How to Choose the Best Dry Bag for Your Next Adventure

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With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner, it is time to dust off your outdoor gear and prepare for some fun in the sun. If you are an avid kayaker, rafter, hiker, climber or just want to enjoy a day on the beach, finding the best dry bag is an essential that shouldn’t be overlooked.

A dry bag can keep your day from going great to horrible by preventing water from destroying sensitive things like your cellphone, camera or key fob. When you are trying to wriggle into a soaked sleeping bag you will be kicking yourself for not taking this extra precaution.

Now that is not saying dry bags are standard in function. There are a multitude of closure options, materials, waterproofing, and durability to consider depending on your chosen activity.  

If you are hanging out at the beach you don’t an expensive beast of a bag that is suited for white water rafting and vice versa. So, here is a breakdown of what to look for in the best dry bag for your next outdoor adventure.

Top 5 Best Dry Bags

Best Dry BagsAcrodo Transparent Dry Bag
-Heavy duty
-Shoulder strap and handle for easy carry
-Floats in water
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Best Dry BagsGranite Gear eVent Uberlight Dry Bag 7L
-Water proof roll top closure
-Ultralight & PVC Free
-Event Air Purging Bottom
-Event Taped Seams
-Space saving shape
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Best Dry BagsAqua Quest Mariner Lightweight Dry Bag 10L+
-Non-toxic PVC fabric
-Double bar tacked stress points
-Adjustable padded shoulder straps
-Side-carry handle
-Reflective logo
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Best Dry BagsOsprey Ultralight Drysack 20
-Roll Top Closure
-Coated Fabric and Seams
-Rectangular Shape
-Heavy Duty Material
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Best Dry BagsSea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack 35L
-UV resistant PVC free fabric
-Waist strap/Hip Belt
-Non-wicking TPU roll-top closure
-Innovative interlocking profile
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Quick Answer-Best Waterproof Dry Bags:

Things to Consider When Choosing a Dry Bag

Dry Bag Levels of Water Resistance

Kayaking in the Philippines

First things first, you will need to think about the level of water protection you need out of your dry bag. The name can be a bit deceiving since there is some give and take in the realm of water resistance.

Some will be labeled as submersible, others claim water-resistance, and some are designed to be only splash-proof.

  • Submersible: As the name would indicate, submersible dry bags are going to give you the highest level of waterproofing. They are generally made from heavy vinyl and can take a beating better than any other dry bag, whether smacking against rocks underwater or sliding across the coarse surface of a canoe. These are so waterproof you can even swim with them if necessary. Of course, all of this added protection comes with a higher price tag as well as a heavier and less flexible design.
  • Water-Resistant: Water-resistant bags, on the other hand, are the perfect middle ground. They are slightly more expensive than their splash-proof kin but give you more bang for your buck.  Water-resistant dry bags usually have some sort of protective coating that repels water and allows them to stay dry if they are quickly dunked in a lake or exposed to rains.
  • Splash Proof: These bags are the casual offshoot of their more intense brethren. They are the cheapest and lightest option on the market and are made from simplistic materials and closing mechanisms. These are great for wicking away water if splashed at the pool or for transporting wet clothing or gear. However, their design makes them susceptible to punctures and allows water to soak in over prolonged exposure.

Best Dry Bag Materials

White water rafting in Fiji

The material is the biggest line of defense in keeping your gear safe and dry and there are two types to consider before you purchase the best dry bag for you.

The first material is nylon. Nylon itself is not the most waterproof material, but nylon dry bags are usually coated with PVC film or with a silicone coating agent that directly affect their water-resistant abilities.

They are the more flexible and lightweight option, but they are also more subject to punctures, tears and mildew.

Vinyl, on the other hand, is the most durable dry bag you can buy and is the most used material. They are great for hauling heavier loads and holding up in stressful conditions.

Due to their high-quality construction, you will see these mostly in the submergible and water-resistant choices. However, that durability does not lend itself to flexion or cost-efficiency.

Dry Bag Closure Systems

Ice Caves in Juneau, Alaska

The closure system of your dry bag is also a crucial feature when assessing the waterproof capabilities of a specific dry bag. Here are the most likely options you will find on your search and what they mean to the bag.

