A Simple Legacy:

Celebrating a Decade with the Urban Backpack

“Some days are like riding through a dishwasher,” says Stacie Langtry, SealLine Category Manager, referring to commuting in Seattle roughly September through May.

Seattle’s “wet season” enjoys a certain level of notoriety, and those who use alternative, more-exposed means for their commutes (whether via bicycle, motorcycle, public transportation, or otherwise), could certainly be called “hardy”.

Photo: Kaitlin Bailey

When we launched our Urban gear ten years ago, we thought of it as an extension of our waterproof dry bags and gear—many of us in the office had alternative means of commuting that, through the seasons of Seattle, often necessitated durable and easy-to-access waterproof protection. Urban was our solution.

“We thought there were better ways to still have the protection of a roll-top dry bag, but make it much faster and easier to access for daily use,” said Erik Flink, SealLine Brand Director during the Urban pack’s development. “Our portage packs were really successful, so making an urban-specific product was the natural progression.”

That progression from paddling-specific designs and manufacturing processes to a new, urban-specific product proved challenging, however.


“We had a few design requirements—like quick access without using a velcro closure—that required a lot of design engineering to make it work the way we wanted,” continued Flink. “From a manufacturing standpoint, some of the designs were more technical than anything we’d done before, too, but we wanted to ensure it all stayed simple and easy to use. That was a hard thing to overcome.”

Undaunted, the design team moved forward. What eventually became the QuickClip™ design borrowed some inspiration from a holster. All-new materials were tested and selected for their blend of waterproofness, durability, and metropolitan look. Manufacturing hurdles were resolved. After a number of iterations and refinements, a deceptively simple Urban backpack emerged.

“Simplicity was a big part of the design,” said Josh Buesseler, an Industrial Designer who worked on the project.


Indeed, the pack’s apparent simplicity belies the thoughtful design behind it, as well as the technical challenges overcome in order to ensure it functioned as designed (don’t ask how many steps it takes to weld a padded, mesh-covered back panel onto a three-dimensional shape).

“People were really blown away when we launched the Urban,” added Flink. “They didn’t know what to think of SealLine making an urban-centric, fully waterproof pack. It surprised everyone, but they got it.”


Soon after launching, Urban products were recognized with accolades from within the outdoor industry (OutDoor Industry Award) and design publications (I.D. Magazine), reaffirming the success of the team, and the product, in blending rugged performance with smart, simple design.

It didn’t take long for Langtry to recognize an opportunity with the frequent use of the packs—she started making one-off packs out of materials she wanted to test, giving them to the numerous passionate, year-round bike commuters in the office.

Photo: Mikk Kaschko

“Every year, we look for new materials to innovate and play with,” said Langtry. “I have to know if those materials are going to meet our standards. Typically, you just have a lab test things, but I like to see what happens with real, daily use. People are rolling and unrolling the packs multiple times a day, most days of the week. It puts a lot of stress on the materials. Because of the daily, real-world testing, the pack really helps us identify ideal materials for use in all of our dry gear.”

Phil Hitch, Director of Product Development, has been testing Urban packs since they were first prototyped.

“It’s the most waterproof thing I own,” says Hitch. “Everything else I commute with may be soaking wet—my socks, under my jacket, everything—but I know whatever’s in the pack will be dry. For ten years I’ve been commuting with one, and I know that much. They haven’t changed much. They haven’t needed to.”

“That it’s gone ten years with basically no changes—I think that speaks to its success as a design and product,” said Buesseler. “Simplicity was a key part of that.”

Raising River Rats

Playing in the John Day river

Photo: Scott Schell

“Wow, that looks relaxing!” my friend remarked as she flipped through photos from my recent rafting trip. I laughed.

“What?” she queried.

“Relaxing” would not be the first, or the fifth, adjective that I would have used to describe the recent trip. At the particular moment in the photo, it was our fifth day on the John Day River, 63 miles into a 70-mile trip on the north-central Oregon river. Instead of the forecasted temperatures in the mid-80s, the mercury was pushing towards 100 degrees. And though I was in one of the boats, shaded by an umbrella and drinking a beer while everyone else unloaded gear at our final camp, I was also trying to remind myself that while I wasn’t physically helping the group, I was helping Wiley by letting him finish his nap.

