Dry Stuff Sack/Drybags for Sleeping Gear

What drybag/stuff sack combos have people used to keep their sleeping bags dry? Specifically, which brand(s) have worked and which have not? What drybag do you recommend for your sleeping pad?

I am purchasing a couple big Agnes encampment sleeping bags and a couple sleeping pads. I want to eliminate some bulk by having a combined drybag/compression stuff sack for the bags, instead of putting the bag in a regular compression stuff sack and in turn putting that in another drybag. But, I want to make sure to buy a good brand, as I understand how critical it is to keep your bag dry while camping.

Recommendations on specific brands and sources (if you know off hand) would be appreciated. Any other thoughts on the topic also appreciated.

dry/compression sack
I’ve got a seattle sports dry/compression bag that does the trick nicely. It’s the same circumference as a regular sleeping bag stuff sack but a little longer. It has a purge valve at the bottom so it squeezes down as small as possible. I can put both my and my wife’s sleeping bags in it, and it compresses down to about the size of a volleyball. With just mine it’s significantly smaller. They usually cost around 50 bucks but I got mine on sale at REI for about half that. I’d be willing to pay full price though. Never gotten a drop of water in it.


Got my
tex sport dry back at Walmart for $12.00. Never had a leak and can fit my Mil. intermed. cold bag and a change of clothes in it.

Glad I choose well!
I also use the Seattle Sports Expedition Dry Compression Bag…I think I got mine on sale from either REI or picked it up at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin last year…it’s great…I can fit both my Golite Fur Quilt, my GoLite Coal Parka and ancient Thermarest pillow in the medium sized one…I didn’t test it by throwing it in water but I trust it to be as advertised…Seattle Sports has a pretty good rep…

dry bags; depends
I use several Sealine dry bags, tapered, for use in my kayak. They make them with an air reduction vavle to reduce size and they make different sizes so you can pick your preference and squeeze/fit them into your hatches. BTW, I have a Big Agnes system and don’t put the sleeping pad in a dry bag. Why do you need to? Roll the pad up and it shouldn’t be any problem even if it gets wet. Wipe it off. I could fit it in one of the Sealines I guess. When I use one of my canoes, I use a NRS dry bag, backpack style, and everything fits in there.

Don’t expect too much of drybags which
use roll-top closure. If water gets onto the closure, temperature changes can cause water to be wicked through the roll closure and into the bag. Not enough to soak everything, just enough to make annoying damp patches. I fought this problem during a six night open canoe trip on whitewater. It did not matter how carefully the closures were rolled, but if I placed the bags so the closures never got down in the bilgewater, the contents usually ended up dry.

The two kinds of dry bag I have found to be completely dry are the Voyageur bags with the slide closure, and the Watershed bags with the pseudo ziplock rubber closure. The Voyageurs are much lighter, but correspondingly easier puncture.

Sounds like the Black Canyon models
made by SeattleSport. They have both compression and regular style. I bought one of the compression bags this year but have not yet tested it other than stuffing the bag inside. It does make the bag pack up smaller, though the “purge valve” is really just a hole with a plug, not a true valve which would let air out without letting water in. Got it for $28 (retail is $41) on the 'net (Outdoor Travel?).

I also have two SeattleSport noncompression bow bags that do have real one-way purge valves, and they work great. SS bags appear to be of high quality.

Don’t trust…

– Last Updated: Feb-01-04 2:42 AM EST –

a roll top bag with my sleeping gear, day gear yes, but not sleeping gear or extra clothes on a multi day outing. Through experience I've developed a strong preference for a tough waterproof bag with screw top closure. Screw top closures provide practically a bombproof closure although the rigid screw fitting on the bag does restrict access to contents.

My personal choice for feature & value is the Mad Dog line from Stearns. The bag is not only tough, but also features an air valve so you do have some capacity to compress your load, (but I'll bet you'll pack this one so solid that you'll have no need to further compress the contents). The shoulder strap is quite convenient for portage and molded handle and perimeter rope make fine attachment points. The bulk of the bag may be more suited for canoes or other open boats, but perhaps can be adapted for large hatch kayaks as well.

The bag was recently featured as a super special on sierratradingpost.com so you might check there first.

I own afew different bags…
I have a 30x25 Texsprot, a WXtex Pneumo-Mech 25 & a San Juan 10. All are roll top bags and the WXtex has the “purge valve” which I like alot. I haven’t ahd any problems with either of the three bags.

