Last updated on:
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially around water, it’s important to pack all the essentials.
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you get hit by a big wave or a sudden rain shower, and despite your immediate attempt to get to a dry spot, your spare clothes and camera get waterlogged.
A dry bag will ideally be at the top of your list so that you can keep your gear and any electronics like your phone safe from the elements.
Whether you’re rafting through rapids or hiking and it starts to rain, a dry bag will keep your belongings safe and dry.
If you’re looking for something soft and sleek that will fit in the small space inside your raft, on your roof, kayak, fishing kayak, or you want something that’s a little more heavy-duty for a hiking or camping trip, you have plenty of options to choose from.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best waterproof bags for any outdoor adventure.
Best Dry Bag Reviews For 2020
Winner – YETI Panga Waterproof Bag
This relatively large waterproof sack pretty much ticks all the boxes of essential features you want in a dry bag. The waterproof and airtight design is perfect for any water activity since it’ll keep any water from getting inside.
Unlike most waterproof bags, this one has backpack straps so that you can keep your hands free for other activities.
It does lack luggage straps or a single long strap, but this won’t be a major inconvenience. If you’re traveling with more than one bag and need to drag this one around, it won’t wear out easily.
The Panga performs reasonably well in terms of the ease of packing/unpacking. There are two mesh pockets inside to easily access smaller items. It has a straight, long zipper which opens reasonably wide.
The Panga particularly outperforms the competition in terms of its durability. You will need to drag the bag on a rough surface for miles before it starts ripping.
The outer zipper is sturdy and further protected by the inner zipper. The seams and straps are welded in place and don’t start ripping, even if you stuff the bag completely.
Despite the sturdy material and large size, this dry bag weighs a little less than 6 pounds and is relatively lightweight.
Whether you compare it to river and rafting bags or luggage, the Panga always comes out on top in terms of being weather resistant.
The bag doesn’t open as wide as it should, but this is largely due to the waterproofing materials used in the design. Given the large size of the bag, there aren’t enough smaller compartments.
The Panga is also quite an expensive bag.
Since the bag is mostly designed for wet use, it doesn’t allow you to insert a lock on the zipper.
The high price point and durability of the YETI Panga make it a suitable choice for serious athletes and trekkers.
If you’re carrying the bag over long distances and places where it is likely to get wet, the bag will deliver premium performance.
By far, the standout feature of the YETI Panga is its waterproof nature. For this, YETI has made compromises in terms of the ease of packing and unpacking, as well as the ways in which you can carry the bag.
While it isn’t a great choice for general travel purposes, it is great for use in any wet environment and for athletes involved in water sports.
Runner Up – NRS Bill’s Dry Bag
The NRS dry bag is a roll-top bag with wide flaps at the opening to help seal it properly.
Instead of a buckle, the bag features 4 aluminum clips that keep it in a cylindrical shape, making it easy to store it in the cabin space of a kayak, raft, etc.
Some users have noticed that the bag is more waterproof when it is completely full, and the weight of your stuff presses against the compression of the bag straps.
When the bag is full, even submerging it in water for a bit will not cause any leakages.
Despite its large size, the bag is pretty simple and easy to use. The opening has a Velcro strip to help you line up the two edges easily when you’re rolling it up. The aluminum buckles slide into place quite easily.
This bag from NRS has padded shoulder straps that allow you to carry it comfortably wherever you go. These straps are also supported by aluminum straps to add stability.
If you want to carry the bag in your hands, you can simply detach the shoulder straps and reattach them later.
The bag is made of TobaTex PVC, making the body thick and durable and ideal for even the roughest conditions. The seams are stitched and welded into place, making the bag extremely durable and waterproof.
Probably the biggest negative of this dry bag by NRS is that it is HUGE. With 110 liters of storage, it can be difficult to find anything among all the food, gear, clothing, and whatever else you’re storing in the bag.