With no shoreline trees for shade, getting out of the boat would have put us in direct line of the “death star”. So, we chilled in the shade of the umbrella on the boat, Wiley asleep on my chest. He’s 20 months old and I knew this snuggly-yet-slightly-uncomfortable-can-I-move-and-not-wake-the-child? moment would only become more infrequent.

Before long, he lifted his pink-flushed cheek and took in our surroundings. There wasn’t much to see since the umbrella blocked most of the view, but I think kids are so much more sensitive to the elements of the earth—the gentle coolness of a slight breeze, the sound of the water rippling against the raft. “Bird,” he signed. The he roared like a lion at me.

Photo: Becca Cahall

When we had our first child, Teplin, my husband Fitz and I initially did a few backpacking trips with him, but we wanted to find a way to get out in the wilderness for more than two or three days at a time. Three days isn’t enough time for me to relax to a new pace, to let my thoughts spin like little eddies. Before I can totally settle in, my mind switches to thinking about the end of the trip, to rehashing those thoughts from the “real world” that I momentarily put on the back burner. Close friends suggested canoeing, and we thought, “Sure.” So, the first time I ever paddled a canoe for more than 2 hours, we headed out on an 8-day trip to explore the Boundary Waters in Minnesota when Teplin was 21 months old. Eight months later we paddled 100 miles on the Green River in Utah. We loved the expansive desert, the short hikes from our camps, Teplin’s voice echoing off the canyon walls, and the quiet contentedness that fell over all of us as we paddled the boat towards the Colorado River. We returned again the following spring.

Then, as we welcomed Wiley into our lives, getting out for just a weekend felt like a win. We didn’t seem to have the resources, physically or mentally, to contemplate even a short backpacking trip. Our trip on the John Day would be our first wilderness trip as a family of four. The unknowns felt more daunting this time, but we wanted to make it happen. We recruited some friends and launched—6 days, 70 miles.

Photo: Becca Cahall

In every trip where I’m moving beyond my comfort zone of what I normally do, there is a moment where I think, “This was a bad idea,” and seriously question how I ever thought it could be a good one. That feeling seems to amplify when I start to fret over what possible “harm” I might be inflicting on our kids. Call it mom guilt, fretful, or over-protective, what have you—it feels silly and yet those thought spirals are undeniable.

On this trip, my moment came on the third day. Over-tired, over-stimulated, over-hot or simply over-it-all, Wiley wanted out of the boat. My mind spun with doubt and uncertainty—Was Wiley not ready for this kind of trip? Had I overestimated his ability to settle in to the changing routine? If that had been our last day on the river, I would have walked away and thought, “Well, we tried. Maybe it wasn’t the right trip. Maybe he’ll like it when he’s a little older.” But we were halfway through the trip and the only reasonable option was to keep heading downstream.

Then, on the fourth day, Wiley seemed to settle in to the flow of the river. He pretended to drive the boat, contentedly munched on snacks, shrieked at his brother (less), and let me dip his toes in the river as Fitz rowed. As Wiley’s attitude changed, I felt myself relax more, and suddenly little Wiley giggles led to bigger giggles by all of us on the boat. Our final days felt easier and diluted the sting of the harder moments that had felt impossible to ignore just days ago.

By the time we reached the take-out at Cottonwood State Park, my memories were forming around the other moments: Watching a dragonfly nymph emerge, Teplin’s infectious enthusiasm, catching bullfrogs, cautiously watching a rattlesnake move through camp, rock throwing, and long days that felt even longer under a waxing moon. Teplin had become a river rat—jumping gleefully into any flat-water stretch, hitching a ride on Shane’s kayak and learning to take the eddy “elevator” to float a rapid. And, after a few days, Wiley seemed like he might come around to river life.

We’re already planning the next river trip.

Photo: Becca Cahall

How to Choose Waterproof Gear Infographic

Should you use a dry bag, or a dry sack? What goes in a dry case? Why would you use a dry backpack instead of a dry duffle? What is the best waterproof protection for a sleeping bag?

We routinely hear the above questions, and with so many choices when it comes to selecting waterproof gear, we certainly understand—to help ease the process of choosing waterproof gear, we made the below guide for identifying and choosing between our waterproof dry bags, dry sacks, dry packs & duffles, and protective cases & accessories. We hope this helps you choose the right waterproof option for your next journey!

