Last updated on August 31st, 2023.
When you’re out in the wild a waterproof duffel bag can be a crucial piece of your gear. We tell you what to look for and show you the best ones out there.
Table of Contents:
How to Choose the Best Waterproof Duffel Bag
When you’re planning your trip of a lifetime, no matter whether it’s fly fishing, canoeing, rafting or tracking into the wild, a waterproof duffel bag is worth considering. The best ones on the market keep your gear dry no matter the conditions. There are two technical solutions that make sure no water enters your bag. The first one are so-called roll-top duffle bags where – as the name suggests – you close the top by rolling the fabric a couple of times and closing it with a buckle. This kind of waterproof duffel makes sure no water can enter from above no matter how harsh the rain.
The second kind of waterproof duffle bags are the so-called submersible bags. These bags feature waterproof zippers that even allow for the bags to me immersed into water without getting wet on the inside. This kind of product is the ultimate gear for the wild. Since the technology behind these zippers is more advanced, these waterproof, submersible bags tend to be a bit more expensive than roll-top waterproof duffel bags. In our review we’ll take a look at products from both categories making sure you can make a solid choice. Let’s go.
Best Waterproof Duffel Bags Quick Answer List
Our Top Picks of 2023:
How We Tested
In this first part of our review we want to present you some of our favourite roll-top waterproof duffle bags. As mentioned before these bags ensure everything on the inside stays dry. However, you cannot submerse these bags. In the second part of this big gear guide, we’ll introduce you to some of our favorite fully submersible duffel bags and also throw in a couple of wheeled waterproof duffel bags that are a great option if you’re travelling on a plane and need to haul your gear around airports.
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: 25”L x 12”W x 14”H – CAPACITY: 54L (Large version: 70L)
The Filson Medium Dry Duffle Bag is a beautifully classic waterproof roll-top duffel bag. It is one of our favourites since it’s the only submersible roll-top duffel bag in our review. The fabric made from 840-denier nylon is incredibly durable and fully waterproof.
The shoulder strap of the Filson Medium Dry Duffle Bag is removable and padded. The bag is also available in a bright orange color and as a large version. Made for your ultimate adventure and guaranteed to last a lifetime.
My verdict: In my eyes, the Filson Medium Dry Duffle Bag is the ideal choice if you are looking for a rugged waterproof duffel bag that will still make you look stylish if you bring it along to a weekend in the country side. Fantastic build quality.
- Extremely durable
- Comfortable shoulder strap
- Scratches show easily on the fabric (they don’t hurt its function though)
Why we picked it:
The Grundens Shoreleave 55 Liter is a simplistic yet incredibly tough waterproof duffel. Grundens was founded in Sweden for commercial fishermen that had to withstand the toughest conditions while out on the sea. Hence their gear is basically indestructible. The Grundens Shoreleave 55 Liter is kept in all black which gives it a nice and clean look.
The Grundens Shoreleave 55 Liter also features a roll top closure and its straps can be used to carry it like a backpack which comes in handy when you have to walk for a bit. Made from 500D PVC tarpaulin material, the Grundens Shoreleave 55 Liter features welded seams for extra durability. This bag features a water resistance of 25.000mm which makes it highly waterproof.
My verdict: The Grundéns Shoreleave is the perfect companion for a float trip. Built like a tank it doesn’t mind being thrown around.
- Tight closure system
- Black fabric is ideal for dirty environments
- Shoulder strap is not as comfortable as on the Filson
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: 3.94 x 12.2 x 12.6 inches – CAPACITY: 50L – WEIGHT: 2.43 Pounds
The Earth Pak is another well thought through waterproof duffle bag. Made from commercial grade materials it features thermo welded seams that guarantee a long life span. The Earth Pak is a good choice if you are looking for a bit of organisation within your bag since it features two mesh pockets on the inside and one on the outside (not waterproof).
The Earth Pak Waterproof Duffel Bag features padded carry handles and a removable shoulder strap. Additional buckle straps on the side ensure safe travels no matter where you are going. D-rings allow for the attachment of extra gear. Comes in two sizes (50L and 70L) and three colors (black, green and blue).
My verdict: The Earth Pak is a neat little waterproof duffel with the added bonus of the see-through outside pocket (not waterproof!).
- Outside pocket for quick access of important items
- Multiple strap options
- Fabric is not quite as sturdy as on the Filson or Grundens
Why we picked it:
If you’re looking for a waterproof duffel bag that looks good when out on the water but in the city as well, look no further than the Got Bag Rolltop Duffel. The rolltop closure ensures that no water can penetrate your precious belongings inside. The greatest asset of this bag is the fact that it’s made of recycled plastic and comes with a 24 months warranty.
