Looking for the best waterproof backpack to keep your gear safe and dry?

Let the days of awkwardly wrapping a poncho around your backpack be a thing of the past and invest in a top quality waterproof backpack.

If you’re an avid explorer of this earth then you want to be prepared to step into the heart of mother nature and all of her many moods.

Whether strolling the streets of Rome when a relentless thunder shower rolls in or trekking the lush rainforests of Costa Rica, you want to know all your valuables are protected from the elements so you can stay focused on what’s important–enjoying your travels.

Best Waterproof Backpacks 2018

NameImageSizeMaterialPriceOur Rating

100% Waterproof Backpacks

Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Backpack
30L420D RipStop fabric with TPU lamination$$
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Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack
30LPVC tarpaulin$$
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Ortlieb Velocity Backpack
20LCoated polyester$$
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Aqua Quest Himal Backpack
20L70D ripstop fabric with TPU lamination$
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BackSak Waterproof Backpack
35L500D PVC$
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SealLine Boundary Pack
35L, 70L, 115LVinyl$$
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Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack
22LSiliconized CORDURA® fabric$$
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Mountain Hardwear Scrambler
30L, 35L, 40L400D HD nylon / polyester TPU laminate$$
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Boreas Echo Pack
25L420D nylon ripstop with TPU coating$$
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Sea to Summit Flow Drypack
35LNylon with TPU laminate$$
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Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
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Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack
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Filson Dry Day Backpackn/aVinyl-coated polyester$$
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Water Resistant Backpacks

Patagonia Black Hole Pack
25L, 32L450D polyester ripstop$$$
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Outlander Packable Daypack
20L, 39LWater resistant nylon fabric$
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Millican Smith Roll Laptop Backpack
25LBionic canvas (waxed)$$$
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Waterproof Backpacks Reviews

I’ve chosen some of what I think are the best waterproof backpacks on the market that are ready to handle any global travel adventure. Below you’ll find short reviews for each back and why it stands out.

I’ll only recommend products that I have personally used or would purchase for myself, and trust me I’ve tried quite a few since as a blogger I always travel with my laptop in hand during my global adventures.

Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Backpack

Whether you’re looking for a waterproof school bag or something to take into the backcountry, the Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Backpack is ready to tackle any adventure.

Designed with a roll top closure and waterproof zippers, this 30L pack is 100% waterproof to keep your gear safe and dray—-your clothes, laptop, books, or anything else. It’s constructed out of abrasion resistant 420D ripstop fabric with TPU lamination, features heat taped seams, double bar tacked stress points, and for good measure it even has a DWR coating.

At 1.9 lbs it’s lightweight, but don’t let that fool you. It’s on tough pack. It it will hold up to even the toughest abuse and keep your gear dry for years to come.

For storage it features a large internal compartment that can hold a laptop or tablet, a splash resistant front pocket for quick access items, and a external mesh sleeve for keeping wet and dirty gear separate from your dry stuff.

The contoured adjustable shoulder straps are some of the most comfortable out there and it has both chest and hit straps to secure your pack when moving around. The soft Air-Mesh back panel provides some level of breath ability in hot conditions, yet doesn’t soak of water to become heavy.

If you’re looking for a waterproof bag to tackle urban adventures or off-the-grid weekend trips, the Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Backpack will keep your valuables high and dry under any circumstances.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 30L

Material: 420D RipStop fabric with TPU lamination

Pockets: 1 internal main compartment, 1 external zipper, 1 external sleeve

Best Use: Travel, outdoors, everyday use, ocean sports, boating, camping, cycling

Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack

Overboard Pro-Sports specializes in waterproof gear—dry bags, waterproof phone cases, and more—the Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack is their well-designed, 100% waterproof backpack that will survive the wettest conditions.

This 30L pack is fully submersible and floats when it goes overboard. Designed as a roll top dry bag it’s constructed from durable PVC tarpaulin that is resistant to abrasion and punctures. Made with high frequency welded seams it’s completely watertight and will keep your valuables safe from water, sand and dirt, and any other threats.

