The Sea to Summit Big River is 24-inches tall, 11-inches wide, and 7-inches deep. It is made out of 420 Denier nylon and closes with a classic roll-top which make it highly water resistant. Its durable material and reinforced lash loops allow you to secure your gear to your craft confidently and its flat cylindrical bottle makes it easy to pack. This model is perfect for stowing your gear on your paddle board, kayak, or raft.
The Big River is the perfect bag for recreational water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking
This model scored significantly above average in this metric. While a small amount of water seeped inside during testing, the manufacturer does point out this product is not designed for full submersion. Even so, only a small corner of the towel we placed inside for testing was wet after being submerged, and a coaster-sized portion was wet after being dragged.
This product was the only model well suited for general use that scored this high in waterproofness and cost less than $50. The Watershed Colorado Duffel, our Editors' Choice award winner, offers absolute protection from even the smallest droplets of water but costs more than four times as much.
This model kept our testing towel almost completely dry when dragged around the lake except for a small coaster sized patch.
The Marchway Floating 20L, is the least expensive stand-alone model we tested, but you'll get a significant reduction in waterproofness compared the Big River.
Lots of bubbles escaped when it was held under, but only a small amount of moisture seeped in.
Ease of Use
This was the toughest metric on this model, and yet it still brought home a score significantly above average. Although this bag is taller than it is wide, its shallow enough for you to reach the bottom of the bag and still keep your eyes on the contents. The flat oval base also helps to keep the bag upright and in one place while you are packing or unpacking
The Watershed Colorado Dufell was one of the few models to outscore the Big River in this metric. The wider than tall design of the Colorado makes for less stacking of contents which facilitates retrieval.
The flat oval bottom makes this model easy to pack.
The Big River provides no special carrying system. You can sling your arm through the loop made by the roll-top to get it to your boat, but it sports no additional features for long distance carrying. The SealLine Black Canyon Boundary Pack, on the other hand, features a padded removable backpacking harness that provides a much more ergonomic carrying system for longer distances.
Quality features earned this model a second-place score in this metric. Two welded TPU lash patches adorn each side of this model and provide a secure point for attaching the bag to your craft. Two plastic D-rings are also located at the roll-top, and a reinforced lip makes for more a tighter seal when it is closed.
While the Big River offers high-quality features for a standard dry bag, the Sea To Summit eVent Compression brings a unique twist by featuring a one-way valve at the bottom. This vent allows air to escape when it is being stuffed and compressed making it much more suitable to carry a sleeping bag or down jacket than the Big River.
A reinforced lip makes for a stronger seal when this model is rolled closed.
The Big River also offers no inside stash pockets to keep your small items contained. The YETI Panga is equipped with two small zippered pockets in the main compartment as well as removable backpack straps for easier carrying.
The Big River is made of 420 Denier nylon which makes it both resistant to scratches and tearing and lightweight. When dry and empty, this model only weighs 6-oz. Lighter models, like the Osprey UltraLight Dry Sack may be a fraction of the weight, but they need the protection of an outer pack to prevent holes from forming with regular use.
The plastic buckles of the Big River
are reinforced with stainless steel pins, and the lash patches on each side are made of a welded TPU fabric. Thus it offers significantly more durability than less expensive models like the Earth Pak Original
Two welded lash patches on each side provide strong anchors to fix this model to your craft of choice.
While the Big River was near the top of the heat in this metric, the YETI Panga took the crown thus earning it our Top Pick for Travel Drypack and making it a better choice if durability is your top concern.
The Big River is a great all-around bag and is well-suited for regular use. Its waterproof enough to keep your gear mostly dry and durable enough to hold up to frequent river trips. It's low cost, and general usability make it an excellent choice for most people on most water-based adventures. This model is technical enough for advanced rafters, yet inexpensive enough for even the most casual paddlers. Unless you are in need of a model with special features, your search for the best all-around dry bag ends here.
This model is well suited for regular use by everyone from the avid paddler to the casual canoer.
If you plan to carry hydrophobic electronic equipment and require more complete protection from water, check out the YETI Panga and the Watershed Colorado Duffel, our Top Pick for Travel Drypack and Editors' Choice award winners respectively. These two models let zero water inside and are better suited when keeping water out is an absolute must.
Other Sizes and Colors
Sea to Summit makes the same model in six other sizes ranging from 3-liters to 65-liters. The smaller versions, 3, 5, 8, and 13-liters, differ only by offering only one lash point on each side instead of the two per side found on the 20, 35, and 65-liter options. All of the various sizes are offered in blue, green, yellow, black, and orange.
This model costs a whopping $40 and boasts exceptional quality and functionality. Its high scores across the board combined with its low price made it an easy choice for our Best Buy award.
This classic roll-top model provides excellent durability at a very reasonable price.
The Sea to Summit Big River is the perfect bag for day trips on the water of all shapes and sizes. While it may not offer absolute protection from water if you drag it behind your boat, your clothes will still be dry if you get caught in a wake while out of your paddle board. This product offers a simple and durable way to store your gear away from water at an exceptionally reasonable price. From beginners to more advanced water-goers, this product covers the basics and beyond.