Dry bags have a vital responsibility — protecting your gear. Whether your raft gets flipped, you take a spill in a creek, or you get caught in an unexpected downpour, it’s essential that clothing, sleeping bags, and other necessities stay dry.
If your gear has ever been soaked in the wilderness, you know how difficult it can be, both physically and mentally. We’ve been there, and it inspired our hunt for the best dry bags around.
Whether you’re backpacking, paddling through a gorge, hunting with a fourth-season elk tag, carrying emergency supplies, or linking up national parks by motorcycle, there are plenty of adventures where a dry bag becomes a necessity.
There are a ton of dry bag sizes and applications, and a single bag won’t suit every person. To help you find the right bag for your adventure, we’ve highlighted a variety of options. If you need help deciding, check out our buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart at the end of this article.
If you know what you’re looking for, feel free to click ahead to the best dry bags in each category below:
- Best Overall Dry Bag
- Best Budget Dry Bag
- Best Compression Sack Dry Bag
- Best First Aid Kit Dry Bag
- Best of the Rest
The Best Dry Bags of 2022
Best Overall Dry Bag: YETI Panga 75 Dry Duffel
The Panga ($350) stands out among waterproof duffel designs. It’s been a few years since this YETI bag was released, and we’ve been continuously impressed. It’s super durable, holds a ton of gear (the 75L is 11 x 12 x 15.5 inches), and is incredibly adaptable in the ways it can be strapped to a boat. The Panga comes in 50L, 75L, and 100L versions.
One of our favorite qualities of this duffel is the variety of tie-down points, which makes rigging up the gear super easy and helps keep everything tight.
Six lash points on the exterior of the bag are uniquely arranged in a line, like a daisy chain. And there are four handles — two on the top and two on the bottom — plus four points where the comfortable backpack-style dry-haul straps attach.
The HydroLok zipper performed super well, is comfortable to pull, and has lasted season after season. We’d never before used a dry bag with a zipper closure, but not a drop of moisture got into our bag on the entirety of our trips. We appreciate the ease of how the bag opens like a duffel, so we don’t need to dump all of the contents (like with a top-loading dry bag) out to find what we need.
The EVA-molded bottom is waterproof and rugged, and the laminated, high-density nylon shell is thick enough that even the long nails of an excited 60-pound husky didn’t puncture the walls.
We’ve checked the Panga countless times while flying, stuffed it to the gills, and submersed it regularly. Through it all, our gear has come back dry, safe, and protected. Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s one that will last. For a wide range of uses, we’re confident it’s the best dry bag you’ll find.
- Material: High-density, puncture-resistant nylon shell with EVA-molded bottom
- Closure: HydroLok zipper
- Gear capacity (L) options: 50, 75, 100
- Dimensions: 28″ x 15.5″ x 11″ (75L)
- Weight: 2,767 g
- Features: 2 interior mesh pockets, removable shoulder straps, multiple lash points
- Best use: Multiday paddle trips, road trips with open-bed truck
- Extremely durable
- Excellent, ergonomic, burly waterproof zipper
- Ample space for carrying apparel and gear
- Higher investment
- Too large for some objectives
- Not easily foldable for storage
Best Budget Dry Bag: NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag 65L
Bill’s Bag ($160) is simple, classic, and reliable — and about one-third the price of comparable bags. We like that the bag is durable, can hold all our apparel for overnight trips, and is also malleable enough that it can pack down and fit as a day bag on the front of a standup paddleboard.
Plus, the fold-down closure system is soft and easy to use, which we liked for hiking with the dry bag and also for using the bag on a mountain lake to paddle.
The adjustable backpack harness with padded shoulder straps is convenient but removable, which is key for reducing potential snags. The four compression straps of Bill’s Bag help condense and cement gear into place, and the aluminum fasteners on the straps are dependable.
One drawback: fold-down or roll tops are easy to use, but there’s room for user error. Make sure your roll is tight, and practice before you go. Once you’ve confidently sealed the roll-top system, you’ll have one of the best dry bags for the price.
