Which is the Best Waterproof Backpack?

If you are looking for a waterproof backpack then you are at a point where you feel you need one and that you will benefit from using one. Usually, the first question people ask is which is the best waterproof backpack as you naturally want to make sure you are spending your hard earned money on something which is going to last.

What you will find is that there is not a single answer to that question as determining which is the best waterproof backpack will depend on a few factors. The main factors to consider are the activity you are participating in, the severity of the expected weather conditions, the length of time you will be using it and last but not least, the budget you have.

Best Waterproof Backpack

The Main Features of Waterproof Backpacks & What to Look For

Where to Start

Interestingly, the starting point for most people is their budget. I completely understand this and I have shopped this way many times in the past. However, I changed that habit a few years back as I found that I was restricting myself and my choices because something didn’t fit into what I thought I should be paying for my gear. So even though my objective was to get the best gear for my activity what I was actually doing was looking at what can I get for $20 or $30 etc.

The reality is that my original thought and objective of which is the best gear was the right way to go about it and that would lead me to what I might have to pay to get it. Now, this isn’t some rambling that’s designed to get you to spend as much as possible on a waterproof backpack – you will see from our waterproof backpack reviews that there are some great value waterproof backpacks. Value is the key word here, getting good value is about getting the best price for the right gear that you need.

You will see we have reviewed waterproof backpacks across a wide range of prices and budgets. These vary from less well known brands (with great customer reviews) to the more well-known brands such as Patagonia and North Face. Below is a table of contents to help you navigate to the reviews and information you want. We have also included some additional information such as the key features to look for in the best waterproof backpacks the activities you will be using them in.

Waterproof Backpack Key Features

Padded Straps

Trust us when we say you will need one with padded straps. Once you have wearing a backpack for a while you understand why you need straps which are padded. The padding will stop the straps from digging into you and causing you discomfort, which is the last thing you want.

Breathable Straps

Breathable straps create ventilation by allowing air to flow and circulate around your shoulder area which reduces sweating. It also allows the straps to dry quicker when they get wet. Sometimes this is an under estimated feature of a waterproof backpack and it might be something you decide you don’t need but it’s definitely something to consider.

Padded Back

As with padded straps, a padded back is all about comfort and making sure that nothing is digging into you. Although how you pack your backpack will help, the padding is something which ensures it’s not an issue in the first place.

One Handed Strap or Handle

Some waterproof backpacks come with a handle which enables you to carry it with one hand. Quite often it is the large waterproof backpacks that have the handle and it is useful for when you need to just quickly pick it up or if you need to carry it a short distance. It might not be a breaker but it’s a useful feature to have depending on how you will be using your backpack.

Corded Exterior

These are usually bungee type cords which normally cover the majority of the surface at the rear of the backpack. A corded exterior is great for storing wet clothing or anything else that you either can’t fit in or don’t want in the main compartment. It’s also handy for storing some of the gear you may need to carry but it doesn’t matter if it gets wet.

Netted Sides

Mesh netting is quite often on the side of the backpack and are great for storing easy to access items like water bottles and snacks. It’s something that might not be on your list of must haves but you will find they are very handy when you have them.

Chest Strap

Chest straps ensure a safe and secure fitting of your waterproof backpack which means that, in the event that you are caught off guard, your backpack will stay in place. This means you don’t have to worry about losing it. This feature is more useful for certain kinds of activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding and climbing. If you are walking then this may not be a feature you need.

The Difference between Waterproof, Water Repellent and Water Resistant 

Water Resistant -  Has the ability to resist the penetration of water to a degree but not completely. This is considered the basic level of water protection for your backpack. This means that due to the materials used, or a coating which is applied at the materials at the manufacturing stage, it is more difficult for water water to get inside your bag. Generally you can expect this to give you protection from light rain showers.

Water Repellent - not easily penetrated by water, mainly due to being treated with a surface coating to improve it's effectiveness. This coating can be on the inside, the outside or sometimes on both and is a form of thin-film nantechnology. It is an improvement on water resistant and this will give you better protection but not as much as waterproof.

