Best dry bag

Gear

Brightly colored dry bags aren’t just for show; they’re easier to spot if they end up in the water.

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Which dry bag is best?

Whether you’re on a long hike and get caught in a downpour or you’re enjoying a trip out on the water, it’s a huge pain when your bag gets wet and your belongings soaked through. When you use a dry bag, you keep the offending water out and don’t need to deal with a soggy sweater or wet sandwiches.

Our top pick, Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag, comes in various colors and has a secure, watertight closure.

What to know before you buy a dry bag

Material

Waterproof dry bags are made from either solid vinyl or heavy-duty nylon with a waterproof coating.

Vinyl (which includes PVC) is naturally waterproof and effective at keeping water out, plus it’s thick and highly durable, although it can be heavy.

Nylon isn’t naturally waterproof and therefore requires a waterproof coating. This is more accurately water-resistant and will wear away over the years. This type of dry bag is better if you just need splash or shower resistance rather than a bag that can keep water out even when submerged.

Capacity

A dry bag’s capacity is usually given in liters (L) and can range anywhere from 2L to 60L or more. Use 20L to 30L for day trips or single night trips (if you tend to pack light), as they fit a towel, a change of clothes, some snacks or a light meal and a few other basics. Larger 50L or 60L bags are best for multi-day trips or if you’re packing for the whole family.

Waterproof vs. water-resistant

Double-check whether your chosen dry bag is fully waterproof or simply water-resistant. Waterproof dry bags keep the contents totally dry, even if the bag gets soaked through, whereas water-resistant dry bags can only stand up to light rain showers or a handful of splashes.

What to look for in a quality dry bag

Closure

Dry bags must have a certain type of closure in order to keep water out. This generally consists of a hook-and-loop strip or heavy-duty zipper across the top, which must be folded over several times, then secured up top with a plastic clip to keep it properly folded over. It’s important to follow the closure directions carefully or your bag might not stay watertight.

Pockets

Some dry bags have an exterior pocket or two to give your quicker access to items you might need regularly, such as your keys and wallet. Remember these pockets are usually only splash-proof or water-resistant, not fully waterproof.

How much you can expect to pay for a dry bag

Dry bags vary in price depending on size and overall quality and can cost anywhere from $10 to $100. The majority, however, retail between $25 and $50.

Dry bag FAQ

Do dry bags have any padding inside to protect your belongings?

A. The vast majority of dry bags are unlined, so they won’t protect fragile items from drops or knocks. If you’re going out for a fast-paced day of water-based activities, it’s best to leave any breakable items at home. However, if you must take something fragile with you on your travels, try wrapping it in a towel or sweater to offer some impact protection.

Who needs a dry bag?

A. Dry bags are most commonly used by people engaging in water sports, such as kayaking or waterskiing, as you can take supplies with you without risking them getting wet if you bail out or your bag gets seriously splashed. They’re also great for days at the beach or lake or for camping trips when there’s a chance of rain.

What’s the best dry bag to buy?

Top dry bag

Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag

Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag

What you need to know: This is an extremely popular dry bag that comes in a range of sizes from 10L to 55L.

What you’ll love: It has a secure, watertight closure. It comes in eight colors. The larger bags come with two straps to evenly distribute weight.

What you should consider: It may let water in if it’s submerged for long periods.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dry bag for the money

Unigear’s Dry Bag

Unigear’s Dry Bag

What you need to know: This is not as rugged as top brands, but it is an affordable choice that’s perfect for occasional use.

What you’ll love: This has fully welded seams. It comes in a wide range of sizes from 2L to 40L. A separate waterproof phone case is included for double protection. It comes in a range of colors.

What you should consider: This can leak if you don’t roll it just right.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Skog Å Kust’s DrySåk

Skog Å Kust’s DrySåk

What you need to know: This highly durable dry bag performs exceptionally well and is available in 10L and 20L capacities.

What you’ll love: It’s fully waterproof with welded seams. It’s made from heavy-duty PVC. A splash-proof front pocket offers easy access. It has an adjustable and removable carry strap.

What you should consider: Some buyers wish it came in larger sizes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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