- Material: Durable PVC and polyester
- Closure: Waterproof roll-top closure with magnetic StormStrip seal
- Gear capacity (L) options: 65, 110
- Dimensions: 14″ x 24″ (65L)
- Weight: 1,899 g
- Features: Removable, adjustable shoulder strap harness with a chest clip
- Best use: Multiday and single-day paddle trips
- Padded shoulder straps
- Lower price point
- Not as robust as other higher-priced dry bags
- Top-loading means you’ll need to dig to the bottom to find items
- Some users noted the StormStrip closure seal was not very durable
Best Compression Sack Dry Bag: Sea to Summit 14L eVent Compression Dry Sack
Trying to cram as much gear into your bag as possible? It’s time you met the eVent Compression Dry Sack ($30-41). With a simple yet innovative design, condensing gear has never been so easy.
The design’s 70-denier nylon waterproof fabric keeps water out, and the eVent waterproof-yet-air-permeable base allows air to expel when the straps are tugged to tighten the load. Double-stitched waterproof seams are sealed with tape to keep out moisture.
These dry bags are particularly useful for maximizing space with big, compressible items like down blankets or jackets. From clothing to pillows, you just cram it in and evenly cinch it down with the four straps. We even used the 14L ($33) for a large sleeping bag. The sack packed down the bulky bag with little energy and no hassle.
We’ve used the Event Compression dry sack for several years now. Even after lots of use, it shows little signs of wear. If you’re intent on saving space while keeping essential gear dry, this might be the best dry bag for you.
- Material: PU-coated 70-denier nylon and 40-denier nylon and eVent laminate base
- Closure: Roll-top with wrap-around compression straps
- Gear capacity (L) options: 6, 10, 14, 20, 30
- Dimensions: 8″ x 18″
- Weight: 147 g
- Features: Compression straps!
- Best use: Backpacking, bikepacking, hiking
- Helps to pack down space-consuming apparel and gear
- Four pull straps make the compression process easy
- Very lightweight
- Exterior material is not the most robust we tested
- Not a bag we’d trust for full submersion
Best First-Aid Kit Dry Bag: Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack
If you’re ever in an emergency scenario, the last thing you want to need to remember is what box, bin, or bag carries the emergency supplies. To help make high-adrenaline moments more manageable, Sea to Summit designed a First Aid Dry Sack ($13) with the universal first aid symbol, label, and bright red color.
The sizes range from day use (1 L) to overnight use (3 L) to expedition size (5 L). Of course, depending on the time of year, season, environment, group size, and risks to manage, you might need a kit that’s larger or smaller than their recommended categories.
Each bag features a roll-top closure, 70-denier nylon, and a clear thermoplastic urethane (TPU) window so you can get a glance at the contained items.
Overall, the design of the First Aid Dry Sack is simple and straightforward. With three full rolls down, the waterproof bag should keep your supplies free from moisture.
- Material: 70-denier waterproof fabric that’s PVC-free
- Closure: Roll-top with 5/8″ buckle
- Gear capacity (L) options: 1, 3, 5
- Dimensions: 8.6″ x 5.1″ x 11″ (5L bag)
- Weight: 54 g
- Features: First-Aid Kit label and bright red color, D-ring attachment point at buckle, designed to be compatible with a 5/8″ Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver)
- Best use: Backpacking, bikepacking, hiking, skiing, paddling, hunting
- Universal first aid kit symbol and bright red color for quick identification
- Clear TPU window to see inside bag
- Very lightweight
- The TPU window could be larger
- D-ring could be a bit larger
Best of the Rest
We’re a big fan of the OtterBox Yampa’s ergonomics and shape. This design expands to a really large capacity, so it can store many or large items, yet it packs down, too. We loaded the backpack dry duffel with apparel and camp gear for an overnight standup paddleboard trip and determined the 105L dry bag is worth the price tag ($400).
The backpack harness and neoprene shoulder pads are noteworthy for comfort, both for the approach and hike-out. Three large handles and two hard lash points provide versatility for transport and mounting on boats. Two easy-to-use big clips help compress the bag’s size.
On the inside, the Yampa dry bag is lined with a low-density foam, which we noticed protected and padded our belongings. The same padded texture is along the back panel, and it’s super cushy, which is great for our back and shoulders, especially for adventurers with chronic upper back or neck pain.
For those that detest rolling dry bags, we have high praise for this top-notch zipper. It’s smooth to use and successfully kept all our stuff dry. There’s no way we can mess up a zipper, and we know that it’s closed with that final tug.
Note: This item appears to be discontinued, so get it while it lasts!
