Best Waterproof Dry Bags for Kayaking in 2023

Paddling gear soaked? Say no more. Check out the best waterproof dry bags for kayaking and our guide on how to choose the right one for you.

best dry bags for kayaking

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We may earn a commission from links, but we only recommend products we back.

Why trust us?

As avid kayakers, we understand the importance of keeping your gear dry during a day on the water. There’s nothing worse than unloading your kayak after a long day of paddling only to find that your spare clothes and electronics are drenched. That’s why a reliable dry bag is essential.

We’ve thoroughly researched, analyzed, and compared the best dry bags for kayaking, considering key factors such as waterproofing, durability, and ease of use. We’ve compared various designs and features, ensuring that there’s an option for every kayaker’s needs and budget. To learn more, check out our comparison table, buying advice, and FAQ sections.

The Best Dry Bags for Kayaking

Here’s a quick rundown of our favorite dry bags for kayaking. Continue scrolling for our in-depth reviews and insights on each product.

Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

Best overall dry bag for kayaking

Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag


Material: 420D nylon | Style: Capsule | Closure Type: Roll-top | Available Sizes: 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, 65L

What we like

  • Highly durable and puncture-resistant
  • White interior fabric for improved visibility
  • Tape-sealed seams for water resistance
  • Built-in Field Repair Buckle

What we don’t like

  • Pricier than other capsule dry bags

After considering various dry bags available on the market, we’ve chosen the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag as the best overall option for kayaking due to its outstanding durability, user-friendly features, and excellent protection against water ingress. This versatile dry bag caters to a wide range of paddling activities, from relaxed day trips to demanding expeditions.

The Big River Dry Bag’s construction features a 420D nylon fabric with TPU lamination, ensuring resilience even in harsh environments. With tape-sealed seams and an impressive 10,000 mm hydrostatic head rating, your gear remains dry against heavy rain and splashes. However, it’s important to note that the bag isn’t designed for extended submersion.

The oval-shaped base of the bag allows it to stand upright, simplifying the packing and unpacking process. Additionally, the white interior fabric enhances visibility in low-light conditions, making locating items inside the bag easier.

The roll-top closure further safeguards your belongings from water ingress, and a unique feature is the built-in Field Repair Buckle, which enables quick replacements if damaged during your adventures.

While the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag comes at a higher price than other capsule-style dry bags, its durability, reliability, and user-friendly design make it a worthy investment for kayaking enthusiasts seeking a top-performing dry bag.

Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

Best value dry bag for kayaking

Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag


Material: 500D PVC | Style: Capsule | Closure Type: Roll-top | Available Sizes: 10, 20, 30, 40, 55L

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What we like

  • Affordable price point
  • Comes with a shoulder strap
  • Floats if accidentally dropped in water
  • Includes a waterproof phone case

What we don’t like

  • Single stitching and small plastic buckle

The Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag stands out as the best value dry bag for kayaking, offering an ideal balance of affordability and functionality for budget-conscious paddlers.

Constructed with puncture-resistant 500D PVC, this dry bag is designed to endure the demands of kayaking adventures, and its roll-top closure delivers waterproof protection from splashes during your time on the water.

A key feature of the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag is its ability to float, making it easier to recover in case of capsizing or accidental detachment from your kayak. This dry bag also comes with a built-in shoulder strap, simplifying transportation to and from the water.

In addition to its primary features, the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag includes a waterproof phone case, providing extra storage for your valuable items during your excursions.

However, there are some durability concerns when compared to higher price dry bags, like the Sea to Summit Big River, such as single stitching and a small plastic buckle, which may wear over time. Nonetheless, the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag remains a highly affordable option for short trips on local lakes or rivers.

Watershed Aleutian Deck Bag

Best waterproof deck bag for kayaking

Watershed Aleutian Deck Bag


Material: Polyurethane-coated nylon | Style: Deck bag | Closure Type: ZipDry | Available Sizes: 11.5L

What we like

  • Easily attaches to most kayaks
  • Stays propped open for gear access
  • Highly durable nylon construction
  • ZipDry closure for secure waterproofing
  • Doubles as a map and bottle holder

What we don’t like

  • Premium price point
  • Limited gear storage capacity

The Watershed Aleutian Waterproof Deck Bag is a robust option for kayakers seeking extra deck-top gear storage space, especially in challenging environments.

Constructed with 420D Cordura nylon, a highly abrasion-resistant ripstop fabric, the Aleutian offers greater durability than traditional PVC dry bags. In addition, the radio wave-welded seams and airtight ZipDry closure system ensure enhanced waterproofing during your paddling trips.

