How to choose a compression or dry bag


Her­met­ic bags and oth­er types of water­proof pack­ag­ing are used to pro­tect things, cloth­ing and equip­ment from mois­ture. They fit valu­able items: mon­ey, doc­u­ments, mobile devices (tablet, phone), food, first aid kit, sleep­ing bag. They are used by hunters, fish­er­men, water tourists, ordi­nary tourists when hik­ing in rainy, snowy and wet weath­er.

Accord­ing to the design fea­tures, two types of water­proof pack­ag­ing are dis­tin­guished:

  • with ver­ti­cal load­ing — dry bag, dry bag;
  • with hor­i­zon­tal load­ing — her­met­ic bag, her­met­ic bag.

There are also con­i­cal her­met­ic bags that are placed in the stern or bow com­part­ment of the kayak.


  • To ensure the tight­ness of the bag, it must be prop­er­ly closed. After pack­ing the items, let the air out of the bag and twist the neck (num­ber of turns — at least 3).
  • It is not rec­om­mend­ed to wear a water­proof case with a mobile device or a card around your neck — this way you can eas­i­ly lose valu­ables. It is bet­ter to wear a cov­er under a wet­suit or cloth­ing. Herm with a walkie-talkie or tele­phone is fixed on the shoul­der seam of the life jack­et.
  • Use the her­met­ic bag tak­ing into account its weak points — folds, cor­ners, kinks, seams. Choose mod­els with mul­ti-stitched and taped seams. Pay atten­tion to the pres­ence of a seal­ing tape cov­er­ing the seam.
  • It is bet­ter to stay on a her­met­ic bag with met­al fit­tings, as the plas­tic one quick­ly fails.


Her­met­ic bag — com­plete­ly pro­tects the con­tents from water, has char­ac­ter­is­tic seals on the neck and fas­tex buck­les. Occurs most often. Can be used as an insert in a bag or back­pack.

Germ bag — dif­fers from the her­met­ic bag by the pres­ence of han­dles. This allows you to car­ry the bag on your shoul­der and in your hand.

Ger­mobaul — does not pro­vide 100% pro­tec­tion of the car­go from water, but pro­tects from splash­es, dirt, rain. A pop­u­lar solu­tion among tourists and trav­el­ers.

Ger­moruzak — unlike a her­met­ic bag, it com­plete­ly pro­tects the con­tents from water and has straps that make it eas­i­er to car­ry (often remov­able). The her­met­ic back­pack is char­ac­ter­ized by large vol­umes.

Her­met­ic case – pro­tects mobile devices and cards from water. Thanks to its trans­paren­cy, this case makes it pos­si­ble to work with the device in water.

Her­met­ic box / her­met­ic case — designed to store mobile devices and oth­er equip­ment. Pro­tects gad­gets from water and mechan­i­cal dam­age, pro­vides quick access to con­tent, which is impor­tant when tak­ing pic­tures. Med­i­cines can also be placed in the her­met­ic box.

Com­pres­sion bag — reduces the vol­ume of con­tents by com­press­ing them with spe­cial belts. It is often used to trans­port a sleep­ing bag and warm clothes — as a result, the vol­ume of such prod­ucts is sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced. The com­pres­sion bag frees up space in your back­pack or car trunk.

  • Water­proof com­pres­sion bag — does not get wet, unlike the pre­vi­ous ver­sion. Minus — more weight than the com­pres­sion mod­el.

Impor­tant: expe­ri­enced tourists and ath­letes often choose a dry bag for equip­ment and 2–3 dry bags equipped with com­pres­sion bags, where shoes, ther­mal under­wear, change of clothes are placed.


Many mod­els of her­met­ic bags and her­met­ic cas­es are made of polyvinyl chlo­ride (PVC) — durable and main­tain­able, but heavy and non-envi­ron­men­tal mate­r­i­al. There are prod­ucts made of poly­ester — a less reli­able, but lighter mate­r­i­al.

Com­mon her­met­ic bags polyurethane — durable, light, trans­par­ent, elas­tic mate­r­i­al. Such mod­els are resis­tant to tem­per­a­ture extremes. Mark­ing — TPU (high tem­per­a­ture polyurethane, ther­mopolyurethane).

The mate­ri­als of her­met­ic bags include nylon, which favor­ably dif­fers from PVC in its low weight, com­pact­ness and increased ther­mal sta­bil­i­ty. The down­side of nylon is the rel­a­tive­ly low­er strength.

