If you are planning for a trip and need something to bring with you. Opting for one of the best waterproof duffel bags is a must-do. These are bags that come in a larger size and are typically built to be a lot more durable than your average bag. These heavy-duty bags are great for holding up in even the most extreme positions. For those who head into the great outdoors for a real adventure, this is the bag type for you. Fully waterproof you need not worry about your gear being damaged when using one of these bags.
Many companies are watching on the sidelines as many outdoor enthusiasts around the world are taking to more extreme adventures. Committed to staying ahead of the game, manufacturers are more driven than ever before to create products to meet those needs. For that reason, you will find that you have many options. This means that you will get to enjoy high-quality products. To help navigate the market, we have created a list of the best waterproof duffel bags on the market.
Ready to get started? Let’s go.
How To Choose A Waterproof Duffle Bag- Buying Guide
Before you get too far in your search for your next waterproof duffel bag, it is important to have a thorough understanding of what is on the market. For that, you will have to understand the different features that are available on the market which will allow you to choose which ones are important to you. Knowing how to properly navigate through the market can help you save a lot of time and money. When making your next purchase, you will want to consider the following.
Waterproof Duffel Bag Uses
Waterproof duffel bags are some of the most versatile types of bags on the market. They are large enough to carry absolutely everything in one bag but are small enough to carry easily. These bags can also be used by nearly every type of person. You can throw this bag in the trunk of your car and use it for simple trips to the gym or treks through the mountains. These bags can also be used on kayaks and even paddleboards to keep your gear dry.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate this versatility. There is virtually no watersport these bags won’t be able to handle. You can strap them onto a paddleboard or kayak with their bungee systems or even strap them to speed boats to ensure they don’t fly away.
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The cool part about these bags is that they can be used for more than just intense situations. You can load them so that they are still able to fit as carry-ons for international travel. They also have straps that make them ideal bags to strap to motorbikes while being able to ride through every type of weather.
If you are into skiing, cycling, and even hockey you can use these bags to store your gear. This is also true about camping and hunting. No matter what situation you put them in they will meet and exceed your expectations.
Why Get a Waterproof Duffel Bag?
The biggest reason so many people turn to this rugged style of bag is their beautiful versatility. Whether you are skiing on the alps, backpacking through Thailand during monsoon season, or out for a day of ocean kayaking, these bags will hold up. These bags are perfect for all outdoor activities whether you are dealing with a drizzle of rain or complete submersion in a lake. These bags are ultra-durable typically made from a thick material that is built to last.
The size of the bag you choose will vary largely based on use. If you are planning to use your bag for a weekend getaway or as a carry on bag, opting for a small or medium-sized will be more than enough. If you are planning for a more substantial trip, you will need something a little bigger. An extra-large duffel can be as big as 130 liters in size. This will likely carry everything you own. This is likely more than you will ever need (or comfortably be able to carry). We recommend going for a 90 liter for those times where you are going on extended trips.
This style of bag is ideal for providing you with ultimate protection, no matter the situation. Coming with shoulder straps, you are sure to love that this bag can be worn comfortably on your back for easy transport. This means that you can bring your bag with you to even more places.
Pros & Cons of Waterproof Duffel Bags
You may be wondering whether you need all the advanced technology of a fully waterproof duffel. While there are many advantages to consider this style of bag, there are also many drawbacks. The biggest most obvious advantage is that this style of bag is rugged enough to provide superior protection from water damage. Whether you are looking for protection from harsh weather or from lakes and ocean. This makes them the ultimate option for those looking for an all-around bag.
Whether you are hiking through monsoon conditions or white water kayaking, you can rest assured that your bag will hold up against it all. This works to make you safer as you will not have to worry about your gear getting wet. Wet clothes are the number one cause of hypothermia. Ensuring that your gear stays dry can be life-saving.
The size of waterproof duffels can also vary giving you ultimate control of what bag is right for you. Ranging up to 120 liters in size, these bags are large enough to hold all the gear you may want to bring.
