15 BEST Dry Bags for Kayaking in 2024 [Waterproof, Airtight] 

An orange dry bag sitting on volcanic rocks, with a couple in a tandem kayak paddling on the sea in the background.

Last updated: May 26th, 2023

Short on time? Our pick for the best dry bag for kayaking and canoeing is the Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag. 

Keep your belongings dry on kayaking and paddling trips with one of the best dry bags for kayaking!

When you’re boating a small vessel like a canoe or kayak, the chances of capsizing or getting water inside the boat are a bit higher. 

For avid paddlers, this can be par for the course. Losing a pair of sunglasses in a lake or river isn’t the end of the world, but a couple of years ago, I dropped my phone into the ocean. Not fun.

So what is a kayaker to do? You can’t just leave your belongings onshore. The solution is a quality dry bag.

While there are multiple types of dry bags to choose from, they all use a flexible, waterproof outer material with sealed seams. 

Thanks to the waterproof material and airtight seal, many dry bags also float so that if you capsize, you’ll be able to grab your belongings quickly, and they won’t get lost beneath murky waters.

If you’re a canoeist or kayaker, a dry bag is a must-have piece of gear. But with so many choices, it might be hard to decide on the best dry bag for kayaking. 

Luckily, I’ve rounded up this list of excellent options, and I’ll go into more detail about my top pick at the end!

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

A yellow kayaking dry bag sitting on a sandy beach with colorful boats in soft focus in the background.

Here’s a Quick Look at Our Recommendations

#1 Chaos Ready Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

Best Floating Dry Bag

Product photo for the Chaos Ready Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack in grey.

Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 22 liters
Materials: 500d PVC Tarpaulin
Best for: People who love water sports and hiking.

Backpacks are an excellent choice for anyone with an on-the-go, adventurous lifestyle.

The Chaos Ready Waterproof Dry Bag makes an excellent dry pack for kayaking that you can easily toss over your shoulders when you’re out of your boat.

This waterproof backpack has 22 liters of interior space and padded straps for extra comfort. 

It’s made of waterproof PVC called tarpaulin and features high-frequency welded seams to ensure that the interior is watertight. 

The roll-top closure lets you seal the bag quickly and prevent any moisture from entering so the bag is fully submersible and floats.

So, if your kayak rolls over or the bag falls overboard for any reason, it will not only keep the contents dry but will also be easy to retrieve. 

The one downside to this bag is that the front pocket, while water-resistant, is not completely waterproof like the rest of the bag. It’s not a great place for valuables, but the roomy dry bag compartment is.

This dry bag is also very reasonably priced, and Chaos Ready offers a lifetime warranty so you can feel extra confident about your purchase.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Submersible and bouyant
  • Easy roll-top closure
  • Mesh waterbottle pockets on either side

CONS

  • The front pocket is not fully waterproof
  • Slightly less durable than more expensive competitors

#2 Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

Best Lightweight Dry Sack

Product photo for the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack in grey.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: 20 liters
Materials: PU-coated 70-denier nylon
Best for: Seasoned kayakers and canoeists looking for a dependable bag.

The Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack is the first Sea to Summit dry bag on this list, but it certainly won’t be the last! 

That’s because Sea to Summit makes some of the best waterproof dry bags for kayaking, and they’re a go-to brand when it comes to dry bags for kayakers.

This cylindrical-style Sea to Summit lightweight dry bag can hold a volume of 20 liters. It gets its water-repellence from a polyurethane-coated nylon body. It’s exceptionally lightweight compared to other bags of similar size.

Another exciting feature is the bright white lining. If you’ve ever had to dig through a dark, tube-shaped bag in search of a particular item, then you know how hard it can be to see what you’re looking for.

Finally, a D-ring allows you to attach this lightweight dry bag to your other gear or your kayak, keeping your essentials dry and close at hand.

But for those of you who are die-hard Osprey fans, you might also want to check out the new Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack with Window.

It has a similar build to the Sea to Summit lightweight dry bag and instead of an inner white lining, the Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack has a window to view the contents without opening the bag.