How To Pack A Sea Kayak

Photo: We Are Unicorns

Editor’s note: The below was originally created by one of our colleagues, Diane L. as a presentation for Canoecopia, which she’s given several years in a row now. She started paddling in the mid-90s, doing primarily whitewater kayaking until she took her first multiday sea kayak tour in 1998. As she puts it, she brought too much stuff (including five books) and her boat “looked like a junk show”. This first journey helped her realize the importance of a gear list, gear selection, and the nuances of loading a boat. Since then, she’s completed numerous self-supported sea kayaking trips, many on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. We’re immensely thankful that she’s shared her hard-earned advice and wisdom with us below, and we hope it helps you out on your next sea kayaking journey!

By Diane L.

Foremost, before packing a kayak, consider your style of packing and how much gear you prefer to bring—whole hog? minimalist?—and the length of the trips that you like to take. If you don’t already have a boat, the size of the boat you’re using (rented or borrowed) will dictate what you can and cannot bring.

  • A quick note: typically, it’s the overall volume of gear (not weight) that is the limiting factor when loading a touring kayak.


Photo: We Are Unicorns

You’re ready to pack, now what?

    • Use a gear checklist—this will help keep you from forgetting things.
      ○ This is flexible and depends on several factors, including where you’re paddling, for how long, and your personal style.
      ○ (We’ve included a checklist of suggested items at the bottom of this post.)


  • Choose your dry bags wisely.
    ○ An assortment of small- to medium-sized dry bags (e.g., 5L, 10L, 15L, and 20L sizes) will optimize space usage better than large ones. Large bags tend to leave unfilled spaces.
    ○ Tapered bow and stern dry bags will maximize available space. It’s handy to tie a length of cord onto bow & stern bags for easy retrieval.
    ○ Dry bags with nylon fabric will typically slide easily in and out of hatches.


  • For packing clothing:
    ○ Divide into two different colored bags:
    ○ One for items you’ll want ASAP/that night, such as your hat, long underwear, toiletries, headlamp, or clothes you’re going to sleep in.
    ○ The other for spare items or clothing you’ll use later.


  • For packing food:
    ○ Sort into 3 different colored bags—breakfast, lunch, dinner. Keep in mind, some items don’t need dry bags, such as oranges, canned foods, canned beer, wine, etc.
    ○ Consider freezing some foods at home—they’ll serve as chiller/ice to keep other foods cool and you can eat them once thawed.


  • For bulk water:
    ○ You can reuse bags from boxed beverages (add a fabric cover to protect and make carrying easier).
    ○ Other options are 4L-10L water storage bags or collapsible water carriers.


Photo: Diane L.

Alright, you’ve organized and packed your gear… now what?

  • Load smart! Use thought and reason when loading your gear into your boat—it’ll make a huge difference.


  •  Ensure you have quick access to important/emergency gear (flares, spare paddle, paddle float, throw bag, water bottle, waterproof/floating VHF radio, wool hat, snacks, paddle jacket, bilge pump, compass).
    ○ For flares, stow them inside a deck bag or in the cockpit—there’s a better chance they’ll stay dry and less of a chance of losing them.
    ○ Secure spare paddle, paddle float, and throw bag on the rear deck to minimize spray deflection.
    ○ Water bottle (tie down!).
    ○ Waterproof/floating VHF radio, wool hat, and snacks can go inside a deck bag.
    ○ Paddle jacket (behind seat).
    ○ Bilge pump can be stowed next to seat.
    ○ Compass can go atop deck bag or, if your boat has it, the molded-in flat spot designated for compasses.


  • When loading up the boat, tuck small items around bigger ones.
    ○ Loading a boat involves some compromises: Items stored in dry bags lend greater integral buoyancy and more convenient handling; loose small items make better use of space.


  • Place heavy items low and centered towards cockpit for ballast.
    ○ Arranging items this way can improve boat handling by reducing swing weight, and the boat will react to waves more quickly, helping you stay drier (with heavy items at the bow or stern, those ends of the boat will be more easily submerged by waves; the lighter you can keep the ends of the boat, the more likely they’ll tend to stay on top of the water and minimize submersion and splashing).


