Storage Container-, Dry Bag- and Storage Box Reviews
There are few things more annoying than trying to find something while you are camping and not knowing where it is. One of those more annoying things is finding what you are looking for but discovering it is wet or covered with bugs. Okay, let’s just be honest here – without proper storage there are many annoying things you can encounter while camping.
I remember a camping experience when my friends and I all packed our gear inside the bed of my truck and secured a tarp over it, thinking it would be safe from any rain we may encounter on our way to the campsite. We were wrong. It didn’t take long for the rain to come down harder and faster than the truck bed’s drainage holes could account for. The back of the truck was a flooded puddle of rainwater. We had tucked the tarp beneath our belongings so that it wouldn’t fly away in the wind. Unfortunately, that created small crevices through which the water was able to make its way.
The story above is only one of many stories which illustrate the importance of proper, waterproof storage when camping. This page has been created with the sole purpose of making your camping experience more enjoyable by helping you select the best container or bag for your needs. We have included reviews of some of today’s most popular, top-selling storage containers and bags for exactly that purpose. We’ll begin with these reviews, but if you need more information on the major things to consider when purchasing camp storage, you may first want to scroll down to the bottom of this page for some basic buying information.
Top Three Storage Containers for Camping
Of all the camp-friendly storage solutions I reviewed, the following three were, by far, the best. Trust me – I spent considerable time researching over 100 different popular, top-selling storage containers which made sense for camping. I read all of the specifications and the consumer reviews and ratings they each had received. Of all of those containers, only the best nine made their way onto this website. The following three choices are the best of the best.
Best Hard Storage Container
Rubbermaid Commercial Brute Tote
The Brute Tote was selected as the Best Hard Storage Container for numerous reasons. First, it has received the best reviews and ratings from consumers of all the hard storage containers on this list. When you consider that the containers on this list are all here because they are the most popular containers on today’s market, then you factor in that the Brute Tote has received the most positive reviews out of them all, it is easy to see how it won this top position.
This hard, strong bin is molded from very thick, durable plastic. In fact, this bin is so strong that a person up to about 180 pounds could use it as a chair without so much as denting its lid. Such a thick lid will not warp in heat or sunlight like the lids of many lower-quality plastic bins. The lid stays attached via a lip locking system whereby it clicks into place when you press down on it. It doesn’t feature locking latches, which I found surprising since it has received better reviews than similar bins which did feature clips. Consumers appear to be very happy with how well this lid stays on, despite not having clips attached. The bin’s bottom has been reinforced with extra thick ridges for added stability and to ensure that it will not bow or bend if you place heavy items inside then lift it up.
You can choose between two sizes when purchasing the Brute Tote. The smaller option will hold 14 gallons, or 56 quarts. It measures 27.88 inches long, 16.5 inches wide, and 10.7 inches tall. The larger container will hold 20 gallons, or 80 quarts. It measures 27.88 inches in length as well, but is 17.38 inches wide and 15.13 inches tall. Both the 14 and the 20 gallon options can be helpful to your camping experience. They are wide enough, long enough, and tall enough to house an assortment of objects, from lanterns to snack foods. They stack neatly and, thanks to their incredible strength, you will never have to worry about the weight of one box crushing the box beneath it.
Best Small Storage
Iris 6 Quart Modular Storage Box
Although large, hard storage containers definitely have their usefulness when it comes to storing large objects and food, you will undoubtedly be bringing certain items with you which could benefit from being stored in smaller, stackable containers. In case you haven’t realized it yet, I am a huge fan of hard plastic containers for camping. To me, they act the same way cupboards and drawers act in a house. I use them to not only keep things protected from the outdoor elements, but also to keep things organized.
Small containers, such as these 6 quart Iris containers, are perfect for holding personal care items such as hair brushes, soap, and deodorant or important items such as car keys, wallets, and cell phones. I also like to use them for storing cutlery. Not only can I keep the cutlery dry and clean inside one of these containers, I can also use the container as a small sink for cleaning the cutlery.
