Keeping your gear protected from the elements is something you’re definitely going to want to consider if you’re planning on traveling, hiking, or going backpacking during any other weather conditions apart from sunny and clear skies.
Nothing is worse than reaching your destination and opening up your bag to find that everything inside is completely soaked and you’re going to have to spend the night in a wet sleeping bag or cancel your trip early because your money and travel documents are soaking wet and ruined.
A lot of backpacks these days offer some level of water resistance but if you’re planning on heading into any inclement weather conditions, or at the very least you want some optimal protection for the contents of your bag, then going with a waterproof backpack is something you might want to consider.
These days, when it comes to the best waterproof backpacks, there are quite a few different options to consider and in this post I want to share with you some of my top recommendations on what I think are packs that are well suited for using in wet conditions and rainy environments.
The Best Waterproof Backpack
Before I dive into my recommendations I want to quickly cover the different types of waterproof bags that you’ll typically find.
Water Resistant Bags
Many of the different backpacks and travel bags available these days do come with some form of water resistance and this means that they’re able to handle a small amount of rainfall, snow, or some light splashes from a car that happens to drive by and splash you.
Something water resistant is good if you’re not spending too much time outdoors or if you’re positive that you’re only going to be hiking or camping with a backpack during sunny and good weather conditions.
For example, those of you that commute to work or school using public transportation or by driving aren’t going to need something completely waterproof because it’s possible for you to quickly access some shelter out of the rain or even use an umbrella to stay dry.
A waterproof backpack is designed to be able to handle higher amounts of direct moisture and water without the contents inside getting completely soaked.
These types of bags are able to be worn in heavy rainfall and can easily handle a few hours of heavy rain without you having to worry.
For those of you hiking outdoors in wet conditions or commuting to work on a motorcycle or bicycle or you might get stuck in the rain, going with the waterproof bag is likely the best option for you.
Keep in mind that having something waterproof doesn’t mean it’s going to be able to handle being completely submerged or immersed in water so if that’s what you’re looking for you’re going to want to check out the next type.
100% Waterproof Bags
If you need something that’s completely waterproof, then you want to go with the bag that boasts a 100% waterproof rating.
These are a good choice if you’re spending a lot of time doing any water-based activities, such as white water rafting or canoeing, and you need something where the contents inside are going to stay dry even if the bag falls into the water.
These also help if you’re looking for something that is guaranteed to keep your gear dry if you’re on a camping trip and you’re expecting a lot of heavy rain or there’s the possibility that you might have to crossed some rivers where you’ll be submerged yourself.
With something that’s 100% waterproof it’s possible for the bag to be able to easily handle being submerged in water for quite a while and they typically float as well.
This way if you happen to drop it overboard or if it slips off your back and falls into the water you can still retrieve it without having to worry about it sinking or everything inside getting completely soaked.
Even for photographers, having a completely waterproof backpack is helpful because it helps to keep out the sand, dust, and dirt, and this keeps your photography gear free from debris that might get into your pack otherwise.
Now with that out of the way, let’s take a look at my recommendations.
Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
The Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack is, in my opinion, one of the best waterproof backpacks for hiking and any other outdoor activities where there’s the possibility that you’re going to be exposed to wet conditions and moist environments.
This is basically more of a dry bag with a backpack harness system so that the contents are able to be kept completely dry and protected from the elements and at the same time you’re also able to wear the bag like you would a normal backpack.
The harness system comes with padded and adjustable shoulder straps as well as a waist strap and this makes it a suitable choice if you’re looking for something waterproof to wear for extended periods of time such as if you’re going hiking or even portaging and you want to keep your gear safe and dry.
As for carrying capacity, the smallest one starts at 35L, which is great if you’re looking for a day pack, and the biggest one is 120L, which is a good choice if you’re going camping or portaging and you have a lot of gear to carry.
There are also a few other sizes to choose from so I recommend taking a look to see if there’s one that’s best suited for your travel or outdoor needs.
As for the exterior, it’s made from a 600-Denier waterproof fabric that features TPU lamination and is also durable and UV resistant.
To further help with the waterproofing, there is a roll top closure that helps to prevent any water or moisture from getting inside as well as a welded construction so that the seams are permanently sealed.
There are handles on the top and on the sides so you can grab the bag off of the ground easily or whatever position it’s in.
Unlike some of the other alternatives, having a waist strap really helps if you’re going to be camping, hiking, or portaging and you’re looking for the additional support and stability on your feet.
I would definitely recommend checking out the Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack if you’re looking for a durable and versatile waterproof backpack that’s well suited to be used in a wide range of different conditions and weather environments.
Sea To Summit Flow 35
The Sea To Summit Flow 35 definitely takes on more of a backpack design rather than just being a dry bag with a harness.
This makes it a suitable choice if you’re looking for something waterproof that also offers all of the same features as a dedicated backpack such as a sturdy harness system, streamlined designed, inner pockets, and thick waist strap for more support.
When it comes to carrying capacity, this bag offers 35L of storage space so it’s a good idea if you’re looking for a daypack or even if you just traveling or hiking somewhere for a few days and you’re traveling light enough that you can fit everything inside.
I would also recommend it for people spending the day out on the water whether you’re kayaking or just floating around on a boat where you don’t want to run the risk of dumping your bag in by accident and you want to take advantage of the waterproofing that the Sea To Summit Flow 35 has to offer.
The exterior shell is made from a waterproof and TPU laminated 420-Denier nylon material that’s durable and also resistant to abrasion.
To load your stuff inside, there is top-loading access and the main compartment features a roll top which further helps to prevent water, moisture, and debris from getting inside your bag when it’s all secured up.
The seams have been fully sealed for even better protection.
