10 Best Dry Bags | April 2017

10 Best Dry Bags | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
We spent 27 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. While you might love surfing, hiking in thunderstorms, or facing raging rapids, you don’t love what these activities can do to your expensive, delicate electronics (or your change of clothes). Avoid any problems by picking up one of these dry bags for your next outing. Although they have different features, each offers peace of mind for even the craziest of adventures. Skip to the best dry bag on Amazon.
10
The Adventure Lion Premium Series has a model to suit everyone’s needs, from the 5-liter River Lion to the 40-liter Safari Lion. Although they’re heavy-duty and durable, they stay pliable in cold weather and are easy to load, fold, and seal.
  • come with lifetime warranty
  • quick-release polymer buckle
  • some colors more difficult to find
Brand Adventure Lion
Model pending
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
9
The high-performing Kwik Tek Dry Pak Duffel is an upgraded version of a traditional duffel bag. Its wide, tapered opening provides easy access to all your items while also offering complete protection when tightly rolled and buckled shut.
  • two exterior pockets
  • electronically welded seams
  • tricky to close properly
Brand Kwik Tek
Model DP-D1
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
8
The Odyssey 10L has been tested and used by professional dive companies and sailing teams for performance you can rely on. It's made from thick thermo-welded PVC tarpaulin that can handle rugged use, and comes with an adjustable shoulder strap.
  • waterproof phone case included
  • makes a good emergency kit holder
  • not intended for full submersion
Brand Odyssey
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
Don't leave home without the Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25 on your next expedition. It features a high-frequency-welded construction and a two-way sealing system for maximum protection and convertibility, while its lumbar support will keep you comfy.
  • elasticated front webbing
  • comes in highly visible colors
  • not as durable as comparable items
Brand Phantom Aquatics
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
6
Whether you’re into kayaking, camping, canoeing, or just chilling on the beach, the Ultra Dry Premium is the puncture-proof choice that comes with a 100 percent waterproof guarantee. Select either the 10- or 20-liter size; both include a handy smartphone case.
  • includes a carabiner on top
  • terrific for running in the rain
  • handle could be sturdier
Brand Ultra Dry
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
5
If you’re cautious about adding too much bulk to your gear, try the Outdoor Research Ultralight. Available in sizes ranging from 5 to 55 liters, this model’s fully taped seams and traditional roll-top closure help it stand up to rough water without weighing you down.
  • clear interior lamination
  • great travel laundry bag
  • less abrasion-resistant than others
Brand Outdoor Research
Model 37700
Weight 1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
4
The Sea to Summit Big River ticks virtually every box: it’s low-profile, with reinforced tape-sealed seams, and it's crafted from TPU-laminated fabric that’s strong for the long haul. You’ll be able to stack and store each securely, too, thanks to side lash loops.
  • trusted name in adventure products
  • classic styling
  • pricier than similar items
Brand Sea to Summit
Model BIGRIVERDRYBAG
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
3
Worry no more with the KastKing All-Purpose. Boasting a double overlap roll top as well as reinforced vinyl at its stress points, it’ll survive quick submersion and float just like you need it to. In a pinch, you can use it as a pillow, too.
  • comes in a range of sizes and colors
  • clear panel inset
  • pliable for effortless packing
Brand KastKing
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
With the Earth Pak Dry Bag, not only will you receive top-notch protection in a super-sturdy model, but you’ll also get an IPX8-certified phone case. Go ahead, submerge even your largest, most precious iPhone — it’ll stay bone dry.
  • biggest sizes have backpack straps
  • hardened d-rings
  • resists scratches and tears
Brand Earth
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The SealLine Boundary Pack is a popular choice with a spacious main compartment, breathable shoulder straps, and an adjustable waist belt for added stability. Its PU-coated polyester exterior can take a beating wherever you go.
  • side-cinch buckles on larger sizes
  • scrim-reinforced vinyl bottom
  • comfortable to carry
Brand SealLine
Model 8574
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Properly Prepared Adventurer

The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is elegant in its simplicity: Be Prepared. This adage informs any wise and experienced outdoorsman, wether or not he (or she) was ever a scout. Proper preparation for an excursion into the wilderness, be it to climb a mountain, paddle down a river, or snowshoe across miles of frosty meadow, involves proper planning both for the expected conditions and for any changes that could arise.

