What Is a Dry Bag? Ultimate Guide to Dry Bags

What Is a Dry Bag Ultimate Guide to Dry Bags

Are you a thrill-seeking individual constantly seeking new ways to explore the great outdoors? If so, then it’s imperative you need the right equipment on hand.

That’s where dry bags come in. By now, you’ve heard of dry bags, commonly used by adventurers and water activity fans alike.

But what is a dry bag exactly, and how do they work? In this ultimate guide, we’ll explain all there is to know about dry bags: from what types are available to their best uses.

Read on for all our top tips regarding using a quality waterproof pouch or bag to ensure your belongings stay safe and sound during outdoor adventures – no matter how extreme your excursion becomes.

Why Use a Dry Bag Over Freezer Bags

A dry bag is an ideal choice for anyone looking to store their belongings in a waterproof manner. Not only are they more effective than freezer bags at keeping items dry and safe, but there are also several practical advantages when deciding between the two.

  1. While freezer bags may be more affordable upfront, they are not reusable – unlike the durable fabric of a dry bag which makes them much more cost-efficient in the long run.
  2. Most dry bags offer adjustable straps, making them easier to transport with either one or two hands.
  3. Some models offer improved visibility of stored contents due to windowed panels or mesh pockets – a feature that standard freezer bags do not provide.
  4. Many dry bags also have built-in features such as completely sealable openings and pockets for organizing smaller items.
  5. With regard to storage space, due to their collapsible nature, dry bags require minimal packing down and still provide plenty of room efficiently when fully compressed. This is often difficult to achieve with a large amount of freezer bags.

Are Dry Bags Submersible?

The answer is yes – although not all dry bags are created equal. It is essential to pay attention to the construction and material of a dry bag to hold up under the pressure of being submerged.

Some highly sophisticated qualities, like welded seams or materials such as heavy-duty tarpaulin, are ideal for taking items deeper.

Ultimately, the amount of submersion you’ll need will dictate which dry bag to use. So whether engaging in a shallow or deep sea adventure, you can trust a good quality dry bag to keep your belongings safe and dry.

How to Test If a Dry Bag Will Leak

Knowing whether or not a dry bag is truly waterproof is essential for any kind of water sport. You can conduct a simple but effective experiment at home to test whether your dry bag will keep out water. Here are the simple steps to take for the testing process.

  1. Fill the bag with tissue paper and weigh it down with sand so that the materials within are slightly compacted.
  2. Submerge the bag in a sink or bathtub and wait two minutes before removing it.
  3. If the tissue paper is still completely dry after this procedure, you have demonstrated that the dry bag prevents leakage.
  4. However, if there are damp spots, replace the dry bag immediately to ensure that your important items remain safe and dry.

Benefits of Choosing a Dry Bag

Dry bags also offer a variety of benefits that make them ideal for outdoor activities and water sports. Check them out below.

Keeps Stuff Dry

A good dry bag will be designed to keep your items safe and dry, even when submerged in water. This is because they are made of waterproof materials and have a roll-top closure that creates an airtight seal.

This makes them great for fishing trips, kayaking, or any other activity where you need to protect your gear from the elements.

You Can Use it as an Organizer

A dry bag can also help you stay organized while in the wild. Simply fill it with all your gear and use the straps to carry it around, or attach it to a kayak or boat. This makes it easy to find items you need without rummaging through a pile of stuff.

Keeps Your Gear Protected

When your gear is stored in a dry bag, it is protected from the elements. This means that even if you drop it off the side of a boat or get caught in a rainstorm, you won’t have to worry about your stuff getting ruined.

Dry bags also offer additional protection against scrapes and scratches, ensuring your gear stays in excellent condition for years.

Lightweight and Easy to Carry

Dry bags are lightweight, making them easy to carry around, and they will be light even if you fill them with all your gear. This makes dry bags perfect for backpacking trips, beach days, and other outdoor activities.

They Come in a Variety of Sizes & Colors

A great thing about dry bags is that they come in various sizes and colors so that you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Whether you need something large enough to store all your camping supplies or smaller just to keep your phone safe, there’s a dry bag out there for you! They also make great gifts for the outdoor lover in your life.

