Dry Bags: What Are They And Reasons Why You Should Have One

Although I love to get out in our boat, I also love to explore our amazing waterways and rivers using our kayaks and paddle boards too.

sharkskin dry bag
A photo of the sharkskin dry bag sold in Australia

However, an issue I’ve always struggled with is how to take things with you though more importantly keep them dry.  Fortunately, after trying a number of different ways (which failed) I came across dry bags.

What are Dry Bags?

Essentially, dry bags are waterproof bags that are designed in a way to keep your personal items dry.

Usually made of durable material such as nylon or PVC, dry bags provide a waterproof and protective option to store and protect your belongings from the elements.

Types of Dry Bags

types of dry bags

There are different types of dry bags on the market, though the most common type in Australia is the ones that have a roll-top closure with a clip.  

The idea is that when you roll down the top and clip it together, you’re creating an air-tight pocket that water is unable to enter.

back view of sharkskin dry back pack

The roll-top bags come in different sizes and there are some larger ones that even have straps so you can wear them like a backpack.

Benefits of using a Dry Bag

Here is a list of benefits of using a dry bag:

1. Your clothes and belongings stay dry!

Dry bag in kayak

The most obvious benefit here is that your clothes and personal belongings stay dry when you’re out in the elements, in particular when you’re out on a kayaking or sup’n adventure.

2. Protects your belongings

inside pocket of drybag

Apart from keeping your belongings and clothes dry, Dry bags also do a great job of protecting your stuff from getting knocked or damaged whilst you’re out and about.  This is particularly useful if you choose to store the likes of your goPro, phone or other vulnerable items.

3. Lightweight, portable and easy to store

The great thing about dry bags is they come in a variety of materials and sizes and when you’re not using them they can easily be rolled up and transported without taking up much room at all.

4. Can double as an esky

Sometimes, I’ve also used my dry bag as an esky to keep drinks and food cold.  If you’re not storing anything else in it I’ve found it ideal to chuck some ice in along with your drinks and you’re good to go:)

Which is the best dry bag?

view of the back of dry bag
Example of a dry bag with shoulder straps

There are several different brands of dry bags on the market, though for me, based on my experience I’ve found that the dry bags with shoulder straps are the best.  

The reason I say this is that if the activity you’re doing allows for it, throwing the bag on your shoulders allows you to be hands-free.

However, if you’re sitting in a kayak or a canoe then you may like to consider the small bags that can be tucked away in the inbuilt storage area within your kayak or canoe.

How many times should you fold a dry bag?

How to roll your dry bag
Folding the top of a dry bag

To ensure a good seal I always aim to fold the top of the dry bag at least three times or if the contents allow it, I’ll fold the top down more than this.  Having a fold of at least three times ensures a tight seal with no chance of water entering the bag.

What’s the best way to clean a dry bag?

I’ve found the best way to clean a dry bag is to fill the inside with warm water and a dash of soap, give it a quick scrum inside the bag then tip out the water.  I usually hang the bag upside down to dry out.

Dry bag vs dry sack – what’s the difference?

You’ll sometimes hear people mention a dry sack instead of a dry bag.  Dry sacks are generally smaller dry satchels that can be filled up and placed into a larger bag such as a backpack.

Final thoughts

I find that dry bags are essential for any fellow explorers that enjoy the outdoors, especially those paddle-craft owners that are looking for a solution to keep their belongings dry on that next kayak or sup adventure.  

I like them so much that I’ve got a couple of different bags depending on where I’m going and what I’m up to.

Overall, I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any questions be sure to comment below.

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