Safety is no accident; when I’m out in the water, I need to ensure my phone and other equipment works.
A dry box container gives me that peace of mind.
Constructed from heavy-duty plastic materials, these containers will safely store pieces of equipment and small tools that you utilize in your leisure pursuits and outdoor adventures.
They can hold anything from keys, fishing lures, gloves, smartphones, handheld GPS to your camera.
Most of these boxes even come with compartments with padding to ensure your fragile items are kept out of harm’s way.
Also, depending on the type of dry box you choose, you might benefit from added security since some of these containers offer padlock latches.
But with plenty of such boxes in the market, how do you choose one for your needs?
You don’t have to worry about any of that because, in this guide, we’ll share some of our favorite dry box options. We’ve also compiled a handy buying guide to help with the selection.
Table of Contents
The Best Dry Boxes For The Money
#1 Outdoor Products Watertight Dry Box - EDITOR'S CHOICE
If you’re open to splurging on a high-quality dry box, check out the Outdoor Products Watertight Dry Box.
It’s a decent solid box, and while it doesn’t match the quality of the higher-priced watertight boxes, it’s for sure a solid buy for the price.
One of the things I like most about the Outdoor Dry Box is the construction quality. It utilizes polycarbonate, a material widely used in building and construction products, from windows and skylights to wall panels.
The box seems pretty tough and will survive rough handling, droppings, and bangs without cracking or anything. It’s so hardy that some users even use it as a time capsule or for geocaching, yet, the plastic doesn’t break down even when buried over time.
With all such strength, this Outdoor Products Dry Box gives you the confidence you need to store your precious items and tools without fear of them damaging.
But durability counts less if a dry box can’t keep water inside!
Fortunately, this ultimate dry box and all its content will be fine if it tipped and fell into the water. It’s buoyant, floats nicely, and keeps water and moisture away from the contents. This means your sensitive electronics, registration, and insurance cards will be better inside this compartment box if it fell in an ice hole or took a dip in the lake.
Keep in mind Outdoor Dry Box can only protect your contents against water for so much. The seller’s description states it clear that it’s not intended for full submersion, climbing, or load-bearing use.
While it’ll certainly protect you against the shallow, five meter-submersions, I wouldn’t trust this box when going scuba diving or when reaching great water depths.
While remaining water-resistant, this dry box doesn’t affect cell phone reception. So, yes, you can receive notifications as usual provided there’s network coverage or even play pandora on your phone with a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker without any issues.
Outdoor’s holding capacity is also awesome, and while not the largest, it can hold most of the basic essentials and leave room for spare.
The small model, with a dimension of 3.25 x 5.25 x 6.75 inches; an 840-milliliter capacity is pretty small. It won’t fit your iPhone 11, but it seems like a great pick for holding keys, survival lighters, vape supplies, several cigars, and other small personal items.
On the other hand, the larger model, with a dimension of 3.5 x 6.8 x 8 inches; 1.5-liter capacity, seems just the right size for a few days outing. It can hold your Galaxy 10, 12V battery, wallet, first aid kit and still have room to spare.
Operating this dry box is also a breeze. To open the box, you simply need to unlatch, lift it at the bottom of each tie-down points and gently raise the clear polycarbonate lid. This should let you in. If the lid is struck, you can always use a head screwdriver or butter knife to separate the latch pins and open the box.
Overall, there’s plenty to love about this dry box.
My only complaint is that the box can’t accommodate a combination lock to keep the lid locked or closed.
Secondly, the seller doesn’t list it as BPA-free, so I wouldn’t recommend keeping food.
#2 Pelican 1120 Case With Foam - Best Water Resistant Box for Durable
The Pelican 1120 Case with Foam will make you want to purchase more of it because of its impressive nature.
I mean, it’s a Pelican case, and they’ve a reputation for that.
One thing that stands out about this case of the choice of material.
Pelican case utilizes a blend of Copolymer-Polypropylene. This protective desert tan shell is virtually indestructible and engineered for life.
