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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 rain forests 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.
Quick Answer: The Best Waterproof Backpacks
Best Waterproof Backpack for College – Timbuk2 Spire
Best Waterproof Laptop Backpack – Timbuk2 Rogue
Best Lightweight Waterproof Daypack – Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack 20L
Best Waterproof Hiking Backpack – Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30L
Best Waterproof Backpack for Outdoors – Såk Gear BackSåk Waterproof Backpack
Best Waterproof Commuter Backpack – Ortlieb Velocity Backpack
Quick Link —> Waterproof Backpack Reviews
Full Comparison Table
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.
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 pack will keep your valuables high and dry under any circumstances.
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 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. If you are looking for a smaller sized pack it is also available in a 20L version.
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.
Material: PVC tarpaulin
Pockets: Internal and external mesh
Best Use: Travel, outdoors, boating, ocean sports, camping, cycling
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.
Material: 70D ripstop fabric with TPU lamination
Pockets: Front pocket
Best Use: Travel, outdoors, hiking, camping
Ortlieb Velocity Backpack – Best Commuter Backpack
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, laptop, food—safe and dry.
Material: Coated polyester
Pockets: Removable inner pocket
Best Use: Cycling, urban, outdoors, boating, camping
Såk Gear BackSåk Waterproof Backpack – Best Waterproof Backpack
Anyone looking for an affordable waterproof backpack that can do it all and is built to last should consider the Såk Gear BackSåk 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. I really like the simple and durable design of the bag—it does exactly what you need it for, keeping your gear dry.
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.
Material: 500D PVC
Pockets: 1 splash proof zippered external, 1 zippered internal
Best Use: Travel, river trips, cycling, urban use, outdoors, camping
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.
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 fits the bill. It’s featherweight, fully waterproof, and perfect for the minimalist traveler.
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.
For those that prefer a traditional roll-top closure system, check out Mountain Hardwear’s Scrambler RT OutDry Backpack.
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.
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
It’s all in the detail with the Boreas Bernal 35L Backpack.
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 their high quality packs.
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 Super-Tramp suspension and a stretch top-panel design, making it a great choice for outdoor adventures—hiking, cycling or any other sport. Plus it’s ideal for daily use and bike commuting.
It’s built from Nylon 420D and 140D Stretch Polyspan to easily accommodate your gear. You can cinch down the side compression straps when you’re not carrying a full load.
The top closes with a roll-close waterproof skirts to keep any moisture from reaching your gear packed inside.
It also features a removable hipbelt and a full-front hidden daisy chain panel, which of course is MOLLE compatible. These come in handy when 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.
Material: Nylon 420D / Nylon 840D / 140D Stretch Polyspan
Pockets: 1 zippered top pocket, internal padded laptop sleeve, hydration compatible
Best Use: Everyday use, outdoors, camping, commuting, school
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 Flow 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.
Material: Nylon with TPU laminate
Pockets: Internal organization pockets, side mesh pockets, hydration sleeve
Best Use: Hiking, travel, everyday use, outdoors, camping
Stylish and durable, this is clearly one of the best waterproof backpacks on the market when it comes to setting trends.
The bag features a classic roll top with hook-and-loop closure and adjustable side straps for cinching to keep you gear dry and stable while on the move.
The adjustable cinch down side straps allow you to keep the bag only as large as you need to fit your gear.
Bridle Leather shoulder straps only add to the timeless style. They are padded and wool-lined to give you all-day comfort.
With the bag you get roll top access to the main compartment as well as a no-spill snap pocket, a zipper pocket, a patch pocket, and two interior utility pockets for smaller items. Throw in an interior laptop sleeve and you’re fully covered for safely carrying all your gear.
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.
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.
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.
Overall the Filson Roll Top Backpack offers a very appealing and sleek design from a waterproof backpack.
Plus, did we mention it’s made in the USA and features Filson’s excellent lifetime guarantee.
Material: 100% cotton Rugged Twill / 15-oz. oil finish Tin Cloth
Pockets: 1 no-spill snap pocket, 1 zipper pocket, 1 patch pocket, 2 interior utility pockets, interior laptop sleeve
Best Use: Urban, everyday use, cycling, school, outdoors, camping
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.
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
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.
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
Tillak is one brand that is pushing the edge when it comes to designing the best waterproof backpacks. Just check out their Siletz modular waterproof backpack that recently hit Kickstarter.
If you are looking for a PVC-free waterproof backpack the Tillak Kiwanda Dry Bag is an excellent choice. It’s simple design makes it a great choice for the weekend warrior that enjoys water filled adventures.
This heavy hitting waterproof backpack is built form durable 420D Ripstop nylon with Lontra TPU lamination.
Lontra TPU is PVC-free which has a host of added benefits. It’s lighter, more durable and more environmentally friendly that toxic PVC.
The pack features high frequency welded seams to insure all your gear stays dry, even when you abuse it day in and day out. So, feel confident stowing away your camera, phone, and other high valuable electronics inside.
There is a small exterior splash resistant pocket to keep smaller items, but it’s not fully waterproof.
Apart from an additional mesh water bottle holder on the outside the bag is more limited in terms of storage and organization that other waterproof backpacks out there.
In this sense, it may not be the bag for you if you are primarily looking for a waterproof backpack for college or travel.
But if you want a durable waterproof backpack for outdoors and water sports, the Tillak pack is a good bet.
You’ll be comfortable with the ergonomic padded shoulder straps, which are of course gusseted to provide utmost durability. An added sternum straps provides extra stability when moving around with a full pack.
For attaching extra gear you’ll find dual lash attachment points. These can come in handy for attaching a bike light when commuting or quickly stashing some gear on the go.
Material: 420D Ripstop nylon with Lontra TPU lamination
Pockets: Exterior zip pocket, mesh water bottle holder
Best Use: SUP, water sports, hiking, camping
Best Water Resistant Backpacks
If you don’t expect to be leaving your pack out in the rain for hours or taking it kayaking, a water resistant backpack may 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 rain shower.
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.
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 a top-quality and well-designed pack that will last for years.
Size: 25L, 30L
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.
Size: 20L, 33L
Pockets: Large main compartment, 2 front zipper, 1 internal security zippered pocket, 2 side pockets
Best Use: Travel, everyday, hiking, outdoors, cycling
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.
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.
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.
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.
If your after the best waterproof backpack for college or school you’ll want to make sure you have the right organization pockets and sleeves.
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 BackSåk Waterproof Backpack is our pick for the best waterproof backpack. 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 the best 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. Similarly these packs are also among the best waterproof backpacks for college.