A small pocket on the outside with a water-resistant zipper (not waterproof) gives you quick access to your most important items such as keys or a wallet. We like the different carry options provided by the large, sturdy handles and the detachable shoulder straps. The Got Bag Rolltop Duffel is completely PFC & PCV free and reaches >20.000mm on the waterproofness column – a very solid number. A great, stylish allrounder, that we would yet not recommend for the harshest environments.
My verdict: The Got Bag is the perfect choice for the environment conscious outdoor enthusiast. Highly waterproof, this bag shines on a fly fishing trip just as much as around the city.
- Quick access outside pockets
- Looks great around the city
- Fabric is a bit stiffer, hence packability not at the level of the Earth Pak
Waterproof Submersible Duffel Bags
Now that you have a good overview of some of the best waterproof (roll-top) duffel bags out there we want to take a look at submersible duffel bags in the second part of our review. As mentioned before submersible bags allow for the bag to immersed into the water without getting the gear inside wet.
This kind of waterproof duffel bag is a good idea if you are looking for the utmost in waterproofness in any situation. Here is a look at a few good options.
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: One size and color only. Made from 420 Nylon Double Ripstop.
American manufacturer Simms knows a thing or two about building waterproof gear, their waders are amongst the best you can find. Their brand new G3 Guide Z can keep a lot of gear dry. It features a TRU® Zip that ensures you can fully submerse the bag without getting anything on the inside wet.
The padded shoulder straps make it easy to carry the Simms G3 Guide Z Duffel Bag even when fully loaded. Large grab handles on each side allow for the carrying of the duffle by two people. The smaller pocket on the outside is water resistant though not waterproof.
My verdict: The Simms G3 Guide Duffel is an excellent choice if you want to bring a lot of gear. The long handles allow you to carry it over you shoulder. Added bonus: the large variety of attachment options.
- Multiple attachment options across the bag
- Long handles fit over the shoulder
- A separate shoulder strap would be a bonus when fully loaded
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: 33″ x 15.75″ x 16″ – CAPACITY: 80L – WEIGHT: 2lbs 4 oz (1,010g)
The Patagonia Guidewater Duffel 80L is a complete rework of Patagonia’s previous waterproof Sturmsurge Duffel bag (which was waterproof but not submersible). The new version is fully submersible thanks to waterproof zippers.
With a capacity of 80L, the Patagonia Guidewater can hold a lot of gear. Even when fully loaded, the Guidewater is comfortable to carry thanks to its wide padded shoulder straps. Another great aspect of this bag is the fact that it’s made from 100% recycled material. On the inside the Patagonia Guidewater Duffel 80L features an organisational mesh pocket. Lash points on the outside allow for the attachment of additional smaller bags or a fly rod as well.
My verdict: Probably the most straightforward waterproof duffel in this test. Incredibly durable and designed with the fly fisher in mind (see the rod tube attachment options).
- Rod tube attachment option
- Very comfortable to carry (even when fully loaded)
- The thick fabric makes the Patagonia rather heavy
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: 10” × 23 1/2” – CAPACITY: 50L – WEIGHT: 5.2lbs
American manufacturer YETI has established itself as a force in the outdoors industry and is certainly most well known for its coolers. Yet, they also produce great waterproof gear such as the PANGA 50 DUFFEL, a fully submersible duffel bag. Everything about this bag is incredibly sturdy.
The YETI PANGA 50 DUFFEL is made from laminated high-density nylon which YETI calls THICKSKIN™. It does indeed feel like an elephant skin and is built to last. The Hydrolok™ zipper safely keeps the water out and on the inside the YETI PANGA 50 DUFFEL features two mesh pockets for easy storage. The shoulder straps that can turn it into a backpack are detachable. Comes in three sizes: 50L, 75L and 100L.
My verdict: Built to last. The Yeti Panga is basically indestructible no matter the conditions. Fully submersible, this is the duffel bag you want to bring to a float trip.
- Side handles come in handy when fully loaded
- Shoulder straps enable you to carry the YETI like a backpack
- No outside pockets
- Shoulder straps could use some padding
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS (40L): 24″ x 11″ x 9″ – CAPACITY: 40L – WEIGHT: 2.2lbs (1kg)
The SealLine PRO Zip Duffle Bag is another high-quality option if you are looking for a submersible duffle. This bag definitely stands out for its versatility and possibilities to attach extra gear or attach the SealLine PRO Zip Duffle Bag to a boat or raft. The carry handles are removable.