Sand? Meh. Seawater? Ain’t care. Baggage handling? You’re kidding, right?
Seriously, I’d put all my valuables and toss it off at the roof of my house and forget about it.
See, the Pelican Shell is one of the convenient storage containers we’ve come across in the market. It’ll stand up to all abuses of elements, including water, dust, moisture, and crushes.
Super sturdy, and the stainless steel hardware is hard-wearing; the Pelican model provides ballistic protection for whatever you want to put in it.
However, I find these cases best used to protect expensive, fragile, and sensitive electronic equipment.
The reason is it comes with the Pick N Pluck foam that offers ample protection. The foam absorbs the shock well and will keep your contents free from damage.
Even better, the foam on the inside is pre-cut and lets you easily customize the interior to whatever suits your needs. Therefore, it’s easy to get the right shape you need for your particular product.
The foam is also easy to remove, and the individual pick and pluck squares come out fairly easily. But just remember the foam is there to cushion whatever is inside, and you just don’t want it to fall out.
I also find this case perfect for securing your lenses while traveling without the need for a lens pouch or bag. Nikon charges over $20 for each of their thin lens pouches, and even then, they don’t hold the lenses as securely as the internal Pick N Pluck Foam.
This is not to mention this box features an O-Ring seal, stainless steel padlock protectors, and an automatic pressure equalization valve that balances out pressure and keeps moisture out. The automatic pressure equalization valve is useful for regulating air pressure keeping your sensitive lenses free from moisture and dust damage.
The ability to lock this case is part of the reason I purchased the Pelican. It works well with padlocks and has holes on both sides. The holes are just outside the latches and will help keep your gear safe from prying hands.
Pelican is also generous in size, and with an interior dimension of 7.25 x 4.75 x 3.06, it easily holds 3 to 4 Go Pros and room for batteries.
It can also fit a Glock 43, or even a G26, a first aid kit, and depending on how you pad the items; you should have space to fit at least half a dozen mags. You can equally fit a Canon Rebel Camera without a lens in here as well.
Another benefit you get with purchasing the Pelican is that it can be locked with two locks, one of the requirements from TSA. But it’s always a good idea to check with your airline to see whether they accept such goods.
*Tip: Cut your foam a bit long, so when you close it, the top foam padding will push the items sticking up a little. It ensures nothing moves.
Secondly, if you’ll be storing something sharp, try using a spray adhesive such as silicone sealant to prevent the foam padding from falling or being ripped out by accident.
#3 MTM Survivor Dry Box with O-Ring Seal - Best Waterproof Box for Backpacking
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who loves going out for adventures in the mountains or the jungle, you need a survival kit. The forest green MTM Survivor Dry Box would be a dependable choice.
It’s sturdy, and this nice quality box is made of hard plastic. The plastic is thick and high quality enough so that it doesn’t feel flimsy.
Users can attest that it can take a lot of abuse, and falls or dings shouldn’t do any damage.
It’s also fairly rigid, and this is useful in keeping all your contents safe and free from any form of damage.
MTM’s sturdiness also means the box is a great choice for geocachers planning to use it for a time capsule. An O-ring along the top of the box creates a perfect watertight seal, keeping the moisture out. But for good measure, I would suggest also putting desiccant pellets/bags inside or added protection.
MTM Survivor Dry Box is water-resistant, too, and while I wouldn’t use it for scuba diving, I would have no problem leaving it outside in a large rainstorm. MTM also remains water-resistant at shallow depths.
The O-Ring also helps create an air-tight environment, so MTM can also be a great choice for storing medication. I use mine to store cigars and legal plant substances, and when placed in my car, I hardly smell anything coming from it.
MTM holding/carrying capacity is also awesome, and I love that it comes in two versions.
With generous internal dimensions of 4.5″ x7.7″ x4.4″, the larger version is large enough to hold an array of essentials, including a knife, fire steel, a can of beans, paracords, a bandana and so much more.
On the other hand, the smaller versions, coming in at 4.5″ x7.7:” x2.6” can hold my iPhone, wallet, car keys, hiking GPS and still spare some room for extra.