The unforeseen issues that can pop up during a wilderness expedition can come in the form of changes in the weather, injury, damaged or lost gear, or a traveler team that becomes lost or stranded. Wilderness safety requires planning for all of these scenarios and more, and that means having redundancies for certain gear, it means packing first aid supplies, bringing plentiful food and water, and it means having a way to protect your supplies and rations, as well. You wouldn't go on a long hike with one pair of socks or neglect to bring spare batteries for a headlamp when spelunking, so don't neglect to protect your critical gear or food, either.

Just as a helmet protects your head and good boots protect your ankles, a good dry bag can keep a portion of your supplies safe and dry. Dry layers of clothing can mean the difference between comfort and hypothermia, and dry medicines or first aid gear can mean the difference between swift recovery from accident or illness and a seriously dangerous situation. As for dry food, that can mean the difference between creature comfort and an abjectly miserable time in the field.

Dry bags are critical for trips in personal watercraft like a kayak or canoe, and are a good idea for any adventure on the water, even in a larger boat, where waves, spray, and rain are likely. But so too is a dry bag a wise choice for the overland hiker, skier, or cyclist. When precipitation appears, be it in the form of rain, sleet, or snow, or when you accidentally fall into that stream or lake, you'll be thrilled to have those few liters worth of storage space kept nice and dry.

Choosing The Right Dry Bag

There are two basic types of dry bag: those designed to be stowed, and those meant to be worn backpack style. All dry bags have some sort of handle, strap or harness, but in many cases these are single cross-chest style slings straps that are not comfortable for long-term wear; these bags fit into the former category, and are primarily intended to be tucked away into a kayak, canoe, sailboat, or other water craft. Backpack style bags on the other hand can be worn for long periods of time in relative comfort, especially as most backpack dry bags have both shoulder and waist straps. (A pack's waist strap usually carries as much or more weight than the shoulder straps.)

While at first blush one might think a backpack style dry bag would always be the best choice, as it affords the chance for comfortable wearing or for stowing, this is often not the case. Backpack dry bags tend to be much bulkier than their tubular shaped counterparts, making them harder to stash in the hatch area (the storage bulkhead usually in the front) of a kayak or under a seat in a canoe. Backpack dry bags tend also to be larger even when empty and compacted for storage. However, this larger size may be imperative for carrying larger, non flexible items like camp stoves or even laptop computers.

That said, ultimately the most important factor when it comes to choosing dry bag is the volume of gear you will need to keep dry. Logic dictates that the longer expedition will require more supplies and thus more storage capacity. Most dry bags have a storage capacity of between 20 and 30 liters (most internal frame hiking packs average around 60 liters at full capacity), though some offer double and even triple that space. That means your dry bag will likely not be the only gear transport system you bring along for any trip lasting more than a single night or weekend. Make sure your dry bag works with the other bags and gear you're bringing along; it's just one part of your larger system.

A Few Words On Dry Bag Maintenance

One of the largest drawbacks to a dry bag is predicated on its very design: just as a dry bag will admirably keep water out, so to will it keep water in. If your dry bag gets wet inside, whether from a leaking water bottle, from spills or splashes that occur while it was open, or from residual water after a cleaning, it will hold that liquid in and resist drying out. That means the chance for mildew and mold growth, and neither of those are good news.

In order to keep your dry bag in good working order, you need to regularly clean its interior using anti bacterial sprays or wipes. A cleaning must always be followed by a thorough drying, including manual drying with towels and then plenty of exposure to the air. Always check your dry bag's interior and make sure it's clean before you use it, and make sure to properly clean and dry it before you store it away.



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Last updated on April 28 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.