PROS

  • The white interior lining makes it easier to see the contents
  • D-Ring attachment
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof taped seams

CONS

  • It doesn’t necessarily float
  • No strap

#3 SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag

Best See-Through Dry Bag

Product photo for the SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag in translucent white.

Star rating: 4.5/5
Size: 10 liters
Materials: Transparent 12 oz polyurethane film
Best for: Forgetful kayakers and canoeists that have a hard time finding things.

Even though the Glacier Dry Bag is often recommended in other articles I’ve come across, it’s known to not seal properly.

Instead, I recommend SealLine Discovery View Dry Bags. These see-through lightweight dry sacks are perfect for finding your keys after a long day on the water. 

While other REI dry bags for kayaking have a white lining, the body of the Discovery View Dry Bag is entirely translucent. 

Another unique feature that this bag has is a waterproof valve for pressing the extra air out to compress your dry bag further once it’s sealed. 

And these kayaking dry bags are made of a polyurethane film, which is more environmentally friendly than PVC. 

Heavy-duty welded seams, rather than taped ones, make it ultra-waterproof as long as the compression valve is closed.

This SealLine bag has a cylindrical design with a structured bottom and a roll-top closure system. But if you’re packing more than the essentials and need more space, SealLine makes matching bags of different sizes.

PROS

  • Transparent
  • Includes a dry valve
  • Welded seams
  • PVC-free

CONS

  • Small
  • Slightly pricey

#4 Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Dry Duffel Bag

Biggest Waterproof Dry Duffle Bag

Product photo for the Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Dry Duffel Bag in grey.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: Available in 40, 60, and 80 liters
Materials: Waterproof PVC
Best for: Going on a multi-day kayaking trip.

The Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Dry Duffel Bag is a horizontal tube-like shape with sturdy handles so you can carry it like a duffle bag. 

The Gonex bag is roomy; even at its smallest, it’s bigger than many of its competitors.

A zipper along the bag makes it easier to see and find your belongings inside. There are also separate zippered pockets where you can store wet clothes and towels. 

Meanwhile, you can keep your dry clothes separate in the main compartment, making this one of the best dry bags for canoeing and kayaking on multi-day trips. These two compartments also just help keep your gear organized.

The Gonex has two handles, as well as a strap on the end, so there are multiple ways to hold it when you’re on the go. And it has a roll-top zipper design, which helps seal the bag shut to keep your gear dry.

Finally, this waterproof bag wipes clean and offers unmatched durability. It’s a little pricier than some smaller bags, but it’s worth the extra cost for its size and quality.

PROS

  • Large capacity
  • Multiple color options
  • Two compartments

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Heavy 

#5 NRS Bill’s Bag 110L Dry Bag

Best Multi-Day Kayaking Trip Dry Bag

Product photo for the NRS Bill's Bag 65-110L Dry Bag in blue.

Star rating: 4.9/5
Size: 110 liters (there is a 65 liter version if you prefer)
Materials: Polyester, Polyvinyl Chloride
Best for: Experienced kayakers who need to carry a lot of gear.

The NRS Bill’s Bag 110L Dry Bag has got you covered if you need to pack a whole lot of stuff. 

The price tag may seem a bit steep compared to some of the other dry bags on his list, but it’s essential to consider just how much room this bag has.

To help you picture 110 liters, here’s a comparison: when I was in my early 20s, I went on a three-week backpacking trip across Europe, and I bought a large-capacity backpacker’s backpack for the excursion. 

That backpack completely engulfed my 5’3″ frame–to the point where, if I bent down to pick something up while wearing it, I wouldn’t be able to stand up again. 

And that’s not even half the size of the NRS Bill’s Bag.

This genuinely massive dry bag has a cylindrical design and features padded shoulder straps so that you can wear it like a backpack. 

It also has a flat, reinforced, heavy-duty PVC bottom so it can stand up straight wherever you set it down.

After loading it from the top, you might have trouble finding things at the bag’s bottom. 

But four straps for compression mean that you can cinch the bag down, allowing you to pack more gear into less space in your boat. Perfect for a multi-day trip.

