Best Paddling Bags And Cases

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Earth Pak Original
Test Winner: Earth Pak Original
Amazon Link
When you are an adventure junkie and enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, fishing, or even camping in different weather conditions, a dry bag is a necessity. Especially when you are bringing expensive equipment such as cameras or your cell phone or GPS, you want all of your personal items to keep safe and dry while traveling the outdoors.

Standout Picks

Earth Pak Original
The Original Waterproof Dry Bag by Earth Pak is a high-quality option for organizing your paddling gear. It is easy to use, comes with a reasonable price tag, and is built to stand up in the wilderness and on the water. With the purchase, you’ll also receive a free 6 ½ inch waterproof phone case, another must-have for paddlers!
Amazon Link
$19.99
Joto Universal Waterproof Case
The Joto Universal Waterproof Case should be a no-brainer for all paddlers. It is so easy to lose or drop a phone in the water when you are on it often, but it’s also so simple to protect it with just an extra storage pouch or two. This case will hold most phones, in addition to money or credit cards, allowing you to check messages and take beautiful photos while paddling. Even if you do take a dip, your small valuables will be well-protected with this case.
Amazon Link
$8.99
Pelican Protector 1400
Pelican is a trusted name in watersports and outdoor gear. The company crafts various styles and sizes of hardy, waterproof cases that will secure almost any electronics, camera gear, or other valuables that you may want to bring along.
Amazon Link
$94.95
Pelican 1040 Micro Case
You can’t go wrong with any of the sizes and styles of the Pelican cases. The 1040 Micro Case is an excellent hard storage option for small but expensive gear such as phones, keys, money, and important cards. The 1040 should store most phones, protecting them from water, weather, and falls.
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack
Sea to Summit's Lightweight Dry Sack is an optimal solution for those who are looking for a simple design that will do the job and keep your precious belongings safe. Find out why we love it below.
Amazon Link
$24.95
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
Sea to Summit’s Big River Dry Bag is standard among paddlers and outdoor adventurers. It’s built to withstand elements, water, and time. Whatever your watersport style, there’s a Big River option for you.
Amazon Link
$24.95
Backcountry Link
$29.95
See Deal
Gear Coop
$64.95
See Deal

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Size

Size does matter, as far as it concerns your outdoor sports storage needs. The array of outdoor storage options is phenomenal; many outdoor companies have seen the need and they have provided numerous options. It is up to the consumer to decide what it is they absolutely need to carry and what can remain at home, or in the car, or at the campsite. Sizes of dry bags and sacks typically range from 5 L to 65 L.

This can vary depending on the company. Are you going for an overnight trip on an off-coast barrier island? Will you need a sleeping pad and a change of clothes? Will you be going for an exploratory river day trip and need your camera, a few lenses, and your phone? Are you a guide who needs to keep track of the keys and the money? There is no wrong size of dry bags, sacks, and cases when it comes to paddle sports. There are many options carefully crafted so that you have an ideal option to suit the needs that fit your day and lifestyle.

Water Capacity

Waterproof means that a bag or case should be able to be submerged underwater without water having entered in after its retrieval. Not only should they have a high denier count (thicker fiber material) but all seams and openings should be crafted to be airtight. Zippers and seams should have extra reinforcement to make them airtight, otherwise, air and water can slowly creep in through tiny holes. Some companies use a method of seam taping to prevent water from entering in at seam sights. To produce a waterproof product, manufacturers often need to rely on the welding of seams, which involves heating and pressing them together and can be costly. Therefore, waterproof containers may be a more expensive option. Consider your purpose and your need.

Do you need an item that is completely submergible (maybe you’re guiding adventure kayakers through Class IV river rapids) or do you need a storage container that is more splash-proof (maybe you’re joining an easy stand-up paddleboarding group down a calm, slow-moving river)? There are many options available for outdoor watersports, all suited for the specific needs of the outdoorsman (or woman), types of activity, and levels of moving waters. It’s wise to consider your unique activity level and needs while perusing the many options available.

Materials

Denier (D) is a unit of measurement used to describe the thickness of a material’s fibers of individual threads. You will see this term often on the specifics of outdoor product information. Basically, the higher the denier number is, the greater the thickness of the fibers with which it is made. The lower the denier number, the more fine and thin the material will be. When investing in storage bags that will be housing your important and/or valuable items, you will most likely want a higher denier count. The fabric will be of sturdy, thick construction. This is necessary not only for holding valuables and keeping them safe on the inside but for withstanding weather, bumps, and falls on the outside. Before investing in a dry sack or bag, consider what it is you need to keep safe on the water as well as the denier count of the material potential bags is made of.

