When we head out for our small-boat day trips we always bring snacks, water, towels, a wallet, and some dry clothes. It was challenging to keep those items dry from bilgewater and spray from the bay, so we began looking for dry bags that would keep those items accessible and protected. Recently we tried one of SealLine’s Discovery View dry bags, and it has been more than up to the task.

Photographs by the authors

The translucent material provides a view inside the bag, so there’s no having to guess what’s in it, an advantage when you have your gear in several dry bags.

The SealLine Discovery View dry bags have sides made of translucent 12-oz polyurethane; the bottoms are opaque 18-oz polyurethane-coated polyester. The translucent material has a frosty appearance, but colors and shapes are easily discerned through it. The opaque bottoms are offered in four colors to help distinguish one bag from another. Our 5-liter bag is big enough to hold a towel, a couple of shirts, and a few oranges with room to spare. The bottom is oval, creating flat sides to keep the bag from rolling off a dock or traveling around the cockpit. The D-ring attached to the closure provides a way to secure the bag and keep it safely tethered in the boat to avoid loss or getting underfoot. All Discovery View bags are equipped with PurgeAir valves. Once the top is sealed, the bag can be pressed down, making it even flatter and roll-resistant, and the enclosed air vents through the one-way valve. Just be sure not to cover the inside face of the valve with anything that won’t allow the air to pass through.

The Discovery View material feels tough and promises to be resistant to tears and punctures. The seams are radio-frequency (RF) welded, which results in a longer lasting seam that offers more resistance to water intrusion. The 1″-wide seam on the back of the bag is almost fully transparent and provides a strip with an even clearer view of the contents. The 5L bag weighs 4.8 ounces and, full of gear with the top rolled down, measures roughly 4″ x 7″ x 10″ and has 305 cubic inches of space.

The PurgeAir one-way valve vents excess air but keeps water out. The bag, with its top rolled down in three crease-free folds, keeps its contents dry.

Discovery View bags carrying cruising gear float if dropped in the water and are rated by SealLine as “waterproof, withstand quick submersions.” We have left our bag floating in the bay for as long as 45 minutes, and submerged it several times yet the contents stayed dry. In one trial, we noticed five to six drops of water finding their way past the black sealing strips and into the bag because we had rolled the top closure down only twice instead of three times. SealLine notes, “water resistance depends on the user carefully and properly sealing the closure. This means a minimum of three tight, wrinkle-free rolls.” The buckle halves are joined on the side opposite the folds. SealLine also advises against storing electronic or photographic equipment in any dry bag as they are not designed to provide gear submersion protection.

SealLine has been making bags to protect and carry adventure gear since 1986. The light weight and performance of the Discovery View dry bags make them well suited for use on our fleet of small boats.

Audrey and Kent Lewis mess about with their small fleet of 16 boats in the shoal waters of Northwest Florida and document their boating adventures and restoration on their blog.

Discovery View Dry Bags are available directly from SealLine and from numerous retail and online sources. They are available in four sizes: 5L, 10L, 20L, and 30L. Prices range from $29.95 to 49.95.

Is there a product that might be useful for boatbuilding, cruising, or shore-side camping that you’d like us to review? Please email your suggestions.