2020 Best Dry Bags for Boating


Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this review of the best dry bags for boating helpful. 

Protect your gear with a high-quality dry bag that can keep all your important stuff dry and together in one place even if you flip your raft or take a swim in your kayak.

It’s springtime here in the Rockies, and that means it’s time to get your kayak, duckie, paddle board or raft set up and go out on the river for spring runoff. The rivers here in Colorado can run cold and BIG so you have to protect yourself and your gear.  Here are some great dry bags to make sure your adventure is awesome!

When choosing a dry bag there are some important things to take into consideration such as how much gear do you need to take?  How many days is your adventure and how wet is it going to get? Think about the following factors to help decide what bag is the best for you.

Dry Bag Features to Consider


There are many sizes of dry bags, the size you need is dependent on the type of trip. Dry bag sizes are measured in liters. They vary in size from small 1 liter bags to extra large dry bags that max out at a 110 liters. Bags under 30 liters have one shoulder strap, 30-50 liters are a backpack style while over 50 liters are generally duffel bag style.

1 Liter Dry Bag will hold a phone (in a waterproof case – double bagging essential), snacks, wallet and keys. This size is perfect for a paddle board where space is limited.

5 liter Dry Bag will hold bathing suits, t shirts, kid’s shoes, adult flip-flops, cell phones, wallets, cameras, first-aid kits and medicines.

10 Liter Dry Bag Is one of the most popular sizes it will hold adult sized tennis shoes, single beach towel, perfect for those who pack light.

20 Liter Dry Bag is medium sized and will hold everything you need for a day trip such as 2-3 beach towels, dry clothes for a family, a small tent or a sleeping bag.

30 Liter Dry Bag Backpack offers extra storage and holds a sleeping bag, day backpacks, paddle gear, overnight camp equipment or bike gear

40 Liter Dry Bag Backpack Larger style that will hold an entire trip’s worth of essentials such as a wetsuit, towels, two people’s clothes for a long weekend, and a small sleeping bag.

70 Liter Dry Bag Duffle Bag Is perfect for bulky and heavier clothes, warmer sleeping bag or a 4-season tent along with extra poles. Also, good for parents who are traveling with young kids to hold toys and gear

110 Liter Dry Bag Duffle Bag This extra large size will hold everything you need for a multi-day trip including clothes, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tent, dogs food and even fits large or bulky items like a djembe or a banjo.

Submersible or Waterproof

If you are taking your dry bag boating, especially rafting, kayaking or tubing you want to make sure it is submersible. Many bags say they are waterproof but that does not necessarily mean that they can go under the water for any extended length of time and keep the contents of the dry bag dry. Although manufactures vary in what constitutes as waterproof, here is a handy guide to help you find the right bag for your adventure

Class 1 – Water resistant for light rain or light splash applications.

Class 2 – Waterproof in top-down watering applications.

Class 3 – Waterproof so tight it floats or can handle quick submersion.

Class 4 – Waterproof and submersible to at least 3 feet, but no more than 12 feet (maximum depth varies by manufacturer).

Class 5 – Waterproof and submersible to depths greater than 12 feet (often as much as 100 feet – varies by manufacturer).


Dry bags rely on two types of closures.

Hypalon Roll Top The most effective in keeping your gear dry because you get all the air out and fold it over a few times, it’s held in place by a snap buckle that maintains an airtight, waterproof seal.

Zipper Seal is easier and more convenient to use and works just like a sandwich Ziploc bag that just zips closed.


Dry bags are typically made from are nylon and vinyl or a combination of both.

Nylon is a very light material, which makes it ideal for backpackers and those traveling long-term.

Vinyl is the best when it comes to waterproofing, but is also heavier.


Pockets where you can stash additional items are always awesome. Interior pockets give you some extra protection for things like your sunglasses, phone and keys, while exterior pockets hold things like your sunscreen and water bottle so they won’t take up room in your bag and are conveniently within reach.