  • Store bulk/extra water in the cockpit, behind the seat, or forward of foot pedals if there’s room.


  • Keep food items cool by placing them along the keel line.


  • Distribute and balance weight between fore and aft, port and starboard.
    ○ A bow-heavy boat will plunge into waves and be awkward to steer in a following sea; a stern-heavy boat will tend to weathercock in beam winds.
    ○ Boats with port- or starboard-heavy loads will feel awkward and unbalanced and will tend to turn toward the heavier side, forcing the paddler to lean the opposite way and constantly correct with paddle strokes.


  • Keep large ferrous metal items away from the compass.
    ○ Large ferrous metal items, like a cast iron Dutch oven, can affect compass readings; stow them the minimum recommended separation distance specific to your compass (e.g., four feet).


  • Minimize gear on the boat deck.
    ○ On-deck gear adds windage and raises the boat’s center of gravity.
    ○ Ensure any on-deck gear is tied down—items tucked under bungees can be easily lost.


  • Know if the tide is coming in or going out and place a boat accordingly on the beach.
    ○ As a general rule of thumb, allow approximately two hours to break camp and load a boat on big trips and/or if you bring lots of gear.


  • Get help when lifting and moving a loaded boat—support under the hull; do not drag.
    ○ A loaded double kayak can weigh as much as 400 lbs.!
    ○ Good-sized toggles at bow & stern make carrying more comfortable.
    ○ Lifting straps make it easy for four people to carry a loaded boat.


Diane paddling along Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast. Photo: Lesley L.

Additional general tips:

  • Use large mesh cargo bags (with solid bottoms) to haul gear to & from boat.


  • It can take a long time to break camp and re-pack your boat well.
    ○ Allow two hours to break camp & load boats on big trips (plan accordingly w/currents & tides).


  • Loading becomes easier as the trip goes on
    ○ You’ll become familiar with what goes where, and there will be less food/beer!


  • And of course… HAVE FUN!!


For quick and easy packing, Diane shared with us her packing list—it’s cumulative, so the gear listed for a weekend trip is in addition to the gear you’d bring for a day trip. Here’s the list:

SealLine Sea Kayak Packing List

Please note: These tips and packing suggestions are just those: suggestions. Exercise your best judgment in determining what to pack and how, ensuring your choices are appropriate for the trip and conditions.

Behind the scenes:

The machines and people that make a dry bag

Our waterproof dry bags are made in our US factory

It may not look glamorous, but we’re proud of our factory—the people and the machines—and the dry gear that we make in it every day. Photo: Stacie L.

“Every machine has a name,” she said. I stopped and looked up from my notes.

“Wait, what?” I replied. Stacie Langtry, SealLine Category Manager, smiled. Eleven years ago, Langtry started working for SealLine as a production engineer on the factory floor, managing the daily ins and outs of making dry gear in our factory. Six years ago, she transitioned into a Category Management role for SealLine, and has been guiding the development and manufacturing of SealLine products since.

“Yeah, on the factory floor, every machine is named,” said Langtry. “There’s the ‘Baja Bottomer’ machine, the ‘Big and Tall’ machine, and a bunch of others.”


Each new SealLine dry bag has a long, hands-on past behind it—someone designed it, someone made the tools necessary to make it, someone cut the materials for it, someone held the materials a specific way so they could be properly welded (by a machine that has a name), and so on.

When we started in 1986, we had radio frequency (RF) welding machines and a number of ideas on how to make high-quality waterproof bags, though we soon found that our ideas exceeded the capability of our machines, particularly when we tried to make round bottoms for our dry bags.

The machines, as they existed on our factory floor, simply couldn’t make dry bags with round bottoms. We believed strongly enough in the benefits of a rounded-bottom dry bag design that we decided to modify our machinery. Through engineering, trial and error, and a few discussions with the machine manufacturer, we were able to modify our RF welding machines to allow us to make dry bags with rounded bottoms. At the time, our modified RF welding machines were more advanced than the new machines being made by the machine manufacturer.

Baja dry bag uses an angled weld on its round bottom for waterproof protection

Developing the round bottom of our Baja dry bag required creating a tricky angled RF welding process.

