Looking for the best dry bag to keep your kit safe and dry? Read on. A waterproof bag is an essential if you're embarking on any kind of water-based activity and need somewhere to stash your belongings, but can also come in handy for general outdoors adventures in unreliable weather.
In this guide we've rounded up the best dry bags to buy now. There are neat packs designed to be tucked under the bungee chords of today's best paddle boards, bright dry bags on tethers designed to float behind you on a wild swim, and waterproof backpacks that are easy to sling on your back on a hike.
There are three things to think about when deciding which of the best dry bags to buy: size, material, and closure type. Size-wise, choose a high capacity backpack if you plan to go trekking or kayaking, though much smaller if you're cycling or just planning a jaunt to the beach/resort pool. For materials, you'll see a lot of vinyl, though sturdy nylon materials are now appearing that have a much soft, less industrial (and less shiny) look, while remaining waterproof.
However, what most of the best dry bags have in common is a roll-top closure. Although you will also see sealed zippers, roll-tops that must be rolled three or four times before being sealed using clips is a common and highly effective way to keep out water.
All of these picks will protect your belongings, keeping everything from your clothes to your action camera to your sleeping bag safe, whether you're facing water, sand, dust, humidity, or just a sloppy baggage handler.
- Stay safe on coastal adventures with one of the best life jackets
- Don't need waterproofing? Try one of the best hiking backpacks
- Keep warm in the water with one of the best wetsuits
The best dry bags to buy right now
Our top pick for best dry bag right now is the Aquapac Wet & Dry rucksack. This roomy roll-top boasts plenty of features that make it a great choice for a range of activities. Padded shoulder straps make it comfy to sling on your back when hiking or cycling, and these even a removable seat pad built in. It's lightweight yet roomy enough to stash your valuables, a change of clothes, your lunch and even a 17″ laptop, and the external mesh pockets provide the perfect home for your water bottle. There's a full-sized internal pocket that enables you to separate wet and dry things (or clean and dirty things). If we're nit-picking, we'd like this to function as a separate dry bag. Head to our Aquapac Wet & Dry rucksack review for more info.
Even if you're hauling a lot of gear on a kayak or a yacht, you're occasionally going to need easy access to your phone, camera, documents or hat. Cue the great value Overboard Dry Flat Bag, a handy – and hard to miss – ripstop nylon fabric bag that's as super-light as it is versatile. Folding to almost nothing when not in use, it's got a carabiner to clip to a belt or other bags or equipment, and when full it can be worn across the body thanks to a clip-on adjustable shoulder strap. Although it's designed for beach, boat, surf and scuba trips – and even floats if dropped on water – it also works well as a way of keeping your essential possessions 100% dry inside any regular hiking backpack.
The best dry bags for slinging into a hiking backpack to keep your belongings safe and dry are these Tele Compression bags from Drybags. We've tried one out, and it's now a permanent fixture for all packing situations. While you shouldn't take these for a swim, they are still very waterproof, and will certainly keep your sleeping bag, down jacket, or electronic devices safely dry in a downpour. As well as being a great place to slash any luggage items that don't like the wet, these kinds of dry bags are great for keeping your stuff organised within a larger rucksacks. And these ones are perfect for space-saving too: open the vent at the bottom and pull down the adjustable straps to expel any air from the inside of the bag and compress down its contents. There are three sizes to choose from.
If you're looking for a great basic all-rounder, the best dry bag for you is the SealLine boundary Dry Pack. This waterproof rucksack comes in three different sizes, ranging from a compact 35L right up to 115L. Compression straps are on hand to help you pack in even more gear, and to keep that DrySeal roll top closure sealed tight against any rain or incoming water. Welded seams keeps the wet stuff out.
Great for kayaking and canyoneering, the Boundary Dry bag is built to withstand rough and tumble, on and off the water.The padded, adjustable shoulder straps are removable, making this dry bag flexible to wear as a rucksack or not, depending or what you're doing. If you are lugging gear around, you'll benefit from the updated suspension system, sternum strap and webbing waist, designed to distribute weight better and lighten the load on your shoulders.
If you're not heading off on a paddle board or kayak, but want something that'll keep your work gear and laptop dry as you commute to work in the rain, the Chrome Industries Urban Ex Rolltop 2.0 backpack is the dry bag for you. This smart bag wouldn't be out of place in our general best backpack roundup, but has a trick up its sleeve: it's also fully waterproof. It features a Knurled Welded construction that looks smart but also keeps any water out, alongside a super comfy shoulder harness and reflective loops to keep you visible on your commute. There's a padded laptop sleeve that'll fit a 15" MacBook pro, pockets for valuables, and the rolltop design is good for security too. Check our Chrome Industries Urban Ex Rolltop 2.0 backpack review to see more of what we thought.
While it might not have the adjustability or balancing chest harness of the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Day Pack, the Aqua Quest Mariner is an admirable option if you're after something more akin to a waterproof backpack. For those days when the 35-litre capacity of our previous pick might be overkill, Aqua Quest's 10 and 20-litre options may be more fitting. There’s a duffel-like side handle to this dry bag as well as backpack-style shoulder straps. Their more portable size, as well as the versatile carry options, are just two reasons why the Mariner Lightweight should be on your radar.
If you want a dry bag that’ll swallow a whole heap of your weekend outdoor gear, take a look at the Big River sack, designed with a roll top and clip closure. The interior is white for enhanced visibility, and the tape-sealed seams are almost foolproof. This Sea to Summit dry bag offers a sizable 65-litre storage capacity and a shell of hard-as-nails 420D ripstop nylon to ensure no water gets in and to keep it safe from tears. 65 litres is the maximum capacity you can buy this best dry bags contender in, but the Big River comes in much small versions too, starting with a dinky three-litre version, which is ideal for housing small gadgets and your phone.
With its backpack design, this hydraulic daypack from Sea to Summit seeks to offer one of the most comfortable carrying experiences out there. With proper adjustable shoulder straps and even a chest harness, it’s a neat case of 'dry bag meets hiking bag', making it ideal for long walks in the rain, or for stream crossings to a remote launch site for your paddle board. The Hydraulic Dry Pack features highly in our best dry bags buyer's guide because of its sturdy fabric and construction, load lifter design and sternum adjustments. That and the roll-top closure performs well as a defence against water infiltration.
Here's something from Swedish brand Fjӓllrӓven for urban types who sometimes have to brave the outdoors – and specifically the rain – with tech in tow. A smart-looking daypack complete with a padded area for a 15-inch laptop, a zipped pocket and even pen holders inside, the Ulvo Rolltop 23's most obvious trick is its roll-top closure to keep out downpours. However, although we love its two outside pockets for storing a water bottle and/or umbrella, secret zipped pocket, and loop on the front for a bike light, the Ulvo Rolltop 23 is all about its waterproof, yet soft and smooth (and part-recycled) Bergshell fabric. At 23 litres the Ulvo Rolltop 23 isn't going to take much gear, but for anyone on an urban commute, a light hike or a cycle ride through bad weather it's one of the best-looking options we've seen.