The Best Dry Bags of 2023

The Best Dry Bags of 2023

SUP loaded up with dry bags

Dry bags have a vital responsibility — protecting your gear. Whether your raft gets flipped, you take a spill in a creek, or you get caught in an unexpected downpour, it’s essential that clothing, sleeping bags, and other necessities stay dry.

If your gear has ever been soaked in the wilderness, you know how difficult it can be, both physically and mentally. We’ve been there, and it inspired our hunt for the best dry bags around.

Whether you’re backpacking, paddling through a gorge, hunting with a fourth-season elk tag, carrying emergency supplies, or linking up national parks by motorcycle, there are plenty of adventures where a dry bag becomes a necessity.

There are a ton of dry bag sizes and applications, and a single bag won’t suit every person. To help you find the right bag for your adventure, we’ve highlighted a variety of options. If you need help deciding, check out our buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart at the end of this article.

If you know what you’re looking for, feel free to scroll ahead to the best dry bags for 2023.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Dry Bags guide on November 22, 2023, to be more reader-friendly and have the most up-to-date information.

The Best Dry Bags of 2023


Best Overall Dry Bag


YETI Panga 75 Dry Duffel

Specs

  • Material
    High-density, puncture-resistant nylon shell with EVA-molded bottom
  • Closure
    HydroLok zipper
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    50, 75, 100
  • Dimensions
    28″ x 15.5″ x 11″ (75L)
  • Weight
    2,767 g
  • Features
    2 interior mesh pockets, removable shoulder straps, multiple lash points
  • Best use
    Multiday paddle trips, road trips with open-bed truck


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Extremely durable

  • Excellent, ergonomic, burly waterproof zipper

  • Ample space for carrying apparel and gear

Cons


  • Higher investment

  • Too large for some objectives

  • Not easily foldable for storage

Best Budget Dry Bag


NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag 65L

Specs

  • Material
    Durable PVC and polyester
  • Closure
    Waterproof roll-top closure with magnetic StormStrip seal
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    65, 110
  • Dimensions
    14″ x 24″ (65L)
  • Weight
    1,899 g
  • Features
    Removable, adjustable shoulder strap harness with a chest clip
  • Best use
    Multiday and single-day paddle trips


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Padded shoulder straps

  • Lower price point

Cons


  • Not as robust as other higher-priced dry bags

  • Top-loading means you’ll need to dig to the bottom to find items

  • Some users noted the StormStrip closure seal was not very durable

Best Compression Sack Dry Bag


Sea to Summit 14L eVent Compression Dry Sack

Specs

  • Material
    PU-coated 70-denier nylon and 40-denier nylon and eVent laminate base
  • Closure
    Roll-top with wrap-around compression straps
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    6, 10, 14, 20, 30
  • Dimensions
    8″ x 18″
  • Weight
    147 g
  • Features
    Compression straps!
  • Best use
    Backpacking, bikepacking, hiking


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Helps to pack down space-consuming apparel and gear

  • Four pull straps make the compression process easy

  • Very lightweight

Cons


  • Exterior material is not the most robust we tested

  • Not a bag we’d trust for full submersion

Best First-Aid Kit Dry Bag


Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack

Specs

  • Material
    70-denier waterproof fabric that’s PVC-free
  • Closure
    Roll-top with 5/8″ buckle
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    1, 3, 5
  • Dimensions
    8.6″ x 5.1″ x 11″ (5L bag)
  • Weight
    54 g
  • Features
    First-Aid Kit label and bright red color, D-ring attachment point at buckle, designed to be compatible with a 5/8″ Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver)
  • Best use
    Backpacking, bikepacking, hiking, skiing, paddling, hunting


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Universal first aid kit symbol and bright red color for quick identification

  • Clear TPU window to see inside bag

  • Very lightweight

Cons


  • The TPU window could be larger

  • D-ring could be a bit larger

Runner-Up Best Dry Bag


Watershed Chattooga 22L

Specs

  • Material
    420-denier PU-coated CORDURA nylon blend
  • Closure
    ZipDry push-closure (imagine an extremely tough ziplock bag closure) that rolls down and includes two buckled straps
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    22
  • Dimensions
    10″ x 19.25″ x 9.5″
  • Weight
    726 g
  • Features
    Several hard lash points, carry handles
  • Best use
    Everyday use including kayaking, SUPing, sailing, first-aid kit for group expedition, hunting


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Super-high-quality materials

  • Long-lasting construction

  • Very tough closure seal that keeps out water

Cons


  • The closure can be difficult to get open

  • Higher price for the capacity

Best of the Rest


Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags

Specs

  • Material
    PVC-free and TPU-laminated 420-denier nylon with double-stitched and taped seams
  • Closure
    Roll-top plus a buckle closure
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, to 65
  • Dimensions
    15″ x 10″ x 33″ (65L bag with top rolled three times)
  • Weight
    292 g
  • Features
    Designed to be compatible with a ¾-in. Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver), lash points
  • Best use
    Kayaking, canoeing, SUPing, rafting, motorcycle tours, bikepacking


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Lightweight

  • Pliable

  • Easy to transport

Cons


  • Roll-top requires some excellent organization (unless you want to dump out the contents often!)

