This Dry Bag is ideal for all kayaking trips because it is shaped to fit in kayak hatches, and is equally useful to keep gear dry during any water or land activities. The bag features an easy roll-top closure and a lower shell constructed of a durable TPU material. The Dry Bag also is available in 14- and 18-liter sizes.
Read and submit reviews for the Kayak Dry Bag (18L).
500D HT Cordura 58 with 210D TPU
In conclusion this is the best dry bag I have used but I wouldn’t buy one.
I’ve had my Gearlab dry bag now for just over a year now so finally feel that I am getting enough use and wear on it to make a judgement. I have used it every time I have paddled to maximise use and wear. I live in a tropical climate and I believe that the heat, humidity and sun accelerates wear on equipment, so hopefully this is a reasonable test period. Gearlab have made some minor changes/improvements to the design that I have which I will mention in turn.
The most striking feature of this dry bag is the two types of material used: • The dark, outer material is a urethane proofed cordura. If feels very similar to the material that MSR make their famously indestructible Dromedary water bladders from. This material has proven to be very durable for a dry bag and has the positive features of not being too heavy or thick, but also being a bit rigid and certainly tough. • The lime green ‘inner’ material – the roll-top – is made from a much thinner material – possibly urethane proofed polyester (maybe nylon, but it doesn’t seem to sag when wet like nylon). The inner roll-top rolls up to sit inside of the outer bag with a buckle over the closure to ensure it stays tucked in. This way, the lighter material is never rubbing against the hull or other gear in the kayak, which may cause it to get damaged and its waterproofness compromised. The benefit of using the lighter material for the roll-top (as opposed to using the outer material for the whole bag) is that it is much easier to roll up tightly and reduces the overall weight and bulk of the bag. A clever idea and it works as intended.
Whilst the design protects the lighter inner material from damage, I was still somewhat concerned about this material over the longer term. There is a great deal of variation in the quality of the lighter waterproof materials with some types soon wearing and leaking from repeated folding/rolling of the bag. Others have poorer quality urethane treatments that start to flake or breakdown with hydrolysis. To date, no such issues with the Gearlab dry bag.
The other notable feature of the dry bag are: • A loop of webbing sewn to the bottom. This makes it easier to retrieve the bag if you stuff it right up into the bow of kayak. Works well. • Sewn on carry handles. This makes the dry bag quite practical as a tote. Sometimes, when on a paddle, we stop by cafes for breakfast or lunch and I feel that the Gearlab dry bag is a bit more respectable than the usual industrial looking bag I carry my bits and pieces in.
The webbing for the loop and handles on my dry bag are sewn via bar tack stitching. The bar tacks sit raised on the level of the outer dry bag material and eventually some of them began to wear against the hull of the kayak and started to unravel. I fixed this very easily and permanently with a few drops of super glue. Gearlab have changed the way that the handles are sewn on so this may not be an issue (at least for the handles) on current models (I haven’t seen a current one in the flesh).
Gearlab have also added some drainage holes to the outer material just above the join to the inner. This just means that if the bag gets a good dunking, the water in the ‘hood’ will drain out whichever way, without needing to physically pour it out.
So all up, a cleverly designed and seemingly durable dry bag. But personally, as mentioned at the start, I won’t be buying them. The reason is simply – I can buy five heavy PVC dry bags for the price of one of Gearlab’s. Now the PVC dry bags are heavier, they are not so easy to roll up (and you use up more of the bag doing so) they are harder to pack and they are slippery and sometimes difficult to get out of the kayak bulkhead. But they are super tough and durable, there is plenty of room in a kayak for extra gear (even for a week plus expedition) and I can always find a stick to drag the bags out if they are stuck down in the bow end of the bulkhead.
There are also the lighter type dry bags (e.g. silnylon, cuben fibre/ dyneema composite fabric, light urethane proofed materials) but I have had no luck with these over the longer term for kayaking. They wear and develop leaks far too easily inside the hull of a kayak.
So near full marks to Gearlab on the clever design of these dry bags. Gearlab know the sea kayaking environment (the team are regularly out on trips themselves) and they put something together that is an improvement on your usual dry bag as well as being plenty tough and durable. If you need the best dry bags for kayaking these should be on your shortlist. However if you ok with dry bags that are a bit bulkier, heavier and not as user friendly, you can get by with other bags that are just as waterproof and durable for a lot less cash.