If you enjoy any sort of sports out on the water, whether it’s fishing, rafting or kayaking, a dry bag is an essential piece of kit.
You’ll likely need to carry your wallets and cell phone when you’re out on the water, and these items can be very easily lost or damaged without proper precautions. Expensive gear like cameras, GPS units, and video equipment are other things many water enthusiasts like to have on hand, but this gear can be completely ruined with just one errant wave.
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What Is A Dry Bag?
Just like the name suggests, the purpose of a dry bag is to keep its contents dry. A dry bag is made from water-resistant material and has a water-resistant seal to keep your belongings safe and secure while you enjoy your day.
Dry bags, also called overboard bags, don’t just protect your belongings from water, though. They can also act as an effective defense against sand and dirt. If you plan on a short excursion, you can take along a small dry bag to protect just your wallet and your cell phone, while longer excursions might call for a bigger bag to protect more things.
There are many different variations of dry bags, so there truly is something for everyone. We’ll outline five of the best dry bags on the market to make your buying decision much simpler.
What to Look For
When choosing your dry bag, although it’s a simple product, there are a few key elements to think about. Because there’s such a great variety of dry bags, it can be hard to know which bag is right for your particular situation. Today, we’ll look specifically at the best dry bags for kayaking, which should help you in your selection process.
There are a couple of different materials that a dry bag is usually made from. Vinyl bags are stiff and heavy, while nylon is much more lightweight and flexible.
The material will affect how durable the dry bag is, as well as how malleable it is and what it can store. Different dry bags serve different purposes in the kayak, so you might actually want to have a few on hand.
Dry bags come in a large array of sizes as well. You can find small dry bags that won’t hold much more than your wallet and phone, or large dry bags fit for protecting large, heavy gear like a camp stove. Again, it might be a good idea to purchase a few in different sizes to accommodate all your equipment.
Dry bags also come in an assortment of colors, from natural browns and greens to pastels to bright neon colors.
It might be worthwhile investing in a bright colored dry bag. It’ll be much easier to spot should you ever lose it on the water. You’ll see the neon orange bag floating away long before you notice the brown one drifting downstream.
Submersible or Not
It doesn’t much matter if you’re planning a gentle, leisurely float downstream or if your intention is to ride out some Class IV rapids, there’s a good chance that some of your kit is going to wind up in the water. While the majority of dry bags are water resistant, you probably don’t want to pop your expensive camera gear in any old one and simply hope for the best.
Look for a dry bag that can be submerged without ruining the contents inside. A submersible dry bag will have an opening that allows you to suck all the air out of the bag. A bag that cannot be submerged will have drawstrings or zippers to seal the contents inside. These types of closures are not entirely waterproof and will not keep the water out should your dry bag become submerged.
Even if you think your dry bag will never spend a minute under the water, you’d rather be safe than sorry. Your gear cost you good money, and you need to protect it well. Submersible bags are a great buy for both experienced kayakers and beginners.
Now that you’ve got a solid overview of why you need dry bags for kayaking, we’ll break down five of the best overboard bags on the market.
1) Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
First up is a 20-liter waterproof dry bag from the highly reputable Earth Pak. You can also opt for larger or smaller bags if this size is not the best fit for your kayak. The smaller pair of 10 and 20-liter bags come with a single strap while the bigger bags are effectively dry bag backpacks.
You can choose from 7 colorways, so pick whatever you’ll spot most easily. The roll-down design looks great but, more importantly, does a sterling job of keeping everything inside bone dry. This bag is extremely reasonably priced anyway, so the bonus waterproof phone case is a bonus.
2) SealLine Black Canyon Boundary Pack
A much more expensive dry bag is up next from the industry giant SealLine. The super-lightweight bag is great if you need to carry it around on your trip. Despite this, it doesn’t feel flimsy with the 300 denier body made from nylon double-coated with urethane and the bottom even beefier at 400D.
These materials are PVC-free so you can do your bit for the environment while protecting your belongings from harm. The bag itself weighs just 2 ½ pounds while it measures up at 12 ½ x 18 ½ x 30 inches, so it’s perfect for use on a kayak.
The SealLine is available in six sizes from a 35-liter bag right through to a 115-liter monster. Obviously, you’ll be looking at smaller models for your kayak, so you’ll get a much more reasonable price.
3) ODYSSEY Waterproof Dry Bag
ODYSSEY kit is often used by pro divers and competitive sailors, so you’re in safe hands with this marine-grade dry bag. The 500 denier PVC tarpaulin might not be the greenest choice of material, but it’s designed to take heavy punishment for years without breaking.
The shoulder strap is solidly built and also fully adjustable so you’ll get comfort as well as protection. A small dry bag is included, which is the perfect stash spot for your keys, wallet or phone. For exceptional value from a brand that dominates this space, this is a strong contender for the best kayak dry bag on the market.
4) Adventure Lion Dry Bag
If you’re a sucker for brightly colored bags, you’re spoiled for choice with this great bag from Adventure Lion. Choose from a 20-liter or 40-liter bag depending on how much stuff you’ve got that needs safeguarding.
The roll-top enclosure and overall build quality mean that even if you really put this bag through some grueling conditions, you’ll get years on end safe in the knowledge all your belongings will remain dry and free from harm. The fabric is ultra-thick 500 denier so you know even the strongest elements won’t penetrate.
For a cost-conscious dry bag that doesn’t compromise performance or waterproofing, the Adventure Lion bag is guaranteed for life, so you really can’t ask for anything more.
5) Leader Accessories Waterproof Dry Bag
Rounding out our look at the best kayak dry bags is an incredibly heavy-duty bag from Leader Accessories. Seams and straps are notorious weak points on all bags and Leader steps up to the plate with everything reinforced and built to stay the distance.
Multiple sizes and color schemes mean there’s something for everyone and you can tailor the bag to your kayak. If you’re still in any doubt, you’ll have 30 days to claim a full refund if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.
Hopefully by now you’ve found a suitable dry bag to make your life easier when you’re kayaking. Feel free to get in touch any time if you have any questions or feedback. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and through the contact from on the website.