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July 25, 2022 12 min read

The Ultimate guide to top waterproof SUP bags

Gili waterproof backpack on gili inflatable paddle board deck

Whether you’re new to the world of stand up paddle boarding or a seasoned SUP expert looking to update your gear, deck bags are a must-have while out on the water.

When choosing which of these best SUP deck bags fits your unique needs, be sure to read this guide to learn everything you need to know about making this critical decision.

How Do You Keep Things Dry When Paddle Boarding?

Do you keep your items in the car and go without them all day? What about your keys? Are they really safe in your pocket? What if you get hungry or thirsty? This is an all-too common dilemma posed by newcomers to the stand up paddle board scene, but the solution is ridiculously simple: Keep your things with you on board with a waterproof deck bag!

Why Use a Deck Bag On Your Paddle Board?

Coming back to find your sandwiches drenched or losing your phone to the ocean can undeniably throw a wrench in what’s supposed to be a fun-filled day at sea. A high quality waterproof bag can make the difference, ensuring your valuables stay safe and secure on your board so you can focus on catching waves. 

What Size Dry Bag Should I Get for Paddle Boarding?

Dry bags can vary in size significantly, boasting a capacity of anywhere between 5 liters and 55 liters. The 5-20 liter range tends to be a sweet spot for day trips, while 25 liters and above are common in waterproof backpack style bags perfect for multi-day camping excursions.

What to Look For When Buying a Deck Bag

Woman paddle boarding on a sea with a dry bag on deck

With so many brands offering all sorts of different styles, functionalities and sizes of deck bags, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with all of the choices. To help you narrow down your search, we’ve outlined a few key factors to keep in mind when shopping for paddle board deck bags.

Made for Paddle Boards

In your search, you will likely run into bags made for kayaks as well as bags made specifically for stand up paddle boards. While some may be versatile, kayak bags and paddle board deck bags do vary in size, design, and contour, so be sure to check the specifications to ensure it will fit your SUP board. 

Straps and Handles

Will you be lugging your bag around for great distances while you’re not on the board? If so, it’s definitely worth checking whether the bag has carrying handles or shoulder adjustable straps for easy transport to and from the water. 

Compartments

Backpack style bags will often contain many different compartments, while a standard dry bag is typically just one big sack. To decide how many and what kind of compartments you’ll find most useful, consider what items you’ll be carrying with you and how often you’ll need to access them. 

How It Attaches

It’s important to keep in mind the deck bag’s attachment system and if it's compatible with your board’s deck surface. For instance, inflatable boards and foam boards require different methods of attachment than smooth hard boards. 

D-Rings

D-Rings are exactly what they sound like - D shaped rings which secure your bag to your paddle board. Many paddle board deck bags require at least four D-rings for secure attachment, so be sure to check before buying.

Waterproof

Make sure to know the difference between waterproof and water-resistant. If it’s crucial that your contents remain dry, you need one that guarantees it’s a waterproof bag. 

Capacity/Size

Ranging anywhere from 5 liters to 55 liters, the ideal size of deck bag relies entirely on your individual needs and preferences. 

What's the Best SUP Deck Bag?

Designed with the paddle boarder in mind, GILI’s deck bags are superior in functionality and durability at an unbeatable price point that won’t break the bank.  Offered in three different sizes to fit everyone’s individual needs, GILI deck bags range from the compact 5 liter Anchor Dry Bag to the whopping 55 liter Waterproof Backpack complete with removable shoulder straps.

Gili’s Top 3 Picks

Small
Black anchor dry bag
Gili Anchor Dry Bag 5L

Designed to perfectly fit our SUP Anchors, these durable and waterproof 5L dry bags are also great for keeping small items dry with heavy-duty vinyl watertight protection and a convenient shoulder strap.

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Medium
Waterproof roll top dry bag
Gili Waterproof Roll-Top 15L Dry Bag

Available in a plethora of color choices to match your SUP, the 15L dry bag holds a surprising amount of gear without taking up too much deck space. Made with heavy duty vinyl-coated fabric fabric and comes with a watertight external zipper pocket and detachable shoulder strap.

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Large
Blue gili waterproof backpack
28L, 35L, 55L Waterproof Backpack Roll-Top

Our best option for traveling and available in three sizes and four colors, Gili waterproof backpacks are compact, lightweight, easy to carry on your SUP, and comfortable to carry on your back with ergonomic shoulder straps and a sternum strap for extra support.

