Four weather-proof backcountry dry bags

Keep your belongings safe.
Keep your belongings safe. (Tim Foster via Unsplash/)

Dry bags aren’t exactly as drool-worthy or envy-producing as, say, a fancy new fast-action fly rod or a souped-up drift boat. But they’re essential gear for backcountry float and fishing trips. And the difference between a good dry bag and a bad one can mean having a bunch of soaking-wet clothes and, well, not. We’ve rounded up four top-rated models, one of which is sure to suit your next ambitious adventure.

A tough, affordable bag that can handle just about anything.
A tough, affordable bag that can handle just about anything. (Amazon/)

The Big River is a go-to, do-it-all workhorse of a dry bag. It’s available in seven different sizes, from 3 liter to 65 liter, and made of super-tough 420D nylon, with double-stitched, reinforced, and tape-sealed seams. And yet somehow it’s still reasonably priced. If you’re paddling into the Boundary Waters for a week, this is the bag you want in the bottom of your canoe.

A dry bag ready for a land-to-water excursion.
A dry bag ready for a land-to-water excursion. (Amazon/)

The one potential shortcoming of the Sea to Summit Big River is that it lacks optional backpack straps, which are handy if you have a long hike to the river or to camp. The Earth Pak Backpack fills the void. It’s available in 35-liter and 55-liter sizes, and, most important for our purposes, comes with padded, reinforced shoulder straps. The outer splash-proof pocket and inner cell-phone-and-keys pouch are a nice touch.

A handy, 4-liter pack perfect for day-long trips.
A handy, 4-liter pack perfect for day-long trips. (Amazon/)

Odds are, if you’re going on a day- or two-long canoe or kayak trip, you don’t need to haul a full-size dry bag. The 4-liter Seal Hip Pack is large enough to hold a fresh shirt and days’ worth of food, and it weighs about 2 pounds—meaning it won’t be burdensome on portages or hikes. It also includes a handy outer pocket, a perfect place to stash a cell phone and keys, along with a waist belt for easy wearing.

A king-size, wilderness-ready duffel.
A king-size, wilderness-ready duffel. (Amazon/)

On the other end of the size spectrum from the SealLine Seal Hip Pack is the monster-size Unplug 155-liter duffel. It’s tailor-made for week-long backcountry trips that demand a lot of gear or food—or perfect if you have to lug equipment for kids. It has a roll-down opening, like traditional dry bags, never mind its size, along with breathable, extra-padded shoulder traps. “I packed it to the gills with over 100 pounds on a two-day drive,” one user wrote, “taking it on and off the truck with no tears.”

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