Testing Internal Dry Bags on Colorado's Dolores & San Miguel Rivers
I tested Stikine’s 70L internal dry bags on a three-day trip on the San Miguel and Dolores rivers, Colorado, while working for Four Corners Guides. I used them in an Alpacka Raft “Classic” model, size L, loaded with food and gear for two people for the entire trip.
Toughness & Weight
The tough material of these internal dry bags offers excellent protection against abrasions and chafing. They are not as light as other bags I have used, but they feel more durable.
As with all such dry bags, care must be taken with how gear is stored inside the packraft. Any hard or sharp object within the dry bags can damage our crafts if improperly packed and if one collides with a rock while paddling. In this case the quality of the material also helps to protect the packraft from punctures.
Internal Dry Bag Clipping System
When it came to storing my gear, I tried to compress all the gear inside as much as possible. After a while, like any typical dry bag, the air inside expanded. Because of this, I did not need to secure the bags inside. They stayed put. The clip system of the Stikine bags is not compatible with the Alpacka internal dry bag clipping system. But it didn’t matter in this case.
Specifically in my dry bag I stored sleeping bag, warm jacket, two t-shirts, underwear, first aid kit, bag with four carabiners, webbing and coordinates, repair kit, a book, camera bag with external battery and cell phones, ultra-light tent for one person and quick fix food, two dinners, two breakfasts, chips, tortillas, cheese, a box of sardines, cereal bars and a couple of other things like that, food for three days.
I left out of the dry bags my sleeping mat that takes up a lot of space, a folding seat. Basically because of the large space they would have occupied inside the bag.
I used the other dry bag to carry my friend Jaron’s personal items since he did not have a cargo fly on his boat.
How To Pack Your Dry Bags
The first thing I keep in my dry bag is the sleeping bag, fully extended in the bag. That way I can store the hardest or sharpest things inside the bag, such as hardware, food, repair kit, first aid kit… to prevent possible damage to the packraft if I should happen to slam into a rock or something. I finished filling the dry bag with my tent and clothes.
Advantages and disadvantages
Unlike other Alpacka Raft dry bags I have tried, the Stikine bags have much more load capacity. Plus, the roll-top closure system is simpler to maintain. The zippered system are sometimes problematic because the teeth accumulate dirt and dust.
I would like to see additional colors to better distinguish the dirt, sand, small stones or any tiny material that we do not want inside our boats. However, in general the Stikine Packraft Dry Bags fulfill their function wonderfully in the field. I highly recommend them for their resistant material and great capacity to hold plenty of equipment.
The dry bags are 70L, though the company also has a backpack dry bag that comes in 90L.
Cost: $29.99 (really affordable for the high quality of these internal dry bags!)
“With a size capacity of 70L, our dry bag is the perfect addition to your packraft order – especially if you plan to go on a multi-day adventure. If you’re going on an overnight trip in the great outdoors, you can pack all of your gear into these long dry bags, you can position these dry bags inside the tubes of your packraft and then hit the open water.”
Visit the website! Stay tuned, we’ll be reviewing their large sizes bow bag soon!
Note: We’ve asked the manufacturer and Waldo to weigh the bags and will update this review once we hear back.
Waldo owns and operates Scouting Rios, a packraft school and guide service in Chile. He is certified in the following: Wilderness First Responder Nols, Master Leave No Trace Nols., Whitewater Rescue Technician Professional Rescue3 and Técnico en Turismo de Aventura DuocUC. Read the blog post about Waldo’s trip to Colorado, including his participation in the Four Corners Guides Advanced Packrafting course, May 2022: “Chilean Packrafter Hones Skills in Advanced Paddling Course.”
Check out some of our other blog posts, including an excerpt from The Bikeraft Guide, “Route Planning Check List.“