The 10 Best Dry Bags

Updated April 02, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best Dry Bags
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. While you might love sailing, hiking in thunderstorms, or negotiating raging rapids, you won’t love what these activities can do to your expensive, delicate electronics (or your change of clothes). Avoid any type of water problems by picking up one of these dry bags for your next outing. Although they have different features, each offers peace of mind for specific adventures. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dry bag on Amazon.

10. Blue Sky Basics

These Blue Sky Basics will keep your wallet and mobile devices close by while minimizing any risks from splashes. One is opaque to hide valuables, and the transparent one is touchscreen-ready, so you'll never miss a text or notification when enjoying the great outdoors.
  • adjustable waist or shoulder strap
  • ideal for tropical vacations
  • can't withstand extended submersion
Brand blue sky BASICS
Model BP-01
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Kwik Tek Duffel

The high-performing Kwik Tek Duffel is an upgraded version of a classic style, with a wide, tapered opening that provides easy access to all your items, while 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. Phantom Aquatics Walrus

The 25-liter Phantom Aquatics Walrus is an excellent choice for boating expeditions, featuring a high-frequency-welded construction and a two-way sealing system for maximum protection, plus a lumbar support for long-term comfort.
  • fits in most overhead compartments
  • high-visibility safety reflectors
  • not durable enough for backwoods use
Brand Phantom Aquatics
Model pending
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Montem Premium

Crafted from 500-denier polyurethane, the Montem Premium is one of the least expensive ways to protect your valuables from any type of water damage, and it enjoys a more substantial reputation than those of the hordes of cheap off-brands.
  • comes in 5- to 30-liter capacities
  • shields contents from uv rays
  • a bit heavy for backpacking use
Brand Montem
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Earth Pak

With the Earth Pak, not only will you receive top-notch waterproofing from a super-sturdy product, but you’ll also get an IPX8-certified case to save your smartphone, in case your canoe selfie results in an unintended bath.
  • durable tempered hardware
  • resists most scratches and tears
  • straps aren't the most comfortable
Brand Earth Pak
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Outdoor Research Ultralight

If you’re cautious about adding too much weight to your setup, try the Outdoor Research Ultralight. Available in sizes ranging from 5 to 55 liters, its fully taped seams and traditional roll-top closure will keep gear out of harm's way if you end up in the drink.
  • weighs only about 3 ounces
  • makes a great travel laundry bag
  • less abrasion-resistant than others
Brand Outdoor Research
Model 37700
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. SealLine See

Made from ultra-strong, 16-oz vinyl, the transparent SealLine See gives you visual access to your phone, snacks, and clean socks, even as they float safely down the river. It comes in 5-,10-, and 20-liter models to suit any length of adventure.
  • won't leak or rot over time
  • a good long-term investment
  • material isn't very pliable
Brand SealLine
Model 08515
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Sea to Summit Big River

The Sea to Summit Big River ticks virtually every box: it’s low-profile, with reinforced tape-sealed seams, and it's crafted from a TPU-laminated fabric that’s strong enough 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 and straightforward design
  • pricier than similar items
Brand Sea to Summit
Model BIGRIVERDRYBAG
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Sea to Summit eVent

The Sea to Summit eVent is meant for the space- and weight-conscious backpacker, employing waterproof, breathable silnylon in a highly functional, compression-sack configuration that shrinks your dry goods to the smallest possible dimensions.
  • double-stitched and tape-sealed
  • reinforced stress points
  • keeps your pack dense and organized
Brand Sea to Summit
Model EVENTCOMPRESSION
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. SealLine Boundary Pack

The SealLine Boundary Pack is ideal for amphibious hiking, with a spacious main compartment, breathable shoulder straps, and an adjustable waist belt, all wrapped in a PU-coated polyester exterior that can take a beating wherever you go.
  • side-cinch buckles on larger sizes
  • scrim-reinforced vinyl bottom
  • remarkably comfortable to carry
Brand SealLine
Model 8574
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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 02, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.


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