Are you worried about your gear getting wet during your next adventure? If your go to travel bags are not equipped to handle wet weather or an accidental dunk in the water from a boat then you shouldn’t even think about using them on a trip where you’ll encounter these conditions. This is where a good waterproof or maybe even a water resistant duffel will serve you well.
The best waterproof duffel bags have roll top openings, welded seams and waterproofing. These are best for heavy rain and even boating trips where the bag may end up in the water for at least a bit. However, if you don’t anticipate such wet conditions and only want to protect your belongings from light to medium rain for short periods, you can get away with just a water resistant duffel. Read on to find out the exact differences between the two types and the best rated ones in each category. You can also get a ski boot bag that you carry as a backpack or shoulder bag if you only want a bag for your winter sports gear and the duffel option doesn’t appeal to you.
Water Resistant Duffel Bag with Backpack Straps
Water resistant bags usually have zippers that are protected by flaps but can still let water in when there’s a heavy downpour or when submersed. The seams are sewn together like in traditional bags. You probably don’t want to use these on a kayaking trip but they’ll be fine if they’re in light rain for a little while. We have two serious contenders for best water resistant duffle bags:
North Face Base Camp Duffel
If you’re looking for a big, burly all round type of water resistant duffle that has stood the test of time, the North Face Base Camp Duffel is it. It’s not the lightest one on this list and it is not waterproof but water resistant, but it’s well known amongst expedition enthusiasts because it can endure travel almost anywhere, is easy to load and is easy to carry. It is also one of the duffels with the best versatility for transport.
In addition to dual duffel straps, it also has haul handles on each end and the front and back, so you can tow it on a carrier or use them to secure the bag when using a sled or a luggage rack. It also has alpine cut backpack straps to free your hands when needed. To help keep the bag secure and stable, there are 4 external compression straps and dual daisy chains on the side allow you to secure a jacket or other gear to the bag. These also give you an additional way to secure the bag to a rack.
You get easy access to the interior of the main compartment via a D zip opening. Inside are mesh organizational pockets. The newest model features an exterior zippered pocket on one end so that you can separate wet clothes from the rest of your belongings. The zippers are protected under a flap and can be locked with a small travel lock, and an ID pocket on the top means that you can confidently check this bag on flights.
The fabric used is TPE laminate on ballistics nylon and the stitching is doubled down and features extra bartacks. When empty, it can be completely folded down for easy storage.
This bag comes in extra small, small, medium, large, extra large, and extra extra large, ranging from 42 litres to 155 litres, and is available in several colors.
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel
If you think the North Face may be too heavy for you, consider the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel. It is one of the lightest but still has backpack straps, duffel straps and end haul handles. In fact, the backpack straps are padded and removable or you can just unclip one end of each to give you easier access to the inside. It also has corner mounted daisy chains and points to add lashings to secure the bag but not as many as the North Face.
There are more organizational pockets on this bag. There is an external zippered pocket and several zippered mesh ones on the inside of the main compartment that has a U-shaped top opening. There’s even a key fob and dual compression straps to keep your clothes in place and compact. The underneath of the bag is padded to protect its contents from damage.
The locking zippers under a flap and TPU film laminate and water repellent finish on polyester makes this bag the most water resistant in its category.
This duffle comes in several colors and in 4 sizes – 45L, 60L, 90L and 120L. So if you’re looking for a very large bag, this will come up short. There are also two bags that come on wheels – a 50L and 100L.
Waterproof Duffel Bag with Removable Shoulder Strap
A bag that is waterproof as opposed to water resistant usually has a top opening that you can roll down to close and secure so there is no way for water to get in through the opening. The best bags also have seams that are electronically welded together so water can’t leak through. Great for boating or camping in inclement weather. The removable shoulder strap is a good idea when yo’re checking it in for a flight and you don’t want the strap to get caught in anything and be ripped off.
Kwik Tek Dry Pak Duffel Bag
The Kwik Tek Dry Pak features a wide tapered opening at the top so that you can easily access your thing. When you’re done packing the bag just pull the edges together and roll down a few times. Then use the side snap buckles on each end to secure the ends and ensure that the bag stays closed. For less important or easy to access items, there are two zippered water resistant pockets with flaps on either side of the bag. One is clear and one is opaque.
The material used is faux leather with a heavy duty vinyl and polyester blend laminate for waterproofing. The electronically welded seams keep water out too, while the plastic hardware means nothing will rust. The bottom is molded to provide a bit of structure and to protect the contents at the bottom.
In addition to the dual grab straps, you have the option of carry in it using the padded adjustable and detachable shoulder strap.
This duffle is available in two sizes – large with capacity 70L and extra large with capacity of 110L. The large measures 24″ x 12″ x 12″ when closed and the X-large measures 30″ x 14″ x 15″ when closed.
The colors available are black, white, blue and green.
OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sports Duffel Bag
This OverBoard Pro-Sports Duffel is 100% waterproof as it features a shell made with a PVC tarpaulin. An added measure of protection are the high frequency welded seams. You can dunk it in water and it will float to the top on its own and it is rain-proof, dust-proof and snow-proof as well.
The main compartment’s top opening folds down multiple times and is secured by a Velcro joiner, two top compression strap release buckles and two side release buckles. To open, just pull on the quick release handle after unbuckling.
To maximize organization, you’ll have one external waterproof zippered pocket for keys or a wallet, and one Velcro mesh pocket on the front. There’s also a vented pocket on one end for maybe a swimsuit. On the inside you’ll find two mesh pockets and one wet/dry zippered one.
In addition to the dual velcro closure duffel straps, there’s a top haul handle and adjustable and removable shoulder straps. Four D rings give you ways to secure it to a luggage rack or haulers.
This bag is available in 4 colors and in 3 sizes – 40L, 60L and 90L.
Waterproof Duffel Bag for Motorcycle Use
If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast and like to take long road trips, you’ll need a bag that can hold lots but is compact enough to be well secured to your bike. Same goes if you need one for a boat trip. This kind of bag doesn’t need extra straps if you’re not planning on carrying it yourself for long distances.
SealLine Zip Duffle
The SealLine Zip Duffle is a neat and compact dry bag made of scrim reinforced vinyl on the bottom and sides for toughness. The top opening is on a diagonal to make it easier to access its contents. The YKK zipper is under a flap and is completely waterproof even when submersed and the seams are radio frequency-welded.
The dual webbed grab handles stay together with a Velcro grip and the larger duffel also has two end handles for easy hauling.
You can get this bag in one of two sizes – 40L or 75L and the colors available are black and blue.
Wolfman Expedition Dry Duffel Bag
The Expedition Dry Duffel Bag by Wolfman is designed specifically for motorcycle use and all sizes are very compact. It features a roll top opening with waterproof webbing to prevent water leaking into the bag and reinforced vinyl for the body and sides. All the seams are RF-welded.
There are 4 compression straps to keep the bag compact, carry handles, a detachable shoulder strap and two mounting straps.
You can get this bag in small (33L), medium (40L), or large (47) and the colors available are black or yellow with black accents.
Waterproof Rolling Duffel
Eagle Creek No Matter What Duffel
If you’re looking for duffels that you can roll along when you’re on suitable terrain, consider the Eagle Creek Flashpoint Duffels. Even though they’re not technically waterproof but water resistant, their loyal customers say they can withstand heavy rain too. Off course, you can get the non-rolling ones in the smaller sizes too but if large duffles without the ability to roll are not appealing, then these are the best option.