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Dry Bags buying guide

Love water sports but struggle in keeping your supplies safe and dry? Don't worry. Dry bags are here to the rescue.

These unique bags keep your necessary items safe and dry from any water damage. They are light in weight, and you can easily carry them around with you.

However, selecting the right bag can be a little confusing sometimes. With several brands gloating over their products, you can easily fall into the market's bear trap.

A comprehensive buying guide provides the essential information you require to make an informed decision. With all the details structured in an organized way, you can quickly funnel down the best product.

But first, you should know a little more about this unique product. So, let us start with a brief introduction and then dive into this extensive guide.

What are Dry Bags, and why should you buy them?

As the name indicates, a dry bag is designed for keeping your items dry during kayaking, canoeing, boat rides, skiing, snowboarding, and more.

Usually, these bags come up with different sizes, and they are constructed in a specific way to prevent water from getting inside.

Waterproof materials are used in making these bags. These are not breathable, which means they have no holes that can soak up water.

Moreover, they have a particular construction method, including sewing, gluing, or welding.

If your things are inside a dry bag, they will be protected from getting wet. Similarly, you can put any wet stuff in these bags to avoid dripping.

Having a heavy-duty dry bag will help you enjoy your journey without worrying about the harsh elements, waves, or splashes.

Types of Dry Bags

  1. Phone or Camera Dry Bag

It is almost impossible to go for an outdoor trip leaving your camera and phone in your house. But then you must take proper care of these essential belongings to protect them from challenging weather conditions.

You should ensure the dry bag is equipped with Velcro that offers easy closing and opening. Moreover, the bags should be large enough to accommodate extra padding inside. It will reduce damages caused by small bumps.

Moreover, it is better to select the bag size depending on your camera and phone size. Also, you can look for waterproof cases for more added protection.

  1. Roll-Top Lumbar Bag

If you are hiking or kayaking in a remote place, you can select this type of dry bag to carry more items with you. You can use these bags as a roll-top bag or a compact backpack.

With the Lumbar bags, you will have enough storage space where you can add extra padding. It will help to protect your camera, phone, and other belongings.

  1. Roll-Top Backpack

You can choose this dry bag to carry medium-sized items such as maps, fly boxes, etc. during your fishing or other water activities. You can store extra clothes or lunch for a one-day journey.

Designed with the adjustable straps and buckles, these bags offer a snug fit.

  1. Storage Dry Bag

For an extended trip where you need to carry additional stuff, a storage dry bag can be the right choice. It offers you a larger storage space so that you can carry heavy clothes, sleeping bags, blankets, and more according to the weather conditions. It will help if you look for the heavy-duty straps for ease of use.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Dry bags


When you are going to buy a dry bag, you must consider the size as a primary buying factor. There is a wide range of sizes of the dry bags available in the market, starting from 5L to 40L.

If you need to carry your mobile, camera, and other documents, you can go for a smaller dry bag. In contrast, when you are thinking of putting all the additional items inside, you should pick up a larger size.

You can store small items like electronic gadgets, first aid boxes, medicines, etc. inside a 5L bag effortlessly. 10L bags are also useful for medium-sized things.

A 20L bag can offer you a bigger space to carry a sleeping bag, extra clothes besides some dry snacks for an extended period of the journey.

With a 30L dry bag, you can carry all the essential belongings required for two people for a weekend outing.


Commonly, two materials are used in designing dry bags. They are Vinyl and Nylon.


If you are looking for a smaller dry bag to keep your personal items, there will be a high chance that you will have the bags made of Vinyl. It is sporadic to find a larger dry bag made with Vinyl.


Most of these bags are made from nylon. It is a widespread material used in dry bag construction. Nylon offers more durability, so it is a preferred choice for the larger dry bag systems.

In general, nylon comes up with a siliconized coating, namely CORDURA. It increases the waterproofing feature of the bags and makes the bags resistant to abrasion.

You will see a number that comes along with "D" in the nylon bags, and it defines the density of the nylon fiber used in a particular bag.

With a higher number, you will get a higher density of the nylon, which ensures the bags' maximum toughness.

Types of Closure

It is very crucial to check the closure type of dry bags before buying one for you. Having a proper closure system means you will have a better chance to protect your items from challenging weather conditions.

You should select a closure that can keep things dry when the bag is partly submerged inside water.

Typically, there are two types of closure systems found in these bags, including roll-top and zipper seal.

  1. Roll-Top

It is a trendy choice to help in closing a dry bag. It can seal out water in an effective way. The roll down top and the snapped buckles play a vital role in making the bag waterproof and airtight.

