14 Best Waterproof Backpack For Ultimate Weather Protection
14 Best Waterproof Backpack For Ultimate Weather Protection

We’ve all been there—we’re out on an adventure, and it starts to rain. Maybe you take a spontaneous day hike, and the trail is rugged and full of more river crossings than you anticipated. Or, perhaps you know your journey is going to get wet and you want to be prepared. Regardless of the reason, nobody wants their gear to get soaked. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the best waterproof backpack models, what they’re good for, and how you can use them. However, before we dive in, there are a few things we should go over.

There are three terms that are important to know when it comes to talking about water and backpacks: waterproof, water-resistant, and submersible.

Waterproof means that something keeps water out. This can be used to describe materials, hardware, or a product. However, when a backpack is waterproof, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will withstand all water. For example, a waterproof backpack can’t necessarily handle submersion. While traveling somewhere that gets a lot of rain or while backpacking, you probably want a waterproof backpack or a backpack mostly made with waterproof materials.

Water-resistant is a lesser version of waterproof. It means that a specific material or product is resistant to water but won’t keep it out indefinitely. After enough time or pressure, water will seep through. For a backpack you’ll carry every day with a laptop and other electronics inside, you probably want a water-resistant backpack.

Submersible means that a product can be taken underwater in some capacity without taking on water and malfunctioning. This doesn’t necessarily mean it can stay underwater indefinitely or under any conditions, but it can typically be submerged for up to a half hour without water sneaking inside. If you’re going on a canoe trip, you probably want a submersible backpack. (Hint: this is where you usually find an IPX rating)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s dive into some of the best waterproof, water-resistant, and submersible backpacks on the market!

1. MARCHWAY Dry Bag 20L
MARCHWAY Dry Bag 20L Review

Why We Like It: It’s budget-friendly.

What You Should Know: Durability might not be top notch.

You've probably encountered the MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag when searching for the best waterproof backpack. There are five sizes at the time of writing, between five and 40 liters, coming in various colorways from Digital Camo to Shiny Blue. The five and ten-liter versions are single-strap sling-type bags, whereas the 20, 30, and 40-liter options are backpacks. None of the capacities have back panels, which made testing the sample we had a sweaty-back-inducing experience.

What might enable the MARCHWAY packs to creep up your list for the best waterproof backpack is their price. At the time of writing, all the options come in at under $30. At that price, when paired with the fun colorways and waterproof construction, it's hard to go wrong.

These dry bags utilize a rolltop closure to ensure your gear stays dry. Whereas this design isn't completely waterproof, in our experience, this pack is submersible. Whether you're going out on the kayak or want a budget pack to bring with you on your trip to a wet and rainy place, MARCHWAY has you covered.

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2. Earth Pak Summit Dry Bag Backpack 35L
Earth Pak Summit Dry Bag Backpack 35L

Why We Like It: Ample back panel padding.

What You Should Know: Hardware doesn’t feel very durable.

A common negative of cheaper waterproof bags on Amazon is that they don't have ample harness systems. With the Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack, that isn't an issue. It has a rolltop closure that'll keep your gear dry, attachment loops on the front and sides, and a harness system that'll keep you moderately comfortable on a hike that involves rain, river crossings, or other water features.

The pack comes in three sizes, and all of them are on the larger side. The 35-liter is a capable hiking pack, the 55-liter is fine for trips you won't have to walk long distances, and the 85-liter works well as a gear hauler. There are five colorways, so you can snag something that matches your vibe or your travel gear.

The hardware on this pack isn't top-notch, but we haven't had any issues with it breaking so far. The rolltop is reasonably simple to buckle down, but it does take some getting used to. If you're looking for a bag to keep your gear dry, this might be the best waterproof backpack for you!

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3. YETI Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack
YETI Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack Review

Why We Like It: Looks like a regular backpack.

What You Should Know: Colorways leave something to be desired.

A common gripe when searching for the best waterproof backpack is that they don't often look like a standard pack. Because of the thick and durable materials needed to ensure water can't permeate the pack, they often aren't as stylish as the bag you use daily. However, that isn't the case every time.

To us, the Yeti Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack rocks the brand’s tough aesthetic while maintaining a classic backpack silhouette that looks familiar and still keeps your gear dry. With an IPX7 rating, you can submerge the pack in up to a meter of water, and your gear will stay dry for 30 minutes. After that, it might start to leak.

