Best Dry Sacks and Waterproof Dry Bags for Outdoor Activities
Best Dry Sacks and Dry Bags for Outdoor Pursuits
The best dry sacks and dry bags are going to come in handy all year round and can be used for all kinds of outdoor pursuits. They are the last line of waterproof defense to protect your belongings and also help to organize all the gear inside your backpack. Whenever there is a risk of getting your gear wet, there is a need for a waterproof dry bag.
Whether you are sea kayaking, snorkeling, hiking in wet conditions, or backpacking around the world, there is a dry sack to meet your needs. In this review of the best dry bags and dry sacks, we look at all of the different styles of waterproof bags and cherry pick the top performers for you.
Table of Contents (use these to skip down the page)
Best Dry Bags for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Kayaking, Cycling, Swimming, and more
Best Dry Sacks For Hiking
Dry sacks for hiking should be lightweight, flexible, robust, and sized to reasonably fit inside a daypack or backpack. Hiking dry sacks are used to keep clothing and gear dry inside a backpack so don’t need to be made from heavyweight fabrics. There is one type of dry bag that I have trusted for years and that is the S2S Ultra-Sil Dry Sack, but if you are looking for ultra lightweight dry sacks then look further down the page.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 20 g – 65 g
MATERIAL: Ultra-Sil nylon (polyurethane-coated siliconized Cordura)
Sea to Summit offer a wide range of dry sacks perfect for hiking, I highly recommend the Ultra-Sil Nylon Dry Sack or if you are on a budget then the Lightweight Dry Sack will do the job. They are absolutely perfect for keeping your gear in on hikes and ensure you always have something dry to put on if you get wet.
Exped Fold Drybag UL
SIZES: 1 – 40 liters (7 variations)
WEIGHT: 14 g – 57 g
MATERIAL: 15 D Ripstop Nylon, silicone/PU coated
Available individually or as a set, the Exped Fold Drybag UL series is great for ultralight hikers who don’t need a thick vinyl dry bag. Ideal for lining daypacks, keeping your clothes dry at river crossings, putting your wet gear in, and making packing easier if you carry a lot of stuff. The lightweight material has an outer silicone coating and a PU inner coating for the maximum amount of waterproofing with a minimum amount of fabric. To put the weight of this dry sack into perspective, a Snickers chocolate bar weighs 48 grams!
Granite Gear eVent Sil Drysack
WEIGHT: 33 / 37 / 41 / 48 / 56 grams
MATERIAL: 30D Cordura Hybrid Sil-Nylon, eVent Bottom
The Granite Gear eVent Sil Drysack is another ultra-lightweight dry sack for hiking and backpacking that is worth a look. The eVent fabric allows air to escape through when compressed while maintaining a totally waterproof shield. Along with the rectangular shape and light weight, this makes it a great dry sack for hiking packs.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Bags For Kayaks and Rafting
Kayaking dry bags for rivers or ocean need to be some of the toughest of all dry bags to survive some serious abuse and dunks under water. These heavyweight fabrics can withstand constant submersion as well as abrasions from rocks or contact with a paddle. Tapered dry bags are designed to maximize the use of storage space within a kayak and are also easier to get in and out of tight spaces.
SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 7.7 oz / 220 g
MATERIAL: 70D/140D 7.5 oz. polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon body
The SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag is only 20 liters but perfectly designed to fit into the smallest kayak storage compartments. The PurgeAir™ valve allows trapped air to be removed after sealing to make it easier to be stored and accessed.
Sea to Summit Big River Tapered Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 7.4 oz / 212 g
MATERIAL: 420 D nylon TPU laminated fabric with a 10,000 mm hydrostatic head
The Sea to Summit Big River Tapered Dry Bag is larger than the SealLine Bulkhead above but weighs almost the same. Better suited to larger kayaks or simply stowed on the deck of sit on kayaks, this is designed for life on the rapids.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Sacks For Backpacking
Backpacking dry sacks are super important for separating and protecting all your most important possessions and clothes while traveling. Much like hiking dry sacks, they should be lightweight and packable. It is a good idea to get a variety of sizes for different tasks like a large dry bag for your dirty laundry, waterproof sleeping bag sack, and a smaller dry bag to keep personals in.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 22 g – 85 g
MATERIAL: Ultra-Sil 30 D siliconized high-tenacity CORDURA nylon fabric
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sack is perfect for backpackers as the window allows you to see what is where in which bag without having to open them up. Made from super lightweight ripstop material that is flexible and smooth to make stuffing clothes in easier. The soft fabric also doesn’t make loud wrinkly noises, meaning it can comfortably be used as a pillow on a night time. All the seams are double stitched and sealed with Polyurethane coating while the TPU window is actually RF-welded on.
