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How Do I Choose the Best Waterproof Luggage?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Choosing the best waterproof luggage starts with determining what you will be using the luggage for. In general, luggage is stored and protected from the elements during travel, so if you are traveling by plane or train, a water-resistant piece of luggage may be sufficient. If, however, you will be carrying your belongings through inclement weather, you will need waterproof luggage that is not only resistant to water damage, but also lightweight, easily transported, and durable. If you are transporting electronics, consider hard shell luggage that will be waterproof and durable.

Duffel bags are the most common type of waterproof luggage. These duffels occasionally feature shoulder straps so the duffel bag can be worn as a backpack, or at the very least a shoulder strap so the bag can be carried on the shoulder. Consider this style of bag if you will be toting the waterproof luggage over longer distances, say on a hiking trip or walking through a large city. Duffel bags can come in a variety of sizes, so you can feasibly fit a significant amount of belongings in this type of luggage. Make sure the bag features taped seams; moisture is most likely to penetrate a bag at its seams, so taped seams will prevent water from coming in contact with your belongings.

Some waterproof luggage is ideal for things like canoe trips.
Some waterproof luggage is ideal for things like canoe trips.

If you prefer waterproof luggage that more closely resembles more common rolling luggage, consider hardshell polycarbonate or plastic luggage. These units are convenient, durable, and waterproof, depending on how the zippers and seams are treated. The polycarbonate shell makes the luggage useful for transporting fragile items such as electronics, and the shell is waterproof by nature. Such luggage may feature zippers, however, and these zippers will need to feature some sort of waterproof system to ensure water stays out. If the bags are hinged, the lip of the two sides of the bag will need to feature a rubber gasket that will keep out moisture when the bag is closed tightly.

Waterproof luggage may feature zippers.
Waterproof luggage may feature zippers.

Dry bags are commonly used by river runners and boaters to protect items that cannot get wet. Some dry bags can be used as waterproof luggage, but if you choose to use such bags, you will need to make sure straps and buckles can be tucked away during transport on airplanes. Airlines use conveyor belt systems that can catch straps and buckles. Some dry bags are transparent, too, and you will want to avoid such bags when traveling to prevent potential thieves from being tempted by the contents of your bag.

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Discussion Comments


@manykitties2 - You might want to forego waterproof luggage for a DSLR and look into luggage deals that offer cases specifically for your electronics.

I really like the aquapac SLR camera case because it is clear and doesn't detract from the look of your camera. It should match anything you have, as it really is about highlighting the camera.

The camera case is totally waterproof so you can take shots in the rain, or in a river if you wanted. Just be warned that it is quite expensive, and you're looking at about $200 USD for a case like this. I think it is worth the money though if you want to keep your camera safe.


Can anyone recommend some small waterproof fashion luggage that isn't too bulky?

My husband and I are going on a romantic getaway, but part of the trip involves us taking a small boat from one island to another and we were warned that we might get splashed. While I don't mind putting all of my clothes into plastic bags before they are packed, I want something nice to store our electronics in. We'll have no cellphones on this trip, but I have a nice DSLR camera that I don't want ruined by an errant wave. It is really important to me that the luggage looks nice, as the rest of my luggage is a nice set, and it bugs me when things don't match.


My dad has some waterproof motorcycle luggage. He goes on trips that last over a week sometimes, and during that time, he is bound to encounter rain somewhere.

His waterproof bags are designed to be strapped to the side of the motorcycle. They are 100% waterproof, and they don't even have a rain liner on the inside because of this.

He can carry books, magazines, and his camera in the bags without worrying. The bag is supposed to remain dry even in the worst stormy conditions.

He has driven through torrential rain and hailstorms before without getting his stuff wet. I think it would take a tornado to damage these bags!


@wavy58 – My husband and I rented one of those waterproof boxes one time, just because we were afraid to leave his wallet behind in our car. The fee was pretty high, so we decided to get him a waterproof wallet for our next boating adventure.

We found one that guaranteed it was totally sealed and unaffected by water. We bought it and took it on our canoe trip.

Even though we tipped our canoe over a couple of times in the river, his money and cards did not get wet. His swim trunks were soaked, but his wallet really was waterproof.


I went to the ocean last year, and I decided to go kayaking in the bay. The majority of my luggage didn't need to be waterproof, but I did buy one piece for the kayak to keep my electronics safe from moisture.

I took along a waterproof box. The kayak rental place lets you rent these boxes, but the fee is so steep that I thought it more economical to buy my own.

Inside the box, I placed my camera and my cell phone. I wanted to take lots of pictures of the island I was kayaking to, and I wanted to text some of them to my friends.

The waterproof box kept everything safe and dry, even though a wave did wash over part of the kayak at one point. I had secured the box to the kayak with a strap, so the wave didn't carry it out to sea.


I had a feeling that a misting of rain would be falling during my hike with my friends, so I brought along a waterproof duffel bag with double straps. It is made of the same material that waterproof pants are made of, so I knew that it would work.

I had snacks and drinks in the bag, and this would be the only sustenance I would have access to for three days. I had made sure to only buy the kind of luggage that said on the label that it was fully waterproof.

Sure enough, halfway through the first day, we got a light drizzle of rain. Nothing in our bags got even slightly damp, though.


Some waterproof luggage is really inexpensive, and it comes in lots of sizes. I got a small piece of luggage that was waterproof last year when I went to Europe, because I wanted to make sure it wouldn't be damaged in bad weather, since I was going to be traveling a few weeks.

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    • Some waterproof luggage is ideal for things like canoe trips.
      By: Marek
      Some waterproof luggage is ideal for things like canoe trips.
    • Waterproof luggage may feature zippers.
      By: Nomad_Soul
      Waterproof luggage may feature zippers.