MTM Survivor Dry Box also prioritizes your goods’ safety and extra protection, thanks to the small holes that accommodate a padlock. Of course, this would only stop the casual observer, and if anyone is serious, they can cut through the plastic.
Portability is also emphasized in this creation. While it lacks a handle, as most of the dry boxes do, it comes with a strap attachment point where you can attach a lanyard so you can tie it off to your boat or another vehicle.
MTM Survivor Dry Box lightweight too, and actually weighs less than a bottle of ketchup. It shouldn’t add any weight to your already filled lightweight backpacks.
#4 GSI Outdoors Lexan Gear Box - Multi-Purpose Dry Box
Need a versatile box you can use for different purposes?
The GSI Outdoors Lexan is a virtually indestructible and waterproof polycarbonate Dry box that can hold all the valuable survival gear you want to safeguard.
It’s one of our favorite boxes, and we love it for how well it’s made. It’s extremely rugged and waterproof, and I can use it for holding delicate items when hiking and storing important documents.
It has some pretty good shocks to it and will survive getting dinged, banged, or thrown off down to the ground from heights.
The other desirable feature that many users love about this ultimate dry box is its watertight O ring seal.
You don’t have to worry about your phone or documents getting waterlogged if you flip on a canoe or your box falls into an ice hole.
It’ll survive getting dipped in the water, survive a rainstorm, outdoor adventures, and even the harsh conditions.
The box is so water-tight that some users even use it inside an ice chest to hold cold cuts, cheeses, and more without getting waterlogged.
My only problem with the design is that it’s transparent. It’s not like it performs any less, but it’s crystal clear so everyone else can see your valuables that you’ll be leaving on the beach.
Other than that, it ticks on all the right boxes, including size. For example, the medium version, coming in at 7.7 x 6.5 x 3.6, can accommodate a Smith and Wesson SD9VE.
And depending on the placement, it’s also easy to accommodate at least an additional magazine and an aid kit.
If it doesn’t fit, you always go for a larger size. The good thing with this ammo box purchase is you get a total of four different sizes to choose from, starting from small, medium, large, to x-large. So, you can never fail to get a size to accommodate your stuff.
Whatever size you choose, you’ll also benefit from a small and compact dry box. At only 0.5 pounds, the Lexan shouldn’t be the one limiting you on where to go and what to carry.
The biggest complaint users have with Lexan is the usage.
Right from the word go, many users find it challenging to open the box as it’s so water-tight that it won’t open.
This is mostly because it comes vacuum-sealed from the factory. The trick is to release the vacuum without damaging the seal.
To break the vacuum seal, pull up one of the latches and then pull up on the other. Trying to pull on both is much harder.
If they fail this way, you can try running hot water to expand the air inside to make it easier to open during the first try.
And if that doesn’t work too, take a small thin flat-bladed screwdriver and rock in back and forth until the case opens. Be gentle.
#5 Plano 131252 Dry Storage Emergency Marine Box - Durable Stainless Steel Hardware Dry Box
Our last pick is an ideal option for users who have failed by other compartments in keeping water and moisture out.
It’s also a great option for those who have had disappointing moments with storage containers with weak handles.
The Plano Marine Box solves all these issues and much more.
The creators of this box utilize some of the premium plastic materials to deliver a high-quality and reliable product.
Sporting a sturdy plastic rugged construction, Plano takes a beating like a champ and will survive getting tossed into the water or being dropped drop heights.
The material is hardy; it hardly breaks or shows any signs of it and will live to provide users with a durable and long-life experience.
Another great arsenal on Plano’s quiver is the unique tongue and groove design. It’s a handy feature capable of keeping things dry and eliminating any moisture from the box.
Along with the unique groove lid design, Plano also has O-Rings seals, which also help bolster Plano’s water resistance.
The benefit of having a water and moisture-resistant compartment is that you never have to worry if you take a dip in the water or accidentally drop your box in an ice hole.
