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By Andrea Drever

Content and Editorial Director

Birkin? Chanel? Louis V.? I wouldn’t trade my dry bag for any of these. Here’s why.

Basically, a dry bag is a backpack-type sack that is waterproof, making it a safe place to stash your phone, camera, clothes and other items you want to protect from the elements. It’s well worth investing in if you plan on sailing, kayaking, skiing or even just spending the day at the beach. Plus, whenever I wear one, I feel like a total travel badass.

There are lots of styles and sizes of dry bags out there. Here are some factors to consider when choosing one. 

Dry bags are most commonly made from nylon or vinyl, or a combination of both. Nylon is a lighter material, making it ideal for longer-term travel. Vinyl tends to be the best when it comes to waterproofing, but is also heavier.

Dry bags come in many different sizes, and are usually measured in liters. There can be bags as small as one liter and ones as large as 110 liters. The size you need will depend on what you’ll be using it for. Most people consider five-liter capacity to be the “sweet spot” but, of course, that depends on how much stuff you want to put in it.

There are typically two types of closures used for dry bags, the roll top and the zipper seal. The roll top tends to be better at keeping your belongings dry because you get all the air out and fold it over a few times, then it’s held in place by a snap buckle that provides an airtight, waterproof seal. The dry bags with zipper seals tend to be easier to use because they work just like a sandwich bag that you’d zip close, but aren’t quite as reliable.

D-rings are especially important if you’re planning on doing boat trips. These rings are designed to help you connect your bag to a boat or other dry bags.

These are a convenience you’ll really appreciate, especially if you’re traveling for longer periods of time. Interior pockets give you some extra protection for things like your phone and keys, while exterior pockets hold things like your umbrella and your water bottle so they don’t take up extra space in your bag.

How you carry it can make or break your experience with your dry bag. The extra-small dry bags don’t always have straps. Usually, once you hit five liters you’ll see one strap for the next few sizes up, and those you can just throw over your shoulder. Once you get to sizes like 30 liters and up, you’ll start to see dry bags with two straps that you can wear like a backpack. Make sure yours is comfortable when loaded with stuff.

Some Recommended Dry Bags

Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack – Dry Bag
It’s built from 500 PVC tarpaulin, which adds great durability. Two mesh pockets on the sides let you keep things handy.

Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
This company was started by two guys who are passionate about the outdoors. A nice feature is the waterproof phone case attached to the bag.

IDRYBAG Waterproof Dry Bag Dry Sack
Its ergonomic fabrics make it super comfortable, and it comes with extra inner and outer pockets so you can keep your stuff organized.

Osprey UltraLight 12 Dry Sack
What stands out is the durable construction, built from 40D ripstop nylon that ensures comfort as well as unmatched durability.

Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
Exceptionally durable, and adjustable padded straps are a big bonus, adding greatly to your carrying comfort.

Skog Å Kust DrySåk Waterproof Floating Dry Bag
With its super-waterproof material and welded seams, not a single drop will seep through and get your stuff wet. It also has splash-proof front pockets and comes in a variety of amazing colors.

YETI Panga Airtight, Waterproof and Submersible Bag
This sack is puncture- and abrasion-resistant, so you can use it in a variety of rough environments where an ordinary dry bag wouldn’t make it.

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