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Take it from someone who has been there, a waterproof bag is something you only think you don't need until it's too late. Although it might sound like a hyper-specific piece of gear, or perhaps even a luxury, a waterproof duffel bag is something you'll never regret having when the weather changes for the worse.
Beyond worst case scenarios, there are also plenty of practical reasons to invest in one, be it for stand up paddling, canoeing, boating, or rafting, a weekend getaway, or other rugged pursuits, packing your gear in a waterproof duffel bag will guarantee your most valuable possessions stay safe and dry no matter what happens (pretty much).
What You Should Know Before Buying a Waterproof Duffel
One caveat is that the best waterproof duffel bags are as pricey as they are impervious to water, so you’ll want to do a little research first to make sure you’re investing in the right one for worry-free outdoor adventures. Here's what to think about.
What makes waterproof fabric actually waterproof is a waterproof membrane that's impervious to water pressure. Additionally, materials may also have a DWR coating (Durable Water Repellent), a chemical treatment commonly used on rain jackets so water beads up and rolls right off.
Taped or Welded Seams
Zippers or seams on a waterproof duffel bag are places that can be vulnerable to water and allow moisture to seep inside. By taping or welding seams, gear makers can effectively fuse together pieces of fabric to lock out moisture and reinforce them in the process. It ensures that if your bag were to be totally submerged or pounded by high water pressure, nothing would get wet.
Not all zippers are waterproof. In fact, most aren't. Check the specifications and features on each bag to see whether the brand that makes it says it's waterproof or not. If it doesn't say, assume that it's not.
This is a common type of closure that's a waterproof alternative to zippers. For some, it might be a style preference if the bag is already fully waterproof, but it’s certainly functional too. A roll-top closure with side buckles allows you to roll the top down to prevent water from getting in and side buckles to further compress it—a handy feature when you’re tight on space.
The 11 Best Waterproof Duffels
The Pro Zip duffel has an impressive array of ultra-tough and waterproof features that meet the high standards of professionals who spend their time in or around the water. Whether you’re a novice paddler or a seasoned pro, this waterproof duffel’s rugged construction will serve you well thanks to a PVC-free waterproof fabric with welded seams, reinforced and removable shoulder straps that are easy to carry and can be rolled up and stowed away when not in use. This bag also has a YKK AquaSeal waterproof zipper.
Price: Starts at $219
It’s hard to argue with the efficacy of any YETI product, especially this high-performance duffel bag that’s designed to be water-tight. Impenetrable, high-density nylon is paired with waterproof zippers that are capable of withstanding up to 30 minutes of submersion underwater, so you can rest assured all your valuables will be safe whether you’re rafting or kayaking. Like its famous coolers, YETI’s high-quality waterproof duffle bag comes with a high cost, but it's worth the investment for anyone looking to keep valuables safe in watery environments (and it comes with a three-year warranty).
Meant for rainy commutes, adventure travel, or peace of mind in all kinds of wet conditions, this sturdy duffel can handle light to moderate weather conditions—but don’t go submerging this one–and effortlessly haul heavy loads. Like many of RAINS' products, it’s crafted with their signature waterproof PU fabric that’s lightweight yet strong, with a buckled roll-top for extra security and quick access, plus a removable shoulder strap.
Thanks to a secure roll-top closure, welded seams, and fully waterproof material, you can take this sleek duffel out into the gnarliest weather without worrying about keeping your gear dry. The super tough 600-denier recycled polyester fabric has a PVC-free PU coating that is durable and easy on the environment. Get all this in a carry-on approved size for the ultimate waterproof travel duffel bag.
Maine’s heritage outdoor brand designed a durable, multi-purpose duffel that performs just as well on the road as it does for water sports like canoeing, kayaking, or SUPing. Made from 100% waterproof fabrics, the Adventure Pro has a roll-top closure and welded seams to keep out moisture and UTX buckles and compression straps to ensure the contents stay dry. As a bonus, the lid flap has large grab handles for easy carrying, and extra space to store your gear.
Constructed from 840d ballistic nylon, the High Water Duffel isn’t just waterproof but also tough enough to withstand anything you could throw at it while traveling or exploring the backcountry. The abrasion-resistant fabric has a double-sided TPU coating and RF welded seams for long-lasting waterproofness. An adjustable shoulder strap converts to backpack straps for multiple carry options and mesh pockets on the sides securely stow any gear that can handle a little splashing on your outdoor adventures.
For waterproofness without the harmful chemicals, opt for this Norwegian outdoor brand’s ultra-durable duffel bag crafted from a heavy duty recycled nylon and a PFC-free DWR coating. The minimalist aesthetic comes with practical features like webbing with end hooks on either side to further compress your load, and a convertible shoulder strap that transforms the duffel into a sleek backpack for versatility on-the-go.
A no-nonsense design makes Filson’s feature-rich and waterproof Medium Dry Duffel Bag a reliable hauler for some of your toughest, and wettest, adventures. It has all the bells and whistles: 100% waterproof, abrasion-resistant nylon material, RF welded seams, and water-tight zippers with a roll-top closure and side buckles for extra security. With that, you get Filson’s timeless aesthetic, which makes it a great option for everyday use while keeping you adventure ready.
A simple waterproof duffel bag with a water-tight construction, Dakine’s Packable Rolltop Duffel is made with a 750 Cordura ripstop material that also offers plenty of durability when you’re hauling it around outside. With a simple design, all you have to do is roll down the top and buckle the sides of this duffel dry bag to seal out moisture. It's a familiar design, but this bag earns bonus points for being a packable piece of carry that won’t weigh you down, and for coming at a budget-friendly price.
Although it’s technically a water-resistant bag, we’ve included the Camp 4 Duffel for its impressive ability to keep out the elements and look good doing it. The sturdy 420D nylon has a carbonate coating for extra weather resistance, a top lid for easy access to the spacious main compartment, and lash points along the side. The thoughtfully-designed carry options combine comfort and function with contoured, padded shoulder straps that work well when wearing the bag as a backpack, or as sturdy grab handles when you’re on the move.
Big Agnes’ rectangular-shaped duffel bag is a roomy top-loader designed to sit close to the body, like a tote, to help you easily weave through crowded airport terminals or city streets. As great a weekender bag as it is as a gym bag, the Big Joe is made with a fully waterproof material, welded seams, and water-resistant zippers, so even in a downpour, you can be sure your belongings stay totally dry.