August 27, 2015
Three gasketed boxes for small electronics and other gear.
If your sandwich gets soggy you're out a lunch, but if your phone or camera gets wet you're out a hundred or more dollars and perhaps an important safety device. A variety of things can keep your belongings dry. What you choose will depend
on your budget, your boat, what you need to keep dry, and how long you intend to stay out. We'll only discuss day trips here. Camping trips require a separate treatment.
We can divide portable dry storage containers into three main categories: waterproof bags, waterproof boxes and waterproof packs. The easiest bag to use is any kind of plain plastic bag. The main advantage to these is they're cheap and readily available. Their main disadvantage is simple: They don't work very well. Water has soaked things I've had in zip lock bags many times.
A proper waterproof bag is a rubberized cloth or heavy plastic sack with some combination of a folding top and snaps or straps. You put your items in the bag, fold the top over two or three times, and strap or snap it down. These bags come in various sizes, from cellphone size on up, and they work well. If the bag was completely submerged they might leak, but I've used them for years in all kinds of boats without a problem. They take the shape (more or less) of the items inside and the space they're given, and are a good choice for any small boat applications.
Waterproof boxes also work well, and are fairly inexpensive. The classic waterproof box is similar to an ammo box, except the waterproof boxes are made of plastic and usually have a gasket to seal the water out. A cam-action latch closes the box firmly. These boxes are fairly small but easily fit items like car keys, wallet, phone, a small first aid kit, and a small point-and-shoot camera.
Most coolers are only moderately good as dry boxes. However, Yeti, Engel and other high-end coolers like them seal tight and make great dry boxes. If you have larger items you might consider a bucket with a snap-on lid. For years I used a bucket picked up at a Dunkin Donuts store to carry my cameras, sometimes several thousand dollars worth, on all kinds of boats. It was a very good investment, not too stylish perhaps, but very functional.
Most photographers use a specialized camera box called a Pelican Case to carry their equipment. Pelican Cases are professional devices and work exactly as they are supposed to. Their only disadvantages are the initial expense and the fact that they look and carry something like a briefcase. You can't carry a Pelican Case and fish at the same time. But you could back your truck over one and your cameras would still be fine.
If you fish out of a boat and like to wade, carrying a camera with you and keeping it dry becomes a problem. The Dry Creek Backpack from Simms solves it. This excellent piece of equipment is the size and shape of a standard daypack, and has the daypack's shoulder straps so you can carry it on your back. It has the material
and tie-down straps and snaps of a waterproof bag.
You can put whatever you want in this pack, and even if you fall down in the water your stuff will stay dry. As with all of Simms products it's made to the highest quality standards and will last for years. You can see the Dry Creek Backpack at www.simmsfishing.com.
The fact is, most of us need and will use a variety of the methods used here. If you spend much time around the water in small boats, it can't be helped. FS
First published Florida Sportsman July 2015