25 Best Waterproof Backpacks in 2021


Best Waterproof backpacks

Do you need a waterproof backpack to keep all your gear dry?

If you’re going Kayaking, hiking, or just don’t want all your camping gear to get soaking wet, you’ve come to the right place! This complete buyer’s guide to waterproof backpacks well covers everything from budget-friendly packs to high-end waterproof and water-resistant backpacks.

We’ll break them down into three categories, budget-friendly, generally under $50. Mid-range backpacks, between $50-$100. Then we’ll go into detail about the best higher-end waterproof backpacks over $100.

I have the advantage of producing waterproof dry bags and backpacks, so I know the ends and outs of how they are produced, with the best waterproof materials that make them durable, while being flexible for comfort.

So, let’s get into the buyer’s guide!

Best Overall Waterproof Backpack

Core Mountaineering 40L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

Best waterproof backpack

We recently made this backpack with overall durability and value in mind. While it’s a little larger than most waterproof backpacks at 40 liters, it’s made to fit comfortably on the trail. After testing tons of waterproof backpacks over the years, we think this backpack strikes a perfect balance of features, materials, and price.

The backpack is a roll-top enclosure type, meaning the main compartment (the top) is closed by rolling down or dog-earing the two pieces of fabric and closing the buckles. This provides a tight waterproof seal.

Best waterproof backpack
Durable & Comfortable

This waterproof backpack comprises heavy-duty 500D Vinyl-coated woven polyester with welded, watertight seams, ensuring that your gear is kept dry. Padded shoulder straps and padded back support areas on the backpack itself make it easy to carry a heavy load for long distances.

This ventilated mesh back helps dry perspiration while you’re carrying it. It has a concave cavity, so there’s ample air space behind your back to help evaporate moisture.

vent valve on best waterproof dry bag
Inflation and Compression Valve

The unique and waterproof vent valve pushes air out of the dry bag, helping the dry bag backpack compress further after being sealed. The vent valve is more durable and more reliably waterproof than waterproof/breathable fabric membranes.

way of closing a waterproof backpack
Multiple Ways of Closing the Backpack

You can close the backpack how you want! If you want to secure your pack down all the way and squeeze every bit of air out, or you want an extra handle up top. There’s already a handle on the back, but you might want something extra to grab onto.

zippers on waterproof backpack
Side Zippered Pocket

Quick side access pocket to grab items needed fast. No need to look for that small piece of gear in the main compartment. (due note the outside zippers are only water-resistant – the main compartment is fully waterproof, though) 

bungee cord mesh side pocket
Large Bungee Mesh Side Pocket

The added mesh side pocket provides extra areas to access items easily. This fits small and large water containers while keeping them secure on your pack.

From the picture above, you can also see the bungee cord back with the top zippered pocket. This is a great feature if you have extra gear that needed to be strapped on the outside.

Specifications & Features:

  • 40 liters with outside bungee
  • Inside and side zippered pockets
  • Made from thick 500D PVC Tarpaulin
  • 2.2 pounds (0.99 kilograms)

What we like:

  • The simple design comes in black or white.
  • Cost-effective with a ton of features.
  • Lifetime Warranty.

What we don’t like:

  • The outside zippers are only water-resistant.

Check for availability of the Core Mountaineering Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Best Budget Waterproof Backpacks

In this section, we’ll look at budget waterproof backpacks that have the basics down, they’re going to keep your gear dry! They may not have all the bells and whistles of the higher-end packs, but they get the job done while keeping the price down.

These are also great for your everyday kind of bag. The main compartment will stay clean and dry. This will be great for laptops, cameras, or a quick change of clothes. You’ll notice that most of these backpacks are on the smaller side to deliver their affordable price.

Gold Coast gear Waterproof Dry Bag, 30L

small waterproof backpack

This is going to be the best budget option by far at a low price for its size. It’s a no thrills, large dry bag that comes with a shoulder strap. I strongly urge you to make sure if you decide on a large waterproof dry bag that a shoulder strap is included.

While all dry bags, when closed, make a natural handle, it becomes a real pain to carry without a shoulder strap.

All of Gold Coast gear’s dry bags are made out of 500D Tarpaulin PVC 0.50mm thick means they will last for years and stay waterproof. This one has NO outside packets or zippers, just the large main compartment.

Check for availability of the Gold Coast gear dry bag backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from 500D Tarpaulin
  • 0.50mm thick material

What we like:

  • Simple design with multiple colors available.
  • Cost-effective; nothing to really break on it.
  • Comes with a shoulder strap and a lifetime warranty.

What we don’t like:

  • No outside pockets or zippers.

With this Gold Coast gear waterproof dry bag being the cheapest option over all other bags on this list, it’s worth looking at. Even as an additional bag to have on you to carry some extra gear.

FE Active Dry Bag Waterproof Backpack, 30L

This is another dry bag backpack that we think highly of. Its made from Vinyl Tarpaulin with high frequency welded stitching. The seams of the bag will take some abuse from being outdoors or on the river kayaking.