  • Not the most robust exterior we’ve tested


Sea to Summit Lightweight Sling Dry Bag

Specs

  • Material
    70-denier nylon with fully taped seams and a polyurethane coating
  • Closure
    Roll-top with buckle
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    10, 20
  • Dimensions
    18.5″ x 7.5″ x 4.9″ (10L bag)
  • Weight
    90 g
  • Features
    Over-the-shoulder strap for travel, D-ring attachment at the buckle, designed to be compatible with a 5/8-in. Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver)
  • Best use
    Paddlesports, beach days


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Very lightweight

  • Includes adjustable shoulder strap for over-the-shoulder carry

  • Low cost

Cons


  • Shoulder strap is not padded

  • Not the toughest of materials


SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag

Specs

  • Material
    PVC-free polyurethane film body and a polyurethane-coated polyester bottom
  • Closure
    Roll-top with a buckle
  • Gear capacity (L) options
    5, 10, 20, 30
  • Dimensions
    14.5″ x 8.5″ x 5″ (10L bag)
  • Weight
    184 g
  • Features
    PurgeAir waterproof valve helps dump air
  • Best use
    Packing items like apparel or food inside a more durable backpacking bag, duffel, or dry bag


The Best Dry Bags of 2023

Pros


  • Super lightweight

  • Transparency helps find items before pouring out contents

  • The PurgeAir valve helps close up the bag without extra air

Cons


  • Not puncture-resistant, so be careful around rocks, cacti, or other pointy vegetation!

  • Don’t dunk — not submersible

Dry Bags Comparison Chart

Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Closure, Capacity (L), Dimensions, Weight.

Dry Bag Price Closure Capacity (L) Dimensions Weight
YETI Panga 75 Dry Duffe $350 HydroLok zipper 50, 75, 100 28″ x 15.5″ x 11″ 6 lbs., 10 oz.
NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag 65L $160 Waterproof roll-top closure with magnetic StormStrip seal 65, 110 14″ x 24″ 4 lbs., 3 oz.
Sea to Summit 14L eVent Compression Dry Sack
$40-61 Roll-top with wrap-around compression straps 6, 10, 14, 20, 30 8″ x 18″ 5.2 oz.
Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack
$20 Roll-top with 5/8-inch buckle 1, 3, 5 8.6″ x 5.1″ x 11″ (5L) 2 oz.
Watershed Chattooga 22L
$154-222 ZipDry push-closure that rolls down and includes two buckled straps 22 10″ x 19.25″ x 9.5″ 1 lb., 10 oz.
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags
$40-80 Roll-top plus a buckle closure 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, to 65 15″ x 10″ x 33″. (65L) 10.3 oz.
Sea to Summit Lightweight Sling Dry Bag $29 Roll-top with buckle 10, 20 18.5″ x 7.5″ x 4.9″ (10L) 3.2 oz.
SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag $27-58 Roll-top with a buckle 5, 10, 20, 30 14.5″ x 8.5″ x 5″ (10L) 6.5 oz.
Contributor Morgan Tilton testing dry bags on an overnight SUP trip

How We Tested Dry Bags

On top of extensive research, we enjoyed putting these dry bags to the test. Our GearJunkie dry bag gear testers range from a professional outdoor photographer to search-and-rescue personnel, expert and recreational standup paddleboarders, and expeditionists setting records. These dry bags protected our overnight apparel, camp gear, and electronics on back-to-back water-travel days throughout the West from Utah to Colorado’s central mountains.

We took these bags on morning and afternoon outings as well as multiday river trips, in whitewater and on flat water through canyons and ravines and across wide-open lakes.

Senior Editor Morgan Tilton has a self-supported first descent down the 100-mile wild whitewater of Escalante River in Utah on SUP with four friends. As a backcountry skier and bikepacker, Tilton has used dry bags on hut-to-hut trips and endurance rides in a range of climates from the high alpine to the desert.

Editor Mary Murphy is an avid single-day and overnight paddleboarder as well.

Our metrics included waterproofness, ergonomics, ease of use, waterproofness, flexibility, accessories such as pockets and padded straps, simplicity of closure, and durability across a range of sizes and price tags. To find the best of the best, we only considered the highest-rated, most popular, and best-selling dry bags on the market.

