Best Dry Bag for Kayaking & Size Guide

When going camping, it is great to always assure that “it always rains on hikes,” which is true in most cases. When kayaking, it is practically impossible to escape getting wet. There will be water all over the place, whether you accidentally fall or whether it will be small splashes from the paddle. There is always the potential that your usual bag will become wet, not only taking away your comfort, but also possible braking your electronic appliances that you are so dependent on in your trips. And there’s nothing worse than a wet sleeping bag on a chilly night. 

The dry bag is essential for preserving your valuables when kayaking. There are many varieties of such bags, and to learn more you may need a whole dry bag size guide. There are different shapes and sizes that will cover any possible need. In this article, we are going to talk about how to pick the proper dry bag for kayaking and give some good examples. 

Types of dry bags you may need for kayaking.

The differences between these types of waterproof bags for kayaking are based on a number of parameters that are discussed more below. 

  • The degree of waterproof defence. A few types of backpacks are capable of providing total water resistance. This is the most important parameter to care about for kayaking. The bag must be completely waterproof, ensuring that the contents remain dry during long-distance journey. Do a double check on items’ description and ensure the needed level of defence. Also check the reviews, it can contain a pretty useful information. There are bags that are able to withstand splashes for some time, but they do not give total waterproofness, in exchange for being significantly lighter. Both are necessary, but for very different reasons. 
  • Design aspects. Around the world, waterproof bags are divided into two categories: exterior and internal. Internal bags are carried in a usual backpack for items that need to be dry. These bags are utilized in various types of travel, including adventure tourism and kayaking. External waterproof bags are designed to store all your items and connect them to the boat’s deck. These are the ones that are most often utilized in various water tourism.  
  • Purpose. Each bag type has its own purpose. Manufacturers give essential descriptions for what sports their bags are created for. There are many such examples like bags for storing electronics and documents, the other bags are for storing medical necessities.  

A waterproof duffel – Something like Gonex 60L 80L Extra Large Waterproof Duffle is an ideal example. These backpacks are constructed of the most durable “impermeable” nylon available. Better choose an expensive model from respectable brand as many other ones do not provide enough waterproofing. This is the most important parameter for kayaking. Duffels are a favorite among travelers all over the world since they may be used to store any equipment without worrying about the bag bursting suddenly. These bags have useful straps that make transporting them easier and more convenient. Despite the fact that these bags are excellent for carrying objects when kayaking, they cannot completely replace a full hiking backpack with a waist belt and a backrest the same way such hiking backpack cannot replace the one tailored for kayaking.  

Waterproof dry bags are another popular alternative. These bags can be easily stored in your pocket or tucked into another backpack. The difference with duffel is that they are fully waterproof and will not leak even under bad currents. The lightest variants weigh less than 50 grams and are thus excellent for kayakers who place a high priority on lightness and portability. Take a look at Frelaxy Waterproof Dry Sack

Small waterproof document bags are ideal for storing documents or local maps. They are usually composed of a thin nylon fabric that has been covered with a waterproof coating. They are less waterproof than bags above, but they are sufficient for usage as inside packaging in a bigger bag as an additional defence. Take a look at JUNDUN Waterproof and Fireproof Money Bag, it is a good product from a good brand. There are many sizes available for all types of documents. They can be attached to backpacks, kayak carcass, among other things. Some models allow you to use your smartphone or tablet without removing the case, which is very handy for kayakers. 

Waterproof boxes. The shock-resistant, waterproof, and heat-resistant airtight boxes and cases are made of high-density polyethylene, allowing to be sure of dryness of anything that you are going to put inside. Often, they are provided with an inside shock absorber pad to keep the contents from being damaged by falls or bumps. These boxes like Evergreen 56 Waterproof Dry Box are made for storing all possible electronic gadgets, photography equipment, and other fragile goods, such as a first-aid kit containing ampoules, that you might take with you on your kayaking trips. 

What is the most common use case for dry bags?

Man in kayaking gear with equipment

All travellers, including sailors, bikers, and mountaineers, must ensure that their luggage is properly sealed from any moisture. Nobody wants to sleep in a wet sleeping bag or eat moist bread for dinner. Usual bags and polyethylene packets are frequently carried by beginner hikers thinking that they will protect their items from the water. This is a big mistake, as these are very fragile and prone to leaking at seams, leaving you with a leaking bag in the middle of a kayak journey. It doen’t matter if you are a newbie or an experienced kayaker, you better buy a high-quality dry bag that will serve you for many years. You will also be able to use it for other things like hiking and cycling, as well as weekend vacations, water walks. One good tip is to have a variety of different colors of dry bags on hand. This will make it simpler to locate the appropriate bags. 


