How Do You Decide The Size And Type Of Dry Bag You Need?

Learn how to choose the perfect dry bag for your outdoor adventures. Consider factors like purpose, capacity, closure system, material, and carrying options.

Are you preparing for your next outdoor adventure and wondering how to choose the perfect dry bag? Well, fret no more! This article is here to guide you through the process of deciding the size and type of dry bag that suits your needs. Whether you’re planning a relaxing day at the beach or a thrilling whitewater rafting trip, we’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of dry bags together!

Considerations for Choosing a Dry Bag

When it comes to choosing a dry bag, there are several factors you need to take into consideration to ensure that you find the right one for your needs. These considerations include the purpose and activities you will be using the dry bag for, the capacity or volume you require, the closure system that suits your preferences, the material and durability of the bag, and the carrying options it offers. By carefully considering each of these factors, you can make an informed decision and find a dry bag that will meet your requirements perfectly.

Purposes and Activities

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a dry bag is the purpose and activities you will be using it for. Different dry bags are designed to cater to specific activities, so it’s essential to choose one that is specifically suited to your needs.

Water Sports and Boating

If you’re into water sports or boating, you’ll need a dry bag that is fully waterproof and can withstand exposure to water for extended periods. Look for a dry bag that offers excellent protection against splashes, waves, and even submersion. Additionally, consider a size that can accommodate your gear, such as wetsuits, snorkeling equipment, or extra clothes.

Camping and Hiking

For camping and hiking trips, you’ll need a dry bag that is not only waterproof but also durable enough to withstand rough terrains and outdoor elements. Look for a dry bag with a sturdy material that can resist abrasions, punctures, and tears. Consider the size and volume that can hold your camping gear, clothes, and food, while also being easy to carry during your adventures.

See also  Unlock Kayak Storage Solutions For Organized Paddling

Travel and Commuting

If you’re a frequent traveler or commuter, a dry bag can come in handy to protect your belongings from rain or accidental spills. Look for a compact and lightweight dry bag that is easy to pack in your luggage or carry on your daily commute. Consider a closure system that allows quick and easy access to your belongings, as well as multiple carrying options for versatility.

Capacity or Volume

The next consideration when choosing a dry bag is its capacity or volume. Assessing your needs and determining the appropriate size is crucial to ensure that the dry bag can accommodate all your gear and belongings.

Assessing Your Needs

To determine the capacity you require, consider the specific items you plan to carry in the dry bag. Make a list of all the essential gear, clothing, and equipment you’ll want to keep dry. This will give you an idea of how much space you’ll need.

Size and Weight Considerations

When it comes to size, you’ll want a dry bag that is large enough to fit all your belongings comfortably, but not excessively oversized, as this can make it cumbersome to carry. Consider the weight of the dry bag itself, as a lightweight option can be beneficial if you plan to carry it for extended periods.

Closure System

The closure system of a dry bag is crucial in ensuring its waterproof capabilities. There are several types of closure systems to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Roll-Top Closure

The most common type of closure system is the roll-top closure. This involves folding the opening of the dry bag several times and securing it with a buckle or clip. Roll-top closures are known for their reliability and ability to create a watertight seal. They are also easy to use and allow for variable packing sizes.

Zipper Closure

Some dry bags feature a zipper closure, similar to a traditional backpack or duffel bag. Zipper closures offer quick and easy access to your belongings, but they can be less reliable in terms of maintaining a waterproof seal. However, if you are primarily using the dry bag for travel or commuting, where submersion is less likely, a zipper closure may be a convenient option.

Hybrid Closure

Hybrid closure systems combine elements of both roll-top and zipper closures. These closures often feature a roll-top opening with an additional zipper for quicker access to the contents. This type of closure can provide a good balance between convenience and waterproofing.

See also  Gear Up Right: Seasonal Paddling Checklist Breakdown

Material and Durability

The material and durability of a dry bag play a significant role in its overall performance and lifespan. Different materials offer varying levels of strength, resistance to tears and punctures, and overall durability.