On the interior you’ll find a white color and this helps to make everything inside more visible and there’s also an internal zippered stretch pocket where you can keep any small accessories that you want quick access to.
As for portability, all of the straps are padded and adjustable so it’s comfortable to wear for extended periods of time as well as easy to carry on your back once it’s properly packed and adjusted.
Såk Gear BackSak
The Såk Gear BackSak is a 100% waterproof backpack made from a 500-Denier PVC material that helps to protect the contents of your pack from water, moisture, as well as sand, dirt, and dust.
To help with waterproofing the seams feature a water-tight weld design and this further helps to prevent any water or moisture from getting into the bag.
As for the capacity, the Såk Gear BackSak offers 35 liters of interior storage space so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a daypack for hiking, kayaking, sailing, camping, snowboarding, or anywhere else where you’re going to be exposed to wet conditions.
The interior compartment is going to stay watertight even if the bag happens to dip below the surface of the water but of course you’re going to want to make sure to grab it right away if you happen to drop it in.
To help with comfort, the back piece has been padded and the straps are both cushioned and adjustable so it’s comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
On the inside is an inner zip pocket and this helps with organisation and also allows you to separate any of your wet gear from the things you want kept dry.
There’s also an outer pocket with a zipper on the outside that you can use for storing things that you want quick access to like you and keys or ID and this pocket is also splash-proof so everything inside is going to stay relatively dry.
To secure everything inside, there is a top clip as well as adjustable side clips that you can do up to secure your gear.
One more thing I want to mention is that on the sides of the bag are D rings and you can use these for holding your water bottle, keys, skiing pass, or anything else that you don’t mind having dangling on the sides.
The Såk Gear BackSak is a pretty nifty backpack, it’s available in 4 different colors, and if you’re looking for something to keep your gear dry in a variety of outdoor weather conditions and environments then I would recommend checking it out.
Aqua Quest Sport 30
The Aqua Quest Sport 30 is a lightweight and durable waterproof pack that’s well suited for protecting your gear and valuables from moisture, rain, dust, sand, snow, and any other weather elements that you might be exposed to outdoors.
At just 1.7 lbs it’s a very lightweight bag and for capacity, it comes with 30 liters of storage space that you can use which is plenty if you’re looking for a day pack or just something you can use to carry around your gear without having to worry about it getting soaked or damaged during wet weather.
The exterior is made from a 420-Denier ripstop fabric and it comes with a water resistant coating as well as TPU lamination.
To help even more with waterproofing the seams have actually been heat taped and this helps to prevent water or moisture from getting into even the smallest parts of the bag itself.
Comes to comfort, the shoulder straps and waist straps can be completely adjusted depending on how you want it to fit and they’re also padded so that the bag fits better and sits better on your body when it’s fully loaded.
To help with breathability and support, there is a mesh back panel so even on warmer days or if you’re spending a lot of time hiking or exercising you can still enjoy some ventilation back there.
On the shoulder straps there are 2 D-rings as well as reinforced webbing loops on the front of the backpack that you can use to attach an assortment of different accessories and small items and there’s also water bottle pockets so that you can store and quickly access your water bottles when you’re on the go.
I would definitely recommend checking out the Aqua Quest Sport 30 if you’re looking for something that you can bring with you hiking, kayaking, swimming, rafting, or even if you’re commuting and you’re expecting some wet or rainy conditions.
Aquafree Dry Bag
The Aquafree Dry Bag is more of a dedicated dry bag that comes with shoulder straps that you can use as a backpack for more versatility and portability.
With a base as a dry bag, this pack is really ideal if you’re looking to keep their gear that you’re traveling with dry and protected from the moisture and other outdoor elements that you might be exposed to.
For portability, it comes equipped with shoulder straps just like a backpack would and these can be adjustable depending on how you want it to fit and also make it easier to carry so that you have your hands-free to do whatever you want.
I’m a fan of the 20L pack because it’s a good size to store all of my small accessories and camping gear that I will be hiking with but there are actually quite a few different sizes to choose from depending on your own needs and preferences when it comes to how much carrying capacity you need.
To help keep the interior waterproof, there is a roll down top that buckles together to help prevent water and moisture from getting inside the bag if it happens to fall into the water.
The exterior really helps with waterproofing and it’s made from a stain resistant and waterproof polymer material and features weather sealed seams as well as a durable exterior for optimal versatility and long-term durability.
For even more durability, there is reinforced construction design at all of the stress points so bad it’s good whether you’re doing some easy hiking or even if you’re doing some rock climbing and you don’t want to be careful with your gear.
I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Aquafree Dry Bag if you’re looking for something portable and versatile that’s going to be able to keep your gear dry in a variety of different conditions.
Using a Backpack Cover
It might be that getting a dedicated waterproof backpack is out of your budget or something you’re just not interested in using at the moment so if that’s the case you should definitely consider using a waterproof backpack cover.
Backpack covers are designed to fit over just about any size of backpack and are typically made from a nylon waterproof material that helps to protect your bag from rain and moisture when you’re out hiking, backpacking, or just walking around in the rain.
They are adjustable and typically feature an elastic strap so that they can be snuggly fit over your backpack and although it’s not going to protect anything if you happen to drop your bag in the water, it is going to protect the contents during some rain or wet weather.
One drawback with using a cover is that it’s very likely that water is still going to make its way between your backpack and your back, where the straps are, because the cover isn’t able to protect this area effectively.
However, having a cover is better than no protection at all, especially if your bag has no good waterproofing and if you’re just stuck in some light rain or doing some hiking or backpacking and you expect some drizzle or light rain fall then the cover is a suitable alternative to getting something that’s completely waterproof.