  • Zippers: They allow for quick access and the ability to utilize the maximum amount of space. Zippers are also the most likely to malfunction and can allow water to seep in the seams when submerged.  
  • Roll down: This is the most consistent waterproofing closure system. You simply roll down the top of the dry bag and clip the two sides together with the provided buckle.  This allows for multiple layers of protection from water but makes accessing your gear a bit more of a hassle.
  • Velcro: Today Velcro accounts for many dry bags because of its surprisingly waterproof capabilities and ease of access. Similar to the zipper closure, it allows you to utilize the maximum amount of space within your bag. The only real concern with this closure system is the potential for the Velcro to decay over extended use.  
  • Drawstring: You will likely see these mostly on splash proof dry bags since they give the least amount of protection against water. They are light and easy to use but will leak if submerged or exposed to too much moisture.

Best Dry Bag Sizes

Coron, Philippines

You will probably be able to assess what size dry bag suits you best just by looking at it but here are some facts on the size difference to help you make a well-informed choice.

  • Small: These range from 1L to 10L and usually have 1 strap if any at all.  These are perfect for stowing minimal items like your wallet, keys and phone.
  • Medium: Medium sizes range from 10 to 20L and good for day or weekend activities. They can hold small essentials as well as extra clothes and towels.
  • Large: These are from 30 to 40L and some can be carried as backpack. They are small enough for things like climbing but big enough to carry a variety of gear.
  • Extra Large: Similar to the large bags some can be carried as a backpack and can hold over 40L of gear.  These are made for long-term activities like rafting the grand canyon that can take up to a week.

Best Dry Bag Features Depending on Activity

Rivereering in Asheville, North Carolina

Now that we have run through the logistics of what to consider before buying the best dry bag it is time to take a look at how they are incorporated into the various activities you may need them for.

Casual Use

If you are looking for the perfect dry bag for a boating trip, a relaxing day at the beach or a leisurely day by the pool you aren’t going to need to fork up the extra money for a heavy-duty submersible bag.

An economical nylon splash-proof dry bag with any closure should suit you just fine. Also, consider something with straps as you are likely going to be transporting more than just the bag.  

You will want something you can sling over your shoulder when you have your hands full. Consider: Acrodo Transparent Dry Bag

This adorable dry bag comes in the medium 10-20 liter size and can be slung over your shoulder or carried with its additional handle. Its transparent feature makes finding what you need easily without having to blindly dig through the bag.

Its roll-down clasped top gives it a little extra protection and even floats for that worst-case scenario. All of that and this bag usually goes for under $20.00.

Extreme Water Sports

If you are that thrill-seeking adventurer looking for a dry bag to suit your needs white water rafting or extreme kayaking/canoeing, you are going to want a tough top of the line waterproof dry bag.

Here you will be looking for something made of durable vinyl with floatation abilities and strong reinforced metal, plastic or welded D-ring clips to securely attach it to your rig. Consider: SeaLine Baja Dry Bag

Built strong as a multi-purpose bag the SeaLine Baja dry bag is perfect for adventures big or small. It has a Dry Seal roll-top closure that boasts it is the best watertight seal possible.

The vinyl sides are scrim-reinforced ensuring maximum protection against abrasions and snags. A D-ring is included for attaching to a kayak or raft and you can get this bag in any size your heart desires.

Backpacking or Climbing

Every backpacker and climber know that weight is a key element to their perfect gear. That even transfers into dry bags.

In these activities the bag will likely be stowed inside of a carrier meaning ultimate waterproofing is not necessary and neither is the need for extreme durability against tears. Consider: Osprey Ultralight Drysack 20

Osprey is synonymous with some of the best lightweight backpacking gear out today. Their ultralight dry sack is just another example of that integrity.  It is made from lightweight nylon and has a roll-down closure system.

The carry hook on the bottom and D-ring on top give you the option of hanging it from a tree if needed or outside of your backpack for quick access. It is water-resistant enough to keep its contents dry in light rain or other short exposures to water.