Designed to securely latch onto the deck of most recreational and sea kayaks, the Aleutian features durable Elasto-Lok buckles that connect to your kayak’s deck rigging lines, keeping your gear within easy reach.

To further enhance its functionality, Watershed incorporated a plastic stiffener to keep the bag propped open while you search for gear. In addition, the integrated transparent panel allows the bag to double as a map case, while the mesh water bottle holder ensures you stay hydrated during expeditions.

However, the Aleutian comes with a premium price tag and offers relatively limited gear storage space due to its 11.5L capacity. Despite these drawbacks, if you prioritize a reliable deck-top gear storage system, the Watershed Aleutian Waterproof Deck Bag is an excellent choice.

Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack

Best lightweight dry bag for kayaking

Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack


Material: 40D ripstop nylon | Style: Capsule | Closure Type: Roll-top | Available Sizes: 3, 6, 12, 20, 35L

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What we like

  • Extremely lightweight and packable
  • Rectangular shape makes it easy to pack
  • Quick-drying and easy to clean after use

What we don’t like

  • Water-resistant, not fully waterproof

The Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack offers superior packability and weight savings for kayakers prioritizing minimalism on their outings. Constructed from 40D ripstop nylon, this dry bag provides decent water resistance while reducing weight and packing down small for storage when not in use.

Key features include the roll-top closure, which helps prevent water ingress, and a small loop at its base, making it easy to hang and dry after a day of adventure.

However, it’s important to note that this dry sack is not designed to be completely waterproof. Instead, it’s intended for use as part of a larger gear storage system. For instance, to provide extra protection for your electronics on the water, you can put them inside the Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack and then place the bag inside a larger, waterproof dry bag.

Osprey designed the UltraLight Dry Sack with this functionality in mind. Its rectangular shape makes it easier to fit inside other dry bags, making it an ideal compact option for kayaking and paddling trips, even if it’s not fully waterproof.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack

Best compression dry bag for kayaking

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack


Material: 30D Cordura nylon | Style: Capsule | Closure Type: Roll-top | Available Sizes: 5, 8, 13, 20, 35L

What we like

  • Highly compressible design for bulky gear
  • Durable nylon construction
  • eVent base for efficient air expulsion
  • Lightweight and packable

What we don’t like

  • Not suitable for submersion in water
  • Lacks D-rings for securing to a kayak

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack is an excellent option for kayakers concerned about optimizing gear storage space during their outings.

Made from Ultra-Sil 30D Cordura nylon, this dry sack offers a balance between durability and weight savings. It also features a Field Repair Buckle, which is easily replaceable in case of damage during your trips.

However, the standout feature of the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack is its compression system. In addition to the classic roll-top closure for water resistance, it includes a lid and adjustable straps for easy compression. As a result, this design is perfect for compressing bulky items like spare clothing to fit better inside your kayak hatches.

The eVent fabric base allows for effortless air expulsion while packing your gear, preventing air from re-entering the bag. This ensures efficient compression and a compact packing experience.

However, keep in mind that this bag has a 2,000 mm hydrostatic head rating, meaning it’s not designed for submersion in water. Therefore, it’s best used as an additional waterproofing and compression layer within other dry bags. Additionally, it lacks D-rings or straps for securing it to a kayak, so it’s best suited as part of a larger gear storage system.

Watershed Chattooga Dry Bag

Best duffel bag for kayaking

Watershed Chattooga Dry Bag


Material: Polyurethane-coated nylon | Style: Duffel | Closure Type: ZipDry | Available Sizes: 22L

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What we like

  • Duffel design allows easy packing
  • Highly durable materials and construction
  • Rugged carrying handles
  • Built-in D-rings for attachment to kayak
  • Fully waterproof and submersible

What we don’t like

  • Lacks bungees or external straps
  • Closure system can be challenging to use

The Watershed Chattooga Duffel Dry Bag is the only duffel-style bag in our review, and is an excellent choice for kayaking day trips where convenience and ease of packing are essential.

Watershed uses their proprietary UV-resistant nylon fabric to create the Chattooga, ensuring durability and flexibility. The bag also features radio-frequency welded seams for enhanced waterproofing and a special polyurethane coating that maintains the nylon fabric’s flexibility and puncture resistance, even in cold weather.

Thanks to its duffel-style design, the Chattooga offers a spacious opening for effortless packing of all your essential gear. It also incorporates a combined ZipDry and roll-top closure designed to be watertight, providing reliable protection for your belongings in adverse weather conditions.

