To find the best dry bags for kayaking and other water-related activities, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your recreational setup. We recommend that you favor dry bags that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that offer superior water-resistance, just in case you get caught in the rain or accidentally fall in a large body of water. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the dry bag you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your recreation essentials, such as clothing and towels, will fit inside. When buying a dry bag, always look for a durable build, a light form factor, and plenty of room for all of your most-used items.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag is the best dry bag on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags on the market.

Top 10 Best Dry Bags

 #1  Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Great choice for water-based recreation, thanks to a highly-water resistant design, a heavy-duty TPU-coated nylon exterior, and multiple attachment points for third-party accessories.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty TPU-coated nylon
  • D-ring attachment points and lash loops
  • Available in multiple colors
Cons
  • Cannot withstand full submersion
  • 13L max capacity

This Sea to Summit dry bag is a great option for most consumers, thanks to a heavy-duty TPU-coated nylon exterior that is highly water-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and tear-resistant. We appreciated the D-ring attachment points and lash loops, for attaching third-party accessories, and for attaching the bag itself to larger pieces of luggage. We also liked that this bag is available in a wide variety of colors, suiting a multitude of aesthetic preferences.

This is not the best dry bag for submersion, however, as this model is not intended to be fully submerged in water. Additionally, the maximum capacity here is on the lower side, at just 13 liters, which should be taken into consideration. Storage capacity should also be considered when purchasing the best travel backpack so you can be sure all of your travel essentials will fit inside.

 #2  Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best dry bag for swimming, thanks to a waterproof and submersible design, with an exterior that is also tear, rip, and puncture-proof, in addition to shipping with a waterproof phone case.

Pros
  • Tear, rip, and puncture-proof
  • Ships with high-quality phone case
  • Available in multiple colors
Cons
  • 10L max capacity
  • Top handle can be difficult to accommodate heavy loads

The Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag is a great choice for consumers who like to swim and spend time around large bodies of water, as this model is fully waterproof and submersible. The tough exterior is also tear-resistant, rip-resistant, and puncture-proof, and ships with an additional waterproof phone case that can easily accommodate most modern smartphones. We liked the adjustable shoulder strap here, for increased comfort during transport.

Though the shoulder strap is designed to match nicely with most body types, the top handle can struggle a bit when dealing with heavier-than-average loads. Also, the maximum capacity here is just 10 liters, which is certainly on the lower end. Storage capacity is an important feature to look for when buying the best bag no matter where you’re going, from home to work, on an international trip, or even just out shopping for the day.

 #3  NRS Bill’s Dry Bag

Award: BEST CAPACITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best dry bag backpack, with an ultra-generous maximum capacity of 65 liters, in addition to offering a tough and durable PVC and polyester exterior.

Pros
  • Tough PVC and polyester exterior
  • 2 top straps for compression and protection
  • Adjustable and padded backpack design
Cons
  • Extremely expensive
  • Somewhat flimsy suspension system

The NRS Bill’s Dry Bag ships with a comfortable and highly adjustable backpack design, complete with removable padding to suit a variety of different body types and to free up space for additional storage. This dry bag also boasts a best-in-class maximum capacity, 65 liters, which is more than enough for oars, changes of clothing, gadgets, and anything else you can think of. We loved the tough PVC and polyester exterior, which offers a good bit of tear-resistance in addition to fantastic water-resistance.

Though we loved the two top straps, offering superior compression and increased protection for stored items, the suspension system here is somewhat flimsy, meaning it could add a significant amount of pressure to the shoulders while carrying a heavy load. Additionally, this is an extremely expensive dry bag, so take that into consideration. For your trips to the beach, the best beach bag is a much less costly investment.

 #4  IDryBag Hiking Dry Bag

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality dry bag with a robust feature set that includes an ergonomically designed carry strap and back panel, to reduce risk of injury, and a heavy-duty PVC construction.

Pros
  • Ergonomic design for comfort
  • Available in sizes up to 40L
  • Constructed from durable 500D PVC
Cons
  • Only a few colors available
  • Somewhat heavy, though can be folded down when not in use

This IDryBag Hiking Dry Bag is of exceptional quality and boasts some fantastic features, such as a tough and tear-resistant 500D PVC exterior, which is highly water-resistant to boot. We appreciated the ergonomic design here, featuring an adjustable carry strap and a padded back panel to help reduce the risk of injury. This bag is also available in multiple sizes, all the way up to a maximum capacity of 40 liters.

Though there are several sizes available, there are only a few colors available, which may not suit all consumers. Also, this is a somewhat heavy dry bag, clocking in at nearly three pounds, though it can easily be folded down when not in use. Consider a much lighter option when shopping for the best commuter bag, so as not to get weighed down as you commute to and from work, school, etc.

