8 Stellar Dry Bags For Hiking Reviewed [2021]

Are you planning your next wet hiking trip? If that’s the case, you probably don’t want to leave your valuable items at home.

Yet, considering you’ll be out in nature where everything is unpredictable, bringing them with you seems a bit scary. Well, it looks like you need to start thinking about the best dry bags for hiking that you can find.


Our main goal is to help our readers pick the best equipment for their hiking trips, thus making sure they get the most out of their experience.

On a side note, since you’re here, you might be interested in our comprehensive list comprising the top-performing waterproof hiking backpacks of 2021.

That’s why we spend many hours testing products, reading reviews, and gather unbiased opinions.

In the end, we structure the collected information and present it to you in the best possible way, not sparing a single important detail including features, benefits, specifications, as well as pros and cons.

It might be a pain to search for a quality dry bag, mostly because it’s difficult to find a durable one that can keep your contents really dry. It gets even tougher when you think about the hiking aspect – the bag has to be comfortable to carry and to have adequate organization options.

Browsing endlessly on Google or Amazon doesn’t help either, not unless you actually know what features to look for. Well, in this post, you’ll find plenty of information that will show you exactly why a particular dry bag is good for you.

We did our best to include bags you can really trust, bags with proven quality, and tested functionality.

We also added a buying guide at the end of the list, so you know what features you should pay attention to when getting a dry bag. In addition, I will quickly show you how to use one the right way so you don’t end up with your clothes or valuables soaking wet.

Are you ready to discover some amazing dry bags? Let’s get to it, then!

Our Top Pick

In order to choose the best dry bag, we scrutinized its trail-friendly features. After all, that’s what makes it suitable exclusively for hiking.

In other words, we searched for a hiking backpack that’s a dry bag.

No products found.

And after a meticulous examination, this is undoubtedly #4 IDRYBAG. It comes in different volumes - 20, 30 or 40 L. This impressive bag has it all:

  • Efficient load distribution thanks to the adjustable chest and hip strap
  • IP68 Certified Durable Fully Waterproof 500D PVC fabrics
  • Amazing breathability and padding on the shoulder straps as well as on the ergonomic back panel
  • Good amount of external and internal pockets including a protected smartphone sleeve and an additional detachable small dry bag
  • Not heavy at all which is a good advantage when you walk all day

Last but not least, the price is tempting too.

The Best Dry Bags For Hiking Of 2021: Quick Overview

*Ingress Protection rating - measures the level of protection against dust, water, and solid objects. More info in the "How Waterproof Is My Dry Bag Exactly?" section

  • Volume: 30 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 2 lbs. / 0.91 kg.
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guh-table__imagePiscifun Angry Face
  • Volume: 20/40/50 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 2.1/2.4/3.0 lbs.
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guh-table__imageRelentless Recreation
  • Volume: 30 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs / 0.69 kg
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guh-table__imageEarth Pak Summit
  • Volume: 35/55 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 2.5/2.8 lbs.
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  • Volume: 20/30/40 L
  • IP Rating*: IP68
  • Weight: 2.1/2.6/3.1 lbs.
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  • Volume: 24 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs. / 0.81 kg
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  • Volume: 20/30/40 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 1.8/1.9/2.0 lbs.
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guh-table__imageBRU Active
  • Volume: 35 L
  • IP Rating*: IP66
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs / 0.80 kg.
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#1 Piscifun Angry Face 20/40/50 L

piscifun angry face dry bag

Click image to see the bag at Amazon.

Here’s a nice example of what you get when you combine durability with comfort. The Angry Face boasts with 500D PVC material and a waterproof phone case. This dry pack is great for multiple uses - hiking, boating, camping, and even swimming. An outer pouch and an inner pouch will allow you to you keep your valuables safe and sort them out as you see fit. The ergonomic padding on the back panel and on the shoulder straps will alleviate strain and discomfort on longer hikes. See it!

You certainly want to make sure you can fit all the necessary items in your dry bag, and luckily, you will not have any issue in that regard with this particular one.

