We review the best waterproof backpacks available to buy on the current market, all in our list are waterproofed with varying budget levels.
A waterproof backpack vs a regular one – is it really worth going for the waterproof one? Well, if you don’t want your precious electronic devices getting ruined or that important document getting soaked, it’s a no-brainer that a waterproof version is going to be the better option.
Keeping your stuff well away from the harmful grasp of water is of paramount importance in my opinion, especially when we’re outside without immediate help at hand.
For heading to school or work, kayaking, camping, or general travel, waterproof backpacks are designed to keep your belongings protected from leaks, splashes, and general water damage.
From nonstop rainy days in the city, to heavy downpours on a remote camping trip, you never know when the weather could turn.
Aside from protecting your valuables from splashes, sprays, droplets, and whatnot, they are easier to clean with the waterproof materials, can repel moisture from a sweaty body, and can dry easier after getting wet.
Today, we’ve put together this wide-ranging list to help you find the best backpacks that are fully waterproofed. Stick around until the end, as we cover the best features of these backpacks, as well as your burning FAQs answered.
- See these top waterproof messenger bags for a safe commute
- Photographer? Check out these waterproof camera bags to keep your valuables safe
10 Recommended Waterproof Backpacks to Buy in Canada
- 1. 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military
- 2. Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 Gear Hurricane
- 3. Earth Pak Summit
- 4. Aqua Quest Rio
- 5. Mark Ryden Waterproof Backpack
- 6. Aqua Quest Stylin Waterproof Backpack
- 7. Hap Tim Multi-Functional Backpack
- 8. DryCASE Masonboro BP-35 Waterproof Backpack
- 9. Sak Gear Skog A Kust Backsak 35L
- 10. Lekesky Laptop Waterproof Backpack
6 Key Features to Look For in a Waterproof Backpack
When selecting for your own waterproof backpack, there are some particular features to look out for. Even though there are many different designs and types on the market, most of them have similar elements that make up these backpacks.
Capacity and Size – Much like a regular backpack, it’s important to choose the right size based on what you’re using it for. Do you need something with a large capacity, yet compact and lightweight for travelling? Or something smaller to keep a few belongings?
Straps – Take note if the shoulder straps are padded, plus a chest or sternum strap, and a waist belt will help to take pressure off the weight and be easier to carry. If you’re just using the bag for your daily commute, chest and waist fastenings aren’t necessarily essential unless you travel by bike. If the buckles are adjustable, even better.
- For day trips and island hopping check out these waterproof dry bags
Materials – The textile of the bag will determine its durability and waterproof level. Nylon is one of the most common, due to its high thread count that provides a large amount of protection in wet conditions. PVC, vinyl, and tarpaulin PVC are extremely tough and give some of the best protection against any water seepage.
- beach day? see the best waterproof beach bags available this year
Laptop Sleeve – Having a padded laptop sleeve is ideal for commuters who need to travel with their computer. With a dedicated spot, it will keep the laptop dry and also protected from other items inside the bag.
- To keep your phone safe and other valuables, try the smaller waterproof pouches
Closure Type – The closure methods on the bag are crucial to consider, as they are the main entry points for water to otherwise enter. The main fastener should either be a roll top (that you would typically see on dry bags) or watertight zippers. These zippers are different from regular kinds because the teeth section isn’t exposed, so water cannot get through. If the zippers are uncovered, then they bag is classified as water resistant, meaning it can protect from moderate water levels.
- Something bigger? See our waterproof duffel bag reviews
Storage – Look at the number of compartments, as well as what kind they are. Having a lot of pockets allows you to better organise your items, and these pockets should be well constructed to avoid moisture from getting through.
What Size Waterproof Backpack Do I Need?
- 20-30L capacity is good for daypacks when you’re commuting. It’s just enough for a laptop, some notebooks, and even a change of shoes in some cases.
- 40-50L is ideal for weekends or shorter camping trips. You can find lightweight versions under 1kg so it won’t weigh you down further.
- Anything above 50L is great for longer trips like outdoor camping, where you need to pack your sleeping bag, camping pad, and other gear.
- 70-95L are usually used for expeditions as they are heavier and designed for intense adventuring.