Haglofs Dry Bag
SIZES: 2 / 5 / 10 / 20 / 30 liters
WEIGHT: 25 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 70 grams
MATERIAL: 30D Ripstop, Nylon 66 with silicon
The Haglofs Dry Bag is lightweight and comes in just one color – white. So if you like to keep your backpacking gear looking nice and clean then I probably wouldn’t buy this as it will likely last a long time and pick up a few marks along the way. I personally don’t mind this and there is something I quite like about having a few marks on my gear here and there. Aside from looking pretty good for a dry bag, the Haglofs Dry Bag is really lightweight and rugged.
Exped Fold Drybag Endura
SIZES: 5 / 15 / 25 / 50 liters
WEIGHT: 124 / 180 / 221 / 310
MATERIAL: 420 D Ripstop nylon, TPU Film laminate
The Exped Fold Drybag Endura is a heavier and thicker dry bag for backpacking than the other two and offers more protection for backpackers who plan to expose this bag to the elements. Whether it is lashed to your bag, motorcycle, the roof of your car, or in the saddle bags of a camel – you can take this tough and durable dry bag all around the world. Using sturdy aluminum carabiners and lateral daisy chains you can keep the bag tightly sealed no matter how much stuff you have it there.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Cycling Bags For Commuters
Dry bags or waterproof backpacks for cycling must be comfortable to wear even whilst pedaling uphill and so shouldn’t be much larger than 25-30 liters. If you are looking for a waterproof cycling bag to commute to work with then you should make sure it is wide enough for your laptop etc. Another feature which is fairly specific to cycling bags is an emphasis on high-visibility by using reflective strips and luminescent colors.
SealLine Urban Waterproof Backpack
WEIGHT: 820 g or 950 g
MATERIAL: 600D polyurethane coated polyester body, 400D HD TPU coated nylon bottom
The SealLine Urban Waterproof Backpack is a popular choice for commuters who cycle to work, but it works just as well on muddy trails and long distance routes. The roll top closure has a QuickClip attachment with reflective strip for security and safety. The weatherproof front pocket is a great place to keep valuables and overall looks very minimal.
Alpkit Gourdon Waterproof Backpack
SIZES: 20 / 25 / 30 liters
WEIGHT: 470 g / 575 g / 700 g
MATERIAL: Tough waterproof fabric
The Alpkit Gourdon Waterproof Dry Bag with straps comes in three different sizes and is designed to replace cycling daypacks and bag covers with a simple dry bag design. A nice adjustable feature on the Gourdon is the removable stiff back pad, but you also get the waist and chest straps, hydration pouch on the rear, as well as side, mesh pockets for water bottles. Easy to stay hydrated with this bag on but a shame there are no reflective strips.
Ortlieb Velocity High Visibility Bag
SIZES: 24 liters
WEIGHT: 33.5 oz / 950 g
MATERIAL: Polyurethane-coated Cordura fabric with reflective yarn
The Ortlieb Velocity High Visibility Bag is a robust cycling bag which is densely interwoven with high-luminosity reflective yarn. While the bag looks almost dark grey during the day, it becomes a giant reflective panel at night when any kind of visible light goes near it. The 28 cm width should just about fit most laptops and all tablets as well as any lunch, cycling gear or clothes you want to stick in. This is an excellent choice for biking safely at night and keeping your gear dry in the driving rain.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Sacks for Camping
Dry sacks for camping need to be a little bit tougher than the Ultra-Sil or Cuben Fibre materials because they will likely be coming into contact with the ground. Something I often do with a camping dry sack once I have taken my sleeping bag out is to use it as a seat on wet ground. Having a slightly tougher dry bag for camping allows you to do a range of other tasks including gathering tinder, kindling, and water.
Snugpak Dri-Sak Original Bag
WEIGHT: 50 / 65 / 85 / 105 / 130 grams
MATERIAL: Lightweight Nylon Fabric with TPU Film Lamination
The Snugpak Dri-Sak Original Bag can be trusted time and time again as you head off into the woods every free weekend you have. Snugpak is a brand that develops all their products with army veterans and professional outdoors people. Having a product that rips on the first branch it brushes against is simply unacceptable for these people and so the measures were taken to make a camping dry sack tough enough for the trail.
Outdoor Research Durable Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 4.6 / 6.1 / 7.5 ounces
MATERIAL: 210D nylon with a DWR Hydroseal coating
The Outdoor Research Durable Dry Sack is a no thrills waterproof bag for camping. The tough 210D fabric is 100% waterproof and abrasion resistant so you don’t have to be too gentle when handling it and it’s ok to leave on rough ground. This is certainly the lightweight dry sack option to the heavily armored PVC dry bags available.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch
Everyone has a smartphone these days, but if you spend any significant time around water then you should also have a waterproof phone pouch. Even if you have a waterproof phone, it is still going to sink in deep water and so having a waterproof phone case that floats is a good idea – if not then just add some air. Stick to the double bagging rule where possible and keep this inside another dry bag if possible.
