On a recent 9 week 3,600 mile bicycle ride I used Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks to store the items that needed to be kept dry and/or organized. The bags come in many different sizes and colors. Note: you have no choice on colors when ordering, only purchasing directly in a store.
Past trips have taught me that regular plastic trash type bags will keep ‘stuff’ dry, but also will get caught in zippers or easily torn. In the past I tried to use Ziploc bags which are sturdier, but the zip slide eventually fails, leaving the bags open. While planning for this recent trip I discovered Sea To Summit Dry Sacks. A number of these bags weighed the same as the pannier rain covers so I decided to try them out instead of messing with rain covers.
I chose different colors for the same size bags with the thought of organizing my ‘stuff’ to make it easier to find things. Also, the different size and color bags made it less necessary to pull everything out of the panniers when looking for only one type of item. The bags have a roll up top with snap which provides a carry handle as well as keeping water out. Even though the bags do not have compression straps I discovered you can compress the contents pressing down before rolling up and sealing the top.
Many of the bags were used daily for 9 weeks and suffered no ill effects other than a few scuff marks. I tended to pack my panniers so that these dry sacks were not up against sharp corners or edges of other items to minimize vibration wear. I also felt that the dry sacks conformed easily to the available pannier shape and space, thus conserving space.
They can be a little pricey ($22.95 for the 4.9 ounce x-large bag and $11.95 for the 1.4 ounce x-small bag) but can be used for many trips if taken care of. Initially I purchased three bags to fit my clothing, tent, and sleeping bag, both to try the bags out and to save a little money. I continued to use Ziploc bags for smaller items. Eventually I replace most of the Ziploc bags with the smaller dry sack sizes. When selecting the correct size bag remember to add about 5-6 inches extra length so there is adequate room to roll the top down and close the snap.
Do I recommend them: you betcha! Will I use then again: you betcha!