10 Best Waterproof Backpacks Reviewed
1. 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 55L
This model has some of the best protection from water damage thanks to its military-grade construction. Available in 6 different colors, it’s highly durable made from 1000D thick nylon, beefy YKK zippers that won’t wear-down, and compression straps. The zippers aren’t fully hidden away, so this pack can’t be submerged into water, but from heavy downpours the zipper hoods work well at concealing the zips.
An accessory compartment is located at the front of the pack for easy access, plus another large front pocket for additional storage. At the top, there is a zippered pocket with an internal divider for stashing smaller items like your keys and wallet. I like that inside there is a tension system using a pull cord – it helps to keep everything nice and snug inside, so it doesn’t move around and potentially cause damage. All up, you’ve got 30 compartments.
The stripe-like design from the continuous belting is designed for compatibility with MOLLE and web pouches. This gives you even more storage choices because you can attach smaller pouches all over the pack. As part of the Rush Series, it’s been designed with enough storage for a 3-day trip.
- Highly Waterproof 1000D Nylon Construction
- Fully Cushioned Shoulder Straps Plus Padded Lateral Hip Straps Release Tension
- Huge Variety of Storage Compartments Including Internal Laptop Pouch
2. Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 Gear Hurricane
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 20L, 40L
Next up is one of the most robust on the market made from extremely durable tarpaulin PVC material. Not only is this textile one of the most hard-wearing you can find, but this bag also features electronically heat-welded seams, a watertight roll closure, and an exterior UV coating to prevent it from wearing down.
Inside there aren’t too many organisation options, but I like that you’ve got a laptop pouch. It can seal 2 ways, either at the top or down the sides. On the back, all straps are adjustable 3-ways including the chest belts. Double mesh pockets on either side hold 0.8L bottles, and the entire back panel is mesh for breathability.
To carry smaller valuables, like maps, your phone, or wallet, you’ve got a transparent MOLLE panel that is removable and reversible on the front. Also, on the front is reflective webbing to see it at night, a built-in pocket, plus an air purge valve to compress the contents. Another handy feature is the quick-release buckles. They convert the back into a tail pack for strap mounting on the back of motorbikes.
- Rugged Tarpaulin PVC Construction is Fully Waterproof
- Watertight Roll Top Seal & Waterproof Zippers Throughout
- 15” Laptop Pocket & Air Valve for Compression
3. Earth Pak Summit
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 35L, 55L
Suitable sizes for both men and women, the Earth Pak backpack is another heavy-duty model that is made from 500D PVC. This material also prevents abrasions, and won’t scratch expensive gear. To organize your items, there are 2 interior pockets, but the rest is just the large main compartment. Outside you’ve got a splash-proof pocket with a watertight zipper.
The rugged design makes it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts, but it is simple enough to be used by commuters and it’s airline friendly. An ergonomic panel at the back allows breathability and added comfort during long trips.
2 additional belts are attached to the reinforced and cushioned shoulder straps. One low-profile chest one, and one for the waist that relieves heavy loads. The roll top closure is highly secure with an added compression buckle.
- Robust 500D PVC Material & Airtight Zipper
- Watertight Roll Top with Reinforcing Buckle
- Free Waterproof Phone Pouch Included
4. Aqua Quest Rio
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 40L
Another choice from Aqua Quest, this model also uses a dry bag system for the best protection. It has an airtight and watertight rolling closure, it’s lightweight, and resistant to abrasions. Much like the previous edition from this brand, you can momentarily submerge it underwater, and the contents will remain dry.
It consists of 420D nylon fabric that is waterproof and ripstop, meaning it won’t tear or get holes easily. This is paired with the TPU lamination on the inside, and the DWR coating on the outer fabric. These elements heighten its waterproof abilities, making it ideal for travelling to areas with heavy wet conditions.
As well as the massive main compartment, you’ll also find a front zippered pouch. The zipper is watertight, so you can put small electronics or other valuables and access them rapidly. The back straps are very wide and designed for comfort to take the pressure off if you’re at full capacity. Along with the sternum band, there is a hefty waist belt that has padding and mesh for airflow.
- Waterproof & Hard-Wearing 420D Ripstop Nylon Fabric with TPU Lining
- Ultralight 875g Easy to Carry
- Dense Foam Back Panel & Straps Add Comfort
5. Mark Ryden Waterproof Backpack
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 12.6” L x 6.3” W x 19.7”H
Modern at heart, this model is large capacity that can fit laptops up to 17.3”. It has a rather flat form, that sits comfortably on the back with 12mm cushioned shoulder straps and honeycomb mesh for breathability. Inside, there is the main pocket, a padded laptop sleeve, and 4 additional pockets. On the front, you’ve got numerous other quick stash sections, in addition to the anti-theft pouches for valuables.
