Which dry bags are the best?

If you’re planning on spending a day on the open water or at the beach or going on an adventure where you might get caught out in bad weather, you need a reliable way to keep your things dry, and a bag quality waterproof is the way to do it. These ensure that your clothes, electronics and other important items stay dry no matter where you go and what you do.

If you’re using it to protect items that can be permanently damaged by water, you want a waterproof bag with sturdy materials and a reliable closure system made by a trusted brand. The Earth Pak meets all these requirements and comes in several sizes, all of which include a bonus waterproof mini pouch for a smartphone.

What to know before buying a dry bag

Waterproof bags vs dry bags

If you’re looking for a waterproof bag, you probably want something that can withstand brief periods of submersion while keeping the contents safe versus something that can withstand just a little rain. These are often referred to as dry bags and offer the highest level of protection. If you buy a bag labeled waterproof but not also labeled as a waterproof bag, be sure to read the product details carefully to make sure it actually meets your needs, as some may only be water resistant.

Closing

Almost all dry bags use a roll closure combined with buckles and either Velcro or a zipper. This style of closure can feel a little strange and take some getting used to, so you might want to practice it a few times without any valuables inside the bag to make sure you’re doing it right. When it comes to a zipper or Velcro, neither is inherently better than the other since it’s the roll-top that keeps water out of the bag. That said, zippers should be made from a water-resistant material and you should rinse them after exposure to salt water to minimize the chance of corrosion or salt build-up causing them to stick.

Capacity

Dry bags come in a wide range of capacities, from small pouches only suitable for carrying a phone or wallet to large 100 liter duffel style bags. Before you buy one, consider your needs so you get one that fits everything you want to carry, but isn’t so big that it becomes unnecessarily bulky. The majority of people opt for a 10, 15 or 20 liter option. A 10 liter option is large enough to hold a few valuables and a single towel or change of clothes. A 20 liter bag can hold enough stuff for two people.

What to Look for in a Quality Dry Bag

Pockets

Most dry bags have one main compartment where you put all the stuff you want to keep dry. Some models also feature a small outer pocket, although these are often only water resistant, so should not be used to hold valuables that cannot get wet.

Adjustable shoulder strap

The majority of dry bags have at least one shoulder strap and backpack type models have two. Whichever type you choose, it’s important that the straps provide enough adjustability so you can carry the bag comfortably. You may find that sometimes you prefer the bag to be close to the body, such as when walking around with it, but prefer to extend the strap as much as possible when swimming with the bag next to you.

Handle

Most dry bags with wheels have a natural handle where you clip the top to keep it closed. Some also feature an additional handle on the side that allows for convenient retrieval from the ground, the bottom of a boat or the trunk of a car. Extra large bags may have a grab handle on both sides so two people can work together to carry them.

Elastic cords

Some dry bags feature an elastic strap on the outside to attach additional gear to the outside. It’s a convenient way to add extra load capacity to a bag without having to expand it.

Supplements

Many waterproof dry bags these days come with an additional mini dry bag that comes with the purchase. These are designed to hold phones, wallets, and other small items that you might not want to fit in the main compartment of the larger bag.

How much you can expect to spend on a dry bag

The majority of dry bags cost between $10 and $50. There are very high quality models with premium features that can cost up to $300.

FAQ dry bag

Do dry bags float?

A. Most dry bags themselves do not float. However, if properly sealed, the air inside can keep them buoyant enough to float on water even when containing contents. If dry bags fall into water while open and unsealed, they sink slowest if they have contents inside.

How do I prevent mold from growing on my dry bag?

A. The best way to prevent mildew from growing on your dry bag is to let it dry completely inside and out before storing it away. To do this, simply leave it in the open air overnight after using it. Ideally, you should leave it hanging (or standing if it has enough structure) with the opening down so that the water inside can slowly drain away.

What is the best dry bag to buy?

Top waterproof bag

Earth Bundle

What do you want to know: This classic waterproof dry bag features durable construction and is available in multiple sizes and colors to meet most needs.

What you will love: It has a zippered pocket on the outside to store items you want quick access to, and it comes with a small waterproof cell phone case.

What you should consider: Some users have had issues with its level of waterproofing.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Top waterproof bag for the money

Piscifun Dry Bag waterproof backpack

Piscifun Dry Bag waterproof backpack

What do you want to know: The Piscifun dry bag has some practical features that others lack, including backpack-style carry straps, but it still comes at a reasonable price.

What you will love: It is equipped with an external mesh pocket and elastic compression straps to increase its carrying capacity while keeping it compact when you are not carrying a heavy load. It has a well-placed grab handle.

What you should consider: The overall build quality isn’t as good as some others.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Gonex waterproof sports bag

Gonex Extra Large Waterproof Duffel Bag

What do you want to know: If you’re carrying stuff for multiple people or going on a long excursion, this heavy-duty large duffel bag is a smart choice.

What you will love: It features grab handles on both sides so two people can work together to carry it when heavily loaded with gear. There’s a see-through ID holder and a perforated outer pocket for items that may get wet but you want to be able to retrieve quickly.

What you should consider: Lighter colors can easily scuff during air travel.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

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Brett Dvoretzwritten for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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