Don’t you hate it when your stuff get wet while hiking because your backpack is not waterproof? Hiking up a mountain, your chances to get rained on are much higher, and you’ll want to make sure your items stay dry even if you don’t have an umbrella or rain cover. The best waterproof backpack will not only ensure that your belongings stay dry but will also provide that much needed comfort.
Having a waterproof backpack will save you many worries on the mountains. If it gets rainy you won’t have to think about having dry clothes to change after it stops, or that you will be sleeping in a wet sleeping bag later. However, the many models available makes it difficult for some folks to choose a pack that best suits their needs. If you also feel lost when trying to have a look at your options, we’re here to help out.
In this article, we have written a guide on how to choose a waterproof backpack based on a number of factors. On top of that, we have reviewed a number of backpacks which you can take as our recommendations. Let’s get to it!
Our Top Picks
|The Friendly Swede Dry Bag||33.6 l||3 outer, 2 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
|Big Horn Rolltop Dry Bag||30 l||2 outer||Yes||Check price on Amazon|
|Phantom Aquatics Walrus||25 l||1 outer, 1 inner||Yes||Check price on Amazon|
|Ortlieb Velocity||20 l||1 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
|Gysan Laptop||21 l||3 outer, 5 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
|ZBRO Dry2 Urban||25 l||1 outer, 3 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
|OverBoard Pro Sport||30 l||3 outer, 1 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
|Sak Gear BackSak||35 l||1 outer, 1 inner||No||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Before making your final purchase, it’s of great importance to know what you are looking for and how to choose a backpack for your needs. To help you make a decision, we made a short text on the most important features that you should consider before buying your waterproof backpack.
The closure type is important in a dry bag: zippers won’t help much even if they’re covered. Most waterproof backpacks will have a rolling type of closure as you’ll see from the items we selected.
The way this system works is: you fill the bag, but not to the brim. Then you roll down the top and use the snap closures to secure it. This can be done either the ends together to form a handle, or each end to its appropriate pair on the side of the bag. A Velcro closure might also be present to further secure the closure.
What makes a backpack waterproof is the material it is made of. One good example is the industrial tarp which will last through many adventures, no matter how rugged they are. Manufacturers are also constantly researching and trying to find new materials to use for a waterproof bag.
If you can’t find information online regarding what a product is made of, you better try to find it in a brick and mortar store to see it for yourself, and possibly try it. If you can’t find it to learn more about the material, it might be better to not buy it.
Finding a backpack that is big enough to hold everything is very important because you’ll only carry one item, making hiking easier. You need to know that most hikers are interested in the inner volume or capacity.
Those who are new to hiking will not really understand what this measure means, therefore you must pay attention to the height, width and length of the bag. Try to find another bag of similar size and see how many items you can fit in it.
If you already decided on what to bring along, put everything in a bag to see how they fit. You can then decide if you need a bigger or a smaller backpack.
There are 2 important features related to the straps of a backpack: padding and adjustable. You will want as much padding as possible, especially if your hike is long. Being able to adjust their length will help you position the weight in a position where you feel it less.
Some hikers also search for bags that also have chest and waist straps. These are yet again useful for longer adventures as they help keeping the backpack in place, in a spot where its weight is lest felt.
Storage and the number of pockets are also important factors to consider. The availability of pockets should be quite ample and should allow organization of gear and supplies in a logical manner.
The pockets should also allow you access your gear easily. If you’re on a long hiking trip, the last thing you want is to reach all the way down your pack just to get something.
All this being said, you now should now have the knowledge on how a good waterproof backpack should look and perform like. Let’s see some bags!
Best Products on Today’s Market
The items below are designed to offer top protection against the elements. You won’t only learn about their strong points, but about their weaknesses as well. This way you’ll be able to choose something after having the needed the information.
The Friendly Swede Dry Bag Backpack
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Dimensions: 0.5 x 16 x 21 inches
Specific features: Industrial grade 500 denier polyvinyl tarpaulin, reflective details, ergonomic straps, lifetime warranty
Best use: Hiking, backpacking
Are you looking for a sturdy backpack? Check out The Friendly Swede Dry Bag Backpack. This item is made of Polyvinyl Tarpaulin, a waterproof material which will keep your belongings safe.
The backpack makes a good choice for hiking due to its solid build and waterproof design. This bag features a Velcro front pocket that can be used for storing small necessities in a convenient manner. You can be sure to stay safe during your hike or expedition thanks to the emergency survival whistle.
This backpack features 2 side pockets for a coffee or water bottle, as well as a laptop pocket inside. The straps are adjustable as to keep you more comfortable, as well as sturdy. This backpack is lightweight and easy to carry anywhere you go, but has a 70 pounds weight capacity.
The bag has a carabiner for your keys, a padded laptop sleeve for your 17 inch laptop. The laptop is secured in the sleeve thanks to the strap with a Velcro closure on top. If you are worried about not being seen at night, you should know this bag features front pocket reflectors.
While you can take this bag with you on any adventure, it is not recommended to use it as a flotation device nor to keep it submerged for a long time.