On the other hand, these bags hold one great disadvantage: organization. Many people, especially travelers, enjoy a bag that has separate compartments for easy organization. This is incredibly useful in providing a separate safe space for things such as electronics and toiletries. While this may seem unimportant, it can be quite frustrating. This is especially true when you are using your bag for long term travel.
While most duffels come with straps that make them quite comfortable to wear, they are not intended to optimize long term use. This is because they lack the abdominal strap that most waterproof backpacks feature. This puts the full weight on your shoulders. Additionally, this style of bag often has a very outdoor look that doesn’t transfer as seamlessly to finer conditions. While ideal in use, they have a bit more of a rugged industrial look than you may want.
How To Choose A Waterproof Duffel Bag Size
There are many factors that make a great bag. One of the main things to look for is the size. A large 110-liter bag will not suit your needs if you just need it to store a beach towel, some sunscreen, and a hat. It’s best to think about not only what you’ll put into it but what situations you’ll use it in.
Sizes can range anywhere from 20 liters to upwards of 140 liters. These will be vastly different not only for uses but also when transporting. One way you can get around having an oversized bag is having compression straps. These essentially sinch in your belongings to ensure the bag doesn’t get too large. This way you can get a larger bag without having loads of extra space.
If you plan on using it for international travel you should check with your airways about carrying on size limits. It’s best to know ahead of time rather than having a packed bag denied entry onto the plane.
Great bags don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With that being said, a $200 option will be much more reliable than a $40 one. After all, you get what you pay for. The materials they use should be top of the line while the construction should make your life easier. Keep in mind that a higher upfront cost may actually save your pocketbook in the long run. There’s something to be said about not having to replace a bag every 6 months.
Materials & Durability
The materials of your waterproof duffel bag will dictate how well your belongings are protected. If the bag has an excellent outer material but lacks welded seams it could let water seep in. We strongly suggest looking for a waterproof bag rather than a water-resistant one. This will ensure your belongings stay completely dry.
If your bag has zippers you should also ensure they have been properly sealed as well. This is one of the main ways water enters the bag. Most companies only use zippers on outer pockets rather than the main one.
Design & Features
A poorly designed bag can actually make your travels more difficult. If the bag doesn’t have pockets or straps it can be hard to organize your stuff and carry. You should look for a bag that is specially designed for what you’ll mainly use it for. If you are looking to bring camera gear along while you kayak or paddleboard you may need internal compartments to keep it all organized.
Comfort & Fit
Even though these bags aren’t designed to be carried for long distances they should still be comfortable. This is done by having straps that have extra padding. Rubber handles will also make your hands happy as it reduces the stress put on them by the weight of the bag.
An often overlooked, yet vastly important, aspect of a waterproof duffel bag is the straps. They should have more than one type. For example, a bag should have a shoulder strap along with smaller handles and even a way to wear it as a backpack.
The outer dimensions of a waterproof duffel bag will dictate what you can use it for. This will be a great way of determining the size of the bag you need. For example, if you’re wanting to use it as a carry-on for an international flight you’ll need a different size that if you’re using it for scuba diving.
Since these bags are simply a waterproof material and don’t usually have padding, they are a similar dimension to the capacity.
Each bag will come listed with an intended weight capacity. This number is the maximum amount of weight that the bag can support. While this is important to stay within for any type of bag, it is important to pay strict attention to this number when it comes to waterproof bags.
If you pack your bag exceeding the weight limits listed, you run the risk of your bag not having the same waterproofing coverage as it is designed to have. This is because the added weight can cause added strain on seams and zippers causing it to break. This could, in turn, decrease the integrity of the waterproof seal. For this reason, it is wise to consider the weight capacity when looking at the volume allowance of your bag.
Packing your bag with excessive weight will cause the integrity of the bag to diminish. This will cause your bag to break prematurely reducing its lifespan and costing you more money in the long run.
You may be wondering how size and volume differ when it comes to your waterproof duffel. The volume of your bag will most often be measured using liters. This refers to the amount of gear that your bag will be able to carry. While you will find many bags in the 30-80L range, there are also some high capacity bags that are equipped to hold more impressive volumes of up to 130L.