You can choose between three sizes with three different volumes - 20L, 40L, and 50L. The 20L one (2.1 pounds) measures 15.7” x 11.8”. The 40L one (2.4 pounds) measures 17.7” x 12.6”, while the 50L one (3 pounds) measures 22” x 14.4”.

If you’re not sure about the size, my advice is to go for the 40L because it’s neither too big nor small. It’s more flexible and you never know when you might need that extra space. For trips longer than 2-3 days you will need the 50 L.

The product is made out of rugged 500D PVC ripstop nylon which is proven to be fully waterproof. So water won’t penetrate inside, thus keeping your gear dry and safe from any damage and moisture.

Besides, the material will not tear apart easily because a PVC with such a high denier is really bombproof. That's why it's among the best dry bags this season. Perfect for day trips.

But now let’s see what ended up impressing us about this already great bag, and what we didn’t like so much.

What We Like

  • Practical Storage OrganizationEveryone wants as much storage space as possible when going on a hiking adventure – and this applies to dry bags as well. Piscifun ensured you will not lack space, and so the product has an inner mesh pocket and an outer zippered sleeve. This way, you can keep all the valuable belongings in the inner pocket, and the necessary accessories for quick access in the outer one. It’s nice because you can ensure your stuff is safe while having easy access to any object that you may need during your trip. What’s quite useful is the two side mesh pockets with pull string closure. You can store small water bottles there or anything else you need quick access to. 
  • Versatile DesignAlthough suitable for hiking, that doesn’t mean you cannot use the bag for other activities as well. That’s what we loved so much about this particular dry bag. Aside from hiking, you can take it camping, swimming, fishing, boating, waterfall chasing, and more. It will definitely do its job well and the many positive reviews also confirm it.
  • Safe Phone CaseA useful bonus feature that not all dry packs have is the IPX8 certified waterproof phone case that could be fully submerged underwater. Piscifun always adds phone cases for their dry bags. This one works as advertised and it can fit phones up to 6.5 inches of diagonal screen size. It will keep your phone dry as it’s fully sealed. It’s also touch-friendly.
  • Excellent Comfort FeaturesYou cannot really overlook the comfort of a dry bag. Especially when you need it for hiking. Luckily, this one is quite comfortable to wear. It comes with well-padded shoulder straps, so they relieve pressure and cause no pain on prolonged treks. The padding on the back panel is thick too and feels comfy. The foam padding provides good breathability. To further distribute the load to your hips, and stabilize the load on your back, there’s a hip belt too. Adjusting them is a breeze.

What We Don't Like

  • Side pockets are small.

#2 Relentless Recreation 30 L

relentless recreation dry bag 30 l

Click image to see the pack at Amazon.

You can easily keep your most important gear safe and secure stowed in this celebrated rolltop bag. Coming with a see-through smartphone pocket on the front and padded harness, you can rest assured you’ll get the results you want from a dependable dry bag. Sturdy and lightweight, it also has the comfort that you normally expect from a regular hiking daypack. With 3 quick access and capacious pockets, you will not lack the space you need to bring all your belongings with you.

Coming in 3 color combinations, this highly rated 30L dry bag is suitable for anyone headed to an adventurous trip that involves water. It will keep your gear dry no matter what.

There is more than enough space to fit your valuables inside, and you even have mesh outer pockets to hold your bottles. There's a front pocket too for your dry clothes.

Both of them are very easy to reach because they’re on the top right side and not on the bottom as with many other packs. So you can easily access them on the go which is cool.

To make sure you can wear it with ease, the bag features not only padded straps and a chest strap but also a carrying handle. What’s best is that it’s lightweight – only 1.5 lbs or 0.690 kg. That's why it made it to this list of the best dry bags of summer 2021.

That’s a nice benefit because most dry bags tend to be heavy due to the solid PVC material and ripstop nylon they are made out of.

Let’s find out the pros and cons of this pack. I also suggest you check out our detailed hands-on Unigear dry bag review. This is a great bag that really impressed us. 