Production supervisor Rurt, who was with SealLine at the start, remembers the process, “For those rounded bottom welds, there’s an angle—between 45° and 60°—and depending on the thickness of the materials and the coating, the angles give you more or less of a bend in the fabric,” he said. “With lower angles, you have more of a bend in the fabric, and you can get more wrinkles in the weld. I mentioned, ‘Hey, let’s try this, see how it works…’ and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It depended on the material. We tried some tricks and got it to work.”

Though the RF welding machines play a significant role in the making of our dry bags, it’s really the hands-on skill of the operators that makes the difference. Anyone who’s worked on the factory floor is quick to mention the various tricks, machine quirks, and “secrets” one must learn in order to correctly weld a dry bag.


Making waterproof dry bags is a hands-on, skilled process.

Making dry bags requires hands-on work that blends science and skill. Photo: Stacie L.

“RF welding is almost like a ‘dark art’,” said Langtry, as we continued our conversation. “Our more experienced engineers work with the newer ones to ensure knowledge is passed along. RF welding is complicated—you have this hard, fixed shape of the machine, but you’re taking these highly flexible pieces of fabric and laying them in the machine in a very specific way. Those pieces of fabric don’t want to stay in place, yet you’re trying to make a 3D shape. Plus, the machine settings have to be just right, and there can’t be any dust or a loose hair anywhere—those can cause an arc and start a fire. It’s all super hard. It looks like a simple thing to do, but it takes a lot of skill.”

Between the skill of the people, and the capabilities of the machines, there’s a bridge that connects them: what we call “tooling”—pre-made forms, casts, and dies—that ensures consistency and accurate manufacturing. For instance, we use tooling to ensure that the sealing strips are straight and in the right place when we make a dry bag. These “tools” are made in-house in our own machining and tooling facility. This in-house capability enables us to quickly explore ideas and rapidly improve upon them.

Our machining facility helps us make tools for welding waterproof dry bags in our US factory.

Our in-house tooling facility allows us to rapidly make new tools to use with our RF welding machines. Photo: Stacie L.

Frequently, our colleagues on the factory floor will have an idea for a product tweak or a manufacturing improvement. They’ll let us know of these ideas, and in turn we’ll often machine a rough tool within a day or two and get it to the factory floor to prove the idea out, sometimes yielding initial prototypes within a week. Being able to iterate concepts and prototypes like this has a simple outcome: we’re able to improve products quicker.

This agility recently paid dividends once again: in the initial development of our new, stow-friendly Bulkhead™ series of dry bags, we identified some potential manufacturing complications. With input from our factory floor, and some quick tooling modifications, we were able to quickly adapt some manufacturing processes we’d developed for our military-grade dry sacks, which allowed us to move forward with making the Bulkhead bags to our standards while avoiding a major slowdown in production.

Instead of a slow back-and-forth—which can be the case with out-of-house manufacturing—we were able to identify and fix a problem within a matter of weeks. Our in-house manufacturing and tooling teams played a critical role in enabling us to do this so quickly.

In-house engineering improves the development of waterproof gear and dry bags.

By tweaking the design of our air-purging valve, our engineers were able to improve air-venting performance on our new Bulkhead Compression dry bag.

Our in-house engineering expertise also plays a big role when we develop new products. For example, with our PurgeAir™ valve, which is RF welded into all of our new Bulkhead dry bags, we thought the air-purging performance of the valve could be improved. After some R&D and a few design tweaks, our engineers were able to improve the valve significantly—compared to the old design, the valve now vents air twice as fast and takes half as much effort to do so. Less work and faster venting means less hassle when packing and loading a boat. This in-house engineering capability plays an essential role in our efforts to design and build great gear, and perfectly complements the efforts of our factory and tooling shop.

Waterproof Bulkhead tapered dry bag fits into kayak hatches for dry protection

A lot of work by a lot of people goes into each dry bag that’s used to protect your gear while you’re out paddling. Photo: We Are Unicorns

From our design tables to the tooling shop to the factory floor, we’re proud of the numerous hands (and machines) that contributed to the development of not just our new Bulkhead series—the View, Tapered, and Compression dry bags—but all of our waterproof bags. We believe that all of those hands make a difference when it comes to the end product, and we think you’ll enjoy the results of those efforts on your next voyage.

