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For those living the good life outdoors, the challenges on the road are exactly obstacles that would keep them down. Promoting the nomad lifestyle with a broad range of products are brands that manufacture traveling equipment that is available at various types and prices. While it is quite obvious that you may have heard of traveling gear like tents, hiking sticks, hiking boots, sleeping bags, etc. there’s one important get that many forget to pack while on the way out. Yes, we’re talking about the ever so essential dry bag, of course!
For the uninitiated, dry bags can be a type of container to keep the essentials dry. But is it all that this kid has to offer? Not quite; there are plenty more applications of dry bags that one can utilize from time to time to help them on their travels. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you what dry bags are, the unusual types of uses you can make with the product, and how to choose the right one that would be the perfect fit for your need. You don’t need to look anywhere else because this article is going to cover it all!
What Are Dry Bags?
These are the type of bags one would want to use during the rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and other water sports activities. Dry bags come with a watertight seal which is often made of plastic film or any other variety of plastic coated fabric. This material is waterproof and forms an impermeable bag that is not susceptible to water reach. To create a watertight seal, all the users have to do is roll over the top closure until the opening of the bag is completely safe and sealed tight.
If you want to make the most out of outdoor excursions, having a dry bag in your arsenal is a must to protect your precious valuables. Have you ever wondered how dry bags came to be what it is today in the first place? Well, believe it or not, people have been experimenting with developing dry bags for a long time now. The need for this invention came from the fact that backcountry travelers needed a special bag that could hold some items without it getting wet. This eventually led to the birth of canvas bags, which were then considered to be a must-have product in the backpack.
Of course, canvas bags were far from perfect and were barely capable of providing complete waterproofing. After this, manufacturers started concentrating on using plastic for making dry bags. Even though this method proved to be a logical step in producing the ideal dry storage product, its ability to block water was outweighed by flimsy durability and lack of an accurate method for complete waterproof sealing. The plastic movement was also short-lived, but the manufacturers did not arrest and concentrated on making these bags, even more, study.
Since there was still a significant need for a waterproof bag in the market, the researchers continued experimenting with this item and eventually found a solution. So finally, the 70 denier nylon, which is a tightly woven fabric turned out to be the right one as it interior coating is usually made using polyurethane. The manufacturers struck gold finally and began producing a variety of bags that differ from each other not only in efficiency but also colors and shapes.
As this fabric was of light quality, researchers continued investing their efforts in modifying the technology and eventually came up with the dry bags we now know to exist today. This sums up the entirety of the evolution of waterproof carrying sacks that have become a rave among water sports enthusiasts and backpackers from around the world.
What’s The Purpose of a Dry Bag?
To say it simply, a dry bag is a kit that can keep your stuff dry when the surrounding conditions are not favorable and would likely make your precious things with. The greatest advantage of having a dry bag is that your electronics will be completely safe from water intrusion regardless of whether you’re canoeing, kayaking, or doing any other water activity. Since these bags come with similar types of sealing system, there is no learning curve involved.
Most of these bags have been made of waterproof material and come with taped seams complemented by a rolltop closure. These bags are lightweight, making them perfect for the long-planned camping trip with friends or a trip to the countryside for snowboarding skiing. People with a thirst for adventure must have a dry bag in their arsenal as it can save them from many hassles that are usually all around them.
They can also store their camping and hike gear into a smaller form factor because of these bags perfectly into a smaller shape. The shape is so small that it can be easily stored in the pocket of a rucksack to be easily pulled out whenever necessary. Have clothes that are already wet? No worries because a driver can hold these too. Besides, you don’t have to care about the other items in your acts are getting wet because the dry bags will contain the water inside entirely so as to keep the moist inside.
These are the most obvious reasons why people buy dry bags, but this is not everything that this ingenious kit can offer. If you’re looking for reasons to buy a product like this, you can expect to benefit from a lot of factors.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dry Bag
If you’re considering purchasing a dry bag of your own, then let us tell you that the process is not going to be easy. Why? It is simply because there are so many varieties available, made by so many brands, that it is extremely easy for the uninitiated uninformed to get lost in the crowd. So what do you do? To ensure money’s worth, you have to know what goes behind making a dry bag and how to pick out the best models depending on the type of material, waterproofing capability, and much more.