It Creates an Extra Storage Space

Dry bags can also be an extra storage space for items you want to avoid getting wet. This means you won’t have to worry about your clothes, electronics, or other items getting ruined in the rain.

You can enjoy peace of mind with a dry bag no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

How to Use a Dry Bag

Dry bags are versatile water-proof pieces of equipment, great for storing and protecting items that need to be kept safe from the elements. Here are five ways you can use a dry bag:

  • For water sports – You can store essentials such as your wet suit in a dry bag, then keep it sealed up, so all your belongings stay protected from splashes.
  • Use one outdoors–Whether on a hike, camping, or fishing, a dry bag is a perfect way to protect your gadgets and valuables from potential moisture damage.
  • They’re ideal for traveling – Due to their long-lasting and waterproof nature; you can easily pack things like electronics and passports without worrying about them getting drenched or damaged if there’s some unexpected wet weather.
  • Dry bags are also great for beach trips – Simply stash away things like sunglasses, shorts, and wallets and then head off into the sea safe in the knowledge that all your stuff is secure from any sand or splashes.
  • For completing DIY projects around your home or garden – An outdoor scenic paint job is made easier with a dry bag helping to contain all spilled materials and tools.

How to Pack a Dry Bag

Packing a dry bag properly is essential if you’re taking any kind of outdoor adventure. It’s important to organize what you’ll need ahead of time and choose items that will fit into the bag and can sustain some dampness or direct contact with water.

  1. Start by placing a small towel or some other cloth on the bottom of your dry bag; this will help prevent the crinkling of the material when things are placed inside the bag.
  2. Separate items into individual groups – clothing, footwear, food, and cooking supplies – to ensure you have everything needed in its separate compartment.
  3. Place heavier gear, such as sleeping bags, on the bottom and lightweight items, such as jackets, at the top.
  4. Pack items until they are slightly below the zipper line of your dry bag to allow room for expansion in wet conditions or when things shift during a journey.
  5. Finally, inspect all buckles and straps before leaving home to ensure your gear stays secure during your outing.

What Size Dry Bag Do I Need?

When searching for the right size dry bag, it is essential to consider what activities you will use it for and how much gear needs to be stored.

Different sizes of dry bags are suitable for varying levels of water exposure, ranging from short river floats to extended whitewater trips. Depending on the length and scope of your trip, your ideal size dry bag will vary from 5 liters to over 30 liters.

5-liter Dry Bag

If you only want to store a few items and spend minimal time in or near water, a 5-liter dry bag is the perfect size. These bags are relatively small and often have shoulder straps for easy carrying, making them ideal for biking or hiking, where you just want to keep your phone, wallet, or keys safe from rain or water splashes.

30-liter Dry Bag

A 30-liter dry bag is larger and is suitable for anything from kayaking to extended backcountry trips. This size bag typically has shoulder straps and can store items like clothing, sleeping bags, food, or maps. These dry bags are often made of thicker material to withstand rougher conditions.

60-liter Dry Bag

For longer trips involving more gear, you may opt for a 60-liter dry bag. This size bag typically has backpack straps and can hold enough supplies for multi-day expeditions in the wilderness.

Many of these bags are large enough to fit several days’ worth of camping and cooking equipment and additional layers of clothing in case the weather turns bad.

How to Choose a Dry Bag

Choosing the right dry bag for your outdoor adventure can be confusing. With a range of waterproof and water-resistant fabric bags that come in various shapes, sizes, and packing options to choose from, it’s important to take the time to make an informed decision.

The key is understanding the dry bag’s features and how those components match your needs. These include durability, the size of items you need to keep dry, and activities you plan on doing during your trip.

It is also important to consider the caliber of materials used in its construction to ensure it will withstand harsh conditions.

What Features Should Be on Dry Bags?

Finding the right dry bag can be essential for exploring any body of water. It must have certain features, such as watertight closures and logo-grade fabric, to properly keep any belongings safe from the elements. Here are some of the features to look for in a dry bag.