PROS

  • Large capacity
  • Compression straps
  • Padded shoulder straps

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to find gear

#6 Sea to Summit eVac Compression Dry Bag

Most Compact Dry Bag

Sea to Summit eVac Compression Dry Bag

Star rating: 4.9/5
Size: 5, 8, 13, 20, and 35 liters
Materials: Body: polyurethane (PU)-coated 70-denier recycled nylon; eVent Base: 500-denier CORDURA® nylon
Best for: Kayakers and canoeists who love organization.

The Sea to Summit eVac Compression Dry Bag comes in four different sizes, ranging from five liters up to 35 liters. 

This is a new generation of the eVent Sea to Summit dry bag. It’s got the same cylindrical shape and compression straps, but upgraded materials. 

The special thing about this series is that the base “vent” is air permeable, but waterproof. So you can compress it down to maximize space in the boat.

Collect the whole set, and use the smaller ones for essentials you’ll need frequent access to, such as first aid kits, dry socks, or your phone, and the larger ones for things like extra clothes.

Taped, double-stitched seams and a roll-top closure round out this bag’s list of waterproof features.

PROS

  • A range of size options
  • Compression straps
  • Affordable pricing
  • eVent base

CONS

  • No shoulder strap

#7 Earth Pak Dry Bag

Best Deck Bag Dry Pack

Product photo for the earth pak dry bag in yellow.

Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 10, 20, 30, 40, and 55 liters
Materials: 500d PVC
Best for: Busy and adventurous kayakers and canoeists.

If you want a set of differently-sized dry bags, but you’re also looking for a lower price point and welded seams, then you’re in luck!

The Earth Pak Dry Bag has a little bit of everything, making it the best deck bag or dry bag for kayaking! 

For the price of some individual dry bags, you can create a set on a budget with three of these.

Earth Pak also helps you stay organized with eight colors to color-code your gear.

Despite a low price, Earth Pak doesn’t skimp on quality. Heavy-duty materials resist abrasion and keep all moisture out. 

Fully welded seams and roll-top closure keep your stuff dry. Plus, each pack also comes with a shoulder strap and a bonus waterproof phone case.

If you love Earth Pak but want a smaller bag, Unigear Dry Bag offers 2 and 4-liter options.

Earth Pak and Unigear bags are made of the same waterproof materials with the same shape, come with a waterproof case, and are both budget-friendly. I will say, though, that Earth Pak gets extra style points for their dry sack.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Welded seams
  • Wide range of colors and sizes

CONS

  • It doesn’t go larger than 40 liters

#8 Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

Most Versatile Dry Bag

Product photo for the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag in gold color.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, and 65 liters
Materials: TPU-laminated 420-denier nylon
Best for: Kayaking in the rain.

The new Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag is another high-quality waterproof kayak bag from Sea to Summit. 

My favorite Big River is the small bag with an eight-liter volume. Unlike larger bags, the smaller size makes it easier to find things inside.

The 420-denier nylon outer features a thermoplastic urethane coating to make it super waterproof, and it uses taped seams for extra protection. 

Despite this, the Sea to Summit Big River Bag isn’t intended for prolonged submersion. However, it’s the perfect dry bag for taking a few essentials with you in a kayak or canoe.

Most of Sea to Summit’s dry bags use coated nylon rather than PVC, making them very lightweight. It also has attachment points, perfect for securing to your boat with a retired rock climbing carabineer.

PROS

  • Durable and quality materials
  • Has attachment points to secure it
  • Taped seams

CONS

  • Not intended for prolonged submersion

#9 Columbia 3-Piece PFG Dry Bag Set

Best Inexpensive Dry Bag for Kayaking

Product photo for the Columbia 3-Piece PFG Dry Bag Set in three shades of blue.

Star rating: 4.6/5
Size: 2, 4, and 8 liters
Materials: 68 D Polyester, Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Best for: Kayakers looking to stay organized and dry on a budget.

Finding a quality dry bag from a trusted brand can be challenging for less than $30, but not with the Columbia 3-Piece PFG Dry Bag Set

Columbia is a well-known and high-quality brand for outdoor apparel and gear. And with this set, you get not one but three dry bags at a very reasonable price.