What We Like

  • Lightweight DesignThe easier to carry, the better, and with this dry bag, you will not have any difficulty. It’s the one thing that captured my interest at first. Despite being a little tough, the material is lightweight enough, so it’s not bothersome and you don’t feel it heavy on your back. The weight to size ration is pretty good. 
  • Roomy and with enough pockets to make sure you don’t have to give up on bringing certain belongings on your trip. Having a 30L volume, it’s more than enough to help you bring everything for your journey Not only you can fit a lot of stuff inside, but you have additional outer pockets too. For example, the top center pocket is huge and allows for storing even a bulky jacket.
  • Enhanced comfort by thick paddingUsually, the straps are rubbing against your body when you carry the bag which can be a little unpleasant to say the least. Not with this bag, though – the shoulder straps have foam padding, which creates nice cushioning. The thick foam is breathable and also provides decent ventilation.
  • Adjustable chest strap - you can regulate its width size and it helps in achieving that ultimate fit.
  • Super Heavy-DutyThe bag is made with Industrial Grade 500 Denier Polyvinyl Tarpaulin. This makes it an ultra-rugged bag, that floats for prolonged periods, ensuring it will stay in a good shape for a long time. And it boasts with excellent water resistance to keep your gear dry. In addition, the seams are double stitched.

What We Don't Like

  • The front pocket is only water-resistant, not fully waterproof.

#3 Earth Pak Summit 35/55 L

earth pak summit 35/55 L dry bag

Click image to see the pack at Amazon.

There’s a lot to love about this top-selling bag. Robust and easy to carry, it is perfect for adventure travel involving water. Because of the roll-top closure with a buckle, it is easy to fold and use. What’s more, it offers complete waterproof protection, and it comes with a waterproof phone case as well. The padded harness and back panel will add comfort and make sure no pressure on stress points will ruin your trip. This bag’s a hit among adventurers. Check it out!

Earth Pak Summit is available in two sizes and multiple colors like most hiking drybags. You will have fun choosing between black, gray, yellow, blue and green. Also, you can either have a 35L or a 55L model.

You can use the bigger version to store and protect your tent since tent bags are not made to be waterproof.

In both cases, you receive tons of well-organized space for a trip that lasts more than just a day. The weight of the 35 L Earth Pak is 2.5 lbs and the 55 L monstrous bag weighs 2.8 lbs.

Made from a 500D PVC material and ripstop nylon, nothing you store inside the Earth Pak will get wet. This bag will keep your gear dry. Besides, the fabric is air permeable, allowing for good breathability. Still, below are the things that we found great and not so great about this waterproof bag with an ergonomic design.

What We Like

  • Heavy-Duty FabricsWhether you choose the 35L and 55L model, this bag allows you to hold more than just the basics. If you want to stow an additional survival kit or your emergency bivy, you will have no trouble doing so. It’s easy to carry a sleeping bag for camping, food, clothes, your phone, and other bulky gear. The 55L version is perfect for extended hiking trips up to a week on which you need quality water resistance to keep your gear dry. A bag with an impressive durability!
  • Extra Reflectors Earth Pak wanted to offer as many benefits as possible, which is why they added some reflectors. Unlike other packs on this review list, this one offers you better visibility in case of unexpected situations. You’ll be thankful to have this for situations when your phone is out of battery life.
  • MOLLE loopson the exterior you’ll find daisy chains that are quite useful for attaching bulky external gear such as walking poles or a hatchet.
  • It takes the weight off your back thanks to having a low-profile sternum strap that provides efficient load distribution. Besides, it also has an ergonomic padded back panel, as well as reinforced contoured shoulder straps that are breathable.
  • Extra storage added by the multiple pockets on both the inside and outside of the bag. The front zippered pocket is large and splash proof, keeping your dry clothes protected. On the inside pocket you even have a key clip. These will make sure you can bring all the necessary gear if you pack it wisely.

What We Don't Like

  • It doesn’t have a hip belt.
  • Somewhat heavy.

#4 Idrybag 20/30/40 L

idry bag dry backpack

Click image to see the pack at Amazon.

What’s better than a dry bag that not only does a great job in preventing water damage but also comes with all the features of a complete hiking pack? And that at an affordable price that includes a bonus – a separate 2 L dry bag! This rucksack also has an ergonomic design with three waterproof layers and super comfortable adjustable harness with an emergency whistle. Let’s see it.