Also, keeping the environment moisture-free means Plano can safely hold some of the sensitive equipment such as cameras and their lenses. This is not to mention it reduces the chances of fungus growth.
Part of the reason many users also pulled the trigger for Plano is because of the ease of handling.
Plano features over-molded carry handles, so you can bid farewell to the disappointing and weak carry handles. It’s comfortable and effortless to carry the box, regardless of your load’s weight.
Plus, the handles are rubberized, so you won’t have to deal with sore arms later.
But the best part is how the handles don’t penetrate the cover. Instead, they’re molded to snap into the lid gasket ball and socket joint. This helps enhance sturdiness, making it easy to store and carry a couple of pounds without worrying if the handle comes off.
Best Dry Boxes Buying Guide
It’s now clear most of these boxes have lots of similarities, and it might be challenging to tell the difference.
But we’re here to help.
In the section below, we’ll share what you need to consider in your next purchase decision.
But before then, let’s first look at what dry boxes are and their usage.
What is a Dry Box?
A dry box is, as its name suggests, it keeps your essentials dry.
The term, however, covers an array of box types, each designed for a specific use.
For example, we’ve the regular plastic box for storing tools, desiccant boxes for laboratory equipment, and electronic storage containers for storing the valuable items that need to be constantly dry.
Types of Storage containers
Plastic Dry Box
This is the simplest and most basic form of a dry box.
It has a basic safety element, only coming with a basic stainless steel hinge or lock to keep the box closed.
The plastic storage containers are moderately durable and lack electrical components, so they can only protect against physical elements such as water and moisture.
Basically, the dry plastic boxes are designed to house objects that can’t be around water but don’t need to be rigorously maintained.
Plastic boxes are also built-in different molds, each fitting for certain usage. For example, some of the plastic storage containers are ultra- watertight, ideal for water usage.
A desiccator, also known as a desiccant, is built for electronic and lab tools sensitive to moisture.
It creates an environment with a low moisture level, and the materials used on these boxes can draw out moisture so that it doesn’t affect anything held within the box.
It’s a great environment for keeping your essentials from rust as well as the development of fungus.
Most of these desiccators use electronic components to keep their objects dry.
While the basic desiccators will keep the moisture and oxygen out, the complex unit can keep other substances like nitrogen out.
The latter is mostly used in research facilities, pharmacies, and universities.
Do I Need a Dry Box?
Having a dry box is a good thing, especially if you’ve items that you need to keep dry.
Most of these boxes have an O Ring gasket seal that keeps water and moisture from your gear.
Along with the important role of keeping items dry, storage containers also serve another important role in keeping your objects safe.
While the dry box keeps an honest man honest, the durable plastic or material can keep your items safe from damage.
Dry Boxes Vs. Dry Bags
When it comes to protection and extra security, a dry bag can effectively perform, and the storage containers do.
Each storage option has its benefits and cons and is best suited for specific tasks.
But how do you choose between the two?
The biggest benefit of a dry bag is flexibility.
It’s easy to store a dry bag in a place that normally goes unused. For example the bow of your kayak or in front of your feet.
Another benefit of this flexibility is it becomes easy to store the larger, bulky gear like tents, towels, sleeping bags, and roll towels.
Gear bags are light. When you empty the contents of the bag during a trip and no longer need the bag, you’ll love how it easily folds and rolls for easy stowing.
Portability is also relatively easy as these bags come with a shoulder strap. The shoulder strap redistributes the weight on your shoulder, making it effortless to carry the bag.
The main disadvantage of gear bags is they use a roll-up closure. This means your gear is loaded in through the top and it’s likely to get stacked on top of other gear. So, if you need something in the bottom of the bag, you need to unload the dry bag to get it completely.
Now, let’s come to the dry boxes.
The biggest benefit with these boxes is they’re rigid and contain padding inside.
A box’s rigidity means it can safely keep your content well protected against the impacts or crushing blows.
Some dry boxes are also padded with a layer of foam or rubber, meaning they might be excellent for items sensitive to shocks, such as cameras or lenses or first aid kits.
