If you’re planning on a wet holiday (e.g. going to the beach, on a cruise or doing watersports), then you’re probably wondering how to keep your belongings dry. This is where a waterproof bag would be really useful as it’s constructed from waterproof material and creates a super watertight seal to ensure the best protection for your stuff. Choosing the best waterproof bag is essential as it depends on what you will be using it for and where.
There are a few different types which will be looked at in this article. Bear in mind, dry bags can do more than just keep water out – it can also keep your items clean as it prevents dirt from getting in. They’re made from very strong materials that are durable and abrasion-resistant as well. Because of this, adventurers love using these bags for camping, hiking, fishing, skiing and any other outdoor fun.
Continue reading to find out what type of waterproof bags there are and what features you should be looking for before you buy.
Types of Waterproof Bags
Here are a few different types of waterproof bags which can be suited for any travel excursion:
Dry Tube Bags
Literally shaped like a tube, this type of dry bag is the most basic and most common. These seal shut with a foldable top which can consist of 2 or 3 folds. Conveniently, the folded top on many is secured together to form a handle that makes it easy to grab the cylindrical shaped bag.
In addition to being stronger and lighter than other waterproof bags, the seams on dry bags are welded instead of sewn with needle and thread, so no amount of water is going to seep through the stitching, and what’s more, this makes your dry tube bag more durable than a standard backpack since there are less threads to come loose.
What’s more, since a dry tube bag is water tight, it’s also air tight, so leaving plenty of air inside the bag makes it buoyant should it fall in the water.
Many people consider this type to be the best waterproof bag type because of its wide range of sizes from 5 litres to 30 litres and their simple design.
Smaller sizes can be used to fit into bigger bags ideal for short activities and bigger sizes are useful for an adventure. They come in a lot of different materials but all are waterproof making it ideal for watery situations and activities. Some of them can even float in the water if it’s constructed of PVC tarpaulin material.
Waterproof Duffel Bags
Designed like a normal duffel bag, these are essentially bigger in size and commonly ranges from 30 litres up to a spacious 130 litres. These can be worn as a rucksack and will still have all the features a usual duffel bag will have such as internal pockets, wide opening, shoulder straps and carry straps but the difference is that it’s made with sturdy waterproof material.
Most will have welded seams and a roll top fold system that’s effective in keeping out everything including water, sand and dirt. Some of the best waterproof duffel bags can even be submerged quickly in water and your stuff still won’t get wet.
Combined with the size, this type of dry bag makes it ideal for hardcore travellers and backpackers who plan on going on a variety of places and participating in a wide range of activities. It’s perfect for long travels or if you have a lot of stuff to carry.
Dry Bag Rucksacks
Similar to a waterproof duffel bag, the difference with a dry bag rucksack is that these are available in smaller sizes and the shape is sturdier which makes it easier to carry. Just like your usual backpack basically.
Again, this type of waterproof bag also seals tightly shut with a roll top design making it 100% effective in keeping out water, dirt and sand to protect your contents inside.
However, some backpacks will use some canvas material for the back of the rucksack to make it comfortable to carry so this part can get dirtied. Very few will have welded seams and are instead stitched seams which means it’s best to avoid submerging this in water. However, there are some quirky designs where the dry bag is hidden inside an inflatable float.
A dry bag rucksack is ideal for use on a variety of activities ranging from kayaking to hiking. It’s just a matter of choosing the right size for it. Bigger sizes can be used for backpacking holidays as well.
Top Features | Best Waterproof Bags
Despite there being many different types of waterproof bags, the majority of the best designs have the same or similar characteristics. The following features are what you should consider:
Typical materials used for waterproof bags can include siliconized Cordura nylon and vinyl. However, many manufacturers choose to use nylon because of the ability to absorb the waterproof coating which makes it more effective and durable. For extra protection of your contents, the best ones will have welded or taped seams which allow the bag to be submerged for a brief period.
In addition to taped seams, the closure also plays a vital role in protecting your contents inside the bag. Types of closure usually consist of a zip seal which presses together to form a watertight seal but you will need to check there are no gaps in the seal. And the other is a roll top which folds down 2 or 3 times and snaps together with a buckle to secure the seal making it a lot more secure.
Some brands such as OverBoard will rate the water resistancy of their dry bags according to the Ingress Protection System. This scale ranges from 1 for resistance against light rain and splashes to 5 enabling the dry bag to be submerged up to a depth of 6m for an hour. It’s a good idea to check the rating for your bag if you plan on using it in watersports.
Dry bags are available in a range of sizes from a handy carry size to a massive travellers delight size. Depending on what you plan to use the bag for, it’s best to think of how easy it will be to carry it in your activity. For example, if you want to go kayaking, perhaps a waterproof duffel bag will prove to be too big, uncomfortable and dangerous for this.
If you require a large dry bag in the form of a rucksack or a duffel bag, it might make organisation of your items easier with compartments.
Some will have a wet compartment which is designed to hold in wet clothing and is waterproof inside with tight seals to prevent leakage into other compartments. Be sure to check external compartments can also be sealed tight to protect your stuff from getting dirty or wet.
Having a window on your dry bag will help you to see what’s inside the bag without having to spend time rummaging through or taking things out to get what you need. It’s probably less of an issue with smaller sized bags but when you’re using a massive waterproof bag, it can be really useful to have a window on it.
A waterproof phone pouch with a window is also essential if you plan on taking pictures underwater.
Carrying Straps and Portability
For each type of dry bag, the carrying straps can vary from a long shoulder strap, carry handles or backpack straps. Having the right style of carry straps can make it easier and more comfortable to transport the dry bag.
If you plan on using your waterproof bag on a boat trip, it’s a good idea to have a D-ring attached so that you can attach other bags to it. Some of the best waterproof bags will already come with some attached. These help to keep all bags together making it easier to grab them if one was to fall overboard and it can also be ideal on backpacking holidays as you won’t forget anything as you move about.