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 new 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) more heavy duty fabrics are required.

We have 10 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.

dry-sack-matrix-with-new-bags

Ultralight

1) Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sacks are made of featherweight 15 Denier siliconized nylon with a newly-designed lightweight buckle. 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 lightweight, they are suitable for river/marine applications. Completely welded construction. Features the Field Repair Buckle. Great for canyoneering, 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. Features the Field Repair Buckle.

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.

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.

6 thoughts on “Choosing the Correct Dry Bag

  1. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Roman

    Thanks for your question. Please know that small amounts of water can seep through the roll-top closure of a dry bag (from any manufacturer) if it is submerged, which is almost inevitable when swimming. For this reason, we would insist that two dry bags be used to store your camera (place the camera in one dry bag and carefully roll and seal the closure; then place this in a second dry bag and carefully roll and seal that closure). Without this step, we would not recommend any of our dry sacks for transporting camera gear while swimming to shore. Please email us at info@seatosummit.com and let us know the type of camera equipment you will be traveling with; we’ll be happy to provide further details.

    Cheers,
    Baz

  2. avatar Roman Gysin says:

    I’ll be on a sailing trip for weeks this year. I want to use the dry bag to store camera equipment and some clothes on the boat or even maybe to swim to the beach with it.
    What type of dry bag should I use?

    Thank you!

  3. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Steve –

    The short answer to your question is that no single roll-top closure dry bag will provide adequate water protection for cameras or other electronics during a kayak capsize. You can read a little on this topic at another blog post here:

    https://seatosummitusa.com/blogs/ask-baz/just-how-waterproof-is-waterproof

    We’ll send a longer response to your direct email address.

    Cheers,
    Baz

  4. avatar Steve says:

    Looking for suggestions please: I’m looking for a waterproof bag to carry a small portable camera (Nikon S8100) in on a Kayaking trip. I hoping to lash the camera bag to the front of the kayak cockpit so it is quickly accessible, yet protected in case the kayak rolls over. Some padding protection would be nice to, but I feel I’m already asking for the moon. Thank you

  5. avatar Baz says:

    G’Day Daniel -

    A lightweight dry pack (such as the Sprint) can be closed so that some air is trapped inside the pack. If the pack is only lightly loaded, it will float for a while; but it is important to note that this is not its intended use, and that over time some water may well seep through the roll-top closure (important if there is anything inside the pack which may be harmed by contact with water). Please email us at info@seatosummit.com and let us know what you intend to carry in a pack, and what conditions it will be exposed to/how long it would need to float. We’ll be happy to provide recommendations.

    - Baz

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