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The Best SUP Deck Bags

THURSO SURF SUP Deck Bag

Have you ever craved nothing more than cracking open a cold one after catching a big wave? Look no further than the THURSO SURF Sup Deck Bag. Designed with the “thirsty” in mind, this unique deck bag is the ideal size and shape to keep your beverages cool as well as store snacks for some mid-session sustenance. 

Thurso surf SUP deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Water resistant with ultra-thick inner insulation
  • Dimensions -14” × 12” × 4”
  • Side carry handle
  • External zipper mesh pocket
  • Sealed zippers to prevent excessive water ingress
  • Internal mesh storage pocket
  • 4 carabiner style bungee hooks to attach to D-rings
  • Waterproof pouch for cellphone and personal items

What we love:

  • Thick insulation and a rectangular shape
  • Can double as a lunchbox or cooler for picnics.
  • It has the capacity to carry 10 drink cans or equivalent food and ice.

What we don't love:

  • Be aware that the bag itself is water resistant, not waterproof.

Doubling as a lunch box and cooler for picnics, the THURSO SURF SUP Deck Bag is perfect for staying hydrated and fueled up during those long days out on the surf. 

GECKOBRANDS Lightweight 30L Waterproof SUP Backpack

A favorite among water sports enthusiasts, Geckobrands has an extensive line of quality dry bags and gear, and this spacious yet lightweight waterproof backpack is no different. With a sizable 30 liter capacity at only 10 ounces, this pack really packs a punch for the baggage. 

Neon green geckobrands waterproof lightweight backpack

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Adjustable dual reinforced nylon straps
  • Heavy-duty multi-layered waterproof design
  • Front zip lock accessories pocket
  • Light-weight 210D polyester coated interior
  • Roll-top waterproof opening
  • Interior 8″ x 7″ waterproof accessories pocket
  • Exterior 9″ x 8″ water resistant pocket 
  • Capacity: 30 liters 
  • Weight: 10 oz 
  • Two D-rings for accessories or attaching to your SUP

What we love:

  • Available in 11 different color schemes
  • Geckobrands offers customization to suit everyone’s personal style. 

What we don't love:

  • Customers have noted that it’s not the most easily accessible storage compartment, and might require a bit of fishing around for smaller items stored inside. 

This roomy, yet, space-efficient waterproof backpack by Geckobrands is an all-around crowd-pleaser.

Seattle Sports Vinyl Coated Mesh Deck Bag

Simplicity is the motto for this Seattle Sports deck bag. This mesh bag keeps it light and basic, perfect for storing your water bottle and other beverages on your board for a quick hydration pick me up. 

Seattle sports vinyl coated mesh deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Vinyl-coated mesh
  • Corrosion-resistant zippers
  • Four 360° swivel snap hook lash points for attachment
  • Webbing carry handle
  • Small mesh pocket inside
  • Reflective silver stripe accents
  • Dimensions: 15.5” x 11.5” x 5”
  • Volume: 14.6 liters
  • Weight: 7.2 oz

What we love:

  • The mesh material means this bag can be submerged in water
  • Keeps your water bottle and beverages cool on a hot summer day
  • Dries quickly for when it’s time to pack it up. 

What we don't love:

  • Customers have noted that it’s not the most easily accessible storage compartment, and might require a bit of fishing around for smaller items stored inside. 

If it’s a simple and economical deck bag you’re after, the Seattle Sports mesh deck bag is a fine candidate. Keep in mind you’ll need to get a separate waterproof pouch for valuables that need to stay dry. 

Taj M'Haul Deck Bag

A popular choice among paddle boarders, you can tell the manufacturer had their customers in mind when they made the Taj M’Haul Deck Bag. With a design as clever as its name, you can’t go wrong with this waterproof deck bag by Northwest River Supplies. 

Red Taj Haul Deck Bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • 400-denier nylon plastic shell
  • Double-pull zipper entry
  • Extra mesh pockets
  • Inner waterproof bag with Hydrolock zip seal closure
  • Dual hook-and-loop attachment straps for tie down points 
  • External bungee cord
  • Carry handle
  • Reflective stripe for increased visibility
  • Dimensions: 17” x 13 – 11” (tapers) x 5”
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs

What we love:

  • Tapering system can be adjusted from 13” to 11”
  • Bag can be easily custom fitted to your paddle board

What we don't love:

  • Ranking as the most expensive bag on this list, there are other paddle board deck bags available that are more than capable for a much lower price point. 

