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The 8 Best Dry Bags For Any Adventure

Best Dry Bags 0 Hero

With roughly 71% of the Earth’s surface covered in water and 40% of the Earth’s living population within 62 miles of an ocean, encountering water at some point during our adventures is practically a given. And that increases exponentially when you take into account the possibility of rain and/or snow. As such, it’s a pretty good idea to stock up on gear that can survive exposure to water.

Of course, if you’re an ocean-going explorer or you live in a place that suffers frequent spells of inclement weather, you might want to invest in stuff that’s entirely waterproof — like dry bags. For reference, dry bags are carriers that can survive being completely submerged underwater without their contents getting even remotely damp. And while there are plenty of backpacks, duffels, and more that can stave off a bit of moisture, there is a much more select, elite few that can truly weather a complete dunk. We’ve rounded up the best of all types on the following list of the best dry bags.

Best Dry Bags Breakdown

Waterproof Vs. Water-Resistant

Knowing the difference between waterproof and water-resistant can save you a lot of hassle and headaches in the long run. If you see “water-resistant” on the label, this means the product can resist moisture on some level, be it through water-repellant treatment or inherently water-resistant fabrics like polyester or nylon, which are thick enough to resist moisture.

In terms of “waterproof” items, they will feature both materials and construction which make them fully impenetrable to moisture. This includes waterproof zippers, gaskets or seals, and taped seams. Some brands will say their product is waterproof even if it’s not, so look for reputable brand names or IP ratings (the higher the last number, the more waterproof it is).

What to Look for in a Dry Bag

Materials: As we said, nylon and polyester are inherently water-resistant materials, so look for those. Likewise, if you’re going to be heading outdoors, you’ll want a fabric that’s ripstop or abrasion-resistant.

Closures: While some waterproof bags will benefit from a good waterproof YKK Aquaguard zipper, a lot of dry bags will sport a roll-top closure, which is essentially an extension of the shell construction, getting its waterproofness by rolling it up and buckling it.

Taped Seams: If your dry bag’s features include taped seams, this means that the natural seams made from stitching/sewing have been sealed off by fusing thermoplastic tape to them with heat.

Capacity: Depending on the activity, you’ll want to tailor your bag’s capacity appropriately. If you just want a hiking companion, you can look for a smaller solution. On the other hand, a bigger dry bag will be necessary for overnight stays, rigorous adventures, or travels with larger groups.

Submersion: Not every waterproof bag will boast that it’s submersible. However, if a brand claims this in the product’s description, know that it’s a good indicator of how well it can survive underwater.

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag
  • Lots of size options
  • Affordable
  • Very lightweight
  • Reflective interior for better visibility
  • D-ring attachment points are nice
  • Buckle hardware could be better quality

Best for Day Hikes: If you’re thinking about getting a dry bag but aren’t sure if you want to make the leap to one of the bigger options, check out Sea to Summit’s impressive range, which starts at 1.5L and goes all the way up to 35L. The smallest bag weighs just over 1oz and even the largest will only tack on an extra 4oz. Available in a handful of colorways, the Lightweight Dry Bag is affordable, rugged with its 70D nylon shell, and has a reflective interior for easier browsing. If you’re planning on taking this into the woods, its D-ring attachment point is key for latching it onto your backpack or belt loop. Not to mention, it was recently updated with an oval base for better stability.

Capacity: 1.5 to 35L
Material: Recycled 70D nylon fabric
Style: Tote

Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack

  • Tough construction; puncture-resistant
  • Easy to store
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproofing diminished if bag is too full

Best Budget Dry Bag: Perfect for quick jaunts to the beach and/or watering hole of your choice, Osprey’s quick-and-easy Ultralight Dry Sack can keep up to 20L of gear bone-dry, even after a dunk underwater — that is, unless the bag is too full. It’ll say secure with a handy roll-top closure, dries quickly courtesy of its puncture-resistant siliconized nylon exterior, and can pack down for easy storage when not in use.

Capacity: 20L
Material: Siliconized 40D Ripstop Nylon
Style: Tote

Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Pocket

  • Attaches to your belt
  • Weighs just 1oz
  • Snag-proof zipper
  • Can be difficult to reach inside

Best Waterproof Pouch: If you’ve only got a couple of pieces of EDC gear that you want to keep dry during your aquatic expeditions, then you might be interested in the Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Pocket. About the same size, shape, and format as a pencil pouch, this little wallet-like pocket has a sturdy waterproof zipper, dual attachment points, and a handy viewing window so you can make sure everything inside is still in order.