- Material: Waterproof TPU-coated nylon plus low-density foam
- Closure: Waterproof zipper and 2 buckles
- Gear capacity (L) options: 105
- Dimensions: 27″ x 17.7″ x 17.7″
- Weight: 3,076 g
- Features: Multiple handles and tie-down points, interior pockets, padded shoulder straps
- Best use: Multiday river trips, road trips with open-bed truck
- Super tenacious
- Fairly comfortable to carry as a loaded pack
- Apparently discontinued — get it while it lasts
- Pricier investment
- Doesn’t flatten out well for storage
- Not the lightest choice
The quality and durability of the 22L Chattooga ($134) set a high bar among dry bag standards. At 10 x 19.25 x 9.5 inches, this duffel is an ideal day bag for anytime access to important gear. We liked using the dry bag to carry goods for ourselves and others on a standup paddleboard day trip in the mountains.
Four hard lash points create durable tiedowns, and two compression straps squeeze the load together. We like that the convenient carry handle is lightly padded for comfort.
Plus, the ZipDry closure on this bag is bombproof. We could hardly get it open once it was closed, which is reassuring but can also be slightly annoying. It’s basically a heavy-duty ziplock bag closure that ensures no water, animal, or dust particle is getting inside that bag.
The ZipDry closure tab is made from a new, super-strong material, Armathane, which makes for an even longer lifespan. In 2020, the brand even added a clear reinforcement panel on the top of the sides for additional durability.
- Material: 420-denier PU-coated CORDURA nylon blend
- Closure: ZipDry push-closure (imagine an extremely tough ziplock bag closure) that rolls down and includes two buckled straps
- Gear capacity (L) options: 22
- Dimensions: 10″ x 19.25″ x 9.5″
- Weight: 726 g
- Features: Several hard lash points, carry handles
- Best use: Everyday use including kayaking, SUPing, sailing, first-aid kit for group expedition, hunting
- Super-high-quality materials
- Long-lasting construction
- Very tough closure seal that keeps out water
- The closure can be difficult to get open
- Higher price for the capacity
Sea to Summit’s Big River Dry Bags have been a staple for watergoers everywhere for a while now. The bags come in different sizes, are made with durable material, and our staff’s bags have lasted for years. We love a whole lot about these dry bags: their durability, features like lash points, and price, to name a few!
The Big River Dry Bags come in sizes ranging from 3L, 5L, 8L, 13L, 20L, 35L, to 65L ($18-85). They are made with TPU-laminated 420-denier nylon, Hypalon attachment points and lash points, fully taped reinforced seams, and an oval-shaped base to resist rolling around.
This assortment of bags weighs from 3 to 10.3 ounces. They are waterproof, a good balance between lightweight and durable, and just plain great for protecting your gear.
If you are organizing a group whitewater or river trip, or even a friends and family float trip, these are probably the best dry bags for easy organization and packing; with choices of six different colors across various sizes, it’s easy to color-coordinate bags with contents.
- Material: PVC-free and TPU-laminated 420-denier nylon with double-stitched and taped seams
- Closure: Roll-top plus a buckle closure
- Gear capacity (L) options: 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, to 65
- Dimensions: 15″ x 10″ x 33″ (65L bag with top rolled three times)
- Weight: 292 g
- Features: Designed to be compatible with a ¾-in. Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver), lash points
- Best use: Kayaking, canoeing, SUPing, rafting, motorcycle tours, bikepacking
- Easy to transport
- Roll-top requires some excellent organization (unless you want to dump out the contents often!)
- Not the most robust exterior we’ve tested
This new dry bag from Sea to Summit marries a lightweight (but still protective) dry bag fabric with the carrying convenience of a hands-free bag.
The Sea to Summit Lightweight Sling Dry Bag ($23) is 10 or 20 L, and can work for day or overnight river trips. It’s made with a 70-denier waterproof fabric with a 10,000mm water column rating, a Hypalon durable roll-top closure, and a D-ring attachment point at the buckle. At first, we were a bit skeptical of the sling design, but it carries great.
The other great feature of this dry bag is the roll-top closure and buckle configuration. The strap is on a swivel ring, so it always orients the right way — making this bag just as easy to use as any other rolltop.
