Whether you are traveling, backpacking or just on a day hike---having a backpack rain cover will keep your gear safe and dry when caught in wet weather.
When you're walking through the woods or up a mountain trail, a sudden storm can soak your backpack and everything in it. This means your electronics, snacks, and extra clothing will be soaked and possibly destroyed.
The other is having one the best backpack rain covers to protect your gear from unexpected changes in the weather. These handy covers are waterproof, lightweight, and fold small enough that they won't take up too much space when not in use.
They are also easy to use, with little fumbling when you're rushing to wrap up your backpack before it's sopping wet.
If you're considering adding one of these to your backpacking rain gear, check out our backpacking rain cover reviews for the best ones on the market.
Quick Answer: Best Backpack Rain Covers
- Best Leightweight Cover - Osprey UltraLight Raincover
- Best Budget Rain Cover - OUTAD Waterproof Backpack Raincover
- Best Hi Vis Rain Cover - Osprey Hi-Visibility RainCover
Best Backpack Rain Covers
Backpack Rain Cover Reviews
Keep your gear safe from wet weather using this pack cover from CamelBak. It is simple to use, attaching to your bag with a hook and loop closure system.
All you need to do is slip the black elastic strap under the shoulder straps of your pack, and then thread it through the woven loop. Then secure it using the velcro attachment. Finally, seal everything up using the handy drawstring at the bottom of the backpack rain cover.
Since it is lightweight, this waterproof pack cover won't weigh you down as it does its job. It is bright yellow to keep you visible to the rest of your party. Best of all, the different sizes can be used with a wide variety of backpacks.
If you are looking for a lightweight and easy to pack waterproof backpack cover, the CamelBak Rain Cover is the perfect choice.
Sizes: S/M, M/L
Weight: 3 ounces
Osprey UltraLight Raincover - Best Backpack Rain Cover
When the downpour starts, you don't want to be struggling to hide your gear. That's why the Osprey pack cover is so easy to use. It has a full wrap-around cinch attachment, which combines with a secure hipbelt and harness attachments to keep your belongings safe from the pouring rain.
Since it is made entirely of 40D Nylon ripstop fabric, it will endure some rough use while you're out in the woods. This Osprey backpack cover is also lightweight, so you won't strain your back carrying it with you.
Though the cover itself is black, the printing on it is white reflective material, which is great when you're in an emergency. When not in use, this rain cover packs up small into its own handy carry case.
With it's durable construction from high-quality materials the Osprey UltraLight Raincover is our top pick for the best backpack rain cover. Plus, it comes from one of the most respected backpack brands out there.
Sizes: M, L, XL
Weight: 4.8 ounces
OUTAD Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover - Top Budget Pack Cover
Since it's meant to protect your gear, the best backpack rain cover is durable enough to withstand some tugs and pulls while you're using it. The OUTAD Waterproof Backpack Cover uses rip-resistant polyester oxford fabric in their waterproof backpack cover for just this purpose.
The bottom is even reinforced, so you don't need to hold your pack on your back when resting in a damp area. As well as the water, this rain cover for backpack also keeps your stuff cleaner by blocking out mud and dirt as well.
It comes in a variety of sizes to fit over most backpacks, whether you're using them out in the wild or to carry your books to school. And when the sun comes out, you can tuck this rainproof backpack cover into its included drawstring storage bag until you need it again.
Sizes: S 15-35L, M 35-55L
Weight: S 3.5 oz , M 4.9 oz
With four different sizes to choose from, you'll have no trouble finding Mountainsmith waterproof hiking backpack cover to meet your needs. It is made from 190T taffeta nylon for rugged use without fear of leaking. The seams are even sealed and taped for extra protection.
There is a hook and loop closure system that's easy to use, even when you're in a rush. The cord attachments are angled for less strain, and there is a full circumference draw cord for a tight fit.
Because the stuff sack is integrated into the bag, you don't need to worry about losing it on the road. It also allows you to quickly fold up your waterproof bag cover when it is no longer needed.
Weight: 4.32 ounces
If you have to struggle with a complicated closure system, your gear will be soaked by the time the pack rain cover is secure. That's why the Terra Hiker Waterproof Pack Cover uses a simple drawstring closure to tighten and secure your bag quickly and easily.
This waterproof cover for backpack travel has a PU coating that protects your belongings and is fully seam-sealed to eliminate leakage. The bottom is reinforced to prevent damage if you place your bag on a rougher surface, and the rest of the material is scratch resistant.
Terra Hiker's best backpack rain cover comes in three different colors, including black, bright blue, or camouflage for blending in with your surroundings. The handy carry bag makes it easy to store it until you need it.
