There are times and situations, when with a regular backpack it’s not enough anymore. Maybe you are getting ready for a weekend adventure, an adventurous trip abroad or maybe you are just cycling a lot, and now you want to have a better protection for your valuables.
And so you start browsing through online shops looking at waterproof backpacks, because they seem to be what you need right now. But how to choose the best waterproof backpack for yourself, when the choice is so big? And then there is another question to answer – water resistant or waterproof backpack? Or in other words – do you really need a fully waterproof backpack?
Let me help you with this task!
Waterproof Backpack Basics
There are really only a few backpacks, that I would call 100% waterproof backpacks. That’s if you compare to the total number of different waterproof backpack models. Why, you will ask? Because only a few of the backpacks are built to withstand prolonged immersion in water. Be careful with that and always read product descriptions until the end!
Most of the waterproof backpacks you can buy today are built to withstand only a brief immersion. It doesn’t necessarily mean, that throwing them in water for a couple of minutes (or even 10-20 minutes) all of your stuff inside will get wet. Or that prolonged heavy rain will do the same damage. It’s just manufacturers saying, that they can’t promise, that a backpack will withstand something more than a quick immersion.
And then there are water resistant backpacks. These ones you definitely shouldn’t immerse in water.
In this article I will tell you about:
- the best waterproof backpacks,
- the best water resistant backpacks,
- the best waterproof laptop backpacks.
Best Waterproof Backpacks – 2017
Backpacks you see below aren’t just great waterproof backpacks. All of them are also carry on size backpacks. But that means that they will fit in as a carry on luggage with the most of the airlines globally.
Some of them come in different sizes. If you plan to use it as a carry on luggage, choose something not bigger than 40 – 50 liters.
Why to travel with carry on only? Well, there are many reasons.
To read more about every one of these backpacks scroll down! To check the price, read more reviews or buy a backpack from Amazon, click on the – Check now – button! Most of the backpacks are available in different colors. For more photos check them out on Amazon!
|Outdoor Foundry 100% Waterproof Backpack||35 liter||Ultra tough 500D PVC||Check now!|
|Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack||30 liter||Abrasion resistant 420D RipStop fabric|
+ TPU lamination and DWR coating
|30L Heavy Duty Waterproof Roll Top Dry Bag Backpack||30 liter||Abrasion resistant 420D RipStop fabric||Check now!|
|OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sport Backpack||20 - 30 liter||PVC coated 600D nylon||Check now!|
|OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Vis Backpack||20 - 30 liter||PVC||Check now!|
|SealLine Boundary Pack||37 - 70 - 115 liter||PVC-Free PU-Coated Polyester and Scrim-Reinforced Urethane||Check now!|
|Sea To Summit Rapid 26L Drypack||26 liter||Waterproof, abrasion resistant, TPU laminated 420D nylon fabric||Check now!|
|Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack||35 - 65 - 90 - 120 liter||600D, TPU laminated heavy duty waterproof fabric||Check now!|
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even though the backpack is called completely waterproof, not always it means, that it’s built to be submerged in water for more than just couple of minutes. Actually by far most of even the best waterproof backpacks are like that. You can’t, for example, swim with them. And it’s not recommended to submerge them in water for more than a minute or so.
Backpacks have different classes, depending on what they can withstand:
IP66 – Floats and can handle quick submersion.
IP67 – Submersible to depths of up to 1m / 3ft for 30 minutes.
IP68 – Submersible to depths of up to 6m / 19ft for 60 minutes.
Source: Over Board.
Waterproof or Water Resistant?
Or maybe you are OK with a regular backpack + a rain cover? That’s the first question you need to answer, when looking for a new backpack.
If you are planning to go on a longer kayaking or rafting trip, or anything else, that will include spending a lot of time near or on water, then waterproof bag is a necessity not a luxury, of course. But if it’s, for example, a hiking trip, that you are up to. And you just want to be ready for snow and/or rain, then, in your place, I would think twice, if I need a waterproof backpack. Taking into account all the possible weather conditions, length of the trip and what kind of gear I’m bringing with me.
