(I may earn a small commission on the products mentioned in this post.)
If you’re headed to the beach, you’re going to be active. Sure, you can just lay on the beach without getting wet, but how about paddle boarding, or sailing, or kayaking? If these activities sound fun, it’s essential to have a dry bag for your personal items.
It’s common to be skeptical of dry bags, but guess what? They actually work, and they work well!
Recently, I went kayaking with a friend off the coast of Southern Thailand and I rented a dry bag. I hesitantly put my wallet, glasses, food, and clothes in the bag, knowing that the terms “water-resistant” and “waterproof” were very different.
I was pleasantly surprised by its simplicity and effectiveness as a place to store items.
In this article, I’ll share my experience using a dry bag and I’ll share what you should look for when purchasing a dry bag. Early iterations of the bags were plain and simple.
Now, there are plenty of color choices and patterns, straps to hold your bag, and extras like waterproof phone cases that are included. We’ll take a look at a wide selection of the best dry bags for SUPs, boats, and kayaks.
Do Dry Bags Really Work
I’m sure this is the most common question asked about dry bags, so I wanted to get to it right away.
Yes, dry bags work excellent for keeping your personal items dry and they are perfect for paddle boarding, boating or sailing, and kayaking in ocean, lakes, and rivers.
Dry bags don’t provide superficial protection, they provide total protection and can be dropped in the water. They can even be submerged in the water, but because it’s meant to keep things dry it’s advised to keep it out of the water as much as possible (no need to risk it).
What Are Dry Bags Made Of
Dry bags are made of heavy duty PVC material. It almost feels like rubber, but it’s not.
The PVC material is extremely durable and is meant to withstand a range of environments (wet, hot, cold, sandy, and humid). They are essential for sailors who need to ensure personal items are safe above and below deck
7 Best Dry Bags For Your SUP, Boat, or Kayak Adventure
#1 Earth Pak – Waterproof Dry Bag
If you’ve been sailing, kayaking, or frequent the beach in the last ten years, you’ve probably come across a few Earth Paks. Earth Pak is the brand that started it all and they’ve been making quality dry bags for years.
They started off small and have grown into the leading dry bag company. They market their bags to sailors, kayakers, hikers, fishermen. Their dry bags are truly versatile.
- 8 color choices
- 5 size choices (10-55 liters)
- Includes waterproof phone case
- 500D PVC material
- Shoulder straps on the smaller bags and backpack straps on the larger
This dry bag is guaranteed to keep your items dry. It can be tossed the water and splashed. It will even do okay if it’s submerged for a moment or two. But why would you do that if you have important items inside?
If it falls overboard it will float! You can adjust the amount of air inside when it is sealed (more air, the more it will float).
Customers love the bag and it has stellar reviews. Over and over again, people mention the bag saved their phone and other personal items. Suffice to say it works as advertised and the customer service is great too!
#2 Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bag (Set of 3)
The Freegrace dry bag comes in many colors and more extras than any other dry bag on our list. The bags look great and I especially like the see-through window on the bag.
The window allows you to check on what’s inside without having to open the bag.
Similar to many other dry bags, Freegrace throws in a waterproof phone case that can be used while the phone is covered. In addition, Freegrace is the only brand on the list that offers a waterproof fanny pack!
You get 3 items for a competitive price (check Freegrace price and colors on Amazon).
- 12 color options
- 4 size options 5-35 liters
- Waterproof phone case and fanny pack
- Comes with shoulder strap
- Window to look inside the bag without opening
- Floats if dropped overboard
I like the design and the extras that Freegrace offers. I wish they had larger size bags too and I think better straps would make the dry bag easier to carry (backpack straps are convenient).
The phone case measures 3.9 x 6.7 inches so it will hold all size phones. I also like that the phone can be used while it’s in the waterproof bag.
