Not too long ago, if someone outside of the kayaking, sailing or surfing community would have asked your average Joe what a dry bag was, not many people could have answered. However, they’ve had somewhat of a glow-up recently and are becoming popular as waterproof bags and backpacks for running, hiking and even everyday use, which makes sense in the rain-soaked UK!
As you’d expect, these bags are all about keeping goods safe and dry, but how do you tell one apart from another? In our guide, we’ll show you the features you should consider before buying. After that, we’ve gathered the best options for paddle boarding, swimming, boating and more for you to check out, all of which are available to order from affordable sites such as Amazon.
For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:
For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of dry bags available and understand how our ranking was determined.
This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.
Sea to Summit
Ultra Dry Adventurer
Keep Fit Kit
Sea to Summit
Hydraulic Dry Package
Premium Waterproof Bag
Waterproof Dry Bag
Rolltop 23 Backpack
Big River Dry Bag
Waterproof Dry Bag Set
Versatile Dry Bag Rucksack for Outdoor Activities and Sports
Waterproof Roll-Top Bag for Hiking and Swimming
A Clever Set That Lets You Colour-Code the Contents
Dry Bag With Free Waterproof Phone Case
Solid Waterproof Protection for Your Items
Stylish Weekend Dry Bag With 23 Litre Capacity
Two Affordable Bags for the Price of One
65 Litre Dry Bag for Outdoor Adventuring
High-Vis Dry Bag From a Trusted UK Company
Organise Your Gear With a Range of Different Sizes
|Material||PVC||Nylon||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Polyamide (nylon)||Unknown||Nylon||Unknown||Taffeta (nylon)|
|Capacity Available||10, 20, 30 L||35, 65, 90, 120 L||2, 6 and 13 L included in set||5, 10, 20, 30 L||5, 10, 20, 30 L||23 L||10, 20 L||65 L||7, 25, 70 L||1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 and 6 L all included in set|
|Closure||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top and zip||Roll-top||Roll-top and zip||Roll-top||Roll-top||Roll-top|
|Pockets||No||No||No||No||1 external||2 external, 1 internal||No||No||No||No|
When it comes to dry bags, there is only one place to start – the material. The best packs are made from either vinyl (PVC) or nylon, although often companies won't always mention which they've used because they both work in the same way. Therefore, it’s not overly pertinent, but we’d like to know if possible.
Need an activity idea to take your new dry bag out for a ride? Check out our article on stand up paddle boards!
The most notable difference between the two is that vinyl is usually used for smaller bags and nylon for the bigger ones. If we were pushed to decide between the two, we would say nylon probably edges the battle as it is a little more durable, which is handy if they’re rattling around on a sailboat or the side of a kayak. Otherwise, they're both solid options.
The next thing you’ll want to think about is the capacity. Before deciding what is best for you, think about what you plan to carry in the bag. Bigger isn’t always better, especially as most bags use a roll-top closure, meaning that if they are too packed, you might not be able to seal them properly.
Browse our selection of women's wetsuits here!
Dry bags come in plenty of sizes, from small options that will carry your phone and wallet to backpacks as large as 120 litres. For reference, a 5-litre bag is ideal for taking the essentials, such as phones, wallets and keys, but it will also fit a decent DSLR camera and small first aid kit.
A 50-litre bag, on the other hand, will have you comfortably carrying wetsuits, a few days worth of freeze-dried food, a stove and some dishes. So, with all that said, the trip you plan on taking will be the determining factor for the capacity you require. If you want options, go for a multi-size set.
Dry bags perform their duty by incorporating reinforced, fully-taped seams. This is what makes them completely waterproof and gives them extra protection should they end up submerged. However, without an opening to put objects in the bag, they would be useless.
The most popular is the roll-top, which requires the user to, well, roll the top shut. It is then closed by a clip. This works extremely efficiently to keep the bag airtight and watertight. Plus, it also creates a carrying handle which makes them easy to transport. Don’t worry if you’re a little unsure about how to close the bag, as each will come with instructions to ensure you do it correctly.
We have a top 10 ranking of men's wetsuits too, explore our buying guide here.
The other option is a press-and-seal type zipper, which functions similarly to a freezer bag. These will work effectively and keep the water out. However, they’re not as robust and will lose quality over time, which means you’ll be required to upgrade sooner. This style is mainly used on smaller bags.
The definition of a bag is a flexible container with an opening at the top, used for carrying things. Therefore, if you’re transferring your bags from your transport to a campsite, hotel or other vehicle, you’re going to want a comfortable way to do this – hence why many companies include carrying straps with their purchase.
These can come as either one strap, which is thrown over the shoulder and carries the bag diagonally over your body, or a two-strap which works more like a traditional backpack. Either will work well, and it’s just a matter of finding one that fits your preference.
However, it’s worth mentioning that not all bags come with straps. This might not be such a problem if you’re going straight from the car to the kayak and back again, but if you’re partaking in a more adventurous journey, it could be an issue.
Another feature that is pertinent when it comes to transporting these bags is whether they have external D-rings. Luckily, most do, especially those that are designed for water travel as opposed to damp trekking. These inclusions allow you to attach the bags to boats, stand up paddleboards, kayaks and anything you like in order to stop them from falling into the water.
D-rings made from solid plastic are preferable as seawater (or any water) shouldn’t erode or damage them any time soon. However, we would recommend double-checking them every time you set off because nothing will ruin your lovely day on the lake like not knowing where you dropped your bag before it submerged.
The one downside to dry bags is that they’re not the most organised pieces of kit as they’re usually just one large compartment that is stuffed with a bunch of your belongings. As you can imagine, if you get a large 50-litre bag, you're going to lose your headphones in there from time to time.
One way to avoid this is by opting for bags that come with additional pockets. Now, these are rare, but from time to time you will be able to find those with internal or external options.
Of course, the external ones will not be waterproof but are handy for holding things like water bottles that are nice to have easy access to. Inside pockets will help you organise the contents a little better. That said, if you like a bag that doesn’t have this, you could always use packing cubes.
This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
|Capacity Available||10, 20, 30 L|
|Capacity Available||35, 65, 90, 120 L|
Set of 3
|Capacity Available||2, 6 and 13 L included in set|
|Capacity Available||5, 10, 20, 30 L|
|Capacity Available||5, 10, 20, 30 L|
|Closure||Roll-top and zip|
|Capacity Available||23 L|
|Pockets||2 external, 1 internal|
Set of 2
|Capacity Available||10, 20 L|
|Closure||Roll-top and zip|
|Capacity Available||65 L|
|Capacity Available||7, 25, 70 L|
Set of 5
|Capacity Available||1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 and 6 L all included in set|
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Written and researched by Lewis Clark
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