- Material: 70-denier nylon with fully taped seams and a polyurethane coating
- Closure: Roll-top with buckle
- Gear capacity (L) options: 10, 20
- Dimensions: 18.5″ x 7.5″ x 4.9″ (10L bag)
- Weight: 90 g
- Features: Over-the-shoulder strap for travel, D-ring attachment at the buckle, designed to be compatible with a 5/8-in. Field Repair Buckle that can easily replace a broken buckle (with a Phillips head screwdriver)
- Best use: Paddlesports, beach days
- Very lightweight
- Includes adjustable shoulder strap for over-the-shoulder carry
- Low cost
- Shoulder strap is not padded
- Not the toughest of materials
If you’ve never used a dry bag with a valve, it’s time you tried it. Until we tried this design, we’d never been able to get this much air out of our dry bag with so much ease. The PurgeAir valve is ingenious.
That’s on top of the Discovery Dry Bag’s other awesome feature: visibility (not just a plastic window) via the translucent fabric. Given the bag is uniquely translucent, it’s easy to spot gear without unnecessarily unraveling the roll top.
One caveat: the fully welded seams are durable and reinforce waterproofness, but the exterior PVC-free material is not very durable. We carabiner-clipped a half-loaded 10L Discovery View Dry Bag to another dry-bag backpack for a steep 0.2-mile approach hike to the water’s edge. After setting down the gear for a quick water break in the heat, a bush poked tiny holes in the Discovery.
We love the soft feeling of the material and the see-through aspect, but we recommend you keep it inside another, more rugged dry bag. Between the convenient translucence and quick-purge valve, this is the bag to choose for stashing your phone, hat, puffy, or any other accessories you may want throughout the day.
- Material: PVC-free polyurethane film body and a polyurethane-coated polyester bottom
- Closure: Roll-top with a buckle
- Gear capacity (L) options: 5, 10, 20, 30
- Dimensions: 14.5″ x 8.5″ x 5″ (10L bag)
- Weight: 184 g
- Features: PurgeAir waterproof valve helps dump air
- Best use: Packing items like apparel or food inside a more durable backpacking bag, duffel, or dry bag
- Super lightweight
- Transparency helps find items before pouring out contents
- The PurgeAir valve helps close up the bag without extra air
- Not puncture-resistant, so be careful around rocks, cacti, or other pointy vegetation!
- Don’t dunk — not submersible
Dry Bags Comparison Chart
|Dry Bag||Price||Closure||Capacity (L)||Dimensions||Weight|
|YETI Panga 75 Dry Duffe||$350||HydroLok zipper||50, 75, 100||28″ x 15.5″ x 11″||6 lbs., 10 oz.|
|NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag 65L||$160||Waterproof roll-top closure with magnetic StormStrip seal||65, 110||14″ x 24″||4 lbs., 3 oz.|
|Sea to Summit 14L eVent Compression Dry Sack||$30-41||Roll-top with wrap-around compression straps||6, 10, 14, 20, 30||8″ x 18″||5.2 oz.|
|Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack||$13||Roll-top with 5/8-inch buckle||1, 3, 5||8.6″ x 5.1″ x 11″ (5L)||2 oz.|
|OtterBox Yampa 105 Dry Duffle||$400||Waterproof zipper and two buckles||105||27″ x 17.7″ x 17.7″||6 lbs., 8 oz.|
|Watershed Chattooga 22L||$134||ZipDry push-closure that rolls down and includes two buckled straps||22||10″ x 19.25″ x 9.5″||1 lb., 10 oz.|
|Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags||$18-85||Roll-top plus a buckle closure||3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, to 65||15″ x 10″ x 33″. (65L)||10.3 oz.|
|Sea to Summit Lightweight Sling Dry Bag||$23||Roll-top with buckle||10, 20||18.5″ x 7.5″ x 4.9″ (10L)||3.2 oz.|
|SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag||$35-58||Roll-top with a buckle||5, 10, 20, 30||14.5″ x 8.5″ x 5″ (10L)||6.5 oz.|
Why You Should Trust Us
On top of extensive research, we enjoyed putting these dry bags to the test.
Our GearJunkie gear testers ranged from a professional outdoor photographer to search-and-rescue personnel, expert and recreational standup paddleboarders, and expeditionists. These dry bags protected our overnight apparel, camp gear, and electronics on back-to-back water-travel days throughout the West from Utah to Colorado’s central mountains.
We took these bags on morning and afternoon outings as well as multiday river trips, in whitewater and on flat water through canyons and ravines and across wide-open lakes.
Contributor Morgan Tilton has a self-supported first descent down the 100-mile wild whitewater of Escalante River in Utah on SUP with four friends. Editor Mary Murphy is an avid single-day and overnight paddleboarder as well.
