Nature, fresh air, and exercise, are all some of the things I love the most about kayaking. When I’m on the water, I’m the happiest. In fact, kayaking is one of my favorite ways to forget about the stresses of daily life.
The only thing I do worry about when I’m on the water is my gear. I try to pack light, but I still have a lot of things on me most of the time, including my phone. I don’t know what I would do without a great dry bag.
I toss my sunglasses, phone, earbuds, and some cash in my drybag and I’m ready to go. The only problem is, choosing the right one. Here are some of my favorites that I think you might find handy too.
Sea to Summit
- Material: Nylon
- Item Weight: 145 Grams
Earth Pak Waterproof
- Material: Polyvinyl Chloride
- Item Weight: 385 gram
- Material: Nylon
- Item Weight: 861 gram
Slender yet Spacious
Sea to Summit Ultra
- Material: nylon
- Item Weight: 120 gram
SealLine Seal Pak
- Material: plastic
- Item Weight: 200 gram
- Material: polyurethane
- Item Weight: 725 gram
Aqua Quest Mariner
- Material: pvc
- Item Weight: 583 gram
Great Budget Pick
- Material: Plastic, Tarpaulin
- Item Weight: 250 gram
NRS Bill’s Bag
- Material: pvc
- Item Weight: 1723 gram
Plenty of Pockets
Chaos Ready Waterproof
- Material: 500 PVC TARPAULIN
- Item Weight: 621 gram
Sleek & Stylish
Gonex Extra Large
- Material: pvc
- Item Weight: 1587 gram
Unigear Dry Bag
- Material: 500D PVC
- Item Weight: 621 gram
Best Dry Bags for Kayaking
A lightweight dry bag is a must-have accessory to take on your kayaking trips. The best dry bags give you peace of mind that all your valuables are safe on the water.
Here is a list of all my top picks that I’ve tried and found worth reviewing for your ease and convenience.
1. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
Simplicity and functionality are the two features I look for first and foremost in a dry bag. The Sea To Summit Big River Dry Bag checks all those boxes for me. Since it’s waterproof, I never worry about my closed or electronic getting wet, and it has plenty of room for other things too.
Because it’s made of abrasion-resistant nylon, there’s no chance of ripping in on thorns or branches that stick out from trees. It doesn’t even get scuff marks if you drag it on the ground or drop it. I also think the shape is excellent because it doesn’t roll around when I toss it in my kayak or the back of my truck.
I was relieved to find out that the seams are double-stitched and also sealed with tape. The dry bag can also take a beating, hold up to being tossed around, and even dragged.
As a mom of boys, I’ve gone through my fair share of dry bags because they are just rough on them, but this bag holds up to all their shenanigans.
It’s small enough to put in the cockpit of my sit-inside kayak but I usually just bring it with me on my sit-on kayak and just slip it up under the bungee cords.
If you live in a family of bag-stealers like me, you will want to get everyone a different color. I love being able to tell mine apart from the ones that belong to my family, so we aren’t ever arguing over who has what bag. The yellow is my personal favorite but kind of like them all honestly.
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
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2. Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
I get really excited when I talk about the Earth Pak dry bag because it comes in five different sizes, 10L, 20L, 30L, 40L, or 55L. I think they are all very spacious and seem to be able to hold any of my large and small items.
Earth Pak Waterproof dry bag also comes with a waterproof cellphone bag, and I know I’m not the only one who keeps their phone on them at all times. (How else am I going to take all those cool nature pics?)
It’s big enough to fit most cell phones, and it can be submerged 6.5 feet safely. Because let’s face it, we have all had those too-close-to-call moments and some of us have probably dropped our phones in a lake or two.
There’s a clean window on the front of the dry bag that comes in handy if you want to see inside it or if you need to use your phone without taking it out.
I also find the actual bag spacious and handy to carry. It’s lightweight, so it’s not an inconvenience if I am already carrying my kayak and other gear down a trail or boat ramp. I can also choose to carry it by the handle on top or the detachable shoulder strap.
Both the handle and strap are padded, so I’ve never had an issue with blisters or even redness from the strap rubbing against my skin if I’m in a bikini or a tank top. If I need to take off the adjustable strap, I can just unclip it from the plastic ring beside the handle.
I’m a big fan of bright colors because it makes it easier to find my dry bags for kayaking. (Especially if I drop it in the water.) Knowing that the dry bag is made of 500 D PVC holds up nice and the fact that it has a 5-year warranty, also makes me feel better about keeping my valuable stuff inside it.