Each of these containers measures 13.63 inches in length by 8.13 inches in width and 4.38 inches in height. Clips have been attached to each lid so that you can secure it to the body of the container. The best thing about these containers is that they are sold in a 10 pack. One low price affords you six popular, quality containers which have received very positive consumer reviews. The bottom and lids of each of these containers is made to fit snugly together so that you can stack your entire 10 pack in one tall column or several short ones.
Best Dry Sack
Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag
All of your camping storage needs cannot be properly accounted for by a hard plastic container; some of your needs will fall outside of that container’s abilities. If you are backpacking this becomes even truer, as none of the plastic containers are likely to meet your needs. This is where the dry sack comes in to save the day. Of course, not just any dry sack will do for your camping, kayaking, or backpacking adventure. You will be requiring what I believe is the best dry sack on today’s market – the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag.
Available in three convenient sizes (10 liters, 20 liters, or 30 liters), this bag has received the absolute best reviews from consumers out of the hundreds of dry sacks I reviewed for this website. If you are surprised that hundreds of dry sacks exist, don’t worry – so was I. This particular dry sack is available in six different colors: black, dark blue, green, light blue, orange, and yellow. What is more impressive, however, is that it has been made almost entirely of vinyl. Many of its competitors, on the other hand, were made mostly of polyester and only featured the more water-resistant vinyl material on their bottoms. What’s more, even though the lovely people from Earth Pak do not suggest submerging this bag entirely and worry that it will not withstand water pressure, people have fully submerged it in eight foot deep pools and found that its contents stayed dry for up to three hours.
As an added bonus, a flexible waterproof phone case has been included with this bag. You can choose to place any standard, slim smartphone inside the case or use it to store your personal identification cards and emergency cash.
While not quite as impressive as the three storage solutions listed in our Top Three section, each of the following storage containers and dry bags is worth your attention. They have all received very positive feedback from consumers who have used them in real camping and hiking adventures and appear to have been made with quality in mind.
Sterilite Large Ultra Latch Box
These Sterilite Ultra Latch boxes are available in multiple sizes. Assuming that different size ranges will have drastically different uses around the campsite, I would like to point out that I have decided to review the two largest sizes and the two medium sizes in this section.
These see-through containers allow you to easily identify what is inside of them without having to add labels or open lids. The lids themselves clip onto the bins so that you will never have to worry about this container’s content spilling out if it is ever tipped over or turned upside down. Though these bins are not as durable as the Rubbermaid bin which stole the position of Best Hard Storage Box, they are sturdy enough to be stacked on top of each other without much worry.
The large sizes of the Ultra Latch Box hold 70 quarts or 116 quarts. The 70 quart option measures approximately 26 inches in length, 16.25 inches wide, and 14.5 inches tall. The 116 quart option measures about 33 inches in height, 20.25 inches wide, and 14.75 inches tall. Perfect for holding large and long objects and for standing in as sinks and wash basins, these large bins are sold in packs of four.
The mid-sized bins are sold in packs of six. Two different size options exist in the mid-sized range, including 18 quarts and 30 quarts. The 18-quart bins measure approximately 18 inches by 12 inches and are 7 inches tall. Offering almost double the capacity, the 30 quart options measures about 18 inches by 12.25 inches and is 11.5 inches tall. These bins are the perfect size for holding dishes, food, personal care items, and carefully organized clothing.
Sterilite Small No Latch 6 Quart Container
These small containers are really quite basic, as hard plastic containers go. The lids of these containers feature no special locking clips – they are held on only with the small lip on the underside of the lid as it clicks into a similar lip on the body’s top edge. They boast no handles or special features, but have received positive reviews from consumers.
These containers are capable of holding a total of six quarts. They measure about 13.5 inches by 8.25 inches and are seven inches tall.
Hopefully you can think of a lot of uses for these containers, because they are sold in a 12 pack. The small size of these containers makes them best suited to holding important items which must be kept separate from other things, such as electronics, personal identification cards, and souvenirs. They would also be quite useful as cutlery containers. You could even use them as something to wash your cutlery in as well as something to store it in. These little boxes would also be very useful as shower caddies – simply fill them with your soap, shampoo, and everything else you need to take to your campground shower stall and never worry about having to find somewhere to store these wet items once you are finished.
