With the range of Sea to Summit’s dry storage options spanning from the ultra-light 15 Denier Ultra-Sil® Nano to the new super burly 600 Denier Hydraulics, it’s important to know which dry sack is the right choice for your intended use and activity.
For instance, feather-weight fabrics are ideal for use inside a pack, but in environments where the dry sack may be rubbing against something (such as the bottom of a boat) more heavy duty fabrics are required.
We have 10 different types of Dry Bags here at Sea to Summit. Here is a very basic description of each – starting with the lightest and ending with the most rugged.
1) Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sacks are made of featherweight 15 Denier siliconized nylon with a newly-designed lightweight buckle. Designed for the gram-conscious backpacker, these minimalist dry sacks keep your gear dry and organized inside a pack, yet weigh less than many ‘ultralight’ stuff sacks. Not suitable for boating/marine use.
2) Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks are constructed using extremely light-weight siliconized 30 Denier CORDURA brand nylon. They are intended for use inside a backpack or similar bag, where they are great for keeping sleeping bags, clothing and other gear dry and tidy. Not suitable for boating/marine use.
3) Ultra-Sil View Dry Sacks feature the same 30 Denier CORDURA brand nylon as regular Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks, but have a welded-in window made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). Ideal for group trips or longer backpacking excursions – anywhere where you quickly need to identify the contents of your dry sacks. Not suitable for boating/marine use.
A quick note about using dry sacks as ‘bear bags’. Ultralight hikers in particular attempt to save every possible gram, and may therefore want to use UltraSil Nano and UltraSil Dry Sacks to keep food out of the way of bears and other animals at night. If this involves hauling the bag up through tree branches, the probability is that featherweight/very lightweight fabric will snag and tear at some point. We would therefore not recommend UltraSil Nano and UltraSil Dry Sacks for this use.
4.) UltraSil eVent Compression Dry Sacks are made of 30 Denier CORDURA brand nylon with an eVent base. They are the super-lightweight version of the 70 Denier nylon eVent Compression Dry Sack, and are approximately one-third lighter. Great for compressing sleeping bags and insulated clothing. Not intended for external use (ie mounted externally on a backpack, or for bikepacking, or for river/marine use.
4) Lightweight Dry Sacks are made of 70 Denier nylon. They are tough, yet still light enough to work well in backpacking use. The flexible fabric makes them easy to stuff into tight areas – ideal bags for general boating / outdoor use.
5) eVent Compression Dry Sacks / eVac Dry Sacks are made with 70 Denier nylon and work really well for any compressible item (sleeping bags, clothing) which needs to be squeezed down as small as possible yet stay dry. Air just squeezes out through the eVent base, but water can’t get in.
6) Big River Dry Bags / Big River Tapered Dry Bags are made from tough, 420 Denier ripstop nylon laminated to a TPU film. They have a very high tear strength and abrasion-resistance, which makes them the perfect choice for whitewater rafting / boating / motorcycle touring. Lash patches on the sides make attachment to a raft or motorcycle rack really simple.
7) DryPacks – Rapid 26L, Flow 35L – are made with the same fabric as the Big River Dry Bags and have a roll top closure. However, they are fully featured, tough backpacks with quick drying shoulder straps and a comfortable ergonomic back panel.
8) Stopper Dry Bags are made of 210 Denier nylon with TPU lamination on the outer face for increased durability. The fabric is UV resistant, won’t crack in extreme cold and is flexible. Despite their light weight, they are suitable for river/marine applications. Completely welded construction. Features the Field Repair Buckle. Great for canyoneering, climbing, ski touring, SUP tours, bike commuting.
9) Clear Stopper Dry Bags are RF welded and made with a Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) film with a 210 Denier laminated nylon fabric base. The high strength TPU film is durable and flexible and allows you to easily see the contents. Ideal for boating/marine environments. Completely welded construction. Features the Field Repair Buckle.
10) Hydraulic Dry Bags / Hydraulic DryPacks are designed for the most extreme conditions that demand toughness and abrasion resistance. They are made of a 600 Denier polyester carrier material with TPU laminated on the inner and faces. Completely welded construction including the lash patches. Features the Field Repair Buckle.
A note about submersion – be aware that any roll-top dry sack, regardless of manufacturer, can only be submerged to a certain depth for a short period. Longer/deeper submersion and pressure can cause water to seep through the roll-top closure. This is true for dry sacks from all brands, not just Sea to Summit.
If you will be transporting electronics or other sensitive items in very wet/potential submersion situations it is essential to ‘double bag’ these items: place them in one dry sack and carefully roll and seal the roll-top closure. Now place this in a second dry sack and roll and seal the roll-top closure. If you are using dry sacks to store electronics in areas of high humidity, be aware that moisture vapor can condense inside any waterproof enclosure if the temperature drops. To avoid damage to the electronics, place a desiccant (for instance, a silica-gel pack) in the dry sack along with the electronic items.