SealLine Waterproof E-Case Submersible Pouch
WEIGHT: 1 – 3.2 oz
MATERIAL: 600D Polyurethane coated Polyester and Clear PVC-free windows
The SealLine Waterproof E-Case allows you to take and even use your touchscreen devices underwater and is tested in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes (IPX7 rating). The SealLock zipper can be securely closed in one step for an air tight seal on your phone or tablet. I also keep a lanyard around my neck but if you didn’t fancy that you could always attach a small float.
Joto Universal Waterproof Case
WEIGHT: 1.77 oz
MATERIAL: TPU waterproof clear film with snap lock closure
With almost 20,000 positive reviews on Amazon, the Universal Waterproof phone dry bag pouch has proved to be possibly the most popular waterproof case for a phone in the world. Tested down to 100 feet and given an IPX8 certified rating, you feel safe keeping your phone in here while you are crossing rivers, swimming in the sea, or having a bath. Super cheap as well, even if your mobile phone cost $100, you would still be silly not to get one of these cases for your next expedition.
Sea to Summit Accessory Case
WEIGHT: 22 g / 28 g / 34 g
MATERIAL: TPU waterproof clear film with snap lock and double velcro closure
The Sea to Summit Accessory Case is an ultralight dry pouch for your phone or other handheld technology. Tested to IPx8 certification levels of 10 meters for over an hour, you can trust this case for brief submersions and as the last line of defense inside another dry bag. Touch screen devices can be used while inside the pouch and the anchor points can be used with a neck strap.
back to menu ↑
Best Compression Dry Sacks
Waterproof compression sacks are a great idea for things like sleeping bags, down jackets, and other lofty materials that can be compressed without being compromised. The fabric straps allow you to gradually compact your items down without putting unnecessary stress on any single point of the material.
Exped Vertical Compression Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 2.9 / 3.6 / 5 ounces
MATERIAL: 70 D Taffeta nylon, PU coated, 10,000 mm water column, Oeko-Tex 100 certified
The Exped Waterproof Compression Bag with release valve is a superb dry sack for backpackers as it is easier to lash to your bag thanks to the slender shape once compressed. The valve lets you pack the dry sack into tight spaces where a more “plump” dry sack might not fit. You can also use the valve to inflate airbeds or rafts if you add an Exped Schnozzel.
Granite Gear eVent Sil Compression Drysack
WEIGHT: 2.8 / 2.9 / 3.4 / 3.8 ounces
MATERIAL: 30D eVent Sil-Nylon Cordura
The Granite Gear eVent Sil Compression Drysack is super lightweight and ideal for reducing the size of bulky items in your backpack. The eVent fabric base is designed to purge out trapped air through micro pores on the inside which do not let moisture back in. Under the lid, this works just like any other dry sack but is so much easier to pack when you only have minimal space.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Bags For Boating and Sailing
Sailing and Boating Dry bags are essential for any kind of small craft as well as larger vessels where ocean spray and waves can make it onto the deck. On rafts and boats, you typically have more storage space than a kayak so the dry bags don’t need to be tapered, but they do need to be just as rugged and waterproof. On the open ocean, gear gets torn up by the elements fast and heavyweight vinyl is the material of choice for longevity.
Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 464 g / 575 g / 807 g
MATERIAL: 600D, TPU laminated heavy duty waterproof fabric
The Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Bag is a heavy duty beast, built to withstand extreme conditions, temperatures, rapids and stormy seas. The abrasion resistant fabric is shaped in an oval to minimize rolling and the heavy duty Hypalon lash loops help you strap these bags down tight. Smart interlocking closure at the top adds a lot of extra protection and the welded construction means that the seams are sealed permanently. There is no faulting this dry bag at all and it even comes in a backpack version!
Leader Accessories PVC Waterproof Dry Bag
MATERIAL: Heavy duty vinyl polyester trilaminate construction
The Leader Accessories PVC Waterproof Dry Bag is air tight, rugged, and ideal for literally any waterborne adventure. You can be as rough as you like with this heavyweight bag and it will simply wipe clean. The abrasion resistant and super waterproof vinyl comes in seven colors and can be bought in bulk because they are so cheap. The shoulder strap can be used as a lashing and is a cool feature if you want to swim across to a beach from the boat.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Stuff Sacks
Most of the best waterproof stuff sacks for clothes are made of soft Silnylon which is flexible and smooth for sliding clothes in and out of. The benefit of getting such a lightweight material stuff sack is that it can be slightly see through for figuring out the contents before unrolling the top. Waterproof stuff sacks full of clothes can be compressed down by squashing all the air out and closing the top like a vacuum pack so that they don’t take up as much space in your rucksack.