Rubbermaid 1172 Action Packer Storage Box
I am hoping that you have noticed by now that we are listing all of the hard plastic storage containers first. If you are looking for dry sacks, peek down at the review below this one. This Rubbermaid container looks as though it has been built for military use. In fact, based on its appearance, I am surprised that this container didn’t receive more positive reviews. When I first laid eyes on it I believed I was going to find myself placing it into our Top Three Choices section.
Despite not receiving the consumer feedback necessary to bump the other Rubbermaid container out of the top position, these ones have received quite positive reviews of their own. These strong containers can be stacked to the ceiling without warping – though you shouldn’t have a ceiling at your campsite, it should be nice to know that you can stack them. The lids of these containers not only latch shut, but also feature little holes in the handles and latches which allow you to tie them closed for extra protection. A recessed area in the lid fits snugly around a protruding lip on the top edge of the container, providing an almost completely waterproof seal.
The range of available sizes for this particular container is actually quite impressive. You can choose between 8 gallon (32 quarts), 24 gallon (96 quarts), 35 gallon (140 quarts), and 48 gallon (192 quart) sizes. The range of possibilities is endless with a size selection such as this one. The 8 gallon option measures about 12 inches tall, 19 inches long, and 14 inches wide. The 24 gallon bin is about 17.4 inches tall, 26.5 inches long, and 19.5 inches wide. The 35 gallon bin features hinges on one of its long sides and measures 25 inches long, 20.75 inches wide, and 17 inches tall. The largest option of all, the 48 gallon bin, measures about 26.5 inches long, 19 inches wide, and 18 inches tall.
The Friendly Swede Compact and Lightweight Dry Bag
Sold in packs of two, these 10 liter dry sacks are made from thick, strong industrial tarp material which makes them very water resistant. The bottoms of these sacks are even more water resistant, having been fashioned from thick nylon, which means that they can sit in puddles without getting the contents wet. Double-stitched seams work to keep water from moving inside the pack, stopping its flow at the second seam if the first one fails.
Some dry sacks are made from thin, tent-like materials which easily rip. Personally, I find that rather annoying, since you need these sacks the most if your kayak or canoe flips over and such an event often leads to your sack bumping into and scraping against the things around it. Thankfully, consumers have reported that is it quite difficult to rip these sacks.
A single shoulder strap has been included with each of these sacks. If you drape the strap over one shoulder, pull it around your body and attach it back to the bottom of the sack, you can effectively secure it around your body for hiking and climbing purposes. Ergonomically, however, this isn’t a very healthy way to carry this pack, so I wouldn’t suggest carrying it over long distances.
Sak Gear Premium Waterproof Dry Bag
with Exterior Zip Pocket
Available in a grand total of six colors, this dry sack features a small zippered pocket on its front side to keep all of your most important, small items nearby. Don’t worry about fumbling around through the bag trying to find your keys, personal identification cards, cell phone, or money – it will all fit inside the waterproof zippered pouch.
Attach the single shoulder strap to carry this bag on one shoulder or strap it around your torso. Detach the shoulder strap so that you won’t have to worry about catching your foot on it inside a boat. Remember, though, these bags aren’t only useful for boating adventures – they are also a great place to store things when you are at the beach and are a great place to put your clean clothes if you aren’t able to fit them inside your small one-person tent.
The 10-liter bag measures approximately 18.5 inches by 12 inches, whereas the 20-liter bag measures about 23 inches by 14.75 inches. Remember, though, to leave some extra room for air if you are using this sack on a boat. The air is what will help the sack float if it falls off the boat, allowing you to locate and retrieve it.
The tightly-woven polyester material this sack has been made from is thicker than the materials used in the creation of most, if not all, of the other dry bags on this list. The thickness can likely be attributed to the fact that the polyester has been coated with vinyl for extra wetness protection. Combine this with the melted seams and I dare say that this may be the most waterproof sack on this list. Perhaps its consumer reviews didn’t match those of the Earth Pak listed in our Top Choices simply because it isn’t as easy to carry and does not feature a special phone case.
