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Why Use a Kayak Dry Bag?

Ever heard of using a “dry bag” when you go kayaking? If not, let us share why you should consider one (or more) if you are an avid kayaker or if you enjoy any water activities.

What is a dry bag?

A dry bag is a flexible tote (like a duffle or backpack) that is made from a waterproof material and used to keep belongings safe and dry during kayaking, canoeing, boating, camping, etc.

Dry bags can be made from a number of different materials and come in a variety of sizes. Usually, these containers are made from impermeable materials like nylon or vinyl or another waterproof fabric or plastic-coated fabric. They are flexible enough to be filled with a variety of different items.  

In addition to an impermeable material, the dry bag has to create a seal. Lots of dry bags use a roll-top seal. By folding the top over three times and securing it with a buckle, most bags are able to create an adequate seal. Other waterproof bags (especially duffle types) use a specially designed zipper that prevents water from seeping into the bag.

You can get small bags that are perfect for phones and gadgets or dry bags large enough to fit sleeping bags and camping gear. You can get bags with a lightweight construction for clothes or heavyweight for sensitive equipment.

Why would you use a dry bag for kayaking?

Now that you know what a dry bag is, it should be pretty clear how valuable they can be for any outdoor activity - including kayaking. Whether you intend it or not, there is always the chance of a rogue wave dousing your yak or even the dreaded - however unlikely - capsize. A place to keep valuables organized and safe, sensitive items dry, and items protected is very beneficial on a kayak.

A moderate sized bag can handle most dry trip needs, but if you are able to purchase a number of different sizes, you are sure to find benefits to having them. There are also different types from pouches to rucksacks to backpacks to duffles.

As mentioned above, a small bag/pouch is excellent for phones or other gadgets that you need to keep dry. A medium, lightweight bag can easily hold a change of clothes or extra layers as well as your lunch or snack. If you are planning on trying out kayak camping, you might want at least one larger, heavyweight dry bag for bulkier items. (Of course, lots of things on a camping trip can get wet so you don’t need to store everything in a dry bag.)

Where do you store a dry bag on your kayak?

So, where do you keep your dry bag on your kayak. . . well, there are a couple of different options depending on how big it is, how accessible you need it, and the structure of your kayak.

If you are on a multi-day camping trip, you will likely have items that you won’t need to access until you set up camp. Those bags will likely be stowed in the bulkhead or hatch which are found on many kayaks. These are airtight compartments that are great for storage. There are two schools of thought on packing your kayak for a camping trip. One touts a large bag or two that can be carried from kayak to site in one trip. Another popular option suggests multiple smaller bags that are more easily distributed to balance the kayak and keep your items organized.

If you have a dry bag for your phone or snacks, then you probably want it more accessible. Then it is a great option to secure it to the back of your seat or to the deck line on your kayak. Most dry bags are constructed with straps and buckles which make them easy to latch on to the kayak, so you don’t lose it overboard but still keep it within reach.

But what if it does take a plunge? The beauty of a dry bag is that you don’t have to worry about the bag getting wet. Most dry bags are constructed to endure a thorough soaking or even full submersion for a few minutes. (Of course, you should always check the specifications of individual products to make sure of their water rating.) This means you can safely fish it out of the water and trust that the contents will be safe.

Now, if you are planning on strapping on the bag and taking it for a swim, you will need to make sure that you have the right bag for that.

This little item can pack a big punch for today’s kayakers. Having a safe place to stow and organize your sensitive electronics as well as protecting items from the inevitable splash and spray is vital. Investing in a few dry bags for your kayak can pay huge dividends in peace of mind.

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