SealLine Blocker Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 1.6 / 2.2 / 2.6 / 3 / 3.7 ounces
MATERIAL: 70D Polyurethane coated nylon
The SealLine Blocker Dry Bag makes a really cool stuff dry sack for backpacking because of its rectangular shape. This block shape makes packing your dry bags more efficient – if you have enough of them you can play a game of Tetris in your bag. These lightweight bags are great for stuffing whatever you like into them before stacking and packing them away. They make a great pillow too!
Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 0.8 / 1.1 / 1.4 / 1.9 / 2.4 ounces
MATERIAL: 40D Siliconised Ripstop Nylon
The Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack also has a rectangular base however once the bag is full it does look somewhat circular. The feather-light material is tough and waterproof to keep all your ‘stuff’ dry (see what I did there). With a couple of these, you can essentially organize and protect all your backpacking gear from water in one go.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Backpack
If you aren’t a fan of using lots of flimsy dry sacks and bag covers then why not just get a fully waterproof backpack instead? These roll top style dry bags with shoulder straps can be worn for hiking, cycling, backpacking, and climbing for total protection from the weather. Perfectly compatible as an every day carry pack for urban commutes, day hikes, and all kinds of extreme challenges outdoors. Get a load of these:
Exped Black Ice Waterproof Pack
SIZES: 30 / 45 liters
WEIGHT: 23.6 / 26.1 oz
MATERIAL: 420 D ripstop nylon, TPU film laminate, removable crosslinked PE foam board frame
The Exped Black Ice Waterproof Pack is a minimalist waterproof backpack that is also really lightweight and comfortable. Tested by high altitude climbers and alpinists, the simple design keeps your gear dry and stays balanced on your back in testing situations. The material is super rugged for abrasions against rocks and yet the 45-liter bag only weighs 740 grams.
Ortlieb Elevation Pro Waterproof Backpack
WEIGHT: 1,600 grams
MATERIAL: PS42R Tear and abrasion-resistant nylon fabric
The Ortlieb Elevation Pro Waterproof Backpack was developed with the help of the Austrian Mountain Rescue Services to create the ultimate alpine backpack. The streamline design is highly functional with a waterproof side zipper and roll top access under the detachable lid. You can also remove the waist straps with pockets and gear loops if you like as there are plenty of other heavy duty loops to hang climbing gear from.
Sea to Summit Rapid 26L Drypack
SIZES: 26 liters
WEIGHT: 27 oz / 760 g
MATERIAL: TPU laminated 420D nylon fabric, 7075 Aircraft alloy buckles
The Sea to Summit Rapid 26L Drypack is a really nice size waterproof daypack for hiking with a sleek design that also works well for rock climbing. If you are looking for a waterproof backpack you can wear for outdoor activities then this is a great choice that can handle the demands of adventure. For a more heavy-duty option, you can check out the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Bags For Cameras
Waterproof Dry Bags for cameras should be padded for extra protection and have compartments for your lenses and filters like a regular camera bag. Underwater cases and dry pouches are a completely different thing. If you are going to trust a waterproof case with an expensive piece of photography equipment underwater then you need to be sure it works. Unlike clothing, you can’t just hang an expensive camera out to dry if it gets wet in the ocean.
LowePro DryZone BP 40L
WEIGHT: 1,300 g
MATERIAL: Lightweight, technical, waterproof fabric with an IP-6 rating
The LowePro DryZone BP 40L is not made for dunking under water, but it is great for outdoor photographers who need the added protection of waterproofing when out on location. Has separate padded compartments for a Pro DSLR with attached lens up to 70 mm, 2 extra lenses up to 200 mm, and will also fit a tripod, flash, accessories, clothing, and some lunch. I guarantee you will feel safer transporting your camera gear in this waterproof camera bag than any other bag you’ve had before.
OverBoard Waterproof SLR Roll-Top Camera Bag
WEIGHT: 299 g
MATERIAL: 600D PVC tarpaulin
The OverBoard Waterproof SLR Roll-Top Camera Bag is a lightweight protective bag to keep your camera dry while out on or close to water. It is also the perfect way to protect your expensive camera inside your backpack and as the second level of waterproofing beyond your backpack liner or larger dry bag. This is a great bit of waterproof kit for photographers and is a perfect size dry bag for DSLR cameras.
DiCAPac Underwater Camera Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 60 g – 450 g
MATERIAL: PVC, TPU, ABS | Lens – ABS, Polycarbonate, Silicone
The DiCAPac Underwater cases are tested down to 5 and 10 meters which gives you some reassurance shooting just under the surface. For serious photographers and deeper water, however, you should take a look at the Ikelite Underwater TTL Housing for the bee’s knees of waterproof camera cases.
back to menu ↑
Best Ultralight Dry Sacks
Ultralight dry sacks are in a different league to other waterproof sacks and are highly desirable to lightweight hikers and backpackers who count every gram saved as a small victory. They are made from the latest technologically advanced fibers and fiber hybrids to literally shave off every millimeter of fabric that isn’t required. The interesting thing is that the water resistance is often improved even though the material is thinner.
