Keep all of your gear dry when you're out on the water.
By Trent Jonas
When you head out on the water, you need to protect your gear (or your lunch) from getting wet. As most paddlers know, this is what dry bags are for. Most paddlers also know that dry bags are not always as portable as they ought to be—especially if you’re carrying a lot of gear. When you’re hauling a good amount of gear with you on a paddling trip, a backpack-style dry bag is a great solution for keeping your hands free and your things dry. We think these are six of the best waterproof backpacks for kayaking adventures.
For a day on the water, a 30-liter backpack should carry most anything you would need. In this size range, Seal Line, a leader in the dry bag space, offers up the Bigfork Dry Daypack. Made specifically for paddlers, the Bigfork features 30 liters of storage in a dry, roll-top backpack with padded shoulder straps, and a webbing waist belt. The straps can be removed for travel or if you wish to convert the pack into a dry bag. The pack is made with materials that are 100-percent waterproof, and its welded seam construction protects against leaks. An exterior bungee system and attachment points allow you to store things you need to access frequently, like a water bottle, or that are wet, like a towel. Lash points will keep your bag secure in your boat.
Although the Aquapak from Pelagic is not fully submersible, it will protect your gear from paddle splashes and rough water. At 30 liters, the Aquapak comes in at daypack size. In addition to the roll-top main compartment, it features a large exterior pocket with a waterproof zipper seal, as well as a stretchable mesh side pocket for a water bottle.
The Dry Summit Pack HD is the waterproof daypack entry from Outdoor research, and it’s packed with features that any paddler would appreciate. The main, roll-top compartment holds 28 liters of gear, but two side mesh pockets and a zippered, waterproof organizer pocket offer quick access to essentials like a camera, smartphone, or water bottle. The shoulder straps and top handle are padded for comfort, and lash points will keep your bag securely on deck. If space is an issue on your boat, the Summit Pack is outfitted with compression straps so you can stow it snugly into a bow or stern compartment.
Although you may not have expected it from Yeti, renowned for their coolers, their Panga 28 makes an awesome daypack for paddlers. As the only non-rolltop pack on this list, you will also appreciate its convenience and accessibility. The 28-liter interior boasts organizational features like a sleeve for essentials and a zippered, stowaway mesh pocket that allows you to see exactly what’s inside it. The interior is secured by Yeti’s proprietary Hydrolok zipper, which forms an airtight and waterproof seal when fully closed. This rugged pack also features comfortable, padded shoulder straps, removable chest strap and waist belt, as well as top and side handles for easy grabbing. Multiple lash points can be used to secure your pack to your boat.
The Drybag Backpack from Guide Gear comes in a 30-liter daypack size, as well as a 45-liter size for longer trips or if you need to carry more gear. The main compartment on this pack is secured with a roll-down top that features a buckle and waterproof, welded seams. A bungee system, two mesh side pockets, and a zippered front pocket permit ample exterior storage, as well. The back is padded for comfort when you’re on foot, as are the shoulder pads.
When it comes to maximum gear hauling potential, the 65-liter Bill’s Bag from NRS can’t be beat. With enough capacity for several days’ worth of gear, this pack features an adjustable, removable harness with padded shoulder straps for comfortable carrying. Four compression straps help to minimize the size of the pack and make for easier stowing.