Whether you’re making your daily commute or embarking on an exciting outdoor adventure on your day off, there’s one thing that’s unavoidable:
Carrying your stuff.
From your phone and laptop to your wallet, keys, and water bottle, it’s important to travel with a bag that fits all of your essentials, suits your style, and functions the way you need it to.
For many people, that bag is a waterproof backpack.
Thinking about buying a waterproof backpack but aren’t quite sure if they’re worth the price?
Here’s what to look for in a waterproof pack and why you should consider buying one, plus nine of the best waterproof backpacks on the market right now.
The Best Waterproof Backpacks for Travel:
Earth Pak Summit Dry Bag Backpack
Yeti Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack
L.L. Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Day Pack 26L
Osprey Transporter Waterproof Duffel 40
Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
LOVEVOOK Waterproof Work Backpack
Black Diamond Creek Transit 22 Backpack
Diamond Candy Backpack 40L Lightweight Day Pack
Johnny Urban Alec Roll Top Courier Rucksack
Why Use a Waterproof Backpack?
There is one main reason that people choose to carry a waterproof backpack, and it’s a pretty obvious one—to keep their belongings safe from water.
Commuters and students carry them to protect their books, laptops, and other must-haves from inclement weather, such as snowstorms and unexpected downpours. Adventure seekers into hiking and rock climbing use them to protect their gear, just in case there’s a storm.
If you enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or spending time on a boat, a waterproof backpack is the single best way to keep your belongings safe from inevitable splashes and accidental drops in the lake. (Some are even submersible in water and designed to float).
But waterproof backpacks don’t just protect your belongings from water – they protect against all sorts of liquids.
Ever had a stranger accidentally spill their coffee on you at the subway stop? Ever gotten annoyed with a buddy for dropping their beer on you while getting tipsy at a tailgating party? With a waterproof backpack, you won’t have to worry about your phone, wallet, or other valuables getting ruined by someone else’s sloppy ways.
What to Consider When Buying a Waterproof Backpack
Before you jump on Amazon and order the first waterproof backpack you see, there are a few things you’ll want to know first.
What Will You Carry in It?
Waterproof backpacks come in all sorts of different shapes, including rucksack silhouettes, roll-top closures, and duffel bag shapes with shoulder straps for carrying on your back or carrying by hand. They also come in various sizes, from quite small to somewhat massive.
Smaller packs are great when you only need to hold a few everyday essentials that aren’t that heavy, while larger, more technical packs (aka dry bags) are better suited for rugged, outdoor use when you have to carry a lot of heavy gear. If you plan to use yours for airline travel, pay extra-special attention to the measurements, as carry-on bags have to be a certain size in order to fit safely in overhead bins or underneath airline seats.
Look for Special Features
Look at the special features of the bag as well. For example, if you’re planning to use it for school or work, look for one with a protective built-in laptop sleeve. If you’re using it for air travel, look for a bag with a quick-access front pocket to hold your phone or passport or side pockets to hold water bottles.
Make Sure It’s Waterproof and Not Just Water-Resistant
Keep in mind that waterproof backpacks are not the same as water-resistant backpacks.
Many backpacks are water-resistant, but that just means they can withstand some rain drizzle and the occasional splash or spill. Truly waterproof backpacks provide thorough protection, are made from 100% waterproof fabrics and have waterproof seams and waterproof closures, unlike water-resistant bags that often have regular zippers that allow water to seep in.
Check For an IPX Rating
To know just how waterproof a waterproof backpack is, look for the IPX rating. IPX ratings range from IPX0 (which means zero waterproofing protection) to IPX8 (which means the contents of the bag are protected when continually submerged under water for more than 30 minutes).
There are a few bags on this list with IPX ratings as high as IPX7!
Waterproof Backpacks for Outdoor Adventures
Need a backpack that can stand up to rigorous hiking, rock climbing, and other outdoor adventures? Want to keep your gear dry when you’re fishing in the lake, paddle boarding at the beach, or hopping aboard your sailboat?
These waterproof backpacks boast technical features for adventure seekers, rugged travelers, and those that enjoy spending time on or near the water.
This waterproof backpack from Earth Pak was definitely made with adventurers in mind. Featuring a roll-top closure with secure buckle closure, this dry bag is designed to keep your gear safe in the wettest conditions.
Padded shoulder straps and an ergonomic back panel make it comfortable to carry, while a sternum strap and waistbelt relieve pressure and weight from your back while walking or climbing. It also includes a MOLLE looping system and reflectors for increased visibility in dark conditions.
While Yeti might be known for their coolers, tumblers, and travel mugs, the Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack proves that what Yeti’s really great at is making gear for people that love the outdoors.
With an IPX7 rating, this high-quality backpack is fully submersible in water, so if you drop it in the lake or it falls over the side of your canoe, no worries – your gear will be safe.