- Fits a 17 inch laptop
- Many pockets
- Not good as flotation device
Related: You never know when you’ll need a paracord. Be prepared and get The Friendly Swede Paracord that comes packed as a bracelet and is available in several colors, so you can even match it with your bag. This is a 500 pound paracord and it unravels to 11.5 feet.
Big Horn Rolltop Dry Bag Backpack
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Dimensions: 24 x 10 x 10 inches
Specific features: Breathable back, adjustable straps, 30 L volume, reflective indicator, Air Flow padded back support
Best use: Hiking, backpacking
You can safely store your belongings in the Big Horn Rolltop Dry Bag Backpack as it will protect them against the elements, no matter where you go. What’s more is that the back is breathable, therefore comfortable and this allows you to carry this bag for extended periods of time compared to other similar products.
The front of the sack has a reflective indicator, keeping you safer at night. Staying hydrated is also important, and the 2 mesh pockets on the sides will fit each, one water bottle. If you have wet items or products that could leak, keeping them in one of these mesh pockets is a better idea.
There are no inner pockets with this bag, so it’s mostly good for those who can stay organized at all times. The shoulder straps are adjustable, just like the chest and waist straps. The bottom of the bag seems a bit too thin for most people.
Do remember that white items get dirty really fast, and it’s noticeable. This sack should be easy enough to clean with a damp cloth a mild detergent.
- Comfortable for longer hikes
- No inner compartments
- Thin bottom
Phantom Aquatics Walrus Backpack
Weight: 2.95 pounfd
Dimensions: 4 x 11 x 15.3 inches
Specific features: Padded shoulder straps, air flow design, two way sealing system, reflective patches
Best use: Backpacking, hiking, camping
If you need a backpack for your next expedition, check out the Phantom Aquatics Walrus Backpack. This bag is made of waterproof PVC that can stand rainy weather conditions and floats in water. The backpack will keep your belongings safe from getting dusty or dirty thanks to its unique high frequency design.
If you are thinking about comfort, you should know the bag has padded shoulder straps. This bag contains a large inside pocket where you can store your laptop, as well as reflectors on the strap and sides for night vision.
The backpack is lightweight and can be easily packed when you go hiking. This item is available on a few different colors that suit any style. Its sleek but sturdy design makes it a good choice for long mountain expeditions as well as daily nature hikes.
The bag has an impressive weight capacity which makes it a good choice for longer trips. Depending on how well you seal it, you could have it float in water. One should be careful though with how they use it as the wall and seams are rather fragile.
- Can swim with it
- Can float
- Rather fragile
Related: Keeping your phone safe from water may be a little hard when you are outside hiking or camping, and yet it is oftentimes very important. You can get the JOTO Universal Waterproof Case and don’t think about accidentally getting your phone wet anymore.
Ortlieb Velocity Backpack
Weight: 2.23 pounds
Dimensions: 18.5 x 5.91 x 11.02 inches
Specific features: Carrying handle, good back support, foam backing, dual padded shoulder straps
Best use: Cycling, commuting
Maybe you need a sturdy bag for your expeditions, so check out the Ortlieb Velocity Backpack. The backpack is spacious enough to hold all your accessories and necessities including a laptop and books. The compartments are separated with an organizer for easy item locating.
The backpack includes a removable inner pocket for coins and other small objects. Your belongings will also be kept safe from dust and water thanks to the waterproof PVC fabric and ventilation system. The bag offers comfort and good stability due to its padded shoulder and chest straps.
This item features reflectors that will make night vision easier. The backpack is equipped with a carrying handle that allows for convenient transport. Although lightweight when empty, the bag has a high weight capacity.
If you are looking for a bag that is stylish, versatile but also lightweight, this backpack may be a good option for any kind of trip. You might want to replace the Velcro strap on top because it will get damaged faster than the bag itself.
Depending on what you need to carry, this backpack might be small. As a general idea, its inner volume is of only 20 liters, so you can only use it for a day’s hike.
- Long lasting
- Good for a day long hike
Related: If you use your bike a lot and need a bag that can be attached to the bike, the Arltb Bike Rear Bag is a much better option. It is of course waterproof, can also be carried in your hand or cross body, and also has a cover included, for extra protection.
Gysan Laptop Backpack
Weight: 1 pound
Dimensions: 11.81 x 16.92 x 6.29 inches
Specific features: Fits a 15 inch laptop, waterproof nylon fabric, multi purpose, padded back and shoulder straps
Best use: Travelling, school
One of the first things you should know about the Gysan Laptop Backpack is that looks can be deceiving, and in this case this is a good thing. There are 2 zippered pockets on the front of the bag, and another one on the back. However, once you open it up, you’ll be impressed by the number of inner pockets: 5 in total, without the padded laptop compartment.
Speaking of the laptop, you can fit one with a 15 inch screen. There are about 7 colors to choose from, therefore you can select one to be more fashionable.
Cleaning this bag will be more complicated as you’ll have to avoid alkaline soaps and hot water. If you plan on traveling with this bag, know that it will be accepted as a carry on and it fits nicely under the seat of the plane.
