Versatility is a good thing. Especially when it comes to outdoor gear. A wise bush crafter once said that he wouldn’t buy a piece of gear unless it had two purposes. It is a good rule to follow when considering gear choices for adventures of all types. When it comes to the best dry bags, we’ve experimented with a few alternative uses and will keep thinking of more. Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag has been the bag of choice for a few of those experiments lately and it has performed well.
Like all of the best dry bags do, Earth Pak’s 10L bag offers solid PVC construction, taped seams, and a well-made roll top closure. These essential design features, while common on many other dry bags, are common because they get the job done. Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag, and smartphone case keep water out under all common use circumstances, to include full immersion (with the roll-top closure sealed properly), and is a solid all around use waterproof bag.
Earth Pak’s 10L bag is available in black, grey, blue, yellow, orange, and green. They include three excellent features with both sizes of their dry bag. These features are not uncommon in waterproof bags but they do add needed convenience and contribute to versatility.
Each bag includes a zippered front stash pocket similar in design to what Sak Gear offers in their waterproof dry bag, but without the reflective material surrounding the zipper. The zipper is protected by vinyl material all around helping to keep splashing water out. Keep in mind that the pocket is not waterproof when the bag is subjected to immersion. This pocket proved useful in holding small items like keys, identification, and beer money. Depending on what else is in the main compartment of the bag, something like a Go Pro could just barely fit but it would be tight and wouldn’t be retrieved quickly. The pocket is especially useful when the bag is attached in a way that the main roll to closure isn’t easily accessible, for example on the deck of a kayak.
Another added feature is the single shoulder strap. Earth Pak’s strap measures up to 36 inches and attaches at two swivel hooks. The single strap allows the dry bag to be easily slung across the shoulder or attached in a variety of ways. This is especially useful when the bag is used casually for a beach trip, concert or similar outing.
Earth Pak is one of a few companies to include a waterproof phone case with their dry bag. This particular case is made of a lesser strength vinyl and is designed to fit any smartphone measuring up to 6.5 inches (diagonally). It boasts a waterproof rating of IPX8, meaning that the case remained waterproof when fully submersed in water more than 1 meter deep for a period of time determined by the manufacturer. (For a more detailed discussion on waterproof ratings check out our recent article here.)
While we don’t recommend fully immersing any smartphone case in water, the double snap lock feature on Earth Pak’s case does hold up under normal wet conditions or the accidental phone overboard situation. During testing, the waterproof phone case did allow the user to fully manipulate an iPhone’s touch screen features. The case can either be worn by using the included lanyard or given its size, it can easily be stashed in the front pocket of a pack.
Pros and Cons
- The zippered front pocket and shoulder strap make this product more versatile than a plain dry bag or dry sack.
- It isn’t an ultra light bag, nor is it intended to be. At around 1 lb. it still isn’t too heavy or bulky to add to any packing list.
- One shoulder strap is functional, however two would provide the option to either sling carry or use like a backpack. While it isn’t intended to be used as a backpack, if needed, two straps would add stability and comfort to keep the user’s hands free for other tasks. (Note: Earth Pak does make a 35L dry bag backpack that we are dying to test & review!)
- We wouldn’t consider this one of the best dry bags for hiking only because there are others made from lighter weight material that better integrate into a pack.
- Size could be considered a downside depending on what one plans to use this dry bag for. The 10L size is small, yet completely sufficient to protect valuables such as a wallet, keys, GPS, or other small electronics. Trying to stuff an insulating layer of clothing or large towel on top of those items could be pushing it. Earth Pak does offer a 20L size with different features. It isn’t a pair of pants, go one size up from what you know you need. A dry bag always compresses down if needed.
Best Recommended Use
All around, the size options, construction, and features place Earth Pak’s Waterproof Dry Bag in the best dry bag for kayaking or canoeing category. It also ranks high as a great dry bag for car camping, fishing, scuba diving trip, or a casual trail walk. Both sizes work well protecting the necessities on a day trip to the beach or other casual outdoor activity. We specifically liked using this dry bag for dual purpose situations. The yellow version worked well to house components for solar power & lighting. It was easy to identify the bag in the mess of other stuff when power was needed quickly. The orange version doubled nicely as a first aid kit. Again, easy to identify and by using a waterproof bag as a medical kit you can ensure your supplies are always kept clean and dry.
In the same manner, we used the green version of the 10L dry bag as a survival kit. It neatly housed essential survival supplies and functioned as a water collection device if needed. Earth Pak’s orange option is good for a survival kit as well. Bright orange is a great color for a signaling device. All of these dual use options worked equally well while camping or simply throwing the designated bags in the trunk in case of emergency. We hope we’ve made our bush craft mentor proud.
Win. This dry bag by Earth Pak functions as advertised and scores high on versatility. There aren’t a lot of distinguishing features, but then again there doesn’t have to be. It does what a dry bag should do. The waterproof smartphone case does the same. There are more expensive and cooler looking options out there, but if you are looking for dependable functionality, both of these products fit the bill.
One final note, Earth Pak has a cool company narrative that places tremendous value on encouraging people to get outdoors. They pride themselves on creating solid products that contribute, as they say, to the spirit of adventure. Points to Earth Pak for sharing their passion for adventure and building quality waterproof bags along the way.