Constructed with PU coated Oxford material, it’s not only fully waterproof, but also durable. It feels quite sturdy to hold, so it won’t sag with weight. You’ve also got SBS zippers which are also waterproof, making this a highly protective bag as water can’t penetrate at any point.
Multi-carrying options makes it easier to travel with. Carry it comfortably on your back, or quickly grab it with the top handle and carry it like a handbag. You can strap it to your chest to take some pressure off your back, or you can use it as a roller luggage belt. Some other cool features include a compass and whistle on the chest strap, plus a USB charging port on the left side.
- Modern Sleek Design with Waterproof Oxford Cloth
- Waterproof Zippers Increase Protection
- Plenty of Interior Storage Plus Several Hidden Pockets
6. Aqua Quest Stylin Waterproof Backpack
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 30L
Great for travelers, next we’ve got the Stylin Backpack from Aqua Quest. It has a very compact shape that tapers at the bottom, resembling a dry bag. Another element that relates it to a dry bag is the roll top, which ensures the main opening is secure and watertight. This model can protect from rain, snow, dirt, sand, and dust.
Focusing on its waterproof nature, it’s made from tough 420D nylon ripstop fabric with a DWR outer coating, and TPU lining on the inside. Fully abrasion-resistant, it has double-bar tacked stress points and heat taped seams to increase its lifespan. Since it’s basically a hybrid between a dry bag and backpack, it can even be submerged temporarily underwater.
In terms of comfort, the chest and hip straps contour to your body for a snug fit. It features an air-mesh back panel which is soft and ventilated when you sweat. Even though there is a front zip pouch, the zipper is splash-resistant so you can keep your smaller valuables dry and at quick access.
- Heavy-Duty 420D Ripstop Waterproof Nylon Fabric
- Watertight Roll Top Closure & Splash-Proof Front Zipper
- Large Front Sleeve Pouch for Wet Item Storage
7. Hap Tim Multi-Functional Backpack
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 11.81”L x 7.8”W x 18.11”H
Next we have this multipurpose bag from Hap Tim. It’s ideally used by parents, as it works well as a diaper bag and for other baby care essentials. It’s even got special stroller straps at the top, so you can attach it to the handle of your stroller and access it hands-free. Since it has a vintage look to it though, it works perfectly fine as a regular backpack for school, work, or photography.
The main section measures a large 11.2” in width and 16.1” in height, making it a great space for storing plenty of belongings. You’ve got different sized stash pouches inside, plus a front zip pocket, and front insulated compartment that holds 2 baby bottles. At the back, the bottom area can also open, and you can stash diapers, wipes, and toys at easy grasp.
A poly-cotton canvas blend ensures waterproof protection; however, the zips are exposed. This means it’s water resistant instead of completely waterproof. It will keep contents dry from splashes and moderate rain, but I wouldn’t use it for torrential downpours, and it can’t be submerged.
- Waterproof Poly-Cotton Canvas & Water-Resistant Zippers
- Top Stroller Hooks & Soft Cushioned Shoulder Straps
- Double Insulated Bottle Holder at Easy Front Access
8. DryCASE Masonboro BP-35 Waterproof Backpack
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 30L
Our next pick is from DryCASE and is another backpack version of a dry bag for kayaking, fishing, hunting, and general adventuring. It is 100% waterproof made from high-quality waterproof vinyl and watertight roll top. It weighs just 1.2kg and sits flush to the back with its compact and flat design.
With the addition of a top handle, it can be carried like a traditional dry bag, or as a backpack. The shoulder straps are thick and padded, with waist and chest belts to release pressure. This cushioning also allows you to wear the bag for longer periods, as the weight is evenly distributed. There are no pockets inside, but you’ve got a coated front mesh pocket, a side bottle pouch, and double adjustable bungee cords to keep things snug and tight.
One of the highlight features for us is the two-way valve. It allows you to use this bag as a cooler, or you could even fill it with water to use it as a shower. The valve lets you drain water out, and we also think you could fill it with some air to make it float on water.
