If one of your first steps in planning any adventure is clearing some floor space and meticulously laying out all the gear you think you will need, and then some, you are in good company. There is something strangely satisfying, and maybe a bit materialistic, about seeing all the items that will assist or provide comfort to balance out the inevitable soreness, bumps, bruises, and exhaustion inherent in any worthy adventure. Taking inventory of what will accompany you is ritualistic, necessary, and for the nerdiest of planners, we salute you. If you are planning a backpacking trip, camping trip, or hunting expedition, then we highly recommend having one of Outdoor Research’s Durable Dry Sacks displayed prominently in that sweet Instagram shot of your latest layout.
Outdoor Research’s Durable Dry Sack straddles the line between dry bag and dry sack. While it functions as dry bag should, it’s material and a few design features firmly seat in the dry sack category. Up front, this isn’t a bag you want to submerse, nor is any dry bag really. However, its construction, light weight, and usable features place it at the top of the category as the best dry sack for hiking and several other outdoor activities. To learn more about the difference between dry bags and dry sacks, read Dry Bag vs. Dry Sack in the advice section.
Form and Function
The design and level of detail in this dry sack set it apart from competitors. First, let’s talk about material. OR’s Durable Dry Sack is constructed from 210D nylon and sealed with it’s trademarked Hydroseal coating. In short, 210 Denier nylon is an industrial grade material commonly used in outdoor products due to it’s tough durability and light weight. Without getting too deep into the specifics, the textile industry uses Denier as a measurement relating to the mass of any type of yarn. In the case of dry bags vs. dry sacks, 210D nylon will provide solid waterproof protection at a lighter overall weight than a typical PVC waterproof dry bag (Polyester Vinyl Coated).
Even though the nylon used in this bag is tightly woven and not a one piece material like PVC, its construction still boasts complete waterproof protection when the bag is used correctly. The upside to a woven material like 210D is that the need for certain seams is eliminated. Seams in a vinyl contstructed bag can wear over time. Additionally, OR’s Hydroseal coating ensures absolute waterproof protection assuming one correctly secures the roll top and buckle closure. The double layer nylon combined with all around taped seams and Hydroseal coating distinctly separate this OR dry sack from the pack.
Three additional features distinguish this dry sack from others in its category and among dry bags in general.
- OR made smart use of webbing to form an external daisy chain on the side of the bag. This feature assists in a variety of ways from clipping other items to the bag or helping to secure it to a pack, kayak, etc.
- The roll top closure is reinforced with a lightweight clear material which adds strength and when rolled 3-4 times, helps to provide an effective seal.
- At the bottom of this dry sack, OR includes a webbing handle stitched from side to side. This simple features adds a ton of convenience when searching for the dry sack in a pack or securing it.
Size and Color
The current offering of Outdoor Research’s Durable Dry Sacks come in black, glacier (blue), and coyote brown each in sizes 20L, 35L, and 55L.
Best Recommended Use
We decided not to list the pros and cons here. The pros are pretty clear and if there is a con, it would be that after years of intense, constant, rugged use you might have to use a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) to enhance the exterior waterproof seal. Otherwise, due to it’s light weight, packability, and extremely dependable waterproof protection, it is a great fit for any activity. That said, we have a few favorites.
- Hiking. On a multiple day hike in wet conditions, the 20L version easily housed a warm weather sleeping bag, extra clothes, camp pillow, and a mid layer jacket while fitting nicely into a 40L pack leaving room for all the other necessities. What is nice about using this dry sack inside a larger pack is that you get guaranteed waterproof protection for the things that need it while not adding weight. Also, when packing the dry sack, you can pack it vertically to match the placement of other items in your pack and maintain a comfortable weight distribution.
- Canoe to Camp Expedition. OR’s Durable Dry Sack is an excellent choice if you plan to paddle to a camp site. Both the 35L and 55L versions have enough volume to protect a large amount of gear loaded on the deck of a kayak, inside a canoe, or lining a pack. The Hydroseal coating ensures full waterproof protection and both the external daisy chain and bottom webbing handle offer multiple attachment points to secure each dry sack in a variety of configurations. These features make for an excellent canoe bag and camping dry bag, or dry sack to be more specific.
- Hunting and Tactical. The features and sizes along with the coyote brown color option available in this dry sack make it the best waterproof dry sack for hunting and tactical uses. The coyote brown option offers a subdued color that hunters need and is a standard in the array of gear colors used in the latest tactical clothing and equipment. While we haven’t yet had the opportunity to test OR’s Durable Dry Sack in such an environment, we can say from our own tactical experience that having it would have made certain situations a lot more comfortable. There is nothing worse than reaching into your pack for another layer after a day of uncertainty, on a cold mountain at night only to find that layer soaked from rain eight hours earlier. Without question, OR’s dry sack can make all the difference.
If you are looking to lighten your pack but add waterproof protection, then you cannot go wrong with OR’s Durable Dry Sack. It is an excellent addition to a packing list for a variety of activities and adventures. The features on this dry sack are professional and clearly created from years of experience as a leader in the outdoor industry. Priced reasonably, Outdoor Research backs up their products with an excellent warranty program in the rare event it would be needed. We highly recommend Outdoor Research’s Durable Dry Sack for any adventure.