Dry Bags Rucksacks, Holdalls And Roll Top

If you are participating in watersports, bushcraft, camping, open water swimming, motorcycling, outdoor activities and adventures, then having a dry bag, i.e a waterproof bag to keep your kit dry, is essential. In this Best Dry Bags Rucksacks Holdalls And Roll Top bag article, we are going to look at the different dry bag (dry sack) options and how to use them, how to make sure they are waterproof, as well as explore some of the use cases. Below you will see only top quality dry bags, that are reliable waterproof storage and transportation solutions.

Roll Top Enclosure

How does a dry bag roll top system work? The mass majority of dry bags achieve their waterproof status using a simple roll top closure system. The opening to the dry bag which has clips at either end, is rolled down three times to create the watertight seal and then this is clipped in place. This system waterproofs the bag and protects the contents from rain, sand and dusty environments.
Photo: Lomo.co.uk

Waterproof Zips

Another way to waterproof a dry bag is to use a waterproof zip. These look like a standard zip but bigger, like a jumbo zip and they work well. However, dry bags with waterproof zips are far more expensive than roll top dry bags.

Dry Bag Materials

There are many synthetic materials used in the construction of dry bags. The common theme is that the materials are waterproof and durable. Materials like nylon, vinyl and tarpaulin are commonly used. The materials are joined together, not with stitching, but with welded seams (RF or Radio Frequency Welding) to create a watertight environment. Some brands also add a tape the seam for extra security.

Standard Dry Bags

The classic dry bag is a simple bucket style bag with a roll-top enclosure. These come in a variety of sizes from 1 litre to 150 litres. They are used as bag liners, waterproof phone bags, first aid kit holders, wet wetsuit holders, storage bags by wild swimmers, boat workers, kayakers, SUPers, bush crafters and more. These are simple bags and mostly they are cheap, perfect for keeping your kit safe and dry.


Rucksack Dry bags

Similar to the standard dry bag with one main difference, they have a built in rucksack carrying system. These waterproof backpack style dry bags include shoulder straps and sometimes even a wait or chest band. These waterproof dry bags usually start at 20 Litres and go up to around 80 litres. These bags are used by swimpackers, wild swimmers, water sports enthusiasts, bushcrafters, wild campers, jungle explorers, cyclists, motorcyclists, commuters, sailers and more. Most dry bag daysacks and rucksacks use a roll top closure system. However, some do use waterproof zips for small secondary quick access pouches.

Holdall Dry Bags

These are usually larger dry bags in the classic holdall styling. These have a larger opening across the main width of the holdall and usually come with a single shoulder strap and, in some cases, some grab handle on the ends. These dry bag holdalls are popular with adventure travellers, especially divers, mountaineers, snow boarders, skiers, motorcyclists, etc. These Holdalls come in a variety of sizes, starting around 40 Litres and going up to 140Litres plus.

One key thing to look out for is semi dry bags in the holdall category. These are bags that are made from waterproof materials, with RF welded seams etc however, the zip up top is just a standard zip. These bags can be useful for skiers, for example sitting your bag on wet snow would be fine, however, these bags are not dry bags and are often mislabeled as such.

Pannier Dry Bags

The pannier dry bags are popular with cyclists and motorcyclists and usually have some form of mounting system attached to them to allow them to be mounted on the bike, motorbike. These come in 5 litre up to 30L and larger. Very popular with long distance cyclists, adventure bike rides, and commuters alike. Most dry bag panniers use a roll top closure system.

Ultralight Dry Bags

These are similar to the standard dry bag, however these elect to use a lighter material to reduce weight. Popular with weight restrictive sports like, back packing, solo hiking, bikepacking, swimpacking, etc.


Dry bags are an essential part of every adventurers kit. We at bestoutdoors.co.uk each have several dry bags to keep out gear dry. Dry bags for every occasion.

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