This has a great simple design and a bungee cord on the back for attaching extra gear. The two side pockets for carrying a water bottle can be cinched tighter for smaller containers. The pockets are a bit on the shallow side, so make sure your bottles are tight in there.

Also note, this backpack has an inside zippered pocket in the main compartment. Check availability for the FE Active Dry Bag Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from Vinyl Tarpaulin
  • 0.50mm thick material
  • 2.2 pounds (0.99 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Simple design with a few nice features.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Inside zippered pocket.

What we don’t like:

  • A little on the small side at 30L.
  • Lack of pockets on the outside.

Overall this is a great waterproof backpack from FE Active for someone looking for a simple, clean design that should last a long time. FE Active is a well-known brand that has a lot of experience making camping bags in this material.

FENGDONG Waterproof Hiking Backpack, 40L

best waterproof laptop backpack

We wanted to include this more traditional style backpack in our best budget section. The problem, it’s not really fully waterproof. While this FENGDONG backpack is waterproof, it really is only water-resistant, with the material fabric being actually waterproof. So yes, the fabric is waterproof, but the zippers are not.

Don’t let this deter you from giving this small waterproof laptop backpack a good look. For the price, it packs a lot of features and is a great value. It would be right at home for day hikes on the trail or a quick hike to the lake. Shorter hikes and/or lighter loads will be a great fit for this pack because of no internal frame.

Without an internal frame, you benefit from an overall lightweight package—multiple zippered pockets with a laptop computer sleeve built inside the backpack. We also like the thick padding on the back panel as well as the shoulder straps.

Check for availability of the FENGDONG Waterproof Hiking Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from Vinyl Tarpaulin
  • 0.50mm thick material
  • 1.9 pounds (0.86 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • A traditional looking backpack that still offers water resistance.
  • Cost-effective; makes a great larger day pack.
  • Laptop sleeve and a ton of pockets.

What we don’t like:

  • The zippers are not waterproof, but it’s acceptable for this style backpack and low price.

Acrodo Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack, 15L

Acrodo Floating Water proof kayaking Backpack
These Dry Bags Can Be Daisy-Chained Together for Boating, Kayaking, or Swimming

The Acrodo Floating waterproof dry bag backpack would make a great addition to your waterproof system while kayaking. While it’s on the smaller side of backpacks your gear will remain clean and dry inside.

The unique thing about this backpack is its ability to daisy-chain other bags to it. The buckles on the side are standard, meaning the backpack or dry bag you already have will be able to be attached. This is great if you want to keep your bags together on a deep-sea fishing trip, where there are fifty other people on the boat as well.

Check availability for the Acrodo Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from Vinyl Tarpaulin
  • 0.50mm thick material
  • 1.2 pounds (0.54 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Simple design with a cool daisy-chain feature.
  • Affordable price.
  • Great dry bag system that will keep your gear dry.

What we don’t like:

  • A little on the small side at 15L.
  • Lack of pockets on the outside.
  • Shoulder straps will be uncomfortable for hiking.

Acrodo mentions that this will float in water, but any dry bag will do this if you leave some air inside the bag. There’s nothing exceptional about this backpack that makes it float. This waterproof backpack will also be uncomfortable for anything longer than a quick hike in the woods due to the thin shoulder straps.

Gold Coast gear Dry Bag Waterproof Backpack, 30L

large waterproof backpack

Gold Coast gear has a wide range of camping and hiking gear. From dry bags, backpacks to duffle bags, they make a lot of high-quality items. This backpack is a barrel style with a large main compartment and a zippered water-resistant pocket.

We like the sternum strap along with the waist belt for added stability. The outside belts on the back are great for attaching fishing poles, and the daisy chains on the side, along with the D-ring, are extra anchor points.

Water proof backpack with a lot of features

This pack has a ton of extra features, which is why we included it on the best mid-range backpack list. Each backpack also includes a small 2l dry bag which is a nice touch.

The backpack comes in six different colors, Black, White, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Red, and Orange. With each color backpack comes a matching color 2l dry bag rucksack.

Check availability of the Gold Coast gear waterproof backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from thick 500D Tarpaulin PVC 0.50mm
  • 30L with six different colors available
  • 2.2 pounds (0.99 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • 30L is great for an everyday backpack.
  • Ventilated backpack panel, with a ton of features for the price.
  • Makes a great fishing backpack.

What we don’t like:

  • Too many features and add-ons increase the overall weight.

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack With Rain Cover, 50L

Best waterproof hiking backpack

The OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack has a large compacity at 50l and many features for a weekend hiking pack. It also comes with a rain cover that conveniently is stored in a zipper compartment on the bottom of the backpack.

There’s plenty of small and large pockets, as well as external attachment points to clip on extra gear. Notice the zippered hip pockets to use small items without having to stop and pull your backpack completely off.

Another convenience this has is a sleeve inside that will fit up to a 16″ laptop. This is one of the larger and fully featured waterproof laptop backpacks you’ll find without an internal frame.

Check for availability of the OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from ripstop nylon fabric
  • 50L with four different colors available
  • 2.4 pounds (1.08 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • 50L is great for long weekend camping.
  • Ventilated backpack panel with tons of features.
  • It comes with a rain cover that has a dedicated zippered pocket.