For the price, this bag is great. A few customers mentioned that the price and extras sacrifice a thicker quality bag. If you are concerned about durability and size, I’d go with the Earth Pak.
If you want something that works well and includes a phone and fanny pack, then Freegrace is a good choice.
#3 ZBRO Waterproof Dry Bag
ZBRO offers a great looking dry bag that’s unique from the other option on this list. It has thin, yet padded, backpack straps and a bungee area on the exterior of the bag to hold items that can be outside.
It’s a nice design and was thoughtfully developed. This is a perfect dry bag for paddle boarding because it can be comfortably worn while you stand and paddle.
It comes in a number of colors and they all look great. It’s like having a mini-waterproof backpack for the water (check ZBRO dry bag price on Amazon).
- Unique design with bungee on the exterior
- 6 colors to choose from including camo
- Thin, padded backpack straps
- Top handle
- 20, 30, or 40 liter options
Customers mention the mesh pocket and bungee are the “distinguishing features” of the bag. I agree! These two simple things make the bag more versatile (you can stick your sunglasses in the bag or keep food in the mesh pocket).
Some reviews mentioned it was great for hiking in the rainforest while others wear it while they paddle board.
ZBRO markets the bag for watersports and hiking in areas that have high rainfall. Like most dry bags, it’s not meant to be submerged underwater. It will stay dry if it falls in the water and it will float, however, it’s not designed to be underwater for long.
If I was buying a new dry bag I’d go with ZBRO because it’s multi-functional and has multiple dry/wet storage areas.
#4 Ultra Dry Premium Waterproof Dry Bag
The Ultra Dry Waterproof dry bag is a solid option and it has perfect reviews to back it up. The storage capacity options are limited (only 10 and 20 liters) however they do provide a waterproof phone case with every purchase (2 items).
The price of the Ultra Dry is also nice to see and it compares well to other similar sized bags (check price and colors for Ultra Dry on Amazon).
- 10 and 20 liter options
- Includes waterproof phone case
- Thick material and durable
- Shoulder strap
- Guaranteed or your money back
- 500D waterproof polymer material
Reviews for this dry bag are perfect and there are as many comments about the waterproof phone case as there are about the bag. Everyone seems to have a tragic story about their phone, keys, or wallet falling in the water but it’s always a happy ending with a dry bag!
This is one of the best dry bags for paddle boarding, kayaking, or boating and it ranks high on my list as a product that works.
#5 NVcompany Waterproof Dry Bag
The NVcompany is the best looking dry bag on our list.
If you’re looking or something cute and stylish for summer, this is a fun dry bag to use. It definitely has more personality than the other solid-colored bags on our list.
It uses a nautical blue and white theme and has many of the same features you’ll see on other dry bags. I like the outside zipper area where smaller items can be kept for easy access. The top handle and two shoulder straps are nice to see as well.
Want a waterproof phone case too? This bag includes one that can be used to take pictures and videos underwater (check NV dry bag price on Amazon).
- Stylish with white and blue stripes
- One size: 20 liters
- Outer zipper pocket
- 2 thin shoulder straps (backpack style)
- Top handle
- Waterproof phone case and neck strap
Although the bag can be used for fishing, hiking, and other land-based activities, it’s best suited for the beach and for the boat (especially sailing).
The reviews are great. Customers like how it holds up around the water and while it’s raining. It’s a good look at a great price! Too bad they don’t offer more color choices and sizes.
#6 Adventure Lion Premium Dry Bag
Adventure Lion is a great name, right? They offer 4 sizes ranging from 5 to 40 liters and 6 color options (bold colors so you don’t lose it at sea).
They even offer a lifetime warranty which is awesome!
- 4 sizes (5-40 liters)
- 6 color choices
- Shoulder strap
- Lifetime warrant
- Great reviews and customer service
- No waterproof phone case
The bag comes with a strap and top handle. There’s no waterproof phone case, but there are a lot of satisfied customers who like the bag and the customer service. They offer hassle-free returns if you aren’t satisfied (check Adventure Lion price and colors at Amazon).