Unlike many of the listings in this post, this pack utilizes a zipper. It can be hard to open and close, but it makes it easier to load and unload the pack. If you prefer a zipper to a rolltop, this might be the best waterproof backpack for you!

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4. Patagonia Guidewater Backpack 29L
Patagonia Guidewater Backpack 29L Review

Why We Like It: A sustainable option from a brand we trust.

What You Should Know: It’s pricey.

The Patagonia Guidewater Backpack is one of the most popular waterproof backpack models on the market and for good reason. It's fully submersible, is Fair Trade Certified, has external attachment loops, and looks more like a standard backpack than most items on this list. What else could you ask for? Well, other than ice cream, but you can get that on your way home!

All those features come at a price—a relatively high one. However, Patagonia is a brand known for its quality, which isn't different on the Guidewater. The 14.4 oz recycled nylon fabric’s PU and TPU coating has a very slick texture you’d expect from a waterproof backpack. That said, the fabric’s casual pastel color lets it blend among other regular daypacks, so you can still take this to coffee shops without being conspicuous.

When you buy Patagonia to explore the world, you can feel better spending your money with a brand that cares about its well-being as much as you do. Pair that with the waterproofness, durability, and ease of use that the 29-liter Guidewater offers, and you might have the best waterproof backpack for you!

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5. SealLine Skylake Dry Daypack
SealLine Skylake Dry Daypack

Why We Like It: It’s fairly lightweight and compact, maximizing comfort out of its simple harness system

What You Should Know: Fairly narrow shape means you’ll be digging for gear that’s sunk to its floor

If you're looking for a waterproof backpack, then one from a brand like SealLine that specializes in dry bags is a no-brainer. Their Skylake Dry Daypack is made with waterproof materials welded at the seams, so it'll keep your gear dry on city streets in monsoon season or on a hike through the river while fly fishing for trout.

The pack utilizes a rolltop closure, which takes some getting used to, but it's relatively quick to close once you've gotten used to it. We dig the Heather Gray colorway, but Heather Green is a fun change of pace for folks who want a pack as vibrant as their personality (or want the bag visible against the water)

One of the biggest pros of this pack is the quality harness system. Combined with the fairly modest, but sizeable 18-liter capacity and lightweight construction, it makes for a comfortable carrying experience. Plus, it has a front quick-stash pocket and other attachment loops where you can add gear and accessories for your adventure.

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6. HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag 20L
HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag 20L Review

Why We Like It: It’s budget-friendly.

What You Should Know: The hardware doesn’t feel very durable.

If you tend to worry whether or not you've got all your gear and want to ensure it stays dry on your next adventure, we've got you covered. The HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag is submersible and semi-transparent, so you can see what you've got stowed inside. Did you put your phone inside? No problem. Want to make sure you snagged sunscreen? Forget about it. Just look through the pack!

There are a variety of sizes available between five and 40 liters, so there's a pack that works for everyone's needs. The five and ten-liter versions utilize a sling design, whereas the 20, 30, and 40-liter versions use a backpack design. None of the models have padding or aeration on the back panel, so they aren't the most comfortable option for longer treks. However, they come in various colorways, which is fun.

All the options come in under $35 at the time of writing, so this is one of the best waterproof backpack models if you're on a budget!

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7. Earth Pak Original Waterproof Dry Bag 10L
Earth Pak Original Waterproof Dry Bag 10L Review

Why We Like It: It’s easy to clean and floats in water.

What You Should Know: There isn’t much organization.

If your adventures often go off-road or underwater, the Earth Pak Original Waterproof Dry Bag 10L might be perfect for you. Let's let the cat out of the bag before we dive too far; this is a sling, not a backpack. However, this pack has larger versions, up to 55 liters.

We like how easy it was to clean and the fact that it floats, and we've found both those factors to be big players when looking for a piece of gear. This means that you can quickly clean up after a more rugged journey and don't have to worry about it sinking to the bottom of the river (and scaring all the fish) on your next fishing trip.

There isn't much organization inside. As in none at all, actually. The main compartment is a large, unpartitioned, simple-as-can-be area where we stored all of the gear we tested with this bag. Still, we dig the colorways, and this thing has proven to be durable, making it a worthy addition to this list!

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8. Skog A Kust BackSak Pro
Skog A Kust BackSak Pro

Why We Like It: It has lots of attachment loops.