The small, medium, and large bags are convenient for days on the water, but my favorite part is that they double as packing cubes when I go backpacking in questionable weather.

This set is also great for anyone who wants to try a multi-day kayaking or canoeing trip without investing in an expensive new waterproof backpack upfront. They won’t make your water-resistant backpack waterproof, but they provide water protection for the contents if your boat tips. 

These Columbia bags also have durable, heat-welded seams and roll-top closures to keep the water out. The largest bag has a flat bottom, so it will stand straight when you set it down.

The closures also buckle to form a handle for carrying, but the bags don’t have any shoulder straps beyond that.

PROS

  • It comes in a set of three
  • Welded seams
  • Inexpensive

CONS

  • No shoulder straps
  • Small capacity

#10 SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack

Best Small Dry Bags for Kayaking

Product photo for the SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack in blue.

Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 4 liters
Materials: PVC-free plastic
Best for: Keeping essentials dry and close at hand

Many dry sacks are cylindrical bags with or without shoulder straps. The SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack breaks that mold. 

Like many other dry bags, this small, reliable dry bag has a roll-top design to keep out moisture, but the similarities stop there. 

Rather than a handle or removable backpack straps, the SealLine Seal Pak clips around your waist with sturdy buckles, so your essentials will always be within reach.

The Seal Pak uses plastic free of PVC to construct its waterproof outer, which reduces the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. And the seams are welded, making them heavy-duty and waterproof bags.

This hip pack also has a small zippered front pocket for storing things you’d like to grab quickly. Do note that it’s not a waterproof zipper, and the small pocket has a drainage hole.

While this bag doesn’t perform well during prolonged submersion, it will float if it falls in the water, so there’s no chance of losing it at the bottom of a lake. 

One downside is that it has a noticeably high price tag for its size and capacity.

PROS

  • Doesn’t contain PVC
  • Attaches to the waist
  • Welded seams

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Small capacity

#11 YETI Panga 50 Dry Duffel

Best Dry Bag for Kayak Camping

Product photo for the YETI Panga 50 Dry Duffel in grey.

Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 50 liters
Materials: Nylon
Best for: Kayakers and canoeists on weekend camping getaways.

As the name suggests, the Yeti Panga 50 Dry Duffel uses a duffel design for this waterproof bag. 

Many dry bag designs use a roll-top closure system to seal out water. While this is effective for sealing bags, the contents of a large, cylindrical dry bag can be a bit mysterious. 

The Yeti Panga opens like your typical duffle, making it easier to see and search through the contents.

But how does it work? This dry bag features a hydrolock zipper to keep the moisture out of the interior.

The Yeti Panga uses thick, heavy-duty materials like fully-laminated, high-density nylon. Because of that, it’s by no means a lightweight dry bag, as the bag itself weighs five pounds. 

And since it doesn’t skimp when it comes to quality, this dry bag is quite pricey.

It’s worth it, though, if you need a 50-liter capacity dry bag with enough space for a sleeping bag and several changes of clothes.

With the waterproof zipper and rigid materials, the bag is fully submersible, making it the perfect bag for weekend getaways.

PROS

  • Fully submergible
  • Hydrolok zipper
  • Large capacity provides additional storage space for weekend warriors
  • Duffle bag style opening

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

#12 Piscifun Dry Bags

Best Dry Bags for Boating and Fishing

Product photo for the piscifun dry bag in green.

Star rating: 4.7/5
Size: 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 liters
Materials: 500d PVC
Best for: Wet and rainy boating trips.

The Piscifun Dry Bag is another heavier-duty 500d PVC. Such a high denier means that the weave is incredibly tight, making thick, abrasion-resistant fabric and durable bags. 

In addition to this heavy-duty outer material, the Piscifun Dry Bag features welded seams — crucial when you’re looking for the best dry bag to protect against leaks. 

If you go for the 35-liter capacity, this roomy dry sack is big enough to pack dry clothes for day trips or overnight trips without the material itself weighing you down. 

