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A backpack is the daily bag of choice for many people in the world. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a great backpack when it comes to storage space, and of course, their comfort and ease they provide carrying possessions around. Whether you’re an avid backpacker, city commuter, or need a waterproof option to bring on your next fishing trip, there’s something to be gained by investing in a good backpack.
There are more backpacks out there than you’d think, all designed to meet their users’ many particular needs. Today we’re going to be diving into the world of waterproof backpacks.
You’ll get to learn everything you’d ever want to know, including who benefits from these handy backpacks and everything you should keep in mind before you buy. Plus, we’re going to outline some of our top picks for waterproof backpacks available online today. Let’s get started!
Our Waterproof Backpack Recommendations
Best Overall Choice
1. Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack
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Earth Pak was a company founded by two outdoor lovers who wanted to bring high-quality gear to those who love the outdoors. The love shows in their high-quality products, like this Waterproof Backpack. Available in 35 and 55 L sizes, this backpack from Earth Pak is 100% waterproof, made of 500D PVC that ensures a watertight seal to protect your items.
This bag is easy and comfortable to use, designed with a padded back panel and padded, countered shoulder straps. There’s also an additional sternum strap and a waist belt that can provide some ease while hauling heavy gear. The bag itself is compact and lightweight, making it super convenient to carry on the go or take with you on planes and your travels.
You should be able to fit all kinds of gear and take this backpack out on the water with no fear. Its built-in MOLE system provides some great anchors to keep it secure while boating or biking. This bag also comes with a convenient IPX8 waterproof phone case, so you can keep your device as protected as your belongings while on the water.
Best Premium Choice
2. YETI Panga Waterproof Backpack
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When it comes to quality you can count on, Yeti is the top of the line. It comes with a premium pricetag but it’s worth it. If you know you’re hitting wet conditions you will not find a better waterproof bag on the market. And maybe even more important is the comfort. Yeti knows how to make a pack that feels good when you have it on.
The design is sleek and minimal. Nothing that looks too crazy but you wouldn’t call it ugly either. The chest straps and belts are all detachable. The Hydrolok zipper is all but airtight. That’s why Yeti advertises this as not just waterproof, but submersible. Not that we recommend, but you can take a dive wearing this pack. If it’s sealed right, your gear will come out high and dry. This can handle anything nature throws at it.
The case is made of thick but still comfortable nylon. There’s tpu lamination on it which stands for thermoplastic polyurethane. It’s a plastic-type coating that not only seals against water but puncture and abrasion.
The bag weighs under 4 lbs when it’s empty. It measures 7 inches by 12.5 inches by 20 inches. That means there’s a decent amount of room for gear in here. Drop in a cell phone, a flare gun, your ID, money, it doesn’t matter. As long as you use the U-dock to seal that zipper, you can wade out to your boat no problem. Swim to shore in an emergency if need be. It really is that good.
Yeti offers a 3-year warranty on their Panga bags. If you’re serious about keeping gear dry, this is what you need.
- The best waterproofing you’re going to find
- Can even be submerged in emergencies
- Comfortable to wear even for long periods
- Straps can be removed if you want
- Much pricier than most backpacks
3. IDRYBAG Waterproof Backpack
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Available in multiple sizes and colorings, you should be able to find a product to love with this offering from IDRYBAG. This backpack has been constructed with standard 500D waterproof fabric, a vinyl-coated polyester with welded, watertight seals. It is waterproof, tear-resistant, and abrasion-resistant, making it a perfect choice for embarking on outdoor activities.
This bag also has a convenient splash-resistant front pocket for easy access to small necessities. (However, please be aware it does not offer the full water-resistance as the main interior.) This bag also has tons of convenient carrying straps, enforced hooks to secure the bag, detachable padded shoulder pads, and a reflective logo for nighttime visibility. This bag also comes with a 2L drybag for any items you want to offer extra protection to in case of emergency.
