If you’re in need of a waterproof backpack for all of your outdoor adventures we have scoured the internet to present you the top 10 best options. The worst feeling is opening your bag after hiking all day to find that your belongings are soaking wet. Having a waterproof backpack ensures that your gear stays dry for when you need them most. Some bags even come with padded sleeves for laptops or tablets. Choosing your backpack doesn’t have to be a hard process. We have done the work for you and reviewed the best waterproof backpacks of 2021
How To Choose A Waterproof Backpack – Buying Guide
You may be wondering what features to look for in the best waterproof backpacks. The ones on our list are some of the best on the market and all feature superior technology that will work to keep your gear dry and safe. You will want to pay special attention to focusing on the following features.
Capacity It Can Hold
This is a specifically important feature to consider and will vary depending on use and personal preference. While you likely don’t need to keep all your gear in waterproof storage, it is important to keep your most important gear safe and dry. Most typically, pack sizes vary between 5 – 35 liters in size.
The size you choose should have a direct relation to your type of use. If you are using your pack primarily for a day trip kayaking on the water, you will be able to get away with a smaller size as you will likely only have a small amount of gear to pack along with you. On the other hand, if you are planning to use your pack for a day or overnight hike you will require a bigger pack. This is because you will need to pack all of your gear along with you in one backpack.
When considering the capacity of your backpack, it is important to note that the full bag capacity is different from the capacity of the waterproof sections of your bag. In other words, most often, only compartments of your pack are fully waterproof. Most often, the main compartment of a bag, the biggest section, is fully waterproof. There are typically additional pockets that are not waterproof and often merely water resistant. This should be considered before deciding on a waterproof backpack for you.
Additional Storage And Pocket Options
Having a backpack that can’t store all your gear is a bag not worth having. A backpack should have as many pockets as it can. This includes some on the inside but the outside as well. Internal pockets are great at keeping your gear organized and separated. Zippered interior pockets can also keep your gear from shifting and mixing.
Outer pockets give you quick access to important items. This can be seen in a large mesh compartment that can store things like snacks and water bottles. You can couple this with a waterproof cover that will add extra waterproofing while still ensuring everything is within arms reach.
Waterproof backpacks should come in a variety of different colors. This is a widely personal preference but can give you a way of standing out. Most people will want a black or green bag but you may not. If you prefer to stand out of the crowd you should have that option available to you.
If you routinely hike through the same weather you may want to tailor your bag’s color that as well. For example, if you mainly hike in tropical places you may want a lighter colored bag so your contents and your body stay cooler.
Having a bright or fluorescent color bag can also be a great safety measure. The bright color can help to increase your visibility which can be endlessly beneficial when outdoors. Sticking out is important for many reasons including being easily spotted by hunters or search and rescue.
Water Resistant Vs Waterproof
While these words sound similar, it is important that you do not confuse the two. There is a big difference between a water resistant backpack and a waterproof backpack. A water resistant bag will be able to withstand a short rain shower but may absorb some water in longer encounters with rain. These bags will have more pockets and compartments with a larger overall compartment than that of a waterproof bag.
But 100% waterproof backpacks are what we recommend for people who hike in remote locations that depend on their gear staying dry. These bags will be able to be hiked through torrential rainstorms and even endure river crossings while keeping their contents completely dry. This allows you to bring even your most sensitive equipment, like diving cameras and dive computers, with you no matter where in the world you travel to.
With every purchase you make, it is incredibly important to consider the price. Having a budget in place will ensure that you are happy with your purchase and also help to narrow down your selection. Before deciding on this number you should do some research to see a ballpark of how much waterproof travel backpack generally cost. This will help you to generate a realistic number that you can stick around.
Generally speaking, spending between $50-$100 is a great range to stick between. This will give you plenty of options to choose from in order to get the best item possible for a great value.
When To Use Waterproof Backpacks
We recommend getting a waterproof backpack for your travels. If you are traveling to a new place that you don’t know the weather conditions we would recommend a backpack roll top. This is the only real way you’ll keep your gear safe and dry. Also, if you know the place you’re traveling to has unpredictable weather a water resistant backpack is a necessity.