SealLine: Then to Now

Discover the Evolution of Our Dry Protection

Early waterproof bag designs for keeping paddling gear dry

Two of our earliest waterproof dry bags.

When it comes down to it, a dry bag is deceptively simple. It’s just a bag, right? Sure, it uses waterproof materials, and the closure definitely matters—but, really, how complicated can a dry bag be?

How about fire-coming-out-of-machines complicated?

In 1986, opportunity presented itself and a passionate group of paddlers wound up with some radio frequency (RF) welding tools. RF welding uses concentrated radio frequencies to join separate pieces of coated materials at a molecular level, creating a highly durable and impermeable bond between them. While these tools were originally used to make gear for the maritime industry, our originators had the notion to use them to make waterproof bags for kayaking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, and other paddling activities—the vision was simple: surely, paddlers would also enjoy industrial-strength waterproof protection while out on the water. Thus, our brand was born.

The bottom of our early waterproof bag design was square. Our early dry bag design had a fold-over flap, too.

Our early square-bottom and fold-over flap designs.

Our early dry bag designs looked more like paper grocery bags—they had a squared-off bottom and sealed with a fold-over flap with a hook-and-loop closure. Arguably, a dry bag’s closure is the most-used (and most important) part of a dry bag. It’s part of what makes the bag “dry”, after all. We wanted to improve the user experience of this critical aspect, and after two years of the fold-over flaps, we came up with our Dry Seal™ dual-strip roll-top closure, which made it easier to properly seal our dry bags. Two years later, recognizing that the “points” of the squared-off bottoms were high-wear areas, we introduced rounded bottoms. Ever evolving, our passion as paddlers informed the improvements we made to our dry bags.

Materials were our next area of focus. As an alternative to our solid-colored bags, we introduced transparent dry bag options, which used clear films to allow paddlers quickly identify and access the bag’s contents. We then expanded our materials options to include polyurethane-coated (aka, PVC-free) options. The benefits of PVC-free materials were significant—they’re eco-friendlier, lighter, and more durable than polyvinyl chloride-coated (aka, “vinyl”) materials. However, it wasn’t an easy transition.

Making dry bags fully waterproof requires welding seams, which can burn if not done properly.

RF welding is a tricky process. Materials can catch fire if the welding settings aren’t just right, or if some dust is in the wrong place.

“Expanding into PVC-free coatings was a huge technical challenge—the materials are trickier to weld, and it stretched our knowledge of RF welding at the time,” says Stacie Langtry, SealLine Category Manager, 20-year shepherd of the brand, Canadian expat, and lifelong canoeist. “We had fire blankets next to the welders because, as we tried new materials, stuff would catch fire in the machines. For years, my whole job was materials research as we figured out how to make PVC-free dry bags to our standards.”

While sorting out and optimizing materials, we also started making protective dry gear for more specific uses—dry bags that fit better inside kayak hatches, waterproof packs for canoe portages, and gear-hauling duffles—tailoring shapes and adding features that better served the more specific needs of the people using our gear. Our products, and brand, continued to evolve as paddling, and paddlers, continued to find new and different ways to adventure on water and over land.

Two years ago, we felt there was an opportunity to rock our proverbial boat, so we set out to overhaul our entire dry bag line. Because coming up with all-new dry bag designs, updating our Dry Seal closure to make it easier, revamping our air-purging valve to make it faster, and revisiting shapes wasn’t enough, we wanted to bring some life to the look of dry bags.

We evaluate the coatings of our dry bags to ensure high quality

Microscopic cross-section of polyurethane-coated materials.

A little-known thing about dry bag materials is that they typically use a base of a woven thread (often polyester) that’s then heavily coated on both sides with a polyvinyl chloride (“vinyl”) or polyurethane (“PVC-free”) coating. Since these base threads are typically an undeyed white (natural greige is the technical term), the coatings are dyed to achieve the desired color of the dry bag—thus, a green dry bag is green because the coating is dyed green.

In designing our top-of-the line Discovery™ dry bags, we knew we wanted a fresh look to go along with the new designs, so we looked into printed patterns. We soon rejected the idea of prints since they would eventually rub or scrape off with repeated use. We wanted something more durable, so we looked to one of the oldest ways to distinguish fabrics: woven patterns.