Best Budget Choice
4. Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
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This backpack from Piscifun is the perfect companion for any water-based adventuring! This bag is made of durable, flexible 500D PVC built to withstand tough weather and tough conditions while traversing the outdoors. Its body has fully welded seams, making it much more durable than sewn and taped seams found on other fabric bags. Pack it up, roll down the top closure, and you’ll have a watertight seal.
It’s still comfortable to wear, with adjustable padded straps for comfortable carrying and a convenient top handle. You can store tons of gear in its large, 40L size. It also has a convenient outer mesh pocket reinforced with high elasticity bungee cords to store additional gear quickly and easily.
This bag also comes with a 6.6-inch waterproof phone case, so you can keep your most precious belongings doubly protected. This can offer some peace of mind while storing the phone in the pack, and it can still allow for the phone to be used through the bag while doing outdoor activities.
5. Outlander 100% Waterproof Hiking Backpack
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If you need something small but mighty, this could be the perfect bag for you. This 25 L daypack from Outlander is 100% waterproof, perfect for securely storing your belongings and gear on a hike or transporting important goods around the city.
This bag is made of durable nylon that is waterproof and rip-proof, designed for long-lasting performance. It’s also super compact, able to be folded into a small pocket shape to take with you on any trip. Perfect for keeping in the back of a van for quick loading and unloading. It’s also extremely lightweight, weighing in at just 0.42 lbs, and has several interior pockets for helpful organization.
6. Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro Waterproof Floating Backpack
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This backpack is made from a heavy-duty 420-denier ripstop nylon coated with TPU and fitted with welded seams and a watertight roll-down top. This design is perfect for keeping out all water forms, making it a great pick for any outdoor enthusiast.
The interior is a roomy 35L, making it adequate for most day trips and backpacking needs. It has comfortable padded straps, adjustable sternum clips, and a removal waist clip to reduce muscle strain while carrying a heavy load. It is also fitted with handy D-Rings to help to strap the bag down if needed.
One of the best features of this backpack is the multiple zippered and pocket components that make the interior organization a breeze. Along with an airtight, waterproof front pocket, it also features a handy laptop compartment, a mesh slip pocket, and a water bottle pocket for easy gear access. This bag has also been fitted with reflective elements as an added safety measure during outdoor use.
7. Nomatic Navigator Travel Backpack
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If you’re looking to invest in a high-quality bag at a higher price point, you can’t go wrong with this offering from Nomatic. This backpack was built with travel in mind, featuring amazing interior organization and good security, with a tamper-proof zipper system. It has a foam formed back panel, comfortable padded straps, and a convenient top panel for easy carrying. It also has a convenient top pocket, an RFID pocket, a pocket for a 17” laptop, and a removable waist strap.
Best of all, this 32L bag is made of 840D ballistic nylon, making it a great waterproof choice for any traveler. If you want something a little more fashionable than typical outdoorsy camping backpacks, with the same waterproof capabilities that can put your mind at ease, this is the bag for you.
8. Friendly Swede Waterproof Backpack
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For a solid mid-range backpack, the Friendly Swede is a great option. It’s made from 500-denier PVC tarpaulin. That makes it rugged and able to stand up to both water and some general wear and tear. There are interior and exterior waterproof panels. That double layer of protection can give you extra peace of mind. Especially with sensitive contents like electronics. The seams are welded and it features a roll top as well. All of this works together to ensure maximum dryness.
It features a stylish design that masks its utility. You can use it in the deep forest or on a fishing trip. But it looks good enough for day use around town as well. Anyone who’s sick of their stuff getting soaked will benefit from this. And the price is reasonable as well.
The bag weighs under two pounds, so it’s not as bulky as many brands. The straps are comfortable and set well even when you have the bag filled. The interior is big enough to handle a small laptop up to 13 inches. Things like cellphones and more will fit nicely as well, of course. It measures 11.42 x 5.12 x 22.83 inches.
The company offers a 3-year warranty on the backpack. That’s another layer of trust you can have in the company and what they offer. For a stylish, reasonably priced option try the Friendly Swede.
