How to Decide Between a Dry Sack and a Dry Bag

Dry sacks and dry bags make life easier when you’re outdoors – especially when you have the right ones on hand. Dry sacks and dry bags make organizing your bag easy, but they also make it so you’re ready for whatever nature throws at you. But what’s the difference between the two? In this guide, we’re going to talk about a dry sack vs dry bag. Let’s dive in.

Dry Sack vs Dry Bag

So, when you need to decide between a dry sack and a dry bag, how do you know which one to pick? Which is better for kayaking and SUP trips?

What Is the Purpose of the Bag?

Think about how and where you’re going to use your dry bag. Will you be using it in another bag or as the main bag that’s strapped to your kayak as you race through whitewater rapids?

A minimalist might want to go for an ultralight dry sack, but whitewater adventurers are going to want to go for a heavy-duty dry bag. This is because dry sacks are meant to be used inside another bag, while dry bags are heavy-duty enough to be used by themselves.

Here’s a rundown of the different types of dry storage solutions you may want for easy packing.

Ultralight Dry Sack

Ultralight dry sacks are made from technical fabrics and will add almost no extra weight to your backpack. They aren’t suitable for marine/boating use on their own, but they’re great for keeping the contents of your bag organized and dry.

Lightweight Dry Sack

Tough and lightweight dry sacks have a higher denier face fabric and hydrostatic waterhead rating. These two things make them more rugged and suitable for boating.

Heavy Duty Dry Bag

A heavy-duty dry bag is designed to withstand most wet and wild environments. They can withstand storms and whitewater rapids. All you need to do is latch them to your boat and head out on your next adventure.

Dry Sack vs Dry Bag: Construction & Materials

Dry bags are a type of flexible container that will protect your belongings from getting wet. They’re basically watertight bags constructed from waterproof fabric or plastic-coated fabrics or plastic films.

The most commonly used material to make dry bags is nylon because it’s an extremely durable material. It has also been coated with siliconized Cordura, making it virtually impermeable.

Nylon also fights abrasions, so your dry bag will always be in good condition no matter how often you use it. While using your dry bag, you must fold the roll-top closure at least three times to ensure that a watertight seal has been created.

Dry sacks are also made from nylon materials covered in polyurethane or waterproofed fabric. It features air-permeable and waterproofed fabric that lets air compression happen without letting water in.

Dry sacks need to be rolled a few times before clipping to ensure a watertight seal like a dry bag. These sacks are more lightweight than a small dry bag, making them great additions to your other gear.

Dry Sack vs Dry Bag
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The denier of a dry bag or sack is the measurement of the fineness or thickness of a thread or fabric. The higher the denier of the material, the thicker, more durable and sturdier they are.

A low denier means that the fabric is sheer, silky and soft. It’s denoted by a number followed by a “D.”  Assessing a dry sack vs dry bag, you will find that dry bags are more denier. Because of this, dry bags are better for submersion.

Dry sacks are great for wet environments but shouldn’t be submerged. This is because the fabric is sheer and can easily let the water enter the bag. You can get them wet, just not soaking wet.

General Use

Dry bags are often used to protect larger items and can be used as a backpack. You can store a couple of days’ worth of clothes in one of these bags or enough food for a weekend trip.

Dry sacks, however, can only be used for small items. They’re used to compartmentalize items within a dry bag without adding a lot of weight to the pack. Electronic devices (i.e., cell phones) should be put in a dry sack to not rub against other objects in the dry bag.

Covering your items with dry sacks before putting them in your dry bag also adds an extra layer of protection. So, instead of using plastic sandwich baggies to store your items – which can get torn easily – use a dry sack.

Bottom Line

When deciding on which bag you should take with you on your next outdoor adventure, you should be choosing between a dry sack and a dry bag.

Dry bags are better for carrying large loads and can be fully submerged in water, so they’re ideal for your next whitewater rapid kayaking trip. On the other hand, dry sacks are better for storing small items inside dry bags and shouldn’t be submerged in water.

Dry sacks are better for hiking trips or trips where the chances of them coming in contact with deep water is limited. But they are great for adding extra protection to the items in your dry bag if you’re going to be SUP or kayaking.

For example, you should consider putting your cell phone in a dry sack before putting it in your dry bag to add an extra layer of protection when you know it’s going to rain or when you’re out on the water.

Hopefully, this guide has shown you the differences between a dry sack and a dry bag. We hope you now know which bag you should use when and why doubling up on your dry bags and dry sacks is always a great idea.

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