What we don’t like:

  • I wish the outside zippers were waterproof instead of just water-resistant.

Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack, 30L

Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag

This Piscifun waterproof bag is more of a dry bag than a backpack. If you’re looking for something not too bulky that will still keep your gear dry, it might be perfect. While the shoulder straps are thin, they are adjustable to fit your build. What the bag lacks in shoulder straps, Piscifun was still able to include some good features on the bag, as well as being eco friendly.

Elastic rope bungee cord on the back, with a net shovel pocket to hold a few more things. It’s also available in a few different sizes, 10l, 20l, 30l, and a large 40l.

Made from durable 500D PVC fabric, the bag will easily withstand abuse from the wilderness.

Check for availability of the Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from 500D PVC fabric
  • 10l, 20l, 30l, and 40l with four different colors available
  • 1.8 pounds (0.81 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Multiple bright colors make this pack stand out.
  • For a small bag, Piscifun was able to add a lot of features.

What we don’t like:

  • Shoulder straps are adjustable, but the padding is thin.

Vitchelo Waterproof Backpack, 30L

Vitchelo backpack review

With the Vitchelo Waterproof Backpacks, there are no worries about your gear getting wet. With a roll-top closing bag, no water will leak in even when fully submerged in water.

When going on a short hike, you’ll be comfortable with this pack on, with adjustable padded shoulder straps and a lightweight hip belt. While the waist belt isn’t padded, you’ll still be comfortable for light trail hiking.

Overall, Vitchelo offers a nice pack in the budget range. This would be a great backpack to give as a gift or spare around for someone who wants to go to the lake on short notice.

Check for availability of the Vitchelo Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from vinyl tarpaulin with sturdy welded seams
  • 30L with
  • 2.0 pounds (0.90 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Clean design for an overall basic backpack.
  • Bungee corded back to carry extra gear.
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps make it easy to get comfortable for any height.

What we don’t like:

  • An outside pocket would have been nice, but we understand Vitchelo has to cut a few features at this price.

Oak Creek Canyon Falls Dry Bag Backpack, 30L

Best dry bag backpack

The Oak Creek Canyon Falls waterproof backpack is made from heavy gauge PVC that will keep your gear dry while durable and scratch-resistant. Some of this bag’s great features are the bungee cords on the back, the D-rings on the shoulder straps, along with plenty of storage options.

All around, this pack offers a nice package. The sternum straps and belt straps are not padded but will do for some light hiking before you get to your destination.

For a budget bag, the Oak Creek backpack will perform well in just about every situation.

Check for availability of the Oak Creek Canyon Falls Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from heavy-gauge PVC fabric
  • 30L with four different colors available
  • 2.0 pounds (0.90 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • 30L is great for an all-around weekend camping bag.
  • Roll-top closure is the best choice for waterproofing.

What we don’t like:

  • We wish the sternum straps and belt straps were padded for extra comfort.

Best Mid-Range Waterproof Backpacks

This section of backpacks is going to be the sweet spot for many people. All of these bags are between $50-$100. We think all the bags selected here hit a perfect balance of quality, durability, and sizes in this price range.

These backpacks will be great for camping and hiking, as well as normal daily use.  You’ll notice as the price of these backpacks goes up, so does the material and feature quality.

MIER Waterproof Backpack Sack, 30L

what's the best waterproof backpack

If you’re passionate about hiking and trekking, then the MIER waterproof backpack will be great for you! The pack is made from soft TPU fabric that also rugged and waterproof. The material’s look is a lot like some of the other backpacks we’ve talked about here, but the feel is different.

The material is softer and more flexible so that the rucksack will ride on your back better than a stiff material. We also like the daisy chain loops on the back of the bag. With a couple of carabiners, you’ll be able to attach a ton of extra equipment for hiking or fishing.

The look of the waterproof backpack is one of its strong suits. It doesn’t look too outdoorsy, as it will fit in nicely walking around the city or in a shop.

Check availability for the MIER Waterproof Backpack Sack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from thick TPU fabric
  • 30L with four different colors available
  • 2.0 pounds (0.90 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • 30L is great for an everyday backpack.
  • Ventilated backpack panel.
  • Every day looks.

What we don’t like:

  • We wish the outside zippers were waterproof instead of just water-resistant.
  • MIER designed this backpack very well; we can’t find too many things we don’t like about it.

Aqua Quest Rio Waterproof Backpack, 40L

Aqua Quest Rio Backpack

The Aqua Quest Rio is one great looking waterproof backpack. It’s also the perfect size at 40l, not too big and not too small for this style.

We really like the padded waist strap, which also has quick grab zippered pockets. Along with the sternum strap, this backpack will be easy and comfortable for longer hikes to remote lakes and rivers. Along with great looks, it’s also made from lightweight and durable ripstop fabric.

Check availability for the Aqua Quest Rio Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from 420D ripstop fabric
  • 40L is plenty of room for a weekend trip
  • Velcro strap for added protection when closing the top
  • 1.9 pounds (0.86 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • 40L is plenty of room for a weekend trip.
  • Zippered waist strap pockets.
  • Ventilated backpack rest.

