Best Paddling Bags And Cases
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 are wanting all of your personal items to keep safe and dry while traveling the outdoors. Whether you are near water or the rain begins to fall you want to make sure you can save your belongings in emergency situations. All of the various types of paddling bags and gear cases that you will have to choose from should be of a waterproof exterior as well as interior, making it easy to clean. Below we have listed the top ten best paddling bags and cases in the market today including details for each bag to help you decide which one suits your needs best.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 19 hrs of research
Simple to use
Shoulder strap for low-hassle transporting
Includes a waterproof phone case
Top 10 Picks
1. Earth Pak Original
Simple to use
Shoulder strap for low-hassle transporting
Includes a waterproof phone case
Only two size options
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 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
Available in 10L and 20L
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.
After all your dry items are inside, you can fold down the roll top and secure the buckle closure for simple, but watertight storage.
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.
2. Joto Universal Waterproof Case
Incredibly inexpensive for the amount of security provided
Easy to carry and use
Would need to be secured on your body or within another dry bag
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
Fits devices up to 6”, or 100mm x 170mm
Clear window 70mm x 140 mm
Joto’s case is a best-selling, customer-proven pouch that has secured thousands of phones from the harsh effects of water.
The Universal Waterproof Case is submersible in up to 100 ft of water.
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.
3. Pelican Protector 1400
Trustworthy and reputable name
Variety of sizes for your specific gear transport needs
Customizable foam inserts
Any inserts do take away from inner storage space
Pelican is a trusted name in watersports and outdoor gear. The company crafts various styles and sizes of hardy, waterproof cases that will secure most any electronics, camera gear or other valuables that you may want to bring along. The Pelican Protector 1400 will hold a DSLR camera with a small lens, as well as a zoom lens. You’ll be able to get both gorgeous landscape shots and intimate close-ups on the wildlife or other paddlers, safely storing your gear afterward. You simply can’t go wrong when you choose a Pelican waterproof storage case.Read more
The interior is 11.81" x 8.87" x 5.18" (30 x 22.5 x 13.2 cm)
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.
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.
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.
4. Pelican 1040 Micro Case
Customizable with foam inserts
More size options are available to suit your specific needs
Rubber insert does diminish the usable interior space a bit
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
Interior 6.5” x 3.87” x 1.75”
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.
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.
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
Less expensive than some other deck bags
Low profile, no paddling hindrance
Not completely submersible
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
30 liters 8.6 x 21 in
Because of its nylon and lightweight design, this bag is made for backpackers and others who are on the go.
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.
The proof 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.
6. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag
Seven sizes to choose from
Hardy without being weighty
Reliable company name
More pricey than many other dry bag options available
Sea to Summit’s Big River Dry Bag is standard among paddlers and outdoor adventurers. It’s built to withstand elements, water and time. It also comes in a variety of sizes, providing options for every need, whether you’re taking a short trip with only a few items to carry along or an overnight paddle with a sleeping bag and clothing to store. Whatever your watersport style, there’s a Big River option for you.Read more
Options include 3L, 5L, 8L, 13L, 20 L, 35L and 65L
2.5 oz to 10 oz, depending on size chosen
This dry bag is made of TPU laminated fabric with 10,000m waterhead. The 420 D nylon fabric is strong without adding too much weight, and double-stitched to make it a long-lasting pick for rough and rugged trips.
With tape-sealed seams and a Hypalon strip with buckle closure, the Big River dry bag seals up to provide the ultimate waterproof protection for any valuables stored inside.
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.
7. IDRYBAG Roll Top Dry Bag
Great value price
More color options
The IDRYBAG Roll Top Dry Bag is similar to other dry bags but is a super lightweight option if weight is being taken into consideration. With this sack, you can organize and separate your items, such as food and clothing, or place a dry sack packed with camera gear or phone into a heavier-material dry bag for electronic security. This dry bag also comes with a 2L bag that feels as though it is weightless as you carry it through the outdoors or on your next outdoor adventure. IDRYBAG is a very well known company that makes high-quality dry bags for a large variety of outdoor activities. Some activities this dry bag is good to bring to is surfing, kayaking, rafting, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, to even just adventuring in wet weather conditions to keep your belongings dry.Read more
This IDRYBAG Roll Top Dry Bag comes in two different sizes including 9.8inch x 7.1inch x 17.7inch 20L there are also different size options including 20L, 30L and a 2L dry bag for you to carry smaller personal items.