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
Weight: 3.84 ounces
Osprey Hi-Visibility Raincover - Best Hi Vis Backpack Cover
In an emergency, visibility becomes the most important thing. This Osprey backpack rain cover takes this into consideration not only with its highly visible yellow material but with its blinker light attachment for use when walking or riding a bicycle. There are also reflective graphics on the back for added visibility in the dark.
There is a wrap-around cinch attachment to secure the Osprey rain cover to your backpack. The hipbelt and harness attachments add extra protection, reducing leaking in even the hardest downpour.
When the rain stops and you're ready to continue your travels, this waterproof cover for backpack use folds down to the size of a tennis ball. You can tuck it into a pocket and forget about it until the next time the clouds threaten to soak you.
Weight: 8 ounces
The largest size has maximum dimensions of 38" x 15" x 12", this waterproof backpack cover can comfortably fit over almost any backpack ranging from 3050 to 5500 cubic inches.
The taffeta-nylon material used for this cover is coated with polyurethane to keep the water out. The seams are all tape sealed for extra protection against leaks.
Both the bright blue and the neon yellow colors have 3M reflective graphics on the outside of the bag for added visibility. It also rolls up into a small package for easy transport.
Sizes: S (20-35L), M (30-50L), L (45-90L)
Weight: 3 ounces
The Sea to Summit Ultra-Light Backpack Rain Cover lives up to its name, with the smallest cover weighing 2 ounces, and the large coming in at a tiny 4.6 ounces. No matter which size you choose, this rain bag cover will never weigh you down.
There are also seven colors to choose from, so you'll have no trouble picking one that suits your personality as well as your needs. The mini siliconized nylon stuff sack is attached to the cover, reducing the risk of losing it during your travels.
Because it's made from 30D diamond ripstop siliconized Cordura, you'll never have to worry about the waterproof finish wearing off after some heavy use. There are no seams on this cover either, so leaking will never be an issue.
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Whether you're using a small hiking backpack or carrying enough gear for a weekend away from home, there is a Gregory Rain Cover sized perfectly to protect all your gear.
The bright blue or orange color and the reflective logo on the back keep you visible to those around you, even during the darkest storm.
The material used in this durable rainproof backpack cover is 210-denier polyurethane coated nylon. All the seams are taped to seal out any water that could soak your gear.
The stuff sack is integrated for easy carrying, and the strap on the rain cover keeps it tight to your backpack. Even the strongest winds won't shift your Gregory pack cover.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 4.8 ounces
The best backpack rain cover is as durable as it is waterproof, to resist tears that could let water in and soak down everything in your bag.
The wear-resistant nylon material of the Jepeak Ultralight Pack Cover resists scratches that could destroy the cover's usefulness. It is also seamless for extra protection from the weather.
There is an elastic cord around the edge of the cover to make it easy to adjust it to different sizes of backpacks for the tightest, most secure fit you can manage.
Though there is no carry bag included, this waterproof cover for backpack use folds small enough to fit into any pocket. It also comes in four stylish colors to keep you looking great in any weather.
Sizes: M, L
Weight: 8 ounces
When the rain starts falling, you don't want to have to struggle with a bunch of straps, or by the time you get your waterproof backpack cover secure, your stuff will be soaked. The Joy Walker Backpack Rain Cover uses a reinforced elastic rim to easily slip this cover over your bag with no fumbling whatsoever.
The 300D nylon material uses double construction for added protection. The external fabric resists rips caused by scratches, dirt, sand, and other debris. The inner material is waterproof, keeping moisture from rain, fog, and snow from soaking your pack and everything in it.
For portability, this rainproof bag cover folds up to the size of a smartphone, tucking easily into its included velvet bag. There are 5 sizes to choose from, to give you the perfect fit for a wide range of backpacks.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Weight: 3.5 ounces
The North Face Pack Rain Cover is made of 70D 190T taffeta fabric with a 2000mm polyurethane coating to keep your gear as dry as possible.
The seams are fully taped to eliminate leaking. The drain hole on the bottom lets out any water caught inside, so there won't be a puddle inside the cover to soak the lower area of your pack.
An elastic closure makes it easy to slip this North Face backpack cover over the bag when caught in an unexpected downpour. It holds tight, even on windy days.
The best backpack rain cover is also lightweight and portable. The minimum 2 ounces of weight and the ability to stow it in any size of pocket makes this rain cover perfect for both these needs.
Sizes:XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight: 2 - 4 ounces
If you don't have the best waterproof backpack, a rainproof backpack cover is a must. This one from Outdoor Research weighs only a few ounces, no matter which size you choose.