Granite Gear eVent Uberlight Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 15 / 17 / 19 / 21 grams
MATERIAL: Cubic Tech Flexible Fiber Film (CTF3), eVent Air Permeable Fabric Bottom
The Granite Gear eVent Uberlight dry sack is so lightweight it is ridiculous, and yet it is totally water resistant. Obviously, it is not going to be as durable as other dry bags but for ultralight packers, these are a must have item. With even the biggest size weighing ess than 3/4 of a gram, don’t forget you are holding one or it might just float off! High performance and no weight to it at all, this is the best ultralight dry sack on this list.
Zpacks Dry Sack
SIZES: 2.2 / 4 / 5.6 / 9.5 / 12.3 / 44 liters
WEIGHT: 17 / 20 / 24 / 27 / 34 / 54 grams
MATERIAL: 1.0 oz/sq yd Dyneema Composite Fabric
The Zpacks Dry Sack is another unbelievably lightweight packing option with taped seams and a variety of shapes and sizes. The interesting size for me is the largest 44-liter sack which weighs a minuscule 1.9 oz! Zpacks products are only available on their website and can sometimes be customized on the order page.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Bags For Swimming and Snorkeling
Dry bags for swimming are brightly colored so that you remain visible to boats and lifeguards in open water, which is especially important if you are under the surface snorkeling. They mainly work by storing your gear inside the cavity and then inflating the cavity using the valve. This also works as a flotation device in emergencies and also helps it glide frictionlessly across the water. For dry bags, you can dive and snorkel with below the surface, subscribe to stay updated once we have written it.
Speed Hound Swim Buoy Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 13 oz with phone case and strap
MATERIAL: 190T nylon that has two inflatable chambers
The Speed Hound Swim Buoy is the best dry bag for swimming because it is also an inflatable visibility buoy. The bright yellow, pink or orange color can be seen from a good distance and helps keep you and your belongings safer on open water. Everything you need is included – like a waterproof phone case for double the protection on your highly prized possessions and straps/lanyards. Top pick goes to the Speed Hound
Zone 3 Donut Swim Buoy
WEIGHT: 3.5 oz
MATERIAL: High tenacity waterproof fabric with TPU clear dry bag
The Zone 3 Donut Swim Buoy Dry Bag is great for snorkeling as you don’t have to deflate the bag to access items inside. With the donut swim buoy dry bag you can keep your valuables safe on the waters surface while diving for shellfish or observing marine life. The storage space may not be as big as other dry bags but it is something different and I think quite clever.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Sacks For Sleeping Bags
Using a dry sack to keep your sleeping bag dry is smart, cheap, and effective to ensure you always have dry bedding to go to sleep in on a cold night. This can be a life saver in freezing conditions and you fall in a river for example – you need to get out of your wet clothes and get warm asap – which a sleeping bag is great for. You can either choose a waterproof compression sack or keep your current compression sack and just put the whole thing inside a dry sack.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack
WEIGHT: 2 oz to 3.8 oz
MATERIAL: 30D Diamond Ripstop Siliconized CORDURA with 4 straps
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil compression sack is another lightweight design made from the slippery smooth silicone impregnated nylon. You can easily stuff a sleeping bag in and pack it down tight and then secure it in place with the four compression straps. Watch before your eyes as a full 30-liter bag gets compressed down to the size of a melon.
ALPS Mountaineering Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 4.5 / 5.8 / 7 / 7.7 ounces
MATERIAL: 70D nylon ripstop sides with waterproof coating
The ALPS Mountaineering Dry Sack is a waterproof compression sack that can, and maybe should replace your standard sleeping bag sack. The roll top design can be compacted down using the compression straps and the air permeable fabric allows air to escape without water getting in.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Duffel Bag
Waterproof duffel bags are great for transporting heavy gear or luggage without letting the contents get wet. Another great use for this dry bag style is for putting your waterproof gear in. Transporting your diving gear from the beach back to the house or even for keeping your sweaty gym clothes in, waterproof carryall duffel bags always come in handy.
Overboard Waterproof Duffel Bag
WEIGHT: 1,000 / 1,280 / 1,890 / 2,380 grams
MATERIAL: Internal PVC tarpaulin bonded to an outer nylon cotton shell, 100% waterproof holdall with Fold Seal System
The Overboard Waterproof Duffel Bag is the most waterproof duffel bag here and we especially like the Pro-Vis version pictured above. The material is super rugged and keeps your gear totally protected from water, sand, dust, and dirt. If you want a heavy-duty duffel bag then you may as well get one that’s waterproof. This is a great waterproof gear bag but it is a shame it is not designed to be worn with backpack straps.