The SealLine PRO Zip Duffle Bag is rated to stand full submersion in 1m of water for 30 minutes. Made from PVC free material with welded seams. Limited lifetime warranty and made in the USA. Comes in a variety of sizes (40L, 70L and 100L) and colours (black, brown and orange).
My verdict: The SealLine shines when it comes to loading it fully and still being able to carry it for a while thanks to the wide shoulder straps that allow you to carry it like a backpack.
- Plenty of attachments options
- Can be carried like a backpack
- A small outside pocket for keys or wallet would be a plus
Why we picked it:
DIMENSIONS: 21” x 12.5” x 11” – CAPACITY: 39L – WEIGHT: 2.6lbs (1.18kg)
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Duffel is the last submersible duffel in our test and offers a great degree of versatility. Made from recycled nylon, the Fishpond Thunderhead comes with a TIZIP zipper making sure all water stays out of the bag. Even the quick access pocket on the outside features a water resistant zipper.
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Duffel’s handles are made of climbing rope which is known to be incredibly durable. The shoulder strap is removable. On the outside a range of loops allow for the attachment of extra gear or a secure fit on a raft or boat. Comes in two colours and can be used as a carry-on in airplanes.
My verdict: Ever since putting my first Fishpond product to use, I have been a big fan of their manufacturing quality. Their products don’t come cheap but they will last for a long time.
- Zippered outside pocket for quick access
- Side handles for easy lifting
- Single shoulder strap only
Why we picked it:
The Big Stone Fully Waterproof Duffel is the last of our favorites when it comes to fully submersible duffel bags. It comes in three sizes (40L, 70L and 90L). The Big Stone Fully Waterproof Duffel can be carried like a traditional duffel or like a backpack using the comfortable, padded straps.
A neat little feature of the Big Stone Fully Waterproof Duffel is the integrated valve. It allows for air to be released from the duffel or to be added to make it float. Comes with two small pockets on the outsides (careful: these are only water resistant. Double-stiched seams make this duffel bag very durable.
My verdict: The Big Stone is a very rugged waterproof duffel bag that offers plenty of attachment options. Only downside is the fact that it gets hard to carry when heavily loaded.
- Zippered, water-resistant outside pocket on the side
- Big side handles for heavy lifting capabilities
- This bag has almost too many straps that can get in your way
Waterproof Rolling Duffel Bags
In this third part of our big waterproof duffel bag guide, we want to introduce you to another category: rolling waterproof duffel bags. These bags have the added benefit of wheels which makes them a great choice if you’re often travelling with lots of stuff and need to get around at airports for example. In this case the wheels make all the difference.
– Colors: Black and Yellow
– Sizes: 85L, 110L and 140L
– Shoulder strap system
– Aluminum protection plate on the bottom
Why we picked it:
The Ortlieb Rolling Duffle RS is the best wheeled waterproof duffel bag out there. And the reason for it is simple: it combines the best of both worlds. It has great, very sturdy wheels that even work well on gravel plus it is not only waterproof but fully submersible thanks to the fully waterproof zipper.
But it doesn’t stop here: the Ortlieb Rolling Duffle RS also features a heavy duty handle at the top to pull the bag behind you (and yes, it’s long enough so the bag doesn’t constantly touch your heels) and a great shoulder strap systems which means you can easily carry the duffel bag onto a boat even when loaded to the maximum. On the bottom of the bag an aluminum plate ensures solid protection even if you’re going down a rocky road.
My verdict: Ortlieb has done an incredible job with the Rolling Duffle RS. It has all the features you’re looking for in a waterproof rolling duffel and can take every environment you’ll throw at it.
- Fully submersible
- Excellent, heavy duty wheels
- Shoulder straps for heavy loads
- I’ve tried hard but I absolutely cannot find a downside on this bag
– Colors: Black, Blue, Black with Trout Logo
– Sizes: 40L, 70L and 100L
– Zippered side pocket
– Inside mesh dividers
Why we picked it:
Here’s another fantastic rolled duffel bag that’s waterproof, however not submersible: the Patagonia Wheeled Duffel Bag. It comes in three sizes (40L – great as a carry on, 70L and 100L) and three colors (black, blue and black with fish logo). What I like in particular about this bag, are its long handle that makes pulling it easy even if it’s a longer distance.
The Patagonia Wheeled Duffel Bag really shines on the inside though where it features multiple mesh compartments that make it very easy to stay organised during a long trip. It’s also a great way to separate used clothes from fresh ones. Attachments straps make it easy to keep everything secured safely, for example during air travel. A sturdy handle on both sides make it easy to lift this bag even when fully loaded.