With lots of different pockets and compartments, the Taj M’Haul Deck Bag is for the hyper-organized types out there that love their bells and whistles.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS QuickDraw Deck Bag

A brand known for their high quality gear when it comes to water sports like kayaking, canoeing, and - you guessed it - SUP boarding, Advanced Elements does not disappoint with their QuickDraw Deck Bag. Featuring a semi-rigid water-resistant shell and removable interior waterproof dry bag, you can rest assured your items will stay safe and dry while you’re catching waves. 

Yellow advanced elements quickdraw deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made with 500D PVC tarpaulin for water resistance and durability
  • 75D rip-stop roll-top
  • Semi-rigid shape
  • Removable interior waterproof dry bag
  • Adjustable straps and D-rings
  • External bungee cord 
  • Dimensions: 14” x 8” – 6” (tapers) x 4.5” – 3” (tapers)
  • Volume: 7 liters
  • Weight: 18.4 oz

What we love:

  • Unlike many SUP deck bags with soft shell exteriors, the semi-rigid shape allows quick and easy access to small items while on the water.

What we don't love:

  • Weighing over a pound with only a capacity of 7 liters, this deck storage bag isn’t the most space efficient on this list. 

A unique two-in-one storage solution made with only high quality materials, Advanced Elements ensures optimal durability and protection from the elements with their QuickDraw Deck Bag. 

Chinook Aquawave 20 Kayak Deck Bag

This multi-purpose deck bag from Canadian outdoor gear brand Chinook is both strong and versatile, whether you’re on the water, on land, in the air, or wherever your adventures take you. 

Yellow chinook aquawave kayak deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Main compartment is water-resistant
  • Internal frame stiffener board
  • Side storage panels
  • Additional mesh compartments
  • Detachable shoulder strap 
  • Nylon bar-tacked stress
  • Corrosion-resistant zippers
  • Dimensions: 17.9” x 16.2” x 2”
  • Volume: 20 liters
  • Weight: 15.2 oz

What we love:

  • Holding a capacity of 20 liters, this deck bag is contoured with an internal stiffener board to ensure maximum storage. 

What we don't love:

  • With a higher price point and only water-resistant, there are other options better suited for those looking to keep their belongings bone dry.

The Chinook Aquawave Deck Bag is a solid choice for outdoor enthusiasts that don’t stick to one sport. 

Sea to Summit SUP Deck Bag

Designed specifically for use on stand-up paddle boards, the Sea to Summit Deck Bag is for the purists out there who want a specialty dry bag fit perfect for their needs. 

Blue Sea to Summit SUP deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • ​​Made using 420-denier fabric
  • Impeccable stitching
  • Watertight roll-top closure
  • Three aluminum hook ladderlock buckles
  • Six tie-down loops
  • Self-adhesive lash points
  • Volume: 12 liters
  • Weight: 12 ounces

What we love:

  • With a capacity of 12 liters and constructed particularly to fit neatly on a stand-up paddle board deck, this sleek design of the Sea to Summit SUP Deck Bag strikes a sweet spot in terms of size and shape. 

What we don't love:

  • The paddle board deck bag does not offer a shoulder strap, carrying handle, or seemingly any added feature for easy transport.

The Sea to Summit SUP Deck Bag is ideal for those that prefer a minimalist approach and specialized features when considering a paddle board deck bag. 

Gearlab Deck Pod

This award-winning deck bag is one of the most thoughtfully designed on the market when it comes to peak performance and functionality. Offering storage panels for paddle board accessories and safety equipment like a bilge pump, paddle float, and hydration bladder, accessibility is the key with the Gearlab Deck Pod. 

Dark gray gearlab deck pod

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made with 450D hydrolysis resistant fabric
  • External holders on either side
  • Low profile design for less wind resistance
  • Quick-release buckles
  • Carry handle
  • Several mesh pockets
  • Internal zip seal closure pocket
  • Water-resistant
  • Fits a 3-liter bladder
  • Weight: 12 oz

What we love:

  • The Gearlab Deck Pod neatly fits a three liter bladder, and even features a bite valve tube to be attached to the hydration bladder. 

What we don't love:

  • The hydration bladder is not included, and customers have reported the zipper malfunctioning and breaking in some cases. 