See Also: Best Rafting Trips in Vail, CO

Best Dry Bags for Boating

NRS Tuff Sack Dry Bag

NRS is a name synonymous with white water rafting, they have been making quality dry bags among many other rafting essentials for years and you can’t go wrong with this brand

  • 18 oz vinyl coated PVC/polyester is very tough and waterproof
  • Heavy-duty construction, welded seams insures that this bag is submersible and water tight
  • Fold-down StormStrip closure creates a handle for carrying the bag while creating a watertight seal
  • Quick-release buckle make it easy to get in and out of the bag
  • D-ring attachment point is the perfect place to attach this bag to a boat or to additional bags.
  • Available Colors: Green, Blue, Grey and Red
  • Variety of sizes from 5 liters to 55 liters so there is sure to be the size bag you need whether your going out for just a few hours or a week-long adventure
  • Drop your gear in the NRS Tuff Sack, fold down the watertight closure and forget about it.
  • NRS is the choice of professional river rafting outfitters around the globe




Yeti Waterproof Dry Duffle Bag

Yeti has been making awesome products for outdoor enthusiasts for years and this submersible duffle is no different. Take your expedition to the next level with this bag.

  • Thickskin shell is made of high-density nylon and thick tpu lamination so this bag is puncture- and abrasion-resistant and tough as nails.
  • Hydrolok zipper keeps water out so your gear stays bone-dry, no matter the conditions.
  • U-dock the terminal end of your hydrolok zipper that ensures a completely airtight seal
  • Dry haul straps in the hands or on the back, are as durable as they are comfortable. There is also a ton of straps and lash points making this bag easy to grab, haul and transport.
  • Interior pockets for organizing smaller items
  • Metallock hardware is super-durable and can take a beating
  • Duffle bag style available in 50, 75 and 100 Liter sizes.  Smaller 25 liter backpack style is also available.




Overboard Waterproof Dry Tube

The Overboard Waterproof Tube hails from the beaches of Thailand and Australia and has been focusing on great packs since 2006 and today they are the leaders in waterproof bags and cases

  • Made of 600D nylon-coated PVC tarpaulin making it very waterproof
  • Class 3 rating means it is perfect for quick submersion like when you are kayaking and have to swim to the shore.
  • Th bag Floats safely if dropped in water
  • High Frequency Welded Seams means there is no stitching to fail
  • Heavy duty construction protects your gear from dust, sand, dirt and getting wet
  • Available in 5, 12, 20,30 and 40 liter sizes
  • tarpaulin material means it’s really durable, and it just wipes clean and is easy to store away.
  • Features sturdy grab handle or sling it over your shoulder with the removable shoulder strap
  • Incorporates a fold seal closure for optimal waterproofing.




KastKing Dry Bag with Clear Window

Made of heavy-gauge, non rip 500D PVC material, this KastKing dry bag keeps the water out like a boss!

  • Innovative transparent window design offers a clear see-through window panel so you can find a unique item inside your dry bag without unpacking.
  • Features fusion welded seams and reinforced vinyl at stress points.
  • Removable adjustable shoulder carry strap makes transporting easy.
  • Unique watertight DOUBLE overlap roll top provides the best-in-class waterproof performance.
  • Ideal for kayaking, beach, rafting, boating, hiking, camping and fishing.
  • Includes the IPX8 Floating Waterproof Phone Pouch: A 6.5 Inch waterproof phone case with an air circle padding around the pouch to make your phone float on the water.
  • These waterproof roll top dry bags are built for extreme outdoor adventure!
  • 100% waterproof heavy gauge non rip 500D PVC material, heavy-duty construction, fusion welded seams, double overlap roll top.
  • Watertight dry bags will float and are perfect for carrying extra dry apparel, cameras, video equipment, electronics, Go Pro, phones, fishing tackle, tools, or accessories.
  • Round base design in all sizes
  • Available in Shoulder Strap and Backpack styles
  • Available in 10 liter, 20 liter and 30 liter sizes
  • Class 3 rating means it is perfect for quick submersion like when you are kayaking and have to swim to the shore.




