It’s fair to say I love getting out and about. Going camping, water sports, or out on my motorcycle, I enjoy them all. While I have great gear to keep me dry, it occurred to me that I need something to keep all my gear dry.
A lot of research revealed a vast range of dry bags that are perfect for kayaking. When you just need to keep a few items dry, the HEETA is hard to beat for the low price, but our favorite from the list is the Runcl Ancohuma bag. It’s offered at a great price, is packed with features, and comes in a range of sizes.
- The 10 Best Dry Bags for Kayaking:
- 1. HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag
- 2. Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack – Dry Bag
- 3. Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag
- 4. Earth Pak- Waterproof Dry Bag with Front Zippered Pocket
- 5. MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag
- 6. Unigear Dry Bag Waterproof
- 7. Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set of 3
- 8. RUNCL Waterproof Dry Bag ANCOHUMA
- 9. KastKing Cyclone Seal Dry Bag
- 10. Pelican Waterproof Dry Bag – Exodry
- Kayak Dry Bag Buying guide
The 10 Best Dry Bags for Kayaking:
Below we list and review the 10 best dry bags for kayaking currently on the market.
1. HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag
- Seamless bag design
- Comes with a cell phone bag
- See-through design won’t appeal to all
- Durability may be an issue
- Small – just 5 liters
We’ll start with the cheapest dry bag on the test, coming in at around $10. You indeed get what you pay for, and the Heeta may not be the most durable dry bag, but if you are going for a one-off trip that requires a dry bag, it may be sufficient.
It has all the dry bag requirements, being made from strong waterproof plastic, a useful carrying handle, and a shoulder strap. The see-through design may not appeal to all, but at least you can find what you need quickly.
For a dry bag that you may only ever use once or twice, the Heeta may be just right, but remember it is small, with a capacity of just 5 liters.
2. Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack – Dry Bag
- Built-in shoulder straps
- Front pocket
- Two side pouches
Designed as a backpack that also functions as a dry bag, the Chaos Ready takes a slightly different approach. The padded shoulder straps are built-in as a standard backpack, but the closure is a roll top, typical of dry bags.
It’s a medium size bag, with a capacity of 22 liters, but certainly big enough for a few days away. On the front is a velcro-sealed pocket, but it’s not waterproof. On each side is a mesh pocket for your water bottle or another small item.
The Chaos’ biggest downside is the price, as it comes in at just under $40, making it the most expensive dry bag on the review. That said, the backpack design could be just what you are looking for, making the price irrelevant.
3. Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag
- Built-in carrying handle
- Mesh pocket
- Bungee straps
- Not 100% watertight
- Carry straps too long
As with most dry bags, the Piscifun uses a roll-top closure for waterproofing, but there is a separate carrying handle built-in, unlike many others. This is a great idea, as it avoids putting a strain on the waterproof seal.
The bag’s front is a mesh pocket for small items and bungee straps on top where you can stuff clothing, a water bottle, or other items. Supplied with the bag is a good cell phone case, certified to the IPX8 waterproof standard.
Made from 500D PVC, the Piscifun dry bag is built to last, and you are unlikely to be disappointed. It’s a good-looking bag that stands out from the crowd with the bungee attachment points on the front.
4. Earth Pak- Waterproof Dry Bag with Front Zippered Pocket
- Includes cell phone case
- Zipped front pocket for small items
- Not 100% watertight
The Earth Pak is a great looking dry bag that is perfect for all your outdoor activities. Its robust PVC construction will give you many years of use, ensuring your gear remains dry at all times while hiking or camping. The waterproof top closure is not good enough to keep water out if you submerge the bag.
On the front, you’ll find a splash-proof pocket, which is ideal for keeping items such as keys or wallets handy.
Supplied with the dry bag is a good cell phone case, but it will not give you 100% protection as with the bag.
The Earth Pak is a nice-looking bag, but with some shortcomings for the price.
5. MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag
- 100% waterproof
- Not designed to be submerged
- Basic design and sealing method
Are you looking for just a basic dry bag, with no flashy features or extras, at a fair price? Then the Marchway could be just right for you. Priced at around $10, it’s one of the cheapest on the review but offers everything a basic bag should.
Constructed from strong 500D ripstop material with welded seams, the Marchway will keep your gear completely dry. Just roll down the top three or four times, clip the buckle together, and you’re set.
Although the bag is not designed explicitly for submerging, it can be floated next to your boat and remain dry inside.
The only extra included with the bag is a shoulder strap or two on the larger bags.
6. Unigear Dry Bag Waterproof
- 100% waterproof
- Only a single shoulder strap on smaller bags
The Unigear dry bag is an excellent bit of kit at a great price. At around $15, this is one of the cheapest on the review, but it doesn’t fail to impress.
Constructed from durable 500D polyester, the Unigear bag will give you many years of dry use.
Waterproofing is achieved with the usual roll-top style closure, with two plastic clips that secure the opening and form a convenient carrying handle. Attachment points for the carry handle and shoulder strap feature reinforcement to prevent tearing.
The Unigear is the perfect companion when out on the water, and you can even leave it floating next to your boat if needed.
7. Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set of 3
- Three bags for the price of one
- Price – for three items
- Ziplock sealing system
- Some issues with waterproofing if submerged
When you buy the Freegrace, you don’t only get the dry bag, but two other bags as well, a waist pouch and a cell phone case.
The main bag features a double zip lock style sealing system, which is then rolled down as usual and the ends clipped together.
On the front of the bag is a full-length clear window allowing you to see what is in the bag. Useful in these types of stuff bag when items get pushed to the bottom.
The supplied cell phone case is IPX8 certified, meaning it is fully waterproof, while the waist pouch is waterproof and will float.
8. RUNCL Waterproof Dry Bag ANCOHUMA
- Includes MOLLE System attachment points
- Supplied with a cell phone waterproof case
- Three-layer construction
Available in a range of sizes, from 10 to 40 liters, the Runcl is also packed with useful features. On the side is the MOLLE system of universal attachment points, so you can easily clip on additional items such as a drinking bottle. You’ll find a large mesh pocket on the front of the bag and just below a splashproof zipped pocket.
A comfortable carrying handle is on top of the bag, and they supply all except the 10-liter bag with two shoulder straps. The three-layer construction consists of 500D polyester sandwiched between two layers of PVC. This makes the bag incredibly sturdy, and with heat-sealed seams, it’s also 100% waterproof.
Overall, the Runcl is an excellent bag at a great price and is supplied with a waterproof cell phone bag.
9. KastKing Cyclone Seal Dry Bag
- Extra waterproof seal
- Supplied with a cell phone waterproof case
- Splashproof zipped pocket
- Some issues with small leaks on the zipped pocket
Kastking’s Cyclone Seal Dry Bag has some great features to make sure your kit remains completely dry, whatever happens. Sealing the bag is a simple process. When you close the top, an extra layer of PVC bonds to itself to create a watertight seal. Next, roll the top down as standard and use the buckle to connect the two ends securely.
The bag’s side is a useful carrying handle, plus a shoulder strap is supplied on the ten and 20-liter versions. The 30-liter bag is provided with two shoulder straps. All the buckles and clips on the Cyclone are made from strong nylon, so no rust or corrosion.
10. Pelican Waterproof Dry Bag – Exodry
- Strong construction
- Adjustable shoulder straps on the 30-liter bag
- Heavyweight material
- It needs careful closing to be waterproof
The Exodry bag from Pelican is a sturdy compression sack constructed from 500 denier polyvinyl. The heavy construction and premium welding on the seams mean this bag will give you many years of use without leaking.
Reflective trim and logo make the bag easier to spot if you drop it in the water, plus there are handy features such as integrated hooks for attaching carabiners. It’s a stylish-looking bag in terra, black and gray coloring.
The roll-top closure has a clip to secure it, but it must be closed carefully to fully waterproof the sack.
