With the amount of tech today’s outdoor enthusiasts tend to carry, dry bags are a crucial part of preparing for the next adventure. Beyond phones, tablets, and GPS units, adventurers also need to take along their house or car keys, the contents of their wallets, essential medications, and more.
If you are planning an epic kayaking trip, want to paddle board on the lake, or plan to go rafting on rough water, you’ve likely thought about how to store your valuables while traveling on the water. Even if you only need to carry your ID and keys, leaving those critical items on your person leaves you open to disaster.
Choosing to invest in a good dry bag will protect your belongings and give you peace of mind, so you can stop worrying about what might happen if you go overboard or if a wave washes your pockets empty. The best dry bag for rafting lets you relax and enjoy the water instead of worrying about your stuff.
That said, not all dry bags utilize the same construction methods, and not all features are the same. Here we’ll cover the best dry bags for sea kayaking, paddle boarding, and rafting that will keep your belongings dry and protected while you enjoy the outdoors.
Quick Answer: Best Dry Bags (2017 – 2018)
- Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set
- Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag
- Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
- Unigear Dry Bag Sack
- Adventure Lion Premium Waterproof Dry Bags
- Leader Accessories Heavy Duty Dry Bag
- Sak Gear Premium Dry Bag
- ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag
- Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack
- Odyssey Waterproof Dry Bag
- 10 Best Water Sports Dry Bags for The Money
- Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set Review
- Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag Review
- Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag Review
- Unigear Dry Bag Sack Review
- Adventure Lion Premium Waterproof Dry Bags Review
- Leader Accessories Heavy Duty Dry Bag Review
- Sak Gear Premium Dry Bag Review
- ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag Review
- Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack Review
- Odyssey Waterproof Dry Bag Review
- How to Choose the Best Dry Bags
- Best Dry Bags Editor’s Choice Review
- The Wrap-Up
10 Best Water Sports Dry Bags for The Money
These top-rated bags earn high marks for a variety of reasons. Our top ten choices for the best dry bags for rafting and other water sports cover a range of features, sizes, and price points.
Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set Review
A double zip seal ensures that your belongings stay dry, making the Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set a top choice for any conditions. Sizes range from 5L to 35L, and some sizes come with adjustable shoulder straps that remove when you’re not using them. The biggest size has backpack-style shoulder straps to distribute the weight of your pack evenly.
A small waterproof cell phone pouch comes with your large-sized bag, and it has a strap to wear around your neck. You can also tuck the clear-sided pouch into the accompanying waist pouch, which adjusts to fit waist sizes from 33.5 inches to 47.5 inches.
Five color choices let you customize the largest bag in the set, but the waist pouch and phone pocket only come in black. All materials are lightweight, meaning your belongings won’t sink if they end up in the water. You can also add extra air to the pouches to ensure buoyancy.
- 3-bag set
- Cell phone pouch fits phones with a screen size up to 6.5 inches
- Carrying straps on all three pieces
- 3-item set only; cannot order pouches separately
- Double zippers difficult to seal
Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag Review
A waterproof phone case accompanies the larger-sized Ultra Dry waterproof bag so that you can stow your phone separately from your other belongings. The large dry bag includes a shoulder strap that extends up to 48 inches, plus a metal caliper for clipping keys on or for attaching your bag to your watercraft.
This bag uses a roll-top design with a clip to secure the top of the bag once you roll it three or four times. The 10L and 20L sizes give users enough space for more than the essentials, but the limited sizing options may put off those who want to protect more of their equipment on the water.
The 7.5mm thick waterproof polymer bags come in five colors and stay flexible throughout hot and cold conditions.
- Super thick polymer resists breakage
- Cell phone bag included
- Key/secure carabiner clip
- Roll-top design may prove challenging to secure depending on what you put inside
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag Review
An extensive range of sizes from 10L to 55L make Earth Pak waterproof dry bags a versatile choice. All kits come with straps, but larger sizes have backpack style shoulder straps for more comfortable carrying.
All Earth Pak bags come with a waterproof phone case that accommodates phones with screen sizes up to 6.5 inches. The small sized pouch features clear windows so you can use your device without exposing it to the elements.
The roll-down style of the bag makes closure simple and secure with a clip that holds the top shut. The range of sizes accommodates everyone from casual hikers to weekend adventurers with ease, while the straps make carrying your load feel effortless. Eight bag color choices suit any taste, but the phone case only comes in black.