Increas­ing­ly, there are mod­els from car­ring­ton and “lamkothe­ka” – nylon coat­ed with polyurethane (TPU nylon). These her­met­ic bags are resis­tant to UV rays and low tem­per­a­tures, have all the advan­tages of con­ven­tion­al nylon. Prod­ucts from “offend­er” — anoth­er vari­ety of nylon — they are dis­tin­guished by increased strength and abra­sion resis­tance, but they are quite heavy and expen­sive.

Mate­r­i­al den­si­ty — allows you to eval­u­ate the strength and reli­a­bil­i­ty of the her­met­ic bag. Mea­sured in grams per square meter (g/m2). The denser the fab­ric, the stronger it is, but at the same time, its weight increas­es. Some PVC mod­els have a den­si­ty of 1000–1200 g/m2. But for most sit­u­a­tions, a den­si­ty of 450–600 g/m is suf­fi­cient.2. For nylon mod­els, this para­me­ter is low­er — 150–300 g / m2.

Impor­tant: for a trip on a cata­ma­ran or raft, choose PVC or dense nylon dry bags, oth­er­wise the lines and cords can dam­age the thin mate­r­i­al.

Degree of tightness

Com­plete - the dry bag keeps the con­tents dry even afloat.

incom­plete – the air­tight bag pro­vides pro­tec­tion only from dirt and splash­es. Such bags are not suit­able for kayak­ing or pass­ing near water­falls.

Usage type

Exter­nal dry pack – used as a stand-alone water­proof pack­ag­ing.

Inner dry pack (lin­er) – fits into a back­pack for max­i­mum pro­tec­tion of the con­tents from get­ting wet. This option is use­ful dur­ing water trav­el or hik­ing in con­di­tions of high humid­i­ty.


plas­tic clip — a plate with a lock­ing mech­a­nism. Used in pack­ages for small items (doc­u­ments, mobile devices).

Zip lock – is locked by twist­ing the upper edge of the her­met­ic bag and fix­ing the cor­ners with a met­al or plas­tic cara­bin­er. It is found in vol­u­met­ric her­met­ic bags. The lock exists in two ver­sions — sin­gle and dou­ble (twist­ed 2–3 times, equipped with Vel­cro).


Depend­ing on the mod­el, the vol­ume of water­proof pack­ag­ing varies from 5 to 100 liters or more.

To choose the right dry bag in terms of vol­ume, pro­ceed from the num­ber of things need­ed on the trip, the dura­tion of the trip and the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants:

  • 5 l — for dry clothes, a small sleep­ing bag, gad­gets (for 1 per­son);
  • 10 l — for the con­tents of a 5‑liter bag and a sleep­ing bag with syn­thet­ic insu­la­tion;
  • 20 l — for clothes for a long hike and a thick win­ter sleep­ing bag;
  • 30–40 l — for clothes for 2 peo­ple or for win­ter clothes for 1 per­son;
  • 50–100 l and more — for the field kitchen, bivouac equip­ment.

When hik­ing, it is rec­om­mend­ed to use sev­er­al bags of a rel­a­tive­ly small vol­ume instead of one mas­sive one. This will make it pos­si­ble to sort items by pur­pose and type (food, cloth­ing, equip­ment). This solu­tion will pre­vent most things from get­ting wet if one of the her­met­ic bags is dam­aged.


Rings - made in the form of the let­ter “D”. They allow you to fix the dry bag on a kayak or boat, as well as con­nect it to oth­er “herms”.

Impor­tant: do not thread a sling or cord under the neck fas­ten­er (“fas­tex”) to secure the bag on the ves­sel — this may break the buck­le, and the con­tents of the “herm” will be in the water.

Valve - makes it pos­si­ble to eas­i­ly release air from the her­met­ic bag and there­by com­press it to a min­i­mum size. If there is no such valve, then “defla­tion” of the bag will require addi­tion­al effort and skill.

trans­par­ent win­dow — allows you to see the con­tents of the her­met­ic bag with­out open­ing it. Through such a win­dow, you can use mobile devices — a phone, a nav­i­ga­tor or a tablet.

loops - serve to fix the air­tight bag to a kayak or cata­ma­ran. They are found in PVC prod­ucts, often equipped with plas­tic fit­tings.


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