Overall, there is no real downfall to having a waterproof backpack over a water repellent backpack. They may cost a little bit more money, but knowing your expensive gear stays dry is 100% worth the extra investment.
There are some specific features that you should look for in a waterproof bag for luggage. These things can range from the material it is made of to its weight and size.
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Knowing just how waterproof your bag is will be the most important consideration. There is a big difference between water resistant and waterproof. This gets even more complicated with their being different levels of waterproofing. Some waterproof backpacks are waterproof in the rain and stormy conditions but can’t be fully submerged in the water. When going kayaking it is important to get a bag that will hold up when completely submerged. This should be the most important consideration when deciding on your backpack as it can lead you to not having the right gear for you. It is also important to note which pouches in the backpacks are waterproof. Oftentimes, only the main pouch of a waterproof carry bag is waterproof with the others being only water resistant. These types of packs are great for hiking on day trips.
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You won’t use your backpack for long if it’s not comfortable. There are many ways companies can make a backpack comfortable. A big way they do this is through the padding in the straps. Some companies go as far as having memory foam and padding that spread the weight of the pack evenly over a large area. Another key thing to look for in a well-designed frame. If it digs into your back the bag will not be comfortable.
Weight and size
Bags these days don’t weigh that much. This is due to advances in the technology of the frame and materials. The less your bag weighs the more you’ll use it. You’ll also be able to put more gear in it.
This is great for longer hikes. If you are going hiking for the weekend where you have to pack all your gear on your back you will need the absolute lightest backpack possible. Even a couple of ounces of extra weight can cause you extra strain.
Best use/versatility and functionality
Some bags are better for certain activities. You’ll need a different backpack If you are backpacking across Europe than if you are weekend hiking through the backcountry. With that being said, there are bags that can do a lot of things well rather than one thing excellent.
If you are heading into particularly wet climates, like a rainforest or the pacific northwest, you will need a bag that can be completely sealed. But if you are planning a surfing trip in Baja you may need a bag that has lots of pockets and secret compartments. Some bags have special features as well. For example, some bags even have hydration bladders that can hold water for truly outback situations.
Q: Can You Wash Waterproof Backpacks?
Yes, you can. Washing your backpack actually increases its ability to maintain it’s a waterproof membrane. As your backpack gets dirty the tiny dirt particles allow water to sit on your bag longer which allows it to absorb into the bag. With that being said, washing your backpack should not be done too often as this can begin to break down the high technology of the bag.
Q: How Do You Wash A Waterproof Backpack?
Now your backpack may be washable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean by a machine. The most effective and safest way to clean your bag is with a small towel and some hot soapy water.
You’ll want to start by shaking out your bag. It’s better to tip it upside down and shake it out because even if you think it’s clean there may be debris at the bottom. If you don’t do this you will end up just moving around the dirt. Once this is done you can fill a tub of hot water and mix in a capful of dish soap. Make sure it’s not detergent as it can stain your fabric.
Once you’ve done a once over empty the pail of water and fill it with warm water. Grab a clean towel and make sure all of the soap has been washed off. If you miss a spot it can stain or discolor your bag.
Q: Is A Backpack Considered A Personal Item On Airlines?
This will depend on the size of your bag. Every airline has their own set of rules regarding the size of checked baggage, but they will all be around the same. Airlines will essentially look for bags that can fit underneath your seat. These dimensions will roughly fit around a 27 liter bag.
With that being said, if it’s over the airlines weight capacity you can still be forced to check your bag. Most airlines have a 30 kg (66 lbs) weight limit for carry on bags. This may seem like not a lot of weight but is actually quite difficult to reach, depending on what items you’re looking to bring.
Q: Where Should The Hip Belt Of A Backpack Sit?
Most people don’t know how to wear their large waterproof backpacks. The vast majority of people will throw their bag’s straps onto their shoulders and simply strap the hip belt where it sits. This is not the right way of doing things.
The whole point of the hip belt is to relieve your shoulders of the weight of your bag. If you strap the belt across your stomach it will actually make the bag feel heavy and could potentially hurt you.