Waterproof - your backpack is impervious to water (water cannot penetrate it). Sometimes you will see this advertised as 100% waterproof but it all means the same. The material will stop water from penetrating the backpack and therefore keep your gear dry. This offers protection form heavy rainfall, falling in rivers and even if your backpack pack is completely submerged in water. Because of this they are also airtight.

As you will want to ensure your gear is definitely and that the backpack will perform how it should, we recommend reading reviews as this is how they have performed in the real world, rather than just accepting what the manufacturer says.

Types of Waterproof  Backpack Material

In the modern world we live in, manufacturers are always looking at ways to improve waterproof material and are therefore designing new materials every year. That being said you will find that current waterproof backpacks will be made from one of 2 types of material, Nylon or Vinyl.

The majority will be made from Nylon and although as standard it isn't a waterproof material, it is given a waterproof coating before it is used to construct the backpack. Silicone is the most common chemical used for the coating but you can also find that some are laminated with a thin plastic. Nylon is available in different thread counts, the higher the thread count the better quality the Nylon e.g. 600D is better quality than 500D.

Vinyl, or PVC as you will see it described, is quite often used in smaller bags. In some cases you will find it used in lower quality bags. A great upside with Vinyl is that it is quite easy to patch them up in the event that they tear - quite handy if this happens when you are on a trek or out on the water.

Best Waterproof Backpacks

We have already established that the best waterproof backpacks are not necessarily the cheapest backpacks. We have also established that you need to look at where, and how, you will be using it and therefore what features you will need. Value, value, value is where your focus needs to be as getting the best waterproof backpack for you and your activity while getting it at the best price is exactly how you will get good value.

No matter what you buy, getting the right one will save you money in the long term.

I have broken the waterproof backpacks into different categories and uses so you can look at the back reviews based on your activity and how it will be used. I have started off with what we consider to be some of the best water backpacks available and you will find these cover a range of budgets. As with everything we recommend, we have also based our findings on actually customer feedback and reviews as we know from experience that this is the true test of any backpack.

Our Choice of the Top 10 Best Waterproof Backpacks

The Sak Gear 35L Backpack is made from 500D PVC with high frequency welded seams which makes it 100% waterproof.

For your comfort it has a padded back and adjustable cushioned straps and and adjustable sternum strap. AS you would expect from a backpack of this quality, it has D-Rings so you can clip your gear to it for easy access.

It has a rather large interior pocket which we have found to be ideal for storing phones, cameras and other valuable. There is also an exterior pocket which allows you easy access to some of you items but be warned that this is splash proof (which we know is usually the case with external pockets.

One of the features we also like is the reflective patch and reflective trim as this helps you be seen in the dark but also means you can see your bag in the event it should end up in the water (which in my experience it will)

The FE Active Waterproof Backpack is made from tested and certified environmentally safe PVC.

The high frequency welded stitching which will handle the most rugged outdoor activities you can think of. Weighing in at less than 2lbs, it is one of the lightest 30 liter backpacks you will find.

We found the mesh lining in  the padded shoulder straps gave us better air flow which helped keep us cooler while the padded back support ensured it was comfortable without sacrificing the stability. The high strength buckles also do a great job at keeping it in place, no matter how vigorously you move.

You will not be short on storage with mesh side netting for small accessories or drinking bottles and the corded exterior to hold larger items which is grea

We found this to be a great all round backpack as it performs well in the majority of sports. It is definitely built to last and therefore can be used on a daily basis and in all weather conditions.

The Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Backpack is from a well known, and respected, brand. They continue to receive excellent feedback for all their products.

This really is an excellent waterproof backpack. It is made from rip-stop tarpaulin which can withstand the pressure of strong rapids and torrential downpours. The welded seams ensure that you won't experience any leaks or splits.

We found this 30 liter bag to be very spacious and we had no problem packing enough gear to last us for our trip. We also found that, even when we had it full to capacity, it still was able to float when dropped in the water.

The netted slots and corded exterior provided additional storage options. Breathable shoulder straps will make your are comfortable and a one handed carry strap is goof for when you may only want to carry it for a short distance.

