be felt. Both dry bags and dry sacks are often constructed with a roll top and buckle closure for a watertight seal.
Both terms are basically exactly as they sound. Water-resistant means that a bag will resist the penetration of water, but it won’t be entirely impenetrable or guaranteed. It may be of a sturdy construction and a material that doesn’t easily allow water in, but it could have seams or small needle holes that will eventually allow water to pass through.
Waterproof means that a bag or case should be able to be submerged under water without water having entered in after its retrieval. Not only should they have a high denier count (thicker fiber material) but all seams and openings should be crafted to be airtight. Zippers and seams should have extra reinforcement to make them airtight, otherwise air and water can slowly creep in through tiny holes. Some companies use a method of seam taping to prevent water from entering in at seam sights. To produce a waterproof product, manufacturers often need to rely on the welding of seams, which involves heating and pressing them together and can be costly. Therefore, waterproof containers may be a more expensive option. Consider your purpose and your need.
Do you need an item that is completely submergible (maybe you’re guiding adventure kayakers through Class IV river rapids) or do you need a storage container that is more splash-proof (maybe you’re joining an easy stand-up paddle boarding group down a calm, slow-moving river)? There are many options available for outdoor watersports, all suited for the specific needs of the outdoorsman (or woman), types of activity and levels of moving waters. It’s wise to consider your unique activity level and needs while perusing the many options available.
Hypalon Roll Top
The roll top closure is used in many of the best-selling dry bags. Typically, the bag is rolled down a few times and then locked into place with a buckle closure. The repetition of the roll down, in addition to the material used and the lock seal help to prevent water from entering the bag.
This type of seal is another commonly used seal in outdoor bags, sacks and duffels. It is essentially a super sturdy Ziplock-type seal, one that presses closed and peals open. Typically, a zipper seal is accompanied by a well-constructed, heavy-duty material bag that is abrasion-proof and tear-proof, making it much more durable than your standard grocery story zipper-sealed bag.
Size does matter, as far as it concerns your outdoor sports storage needs. The array of outdoor storage options is phenomenal; many outdoor companies have seen the need and they have provided numerous options. It is up to the consumer to decide what it is they absolutely need to carry and what can remain at home, or in the car, or at the campsite. Sizes of dry bags and sacks typically range from 5 L to 65 L.
This can vary depending on the company. Are you going for an overnight trip on an off-coast barrier island? Will you need a sleeping pad and a change of clothes? Will you be going for an exploratory river day trip and need your camera, a few lenses and your phone? Are you a guide who needs to keep track of the keys and the money? There is no wrong size of dry bags, sacks and cases when it comes to paddle sports. There are many options carefully crafted so that you have an ideal option to suit the needs that fit your day and lifestyle.
Some More Food for Thought
Care for Your Bag
All of the various types of paddling bags and gear cases that you will have to choose from should be of a waterproof exterior as well as interior, making it easy to clean. Rinsing with cold or warm water is a good practice after each use to rid your bag of any river, lake or ocean residue it may have picked up. If you bag has a bit more dirt and grim for a simple water rinse, soap and water can be used to wipe down both inside and outside, followed by a thorough water rinse. Most importantly, make sure to properly air dry your bag. Hang and air dry it out completely before storing away in order to prevent mildew.
Securing Your Dry Bag
Most of the dry containers you will purchase come with D-rings, bungees or other small attachment hooks to make securing to your kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board a no-brainer. You can simply use rope or bungees to secure your bags to your watercraft of choice, in a manner that provides easy access for you.
Q: Can straps and/or hooks be purchased to secure the bags to the deck?
Many companies do provide extra accessories available for purchase that will enhance the product of original purchase. Straps are sometimes provided with the purchase of a bag, sack, case or pouch, but can often be purchased additionally. Bungees, carabiners and D-rings are always a good option to have on hand for securing bags and cases to the deck or inside of a small watercraft. These can be purchased at most marine or outdoor outfitter locations.
Q: Do I need a dry bag?
If you are putting in the kayak for an easy, relaxing, unplugged afternoon on the water, it is possible that you may not need a dry bag. If you are leaving all important daily items (money, debit cards, phones) in the ramp parking lot at your car, you might not need a dry bag. However, if you are carrying along anything at all of value, it is most wise to add a dry bag to your paddling outing. Even when you feel that you know water conditions and heights, the area and its history, weather and the natural elements can be completely unpredictable. If you plan to carry any valuables at all, you need some sort of dry bag or case. Dry bags and cases weren’t created because people didn’t need them! They were specifically crafted and engineered to prevent the mishaps that included the loss of gear that so many paddlers have had on the water!
In today’s society, images are important. Paddlers want to ensure that they capture that beautiful moment, that spot that is so serene and peaceful, the tucked-away place almost no one else sees, the wildlife that finally presents itself in the stillness of a calm morning, the glorious moment that most of the world will never see….and then save it forever. The thought of that capture is a wonderful one, but paddlers will need the gear to ensure that the image and the costly electronics make it through the day and to the world beyond.
If you’re a newbie, ask around to seasoned paddlers….most likely you’ll find that without proper storage, and even in the best-expected conditions, waterproof dry bags and cases would have saved many a dollar, a day and a photo.
Q: Where can I place my dry bag?
Dry bags typically come with attachment hooks and rings so that they can be secured onto the deck of a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Most paddlers place deck bags on the front of their paddle boards and kayaks for easy access that is quickly within reach. It can also be placed behind the seat or underneath, in the interior of the watercraft. The options can be left to personal preference and what is ideal for the individual paddler.
Q: Is a dry bag large enough to hold a tent?
Dry bags come in a variety of sizes, typically ranging from 5 L to 65 L. The largest size should hold a small, perhaps four-person, tent. They have certainly been known to hold sleep pads and bags, as well as cameras and extra clothing. It’s a good idea to consider the weight and size of your items and the dimensions of your dry bag.
Q: Can my bag be used to store wet items?
If a bag doesn’t allow water in, then inversely it shouldn’t allow water out. The most durable dry bags should allow your wet items to stay wet only within your bag, without leaking to the outside. Some users have claimed that they were able to carry water in a dry bag with zero leakage to the outside. The thicker the material your bag is made of and the more secure the seams and openings, the more likely it will contain any water that may be inside. If you are transporting wet items remember to rinse your bag and air dry to prevent mildew buildup.
Q: Will my bag float?
Sometimes a product will have an added foam insert that will better enable it to float in the event that it is submerged. If it doesn’t, you can always customize your bag and create a product that floats. Simply buy lightweight foam, cut it to fit your specifications and insert it into your case or bag. This will help to protect what’s inside from bumps and falls and also, the bottom of the ocean, river or lake.
Paddling sports can be precisely what we need in a busy, loud world. It can be serene and peaceful, beautiful and captivating. It can be exciting and exhilarating, productive and energizing. It can make a stressful day turn into one that is quiet and still. Or, it can cause an ordinary day at the office to become one of adventure and incredible memories made. We can put in our little watercraft for an evening of fishing, or we can join a group for kayaking down some low-key rapids. We can be a total beginner taking paddle boarding lessons, or we can be a seasoned river guide accustomed to Class IV rapids.
Whatever our need is, whatever it is we’re looking for, we can often find it out on the water. Paddling allows us to experience nature’s elements while retaining just a bit of control. Being prepared is key if we want to fully enjoy all that paddling has to offer. Without thoughtful preparation, a paddler could find themselves in a predicament they won’t soon forget. Many have, and thus, we now have a great variety of options for dry bags, pack, pouches and cases, all of which are sure to enhance your paddling experience and ensure the safety of all the valuables you may choose to carry along for the journey.