This is a solid dry bag and a good option. I’d weight the features and the lifetime warranty and prioritize your needs.
#7 EasyGo Dry Vault – 3 Set Dry Bag
EasyGo offers these dry bags in a set of 3 and they come at a great price. The only reason I ranked them low on my list is due to the quality of the bag. I’m concerned that they may be sacrificing the thickness of bag for the price.
Don’t get me wrong, EasyGo is still a great option. They are made from 500D PVC and have a capacity of 5, 10, 20 liters.
- 3 bags for the price of 1
- 5, 10, 20 liters
- Blue, red, black colors
- Shoulder straps, and largest with backpack straps (all removable)
- Top handles
- No waterproof phone case
- 500D PCV
The smaller two bags have a shoulder strap and the largest bag has 2 straps to wear as a backpack.
People who are purchasing these bags are looking for a great deal and are budget conscious. If you’re planning on buying a few dry bags, then this option is for you (check EasyGo dry bag price on Amazon).
There’s a slim chance you’re sacrificing quality for price, but there’s no reason the 500D PCV won’t last multiple years.
How Do Dry Bags Seal
The seal is surprisingly simple and doesn’t use a zipper or ziplock. Here is the step-by-step process of using it:
- Put your items in the bag
- Push air out of the bag
- Begin rolling the top of the bag downward
- After 3-4 rolls, bring the outside together with a click
Seems too easy right? Because the material is so thick it creates its own seal and won’t allow water inside!
Some of the smaller pouches for the phone and fanny pack use a multi-step ziplock and they do a great job too. They can even be worn in the water!
What Sizes Are Dry Bags
Dry bags come in many sizes. The most common are the 10, 20, 30, and 40 liter bags. The smaller bags (10-20 liters) hold personal items like wallets, phones, and sunglasses, and they usually have a shoulder or waist strap for carrying.
The larger bags (30, 40, 50 liters) often have backpack straps that are needed for big loads. In addition to personal items, large dry bags can hold towels, clothes, food, and shoes.
Are Dry Bags Breathable (Can I Put Food, Fish, or Pets Inside?)
Dry bags are meant to keep your things dry so they use a thick material to keep moisture and air out. For this reason, it’s not wise to put any items that require ventilation inside the bag.
Food can be placed in the dry bag but due to the lack of air circulation and heat, the food might become soggy. Chocolate and other similar items can melt and could ruin your personal items (phone, wallet, keys).
Under no circumstances should you put your pets or a living creature in the bag. Once the bag is sealed the heat and lack of fresh air could suffocate your pet.
The best dry bags will keep your gear clean no matter what the conditions are.
- Sunshine and big waves?
- Torrential rain?
- Flooding on your boat?
Don’t worry, these bags will keep your things dry and they’ll look good doing so. The dry bags we mentioned offer various sizes, waterproof phone cases, shoulder straps, and backpack straps. There are also plenty of styles and colors to choose from.
If you’re all about style, I like the white and blue sailing themed dry bag.
On a recent trip I used a dry bag and was skeptical whether I should put my wallet, phone, and glasses inside (sometimes it’s better to leave those items on the shore). I chose to take them in the bag on a kayaking trip and hours later the bag was wet but the items inside were dry.
Dry bags work well and I take one with me every time I visit the beach. One thing to remember: dry bags aren’t breathable so they will heat up. Food like bread and fruit can get soggy if left inside the bag all day.
Other items like chocolate and protein bars might melt (not good if you have your phone, wallet, and clothes inside).
I hope my experience with dry bags and my list of the best dry bags for SUPs, boats, and kayaks helped you keep your stuff dry while at the beach, lake, or river.
There are plenty to choose from so I bet you’ll find one that suits your needs. Thanks for reading another Beach Life article. Enjoy your time in the sun!