Excellent for hiking and multiple outdoor activities, the Idrybag pack is considered by many as a worthwhile investment. Again, the material here is strong 500D PVC fabric and ripstop nylon with a lightweight design that's also air permeable. Plus taped seams for further protection.

An impressive durability!

Furthermore, it doesn't just provide water resistance, it's fully waterproof (IP68 certified) and it closes with a roll top system that seals the opening. This heavy duty dry sack will keep your gear dry. It comes with instructions how to use it so that you make sure to protect your essentials properly.

Depending on where you want to go, you can get the bag in 20L (2.1 lbs), 30L (2.6 lbs) or 40L (3.1 lbs). It has an ergonomic rectangular shape. 

But what are the good and the bad parts of this product? Here’s what we discovered.

What We Like

  • Three waterproof layers for maximum durabilitythe bag is extremely rugged, which is useful if you push your limits. It’s able to withstand extreme temperatures no matter if it’s during the summer or winter. Thanks to this benefit, you don’t have to worry about it being damaged while you’re out in the wild, and it won’t be torn apart easily. It has a reinforced stitching of the taped seams. This sack is snowproof, dustproof, and scratchproof, besides providing unmatched water resistance.
  • Superb harness system that’s fully adjustable. It includes foam padded and breathable straps, a hip belt, and a sternum strap with a safety whistle. So it’s a complete hiking backpack that acts as a dry bag. That’s rare. The back panel is thickly padded and cools your back efficiently when you hike.
  • Roomy storage organization that allows you to bring everything you need with you and easily access it. You can even have some additional stuff and still not worry about the space. This is due to the fact that you have both an inner pocket and an outer one that’s see-through and with a splash proof zipper.
  • 2 L Bonus dry bag included where you can stow valuable items you want to keep isolated such as snacks or medical kit. The small pack itself is also as sturdy and provides awesome water resistance. It has a carabiner and you can clip it to the exterior of your Idrybag.

What We Don't Like

  • The shoulder harness is a little too thin.

#5 Bassdash 24 L

bassdash waterproof dry bag

The best thing about Bassdash is that you receive top-notch quality for a reasonable price. With this dry bag you don’t have to worry about not being able to bring what you need for your trip and seamlessly protect it. The IPX6 waterproof design, the cushioned padded harness, and the breathable back plate – you have it all. This is a quite comfy, lightweight, and tough pack. Check it out!

Lightweight as a dry bag could be – 1.9 lbs. or 861 grams and with an upgraded water proofing using high frequency welding, Bassdash goes beyond the industry norms. It's foldable and you can carry it in your main backpack if needed, without adding extra weight.

Unlike other dry bags on our list, this one uses 420D high density nylon combined with strong TPU lamination for maximum water resistance. The taped seams contribute to that as well.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is better than the regular PVC. Besides being more durable, it’s abrasion resistant and more breathable.

That gives the bag rugged character so you know you can use it and even abuse it. No matter if you hike in heavy rain, or your trip involves rafting, the bag does its job flawlessly. Hundreds of verified buyers are quite happy with it.

It folds down and seals with a buckle on each side, to fully protect your gear from dampening. But don’t worry, it comes with a short user manual and I’ll explain later how to close a dry bag properly.

And the rectangular shape fits quite well in larger backpacks.

Now, let’s jump to the pros and cons.

What We Like

  • Excellent carrying comfort that allows you to wear the pack for hours without tension or rubbing. That’s because of the cushioned back panel. It has reinforced padding with small holes that let the air circulate thus keeping the heat away. Also, the shoulder belts are S-curved and extra padded. 
  • Efficient load distribution thanks to the adjustable hip belt and sternum strap. Those belts are crucial for your comfort when you hike because using them reduces fatigue and increases stability. There’s a safety whistle on the chest belt for emergencies.
  • Very good storage organization allowing you to stow your gear for quick and easy access. There’s a small divider in the main big pocket. In that pocket you can store a sleeping bag, clothes, snack, and anything else. There’s a water-resistant zippered pocket on the inside of the bag that offers space for smaller items such as head lamp, torch, or a multi-tool.
  • External gear attachment options – Bassdash has two adjustable straps on the side. They are very appropriate for attaching bulky items with the use of carabiners. You have such loops on the shoulder harness and on the right side of the pack. You can attach whatever you find necessary, even a separate daypack. You also have a stretchy mesh pocket for a water bottle on the left side. Keep in mind the bottle should be small, though.

