May 20, 2022 7 min read

What is a Dry Bag for Camping: Your Essential Guide

What is a Dry Bag for Camping: Your Essential Guide

If you're an avid camper, you know that keeping your gear dry is essential to a successful trip. A dry bag is a must-have item for anyone who wants to keep their belongings safe from the elements. But what exactly is a dry bag? Simply put, it's a waterproof bag that seals tightly to keep water out.

Dry bags come in a variety of sizes and styles, so it's important to choose the one that's right for your needs. Some are designed to be carried on your back, while others are meant to be stowed away in a larger backpack or duffel bag. No matter what type you choose, a dry bag is an essential piece of gear for any camping trip.

Key Takeaways

  • A dry bag is a waterproof bag that seals tightly to keep water out.
  • There are a variety of sizes and styles of dry bags to choose from.
  • A dry bag is an essential piece of gear for any camping trip.

Understanding Dry Bags

Material and Durability

Dry bags are made from a variety of materials, including PVC, nylon, and polyester. PVC is known for its durability and is often used in high-quality dry bags. Welded seams and taped seams are also important features to look for in a dry bag, as they provide added protection against water.

Features of Dry Bags

Dry bags typically come with a roll-top closure or buckle closure to keep water out. Some bags may also have a waterproof zipper or D-ring for added convenience. Compression straps can help to reduce the size of the bag, while a purge valve allows for the release of air to make packing easier. Translucent bags can help you easily identify the contents inside.

Size and Storage

Dry bags come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 5-liter bags for smaller items to 30-liter bags for larger items. Some bags are designed to fit inside a school backpack or other larger bag, while others are designed as a roll-top dry bag backpack or waterproof bag. Consider the size and type of items you will be carrying when selecting a dry bag.

Types of Dry Bags

There are many types of dry bags available, including roll-top dry bags, dry bag backpacks, and waterproof backpacks. Some popular brands include SealLine Discovery View, Yeti Panga, and Sea to Summit. Each type of bag has its own unique features and benefits, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Brands of Dry Bags

When it comes to selecting a dry bag, there are many brands to choose from. Some popular brands include SealLine, Sea to Summit, and Yeti. Each brand offers different features and price points, so it's important to do your research before making a purchase.

Price Range

Dry bags can range in price from budget-friendly options to high-end, premium bags. Consider your budget and the features you need when selecting a dry bag. Keep in mind that a quality dry bag is a worthwhile investment, as it will provide added protection for your belongings while camping or participating in water activities.

Why Use a Dry Bag for Camping

Protection From Elements

When camping, you want to ensure that your belongings are safe from the elements. A dry bag is an essential item that can keep your gear dry and protected from moisture, rain, and waves. A good dry bag is waterproof, submersible, and windbreaker, which means that it can keep your gear dry even in harsh weather conditions.

Organizing Camping Gear

A dry bag is also an excellent way to keep your camping gear organized. You can use it to store small items such as keys, camera, electronics, and other essentials that you need to keep dry. With a dry bag, you can easily pack and unpack your camping gear without worrying about losing anything or getting it wet.

Outdoor Activities

A dry bag is not only useful for camping but also for other outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, backpacking, fishing, and water sports. It is a versatile item that can protect your gear and keep it organized, no matter what outdoor activity you are doing.

In summary, a dry bag is an essential item for camping and other outdoor activities. It can protect your gear from the elements, keep it organized, and make your camping experience more enjoyable.

How to Use a Dry Bag

Packing a Dry Bag

When packing a dry bag for camping, it's important to ensure that your items are organized and protected from water. Start by placing heavier items at the bottom of the bag and lighter items on top. Use compression bags or roll down your clothes tightly to maximize space and prevent air from taking up unnecessary space.

Carrying a Dry Bag

Dry bags come with a variety of carrying options, such as shoulder straps, backpack straps, and handles. Choose the option that feels most comfortable for you and ensure that the straps are adjusted properly to distribute the weight evenly. Remember that a dry bag can become heavy, so it's important to take breaks and switch shoulders if needed.

Testing a Dry Bag

Before heading out on your camping trip, it's crucial to test your dry bag for leaks. Fill the bag with some water and apply pressure to check for any leaks. If there are any leaks, fix them before using the bag.

Overall, a dry bag is a lightweight and easy-to-carry solution for keeping your camping gear dry. By following these simple steps, you can pack your dry bag efficiently, carry it comfortably, and ensure that it has been tested for leaks.

Additional Features

Specialized Dry Bags

Some dry bags are designed with specific purposes in mind. For instance, outdoor gear dry bags are made to keep your gear dry and organized. Sleeping bag dry bags are designed to protect your sleeping bag from moisture. SUP dry bags are made to keep your SUP gear safe and dry while on the water. Consider the type of activity you will be doing and choose a specialized dry bag that fits your needs.

Additional Components

Many dry bags come with additional components that can enhance their functionality. Look for dry bags with buckles that are easy to use and secure. Some dry bags come with a line that can be used to secure the bag to a boat or other object. Mesh pockets are great for storing small items that you need to access quickly. Some dry bags are also designed to withstand thorny bushes and sharp rocks, making them ideal for hiking and camping trips. Finally, some dry bags are designed to be used as a day bag or even a camping stove, making them a versatile addition to your gear collection.


In conclusion, a dry bag is an essential item for any camping trip. It provides protection for your belongings from water, dirt, and dust, ensuring that you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. If you are looking for the best dry bag, consider factors such as size, durability, and ease of use.

When it comes to choosing the right dry bag, there are many options available. Some of the best dry bags on the market include the YETI Panga, Sea to Summit Big River, and NRS Bill's Bag. Each of these bags offers different features and benefits, so it is important to choose one that meets your specific needs.

When packing your dry bag, it is important to organize your belongings and use waterproof containers for any items that are particularly sensitive to moisture. Additionally, it is a good idea to double-check that your dry bag is properly sealed before heading out on your trip.

Overall, investing in a high-quality dry bag is a smart decision for any camping enthusiast. With the right bag, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safe and protected no matter what the weather conditions may be.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use a dry bag for camping?

To use a dry bag for camping, you simply place your gear inside, roll down the top several times, and clip the buckle shut. This creates a waterproof seal that keeps your belongings dry even in wet conditions. It's important to make sure you roll down the top correctly and clip the buckle tightly to ensure a proper seal.

What are the benefits of using a dry bag for camping?

Using a dry bag for camping offers several benefits. First and foremost, it keeps your gear dry, which is essential for a comfortable camping experience. Additionally, dry bags are usually made of durable materials that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can easily find one that fits your needs.

What are some good dry bags for camping?

There are many good dry bags on the market for camping. Some popular brands include Sea to Summit, Osprey, and NRS. When choosing a dry bag, consider factors such as size, durability, and ease of use. Look for bags with welded seams and high-quality materials to ensure they will hold up in wet conditions.

What is the difference between a dry bag and a waterproof bag?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between a dry bag and a waterproof bag. Dry bags are designed to keep your gear completely dry, even if they are submerged in water. Waterproof bags, on the other hand, are simply resistant to water and may not be fully waterproof.

Are dry bags completely waterproof?

Dry bags are designed to be as waterproof as possible, but they may not be completely waterproof in all situations. If the bag is submerged in water for an extended period of time or if the seal is not properly secured, water may seep in. However, in most situations, dry bags will keep your gear completely dry.

Do you need to leave air in a dry bag for camping?

No, you do not need to leave air in a dry bag for camping. In fact, it's best to remove as much air as possible to create a tighter seal. This will help prevent water from seeping in and ensure your gear stays dry.