It comes with a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.


The Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack is part of their premium dry bag collection and we think it shows.

Available as 35 liter and 55 liter options so you have the flexibility to buy one which really suits your needs or even buy both as that gives you the ultimate flexibility.

The reinforced shoulder straps do a great job at providing both comfort and stability while we found the sternum buckle helped relieve the pressure on our shoulders - it also makes it more comfortable when you are carrying heavier loads.

The comfort continues with the padded back support which also adds to the breathability of the backpack.

Easy access storage is also covered as it has a large splash proof pocket on the front which enables you to keep items close at hand while the interior pocket allows you keep smaller items where you can get them and also well protected from the elements.

As an added bonus you also get a waterproof phone case and although we would normally say that this isn't a deal breaker, this is made to the same Earth Pak standard you expect and is fully submersible.

The Outdoor Foundry 100% Waterproof Backpack

Ultra tough 500D PVC with frequency welded seams

100% WATERPROOF, RUGGED CONSTRUCTION – Protect your gear from rain, rivers, or ocean waves with welded seams, and an easy to use roll-top closure with unique PVC seal. The main bag is fully waterproof and can even withstand brief immersion. Floats if it goes overboard!

PADDED BACK AND SHOULDER STRAPS – Carry any load with a comfortable harness system featuring a cool mesh padded back and shoulder straps. Sternum strap, and a waist belt offer superior load control.

LARGE, 35L DAYPACK WITH GREAT GEAR ORGANIZATION – Easy access to your gear on the go with a large front pocket with water resistant zipper (perfect size for a hydration bladder, food, and small items you need on the go), two mesh side pockets, and a bungee cord system.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: All Outdoor Foundry carry a 1 Year Satisfaction Warranty, extendible to 2 years with registration. If you aren't satisfied for any reason, just let us know

The Relentless Recreation Dry Bag Backpack

THE PERFECT DRY BAG FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE! This is the perfect backpack for any adventure. Swimming, Camping, Hunting, Hiking, Canoeing, Fishing, Surfing, Kayaking, Climbing or Disc Golf. If you can do it outdoors, you will be prepared with this pack!

KEEP YOUR MOST IMPORTANT GEAR DRY AND SAFE! If you have ever rolled your kayak or got caught out in a rain storm while you were camping then you know exactly why you need to keep your essentials like your cell phone, wallet and a change of clothes bone dry. You won't make the mistake of being stuck in the wilderness with wet gear twice!

30L SIZE - BIG ENOUGH TO FIT EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR ADVENTURE! There is more than enough space for everything you will need for your next trip to the beach or out on the boat. Mesh outer pockets hold your water bottle or your beer! Breathable padded shoulder straps and an adjustable chest strap make for easy carrying all day long. If your shoulders do get tired you can use the handle to carry it instead.

LIGHTWEIGHT, DURABLE AND RELIABLE! High frequency welding on the Industrial Grade 500 Denier Polyvinyl Tarpaulin creates an ultra rugged bag. This material is tough and featherweight so you can carry your entire cache with confidence. The splash proof outer pocket has a window so you can operate your touchscreen phone without exposing it to the elements.

100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE! If you aren't convinced that this is the best dry bag backpack you have ever owned-no worries! You can easily return it for a full refund at any time. Our world-class customer service team is available if you end up unhappy for any reason and they have strict instructions to do whatever it takes to make each and every customer happy.

The Friendly Swede 33L Backpack

Industrial Grade 500 Denier Polyvinyl Tarpaulin

KEEPS YOUR BELONINGS PROTECTED: Put our highly water resistant, heavy duty dry bag backpack to the test in the toughest weather conditions. Bring this sports backpack to your next hiking, skiing or motorbike trip. It will even manage to keep things dry while you are busy kayaking or running in the rain. Please note that the easy-access front pocket is not 100% waterproof with its velcro closure.