Earth Pak Dry Bag with Front Zipper

Offering awesome gear that is sourced with the highest-quality materials Earth Pak has been helping the modern outdoor enthusiast keep their gear safe and secure since 2005.

Made of commercial-grade 500D PVC makes this bag very waterproof

  • All seams are thermo welded for the ultimate waterproof protection.
  • Zippered front pocket offers the perfect place to store smaller items without having to unroll the top main compartment.
  • 10L or 20L waterproof sacks are sealed shut and conveniently float.
  • Waterproof phone case fits phones up to 6.5 inches. Snap and lock closure allows you to safely secure your phone, camera, or small electronics. But the phone case does not float on its own.
  • Adjustable and extends up to 36 inches with swivel hooks that allow for ease and comfort when you carry your pack.
  • Hardened D-Rings allow you to connect bag to the side of a boat, backpack or other dry bags
  • Roll top and buckle closure allows for air-tight protection
  • Durable PVC material offers tons of abrasion protection.
  • Class 3 rating means it is perfect for quick submersion like when you are kayaking and have to swim to the shore.
  • Available in 10 liter, 20 liter, 30 liter and 40-liter sizes
  • Available in a variety of colors





LiteSak Ultra Light Dry Bag

Skog Å Kust, also known as SAK hails from Sweden and they make outstanding functional, durable, waterproof bags so outdoor enthusiasts can take their adventure to the next level.

  • Made of “Silnylon” fabric: 70-denier ripstop nylon coated with silicon for awesome waterproofing protection
  • Waterproof, yet weighs less than 3 oz.and folds down to just a few inches so it’s ideal for Ultralight Backpacking
  • LiteSåk 2.0 neatly stores inside it’s integrated carry pouch, and the included aluminum carabiner provides an easy way to attach it to whatever you need to.
  • Waterproof dry bags don’t have to be heavy & bulky! This bag is sooo light, weighing only ounces.
  • High quality nylon protects your gear from sand, dirt and getting wet
  • Taped seams keeps water out
  • Unique Dual-Closure utilizes both a cinch top & a roll-down seal. Use the cinch for quick access, and secure your items with the roll-down seal when you need waterproof protection.
  • A large exterior splash-proof zippered pocket for sunscreen and 2 mesh side pockets hold water bottles and the internal storage pouch, which doubles as an interior zippered pocket to hold your wallet or keys
  • Available in Dry Bag style and Backpack style.
  • Available in 1.5, 5, 10, 20 & 40 L sizes
  • Available in Blue, Yellow and Black
  • Machine washable (gentle cycle)
  • Lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects.




NRS Huge 110 Liter Bill’s Bag Dry Bag

When you’re looking for the biggest, baddest dry bag to protect your valuable gear look no further that the NRS Bill’s Bag.

  • Made of heavy-duty 21 oz PVC/polyester body with a reinforced bottom of 34 oz PVC, this bag is water tight and submersible.
  • 110 liters of volume and Expandable for over 6700 cubic in of storage capacity, Bill’s Bag gives you tons of room for anything, tents, sleeping bags, backpack, extra clothes whatever you need for a week-long adventure on the water.
  • Aluminum fasteners for long-lasting durability
  • Adjustable backpack harness with padded shoulder straps keeps this back pack comfortable to haul
  • Fold-down closure secures with four straps insuring a great seal against any moisture
  • Since 1977, outfitters, guides and weekend warriors have relied on Bill’s Bags to keep there overnight gear dry trip after trip, year after year.
  • 4 Compression straps can easily compact and stabilize gear.
  • Available in Red and Black




Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

Sea to Summit has been making great gear for amazing adventures since 1983. Born in Perth, Western Australia

this company strives, successfully to make lightweight, high quality outdoor products to make your trip epic.

