15 Best Waterproof Backpacks: Reviewed & Compared

Best For Students

The Timbuk2 spire has a leak proof rolltop design and is designed for up to 15" apple macbooks.

Best For Travel

The Lifeasy is perfect for travel as it is anti theft designed & comes with wet/dry separation.

Unless one is engaging in water sports, there’s a tendency to disregard the benefit of a waterproof bag. Generally, this is fine. Many backpacks are water resistant to some degree, and for most school, business, travel, and everyday carry situations, this is sufficient.

However, more and more of us must carry electronic devices with us at all times—at least a smartphone. For this reason, having a waterproof bag is getting increasingly important.

For students and business people who don’t have devices with them (or the devices are in a different bag perhaps), there’s still a good reason to aim for a waterproof backpack. Even a small amount of water seepage could damage or alter textbooks or documents.

Fishermen and campers may not readily think of waterproofing (if there’s no rain expected), but there’s always the chance that the pack could accidentally end up in water. If nothing else, there could be unexpected rain that could make important gear soggy.

Image

Model

Size

Colors Available

Check Price

Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack for...

Vitchelo Waterproof Dry Bag

30L

1

Skog Å Kust BackSåk Waterproof Backpack |...

Såk Gear BackSak Waterproof

25L & 35L Available

7

TIMBUK2 Spire Laptop Backpack, New Black

Timbuk2

Spire

32L

3

Travel Backpack, Lifeasy Waterproof...

Lifeasy Travel Backpack

35L

2

CRAZY ANTS Large Military Tactical Backpack...

Crazy Ants Tactical Backpack

50L & 55L

2

Endurax Extra Large Camera DSLR/SLR Backpack...

Endurax Extra Large Camera DSLR/SLR

13 X 7.9 X 22.8 Inches

1

Wild River by CLC WT3604 Tackle Tek Nomad...

Custom Leathercraft Wild River CLC WT3604 

18.5x17x8.5 Inches

1

Seibertron Waterproof Large Capacity Molle...

Seibertron

19x11x11 Inches (35L)

1

Huntvp 40L Military Tactical Backpack MOLLE...

Huntvp Military Tactical

40L

5

Diamond Candy Waterproof Hiking Backpack for...

Diamond

Candy 

40L

4

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack: 35L / 55L...

Waterproof Backpack By Earth Pak

35L Or 55L

5

Laptop Backpack 17.3 Inch Travel Anti-theft...

NEWHEY

21x16x8 Inches

1

Ortlieb Velocity High Visibility Backpack...

Ortlieb

Velocity- Neon 

11x5.9x18.5 Inches (24L)

3

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack-Lime

22L

3

Outlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel...

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack

Detail

Detail

Waterproof Vs Water Resistant Backpacks

The term waterproof can mean several things in reference to backpacks. In many instances, assuming it’s an honest description, it refers to a backpack that is only water resistant (keeps water from interior up to a point) and has a waterproof rain cover.

However, at other times—especially when the descriptor is 100% waterproof—the term means that it would take exceptional circumstances for water to get to the interior.

There are three main elements that contribute to a backpack being 100% waterproof: fabric, seams, and closure. Bags that are truly 100% waterproof are sometimes referred to as dry bags.

The fabric of the backpack is an important part of waterproofing. Polyester, vinyl, canvas, tarpaulin, and nylon are synthetic, water-resistant fabrics. The majority of backpacks seem to be made of polyester or nylon, or a combination of the two.

The density of the fabric matters, as well. This is the denier number—the weight in grams of a certain length of a string of the fabric. This is usually indicated by a number and then D, as in 600D nylon, for example. A high number usually indicates courser, denser fabric which is both effectively abrasion-proof and more waterproof.

roll-top closure

Roll-Top Closure

Fabric can be rendered more water resistant by certain coatings. Polyurethane (PU) coatings, including TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) lamination, Teflon coatings, silicone coatings, vinyl coatings, and carbon coating effectively make a merely water-resistant fabric completely waterproof.

Many dry bags are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a known carcinogen, but there’s not currently any indication that the use of these bags creates substantial PVC exposure.

An equally important player in waterproofing is the way any seams in the backpack are sealed. 

High-frequency welding, a method used to seal sterile packaging and even sew together wounds, is the most effective manufacturing process to create a watertight seam.