Patagonia Stormfront Wet/Dry Duffel Bag
WEIGHT: 2 lbs 12 oz / 1,244 g
MATERIAL: 800 D100% nylon with a TPU coating, Interior 100% polyester mesh pocket
The Patagonia Stormfront Duffel Bag is made from a hardwearing nylon core with a waterproof TPU coating. There are two access points to two separate compartments with the idea being you can separate your dry gear from your wet gear. Perfect for muddy sports and river trips with large openings for sports equipment to easily fit in. With a welded construction and burly zipper, this bag is 100% waterproof nonsubmergible.
SealLine Zip Duffle
WEIGHT: 790 / 1,190 grams
MATERIAL: 19-oz. scrim-reinforced vinyl, Waterproof drysuit YKK zipper
The SealLine Zip Duffle is just a submersible gear bag with a drysuit zipper to keep the water out. The slim profile shape is just the right size to fit into most kayaks but is perfectly fine on the stern. This duffel bag would be a great choice for people who use a motorbike but you can even lash it to the roof of your car- it’s that good! Highly recommended.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
WEIGHT: 930 / 1,230 / 1,590 / 1,840 / 2,010 / 2,120 grams
MATERIAL: 1000D phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. ballistics nylon
The North Face Base Camp Duffel bag has been around for a while now although it is not strictly fully waterproof. The ergonomic alpine-cut shoulder straps feel absolutely fantastic and if you pack the soft stuff to the bottom then the Base Camp Duffel is also very comfy on your back. The end-cap compartment lets you separate your wet or dirty items from the main section without losing any space – perfect for stinky shoes and towels!
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Sacks For Food
Keeping food in a dry sack is a great idea whether you are out in the middle of nowhere and need to protect your food, or you are in a hostel… and need to protect your food. Dry sacks for food will help keep all your sustenance in one place (not smushed throughout your bag) but insulated dry bags are even better for keeping food fresh for longer. Turned inside out, these useful sacks can be used for holding foraged berries and other wild edibles like coastal delicacies.
Aqua Quest Cool Cat Padded Thermal Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 13.8 oz
MATERIAL: TPU coated Nylon 66 Durable Material, High-Density Insulated Foam Padding, Internal Liner, Shoulder Strap
The Aquaquest Cool Cat padded thermal dry bag is perfect for keeping drinks and food cool on backpacking trips as well as for picnics and at festivals. Fitting a comfy 12-18 cans with ice or up to 12 liters of food or water when fully closed – this is an ideal size for 4-6 people at a picnic or 4-6 days of solo food supplies. The padded casing on the Cool Cat also works unbelievably well for protecting technology like cameras, once you take all the food out of course.
IceMule Coolers Classic Coolers
WEIGHT: 2.4 / 2.5 / 2.8 lbs
MATERIAL: MuleSkinEV is 2 x thicker than most soft coolers, PolarLayer insulation, IM AirValve
The IceMule Coolers Classic Coolers are a super rugged insulated dry-bag for demanding conditions. The PolarLayer insulation will keep contents cold for up to 24 hours and the IM AirValve allows you to add air for extra insulation and remove air for packability. The padded strap is adjustable and removable so this can be used as your day pack if you are backpacking with a big rucksack.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Backpack Liner
Waterproof backpack liners are a popular, and more effective, alternative to bag covers and will keep all the contents of your bag dry in the driving rain. One issue I have with this is that even if your backpacking gear stays dry, your bag will be soaked which of course adds extra weight to the load you are carrying. I’m not saying don’t use a backpack dry bag liner, I am just saying that it is ok to use a bag cover too.
Osprey Ultralight Pack Liner
WEIGHT: 90 / 110 / 150 grams
MATERIAL: 40D Siliconised Ripstop Nylon
The Osprey Ultralight Pack Liner is a supersized dry bag to line the entire cavity of your backpack. It comes in three different sizes and is shaped as more of a rectangle than a cylinder so that it fits in your travel bag neatly and to prevent it from rolling when placed on uneven ground. They weigh practically nothing and are far more effective at keeping your gear dry than a pack cover.
Outdoor Research Ultralight Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 40 / 46 / 50 / 70 / 84 grams
MATERIAL: 100% polyester, 40D ripstop with PU coating
The Outdoor Research Ultralight Dry Sacks are not as large as the Osprey packs but still go up to a large 55 liters. The truth is, many people prefer to have 2 or 3 small pack liners over one large one. If you had a 75-liter backpack, for example, you could get a 55-liter sack for your clothes and a 20-liter sack for your sleeping bag and camping gear. These lightweight pack liners are ideal for keeping the contents of small backpacks and daypacks dry.
back to menu ↑
Best Dry Bags for Wet Gear
Waterproof Gear Bags are really handy for using as a daypack at the beach as well as keeping wetsuits and other wet gear in once you get out of the water. Unless you plan to hike with wet gear in your bag, which is crazy, then you will rarely have to carry a wet gear dry bag very far and so weight is not an issue. I would go for a heavier vinyl material so that it keeps moisture inside the bag from escaping into your car for example.
