The search for the perfect dry bag

You would think that when looking for the perfect dry bag that one of your requirements wouldn’t be “that it stays dry inside.” Isn’t that a given?

preparing for a long swim canyoneering with a church youth group

We needed a dry bag that would not only stay dry, but that would also be easy to carry, even when swimming through canyons like this.

It used to be our standard practice that after a trip we needed to

  1. Empty dry bag of gear
  2. Pour out remaining water
  3. Hang upside-down to air dry.

Sure, we gave lots of lessons to staff on how to properly fold, roll, and seal a dry bag so that it would stay dry. Even making sure that it was an air tight seal before you set off. But inevitably, as loads would shift and water would beat at the bags, somehow water would start to find it’s way through that airtight seal.

Pleasantly surprised

And so we set off to find a better dry bag. Surely, someone out there had come up with one that leaked less often. Somewhere along our Googling we came upon Watershed Dry Bags. It was an intriguing idea, rather than the standard flap, fold, roll seal, this company had basically created an industrial sized zip lock bag (I guess I should clarify that I mean zip lock in the generic sense not the registered trademark bags that are also quite handy). It was intriguing, so we ordered one to give it a try.


Even when swimming along in the river – these bags stay dry.

Completely blown away

When we got our hands on it we were amazed. First they started with much more abrasion resistant material than you normally only find in the premium options from other dry bag manufacturers.  Second, the shoulder straps were very securely fastened and comfortable to wear[2. In the past we’d had problems of carry straps being little more than 1″ webbing that was as likely to cut your shoulder as it was to tear off of the bag]. And the zipdry closing system? Amazing. Aside from needing to teach our staff how to properly open a bag, it’s simply amazing.

We put it through it’s paces and trip after trip it kept coming back completely dry. Even if it had been banged, bashed, floated, and held under water. They claim that you can take them down 300′ – we haven’t come close to that, but they easily stay dry through all that we throw at them.

Pure Happiness

having lunch while canyoneering at a summer camp adventure

Nothing quite solidifies the worthiness of a dry bag, like enjoying a nice dry lunch after hiking, wading, and swimming 5 miles down a river.

We’ve been using Watershed Dry Bags ever since that time back in early the early 2000s. And year after year the bags continue to completely outperform any other dry bag we’ve seen or heard of. And to top it all off, they even last longer than the old dry bags we used to use. This in spite of the fact that they take a beating out in the sun getting tossed around boats, carried along miles of trails, and brushed and rubbed against rocks all day long on our canyoneering trips.