FUNCTIONAL ADD-ONS: It wouldn’t be a The Friendly Swede item without functional and outdoorsy add-ons. This dry bag features reflective details as well as an easy to access emergency survival whistle, for your safety. The two spacious mesh pockets are perfect for water bottles or a thermos of hot, Swedish coffee. Inside we have also added a padded laptop sleeve pocket (14.5" x 11.4"). Because yes, the bag is stylish enough to also bring to your white-collar office.

ERGONOMIC STRAPS AND ROLL TOP CLOSURE: The ultimate hiking backpack must feature fully adjustable and ergonomic shoulder, chest and waist straps - designed to keep the bag steady and sturdy in place on any outdoor activity. This dry sack can also both be closed with the buckles on the top of the bag or with the sidelocks. Just make sure you fold down the top a few, 4-6, times for a secure seal.

HEAVY DUTY 500-DENIER PVC TARPAULIN: The Friendly Swede offers a range of outdoor gear such as Dry Bags, Duffels and Backpacks, all with the same high quality materials and workmanship. The 33L Dry Backpack is made from ultra-tough PVC and features high frequency glue welded seams.


The Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack

100% WATERPROOF (Class 3) MAIN COMPARTMENT Protects from water, dust, sand, and dirt. Floats safely if dropped in water, and is suitable for quick submersion.

MADE FROM HEAVY DUTY 500 PVC TARPAULIN with high frequency welded seams; make this bag durable, yet amazingly flexible for the most demanding usage. Easy to wipe clean and store away.

MESH SIDES & EASY ACCESS FRONT POCKET is a perfect place to store your already waterproof accessories, wet swimwear or gloves. Carry up to two water bottles without sacrificing space in your pack. (NOTE: Front pocket is NOT 100% waterproof and contents stored there should be treated accordingly)

EASY TO USE: Tightly sealed fold system keeps large 22 Liter main compartment water and air tight.

CHAOS READY Premium Quality, Purpose Built Outdoor Gear. They offer a 100% risk free MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Their products are backed by a LIFETIME WARRANTY.  You need the confidence in knowing you've chosen the VERY BEST QUALITY outdoor products on the market. Are you ready? Get Chaos Ready!

The OUTXE PVC Free 100% Waterproof Backpack

100% TPU, PVC-Free, Non-toxic

100% Waterproof: Totally sealed, suitable for full submersion. A patented ziplock seal( like a freezer bag) and traditional roll-top closure keep your valuables dry.

Built to last: Heavy-duty 420D TPU (environmentally friendly, FDA-certified PVC-free and BPA- free), welded and fully waterproof seams. Designed for all water sports

Detachable & Adjustable Shoulder Straps: Two shoulder straps are included to provide easy backpack-style carrying and portability. A cleverly located reflective stripe can be seen from a distance

Front and Two Side Mesh Pockets: Quickly access to your items without having to rummage through your bag. Easy access to your water bottle so you can stay hydrated while on the move.

Inner Zipper Pocket: Great for carrying important items such as passports, and phone. Easily reach your valuables without rummaging through the entire bag

The Cor Surf Backpack

AVAILABLE in TWO SIZES! BIG enough for several days of travel. Roll-top 100% waterproof backpack. Just roll, click the top and you can go anywhere in any condition. Floats safely if dropped in water. Great for travel, bike commuting, rafting, kayaking and paddleboarding.

Interior PADDED LAPTOP or SLEEVE for specialized storage to keep your computer, ipad or camera from breaking when setting it on the ground. This is a great bag for TRAVEL and SCHOOL too! Rain, Snow, Jungle this is the bag.

LARGE FRONT POCKET: Splash-proof large zippered front pocket on the bag’s exterior gives easy access to small essentials and quick grab n’ go items like keys and wallet.

PADDED BACK SUPPORT: Ergonomic Padded Backpanel allows for added comfort and breath-ability during those long outdoor excursions biking, kayaking or hiking.

EXTRA LARGE SIDE POCKET will fit a large HYDROFLASK! Super reflective patches on the front of the bag and both shoulder straps for riding your bike at night. LARGE water-resistant internal zip side pocket with window to easily find your contents.