Dry Bags

I am getting ready to go kayak camping for the first time next month and need to get some dry bags for my gear. I have looked at REI and NRS and am wondering what the group here feels is the best for the money. Also, I am thinking several smaller bags for related items (as I would backpacking) as opposed to one or two large bags.

First time doing this in a kayak so any ideas or suggestions would be welcomed.

Just finished my 3rd kayak…
…camping season and now I am using fewer and smaller bags. I learned the clear ones are hard to stuff in the yak. If you trust your hatches you can just toss a lot of stuff in loose or in baggies.

dry bags
I went with SeattleSports urethane coated ripstop nylon dry bags, fairly light, durable and have an air purge valve so you can compress the bag after filling/closing it. Also bought some WXtex dry bags, on sale at Sierra Trading Post right now, same design as SeattleSports except their purge valve doubles as an inflation valve so you can also use the bags just as floation bags.

Sea to Summit

– Last Updated: Apr-22-07 12:23 AM EST –

Not the Sil bags. Those are ultra light for back packing. The regular. Still very light, come in lots of sizes and lots of colors for each size. Coated on the inside. Very easy to fold the ends to seal.

For no purge valve type bags, they're my favorite so far.

I too bought a couple of the thick plastic transparent bags in the beginning. Difficult to get in and out of hatches, and water wicks past the folded ends on my larger one.

Paul S.

Yup, purge valves are nice.
I have one in my approx. 20 L tapered nylon bag from GAIA. It’s kind of heavy. It was cheap :). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.

Can you get purge valves in smaller bags, like 8L?

Paul S.

Yes for SeattleSports
I have a SS ~2 Liter drybag bag with a purge valve.

Why not sil?
I love these bags and have a number of sil ones.

They’ve only failed me once, and I strike it up to me not fully or evenly stuffing the bag which ended up sitting for a full day in a puddle of water at the bottom of the cockpit.

Do the non-sil ones slide as easily when you’re packing the hatches?


for reasons that you will understand, I find it ironic that you are posting to a kayak camping advice thread)

3 strikes and you are out! Self appointed thread cop today, or are you now on Brent’s payoll?!

aquaman will appreciate it

Nice features

– Last Updated: Apr-22-07 7:56 AM EST –

Purge valve, very much worth the bucks. Coated nylon bags with a lightweight closure like Seattle Sports or WaveTex rather than plastic or vinyl bags - lighter weight and they glide in and out of hatches easier w/o sticking.
And after having started out with larger drybags, I use virtually all smaller ones now like 5 liter and at most 10. Plus a tapered bag or two in each end of the boat. I can get a lot out of two smaller tapers, one on either side of the sceg box in my Explorer.

Also, pack a big lightweight bag - like a cheapo canvas shoulder bag that you might use to cart stuff to a spot on the beach - on top of everything. It'll make carrying out all the smaller bags a lot easier.

I did use the big vinyl bags when I had the Squall, with big hatches and capcious storage, in fact more than many boats that were longer. But the combination of having to often dig to the bottom of a larger bag to get stuff and the weight to carry was getting old even in a boat into which I could fit them well.

Which tapered ones?
fit on either side of the skeg box. I know you have an LV, too.



you gave me an idea
You mention “coated nylon bags … that glide in and out of hatches easier w/o sticking.”

The trade-off, of course, is that once you put the rubber coating on the inside, things stick when you’re putting them in the bag. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a bag with a coating “sandwiched” by two nylon surfaces–one inside, and one out? That way, things wouldn’t stick going into the bag, and the bag wouldn’t stick going into the boat. (Of course, double the price of the bag!)

Seal Line 20 litre w//purge
Seal Line’s purge arrangement is a round area with some holes in it that work one way, not a valve, but if you pretty much sit on the bag once packed it works fine. If I purge well I can get one on either side. That still leaves room behind their ends, by the way, for a 5 liter bag of something that is skinny and light like a book and reading glasses, or sandals. (or stuff you bring back from leave no trace camping…)

I should mention that I have a rope skep - NDK’s cable arrangement might be different.

Check out the new OR (Outdoor Research) Compression dry bags. Good for clothing or a sleeping bag as an alternate to a bag with a purge valve. With other stuff, you won’t gain too much from a purge valve. I have an NDK with a cable skeg and only use a tapered bag in the bow. In the back next to the skeg, I put my Thermarest on one side and usually part of my tent (rolled long and skinny) on the other.

Second the Sea to Summit
I love the Sea to Summit bags (and I do use the sil bags, since I also backpack a lot). (My mother keeps buying me the vinyl and rubber dry bags for presents, and while they’re fine for canoing, they’re a huge hassle in my kayak–they stick going in, they’re too big, they’re refuse to come out of my tiny hatches). Campmor has good prices on the Sea to Summit bags.

Urethane coating on inside does not
stick to things! The coating is very slick on the SeatttleSports and WXtex bags I have, never had anything catch on it and the outsidde is ripstop nylon which slides very well too.

I’m with radskierman.
What’s your problem, Bohemia? Get off my case, man! Show a little positive attitude here, huh?

Paul S.

That’s why it’s nice
that this is a public forum. We can check each other’s statements :). I’ve never actually used the Sil bags (blush.) I looked at them briefly before I bought the coated nylon. Reason I made the statement and decision is that the coated nylon Sea To Summit bags are still very light and very flexible, nothing like the thick nylon bags of some other brands. I was thinking for kayaking one would get more durability on the heavier SS ones as those are still very light.

One possible downside of the coated nylon is that they may hold odors a little more.

As Tiva pointed out below, if backpacking too, then the Sil would be great.

I’ll have to look at the Sil again.

Paul S.

Small bags…
Stick to multiple smaller bags rather than a few larger ones…it’s much easier to pack and trim your boat this way.

Another P&H team paddler, Brian Day, had a great article on packing a kayak in sea kayaker magazine a few issues back. It’s worth taking a look at.

Have fun on your trip!


P&H Team