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
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3. Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack
Whenever I go kayaking, I like to take a dry bag that I won’t have to worry about losing or ruining. I expect a good dry bag to handle being tossed around and banged up a little bit. The Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack seemed to be able to handle all that.
For me, the rectangle shape is part of the reason. It’s not something I noticed when I bought it. Honestly, it looked like any other bag I had owned. However, when I stacked it on other dry bags, I noticed it didn’t roll around as much as the rest.
The corners catch when it starts to roll so it won’t move any further. That weird shape also makes it easier to fit in the storage areas of my kayak, and the bungee cords are pretty easy to stretch around it.
It has nylon and rip-stop technology that prevents the dry bag from shredding or getting torn up. I actually just keep this in my kayak all the time. I put my rain stuff in it and that way I know it’s always in there when I need it fast.
I don’t mind tossing my phone and some cash in it either because I know it’s a reliable dry bag and if it does accidentally fall in the water, my stuff won’t get wet.
I can get the roll-top closure to close easily, and it has some kind of flexible material in the strap that helps it roll tight. It also stays fastened even when it does get wet and doesn’t unroll while I’m carrying it around.
Another thing I found handy with his bag is that on the bottom there is a little nylon loop that I use with a carabiner to strap the bag to my kayak. This has helped me on more than one occasion. I’ve come close to flipping my kayak, and without this loop, my dry bag would have fallen into the water.
I’m sure it could also be used to hang up the bag if you are camping and want to keep it away from animals.
My son even manages to cram his sleeping bag into this waterproof bag for his camping trip with boy scouts, and it has always stayed dry. I do wish it had shoulder straps as it can hold a lot of items and can get heavy.
Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack
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4. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression
Being able to wad this dry bag up in a tight little ball and toss it anywhere is a huge benefit for me.
I love it because I can toss it in another bag or pack it or even push it to the front or back of my kayak and keep it there in case I need it.
In fact, this is a backup dry bag that I keep with my fishing life jacket in my fishing boat. Whenever we take our kayaks out, I grab them and toss them in the cockpit or tuck them under the bungee cords.
I really like the shape of these dry bags since they’re slightly more slender than other kayaking dry bags but can still hold plenty of items and keep all my gear dry.
The larger 20L size can hold my sleeping bag and heavy coat, and the smaller Sea to Summit sacks can hold my smaller things like socks or my cell phone & waterproof fanny pack.
Since these kayaking dry bags are compression sacks, they come in handy for people like me who tend to overpack for paddling trips. I can squish all my stuff in there tightly, toss it over my shoulder, and carry it wherever I go.
These dry bags stay that way for a long time and don’t lose their compression like some of the others. You know the type, you compress them only to have them pop right back up in a couple of minutes. Yeah, none of that with this dry bag.
I’ve also noticed the fabric doesn’t snag easily. It seems like I am always catching my clothing or bags on sticks and thorns when I’m dragging my kayak down to the bank. But this keeps my essential gear dry and safe from all of that.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack
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5. SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack
The SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack is different from other dry bags because it’s a hip bag. Instead of being carried by the handle or with padded shoulder straps, it can be strapped to your hip.
This is convenient because it allows you to be hands-free to carry your kayak, fishing supplies, or other gear. It has a roll-top closure like other dry bags, and the latch is also common and holds the bag securely closed.
This is my favorite type of kayaking dry bag because I like to have my phone and other personal items on me. With a hip pack, everything is close, and I can just reach right in and pull my phone out.
I don’t have to worry about searching for it or even getting up or changing positions to get my other dry bag. I also feel more confident having my phone on me and knowing that it’s in a waterproof bag and won’t get wet or damaged.
The waist belt is nice and wide, so it’s comfortable whether you are standing or sitting down and paddling. The dry bag is also comfortable and doesn’t get in the way of your arm movements when paddling or fishing.
You can wear the bag on the front, back, or either side. I like to wear mine with the belt a little loose so I can slide it around different places on my waist as needed. The waist strap can also be removed if you would rather use it as a traditional dry bag and carry it by the handle.
The main compartment is spacious and could easily hold small clothing items, a wallet, a phone, a poncho, keys, and other personal items.
There is also a small zipper pouch on the outside that is the perfect size for cash or a small phone. The zipper pocket does have a drainage hole, so it’s not completely watertight.