Another less common watertight welding method is tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Coupled with the waterproof fabric and/or coating, these welding methods make for a waterproof chamber.

semi-waterproof

Semi-Waterproof

Also, the closure system on the main compartment (usually only the main compartment is 100% waterproof, even in a dry bag backpack) must not let any water in.

The only closure that seems to create this level of seal is the roll-top closure.

If a backpack has waterproof fabric and waterproof seams but still has a zippered closure system, one might call it “semi-waterproof” because it probably cannot tolerate submersion.

However, a “semi-waterproof” backpack will reliably keep all water out if it’s placed in a puddle (or other water that’s not up to the level of the zippers), or if it rains and a rain cover is placed over the body of the backpack, covering the zippers.

Water resistance can be supplemented with the use of waterproofing treatments. A common example is use of WD40 on zippers, buckles, and other metalware on a backpack. 


What to Look for in a Good Waterproof Backpack

100% Watertight

Many backpacks will be listed as “waterproof”, but this may mean several different things. It could be an inaccurately flattering description, it may mean that the backpack is only water resistant, it may mean that the backpack with included rain cover is waterproof, or it may mean it’s 100% waterproof.

A bag made of 100% waterproof material must also be watertight to be truly waterproof. It will usually have a roll-top closure and sealed seams which keep water out even during submersion.

Style & Purpose

Style can simply be for fun, but at times, external color matters. Bright colors tend to show up more (even if it’s not technically a reflective surface), so if one prioritizes being easy to see, bright colors are best.

If, instead, one wishes to be camouflaged, darker colors help. However, dark colors absorb more heat, so they’re not best in hot environments. The wearer will feel hotter and delicate contents in the backpack might overheat.

Durability

Durability is always a great feature in any backpack, no matter the use. Waterproof backpacks are as durable as any. The level and type of durability needed might vary with the use of the backpack, however.

For example, a school backpack to carry a laptop might need to have extra padding at bottom and around the laptop. Also, if the student carries a lot of textbooks, the backpack must be durable enough to hold the weight.

In contrast, a hunting or camping backpack really needs to be abrasion-proof all over to deal with the natural environment. It needs to be able to carry a lot of weight, too. However, the weight density of gear is usually less than that of textbooks, and the weight of camping gear distributes more easily.

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A bag’s durability can be the difference in whether important documents, electronics or running shoes become soggy or not. 


Rushfaster - backpack blog

Comfort When Wearing

Comfort matters, even with 100% waterproof backpacks. These are not just dry bags. They’re backpacks and, as such, should be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

This isn’t too much to ask. Almost all of the backpacks on this list have ample padding on their shoulder straps and back panel. Most also have breathable foam material on the back panel configured in a way to maximize ventilation at the interface between the wearer’s back and the backpack.

When the load is heavy, chest and/or hip straps help to hold the weight of the backpack in place in relation to the wearer. Most of the packs on this list include these.

Size Capacity

Waterproof backpacks are available in all sizes. Desired size capacity depends on the purpose of the backpack. A 2-week camping trip usually demands a 60L+ backpack, but a daypack need not be more than 25L.

For a backpack to be used as a carry-on bag it needs to be no more than about 23 inches long (usually means no more than 35L in volume), but the maximum length might still depend on the airline.

The wearer’s size might also come into play. Smaller people generally can’t carry as much weight and a very large backpack might be unwieldy for them.

Construction & Features

Waterproof fabric is usually canvas-like in consistency and quite flexible and soft. To be truly waterproof, a backpack must have specially fused seams. High-frequency welding is a special process used to more perfectly meld together pieces of material.

In fact, most 100% waterproof backs have a seamless look. Dry bag backpacks tend to have a rounded tank shape to them. Most do not have a lot of compartmentalization—especially externally.

Generally, any external pockets they do have are not waterproof, because zippers or Velcro alone cannot hold out water during submersion. Dry bag backpacks never have a zipper closure on the main compartment for this reason. Instead, they always have a roll-top.

Zippers can, however, be made of alloys or coated with water-resistant material (either by the manufacturer or the user) so that they are not damaged by water. Some waterproof backpacks even have waterproof straps, so that the shoulder straps do not act like sponges and get soggy.

Price Range

While Amazon (and other sites/stores, too) offer deals that could mean lower prices, the general range of the backpacks on this list is about $20.00 to $200. So, for most people, a good dry bag backpack or a mostly waterproof backpack is quite affordable.

Warranty

It’s important to note that a lifetime warranty, which is what many of the companies on this list offer, means for the lifetime of the product—not the lifetime of the wearer.