It also only has a single compartment, so you don’t really have the option of dividing your stuff. This is also an issue because if your bag isn’t stuffed completely, water might seep into it.
Another issue with Bill’s dry bag is that the sternum strap is positioned so low that it is really only useful for people who are over 6 feet tall. The strap’s position can be adjusted, but not by a lot.
Since there are 4 aluminum clips, it can be tricky and time-consuming to fix them into place after you take something out of your bag.
It is a pricier option and won’t be worth the investment for someone who doesn’t need this much storage space.
This NRS bag has a pretty simplistic design with only a single compartment and no additional zippers or pockets. The only bonus feature it offers is that it comes in a range of colors so you can choose the one you like best.
Given its size, the NRS Bill’s bag is not something you’re likely to take on a small flight or for a boat ride. You need enough storage space for this bag, especially if you’re using it during any water activity.
However, with all that said, this is one of the most ideal options when it comes to the best dry sack out there.
If you want a single, large space to store all the stuff you want to keep dry, Bill’s dry bag by NRS is a solid choice. All you need is a little practice to roll up the top in such a way that the water doesn’t get in.
Alternatives: Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack
A major plus point of Sea to Summit bags is that they offer a range of smaller sizes for people who need to store a few small items. Instead of using disposable Ziploc bags, you can just get a 6-liter dry sack.
If you’re a frequent camper, you can opt for a larger size, big enough to fit a sleeping bag. The lightweight build and the oval shape of the bag make it comfortable and easy to carry over long distances.
This dry sack is made of 70D waterproof PVC and has an additional PU coating to make it more durable and water-resistant. The straps are made of Hypalon that is designed to resist everything, from salt water to even chemicals and ultraviolet light.
The seams are not welded into place, but they are double-stitched to ensure that the bag can handle the weight of everything you stuff inside it.
Many users have tested the bag in wet conditions and have found it to be pretty water-resistant. Try not to stuff it too much since this can allow water to seep in.
The exterior of the bag is a light, white color to make it easy to identify in a heap. The texture is also smooth, causing any water that splashes onto it to roll off immediately. The interior is also white to help you look for your things easily.
Probably the best feature about the Sea to Summit bag is that it is quite affordable. Since it’s also quite durable, you get very good value for money.
The bag is not designed to withstand being completely submerged in water, so it won’t really deliver if you need it to go kayaking or rafting.
The brand itself recommends keeping electronics in a plastic bag and then in the actual Sea to Summit bag for an extra security measure.
This roll-up bag has a simple design without any added pockets, compartments, and so on.
This dry sack is a solid waterproof option for many outdoor activities. From hikes through a rainforest to kayaking in a river, this bag delivers what it promises. Some of the smaller options are also suitable for general travel.
Campla Waterproof Dry Bag
The Campla dry bag is made using 500D PVC, which is durable and resistant to tears, rips, punctures, and water. It’s ideal for any sort of outdoor activities, including water sports and even hiking and camping.
A major plus point of the Campla is that it has an additional phone pocket that is even more waterproof than the bag itself.
It measures 4.13×8.46 inches and has a transparent window on both sides so that you don’t miss important phone calls and can constantly keep an eye on your phone.
This window is also touch-friendly and allows you to send text messages, etc. without having to take your phone out.
This is particularly convenient if you want to take photos underwater, or answer a phone call while you’re in the middle of a river, and so on. The phone pocket has a zip and lanyard and can fit most phones.
The cross-body strap is adjustable to cater to people of all sizes and is also detachable if you want to lug the bag over your shoulder. The buckles holding the strap in place are quite sturdy and durable.
The PVC body is quick and easy to clean. The seams are welded to ensure that the bag is water-resistant and doesn’t rip under the pressure of its contents.
This is a roll-top bag, and even if it is not full, it has the capacity to be rolled over 3-5 times so that water can’t get inside.
This Campla bag features a cross-body strap but does not have backpack straps, making it somewhat inconvenient to carry, especially if you’re hiking or traveling and have a lot of heavy gear stored inside.
