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Choosing the Correct Dry Bag
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Choosing the Correct Dry Bag

With the range of Sea to Summit’s dry storage options spanning from the ultra-light 15 Denier Ultra-Sil® Nano to the super burly 600 Denier Hydraulics, it’s important to know which dry sack is the right choice for your intended use and activity.

For instance, feather-weight fabrics are ideal for use inside a pack, but in environments where the dry sack may be rubbing against something (such as the bottom of a boat) or likely to come into contact with sharp objects (for instance if attached to the outside of a backpack) more heavy duty fabrics are required.

We have 11 different types of Dry Bags here at Sea to Summit. Here is a very basic description of each – starting with the lightest and ending with the most rugged.

Ultralight

1) Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sacks are made of featherweight 15 Denier siliconized nylon. Designed for the gram-conscious backpacker, these minimalist dry sacks keep your gear dry and organized inside a pack, yet weigh less than many ‘ultralight’ stuff sacks. Not suitable for boating/marine use.

2) Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks are constructed using extremely light-weight siliconized 30 Denier CORDURA brand nylon. They are intended for use inside a backpack or similar bag, where they are great for keeping sleeping bags, clothing and other gear dry and tidy. Not suitable for boating/marine use.

3.) UltraSil eVent Compression Dry Sacks are made of 30 Denier CORDURA brand nylon with an eVent base. They are the super-lightweight version of the 70 Denier nylon eVent Compression Dry Sack and are approximately one-third lighter. Great for compressing sleeping bags and insulated clothing. Not intended for external use (ie mounted externally on a backpack, or for bikepacking, or for river/marine use.

A quick note about using dry sacks as ‘bear bags’. Ultralight hikers in particular attempt to save every possible gram, and may, therefore, want to use UltraSil Nano and UltraSil Dry Sacks to keep food out of the way of bears and other animals at night. If this involves hauling the bag up through tree branches, the probability is that featherweight/very lightweight fabric will snag and tear at some point. We would therefore not recommend UltraSil Nano and UltraSil Dry Sacks for this use.

Lightweight

1) View Dry Sacks feature the same 70 Denier CORDURA brand nylon as regular Lightweight Dry Sacks but have a welded-in window made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). Ideal for group trips or longer backpacking excursions – anywhere where you quickly need to identify the contents of your dry sacks.

2) Lightweight Dry Sacks are made of 70 Denier nylon. They are tough, yet still light enough to work well in backpacking use. The flexible fabric makes them easy to stuff into tight areas – ideal bags for general boating / outdoor use.

3) eVent Compression Dry Sacks / eVac Dry Sacks are made with 70 Denier nylon and work really well for any compressible item (sleeping bags, clothing) which needs to be squeezed down as small as possible yet stay dry. Air just squeezes out through the eVent base, but water can’t get in.

Durable

1) Big River Dry Bags are made from tough, 420 Denier ripstop nylon laminated to a TPU film. They have a very high tear strength and abrasion-resistance, which makes them the perfect choice for whitewater rafting/boating/motorcycle touring. Lash patches on the sides make attachment to a raft or motorcycle rack really simple.

2) Dry Packs – Rapid 26L, Flow 35L – are made with the same fabric as the Big River Dry Bags and have a roll top closure. However, they are fully featured, tough backpacks with quick-drying shoulder straps and a comfortable ergonomic back panel.

3) Stopper Dry Bags are made of 210 Denier nylon with TPU lamination on the outer face for increased durability. The fabric is UV resistant, won’t crack in extreme cold and is flexible. Despite their light weight, they are suitable for river/marine applications. Completely welded construction. Great for canyoneering (if used inside a backpack) , climbing, ski touring, SUP tours, bike commuting.

4) Clear Stopper Dry Bags are RF welded and made with a Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) film with a 210 Denier laminated nylon fabric base. The high strength TPU film is durable and flexible and allows you to easily see the contents. Ideal for boating/marine environments. Completely welded construction.