It has multiple internal and outer mesh side pockets for organization, overall there is plenty of places to store your stuff for travel or daily use. Some unique features this pack offers include a whistle buckle, reflective stripping for visibility at night.

Overall the Overboard Pro-Sports Waterproof Backpack is a solid waterproof dry bag backpack for boating, SUP, or any other activities when your gear just may get wet.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 30L

Material: PVC tarpaulin

Pockets: internal and external mesh

Best Use: Travel, outdoors, boating, ocean sports, camping, cycling

Aqua Quest Himal Backpack

Another great waterproof pack from Aqua Quest. The Aqua Quest Himal Backpack is an exceptional waterproof backpack that is both affordable and lightweight.

It’s 100% waterproof and weighs just 1.15 lbs, which makes it easy to carry for any activity. Whether you are heading into the wilderness or just carrying some books to class, this is a great option to protect your gear from getting wet.

It has 20L capacity of storage which is the middle ground for waterproof day packs. Plus, it can double as a packable daypack as it folds into it’s own front pocket for storage. It’s packed size is 11 x 4 x 1.5 inches. This makes it one of the best options for travelers who want to bring along an smaller waterpoof daypack on their travels.

When closed it’s roll top design provides protection from rain, snow, dirt, sand—and it can even be submerged without letting water in for short periods of time. It’s constructed from 70D ripstop fabric with TPU lamination and heat taped seams to give you one of the lightest, yet durable packs.

The pack can be adjusted for fit with both it’s adjustable waist and shoulder straps. On top of that, it features a breathable air-mesh back panel for all day comfort.

For anyone looking for one of the most lightweight and packable waterproof daypacks for travel, the Aqua Quest Himal Backpack is a top option. And it won’t break your budget.

If you are looking for a sport oriented dry bag backpack, check the Aqua Quest Sport Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 20L

Material: 70D ripstop fabric with TPU lamination

Pockets: Front pocket

Best Use: Travel, outdoors, hiking, camping

Ortlieb Velocity Backpack – Best Commuter Backpack 2018

Known for producing some of the best waterproof cycling backpack, Ortlieb Velocity Backpack is their flagship pack. It’s built ultra tough and features a sleek design for wet weather.

Built with cycling in mind, the Ortlieb Velocity is perfect bike commuters or running errands around town. A proven roll top with hook-and-loop closer design makes this waterpoof daypack reliable and ensures your goods don’t get wetb—even in the rainiest conditions.

The pack features comfortable padded shoulder straps, adjustable sternum and waist straps help to secure the pack when riding. The back panel is built with foam to increase ventilation and water runoff. Plus, reflective detailing on the packs helps you be seen for safety.

The Ortlieb Velocity Backpack is a top choice for anyone looking for the best waterproof cycling backpack. If you frequently ride your bike in the rain, this pack will keep whatever you’re carrying in your pack—-books, latop, food—safe and dry.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 20L

Material: Coated polyester

Pockets: Removable inner pocket

Best Use: Cycling, urban, outdoors, boating, camping

BackSak Waterproof Backpack – Best Waterproof Backpack 2018

Anyone looking for an affordable waterproof backpack that can do it all and is built to last should consider the BackSak Waterproof Backpack.

Constructed from 500D PVC with welded seams this pack is built ultra-tough to keep your gear dry. At 35L it’s one of the larger waterproof backpacks on the market and big enough for hauling your daily gear—no matter the type of adventure.

The pack features a chest straps for stability and padded back support for comfortable wearing. Plus it’s adjustable padded shoulder straps are built to fit both male and female users, both big and small.

To close the bag, simply toll down the top several times and clip it either together on top or along the sides for a compressed fit. In both ways it’s 100% waterproof to keep your belongings safe from rain, snow, mud, dirt, or anything else your may encounter. Even if it gets dunked in the water, it floats.