It also has a handle so that you can carry the dry bag without any hassle. You can also clip more than one bag with the help of that handle to secure your stuff.

Roll down top closures are also very cheap and easy to maintain. You can rely on this closure entirely because it does not break down quickly.

  1. Zipper Seal

On the other hand, the zipper seal can be another excellent option to close a dry bag. It is also handy to seal out water and keep the items dry.

However, you have to lubricate the zip seal regularly so that it does not create any problem while opening and closing the bags.

It is also recommended to go for the zip seal when you are choosing a smaller dry bag. For large bags, the zipper seals should be sturdy enough that it needs some extra effort to close or open the bags.

You should also keep them away from dirt and sand to avoid any damage.

  1. Waterproof Zipper

Besides roll-top and zip seals, waterproof zippers have recently come into the market. Waterproof zippers are very easy to use. But they can break quickly.

It is needless to mention that waterproof zippers are 100% waterproof so that they can deal with the submersion efficiently. But you need to spend a hefty amount of money to get those expensive waterproof zippers.


Dry bags are useful because of their specific construction, and you should make sure that the construction goes well with your intended use.

Moreover, they are powerful to handle small bumps or scrapes, which is very common on outdoor trips.

Also, the best quality dry bag maintains a lightweight, as well as a double-seamed design. It provides extra support so that you can carry the bags comfortably.

You should look for the shoulder straps, especially when it comes to choosing a larger dry bag. Additional padding can be a good choice as well.


Although selecting a color for the dry bag ultimately depends on your personal preference, you should pay a little attention to this aspect so that you look good when you are out with these bags.

These bags are designed with such materials that can be found in a wide variety of colors. So, it is not difficult for you to pick up the right color that matches your appearance.

The variety of colors differs according to the manufacturers, so if you search thoroughly, you will find the color exactly what you are looking for.

Having said that, you should also keep in mind that the darker colors are not the right choice for hot climates. The dark color bag can hold up the heat for a long time so you may feel hotter.

If you want to have a waterproof camouflage model, make sure that you can find the bag easily, even if it is lost in the water.


Dry bags are available with more space than a regular bag, but you should choose the size correctly to get a larger capacity required for outdoor activities.

  1. A 3 to 5 L dry bag is perfect for smaller items like phones, camera, money, keys, first aid kits, etc. but for an extended trip and extra items, it will not be the right choice.
  1. A 15 L dry bag can fit medium-sized stuff such as a winter wetsuit, gloves, booties, and more. Also, you can carry a sleeping bag, some extra clothes and a picnic lunch inside this bag.
  1. A 30 L dry bag is appropriate for two thick wetsuits and some more clothes for a weekend trip. If you want to carry clothes, this bag can be more than enough to keep all the required clothes for two persons.
  1. A 50 L dry bag will be ideal for a kayak trip or camping. It is a little heavier, but it can fit three wetsuits and some foods along with some dishes and a small gas stove effectively.


Another critical factor that you must consider while buying your dry bag is the D-Ring. It is a common feature found in all dry bags.

D-rings are a type of ring that looks like "D," and they are attached to the bags. They will come in handy when you need to roll and buckle the bags. With a D-ring, it is effortless to clip several bags together and tie them to your boat.

In case you are in an emergency during boating, you can pull the bags together at the same time, and thus you can protect your stuff easily.

Additionally, the D-rings can reduce the stress from the buckles and ensure that they will last long without breaking.

Intended Use

Most people give priority to the size of the dry bags instead of the intended use. The first thing they consider to get the right bag is where they will be using these bags. Without determining your intended use, you can never get a dry bag that can serve your purpose appropriately.

If you love boating or kayaking, you must choose your bag accordingly. Simply put, for a boat trip, you will need a rugged and durable bag that can withstand the waves, currents, and scrapes in a significant way.

However, if your plan is to have a dry bag to protect your items from occasional drizzle or a heavy downpour, you should go for a lightweight dry bag that can be packed easily.

For a demanding environment, you will need a well-built dry bag to deal with external forces and internal abrasion.


Naturally, dry bags are 100% waterproof, but the level of waterproofness is closely related to the material used in designing the bags. Sometimes the coating of the materials also plays a vital role in determining the waterproofness.

Before you choose a real waterproof dry bag, you should know that not all the dry bag systems can withstand complete submersion of the bags. They are ideal for a short period of submersion or light splashes.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to test the dry bag before you take it to your home.