Dry Bag Materials
The type of dry bags you would normally find in the market is usually made up of either nylon or vinyl. The advantages of these two material types are the following:
Nylon: What makes nylon is a preferred material for making a waterproof bag is the fact that it is extremely durable. The primary component of nylon is a substance called silicon CORDURA that is responsible for providing the waterproof coating and abrasion resistance that would be impossible to find in any other material. If nylon is your choice, then look for bags that bear the mark “D”, which is used to denote the quality of density of the five. Your aim should be to find the sturdiest bag available within a limited budget without having to compromise on the bare essentials.
Vinyl: Because of the extra jazz of vinyl fabric, this material has always been used to make dry bags of smaller size to store items that are of personal and small nature. The vinyl coating is sturdy and built to provide enough water resistance for casual use under mild circumstances. However, you’d be compromising on a bit of resilience as found in its nylon counterpart for better visuals that come with vinyl bags. So, frequent travelers and extreme watersports fans may want to stay away from this type.
Type of Dry Bag Closures
Closure type has to be good enough to keep water outside, and this is where many companies fail for the obvious reason of not having the type to be tight enough. While there are types of bags that offer partially and fully taped seams, the latter provides more protection against water damage and can even protect your bag when it’s completely submerged under water. Of course, this implies that fully taped seams dry bags are the ideal choice for watersports enthusiasts.
- Hypalon Roll Top: This is an excellent mechanism that is efficient in shielding the bag from water as it has a snap buckle and rolltop combination to provide perfect sealing. Carrying around a bag of this type is much easier as there is a handle of sorts available when the bag is inflated. You can also string many bags together by passing a rope around the handle is and secure them to a boat using additional equipment like a carabiner.
- Zipper Seal Closure: this seal type is the most commonly available on the market as it is easy to use and incorporate. The zipper seal is precisely used in case of dry bags as it is in case of polythene bags or plastic. If you have ever used a zipper seal, you’d know how you can ensure perfect sealing by just pressing opposite ends of the zipper. While this may not be the best way to keep out water, but it certainly gets the job done as long as the bag is not kept submerged under water for very long.
Other Dry Bag Features
Carrying straps: Pick a dry bag with a carrying strap because of better mobility. This can come in great use for watersports fans as the straps will allow them to carry the bag over the shoulder or strap it on perfectly behind their back for ultimate comfort. Straps are especially useful if you want to use dry bags for the purpose of transferring goods from one location to another because it makes carrying the bag at the back much easier.
Size: There is no way you can make an informed choice about purchasing a dry bag without considering its size. After all, the size of the item will determine how much you can pack at once. As a general rule of thumb, your choice of size should be according to the purpose and frequency of your travel. A 5 L bag is good enough for a solo traveler who needs a place to store personal belongings are just toiletries, medicines, first aid kits, and a bunch of other stuff.
A bag of 10 L capacity can store personal belongings as well as clothing to suffice for a few days. Bags that are over 20 L are used by frequent travelers on those who like to be on the road for a long time and need to carry sleeping bags, a week worth of food, and clothing to last a week or two. There are wider varieties available like bags of 30 L, which can hold an entire week’s clothing of more than just one person. These examples are of course only for the purpose of giving you an idea of how your line of thought should be while choosing a size.
D-RINGS: Even though the utility of this item is often undermined, D-RINGS can serve many purposes in the context of boosting utility. As the name implies, these are rings that come in the shape of the letter D. The user can string multiple dry bags together by passing a rope through these rings if they are ever in need. Most D-RINGS remain concealed when the bag is deflated, and only appear when the item is fully inflated. These rings are sturdy and help to minimize the load on the buckle when anyone tries multiple bags together.
Brand and Pricing: Last but not the least, brand plays a greater role when choosing a product. The concept of better brands equating to better quality is widely propagated, but it is not exactly the entirety of the truth. In reality, you can find many small businesses in this industry that produce much more effective and durable products and sell them at lower prices. No, we’re not discouraging you from buying from a reputed brand but only want to keep you informed about how important it is for anyone to research before buying.
Also, everyone has their idea of the ideal price in mind, beyond which they wouldn’t prefer spending. While this concept is necessary, sticking by the notion may not always get you the best product available. So be wise and think twice before purchasing anything.