One thing to be aware of here is frayed seams. This looks worse than it is! The seams are sealed with glue, so it may start to pull away. But it is just excess glue coming off. You can trim it away without worry. It will never go beyond the seam itself, so the seam is not at risk of leaking.
- Stylish appearance
- Roomy and comfortable
- Durable material can withstand most weather conditions
- Not the biggest bag out there
- White color can get dirty easily
9. FE Active Dry Bag
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If you need a quality bag that works with almost any budget, FE Active is one to check out. At 2.91 x 19.09 x 11.61 inches and 2 lbs, it’s a good size. The total capacity is 30L. The bag is made from marine grade 5mm eco friendly vinyl tarpaulin. With welded seams, that all adds up to a solid, waterproof bag. There are mesh side pockets for things like water bottles. The bungee laced up the front can hold extra gear as well.
In terms of waterproofing, this beats a number of higher priced bags. It features an IPX8 rating. That means you can actually submerge it in water for a short period of time. Not every higher end bag can boast that. The top is a rolltop to keep water out. The company actually tested the backpack by walking into the Pacific ocean. They let the waves bring it back to shore. The contents inside were completely dry. Just remember, you need to make sure it’s sealed according to instructions to get that result. A hastily closed dry bag will not keep much dry.
The straps are adjustable and comfortable overall. Once you have it adjusted for your body size, they don’t feel too weighty. They disperse the weight well and are not too noticeable even when you’re on a long hike.
One thing to be cautious of here is that marine grade vinyl. If you’re hiking with this on a warm day, it’s going to get pretty hot on your back. The airflow isn’t as great as it could be.
- Great value
- Solid waterproofing is better than many more expensive bags
- Lots of space
- Not the best airflow
- Waist strap is oddly small and may not fit people of all body types
10. Tourit Leakproof Cooler Backpack
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Tourit has made a great backpack here for keeping your gear dry. But it also functions as an effective cooler bag. Not every waterproof backpack can pull that off. If you’re planning for lunch or a BBQ later in the day, this is a great option for carrying supplies.
The pack measures 17.7″ high x 13.8″ long x 10.0″ wide. It can fit around 21L worth of stuff. That works out to 36 cans of soda or beer plus ice, if that’s your intent. We recommend a little less stuff than that, however. 24 cans with ice fits a lot more comfortably. 36 would be a very tight fit. Plus carrying that much would be a bit of a strain on your back. But even if you don’t want to carry a ton of food, this has other benefits. Hikers who take medication can find a lot of benefit here as well. On a hot day if you take insulin, for instance, this will keep it cool. That can be a literal lifesaver.
The interior liner is BPA free. So if you have ice or food in there, it will be safe to eat. The interior is the main storage but there are two side pockets as well. The zippers provide an airtight seal when properly secured. One thing to be aware of though is that this can be tricky. Closing the zippers is a chore at first because of how they are made. The company actually supplies lubricant to get the zipper moving. So be prepared to spend a little bit of time working it in.
That aside, make sure you hand wash the inside before your first use. Like any soft cooler, it does have a strange plastic smell that first day. But a gentle cleaning ought to fix it.
- Waterproof bag also works as a cooler
- Keeps stuff cool for several days
- Comfortable straps and stylish design
- Unpleasant smell when you first use it should be washed out
- The zipper will give you some trouble at first
Who Uses Waterproof Backpacks?
While it can be fair to say that nearly anyone in the world could benefit from owning a waterproof backpack, some particular groups find them especially useful. Let’s take a look at the kinds of people who should consider investing in a waterproof backpack as a part of their everyday bag rotation.
Hiking, fishing, camping, and more… If you love the outdoors, then you will love the peace of mind a waterproof backpack can provide. Anyone who has ever camped knows the feeling of dread that comes when waking up in a soaking wet tent filled with now soaking wet belongings.