What You Should Know: The logo on the front of the pack is hard to ignore.

If you like modular gear and are searching for the best waterproof backpack for you, look no further than the Skog Å Kust Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro! It has a daisy chain running down the front face, attachment loops on the pack's sides, and additional D-rings on the shoulder straps. Plus, it's waterproof!

The pack has an IPX7 rating, so your gear will be safe in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. After that, it might start to leak. The harness system is capable and features mesh and padding. The sternum strap and hip belt feel more like a standard backpack than other waterproof backpack models we've tested, which we dig.

The pack comes in 25 and 35-liter configurations, which feel capable and not overdone. Plus, there are four colorways to choose from at the time of writing so that you can find the perfect one for your vibe.

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9. L.L.Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Day Pack 26L
L.L.Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Day Pack 26L

Why We Like It: The front mesh pocket is versatile.

What You Should Know: Can get hot if wearing it all day.

Most waterproof backpack models don't have external pockets because of the thick and durable materials used to ensure their waterproofness. However, on the L.L. Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Day Pack 26L, there's a secondary mesh pocket on the front of the pack. We dig this because you can stow a packable travel jacket, water bottle, or another small item.

At 26 liters, this is an excellent pack for a day hike or canoeing down the river. The shoulder straps are also comfortable, making it more capable for hiking than others we've tested.

On long days of wearing it in the sun, the pack does get warm fairly quickly since the material and relatively dark colorway absorb heat well. However, most waterproof packs suffer from this issue, and this one performs similarly to others we've tested. Plus, if you're by the water, it's easy to cool down every so often!

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10. ORTLIEB Velocity Waterproof Backpack 17L
ORTLIEB Velocity Waterproof Backpack 17L

Why We Like It: It has a sleek design.

What You Should Know: Not completely waterproof.

The Ortlieb Velocity isn't the most waterproof pack on this list; however, it offers a unique style, comfortable carry, and three sizes. The 17-liter option is excellent for trips where you won't have as much space (a small boat, perhaps), and the 23 and 29-liter options offer more space when you've got more cargo room to work with. Maybe Chief Brody got a bigger boat, after all.

Like other packs on this list, the Velocity has a rolltop closure. We dig the Black colorway, but the Petrol option is unique. The pack exterior is sleek; however, there aren't attachment loops, which might deter some users. The IP64 isn’t completely waterproof, though it gets the job done when we’re strolling by the lake, and people are splashing water all over the place—it'll protect your gear in most water situations outside of submersion.

The harness system is amply padded and aeration, so the carry is comfortable. Whether you take this highly water resistant backpack over the river or down the road, your gear will be dry when you get there!

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11. Filson Dry Sling Pack
Filson Dry Sling Pack Review

Why We Like It: It has a zippered main compartment.

What You Should Know: Operating the zipper takes some getting used to.

If you like to ride the wave between sling and backpack, the Filson Dry Sling Pack was made for you! It fits like a sling but comes in at 20 liters, so you can still bring all your gear on your journey.

This pack is fully submersible; however, it features a zipper, not a rolltop closer, which some users will dig because it’s quicker to open. The zipper can be hard to manipulate, but this makes the pack easier to load and unload.

The harness system is extraordinarily comfortable and breathes reasonably well. In fact, our initial apprehension about the bag’s relatively bulky shape and size was mostly reassured as soon as we put the bag on. Still, it will get warm on hot days or while wearing it on longer journeys.

We've got one external pocket to work with, which is perfect for stowing smaller, flat gear, like a phone or a fishing license. We don't have much organization on the pack's inside, and the main compartment can be difficult to load. However, this is one of the most capable waterproof backpack (or sling) models we've used to date.

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12. RUX Waterproof Bag
RUX Waterproof Bag Review

Why We Like It: It can be used as an open tote or a rolltop bag.

What You Should Know: It works best in conjunction with other RUX gear.

When you want something you can lash to your boat or stand up paddle board that is still useful for hauling your gear to the beach or the park, you may like the travel tote design of the RUX Waterproof Bag. The waterproof TPU coating on the nylon provides a rubbery texture on the outside, and it doesn’t show watermarks when it gets wet since it’s colored instead of clear.