This waterproof dry bag is made from 500D PVC which is known for being a strong durable material. Keeping the dry bag safe from water and extending its life span. It is also made from woven polyester and has a vinyl coat for excellent protection no matter what weather condition or emergency you get into. The waterproof material also makes this bag very easy to clean and to maintain which is important with any outdoor dry bag as they do tend to get dirty.
This dry bag is known for being built from waterproof materials and even has a watertight seam on top for you to make sure no water or moisture enters your dry bag. It keeps all of your gear and personal items dry and is known for its top durable woven tape to completely seal the bag.
This IDRYBAG Roll Top Dry Bag has many special features that make it one of the best dry bags on our list. This dry bag has an easy handle to make it easily portable and even has a clip for you to clip onto your backpack to keep it safe during your hike or activity. It has a reflective stripe the size of 5 1/2inch x1 2/5 inch that helps you be able to see it float in case it does fall in the water or get submerged.
8. SealLine Baja Dry Bag
Variety of sizes and colors to choose from
Hardy, and ultra long-lasting
Easy, water-tight roll-top seal
More expensive than some other dry bags
For anyone spending a good amount of time on the water, SealLine’s Baja Dry Bag is an excellent choice if you are carrying items that you want to stay out of the water. It is high-quality, top of the line, often used by the U.S. Coast Guard and is proven to last through years of water adventure.Read more
Bag sizes range from 5 L to 55 L, with the smallest size weighing in at 7 oz and the largest at 1 lb 12 oz.
SealLine’s Baja Dry Bag has a long-lasting, heavy-duty construction. Its 1000D vinyl-coated exterior and extra-thick bottom create a travel bag perfect for paddle trips out in nature’s elements.
In addition to the vinyl coating, the Baja Dry Bag features welded seams and a DrySeal closure, securing all the items inside from weather and water leaks.
The Baja is available in six sizes and four colors, allowing you to choose the bag most suitable for your adventure needs.
9. Watershed Ocoee Dry Duffel
6 color options
Perfect small size for the adventure kayaker
Option to add interior extras to customize your exact needs
A bit pricey
The Watershed Ocoee Dry Duffel is an easy-to-use, easy-to-carry option for paddlers who need just a bit of waterproof storage. It’s small, personal size is perfect for carrying a towel, jacket, lunch, and drinks in compact spots on the kayak or canoe. Furthermore, you can purchase extras to customize your duffel and make it work for you. A shoulder strap is available for those who need an easier carrying option. Padded liners can be added to contain fragile items. Dividers can be placed inside for camera equipment separation, creating an ideal water sports camera bag.Read more
1 lb 7 oz 15 L capacity 9”H x 16”L x 8”W
The Ocoee duffel is made with high-quality 420 denier Cordura ripstop nylon with a polyurethane coating to create a bag that’s strong, scuff-resistant and abrasion-resistant. It has various hard D-ring attachment spots for securing to kayak, canoe or SUP.
It boasts a ZipDry closure that presses shut for an air and watertight seal. It’s submergible, keeping what’s inside dry even if and when it gets dunked.
This Watershed Ocoee Dry Duffel comes with a removable and padded shoulder strap for you to easily transport this bag. It is also adjustable for people who want it to be tighter or even more looser for you to have the choice on how you want to carry it. The fabric is 840 denier which is waterproof and has a well known long life span as it is a very durable material.
10. NRS Taj M’Haul Deck Bag
Puts often used items (water bottle, phone) within easy reach on deck
Sits low on the board and doesn’t interfere with paddling
The soft inner shell that doesn’t retain hard shape
The NRS Taj M’Haul Deck Bag is one of the most reliable on the market. Of sturdy construction, the Taj M’Haul will put all of your dry good safely within reach on board your kayak, canoe or SUP. It has attachment points for easily securing, and also includes nice extras like an inner dry bag and an attachment for a cup holder.Read more
17” L x 5” H - Tapers from 13” to 11”
The Taj M’Haul Deck Bag is crafted with durable nylon, making it a good choice for outdoor sports.
It includes an interior dry bag made to stay afloat. The urethane exterior and waterproof closure keep dry items safe and protected from water spray.
The red and black bag also has outer pockets made of stretchy mesh, an easy carrying handle, reflective tape and a clip for attaching a cup holder.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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 paddle boarding 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.