  • Made of denier 420D Nylon laminated to thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film for complete waterproofness
  • Heavy duty, super strong & abrasion resistant
  • Non-PVC mid-weight dry bag has space-saving low profile
  • Waterproof, double stitched, reinforced, tape sealed seams
  • Durable Hypalon lash loops for secure attachment or stacking
  • Available in 3 liter to 65 liter sizes
  • Available in Green, Blue, Yellow, Red and Black
  • Waterproof hypalon roll-top closure
  • Oval base is designed to prevent rolling and stays where you put it.
  • Field Repair Buckle with stainless steel pins means a broken buckle can be easily repaired on the fly.




Pelican Exodry Dry Bag

Pelican is known for its legendary dry boxes, they bring the same high quality and innovation to their new line of dry bags.  Perfect for keeping important items safe and dry while doing any kind of boating or water adventure.

  • Rugged, tough construction thanks to the premium industrial grade of 500 Denier Polyvinyl Tarpaulin.
  • 10 liter & 20 liter dry bags come with a single adjustable shoulder strap.
  • 30 liter dry bag has a comfortable backpack shoulder straps made breathable padding that dries quickly.
  • Translucent window makes it easy to find gear inside the bag.
  • Zippered pocket and reflective logo
  • Available in 10 litre, 20 liter and 30 liter sizes
  • Features a reliable, classic roll-top closure for secure sealing.
  • High quality tightly stitched seams keeps your gear dry.
  • Extra integrated gear loops come in handy.
  • UV resistant material prevents fading and damage
  • Not designed to be fully submerged.





See Also: Best Whitewater Rafting Shoes


We hoped you enjoyed this article about the Best Dry Bags for Boating. Whether you are rafting, kayaking, tubing or fishing, dry bags can save the day? What is your favorite dry bag? Do you like lighter weight nylon dry bags or heavy-duty vinyl dry bag? What’s your favorite dry bag story? We’d love to hear from you.

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View Comments

  • Thank you for your timely article about the best dry bags for boating.  I am planning on a 4-day river trip on the Arkansas River with about 10 friends this summer and I have everything I need except a good dry bag, the one I have been using was very cheap and not very reliable if we were in big water and the boat flipped or got submerged under a big wave, everything inside would be soaked, defeating the purpose of the dry bag.  So before this big trip I am investing in a really good dry bag so everything stays toasty warm and dry.  It is no fun trying to dry your clothes by fire after the sun goes down and the temperature drops. I am very interested in the NRS dry bag because I am a huge fan of that brand as they are rugged and long-lasting and it seems like everybody (aka river guides who should know) uses them.  Thanks again for the info.

    • Hi Jordan, I am so happy to hear that you found the post Best Dry Bags for Boating helpful. Yes, NRS dry bags are a great choice, they are tough, durable, reliable and have been the bag of choice for all types of boaters for years.  They also have LOTS of size choices, the NRS Tuff Sack Dry Bag ranges in size from 5 liters to 55 liters and if you need an even bigger bag NRS makes the 110 liter Bill's Bag Dry Bag which will hold a ton of gear.  Have fun on your river adventure!

  • I am planning a camping vacation for my family at the end of this summer and we spend a lot of time on inflatable and rigid kayaks paddling from island to island  or just taking long excursions on the water. I am looking for five dry bags that can hold a towel, a change of clothes, some food & snacks, drinks, cell phone, etc. for each of us.  I am looking at smaller bags for the kids and larger ones for me and my wife

    I am probably going to go for the Yeti Waterproof Dry Duffle Bag and the smaller Overboard Water Dry Tube. Thank you very much for your guide.

    • Hi Harry I am so happy that you found the article Best Dry Bags for Boating useful for choosing the right dry bags for you and your family's adventures. Both bags are great choices.  The Yeti dry duffle bag comes in 50, 75, and 100 liter sizes or a smaller 25 liter backpack style depending on your needs. The Overboard Dry Tubes are also awesome and can easily be attached to your kayak either by a carabiner to a D ring or kept in your kayak webbing if available. Both will float so even if you just throw them in your boat they will be fine even if they end up in the water.


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