There is a handy mesh pocket on the front with drawstring webbing that won’t keep gear dry but makes lake maps and sunscreen easy to reach.

Now, you’ll notice two attachment points on the backside where you can transition this from a sling bag to a backpack. It’s perfect for hands-free loading but without a chest strap, not quite comfortable in place of your hiking pack.

Once you’re on the boat, strap it into your kayak or canoe using the D-rings and keep lake maps in the front viewing pocket for easy access.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Front pocket and drawstring webbing
  • Welded seams
  • Versatile attachment points

CONS

  • There’s no chest strap
  • The waterproof phone case that it comes with is unreliable

#13 MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag

Best Dry Bag for Paddle Boarding

Product photo for the MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag in aqua.

Star rating: 4.9/5
Size: 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 liters
Materials: Ripstop tarpaulin PVC
Best for: Paddlers who want to have it all at a reasonable price.

When I head out paddle boarding, I know I’ll end up in the water. . . by choice or by accident.

The Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is my security blanket.

Available in various sizes, this cylindrical dry bag has a flat base, so it’s unlikely to roll off the board. 

It also has a watertight roll-top closure system and the ripstop tarpaulin PVC is welded at the seams to keep water out.

Not all cylindrical dry bags have carrying straps, but the Marchproof Dry Bag again hits the mark. 

The smaller models feature a single shoulder strap. The 20 and 30-liter sizes feature double shoulder straps. And the 40-liter model has padded backpack straps for distributing the weight of heavy kayaking gear.

And if you’re someone who loves to personalize their outdoor gear by choosing bright colors, the Marchway bag is sure to please you. There are eighteen different colors to choose from in addition to the five different size options.

This dependable bag is one of the best dry bags for paddleboarding, kayaking, or canoeing. And it won’t break the bank! 

PROS

  • Many colors to choose from 
  • Inexpensive
  • Has shoulder and backpack straps
  • Floats when you trap air inside

CONS

  • No side pockets
  • PVC material is less environmentally friendly

#14 IDRYBAG Roll-Top Waterproof Backpack

Best Dry Bag Backpack

Product photo for the IDRYBAG Roll-Top Waterproof Backpack in yellow.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: 45 liters
Materials: 500d PVC
Best for: Water sports enthusiasts on-the-go

The Idrybag Roll-Top Waterproof Backpack has a traditional backpack design and uses heavy-duty and thick PVC materials with welded seams to keep your gear dry. 

Although it features the same roll-top closure system as many dry bags, the design similarities end there. 

First of all, it doesn’t have the typical cylindrical shape, and a top cap improves waterproofing.

If you’re a fan of mesh pockets, you’ll love the mesh front pocket and the two elastic side pockets to carry a water bottle or snacks.

Inside, there’s even a laptop sleeve, which shows how confident Idrybag is that this backpack waterproof dry bag will effectively seal out moisture. If you’re looking for a waterproof camera bag for kayaking, here it is.

While this dry sack has a high waterproof rating thanks to its thick outer materials, that also means it’s a bit heavy, weighing in at three pounds.

Even so, padded shoulder straps make this waterproof dry bag comfortable to wear and the best dry bag backpack for keeping kayaking gear dry.

PROS

  • Extremely reliable
  • Side and front mesh pockets
  • Top cap
  • Laptop sleeve

CONS

  • Heavy
  • PVC material is less environmentally-friendly.

#15 Watershed Futa Stowfloat Bag

Best Dry Bag for Whitewater Kayaking

Product photo for the watershed futa stowfloat bag in blue.

Star rating: 4.8/5
Size: 19 liters
Materials: Polyurethane Laminated Nylon
Best for: Serious kayakers and whitewater kayakers

The Watershed Futa Stowfloat Bag is like no other. This dry bag, float bag combo is one of the most durable dry bags on this list and my top pick for extreme adventurers and whitewater kayakers.

First off, it’s shaped like a triangle to fit snugly in your kayak and fill up space to block your vessel from taking on water.

The air-tight ZipDry seal and an inflation tube for you to adjust the buoyancy set the Futa Stowfloat apart.