The Exodry is available in 10, 20, or 30-liter sizes, and the 30 liter back comes with two shoulder straps to convert it into a backpack.
Kayak Dry Bag Buying guide
Dry bags need to be made from flexible yet 100% waterproof materials. They also need to be soft enough to push into small spaces, such as a kayaks’ storage area. Most manufacturers use 50 denier PVC as it provides strength, waterproofing, and excellent tear resistance. Some cheaper bags will use lower quality, less durable materials, which may split with repeated use.
- Denier. This is the measurement of the thickness of a material. The higher the number, the thicker the strands of material used. For a dry bag, it is a trade-off between flexibility and strength. The most common grade of material used for dry bags is 500D PVC.
Few if any manufacturers quote a waterproof rating on the dry bags. This is simply because, by their very nature, they should be 100% waterproof. The weak points on dry bags include the seams and the closure system. Seams are just about universally welded these days, giving a strong watertight seal.
Most closure systems on dry bags are the roll top style. The top is folded over between three or five times to prevent water ingress and then clipped together to prevent it from opening. Some manufacturers add additional sealing features, such as zip locks or material on the inside edge of the opening that closes together. However, the primary method of keeping water out is the roll top.
- Welded Seams. Using welded seams is standard these days, although more expensive bags may be reinforced with stitching. The alternative is a seamless construction, which is used on the cheapest dry bag on the test, the Heeta.
- Additional Coating. As the bags are constructed of waterproof material, other coatings are not necessary. Manufacturers may sandwich the waterproof material between protective layers of fabric. This technique is used on the Runcl dry bag reviewed here.
Most of the dry bags we have reviewed here are available in various sizes, from as small as 2 liters up to 40 liters. Before you choose a bag, you need to consider what you are using it for. If you are going kayaking, then stick to the smaller sizes so they can be stuffed into the storage areas. The larger sizes are okay on a yacht and often come with shoulder straps for more comfortable carrying.
You can buy small dry bags for $10 or less, but they will only be around five liters in size, making them only suitable for small items. There is a lot of choice around the $20 price point, with plenty of 10-liter or 20-liter bags available.
Price also reflects the quality of materials used and any extra features provided. Before deciding which dry bag is suitable for you, consider what you will use it for. If you intend to do a one off adventurous trip, then keep the price low. If hiking, camping and other outdoor activities are something you enjoy, then it’s worth spending a little extra for a quality bag that will last.
What is a dry bag?
A dry bag is exactly what the name suggests. Somewhere to store your items and keep them dry. They are essential if you are taking a canoeing or kayaking trip and useful in many other activities, such as sailing, hiking, camping, and more.
Why is a dry bag essential when kayaking?
If there is one thing certain when kayaking, you will get wet! This also means your kit will get wet. Without a dry bag, you’ll quickly end up with no dry clothes or dry food. A dry bag will make your trip far more enjoyable and fun.
Is a dry bag waterproof?
Yes, if used correctly. Assuming that the seams are welded and not leaking, it is essential to close the dry bag correctly. First, squash the dry bag to remove excess air, carefully fold the top of the bag over 4 or 5 times, and keep the folds tight. Finally, use the buckle to hold the bag closed. This should ensure that water cannot get in through the opening.
What size dry bag do I need for kayaking?
Storage space is limited on a kayak, and often your kit will have to squeeze into tight spaces. For this reason, keep your dry bags small and up to a maximum of 10 liters. Taking two 10 liter bags is better than a single 20 liter. It’s easier to squeeze the 10-liter bag into a small space for a start, but also, if one bag leaks, not all your gear will get wet.
Dry bags are essential for keeping your gear dry when doing any outdoor activities involving water. They are also useful when camping, keeping everything dry in even the heaviest downpour.
Before buying, consider what you’ll use the bag for. For water sports, keep the bag small. If you are camping, then larger bags may be okay, so long as you are not hiking to the campsite.
Whatever you are doing, there will be a bag for you, and keeping your kit dry will make your adventure so much more fun.
This article was last updated on April 22, 2021 .
The Outdoors Blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.