The best way to take a test is to turn the bag inside out and fill it up with water. Instantly, you will get to see whether there is any leakage or not.

Also, you can look for the IP rating. With a higher IP rating, you will get a higher waterproofing capacity as well as dust resistance, so that you can use the bags in the water without any headache.


It will be very unfair to compromise with the quality of the bags to reduce the cost. It would be best if you always gave more importance to the quality of a dry bag rather than its price so that you will not need to replace it frequently.

If you choose a low-quality bag, you can save your money for the time being, but eventually, you will spend some extra money and your time to get a replacement.

But, choosing a high-end product will enable you to use it more frequently without worrying about any damage.

It will be better to go through the reviews of the bags to know if they are worthy of your money or not. You need to keep two things in mind.

Some reviews are posted after a trial test or first use. You must check the customer's experience after using the bags to know it is worthwhile to have a particular dry bag.

Extra Features

  1. Pockets

Talking about bags without pockets remains incomplete. Dry bags also have both external and internal pockets.

You can keep your things in an organized manner in the internal pockets. But external pockets allow you to keep the essential things within your reach.

You will see two different kinds of external pockets. The outer pockets are not waterproof because it will increase the cost. So, you can keep your essential belongings inside the bag to keep them dry.

But if you can afford the high cost of the waterproof external pockets, it will be very effective for you to store your wallet, keys, phones within your reach.

  1. Mesh Pockets

Some dry bag models are designed with mesh pockets. The primary purpose of using these external mesh pockets is to carry water bottles easily.

  1. Carrying Straps

There are some dry bag systems available in the market with removable carrying straps. You should check this feature when you are about to make a purchase.

With two shoulder straps, you can make a backpack, or you can use only one to make a crossbody backpack. These straps are also beneficial to carry more than one bag together at once.

  1. External Loops, D-rings and Handles

It will be wise to look for multiple D-rings. If you are planning to spend a long time in the water, you should select D-rings made up of plastic so that they will not get damaged by saltwater.

With the external loops, you can tie or clip things to the bag effectively.

Additional handles are necessary for bigger bags. They provide extra support to the roll-top handle to hold up more massive bags.

  1. External Net/Bungee Cord

Having the external net means you will get more safety and protection for your items. You can attach the wet gear to the dry bag with the help of the bungee cord. Using two separate bags, you can prevent the dripping from the wet gear easily.

  1. Reflective Prints

These are another essential feature to consider while buying your dry bag. Reflective prints can improve the visibility of the bag so that you can find it at night without any difficulties.

  1. Design

You will surely want your dry bag to look good when you are carrying it on your trip. Though there is not much variety in a design, you can search for the seagull, bear, or whale bag to have an attractive appearance.

Dry Bags maintenance tips

Generally, you can maintain your dry bag in an easier way because it does not require any high maintenance. These bags do not tend to break quickly. Significantly, the fold-down closure is durable enough that it does not need any extra care.

Nevertheless, you should always follow some essential tips to take care of the dry bag to make sure that your bag will last long without any issues.

  1. It is no brainer that if you drag the bags over any sharp objects or leave them on the thorns, you will have the consequences. It will harm the durability and longevity of the bags. There will be a high chance that the material can get punctured. Thus, the bag will reduce its waterproofness in less time.
  2. You should always use fresh water to clean the bags and let them dry properly after washing. You can also use a mild soap to remove the dirt and dust from the packs but never put the bags in the washing machine for machine wash. It is suggested to wash the bags with your hands after every use.
  3. You should not put the bags under direct sun and do not keep them near fire or any other extreme heat source.
  4. Moreover, it would help if you put the bags away from insect repellents and solvents. If your bag gets in touch with any of it, wash it out quickly.


  1. How should I clean the mildew from my dry bag?

Here are some handy tips to follow:

  1. Clean the bag with a mild soap solution. Never use any harsh detergent.
  2. Use lemon and salt from proper cleaning.
  3. Never scrub the stains harshly, or you can damage the walls of the bag.
  1. How should I store my bag correctly?

After proper cleaning, let your bag dry naturally. Never use any heater or dryer as they can deteriorate the quality of your bag. Also, store the bag away from direct sunlight.

  1. How should I seal the bag to keep my content dry and safe?

Squeeze out all the air and seal it four to five times to keep your items dry and safe from any water damage.

Summing Up

Dry bags present a simple yet efficient way to protect your things from water damage. With high portability, the bags are quite user-friendly.

Here in this guide, you will find all the details required to make a suitable purchase. Go through all the pointers and select an elite product for your expedition. / - © Copyright 2020