For storing your stuff the backpack has two zippered—one inside the bag for keeping valuables and another water resistant pocket on the outside for storing quick access items. For visibility when walking or cycling at night the bag also has reflective trim to make sure you seen.

At the price and quality, this pack is hard to beat. Overall the BackSak Waterproof Backpack is a top choice for anyone looking for the best waterproof backpack for travel, outdoors, or any other adventure you’ll set out on.

Såk Gear also offers incredible customer support and if you are unhappy with their products for any reason you can send your gear back for a full refund within the first 90 days.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 35L

Material: 500D PVC

Pockets: 1 splash proof zippered external, 1 zippered internal

Best Use: Travel, river trips, cycling, urban use, outdoors, camping

SealLine Boundary Pack

SealLine is know for their high quality dry bags, waterproof duffel bags, and packs. From their large lineup of products the SealLine Boundary Pack is among the most tried-and-true packs.

With removable padded shoulder straps the Boundary Pack Dry Bag is versatile and can be used for both a waterpoof backpack for travel or kayak dry bag for river trips or other water adventures. It’s comfortable to wear and has a great suspension system with breathable shoulder straps to make even heavy loads bearable. Plus, a waist belt is added for extra pack stability.

The pack is constructed from PU-coated polyester and scrim-reinforced urethane which will keep your valuables dry and safe whether you are traveling on bus, boat, or SUP.

It features SealLines unique roll-top closure with continuous double sealing strips that work incredibly well. The bag is 100% waterproof and can even be dunked or submerged.

The SealLine Boundary Pack is a sturdy and rugged waterproof backpack that will hold up to any test you put to it–making it a great option for adventure travel or outdoor expeditions.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 35L, 70L, 115L

Material: PU-coated polyester

Pockets: 1 main compartment

Best Use: Kayak, camping, outdoors, boating, travel, SUP

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack – Best Lightweight Waterproof Daypack

At just 3.2 oz the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack easily takes the win as the best lightweight waterproof backpack on the market.

Even though it’s ultra-lightweight the pack still holds 22L of storage and it’s 100% waterproof. This makes it the perfect pack for lightweight and minimalist travelers who value the lightest gear.

I love this bag because it has the perfect balance of weight, durability and features to keep any traveler or outdoor adventurist choosing it for their go-to waterproof pack. It’s constructed from srapidiliconized CORDURA® fabric, double stitched PU taped seams to guarantee your gear stays safe and dry.

A great feature of this pack is that it packs into its own tiny stuff sack for easy storage and portability. At this weight and size you won’t think twice about throwing this lightweight daypack in your luggage.

Keeping with the ultralight functionality the pack offers compression lacing system for lashing gear to outside of the pack. It works perfect for storing your jacket when you need to quickly shed an extra layer and don’t want to open up the top-roll closure.

If you’re looking for an ultra lightweight waterproof backpack option, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack fits the bill. It’s featherweight, fully waterproof, and perfect for the minimalist traveler.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 22L

Material: Siliconized CORDURA® fabric

Pockets: 1 large compartment

Best Use: Lightweight travel, hiking, cycling, everyday use, outdoors, boating

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler – Best Waterproof Hiking Backpack

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more versatile waterproof backpack than the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler.

Available in three sizes—30L, 35L, and 40L—this pack is the perfect gear bag for hiking in the mountains, scrambling down canyons, or just everyday adventures that you may find yourself on while traveling.

The backpack is 100% waterproof with Mountain Hardware’s watertight OutDry construction that uses TPU laminate and fully taped seams. It’s HardWear Tarp keeps any water from entering the back from the top cover and the body is made from durable 400D HD nylon.

This bag is built for the roughest conditions and made for the outdoors. It features a rope strap for climbing, gear loops on the side, a easy access hydration sleeve for hiking, and ice axe and trekking pole carry loops.

