Fashion & Beauty

The 9 Best Waterproof Backpacks for Travel [Reviewed]

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If you’re in the market for a waterproof backpack, you want to keep a few things in mind. Not every waterproof back is the same, after all, and, yes, there is a difference between a waterproof and a water-resistant backpack. Here are all the things you want to consider as you shop, as well as nine waterproof and water-resistant backpacks that might just fit your needs.

Why Use a Waterproof Backpack?

There are many reasons you might choose a waterproof backpack for your next trip, but there are three that are most obvious.

  • A waterproof backpack will protect you against travel accidents
  • A waterproof backpack will protect you against surprise weather conditions
  • A waterproof backpack is absolutely necessary for active and/or adventure travel

If you fall into the category of an active or adventure traveler, then this probably comes as no surprise to you. A waterproof backpack is critical when you’re hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing — you name it. Even if you don’t expect to be around water during your active or adventure travel, a waterproof backpack will stand up against sweat and unforeseen spills.

If you’re more of an indoors-y, urban explorer type of traveler, you can still find a waterproof backpack to be invaluable. You never know when you’re going to spill your coffee at that cute cafe or your beer at that mountainside craft brewery. You likewise never know when you’ll be caught out in a rainstorm several blocks away from the next subway station.

A waterproof backpack can simply protect you from both the known and the unknown.

What to Consider When Buying a Waterproof Backpack

There’s a lot to consider when purchasing a waterproof backpack. You don’t want to just grab the first thing you see on the shelf at the sporting goods store.

Firstly, consider your overall use. Will you be using your waterproof backpack just for your necessities? For your work items or as a carry-on bag? Or do you want to use it as a catch-all for absolutely everything you’ll need on a trip?

Depending on your answer, you’ll be looking for different capabilities from a waterproof backpack in terms of size, capacity and weight.

If you want a backpack suitable for use as a carry-on bag, you’ll want to make sure the bag fits within common carry-on luggage size guidelines. If you want to check your bag while traveling and use it as a catch-all, make sure it’s large enough to hold everything you need, both in terms of size and weight. If you want it for work trips, make sure it’s large enough to hold your laptop.

Style is another factor to consider. A waterproof backpack for an important business trip will look very different from a waterproof backpack for hiking through a national park.

Your plans for the bag will also determine if you need to purchase a waterproof backpack that’s highly adjustable, with lengthy chest and waist straps that make carrying heavier loads easier. Even if you don’t need something with that level of adjustability, you still want to consider how much leeway the shoulder straps give you. Likewise, your plans for the bag will impact what material you look for; some materials are more durable than others, and you’re going to want those heavy-duty materials if you’re using the bag out in the woods or on a sailboat.

Lastly, when you’re browsing through waterproof backpacks in stores or online, you’re likely to come across water-resistant backpacks as well. What’s the difference?

A water-resistant backpack will offer you a lower level of protection. The fabric is typically not absorbent and it can handle a small rain shower or a light spill. Just wick the water away and you and your belongings are good to go.

water-resistant backpacks are often more stylish and sometimes more affordable.

However, if you want ultimate protection, you want to go with a waterproof backpack versus a water-resistant backpack.


Small Waterproof Backpacks

If you’re in the market for a small backpack that can be taken on a plane or that will allow you to easily wind your way through a crowd, you might want to consider one of these small water-resistant backpacks.

Kånken Water-Resistant Backpack

This Scandinavian backpack comes in a huge array of colors and is on the smaller side, at only 14 inches tall and 11 inches wide, but it can still hold a ton of stuff.

Throw your wallet, toiletry bag, iPad, umbrella, a bottle of water and even an extra pair of shoes into this baby and you have a perfect carry-on bag.

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Water-Resistant Backpack

This water-resistant backpack is small, simple and budget-friendly.

It’s lightweight, with 20 liters of storage space and, when you’re not using it, you can fold it down to a sandwich size for easy storage.

Wayside Water-Resistant Backpack

At 16 inches tall and 10 inches wide, this L.L. Bean water-resistant backpack is compact and comfortable to carry. It makes a great traveling companion and includes lots of pockets inside to organize all your go-to items.


Waterproof Hiking Backpacks

If you need a backpack that can stand up to rigorous hiking, look no further. These waterproof backpacks will stand up to the test.

 Patagonia Stormfront Pack

Patagonia is one of the most well-known names when it comes to outdoor adventure gear, and for good reason.

The brand makes a high-quality product fit for a range of environments. Not only is this backpack 100 percent waterproof, it also has a 100 percent waterproof zipper. It can easily fit a ton of work, camera or hiking gear and is very adjustable to fit an array of users.

Black Diamond Creek Transit Pack

This waterproof backpack is simple and sleek, just what you need if you’re looking for something that does its job well, but with no frills.

The shell fabric is durable and waterproof and you’re able to outfit the padded shoulder straps and back panel with a webbing hip belt for extra comfort and stability.

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack

This waterproof backpack was definitely made with adventurers in mind. It comes in two sizes (19 inches by 14 inches, or 21 inches by 16 inches), is completely waterproof and is outfitted with reflectors, so that you can stay safe in dark conditions.


Stylish Waterproof Backpacks

You don’t have to give up style just because you want to protect your belongings.

Rains Waterproof Drawstring Backpack

This holographic waterproof backpack comes in a stylish two-tone, beige and black design. It’s on the smaller side, so it doesn’t seem bulky, and the hardware is water-resistant to match the waterproof fabric.

Antitheft Waterproof Backpack

Whether you want a waterproof backpack in a vibrant hue or something classy and on the sophisticated side, you can find it among the 19 designs offered by Charmore. The overall minimalist design makes this bag a perfect fit for a work trip.

Mancro Laptop Backpack

And if you want something with more of a masculine feel, but still stylish, of course, this water-resistant backpack might be a good fit. Choose from seven colors and patterns.

The water-resistant backpack is built with travelers on the go with a lot of tech, as it comes with a built-in USB charger and built-in charging cable, and anti-theft gear to keep laptops, iPads and other items safe.

Every Traveler Needs a Waterproof Backpack

No matter what kind of traveler you are, if you’re on the go, you need a waterproof backpack or at the very least a water-resistant backpack.

There are plenty of options, styles, sizes and features to choose from, so there’s really no excuse not to have one! Just make sure to take all the factors of purchasing a new backpack into consideration when making your choice and you’ll be rewarded with a waterproof or water-resistant backpack that will last for years to come.

Holly Riddle

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