In addition, the interior foam used on these boxes can be customized or carved into certain items.
Another benefit of these boxes is that it’s easy to access your items. Most of these boxes have one or two latches on them so it is easy to access all your items on the box.
Liter for liter, dry boxes are more expensive than bags. So, if you need cost-efficient and convenient storage, a combination of both may be the best.
Due to their rigidity, storage containers are sometimes challenging to store in smaller areas, and their shape can make them tough to fit through some hatch openings.
This is not to mention dry boxes are challenging to store since their shoulders can’t compress.
Like dry bags, storage containers are also not rated for submersion. Instead, they’re best used for protecting your items against water splashes and short, shallow submersions.
By now, depending on your needs, you’ve an idea of what storage option to choose.
Keep in mind some options compensate for the shortcomings of the dry boxes and dry bags but come as an added expense.
For example, there’re dry boxes rated for greater water submersion depths.
How to Choose the Best Waterproof Boxes- Features and Factors to Consider
Dry boxes are primarily designed to protect your tools and essentials from water splashes, dust, moisture, and shock.
However, you’ll best appreciate a dry box purchase if you first learn the essentials to consider before making a purchase.
Since storage containers are from different brands and are built differently, the following factors will help you determine the right box for your needs.
Rugged Construction and Durability
Dry boxes are primarily built for protection, and so your ideal box should be heavy-duty.
It should withstand water, dust, and other damaging elements.
Some of the highly-rated dry boxes are also water-resistant and shockproof. These boxes feature an O-Ring for sealing off and protecting the box against water.
Plus, a durable dry box will protect your items from any damage caused by crashes, falls, dings or drops.
Material and Weight
The safety of a dry box is mainly determined by choice of material.
For example, durable and impact-resistant materials such as polypropylene and rugged polycarbonate create sturdy and long-lasting storage units.
These materials provide the needed robustness even in harsh settings.
While retaining sturdiness, consider a lightweight box. Having a lightweight option will ensure you’re free from the inconveniences that come with adding more luggage to your already heavy gear.
The size you choose definitely needs to correspond to the number of items you plan to carry or hold.
For example, if you need a box for holding your car keys, wallet, and tiny belongings, then a small dry box is useful.
However, if you need to hold large items such as cameras, GPS, or other electronics, you need to choose a large dry box.
The good thing with dry boxes is they come in different sizes. From the small, medium to large, you can always find a size that will perfectly accommodate your items.
Best Dry Container Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is a dry box?
A: A dry box is a specially designed container for keeping the contents dry and safe.
It does this through a tight seal on the lid and an O-ring.
Q: Why use a dry box?
A: A dry box helps in protecting your gear from elements such as water and dust. Plus, it also helps to keep your contents from damage caused by drops and dings.
Q: Are dry boxes 100% waterproof?
A: This will depend on the box model, but most of the boxes are only water-resistant.
However, if you need a box to use for scuba diving or a floating dry box, you need to choose the diving dry boxes. These are fully sealed and that it doesn’t leak even when submerged.
Some of the top-rated water-resistant boxes are designed to stay under depths of water for long.
But remember, even the best water-resistant boxes have their limits, and leaving them under for long may compromise their structure.
Q: How does a dry box protect a camera?
A: You can maintain your camera by storing it in a dry box.
The watertight and airtight container promotes a stable level of humidity, perfect for your photography equipment.
This is not to mention boxes will also safeguard your camera against dust.
Q: What type of items can I keep in big and small dry boxes?
A: Huge dry boxes can accommodate anything from simple wallets, lip balms, first aid kits, pocket knives to complex items such as guns and cameras.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winner for the best dry container is the Outdoor Products Watertight.
We choose this product because it has most, if not all, the qualities you would need in a dry box.
It’s water-resistant and moisture-proof, keeping all your personal items free from getting waterlogged.
It also has a generous holding capacity and will accommodate almost all your tools for outdoor adventure.
Also, the stainless steel hardware is generally reliable and doesn’t break easily as most plastic boxes do.