DIY Dry Bags

Camping

Even if you are a totally committed landlubber, you no doubt have a need for keeping gear dry whenever you venture outdoors. Backpackers and paddlers alike know the value in a good dry bag—both in the field and in the wallet!

Here’s a quick, convenient and effective way to create your own functional and inexpensive dry bag using a standard nylon stuff sack and an appropriate-sized, heavy-duty compacter/trash bag for a liner.

The concept is simple: 1) the outer bag is made from an abrasion/tear-resistant material (ripstop nylon) into which a waterproof liner is inserted. The nylon protects the waterproof liner from most punctures/abrasions/rips; while the liner keeps gear dry—a simple, symbiotic relationship!

Even fold-over/cinched or waterproof zippered stuff sacks/dry bags can leak. The addition of a waterproof liner is simple insurance. Adding the liner to a light-weight nylon or cloth sack creates a workable sack for stowing gear anytime water or moisture is factored into your environment.

The inner liner should be of sufficient size that once filled, the top can still be twisted tightly into a neck that can be folded over itself and securely tied with a cord or strong elastic band to create a leak-proof seal. Even with most of the air forced out of it, once sealed such waterproof bags add a great deal of flotation to watercraft. 

An important consideration when using dry bags is that while they keep water out – they keep water in, too! Put anything damp or that can cause condensation to form inside the dry bag and it will permeate into everything inside, eventually making all the contents damp to some degree.

Packing mini-sacks (lined with freezer-grade plastic pouches)  with small items and then stowing those sealed pouches within larger ones in a lined stow bag adds an additional layer of protection at every level. Be Safe, be Smart, and have fun. Stay dry out there!

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