The dry bag has RF welded seams to help make it waterproof and roll top closure. It comes in two different color options and floats if dropped in the water. The bright colors make it easy to see if you would happen to drop it in dark or choppy waters.
This is the perfect dry bag for kayaking trips, and it also works well when hiking, surfing, and enjoying other watersports. I use it alongside other larger dry bags that I keep larger items in while kayaking.
SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack
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6. Watershed Chattooga Duffel Dry Bag
When one of my sons or even my husband needs a dry bag to pack for camping or scouts, I always go for this one. Because it has a duffle design, I can just toss everything in it without having to fold it just right to get it to fit.
With a 22L capacity, it’s able to hold a lot. Of course, it’s waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about anything getting red inside.
I toss in my first aid kid, our raincoats, any extra clothing we might need, and sometimes even a few pairs of shoes and they all fit just fine. It’s watertight to over 300 feet, which means we don’t have to worry about losing it if we’re kayaking in deeper water.
One of my fears when kayaking is kicking or knocking my bag in the water. Even when I have it secure, I still feel nervous about it. The 6-point lashing system means I’m able to attach it to different parts of the kayak.
Because there are welded seams and a waterproof zipper, I know nothing inside is getting wet. Like most dry bags it has a roll-top closure, which is always a plus. I particularly like the soft, double straps because I can carry it like a backpack or on my shoulder like a regular duffle.
My husband has several of these dry bags and uses them for hunting as much as he does kayaking and fishing. His hunting gear stays in them all year and he usually just takes a dry bag with him to throw things in if it starts raining while he’s out hunting.
My oldest son is going on a week-long kayaking trip to the boundary waters in Ely, Minnesota this June with his boy scout troop, so I am planning to pick up a couple of these dry bags for him.
It’s something he can carry and toss in his kayak without much effort. I also like that it comes in a bright orange color so it will be easy for him to see and distinguish it from the bags of others.
Watershed Chattooga Duffel Dry Bag
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7. Aqua Quest Mariner Dry Backpack
I’m not a one size fits all kind of girl. I like to have options and since the Aqua Quest Mariner backpack dry bags come in two sizes, 20L and 30L, that means I can just grab the one that I need at the time.
No matter which side you get, it will be comfortable to carry thanks to the soft outer shell and padded straps. You can also pick between yellow or black colors.
It’s hard for me to carry a dry bag at my side sometimes because I’m short, so a backpack is a better choice for me. I’ve been known to pack a lot, and the backpack design makes it easier for me to carry things even when I’m also pulling a kayak behind me.
For those of you who prefer to just carry the bag in your hand, there is a strap on the top, and it’s comfortable too.
A unique feature that I appreciate about this waterproof dry bag is the reflective strips. It already comes in a bright yellow color that makes it easy to spot, (or black if you want something more neutral) but it also has reflective strips down the sides.
If you get a little clumsy and drop your dry bag in the murky water, these straps might just come in handy for spotting it. Luckily, it’s also completely waterproof so at least you won’t have to worry about the stuff inside getting damaged should this happen.
I also can’t help but love how this versatile dry bag opens up so wide to make it easy to put everything inside it. It has the usual roll-top design too, but something about this one made it easier to keep straight when I was rolling it down.
It’s also coated with thermoplastic polyurethane, which just happens to be very durable water repellent. I never worry about my gear getting wet inside.
Aqua Quest Mariner Dry Backpack
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8. Marchway Waterproof Dry Bag
This waterproof dry bag is perfect for anyone who is on a tight budget when it comes to kayaking materials but still wants a lightweight dry bag that is high quality. It comes in a variety of colors and even a camouflage print.
It’s not always easy to find certain dry bag colors, so I was really excited to find a bright pink color. Another great feature is the adjustable shoulder strap. I always prefer should straps on a dry bag because it’s much easier for me to carry them that way.
This one also comes with a handle for carrying as well. The 20L and 30L sizes come with double detachable straps that function like backpack straps. The 40L option comes with non-detachable double-padded shoulder straps.
It has a plain design, but it’s a quality waterproof dry bag with welded seams and a roll-top closure. Once rolled and buckled, the dry bag can float. It’s very durable as I found out the hard way.
While pulling my kayak up on the trailer, I put my dry bag on the kayak trailer and drove off with it on there. I didn’t make it far down the road until I remembered it and when I got out to check if it was still there I saw that it had fallen off the trailer and got hooked to the license plate.
