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You know something we have not had great success with? Dry bags. We have had numerous different products and all have failed to retain their waterproof status in what I believe is far too short a time. How long are we talking? Months, not years.

We have used both the Outdoor Research Durable Dry Sacks and the MEC Brooks Bags. In spite of good reviews on the MEC site, all failed in short order. We are currently using a Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack and it seems to still be doing its job although we have only had it for 6 months.

At the same time that we purchased the Sea to Summit bag, we ordered a Seattle Sports protective case for our iPod Touch. While it may be splash proof and we still use it to guard our iPod when taking it to shore in our backpack, it is in no way waterPROOF as advertised. Fortunately, I found this out when there was only paper currency in it and not our expensive iPod.

Why post about this today? After purchasing the iPad mini that I mentioned yesterday, I’d really like to have a waterproof case for it that I can trust. Sadly, my confidence in this product category is pretty low right now. I would love to hear from people who have first hand reviews of products like this, good and bad. I’d also welcome hearing from some manufactures or suppliers! Perhaps, if they’re confident enough in their wares, they’d like to send us some samples to “road” test? I’ll reciprocate by posting an honest review here on our site.

By the way, I noticed later in the day that yesterday’s post on this blog was my 1400th. Do you think I have another 1400 in me? 🙂


  1. I sure hope you do! 😉

  2. I have had really good luck with these:

    They are more of a soft pliable vinyl .030 maybe instead of a thin crinkly material.

    • Have you submerged them?

      • Yes. My last trip with them was a 7 day kayak trip in Exuma. I basically had three small ones so they could be shoved up in the front and back of the sea kayak. I had electronics in one, snacks in another, and clothes in a third one. I thoroughly water tested them at home before using them. I know one challenge is if you do not fold dry bags over properly they can and will leak. What I liked about these is that they have two black strips welded(image attached) on that make it almost impossible to not get a good seal. You can fold them wrong for sure, but once you test them and understand exactly how to fold them, they are impervious. You can also fold them too much, which will cause them to leak. The SealLine only require one fold over.

        • The dry bags that I had (have) which failed are NOT as a result of us not closing them properly.

          • You are just hard on stuff! 😉

            • I know you are joking but I almost put that in the post today. We have NOT been hard on these bags! They live inside our boat when we are not using them, in a nice clean cabin void of any sharp objects. That is why the failure rate is unacceptable!

              • So has the seam at the bottom failed? Or they rip easy? Or does water simply go through the material? I don’t know about the rest, but these clear SealLine bags are kind of a rubber material, almost like the material a mask is made out of, but a little less pliable. So it is not a coated fabric that can eventual leak.

  3. Mike,

    I know you are inquiring about waterproof housings for your iPad, iPod, etc but consider this, we swear by this backpack:

    Its expensive but it really does the job. I use it daily when we go from boat to shore in the dinghy but we also use it when we swim to shore (I place it on my chest since it will float)…..we put our iPhones, local cell phone, sneakers and a towel in it. As long as its completely zipped (easy to see if its zipped up all the way) it will be completely waterproof. Its size is perfect for daily use, just big enough to carry essentials (computer, iPad, rain jacket, wallet, etc.) and a couple of things that you may pick up on shore….not big enough for large provisioning though. Purchasing one waterproof backpack seems more cost effective than purchasing numerous waterproof housings for individual electronics. I trust the Patagonia bag much more than I would a case like Lifeproof. Besides, it keeps other items that aren’t electronic dry as well. I can’t say enough good things about this backpack!


    • You’re right, it is pricey but if it works…! I’m not sure I understand how the zipper seals it though. Is the zipper metal or plastic?

      • Large plastic teeth so it doesn’t seize up at all in salt water. I can take a close up photo and email it to you if you would like. We have had them (we actually have two) for four years on the boat, although we are seasonal sailors not liveaboards. But, the bags stay on the boat year round in the elements. I am a big fan of Patagonia as they stand behind their products like no other.

        A little story about their customer service/product integrity…….my husband was climbing Mt. Elbrus in Russia many years ago and one of the members of their climbing party broke his leg. They used my husband’s Patagonia three layer Gortex shell to create a sled to get the guy down the mountain. In the process the lining began to slightly peel away. When my husband returned home I contacted Patagonia about how we could repair the lining (I was not looking to them to replace it or repair it just a suggestion on how to fix it). They insisted that I return it to them and they would replace it with a new one free of charge. I told them that the jacket was damaged due to the way it was being used, that it wasn’t faulty. They disagreed, stating that when you are in the elements like the mountains that their products HAVE to stand up to all sorts of demand including shuttling a man down the mountain. That spoke volumes to me in that they understand the rigors of outdoor pursuits and the abuse gear most likely will experience.

