Best Dry Bag for Complete Submersion - O

Hi folks, I’m sure the question for best dry bags has been tossed around like none-other. I’m going to be swimming the perimeter of Lake Tahoe in less than a month. 72 miles unsupported (over the course of about 7 days) so 10+ miles a day to allow for afternoon lightning storms etc. Anyways. I’m going to be carrying all my own gear. Food, Water, Sleep System, Debit Card, Phone, and spare goggles. It’s going to be tethered to a homemade leash I made which will be attached to my ankle. I need to know in your experience which would be the best dry bag. I’m debating between the SeaLine EcoSee and the Sea to Summit Clear Stopper Dry Bag. My inflatable sleeping pad is going to be the buoyant aspect to keep my dry bag afloat. I’ll deflate it just enough so it’ll remain afloat while I’m towing it. The inside of the dry bag will be lined with a trash bag liner just in case. But my question for you guys is what dry bag which will preform INSIDE of the water for about 10hours a day. It’s not entirely imperative that the items stay 100% dry cause I can lay them out in the sun… but the drier the better. Thank you for your input! -Sara

Not a roll top
I haven’t tested the two bags you mention but have tested many other brands with roll top closer. I have yet to find a roll top bag that can be submerged. There are ones that use a zip like a zip loc bag that claim to be submersible. Oh grocery zip loc bags are NOT waterproof by a long shot. I use Outdoor Research double roll top dry bags but I think they don’t make them any more BUT even those will fail after about 40 minutes submerged. not a lot of water about a shot glass of water with the double roll top bags I have.

This one looks pretty good as it uses some type of zip loc to seal water out. Like I said roll top dry bags are not made to go under water, they leak slowly but after an hour you bag will be quite full of water.

An answer to the side-note issue

– Last Updated: Jul-06-15 8:55 PM EST –

Don't plan on using any kind of trash bag for the liner. That's a type of bag that is guaranteed to fail. Get some heavy-duty, clear poly bags. An internet search will yield many sources, in a huge number of sizes. I recently bought a bazillion bags in a size that works great for traditional canoe packs. I got a bazillion because the only place that had the size I wanted only sold them in bulk (Staples Online). Some recommend trash-compactor liners, which are tough, but all the examples I've seen are far too small for something like a canoe pack, and possibly too small for you too.

Anyway, you twist the open end tightly shut, and tie a robust string around the neck. You can fold the twisted part over on itself too before tying the string around it, though I'm not sure that's necessary. Oh, and for the "string", paracord is good.

The brand of drybag I've seen recommended as the best is no longer available. For regular drybags, I've heard that folding the corners of the bag opening at a 45-degree angle before making the first fold of the collar will stop most of the leakage. Also, make the folds nice and tight. Crease it hard. Just "rolling" the opening shut isn't nearly as effective as making sharp folds that are well creased (most people do this wrong). Thus, I'd expect that any bag with a nice stiff "collar" will work better, but that's based on logical speculation, not experience.

I was going to say watershed but you beat me to it. They also make a tapered dry bag for the bow of a kayak, it might create a little less drag.

One more thing:

– Last Updated: Jul-06-15 8:53 PM EST –

I think you should test your system for tow-ability. I'm not convinced that putting your drybag on an inflatable sleeping pad will result in easier towing, but maybe the idea is to keep the drybag floating higher. In any case, test it both ways. It's quite possible that it will require less effort to tow the bag by itself, because wetted surface area will be so much less, but you won't know that until you test it. You might even find that your cargo tow simply tips over on the first big wave and doesn't want to be rightside-up again, and towing the drybag alone might work better for that reason alone.

Also, inflatable sleeping pads sometimes fail, so it would be good to be familiar with a different method.

As to the totally-waterproof problem with a regular drybag that's not kept above the water (as per your original plan), using a heavy-duty poly bag as a liner will will solve that problem as well as anything.

Watershed Futa

– Last Updated: Jul-06-15 9:12 PM EST –

In my experience, Watershed bags are the only dry bags that have any chance of remaining dry during prolonged complete immersion.

The "Stow-Float" type of bag will probably be best for your intended usage. The Watershed Futa has a tapered shape and an inflation/deflation tube that would allow you to adjust the amount of air in the bag and the degree of buoyancy to some extent:

Maybe my idea is dumb…
Maybe my idea is a little off base, but what about something like the Kayak Kaddy?

I don’t think I would ever actually use one for kayaking, but for your needs it seems like it might work well.

Also, consider attaching your leash to your waist so it won’t interfere with kicking.

Even better… consider something like the kayak kaddy or kayak kaboose. They are ridiculous, but might be great in this application.

Leash attachment
I was wondering about that too. Now that you mention this, I remember seeing swimming racers train by swimming in place while pulling against a long elastic band. I think they used a waistband to attach the elastic leash to their body. They certainly didn’t tie it to the ankle. A highly elastic leash might even be good in this application, to eliminate the jarring effect of pulling the cargo bag through waves, and even just to “even out” the surging action that comes with certain kinds of strokes.

Dear Prune
trash bag film is holed…solid wall film isn’t cost effective. Check on Wag Bags for a solid wall.

Paddling dry bags are made for floating not sinking so there you go on that…

Trailing the bag mouth with a floatband keeping mouth above water…

electronics go in a pelican box.

separating the load into day use then gluing that day shut ?

the trip is more mil spec Seal than rec.paddling.

what are you thinking on foot blood circulation and tissue damage ?

Watershed bags are the gold
standard, and I second Pete’s recommendation of a Futa. You’d have quite a bit of drag towing anything I’d think, but that’s not what you asked about and I’m sure you’ve considered it. Best of luck with the endeavor.

roll top dry bags not waterproof
Roll top dry bags are not completely waterproof, so likely not your best choice.

California Kayaker Magazine did an article comparing different types of dry storage - cam be read for free online at Issue #4.

You may want a roll top dry bag for shape (dragging behind you) and floatation - to make sure the stuff you want to keep dry stays dry, an option would be to use a different storage format inside. I often use a dry bag within a dry bag to keep stuff safe. Have also sometimes used hard shell case inside a dry bag.