Using a dual seal method, it seals like a Zip Lock bag and has a roll-top with three wrap-around buckles for extra security.

Fill it with clothes, camera equipment, and gear. Once it’s sealed, nestle the Futa Stowfloat behind your seat and blow into the tube to inflate it.

You’re not going to find a lot of written reviews on this bag. But trust me, Watershed makes top-rated dry bags for kayaking and boating. Seriously, though, this stuff is military and rescue crew quality.

And if you like the sound of the Futa Stofloat features, but want something a little more versatile, check out the Watershed Big Creek Dry Pack. It’s a super cute but practical dry bag backpack fit for all water sports.

PROS

  • Extremely reliable
  • Dry bag and float bag in one
  • Long inflation tube
  • Dual closure

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Designed specifically for kayaks, so it’s a strange shape for other activities

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Kayaking Dry Bag

There’s a fair amount of variation in dry bags, which can make it difficult to know where to begin when shopping. I’ve tried to demystify the process for you below.

What to Look for in a Dry Bag for Kayaking

A blue dry bag leans against a yellow kayak on a sandy shore, with a pair of arms visible behind, packing a second dry bag into the vessel.

Materials

There are a variety of materials used in the production of dry bags, and each produces a different effect. 

Some dry bags for kayaking, including many Sea to Summit bags, use a coated nylon or polyester material. 

This is the same material that most camping tents use, so the texture of these dry bags will be similar to a tent’s surface. This makes for a bag that’s very lightweight and water-resistant.

Some dry bags use PVC or reinforced vinyl, a flexible material that will feel much thicker and more plastic than coated nylon. 

PVC dry sacks tend to weigh more, but they provide excellent waterproofing. However, PVC is also less environmentally friendly, so that’s something to consider.

Interior capacity

Dry bags come in all sizes – from a tiny two-liter bag to a massive 110-liter bag. 

Small dry bags are great for everyday essentials. However, larger dry bags can keep clothes, a sleeping bag, and other kayaking gear dry for weekend paddling trips.

Straps

Not all dry bags have straps, and some cylindrical dry bags resemble rolled-up sleeping bags. 

While many strapless sacks are otherwise quality dry bags, the best dry bags have some kind of strap to make them easier to carry. 

Extra Features

Everybody loves to get more bang for their buck. Some dry bags are entirely bare-bones, and they have one purpose only: to keep their contents dry.

However, other dry bags may have extra features, such as mesh side pockets, waterproof zipper closures, a white interior, or a clear window. Special features can set a dry bag apart from the rest.

Types of Dry Bags for Kayaking

An orange kayak banked on the side of a lake with a blue dry bag balanced on top of it, an overcast sky and wintry trees in the background.

Cylindrical Dry Sacks

Cylindrical dry bags are the most common type of dry bag available. This will be a tube-like bag, often with a flat bottom. Some cylindrical dry sacks have straps, while others do not. 

Cylinder-shaped dry bags have the advantage of being able to compress down, but they can also make finding your gear inside challenging.

Dry Backpacks

Some dry backpacks are simply traditional backpacks that use waterproof materials, such as PVC, and other features, such as a roll-top closure, to seal out moisture. 

Other dry backpacks are cylindrical dry sacks with backpack straps, making them easier to carry on hikes or in different settings.

Dry Duffle Bags

Many dry duffle bags have a cylindrical shape with duffle bag handles and a waterproof zippered closure along the side instead of a roll-top. 

Dry duffle bags tend to hold more gear and are a good option for weekend camping trips.

FAQs About Kayaking Dry Bags

If you’re still scratching your head, here are answers to your burning questions to help you determine what are the best dry bags for kayaking. 

An orange kayak sitting next to an orange dry bag on a sandy beach, with turquoise ocean water in the background.

What size dry bag is best for kayaking?

Kayaks are small vessels. When it comes to kayak bags, you probably want to look for something more compact. 

In general, the best dry bags for kayaking will stay under 30 liters, so they don’t take up too much room in your kayak.

If you’re only going out for a short excursion, a five-liter dry bag should be enough to fit your essential belongings. 

