The Best in Sailing Bags

As a kid I used to haul my foul weather gear around in an old sail bag, eventually moving up to a canvas duffel when I was feeling flush—but no longer. Like pretty much everything else in sailing, the good-old duffel bag has undergone a revolution in the interest of providing increased comfort and convenience afloat. A plethora of straps makes it that much easier to carry even the heaviest loads; pockets make it easier to find what you’re looking for; and waterproofing assures whatever you’re looking for will be dry when you find it. How did we ever survive back in the good old days? I guess we just didn’t realize how bad we had it…

Click here to view a PDF of the story from our July issue.



Grunden’s Gage 30 Liter Rum Runner Backpack is made entirely of waterproof PVC tarpaulin fabric and includes a number of straps and exterior meshpockets for stowing gear you want to get to fast. Grunden’s specializes in super-tough gear for the commercial fishing industry. ‘Nuff said! $79







Gill’s Waterproof Backpack is just the thing for a rough day on the water. An exterior pocket with a waterproof zipper includes a number of mesh pockets and a key-ring attachment to help you locate your stuff again when you get back to your car. Padded “airmesh” between the carrying straps keeps your back from getting sweaty. $110








Originally designed with our fishing brethren in mind, the Columbia PFG Barrelhead Duffel (PFG stands for “performance fishing gear”) is fully waterproof but still scrunches down to a miniscule package when empty. In an age of multiple zippers and other gadgets, there’s still nothing like the gaping maw of a big duffel to warm your heart when you’ve got a bunch of gear to stow. $49








West Marine’s Crew Duffel Bags offer plenty of pockets, including waterproof ones for separating damp gear from dry. A durable, polyurethane bottom keeps water from soaking in when you set the bag down on a wet dock. The rest of the bag is water-resistant to keep out rain and spray. Available in small, medium and large sizes. From $38







Part of the company’s completely revamped and upgraded bag line, Gill’s Tarp Barrel Bag is robustly constructed from PVC tarpaulin and PVC-coated nylon and polyester. It also includes plenty of compartments to keep your gear dry and secure while on passage. $89







Bombproof and massive, the bright red Ronstan Dry Sailing Bag features leak-proof welded seams and includes sturdy side carrying handles and removable backpack straps for muscling around whatever you choose to fill it up with. Just the thing for crossing Australia’s Bass Strait on a rough day! $55.99







Magic Marine’s Welded Sportsbag is a rugged, no-nonsense duffel with a single, large roll-up closure, reflective patches and beefy reinforcing on the handles to ensure they stand up to years of abuse offshore. Available in 30- and 40-liter sizes. From $57











The Harken Transition Backpack is lightweight and equipped with compartments for everything from a pair of water bottles to a laptop computer. For extra protection there is the company’s Padded Laptop Sleeve and Waterproof Waist Pouch. From $35

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