Waterproof Dry Bag for Kayak Camping
Although this bag has been marketed as being made specifically for kayak camping, let’s all take a minute to remember that things do not always have to be used to their exact specifications. This dry bag will still work very well as an outdoor clothes or gear storage solution or for bringing with you on other water vessels.
I must admit that I found this bag a little bit gimmicky. The company chose to make this bag in 12 different colors and chose to include an 11-in-one tool and a water-resistant cell phone case with each purchase. My first thought upon seeing these things was that this must not be a very good dry sack if they had to include all of these extra fancy features. Surprisingly, I found that this sack has actually received rather positive consumer reviews and ratings.
In case you are wondering which colors are available, allow me to tell you. You can choose between black, pink, light blue, dark blue, purple, orange, yellow, camo, white, grey, green, and red. The flat tool that comes with each purchase features functions such as bottle opening, measuring, slicing, and sawing. It also comes with its case so that it doesn’t puncture your dry sack from within.
Four different size options complement the 12 different color options. The 5-liter bag measures 16.5 inches by 12 inches. The 10-liter option measures 22 inches by 12 inches. You can also select a 20-liter bag which is about 24 inches by 17 inches, or a 30-liter bag which measures 27 inches by 18.5 inches.
Camp Storage Buying Guide
It is difficult to select the best storage solution for your camping trip if you aren’t sure what you need. This small section is devoted to helping you figure out the specifications you should be searching for, based on your personal needs.
Do You Need Hard Containers?
Two different types of camp storage exist in today’s market – hard containers and dry bags – both of which have their appropriate uses. I won’t recommend that you choose one or the other. In fact, I will suggest that you consider purchasing both, since I find both to be quite helpful on my own camping adventures. Let’s take a minute to discuss hard containers before moving on to explore the benefits of dry bags.
Hard case storage containers are those which are molded from plastic and feature plastic lids. These containers stand upright on their own and, when made with quality materials, are stackable. I like to use these types of containers for storing everything from gear to board games. What I like most about them is that I can easily fit all of our stuff inside of them and stack them inside the truck bed or utility trailer. When they are made properly, with secure lids, I can attach tie down straps to the truck or trailer and secure everything into place without squishing and bending the containers or popping their lids off in the process. This allows me to travel without a single worry than any of my belongings will get wet. It also allows me to fit everything neatly inside the truck bed or trailer.
Hard storage cases are also helpful during the camping experience. You can choose to leave your belongings outside of an overcrowded tent without worrying that bugs or water will make their way inside. Whether you leave them inside your tent or place them outside your tent, you can stack hard storage containers so that they take up less space and stay organized.
Do You Need a Dry Bag?
Dry bags, also known as dry sacks, are lightweight, easy-to-carry storage devices which are almost entirely waterproof. Personally, I find dry bags most useful when I am backpacking or if I plan to go out in a boat during my stationary camping experience. If you know that it may rain during your backpacking experience, packing a dry sack will allow you extra protection for important and easily-damaged items such as electronics, socks, and personal identification.
Even though many backpacks come with rain guards, the added protection of a dry sack cannot be denied. It should go without saying that you will want to protect your electronics and other important belongings whenever you go out in a boat. These important belongings can include socks, cell phones, personal identification, and a first aid kit. If anything is to happen which capsizes your boat, you will want these things to be safely kept in a dry place. Here’s a quick tip – add a little bit of air to your dry bag so that it will float. Do not use it as a lifesaving device, though. The extra air will simply keep it afloat so that it is easy to find and retrieve if it falls from your boat.
Most companies suggest not actually submerging the dry bag, because the pressure of water from all angles could actually cause it to leak. That being said, most quality bags have stood the test of full water submersion. Also, you shouldn’t actually need to fully submerge the bag.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this page. I am well aware that storage isn’t the most interesting topic in the world. Perhaps you’d have rather been reading the installment of Harry Potter or a classic, such as Orwell’s 1984. Still, you sat here and read through all of these reviews. I hope that you have found the right type of storage container or bag for your camping and/or backpacking needs. I also hope that, whichever you chose, it serves you well on your next adventure.