 #5  Skog Å Kust DrySåk Dry Bag

Award: BEST FOR NIGHT USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Features reflective trim surrounding the pocket zipper and throughout the exterior, allowing for additional security during night use, with a quick-access front pocket for smartphones and identification cards.

Pros
  • Quick-access front compartment
  • Available in several unique design aesthetics
  • Adjustable and removable shoulder strap
Cons
  • Sizes max out at 20L
  • No backpack straps included

The Skog Å Kust DrySåk Dry Bag is a great option for consumers who find themselves around large bodies of water in dimly lit areas, or at night, as these bags boast reflective trim running throughout for visibility. We appreciated the quick-access front pocket, for the storage of smaller items like ID cards and smartphones, and the adjustable and fully removable shoulder strap. We also liked that these bags were available in several unique design aesthetics.

Though we liked the sturdy shoulder strap, these bags do not come with integrated backpack straps, so you won’t be able to wear it backpack-style. Additionally, these bags are available in a multitude of size options, but they max out at just 20 liters. That capacity is also on the lower side for any of the best hiking bags, so take that into consideration the next time you’re planning a hiking trip

 #6  Marchway Waterproof Floating Dry Bag

Award: BEST COLOR OPTIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Available in nearly 20 color options, each bright and easy-to-spot, with a design that is tear, rip, and puncture-proof, and featuring a highly adjustable and fully removable shoulder strap.

Pros
  • Tear, rip and puncture-proof
  • Sizes up to 40L
  • Adjustable and removable shoulder strap
Cons
  • Backpack straps not included with smaller models
  • Slight learning curve to get a watertight seal

The Marchway Waterproof Floating Dry Bag can be purchased in nearly 20 different colors and aesthetic design options, each offering a brightly colored design that is easy to spot in running water, such as rapids. We appreciated the durable design here, as these bags are tear-resistant, rip-resistant, and puncture-proof. We also liked the adjustable and removable shoulder strap and the fact that these bags are available in a multitude of sizes, up to 40 liters of capacity.

Though we did like the integrated and removable shoulder strap, the smaller models here do not ship with backpack straps, which could be something of a nuisance. Also, the compression system does necessitate something of a slight learning curve in order to ensure you have achieved a completely airtight seal. An airtight seal is also important in any of the best wet dry bags for parents, in order to keep all the liquids and smells confined.

 #7  Earth Pak Roll Top Dry Bag

Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: Incredibly compact and lightweight design that can be rolled up when not in use, with availability in multiple colors and shipping with a large waterproof smartphone case.

Pros
  • Available in many colors
  • Ships with waterproof phone case
  • Sizes up to 55L
Cons
  • Cannot be carried like backpack
  • Must be hand washed

This Earth Pak dry bag is a great choice for those looking to maximize personal storage space, as this model is lightweight and folds up to when not in use, so it can easily be packed away into luggage or stuffed into a closet. We appreciated the large range of size options available here, up to 55 liters, and the fact that it is available in multiple colors, to suit most aesthetic preferences. We also liked that this bag ships with a durable and fully waterproof smartphone case.

Though this bag does come with a high-grade and adjustable shoulder strap, the design here does not allow this bag to be worn like a backpack, which is a feature some models do offer. Additionally, this bag is made from rubberized PVC, so can only be spot washed by hand. As for students, be sure to check for a machine washable bag when shopping for the best college backpacks.

 #8  Outdoor Products Ultimate Dry Bag

Award: BEST MULTI-SET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ships in a useful multipack featuring three dry bags in a variety of sizes, with each bag boasting a watertight roll-top closure and Polyurethane-coated double-stitched seams for additional protection from liquids.

Pros
  • Polyurethane-coated double-stitched seams
  • Watertight roll-top closure
  • Ergonomically designed top handle
Cons
  • Multiple sizes, but max out at 8L
  • No shoulder strap or backpack strap

These Outdoor Products Ultimate dry bags ship in a handy pack of three, suiting the needs of a wide variety of consumers, including multi-person families. We appreciated that these bags are exceptionally waterproof, thanks to Polyurethane-coated double-stitched seams and a watertight roll-top closure. Each of these bags is also extremely light, making for a relatively easy carry when filled to the brim.

Though we liked that this set arrives in multiple sizes, they max out at 8 liters, which is certainly on the lower side. Also, these bags do not ship with a shoulder strap or a backstrap strap, so you’ll have to carry them via a top handle. Professionals will love that all the best backpacks for work have a shoulder strap as well as a top handle.

 #9  Montem Premium Dry Bag

Award: BEST VALUE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-friendly dry bag with some excellent features, such as multiple brightly colored design options, for finding in the water, and fully watertight and welded seams, for added protection.