I had been dragging it down a gravel road for a quarter mile. It did have some dirt and a few minor scuffs, but I expected to find a big hole in it, and there were no tears at all. I can definitely say it’s super sturdy, and it has always kept my belongings dry.
Marchway Waterproof Dry Bag
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9. NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag
If you need a larger dry bag to hold your sleeping bag, first aid kits, and more, this is the one. It’s a very roomy dry bag, and it comes in three sizes. Ranging from 65 L to 110L, it also comes in five different colors.
It has adjustable and padded shoulder straps so you can easily wear it on your kayaking and paddling trips. It has a cylindrical shape and stands upright. When it comes to kayak dry bags, you have to not only consider the size but how much the bag will weigh when it is full.
These are big durable bags, and they can get heavy. The padded backpack straps do make it easier to pack, but I’m small and have a hard time carrying even the smallest size. Of course, that’s just me, and it’s still nice, but if you want a larger bag, take this into consideration.
My husband has no problem carrying it, and when we take longer trips or play to camp overnight with our kayaks, we like to use this dry bag. Each one carries a sleeping pack and our extra clothing with no problem.
It would be nice if these dry bags had straps to be tied down to the kayak as the large size does sometimes affect the balance.
NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag
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10. Chaos Ready Waterproof Dry Bag
Pockets, pockets, pockets! That’s the best feature of this dry bag. ( Well, at least one of them.) Can you ever have too many pockets? I don’t think so. I absolutely adore this bag because it looks like a regular backpack and not necessarily like a dry bag for a boat.
Of course, I still use this a lot when I’m kayaking, but I also like to use it when I’m hiking or camping and think it might rain.
There’s a lot to love about this bag but let me tell you about all these pockets. Double mesh pockets on each side are the perfect size for holding bottles of sunscreen or even a water bottle.
Anything you need to carry but don’t care if it gets wet could go in them. There’s a pocket on the front too, but since it has a zipper, it’s not waterproof either.
Now for the things you do want to protect from water; that’s where the main compartment comes in handy. Since it has a waterproof zipper, it is 100% waterproof. The roll-top closure and a tri-fold buckle system are also a nice touch.
The truth is it doesn’t matter how much a waterproof dry bag can hold if it’s not easy to carry. But that’s not an issue here either. The padded compression straps are super comfortable and adjustable, so you get a good fit. It’s a no-fuss dry bag that I find myself using pretty often.
Chaos Ready Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
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11. Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Dry Duffel
I’m always looking for a dry bag that is versatile and nice-looking. Duffle bags are some of my favorite designs because they have big openings, so it’s easy to toss things in them quickly.
If you have ever had to get ready for a multi-day trip, you know what I’m talking about.
Let’s talk about options here, because there are a lot of them. I’ve made it clear that I like colorful bags and this one comes in four different choices. Size also matters so take your pick between 40L, 60L, and 80L.
Need a little extra storage for your paddling adventures? Well, check out the detachable mesh pocket on this bag. Toss in your sunglasses or a water bottle so you can leave more room in the main compartment for things you don’t want to get wet.
Accidentally put something wet in your bag? No worries, it has a draining system that pushes that water right back out. Before you get too excited about that, keep in mind that water can also get into the bag through these same outlets, so it’s not totally waterproof.
Did I mention the shoulder strap? It’s padded and comfortable, but there’s also a nifty side handle if you want to carry it that way instead.
Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Dry Duffel Bag
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12. Unigear Dry Bag
The Unigear Dry Bag comes in eleven different colors and six different sizes. Love a deal? Well, this one is really two dry bags in one. Yep, you get a full-size bag and a small bag for your phone or really whatever you want to stick in it.
But that’s not the only exciting thing about this bag, it has welded seams that keep water out. All sizes have a roll-down closure and shoulder straps. I know I’m always happy for comfortable straps because that means easier transport.
Thinking about getting the big one? You won’t be disappointed because the larger bags have two padded shoulder straps.
I have the small 2L size of this dry bag, and I keep some of my fishing lures and gear in. It’s just big enough to hold everything I need without taking up a lot of space.
I can’t forget one of my favorite things about this lightweight dry bag, it floats! If I need a little more room, I just toss it out on a rope and pull it behind me. If I’m on a multi-day kayaking trip, this makes it possible for me to carry more things without feeling like I’m overcrowded in my kayak.
I’m guilty of leaving my dry bags in my kayaks sometimes, and I’ve done it a time or two with this waterproof dry bag. To my surprise, the sun and rain have never faded or warped them.