My verdict: The Patagonia Wheeled Duffel Bag is a great option if you’re a fan of keeping things organised. Its inside system is second to none. Only downside in my eyes are the missing shoulder straps.
- Excellent mesh pocket system
- Great exterior handles for heavy lifting
- Long handle facilitates pulling
- Detachable shoulder straps would be a nice addition to this bag
– Color: Black
– Sizes: 128L
– Extendable handle
– Adjustable side compression strips
Why we picked it:
The Stormtech Trident has a very similar built as the Patagonia Wheeled Duffel Bag. It also features an extendable handle and a top closure systems with handles. Compression straps prevent your gear from moving around when travelling. The bag is only available in one size (128L) and one color (black).
Just like the Patagonia Wheeled Duffel Bag, the Stormtech Trident features a mesh pocket with zippers on the inside allowing for easy separation of different kinds of clothes. On the outside it features a transparent ID pocket where you can put your business card or another piece of paper with important information. The wheels on this bag are not quite as sturdy as on the Patagonia or Ortlieb but they still get the job done.
My verdict: If you’re looking for a waterproof rolled duffel bag that won’t break the bank, make sure to check out the Stormtech Trident. It’s not quite on the level of the Patagonia Wheeled Duffel but it certainly gets the job done.
- Extendable handle
- Big mesh pocket on the inside
- Wheels are not as stury
- No shoulder strap system
Conclusion on the Best Waterproof Duffel Bag
As you can see from our review there are basically two types of waterproof duffle bags. The choice you have to make is between a waterproof duffle (most often in the form of a roll-top) that will withstand water coming from above and a submersible one that can be immersed into the water (for a certain amount of time and a certain depth).
All of the products reviewed above are high-quality duffel bags that will last for a long time. In the end it really depends on the surroundings and circumstances you want to use it in.
Read more of our Gear Guides here:
Notice: We take part in affiliate programs. If you click on one of the links in the text and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products we are convinced of.
Why you should trust us: Leonard Schoenberger and his team have tried and tested hundreds of rods, reels and other fly fishing gear over the years. We always express our honest opinions about a product to help you make a solid purchase decision. We never get paid for reviews and are proud of keeping our editorial independence. Our focus is on bringing you the latest in gear so you can have a great time at the water. Thanks for being a reader of The Wading List.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I submerge a waterproof duffel bag in water?
Most waterproof duffel bags are not designed for complete submersion in water and may leak if submerged for extended periods of time. However, some higher-end models such as the YETI, Ortlieb or Fishpond are submersible and can withstand periods of submersion.
How big should my waterproof duffel bag be?
The capacity of waterproof duffel bags varies from model to model, but they are generally available in a range of sizes to suit different needs. The size and capacity of the bag will determine how much you can fit inside, but many duffel bags are spacious enough to hold clothing, gear, and other essentials for a weekend trip or longer.
What materials are used to make the bag waterproof?
Many waterproof duffel bags are made from durable, waterproof materials such as PVC, TPU, or nylon. Some bags may also have additional features such as welded seams or laminated coatings to improve their waterproofing capabilities.
Can I clean the bag easily if it gets dirty or muddy?
Yes, most waterproof duffel bags are easy to clean and maintain. Many bags can be wiped down with a damp cloth or hosed off, and some models may be machine washable for added convenience.
What is a waterproof duffel bag, and why is it useful?
A waterproof duffel bag is a type of travel bag made from waterproof or water-resistant materials, designed to keep your belongings dry even in wet conditions. It’s particularly useful for outdoor adventures, water sports, or travel in rainy environments, ensuring your items stay protected from moisture.
How do I know if a duffel bag is truly waterproof?
A genuine waterproof duffel bag will have sealed seams, water-resistant zippers, and be made from materials like waterproof nylon, PVC, or TPU. Look for bags with a high IP (Ingress Protection) rating to ensure they can withstand different levels of water exposure.
What are the benefits of a waterproof duffel bag over traditional luggage?
Waterproof duffel bags offer several advantages:
Weather Resistance: They keep your belongings dry in rainy or wet conditions.
Durability: Waterproof materials often enhance the bag’s overall durability.
Versatility: These bags are suitable for outdoor activities, water sports, and travel.
Easy Cleaning: Waterproof surfaces are typically easy to wipe clean.
Flexibility: Duffel bags are often more flexible in terms of packing irregularly shaped items.
Can I use a waterproof duffel bag for activities like kayaking or camping?
Absolutely, waterproof duffel bags are excellent for activities like kayaking, canoeing, camping, and hiking. They protect your gear from water exposure, making them ideal for situations where moisture is a concern.