The pack is one of the most comfortable waterproof backpacks out there with it’s HardWave suspension system, padded shoulder straps, adjustable sternum strap, and stowable hip belt. Most waterproof backs lack any suspension system, but with this bag you get a great fitting bag that is comfortable to wear for all-day hiking or climbing adventures.

With top access you can easily stow away your gear and compact the bag with it’s side compression straps when not fully packed. The bag has 1 zippered top pocket for easy access items and 2 side pockets for storing water bottles or other gear.

Anyone looking for a do-it-all, rugged waterproof backpack to take along while hiking, climbing, or canyoneering should consider the Mountain Hardwear Scrambler.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 30L, 35L, 40L

Material: 420D nylon ripstop with TPU coating

Pockets: 1 zippered top pocket, 2 side pockets, hydration sleeve

Best Use: Hiking, climbing, everyday use, outdoors, camping

Boreas Echo Pack

It’s all in the detail with the Boreas Echo Pack. The Boreas design director has teamed up with some of the top players of renowned outdoor company ‘The North Force’ to combine all the best knowledge of the industry to create this high-quality echo bag.

It’s double hull construction is sure to keep your gear dry not matter how much rain you run into. The pack is ultra comfortable with a high-quality suspension design, making it a great choice for outdoor adventures—hiking, climbing, skiing, cycling or any other sport.

It’s built to accommodate both wet and dry gear, it even has draining side pockets for the wettest gear. The top closes with a roll-close waterproof skirts to keep any moisture from reaching your gear packed inside. Their are hidden daisy chains for securing your pack when traveling or clipping extra gear.

The molded EVA foam backpanel makes it comfortable to wear for long days of exploring the outdoors or traveling. Padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum straps make for a secure carrying pack when on the move.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 25L

Material: 210D & 420D nylon ripstop kiss coat with TPU

Pockets: 1 zippered top pocket, 2 side pockets, hydration sleeve

Best Use: Hiking, climbing, everyday use, outdoors, camping

Sea to Summit Flow Drypack

A great waterproof backpack for day trekking but also big enough for overnight stays. With an in-built hydration compartment pack this backpack serves as the ultimate in functionality and convenience.

The Sea to Summit Rapid Drypack is built with a TPU laminate and fully taped seams to keep everything dry on the inside. Plus, it has a white interior to help you quickly located contents of the bag.

It’s a rugged daypack built for any outdoor adventure and is comfortable wearing all-day on the trail. It’s padded shoulder straps are ventilated to help with temperature regulation and the suspension system provides solid support.

Unique hiking features included in this pack include a hydration bladder sleeve, Hypalon lash-loop for gear, stretchy mesh side pockets for water bottles and gear, and an abrasion resistant body.

The bag is a roll-top design which means you can easily store your larger gear in the main waterproof compartment. For smaller items it offers internal pockets for organization.

Overall the Sea to Summit Flow Drypack is a great choice for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a lightweight and fully waterproof backpack that offers many user friendly features.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 35L

Material: Nylon with TPU laminate

Pockets: internal organization pockets, side mesh pockets, hydration sleeve

Best Use: Hiking, travel, everyday use, outdoors, camping


Filson Dry Day Backpack

Compact and versatile this is the kind of backpack you want to pick for day outings where you only need a handful of essentials for your chosen adventure. Stylish and durable, this is clearly one of the best waterproof backpacks on the market.

The bag features an oval base that stays upright for easy packing, a roll top with hook-and-loop closure, and adjustable side straps for cinching the bag closed. These can also double for clipping on accessories or gear.

With the bag your get roll top access to the main compartment as well as a zippered external pocket for storing small items that you need quick access to.

The bag has a front sternum strap for stabilizing your load while walking or cycling and padded shoulder straps that fit to your body. These also have nylon gear loops for attaching items to.