Additionally, this bag includes rugged carrying handles and compression straps for convenient transportation. The heavy-duty D-rings also allow you to confidently lash it to your kayak.

However, the Chattooga lacks bungees or external straps for storing bulkier items, such as water bottles. The bag’s blended Ziplock and roll-top closure system also require a bit of practice to use efficiently.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a reliable waterproof solution for a kayaking day trip, the Watershed Chattooga Duffel Dry Bag is an exceptional choice.

SealLine Bigfork Dry Daypack

Best dry bag backpack for kayaking

SealLine Bigfork Dry Daypack


Material: 300D polyurethane-coated polyester | Style: Backpack | Closure Type: Dual strio roll-top | Available Sizes: 30L

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What we like

  • Padded backpack straps and waist belt
  • Multiple external attachment points
  • Durable materials and welded seams
  • Light-colored interior
  • Flat base allows the bag to stand upright

What we don’t like

  • Somewhat heavy and bulky

The SealLine Bigfork Dry Pack is perfect for adventurous paddlers seeking exceptional waterproofing and durability without compromising portability.

This backpack-style kayaking dry bag is constructed from 300D polyurethane-coated polyester and delivers impressive puncture resistance and waterproofing. It also features fully welded seams and a DrySeal roll-top closure system, enabling it to withstand brief submersions.

Designed for easy transport, the Bigfork comes with padded shoulder straps and a webbing waist belt for added comfort. In addition, its external bungee system and multiple attachment points allow you to secure water bottles and other bulky items outside the bag.

The Bigfork features a light-colored interior, making it simple to locate and retrieve smaller items during your adventures. Its flat base also enables the bag to stand upright for hassle-free packing.

However, the bag is relatively heavy and bulky, even when empty. As a result, it’s best suited for situations where waterproofing and durability take precedence over weight savings. Additionally, it’s not designed for prolonged submersion, so be sure to double-bag electronics for extra protection on the water.

Watershed Futa Stowfloat

Best float bag/dry bag hybrid for kayaking

Watershed Futa Stowfloat


Material: Polyurethane-coated nylon | Style: Float bag | Closure Type: ZipDry | Available Sizes: 19L

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What we like

  • Functions as a float bag and a dry bag
  • Highly durable materials
  • Fits well in hatches and bulkheads
  • Adjustable buoyancy
  • Combined roll-top and ZipDry closure

What we don’t like

  • Expensive compared to other dry bags
  • Challenging to pack with bulky gear

The Watershed Futa Stowfloat is a unique and versatile option, serving as both a kayak float bag and a dry bag, making it perfect for remote kayaking adventures.

Constructed with Watershed’s proprietary UV-resistant polyurethane-coated nylon, the Futa offers exceptional durability. It also features a blend of roll-top and ZipDry closure systems for easy access to your gear without compromising waterproofing in wet conditions. Additionally, the bag employs radio-frequency welded seams for optimal water protection.

The Futa boasts a tapered design that fits easily into the bulkhead of most kayaks, making it convenient for small hatches. Its tapered construction also simplifies packing the bag into tight spaces.

Plus, the Futa features a tapered construction, so it’s easier to fit in the bulkhead of most kayaks. If you solely want to use it as a dry bag, this tapered construction also makes it easier to pack the bag into small kayak hatches.

The Futa’s standout feature is its integrated float bag design, which includes a long inflation and deflation tube for buoyancy adjustments as needed. This dual-purpose functionality offers extra safety in the event of a capsize.

However, the Futa’s tapered shape can make it challenging to pack bulkier gear, and its price is higher than many other dry bags on the market. Despite these drawbacks, the Futa is one of the few float bag/dry bag combinations available, making it a top choice for those who value versatility.

Dry Bag for Kayaking Comparison Table

Dry BagStyleClosure TypeAvailable SizesAttachment PointsMaterial
Sea to Summit Big River Dry BagCapsuleRoll-top3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 35, 65L6 fabric loop, 1 plastic D-ring420D nylon
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry BagCapsuleRoll-top10, 20, 30, 40, 55L1 fabric loop, 2 plastic D-rings, 1 removable shoulder strap500D PVC
Watershed Aleutian Deck BagDeck bagZipDry11.5L4 plastic caribiners, 2 plastic D-rings, bungee cordPolyurethane-coated nylon
Osprey UltraLight Dry SackCapsuleRoll-top3, 6, 12, 20, 35L1 fabric loop40D ripstop nylon
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression SackCapsuleRoll-top5, 8, 13, 20, 35L4 fabric loops30D Cordura nylon
Watershed Chattooga Dry BagDuffelZipDry22L2 handles, 6 plastic D-ringsPolyurethane-coated nylon
SealLine Bigfork Dry PackBackpackDual strio roll-top30L4 fabric loops, removable waist and shoulder straps, bungee cord300D polyurethane-coated polyester
Watershed Futa StowfloatFloat bagZipDry19L1 fabric loopPolyurethane-coated nylon

Dry Bag for Kayaking Buying Advice

colorful dry bags on the beach

Dry bags may seem like simple pieces of gear, but a lot of engineering goes into creating the perfect waterproof storage system. With that in mind, here’s some insight into the key features and technologies that you should look for as you shop for your next kayaking dry bag.