Nylon is a popular material for dry bags due to its excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It is lightweight, resistant to abrasions, and can withstand rigorous outdoor activities. Nylon dry bags are known for their durability and can handle rough terrains without incurring damage.


Polyester dry bags are another popular choice, offering similar durability to nylon. Polyester is inherently resistant to moisture and UV rays, making it an excellent choice for outdoor activities. In addition, it is also resistant to mildew and mold, ensuring that your gear remains fresh and dry.


Some dry bags are made of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), a material known for its exceptional durability and flexibility. TPU is highly resistant to abrasions, punctures, and tears. It also offers excellent UV resistance and remains flexible even in freezing temperatures.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a versatile and commonly used material for dry bags. It is known for its durability, waterproofing capabilities, and resistance to various environmental conditions. PVC dry bags are often more budget-friendly compared to other materials.

Laminated Fabrics

Many dry bags feature laminated fabrics, which are typically nylon or polyester coated with a waterproof layer. Laminated fabrics provide an extra layer of protection against water and enhance the overall durability of the bag.

Carrying Options

When choosing a dry bag, it’s important to consider the carrying options it offers. The right carrying option can make a significant difference in terms of comfort and convenience during your outdoor activities or travels.

Backpack Straps

Dry bags with backpack straps offer a hands-free carrying option, distributing the weight evenly across your shoulders and back. This is especially useful for longer hikes or when you have a significant amount of gear to carry. Look for dry bags with padded and adjustable straps for added comfort.

Shoulder Straps

Some dry bags come with shoulder straps, allowing you to carry the bag crossbody or over your shoulder. This option provides easy access to your belongings while keeping your hands free. Adjustable and padded shoulder straps can make carrying more comfortable, especially when the bag is loaded with heavy gear.

Handle and D-ring

A handle and D-ring combination allows you to carry the dry bag like a traditional duffel bag. This carrying option is convenient when you need quick access to your belongings or when you want to hang the dry bag up to dry. Look for a handle with a comfortable grip and a durable D-ring that can withstand weight.

See also  Selecting The Perfect PFD For Your Paddling Trip

Attachment Points

Many dry bags feature attachment points or lash points that allow you to secure the bag to other equipment or gear. This can be useful when you need to strap the dry bag to a kayak, canoe, or bike. Consider the placement and number of attachment points if you plan to use the dry bag for specific activities.

Additional Features to Consider

In addition to the main considerations, there are several additional features you may want to take into account when choosing a dry bag.

Waterproof Rating

Check the waterproof rating of the dry bag, often indicated by an IPX rating. The higher the rating, the more waterproof the bag is. This can give you an idea of how well the dry bag will protect your belongings against water infiltration.

Color and Visibility

Consider choosing a dry bag with high-visibility colors, such as bright yellow or orange. These colors can make it easier for you to locate your bag in low-light or crowded environments. Reflective accents or strips can also enhance visibility and safety.

Internal Organization

Some dry bags offer internal compartments or pockets to help you stay organized. These compartments can be useful for separating wet and dry items or organizing smaller belongings such as keys, phones, and wallets. Consider your organizational needs when selecting a dry bag.

Exterior Pockets

Exterior pockets on a dry bag can provide quick and easy access to frequently used items, such as maps, snacks, or a water bottle. These pockets can be especially handy if the dry bag is packed tightly, as they allow you to retrieve items without having to open the main compartment.

Considering Brand and Budget

When choosing a dry bag, it’s also worth considering the brand and your budget. Researching different brands and reading reviews can give you valuable insights into the quality, performance, and customer satisfaction of various dry bag options. Additionally, setting a budget beforehand can help narrow down your choices and ensure you find a dry bag that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, choosing the right dry bag involves carefully considering several factors. By assessing the purposes and activities you’ll be using the dry bag for, determining the appropriate capacity, selecting a suitable closure system, evaluating the material and durability, and considering the carrying options, you can find a dry bag that matches your specific requirements. Don’t forget to keep additional features, brand reputation, and budget in mind. With the right dry bag, you can enjoy your adventures while keeping your gear safe and dry.