What we don’t like:

  • The looks can be hit or miss depending on the person.
  • No side pockets to hold a water bottle.

There’s a lot to like about this waterproof backpack. It really hits a sweet spot as far as backpack size, and the waist strap pockets are a nice touch.

Skog Å Kust BackSåk Waterproof Backpack, 25L-35L 

Top waterproof backpack

Skog Å Kust BackSåk is well known for its high-quality and great designs. The looks of all their backpacks, including their dry bags, all look classy and somewhat minimal.

This backpack is no exception, made with durable, heavy-duty 500-denier PVC to seal out the elements with watertight, welded seams and a roll-down top to secure all your gear inside. 

This also comes in two different sizes, a small 25l and a larger 35l, which will fit a few more pieces of gear you need. The softback panel is a nice feature that will help when hiking, along with the sternum strap to hold the pack tight on you.

Sternum straps are a must-have addition to any backpack that will hit the hiking trail.

inside pocket of backpack
Inside Pockets of the Skog Å Kust BackSåk 25l & 35l

Most inside pockets of the backpacks on this list only offer one large zippered compartment. We like the extra pockets on this bag to help stay organized for all your small pieces of gear that usually just float around.

Check for availability of the Skog Å Kust BackSåk Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from heavy-duty 500-denier PVC
  • A few inside pockets for organization
  • 2.3 pounds (25L) (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Two ways of closing the top, on the sides or up top for a handle.
  • A few inside pockets to keep small items from floating around.
  • Sternum strap will make walking around or hiking more enjoyable.
  • Tons of colors available, including hot pink and light blue mint.

What we don’t like:

  • We wish the outside pocket were fully waterproof instead of just water-resistant.

IDRYBAG Waterproof Dry Bag Dry Sack, 30L-40L

Best waterproof backpack

IDRYBAG is known for making a wide range of waterproof bags. This is one of the best waterproof backpacks in this price range. This is the 30l backpack, 20l, and 40l size backpacks are also available in other colors.

They include the small 2l roll-top dry bag with the backpack. If you’ve never used a small dry bag like this, you’ll find all sorts of new uses for it besides keeping small items dry. I’ve used mine for carrying water back to camp, among other things.

If you notice on the side, you’ll see buckles. This shows that there are two ways of closing the top. It can be snugly secured and cinched down or closed to make a handle on top like a traditional dry bag.

Check availability for the IDRYBAG Waterproof Dry Bag Sack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from 500D PVC
  • 20L, 30L, or 40L size packs
  • 3.1 pounds (1.40 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Two ways of closing the top.
  • Water-resistant outside pocket.
  • Included 2l dry bag and four colors available.

What we don’t like:

  • Stiff material, but very durable.
  • The shoulder straps and the weak point on the backpack with little padding.

IDRYBAG is a popular waterproof backpack because it hit many “must-have” features people need. Along with a few options for size and colors, it worth taking a look at.

COR Surf Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack, 25L – 40L

COR waterproof backpack

COR Surf offers a simple designed waterproof backpack with a robust exterior. Drink pockets on both sides along with the sternum strap and waist belt. Also, not the extra D-rings on the shoulder straps to clip a few extra items on.

laptop compartment in waterproof backpack
Padded Laptop Compartment Inside

The biggest standout feature is the padded laptop compartment. For many people, this is a must-have feature for a waterproof backpack, and we understand why. If you’re looking for something that can be used in the woods and city activities, take a good look at the COR Surf pack.

COR Surf waterproof backpack comes in two different sizes, 25l and 40l. If you have a larger frame, definitely go for the larger 40l pack, as it’s only a few dollars more than the smaller 25l backpack.

Check for availability of the COR Surf Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Made from 500D PVC
  • 25L or 35L size
  • 3.0 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Inside features a padded laptop compartment along with another pocket.
  • The large zipper pocket on the outside of the pack.
  • This is the best waterproof laptop backpack we have on our list.

What we don’t like:

  • It would be good if one of the bottle pockets were a zipper compartment to hold smaller items.

IDRYBAG Roll-Top Waterproof Backpack, 45L

Large waterproof backpack

IDRYBAG has a couple of great waterproof backpacks in this price range. Along with the one above, this bag is packed with some great features, such as the bungee cord shovel pocket in the back.

Made with the same heavy-duty 500D PVC material that offers protection from brushing against tree branches and rocks. You can be sure this backpack will last for years while taking all the abuse you can throw at it.

We also like that IDRYBAG still includes the 2l dry bag with this pack. It’s a nice touch to have it clipped on the backpack itself or on your belt while fishing.

Something else to take note of is the laptop sleeve inside is also detachable. 

Check for availability of the IDRYBAG Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Heavy-duty 500D PVC
  • Large 45L size
  • 3.0 pounds (1.36 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Much larger than other backpacks in this price range.
  • Inside features a detachable laptop compartment.
  • Included 2l dry bag.
  • Bungee cord shovel pocket.

