those dang DRY BAGS

How many dry bag do you have on your boat ??

I normally go on a 4 day o r 10 day camping/kayak trip. i was thinking:

  1. 1 bag for sleeping bag
  2. 1 bag for clothes
  3. 1 bag for tent, thermarest and cookset
  4. 1 bag for misc

    Is it excessive or lacking ?? I figure the food and misc can go on a backpack/duffle bag.

    What size/s bag/s is/are the best ?? should i get all big ones or mix and match them ?

    thanks again

what kind of boat?

You will want a selection of sizes.
The number of bags and the size depends on the stuff you want to carry, the hatch openning you need to stuff it through and the need to keep it dry. The biggest question is will the dry bag go through the hatch once you stuff it full. Decide how big a bag will fit then buy the ones that will go into the hatch. Smaller ones are easier to load and unload.


– Last Updated: May-19-04 11:31 PM EST –

sorry, double post.

a Perception Eclipse 17

Not everything needs to be in a dry bag.
I usually keep the sleeping bag inside a haevy trash bag in a compression sack.

The tent doesn’t really need to be completely dry either. My cookset is never in a dry bag.

The technique that I use is to use different size bags and only put those things that ABSOLUTELY must be dry in a dry bag.

Also, if any of your bags are too big to fit inside your hatches after they are packed, put the bag in the boat and then pack them.

The best thing is to do a practice packing of your boat and make a list as to where everything goes. This works real well if you are camping with someone else so you can divide up the “community items”.

Have fun,

lots of small bags
I like using several smaller size dry bags because they are usually more efficient for packing your boat. I have a large selection of shapes, sizes, and brands to accommodate the different gear I have. Some are flat and some round.

Unique bags make it easier to identify things you may need in a hurry, such as a first aid kit. I keep separate bags for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks… spare clothing, camp clothing, and sleeping clothing (this is important in bear country). I have a compression dry bag for my sleeping bag.

I stay away from vinyl bags because they don’t slide side by side easily. The only big bag that I have and use regularly is my Seal Line bow bag. It fits nicely up in the bow of my kayak with no wasted space and less stretching to reach things.

You have a good yak !
On the dry bags; you can never have enough.

We have every type and size there is.

For those long trips(10 or more days), I suggest you also add a “Bills Bag” We use them strapped onto the back deck. They hold all the junk that won’t fit in the compartments, and then they make great comfortable seats at the camp site, or on the chickee.

After you do a few trips, you will have various size and color ones assigned to various duties and some will be left home depending on the trips requirements.



the newer Nylon dry bags slide in and out of the yack much easyer, of course the newer NON-plastic rubberized ones are more expensive too.

Yak style
the local paddle shop has dry bag “shaped” for sea yaks.they rather usefull. You might well find as time goes on that you need more dry bags than originally planned…kim

don’t get big bags
11" diameter is big,don’t do it especially if you’re using vinyl. If you’re using vinyl bags then 9" max diameter. Consider double bagging with kitchen garbage bags for some things you CAN"T afford to get wet. Coated nylon are pricey but easy to move around. Long skinny are better than med. sized,the kayak is long/skinny.

If there’s room and it’s a fully packed kayak there’s no reason to not put a dry bag in the cockpit beyond your feet where it won’t interfere with anything,put a bungie or strap across from footrail to footrail if there’s any chance it can come loose. Anything in the cockpit should be SECURE,the plastic eclipse has lots of room behind the seat so use it.

2 to 3 dry bags
I’ve only done a few 3 days camping trips, so I’m not an expert.

“3) 1 bag for tent, thermarest and cookset”

I don’t think tent needs to go in a dry bag. 1) bottom of tent is already waterproof, that’s the part on the outside when my tent is packed. 2) Even if a bit of water gets IN the tent, you can air it out pretty quickly once you wipe away the water droplets.

Same goes for Thermarest.

Cookset REALLY don’t need to be in a dry bag. However, I carry at least two match books, each in their own ziplock bag.