- Durable & Waterproof Vinyl Material
- Front Storage Pocket with Waterproof Zipper
- Doubles as Regular Dry Bag with Roll Top Handle
9. Sak Gear Skog A Kust Backsak 35L
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: 25L, 35L
This is a contemporary take on the ordinary dry bag, with its rounded edges and overall sleek design. The sheen from the 500D PVC adds to the modern appearance, and you can choose from all black, grey, or vibrant pink, yellow, or blue. The construction is rather simple, with 2 shoulder straps and one chest belt. It looks quite comfortable to wear though, as the back piece is well-padded with thick foam.
2 closure methods include using the roll top or using the side clips to adjust and create a compressed fit. To hold water bottles or other gear, you’ll find some convenient D-rings on the sides. At the front, there is a zippered compartment. With the zipper airtight, it’s also waterproof. This means the entire bag can be submerged briefly underwater.
Added features include night-time safety with a reflective patch trim so you can see it in the dark, it can float, and the roll top doubles as a convenient handle.
- Strong 500D PVC Construction with Waterproof Zippers
- Interior Organisation Stash Pockets
- Padded & Breathable Mesh Straps & Sternum Belt
10. Lekesky Laptop Waterproof Backpack
Liter Capacity/Dimensions: Fits 15.6” Laptops
Last on our list is a stylish pick that is perfect for students, businessmen and women, and travellers. Made from PU leather, it looks and feels like genuine leather. This leather is waterproof, anti-abrasion, lightweight, and durable, but the exposed zipper means you can’t use it in extreme downpours. The simple all-black design and fun pocket pattern make it suitable for many different styles.
Use it as a backpack or like a regular handbag with the long top handle. It fits 15.6” laptops with a dedicated laptop sleeve – it’s also a great size for tablets like iPads or Kindles. Inside, there are 3 other open pouches for stashing smaller valuables, plus a large main section for larger items. On the front is a spacious pocket for grabbing your phone, pens, keys, and so on, at easy reach.
Other hidden stash pockets can be found on the back. A sunglasses compartment on a shoulder strap, a flat pouch, and a side holder for bottles. Other than the main zip, it uses snap clasps to close.
- Waterproof & Anti-Scratch PU Leather
- Water Resistant Main Zipper
- 13 Organisation Options
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Cover My Waterproof Backpack?
Waterproof backpack covers are a great option if you’re looking for that extra element of protection. you can even find some that are high-vis, so you stay safe while cycling or travelling in the dark. Most of these covers are quite simple to do. They usually slide right over the bag, then there are straps and loops that tie around the shoulder straps to secure the attachment.
How to Clean and Wash a Waterproof Backpack?
Most are completely washable as the materials won’t deteriorate from water exposure. However, take note if the manufacturer states if it’s machine washable or not. Even if it is, try not to use harsh chemicals or detergents, and avoid used a rough scouring pad like a metal scrubber. This could damage the structural integrity which can then affect the waterproof membrane or outer coating. Otherwise, just wash by hand with a gentle cleanser, or simply hose it down at the end of each use. Always make sure it dries fully before using it again.
How to Waterproof a Backpack?
There are plenty of waterproof sprays on the market that add an extra layer of protection. But we don’t recommend a spray if you’re entering harsh conditions, as water could still leak through weak seams or uncovered zippers. If you need something for tough conditions, you’ll need to purchase one of high quality. Also, you could use a waterproof cover, but they won’t shield as much as a genuine 100% waterproof bag.
What Can I Use a Waterproof Backpack For?
Getting caught in a downpour isn’t a rare thing, and you’ll be glad that your belongings are safe and secure from water damage. Especially if you’re transporting electronics, important documents, sleeping gear, or any other valuables, the last thing you need is things to get ruined by a preventable means.
Some of the most common uses include for commuting to work or school in the rain, travelling, hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. You can even find submersible versions that you can take kayaking or other water sports, where the bag can also float, and the contents remain dry.
Conclusion on Waterproof Backpacks
After taking in all this information, the main thing to think about before purchasing your own waterproof backpack is what you’ll be using it for, and for how long at one time. Will you use it daily? Or for overnight trips? Do you need something for camping, fishing, or doing other outdoor activities for an extended time?
What type of wet environment will you usually be exposed to?
These are the questions you need to be asking yourself, as well as considering the main features we mentioned above. The best waterproof backpacks on our list have been chosen because of their great quality, range of designs, and waterproof abilities, to be able to withstand wet conditions and keep your valuables dry.