Dry bags for canoe trip ?

What’s a good source for reasonably priced dry bags–large ones–for a long canoe trip?

Sierra Trading Post
I’ve bought nearly all of my dry bags from SierraTradingPost com. Good prices and selection.

Sierra Trading Post
Can’t find anything big there. Am I looking in the wrong place?

If you want big, …
… you might consider a different method, that being standard canoe packs (which are available in either traditional or modern designs) with a waterproof liner made from a properly sized, heavy-duty plastic bag. Such a pack will easily carry as much as the largest dry bag, or a whole lot more if you wish, and the liner bag actually does a much better job of sealing against water entry (not that a few spoonfuls of water getting into a regular dry bag is all that much of a problem). You do need to be somewhat vigilant about duct-taping pinhole leaks as they develop, but the really sturdy bags (you have to look harder to find them) are incredibly tough to puncture. You can even have folded-up spares packed away, just in case. If you use the two-layer bagging method recommended by Cliff Jacobson, even bags of moderate thickness (like the kinds sold by the pack companies) will stay free of pinhole leaks for an amazingly long time.

Try Campmor

– Last Updated: Mar-11-16 2:27 PM EST –


70 liter or 115? A Portage Dry Bag…

There are a lot of different sorts of dry bags.

Backcountry com has a selection in sizes from 10 liter to 115 liter

So does Campmor. I was just in their store last week. They do mail order.

That said there is a good reason GBG posted what he did. You can use an existing pack to make it watertight…

The big dry bags bags require careful rolling. They do work but are not submersible for long periods of time.

I am more apt to use little dry bags for things that need to stay dry and use a standard canoe pack that is not waterproof. Its more adjustable and do your pots really need to stay dry?


– Last Updated: Mar-11-16 3:13 PM EST –

If you want big good ones, check out their "Bills Bags"

If you want a couple of pictures of them in our 17 foot canoe, I'll gladly e-mail you some.

We have used them all over Alaska and in lakes, rivers and the Everglades for many years. they are tough and water proof and also make for a good seat or back rest

Not sure what you mean by "reasonably priced".
You get what you pay for !

Jack L

Bill’s bag. We took ours on a Yukon River trip and on the Bowron Lakes circuit in British Columbia – and many tamer trips close to home. Very tough bags.

Also, I like Watershed satchel-type bags. These are submersible. Very convenient to hold personal items and extra clothes next to your seat in the canoe. Not cheap! Very high quality, though.

I envy you the trip.

G in NC

60L big eough?

Small bags
"I am more apt to use little dry bags for things that need to stay dry and use a standard canoe pack that is not waterproof. Its more adjustable and do your pots really need to stay dry?"

I have one large (6,000 ci) bag for the tent, sleeping bags, pads and clothing. Several smaller ones for various other items, books, camera, GPS and other electronics, electronics, toiletries,etc. Pots, insect repellent and other things that don’t need to stay dry go in a non waterproof duffel.

I like using multiple smaller bags instead of one or two large ones, to help trim the canoe.

Of course if there will be some portaging multiple smaller bags is not the way the go.

Multiple bags versus two
There shouldn’t be much need for using a number of small bags in order to trim the boat. One pack could leave you unable to get proper trim, but with two packs, perfect trim should be attainable. There’s almost always room to move one or both of those packs a small amount in either direction, and since they are heavy, shifting them a small amount is all it takes.

all the little dry bags

– Last Updated: Mar-12-16 11:11 AM EST –

go in a Ostrom Wabakimi Pack
Of course there is portaging!

There are many materials used in dry bags. The heavy PVC ones do not fit in a canoe portage pack at all well

I use the coated nylon bags for that system They are not as abrasion resistant as the PVC ones so its best not to use them alone as in stuffing in a kayak hatch.. which the OP is not doing

My old bags are Cascade Designs
which I guess is Seal Line now. Paddling solo I divide the gear into two big vinyl bags so there is one in the bow and one in the stern for trim. I have a few different sizes depending how long I’ll be out. The bigger bags have shoulder straps, which is nice to have on portages. I usually double bag important stuff like my sleeping bag and cloths in smaller nylon bags just in case. I have some with a relief valve that makes it easy to squeeze out excess air and compress the bag.

Gear Swaps
Don’t forget to check CL and gear swaps. That’s how I’ve acquired all my dry bags except my little American WW Watershed Ocoee. That one cost me 500 bucks :). Well worth it though.

Trim with Two Packs

– Last Updated: Mar-14-16 5:06 PM EST –

It's better to balance the trim with packs as close to center as possible. I expect that you know that, but I'll mention it for those that don't.

If you envision a teeter-totter, perfect balance can be achieved with the two people at many different distances from center, not just at the maximum distance. In a boat, the closer you get all the load to the center, the better the ends will ride over waves, and the less "swing weight" you will be fighting against during abrupt turns. I really dislike having any heavy load being too close to the ends, as it makes the handling of the canoe much more sluggish.

I use two packs. I load one pack quite a bit heavier than the other. The heavy one goes right behind my seat, so close that my feet tucked under the seat almost touch it. The other pack goes in front of me. Since I need room for my knees in front of me, the second pack goes farther in front of me than the other pack is behind me, and that's why the second pack is lighter. Being farther from center, less weight is needed to exactly counterbalance the other pack. Minor adjustments to the position of each pack, usually less than one foot forward or back, will change the trim of the boat quite a bit, so it's easy to make it pretty close to perfect. And it's all done while keeping the ends of the boat as light as possible. Oh, and when using medium-sized float bags, this is the only option in any case.

Heavy bag in back and unweight the ends as much as possible. Of course, trimming the boat slightly stern heavy makes those elusive back ferries more difficult…

Sorry, I know we beat that horse to death in another thread, but I couldn’t help myself :wink:


Granite Gear
CampMor is a great source; try checking out Granite Gear too. You can buy direct from them so you end up with some good deals, avoiding the retail markup sometimes. Great products, dry bags are ultra-lite which is nice and the compression system is great.

Dry Bags:


Duluth Packs:


Got no idea where OP is going
nor their definition of long.

When you get food involved anyway better keep it separate . My long canoe trips last more than a week and not even dehydrated food will fit in that pack

IF portaging and again I have no idea if the OP is doing that, for a long trip its safer to have everything in two packs. I carry the big one alone and the smaller food pack goes with me the second carry with the canoe.

Too much information is not known. and we could get into the subject of blue barrels…one of these goes in the bow.

The big pack in the stern.

Garcia Bear barrels
Each one in a dry bag that fits, if where I think they are going.

All “smellies” in the same

jack L

I got mine from Walmart.