Therefore, a lifetime warranty doesn’t mean the company will cover the cost of the backpack if there’s any chance the damage is normal wear and tear with time. Some companies have no warranty but a good returns policy. Ideally, a company offers one or both of these customer services.

That way, if you really just ordered the wrong backpack, you can send it back and get a refund, and if you find that there are manufacturing flaws (straps break within a few weeks after normal wear, for example), you can report this to the company and be compensated.


15 Best Waterproof Backpacks Reviewed

We have reviewed and compared the top rated brands on the market when it comes to waterproof bags. These options below cover a wide variety of uses and focus in the individual needs of people.

We have included backpacks for outdoor activities, students, travelers and more.

1. Vitchelo - Best Waterproof Backpack For Men

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available = 1
  • Size = 30L
  • Warranty = Lifetime - Limited

This Vitchelo dry bag is made of abrasion-resistant vinyl tarpaulin and has the welded seam that is characteristic of dry bags. Its roll-top closure system is designed especially to keep water out.

In fact, this bag is so waterproof that it can float, even when the pack is full. This pack can even double as an emergency float. Being so well-sealed, it’s also sand-proof.

Vitchelo includes a waterproof touch-friendly phone pouch with purchase of this bag. While there’s no laptop sleeve, this bag holds laptops of all sizes and keeps them protected from the elements. Blogger, atexasmom.com, reviewed the bag and tested it by submerging it in a bathtub with socks on the inside. She was impressed that they stayed completely dry.

It has elasticated bands across the front to hold gear externally. It has a top-handle, so you don’t have to grab the waterproof closure at the top to carry the bag by hand.

There are both chest and waist straps, along with shoulder straps—all adjustable and all well-padded. The shoulder straps are breathable and made of the same waterproof tarp of the backpack—so they won’t absorb water. This bag is light and foldable and works as a carry-on bag.

Pros

  • Tear-resistant
  • Versatile
  • Mesh side pouches on each side
  • Waterproof phone pouch included
  • Can be folded up for storage

Cons

  • No laptop sleeve
  • Few organizational features
  • Durability of mesh pockets is questionable

2. Såk Gear BackSak - Best Waterproof Backpack For Women

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available = 7
  • Size = 25L & 35L Available
  • Warranty = Can Return Anytime For Full Refund

This Såk Gear pack is made of vinyl-coated 500D PVC and has high-frequency welded seams. All of this make it waterproof (and sand- and mud-proof) yet still quite soft. It can float.

The 25L size is ideal for small people and youth. The pack has D-rings at its sides to hold gear externally, and it has chest straps and adjustable, cushioned shoulder straps. This pack maintains its waterproof nature whether you close it either of two possible ways.

You can clip the top clips to the corresponding side clips, or roll the roll-top feature 3 times or more and clip the top clips together to make a top handle. The latter generally allows a little more interior space.

There are “splash-proof” outer pockets and interior organizing pockets, ideal for smartphone and other sensitive items. The external fabric of the pack is reflective for good visibility—for either the location of the bag or the location of the wearer.

While it can keep water out during short bouts of submersion, it’s not ideal for underwater activities.

On their website, a verified buyer - Demberly Mcdonald claimed that the bag is 'Stylish waterproof bag. Works great and looks cool! Comfortable to wear!'. We agree and love the design of this backpack.

Pros

  • Reflective material—easy to see
  • Smaller size good for petite people
  • Floats
  • Attractive streamlined design

Cons

  • Outside compartment is only “splash-proof”
  • Not to be used underwater

3. Timbuk2 Spire - Best Waterproof Backpack For Protecting Laptops

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 15-Inch
  • Colors Available = 3
  • Size = 32L
  • Warranty = Lifetime Warranty

While this Timbuk2 bag isn’t made for water sports use, it does have a waterproof roll top, and will reliably keep water out in a serious downpour. It’s made of canvas with TPU lamination and the zippers are made of anodized (strengthened) aluminum.

The well-padded 15-inch laptop sleeve and tablet sleeve are specially made to fit Apple products (MacBook and iPad), and an added bonus is that the laptop compartment can be conveniently opened from the back.

Also, the Spire is made to protect a laptop and tablet from impact with the ground as the sleeves are suspended above the pack’s bottom.

The back is padded and has grooves for ventilation. It has shoulder straps (adjustable) and a removable chest strap, which is probably ideal for students who often just find chest straps to be a nuisance.