The material is 40D ripstop polyester with a polyurethane coating. The seams are fully taped to keep leaks out and your gear dry. The elastic drawcord makes it easy to slip the cover over your backpack and pull it tight for a secure fit.
There is a built-in stuff sack for easy storage, eliminating the risk of losing the carry bag when rushing to cover your backpack in an unexpected shower.
The bright orange color of this hi vis backpack cover keeps you from losing your cover, or getting lost yourself, in the dark.
Sizes: M, L, XL
Just because you want the best backpack rain cover to take with you on your next adventure doesn't mean you can afford to spend a fortune on one.
The BlueField Outdoor Waterproof Rain Cover has a low price, whether you need the small rain cover for a day trip or their large rain cover for a bag big enough to support longer expeditions.
Using rain cover material made of 300D Oxford fabric with a double coating means this cover is more resistant to water, giving your belongings extra protection even in the heaviest downpour.
The seamless construction also reduces moisture inside the cover, and the elastic closure gives you a secure fit for bags of any size or shape.
Sizes: S, M, L
Weight: 5.3 ounces
The Orange Sport/MECOC Waterproof Backpack Cover comes in three different colors and can be used with many bags, backpacks, daypacks, briefcases, and even overnight bags. It is so versatile because of its large size and easy-to-use elastic rim to secure it around any size of bag.
The 210T nylon material has a 3000mm waterproof PU coating to block the rain from entering the cover and soaking your gear. It folds easily into its drawstring bag when you don't need it.
Also included with this handy cover is a waterproof phone case that is IPX8 certified to be submersible up to 30 meters. You can also tuck your important papers, your driver's license, and even your cards and cash in there for safe keeping.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Backpack Rain Cover Buying Guide - Get The Best Waterproof Pack Cover
Why Get a Backpack Rain Cover?
Though many backpacks are made of water-resistant fabric, they are rarely 100% waterproof. A rain cover can offer you the extra protection needed to keep your gear safe from moisture, eliminating the risk of soggy clothing and fried electronics.
A waterproof backpack cover is easy to carry since it folds down small enough to tuck into a spare pocket when traveling. When needed, you simply pull it out, slip it over your bag, and secure any closures there are to hold it in place.
The beauty of these backpack covers is that they can be used for to cover your bag while backpacking, hiking, camping, biking, or even walking to school on a rainy day. They are lightweight, so you won't even notice it's there, though you'll be thankful for it when the rain starts pouring down on you.
What Do You Need - Waterproof Backpack vs. Pack Cover?
Waterproof backpacks are the ultimate gear choice that will keep all your gear dry, but there area a few reasons why you may want to go with a waterproof pack cover instead.
Most waterproof packs are made of a fully waterproof material, which is just what you need to keep your gear dry. However, they are heavier and less supple than traditional backpacks. You also give up some functionality with storage options in many waterproof backpacks.
The other problem is that punctures can happen at any time. Once a hole forms in your pack, the waterproofing goes out the window. Seams consist of hundreds of holes that could also leak if not fully taped.
Having a waterproof backpack rain cover can be a good solution, especially if you love the pack you currently have and don't expect to be using it in extreme wet weather. They are also made of nylon or polyester, usually with some type of waterproof coating, which keeps the water out without adding extra weight.
They are versatile enough to fit over a variety of pack shapes and sizes. But like the backpacks, they can be torn, reducing their effectiveness if not properly repaired.
Rain covers also have the added benefit of being compact enough to be stored in a small pocket until they are needed. They cover almost the entire pack, and many even have reinforced bottoms for added protection if you put your backpack down on a damp surface.
When to Use a Backpack Rain Cover
The best backpack rain cover is versatile, so you can use it for any type of activity where you might need a bit of protection from wet weather.
Hiking and backpacking are the obvious uses, but you can also use these covers when riding a bicycle or a motorcycle. A backpack full of books for school or the library can also use some protection.
You can even use it when you're boating, fishing, or camping to protect your clothing, electronics, and other essential items.
The added benefit of a backpack cover for rain is that they come in a variety of sizes and colors, plus are so compact they can be folded down and tucked away until you need them. When the rain starts, pull it out, slip it over the pack, and you're back on your way in only a minute or two.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Backpack Rain Cover
Waterproof vs. Water Repellent
When a material is waterproof, this means that the rain will glide over the outer surface but won't soak into the fabric. Water repellent will have a similar effect in light rain, though it won't hold up against a heavy downpour.