Polyurethane (PU) is a safe and effective chemical formulation that is used in various forms. It is often used in building construction to create durable barriers to all sorts of elements. It is a water-repellant formula used on wood as a waterproof membrane and as a sealant on boats. It is often used in foam insulation, adhesives, mattresses, and even in dams and dikes. On outdoor gear, polyurethane is often used as a coating to create a hardy, sustainable, waterproof product.

Nylon was invented in the early 1930s. While it was popular for women’s stockings for a time, its sturdiness found many other uses. A synthetic fiber, it is strong, elastic, lightweight, and mildew-resistant. I can be found in toothbrushes, carpets, and surgical sutures. During World War II, it could be found in parachutes, tire chords, and aircraft fuel tanks. Nylon is a soft yet strong material, making it an ideal candidate for many manufacturers. It is stretch, shrink and wrinkle resistant, and durable while remaining light. Because of these qualities, it is often used in the construction of outdoor bags and other gear.

Polyester, popular as it was for outerwear in the 1970s, is another material often used in the production of outdoor bags, sacks, and gear. Similar to nylon, it is also a strong and durable material. Like nylon, it is resistant to stretching, shrinking, and wrinkles. It is heat-resistant, flame retardant, abrasion-resistant, quick-drying. Both polyester and nylon are high-quality materials for use in outdoor gear.

Cordura is a brand name fabric used around the world with retailers and militaries alike. It is crafted to be durable, reliable, and long-lasting. It is of high quality and reserved for those products worthy of the name. Cordura is a tough fabric used for products in need of long-lasting, wear-and-tear use, such as upholstery, luggage, military products, and outdoor gear. It is resistant to abrasions, scuffs, and tears. If you’re into extended outdoor adventures, Cordura may be a fabric to look out for.

Usually, when a consumer is looking at purchasing dry bags and dry cases, it’s because there are precious belongings that need protecting. While some items purchased can be done with little thought, the risks involved while on the water with valuables greatly increase each time we paddle out. This is one purchase that carries some weight. If money and goods hadn’t been lost in waters before, there would never have been a need for, and the creation of, high-performance dry bags and cases.

Take your time, consider your needs and what you will be carrying, as well as the type of paddling you’ll be doing and the waters you’ll be on before purchasing your dry container.

Style

Dry bags are usually tougher, more durable, and crafted of a thicker material than dry sacks. These are ideal for water sports. They are built to withstand elements, carried through and over rugged terrain, and to take a dunk or two into the water. They come in an array of sizes and colors. Some are solid while some have clear, see-through windows for easy access to needed items. They can hold small items like lunch and a phone, or they can carry large items like a sleeping bag and a change of clothes.

There is a large selection of dry bags available as many outdoor companies have recognized the need for dry and simple storage for outdoor water sports. Dry sacks are lighter weight, thinner, and often transparent. They are often used for separating gear inside a dry bag, or for providing that second layer of protection. Some outdoor gear companies advise “double bagging” dry items, particularly electronics. A dry sack would serve as the thin but water-resistant first layer. The sack would then be placed into a thickly constructed dry bag for extra waterproof and ding-proof protection. Also, those concerned with the weight of each object carried, such as long-distance backpackers, would opt for a lightweight dry sack as every ounce would count and be felt. Both dry bags and dry sacks are often constructed with a roll-top and buckle closure for a watertight seal.

Top 10 Picks

1. Earth Pak Original

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$19.99
Earth Pak Original
Amazon Link

The Original Waterproof Dry Bag by Earth Pak is a high-quality option for organizing your paddling gear. It is easy to use, comes with a reasonable price tag, and is built to stand up in the wilderness and on the water. With the purchase, you’ll also receive a free 6 ½ inch waterproof phone case, another must-have for paddlers!

Read more

Size
Available in 10L and 20L

Materials
This dry bag is made of 500 denier PVC material and hard D-rings for securing to your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Its hardy construction is built to make it through any foul weather you may fun into and any falls that could occur.

Water Capacity
After all your dry items are inside, you can fold down the roll-top and secure the buckle closure for simple, but watertight storage.

Style
This Earth Pak Original dry bag is known for keeping your items dry and coming in several different sizes including 10-55 L. It also comes with features including a waterproof phone case for larger phones which works well in case you have a phone that is on the larger side 6.5 Inches wide maximum. This dry bag has a shoulder strap for you to carry easily wherever you are and to grab quickly in case of an emergency.