Internally and externally, this bag as plenty of organizational compartments. Externally, it has one side pocket and MOLLE-like loops on which one can attach keychains, U-locks, and other strapped items. The Spire makes an excellent carry-on bag, as well.

Expertworldtravel.com compared the Spire to the very similar looking 'Rogue' Timbuk2 laptop bag. They preferred the Spire model - with a major factor being 'I also really like all of its different compartments and sleeves, as I prefer to have my gear organized, rather than keep everything in the same compartment.'

Pros

  • Good amount of organizational features
  • Durable
  • Convenient opening to remove laptop
  • MOLLE lining on exterior

Cons

  • Organizational pockets are small
  • Shape not suitable for fitting lots of books

4. Lifeasy - Best Waterproof Backpack for Traveling

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 15.6-Inch
  • Colors Available = 2
  • Size = 35L
  • Warranty = No

This pack is made of wrinkle-resistant, waterproof polyester. It has a Velcro roll-top design with buckle and a sturdy top loop.

It has a well-padded side pocket for laptop and tablet towards the back of the bag, and, somewhat unusually, has a smaller pocket at the bottom of the back, along with the usual small pocket at the front.

It has a fairly spacious zippered compartment along the bottom of the pack that’s suitable for carrying shoes separate from other items. This bottom compartment is water-resistant from the rest of the backpack, so it’s also a good place to put anything damp.

Another nice feature of this bottom pocket is that, if you don’t need it, there’s no loss of space. You can just zip it open on the inside and it becomes part of the main compartment.

Despite convenience of pockets, the Lifeasy Travel is also anti-theft—the roll-top closure and the technology pockets towards the back make it hard for unwanted hands to access the contents.

Its shoulder straps are adjustable and well-padded. The back panel also has ample padding and ventilation features. The Lifeasy Travel backpack is great for carry-on, everyday carry, and other travel situations.

Pros

  • Good organizational features
  • Anti-theft build
  • Optional bottom pocket for wet items
  • Durable

Cons

  • No side pockets
  • Shoe compartment does not fit large sizes

5. Crazy Ants - Best Waterproof Backpack Duffle Bag

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available = 2
  • Size = 50L & 55L
  • Warranty = No

This Crazy Ants backpack is made of 900D polyester and sewn with nylon, and it has a roll-top closure—both of which contribute to its waterproof nature. 

As a military tactical pack, it has plenty of MOLLE lining the front, and it has a front pocket that spans down the entire front and a smaller bottom front pocket. It also has a small zippered side pocket.

This pack has both chest and waist straps, and it has adjustable padded shoulder straps with D-rings to attach items. The back is padded with breathable material.

It has both a side loop and a shoulder strap on one side (in addition to the backpack straps) and the backpack features can be zippered inside a flap, and so it can be carried like a traditional duffel bag. Also, there are handles on the top and bottom front, making this otherwise large and unwieldy-looking pack easy to handle.

As a large-capacity pack, it does have compression straps along the sides to stabilize the load. This isn’t a 100% waterproof pack, but especially with the rain cover that comes with the 55L size, it will keep rain out.

Pros

  • Plenty of places to attach items externally
  • Large front pocket
  • 55L size comes with rain cover
  • Has laptop sleeve-like internal compartment

Cons

  • 50L size may not include rain cover
  • Too big to be carry-on for most airlines
  • Straps may not be comfortable for some

6. Endurax - Best Waterproof Backpack For Cameras

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 15.6-Inch
  • Colors Available = 1
  • Size = 13 X 7.9 X 22.8 Inches
  • Warranty = 1-Year

This backpack is made of water-resistant material and is rendered waterproof by an included rain cover. It also has a PVA panel at the upper front to create an ideal compartment for sensitive items.

The main compartment has upper and lower sections. The upper section can hold a camera and 4 lenses. The lower can hold either 6 lenses or a camera and 4 lenses. Both compartments have adjustable dividers. This backpack also has separate laptop and tablet compartments behind the main compartment.

The exterior offers three different ways of attaching a tripod—a small tripod can be strapped to the right side and a large to the left. There’s also a horizontal attachment area near the bottom of the pack.

There are also strings along the front to attach outdoor gear, and waist-level smartphone pockets on the hip straps. Its padded adjustable shoulder straps have buckles to attach a camera (so that you don’t have to have the camera strap around your neck while also carrying the backpack).