Dry bags must be made of heavy-duty, waterproof fabric, and the material should be thick and durable. Look for a bag with watertight seams and closures, such as sealed zippers or buckles.

A reinforced bottom is also important to help keep your items from getting wet in case the bag gets dragged along the water’s surface.


You want to ensure that your dry bag fits all your belongings comfortably but is tight enough to be closed and sealed properly. Consider purchasing a larger bag if you need more storage space and adjustable straps or compression straps to help keep everything secure.

Design & Color Options

Many dry bags come with different designs and color options to choose something that suits your style. Look for bags that come in solid colors and have reflective tape to help with visibility in low-light conditions.


When choosing a dry bag, make sure it is made of materials that can withstand wear and tear from constant use. Check the seams, fabric, and closures to ensure they are all high quality and will provide maximum protection for your items.

Best Dry Bag to Choose

Selecting a dry bag for outdoor activities takes time and effort. Choosing a bag that offers durability, high waterproof protection, and is lightweight enough to take with you on hikes or camping trips is vital.

Fortunately, there are a variety of premium-quality dry bags on the market. Here are two of the best dry bags on the market we recommend.

1. NRS Heavy-Duty Bill’s Dry Bag

NRS Heavy-Duty Bill’s Dry Bag
Image Credit: Amazon

The NRS Heavy Duty Bill’s Bag is the perfect bag for adventurers! Not only does it provide extra protection, but its durable material ensures that you can easily transport it off boats, into your vehicle, and onto airplanes.

With this reliable and practical item by your side, all of life’s travels will surely be worry-free – no matter how many trips or years pass. Designed with rugged TobaTex, Bill’s Bags can withstand years of exploration.

The heavy-duty fabric provides superior waterproof protection and tear resistance, so you can confidently bring the bag anywhere.


  • Heavy-duty 21 oz PVC/polyester body
  • Provides superior waterproof protection and tear resistance.
  • Roll-down closure with adjustable side straps for improved storage and transportability.
  • Bright, vibrant colors make it easy to find in a crowded vehicle or on the beach.


  • Heavier than other dry bags available on the market.
  • Not ideal for women

2. Unplug Ultimate Adventure Bag

Unplug Ultimate Adventure Bag
Image Credit: Amazon

If you’re looking for a lightweight and waterproof option, the Unplug Ultimate Adventure Bag is your go-to option.

Offering both convenience and flexibility, it includes straps that allow you to attach the bag to backpacks, kayaks, and more – depending on where your travels lead.

The waterproof outer layer protects your items from rain, snow, and sweat – while the adjustable straps make it easy to carry. It also has a removable waterproof pouch on the inside, making it even more efficient.


  • 100% waterproof
  • Suitable for rugged outdoor adventure
  • Shock-resistant shoulder straps


  • Short rolldown top
  • The straps are too narrow
  • Undersized zipper

Dry Bags Vs. Dry Sacks

Dry bags and dry sacks are two critical pieces of outdoor gear suitable for camping trips and other outdoor activities. A dry bag is a waterproof bag made from either polyurethane-coated nylon or vinyl, designed to protect your gear from water, sand, dirt, and dust.

The seams are sealed with tape, and the closure system has a roll-top design that helps keep moisture out further.

On the other hand, a dry sack looks similar but is made of lightweight material such as a very tightly woven nylon laminate, while its closure may not be a roll-top like a dry bag.

Dry sacks also offer waterproofness, plenty enough to stow inside another bag while requiring minimal maintenance. These hardwearing options come in all sizes ranging from just stuff sacks to large epic backpacks depending on the activity you have in mind and what you need to bring along.


All in all, a dry bag can be an excellent asset for camping, fishing, or other outdoor activities. This helps to keep your items safe from water damage.

As mentioned previously, choosing the right size and material for your usage scenario is important. Consider if you need extra durability for climbing or paddling before purchasing.

It’s also beneficial to consider the capacity of the dry bag and whether it has multiple compartments for better organization. I hope this post has answered the question of what is a dry bag and provided you with helpful information.

You can go on any adventure with a dry bag knowing your items are safe from water damage. This allows you to focus on enjoying the outdoors and having an enjoyable time.