Ultralight bags are generally not designed to be completely waterproof, but the Osprey Ultralight does a remarkable job of keeping stuff dry. While our contents did get a bit moist after submerging and dragging this bag around a lake, that’s really not what ultralight bags like this one are made for. Instead, this bag provides a great added layer of protection if used inside a backpack in inclement weather.
It’s made out of thick, laminated, high-density nylon and closes via an innovative HydroLok zipper. This practically bombproof construction not only keeps water out but traps air in, almost guaranteeing the dryness of even the most sensitive objects — like your expensive camera or laptop. With comfortable shoulder straps and a fairly rigid shape, this bag is an excellent travel dry pack. Windbreakers), toiletries, camera gear, and a first aid kit, we also brought our Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bags. Basically, they’re really durable waterproof bags with a roll-top closure and a cross-body strap or double book bag straps, depending on the size you get.
The strap adjuster is easy to slide, the clips rotate around their hinges well, and the buckles snap with authority if a little bit on the stiffer side. We’ll get more into how the bag handles down below, but all in all, we’ve had little trouble with the Dry Bag’s hardware. Get access to brief summaries of our reviews so you can browse and make decisions more efficiently. As a long-term investment that will last many years and many runs ashore, we were very impressed by the truly industrial construction of the Ortlieb. Its highly adjustable and well-padded back system makes it perfect for hauling heavy loads to and from your boat. Internal storage is separated with an iPad pocket, while a zipped external pocket is ideal for keys or other essentials that don’t need to be kept dry.
The IDRYBAG Waterproof Backpack is a dry bag with shoulder straps intended for hiking as well as aquatic activities. While it is not a submersible bag, it is a robust, weatherproof pack worthy of consideration for camping, sailing, kayaking, etc. The Watershed Colorado Duffel, the Yeti Panga, and the NRS Ether HydroLock all kept our stuff bone dry throughout all testing. Both the Colorado Duffel and Ether HydroLock feature a zip-top style closure and accompanying clips as a backup to keep them from being pulled open. The Panga is also impressively watertight, even trapping air inside the bag.
Like the Colorado Duffel, it closes with a zip-top system before rolling down and clipping like most dry bags. It has a large window on the front to easily see what you’re grabbing, and the flattened shape further aids in locating small items quickly. The entire top is extra wide — wider than the bag itself — once again helping you more easily find what you’re looking for, and a single D-ring allows it to be clipped to your boat or bag.
It might have a small price tag, but it’s a sturdy bag that will keep your gear safe and dry when you’re out on your next adventure. It lacks a few comforts and special features, but it performs its primary function admirably. Some dry bags are made from PVC which is the strongest, most durable material. Unfortunately, PVC weighs more than nylon so it’s not best if you’re looking for something lightweight to take trekking with you. Whether you’re white water rafting, canoe tripping or simply embarking on a weekend camping or glamping break, this trusty steed of a dry bag will withstand the elements. Multiple compression straps mean this one can pack-up tight and still stay reliably watertight.
Last but not least, the Tillamook Dry Bag won’t only attach and pair to Giant Loop motorcycling luggage but also to most-any motorcycling luggage from other brands. Let us not forget how the Tillamook’s rows of daisy chains are light reflecting, so you don’t want to be anchoring voluminous stuff to them if you’ll be riding at night. Even better is how the Giant Loop Tillamook Dry Bag implements two rows of heavy-duty daisy chains along its upper top for additional anchoring of light-weight stuff. Giant Loop recommends that you do not anchor heavy stuff to the daisy-chain loops, and I concur. When nearing the Tillamook Dry Bag’s maximum storage capacity, that’s when the bag incidentally comes to life; for the Tillamook Dry Bag looks majestic in all its glory when packed to the gills.
Obviously, the bag needs to be waterproof and the closure system needs to completely keep water out — even when submerged. Both zippers and roll-top bags require you to use them properly. These bags are particularly useful for maximizing space with big items.
The size you need will depend on what you’ll be using it for. If you’re not expecting rain, but want to keep your phone and smaller items protected just in case, then a smaller dry bag should be fine. If you’re going camping for a few days and are only taking a dry bag, then the larger duffel bag sizes will probably work best for you.
The quality and durability of the 22L Chattooga ($135) set a high bar among dry bag standards. At 10 x 19.25 x 9.5 inches, this duffel is an ideal day bag for anytime access to important gear. On top of extensive research, we enjoyed putting these dry bags to the test.