Overall the Filson Dry Day Backpack offers a very appealing and sleek design from a waterproof backpack. A classic look without compromising functionality. It’s perfect for anything from urban adventures to weekend camping trips when you just don’t know what mother nature will dish out.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 25L

Material: Vinyl-coated polyester

Pockets: 1 zippered exterior

Best Use: Urban, everyday use, cycling, school, outdoors, camping

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Anyone looking for one of the best waterproof laptop backpacks should have their eye on the Timbuk2 Spire Backpack. It’s a great versatile everyday or travel backpack that offers full protection of your laptop with a dedicated padded sleeve.

Timbuk2 have had some serious boardroom meetings with Apple and strategically designed this great waterproof backpack to specifically cater for Apple fans. The Timbuk2 fits a 15″ Mac Pro in the main compartment and an iPad in a separate pocket. When you’re on-the-go you never know when it might rain and you certainly want to know that your expensive laptop is safe from any kind of moisture.

The pack is constructed from canvas fabric with waterproof TPU and features anodized aluminum hardware, removable sternum strap, ventilated back panel, on-strap bottle opener, and a laptop compartment and iPad sleeve.

Thanks to it’s proven roll-top closure it offers expandable volume to fit all your gear. You can close it more to make the pack smaller or increase capacity when needed. For storage options the bag has small zip pockets to easily locate smaller items and plenty of organizational spaces for pens, wallets, and phones. Daisy chains on the exterior allow you to clip on helmets or extra gear.

Overall the Timbuk2 Spire Backpack is one of the top waterproof laptop backpacks to consider for anyone looking for a well-built and functional everyday or travel bag to keep their gear dry.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 32L

Material: Canvas with TPU

Pockets: Zippered exterior, interior organizational pockets, laptop and iPad sleeve

Best Use: Urban/everyday, commuting, school, cycling, travel

Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack – Best Waterproof Laptop Backpack 2018

Another great by-product of those Apple and Timbuk2 boardroom meetings. As the name suggests, the Timbuk2 Rogue Waterproof Laptop Backpack is specifically designed to store your laptop, in particular a 15″ Mac Pro. Plus it offers plenty of additional features that will quickly make it your favorite pack.

Similar to the Timbuk2 Spire Backpack this pack is fully waterproof and specifically built to carry your laptop. It’s top-loading style with a large-flap top allows you to easily pack and access you gear, all while protecting it from any inclement weather you might encounter.

At 20L it’s a smaller sized pack, but provides just the right combination of storage with it’s laptop sleeve, a main compartment for some clothes, and organizational pockets for pens, and other gadgets. To round it out, it offers daisy chain for strapping accessories-helmets, etc, and a stretchy side pockets perfect for fitting a water bottle. Oh, and of course, a built-in bottle opener for after work beers.

For stability it features a removable front sternum strap and an airmesh back panel to stay cool when you on the move. The pack itself it made from durably nylon with reinforced tarpaulin fabric that will hold up to even the roughest daily use.

The bottom line: the Timbuk2 Rogue Waterproof Laptop Backpack is made to tackle any adventure you can throw at it—whether your going on an undercover mission, or just a journey to your local coffee shop.

Plus, it’s backed by Timbuk2’s Lifetime Guarantee so your covered in case anything goes wrong with the pack.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 20L

Material: Nylon, tarpaulin

Pockets: Zippered front exterior, interior organizational, side water bottle pockets, stretchy airmesh laptop sleeve

Best Use: Urban/everyday, commuting, school, cycling, travel

Best Water Resistant Backpacks 2018

If you don’t expect to be leaving your pack out in the rain for hours or taking it kayaking, a water resistant backpack my suit you perfectly. And ultimately be a more versatile option.

The best water resistant backpacks offer considerably more storage options and styles than 100% waterproof backpacks, yet they still keep your valuables and gear dry in the occasional downpour.