- Accompanying phone case
- Large 55L pack can hold as much as a hiking backpack
- Backpack straps on larger packs
- Roll-down top requires effort to close
Unigear Dry Bag Sack Review
Starting at 2L, Unigear offers a full line of dry bag sizes. All bags, up to 40L size, have adjustable shoulder straps and use a fold over seal. By aligning the seal, then rolling the top of the bag and buckling it shut, you create an airtight seal that keeps your stuff dry.
A phone pouch lets you access any smart device up to 6-inch diagonal screen size. The universal case is waterproof, snow proof, and dustproof, and the clear windows let you use your phone in any setting.
The smaller size bags have one removable shoulder strap, while the larger sizes have backpack style straps. The nylon construction is resistant to abrasions and puncture damage, despite its lightweight feel.
Color options include the primary colors plus a camouflage style, but the colors and styles vary depending on the size of pack you choose.
- Phone case included
- Extensive size selection
- Roll-top seal not fully watertight
Adventure Lion Premium Waterproof Dry Bags Review
Adventure Lion’s waterproof dry bags range in size from 5L to 40L, and their eight color choices give you customization options. Lightweight materials make sure your belongings float if they go overboard, and all packs include at least one strap. The 20L size also has a handle, and the 40L pack has dual straps to function as a backpack.
.55mm thick waterproof polymer makes up each bag, and the materials stay flexible and waterproof under varying conditions. The bags also feature reinforced materials at stress points, with a roll-top closure and reinforced polymer buckle.
Anchor points allow you to hang your bag or tie it to your craft, and everything will float if thrown overboard. Choose a small size for a handful of personal belongings or go big with the 40L and carry everyone’s electronics and essential possessions during a day out on the water.
- Multiple size options
- Thick polymer construction resists damage
- No additional bags, cell phone or otherwise
Leader Accessories Heavy Duty Dry Bag Review
With the most size options of them all, Leader Accessories has every bag from 5L to 55L and everything in between. Some options come with a phone case, but you can purchase the main bag separately as well. Colors include seven choices across all sizes.
Roll-top closures and adjustable shoulder straps make packing easy, and heavy-duty vinyl polyester trilaminate ensures everything stays dry. Lightweight materials float in water, so your possessions are safe while floating.
- Range of size options
- Economical price point
- Manufacturer notes not for full submersion
- Stiff material can be hard to handle
Sak Gear Premium Dry Bag Review
Nine color choices make up for the limited size options of the Sak Gear bags, and these dry bags earn points for their front zipper compartment. The splash-proof pocket zips shut and lets you access smaller items without upending your entire bag.
A nylon shoulder strap makes your bag handy, and the roll-top closure makes it easy to add or remove air to make sure the bag will float regardless of its contents. The zipper opening can accommodate items up to 6.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall, but the manufacturer recommends using another method of water protection for any electronics or things that cannot withstand moisture.
- Extensive color choices
- Exterior utility pocket
- Limited sizing options (10L and 20L)
ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag Review
This bag goes beyond basic water resistance, with water-resistant outer materials, a reflective stripe for optimal visibility, and an outer mesh pocket for outdoors essentials. Padded straps make it easier for you to carry the load and you can also remove them if necessary.
A removable inner pocket adds another layer of protection against water, plus makes it easier to find what you need in a hurry, one of the top features that make it the best dry bag for rafting. Plus, the three large bag sizes can carry a day’s worth or more of gear.
Five basic color options include camouflage and a matte black. However, the larger size of the bag may be a turnoff for buyers who only plan to day trip on the water.
- Reflective stripe for visibility
- Backpack-style for carrying comfort
- Exterior mesh pocket adds utility
- No smaller sizes available
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack Review
The sizing of the Sea to Summit packs diverges from the standard for dry sacks, starting at X-Small and going up to X-Large. The extra small size measures 6 by 14 inches while the large bag tops out at 10.5 by 23 inches.
This compression-style pack pushes air out but keeps water from coming in with the air permeable, waterproof fabric base. That’s the “eVent” in the name, and it makes the pack easy to compress but waterproof when packed up.
Waterproof seams have double stitching and tape seals, and the top is a roll closure with buckles. The manufacturer recommends double sealing vulnerable electronics, but many users find this extra step unnecessary.
- Lightweight and collapsible when empty
- Compression construction helps maximize interior space
- Not as resistant to abrasion as other materials
- Higher price point for larger sizes
Odyssey Waterproof Dry Bag Review
Two size options and two color choices don’t allow for much customization with the Odyssey bag, but its marine-grade materials and waterproof reputation among professionals make it worth the investment.
