Why do you need a waterproof duffle bag? Because sometimes a waterproof backpack just isn’t big enough. Waterproof backpacks typically run in the 20-35-liter range and are great for a change of clothes, your notebook and maybe a snack or two, but that’s about it.
When you need to take several days of clothes or a lot of gear with you, you have entered the duffle bag zone. Duffels are great because they full collapse when they are not needed. They are much easier to store than a rigid suitcase and you can roll them up and take them along for “just in case” situations. Waterproof duffels range from 40-90 liters in size. Although we must say the 90l bags are too huge and very unruly. A 50-60-liter duffle is big and will accomplish 90% of what you want it to do.
The main things to look for in a great duffle are:
• The closure at the top of the bag to make sure when it is rolled over that it can be secured.
• The shoulder strap and carrying handles. Does the stitching feel secure and is it comfortable to carry?
• The seams. Turn the bag over and on its side to make sure the seams are tight and you don’t see any imperfections.
If you’re buying online, then check out the reviews. Look for reviews that appear to be written by real people. I have seen products with the greatest number of reviews but when looking at the individual reviews, you know they were written by some off-shore review house.
With all of that being said, here are some of the waterproof duffle bags we like the best:
1) DuffelSak Waterproof Duffle $49.95 - $69.95
This duffle comes in 40 & 60 liter sizes and has a tight roll up top for extra waterproofing. It’s made of 500D PVC (pretty common for waterproof bags) with welded seams. It has 2 interior pockets and 2 exterior pockets for smaller items.
2) COR Waterproof Duffle Bag $58.97
This is a 60-liter bag that comes in black/green or black/grey. It has a nice padded shoulder strap and large interior and exterior pockets. The reviews are good and it’s not fancy, it just gets the job done.
3) YETI Panga Airtight, Waterproof and Submersible Bag $299.99
The Rolls Royce of waterproof duffels. The big difference here besides the YETI name on the side to impress all your friends is the waterproof zipper. Rather than the industry roll top to keep water out, they use a waterproof zipper. The shell is made from high-density nylon and thick tpu lamination, and we are sure this will last a life time… and it better for that price.
4) Gonex Waterproof Duffel $59.99
A basic waterproof duffel with 60-liter capacity and the normal shoulder strap and carry handles. No pockets inside or out. There is nothing fancy about this one, it just keeps your gear dry at an affordable price.
5) Tuff Truck Duffel $69.99
This duffel is 60 liters and has one small exterior pocket along with shoulder straps and handles. It’s made from PVC and comes in grey or white. Another basic waterproof duffle that does the job.
So, there you have it from the Rolls Royce of waterproof duffels to the everyday basic. In our experience, almost all of the waterproof duffels on the market accomplish the basic task of keeping your gear dry and most are in the 50-60l range. Beyond that, it depends on if you’re a major brand buyer or if your favorite color is available.
If you boat, canoe, kayak, fish, hunt, or find yourself around water or in a damp environment, a waterproof duffle is indispensable. No one likes wet or smelly clothes or gear, so when in doubt, pull out the waterproof duffle!