What We Don't Like

  • Only one side pocket for a water bottle and it’s small.
  • The shoulder harness is somewhat thin.

#6 Zbro 20/30/40 L

Zbro dry bag 30 L

Click image to see the dry bag at Amazon.

Slick and firm, Zbro comes with a lifetime warranty and that’s a cool benefit already. The dry bag can float and it has removable shoulder harness and bungee cord compression system on the front. It’s lightweight, and it offers reliable protection of your items. Zbro would be a necessary addition if you’d like to make your adventure safe and comfortable. Check this bag out!

This pack comes in several colors and three sizes. So you have options to choose from, which gives you the freedom to decide what’s best for you depending on your hike.

The 20 L bag makes a cool daypack that weighs only 1.8 lbs or 816 grams. The 30 L version is suitable for trips where you need to take more items or simply more bulky objects. Its weight is 1.9 lbs or 862 grams.

You can take the 40 L bag if you plan on hiking on long weekend trips or you just have to wear your kids’ stuff. It’s enough stable and comfortable. Expectedly, the extra weight is more, though – 2 lbs or 908 grams.

No surprise when it comes to the material. Dry bags that claim to be watertight should have extra strong fabrics. As with most other dry bags, Zbro has 500D PVC ripstop nylon which is quite sturdy and you will notice that when you hold it. It provides awesome water resistance thanks to the taped seams too.

Here are the pros and cons.

What We Like

  • Removable shoulder straps for more flexibility – most of the time you need the straps to wear the bag on your back when you walk extensively. Sometimes, though, you don’t need them and you can carry the bag using just the handle on top. It’s a cool feature, and the shoulder belts are padded for extra comfort. 
  • Reinforced handle that you can use to hang various stuff as there’s a space between it and the opening of the pack. So you don’t have to carry your bag using the top closure any more. The handle behaves very well when subjected to tension.
  • Removable inner pocket that’s convenient for storing compact valuable objects such as keys, wallet, or a fire starter, for example. It’s zippered, but pay attention that it’s not waterproof. It won't prevent water from getting in.
  • External storage options provided by the bungee cords on the front of the pack. They are great for attaching wet garments or tightening up the pack. There’s also a mesh pocket for flip-flops or your water shoes. The sleeve is capacious enough.

What We Don't Like

  • No padding on the back panel.
  • No water bottle holders/you have to be creative and use the bungee cords.

#7 BRU Active 35 L Dry Bag

bru active pvc tarpaulin bag

What a funny name and what a stylish bag! This model is on our list not only because of its well thought out trail-friendly features. It’s also because of the attractive price. It has padded adjustable shoulder harness and a back panel that’s cushioned on stress points. You’ll be surprised by the many pockets and its ergonomic, versatile design. This is a premium pack that extreme adventurers just love!  

Although voguish, this dry bag has a very simple and easy-to-use design. With a nice color, BRU Active can be easily adjusted for an ultimate fit. What makes it stand out from the rest is the multitude of pockets. You’ll be able to organize any type of gear effortlessly, which is a cool plus.

Made of robust PVC tarpaulin, BRU Active is fully leak-proof to prevent water from getting in. It's proven to provide great water resistance. Your stuff will stay dry. At the same time, you’ll see how effortlessly it is to maneuver with it. That’s because it’s lightweight, despite the robust fabrics. The pack weighs only 1.8 lbs or 860 grams.

Good news for all ultralight hiking fanatics! It won't add extra weight to your load.

The pack opens with a roll top closure that protects your essentials. Don’t forget to fully roll it and buckle it up! The taped seams don’t leak, as they are sealed.

The shoulder harness and the chest belt are easy to adjust so you can obtain maximum comfort, as well as a better ability to carry it. Conveniently, there’s hip belt for further load distribution. The rubber handle is also pretty convenient because it’s flexible and strong – something you need when you hand-carry the bag.

