I spent a lot of time in the canoe this past spring, and watched as a variety of people had dry bags that failed. This happens every year. People put their faith in a dry bag to keep their stuff dry, but their stuff still gets wet. Don’t believe the dry bag hype, and don’t be caught with wet gear at the end of the day.
The big barrel holds your sleeping system and clothes. The smaller barrel hold the items you use during the day such as sunscreen, sunglasses, toilet kit, camera, first aid kit, etc., and doubles as a chair in camp. I paddled several hundred miles this spring in a boat with no seats, using the 20 Liter barrel as my canoe seat. It worked great in the boat, and works great as a seat in camp.
When you get both barrels together you save on shipping because the small one fits inside the big one. Economize elsewhere – have dependable dry storage for your stuff if you’re headed out on the water.
Also consider a set of pack straps for the 60 liter barrel if you’re planning a trip with a lot of carries (called portages outside of Maine). There area bunch available and I’ve seen quite a few, but the only one I have personal experience with is the Kondos 60 liter barrel harness. I’ve had these for 6 years and they do the job.
I too used to put faith in dry bags, but in 2002 on an trip in the Florida Everglades a raccoon bit holes in all of my dry bags. Since then I’ve been all about rigid storage, and it hasn’t failed me yet. With dry bags, the question isn’t if they will fail, it’s when.