I like my stuff dry. Especially the stuff that can, by no account, get wet. If I was a smoker, for instance, I would insist on dry tobacco during my Scuba vacation. If I had a decent camera at the moment, I would want it to stay undampened while on an Irish cross-country hike. If I were carrying around a spare pair of underwear on a rainy motorbike ride, I would want for them to stay dry until I wished to wet them.
You know what I mean.
There are those who will honk on about how they are frugal and clever, and they keep lots of little things tucked into gallon sized zip-lock baggies, sometimes tucked inside other gallon sized zip-lock baggies. And maybe a third for good measure. Well and good! Very frugal and clever of you. Big damn deal. My kids take their lunches in such mundane things. I carry around old plastic grocery sacks in a zip-lock baggie binered to my dog leash. Just for picking up poo. “Fie” upon you and your zip-lock baggies and their mundane poo-ness.
Though I will say that I have a couple of Zip-Lock baggies that are designed to carry wardrobe in. You can get some truly honkin’ huge Zip-Locks, I can tell you. I took a couple down the Grand Canyon, just in case. I still have them, in case you want to see ’em. I’ll let you touch ’em. For a buck. You could, but shouldn’t, fit a kid in them.
They’re not cool, though. You know what’s cool? Dry bags. Nothin’ more intrepid that pulling an expensive camera, a satellite phone or, best of all, clean dry toilet paper out of a dry bag. You look like you know what you’re doing. French trappers from the 1800s would have given their eyeteeth for Dry bags. As it was, they gave their eyeteeth to gum disease and other nastiness, but they’d have been happier with the Dry bags in my opinion.
Nice heavy-duty bag- sometimes in bright, easy-to-find-in-dire-circumstances colors… sometimes in clear, easy-to-find-your-stuff-in non-colors. The best ones even have heavier duty plastic or nylon, or whatever that stuff is, bottoms on them.
You can get small ones that hold all the stuff in your pockets- then you don’t have to worry about locking that stuff up in your (or someone else’s) car while you kayak down a river- take it snugly with you. Or you can drop your lunch in there and go hike even if there are rumors of rain lurking just out of sight. You can put your computer in there, strap it to the back of your Harley and go to Sturgis in the snow.
You can get bigger ones that hold everyone’s stuff on a float trip. You can even leave lots of air trapped inside it so it’ll float, too, when that guy that always invites himself on the trip comes up and flips your canoe “for a joke… why’s everyone so pissed off alla time? What?”
You can get giant ones that hold your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, sheet, towel, spare clothes, extra hats, and all during long river trips that last for weeks. Some of those have backpack straps and everything, but that’s for another review.
The tops of these things roll down a few times, then you click the buckles together. Perfect. No water in or out, and the rolled and curled top edge now becomes a carrying handle of sorts- that also clips onto gunnels, back straps, luggage rigs, you name it. There’s also usually a handy D-ring for clipping your Dry bag to something wet… or dry… or anything in between. How fancy is THAT, huh? Fishing with a clumsy buddy? Put your Skoal, your wallet, your keys, and the gun you plan to kill this clumsy bastard with after he flips the boat again in your dry bag. Bring it out when he needs killing. Fancy.
I have two really, really big dry bags. When the whole family took one of those “Hey, let’s drive all over the West for three weeks” vacations a while back in a rented Jeep (which, by the way, does NOT have the storage capacity of my Suburban. I would NOT have wanted the gas bill for a long trip in my Suburban.) The two dry bags, one red and one blue for easy identification on the fly, were filled with all the stuff that would otherwise have blocked up the back window for three weeks… the sort of thing that officers of the law occasionally frown on. They frown on other stuff, too, but that, again, is for another review. (I’ll just say that deciding to take highways across’t Texas because, let’s face it, Interstates all look the same and they get BORING, will get you the hairy eyeball from constables of the law who’re on the lookout for people who want to avoid Interstates for totally other reasons. The constables will apparently scrutinize your children to make sure they’re not midgets helping out with the drug smugglin’)
But I digress. So we drove around with these two big red and blue round plastic duffels on top of a white Jeep. I’m informed by my brother that it made us easy to spot in the New Mexican distances, as we looked like a cartoon police car.
And if you haven’t already figured out another place you’d like to use a drybag, well, there’s the best one right there.