What we don’t like:

  • Stiff material, but for the price, it’s completely acceptable.

Unigear Ski Hydration Backpack, 30L

Best water resistant backpack

While not exactly waterproof, we wanted to show a more traditional backpack instead of only roll-top closing bags. The Unigear Ski Hydration backpack is water-resistant; this means it will keep all your gear dry inside if it’s only facing rain or a quick drop in the water.

You don’t find many traditional looking backpacks with a zipper on the main compartment because zippers tend to leak. Even full waterproof zippers have their drawbacks; they are stiff, even with lubrication maintenance. Another drawback of waterproof zippers is they are difficult to close, especially with gloves on.

All that said, there’s plenty to be happy about with this Unigear hiking backpack. It has a thoughtful ergonomics design with curved shoulder straps. Made from 900D polyester, and the side panels are made from 900D polyester with PU coating for extra protection.

Overall this is a great hiking backpack at a very reasonable price.

Check for availability of the Unigear Ski Hydration backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • 900D polyester with PU coating
  • 30L size
  • 1.9 pounds (0.86 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • A traditional looking backpack that still offers water resistance.
  • Pocket for a hydration bladder.
  • Mesh compartment inside the main area.

What we don’t like:

  • Not fully waterproof due to the zippers only being water-resistant.

Best High-End Waterproof Backpacks

Are you looking for a no-compromise waterproof backpack? Well, this high-end section is for you. These have it all, high-end fabric and material, durability, as well as every feature anyone could ever ask for.

These are the best high-end waterproof backpacks, and they are priced that way. These range from $100-$300. Rest assured, you’re getting the best backpacks that will take anything you can throw at them. From traveling, hiking, kayaking, and anything else while you’re exploring new territories.

Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro Waterproof Backpack, 35L

best Waterproof backpack for kayaking

Where do we begin with this one? Well, it looks absolutely fantastic! High-end materials used throughout the backpack make it one of the best waterproof backpacks around. The ventilated, cushiony back panel will keep your back cool while hiking and has a unique design with its logo.

You’ll find that a major reason this is our high-end backpack recommendation is the high-end materials used. The bag is made from heavy-duty 420-denier Ripstop Nylon coated with TPU.

This fabric makes the backpack flexible while still retaining great durability. The major reason this is on the upper end of the price spectrum is from this material.

waterproof laptop backpack inside pocket
Inside Pockets of the Skog Å Kust BackSåk

The inside pocket of the Skog Å Kust BackSåk is also well designed. Notice that the inside material is white. This will make finding any small items easy, against the white background.

Check availability for the Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • Heavy-duty 420-denier Ripstop Nylon coated with TPU
  • 35L size
  • 2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • High-quality materials are used throughout the backpack.
  • Inside features a laptop compartment along with another pocket.
  • Reflective elements on both the front for visibility.

What we don’t like:

  • We wish there were a larger size available, but overall this is one of the best waterproof backpacks we’ve found.

Drakon Outdoors Waterproof Survival Backpack, 40L

Best waterproof Survival Backpack

The Darkon Outdoor Survival Backpack is a fully all-weather pack. It’s made from ultra-durable 500D PVC material that holds up to tears against rocks, scratches from brushing up against tree branches, and anything else mother nature will throw at it.

As you can see, it has a fully MOLLE attachment system. MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment that allows for many attachments for whatever gear you need to carry.

The backpack comes with 6 External movable/removable pouches for quick access to your essentials, or attach your own. Please note that the external pouches are only water-resistant, not fully waterproof like the backpack itself.

water proof back pack
The Main Compartment Closes With a Roll-Top Style

We really like that the main compartment closes with a roll-top style closure, that we featured on most of the waterproof backpacks in this article.

Check for availability of the Darkon Outdoor Survival Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  •  ultra-durable 500D PVC material
  • 40L size
  • 2.4 pounds (1.08 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • The fully MOLLE attachment system.
  • Survival style backpack is great for hiking.
  • Tons of attachment anchors.

What we don’t like:

  • With all the options to carry more gear, the backpack can get weighed down easily.

There’s so much to like about this survival backpack that’s going to keep all your gear clean and dry while out on the trail. The only compromise you’d have to make is that the external pockets are not fully waterproof, but in the rain or a quick drop in the water, everything should still stay bone-dry.

YETI produced the Panga Waterproof Backpack after the high demand they found from their duffle bags made from the same material. YETI calls the fabric they use “THICKSKIN,” produced from high-density nylon with a TPU lamination to be puncture and abrasion-resistant.
YETI waterproof backpack

We like that when opened all the way, the main compartment has a wide opening to add or remove gear easily. Also, notice that YETI included a zippered mesh pouch and inside the sleeve.

One of the reasons this YETI is on our high-end list is fully waterproof zippers, a rarity when it comes to outdoor backpacks. This means the bag can be completely submerged in water, and everything inside will remain bone-dry.

Check for availability of the YETI Panga Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here

Specifications & Features:

  • High-density nylon TPU coated
  • 28L size
  • 3.9 pounds (1.76 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Waterproof zippers.
  • Fully submersible while remaining watertight.
  • That the lid to the backpack fully opens, making small items easy to find.

What we don’t like:

  • This is the highest-priced backpack we have featured.

To round it off, we also like the multiple carrying options. It’s a nice touch to have the side grips if you’d like to carry your pack like a duffle bag.

Overboard Classic Waterproof Backpack, 20L – 45L

best waterproof backpack for travel

The Overboard Classic is another dry bag backpack that’s 100% waterproof and rated IP66. This rating indicates that the bag will keep dust and water out even if it’s submerged in water.

The bag is sealed with high frequency welded construction. This is where the two fabric pieces that meet together have not been stitched or tape; essentially, the fabric is melted together to make a strong, watertight seal.

We also like that Overboard offers multiple sizes and colors, 20l, 30l, and large 45l bags.

best waterproof travel backpack
Wide Ventilated Shoulder Straps and Thick Waist Belt

The major improvement this bag has over its competition is the wide, ventilated shoulder straps. This will make hiking with the backpack much more enjoyable with less irritation on your shoulders.

Check for availability of the Overboard Classic Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • 100% waterproof and rated IP66
  • 20L, 30L, and 45L size with multiple colors available
  • 2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • The shoulder straps stand out as one of the best for dry bag backpacks.
  • Premium material throughout the backpack.

What we don’t like:

  • The laptop sleeve is a little thin. Heavy use might damage the stitching inside.

Aqua Quest Riparia Waterproof Backpack, 45L

Best waterproof dry bag backpack

The Aqua Quest Riparia Waterproof Backpack is a large, premium bag. We like that Aqua Quest uses lightweight material while still keeping the overall weight down with as many features as they pack into the backpack.

The two side pockets are not just for water bottles. They are deep side pocket compartments that can hold a few loose items. Since they are tight up against the backpack, nothing will fall out during normal hiking.

Please note that the main compartment is 42 liters, and the outside pocket is 3 liters. The outside zipper is not waterproof, just splash resistant.

Check for availability of the Aqua Quest Riparia Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  •  Durable 420D ripstop nylon dual-coated with heavy TPU & PU
  • 45L size
  • 2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • A larger size backpack while still being lightweight.
  • Deep side compartment pockets.
  • Premium material throughout the backpack.

What we don’t like:

  • It would be nice if the hip belt were padded.

FishPond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack, 28L

waterproof fishing backpack

The FishPond Thunderhead Waterproof backpack is the first bag featured on our list that’s fully waterproof while having a zippered main compartment. This is rare for backpacks because of the extra expense of real waterproof zippers.

Notices the extra bag that is attachable to the shoulder straps. FishPond has different modular attachments available. This smaller attachment would be perfect to have a small tackle box inside. We think this backpack would be great for fishing while walking along a stream.

Check for availability of the FishPond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  •  1680D  TPU coated recycled nylon
  • 28L size
  • 2.3 pounds (1.04 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • Fully waterproof backpack using a zipper for the main compartment.
  • D-ring anchor point in the rear of the backpack.
  • Compatible with many Fishpond chest packs on the shoulder straps and hip belt.

What we don’t like:

  • Stiff zippers make the backpack hard to close with winter gloves on.

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack, Black, 35L – 120L Sea to Summit Waterproof backpack

Sea to Summit is well known for there excellent dry bags and outdoor gear. This waterproof backpack is no exception. Made from 600D TPU laminated waterproof fabric makes this a serious contender for one of the best bags featured on our list.

The bag will be great for demanding paddle & water sports adventures, from the material to the way it’s shaped. Not only that, but the bag comes in three different colors and four different sizes, 35l, 65l, 90l, and a huge 120l backpack.

That’s enough size and color options to make anyone happy when choosing this bag.

Check for availability of the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • 600D TPU-laminated waterproof fabric
  • 35l, 65l, 90l, and 120l size
  • 2.2 pounds (0.99 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • All the color and size options.
  • The strong and durable material Sea to Summit used.
  • 120L size is perfect for a large group.

What we don’t like:

  • Lack of features you’ll find on other backpacks at this price. The difference is in the premium material used on this backpack.
Dakine is known for making a ton of high-end bags and backpacks. The material for this bag is 305D Cordura HP Coated Ripstop, which is lightweight and durable, and waterproof.

We also like the large pocket on the back. While not fully waterproof, the YKK coated zippers will stand up well to heavy rain. Two ways to close this bag, on the side to tightly secure the bag, or clip up top to make a handle, and a little more space inside.

Overall, we can’t find too many things we don’t like about it. The lack of side pockets is the only thing missing here. If that’s not a big deal to you, then you’ll be delighted with the Dakine Cyclone II.

Check for availability of the Dakine Cyclone II Waterproof Backpack on Amazon here.

Specifications & Features:

  • 305D Cordura HP Coated Ripstop
  • 36l size
  • 2.4 pounds (1.08 kilograms)

What we like:                                                         

  • The high-end Cordura fabric.
  • Water-resistant YKK PU coated zippers.
  • The large front pocket.