To attach this strap properly you will have to find your hip bone. This will usually be where your pants rest on your hips. When you sling your bag over your shoulder you may have to lift it to get the strap situated in the right place. You can do this by resting the bottom of your bag on the top of a table while making sure the hip belt lines up properly.
Once the belt is securely tightened you can lift it off the table and adjust the shoulder straps to secure the top to your body. If it is adjusted properly you shouldn’t feel a lot of weight on your shoulders.
Q: Can You Backpack While Pregnant?
Yes! We always recommend that you talk to your doctor before you take on any activities. If you were a backpacker prior to becoming pregnant then it is likely completely safe for you to continue on.
Is it important to note that the weight of your backpack will cause stress on your body? Keep your backpack as light as possible. Ensure the heaviest weight is on the bottom of your backpack rather than up at your shoulders. It is also important to note where the hip straps secure to your body. Do not tighten too much and make sure that the strap sits low enough to not constrain your belly.
Q: Any Additional Tips For Waterproofing?
While your backpack will come waterproof, there are many ways that you can maintain this waterproofing exterior. There are many waterproof sprays that you can add to your backpack as well as some of your gear. This will not protect in areas of zippers and seams but will provide an extra layer of protection for you.
It is important to note that in this type of waterproof backpacks oftentimes not every single compartment is waterproof. It is important to note the areas that do offer water protection and the areas that don’t. Having some additional waterproof gear will help to make sure that your gear stays safe. We especially recommend having a waterproof case for small electronics like your phone, credit card, and keys. Bringing along Ziplocs, watertight containers, and small dry bags will help to waterproof these sections of your bag as well.
Q: How To Apply A Patch To A Waterproof Backpack?
Patching this type of backpack can be a tricky task. Most places will use an iron on patch, but you have to be careful to not heat it up too much as you can melt the fabric and make an even bigger hole.
If you experience a puncture while on the trail you should use duct tape to seal it up. We recommend bringing along a small role of this magical substance. To patch it on the trail you will want to put the tape on the outside and inside of the hole. This will do its best to make a watertight seal for the time being. The tape will bond to itself and the material which will make a strong seal, at least until you can repair it better when you get back home.
There are nylon patch kits you can get that will be one of the best solutions for cuts and rips. The nylon will be flexible and able to withstand your bag being thrown around on and off the trail. This isn’t a difficult patch job and can buy a full kit with instructions and everything you need to complete it yourself.
Q: Why Do I Need A Waterproof Backpack?
You may be asking yourself whether this type of waterproof backpack is a necessary purchase. Trust us that the moment you are caught in a rainstorm or find yourself jumping into a kayak or fishing kayak, you will immediately take back your question. Quite simply, it is crucial for every outdoor enthusiast to invest in this type of waterproof backpack.
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Waterproof backpacks work to keep your gear completely dry. This can be lifesaving if you find yourself in certain conditions. You may mistakenly think that having a waterproof pack is only necessary if you are planning to participate in watersports. Quite to the contrary, they are actually quite important for any outdoor activity. Waterproof packs work to keep important things, such as clothing and sleeping bags, completely dry regardless of the conditions. This means that if you find yourself in a downpour or if your bag accidentally finds its way floating in some water, your gear will be safe.
Being wet is the number one cause of getting hypothermia. This is why having dry gear is so important. An incredibly important safety feature, having your gear will work to keep you in a much safer condition.
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When you are looking for waterproof backpacks it is important to know what you will be using your pack for. Do you typically find yourself on overnight trips or multi-day adventures? Are you wearing your pack for extended periods of time or is it mostly going to be strapped into your kayak? Do you expect to be in a wet environment or are you simply looking for something that will hold up in heavy rainfall? Answering these questions will help you to decide which waterproof backpack is the best one for you.
The best waterproof daypacks on our list have been tried and tested with the ultimate stamp of approval. They are trusted to be amongst the best packs that will hold up for all of your outdoor activities.
More Water Gear Reviews:
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- Waterproof Headphones
- Water Shoes For Women
- Water Guns
- Waterproofing Spray
- Rain Boots
- Indoor Outdoor Thermometer
Do you use one of the Backpacks that made our list for your summertime adventures? Talk to us about how you like it in the comment section below.