The back panel has a torso-size adjustment feature to make the pack more comfortable when the load is heavy. The base has a firm pad so that the pack will stand on its own.

Endurax includes a small photographer’s shoulder bag with the backpack. All in all, this is a great bag for outdoor photography. We have reviewed more photography backpacks here.

Pros

  • Small shoulder bag is included
  • Mesh side pouches on both sides
  • Well-compartmentalized for photography
  • Can fit 2 cameras inside
  • Torso size adjustment feature

Cons

  • Only one color option
  • Only water resistant without rain cover
  • Top handle too small to be helpful

7. Wild River CLC WT3604 - Best Waterproof Backpack For Fishing

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available = 1
  • Size = 18.5x17x8.5 Inches
  • Warranty = Lifetime Limited

The Wild River CLC is actually a water-resistant backpack with a rain cover included, so unless you submerge the pack, it will keep water out. One of the front pockets folds down to create a little work surface. We love this bag for fisherman as it also features in our fishing backpack reviews page.

This pack has so many organizational features ideal for the fisherman: plier holder, front pocket with pouches, sunglasses holder at the top, six zippered side pockets—two of which have a little mesh pouch outside, and plenty of clips and hooks to attach various tools.

The panel that divides the lower tackle compartment from the rest of the bag can be removed to create one large compartment—this makes the pack versatile. Its lower compartment can hold four medium #3600 utility trays.

The LED lighting system allows all-night fishing, if you want to. Plus, the LED system has 3 different intensity levels and can be directed inside the backpack. The Wild River CLC has the normal comfort features: padded straps and back panel. The base pads make the bag stand on its own and protect its base.

Pros

  • LED light system
  • Convenient, protective smartphone pouch
  • Sturdy top handle
  • Can stand by itself
  • Plenty of organizational features

Cons

  • Backpack itself is only water-resistant
  • Manufacture of bag includes toxic chemicals

8. Seibertron - Best Waterproof  Backpack For Motorcycle Commuting

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available = 1
  • Size = 19x11x11 Inches (35L)
  • Warranty = 3-Month

The Seibertron Waterproof backpack is made of 900D waterproof fabric with nylon straps, and the zippers, while not waterproof, are made to be durable—users consistently report that this backpack keeps out rain. This an excellent backpack for motorcyclists and our #1 choice for riders.

The front buckle and clip system can accommodate a helmet, basketball, or soccer ball. There are MOLLE loops along the sides, and the pack can accommodate a 2L water bladder.

The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable. Also, they have D-rings to clip on items. The pack has gear/compression straps along the sides. It has a middle compartment in addition to the main compartment—both have small organizational pouches.

There’s a convenient small pouch at the top front of the exterior. Some users complain that there’s not a lot of space—possibly because of a high degree of compartmentalization.

Pros

  • Helmet attachment clips at front
  • Multiple compartments of various sizes
  • MOLLE loops on each side
  • Compression straps

Cons

  • Zippers not waterproof
  • Helmet attachments look funny if empty

9. Huntvp - Best Waterproof Backpack For Hunting

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 14-Inch
  • Colors Available = 5 
  • Size = 40L
  • Warranty = No

This backpack is made of fade- and abrasion-resistant nylon and interiorly lined with mercerized (treated to increase strength) cotton, and its buckles are also made of nylon and are resistant to damage from water or impact.

It has a pouch for every technological device one could need: 14-inch laptop, 10-inch tablet, 6-, 5.7-, and 4.7-inch smartphones. The laptop goes in a compartment behind the main compartment, and the phones go into pouches in two of the three front zippered pockets.

This backpack has adjustable chest and shoulder straps, and its back panel is well-padded and shaped for ventilation. There’s MOLLE lining along the front and sides, and compression/gear-holding straps run along the sides.

Ultimately, most users agree this is a good versatile hunting bag that could also be used for school, sports, or traveling. 

However, if you need a really high capacity bag and/or one that’s absolutely waterproof—at the expense of abundant pouches and pockets—consider the SealLine Boundary Pack, a wonderful high-capacity dry bag backpack.