Paddle easy,


Paddler… Do you have any…
pics of dry bag you could put up. I am interested in seeing what you are talking about.

Paddle easy,


I’ve 3 Mad Dogs…
The bags are camo, were marketed primarily to hunters and can hold up to significant abuse. Mine are the full size bags that were, until recently, still available on clearance through Sierra Trading Post, (picture still viewable at http://www.sierratradingpost.com/product.asp?base_no=82556 ). As of today Sierra TP still has stock on the somewhat smaller version (maybe better for Kayaks than my larger one). You may also find remaining stock on clearance at outdoor retailers who seasonally stock hunting gear.

Like you, I also have three roll top bags but I use them daygear as well as a specialized heavy duty messenger style drybag from Seattle Sports that has been a fine drygoods carrier, but my critical gear goes into the screwtop bags. I just do not like to sleep in a wetbag - synthetic fill or not - and I prefer my next day’s clothes & footwear at least start out dry.

I am surprised at the common distrust
for roll top bags. I have been using roll top dry bags since the 80’s while canoeing, kayaking, and ww rafting and have never ended up with wet sleeping gear or such. Heck I have been using cheap dry bags at that. Maybe I am just lucky.

Those screw top bags look interesting though.

Scott, you’re welcome to…
try them on our trip down south in a couple of weeks.

I do agree that roll tops generally work well, but I’ve found that the security of screw tops is preferable for those events when you out in wind facing big saltwater waves and washtub like conditions, (they also stay alot cleaner when accessing the contents while the sands are whipped up by the winds).

Scott, one assumes you’ve been careful
to keep the roll top closures from exposure to water. Or subconsciously careful. If you think about it, though, you’ll realize that roll-top closures are not airtight, and therefore are not watertight. If you were to put an inflation hose on a roll top bag, and blew it up, you would not expect it to stay well inflated for more than an hour or two.

Voyageur slide seal and Watershed zip dry closures are airtight. Those that come with inflation hoses and valves can be blown up firm, and they will stay firm for a long time. The Watersheds are somewhat superior to the Voyageurs in air retention, but both are good enough to use as kayak flotation.

I don’t jave any distrust of roll-top
dry bags. Not sure where this is coming from either. I’ve had leaky hatches on boats before, but not leaky drybags.

I bet even a well-rolled drybag that was held submerged under water would eventually leak. But drybags float. I can’t imagine anyone is filling drybags with lead shot.

Perhaps some people are overfilling their bags (leaving less fabric for multiple rolls), or not giving the buckle straps a final half-twist.

All I know is
I have swam after my drybags (more than once-doh!) and was pleasantly surprised to find the contents remained dry. I like it when that happends. Whether is was a giant bills bag or twenty liter bags I have had good luck. Perhaps it was just that. Luck.

I try to fill the dry bags as recomended. Especially the Bills bag. I have found that filling a bag to a certain volume is the trick to getting a wicked good seal. I close the bags really tight. When I want to check the closure, I compress the hell out of the bag and check for decompression. So far so good. And just as a precaution, before I use a bag in a predicament where I am really relying on it, I test them by filling them with water. Even the 20 gallon + Bills bags. Rough handling of a drybag can cause pin holes that are very hard to see but very easy to patch. My oldest drybags are nearly twenty years old with lots of patches.

Have you used the Big Agnes
sleeping bags before? Do you like them?

Bought to use with Hammock
I have not used the Big Agnes bags before.

The reason I bought them was to use for Hammock camping. Hammocks tend to sleep cold, because the insulation on standard sleeping bags get compressed beneath you. A sleeping pad is recommended for use in the hammock, to provide non-compressible insultion. However, a standard sleep pad tends to move around and is hard to position in a hammock. So, Big Agnes seemed like a good solution, as the sleeping pad is integrated with the bag. It solves the problem of providing insulation without having the sleep pad move around.

Also, the fact that these bags seem to be liked by serious hikers and campers, as well as regarded for high quality and reasonably low weight, were also selling points for me.

dry bags
having packed many,many dry bags----many,many times—I would offer that the only leaks I have experienced resulted from insufficient roll down space and abraded bottoms.(the bags,not mine)Allow for adequate roll down space and inspect the bags at the end of each trip by filling them with a hose.Narrow kayak bags are available with a lining.Best bet for stuffing bags.The sleeping bag material will catch on the inside of the dry bag.It makes packing time consuming and frustrating.Incidentally,unless space is at a premium,there is little merit to using a compression bag that is then put into another bag.