If you find yourself getting thirsty but not wanting to interrupt the action, you can’t go wrong with the critically-acclaimed Gearlab Deck Pod for easy hydration while riding the waves. 

SUP-Now Paddle Board Deck Bag

Created by paddle boarders for paddle boarders, this no frills SUP-Now bag prioritizes enhanced performance and function over all. Forsaking water resistant material for a lightweight and low profile design, this simple mesh bag with suction cups is perfect for those who are serious about their water sports. 

Black SUP-Now paddle board deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Carry handle
  • Four suction cups with quick-release hooks
  • Large, corrosion-resistant zipper
  • Waterproof insert bag included
  • Dimensions: 12” x 14”
  • Weight: 8.5 oz

What we love:

  • With a light and aerodynamic design, the mesh bag sits only 2 centimeters above your board. While the bag itself is not waterproof, it includes a waterproof insert that can act as a waterproof phone case or key holder. 

What we don't love:

  • Keep in mind the suction cups won’t work on inflatable paddle boards, but you can still use this bag by connecting it to the D-rings.

If you’re after a deck bag designed with performance in mind, the SUP-Now Paddle Board Deck Bag is the one for you. Perfect for those with epoxy boards that are compatible with suction cups, but foam and inflatable paddle board users should steer clear. 

Overboard Gear Waterproof Deck Bag

Overboard Gear doesn't mess around when it comes to waterproofing their gear. Citing the Ingress Protection Rating System, they rate the main compartment of their deck bag as Class 3, meaning it can handle quick submersion, and float safely to the top if dropped in the water. 

Yellow overboard waterproof kayak deck bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made with 600D PVC tarpaulin
  • High-frequency welded seams
  • Six side buckle connectors
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • Roll-top closure
  • Front storage webbing
  • Dimensions: 10.2” x 11.8” x 16.9”
  • Volume: 20 liters
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs

What we love:

  • Sporting a sleek design and featuring bungee cords on the front, this dry bag has an air of utilitarian trendiness that other modern paddle board deck bags lack. 

What we don't love:

  • One of the steeper items on this list, there are more budget friendly dry bags with the same volume capacity out there. 

This classic Overboard bag is a solid choice for those not wanting to have to choose between quality and aesthetic. 

Attwood Deck Storage Bag

Small but mighty, the Attwood Deck Bag is a decent choice for those looking for a compact bag that will keep their items secure while out on the water. 

Yellow attwood deck storage bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made with PVC
  • Water-resistant
  • D-rings and cords for attachment
  • Reflective stripe for night/fog paddling
  • Several compartments
  • Dimensions: 10” x 8” x 3”
  • Volume: 8 liters
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs

What we love:

  • Coming in bright yellow and two reflective stripes, the Attwood bag is perfect for offering visibility at night and in foggy conditions. 

What we don't love:

  • Another deck bag that’s just water-resistant, we can’t recommend this one to those who require a waterproof storage solution. 

The Attwood Deck Storage Bag is a sound and economical option for those that are keen on it’s compact size and high-vis features.

GILI 15L Dry Bag

Waterproof, durable, colorful and affordable - what’s not to love! We think this 15L dry bag by GILI Sports is the optimal size, and conveniently features a watertight seal from a simple roll-top closure, removable shoulder strap, and external zip pocket for those easy access to belongings on the smaller side. 

Waterproof roll top dry bag

Where to buy:

Features & Specs:

  • Made with heavy duty, vinyl-coated fabric
  • Roll-top watertight seal
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • External watertight zipper pocket
  • Volume: 15 liter
  • Comes in 7 colors

What we love:

  • This waterproof dry bag strikes a perfect balance with it’s 15 liter capacity- not too bulky yet roomy enough to fit all of the essentials. 

What we don't love:

  • Nothing!

Among the most affordable dry bags on this list, the GILI 15L Waterproof Roll-Top Dry Bag is a superb option that offers the most bang for your buck without sacrificing quality or functionality. 

All in all, whether you’re gearing up for an excursion down the Grand Canyon or frequenting your local river spot for day trips, you’ll want to add a deck bag to your SUP stash to keep all of your essentials safe and secure. This list provides a wide array of what’s available in the deck bag market, with a bag of every shape and size for every occasion to help you plan your next adventure on your stand up paddle board.

Jay Regan
Jay Regan


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