What we don’t like:

  • A lack of side water bottle pockets is about the only thing missing.

Waterproof Backpacks Buying Guide, 2021

In this buyer’s guide, we will go over what you need to know before purchasing a waterproof backpack. This will save you time and money from purchasing a backpack that won’t fit your needs and wants.

Capacity

This is a size chart to help gauge what size is appropriate for your needs.

Hiking backpack size guide

The average school backpack is around 21 to 30 liters. Think of a Jansport backpack to get a feel of size.

This is a 30L waterproof backpack with everything I typically carry for a weekend trip. The small hand ax and telescoping fishing pole I keep in the outside of the backpack. The Camelbak is kept inside the backpack as well until I set the backpack down at a lake. Then I take the Camelbak, fishing pole, tackle, and fishing vent with me around a lake.

This is to give you a sense of everything that will fit inside and out of a 30L and my reason for including all this gear.

30 liter dry bag backpack size
30 Liter Dry Bag Backpack

The size backpack you ultimately choose will come down to the length of time out on the trail and, to a lesser extent, your body frame. If you have a smaller frame, a 20L backpack might be a perfect fit on your back, but a 20l is typically only good for day hiking, not much longer.

For larger backpacks over 30 liters, you need to be aware of the limits to every backpack featured above. Since none of these backpacks have internal or external frames, it will limit the distance you’ll be able to hike.

For a true hiking backpack that will be comfortable for miles on the trail look for an internal or external frame backpack with a rain cover.

Combining the rain cover and dry bag organization, you can be assured everything you carry will stay dry.

This is our full guide on Hiking Backpacks,

Waterproof or Water-Resistant

You see so many dry bag style backpacks on this list because they really are the absolute best camping bags at keeping stuff dry. The reason behind this is the way they close. Two fabric pieces are pinched together then rolled down, keeps moister and dust out of the bag.

The way dry bag backpacks perform, as well as being inexpensive to produce, is two major reasons they are popular.

Along with other excellent performance benefits under any weather condition and is easily closed with gloves on make these style backpacks top performers.

Why not just use waterproof zippers?

waterproof zipper vs water resistant

You’ll notice that many of the featured backpacks do have zippers on the outside, but most of them are only water-resistant that will take a quick splash in the water or some rain. The major reason they don’t have waterproof zippers on the outside of bags is the price; waterproof zippers are just expensive to produce.

Combine this with the difficulty of closing a fully waterproof zipper, especially in cold weather, customers are likely to return the backpack for a refund. 

But it’s not just that. Waterproof zippers need to be maintained and lubricated, or they become stiff to operate. This becomes more of a problem in cold weather.

Another drawback of zippers, as with zip-top bags, zippers can blowout when overstuffed. If this happens while you’re out on the trail, you could be stuck with a useless bag for days.

Backpack Fabric Material

Most waterproof backpacks on our list are going to be made of nylon or Polyester PVC Tarpaulin. Both of these fabrics are fully synthetic. While not as strong as nylon, polyester has some advantages in UV performance, which can be important while camping and hiking.

Nylon is pound for pound tougher than polyester.

A specification to look for on backpack fabric is Denier. The (D) at the end of the number is referring to Denier. Denier is a metric used to describe the thickness or density of the fabric.

The higher the Denier, the stronger the material, but as long as we’re talking about the identical kind of fabric. As an example, 450D nylon is much stronger than 600D polyester.

This does not translate directly across all fabrics. Generally, for backpack fabric, it’s a metric for understanding the durability of the bag. Each fabric is also inherently different in strength.

Best waterproof backpack
Made From 500D PVC Tarpaulin Waterproof Fabric

You’ll see Polyester PVC Tarpaulin recommended as the “Stronger” waterproof backpack due to thickness. Take the backpack pictured above. 500D PVC Tarpaulin is way thicker than a 15 Denier siliconized nylon used as an example by Sea to Summit ultralight dry bags. All while being about half the price to the end consumer.

Seams 

Waterproof backpack manufacturers like to say how watertight their bags are because they use high frequency welded seams. Well, what does this mean for you?

Fully Taped Seams

This way of waterproofing is used throughout the outdoor world, jackets, camping tents, boots, and of course, backpacks. This is a method of preventing water from seeping through seams, where two pieces of fabric meet together. If this area weren’t taped or some other method, water would easily seep in, soaking all your gear.

If you find a backpack that has partially taped seams, it’s best to just ignore those unless waterproofing doesn’t matter.

This video shows how the process works, these are dry bags, but the application is the same for backpacks.

Welded Seams

Some of the backpacks in our above recommendations feature welded seams. With this method, the two fabric pieces are fused together with heat and pressure, creating a waterproof barrier. The great thing about this method is there are no stitching holes, no use of a sewing machine. This means no tape has to be used for the seams.

Welding seams can’t be used for every material, but it’s perfect for waterproof material such as the PVC used in most of the backpacks above. Welding seams are also called “plastic welding” because the two pieces of material being welded together are essentially plastic.

This is a great video showing the process of welding seams.

