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How To Make A Duffel Bag Waterproof


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Blinni Parent



When embarking on your next outdoor adventure or travel, having a reliable waterproof duffel bag can make all the difference. Whether you’re hiking through rugged terrain, kayaking in unpredictable waters, or simply navigating through a rainy city, a waterproof duffel bag will keep your belongings dry and protected.


But what if you already have a favorite duffel bag that isn’t waterproof? Don’t fret! With a few simple steps, you can transform your regular duffel bag into a waterproof marvel. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making a duffel bag waterproof, allowing you to continue using your trusted bag without worry.


Before we dive into the steps, let’s briefly discuss the importance of a waterproof duffel bag. It goes beyond just keeping your belongings dry; it also safeguards them from potential damage, such as water stains, mold, and mildew. Additionally, a waterproof duffel bag provides peace of mind during outdoor activities or when traveling in unpredictable weather conditions.


Now that we understand the significance of a waterproof duffel bag, let’s explore the materials needed and get started on transforming your regular bag into a waterproof fortress.


Materials Needed

Before you begin the process of making your duffel bag waterproof, gather the following materials:

  1. A duffel bag of your choice: Look for a bag made of durable and water-resistant material, such as nylon or PVC. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate your belongings.
  2. A waterproofing agent: There are several options available, including waterproof sprays, sealants, or coatings. Choose a product that is suitable for the material of your duffel bag.
  3. Clean cloth or sponge: Use this to clean the bag before applying the waterproofing agent. Make sure it is lint-free and won’t leave behind any residue.
  4. Masking tape: Optional, but useful for protecting certain areas of the bag from the waterproofing agent.
  5. Well-ventilated area: Find a space where you can work comfortably without inhaling excessive fumes from the waterproofing agent.

Once you have gathered these materials, you’re ready to begin the process of making your duffel bag waterproof. Read on to learn the step-by-step instructions.


Step 1: Choose the Right Bag

The first step in making a duffel bag waterproof is selecting a bag that is suitable for the task. Look for a duffel bag made of durable and water-resistant material, such as nylon or PVC. These materials are known for their ability to repel water and keep your belongings dry.


Consider the size of the bag as well. Depending on your needs, choose a duffel bag that is large enough to accommodate your belongings without sacrificing its waterproof qualities. You want to ensure that your bag can withstand any weather conditions or outdoor activities you have planned.


Another factor to consider is the bag’s design. Look for features like sealed seams and waterproof zippers, which provide an extra layer of protection against water infiltration. These added features can significantly enhance the bag’s ability to keep your belongings dry in even the most challenging conditions.


Additionally, consider the bag’s carrying options. Look for duffel bags with adjustable and comfortable straps or handles, allowing you to carry the bag easily and comfortably during your travels. Some bags also come with detachable shoulder straps, which can be useful when you need to free up your hands.


Take your time to research and compare different duffel bags to find the one that fits your needs and preferences. Remember, choosing the right bag is the foundation for creating a waterproof duffel bag that will protect your belongings during your adventures.


Step 2: Select a Waterproofing Agent

Once you have chosen the right duffel bag, the next step is to select a suitable waterproofing agent. There are several options available in the market, each with its own pros and cons. Here are a few popular choices:

  1. Waterproof Sprays: These sprays are convenient to use and provide a protective coating on the surface of the bag. Make sure to choose a spray that is specifically designed for the material of your duffel bag. Follow the instructions on the spray can for proper application.
  2. Sealants: Sealants create a waterproof barrier on the fabric of the bag. They are usually applied with a brush or roller and might require multiple coats for effective protection. Check the label to ensure that the sealant is compatible with the material of your duffel bag.
  3. Coatings: Coatings are similar to sealants, but they often come in a thicker form. They provide a long-lasting waterproof layer that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Follow the instructions provided with the coating to apply it evenly on your duffel bag.

When choosing a waterproofing agent, consider factors such as durability, ease of application, and compatibility with the material of your duffel bag. It’s also a good idea to read reviews and recommendations from other users to gauge the effectiveness of the product.


Remember, not all waterproofing agents are suitable for all materials. Some may work better with synthetic fabrics, while others may be more effective on natural fibers. Make sure to do your research and choose an agent that is specifically formulated for the type of material your duffel bag is made of.


Now that you have your waterproofing agent selected, let’s move on to the next step and prepare your duffel bag for the application process.


Step 3: Prepare the Bag

Before applying the waterproofing agent, it’s important to properly prepare your duffel bag to ensure maximum effectiveness. Follow these steps to get your bag ready:

  1. Clean the Bag: Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe down the entire surface of the bag. Remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may be present. This step is crucial as it ensures that the waterproofing agent adheres properly to the surface of the bag.
  2. Inspect for Damage: Check your duffel bag for any rips, tears, or weak spots. If you notice any damage, repair it before proceeding with the waterproofing process. Patch up any holes or reinforce weak areas using appropriate repair materials, such as fabric patches or adhesive tapes.
  3. Protect Zipper and Hardware: If your duffel bag has zippers, hardware, or other non-fabric components, cover them with masking tape. This will prevent the waterproofing agent from interfering with the functionality of these parts.
  4. Ensure Proper Ventilation: Choose a well-ventilated area for the waterproofing process. This will help minimize the exposure to fumes and facilitate the drying process.

By thoroughly cleaning your duffel bag and ensuring it is in good condition, you set the foundation for a successful waterproofing application. Now that your bag is prepared, let’s move on to the exciting part—applying the waterproofing agent!


