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How Do I Keep Gear Dry in a Kayak?

Q: I’m going on a six-day kayak trek. I know what to bring, but don’t know how to pack it to keep it dry. Any suggestions?
— Aidan, Abilene, Texas

Pack your gear in dry bags. They’re designed to keep your stuff from getting wet, and they can float in case your boat flips or your bag goes overboard.

Dry bags come in different sizes, and most can be sealed watertight. The K3 Pro-Tech 20-liter dry bag backpack ($60) is a great option and easy to carry with its sturdy straps. For smaller bags, check out Granite Gear dry sacks.

Store your bag inside the kayak with emergency items and gear attached behind your seat or on top of the boat, secured by deck lines. Balance gear throughout your boat so you don’t lean to one side.

For better stability, use several smaller dry sacks packed into the ends of your kayak, with heavier bags at the bottom of the boat closer to where you sit.


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2 Comments on How Do I Keep Gear Dry in a Kayak?

  1. The garbage bag works fine for a weekend trip, but not for an extended trip. It WILL spring leaks. A good dry bag will last through many trips. Many also have compression straps which are very helpful.

  2. What happened to ‘A scout is thrifty’?
    Matagamon Adventure Base taught us years ago:
    Put a strong garbage bag inside a backpack. Fill it with your bags of clothes.
    Twist and gooseneck the top of the bag and secure it with a heavy elastic band or twine. The backpack protects the garbage bag from punctures.
    Works well and is very affordable.

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