Best Kayaking Dry-bags

Best Kayaking Dry-bags

Aside from your kayak and paddle, a kayaking dry-bag might easily be the most essential piece of equipment you will need during your kayaking outings.

Perhaps, you wonder why you would need a dry-bag. Well, it’s mainly because it will keep all your sensitive and electronic equipment away from the water in the case that your kayak capsizes. 

So what’s the best kayaking dry-bag? We would say the most popular is the SealLine Baja Dry-bag, thanks to its best general performance. It’s not too big or too small, and it’s highly water-resistant, even though its design may not be as attractive. 

However, many factors affect the selection of a dry bag; in some cases, you may prefer some features above others. That’s why today, we want to tell you everything you need to know to choose the best kayaking dry-bags!

What is a dry-bag, and how does it work?

A dry-bag is a flexible, cylindrical-shaped bag that is generally made of plastic or waterproof fabric that seals in a certain way to prevent the entry of water.

But how does it manage to keep its contents dry? Well, the secret lays as much in the construction of the bag as in the way it closes.

Step by step, the process would be as follows:

  • Fill the bag up to ¾ of its total capacity.
  • Squeeze out the excess air, align the top seals, and close it.
  • Fold it down at least three times. This is critical, as it will create a watertight seal.
  • Clip the top buckles together.

Keep in mind that, although dry-bags are designed to keep water away from its contents, it does not mean they are submersible.

Sure, a high-quality dry-bag may survive being submerged to a certain depth. But it’s not made to endure high depths.

Choosing a dry bag

There are many different types and brands of dry bags to choose from, To help you choose, here is a quick review of some of the top-rated dry-bags on the market.

 Sea to Summit Big River Dry-bag:

With its double stitching and reinforced seams, the Big River is one sure bet when it comes to keeping your belongings safe while out kayaking.

Made out of TPU laminated nylon fabric, this heavy-duty, high-durability bag comes in five sizes (5, 8, 13, 20, and 35 litres). So there is one that’s sure to suit your needs! 

Added to this convenience, the Big River features D-Ring attachments, as well as strong lashing loops. Carrying it around will not be an issue.

 iDRYBAG Waterproof Dry-bag:

Defined by some as “A kayaker’s dream come true,” the iDRYBAG is made from 500D scratch-proof, water-resistant vinyl fabric. And for your convenience, it comes in 3 sizes (20, 30, 40 litres).

This backpack style bag also has a unique closing system for extra tightness, as well as inside and outside pouches for better gear distribution.

Other notable features of this bag are its highly visible reflective strip -so you are safe while paddling at night-, it also has an ergonomic, back-care design.

SealLine Baja Dry-bag:

The Baja Dry-bag provides the most reliable water protection due to its scrim-reinforced vinyl fabric and high-quality polyurethane coating.

Although a more traditional bag, the Baja’s extra impermeability, joined with its variety (it comes in six sizes)  makes it the most versatile dry-bag on the market. And, of course, the favourite of most users and kayak experts.

“Don’t Get Fooled Again”: common mistakes when choosing a kayak dry-bag

Among the most common problems faced when shopping for a kayaking trip is the confusion between impermeable dry-bags and mere water-resistant ones – or Dry Sacks -.

 So what is the difference, you say?

  • Dry-bags are designed to prioritise durability and impermeability. Their principal function is protecting valuable equipment in the event of total immersion. Because they are not essentially meant to be carried on your back -although there are some backpack-style ones- weight is not much of an issue. But pay attention to this. Vinyl dry-bags are more durable but also a bit stiff and heftier than Nylon fabric bags. Which, in turn, are lighter and flexible but far less resistant.
  • Dry Sacks, on the other hand, are smaller, lightweight bags, more intended to organise gear inside your primary dry-bag than to be the principal watertight protection. Most dry sacks have zipper-type seals, making them water-resistant. But they’re not meant to be submerged, as there is a high possibility that they will leak.

It must be said that this confusion has been created -at least in part- by certain brands commercialising products as “dry-bags” when they are dry sacks. So be careful when picking yours, and pay attention to this guide to choose the best kayaking dry-bag!

Packing In

The first thing you need to assess here is how much equipment and supplies you will require during your trip and how much weight you can carry.

The Right Stuff

To choose what type of bag works best for you, ask yourself. Does it need to be durable, or are you going for lightweight and flexibility?

An –ideal- dry-bags size would be anything between 8-20 litres. Depending on what kind of adventures you are embarking on. If you’re going for the long run, we would recommend carrying a 30 litre, shoulder-strapped bag.

Once you have determined this, you will need to classify your gear into multiple bags of average size -2 or 5 litres are perfect for this. Choosing dry sacks with different-colours will also help you to organise your gear better, and it also saves time when looking for specific equipment.

Where to put things?

 Having many different-sized bags is the best way to make your packing –and trip- easier. 

  • Two-litre bags are ideal for protecting your maps, keys, and wallet. They are also great for keeping toiletries in, to avoid any unwanted spills.
  • Five-litre bags are the most versatile due to their size and capacity. Not only can you keep one strapped to your main bag for easy access, but you can also save two more rolled up inside.
  • Ten-litre bags are perfect for those trips that require you to take a set of spare clothes. They will fit inside perfectly, as well as some other camping items if needed. 
  • Ten-litre and up, your bag must have a shoulder strap. Sure, the folded and buckled up top forms a natural handle. But at this size and weight, it will be prone to breaking or hurting your hand.

Keeping it Close

We did not mention mobile phones among the items you can store in a dry-bag because it’s something you might probably want to keep as close as you can.

Whether it is for safety reasons or in case you need to take a quick photograph, the market is full of high-quality waterproof protective cover cases from which to choose.

Testing Out

This step is crucial, as it will prove if you are buying the best kayaking dry-bag for you or not. And even more importantly, we’ll know if it’s going to keep our gear safe or not. The process goes like this:

  • Fill your bag with water halfway up.
  • Keep the air inside the bag instead of forcing it out as you would usually do.
  • Roll it down from the top, but this time, applying pressure to the bag.
  • Keep pressuring for a minute, and look closely to see if there are leaks through the seams.

 Another thing this test proves is why roll-top bags are safer than ziplock-style ones. To make it clear: in the event of excessive pressure, zipper seals will just pop right open.

If this were to happen to a roll-top dry-bag, the seams are more likely to give in before its watertight seal does. That’s what we call true-protection!

Maintenance / Storage

Kayaking dry-bags demand almost no maintenance at all. Rinse with fresh water and let them air dry after every use, then you just store them away from the sun. 

Soiled bags are nothing to worry about, just scrub with a little soap and water, and you are good to go! This will keep your bags in top shape for many years.

With that being said, we sure hope you have learnt all there is to keep your kayaking gear safe and choosing the right kayaking dry-bag. Remember always to keep your bags organised and sealed correctly. Paddle on!

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