Pros
  • Bright and easy-to-spot colors
  • Watertight and welded seams
  • Adjustable and comfortable shoulder strap
Cons
  • Multiple sizes, but max out at 30L
  • Not too much padding

The Montem Premium Dry Bag comes in at a value-conscious price while offering high-end features in line with more expensive competitors, including available in a multitude of bright and easy-to-spot colors, which can come in particularly handy while out on the trail or on a fast-moving river. We appreciated the adjustable and comfortable shoulder strap and the watertight and welded seams, the latter providing for superior water-resistance.

Though this dry bag is available in multiple sizes, to suit the needs of different consumers, these sizes do max out at 30 liters, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. Additionally, there isn’t too much padding on the interior of this bag, so if you are packing in fragile items, we recommend also including your own padding. Interior padding is also important in the best kids’ backpacks to protect laptops, tablets, and other necessary gadgets.

 #10  Unigear Floating Dry Bag

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly dry bag with a serious feature set that includes availability in multiple size options, up to 40 liters, and a variety of bright colors, with an exterior made from stiff and waterproof 500D PVC.

Pros
  • Available in 10 bright colors
  • Made of stiff 500D PVC material
  • Multitude of size options up to 40L
Cons
  • Smaller models cannot be worn as backpack
  • Can wet stored items when submerged

This Unigear Dry Bag is available at a budget-conscious price while offering perks in line with more expensive competitors, such as availability in a multitude of sizes, up to 40 liters, and bright colors, ten in total. We appreciated that the exterior was built from ultra-stiff and waterproof 500D PVC and that it boasts a series of sturdy D-rings for attaching accessories and third-party items.

Though the multiple sizes available here are certainly handy and useful for a variety of purposes, the lower sizes, 20L and below, do not ship with a backpack strap, so you’ll have to carry it via the top handle or on the shoulder. Also, though the exterior is waterproof, stored items can get damp or even wet when submerged in water for a lengthy period of time. Even the best crossbody bags should have some measure of water-resistance, just in case you’re caught in the rain during your errands.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide array of well-regarded dry bags, ensuring that they performed their job admirably. In other words, we tended to prefer dry bags that truly stayed dry while encountering rain or large bodies of water. We liked bags that could keep stored items free from moisture even while submerged in liquid, making these bags a great choice for kayakers and like.

We liked bags made with durable and sturdy materials, such as nylon and PVC fabric, that increased the water-resistance rating, with some bags approaching the status of being fully waterproof. We also liked models that allowed for an easy airtight seal and high-grade compression, adding even more protection from the elements and from liquids.

We also liked dry bags that featured quick-access front compartments, for identification cards and smartphones. On the topic of smartphones, some modern dry bags ship with waterproof smartphone covers, which is always a nice feature to have. Finally, we liked bags available in multiple sizes and color options, with bonus points awarded to models available in a larger size.

Best Dry Bags Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Water-resistance
    Dry bags should, first and foremost, offer a superior amount of water-resistance and waterproofing capabilities. This is typically done via water-resistant materials, such as nylon and PVC while offering fully airtight and waterproof seals. The end result, if you find yourself a high-quality dry bag, is that your stored items will remain dry even if the bag itself has been fully submerged in water.
  2. Durability
    In addition to being highly water-resistant, modern dry bags are also generally known to be extremely durable and sturdy, with many offering tear-resistance, puncture-resistance, and rip-resistance. In other words, these bags should not only be able to survive an accidental drop in a river, but also any and all encounters with tree branches and other potentially piercing objects.
  3. Size and Color
    Modern dry bags are typically available in a wide range of sizes and colors, suiting different needs and aesthetic preferences. This can go above and beyond aesthetics, however, as brightly colored bags can be easier to spot in the water and at night. Size is also extremely important, especially if you want to protect larger-than-average items, such as laptop computers or cameras.

Dry Bags FAQs

What is the best dry bag?

The best dry bag is one that will successfully protect your stored items from liquids, so look for a bag with superior water-resistance, with extra attention paid to models that can be fully submerged in water.

Are dry bags really waterproof?

This depends on the model, as some dry bags just offer good water-resistance, without a fully waterproof design. Some bags are, however, absolutely waterproof, with airtight seals and high-grade compression strap systems, allowing them to be fully submerged in water. The best dry bags for swimming all share this feature, as they are made from high-grade materials for water protection and water sports, like ripstop nylon.

How long do dry bags last?

Experts agree that most dry bags, or dry sacks, should last you around two years before necessitating a replacement, though results will vary depending on the build quality and durable materials of the bag itself. Be sure to check the bags for any tears or imperfections after using it for a year or so.

Why use a dry bag?

Dry bags, or waterproof backpacks, are a great option for avid swimmers, kayakers, or river rafters, as they offer superior water-resistance, providing safety and security to stored items, such as identification cards, smartphones, and expensive cameras.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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