Years ago when we purchased our Isle Glider Wood Stand Up Paddleboards, I (Stella) had been using a vinyl zipper bag that accompanied the purchase our boards. Larry immediately purchased a Sea To Summit dry bag. For two years, I contemplated whether I actually liked his bag or not while I continued using my Isle zipper bag.
The time came last year when I decided to search for a true dry bag for use on our boards and Perception Cove 14.5 Tandem Kayak. As silly as this may sound, it took me a very long time to decide upon which dry bag to purchase. After all, they’re all the same, right? Wrong! Below are some things to consider when deciding which dry bag is best for you, and why I chose this particular bag.
1) Accessories: Dry bags are available with many different accessories: D-rings, straps, waterproof cell phone holder, and the list goes on. So the first step was to determine exactly what I needed, and I determined that all I needed was the bag itself, which had allowed me to rule out dozens of dry bags that came with a bunch of unneeded “stuff.”
The Earth Pak Waterproof bag does come with a shoulder strap that attaches to two D-rings and a phone holder, although I do not use them. The bag is available in 5 colors, all of which are transparent so you can see your stuff inside of it. However, if you do not like that, there are other dry bags that offer a window on the front of the bag, while other bags are a solid color (non-transparent).
2) Size: You want to determine how much you plan to stuff into it, which will determine the size (in Liters). If you will be using this for water sports, you shouldn’t need too much. For me, all I need to put into my dry bag is a spare shirt, paddling gloves, sunscreen and a few other small items. I found that the 10L provides ample room while still allowing me to roll it down and close it (I will explain what I mean by this later in the review).
It is important to note that it can be a little challenging to visualize in your mind what a certain Liter of bag looks like until you are holding it in your hand. And, remember that you will need to roll it down and close it, so if you have a lot of “stuff” to put in the dry bag, I would select a larger size.
Earth Pak offers multiple different types/sizes of waterproof bags: duffels, backpacks, cooler packs, etc. But this particular one, the transparent waterproof bag that I purchased, is only available in two sizes: 10L and 20L. Many other dry bags have a more size options. But considering the ultimate purpose of a dry bag (i.e. to use while doing water sports) either 10L or 20L is adequate. Any smaller would be too small and any larger would be too large. Larry’s bag, the Sea To Summit, is available in 7 different sizes, ranging from 1L to 35L.
3) Material and Weight: Dry bags are available in different types of materials and different thicknesses. Larry’s bag is made of PU-coated Nylon. It is extremely thin and lightweight, which is why he likes it so much. And while he has never ripped/punctured his bag, I can see something like that happening to me if I had that one. That being the case, I needed a different material altogether.
My search had then lead me to explore dry bags made out of PVC material, and that is where things had become complicated. I was overwhelmed with all of the options, literally. PVC dry bags are available in many different thicknesses, which directly impacts the weight of the bag: the thicker the PVC material, the heavier the bag. And even though one may associate “thickness” with overall waterproof capability, that is not necessarily the case. You don’t need a super thick PVC bag in order to keep the contents within dry.
I needed something durable (i.e. more puncture proof than Larry’s bag), yet not too heavy because I also needed to take into consideration the total weight of the other gear that is also usually strapped onto my paddleboard: Hydroflask water bottle(s) (these are heavy), sandals and an RTIC Soft Pack Cooler. These items combined + the weight of dry bag all needed to be accounted for.
Once I had found a dry that I liked, my decision then changed at least six times before I finally decided upon the Earth Pak. And I wish that I had not taken so long to make this decision, because the Earth Pak is so amazing (continue reading about why). The Earth Pak provides the perfect balance between durability and weight, as well as the other things below.
4) Shape: Dry bags are available in a variety of shapes. However, the dry bags that are used specifically for kayaking and paddleboard are usually cylindrical, allowing the user to stuff items ‘down’ into the bag so it can then be rolled down and closed. The bags with really thin material (like Larry’s) do not possess a flat bottom because they are just too thin to hold any type of shape. But when you select a bag made of PVC material, most of them will have a flat bottom, which allows for easier placement of items in the bag.
5) Closure: The technique used to roll down a dry bag is critical because it will impact whether water seeps into it or not. Most dry bags use a buckle that snaps together to close the bag. See the steps below:
a) Stand the bag upright (since it has a flat bottom) and put contents down into it neatly.
b) Lie the bag on its side and smash down the bag to remove the excess space/air.
c) Starting at the top/opening, neatly roll down as many times as needed until the last fold is just above the contents of the bag. Because I usually don’t put much in my bag, I usually roll it down 7-8 times.
d) Snap the two buckle pieces together.
If you do the technique above well, it provides a perfect seal for the contents within the bag. Take the time to do it right! Just before I snap the buckles closed, I wrap the two ends around the bungee cord on the kayak or paddleboard and off I go. And because I buckle it around a bungee cord (instead of stuffing it under them) it allows more space for other items to be stuffed under the bungee cords.
6) Performance/Durability: The sole purpose of a dry bag is to keep the contents within dry. I have used this bag while paddleboarding and kayaking many miles in extreme conditions where it has been immersed in 3-foot waves and it has performed without problem. One time it fell out of my hand and simply bobbed atop of the water since it floats. The quality craftsmanship of the seams and stitching is remarkable, and this bag has been put to the test!
FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish that would have purchased the Earth Pak Waterproof bag years ago because it fits the mark for my needs in every single way. I like it so much that whenever I use it, I make a point to tell Larry about how awesome it is. I always ask him if wants one like mine since his is so flimsy, but he likes the one he has. More power to him! But if you want a heavier duty dry bag, yet one that isn’t too thick/heavy, this is a great one to consider.
Overall: Excellent Purchase
Price Paid: $15.84 including sales tax
Place Purchased: Amazon
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