Pros

  • Variety of tech device compartments
  • Lots of MOLLE lining
  • Abundance of pockets
  • Perfect style and shape for a hunting bag

Cons

  • Laptop compartment is relatively small
  • No side pouches
  • Really only effectively water-resistant

10. Diamond Candy - Best Waterproof Backpack For Hiking

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 15.6-Inch
  • Colors Available = 4
  • Size = 40L
  • Warranty = 6-Month Guarantee

This backpack is made of abrasion-resistant nylon. It has external trekking pole attachment sites, an elasticated loop system across the front to hold light items, and fastenings across the bottom for a tent or other fold-up item. It also has side pockets on each side. There are compression straps.

The Diamond Candy is comfortable and convenient. Its back panel is soft and well-ventilated, and its shoulder straps are padded and have D-rings to attach items. It has chest and hip straps—one chest strap holds a whistle and the hip straps have small compartments on each.

This backpack can accommodate a hydration bladder and connected piping. This backpack goes from water-resistant to waterproof when the included rain cover is used. If a truly waterproof bag is what is needed above all, consider the alternative suggested for #9 above (the SealLine Boundary Pack).

Pros

  • Side pockets on each side
  • Ample external attachment sites
  • Rain cover
  • Accommodates hydration bladder

Cons

  • Uncomfortable to some
  • Not waterproof without rain cover

11. Earth Pak - Best Waterproof Backpack For Kayaking

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available =  5 
  • Size = 35L Or 55L
  • Warranty = 5-Year Warranty

This Earth Pak backpack is truly a dry bag—it’s made of 500D PVC and it has a roll-top closure stabilized by a strap. Side straps allow this bag to tighten around its contents. This bag is waterproof enough to float.

Earth Pak includes a completely waterproof clear phone case that can fit large (6.5-inch) smartphones. While the convenient outer zippered pocket is only “splash-proof,” there’s an interior pocket for delicate items.

 For comfort, there’s a padded and ventilated back panel and shoulder straps, and there ‘ also a chest strap to balance the load on the wearer’s body. While this pack is generally minimalist in design, there are D-rings on each shoulder strap that could be used to attach items.

This backpack is versatile—it’s good for boating (canoeing, kayaking, rafting, etc.) and also fishing, camping, and hiking.

Pros

  • Waterproof smartphone case included
  • 100% waterproof
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable to carry

Cons

  • Not much compartmentalization
  • No side pockets/water bottle holders

12. NEWHEY - Best Waterproof Backpack For Anti-Theft

  • Laptop Sleeve = Yes, 17-Inch
  • Colors Available =  1
  • Size = 21x16x8 Inches
  • Warranty = No, But 1-Year Return Policy

This NEWHEY backpack is made of polyester and is lined with high-density nylon and is treated for water resistance. It’s abrasion-resistant and almost waterproof.

This pack is great for those who want compartmentalization and plentiful pockets. It has 15 pockets in total and 2 large inner compartments. Also, its front pocket is spacious and has smaller pouches, too. It also has elastic side pockets—this is good for umbrellas or water bottles.

Of course, as an anti-theft backpack, it has an anti-theft buckle, strong zippers, and a safe (against card readers) pocket. Another unusual feature is the USB charging port. (The backpack does not provide electric power—it just creates a convenient connection place.) There’s also a port for earbuds.

Like most great backpacks, this one has a ventilating padded back panel and padded shoulder straps. What’s more, the shoulder straps have small convenient pockets in them. This backpack makes for great supplemental luggage, as it has a luggage attachment strap and a sturdy top loop. It’s so versatile; it can be used for travel, camping, hiking, school, or everyday carrying.

Pros

  • Anti-theft buckle
  • Well compartmentalized
  • Safe pocket
  • Side compartments/bottle holders
  • USB charging port

Cons

  • Not completely waterproof

13. Ortlieb Velocity - Best Waterproof Backpack For Cycling

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available =  3
  • Size = 11x5.9x18.5 Inches (24L)
  • Warranty = 5-Year

The Ortlieb Velocity has a Velcro sealed roll-top and is made of effectively waterproof material. While it doesn’t have a lot of organizational structure, it does have a removable inner pocket.

It has a ventilated and padded back panel and adjustable shoulder, chest, and hip straps. There are D-rings on the shoulder straps to attach items. The internal back panel is somewhat stiff to give structure, and there’s a good top handle.

This backpack is also suitable for everyday carry or day travel on foot in wet or rainy situations. This pack works for rain, but it may not be quite waterproof enough for submersion situations.

While this bag doesn’t have reflective strips, its colors tend to show up well—so it’s a safe choice for cyclist and walkers.