In addition, it is a great ally when you go hiking, but also when you want to go snowboarding, kayaking, camping, fishing or anything of the sort. You can put in there various clothing such as a windbreaker or your warm leggings for hiking.

Now, let’s see some benefits and downsides of this dry bag.

What We Like

  •  Padding on pressure pointsIt’s essential to have as much comfort as you can get, so you don’t have your hiking adventure ruined. With the high-quality padding on the shoulder harness, you will not experience any discomfort, and the trip will unfold as intended. The back panel is not fully padded, but it is foam-reinforced on top and it has a lumbar support too, which is good enough.
  • Reinforced Protection for your items Thanks to its durable buckle and adjustable top strap with metal hook, your belongings will always be safe, thus not falling outside and not allowing anyone to steal them. The entire bag is waterproof, and it can float.
  • Ease of useThis bag is very simple to use – you just have to place everything inside, and you’re ready to go. There are even mesh bottle pouches so you can stay hydrated at all times, while the inside can hold your sleeping bag, tent, and many other things.
  • Tight bungee cords on the front that provide additional space for bulky objects that you need quick access to or are just better fitted on the exterior. There’s even an additional zippered pocket there. The space is suitable for wet clothes, shoes, towels, and anything else that’s convenient for you.

What We Don't Like

  • Poor external gear organization.
  • The MOLLE strips on the side are not spaced properly, making it a bit hard to attach items.

#8 MIER 30 L Dry Sack

mier dry hiking bag

Hope you’re ready to enjoy the recognizable quality courtesy of Mier Sports – a big name in the industry. Made with a 210D TPU coated ripstop nylon and durable water repellent layer, this bag can safely handle quick submersions. You even get an inner Ipad pocket for convenience. It has more pockets that you’d expect from a dry bag and the adjustable harness technology is top-notch. It’s a pack with which hiking in wet conditions is a breeze.

The MIER dry bag is one of those items that can’t be missing from your hiking arsenal.

It has a lot of features that make it suitable for a complete adventure. Being large enough, it can fit most of your gear for a fulfilling day trip. Overnight hiking? No worries. There’s enough space.

The bag weighs only 2. lbs or 900 grams, which means you will not have to worry about the weight slowing you down. It’s true that Mier is not the lightest pack on our list, but it’s quite versatile, durable, and functional.

With it, you could easily carry 55 lbs. and it will feel comfortable on your back. If you spend some time reading the reviews online, you will see that often, buyers call this bag “the best dry backpack on the market”.

This is a regular roll top closure bag. The closure has a strong buckle. The robust construction is designed to withstand submersion and rugged use thanks to the welded seamless design. Your belongings are sure to stay dry.

The Mier pack has an IP66 enclosure and taped seams. And a TPU lamination for further sturdiness too. It has more then average water resistance qualities. Technically, it means the fabrics could withstand strong water jets and still protect your essentials. It works exactly as described, and that’s backed up by the positive consumer feedback.

It has a media pocket in the main compartment where you can store your smartphone, Kindle reader or any other valuable objects. I usually out there either my phone or my wallet. It’s a cool feature that you’ll surely use.

Let’s get straight to the point, though – here are some great things about the bag, but also some aspects that could use some improvement.

What We Like

  • Amazingly comfortable suspensionWe all know that when hiking it’s not that great to feel a strap rubbing against your skin and causing irritation. Or to sweat like a pig and get tired early because of the load shifting on your back. Luckily, Mier boasts with surprisingly well thought out harness. The chest belt is adjustable in height and width while the shoulder belts are foam padded and ergonomic.
  • Good breathability on the back panel First, the entire airmesh panel is with thick foam padding from top to bottom. That creates feel-good cushioning and relieves pressure. On top of that, it has a vertical ventilation channel in the middle to let the heat evaporate. A really nice trail-friendly feature.
  • Lightweight, yet super durable material – with a remarkable weight to strength ratio, Faroe Wild is made out of 210D TPU fabric. That’s the material used for those insulating life jackets you find on boats. The TPU lamination makes the pack heavy-duty and at the same time it doesn’t add additional weight to your trip. And it keeps your stuff dry.
  • Variety of PocketsTired of bags that barely give you any storage space? Well, you don’t have to worry about this now. Mier has a total of 4 pockets, including two foldable mesh sleeves on both sides for your flasks. You can even zip-close them for maximum protection. There’s a roomy front zippered pocket that’s completely splash-proof. Indeed, the 30 liters of the pack are smartly organized.