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to discuss the difference between waterproof and water-resistant dry bags.

We know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, these are called dry bags. Shouldn’t they all be waterproof?”

If this sort of thought runs through your brain, we wouldn’t blame you. The words ‘dry bag’ would indeed suggest that the bag can keep your gear completely dry in any weather conditions. However, this isn’t always the case.

Instead, many bags that are labeled as ‘dry bags’ are water-resistant, not waterproof. These bags are designed to be used in wet and rainy conditions, but they’re not strong enough to prevent water from seeping in if they get submerged in water. Meanwhile, truly waterproof dry bags should be able to withstand brief submersion.

Now, this may seem like misleading marketing, but the reality is that no dry bag—waterproof or otherwise—will keep your gear completely dry if it’s submerged underwater for an extended period of time. The submersion pressure will eventually allow water to seep in through the seams of a bag, regardless of how well it’s made.

What’s important is that you know and understand this reality so that you can get the best kayaking dry bag for your needs.

For example, if you just want a small, lightweight dry bag for storing some spare clothing during a casual afternoon paddle on a local lake, a water-resistant model might be okay. Alternatively, for a significant sea kayaking expedition, fully waterproof models would be ideal.

That said, you should never trust a single dry bag to keep your sensitive electronics and gear dry—even if the manufacturer says that it can handle being submerged. Dry bags can and do fail without warning. So, always double or triple-bag your most important pieces of gear when on the water.

Dry Bag Type

different dry bags on beach

Now that we’ve cleared the air on the difference between waterproof and water-resistant dry bags, we can talk about the different kinds of models that you’ll find on the market. Some of the most popular dry bag types include:

  • Accessory bag – Accessory bags or stuff sack-style dry bags are generally relatively small, simple bags that don’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles. They usually have a roll-top closure system and a large central storage compartment, but not much else. This kind of dry bag usually isn’t fully waterproof, so it’s best for use in calm conditions or inside another dry bag.

  • Tapered bag – Tapered dry bags are a unique dry storage system primarily used by sea kayakers. These bags are designed to fit nicely inside hatches and bulkheads, so they’re helpful if you’re packing a kayak full of gear for a long expedition. However, they tend to be more expensive than other models, so they’re not overly practical outside sea kayaking applications.

  • Sling-style bag – Sling-style dry bags look a lot like accessory bags, but they come with a small strap so you can sling the bag over your shoulder for easy transport. This kind of bag is typically made with PVC or bulkier materials for added durability, but not all are designed to be fully submerged in water.

  • Backpack-style – As their name suggests, backpack-style models are dry bags that have built-in backpack straps. They’re popular among kayakers because they’re easy to carry and fill with lots of gear. But some are too bulky to fit into hatches, so they’re best used with sit-on-top kayaks.

  • Duffel-style – Duffel-style dry bags are a relatively new invention. They are designed to look a lot like your classic duffel bag, but they come with a watertight zipper for water resistance. The primary benefit of these bags is that they’re easier to pack, but not all are engineered for full submersion in water.

  • Deck bag – Finally, we have kayak deck bags, a unique kind of dry bag primarily designed for recreational and sea kayaks. These bags can be attached to the deck of your kayak to provide additional storage space for your most essential gear. Many can also double as a map case for longer journeys on the water.

As you can see, there are many different kinds of kayaking dry bags out there. Therefore, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what you’re looking to use your dry bag for before you start shopping.

Closure System

Of all of a dry bag’s features, few are as important as the bag’s closure system. This might seem like a minor detail, but a closure system is an integral part of any waterproof dry bag. Unfortunately, a poorly designed closure system can turn even the most waterproof bags into a glorified stuff sack.

With that in mind, there are three primary types of closure systems that you’ll see on kayaking dry bags. These include:

  • Roll-top – The most popular type of dry bag closure system. Roll-tops provide the best protection against water, but they can be finicky and tricky to close properly.