Pros

  • Not too large or bulky, streamlined design
  • Durable
  • Effectively waterproof
  • Colors are highly visible

Cons

  • Velcro can give way if bag is overfilled
  • Sometimes back panel is not so comfortable
  • No water bottle holders

14. Sea to Summit - Best Waterproof Backpack For Small & Lightweight Travelling

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available =  3
  • Size = 22L
  • Warranty = Lifetime Warranty

The Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack is made of ultra-siliconized CORDURA® fabric, which makes for a light but waterproof surface. Also contributing to waterproofing, the seams are double stitched and high-density PU tape-sealed, and it has a double Hypalon® roll-top and clip-closed closure system.

There’s an elastic lacing system across the front to compress the load (and maybe to hold a light piece of gear externally). While not technically a dry bag, this bag has many of the same features—roll-top, minimalistic design—there are no internal or external pouches.

There’s a rain cover to make it almost entirely waterproof. However, it’s still not ideal for water sports, because it may not keep out water if submerged. A special feature of this backpack is that it can be folded into a small space and placed inside a small pouch that is included with the backpack.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Small—if that is what one wants
  • Can be folded and stored in small pouch
  • Reliably waterproof if not submerged
  • Suitable as a carry-on bag

Cons

  • Not to be submerged
  • May be difficult to squeeze into pouch
  • Not so abrasion-resistant
  • Shoulder straps and back are minimalistic

15. Outlander - Best Water-Resistant Backpack Lightweight Travelling

  • Laptop Sleeve = No
  • Colors Available =  11
  • Size = 33L & 20L Available
  • Warranty = Lifetime Warranty

This backpack is made of abrasion-and water-resistant nylon and has strong zippers. It has a top loop and adjustable, lightly padded shoulder straps. There’s no padding on the back. However, the backpack’s fabric and design has a soft quality to it.

The side mesh pockets have drawstring stabilizers to hold contents. It has convenient front pouches, and it comes with a carabiner clip to attach items. The entire backpack can be folded up to go into an included carrying back, and the whole thing is very light. So, this is a very versatile backpack that could be used for traveling, light hiking, or everyday carry.

It’s also a good size to be a carry-on bag. While it’s not ideal for carrying weighty items (such as textbooks), most users are impressed with how much stuff they can get into it.

Pros

  • Wonderful color selection
  • Side pouch on both sides
  • Folds into small space
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • No padding on back
  • Not made for carrying a lot of weight

Uses for Fully Waterproof Backpacks?

Riding Motorcycles & Push Bikes

On most occasions, water resistance is probably sufficient when motorcycling or push biking. However, it’s possible to end up in a real downpour and have trouble getting to shelter quickly.

Also, many water-resistant bags come with a rain cover, but if one is riding a motorcycle, there’s no opportunity to put the cover on. Therefore, waterproofing, or at least “semi-waterproofing” in the fabric and make of the bag itself is very helpful.

Hiking, Hunting & Camping Trips

While hiking, hunting, and camping do not inherently involve water, water often gets involved. One might end up walking through water or getting rained on. Once you’re out in the wilderness, whatever you have in your backpack is all you have.

If a substantial amount of water seeps into your backpack, your clothes, food, gear, sleeping bag, and electronics may be soggy. In the case of electronic devices, this probably will ruin or at least severely damage them.

These kinds of outdoor activities are a bit forgiving, though. There’s usually time to apply a rain cover to a water-resistant bag, so unless one risks actually dropping the bag in water, a water-resistant bag with waterproof cover is sufficient.

Fishing, Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddleboards

With these and other water sports (canoeing, rafting, surfing, etc.), the backpack is definitely being used in close proximity to a body of water. It may even be with you when you’re in the water.

Therefore, a 100% waterproof (dry bag) backpack is ideal. Another consideration is that dry bags generally can float, which makes them easier to get out of the water. Many can even double as flotation devices in an emergency.

It is true that dry bags generally do not offer any organizational features specific to these sports, and so in choosing a dry bag, there is a sacrifice. One just has to weigh one’s needs.

Maybe the odds of the pack getting submerged or the wearer needing a flotation device are slight, and maybe certain organizational features are important to the sport—this is more likely to be true in fishing than in other water sports.

best waterproof backpack for hiking
Travel & Backpacking

Much like hiking, hunting, and camping—travel and backpacking do not inherently involve water. However, water is still likely to get involved, and if water seeps into a backpack, it could damage the contents—as electronic devices or food—or perhaps just render them temporarily unusable—soggy clothes, wet sleeping bag.

