What Size Dry Bag to Use For Kayaking?

Kayaking is one of life’s great joys, but as in other outdoor adventures, it does come with its own set of challenges. One such challenge is to keep your gear dry and secure while on the water, especially on multi-day kayaking trips. 

The best solution for this is to bring along a good dry bag on your kayaking trip. However, there are multiple dry bags for kayaking available in varying sizes, so which are the best dry bags for you?

The size dry bag that you use when kayaking depends on how long you will be on the water, the bag’s contents (for example, food) and the size of your kayak storage compartments. 

Use multiple drybags of a smaller size rather than fewer larger bags so that it’s easier to pack and access them. One dry bag is generally not enough.

The best multi-purpose drybags for kayaking are the 10–30l drybags which store the ideal amount of gear inside and, most importantly, keep it dry.

Drybags are essential for all kayaking adventures and using them is the best way to protect your possessions when kayaking, regardless of the length of the voyage. Let’s explore some of the best drybags to use when kayaking to help you determine which is best for you.

What Size Dry Bag to Use for Kayaking

Kayaking is quickly growing in popularity throughout the world as more people are taking advantage of the great outdoors for recreation and exercise. Kayaking is one of the best outdoor activities, whether you kayak on the ocean, on a lake, or in a river. 

We’ve already established that using drybags helps keep your clothing (and other essentials) dry, so let’s look at which dry bag size is best.

The bag sizes are different, with sizes ranging from tiny to very large. The most common dry bag sizes include 2-liter drybags, 60-liter drybags, and everything in between, including smaller dry bags and larger dry bags.

Choosing the right quality dry bags to suit your needs is vital. The best dry bag size to use is heavily dependent on what you will be carrying in your kayaking dry bags; whether you’ll be on a single-day or multi-day trip; and the storage capacity of your kayak.

The ideal dry bag to use is one that will comfortably fit into the storage compartments in your kayak and has sufficient capacity to store your possessions. Generally speaking, you need to ensure that your cooking equipment, camp clothing, medical gear, cell phone, food, and tent stay dry on your kayaking trips.

A 2-liter dry bag will fit into a storage compartment and is the ideal size to fit an essential item, for example, electronics, wallets, spectacles, camera gear, and small hand tools. It is not ideal for storing an extra set of clothes or a first aid kit; basically, a few essentials will fit into this smaller-sized dry bag.

My sleeping bag fits perfectly in a 5-liter dry bag, but it obviously depends on the size of your sleeping bag.

Most cooking gear will fit into the 60-liter dry bags, which are also perfect for storing spare clothes and sleeping bags, but they are not likely to fit into kayak storage compartments.

With this in mind, the best size drybag for your vessel should be the maximum size that will fit within your storage space. Buying a bag that will fit is obviously crucial.  

Having a few dry bags of this size, or smaller, is the best way to carry your possessions while kayaking rather than keeping one very large bag or backpack, or big duffel bags. The more dry bags you have, the more organized you will be.

How Many Dry Bags to Use When Kayaking

Carrying multiple smaller drybags is preferable to carrying one large dry bag when kayaking. This is a good standard to keep as it is the best way to stay organized, keep track of where all of your possessions are, and fit everything you need within your storage compartments.

Keeping one large bag with you when kayaking is cumbersome, and it is not likely to fit within the boat, meaning that it will have to be strapped to the topside of the vessel, which is not ideal, even though it is waterproof.

When kayaking, it is best to take as many drybags as will fit comfortably within the available storage of your boat. Different models have different levels of storage, and choosing your dry bags according to your vessel’s capacity is essential.

Most kayaks have a larger storage compartment in the front and rear of the vessel and a smaller compartment directly in front of the seat for the dry bag you need quick access to, for example, the one with your food.

Buy dry bags that will fit through the access ports into the storage compartments and as many as will fit comfortably inside. Keep one or two small dry bags within the smaller compartment in front of the seat when packing your boat. 

This is ideal for storing items that you will need close by, such as your phone, food, or a multi-tool.

The ideal number of dry bags when kayaking is two medium-sized drybags (typically 10- or 20-liter bags) in both the front and rear storage compartments and two small drybags within the smaller central storage compartment.

This should offer enough capacity, regardless of how long your excursion is, and allow you to stay better organized while kayaking.

What Is the Ideal Dry Bag Size?

We have established the best overall sizes for dry bags to use when kayaking, and we have discussed the best number of dry bags to take along with you, but how do you determine what the best sized dry bag is?

The first step is to measure the entrance port for the storage compartments in your boat. Fortunately, most dry bags are cylindrical, which will allow them to fit through round compartment entrances and small gaps when packing.

Measure the circumference of the entrances, and this will give you the maximum circumference dimensions of the dry bags that you can use. Next, measure the internal dimensions of the storage compartments. 

This will show you how long the drybags can be and how many will fit within the boat. After this, take stock of everything that you will pack to take with you when kayaking; this will determine the overall capacity you will require in your drybags.

Once you know the size limits of your storage compartments and how much gear you will pack, now is the time to buy your drybags. 

Choose your drybags based on how large their circumference and length are, making sure that they will fit into the boat. Choose the internal capacity of the drybags based on what gear you will be taking with you.

This will ensure that you choose the perfect dry bag for you, particularly when kayaking.

Dry Bag Construction

Most kayaking dry bags are made from nylon or vinyl. Of the two, vinyl is the most water-resistant.

While some people simply use plastic bags when packing their stuff, a tight-fitting mesh bag will provide much more protection if your vessel flips and your bag falls into the water. There’s nothing worse than having to eat soggy food and sleep in a wet tent when camping.

Sometimes, a dry bag will come with a roll-top closure that secures with buckles and two straps and, sometimes, a dry bag will come with carrying straps to make it easier to carry. It all depends on the brand you purchase.

Whatever the bag’s contents, whether it’s got cooking gear inside, food, or other essential items, ensure that the bag you use has been specifically designed for use in different weather conditions.


A dry bag helps keep the essential gear you store inside safe, dry, and secure when kayaking. And it’s much easier to access in your kayak than one larger bag, which is especially important when it comes to reaching your food and water supplies. 

Using the right size dry bag when you pack your kayak is critical. Be sure to understand how much storage capacity your kayak has and how many dry bags of the appropriate size it can carry to fully utilize that capacity. 

Putting your gear into drybags doesn’t mean you should take everything you own; the fewer dry bags you take with you, the easier it will be to pack your kayak. 

Remember, you’re not touring the country with your backpack, you’re on the water, so you’ve got to keep it simple. The more gear you carry, the heavier your kayak will be, and heavy loads will make your kayaking experience unpleasant.