This is one of the most important features of your bag. You will need to be able to fit all of your gear with you. The amount of gear you have will help to narrow down your search and give you a focal point of which bags will best suit your needs. It is important to note that the amount of room you need is subjective. Just because your friend has a 60L bag, doesn’t mean that this is the size that you need as well.
When looking at the volume of your bag, it is important to keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. If you are a traveler, keep in mind that there will be size restrictions in order to bring these bags on a plane. This is especially true if you are looking to bring them on as carrying on luggage.
For bags with bigger volumes, be sure to consider the weight that your bag will carry at full capacity. While having a 100L bag may allow you to bring all your gear along, it will be virtually useless if you can’t actually lift it.
While choosing the color of your bad may be an afterthought, something that you don’t pay as much attention to, it can hold some relevance in your decision making. While we recommend placing the biggest priority on the bag’s features, it is not entirely accurate to say that the color of the bag is purely cosmetic. In fact, it depends largely on the type of activity you are doing. After all, if you are trying to use a neon yellow duffle bag for hunting, you may experience some problems.
The ideal color of your bag is directly related to your intended use. For those who are using their bag for any marine type use, such as kayaking or paddleboarding, going with a bright neon colored bag is wise. These bags offer high visibility. This is great for helping you to accurately locate your bag and increases your visibility on the water. As most marine gear comes in high visibility yellows and oranges, these bright colors will not look weird out on the water.
For those using their gear for dry land recreational use such as backpacking or camping, going with a more neutral-colored bag is often preferred. While having a high visibility color can still prove quite effective, it is far less necessary. This is especially true if you find yourself in the woods for things like hunting. Here, you will be best off with something in a black, green, or brown color for better blending.
Waterproof Vs Water-Resistant
These are vastly different things. Waterproof means that the contents of the bag will simply not get wet under any circumstances. The bag could be submerged in water and still maintain this. Water-resistant on the other hand means the bag can withstand getting wet. This means a rainstorm rather than a plunge into a river.
Zippers can affect the ease of access you have to get at your belongings. Some have a single zipper at the top of your bag which makes it hard to get to the bottom. A D shaped zipper is ideal as you’ll be able to access all of your belongings without having to dig through the bag. Just keep in mind that zippers reduce the waterproof seal of the bag. Look for bags that specifically state the zipper is waterproof.
Wheeled Vs Carry
Duffle bags all tend to carry a very similar recognizable look. With very little variance, you will notice a difference only slightly with varying brands, mostly in color and straps. In these bags, the biggest difference will come from whether the bag is of the traditional design or features wheels.
Wheeled duffels are more of a new design feature in this style of bag that has rapidly gained popularity. Each bag type tends to come with its own advantages making them both appealing for different reasons. The choice between the two really comes down to personal preference.
Wheeled bags have a very notable advantage of being a lot lighter on your back and shoulders. In this model, all the weight will be on the wheels and instead of carrying the bag, you will be rolling it beside you. This makes this an ideal choice for long distances on paved smooth areas. This is the go-to choice for airports and for those with physical restrictions. They are easy to maneuver and will be able to hold a heavier weight due to physical restrictions. In addition to supporting a heavier weight, the bag itself will typically be quite a bit heavier. This is because they will feature hard plastic to make them rigid
The more traditional style of duffel bags come with small handles for handheld carrying, or with a long strap that can loop around your shoulder or across your body. This style is one that you are sure to not overpack with as you will have to carry that weight.
The ideal waterproof duffel bag should have as many pockets as possible. This will allow you to organize your gear effectively. If you are a photographer, for example, you could have a pocket for your memory cards and small items and another for a wallet or cell phone. This can be an effective way to isolate small or breakable items.
Some of these bags will even have zippered interior pockets. This ensures the items you put into the pockets actually stay there. It is also a great way to make your valuables more secure if you’re traveling in a less safe place.
Other bags have exterior pockets as well. Most of the time these are zippered which makes the pocket water-resistant rather than waterproof. You should keep this in mind when you’re considering what to put in them. If you need something to stay watertight you will want to look at a bag that has internal pockets.
There are a few different styles a waterproof duffel bag can come in including knapsack, wheeled, or even multi-strap options. When you’re trying to look for a waterproof bag you’ll want to explore the option of the kind of style you’re looking for.