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 are 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, it’s sturdiness found many other uses. A synthetic fiber, it is strong, elastic, lightweight and mildew-resistant. I can be found in toothbrushes, carpet, 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 increases 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.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
All of the various types of paddling bags and gear cases that you will have to choose from should be of a waterproof exterior as well as interior, making it easy to clean. Rinsing with cold or warm water is a good practice after each use to rid your bag of any river, lake or ocean residue it may have picked up. If your bag has a bit more dirt and grim for a simple water rinse, soap and water can be used to wipe down both inside and outside, followed by a thorough water rinse. Most importantly, make sure to properly air dry your bag. Hang and air dry it out completely before storing away in order to prevent mildew.
Whatever our need is, whatever it is we’re looking for, we can often find it out on the water. Paddling allows us to experience nature’s elements while retaining just a bit of control. Being prepared is key if we want to fully enjoy all that paddling has to offer. Without thoughtful preparation, a paddler could find themselves in a predicament they won’t soon forget. Many have, and thus, we now have a great variety of options for dry bags, pack, pouches, and cases, all of which are sure to enhance your paddling experience and ensure the safety of all the valuables you may choose to carry along for the journey.
Other Factors to Consider
The roll top closure is used in many of the best-selling dry bags. Typically, the bag is rolled down a few times and then locked into place with buckle closure. The repetition of the roll down, in addition to the material used and the lock seal help to prevent water from entering the bag. This type of seal is another commonly used seal in outdoor bags, sacks, and duffels. It is essentially a super sturdy Ziplock-type seal, one that presses closed and peals open. Typically, a zipper seal is accompanied by a well-constructed, heavy-duty material bag that is abrasion-proof and tear-proof, making it much more durable than your standard grocery story zipper-sealed bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can straps and/or hooks be purchased to secure the bags to the deck?
Many companies do provide extra accessories available for purchase that will enhance the product of original purchase. Straps are sometimes provided with the purchase of a bag, sack, case or pouch, but can often be purchased additionally. Bungees, carabiners, and D-rings are always a good option to have on hand for securing bags and cases to the deck or inside of small watercraft. These can be purchased at most marine or outdoor outfitter locations.
q: Do I need a dry bag?
If you are putting in the kayak for an easy, relaxing, unplugged afternoon on the water, it is possible that you may not need a dry bag. If you are leaving all important daily items (money, debit cards, phones) in the ramp parking lot at your car, you might not need a dry bag. However, if you are carrying along anything at all of value, it is most wise to add a dry bag to your paddling outing. Even when you feel that you know water conditions and heights, the area and its history, weather and the natural elements can be completely unpredictable. If you plan to carry any valuables at all, you need some sort of dry bag or case. Dry bags and cases weren’t created because people didn’t need them! They were specifically crafted and engineered to prevent the mishaps that included the loss of gear that so many paddlers have had on the water!
In today’s society, images are important. Paddlers want to ensure that they capture that beautiful moment, that spot that is so serene and peaceful, the tucked-away place almost no one else sees, the wildlife that finally presents itself in the stillness of a calm morning, the glorious moment that most of the world will never see….and then save it forever. The thought of that capture is a wonderful one, but paddlers will need the gear to ensure that the image and the costly electronics make it through the day and to the world beyond.
If you’re a newbie, ask around to seasoned paddlers….most likely you’ll find that without proper storage, and even in the best-expected conditions, waterproof dry bags and cases would have saved many a dollar, a day and a photo.
q: Where can I place my dry bag?
Dry bags typically come with attachment hooks and rings so that they can be secured onto the deck of a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Most paddlers place deck bags on the front of their paddle boards and kayaks for easy access that is quickly within reach. It can also be placed behind the seat or underneath, in the interior of the watercraft. The options can be left to personal preference and what is ideal for the individual paddler.
q: Is a dry bag large enough to hold a tent?
Dry bags come in a variety of sizes, typically ranging from 5 L to 65 L. The largest size should hold a small, perhaps four-person, tent. They have certainly been known to hold sleep pads and bags, as well as cameras and extra clothing. It’s a good idea to consider the weight and size of your items and the dimensions of your dry bag.
q: Can my bag be used to store wet items?
If a bag doesn’t allow water in, then inversely it shouldn’t allow water out. The most durable dry bags should allow your wet items to stay wet only within your bag, without leaking to the outside. Some users have claimed that they were able to carry water in a dry bag with zero leakage to the outside. The thicker the material your bag is made of and the more secure the seams and openings, the more likely it will contain any water that may be inside. If you are transporting wet items remember to rinse your bag and air dry to prevent mildew buildup.