Backpacking – most important thing is weight want ultra-light dry bags. More susceptible to wear and tear but don’t need as much durability because of external protections. Waterproof is not as important, you can save money with easier ways to line your bag.

Best Dry Bag Recommendations

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack 35L

Best Dry Bag

The removable harness on our super tough burly Hydraulic Dry Pack makes portaging a whole lot easier – whether on the river, in the airport or anywhere else where carrying large amounts of gear is a chore.

The Hydraulic harness and waist belt is an open construction of EVA foam and air mesh, allowing plenty of airflow and rapid drying without sacrificing comfort. The harness attaches to compatible Hydraulic Dry Bags (35L – 120L) with a series of buckles as tough as the bags themselves.


  • UV resistant PVC free fabric
  • Waist strap/Hip Belt
  • Non-wicking TPU roll-top closure
  • Innovative interlocking profile
  • Waterproof

Check Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack 35L price at Amazon

Osprey Ultralight Drysack 20

Best Dry Bag

Osprey makes gear-carrying solutions – big and small. Before your gear ends up in a pack, these smartly designed dry bags allow you to pack more efficiently, stay better organized and find and grab the gear you need when you need it.

Designed to keep the contents of your pack organized and bone dry, Osprey’s Dry Sacks provide the security of waterproof gear storage and color-coded organization in your pack.


  • Roll-Top Closure
  • Waterproof
  • Coated Fabric and Seams
  • Rectangular Shape
  • Heavy Duty Material

Check Osprey Ultralight Drysack 20 price at Amazon

Aqua Quest Mariner Lightweight Dry Bay 10L+

Best Dry Bag

The Aqua Quest Mariner series is available in 10, 20, and 30 L sizes. Inspired by water sports, but designed for anybody who goes outside, even if it’s only to get to your car in the pouring rain.

All three sizes feature the same classic design, with one main waterproof compartment, and padded adjustable shoulder straps for maximum comfort. Now you can focus on having fun, instead of worrying about your gear.


  • Non-toxic PVC fabric
  • Double bar-tacked stress points
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Side-carry handle
  • Reflective logo

Check Aqua Quest Mariner Lightweight Dry Bag 10L+ price at Amazon

Granite Gear eVent Uberlight Dry Bag 7L

Best Dry Bag

Granite Gear eVent Sil Drysacks are ultralight waterproof roll closure bulk reducing sacks that are ideally shaped for easy and efficient packing.

The extremely waterproof breathable eVent bottom allows air to escape as the sack is roll compressed, yet maintains its wonderful block shape that is ideal for stacking in your pack.

Also added an arched rolling stay that helps keep the top of the sack open while loading and shapes an easy to grab handle when sealed. The ultimate cure for compression. Reduce weight and bulk!


  • Water proof roll top closure
  • Ultralight & PVC Free
  • Event Air Purging Bottom
  • Event Taped Seams
  • Space-saving shape

Check Granite Gear Event Uberlight Dry Bag 7L price at Amazon

Acrodo Transparent Dry Bag

Best Dry Bag

Don’t let a little water ruin your fun! Keep your gear protected & dry while kayaking, boating, fishing, or hiking. The Acrodo Waterproof Dry Bag is the perfect accessory for your next adventure.

This dry bag won’t let you down if your possessions slip overboard. Leave a small amount of extra room for air in your dry bag, and it will stay above water. Best part of this dry bag is the transparency.

No need to shuffle through your stuff trying to find your phone or your wallet, with the transparent material, you’ll always know right where your items are.


  • Heavy duty
  • Transparent
  • Waterproof
  • Shoulder strap and handle for easy carry
  • Floats in water

Check Acrodo Transparent Dry Bag price at Amazon

Deception Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our favorite places to go shopping for travel gear.

  • Shop Columbia – The industry leader in outdoor apparel and products; You can find anything from great jackets, gloves, hats, shirts and travel pants.
  • Shop REI – They offer some of the best outdoor gear around. We love REI since they have a year Love it or hate it no questions guarantee.
  • Shop Moosejaw – Has a huge selection of outdoor gear at killer prices.

More on Travel Gear:

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Best Dry Bag for Your Next Adventure


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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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