Amazon Link
$19.99

2. Joto Universal Waterproof Case

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$8.99
Joto Universal Waterproof Case
Amazon Link

The Joto Universal Waterproof Case should be a no-brainer for all paddlers. It is so easy to lose or drop a phone in the water when you are on it often, but it’s also so simple to protect it with just an extra storage pouch or two. This case will hold most phones, in addition to money or credit cards, allowing you to check messages and take beautiful photos while paddling. Even if you do take a dip, your small valuables will be well-protected with this case.

Read more

Size
Fits devices up to 6”, or 100mm x 170mm
Clear window 70mm x 140 mm
0.3 oz

Materials
Joto’s case is a best-selling, customer-proven pouch that has secured thousands of phones from the harsh effects of water.

Water Capacity
The Universal Waterproof Case is submersible in up to 100 ft of water.

Style
The case includes a neck strap for those who want it within the closest range for the easiest access. It has a simple and secure snap and locking system at the top and is available in eight colors.

Amazon Link
$8.99

3. Pelican Protector 1400

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$94.95
Pelican Protector 1400
Amazon Link

Pelican is a trusted name in watersports and outdoor gear. The company crafts various styles and sizes of hardy, waterproof cases that will secure almost any electronics, camera gear, or other valuables that you may want to bring along.

Read more

Size
The interior is 11.81" x 8.87" x 5.18" (30 x 22.5 x 13.2 cm)

Materials
The Pelican Protector 1400 case is manufactured with a tough, polypropylene body with a polymer O-ring seal, watertight latches and stainless steel hardware, and stainless steel padlock protectors.

Water Capacity
This case is built with a solid watertight design with double throw latches and an automatic pressure equalization valve that helps balance the pressure of the interior while keeping water away from your valuables.

Style
All of the Pelican Protector cases have an open cell core construction with a solid outer wall, Pick N Pluck with convoluted foam and have the option for a personalized nameplate. Six color options are available.

Amazon Link
$94.95

4. Pelican 1040 Micro Case

Where to buy
Pelican 1040 Micro Case
Amazon Link

You can’t go wrong with any of the sizes and styles of the Pelican cases. The 1040 Micro Case is an excellent hard storage option for small but expensive gear such as phones, keys, money, and important cards. The 1040 should store most phones, protecting them from water, weather, and falls.

Read more

Size
Interior 6.5” x 3.87” x 1.75”

Materials
All Pelican Micro Cases are constructed of a crushproof, dustproof rugged hard casing with stainless steel hardware outside and a rubber liner on the inside.

Water Capacity
The case is submersible under one meter of water for up to thirty minutes. It has an automatic pressure equalization valve to balance the pressure on the inside and keep water on the outside. All items inside should be well-protected even in the worst of cases.

Style
A Pelican Micro Case will have a see-through clear top and a solid color bottom. A carabiner is attached and it has a tight, but easy opening latch.

5. Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$24.95
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack
Amazon Link

Sea to Summit's Lightweight Dry Sack is an optimal solution for those who are looking for a simple design that will do the job and keep your precious belongings safe. Find out why we love it below.

Read more

Size
30 liters 8.6 x 21 in

Materials
Because of its nylon and lightweight design, this bag is made for backpackers and others who are on the go.

Water Capacity
This bag is made to be lightweight, so if you are heading on a long trip, where you need to pack something to keep everything dry, it's the way to go.

Style
The best part of this particular dry sack is how inexpensive it is, so you can spend more on other important items and devices for your trip. The interior of this bag is bright white so that it is easy for you to find all of your belongings with ease. Overall, if you need something simple with no extras (that is affordable) this is the option to go for.

Amazon Link
$24.95

6. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

Where to buy
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
Amazon Link

Sea to Summit’s Big River Dry Bag is standard among paddlers and outdoor adventurers. It’s built to withstand elements, water, and time. Whatever your watersport style, there’s a Big River option for you.

Read more

Size
Options include 3L, 5L, 8L, 13L, 20 L, 35L and 65L
2.5 oz to 10 oz, depending on size chosen

Materials
This dry bag is made of TPU laminated fabric with a 10,000m waterhead. The 420 D nylon fabric is strong without adding too much weight, and is double-stitched to make it a long-lasting pick for rough and rugged trips.

Water Capacity
With tape-sealed seams and a Hypalon strap with buckle closure, the Big River dry bag seals up to provide the ultimate waterproof protection for any valuables stored inside.

Style
The Sea to Summit Big River bag includes four Hypalon lash loops and two D-rings on the exterior so that you can easily attach it to your canoe, kayak, SUP. Five color options are available.

Amazon Link
$24.95
Backcountry Link
$29.95
See Deal
Gear Coop
$64.95
See Deal

Sources

  1. Jordan Carter, 11 best dry bags in 2019, Article
  2. Marilyn Mcfee, Top 15 best dry bags in 2019, Article