What Size Canoe Dry Bag Should I Choose ?

Dry bags are a fantastic invention for all who like outdoor and water activities without getting your necessities wet. There are different shapes and sizes of dry bags, and you should choose the one suiting your needs. But which one should you choose?


For a few hours out in the water, you should choose a 2 to 10-liter (0.52-2.64 gal) dry bag, and for one whole day or multiple days, you should select a 10 to 30-liter (2.64-7.92 gal) dry bag. 


Further, in the article, I’ll describe different sizes and types of dry bags and explain how many dry bags you need. Keep reading if you need to know which size of bag to choose from.

Sizes of Dry Bags

Different sizes of dry bags are made for other purposes and needs. The size of the dry bag you choose is dependent on the duration and the type of the trip, the number of your necessities, and clothes.


These are the main sizes of the dry bags:


  • 2L (0.52 gal) dry bag
  • 5L (1.32 gal) dry bag
  • 10L (2.64 gal) dry bag
  • 20L (5.28 gal) dry bag
  • 30L (7.92 gal) dry bag
  • More than 30L (7.92 gal) dry bags 


I’ll explain each size and its use.

2L (0.52-Gallon) Dry Bag

This small dry bag can fit only your small items like a phone, keys, wallet, and snack bar. It is convenient and helpful for short paddling canoeing activities, but it will keep your most precious possessions dry and safe. 


If you have more important items to keep dry and don’t fit in one 2 L (0.52-gallon) dry bag, purchase another one in a different color. That way, you’ll be able to access the necessities quicker and easier. 


A few of these smaller dry bags can fit a larger bag, or in your backpack, which is travel-friendly and makes your trip more enjoyable. 

5L (1.32-Gallon) Dry Bag

According to many paddlers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts, this is the most popular size for dry bags. Besides fitting your phone, wallet, keys, and headlamp, you can quickly put your camera in this one. 


It’s big enough to fit everything you need for a one-day out in the water, but it’s still small to carry in your backpack. 


Just like the 2 L (0.52-gallon) dry bags, it can fit your larger backpack, and you can purchase more than one in different colors for better organization. 

10L (2.64-Gallon) Dry Bag

This size is also one of the most popular dry bags. Along with the essentials, you can fit clothes and food. After a long day of paddling, you might need a spare dry t-shirt or a hoodie that will keep you warm and dry. 


The ideal 10 L (2.64-gallon) dry bag has to have a strap for carrying it around without your hand hurting. 

20L (5.28-Gallon) Dry Bag

For this one, you’ll need a strap, because a 20 L (5.28-gallon) bag is a lot, and you can fit a sleeping bag and bigger items like a camping stove and more clothes. 


Have in mind to pack smart, and use smaller dry bags to section out the things to be more accessible. This bag is a proper camping size bag that can fit one whole day’s food and toiletries supplies. If you don’t fill it up completely, you can easily fold it to a smaller size.

30L (7.92-Gallon) Dry Bag 

A 30-liter (7.92-gallon) dry bag is a proper storage space for a few-day paddling and camping trip. It’ll fit all of your clothes, sleeping bag, toiletries, camera, lamp, even a small pillow if you’re planning on sleeping somewhere without the bedding. 


This bag can be considered a camping backpack but waterproof. You’ll need both straps for easy carrying and the waist strap for better weight distribution. 


With this bag, you’ll have all you need and more. 

More Than 30L (7.92-Gallon) Dry Bags

Dry bags larger than 30 L (7.92-gallon) are perfect to fit all the necessary equipment, but they are not the easiest to carry around and use as you go. 


If you aren’t planning to carry it around and leave it in one place as storage, they are perfect. Consider purchasing ones with the straps because you’ll want to be able to relocate them to a canoe or outside the canoe easily. 

Types of Dry Bags 

Along with different sizes come different types of dry bags. You will want to choose the dry bag that compliments your canoeing style. 


Here are the most popular types of dry bags:


  1. Roll-top dry bag
  2. Backpack dry bag
  3. Duffel dry bag

Roll-top Dry Bag

One of the most common types of dry bags is the roll-top dry bag. The top of the bag is rolled several times and buckling the ends together to seal the roll. The buckle ensures that the rolled top doesn’t open, and water doesn’t penetrate the bag.  

Backpack Dry Bag

Convenient and easy to use, a backpack dry bag is often a canoeist’s choice for quick paddling sessions. The straps make this type of dry bag popular for those planning on walking or hiking to their final destination. 

Duffel Dry Bag 

A duffel dry bag is the type of bag that will be convenient to carry a lot of stuff, but not for carrying it around. It can be convenient for multiple canoeing vacations because it will be in one place where you can easily access the things you need. 


Great for organizing and keeping your clothes and necessities clean and neat. 

How Many Dry Bags Do I Need? 

For a multiple-day canoeing trip, you’ll need at least two dry bags. One bag can be storage for your clothes, food, and sleeping bag, and the other can be an easily accessible bag for your phone, camera, or head torch. 


There’s no need to overdo it but think about the different things you’ll need while on your vacation and section them out into different sized and colored dry bags. 


Investing in a high-quality dry bag will pay out because their durability is 10+ years, and they are a necessity when having water activities. Remember that a good bag can save you a lot of money by keeping your necessities dry. Also, your health will be protected because you won’t sleep in wet pajamas or a sleeping bag. 

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