The most important thing that anyone would want in an Overboard Bag is that it is going to keep whatever is put inside it, dry!
Whether you need a small bag for an iPod, cell phone, or camera, a fanny pack for keys, cash and valuables, a dry tube bag, or a sports duffel bag or backpack to stow all your gear, many manufacturers are adopting helpful rating systems that shows the level of protection from water ingress, at a glance.
Overboard Dry Bags are given a rating on a scale from Class 1 to Class 5 with Classes 3 to 5 being used for dry bags or an ‘IP’ rating with IP66, IP67, and IP68 being used for dry bags. Here is a list in order of waterproof protection:
- An IP66 bag floats and can handle quick submersion.
- A Class 3 bag will float if dropped into water or accidentally submerged for a short time. It could let in water during prolonged submersion or if submerged at depths greater than 3 ft.
- An IP67 bag is submersible to depths of up to 3ft for up to 30 minutes.
- A Class 4 bag is suitable for use during underwater swimming and snorkeling as it is waterproof to depths up to 12 ft. It could let in water if submerged at greater depths, for periods longer than 24 hours as this could damage the seals.
- An IP68 bag is submersible to depths of up to 19ft for up to 60 minutes.
- A Class 5 bag is the most waterproof and could be used at depths of up to 100 ft (depending on the manufacturer’s specifications) Suitable for snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports such as white water rafting. It could let in water if subjected to a force or blow that damages the watertight seals or if used at depths greater than the manufacturer’s maximum depth guidance.
Choosing Your Overboard Bag
There are many types of Overboard Bags to suit every imaginable application and to keep your clothing and valuables safe and dry.
Waterproof dry tubes, sports duffel bags, and backpacks are the most popular among outdoor sports enthusiasts. For those considering trekking or an adventure holiday including kayaking, for example, a waterproof backpack is the obvious choice. For those involved in water sports the practical shape and ‘stow-ability’ of a dry tube bag or the large capacity of a sports duffel bag make them the most popular.
Accessories such as waterproof iPod cases (with waterproof headphones, of course) and fanny packs, add to the enjoyment and convenience of your chosen watersport or outdoor pursuit.
What To Look Out For
- A Class 3 or IP66 rating, or above: Whether you are choosing an overboard dry bag of the backpack, dry tube, or duffel bag type, you will need one with a welded, seamless construction, a roll top sealing system and a classification of Class 3, or IP66, or above (or with the manufacturer’s equivalent statement). This will ensure that your bag will float if dropped into water and will survive a quick submersion if necessary.
- Built-in ventilation: For Overboard backpacks, the fact that they are waterproof means that the outer will not absorb perspiration when wearing them. For comfort, built-in ventilation is essential, so look for a backpack with a ventilated back panel and vented, padded shoulder straps and lumbar support.
- Easy storage: A sports duffel bag is probably a better option if you have a lot of gear to pack – as these are available in a wide range of sizes, right up to around 150 liters. They are easy to stow your gear away in as they have a wide-mouth opening.
- Practicality and versatility: Dry tube bags that come in a range of sizes from as small as 5 liters, up to around 40 liters have an added advantage as they can be folded neatly away in a backpack when not in use. Some overboard duffel bag models have a set of padded straps supplied that enables a duffel to be converted to a backpack and this is a useful refinement if you need to carry a surfboard or kayak to the water as well.
Whatever type of Overboard bag you choose, buy the best quality you can afford. Choose a model with an efficient sealing system, top quality zippers and plenty of inner compartments. For items that can get wet without harm, such as your water bottle, for example, secure external pockets and carabiner clips are useful additions.