HI! New Here! Question about that dry bag?

I have very little paddling experience. We mainly swam, floated and fished. Spent nearly my whole life on the water!! Love it!
I bought an inflatable kayak several years ago. Life got busy!! LOL Now life has settled down. Kids are grown and out on their own. Hubby and I are traveling.
So…I got the old kayak out and back on the river. I even bought a paddle board! Very excited!!
I am looking to do some long day trips. I have a dry bag. I put a basic first aid kit in it. Added some bug repellant too.
What do you have in your dry bag?

Plenty of water, sunscreen, and maybe a camera if so inclined.
And for paddles longer than 1/2 day, see:


I make sure that my bag will float, then car keys, wallet, phone etc.

I don’t eat when I paddle, even on long trips. The same was true when I bicycled. Much of the literature on biking frowned on even electrolyte drinks, because blood was diverted to the stomach and intestines to process food. Reading the ingredients on packaging made the products sound like junk food.

Years ago, I never had problems on bike or kayak trips on two consecutive days, but a third day would result in a performance decline (not sure if from overwork or inadequate energy supply, or probably both, and I was only 210 lbs back then). For that reason, I wouldn’t eat while working out, unless planning to go out on mumtiple days. The recommendation during the 1990’s was water for hydration, and eat within 4 hours of finishing the exertion. I haven’t kept up on current nutritional recommendations, so be warned that my advice is based on 20 year old studies.

Many fprum members are cursed with humming bird metablisms. They fit in svelte boats, but need careful attention to refueling. Others with advanced body designs benefit from the ability to turn bacon, potato chips and beer into energy (similar to a flux capacitor). We can live for days on energy stores that also serve as convenient cushions. When I kayak, I feel like I’m burning a candle at both ends but suffer no ill effects. Despite depleting 20 lbs of my permanent energy stores, I haven’t felt a need to replace it, as yet. Wish me luck!

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Im a dog walker. I dont eat while walking or in between walking dogs. I have. A small yogurt or energy bar about 30 min before i start my walks and dont eat until im finished with the dog walks. I only drink water. I used to feel sluggish when i first started walking dogs. Learned real quick to wait. I will probably do the same when kayaking.

For long day trips, this is what I’d put in, in decreasing priority:

Keys and ID
Snacks with protein and fat, not just carbs—some salty, some sweet
(First aid basics)
A compact windbreaker
Binocs if you want to look at wildlife closely
Depending where you go, possibly map and compass

Water in a bottle belongs outside the dry bag.

Not up to the standards of “the ten essentials,” which have ballooned to include electronic devices, but since you said inflatable kayak and paddleboard, I assume these are not wild and crazy long outings. Keep it simple!

Most of my paddles now max out at 2 hrs anymore, and most are shorter than that, so I don’t eat on those. BUT I still keep snacks in the truck for when I finish. Anything longer than that, or if I went to unknown territory, I’d bring them along.e

I’m an inherently disorganized and unstructured person but over time and through observation of others I’ve adopted a more modular approach (since if I throw everything into one bag I never have all the right stuff plus I spend forever digging around looking for an item plus I’ve run into trees while digging around).

My day pack that I always carry has 3 stuff sacks; one for first aid, one for food, and one for extra clothes like hats, gloves, socks, and neck gaiter so I can make easy comfort adjustments without breaking open a dry bag. The first aid and my water resistant phone are in ziplocks. Day pack always has lots of water. I bring a leash that makes it easy to tie the boat to a tree when taking a break. I always have a compass since they take zero space and if you need it you really need if. Many people bring at least a short length of duct tape or gorilla tape for medical or boat repair emergencies.

Then I have small, medium and large dry bags used only for clothes. I choose mostly depending on time of year. I’ll also lean towards the larger bags for unfamiliar destinations or group paddles.

I use the Yeti duffel when I want extra waterproof security in winter (one of the dry bags goes in the waterproof duffel) and extra room to throw in anything I want.

Then I have a separate bag for stuff to make coffee. Sort of a picnic bag. I rarely take it but it’s a treat on some occasions.

In general my mindset is that I want to be fully self-sufficient plus I want to have a little extra to help others that I encounter that might need something.

My paddles are usually short , 5 miles +.
I always take extra water. I just don’t get hungry but I eat a decent meal before I start.

Usually I’m not out for that long so I have a small bag with my keys, wallet, and phone which is in its own waterproof case. I also have a bigger bag that I can put things like waters in.

I still have two cool-weather accessories there: a towel and a survival blanket, both for use in the event of (extended) immersion (either me or someone I wind up helping out).

It depends to some extent on where and how long your paddles are. I have a small pack, about the size of a student’s book bag, that I always carry with stuff that might be unexpectedly needed but one hopes won’t be. Vic, a fellow who used to post here, called such a bag his “unhappy bag”. I carry stuff like a rain poncho, compass, fire starting stuff (in a peanut butter jar), TP in a ziplock, vitamin I, a fixed blade knife, a candle lantern or small flashlight - and whatever else you discover a need for as you gather experience doing whatever kind of paddling you do.


Between the two of us, we have a few different dry bags of sorts for our day trips. One has repair stuff. One has a poop pouch, just in case. One has a cell phone. One has my shorts, car keys, cell phone, spare glasses, and some extra batteries. Then we have a couple freezer zip lock bags, one of which has insect repellent, the other sea sickness and sea nettle stuff.