Skip to content Skip to footer

Dry Bags for Kayaking: How To Choose and Use Them

Kayaking is a water sport and chances are you are going to get wet at some point. It could be the weather, water splashes when paddling, or the rough nature of the water you are paddling. And while every kayaker knows getting wet is part of the sport, there are some items that need to be kept away from water. Such items include your phone, wallet, IDs, keys, and so on. Water could damage any of these items and this isn’t in your best interest at all.

You may think the storage hatch of your yak is enough to keep your essential items dry. But the truth is that storage hatches, even those with rubber seals, can’t guarantee your stuff won’t get wet. Your best option to keep your important items dry is to use a dry bag for kayaking.

Kayaking dry bags are designed to keep your items dry. Some dry bags can even withstand submersion in water for some time without the items getting wet. With so many dry bags on the market promising to keep your stuff wet, I carried out extensive research and testing to compile a list of the best dry bags for kayaking available on the market. Here we go.

Why do You Need a Kayaking Dry Bag?

By now, you know a dry bag will help you keep your items away from water when paddling. Kayaking is a water sport and items like phones, tablets, watches, and so on may get wet if they are not properly protected.

Are Kayak Dry Bags Waterproof?

Many manufacturers claim their dry bags are waterproof. And they are right. A quality dry bag should prevent water from penetrating it as long as you properly close it. Dry bags can also withstand being submerged in water for short periods. So, if you drop your bag in the water or it falls overboard while paddling, you should have enough time to retrieve the bag without the contents getting wet.

Note that dry bags can withstand prolonged submersion in water. If you submerge them for too long, water will penetrate into the interior and the content will get wet.

How to Choose Your Kayaking Dry Bag

Below are factors to consider when choosing a dry bag for kayaking


Kayaking dry bags are made from different materials or variations of similar materials. The most common materials used are nylon and vinyl as these materials are waterproof. You’ll also find a combination of materials like PVC, tarpaulin, polyurethane (TPU), and so on.

Nylon is lighter than vinyl and bags made from this material are usually lighter. On the other hand, vinyl is thicker, heavier, and more durable. Vinyl dry bags are ideal for multi-day kayaking expeditions.


Dry bags for kayaking come in different styles. There are those designed with a single strap you can wear on your shoulder or on your back. This allows you to carry the bag in the most convenient position for you. Some bags have two straps and can be worn like a backpack. Heavier bags tend to have this style since it’s more convenient to carry them like a backpack.


The capacity or size of kayaking dry bags is expressed in volume and measured in liters. And the more volume a dry bag has, the more gear it can contain. Dry bags are usually available in 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 liters.

5 and 10 liters dry bags are ideal for short kayaking trips where you just want to keep a few items dry. Longer kayaking and multi-day kayaking trips will require a higher volume. And depending on the length of your multi-day trips, you may need more than one dry bag.


Dry bags for kayaking may have zippers, Velcro straps, or clips as closures. And one type of closure isn’t necessarily better than the other as long as you can roll down the top of the bag before securing the closure. The reason is to create a waterproof seal at the top so water can’t penetrate the bag.


Dry bags come in a variety of colors and you can choose any one you like. However, choosing bright colors has some advantages since the bag will be easily visible if it falls overboard or in case of an emergency.

How to Clean a Dry Bag?

To clean your dry bag, empty all the contents and fill the bag with soap and water. Then close the bag and shake it up. If there’s dirt inside that’s not coming off, turn the bag inside out and scrub the dirt away. Scrub with a wet rag or sponge so you don’t damage the bag. If you have a zipper dry bag, you should lubricate the zipper occasionally to keep it in good condition.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt every kayaker should get a dry bag to keep their precious belongings dry while paddling. There are dozens of models to choose from and it is not always easy to know for sure that we buy a quality dry bag. After reading this guide you should now have a good idea of what bag you need, depending on your own kayaking habits.

Leave a Comment