I’ve used the Patagonia Black Hole Pack for the last couple years while traveling full-time and have never had a problem with my gear getting wet. I trust it enough to even carry my laptop in it.

Patagonia Black Hole Pack

Stepping up the game in waterproof backpacks, Patagonia have gone all out in quality with the Patagonia Black Hole Pack. This particular backpack is a game changer and for serious adventurers only!

Its price is at the upper-end of the scale, but guarantees quality all the way. Patagonia has also kept the environment in mind, using only textile products with approved chemicals and materials- ensuring they are as eco-friendly as possible.

Constructing from tough 450D polyester ripstop TPU laminate and a DWR coating, this pack is built for the outdoors. The beauty is that it features everything you would ever need when traveling or just heading to school. The main compartment is huge and it offers side compression straps to secure your gear inside.

The pack is bred from Patagonia’s alpine packs and will hold up to the roughest conditions. With padded shoulder straps and back panel it’s comfortable to wear to wear all-day long, whether your hiking or exploring the urban jungle. Plus it has a webbing waist belt to give extra stability when on the move.

As a water resistant backpack it will surely keep your gear dry in the occasional downpour. however, it’s not built to be submerged or left out all night long in the rain. I’ve used it to carry by laptop around the globe and have never had an issues with water getting the backpack during when in rain or snow.

The pack is both top and side access with dual zippered. A flap extends past the top zipper to shed any rain that falls on the pack. A hydration sleeve that doubles as laptop compartment and easy access zippered top pocket are just some of the features that come on this water resistant travel backpack.

A convenient haul handle is located at the top of the pack for quick moving and daisy chains allows you to clip gear to the exterior.

If you’re looking for the best water resistant backpack perfect for travel or daily adventures, look no further than the Patagonia Black Hole Pack. You get an top quality and well-designed back that will last for years.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 25L, 32L

Material: 450D polyester ripstop, TPU laminate, DWR coating

Pockets: Zippered front & top exterior, interior organizational, laptop/hydration sleeve

Best Use: Urban/everyday, commuting, school, cycling, travel

Outlander Packable Daypack – Best Water Resistant Daypack

The Outlander Packable Daypack just might be the perfect water resistant daypack. It’s a great options for those looking for an affordable day pack for hiking or traveling, or a small daily bag. It’s extremely durable and great for an versatile daypack option.

This pack folds into a zippered inner pocket that can easily be stored anywhere in your larger luggage or bag. When you need it for the day, just unfold it and go. This functionality along with it’s water resistant material makes it one of the best packable daypacks out there.

The pack is small and lightweight at just 0.5 lbs, but don’t let that fool you. It holds an incredible amount of gear—it’s available in either a 20L or 33L version. Constructed from ripstop water resistant nylon fabric it’s durable and built to last. All stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for extra strength.

The pack includes a variety of storage pockets including smaller zip pockets for quick access items, a secure pocket for valuables, and two side mesh pockets for water bottles or gear.

Overall this water resistant daypack is hard to beat with it’s performance and affordable price. With it’s packable functionality and ultralight weight you’ll be sure to take in on your next trip—and everyone after that.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 20L, 33L

Material: Nylon

Pockets: Large main compartment, 2 front zipper, 1 internal security zippered pocket, 2 side pockets

Best Use: Travel, everyday, hiking, outdoors, cycling

Millican Smith Roll Laptop Backpack

The Louis Vuitton of the backpacking world, this beautifully designed and elegant pack is a definite head turner on the hiking trails or urban adventures. If you are a regular explorer that wants an extra stylish water resistant backpack, then it’s well and truly worth investing that extra bit of money on the Millican Smith Roll Laptop Backpack.

Built from bionic canvas in combination with a paraffin wax treatment the pack is rustic looking, yet keeps your gear protected from rain showers.

The backpack stores up to 18L of gear and features a laptop sleeve (15″ capacity). It’s a design is a great combination for using in the wilderness or adventurous urban life.