Step 4: Apply the Waterproofing Agent

Now it’s time to apply the chosen waterproofing agent to your duffel bag. Follow these steps for a successful application:

  1. Read Instructions: Carefully read and follow the instructions provided with the waterproofing agent. Pay attention to any specific application techniques or drying times mentioned.
  2. Test on a Small Area: Before applying the waterproofing agent to the entire bag, it’s recommended to test it on a small, inconspicuous area. This will allow you to ensure that the agent does not cause any discoloration or damage to the fabric of your bag.
  3. Apply Evenly: Start applying the waterproofing agent to the bag, following the instructions provided. Use a brush, sponge, or spray bottle, depending on the type of agent you’ve chosen. Make sure to apply the agent evenly, covering the entire surface of the bag.
  4. Pay Attention to Seams and Zippers: Give extra attention to the seams and zippers, as these are often more vulnerable to water penetration. Apply the waterproofing agent generously on these areas, ensuring that they are well coated.
  5. Work in Small Sections: If your duffel bag is large, it may be easier to work on it in small sections. This will allow you to ensure that each part of the bag receives thorough coverage and that no areas are missed.

Take your time during the application process to ensure that the waterproofing agent is applied evenly and saturates the fabric properly. If you’re using a spray, be mindful of overspray and protect surrounding areas from getting coated with the agent.


Once you have applied the waterproofing agent to the entire bag, move on to the next step and let it dry thoroughly before testing its waterproofing capabilities.


Step 5: Let it Dry

After applying the waterproofing agent to your duffel bag, it’s essential to allow it sufficient time to dry. Follow these steps to ensure proper drying:

  1. Follow Drying Time: Refer to the instructions provided with the waterproofing agent to determine the recommended drying time. This may vary depending on the specific product and environmental conditions.
  2. Hang or Lay Flat: Choose a well-ventilated area to dry your bag. If possible, hang it up using a clothesline or hanger, ensuring that the bag is spread out to allow air circulation. Alternatively, you can lay it flat on a clean surface.
  3. Rotate if Necessary: If you’re drying the bag in a flat position, consider rotating it periodically to ensure that all sides are exposed to the air. This will help prevent any damp spots from forming.
  4. Avoid Direct Sunlight: While drying your duffel bag, avoid placing it under direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause fading or damage to the material.
  5. Be Patient: Drying times can vary, so be patient and allow your duffel bag ample time to dry completely. This will ensure that the waterproofing agent has fully penetrated and bonded with the fabric.

During the drying process, it’s important to resist the temptation to use or pack your bag prematurely. Rushing the drying stage can compromise the effectiveness of the waterproofing agent and may lead to unsatisfactory results.


Once your duffel bag is fully dry, it’s time to move on to the final step – testing its newly acquired waterproofing capabilities.


Step 6: Test the Waterproofing

Now that your duffel bag has been treated with the waterproofing agent and has thoroughly dried, it’s time to put it to the test. Follow these steps to ensure that your bag is truly waterproof:

  1. Fill the Bag: Before testing the bag, make sure it is empty and clean. Fill it with towels, clothes, or any other items that you don’t mind getting wet.
  2. Simulate Water Exposure: Depending on the intended use of your bag, you can simulate different water exposure scenarios. For example, you can spray it with a hose, submerge it partially in a bathtub or sink, or even take it out in the rain (if conditions permit). Ensure that the water is not excessively hot or abrasive.
  3. Inspect for Leakage: After subjecting your duffel bag to water exposure, examine the interior for any signs of moisture or water penetration. Pay close attention to the seams, zippers, and other areas that are prone to leakage. If you notice any leakage, mark the area and consider reapplying the waterproofing agent.
  4. Repeat Test if Necessary: If your bag passes the waterproofing test and remains dry inside, you can be confident in its waterproof capabilities. However, if you notice any leakage or areas of concern, repeat the waterproofing process and ensure proper application.

Testing the waterproofing of your duffel bag is crucial to ensure its effectiveness in real-life scenarios. It provides the peace of mind and assurance that your belongings will stay dry and safe, no matter the weather conditions or outdoor activities you engage in.


Once you have confirmed the waterproofing capabilities of your duffel bag, you are ready to embark on your next adventure, knowing that your belongings are protected from the elements.



Turning your regular duffel bag into a waterproof powerhouse is a simple process that can greatly enhance its functionality and protect your belongings during outdoor activities or unpredictable weather conditions. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively make your duffel bag waterproof and enjoy peace of mind knowing that your essentials are safe and dry.


Choosing the right bag made of durable and water-resistant material is the first step. Then, selecting a suitable waterproofing agent based on your bag’s material is crucial. Preparing the bag by cleaning it and inspecting for any damage ensures a solid foundation for the waterproofing process.


Applying the waterproofing agent evenly to the bag and allowing it to dry thoroughly is essential for maximum effectiveness. Testing the waterproofing capabilities by subjecting the bag to water exposure is the final step, providing confirmation that your bag is truly waterproof.


Remember, each bag and waterproofing agent may have specific instructions and recommendations, so be sure to follow them carefully. Additionally, regular maintenance and reapplication of the waterproofing agent, especially after prolonged use or exposure to harsh conditions, will help maintain the bag’s waterproof capabilities over time.


Now that you possess the knowledge and skills to make a duffel bag waterproof, you can confidently embark on your outdoor adventures, travels, or daily commute without worrying about the weather ruining your belongings. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a waterproof duffel bag and make the most of your experiences, rain or shine!