Putting Together a Dry Bag to Bring on Your Kayaking Trips

Dry Bag: Canoe and Kayak Dry Bag
Different size NRS dry bags. Photo © nrsweb.com, used by permission

Technically speaking, all that is needed to go kayaking is a kayak and a paddle. Of course there are a number of other kayaking gear items that are viewed as essential such as wearing a PFD, foot protection, a spray skirt for decked boats, and a helmet for whitewater kayaking. A number of other paddling safety items such as throw rope bag and whistle for whitewater kayaking and a paddle float and bilge pump for sea kayaking are needed on every trip. And then of course there is the dry bag which can be packed with just about anything else you want to bring on your kayaking trip.

However, there are non-standard gear items that can and should be brought on a kayaking trip that might not readily come to mind. Things like duct tape and multi-tools and even food and water are often overlooked or forgotten altogether. And, while you may not need every item on every trip, you sure know it when you don’t have what you need.

For these types of items, it’s good to pack them once and then leave them in your dry bag for your kayaking trips for the remainder of the year. While it sounds like common sense, it is advice rarely heeded by paddlers. By keeping a fully stocked dry bag, one that fits in your boat and meets your needs, you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation and lost time trying to compensate for forgotten items.

  • Safety Gear (whistle, mirror)
  • Health Items (first aid kit, water, energy bar)
  • Repair Items (Duct tape, multi-tool)
  • Practical Items (car keys, cash)

Of course all of that might seem like it will make the bag heavy and depending on how you pack it, it might be. But a happy medium can be achieved if you plan out the packing of your dry bag ahead of time. Also, a different bag can be put together for the different types of paddling trips. Cold weather and wilderness paddling will require one type of bag while a lazy paddle on a protected lake will require another.

So, go ahead and give it some thought and put together your dry bag (or dry bags) once for the season and see how it goes.

Make sure to follow this checklist of items that can be packed into your dry bag for your next kayaking trip.