Because, you see, there are many really good hiking backpacks available, which aren’t waterproof, but which will be more comfortable than most of the 100% waterproof ones. And many of the newest travel and hiking backpacks are water resistant.
But, of course, there are also situations, when you just want to be ready for whatever comes. And waterproof backpack then is the best choice.
If you are cycling very often or walking a lot, then as well – a good waterproof or a quality water resistant backpack will be very useful.
Speaking about my experience, during my travels I’m mostly fine with my current setup. I have one regular, carry on size backpack (currently: Osprey Farpoint 40) + a 10 liter dry bag (100% waterproof? Kind of…), which I use also as my day pack. I also always have a rain cover with me. In case it’s raining, snowing or I’m putting my backpack somewhere away, for example, at the back of the bus.
And, yes, my passport/ID always is in a quality waterproof case, similar to this one.
Best Waterproof Backpacks – Reviews
Outdoor Foundry 100% Waterproof Backpack
Medium sized backpack for your adventure trips, water sports and daily commute.
Comparing to an ordinary dry bag with this bag organization of your stuff will be much easier. Because this backpack has not only one main compartment with couple of small pockets inside (often there aren’t any pockets inside). But there is also one big pocket in the front of the backpack, 2 mesh side pockets, as well as bungee cord system in the front.
Back and shoulder straps of this backpack are padded.
Even though its name suggests, that it’s a fully waterproof backpack, manufacturer doesn’t recommend you to immerse it in water fully for more than a few minutes. However, if the bag will fall in water thanks to its construction it should float.
Looking for a backpack, which could be used also as a waterproof laptop backpack, this might be one of the options. Because Outdoor Foundry is available also with an optional laptop sleeve. And it’s a pretty big laptop sleeve, that they are offering – perfect for a 15” Macbook Pro or similar sized PC.
Check out Outdoor Foundry backpack on Amazon!
Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
Built to withstand rain, snow, dirt, dust and sand. Perfect both for everyday use in the city and for adventure trips.
Only slightly smaller than Outdoor Foundry backpack (30 liters compared to 35 liters), this backpack is 40% lighter. And with a weight of 0.86 kilos (1.9 lbs) it’s also one of the best lightweight backpacks ready for some pretty serious adventures.
For extra comfort this bag has padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Back panel of the backpack is soft and made from breathable material. There are also chest and hip straps.
Just like the previous bag you shouldn’t submerge this one in water fully for more than a minute or so. Well, you can do it. And as we know everything can happen during an adventure trip, but anyway I wouldn’t recommend throwing your backpack in water on a purpose. Especially if you have your laptop, camera or any other electronics inside.
Check out Aqua Quest Stylin on Amazon!
Aqua Quest Sport 30 PRO
Lightweight dry bag backpack designed for hiking and traveling.
Made by Aqua Quest. And, if we compare only materials used and backpack’s built quality, then it’s the same Aqua Quest Stylin. It’s also the same size – 30 liters – and weight.
Obviously the same like with its “sister” it’s not recommended to fully immerse this backpack in water. It’s built to withstand it, but manufacturer can’t promise for how long time. It’s not a backpack you can swim with, unfortunately.
Main difference between these 2 backpacks is that this one has also 2 side pockets. Apart from that it also looks slightly different. And it doesn’t have the same as many attachment points – straps like Stylin 30 has. Which might be important for some of you. So take it into account!
Check out Aqua Quest Sport 30 PRO on Amazon!
OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sport Backpack
A backpack you can sit in a puddle with. All day long. Or on a boat. Or you can cycle in the torrential downpour with this backpack on your back.
Backpack’s shoulder straps and back panel are padded to ensure a comfortable use. In the front it has large mesh zip pocket. And there is an internal zip pocket for your smallest stuff, too.
Sides and base of this pack are made from super tough material – PVC coated 600D nylon. Which means you don’t really need to be too careful, when putting down your backpack. It doesn’t mean that it’s a shockproof backpack, though.
If case you wanna take your laptop with you as well, then take a look at this OverBoard laptop sleeve. It’s compatible with all OverBoard 12, 20, 30 and 45 liter waterproof backpacks.
Check out OverBoad Pro-Sport on Amazon!
OverBoard Pro-Vis Waterproof Backpack
A backpack you will notice from far away. Perfect companion even for the most hardcore bike commuter.
Thanks to high visibility PVC tarpaulin this backpack can be seen very well both during the day and also at night. It’s 50% bigger than the previous bag from OverBoard, but otherwise it’s very similar and the same as sturdy roll top backpack, built to withstand a lot.
However, speaking about the design, OverBoard Pro-Vis is among my favorites. Well, but design, as you can see, is almost the only difference, when we compare all of these backpacks. And the size differs as well.
30 liters is not too much, but it’s completely enough for a few day adventure. Actually, if I can put my camping gear and food somewhere else, then backpack of this size is enough for me even for a week or two-week long trip. It’s definitely big enough for most of the bike commuters.
Do you want to protect your laptop as well? Take a look at this OverBoard laptop sleeve. It’s compatible with all OverBoard 12, 20, 30 and 45 liter waterproof backpacks.
Check out OverBoard Pro-Vis on Amazon!
SealLine Boundary Pack
Ready for everything, from kayaking to canyoning. Made in the USA.
One of the first things you notice, when looking at this backpack, is that it doesn’t have any pockets or straps on the outside. At first I thought, that it’s a big disadvantage. But on the other hand – it makes things safer for you as well.
Like both of the Aqua Quest roll top backpacks this one is a very light bag, too. It weights the same 0.86 kilos (1.9 lbs).
SealLine Boundary Pack is available in 3 sizes: 37 liter, 70 liter and also 115 liter. 37 liter, as I have already mentioned above, is very OK size to fit in all your most important stuff. In 70 liter backpack you will also easily fit in your camping gear. But 115 liters…, well, that’s a lot.
Check out SealLine Boundary Pack on Amazon!
Sea To Summit Rapid 26L Dry Pack
Waterproof backpack for your next hiking trip. It can rain, it can snow, but your gear will stay safe and dry.
Like the others it’s not a 100% waterproof backpack. Yes, it’s ready for tough conditions. And it can go through a lot. It can even be thrown in water and maybe (!) all of your stuff will stay absolutely dry. But you can’t leave it in water for prolonged period of time, definitely not fully immersed.
One of the biggest advantages of this backpack over others is that functionally it’s more a regular hiking backpack than a dry bag. Waterproof hiking backpack. Which means that more than others it’s ready to be carried around for prolonged periods of time.
Made by Sea to Summit, a company with many years of experience in outdoors.
Check out Sea To Summit Rapid on Amazon!
Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
Gearing up for some serious adventure in the wilderness…
Thanks to PVC free fabric this backpack withstands also cold temperatures. But removable harness will come in handy, when you will want to transport a bag from one place to another, for example, on a plane.
This dry pack is available in 4 sizes and 4 different colors: 35 liters, 65 liter, 90 liter and 120 liter.
While the smallest one you can also take on the plane as a carry on luggage, the biggest will be big enough to carry a gear for 2-3 people weekend kayaking trip. Or if you are going alone, then it will be enough for a pretty long self supported adventure.
Best Waterproof Laptop Backpacks for Everyday Use (and not only)
Pelican U100 Elite Backpack for Laptop
Crash-proof, dust-proof & waterproof laptop backpack for professionals.
Pelican U100 Elite backpack has a built-in watertight & crash-proof laptop case. It’s IP67 Tested – 1 m (3 ft) under water/ for 30 minutes.
Yes, you can drop this bag in water for half an hour, and your laptop should be still perfectly fine afterwards. BUT remember that it’s not the same with all of the content of your bag. Because not all of the backpack is 100% waterproof. And not all of it is crash-proof either. If you want something to be fully protected from the elements, you should put it in laptop compartment.
