The best dry bags to protect your gear

Wet clothes and equipment can ruin even the best plans.

Best Overall

Sea to Summit Dry Bag Set

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Best Value

SealLine BlockerLite Dry Bag

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Best for Kayaking

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack

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So, you’ve assembled a bunch of gear and a comfy pack to carry it all — but if you don’t have dry bags to protect it from the elements, you’re asking for trouble. A little bit of rain can destroy electronics. Wet clothes can invite hypothermia in surprisingly mild temperatures. If your plan is to stuff a week’s worth of socks into a grocery bag and trust your $1,000 phone to a sandwich baggie, I’d encourage you to reconsider.

Dry bags are some of the cheapest insurance you can get. For about $50, you can make sure that you have dry clothes and functional electronics in the field. They come in a wide range of sizes, so you can keep small items organized or protect all your gear. I even found one that can be worn as a pack and follow you anywhere. Before you start packing for your next field exercise or weekend adventure, make sure you have a dry bag that’s up to the challenge.  

Best Overall

Sea to Summit Dry Bag Set

See It

Best Value

SealLine BlockerLite Dry Bag

See It

Best for Kayaking

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack

See It

Best for Backpacking

SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag

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Things to consider before buying a dry bag

The first thing you need to think about is the amount of trust you’re going to put in your dry bag. It’s all that stands between you and a bricked phone or a week of wet socks in the field, so buy accordingly. This is not the time to experiment with knock-off gear.

Secondly, think about the volume of gear you’ll be trying to keep dry. Are you looking for a do-it-all waterproof pack, or a few small bags to organize a few key items? In general, it’s best to have a few small or medium dry bags that you can mix and match to suit your needs. The exception would be if you’re traveling by water — in that case, keeping everything airtight is a good idea.

FAQs about dry bags

Q: What is a dry bag used for?

A: Dry bags are used as a layer of waterproof protection for clothing and sensitive equipment. 

Q: What size dry bag should I buy?

A: This will vary from person to person and activity to activity, but it’s nice to have several small dry bags. This approach allows you to keep gear organized and easy to pack.

Q: Are dry bags fully waterproof?

A: The good ones are.

Final thoughts

There are several good brands to choose from when you’re shopping for dry bags, but you can never go wrong with Sea to Summit. I’ve been very impressed with every Sea to Summit product I’ve encountered, and this three-bag set is a great way to set yourself up for success. 

Methodology 

Protecting your gear from water is a high-stakes endeavor. Because of that, I took extra care to limit my search for the best dry bags to brands and products I know and trust. Even though I haven’t used all of the products on this list myself, I have used the brands you see in my greatest hits list of waterproof backpacks. Are there other decent dry bags out there? Of course — and I invite you to share your own experiences in the comments section — but I can personally vouch for the dry bags that made the cut for this gear guide.

Outside of manufacturers, I looked for dry bags in a range of sizes, because there will be times when you want to stuff all your gear in a dry bag, and times when you just need to protect a few valuables or spare sets of socks. Unique features like see-through material or removable shoulder straps got special consideration, too. 

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Scott Murdock

Commerce Reporter

Scott Murdock is a Task & Purpose commerce writer and Marine Corps veteran. Since 2020, he’s selflessly committed himself to experiencing the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader.