The 3 Best Water-Resistant Backpacks

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If you commute to work or school or spend time hiking, you know that investing in one of the best water-resistant backpacks is the key to ensuring your things don’t end up soggy and water-logged at the end of a rainy day. But, brands that advertise "waterproof" or "water-resistant" backpacks aren't always telling the truth about their products. So how can you tell which backpack actually lives up to the hype?

When shopping around, know that there are varying degrees of water-resistance. Because there is no waterproof rating system for backpacks the same way there is with technology, keep a special eye out for the materials the backpack is made of. Materials like nylon or tarpaulin are durable, and don't absorb water the way that polyester does (hence, they'll wick water away to protect your belongings).

Beyond water-resistant features, consider how you will use your bag to determine what other features you'll also need. For instance, if you'll be toting around a 17-inch laptop, you'll need to make sure your backpack is big enough. Plan to use the bag for work? You may want to opt for one with a more professional look.

But, whether you're looking for a solid commuting backpack, something you can bring to class when it rains, or one of the best hiking packs around, there's a bag here for you. To help you make a decision, I’ve put together a list of the best water-resistant backpacks in all shapes and styles.

1Best Overall

What Can It Fit: The large internal pocket can fit a 15-inch laptop, and the smaller pockets can fit a water bottle, umbrella, as well as other valuables, with plenty of space leftover for books or papers.

Why It's Great: This classic backpack has everything you'd need: a designated laptop pocket, a front zippered pocket and side pouch, and a USB port on the side that you can use to charge your phone. Best of all, the fabric is truly water-resistant (reviewers agree on this one), and is built with additional padding in the straps to provide extra comfort if you wear it for long periods. And with nearly 800 reviews praising this bag, it is tried, true, and worth your money. It even comes in six different colors, so you can pick one that works with your style.

What Fans Say: "Great backpack! The water resistant exterior kept my papers dry during a rainy day, and the interior has a surprising amount of space. It fits a smaller laptop in the back pocket."

2The Best For Hiking

What Can It Fit: This bag has a 50-liter capacity, and can fit a 15-inch, with even more partitions and extra pockets that allow you to store everything you'll need.

Why It's Great: On top of its water-resistant fabric, this durable backpack features a clever built-in pocket that pulls out to reveal a rain cover. If you're out and about and the rain starts coming down, simply pull out the tarp-like covering and bundle it around your stuff to add extra waterproofing. The backpack is also lightweight and comes in 10 different colors.

The Tradeoff: While the bag itself is made of a nylon to protect against a light rain, you'll want to bust out the waterproof cover if you're dealing with serious rain showers.

What Fans Say: "Amazing bag for outdoors, with so many different bags all over for multiple purposes, the fabric of the bag overall is a bit water resistant but it also has a cover to protect it."

3You May Also Want: A Fully Waterproof Backpack

What Can It Fit: This bag can has a 30-liter capacity, with a large interior pocket that offers plenty of room for your personal belongings and items.

Why It's Great: Constructed from hyper-durable, marine-grade PVC tarpaulin, this 30-liter backpack is as waterproof as waterproof backpacks get. You can even submerge it in water without the water leaking into the interior. Yes, the design is a little more conspicuous, but what you get is quality-construction (the welded stitching is designed to protect against all elements). It's built with one large interior pocket, as well as two-sided mesh panels for water bottles, sunglasses, or other personal items.

The Tradeoff: This bag looks like it's waterproof, which, while not a deal breaker for some, might not be as aesthetically pleasing if you plan on wearing this while commuting to work or to school. It also doesn't have as many interior pockets as other backpacks on this list.

What Fans Say: "Rather than spend money on a water "resistant" bag that could get soaked in heavy rain, or waterproofing spray that you have to reapply every so often, I thought this would be the better buy. After having ridden in the rain with it, it has proven to hold up very well in heavy rain keeping my laptop completely dry. A very roomy bag, and pretty comfortable straps. Definitely one of my better purchases."

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