If you’re a person who likes to backpack with lots of gear a backpack style will suit you best. This type will have straps that allow you to carry it as a backpack and may even have a waist strap. Features like this will make it more stable against your body and allow you to walk without feeling the effects of the added weight.
A wheeled bag will look similar to that of a carry on bag. It will have 100% waterproof material with wheels and an extendable handle. This will be for people who have sensitive cargo that need it to stay perfectly dry. But at the same time, you’d be able to use it as a carry on as well. This way it’ll replace your carry-on and make it more versatile allowing you to bring it with you to more places.
This is a big factor you should consider before you purchase. If you are going to use this bag to travel through the Amazon you’ll need a vastly different waterproof duffel bag if you’re an international traveler staying in hotels.
Q: Why Should You Get A Duffel Bag
It doesn’t matter what you’re transporting, you will want what’s inside your bag to be dry. You could be kayaking through rapids or portaging a canoe through the forest a waterproof duffel bag will give you peace of mind that your gear is safe.
This is especially true if you’re a photographer or want to bring along a laptop. These pieces of equipment can cost thousands of dollars to replace if they get wet. Even though duffel bags can cost more than regular ones, you won’t have to fork over money to fix or replace the gear you’re carrying.
Q: Who is the Duffel Bags For
Who isn’t a duffel bag for? Even if you are just walking from your car to the gym you will want what’s in your bag to stay dry. You don’t have to be on a Mount Everest climb or a trek through the Amazon Rainforest to appreciate dry clothes and gear when you get to your destination. We recommend everyone has at least one waterproof duffel bag on hand for their everyday needs.
Q: How To Clean My Duffel Bag?
There is no hard and fast rule about how to wash all duffels. Those with waterproofing technology will require a gentle wash and are most often not machine washable. Due to the waterproofing material, they are however quite easy to wash by hand. Machine washing can be harsh and break down some of the technology in the bag. Likewise, extreme heat such as that in a dryer can harm and even melt the bag.
When looking to wash your duffle, the safest way to do so is to take a wet cloth and simply wipe down the sides. This will allow you a good opportunity to spot clean any areas of concern. We recommend staying away from soaps and cleaners for this but a small amount of diluted vinegar can be used if needed.
For drying, be sure to hang your bag in an area that is out of direct sunlight. The extreme heat of direct sunlight can be damaging to your bag. Sprinkling some dry baking soda in the bag and vacuuming it out is a great way to get rid of odors. Otherwise, fabric fresheners such as Febreze could be used to help banish odors.
Q: Is It Stuffable?
This is an important question to consider, especially for those who have a tendency to overpack. When we say stuffable, what we are really meaning is will you be able to overfill this bag stuffing every last piece of gear inside to the brim and have the zipper still close? Will you still be able to comfortably carry it at this stage? Will it still have its waterproof assurance?
You want a bag that will be able to work for every situation. For this reason, you want a bag that will be able to handle the amount of gear you need to bring. Being able to comfortably carry a stuffed bag can be a great convenience. The level of importance for this feature is directly related to how heavy of a packer you are.
In most cases, you can tell how stuffable your bag is going to be based on the shape of its zipper. Zippers that are straight tend to have less flex than those in a D shape. Not only does D shaped zippers provide better access to your gear, it also tends to be a bit more forgiving with extra gear. If you are an over packer, going with a duffel with this style is a wise option.
Q: How Should I Store My Duffel?
For those times that you are not using your duffel, it is wise to store it in an area with a bit of space rather than crumpling it into a ball in the back of your closet. Laying your bag flat and out of direct sunlight is the best way to store your bag. Be sure to do so in an area that is away from extreme heat.
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Every outdoor enthusiast or traveler has a use for a waterproof duffel bag. They are excellent for not only transporting your belongings but doing so safely. You will love that you can rest easy knowing that your stuff will stay dry, no matter the conditions. The best waterproof duffel bags can be used in every situation from trekking through rainforests to carrying important documents for work. You don’t have to be a world traveler to appreciate what these bags are capable of.
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