A dry backpack is an absolutely necessary piece of kit for any kayaking excursion. As soon as you encounter a good water flow, the kayak will be hit with a wave, leaving not only you but whole your bags immediately splashed with water. Accidentally flipping a usual backpack over will result in a completely ruined experience from your journey. Knowing all this, all kayaker’s goods must be stored in tightly sealed containers. 

While traveling by a kayak, it is recommended to buy long, thin, waterproof backpack from the best brands. If you have enough place in your boat, you don’t have to worry about buying a bag with a more robust coating. But if you are going to fasten the bag on the outer sides of your kayak, you better think about buying a strong bag made of tightly woven nylon fabric.  

Many kayakers frequently transport personal goods and equipment in big backs with smaller, completely waterproof bags inside. It is quite convenient since the internal dry bag placed into the backpack will always remain dry, even if the bigger bag will let some water into. The small dry bags are lightweight and simple to load, unload, and transport.  

Some suggestion while using waterproof bags

Woman kayaking with dry bag

Make sure to carefully check the bag’s lid to make sure it is carefully secured. By pressing down on the valve firmly, you have to release any trapped air that has built up before closing the dry bag. 

When attaching dry bag to your kayak, utilize only specially constructed rings or liners. Any other fastenings might result in the eventual loss of your bags. It is pretty hard to catch anything in a high current so only try proved things. The proper fastening is important as improper attachment will add more pressure on it.  

Smaller dry bag that contain items such as walkie-talkies, cell phones, or important documents should not be worn on your neck or attached somewhere outside. It is better to store it in the main duffle bag. As a variant, you might get a simple rope used to secure important small dry bag behind your lifejacket.  

When on a boat excursion, you most surely would want to record the places you visit. For that, you will need either a waterproof action camera or a specialized waterproof camera bag that is both durable and fully water resistant. Still, when going on a kayak trip, better use specific camera, but if you want to use expensive SLR cameras, do it only on land. 

What kind of material is used in the production of waterproof bags for kayaking?

It was used to be that pressure equipment was constructed of rubber-coated nylon, so there was not much diversity in materials and specifications. Today, it is possible to manufacture waterproof bags in a variety of thicknesses and weights with a dozen potential materials. The most widely used materials are PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and waterproof coating on any other material. The water retention capability of a material is the most significant property to consider when designing a dry bag for kayaking. For this sport, it is better to pick a bag with the highest possible water resistance values. 

In order to waterproof the fabric, it is stretched and put in particular frames and then lowered in liquid PVC, natural rubber, or polyurethane baths. The fabric is rolled using hot rollers to remove any imperfections and ensure that there are no uncovered spots. The end fabric covered with polymers is completely waterproof. If you accidentally teach your dry bag, you may repair it with the same tools you repair your bike wheel or a hole in your kayak. 


Many kayakers choose waterproof PVC dry bags with waterproof buckles and specific fastenings. Such a backpack can be large enough to accommodate all of your personal items and safely defend them from any leaking. PVC is a material that is resistant to punctures, abrasions, and tears. That is just what is needed for such an extreme sport as kayaking. The PVC dry backpack is a strong and long-lasting piece of equipment, but it is also can be pretty heavy. Gigantic duffle bags may have a capacity of more than one hundred liters, that might be more than enough for a group of avid kayakers or for a family trip. And again such a bag itself might weigh couple kilograms. When it comes to hiking and climbing routes, this is not a smart idea. 

As much as good this material is, there are some drawbacks to it. We should also mention that the usage of PVC is detrimental to the environment. There are no safe disposal solutions available for it at this time. Modern manufacturers are working on this problem and for sure will solve this problem in the near future. 

Fabric with water resistant coatings

There are several synthetic textiles in this category, including the well-known nylons. These types of materials are lighter than PVC and more compact and more heat-resistant. The only drawback is that it is far less durable. 

Nylon. This is a material that is both strong and lightweight. The base fabric goes through many water repellent treatments and is covered in a material such as silicone or polyurethane. There are many densities available, as well as different durability metrics, but generally the density of the cloth is a measure of its overall strength. The bigger density, the better the durability is. 

Cordura is a nylon fabric manufactured from specially cut and twisted strands that is mainly used for military applications for its excellent qualities. Compared to the usual nylon fabric we described above, this material is four times stronger and four times more abrasion resistant while being also four times heavier than regular nylon. The process of creation of cordura materials is a lot more pricy, but dry bags out of such material will probably serve you longer than your kayak itself.  

For different parts of the bag, different materials may be used. For instance, the opening of the bag can be sealed with a piece of Hypalon. This material is composed of chlorinated rubber, that gives it a good grip allowing for ease of screwing it and unscrewing. 

Vanessa Hopkins

Hi, I'm Vanessa. Long-time kayaker who's proud to be part of this community. I strive to provide our visitors with insightful guides with the aim to improve their kayaking experience. I've been working with SunshineKayaking for over 5 years, providing world-class services.

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