Unigear Dry Bag
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Buying Guide For Best Dry Bags For Kayaking
Shopping for a quality dry bag gives you a chance to compare different options and learn about the features of each one.
While your decision should come down to which one you like the most, here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for the best kayaking dry bag.
Dry Bag Type
If you aren’t picky about the type of bag you choose, you should be. The type of bag means more than just looks. Different bags are for different types of kayaking, and only you know what type of kayaking you do the most.
For me, it’s best to have all my stuff on me so I can get to it fast and don’t have to worry about losing it. A lightweight bag never hurts either, because let’s face it, nobody wants to weigh down their kayak and make it harder to paddle.
Padded shoulder straps and comfortable waist traps are always welcome as far as I’m concerned, but you also have to consider the material the bag is made of. I also make it a point to look at the shape of the dry bag for kayaking.
It might not seem as important, but this feature can determine whether or not the dry bag will fit in your kayak or in the correct storage space, and how you pack it in your car or on your bike to get it to your paddling destination.
You know what will ruin a fun day on the water? A leaky bag. If you don’t get it closed just right, water can get right in. That’s why I always like to take a good look at the closure system of a dry sack before I buy it. It tells me if the waterproof dry bag properly seals and is able to protect my items inside.
I’ve noticed that most dry bags have a roll-top closure with a plastic latch, some have a zip dry closure system, and others just have a waterproof zipper. One doesn’t work any better than the other, but you should think about which one is easier to work, so you know you are getting your bag closed all the way.
I found out the hard way that not all the best dry bags for kayaking are submersible, and some closure systems just aren’t waterproof at all. Don’t make my mistake and always check before you submerge the bag.
The closure type can also determine how easy it is to pack your dry bag or get to the contents. Compare all the different kinds and decide if you feel better using one over another.
Puncture-resistant materials that are thick and can handle some roughness are always the best. PVC is one of them and so is nylon. So it makes sense that these are what most dry bags are made of.
The nylon material itself is not waterproof, but it can be coated with something like silicone or another type of material to make it waterproof.
Since nylon and PVC are both impermeable, they are both commonly used in bags. These bags are normally double-layered and coated with other protective materials, so it makes sense why they are used.
Of course, it’s totally up to you what you like best. Try out a few different materials and see which one feels right.
We all have different needs when it comes to dry bag capacity. The good news is there are plenty of different sizes you can choose from. There are small dry bags that are meant to hold tiny items or very few items and very large dry bags that can hold sleeping bags, clothing, and even life jackets and kayak paddles.
Picking a bag that is too small will only frustrate you and make it hard to carry what you need. But, choosing a bag that’s too big will just waste the space in your kayak. Decide what you need to pack or carry and choose a bag size that will hold just the right amount.
I find it’s best to keep a couple of different sizes of dry bags in my garage so I can grab the size I need for each trip.
Dry bags have a bunch of extra features aside from just being waterproof and keeping gear dry.
These extra features can range from water bottle storage, extra pockets, draining holes, different compartments, padded straps, and special strap or latches so the dry bag can be latched down to a kayak or even a car or bike.
If you are looking for a dry bag that can be used for specific types of kayaking, consider exploring the different features of some different kinds of dry bags.
What Size Dry Bag Is Best for Kayaking?
For me, a 10L or 20L will easily hold most of my stuff, on a casual kayak tour, but not always. It’s really up to you to decide the best size dry bag for kayaking. If you are taking a short cruise, a small bag under 30L should work.
If you are fishing, carrying gear for camping, or just need a lot of stuff, a larger bag of around 40L to 50L might be better. Should you want something bigger, you can find bags as big as 60L and up. I like to keep a few different sizes around because, well ya never know!
How Do You Keep Things Dry While Kayaking?
A: For me, a dry bag has always been the best way to keep my stuff on me and safe. If you decide to go this route, make sure you pick the right material, size, and features, so your stuff stays safe.
How Do You Pack a Dry Bag for Kayaking?
A: Whenever I start to organize by dry bags, I like to put the heavier items and things I don’t need to access as often on the bottom and put the smaller items and things I need to reach easily on the top.
If your dry bag has different compartments, you can also organize your items into them accordingly.
I really believe that dry bags are one of the best ways to keep your personal items dry while kayaking and they come in different styles, materials, and sizes.
The best dry bags for kayaking listed above just happened to be some of my personal favorites that I recommend for most types of kayaking. Before you choose a waterproof dry bag, consider the different options and your personal needs and preferences.