Main thing is keep the sleeping bag bone dry, and some dry clothes to change into. Unless you actually have a flooded hatch, double garbage bag will keep most other stuff reasonably dry.

The only time I worry about keeping stuff VERY dry is if I ever do spring/fall camping trip in the north, where the weather can be damp and cold. There’s no chance to dry out anything once they got wet. I would put the thermarest or even the tent in the dry bag in THAT kind of conditions. The rest of the year, 2 medium size dry bag (1 for sleeping bag, 1 for clothing) and a small one for misc stuff are all I need.

I came across some drybags online a while back that had a built in purge valve. From what I could tell this let you use it kinda like a coleman space bag, but I don’t know how small you can get a dry bag as they are fairy stiff to begin with. I THINK the brand was slumberjack but I can’t recall. Anyone have experience with these?

I like my food…
DRY. Others have answered somewhat about how many and what kind. Even foods in plastic packaing might have directions that need to be read. hard to do that if they are wet and washed out.

Food for thought.

small bags are key
I bought mostly very small SeaLine dry bags. The cheap, plain colored ones.

My experience has been that transparent bags are weaker than the heavier duty colored ones. I’ve got holes in 2 of the 3 that I bought.

When we go (my wife and I, 2 boats) the only stuff we dry bag is food, matches, cameras (in cockpit, dry-bagged), most of our clothing (although not always all of it…extra just goes into trash bags) and our sleeping bags. Other than that, stuff can get a little wet.

The reason I lean toward small bags is just for convinience. It’s like putting rocks in a box. You can fill up the box better with lots of small rocks than a few big ones.

Small Dry Bags…
Seem to work better for me than larger ones. For longer trips, 4 days +, I like to split the food into 2 bags to avoid having to pack and re-pack them everytime we eat. One bag has the food for the first half of the trip and the second bag covers the back end of the trip. This also gives you a spare drybag to pack out your trash at the end of the trip (leave no trace).

In addition to the food bags, we have one med/large dry bag that contains almost all of our kitchen equipment and shared camp supplies (batteries, etc.). We have found that stuffing clothes and sleeping bags into garbage bags and then regular (not waterproof) compression stuff sacks works best. Synthetic sleeping bags and clothes dry easily, although mine have yet to get wet using this system. I don’t put the tent in any sort of waterproof bag. I just make sure it is not the lowest item in the hatch when I pack so that it is not sitting in any unauthorized water (same goes for boots/shoes and sleeping pads). The last thing that goes in are day packs or a portage pack, if required. The portage pack can also be used as a back up dry bag.

One last tip, practice packing and unpacking the kayak so that you can determine which arrangement works best. If your trip will require any med/long portages keep this in mind as your packing the boat.

Good Luck

I agree with most so far
Also I pack my food into trash compactor bags. I use a permanent marker to write the day on the outside then put supper for one day and breakfast/lunch for the next day in it. When you get to camp take out the bag and by the time you push off next morning all that’s left is lunch for that day to put in a handy location. the day one bag becomes the trash bag for the trip.

Good Luck


get the transperant bags with
the gold colored blocking they are substantialy stronger

Thank YOU ALL !!
i bought 6 on sale NRS dry bags of various sizes today. I also purchase a big 2.2 NRS bill bag (on sale) for that week long expedition :slight_smile:

I also decided on a pelican case for my digital SLR camera as well as a smaller pelican for the GPS. Since the VHF is submersible i figure i can just put it in double zip lock bags. GOod idea ??

ANyways, You guys and all your advice have been very helpful.

THANK YOU ALL :slight_smile:

Check out the "Stowfloats"
sold by watershed:

…a tad pricy but supremely useful. I keep my silk sheet, sleeping bag and pillow in one and clothes I don’t need until camp in another…for the rest, I use the smaller Seattle Sports Glacier Clear Dry Bags:

which I tie to the inside ribs of my Folbot with Velcro straps sold by REI.