The closure system is a proven roll-top with adjustable strap and buckle system that allows you to make the pack smaller or larger depending on your load. With heavy duty canvas and lightweight aluminum buckles Millican Smith made this pack to last—and look great.

Padded straps and back panel make it comfortable wearing and an adjustable sternum strap lets you secure you load when carrying on the trail.

You can read more reviews and see the latest price here

Tech Specs

Size: 18L

Material: Bionic canvas (38% cotton, 57% recycled polyester, 5% high-tenacity polyester) with paraffin wax treatment

Pockets: Laptop sleeve (15″ capacity), hidden pocket on back panel, large side pockets

Best Use: Urban/everyday, commuting, school, cycling, travel


Waterproof Backpack Buyer’s Guide

When To Use A Waterproof Backpack

Waterproof backpacks are perfect for when you just don’t know what to expect. You’re gear will be protected no matter the conditions—rain or shine.

A waterproof bag is the ultimate way to keep your gear dry during adventure travel, exploring the outdoors, and commuting in the rain.

When I’m traveling I may take along my backpack for the whole day and I want to be sure that my gear stays dry. Especially my laptop and camera. Using a waterproof backpack gives me the peace of mind that if a rain shower rolls through I won’t have to immediately run for cover to save my valuables. Heck, I could even walk around all-day and not even worry about my stuff getting wet.

There are plenty of great ways to use a waterproof bag, but here are just a few that come to mind:

  • Bike commuting in wet conditions
  • Traveling with unpredictable weather
  • Gear bag for kayaking and river trips
  • A waterproof bag for ocean sports
  • An everyday backpack for urban life or school

The best waterproof backpacks are incredibly versatile and give you all the features you would find in the best outdoor and travel backpacks. With a the top rated models included in our reviews you’re sure to find a pack that fits the bill for your needs.

Why Are Waterproof Backpacks Ideal For Travel?

For all the adventurists out there who despise living mundane lives and love breaching their comfort zone know exactly what it’s truly like to be within the unpredictable grip of mother nature.

If you are like me and like to head out on adventures no matter what the weather forecasts predicts, you’ll certainly want to consider investing in a quality waterproof backpack.

After all, when the monsoon-strength rain hits it’s a little too late to realize your average daypack is little more than a sponge when it comes to repelling water.

I’m sure you’ve all been there…when you’re already half way up that mountain where there’s no turning back!

How to Choose The Best Waterproof Backpack

Over the past few years manufactures were quick to realize there was a huge demand for functional waterproof backpacks. This means that you’ll find waterproof packs in a wide range of styles, sizes, and with many different included features.

Here are some things to look for and consider when selecting the best waterproof backpack:

Water Resistant vs. Waterproof

The biggest factor is to consider how you will use the bag. If you plan on solely using the bag for school and travel you can likely get away with a water resistant backpack. These are built with tough waterproof fabric and will keep your gear dry in the occasional shower or splash, however they do not have fully taped seams. Thus, they are not made to be submerged or left in the rain for hours on end.

Since they offer more storage options and features, water resistant backpacks are perfect for travelers and commuters that need that extra protection, but won’t be far from shelter when caught in the rain.


On the other hand 100% waterproof backpacks can withstand even the wettest conditions. They are constructed from fully waterproof fabric and taped seams making them completely watertight. You can use these dry bag backpacks for kayaking trips and leave them out in the rain for hours without your gear getting damp. Some can even be submerged for short periods of time and float in water.

Price Range

In general waterproof backpacks tend to be a bit more pricey than your everyday travel backpacks, but they come with a huge upgrade. They keep your stuff dry.

The good news is that with such a wide array of packs on the market you don’t have to break your budget to get a functional dry bag backpack. You can grab a lower-priced bag that still provides exceptional quality for $30 to $50. For bags with all the bells and whistles, expect to spend upwards of $100.