  • Ziplock seal – A relatively new closure system that greatly resembles the seal on a Ziplock bag. These are often easier to close, but they’re not always as effective as a roll-top system when it comes to keeping your gear dry.

  • Zipper – Watertight zippers have been used on drysuits for decades, but they’re new in the world of dry bags. These zippered closure systems provide plenty of convenience, but they’re often quite expensive.

There’s no hard and fast rule about what type of closure system you should get for your dry bag. However, most dry bags designed to withstand prolonged submersion in the water have a roll-top closure system. But keep in mind that these need to be closed up properly, or they won’t keep your gear dry.


Gear manufacturers use a wide range of materials to create kayaking dry bags. But two of the most common materials are PVC and ripstop nylon.

PVC is a popular choice among dry bags that are designed to be fully submerged in water. It’s bulky and heavy, but PVC is highly puncture-resistant, and it can withstand lots of water pressure. However, bulky PVC bags tend to be difficult to pack into the hatch of a touring kayak.

Meanwhile, ripstop nylon dry bags tend to be sleek and lightweight. Ripstop nylon comes in many different thicknesses, though, so not all models are built equally. Thinner dry bags are best for packing into other dry bags for additional protection against potential water ingress. Meanwhile, some super thick nylon models are just as waterproof as their PVC cousins.

Extra Features

Last but not least, you’ll want to consider the extra features that come with any given kayaking dry bag. Some models are simple and don’t have many bells and whistles, but most kayak dry bags have at least a few nifty features to help them stand out from the crowd. 

Some of the most common extra features that you’ll see on dry bags include:

  • Transparent panels – Many dry bags now come with transparent panels that let you see precisely what’s inside a given bag. This is helpful if you have half a dozen dry bags with you and need to find a piece of gear quickly. But, these panels tend to be less durable than the rest of the bag, so they’re not always ideal if you’re rough with your equipment.

  • Mesh pockets – Some deck bags and backpack-style dry bags come with mesh pockets and other similar accessories, so you can quickly store smaller pieces of gear. Others even have dedicated mesh pockets for stashing your water bottle so you can stay hydrated on the water.

  • External loops and D rings – If you’re planning on attaching your dry bag to the deck of your kayak, a model with plenty of external loops and D rings is worth considering. These loops and D rings make it easy to lash down your dry bag so that it stays securely fixed to your kayak while you paddle.

  • White interior – Some manufacturers design their dry bags so that they have a white-colored interior. This might seem like an odd design choice, but it makes it substantially easier to find your gear while you’re outside—especially if you’re kayaking at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

While it’s not absolutely required, having a dry bag for kayaking is highly recommended. A dry bag helps protect your belongings from water damage, keeps your gear organized, and ensures that important items like electronics, clothing, and food remain dry and secure. By using a dry bag, you can enhance your overall kayaking experience and focus more on enjoying your time on the water, knowing that your belongings are safe and protected.

The ideal size dry bag for kayaking largely depends on the type of kayaking you plan to do and the amount of gear you need to store. Here’s a general breakdown of different dry bag sizes and their common uses:

  • 5 to 10L: Suitable for smaller items, often used inside other dry bags to provide extra protection for sensitive electronics.

  • 10 to 20L: One of the most popular size ranges, capable of holding a few spare clothing items, a bottle, and some snacks.

  • 20 to 50L: Recommended for long day trips or cold-weather paddling when extra clothing is needed.

  • 50 to 100L: Ideal for overnight and short kayak camping trips, but challenging to pack in gear hatches. Best used with sit-on-top kayaks.

  • 100L+: Typically reserved for extended river rafting trips and canoe camping adventures, but challenging to pack onto a kayak.

Most dry bags are designed to float when adequately sealed and filled with items, as the trapped air inside the bag helps it to stay buoyant. However, the floating ability of a dry bag can be affected by several factors, including the bag’s material, construction, and the weight of the items inside.

When packing a dry bag, ensure that it is not overfilled and that some air is trapped inside before sealing it. This trapped air not only helps the bag to float but also provides additional protection for your gear. It is essential to properly close the bag’s opening using the recommended closure system (usually a roll-top or ziplock seal) to maintain its buoyancy.

The Verdict

With dozens of superb models to choose from, finding the right dry bag for your needs can be challenging.

However, after reviewing the best dry bags for kayaking available today, it’s clear that one stood out among the pack: the Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag.

In particular, the Big River provides a fantastic mix of durability, waterproofing, and functionality on the water. We especially like how it’s designed to stand upright while you’re packing it and that it has a white interior, so it’s easier to find smaller pieces of gear during your adventures.