The manufacturer claims that pro dive companies and sailing teams use their products, and we believe it with the thermo welded PVC tarpaulin construction. Apart from its water resistance, the Odyssey dry bag is stain resistant, anti-static, UV resistant, antibacterial, and resistant to extreme temperature changes. That makes it one rugged choice for active outdoors folk.
Odyssey uses both zip closure and roll-top buckles to protect your belongings further. Each Odyssey bag also includes a bonus smartphone dry bag that floats.
- Competitive price point regardless of intended use
- Rugged construction
- Limited size and color options
How to Choose the Best Dry Bags
It’s not as simple as choosing the bag that looks the best. Selecting the best dry bag for rafting, paddle boarding, kayaking, or other water sports depends on a few factors. Before putting that dry bag in your shopping cart- virtual or otherwise- consider when, where, and how you’ll use it.
If you’re rafting or kayaking, you might prefer a type of dry bag that has a strap to affix to your vessel. If you’re paddleboarding, however, you may want a smaller dry bag that can slip into your pocket and attach to your belt or swimwear.
At the same time, if you know that you’re kayaking on calm waters and it’s been ages since your last capsizing accident, you might feel comfortable with a dry bag that has a lower level of water tightness than other models. The same goes for rafting on mellow water, versus raging rivers that threaten to throw you and your dry bag into the depths.
For a small cell phone, keys, and wallet, you will only need a small sized dry bag with enough space for the essentials. But many larger sized dry kits come with small bags specifically for smartphones, and you may not need the larger bag.
Conversely, if you want to pack a change of clothes, a large GPS unit, or other belongings into your dry bag, you’ll need a much larger size to fit everything. Dry bags can range in size from 5L to 55L, while smaller packs for cell phones and wallets only often start out in inch measurements.
Colors and Appearance
While some outdoors enthusiasts will choose a dry bag based on what colors they like, others will consider the conditions of their water sports and choose accordingly. For example, a darker-colored bag is not as visible if your raft capsizes, and if your activities take place on rough or dark water, it will be even harder to spot.
However, if you choose a bag with a strap, the color may not matter since the bag should remain attached to the raft or kayak no matter how rough the water is. Similarly, if you plan to observe wildlife and part of your color scheme is camouflage, a bright orange or yellow dry bag won’t help you float past incognito.
The amount you’re willing to invest in a sturdy dry bag will depend on how often you partake in water-based sports activities. For a one-time trip, an inexpensive bag may fit the bill. For routine recreational watersports, you will want to spend a bit more for a bag that will withstand the elements over time.
Still, you should price-compare and make sure that you are not paying extra for additional features you may not use while out on the water. Overpaying for a bag you won’t use is just as unfortunate as paying less for a bag that doesn’t stand up to your expectations.
Best Dry Bags Editor’s Choice Review
The best dry bag for rafting will not only keep your stuff dry but also include features that make your time on the water less stressful. That means serious water protection and accessibility to the things you need when you need them.
For an economical option that will protect your stuff in a hurry, the Leader Accessories Heavy Duty Dry Bag has every size and shape you could need. With a similarly competitive pricing structure, Odyssey Waterproof Dry Bag is the most rugged and affordable bag for water sports, although it has only essential features.
For those new to working around water, the Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set includes three bags at a decent price so that you can figure out what works for you, and upgrade as necessary. Limited sizing choices ousted the Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Bag from the top of our list, but we appreciate the thickness and strength of the design.
If you need a larger size bag, Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag has what you need, although it’s a bare-bones version of the hiking pack style. Nylon construction makes the Unigear Dry Bag Sack feel less sturdy than other bags, and its water-tightness proved questionable.
Adventure Lion Premium Waterproof Dry Bags has a wide range of sizing options, but its bare-bones approach to the water sports experience lacks desirable features. In contrast, Sak Gear Premium Dry Bag offers only two sizes but includes a front zip pocket and reflective trim, desirable features at a comfortable price point. In the end, the Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack helps save space, but despite its claims, it seems too thin to maintain its composure over time.
Ultimately, our top overall pick for features, convenience, and overall ruggedness is the ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag. Its backpack style makes it versatile for all types of water sports, and the reflective stripe gives another element of visibility that competing packs lack. The exterior mesh pocket also gives you another place to stow items for easy access, making it one of the best dry bags for sea kayaking and a range of other water sports.