Backpack Weight & Comfort

The comfort of your pack will determine if your hike will be enjoyable or not. A lot of your comfort will come from the backpack’s total weight, but the design also plays a large role. Many of the waterproof backpacks featured in this article have padded back panels the distribute the weight evenly.

A padded back panel along with comfortable shoulder straps will make long treks on the trail more enjoyable.

In a perfect world, you’d never have to think about the comfort of your backpack because it’s not irritating you.

A ventilated back piece along with comfortable padded shoulder straps will help, but you’ll also have to consider the overall weight inside your pack. Since all the backpacks here have no internal frame, it will be easier not to weigh them too much. Backpacks without frames are not meant to take heavy loads. 

Avoid Overpacking

Overpacking is easy to do if you have the room. This is one of the excellent aspects concerning more modest-sized backpacks. They don’t have the space for all the extravagant luxury items. If the backpack you decide on is larger, like a multi-day pack, spread everything out on the floor you want on your backpacking trip.

Move all the fundamental things to one side. These are genuinely essential, not the luxury gear that would be ideal to have, but not must-haves.

Look at the gear that’s not needed but nice to have and really think: “Will I really need this?”.

Suppose items can play double duty like utilizing your pot to eat out of rather than an additional bowl, all the better. If there’s still extra space in your backpack after all the essentials, add some non-essentials unnecessary items.

The next tip is to cut down pack weight.  The same day you return from a hiking trip, spread all your items on the floor. Decided what you really needed and what you never used. I use to bring extra gear, and then I realized I never used it with this method.

Additional Storage Options

Having additional storage with extra pockets on your backpack can make the difference if the pack is going to be a good bag for you or not. You’ve seen that there are many options and different configurations of backpacks. Finding one that will meet your needs and carry everything you need is crucial.

Many waterproof backpacks come with side pockets for water bottles and consider a bungee cord carrying system on the back. Many smaller items can be attached to this, and if needed, the cord can be used in an emergency repair.

Please note that most of the outside zippered pockets on the back of these packs are only water-resistant. If you need space outside of the backpack’s main compartment to be waterproof, consider a small 2-liter dry bag.

dry bag attached to backpack

A small 2-liter dry bag is a great addition to any backpack. They can easily be attached to the backpack or even carried on your hip. This is a great solution if a little more space is needed that will also be waterproof.

These are very inexpensive, and we’d encourage you to check out or favorite dry bags on Amazon here.

Backpack Color

This is completely going to be a personal preference, but this backpack buyers guide will offer some thoughts about your bag color if you’re not quite sure what to get.

Bright, colorful backpacks will help you stand out from nature’s scenery. Standing out, being more visible can help in emergencies. At night, a bright fluorescent color will also make your bag easier to find.

While black looks nice on every backpack, be aware this color heats up directly in the sun. Sensitive things in your backpack, like a camera or laptop, don’t do well in extreme heat.

Price Range

This is probably one of the most important and personal factors when it comes to choosing a backpack. As we move up in premium material and features, the price of the bags also increases. Just like anything else, but to get the most out of the money you’re going to spend, it’s best to look at the features you’re really going to use.

Consider how important things like extra pockets, a laptop compartment, or even how thick the shoulder and hip straps are. How important are these things to you, and will you utilize them when out on the trail.

If you have $50 or a little more to spend, take a good look at the mid-range priced waterproof backpacks. Some of these really pack all the features of the more expensive backpacks with minimal sacrifice.

The only thing the mid-range section of waterproof backpacks is lacking is premium, lightweight fabric, not features. 

On the lower budget end, it’s a little bit of a different story. Many are lacking features that are not necessary but can make an outdoor trip more enjoyable. The budget range shouldn’t be overlooked though; there are many great deals to be had in that price range.

Versatility

The great thing about getting a fully waterproof backpack is the versatility it will provide. It’s not just great to use for water sports or hiking where you’ll know it will be raining.

Since these are sealed backpacks, they are also great at the beach or any other sandy area. Take a backpack that is completely covered and sealed anywhere you don’t want any chance of dust or dirt getting into the bag as well.

FAQ – These Are Some Frequently Asked Questions About Waterproof Backpacks

What Is the Best Waterproof Backpack?

The best overall waterproof backpack we’ve chosen is our Core Mountaining – 40L Waterproof Backpack. It’s packed with a ton of practical features for every situation and gear you’ll need to carry. It sits comfortably priced in the mid-range.

What Backpacks Are Waterproof?

If your most important feature in a backpack is waterproof, stick to a roll-top closing dry bag backpack. These types of backpacks have been shown to last for years, outlasting most of your other camping gear.

Are All Hiking Backpacks Waterproof?

While many will come with splash resistance, not all hiking backpacks are waterproof. Some backpacks that claim to be waterproof are really only waterproof in the main compartment, not the outside pockets

What Is the Best Waterproof Backpack Material?

You’ll find a ton of different fabrics on waterproof backpacks, and all of them serve a specific need. For a budget waterproof backpack to mid-range, look for a bag made from PVC Tarpaulin. This fabric has proven to be durable and waterproof for a long time.

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