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Waterproof Dry Bags For Travel Gear Are Essential

How I keep my gear dry when traveling.

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The main philosophy behind my travel gear strategy is to have the right equipment to travel almost anywhere at anytime in nearly all weather conditions within reasonable weight and space restrictions. In point, my intent is to be as prepared as possible for each situation I foresee coming. This strategy means that I also need to be prepared to protect some pieces of my non-weather resistant gear from the elements, as I do not want my camera, computer, and travel docs getting wet. To prevent against I use waterproof dry bags.

A dry bag is a synthetic, pvc coated, air and water impermeable bag that has a plastic clip at one end. To use a float bag properly you stash your gear inside it, seal the opening then pinch-roll it down a few turns, and then buckle it up. These dry bags are mostly designed for kayaking/ canoeing/ water-sports, but I find them to be perfect for keeping my electronics and travel documents dry when traveling on rainy days or in wet climates.

I have three different sized dry bags that came together in a package that I picked up one year at a Walmart for around ten dollars. The largest of these bags will fit my netbook computer and its associated electronics and plugs, while the smallest one is the perfect size for my camera, voice recorder, and passport.

Dry bags

I generally always keep a dry bag in my EDC daypack and I make sure that it’s always with me when outside with my camera. For the most part, my small dry bag and camera are inseparable. I quit using weather-proof cameras last year, now I need to make sure that this essential piece of travel blogging gear is always safeguarded from rain, dampness, and full immersion in water. The last thing I want to do is needlessly drop hundreds of $$$ to replace my camera because I got caught out in a rainstorm with it and without a way to keep it dry.

Dry bag

I’m not the sort of person who goes running for cover at the first sign of drizzle. I’m not going to go in a frantic search for a building I can hang out in because I don’t want my camera to get ruined by the rain. I’m not the kind of traveler who is going to sit inside all day long just because it’s raining. No, I reach into my bag, pull out my rain jacket, sheath my electronics/ travel docs into waterproof bags, and I carry on with my travels. Some of the best days of travel I’ve ever had have been in the rain. In some parts of the world in some seasons it rains regularly throughout the day. Carrying dry bags allow me to be prepared to face wet weather conditions anywhere.

Buy the same dry bags that Wade uses!

That said, I use my dry bags almost daily. When not being used to keep my electronics dry I just them as general bags to keep my gear organized. These dry bags are cheap, durable, and essential pieces of travel gear. And while your at it, why not try a jutebag?

(For more on all-weather travel bags, check out our article on the Northface Waterproof Messenger Bag.)


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Filed under: Travel Gear

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3715 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

4 comments… add one

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  • Bree June 10, 2012, 12:44 am

    Agree! These bags pretty much last longer compared to other types. Moreover, they’re very useful to any kind of outdoor activity. Even photographers need them for protect their cameras and gears from all sorts of weather conditions.

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  • Pierre December 13, 2012, 1:18 pm

    Great idea but one MAJOR flaw with these bags…you can’t check the contents without having to open them?! I wouldn’t want to have to go checking a bag or trying to get access to it in bad weather and open the wrong one. They need to be somehow transparent or at least have a plastic window in them to view cotents without having to open them.

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    • Wade Shepard December 13, 2012, 7:27 pm

      I just remember what I have in each one. They have different colors and sizes, so it’s not really too difficult. Camera, voice recorder in the small blue bag, computer and chargers in the large green one . . . It’s also pretty easy to tell what you have in each by feel. Can’t say that in the years I’ve been using these bags I’ve ever been confused by their contents.

      There are transparent ones available, but they are more like plastic ziplock bags than dry bags, and they don’t seem as good. It’s my impression that the simpler the design the better.

      I say just try them out, for the price you can’t beat them.

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  • cameron April 15, 2013, 5:14 am

    Its a really great idea.. water bags are really essential when we are go for traveling.. i like your bags.

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