        The backpack that we have was made with every intention of full submersion in salt water, not just the occasional splash over a boat deck, etc. The coated fabric is quite thick, it would take a serious tree branch or such to puncture it. Anyway, it sounds like I work for Patagonia! But I don’t, I just really believe in their products and after the experience we have had with all sorts of their products over the years I put my trust in their gear.

  4. We’ve had good luck with Sea to Summit. We use it for our iPad when traveling to shore. We also have a large Coleman dry bag that I use for laundry. I think we’ve had it for about 6 months and it seems to be holding up and appears to be well constructed and sturdy.

  5. So far the only success that we have had is putting things in individual small dry bags and then putting them into a larger dry bag / backpack. 🙁
    Even then I am not sure about submersing them. We do make sure that we keep air in the larger bag when sealing and closing it so that it tends to float rather than sink even though some manufacturers tell you to “burp” them before closing.

    • I once swam to shore at The Baths with our DSLR in 4 layers of dry bags. Only the final one that actually held the camera was dry inside. All the others failed.

  6. Mike, notice from your screenshot that your WordPress install is a bit out of date, having had some malware, namely the black hole toolkit installed on mysite through a weakness you might want to update and check your themes are also current. Its a pain to fix and worse case you could get blacklisted by Google if infected.

    BTW on WiFi access, don’t know if your aware of dongles, but they are great way to access 3g or now 4g and share the internet access via your own WiFi hotspot.

    Well done on the posts!


    • I hear you but I am a bit afraid to upgrade it. It goes against my “if it ain’t broke, don’t mess with it” philosophy to do so.

      The dongles have to be provided by the cell companies. Digicel or Lime, the main companies down island, MIGHT have such a thing.

  7. If you’re willing to accept a different form factor for more strength and waterproof security then try a Pelican case (or equivalent). Or if you don’t want to go all the way in that direction just get one to fit the electronics and continue to carry the less sensitive stuff (wallets, etc.) in the bags.

    • I do like the Pelican cases and actually have a couple. Their only drawback is that they are bulky. Perhaps that’s the price that one must pay for security.

  8. We use the life proof cases for our I phone, I pod and I pad, they are over priced but do the trick! But we have only tested them in and around the lake!

  9. Mike, congratulations on something I saw on your dashboard. Actually two things. First, 16820 comments…WOW!!! Second, and more impressive, 16820 comments and 16820 comments approved. Good or bad, you put them all out there for reading and discussion. Kudos for both!

    • Thanks, Chip. I have actually approved every comment, even the two or three negative ones. In fact. those lucky people actually got their comments copied and pasted into a future post for scrutiny. 😉

      Did you note how many spam comments we have had? I have actually scanned every one of them looking for false positives. THAT is a pain!!!

      • Mike,
        You should offer to those with negative comments a refund of their subscription costs to your blog? And for those of us still waiting on “someday”, being able to live vicariously through you and Rebecca for the time being is priceless.

  10. Want me to mail you a wad of Walmart bags and gallon Ziploc bags?

  11. Mike,

    Try the Dry Case brand… Their products have performed well for me.


    P.S. I really enjoy following your adventures

  12. Long time follower (reader since post #1) first time posting. I jumped in a pool with my iPhone and decide that paying another $600 for a new one was not going to happen so I bought one of these: I have fully tested this submerging for more than 30 minutes, leaving it in the snow, and dropping it from above counter height to the floor. If they make an iPad mini case nothing you do to it will be a problem.

    BTW love the blog, great content and writing.


  13. We use lock and lock containers when we want air/water tightness. They are not however, flexible, but they do have an ‘O’ ring gasket to prevent intrusion of water and air. We pick a size of container that the object, phone, ipad, camera …will just fit into. We used to be able to buy them at Wal Mart, but no more. So I check the plastic container section of each store we go in to. If that does not work, try this web site:

    Not only do these containers work for electronics, but food and tools too.

    D & Don Wogaman

  14. Maybe??


    What is better than using your iPad on the boat? Being able to protect your iPad in the harsh marine environment, that’s what. Extreme weather protection for all iPad generations:
    Built-in flotation
    3M glare resistant screen
    Stainless steel hinges
    Waterproof certified to IPX-7 standards
    Fully sealed for water, dust and dirt protection
    Contact Information:

    Club Jeppesen Members save over $40 on your DRIPADZ
    use discount code “ipadcase99” when ordering.

  15. On the lock & lock containers: Amazon has a decent selection of various sizes, for those still in areas with reasonable shipping.

    s/v Mirador

  16. There are a couple of companies advertising on Amazon, TRIXES and GADGETPOOLUK.
    Have you tried any of these bags, and are they waterproof?

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