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I am looking for a small duffel type bag with quick access (like a zipper, but not dry bag style). I will be using it as a captains bag to hold essentials like frame tools, extra carabiners, etc. Waterproof would be nice, but doesn't have to be.

Any suggestions?
 

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The Old Troll
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I have to admit I don't own a small Engel Cooler. I have a 124qt that I use as a passenger seat and it's bomber. I have been unhappy using the DRE captains bag cause all my stuff gets wet and was planning to pick a 19qt Engel up to use in it's place. I'll look it over carefully before I buy but the price and size are right.
 

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I have had a DRE captains bag for about 4 years and like it. Just bought one from Jan at Stitches N Stuff and it is very well built. I keep that on one side and in it goes things that are ok to get wet. On the other side of my bay I use one of the Engel cooler/drybox. I have the 30qt for one boat and the 13 qt for another. I really like these. I think they are just perfect as captains boxes. I haven't flipped my boat using one so not sure how dry they would be in that situation but they sure work good otherwise. Are easy to get into, have slots for straps and are very reasonably priced. I don't think they would keep ice but I didn't buy it as a cooler. I like that they are a lot more forgiving than metal ammo cans would be ( which I also use but not in my rowers bay).


Jim
 

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I got a 30 qt Engel and a couple weeks ago, during a crowded shuttle, it got turned upside down in my carpeted van. When I discovered it upside down full of melted ice (aka h2o) I assumed my carpet would be soaked.
Carpet was bone dry! I have had problems opening it when I drive from 11k ft to 5k ft. Well built as drybox but a little thin on insulation.
 

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The Old Troll
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I have had a DRE captains bag for about 4 years and like it. Just bought one from Jan at Stitches N Stuff and it is very well built. I keep that on one side and in it goes things that are ok to get wet. On the other side of my bay I use one of the Engel cooler/drybox. I have the 30qt for one boat and the 13 qt for another. I really like these. I think they are just perfect as captains boxes. I haven't flipped my boat using one so not sure how dry they would be in that situation but they sure work good otherwise. Are easy to get into, have slots for straps and are very reasonably priced. I don't think they would keep ice but I didn't buy it as a cooler. I like that they are a lot more forgiving than metal ammo cans would be ( which I also use but not in my rowers bay).


Jim

The DRE bag is well built and would be great if you didn't care if your stuff got wet. I have found that the stuff I want to keep close and handy is stuff I want to keep dry. Maps, GPS, Camera, Snack Items, dry rag to clean my glasses or even a dry top.
 

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Can't believe nobody has stated the obvious- small Watershed Chatooga dry bag. Freaking LOVE mine.

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Two captain's bags from Stitches & Stuff. The older one is cordura, the newer one is mesh. Neither is waterproof. Whatever I put in them is either ok when wet, or goes in small roll top dry bags (small first aid, tools, sunscreen, extra clothes, snacks, etc.) I actually like the individual small dry bags because it keeps the stuff organized and I can find what I need fast. Camera is in a pelican case just to my right, secured to frame for easy access. I prefer not to have anything hard in my rower bay that I might bang a knee or shin on.
 

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The Old Troll
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Can't believe nobody has stated the obvious- small Watershed Chatooga dry bag. Freaking LOVE mine.

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Just looked them up at Dry Bags: Chattooga and they cost about twice what the Engel would. They look exceptionally well built and very water proof. Seem like they would be a little slower to get into and out of.
 

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I've seen a few people use a rocket box sling with a box on each side of the bay, or captains boxes. I like the idea of a bag lighter and softer but waterproof is a must so I've been using smaller dry/day bag.
 

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Rocket boxes are too large and heavy. They are very hard to open in the sling. They don't make good captain's boxes.
 

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ortleib makes a couple of waterproof duffles with what are basically drysuit zippers -- so no rolling and unrolling. I got one from theboatpeople (who advertise here). Works great for me. Not cheap though.
 

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I have the Engel as well- check out the Watershed if you truly want something waterproof.

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I realize that my captains bag isn't waterproof but I still find it handy. My camera goes in a small pelican case that I leave open until rapids. That goes in there. My sunscreen, binocs, my waterproof speaker and phone(music), snacks which are in plastic bags all go in there. The items that can't get wet go in the Engel. I like having two options as I don't need to pack things on top of each other to fit in one. This makes finding items easier.
This system works well for me.


Jim
 

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I am not sold on how dre mounts the straps to the top of their captains bag. The AAA mesh bag seems more secure. The straps of the AAA are sewn all the way around the bag. DRE's are only stitched to the top. AAA's top zips around 3 sides of the top. DRE is a zipper down the middle on top of the bag.
 

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Link to that Ortleib dry zip bag.
Ortlieb Travel-Zip Zippered Duffle Drybag
Because my raft is narrow, I have been putting this bag crosswise in front to my drybox (rowing from the box). Very easy to reach down and unzip for jacket, sandwich, gloves, whatever. I put 1 inch straps on the side rails and 'biner the d-rings at each end of the zipper to those straps -- keeps the bag taught for easier zipping and unzipping. More and sturdier d rings would be ideal.
I also use this as a bow bag in a duckie on a Yampa trip -- worked great -- even upside down!
 

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Rocket Box or Pelican

I've had good luck with my Pelican 1430 - top loader. You can find them on sale - I use mine for exactly what you describe plus waterproof for wallet, keys, phone etc. I just use straps and attach it to frame - easy access.

20mm Rocket Box is also a good choice - get the "sling" from DRE.
 

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I recently set up a Maravia New Wave 3 (14.5ft). Originally it had the DRE Rocket Box Slings with said boxes. They are big, heavy and metal right next to knees. I got a Watershed Largo Tote for use on one side (dry stuff) and a Seattle Sports Frost Pack for the other side. I had a buddy bar tack strap material and Ankra buckles to the side handles (so it hangs like a DRE Captains bag from the cross bars).

On my Super Puma, I use the Aire / Outcast XL Splashproof Pocket and weave the outside straps through the floor lacing. This bag can hold 2 5.56mm ammo cans and other various stuff. I also mounted some ammo cans to custom cut piece of 3/8 poly carbonate material that fits next to my cooler / rowing seat. I used 1/2 bolts and rubber washers to attach the ammo cans to the material. A strap secures this to the frame. I can open and close the cans without having to undo a strap. It is like having 3 glove compartments on the boat. Big one on left is family box, Medium one on right is soap, sunscreen, knife, cutting board, frame tool, pump lube, etc. Small box on right is my personal box. I'll post pictures later.
 
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