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Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sack

photo: Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sack dry bag


Price Current Retail: $24.95-$64.99
Historic Range: $4.48-$64.99
Reviewers Paid: $45.00-$54.95


2 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
Version reviewed: 35L

Sea-to-Summit's 35 liter Big River Dry Bag is a voluminous stuff sack that is good for situations where keeping gear dry is top priority. While this reviewer is pleased with the product, he is left wondering why a bag marketed as “waterproof” cannot be submerged?


  • Large capacity
  • Oval design keeps bag from rolling
  • Lash loops
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably priced


  • Not submersible

Note: While I did purchase this product new, I bought it with the CampSaver Gift Card I won from Trailspace in June 2014. Thank you, Trailspace! Now to the review...

Testing Parameters:

The 35L Big River Dry Bag was used for 8 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in September 2014. Temperatures ranged from mid-70s to mid-30s. Rain was a part of the trip for three full days.


Size Options:

The Big River line comes in a multitude of sizes ranging from 3L up to 65L. I spent a lot of time going back-and-fourth trying to decide what size I should purchase. In the end, I decided the 35L was more than I needed for just a sleeping bag, but better too much than too little. I ended up being completely satisfied with the choice.

Inside is my 15F synthetic sleeping bag, Stoic down jacket,
JRB UnderQuilt, and DangerBird hammock, with room
left for a change of clothes.

The 35L measures 13”x8”x28” and weighs in at 7.7oz (218 g). That is lighter than the 20L dry bag I own from another company.

Quality & Construction:

This is a well-made bag. The 420 denier nylon is tough and durable. During portages the six guys in our group grabbed whatever was handy and tossed it onto the rocky shore for others to start carrying. While we weren't abusive with gear, we weren't exactly babying this bag either. Seams are double stitched and sealed to be waterproof.


The Hypalon lashing loops are “resistant to chemicals, temperature extremes, and ultraviolet light” (Quote taken from Wikipedia.). They are surprisingly tough, and while I haven't gone out of my way to try and break one, I imagine it would take quite a bit of effort to do so.



Well, yeah, sort of. Rain was a constant companion for nearly half our trip. At no time were the contents of my bag damp, even as I hung it in the rain with my extra clothes.

Notice the wet tarp to the left.


But I remain confused over Sea-to-Summit's instance that this bag is only waterproof if it's not submerged. It seems to me that once the top is rolled down, the bag should be sealed. (For an absolute waterproof bag, see my review on the Swaygo Push Pack.)


Strapped to my Vargo Ti Arc external frame pack, the 35L dry bag doubles my carrying capacity and serves to replace my need for a rain cover (See my Ti Arc review regarding its problem with rain covers.).


With the Big River in place, I essentially have a 69L bag, with the sleeping bag compartment being completely waterproof.


In Closing

Sea-to-Summit has a winning product here: Large volume, light weight, affordable price. I can definitely recommend the Big River Dry Bag to anyone in the market.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45

Joseph Renow

Nice review Goose. I use STS dry-bags in the watertight-ish compartment on my kayak...they are very lightweight bags that provide a lot of protection...I have had these bags submerged in shallow pools with no issues...but it is my guess that the stitched instead of welded seams is the weak-point and reason for the disclaimer.

8 years ago
Daniel Oates

That size to weight is pretty impressive, especially with all of the lashing loops.

8 years ago

I agree Daniel.

8 years ago

Nice review, Goose. Sea to Summit makes some very nice dry sacks. I have the Sea to Summit eVent compression sack/dry sack and it has worked really well for me over the years.

8 years ago

I had looked at the eVent line, Ashleigh. They look nice.

8 years ago

@Joseph, you're probably right about that. I did notice STS insists that electronic devices be double bagged inside.

8 years ago

Thanks for the review, Goose.

8 years ago

Nice review, as always. Over many whitewater and ocean kayaking trips, I've always stored stuff in these type of roll-top dry bags. And while I've never had a problem with the contents getting wet, I understand why the companies avoid saying that they are totally waterproof. Having also been a SCUBA diver, I know all too well that almost anything with an internal airspace will eventually fail when subjected to enough underwater pressure. The roll-top design of most drybags just isn't designed to hold up to the pressure of being submerged more that a few feet. I suppose the companies might instead claim that the product is waterproof to 3 feet or something like that, similar to claims you see for watches and waterproof electronic cases. I commonly see people overstuffing their drybags so that they can't be rolled the required amount. So human error might also be a factor in the conservative claim.

8 years ago

Thanks for the insight, Lah!

8 years ago

Good explanation, Lah. Thanks.

8 years ago
Version reviewed: 35L

Quality bag and durable without too much weight.


  • Quality and strong enough, but not too heavy as I was limited to 50 lbs of gear.


  • I have not found one yet.

Just back from an 11-day trip into the Tundra North of Brooks Range, Alaska, and with rain days of 9 out of 11 these bags worked great. I used two 35L bags for my clothes and food and even the tents were soaked inside and we used a pan to bail them out every day; my stuff stayed dry.

This size was perfect for the fly in a floatplane and even fit into the floatplane's floats.

Not all gear impresses me, but these did their job well. They maybe even saved my life as the temps were low 30s to low 40s for highs and wet. Dry clothes keep one alive as two flown out the day we flew in had come out because of hyperthermia and by the looks on their faces they were in shock.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $54.95 plus tax

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