Made from thick nylon with TPU lamination and a leakproof zipper, this pack isn’t just waterproof – it’s also abrasion-resistant to provide even greater protection for your gear packed inside. It includes an interior mesh pocket for valuables, an inside sleeve to hold a laptop, and a removable waist belt for when you need more stability.
This 100% waterproof dry bag from L.L. Bean is made from durable TPU-coated ripstop nylon with RF-welded seams and a roll-top closure. As a hiking backpack or a daily commuter bag, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a smart and stylish way to keep your gear safe.
This pack includes double daisy chains and buckles for gear attachment, a front mesh pocket, and a locking sternum strap for better stability on your back.
Whether you carry it as a duffel or add the shoulder straps and carry it on your back, this heavy duty Osprey bag is made to withstand the harshest, wettest conditions. Fully submersible in water, this pack is made from TPU-coated ripstop nylon and features an abrasion-resistant design for added gear protection. It boasts an impressive IPX7 rating.
It’s detailed with an AquaSeal zipper, so it’s 100% waterproof when zipped, and it’s designed with multiple lash points, an interior mesh pocket, and non-corroding aluminum hardware for long-lasting use.
This dry pack from Sea to Summit is made from TPU-laminated nylon with welded, sealed seams and a roll-top closure. The fabric is also UV stabilized, so unlike some dry packs, the fabric won’t crack in icy cold weather.
The Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack is a heavy duty beast, fully equipped with a waist strap, adjustable sternum straps, attachment points, a removable harness system, and a webbing waist belt.
Versatile Waterproof Backpacks for Everyday Use
Need a waterproof laptop backpack that you can carry to and from school or work or tote a few essential items around town? These versatile backpacks aren’t ideal for rugged outdoor activities on the water, but they are perfect for everyday use.
The LOVEVOOK Waterproof Work Backpack isn’t crafted with a fully waterproof system and doesn’t boast an IPX rating, so don’t submerge it in water to see if it floats. It won’t.
But it is made with waterproof nylon fabric that can more than withstand rain and everyday spills.
With a built-in laptop compartment and a roomy main compartment to hold books, folders, and other must-haves, this travel backpack is perfect for daily commutes or air travel. It’s detailed with easy access side pockets as well as a front zippered pocket to hold your phone and other frequently used items.
Made with the modern commuter in mind, this backpack from Black Diamond is perfect for trekking through the urban jungle. This pack is constructed from waterproof nylon fabrics with a zip-around top lid, and it’s sized to hold a 13-inch laptop and a few other everyday essentials.
It’s detailed with a removable webbing hip belt for greater stability and comfort, and it includes reflective accents for increased visibility and haul handles that make it easy to grab and go.
Whether you’re hitting the trail or heading off to school, this Diamond Candy backpack will keep all of your valuable items dry in the rain.
With four compartments, including a laptop compartment, this backpack features a rugged look and a versatile design that offers ample storage inside and out. Two hip pockets and two side pockets provide convenient exterior storage, while a padded mesh back panel makes it comfortable to carry and reduces sweat.
The Johnny Urban Alec Roll Top Courier Rucksack is a great option if you’re A) looking for an affordable waterproof pack and B) don’t have a lot of stuff to carry.
On the slender side, this roll-top backpack is made from 500D tarpaulin fabric with a PVC coating and features a padded, removable laptop compartment, soft padded straps, and an ergonomic back panel that makes it comfortable to carry.
Are Waterproof Backpacks Worth The Money?
Waterproof backpacks can be pricey, but as long as they’re actually waterproof and not just water-resistant, they will keep your gear safe when you’re on the go.
Yes, you might have to shell out some bucks on the bag itself … but that’s a lot less expensive than having to replace a laptop, a phone, or a camera ruined by water and rain.
You might also be interested in: The 15 Best Waterproof Work Boots to Keep You Comfortable and Dry
The Best Waterproof Backpacks for Travel:
- Earth Pak Summit Dry Bag Backpack
- Yeti Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack
- L.L. Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Day Pack 26L
- Osprey Transporter Waterproof Duffel 40
- Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
- LOVEVOOK Waterproof Work Backpack
- Black Diamond Creek Transit 22 Backpack
- Diamond Candy Backpack 40L Lightweight Day Pack
- Johnny Urban Alec Roll Top Courier Rucksack
Jessica Hestonview post
After 15 years in the fashion industry, this Philadelphia native ditched her corporate career to focus on writing full time. Jessica is a TV junkie, whiskey lover and true crime addict. She finds inspiration from Broadway musicals, Hitchcock films and The Beatles. She is happily married without children, which she credits as the reason for her professional success, youthful attitude and solid eight hours of sleep every night.view post