6 Sailing Bags You Need On Your Boat

By: Partners

I have to stop complaining about how many shoes my wife has because I probably have that many sailing bags.

Yes, I have too many sailing bags and I am proud of that.  You always need a good bag to carry your gear to and from your sailboat or to store much-needed equipment on your boat.  I tend to like bags that are waterproof, soft-sided, and easy to carry.  When I travel my bag has to be large enough to carry all of my gear and still be able to get past TSA and the overhead bin restrictions. Sailboats are not designed for hard-shelled carry-on luggage so you need a reliable soft-sided bag when you head on your next charter sailing vacation.

If I could only travel with one bag I would choose the early version of the Patagonia Black Hole Mini MLC 26L Travel Pack.   They have eliminated some pockets in the current version but it will still allow you to carry on quite a bit of gear, clothing, and personal items. It is weatherproof and it is made of recyclable materials.  

What Sailing Bag should you have on your sailboat or charter? The options below have all passed the test of being tossed around and dropped in water and dragged across the baggage claim. These bags have done a great job of surviving not only my sailing travel but my two boys’ lack of consideration when forced to carry an extra bag of gear.  


Pelagic Fish Camo Soft Cooler  

The Pelagic Cooler is sturdy and reliable while fitting in just right on our sailboat.  Designed to hold about 50 pounds of fish this cooler does a great job of keeping drinks cold while not leaking. The velcro top is easy to open wide for loading and unloading and it is easy to carry aboard your sailboat. 

This is ideal when you do not want a hard-sided cooler banging around on big wind days. The cooler tucks away under a compartment or can be placed in the cockpit without fear of it sliding around and banging on someone’s toes.

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Gill Marine

30L Voyager Duffel Bag

This duffel bag from Gill Marine comes in a few sizes and is very durable.  If only it had more pockets but aside from that small issue, this duffel bag is perfect for travel and for carrying gear to your boat. I keep all of my foul weather gear in this bag and it doubles as a carry-on for longer sailing trips.  It is waterproof as I learned when I dropped my fully loaded bag into the water while boarding a dinghy in Newport Harbor.  A quick-acting crewmember saved me from having to buy an entirely new wardrobe when she fished it out of the water.


Torrent Dry Bag Backpack

Better than a backpack when traveling and as versatile as bag come. Yes, it is a dry bag and it has been mounted to a kayak and paddle board plenty of times but this bag has also survived monsoon rains in the jungle and an afternoon of snow flurries in the Canadian rockies. If you only have one daypack for traveling, this is it.


Zhik 25L Roll-Top Drybag

This is a simple bag that does one thing right. It keeps your gear dry. You can toss it in th cockpit or strap it to the deck and it will do the job.  No frills. No disappointment. This bag does its job well.

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West Marine 

West Marine Clear Dry Bag

This bag keeps everything dry, it is easy to carry and its best feature is that it is a clear bag. The ability to see what is in the bag comes in handy when you need something fast or when you need a bag to take to a destination that only allows for clear bags. 

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Camino Amino 50 Carryall Tote Bag

Is this the greatest tote ever made? It is not a cooler but I have filled it with ice and stuffed it with champagne on a few occasions. It is versatile because it is durable and strong.  Load it up and you will not be concerned with it falling apart. Again, it is not a cooler so it is not insulated but it is waterproof and it is designed as the perfect way to carry cold drinks to the boat from the dock.