Or worse, getting caught in the rain mid-hike and fearing for the future of all your backpack’s contents. The rain can bring a huge (quite literal) damper on things while trying to enjoy the great outdoors.
That’s what makes a waterproof backpack such a great choice for those who spend a lot of time outside. Outdoor enthusiasts love to utilize these backpacks to eliminate the stress of pesky rain ruining any precious cargo.
No more worrying about destroyed books, paper maps, or even electronics. A waterproof backpack can offer some secure item storage when battling with the outdoor elements.
Even when you’re away from the woods, the threat of encountering unexpected weather or rain is still around! Busy city commuters can also take comfort in the security a waterproof backpack can provide. It’s not uncommon to have to make an unexpected mad dash in the rain while in a busy city.
Your waterproof backpack can protect your more precious cargo, including work documents, and most importantly, work computers and other electronics, from any potential water damage.
If you’re nervous about the risk of water damaging your belongings, there’s no more unstable environment than a boat on the open water. It is highly likely for a boater to encounter some water damage to their items on a boat. A waterproof backpack can offer some peace of mind.
They can also be extremely useful in an emergency situation, especially if you end up going overboard or stranded in the water. Of course, the protection offered will depend on if your backpack is waterproof or simply water-resistant, which we get into more below.
Backpackers & Travelers
If you’re a frequent traveler, a waterproof backpack can be a great investment. There are tons of extra-large waterproof backpacks out there designed for backpacking life! With all your belongings living in one place, it’s not a bad idea to ensure that your storage is waterproof.
Especially if you frequent trains and busses, it can be nerve-wracking to store your bag on a plane or a bus out of sight. Many travelers have felt the dread of watching their luggage sit in the rain on the tarmac, knowing their belongings are getting soaked. A waterproof backpack can provide the extra security you’ll need in those scenarios.
Waterproof vs Water-Resistant
Before we dive into the general info you should keep in mind before buying a waterproof backpack, we thought it a good idea to offer a deeper explanation of waterproof backpacks when compared to water-resistant backpacks. This distinction makes all the difference in the performance of your bag and what you can expect in terms of offered water protection.
A water-resistant backpack is different from a waterproof backpack. Here, water-resistant means something much vaguer than waterproof. Essentially it means that your backpack is not made of an easily soaked material and is instead made of some kind of water-resistant fabric that can resist a little drizzle.
However, it will not offer the full water protection offered by a waterproof bag. This is likely due to two important parts of the backpack that need to be secure for waterproofing: the bag’s fabric and the bag’s zippers.
The fabric of your bag is what truly makes or breaks its water-resistant vs waterproof capabilities. In most instances, “water-resistant” bags are simply bags that have been made with a slightly hydrophobic fabric, such as woven nylon fitted with a water-resistant coating on the backside.
In fact, many people make their own existing items water-resistant with waterproof sprays, available online. These coatings can do wonders to keep water out for a short period, but they will eventually get worn down and create holes.
There are better water-resistant fabrics out there than lined nylon, designed to trap moisture as it comes in, along with keeping water out. However, while useful, these kinds of fabrics are not beneficial in extreme situations, such as completely submerging a bag or getting caught in any kind of torrential downpour.
Zippers are the most insecure place on a backpack when it comes to water, as their many holes do little to nothing to stop water from penetrating through. To combat this, many manufacturers have created zippers coated with a protective layer to prevent rain from getting in. If you see any kind of fabric covering your zipper, it’s a good sign that it is water-resistant to some capacity.
In short, a water-resistant bag can still do wonders to offer you some water protection, especially when compared to bags that are not water-resistant at all. However, they cannot offer you the fuller protections a true waterproof offering can provide.
If a backpack is marketed as waterproof, it is a backpack that can be fully submerged in water without any risk of water getting inside. Of course, mis-marketing can happen, but a waterproof backpack should be able to withstand water beyond the impact of typical rain.
These should be able to get your belongings through any watery situation, whether that be a simple boat ride or white water rafting.