Woven plaid waterproof dry bag materials offer distinctive style with full waterproof protection

Individually colored threads are behind the look of our new plaid bags. Photo: Ben Sandall

Plaid was one of our earliest ideas, and it proved the most viable. By using dyed threads woven into a plaid pattern, then coating the woven materials with a clear PVC-free coating, we were able to achieve a distinct and, more importantly, durable look for a dry bag. A fun fact about our two plaid options—though the orange plaid and blue plaid may look distinctly different, they both use the same threads, just in different proportions. We loved the pattern so much, we decided to offer it as an option for two of our new dry bag designs… which brings us to the bags themselves!

New Discovery waterproof dry bag

Discovery Dry Bag. Photo: N. Coltrane

Discovery Dry Bag

Sometimes, all one needs is a straightforward dry bag. In designing the new Discovery Dry Bag, we looked to our heritage as a starting point. Going back to the notion that the bag closure is the most-used (and most important) part of a dry bag, we wanted to one-up our original Dry Seal dual-strip roll-top closure. In making a few tweaks to the two strips and their spacing, we were able to make the closure easier to use, helping ensure a proper seal for maximum waterproof protection.

Continuing to work backwards from the needs of end-users (that’s you!), we tested and optimized the PVC-free materials to ensure they’re ultra-durable and able to withstand exposed conditions year after year. We also used different coatings to provide a light-colored interior (for the solid colors), which fixes the “black hole” effect often found with large, solid-colored dry bags. We then moved away from the classic round bottom shape, opting for an oval-esque bottom which helps prevent the bags from rolling around; we also found that this shape makes it easier to pack and stack the dry bags. And, finally, we ensured it’s available in a bunch of fresh colors, including our new plaids.

New waterproof Discovery View dry bag is easy to see within

Discovery View Dry Bag. Photo: We Are Unicorns

Discovery View Dry Bag

For our Discovery View Dry Bag, we found a simple change solved a few challenges.

“The biggest evolution of our View bags was the addition of texture,” says Langtry. “Before, we had either a heavy, sticky vinyl film that had challenges with flexibility, or we had an amazing, lighter and more flexible PVC-free clear film, but it was stickier than the clear vinyl film, which made it harder to pack. So we evolved the PVC-free film by adding texture to it, which gave it a frosted look. You can still see inside to find gear quickly, but the frosting also made it less sticky and easier to pack.”

Beyond the materials update, we also tweaked our welded, waterproof air-purging valve to vent trapped air faster for easier sealing (and less ballooning of bags). The View waterproof bags also got the updated Dry Seal closure for better, easier sealing. We then color-coded the oval-esque bottoms by size to make them easier to identify and organize.

New Discovery waterproof Deck Dry Bag can be carried, lashed down or stowed

Discovery Deck Dry Bag. Photo: Jordan Siemens

Discovery Deck Dry Bag

As a capstone to our efforts, we went all out and created the Discovery Deck Dry Bag.

We wanted our pinnacle product to be the most versatile, so we loaded it up with features. First, welded lash points and a carry strap were added to make it easy to carry the bag to/from a launch spot, strap it to a standup paddleboard, or lash it to a deck. We then added our other features, including our updated air-purging valve, the more stable, better packing and stacking oval-esque bottoms, and of course the ultra-durable PVC-free materials. And, because this is our top bag, we definitely made sure it’s available in our awesome new plaids (along with five other color choices).

And there you have it! It’s been a fun two-year journey, and we’re proud to launch the culmination of those efforts. From the rad plaids to a bunch of new features, we think the Discovery bags are pretty awesome and we’re excited for you, our beloved customers, to get your hands on these new bags and use them on your own upcoming journeys.

About SealLine

For over 30 years, we here at SealLine have endeavored to make protective gear to stand up to water, wind, and dirt in challenging outdoor environments. We believe your pursuits shouldn’t be limited by your gear, so we design, test, and build our products to deliver protection you can depend upon.

Our legendarily rugged dry bags, dry sacks, packs, duffles, cases and accessories will safeguard your essentials on paddling, camping, hiking, biking or traveling adventures.

Get Updates

Enter your email address here to get our latest deals & discounts sent to your inbox...