How to Choose the Right Dry Bag for Fishing

Dry bags provide protection for your most important valuables.

Dry bags are those simple pieces of gear that become incredibly important when they’re needed. Rain water, sea water or other moisture can destroy valuables like phones, keys or wallets on the boat or kayak. Besides the valuables in your pocket, dry bags serve as great ditch bags, protecting items such as flares, first aid kit, handheld GPS, handheld VHF radio, or personal locator beacon (PLB). Besides fishing and boating, dry bags are common with hikers in rain or snow, who have to haul or their clothing and gear on their back.

Most dry bags have some basic similarities. The bags are often made from PVC, nylon, coated polyester or other waterproof material. The dry bag designs are simple, with the top section rolling airtight and then locking with a clip. In that way, no water or air can enter the dry bag. Dry bags come in all different sizes, depending on what items are needed to stay dry. Gear like camera equipment or boat electronics are sometimes taken on and off a boat each fishing trip, so larger bags are available to handle these larger valuables.

For the Wettest Conditions

Wise Owl Outfitters Dry Bag
Some bags are so waterproof that the entire bag can be submerged underwater. Wise Owl Outfitters

You want to know the ditch bag on your boat will keep all your emergency items safe from water intrusion. Thankfully, some dry bags are so watertight, they can be completely submerged underwater. The Wise Owl Outfitters Dry Bag is made from a PU-coated woven fabric called 190D Diamond Ripstop Polyester that’s completely submersible. Each set includes three dry bags in 20, 10 and 5-liter sizes. The bag is so watertight that it floats on the water, even with lightweight valuables inside.


Compact Space

Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack
Other waterproof dry bags allow the air to be squeezed from the bag even while protecting valuables. Sea to Summit

The vent on the Sea to Summit Event Compression Dry Sack allows air to be expelled from the sealed dry bag even while protecting gear. For example, the bag is able to compress clothes, sleeping bags or even towels down to smaller size. A cumbersome dry bag becomes much more manageable on a vessel with little space, such as a kayak or standup paddleboard. The bag is built from 70D Nylon waterproof fabric and has a capacity of 6 liters. Features include double stitched, waterproof tape seams; Hypalon roll-top closure; and four extra-long straps.

Carry on Your Back

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack
The largest dry bags often come with two straps so the person can wear it as a backpack. Earth Pak

The largest dry bags carry enough gear that holding it in one hand might not be possible. That’s why dry-bag backpacks might be a good option for anglers and boaters. The Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack has a padded back panel, reinforced shoulder straps, sternum strap and heavy-duty waist belt to help support the load. Water-proof zipper on the outside leads to a compartment where you can stash grab and go items. Other pockets are also located inside the bag. When hopping on a friend’s boat, a dry bag backpack is a perfect option to stash a soft sided cooler, change of clothes, phone and keys, and even extra fishing tackle.