Storage Volume

You’ll find waterproof backpacks in a variety of sizes—from 20L models that are great for daypacks to huge 100L gear bags. One things to know about roll-top waterproof bags is that they can be adjusted in volume with the closure system.

If you’re not packing much you can simply roll the bag up more to make it more compact. Need more room? Simply unroll the bag to expand it.

Materials & Durability

Waterproof backpacks are built from tough, abrasion resistant waterproof materials. The last thing you want is water seeping in through a faulty seam or a puncture in your backpacks material.

The most common materials used on waterproof bags are nylon or polyester with TPU coating and PVC tarpaulin. Both materials are incredibly tough and durable.

The best waterproof backpacks are made with RF welded seams, which uses electromagnetic energy to create a strong and tight bond between materials. High quality seams and fully waterproof material insures that your stuff stays dry and the backpacks lasts trip after trip.

Construction & Features

You’ll find that most waterproof backpacks use a roll-top closure system. This simple and proven design is easy to use and reliable even in the wettest environments.

To close the bag all you need to do is roll the top closed several times and secure it with its buckle or strap. With several folds there is no way water is going to enter the bag.

Some features that you may want to look for in a waterproof bag include daisy chains to clip and secure gear to, breathable back panels, splash proof exterior pockets, and haul handles for easy carrying over short distances.


A lightweight bag means it’s ultimately more comfortable to carry on your back and easier to pack and carry when not in use. The nature of waterproof materials makes them heavier than traditional fabrics, but you can still find packs out there that are super comfortable to wear all-day.

Keep the packs weight in mind when comparing the top waterproof packs on the market. Overall, the lighter, the better.


Having a stylish bag is important to some and let’s face it, you don’t want to look like your on a Mt. Everest expedition when you’re wandering around Rome. The fabric itself will stand out among other packs since it looks akin to plastic or rubber, but this is what makes the bag waterproof.

Luckily most bags are available in a range of colors, so you can choose between a more flashy color or go with a sleek black color.

My recommendation is to avoid bags that are extra large and clunky, you want a bag that you are not afraid to carry around and fit in different situations.

Comfort & Fit

Considering that you’ll probably wear the bag for extended period of time, you’ll want to make sure you choose a waterproof backpack that features added comforts. Having a comfortable pack can make or break your trip and you’ll be much happier if you don’t have to keep adjusting your pack trying to find comfortable position.

Look for padded and breathable shoulder straps and backpanel, adjustable waist and sternum straps for stable carrying, and a pack shape that is made to contour the body.

Pockets & Special Features

Depending how you’ll use your pack, make sure you have sufficient pockets and storage compartments for all your gear and gadgets. Some like to keep things separated, others prefer one large compartment.

Some roll top backpacks only offer a large main compartment, while other waterproof laptop backpacks offer plenty of storage options as well as a laptop sleeve.


The Bottom Line

Waterproof backpacks are ideal for anyone that wants a tough and waterproof pack for anything from commuting, outdoors, to international travel.

In my opinion they are the most versatile backpack option for protecting your valuables against wet conditions.

I’ve found they are ideal for traveling and have extensively used a waterproof laptop backpack to carry my gear around the world. Plus, most are compact which make them great as a carry on backpack for weekend trips.

There are many great options on the market and these are just some of my top recommendations to look at when packs.

If you are looking for one of the best water resistant backpacks for travel, the Patagonia Black Hole Pack is my top choice. It’s super high quality build and tons of features make it versatile for any type of trip.

For a rugged and larger bag option, the Såk Gear BackSak is our pick for the best waterproof backpack for 2018. Plus, it won’t break your budget.

For a lightweight, yet rugged design, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack is a top option.

If you’re after a waterproof laptop backpack for urban use, both the Timbuk2 Spire Backpack and the Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack are highly rated bags that won’t break your budget and offer all the features you need to urban adventures.

You can also read our guides to the best packable sun hats, the best insulated water bottle and other recommended travel products here.