What We Don't Like

  • No hip belt but that’s OK for a day pack and if you don’t carry heavy loads extensively.
  • A little bulky and stiff when fully loaded.

How To Properly Seal And Pack A Dry Bag

You cannot overlook the importance of using and packing a dry bag the right way to take the most out of its water resistance. Otherwise, how are you supposed to have a safe protection for your items?

The first thing you need to keep in mind is to put the most important essentials at the very top. By doing so, it will be easy to reach your belongings for any situation. If it gets dark, you can quickly grab a torch, for example.

Begin by putting bulky stuff such as your clothes or sleeping bag at the bottom. In that way you’ll distribute the entire load more evenly starting from the heaviest items and ending with the lightest ones.

If you have trouble packing, maybe you should consider using waterproof packing cubes. They save space and organize your gear better. In most of them, your gear will stay dry in wet conditions.

Make sure not to put any breakable bottles inside. If you bring beer or any other liquids, use plastic bottles or titanium ones.

Most dry bags have a roll top closure. To properly seal your rucksack, bring the two sides together, then fold it over, making sure you have a nice, clean fold. Then, you have to get the air out of the bag, by pushing it and waiting for the air to escape.

Continue folding and fold it about four times. If no air goes out, then no water can get in. Secure the straps and the buckles and test it. Don’t forget to test it. Just in case, I will repeat - test it. If there’s no issue with it, it’s ready to be used.

Also, don’t forget to follow the instructions described in the user manual that your dry bag comes with.

How Waterproof Is My Dry Bag Exactly?

In case you noticed, when describing the bags, for many, we mention their IP rating. In fact, in every shipping package, the manufacturer includes that rating. It’s either in the user manual or in the product specifications.

That’s the ingress protection rating, sometimes referred to as enclosure or certification.

man walking in the river with his backpack

In layman’s language, it measures the level of protection that your bag provides against water and interaction with other elements such as dust and friction with solid objects.

The IP rating is usually followed by two digits and an optional letter. The first digit shows how strong is the material when exposed to dust and solid objects. The second digit measures the level of water tightness. 

As you’re already guessing, the highest the rating, the more solid the material is. When it comes to the level of protection against dust and solid objects, 6 is the maximum. As for the water tightness, 9 is the maximum.

Every decent dry bag has an IP rating of either IP66 or IP68. For example, #4 Idrybag on our list is IP68 certified.

It means that, first, it’s completely protected against physical contact with objects, and second, it’s able to handle submersions deeper than 1 meter.

To take another example, #7 Faroe Wild Dry Bag has an IP66 enclosure. The second “6” means that the pack can resist shallow submersions and heavy splashes of water.

For more information about the IP rating, read more here.

Many folks wrongly believe that every dry bag is good for prolonged swimming. That’s true only when the pack has a rating of IPX8 and beyond. Otherwise, the pack will handle accidental shallow submersion, heavy rain, and in general – splashes of water.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the IP rating. In that way you will know its limits and best use.

5 Crucial Features To Consider When Choosing The Best Dry Bag For You

If you want a high-quality dry bag for hiking, either for yourself or as a gift, then you must consider the following features.


The material of the dry bag is extremely important. The more durable and waterproof it is, the better. When shopping for a dry bag, make sure it is at least 500D PVC, because that’s when you know it is waterproof and durable enough.

waterproof bag

Otherwise, you risk getting a bag that will leak or tear apart easily. Also, it’s best that the rucksack has an Ingression Protection rating of at least IP66 (see previous section) or above. That will ensure you a 100 percent protection against elements and water.

The last thing you want is to end up with your camera or laptop swimming in your bag.