It’s important to pay attention to exactly how a backpack is marketed. While any bags can call themselves waterproof, this can mean that they have simply been built with some kind of waterproof materials. It does not necessarily mean that the bag itself is fully waterproof.
Waterproof backpacks are made through a rigorous and expensive process that creates their waterproof materials. These materials cannot have any holes, meaning every inch of fabric and every stitch in the bag needs to be secure. The tiny little holes that may not be an issue in the rain can be a huge issue if you take a bag underwater, so they need to get it right.
These fabrics are made by creating thermoplastics, which involves melting pieces of fabric into one new piece via ultrasonic sound waves. This process is incredibly expensive, which is why waterproof backpacks often come at such a high price point.
The need for secure fabric and secure zippers also places some limitations on the designs of these bags, which tend to minimize any extra pockets and storage in security. Waterproof bags are often designed with a large bucket compartment with limited compartments inside.
Here, you’re sacrificing some of the extra organizational features you’d find in other bags in exchange for water protection.
Waterproof bags may not suit the lifestyles of everyone! If the extreme levels of protection aren’t necessary, you may find water-resistant bag offerings suitable. However, if you need the ultimate form of protection, waterproof bags can be well worth the price point.
Things To Know Before You Buy
Before you start shopping, there are a few more things you should know before you buy! Here are some of the important features you’ll need to look out for when shopping for a waterproof backpack.
Your backpack’s weight needs to be kept in mind if you want to be comfortable during daily use. You’ll want to be able to carry it comfortably, especially if you plan to use it while traveling or backpacking.
There are often different kinds of supports and straps that can ease the tension of a heavy backpack, but they’re useless if the bag itself is too heavy for you. Look at the weights online while shopping and factor it in with the weight of the load you’ll be carrying within it.
Size and Bag Capacity
As is the case with even non-waterproof backpacks, you’ll want to go into your purchase knowing what kind of size will suit you best. It’s a shame to invest in a new backpack only to find it too small to fit your everyday belongings. Take stock of what exactly your backpack will be used for and the kind of items you’ll want to keep inside to determine the capacity limit you need.
Typically, you’ll find backpacks come in the following size capacities:
A daypack usually has a 20-35 liter size capacity. These are great for carrying around essential everyday items or enough gear for a fast day trip outdoors.
A weekender has a 40-50 liter size capacity and is much roomier than a daypack. Here you should pack away enough items for an overnight trip or use them as a carry-on for a quick getaway.
A multi-day backpack has a 50-70 liter capacity. These are great for any outdoorsman or frequent hiker who needs to take gear and supplies for one that lasts for a week.
An expedition pack has a 70-95 liter capacity and is the biggest kind of backpack you’ll find. These kinds of bags are suited for backpackers going on long expeditions who need the storage space to hold all of their belongings for adventures that last for months on end.
Backpacks will often come with different kinds of straps that make carrying them much, much easier! You should consider the kinds of offered straps and carrying options your backpack has to find the one that works best for you.
In addition to traditional backpack straps that go over your shoulders, your bag may come equipped with sternum straps that keep your shoulder straps more secured. These can be super useful for hikers or outdoorsmen carrying their bags for long distances.
Additionally, some waterproof backpacks will come with different carry handles that can make them convenient during air travel. Some will have horizontal shoulder straps, similar to what you see on a gym bag, or carry handles that can allow you to quickly pick up and toss your bag into vehicles or at a luggage carousel.
As we touched on above, the material in your waterproof bag can make a huge difference, especially when differentiating between waterproof and water-resistant products. You’ll want to keep an eye on the kind of material your bag is made out of to determine how functional it will be.
The most common fabric you’ll see listed for waterproof bags is nylon. This is super common among water-resistant bags and is excellent when fitted with an additional waterproof coating. Other materials you’ll see are PVC, PVC vinyl, and rubber.
These are also excellent in repelling water. Again, it’s good to look out for combining these fabrics with additional waterproof sprays or coatings to ensure that it is fully waterproof.