This 25L bag includes comfortable handles and a removable shoulder strap so you can load it up with everything you need to float down the river while still being able to carry your tube to the drop-off point. We appreciate the flexibility of having either option for carrying since it lets us focus on having fun by the water instead of constantly wearing and taking off shoulder straps like with backpacks. Lash points all around the base of the bag give you plenty of places to strap it to your ride, and a wide base makes it easy to pack.

Use it like a regular tote if your gear can get wet or already is, but you can roll the top down for a waterproof seal when you want to keep your clothing dry for the rest of your day or plan to bring sensitive gear on your white water rafting trip. It includes compression straps to hold the top together and flattens to slide into the bottom of your rolling luggage when you don’t need it. The RUX Waterproof Bag also provides additional organization inside the 70L RUX bag. You can hook it to the outside or fit two inside the bag to keep your wet clothing separate from your dry gear. And if you want more organization on the Waterproof Bag, you can get the RUX Pocket and attach one or two to the outside.

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Water Resistant Backpacks

Here at Pack Hacker, we love testing gear. When it’s waterproof, we put things through their paces in the elements, under the faucet, and sometimes in the shower. Not every slice of gear is submersible, but it doesn’t always have to be. There are many highly water resistant backpacks on the market, and we couldn’t help but share a few of our favorites with you. Let’s dive in!

Mountain Hardwear Simcoe 28 Backpack
Mountain Hardwear Simcoe 28 Backpack Review

Why We Like It: TPU shell is water-resistant and easy to clean.

What You Should Know: Pack can’t stand up on its own.

The nylon shell on the Mountain Hardwear Simcoe 28 Backpack is coated with a thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU, coating, which makes it an extraordinarily water-resistant backpack. The main compartment has YKK AquaGuard zippers, which also help keep the gear you've stowed inside from leaking liquids. At 28 liters, you can store a fair amount inside, including up to a 15-inch laptop! Take note, though, that this bag didn’t stay upright very well in our testing—good thing it’s water-resistant!

The harness system is more comfortable than most other packs on this list because it isn't crafted from 100% waterproof materials. There's more stretch, padding, and aeration, which we dig on a comfort level.

If you're caught in the rain, spill something on the exterior, or get splashed while walking through a new city, the Mountain Hardwear Simcoe 28 Backpack will keep your gear dry.

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Matador Freerain22 Waterproof Packable Backpack
Matador Freerain22 Waterproof Packable Backpack Review

Why We Like It: It packs down to fit into your hand.

What You Should Know: Doesn’t hold its shape without gear stowed inside.

We understand if you're surprised to see a packable backpack on this list with waterproof in its name. However, if you're into backpacks, you probably won't be surprised to see that Matador manufactures it. The Freerain22 Waterproof Packable Backpack packs down to fit into the palm of your hand and is crafted from nylon with a UTS waterproof coating. Whereas we haven't found this pack to be waterproof, we find it highly water resistant, especially considering its size and weight.

The pack has a lightweight harness system, which we aren't shocked by, considering it's a packable backpack. However, having a sternum strap and hip belt are excellent for long journeys across a new city or unfamiliar trail—a fairly comprehensive harness system, which we dig, since we don’t often see that on waterproof bags.

Considering its size, price, and highly water-resistant construction, the Matador Freerain22 Waterproof Packable Backpack is an excellent shout for anyone looking to stay dry while saving weight.

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Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L
Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L Review

Why We Like It: It’s highly water-resistant.

What You Should Know: The organization in the secondary pockets isn’t great.

If the idea of a heavy waterproof backpack scares you and you still want the amenities of a travel backpack, check out the Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L. It's much lighter than most waterproof backpack models on the market and combines many features. It has external attachment loops, is highly water-resistant, and has thoughtful internal organization. Plus, some of the pack uses recycled materials!

The primary pack material is a 300D recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU coating. This fabric does a stellar job keeping water at bay and remains lightweight. The look might not be for everyone, but it does the job.

Whether trekking across the concrete jungle or hiking up a mountain, the harness system is simple but comfortable. It can get hot on warm days but breathes better than many travel backpacks we've tested. If you're a fan of Patagonia and are looking for a water resistant backpack, the Black Hole Pack 32L might be for you!

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So there you have it; some of the most waterproof backpacks and slings on the market, with a few water-resistant models. Whether you’re crossing a river, boating, or staying somewhere rainy, hopefully, you’ve found your pick!

June 20, 2023

Pack Hacker