EarthPak Waterproof Dry Bag
MATERIAL: 500D PVC material
The Earthpak Waterproof dry bag is ideal for taking to the beach, surfing, or paddle boarding or using to hold a wetsuit and dive gear. With six colors and four sizes to choose from, this is a very popular bag at a great price. Earth Pak also include an IPx8 certified 6.5-inch phone case for good measure, which is nice.
KastKing Waterproof Dry Bag
WEIGHT: 12.5 / 16.4 / 21.4 oz
MATERIAL: 500D PVC material
The KastKing Waterproof Dry Bag is another hardwearing beach bag that is perfect for putting your wetsuit, towels, and snorkels in. You also have the bonus of a clear window to view inside which is especially cool for viewing small fish in, if your child happens to catch one. The beauty of this thick and tough bag is that you really can put anything in it. If it gets dirty or smelly just rinse it out or wipe with a soapy sponge.
back to menu ↑
Best Waterproof Map Cases
If you are serious about hiking then you understand the value of a map & compass, whereas a younger generation might try and use a waterproof map case to keep their smartphone in. Maps are great, I love them and I will never stop using them but the problem is that they do get damaged over time and nothing speeds up that process like rain. Keep your maps dry with a simple map pouch.
Sea to Summit Guide Map Case
SIZES: 12 x 8.3 in / 13 x 11 in / 17 x 13 in
WEIGHT: 1.8 oz / 2.7 oz / 3.6 oz
MATERIAL: TPU fully welded construction with super-strong Ziploc® closure
The Sea to Summit TPU Guide Map Case is lightweight, UV resistant, won’t crack in cold weather and can be folded multiple times without affecting its performance. The four corner attachment loops are perfect for fastening a neck strap or lashing it to something for easy viewing. Plenty big enough for more than one map and a compass, the Ziploc closure is solid and keeps water out even on extreme rapids.
SealLine HP Map Case
WEIGHT: 3.4 oz / 5 oz / 6.4 oz
MATERIAL: PVC-free TPU and clear urethane
The SealLine HP waterproof map cover is for hikers, rafters, adventure racers, or cyclists to keep their maps dry, intact, and close to hand when they need them. The UV treated urethane casing stays clearer for longer and doesn’t fade when folded or bent. The corner lashing points allow you to attach it to your canoe or bike for easy navigation on the go.
back to menu ↑
Best Micro Dry Sacks
Small Dry Sacks are great for keeping things like your keys, passport, wallet, or phone if you don’t have a specific pouch for that already. You can clip them to your belt without hindrance on a hike or even keep them in your waterproof jacket pocket. They are ideal for passports and travel documents to be kept safe over months of abuse on the road. Most dry bags come in smaller sizes but I like these two for their originality.
SealLine See Pouch Waterproof Dry Sack
WEIGHT: 30 g / 40 g
MATERIAL: 12-oz. clear vinyl front, 19-oz. scrim-reinforced vinyl back
If you are a somewhat unorganized backpacker who constantly loses their passport or tickets then the SealLine See Pouch is just the container you need to keep your life together. With a handy lanyard or neck tie and clear viewing window, you can securely keep your most hard to replace items together and dry. I really like this little pouch for keeping my cash in at the beach or pool.
Seattle Sports Micro Dry Stuff Sack
WEIGHT: to be confirmed
MATERIAL: 12 oz clear vinyl front, 19 oz scrim-reinforced vinyl back
The Seattle Sports Micro Dry Sack is perfect for the little things you might keep in your pocket on in a safe part of your bag. Your most valuable items, apart from jewelry, usually suffer if they get wet. These micro dry bags are perfect for adding that extra level of protection that can save you a lot of time, money, and hardship in the long run.
Guide to Dry Sacks and Dry Bags
Who are dry sacks for?
Dry sacks keep your gear dry, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors with a backpack then at the very least you should have a dry sack or rain cover. Dry sacks are better than rain covers in my opinion as they can survive brief submersion under water, unlike a backpack cover. They can be used as a waterproof compression sack for your clothes/sleeping bag and are perfect for protecting your valuables, electronic gear, and food.
Hikers, campers, cyclists, climbers, photographers, and pretty much all other outdoors people have a need to keep things dry. A sack full of dry clothes can literally save your life let alone all your technology should you fall in some water. If you are still not sure if you need one then keep reading further down for some of the other things you can use dry sacks for.