Different Dry Bag Uses
If you thought dry bags come with only one type of usage, then think again! These are some of the ways you can use this product apart from the usual:
As a compression sack: As we mentioned earlier, dry bags have an incredible compressing ability and can successfully take a smaller form to save space. If you’re ever struggling to fit all your items inside of a backpack, a dry bag can come to the rescue to store additional items. Bags with permeable membranes allow air to escape when the bag is compressed, making it much smaller in size while providing equally good resistance to water.
As an emergency pillow: Who doesn’t need more pillows in their life? Imagine the conundrum when you’re stuck at the airport or railway station and your ride still being more than a couple of hours away. The temptation to sneak in a light nap might be too much to pass away, and which is why in this situation you need an emergency pillow or travel pillow to come to your aid.
But you’re in luck if you’re carrying a dry bag because you can instantly fill it up by blowing air and use it as a makeshift pillow anytime you desire. Long waits at the airport may be boring, but they don’t have to be uncomfortable.
As a water bucket: Veterans of hiking and camping aren’t alien to the concept of bringing water to their camps from afar. Indeed, when you’re out in the wilderness, anything goes. Since carrying around a bucket is not only inconvenient but also majorly limiting, a dry bag can act as a thrifty water bucket when the time calls. Just fill the bag with water and bring it to the camp to use it for any purpose necessary. Just don’t forget to boil it before drinking.
As a camp seat: Bags of this variety are extremely sturdy and can withstand dirt, debris, and other sharp objects on the ground. This is why you can use a dry bag is an absolutely working seat when you feel like giving you’re behind some much-needed rest. You can avoid getting dirt all over your pants and still experience a certain degree of comfort while sitting because these bags are thick as well. Your cooking sessions need not be stressful anymore because a dry bag solves the sitting problem once and for all.
As a washing machine: Turning your dry bag into a temporary washing machine isn’t any harder than using the bag for storing water. The same principle applies here as all you have to do and add some natural detergent to create a cleaning liquid. Then wash as necessary by putting all of your dirty clothes inside the bag and giving the bag a hard shake. Once done, just drained the dirty water; rinse and repeat for thoroughly clean clothes.
Managing laundry: Once all your clothes are clean and your dry bag is still available, use it to keep dirty clothes separated from the clean ones. Just roll up all your dirty close together and stuff it in the corner of the dry bag and place the clean ones above them. Of course, this may not be the best way to carry clothes, but it is the best you can do under stressful circumstances. If there is a bad odor coming from the bag, simply use the Ziplock to close the lid, and you’re all done. Try it now and see how it works out.
Useful Dry Bag Tips
Even though you might have all the points clear, it’s important to make sure the item you’re buying is safe from defects of all sorts before you take it out on an adventure. Ensuring that your bag matches up to its advertising level of waterproofing will save you a lot of hassle when it matters the most, this is why we’ve got advice for you on how to check the quality.
Walking in the rain, crossing rivers, participating in water sports, will all be just a walk in the park once you’ve got a dry bag covering your belongings.
Air-fill method: This is a method we have probably used to test for leaks on a lot of inflatable things. In this method, all you have to do is fill your dry bag with air and completely seal it off so that no air can escape. Then muster all your strength and squeeze the bag as hard as you can to see if any air is leaking or if there is any shrill sound of air escaping. This is the easiest and most convenient way to check for leaks while there is still time.
Inside out method: Begin by turning the bag inside out and pouring some water to fill up the bag partly. Keep an eye on leaks in the meantime, and then turned the bag into its original form a right away. Because we don’t always remember to check our bags for damages till we actually get to packing, this method will ensure that no stuff gets mistakenly added inside of the wet bag. Remember not to fill out the entire bag with water as it would put a lot of undue stress.
Points to Remember!
Dry bags, as sturdy as they may come, have limits beyond which they cannot endure damage. While these bags are manufactured for the purpose of keeping items dry, the companies also provide a clear advice as to how one should not unnecessarily subject these products to water. Most dry bags are water resistant but not to the point where you can keep them submerged the entire day and expect no effects in return.
Unless you’ve invested in a highly superior grade product, it would be wise not to use the item to an extent where it has become abusive. Take care of your dry bag, and it will serve you for many years to come.