Seeking dry bag recommendations

Seeking advice on good, reliable, dry bags. After a dump on the San Juan River most of my dry bags leaked at least some water. Only my NRS boundary pack remained completely dry. So I am asking, what dry bags do you recommend?

Sea to Summit Big River 8 L
Sea to Summit Big River 8 L. Work well. As in any roll bag though if you don’t fill and roll tightly, they will take on water. They are excellent for clothes but wouldn’t put electronics in them.

Buy the small ones and they are easy to fill and roll tightly.

On the San Juan, my roll top closure
bags leaked. My Watershed bags were absolutely dry. My Voyageur slide closure bags were also absolutely dry, but as far as I know, they are no longer available.

Watershed bags
Watershed makes the best dry bags on the market that I’m aware of. They have a heavy duty ziplock style enclosure that also rolls down. The bag itself is also extra beefy.

So nice, so expensive. But a good investment, as they make very high quality bags which seem to last forever. Have one that has seen 300 days of use, from cold wet Alaska to hot dry Baja, and is still rock solid.

When cost is an issue, buy Watershed
for the most critical contents, and use roll top bags with gear protected by separate plastic bagging inside.

The only thing I can say against Watershed is that they are a little harder to pack because of protrusion of fittings and the width of the zip closure.

it depends
if your priority is packing your kayak with bags that slip and slide and form fit to maximize how much clean and dry clothing you can bring with you, then Sea to Summit is the bag for you. If you want a bag that can tolerate submersion for more than it takes for a self or assisted rescue, then others have better answers.


Teaser alert!
The next issue of California Kayaker Magazine, which is due to be published around Dec 10, has an article in it on dry storage (dry bags, cases, etc.). Uses a real life example of a pair of kayakers in a tandem that had to be rescued in a storm, and what the results of their dry storage when the boat washed up on the beach 4 days later and the hatches were opened. But, to put it short, roll down closure dry bags are not waterproof (as in not submersible), and the how well they are closed does affect how well they seal.

Once it is published, the magazine will be available as a free download, or available in hard copy for free at shops in California.

I’ve used the plastic liner system on dubious dry bags before, or just used stuff sacks with trash compacter bags. Works better than some commercial dry bags imo. Had a few high end lighter dry bags, with an air mattress type valve built in to purge the air, discovered they work great, but tear and puncture easily. Finally just went with the classic vinyl style, no larger than 20l, as I found they are more durable. But I always line whatever my sleeping bag is riding in with a trash compacter bag, no matter what type of dry bag its in. This is all for the kayak world, not sure what works best for canoes…

I have switched to the Outdoor Research nylon ones. Not the ultra-lightweight, which are good for hiking, but the regular ones. Seal-line Baja bags are just as dry if folded properly, but weigh a bunch more, take up more space when empty, are made with PVC, and eventually they get brittle. Avoid the clear seal-lines as they are much weaker. Also avoid the Seattle Sports budget line. The Sealline cascade nylon bags are great, but cost twice what the OR ones do and aren’t really any better.

No roll-top dry bag will be reliably submersion-proof. For that you need a case like the Pelican, a barrel with a good seal, or something like the watershed with a different closure.