At the end of a long day of fishing, kayaking, sailing or camping, there’s nothing better than knowing that you have dry clothes to change into. A waterproof duffel bag is a simple and effective solution to this problem, as well as the challenge of keeping food, documents, and electronics dry.
The traditional waterproof bag for outdoor activities is a dry tube bag – a stiff, cylinder-shaped bag with an opening at one narrow end. These bags are very effective at keeping things dry, but the top opening can make it difficult to get things out quickly, especially for larger dry tube bags.
Waterproof backpacks are another alternative, but they may not always be big enough. Waterproof duffels offer a balanced combination of water protection, capacity and ease of use. In this list, we’ll run down our top 5 best waterproof duffel bags on the market, covering the features of each
Our 5 Best Waterproof Duffel Bags
5. Overboard Classic Waterproof Duffel Bag
The Overboard Classic Waterproof Duffel Bag offers excellent protection from the elements. The IP66 rating means that you can actually dunk this bag in water briefly while still keeping the contents dry.
The key to its water resistance is the fold seal closure; the opening at the top rolls shut and fastens with both a hook-and-loop strip and a set of straps.
As a result, the opening itself is covered and protected from water. The external zip pocket isn’t as waterproof, but it still boasts a respectable IP65 rating.
The bag features a top carry handle and removable shoulder strap, with a pair of reflective strips for visibility. Inside this bag, internal mesh side pockets with zip closures provide a place to store small items safely, while a large wet/dry pocket gives you somewhere to put damp items you don’t want soaking the rest of your luggage. It’s available in 40-litre, 60-litre and 130-litre variants and comes in either black or yellow.
4. Ortlieb Duffle Waterproof Bag
A robust and versatile waterproof piece of luggage, the Ortlieb Waterproof Duffel Bag features two padded shoulder straps which allow you to wear the bag as a backpack or combine into a single carry handle.
Zipped up, this waterproof duffel provides IP67 dust and water resistance protection. The PS620C fabric is tough and resistant to damage, but also easy to clean.
One other helpful feature is the external daisy chains; these rows of loops allow you to attach other items to the outside of the bag with a strap or carabiner. It also has an outer zip pocket; like the Overboard Classic’s external pocket, this one isn’t fully waterproof. Inner zip pockets let you stow smaller items.
This Waterproof Duffel Bag by Ortlieb comes in a variety of sizes including 40-litre, 60-litre, 85-litre and 110-litre sizes; larger sizes feature compression straps. It’s available in blue, white, black or yellow.
3. Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel Bag
Overboard’s Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel has some features in common with its Classic model – it shares the same folding seal and IP66 waterproof rating, together with the external reflective strips and D-rings. However, the Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel is a little more feature-rich.
It includes removable padded shoulder straps for backpack wear as well as a haul handle on one end, giving you multiple ways to transport it.
Storage-wise, the it features an external zip pocket and mesh pocket. Inside, it has internal side zip mesh pockets as well as a large wet/dry pocket. The Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel Bag is available in 40-liter, 60-litre and 90-litre sizes. The 40L bag comes in blue or yellow, the 60L in black or red, and the 90L in black.
2. Lomo Dry Bag Holdall
The simple and excellent value Dry Bag Holdall by Lomo is highlighted by a rolled closure on the top to give you easy and secure access to the bag. Once rolled, the top fastens both with clips at the ends of the bag and with straps that cinch it shut, creating a very secure closure.
It lacks pockets or extra fasteners; this is a simple bag that you can fill and unpack quickly. This bag also features both a top carry handle and a detachable shoulder strap. The Lomo Dry Bag Holdall comes in 30-litre, 40-litre and 60-litre sizes. The 30L bag is available in white, while the 40L and 60L versions are available in both black and yellow.
1. Ortlieb Waterproof Rack Pack
The Ortlieb Waterproof Rack Pack is well-suited for multiple purposes, from travelling to watersports to daily commutes. Compared to some of the other waterproof duffel bags, it has a relatively low rating of IP64, making it a risky proposition for situations where the bag could be fully immersed in water.
Rigid reinforcements in the roll closure and the specially designed buckle housing make this bag easy to connect to bicycle panniers.
Carrying it by hand is easy, too, thanks to its padded carry handle and detachable, adjustable shoulder strap. The roll closure makes this bag easy to compress when only partly full. If it’s very full, compression straps keep it tightly packed.
The versatile Waterproof Rack Pack by Ortlieb comes in 24, 31, 49 and 89-litre sizes and is available in yellow, red, black, white, blue and grey – plenty of sizes and colours to suit any type of travel and traveller.
Top Features | Best Waterproof Duffel Bags
In order to find the best waterproof duffel bags, you’ll need to know your way around the most important features. Here are a few things you might want to look for:
- Waterproof IP Rating/Class – The Ingress Protection rating measures how well the bag keeps out dust and water. It consists of two digits, with the first representing protection from solid objects and the second representing protection from water. A bag might have a rating of IP65, for instance, meaning that it is slightly better at keeping out dust than water.
- Shoulder Straps – Most duffel bags have detachable single shoulder straps that let you carry them like a satchel or gym bag. Some feature double shoulder straps for backpack-style carrying. Padding on these straps will make carrying a heavy bag more comfortable.
- Internal Pockets – Inside pockets make organisation easier and help you store small items like keys, medicine, or glasses. Some bags feature wet/dry pockets, which are sealable waterproof pockets for carrying damp items like towels or wetsuits.
- External Pockets – Outer pockets make it easy to get to items like water bottles or other things you’ll need quick access to. Some external pockets are simple mesh pockets with elastic tops while others are zippered and even partly waterproof.
- Compression Straps – These adjustable straps help compress the duffel into a tighter ball. They aren’t just to make packing easier and more compact; compressing the load keeps it closer to your core muscles when you carry it on your back.
- Reflective Strips – Reflective features on the bag help improve visibility in the dark, keeping you safe and making the bag easier to find.
- D-rings – These handy attachment points let you clip other items to your duffel bag for added storage space. You can also use D-rings as attachments to help tie your bag down to a luggage rack.