Capacity: ~1L
Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Style: Pouch

Ortlieb Dry-Bag PS 490

Ortlieb DryBag PS 490
  • Lots of size options
  • D-rings for attaching
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean
  • Not as easy to carry as others

Best for Urban Commuting: When it comes to the daily commute, a little rain isn’t going to cancel our work day – although it can dampen quite a few pieces of clothing or gear in the process. Ortlieb actually offers a wide variety of dry and water-resistant bags of multiple formats. But it’s hard to beat the versatile options in their Dry-Bag PS 490 collection. These simple roll-top tote grab bags range from as little as 13L to as big as 109L. But they’re all completely waterproof when properly sealed, have a handy carry handle, and are very easy to clean between uses.

Capacity: 13 to 109L
Material: “Robust Coated Fabric”
Style: Tote

Matador Flatpak Dry Bag

Matador Flatpak
  • Totally waterproof
  • Hypalon side handle really sturdy
  • Carabiner loop up top for attaching
  • Flat bottom lets it stand on its own when packed
  • Very tough construction
  • 8L option is affordable but 2L option isn’t relatively priced

Best Overall Dry Bag: If you’re interested in a quick-and-easy dry bag solution, but you’re limited on space, you can’t go wrong with Matador’s Flatpak Dry Bag. This simple tote expands to hold up to 8L worth of gear (though there’s a 2L version available as well), has a completely waterproof exterior with welded construction and an IPX7 rating, and sports a flat bottom so it can stand up on its own when packed. Aside from the Hypalon handle on the side, which allows you to carry this like a quasi-duffel, it’s also complete with its own carabiner loop on top for simple, modular attachment to your backpack.

Capacity: 2L, 8L
Material: Waterproof 70D ripstop nylon
Style: Tote

Filson Medium Dry Duffel Bag

Filson Medium Dry Duffle Bag
  • Incredibly durable
  • Wide mouth opening
  • Dual-lock fastener on top
  • Lots of space inside
  • Could use some external pockets
  • Some may prefer a zipper closure

Best Duffel Bag: Whether you’re going on a weekend-long camping trip or flying to a locale much wetter than the one you’re used to, Filson’s Medium Dry Duffel Bag is a great way to ensure everything you’ve packed stays dry. The highlight is the TPU-coated 840D nylon shell, with water-tight construction and a dual-lock top closure fastener. Not to mention, the high-density plastic hardware will help ensure the safety of your gear – up to 65L so you don’t have to cut any corners when packing.

Capacity: 65L
Material: TPU-coated 840D Nylon
Style: Duffel

YETI Panga Backpack

  • Well-organized
  • Lightweight
  • Totally waterproof and puncture-resistant
  • Modular
  • Attractive
  • Pricey
  • Needs a water bottle pocket on the side

Best Backpack: As previously noted, YETI — the brand responsible for making some of our favorite rugged adventure coolers — has their own lineup of dry bags. Unsurprisingly, they’re absolutely stellar, including the Panga Backpack. This completely airtight bag is also insanely durable, thanks to its Thickskin shell and ultra-tough waterproof zipper. And while its spacious main compartment is excellent, it also features an internal mesh pocket for more organization, as well as external webbing for modular attachments.

Capacity: 28L
Material: TPU-Laminated High-Density Nylon
Style: Backpack

SubTech Pro Drybag

  • Can be worn as backpack or carried as a duffel
  • Super heavy-duty construction
  • Floats even when full
  • Waterproof to 164ft
  • Pricey

Best for Extreme Excursions: Though the brand name isn’t what we’d call household, SubTech’s Pro Drybag is still amongst the best available. In fact, on top of its waterproof construction with an IP68 rating, the backpack also boasts a 55L capacity, is available with an inflatable shockproof system, easily and quickly transforms from a duffel bag into a backpack, and it looks pretty great on top of it all. It perhaps doesn’t seem groundbreaking when put up against the rest of this list, but it does everything very very well.

Capacity: 55L
Material: Hypalon
Style: Duffel/backpack

The Best Waterproof Backpacks

Best Waterproof Backpacks 00 Hero
Photo: YETI Panga

If you’re going to be venturing into unpredictable situations, you may need one of these waterproof backpacks from our recent guide to the best around.