SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag – Great for Big Paddle Adventures
Packing for a multi-day kayak trip can be frustrating, tedious at best, trying to find the right combination of dry bags to carry all of your kit yet still be able to fit it into the cramped confines of your kayak’s bow and/or stern. Instead of fighting your kayak’s shape, the crew at SealLine decided to go with the flow, like any good paddler, and design a dry bag that fits the unique needs of kayak dry storage, the SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag.
SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag Review
Having found myself in the frustrated category more than once, I was eager to test out this Seal Line bag on my own kayak missions and perhaps find a better way to pack. Over the course of testing, I was able to use the Seal Line Bulkhead Tapered Dry bag on several overnight runs through the Gunnison Gorge and Upper Animas rivers, as well as numerous day trips on various river sections around western Colorado, usually paddling and packing gear into a Dagger Phantom or Pyranha Ripper.
As the name implies, the main feature of this dry bag is the Bulkhead Tapered design, which matches the shape of most kayak bows/sterns. While this may seem like a trivial design, it allows you to utilize much more of a kayak’s interior volume, specifically near the tips of the bow and stern, that is otherwise wasted with most standard, bullet-shaped dry bags.
Similarly, Seal Line kept this dry bag at a 20-liter capacity with a narrower profile, which allows the bag to fit through the narrow stern access behind a kayak’s seat which can often be the crux of packing a kayak. I can understand wanting a larger volume version of this dry bag, however, for most whitewater boats I’ve found 20-liter bags to be about the largest packed bag capable of fitting through the narrow stern access points with excessive force, so more volume might not be usable in many cases.
The tapered design is easy to pack with given a minimal amount of planning, as in my case I usually tried to stuff some socks or a shirt into the tapered tip of the bag, and then bulkier items after, so as to utilize the full volume of the dry bag.
I really liked using this bag in my Pyranha Ripper, which has a slicey (small volume) stern that can be difficult to pack out of. With tapered dry bag shape, I was able to access so much more of the boats volume for storage, though with the low volume stern loaded I did spend some extra time stern squirting out of drops…
Of equal or greater concern, is the waterproofing of a dry bag. This dry bag uses a standard roll-top closure, with two rubber strips to assure a good seal. Seal Line gives this dry bag their Waterproof rating, which they claim, “Withstands quick submersions and will float if dropped in the water.” In my testing, I would have to agree with this assertion.
I primarily kept this dry bag stowed in my kayak, which often had a couple of liters of water sloshing around the hull, and on one occasion for a swift water rescue class, we took turns swimming and towing each other’s capsized kayaks, which meant prolonged submersion of my dry bags. In all instances I was happy to find the Bulkhead Tapered dry bag kept my equipment dry, with only a few intrepid water droplets forcing through the roll-top closure on the one prolonged submersion test.
To achieve this level of waterproofing Seal Line uses a 70D/140D 7.5 oz polyurethane-coated ripstop nylon for the bag’s body. This material is lightweight and durable, as well as slick which I found very useful for sliding into my kayak without resistance or bunching. Although I try to keep my dry bags out of the dirt as much as possible, they do still see a bit of wear from repeatedly shoving them in and yanking them out of my kayak, as well as the inventible sandpaper action from any grit/dirt inside the boat. To that point, after several trips and some not-so-gentle packing, I have yet to notice any wear/fraying on the dry bag fabric or along the welded seams.
The Seal Line Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag includes one more unique feature worth mentioning, their patented Purge Air valve. Integrated smoothly into the body of the dry bag, the PurgeAir valve allows you to pack and close the dry bag, and then squeeze the bag to purge any excess air minimizing the dry bag’s final volume and reducing wasted space. While I wouldn’t consider this a must-have element in the dry bag, I did use it quite a bit to purge excess air. To use the valve once the bag is closed, simply squeeze the bag hard enough for the one-way valve to open, no buttons, levers, or magic words required.
The SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag is a great dry bag for kayakers looking to maximize the packing space of their boat. The tapered design fits perfectly into the cramped ends of a kayak, while the smooth nylon material slides in effortlessly, all with an optimal 20-liter capacity. Designed with big paddling adventures in mind, the SealLine Bulkhead Tapered Dry Bag helps get you and your gear there.
A transplant of the Midwest, Austen immigrated to the promised land of western Colorado in 2012 in search of good climbing, deep snow, quality rivers, and a college degree when his goofing off allowed. He learned pretty quick the difference quality gear can make on the outcome of a day (or days) in the mountains and began looking for the best gear to abuse.
In the summer Austen is an avid whitewater kayaker, bouncing his boat down the steep, rocky waterways of Colorado, trad climber in search of the route less traveled, and works as a federal river ranger along the Gunnison River. During the winter Austen spends his time telemarking around the backcountry of western Colorado and working as a ski patroller up on the continental divide.
Austen says, “A hundred days of skiing and paddling each per year and you’ll figure out what is wrong or right with your equipment, especially when your lively-hood depends on it.” Austen also has his American Avalanche Association Professional Level 1 avalanche certification, EMT-B, and ACA swift-water rescue cert, as well as a member of the Search and Rescue team in Gunnison County for 6 years.