- Many pockets
- Good as carry on
- Many colors to choose from
- Need extra care when cleaning
Related: If you want a somewhat bigger bag, the Kaka Waterproof Backpack is a good option. It is stylish enough for business people as well, it has 12 pockets in total, including one on the back that is designed not to be seen by thieves.
ZBRO Dry2 Urban Backpack
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Dimensions: 12.2 x 16.8 x 8.8 inches
Specific features: Padded, inner laptop compartment, splash proof front pocket, adjustable chest strap
Best use: Camping, boating, cycling
Some people want a more traditional looking backpack and the ZBRO Dry2 Urban Backpack delivers just that. This product looks like an ordinary school backpack that closes with a zipper on top. Everyone knows that a zipper is not the best way to keep water away, therefore you must use the sealer solution that comes with the bag, before each use.
There’s also a zippered pocket on the front. The manufacturer says one can put in it a foldable umbrella and a 16 oz. bottle for water. The bag has reflective details that will help with being visible at night, from behind.
If you’re going to use this product to go to school, and want to take your laptop with you, make sure it is not bigger than 14 inch. What’s more is that this bag also has a laptop compartment, to keep your device more protected, without the bulk of a padded sleeve. The straps are adjustable, comfortable and breathable. There’s even a sternum strap, if this is a feature you’re interested in. this one can also be adjusted if needed.
- Large enough front pocket
- Comes with protective solution for the zipper
- High quality zippers
- Fragile chest strap
Related: If you want something smaller, then the Saierlong Shoulder Sling Backpack might be a good alternative. It has several pockets to help you organize your items, including one for a bottle of water. It is available in a variety of colors, waterproof and is worn cross body.
OverBoard Pro Sport Backpack
Weight: 3.4 pounds
Dimensions: 19.5 x 13.5 x 6.5 inches
Specific features: Large internal zip pocket, top carry handle, PVC tarpaulin, waterproof front zip pocket
Best use: Travel, water sports
Some of the first things you’ll notice about the OverBoard Pro Sport Backpack are its 3 outer mesh pockets and several D-rings. You know you’ll be able to carry there some things that are either already wet, not damaged by water, or other items you won’t want to leak on the rest of the stuff.
However, the sack lacks an inner compartment for a laptop, as well as not being padded. The sole inner pocket is just for small items like keys, cellphone, and maybe wallet. Some of its users are disappointed by this aspect, but it’s one of the most common ones among this type of backpack.
Weighing a little over 3 pounds, some folks found it heavier than expected. However a good waterproofed backpack will be heavier than the ones that offer no protection against the water or other damaging elements.
One of the best features about this bag is that you can use it as a carry on when flying. It also fits well in the overhead space. If you’re on the road at night, you won’t have to worry about not being seen: the reflective stripes will take care of this aspect.
- Mesh pockets
- The price tag
Related: If you are expecting wet climate or rain wherever you are going, you may want to consider waterproofing your phone. For that, we recommend purchasing the Dry Pak DP-46 Case for Cellphones together with the backpack.
Sak Gear BackSak Backpack
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Dimensions: 19 x 12 x 6 inches
Specific features: Padded back, reflective patch and trim
Best use: Watersports, camping
It’s always a good idea to have more than one option when it comes to closing your bag. The Sak Gear BackSak Backpack offers just that: a closure that turns into a handle and another one that stays flat against the bag.
This product has 2 pockets: one on the inside and the other on the outside, each fit to hold specific items, such as electronics or keys, respectively. The outer pocket is splash proof and closes with a zipper, on a side for ease of access. The straps are comfortable and adjustable, a feature many people are looking for.
Made of 500D PVC, this sack will protect your items against heavy pours, waves, sand, dirt, mud and other damaging elements. This being said, it is advisable not to dive with it, or let it be dragged by a kayak or other type of boat.
With a capacity of 35 liters, you can be certain that even a volleyball will fit in it, and you’ll still have some space to spare. The bag doesn’t have any mesh pocket, but you can use the D-rings on each side to carry compatible bottles of water, or other important items.
- Made of 500D PVC
- Comfortable and adjustable straps
- No water bottle compartment
Related: If you don’t need a big waterproof backpack, but something smaller, consider the Sak Gear Premium Waterproof Dry Bag. This product is extremely waterproof, as the previously reviewed backpack from the same company. You can store all your items inside, and the stuff you need all the time in the outer pocket and avoid unnecessary exposing your belongings to the elements.
Wrapping It Up
As you can tell, this is where we end our presentation of the top rated waterproof backpacks. By now you should have a better idea of what makes a good quality waterproof backpack.
As mentioned before, these backpacks can be used in any situation: in the great outdoors when hiking, fishing and boating are involved, whenever there’s rain announced, or even when going to the beach. Even students like these backpacks because of how well their books and electronics are protected against the rain.
So tell us: did you use a dry bag before and if so, which one? Is it on this list? If you think we missed something, like a feature or an item, please let us know in the comments below!