10 Best Dry Bags For Canoeing, Kayaking, and Backpacking

Not long ago, my idea of a “dry bag” was a plastic trash bag with a drawstring. Each time we’d load our canoe for a river camping trip, everything went into trash bags. (Fortunately, this crude attempt at waterproofing our gear never had to be put to the test.)

Since those first river trips, I’ve learned a lot, but the most important lesson has been the beauty of a dry bag. Now, instead of wrapping our duffels and bins in flimsy trash bags, everything goes directly into its own waterproof sack: clothing, food, toiletries. It can rain. It can splash. And I don’t spend any time worrying about a soggy sleeping bag or ruined meals.

What exactly is a dry bag? It’s a flexible, durable bag made from a waterproof material such as plastic or plastic-coated fabric. A dry bag also has a unique closure that creates a watertight seal. In most cases, you simply press the bag closed, tightly roll down the fabric, and clip the fastener. The design of the closure also allows you to clip the bag to the inside of your canoe or boat and doubles as a carrying handle.

best dry bags - dry bags leaning on a camping kayak

Best Dry Bags By Size

Dry bags come in a variety of sizes and there’s a growing list of extra features available such as zippered pockets, shoulder straps, and transparent panels. Ready to make your own transition from trash bags to dry bags? Here are the 10 best dry bags to take on your next paddle or day on the lake.