Gear tester and contributor Morgan Tilton testing dry bags while overnight SUP camping in Colorado
Gear tester and contributor Morgan Tilton testing dry bags while overnight SUP camping in Colorado; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Dry Bag

Dry bags might seem simple, but they’re incredibly diverse. Each design complements specific water activities, outdoor needs, and personal preferences.

Size and Fit

A few of the primary factors to consider when choosing a dry bag are the shape, capacity, and straps. Will the bag fit where it needs to be stowed, and how far will it need to be carried? When the bag is loaded, is the carry system ergonomic for the bag user?

Some larger dry bags have backpack straps for easier transport that are also removable, which decreases the chance of a snag.

After use, it’s essential to consider how easily the bag can be packed down, flattened, and stored — especially for folks without a garage or much storage space.

Durability

The durability of the dry bag handles, lash points, straps, and material is crucial. Will the exterior withstand environmental encounters like rigid juniper branches along the river, thorny bushes on the trail’s edge, transport over boulder-strewn banks, or a dog’s sharp nails?

Look for an extra layer of waterproof, durable material on the bottom of the bag and where it will experience high use. Lash points can be hard or soft, and strap variations include those for carry or compression.

Dry bags with multiple tie-down points helps for efficiently loading a boat or SUP, according to contributor Morgan Tilton. (Photo/Eric Phillips)

Submersible

Obviously, the bag needs to be waterproof, and the closure system needs to completely keep water out — even when submerged. And to top it off, the closure should be easy to use. Both zippers and roll-top bags require you to use them properly.

Be sure to fully close your zippers and tightly roll your bags for a waterproof seal.

FAQ

What size dry bag should I buy?

If you are a minimalist paddler and just want a dry bag for the essentials: phone, keys, GPS device, a 3-10L dry bag works great. The same goes for beginner paddlers. If this is your first dry bag purchase, start with one on the smaller volume side.

If you are running a full day or longer day trips, we find an additional 10-20L bag to be helpful — this can hold anything from your extra layers to a camp chair to a packed lunch and more.

Ultimately, the size of the dry bag you need depends on a lot of different factors: the length of your trip, the time of year, the amount and weight of your gear, and how often you’ll be hitting the water.

You’ll also want to consider factors like durability and price. Are you going to be using that 5L dry bag on a weekly basis? Maybe upgrade to a slightly larger size dry bag or one with a more durable material to give yourself (and your gear) some wiggle room.

VERSACAGE Mount
Contributor Morgan Tilton packing dry bags for a bikepacking trip. (Photo/Eric Phillips)

How many dry bags do I need?

This also all depends on how often you find yourself on the water and what types of trips you usually take. If you only take a river trip once or twice a year, you probably only need a few dry bags.

If you paddle year round, you’ll probably want a collection of bags: a 5-10L, a 30-40L, maybe a 60L, and a few heftier ones (100L+) for the big adventures.

If you aren’t sure which dry bag will work for you best (even after our recommendations!), consider getting two different types: a duffel or backpack dry bag and a rolltop bag. And if you know you need a specific size bag for a certain trip or to fit in, say, a rented raft or kayak, you may find yourself purchasing one or two to start.

Pro tip: If you are covering a lot of mileage and rivers, you’ll want at least three bags for gear of varying sizes. For short- to medium-length trips — whether it’s whitewater or flatwater — we recommend one bag for your shelter, sleep system, and clothes; one bag for your food and stove; and one bag for day access: things like snacks, maps, and emergency items.

For us, these bags tend to be three different sizes. (And if you plan ahead like us, you can even color-code them!)

dry bags roll
Instructions on the rolltop seal of a dry bag.

How many times should I fold a dry bag?

This is a great question and one every brand approaches it differently in terms of design. Once you buy a dry bag, there should be a tag (sometimes even printed instructions!) on the top inner portion of the roll-top bag.

The magic number is usually three to make sure there’s an airtight and watertight seal. But the amount of times you’ll roll a bag also depends on the amount of gear inside.

Always be careful not to overstuff a dry bag — there should be room to roll it to fold that seal. On the other hand, if you only have a few items stored in a larger bag, make sure you roll out the extra airspace for easier packing on the water. Alternatively, you can roll the bag a few extra times.

Contributor Morgan Tilton uses small and medium dry bags to help organize items inside large dry bags on river trips. (Photo/Eric Phillips.)

Which dry bag is the best?

With any of the dry bags on this list, you can’t go wrong. For backcountry-based trips where we are carrying a lot of gear, we are partial to having only as many bags as we need (one to three for overnight and maybe three to five for a weeklong trip) and as many lightweight bags as possible. In order to do this, we usually have a few different types of bags with us.

If you are also traveling in a smaller vessel with limited space (like a sea kayak, paddleboard, or pack raft), we’d recommend the NRS Bill’s Bag (the most versatile large hauler) or the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags (the most versatile in size on our list).


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