When choosing a rain cover, you need to consider the season and activity you plan to use it for. In drier areas with little to no rain, you won't need the heavy duty waterproof cover. If you plan on going out for a short hike, this may also be good enough to protect you from an unexpected shower.
Longer backpacking trips will require a waterproof cover. You don't know when the weather will change and a heavy rain will soak you down. Plus, it will ensure you'll have some dry clothing to change into when you get to your site.
Capacity - What Size Pack Do You Have?
Like backpacks, rain covers come in a wide range of sizes to choose from. They cover smaller packs with a capacity of 10L to the larger 75L expedition models. When you pick one, you need to make sure it will cover the backpack you are using.
But just because it claims to fit your backpack doesn't mean you should just pack it and go. Open it up and slip it over your pack to make sure it fits properly. If it seems a bit too snug, take the cover back and get one size larger.
Most of them can be tightened for a secure fit, but if it is too small, you risk leaving some areas of the backpack exposed to the elements.
When you wrap your backpack in the best backpack rain cover, it should have a tight fit, wrapping around the top, bottom, and sides securely.
Some of them have elastic rims to hold it on, and if this is the case, you want to make sure it will hold against the wind if it should pick up. A loose fit won't' keep the rain out, making the pack cover a useless addition to your gear.
Straps and drawstrings will help since you can tighten the backpack rain cover as much as you need to. But even with these, you want to make sure there are no gaps in the back that could let water in.
The best backpack cover will be made of lightweight material that won't tear at the slightest scrape. They are wear-resistant, so you can use them repeatedly out in the rugged wilderness without leaving your gear exposed.
A backpacking rain cover is also scratch-resistant, so you won't end up with a large tear if you accidentally brush your pack against a branch or place it down on some rocks.
Many of them are also seamless, so you don't need to worry about threads coming loose and leaving open areas in your rain cover. Leaks in your pack cover will also be reduced thanks to this feature.
There are two materials used most often in your average backpack rain cover. Both are lightweight and have their own benefits and flaws.
Nylon is popular since it is durable and stretches as needed. It resists water, abrasions, mold, mildew, and stains. It is also easy to clean if it gets dirty during your travels, which is quite likely.
The downside to nylon is that it isn't recyclable and is prone to fading if exposed to sunlight. But it is the stronger of the two.
Polyester is also durable, though doesn't stretch as easily. But it also won't shrink, so it will fit you pack no matter how often it gets wet. This material also dries fast and resists water, mold, and mildew.
It won't fade, is easy to clean, and can be recycled if it becomes damaged. The issues are that it could hold a stain from oily substances.
Sometimes when people choose their outdoor gear, they consider the features but don't put much thought into color unless it is to suit their style. This is the wrong way to look at this since the color of your rain cover could either help or hinder you in an emergency.
Think of it this way. If you get lost in the woods and the sun is going down, a black backpack cover won't be visible to those looking for you. A bright neon orange or yellow one will help them spot you though, even in the fading light.
Many brands of waterproof backpack covers also have reflective graphics on the back. Though they may look cool, style isn't the reason they are there. These will also help those around you locate your position since the reflective material will catch the light of a flashlight or even the moonlight overhead.
The price of your new waterproof backpack cover will depend on the material it is made of, as well as the size of the cover.
Nylon and polyester are the most durable materials, so they will cost a bit more than other types. But their versatility and strength make them well worth the cost.
Buying a small cover to fit over a 10L bag needs less material to make it then a large 60L capacity rain cover. Less material means less cost to produce it, which could also affect how much you pay for it.
But there are cheap models available. If you are traveling on a budget, it is possible to find decent rain covers under $15.00, but these may not have the adjustable straps and the thicker material of the more expensive brands. They will still do the job they are intended for, though.
The Bottom Line
Getting caught in the rain when you're far from home, or any other type of shelter, can ruin your gear as well as your day. Having the best backpack rain cover as part of your supplies can keep the essentials strapped to your back dry until you can get indoors.
With so many to choose from, it may be hard to find the right one. That's why it's important to pick a rain cover according to your needs and your budget.
Our pick for the best backpack rain cover is the Osprey UltraLight Raincover. I love Osprey backpacks and it's a brand that stands behind their products 100%.
If you need a cheaper model that will still protect your backpack and everything in it, the OUTAD Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover or the Joy Walker Backpack Rain Cover are top options with a great low price and a perfect fit due to their elastic rim.
For those who favor the safety aspects, the Osprey Hi-Visibility RainCover is bright yellow with reflective graphics and has that handy blinker light attachment for bikers or emergencies. It also comes in 5 different sizes, so you'll always have the best backpack rain cover no matter how much gear you're carrying.