Fits laptops with up to 17” screens.
As you can imagine, it’s not the lightest backpack available on the market. It’s a really heavy one – 4 kilos (8.8 lbs).
Check out Pelican U100 Elite on Amazon!
Just Porter Rucksack
Waterproof laptop backpack for students and travelers.
Neither too big nor too small. Going on a shorter trip or if you are an experienced minimalist, this can be also your only backpack. Actually it’s only slightly smaller than my previous travel backpack, and that one was big enough for me also for a few months of traveling in Southeast Asia.
However, in case you might want this bag to be smaller, know that you can achieve it by pulling the side compression straps. Great option, if you want to use it only as a laptop backpack, and that’s all.
Laptop pocket is easily accessible from the outside of the backpack. There is no need to open the bag. Thanks to extra padding used inside this pocket your computer and iPad will be safe even if the backpack will fall down on the floor.
Just Porter laptop backpack is made of durable and weather resistant fabric. So cleaning of the backpack is super easy. Just take a damp towel and wipe it.
Fits laptops with up to 16” screens.
Check out Just Porter Rucksack on Amazon!
Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
Stylish and simple, 32 liter backpack for your laptop and tablet. Fits 15” MacBook and iPad. Or any other laptop and tablet of the same size or smaller.
Designed by Timbuk2 exclusively for Apple.
Timbuk2 Spire waterproof laptop backpack is available in 8 colors. To see the latest price and all the colors available check out Timbuk2 Spire backpack on Amazon!
Timbuk2 is a company from San Francisco producing travel bags, backpacks, messenger bags, cycling bags, panniers, totes and shoulder bags. See all of their products together here, on Amazon!
Best Water Resistant Backpacks
Well, here the choice is really big. Many of the best travel backpacks nowadays are also (more or less) water resistant. I’ll give you 3 examples of really good travel backpacks, all made for different purposes, all water resistant.
Cabin Max Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry on Bag
An affordable backpack, made to fit the maximum carry on baggage allowance in Europe – 55 x 40 x 20 cm (22 x 16 x 8 inches). Great choice for your European vacation.
It’s maybe not the sexiest backpack available on the market. And it’s not the best one to be carried on your back for hours on end. But it does one job really well. It can fit in A LOT. And it’s water resistant as well.
Another cool thing about it is that it’s a panel loading backpack. You can open it the same way like a suitcase. Having this type of backpack you always have a little bit of both – accessibility of a suitcase and mobility of a backpack.
So, yes, unless you know, that you will be walking around a lot, with your backpack on the back, Cabin Max Metz is one really good option between the cheapest water resistant backpacks.
Check out Cabin Max Metz on Amazon!
5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack
Military design backpack built to be taken anywhere you want. No matter what the condition, climate, or weather.
Thanks to all the compartments this backpack has (2 big ones and many smaller) organization of your stuff is very easy. If you want to attach something to the outside of the backpack, well, you have plenty of choices, how to do that. As this bag has a lot of attachment points. You will only need your carabiners or straps.
It’s a quality backpack. And it costs more than many others I have mentioned here, in this article. But if you are looking for a good backpack, which you plan to use regularly. If you are looking for a long term companion. Then this is one I can recommend you to think about.
Like most of the backpacks, however, it’s not built to withstand prolonged submersion in water. But rain and snow shouldn’t be a problem.
Check out 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 on Amazon!
Que Jambag Powerbag Backpack
Shockproof and water resistant quality backpack with built in charging station and Bluetooth speakers.
Having a power bank with you is always a good idea nowadays. I’m only disappointed to see, that it’s a “small one” – 4000 mAh battery. It’s enough to charge your iPhone twice, which isn’t too bad. But anyway, having a bigger battery would be better.
At least there are 2 USB connections. Meaning that you can charge 2 devices at once.
Up to 8 hours of music playback using Bluetooth speakers.
Que Jambag is available in 3 colors. To see all the colors available and to find out the latest price check out Que Jambag Powerbag Backpack on Amazon!
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Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.