5) Hydraulic Dry Bags / Hydraulic DryPacks are designed for the most extreme conditions that demand toughness and abrasion resistance. They are made of a 600 Denier polyester carrier material with TPU laminated on the inner and faces. Completely welded construction including the lash patches. Features the Field Repair Buckle.

Buckles

All Sea to Summit Dry Bags utilize the patented Field Repair BuckleIf a buckle should break, it can be replaced in seconds simply by unscrewing the stainless steel screw and screwing in a new buckle in its place. For longer backpacking and particularly paddle tours, we recommend carrying a couple of spares in your repair kit – you can find the size you will need on each dry sack webpage. And – no worries – Sea to Summit Field Repair Buckles work on other brands of dry sacks - which don’t come with replaceable buckles - too ;)

A note about submersion – be aware that any roll-top dry sack, regardless of manufacturer, can only be submerged to a certain depth for a short period. Longer/deeper submersion and pressure can cause water to seep through the roll-top closure. This is true for dry sacks from all brands, not just Sea to Summit.

If you will be transporting electronics or other sensitive items in very wet/potential submersion situations it is essential to ‘double bag’ these items: place them in one dry sack and carefully roll and seal the roll-top closure. Now place this in a second dry sack and roll and seal the roll-top closure. If you are using dry sacks to store electronics in areas of high humidity, be aware that moisture vapor can condense inside any waterproof enclosure if the temperature drops. To avoid damage to the electronics, place a desiccant (for instance, a silica-gel pack) in the dry sack along with the electronic items.

And a note about storing damp or wet gear: if you pack a wet item and a dry item into a dry sack, by the end of the day they will both be universally damp. For this reason, we would never suggest putting a tent and a sleeping bag in the same dry sack – the tent floor and rainfly may be damp, even if you don’t notice it. The same is true for a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag – condensation often forms on the underside of a sleeping mat overnight.

16 thoughts on “Choosing the Correct Dry Bag

  1. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Tom,

    Thanks for your observation: you make an excellent point. We do include a note about condensation forming in dry sacks, but the post currently omits the fact that wet objects packed in a dry bag along with drier objects will result in the contents becoming universally damp. We have provided this information in individual answers to consumers asking about packing tents and sleeping bags in the same dry bag (don’t!), but we missed including that in the article. We will update the blog post in the next day or so.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Cheers,

    The Sea to Summit Team

  2. avatar www.TomOutoors.com says:

    One simple but critical note about dry bags….while they are intended to keep water OUT, they will also keep water IN. Anything wet or damp placed inside a “dry” bag will soon cause that moisture to spread throughout all the gear within the bag. Wet/Dry compartments must be completely separated by a waterproof “wall” and make sure whatever goes into your dry bag is, indeed, dry!

  3. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Sage

    Thanks for reaching out to us! So we can make some recommendations for you, can you please let us know (via an email to info@seatosummit.com): What you will carry in the pack | What weather conditions the pack will be used in | Whether the pack will be submerged (and if so, for how long) | Where you are located

    We’ll be happy to share our thoughts as to which pack might work best for you.

    Cheers,

    The Sea to Summit team

  4. avatar Sage says:

    I was told by my professor to get a dry pack for my upcoming marine biology field course. Which of your products do you suggest for me?

  5. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Betty,

    Thanks for your question. If you are looking to store your personal belongings on the beach while you swim, any of the following dry bags would work well: Lightweight Dry Sack, Big River Dry Bag, Stopper Dry Sack. If you are intending to swim with a dry sack (which may well involve the dry sack being pulled under the surface of the water), there is no single dry sack which will provide adequate waterproof protection for sensitive items such as electronics. Phones, cameras and even car key fobs should be ‘double bagged’ – placed in one dry bag (roll the closure three times and click the buckle closed) then placed in a second dry bag (again, three rolls of the roll-top closure).

    If you have any questions on the above, shoot us an email at info@seatosummit.com

    Cheers
    The Sea to Summit Team

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