As with hiking, hunting, or camping, there’s normally time to put a waterproof rain cover over an otherwise water-resistant bag. So, in most instances, this is all the waterproofing needed. If one is backpacking somewhere very near a body of water—where the bag could easily fall in, a dry bag backpack might be better.

Protecting Laptops and Cameras

In camera bags, especially, waterproofing and water resistance are critical. A camera bag should at least have a water-resistant body and a waterproof cover.

While it would be nice to have a camera bag that’s completely waterproof as it is, it seems that it’s difficult to manufacture a backpack with the proper compartments for photographic equipment and have it be completely waterproof at the same time.

The situation with laptops is similar. One could put a laptop in a dry bag, and under some circumstances, that would be the best thing to do. However, most bags with sufficient compartmentalization to have a laptop sleeve are not dry bags, but they can function as waterproof with the help of a rain cover.

Generally, if one goes outside with a laptop in a backpack at all, it’s important to at least have a rain cover.


Which Brands Have Waterproof Backpacks

Most popular brands offer effectively water-resistant backpacks, but generally 100% waterproof, or even “semi-waterproof,” backpacks are rare in these brands.

Brand
Waterproof – Yes/No – Which models

North Face

No, only water resistant

Herschel Supply Co

Yes—8848

Tumi

Yes—Alpha Bravo Luke Roll-Top

Jansport

No, only water resistant

Thule

No, only water resistant

High Sierra

No, only water resistant

Eastpak

No, only water resistant

Osprey

No, only water resistant

Dakine

No, only water resistant


There are also spray-on waterproof coatings that can be applied to the fabric of a backpack. Here are links to three suitable waterproofing sprays:

Cabela's 9-oz.
Waterproofing Aerosol
Cabela's 9-oz Waterproofing Aerosol
Gear Aid
Revivex Durable Water Repellent Spray
GEAR AID REVIVEX DURABLE WATER REPELLENT SPRAY
Nikwax Fabric & Leather Waterproofing
Nikwax Fabric & Leather Waterproofing

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are nylon backpacks waterproof?

Nylon is a water-resistant material. However, a nylon body does not automatically mean a backpack is waterproof, only water resistant. Whether or not a backpack is waterproof depends on how the seams are put together and the closure system, as well as the material of the body.

Are polyester backpacks waterproof?

Polyester is a water-resistant material. However, polyester alone does not make a backpack waterproof; it only suggests that it’s probably water resistant.

Can you still wash a waterproof backpack?

Yes, but not in the washing machine. A few water-resistant backpacks can tolerate the washing machine just fine, but generally handwashing is the way to go. Generally, it’s best to try just wiping the pack—either with a dry cloth, or if necessary, a damp cloth—before resorting to full-scale cleaning.

How do you wash one of these bags?

The safest approach is to hand wash in cold water with soap (not detergent). Generally, backpacks should be air-dried, not put in the clothes drier. A bit of advice about drying a backpack is to put towels under where you have put the drying backpack; it may drip while it’s drying, even if you thought you shook off or towelled off most of the water.

Are waterproof backpacks necessary for everyone?

No, it really depends on the intended purpose of the backpack. Some water resistance is usually all that’s needed for most uses. However, if the pack is to be used in action for a water sport (kayaking, canoeing, rafting) in which the pack could end up falling in water, then a 100% waterproof pack is ideal.

Sometimes, it’s a grey area: hunting, hiking, camping; depending on where one is doing these activities and the weather, a waterproof pack might be ideal. Some waterproof packs are not 100% and so they cannot be submerged, but they offer convenient features that a dry bag does not. When it’s a grey area, one of these “semi-waterproof” bags might be ideal.

Are these bags heavier than other backpacks?

No, they’re not heavier. If anything, they’re generally lighter—especially the dry bag (100% waterproof and submergible). Dry bags and highly water resistant bags tend to be more minimalist in their compartmentalization and the waterproof canvas tends to be quite thin and light.


best waterproof backpack for travel

Conclusion

100% waterproof, “semi-waterproof,” and water resistant backpacks are all available and very affordable. Dry bags lack some desirable organizational and fashion features, and so the buyer has to assess his/her own needs.

Especially when carrying electronic devices, such as laptops and cameras, some waterproofing is essential. Ultimately, even disregarding electronics, waterproofing is more helpful than one might realize at first glance.

  • Updated October 10, 2020
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