Discover the top 14 best waterproof backpacks for 2024, including stylish options from Patagonia and more. Keep your gear safe on any trip! 💻📱📷
When heading into the great outdoors, one essential piece of gear is a reliable, waterproof backpack that will keep your stuff dry no matter the conditions. Whether paddling through rapids, hiking along cliffsides in the rain, or sailing across rough seas, you want confidence that your gear will stay dry inside a quality pack.
In this guide, we cover everything to consider when looking for the best waterproof backpacks and review the top options to fit different activities and budgets in 2024.
What To Look For In a Waterproof Backpack
With so many waterproof packs out there boasting impressive claims, how do you identify which live up to expectations? Here are the key features to evaluate:
Waterproof Ratings: Check the IPX waterproof standard rating (like IPX8) to understand how water-resistant it is. Also see if it floats or is fully submersible.
Fabrics/Materials: Ripstop nylon fabrics coupled with TPU or polyurethane coatings provide both weather protection and abrasion/puncture resistance.
Zippers & Closures: High quality waterproof zippers are essential, along with reliable rolltop closures on top to seal out moisture.
Organization & Pockets: External and internal pockets, straps, bottle holsters, and daisy chains improve gear access and allow attaching more equipment.
Other Considerations: Shoulder straps and back padding increase carry comfort. Also evaluate capacity, weight, and extra features like waist belts and lash points.
The 14 Best Waterproof Backpacks in 2024
Based on testing and reviews, here are our top recommendations for waterproof backpacks across budgets and intended uses:
Yeti Panga 28L – Best Premium Waterproof Backpack
Our top overall choice, this fully submersible dry backpack lives up to Yeti’s reputation for indestructible products. Abrasion proof fabric coupled with a waterproof Hydrolok zipper and reinforced base makes it an unbeatable waterproof pack for boating, rafting, or fishing. It also has lash points for added gear and padded shoulder straps for comfort.
Patagonia Guidewater 29L – Best For Kayaking & Fishing
Sporting high-end submersible fabric and zippers, this backpack keeps fishing and paddling gear bone dry. Clever organizational pockets provide quick interior access too. It carries comfortably thanks to the breathable back panel and strap system as well.
Earth Pak 35L Waterproof Backpack – Best Budget All-Rounder
Extremely affordable yet fully waterproof, this 35 liter Earth Pak backpack has helped many hikers tackle wet trails while keeping stuff dry inside. Durable fabrics, a rolltop closure, and included rain cover provides ample weather protection that stands the test of time.
Backwaters Supply Fogland 25L – Best For Water Sports
Purpose built for aquatic adventures, this 420D nylon backpack keeps your wetsuits, snacks, and phones protected in all sorts of watery environments thanks to its IP68 rating and waterproof zippers. It also conveniently floats if you happen to drop it overboard.
Matador Freerain 28L – Best Ultralight Waterproof Backpack
Wildly popular ultralight backpack that packs down small for travel, yet keeps gear dry in the fiercest storms thanks to its durable ripstop fabric and weatherproof coating. While trim, it lasts ages and has ample lash points for securing extras like tents, sleeping bags, and paddle boards.
More Great Waterproof Backpack Options
Beyond the top picks above, many other quality waterproof backpacks cater to specific needs:
- ISLE 25L Gateway – Ideal submersible backpack for paddleboarders with special straps to attach to boards. Also works for cycling.
- Overboard Classic 20L Floating Waterproof Backpack – A tried and true dry pack that floats if you drop it overboard. Trusted for boating and fishing.
- Rains Rolltop Rucksack 13L – Streamlined, stylish waterproof backpack for urban commuting and light travel. Has slots for laptops and gadgets.
- Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Backpack – Inexpensive vinyl dry bag equipped with backpack straps, ideal for hiking, camping, and paddling on a budget.
- Sea to Summit 65L Hydraulic Dry Pack – Legendary dry bag with removable backpack straps for longer expeditions needing heavy duty waterproofing.
- Skog Å Kust BackSäk Pro 24L Waterproof Backpack – Rugged waterproof pack with backpack form factor keeps hunting, hiking and beach gear high and dry. Also great to organize tools.
The Best Waterproof Backpack For Your Needs
When selecting a waterproof backpack, think about your intended activities, required capacity, preferred materials and quality standards, and expected weather conditions. This will determine which level of waterproof performance you require.
When deciding on a waterproof backpack, one of the first considerations is carrying comfort, especially if you plan to wear it for extended periods. Look for models like the Patagonia Guidewater that have breathable, well-padded shoulder straps and back panels. This improves airflow and weight distribution for comfortable all-day use. Lightweight yet durable fabrics are also key.
For those who want packable versatility, choose a lightweight backpack like the Matador Freerain 28L that stuffs down small, making it easy to store when not in use. When unpacked, features like daisy chain webbing and lash points provide ample attachment options for securing hiking poles, carabiners, and other extras to the exterior. A roll-top closure ensures it stays watertight.
If you’ll be carrying a laptop or tablet, having a dedicated, padded sleeve is a must. Options like the Rains Rolltop Rucksack 13L or Muzee Business Backpack 30L allow you to safely transport devices to work or school within an otherwise waterproof compartment. Some even have water-resistant zippers on these sleeves as an added barrier against rain, splashes from passing cars, and other moisture.
For paddlers and sailors who might accidentally submerge their pack, investing in a supremely waterproof dry bag backpack like the Yeti Panga 28L is worthwhile, albeit costlier. Fully sealed seams, waterproof zippers, and roll-top closures keeps contents bone dry, while attachment loops let you secure it firmly to your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.
If instead you primarily need something for short day hikes and around town usage, more affordable dry packs like the Earth Pak, Vitchelo 30L or Marchway Floating 10L Backpack still provide ample weather resistance. Just don’t expect them to survive extended submersion in rapids. But they’ll block splashes and rain during everyday use and weekend trips just fine.
Budget-minded buyers can find excellent water resistant options from reliable brands that cost under $100 and handle lighter rain and splashes just fine. Water sport enthusiasts who run into waves will want to spring for a more expensive submersible pack. And adventure racers need both supreme weather protection and straps to lash on their awkward gear.
By evaluating these aspects, along with organizational preferences, carrying weight, and sizes, you can confidently select a waterproof backpack that excels at keeping your equipment high and dry on voyages into the great outdoors. We’re happy help answer any questions during your search!