The 20-liter bag has a small zippered pocket on the outside for storing small accessories that may be needed at any time.
Like most roll-top bags, you’ll get the most out of this one by practicing rolling it tightly and closing the buckle a few times. The more tightly you roll it, the more water-resistant it will be.
Keep in mind that the bag is not meant to be submerged in water, but if it is in the water for a little while, your belongings will be safe from harm, especially your phone in its extra-protective case.
Depending on whether you need a small bag for local travel or a large one for a camping or rafting trip, you can select between a 10 and 20-liter one.
Piscifun Waterproof Dry Backpack
Probably the first thing that stands out about the Piscifun backpack is that it has a mesh front exterior in which you can place important, easy access items like your keys. This mesh pocket is water-resistant.
The bag is made of durable, high-density PVC, which keeps it safe from any tears or punctures.
The seams are welded to prevent any water seepage. The bag has a roll-top design to keep it waterproof, even when it’s not completely full.
After rolling the top a few times, you just need to click the seal in place to keep your stuff inside safe from the elements.
This Piscifun bag has backpack straps that are adjustable, making it extremely comfortable and convenient to carry. These shoulder straps are also padded for even more comfort.
The bag is not a hundred percent waterproof, and complete submersion or prolonged exposure to water may result in water seeping into the bag and damaging your belongings.
The Piscifun is certainly not about simplicity. In addition to the mesh front pocket, it also has a separate mobile phone pouch to keep it safe from the water.
This phone case is transparent and touch-friendly so you can send text messages, attend to calls and take photos underwater.
This roll-top bag is a budget-friendly option for kayakers and those paddling in canoes. While it does have a solid PVC build and welded seams, it isn’t suitable for water activities with extreme exposure like snorkeling.
A major benefit of this bag is that it has backpack-style straps making it one of those options that are the easiest to carry, making them ideal for most outdoor and water activities.
Dry Bag FAQ
What is a dry bag used for?
A dry bag is basically the name given to any container that seals up to become water-resistant.
It is commonly used for kayaking, water rafting, canoeing, as well as other outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, or hiking.
Some dry bags are also compressible and are suitable for traveling, where you can place your clothes and other soft items in them and compress them to save up on luggage space.
Very rarely, some cheaper dry bags may also be used to store cables or other items at home.
Is the dry bag waterproof?
Dry bags are commonly used by people going for water activities and are designed to be waterproof.
While most dry bags are made of nylon (which is not waterproof), they have an additional water-resistant coating on them.
Some bags are made of PVC or other materials where the water rolls right off.
Most dry bags have welded seams to prevent any water from seeping in through the stitching. The zipper also needs to be closed completely to prevent water penetration.
How do you pack a dry bag?
For any outdoor activities, weight is usually not a major problem. It’s the size of the stuff you’re carrying. You don’t want to lug around a bag that is almost as big as you.
Most dry bags are roll-top bags meaning that once you put all your stuff inside, you can roll over the top and release any air to compress it.
The aim is to minimize the size of what you’re carrying, especially if you have a large dry bag.
What size dry bag should I buy?
Dry bags vary greatly in size. They may be small enough to hold only 6 liters or much as 100+ liters. The size you select depends on your usage.
For someone who camps or goes on fishing or canoeing trips that may last more than a day, you need a bag big enough to hold your sleeping bag and other essential equipment.
For those who just go canoeing or kayaking casually, a small one is enough to hold your phone, maybe some spare clothes, and some food.
If you’re using a dry bag for travel purposes, it’ll depend on how much luggage space you have.
If you’re looking for the best dry bag for kayaking, the most important point you’ll look at is how waterproof it is.
The best ones are usually a little costly, but if you kayak often, or you’re involved in other water activities, then it’ll be worth the investment.
The good quality ones are also quite durable and will be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, including being accidentally submerged in water.
Make sure to choose the size wisely so that it works for all outdoorsy situations.