Whether you’re walking to school, commuting to work, or even hiking through the woods, having one of the
best waterproof backpacks is key during the rainy months. However, between the confusing terminology around waterproofing, and the different materials backpacks are designed with, it can be confusing knowing which one to pick.
When shopping for backpacks, the first thing to consider is how waterproof you need it to be. Some bags, made of marine-grade materials like PVC tarpaulin or thick vinyl, will feature roll-top closure systems that let you fully submerge the bag. Others are made of nylon or similar fabrics that aren’t waterproof themselves but are coated with a water-resistant material. These won’t be fully submersible but you can typically walk around town with them and feel confident your things will be protected from the rain and other bad weather.
Another factor is comfort. If you’re going to be walking long distances with your pack, you’ll want padded shoulder straps and a comfortable, contoured design. Also think about storage capacity. How big do you need it to be? Are you looking for a small bag to take to work, or a giant pack to take on backpacking trips? With all of that in mind, here are the
best waterproof backpacks available.
The Best Overall: A 30-Liter Backpack That's Affordable, And Will Keep Everything Dry
Made with sturdy, marine-grade PVC tarpaulin, this drybag-style
backpack is a fully waterproof, fully submersible choice that's guaranteed to keep your things dry. In addition to the thick, 5-millimeter material, the pack features high-frequency welded stitching specifically designed to protect your belongings from inclement weather. At 30 liters, it's big enough to fit what you need, yet still small enough to feel fairly compact. It has handy mesh netting on both sides to hold water bottles or other small accessories and the tough buckles provide added insulation. The backpack weighs less than two pounds and comes at a great mid-range price.
Runner-Up: A Backpack With Lots Of Pockets For Technology, But A Higher Price Tag
Unlike most fully waterproof backpacks that feature roll-top, click-style closure systems, this
backpack has a regular zipper. Inside, this backpack showcases a padded laptop sleeve that's fully protected from water, even when totally submerged. The 25-liter pack is small and portable with soft, cushioned neoprene shoulder straps that make it perfectly suited for daily commuting. It has a front reflector, a UTX Ladderblock buckle, and an adjustable sternum strap. If you're someone who doesn't like the stiff designs on most waterproof packs, this is a great choice. "This product is fantastic," said one happy Amazon customer. "My daughter is using it to walk all over campus in pouring rain, carries her laptop without any concern. I highly recommend!!" It also makes a great day pack for light hiking excursions.
The Best For Water Sports: A Heavy-Duty Backpack That Floats
Designed for water sports like kayaking, boating, diving, rafting, canoeing, snorkeling, or swimming, this fully
waterproof backpack is built with a roll-top closure that allows for total submersion. Its lock-and-fix sealing mechanism will protect things like cameras, smartphones, electronics, and other valuables, even when totally submerged underwater. Best of all, you know it won't sink to the bottom of the river or lake if you knock it off the boat or drop it in the water because it floats when sealed. The backpack can be used as a supplementary emergency flotation device (although note the word "supplemental" — it should never be substituted for a life jacket or other personal flotation device). Available in 10-liter or 20-liter options, it's slightly smaller than full-sized packs and comes in yellow or black color options.
The Largest: A 50-Liter Backpack That Comes With Its Own Rain Cover
At 50 liters, this
backpack is a larger option that's suitable for hiking, backpacking, or carrying to school or work if you have lots of books, gym clothes, or other personal belongings. Rather than using fully waterproof material — which is often rigid and bulky — this backpack is made with softer, water-resistant fabric and instead utilizes a specially designed rain cover to achieve its waterproofing. The cover is located in a built-in pocket at the bottom you simply pull out and wrap over everything if it starts raining. The pack, which comes in seven color choices, is a great option for folks who want a big backpack to use in the rain but don't want to use the stiff, tarpaulin types.
Also, Great: A Lightweight, Water-Resistant Backpack That Folds Up
Although not fully waterproof in the sense that you can't fully submerge it, this
ultra-portable pack features water-resistant nylon that will protect your things in a rainstorm. It's super lightweight and compact with a collapsible design that folds into a zippered front pocket, creating a small, square-shaped pouch. You can stuff it into another bag when you're hiking or walking around the city, or toss it in a suitcase when you're traveling. The breezy pack, which comes in eight colors, is constructed with durable, two-way metal zippers and breathable mesh shoulder straps that prevent your arms from getting hot and sweaty. As a bonus, the front chest buckle doubles as a safety whistle. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.