How do you keep things dry while kayaking?

Many kayaks have waterproof compartments, but these alone are not enough to fully ensure that your valuables stay dry. 

I prefer dry packs for people who love to kayak and canoe because they use waterproof materials, welded seams, and roll top closure systems to seal water out.

How do you pack a dry bag for kayaking?

Many dry bags have a cylindrical or tube shape, making it difficult to find things inside of them. 

Pack the things you won’t need imminently at the bottom, such as towels and a change of clothes. 

Pack smaller items, such as cameras, snacks, and extra clothing layers, towards the top of the bag, as you may reach for them earlier in your trip.

How do I choose a dry bag?

When purchasing a dry bag, ask yourself what kind of kayaker you are. 

Are you a hardcore paddler expecting to go on multi-day excursions? Or are you more of a casual kayaker who will only be going out for an hour or two at a time? 

Answering these questions will help determine which size and shape of kayaking dry bag will be best for you.

How many dry bags do I need for kayak camping?

How many waterproof bags you need depends on how much you’re carrying and your packing style. 

If you like your camping gear categorized and organized, then you might want to buy a set of several dry bags in varying sizes. 

On the other hand, if you aren’t a fan of wrangling multiple different bags, then a single, large-capacity dry bag may be right for you.

Do all dry bags float?

Most dry bags float so that you don’t have to worry about losing anything if you happen to capsize. 

That said, if your dry bag doesn’t expressly state that it floats or if it has an air valve (for compression), then you shouldn’t expect it to float when submerged in water.

Are dry bags good for kayaking?

Dry bags are great for kayaking! They keep your belongings dry and organized.

What’s the difference between a dry bag and a waterproof bag?

The difference is subtle, but dry bags are mainly to protect the contents if the bag is splashed or falls into the water momentarily.

Meanwhile, a waterproof bag or a dry bag that’s waterproof has an air-tight seal preventing any moisture from entering, even if submerged.

Do you leave air in a dry bag?

Leaving air in a dry bag makes it more buoyant. But a balloon-shaped bag will be harder to fit in your kayak and possibly easier to damage if you’re struggling to stuff it behind your seat.

How long do dry bags last?

It depends on how much wear and tear you put on your dry bag. If you’re using it every day in the blaring sun, the materials will break down faster.

What makes dry bags waterproof is either the base materials (PVC) or a waterproof coating over something like nylon.

Because the sun plays a part in breaking down the waterproofing of a dry bag, look for durable materials with UV protection and high-quality buckles for the longest-lasting waterproof dry bag.

Are dry sacks worth it?

If you’re like me and can’t even keep your socks dry on your walk to work without waterproof shoes, then yes! A waterproof dry bag is my best friend when I want to keep my phone, snacks, and gear dry while on the water.

Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Dry Bag for Kayakers

An orange kayak with an orange dry bag on a sandy tropical beach, with a short-haired woman holding a paddle and facing away, turquoise ocean water and clifin the background.

What should you look for in the best dry sack for kayaking? A great kayaking dry bag is durable, waterproof, roomy, affordable, and high quality. Having a strap is a bonus. 

Based on these requirements, my pick for the best dry bag for kayaking and canoeing is the Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag

It’s the best-rated dry bag for kayaking because it has it all. It has welded seams and uses a thick PVC material. 

The Marchway bag is also available in various sizes and colors, so there’s a lot to choose from.

The adjustable shoulder strap and backpack straps make it easy to carry and leave your hands free for larger kayaking gear, such as paddles. 

Another advantage of the Marchway bag is that it floats, so no more losing lost belongings if the bag goes overboard. 

Not every dry bag is guaranteed to float, so this is a definite plus for the Marchway. 

On top of all that, the Marchway bag is also very reasonably priced. When a product is high-quality, offers customizable variations, and fits a tight budget, it stands out from the pack as the best. 

Whether you go with the Marchway Dry Bag or any of the other excellent waterproof bags on this list, your kayaking gear is sure to stay dry and secure on your next excursion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elina Ansary

Elina Ansary

Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.


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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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