Our metrics included waterproofness, ergonomics, ease of use, waterproofness, flexibility, accessories such as pockets and padded straps, simplicity of closure, and durability across a range of sizes and price tags. To find the best of the best, we only considered the highest-rated, most popular, and best-selling dry bags on the market.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Dry Bag
Dry bags might seem simple, but they’re incredibly diverse. Each design complements specific water activities, outdoor needs, and personal preferences.
Size and Fit
A few of the primary factors to consider when choosing a dry bag are the shape, capacity, and straps. Will the bag fit where it needs to be stowed, and how far will it need to be carried? When the bag is loaded, is the carry system ergonomic for the bag user?
Some larger dry bags have backpack straps for easier transport that are also removable, which decreases the chance of a snag.
After use, it’s essential to consider how easily the bag can be packed down, flattened, and stored — especially for folks without a garage or much storage space.
The durability of the dry bag handles, lash points, straps, and material is crucial. Will the exterior withstand environmental encounters like rigid juniper branches along the river, thorny bushes on the trail’s edge, transport over boulder-strewn banks, or a dog’s sharp nails?
Look for an extra layer of waterproof, durable material on the bottom of the bag and where it will experience high use. Lash points can be hard or soft, and strap variations include those for carry or compression.
Obviously, the bag needs to be waterproof, and the closure system needs to completely keep water out — even when submerged. And to top it off, the closure should be easy to use. Both zippers and roll-top bags require you to use them properly.
Be sure to fully close your zippers and tightly roll your bags for a waterproof seal.
What size dry bag should I buy?
If you are a minimalist paddler and just want a dry bag for the essentials: phone, keys, GPS device, a 3-10L dry bag works great. The same goes for beginner paddlers. If this is your first dry bag purchase, start with one on the smaller volume side.
If you are running a full day or longer day trips, we find an additional 10-20L bag to be helpful — this can hold anything from your extra layers to a camp chair to a packed lunch and more.
Ultimately, the size of the dry bag you need depends on a lot of different factors: the length of your trip, the time of year, the amount and weight of your gear, and how often you’ll be hitting the water.
You’ll also want to consider factors like durability and price. Are you going to be using that 5L dry bag on a weekly basis? Maybe upgrade to a slightly larger size dry bag or one with a more durable material to give yourself (and your gear) some wiggle room.
How many dry bags do I need?
This also all depends on how often you find yourself on the water and what types of trips you usually take. If you only take a river trip once or twice a year, you probably only need a few dry bags.
If you paddle year round, you’ll probably want a collection of bags: a 5-10L, a 30-40L, maybe a 60L, and a few heftier ones (100L+) for the big adventures.
If you aren’t sure which dry bag will work for you best (even after our recommendations!), consider getting two different types: a duffel or backpack dry bag and a rolltop bag. And if you know you need a specific size bag for a certain trip or to fit in, say, a rented raft or kayak, you may find yourself purchasing one or two to start.
Pro tip: If you are covering a lot of mileage and rivers, you’ll want at least three bags for gear of varying sizes. For short- to medium-length trips — whether it’s whitewater or flatwater — we recommend one bag for your shelter, sleep system, and clothes; one bag for your food and stove; and one bag for day access: things like snacks, maps, and emergency items.
For us, these bags tend to be three different sizes. (And if you plan ahead like us, you can even color-code them!)
How many times should I fold a dry bag?
This is a great question and one every brand approaches it differently in terms of design. Once you buy a dry bag, there should be a tag (sometimes even printed instructions!) on the top inner portion of the roll-top bag.
The magic number is usually three to make sure there’s an airtight and watertight seal. But the amount of times you’ll roll a bag also depends on the amount of gear inside.
Always be careful not to overstuff a dry bag — there should be room to roll it to fold that seal. On the other hand, if you only have a few items stored in a larger bag, make sure you roll out the extra airspace for easier packing on the water. Alternatively, you can roll the bag a few extra times.
Which dry bag is the best?
With any of the dry bags on this list, you can’t go wrong. For backcountry-based trips where we are carrying a lot of gear, we are partial to having only as many bags as we need (one to three for overnight and maybe three to five for a weeklong trip) and as many lightweight bags as possible. In order to do this, we usually have a few different types of bags with us.
If you are also traveling in a smaller vessel with limited space (like a sea kayak, paddleboard, or pack raft), we’d recommend the NRS Bill’s Bag (the most versatile large hauler) or the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bags (the most versatile in size on our list).