Side Water Pockets

You have to stay hydrated when you’re hiking, and that’s why your dry bag must have at least one bottle holder on either side.

Otherwise, you have to put your bottle in the main compartment or stabilize it using the bungee cords on the exterior (if any). While that’s far from impossible, it’s a bit impractical.

Outer And Inner Pockets

Don’t be surprised to learn that dry bags are not designed with many pockets and separate compartments.

In that regard, they differ from regular hiking backpacks. With that being said, make sure to have at least one inner pocket and one external one (not counting the water bottle holders).

Yellow waterproof shoulder bag with sunglasses on beach sand at

Sometimes, the highlight of a trail is a sandy, sunny beach!

Most dry bags also have gear loops on the exterior. This allows you to attach bulky gear with carabiners. Think about that too. In addition, look for bags that have built-in pockets for smartphones or come with a separate phone case that’s fully waterproof.

Let’s face the truth – even in nature we can’t live without our smartphones. So at least, let’s protect them.

Harness Designed For Hiking

Many dry bags don’t have shoulder straps or only a single one. While that’s great if you’re kayaking or rafting, it’s not a viable solution for walking.

At least two shoulder straps must be added to your dry bag. If not, there might be an uneven weight distribution, which will cause plenty of discomfort.

What’s also important is your bag to have a chest strap and a hip belt. It makes a huge difference when it comes to the right fit and efficient load distribution.

Padding And Ventilation

The padding on the straps will protect your back and shoulders from irritation and rubbing. Plus, it will ease the tension from carrying the load for long hours. That’s a crucial feature, especially if you plan on hiking extensively with the dry bag on your back.

Hiking man portrait with backpack

You need padding and ventilation on your bag on hot summer days.

You’d also want that the back panel provides some air circulation. That will save you on hot days. Look for packs whose back panel has a space between your back and the pack.



How to clean my dry bag?

Do dry bags float?

Can I swim with my dry bag?

Will the phone case keep my phone dry?

Conclusion (Plus Infographic)

Hopefully, this list of dry bags and the buying guide will help you get the most suitable bag for you. Choosing a dry bag requires some extra attention because after all, you’re risking the safety of your gear when exposed to water.

Ultimate Backpacker Checklist


From Visually.

I made sure to include only high-quality packs proven to work well so that you can use any of them worry-free. Now go and enjoy hiking and water.

Do you have any comments, remarks or feedback regarding some dry bags? Leave them below!

Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

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Md - May 3, 2020

One of the best, detailed and superb reviews I’ve come across in recent times. Thanks for this article and I hope to see more of hiking content. I’m gonna bookmark this.

    Asen - May 3, 2020

    Hey Md,

    Thanks, glad you like it!

Lisa - May 3, 2020

Hi Asen,

Wow, thank you for this!

I had no idea that hiking drybags had come on so much! I do have a 20L drybag backpack that I use for cycle commuting in the drizzly English winter, but I wouldn’t trust it for carrying much more than a picnic on a hike. I still hike with a military surplus bergen lined with a traditional yachting rolltop drybag. I trust the robustness of the bergen material to deal with the sticks and thorns instead of the drybag material having to cope, but I can see it’s about time to re-evaluate my choices!

The difficulty I have buying backpacks is that I’m short (5’2″) and female which leads to some obvious strap positioning complexities! Are there any of the drybag hiking backpacks that have adjustable sternum straps and short back options?

Thanks in advance!

    Asen - May 3, 2020

    Hi Lisa,

    Indeed, dry bags are quite popular right now. The good news is that you can find a quality one at a decent price. To answer your question, all packs on our list are adjustable so you shouldn’t have any issues even if you’re short as you say!

Jason - May 3, 2020

Brilliant article to read, found it interesting to the point of commenting on how great a read I actually found it, well done and keep up the good work.
This I have book marked for reference to it in the future!
Thanks Jason

    Asen - May 3, 2020

    Hey Jason,

    Thank you for reading and I hope you found it useful.

Fahad - September 2, 2021

Brilliant article to read, found it interesting to the point of commenting on how great a read I actually found it, well done and keep up the good work.
This I have book marked for reference to it in the future!

Comments are closed