What is the difference between a dry bag and a dry sack?
The truth is that they can both mean exactly the same thing and does it really matter if one manufacturer calls it a sack and another calls it a bag? No, it doesn’t but in my head when I hear the words ‘dry bag’ I think of a heavier rubber or vinyl material used for rafting and kayaking. Similarly, when I hear the words ‘dry sack’ I think of a lightweight silnylon bag to keep inside your backpack.
You might see thinks the opposite way around but all that matters is that you know the difference between a submersible dry bag for watersports and a waterproof bag for hiking, camping, and backpacking etc. For our list of the best dry bags, we will use the following unofficial definitions:
Dry bags are 100% waterproof, submersible, and durable bags used by water sports enthusiasts and professionals. They are roll top in design and made of heavyweight fabric like you might find on a dinghy. They can be towed behind a kayak, raft, or boat and are built to withstand abrasions from rocks and debris without letting a single drop of water seep through the rugged material.
Dry sacks are typically used to organize gear inside a backpack as well as for a waterproof stuff sack for sleeping bags and down jackets etc. They are super lightweight, waterproof, and come in very handy whenever your gear is at risk of getting wet inside your bag. A favorite material of mine is silnylon which weighs practically nothing, is super thin yet durable, and is air/water tight.
Waterproof pouches are reserved for smaller items and usually designed for keeping your phone and camera dry when you are out adventuring. They will almost always be clear so that you can read a map inside, or see the screen on your smartphone without taking it out of the pouch. You might see some innovative closing mechanisms with waterproof phone pouch because of the high-value items being stored inside.
Dry Bag Materials
Vinyl is the thickest and most durable material used for marine and watersports dry bags. It is the same heavy weight material used for all kinds of marine gear and inflatable crafts. The rugged nature of vinyl means you don’t have to worry so much about puncturing the air tight qualities.
Nylon is typically coated with a waterproof layer which adds to its durability and thus its popularity. A common substance used for waterproof coating is silicon Cordura and the thickness of the fabric is represented by a “D” number. The “D” stands for denier or density and the higher numbers mean tougher material (and more weight). It provides excellent water resistance and is relatively inexpensive when bought as a dry bag set.
Sil-Nylon is the next level up from coated nylon in that the synthetic fabric is impregnated with liquid silicone from both sides. This creates an ultra lightweight material that is also incredibly waterproof with a soft to the touch finish. This kind of drybag is perfect for hiking and backpacking to keep your clothes, food, and bedding dry. It also makes a great pillow!
Cuben Fibre or composite fabric is possibly the most high-performance waterproof material used to make dry sacks with today. The composite laminate is made by pressing Dyneema fabrics under super high pressures to create a non-woven, ripstop material that is lighter and stronger than Kevlar and 100% waterproof.
Ziplock seals will no doubt provide a waterproof bubble to protect your valuables but under pressure or manipulation unforeseen manipulation (getting squashed in your bag) the seal may not be as reliable as roll-top bags.
Rolltop sacks offer the best and most reliable waterproof seal for dry bags in my opinion. They work by lining up the top of the bag, compressing out the air, and rolling the top down to create a vacuum seal. This is then held in place by a plastic buckle which by chance, also creates a useful handle and attachment clip.
Best uses for dry sacks
Separating clothes can be hard when you are living out of a backpack but with just 2 dry sacks you can have a clean and dirty bag or wet and dry bag. Because of their airtight properties, dry bags also make excellent waterproof compression sacks. By stuffing in your gear and removing all the air, you can create a vacuum seal so that there is no space for compressed materials to expand.
Protecting valuables such as your, camera, phone, passport, and laptop is so easy and cheap with a simple dry sack, or even better, a padded dry sack.
Camping pillows are a nice luxury to take traveling but add unnecessary weight if you carry a dry sack. Simply put a few of your softest or loftiest items of clothing inside and leave just a little air in before sealing the rolltop. Sil-Nylon works best for this with such a soft touch feel to it.
Water collection is next to impossible without some way of either holding or transporting it and a dry bag with sealed seams is perfectly capable of holding water.
Food Storage and separation in your bag is especially important on multi-day hikes and camping trips into the wilderness. If you end up buying a set of dry bags then you often get some smaller pouches in there which are perfect for keeping food, coffee, and cooking equipment. Even better than that though, are insulated cooler dry bag.
Flotation devices can be invaluable for less confident swimmers at river crossings and in cases of emergency used like a life jacket.
One last tip
Always test your bag for quality control before using it in the field. To do this you simply fill the bag with air and seal it off. By applying pressure and listening for air escaping you should be able to know if a dry sack is waterproof very quickly and if you are still not sure then hold in underwater and look for bubbles.
Thanks for reading this post on the best dry sacks and waterproof dry bags. Subscribe for more reviews and a bi-monthly newsletter.