Like many travelers I have been caught in the rain, not just a light drizzle, but the downpour which makes you look like you fell into a swimming pool rain! The right gear can make these experiences, which are part of travel, a happy memory, rather than, an expensive sad one. I'm here to help you choose the Best Waterproof Backpacks of 2018.
Whilst traveling I opted for a Tortuga backpack with a rain cover, and a dry bag for important items such as my passport, phone and camera. This ensured that my important gear was kept dry when I was caught in a downpour or when traveling from island to island in a small boat. Although this combination was fine for me, you will need to decide whether you require a fully waterproof backpack or if a water resistant backpack will do the trick.
Depending on your activity you need to decide on whether to invest in a waterproof backpack, a water resistant backpack or some combination of both.
A waterproof backup is as described, it offers a watertight area for you to keep your gear safe. They offer the ability to be submerged and are perfect for trips where you are on the water for extended periods of time. Think Kayaking trip or dive exhibition (where accidents happen) and can withstand extended periods in the rain. They are constructed with waterproof material and taped seems, making them completely waterproof.
Water resistant backpacks offer you some protection from rain and splashes of water, but are not waterproof and should not be left in the rain for extended periods of time. They do however offer better storage options and are great for everyday use and travel.
Do I need a waterproof backpack?
Do I need a water resistant backpack?
Both water resistant and waterproof backpacks come in a variety of storage options depending on your needs. In my situation I had a 5L waterproof day pack and a 40L water resistant backpack which suited my travel style. You will find bags ranging from 20L up to 100L based on your requirements.
We are happy to endorse packing light and have traveled extensively using only carry-on baggage. I carry a 44L Tortuga backpack and my wife has a 40L Osprey Fairpoint backpack. To see exactly what we carried on our trip be sure to check out our article here.
The materials used and the construction of your backpack are very important, especially so if you are investing your money in a waterproof backpack. You want to ensure that you are getting what you pay for, so be wary of knock offs.
With waterproof backpacks the materials and construction in use are very specialized and come with an added cost, so it should be easy to distinguish the real thing. One of the main processes used for manufacturing waterproof backpacks is ultrasonic welding. This process is used to bond together material used in construction of a waterproof backpack, doing away with the need for sewing seams and at the same time creating the waterproof seal.
The construction also includes waterproof zippers which again are constructed with a specialized process by highly skilled manufacturers. Finally you may notice that a lot of waterproof backpacks contain a roll down opening which allows for the backpack to be sealed at the top to ensure an air tight fit which allows no water into the bag.
With water resistant backpacks the construction is usually with either nylon or polyester and you will find a myriad of manufacturers. The material used will usually be coated with some form of waterproofing prior to the bag being formed. Water resistant backpacks will usually keep your items dry, though they cannot be submerged and shouldn't be left in the rain for extended periods.
If you think of yourself as an extreme traveler, this is where you'll want to explore. From fly fishing through to extreme treks passing through waterfalls, these waterproof backpacks have you covered.
Sealine Boundary Pack
Scrambler Outdry Pack
Baksak Waterproof Pack
Ultra-Sil Dry Pack
PVC-free PU-coated polyester
Nylon Plain Weave
Vinyl-coated woven polyester
Siliconized CORDURA® fabric
35, 75 & 115
Black, Green, Blue, Yellow
Grey, Green, Blue, Black
Black, Grey, Blue, Pink, White, Yellow
Black, Orange, Grey
As a traveler I would expect to have a backpack with some form of water resistance, I wouldn't purchase the backpack otherwise. There are so many times when I was traveling that I needed to ensure my rain cover was fitted correctly, in the end the combination of rain cover and smaller dry bag worked best for me. Below are five backpacks which offer flexibility in capacity and all offer water resistance which may be just what you need.
Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
Hikpro Packable Backpack
Patagonia Black Hole Backpack
The Outbreaker by Tortuga
TPU and canvas fabric
Lightweight & strong polyester
X-pac Waterproof Sailcloth
Army, Merlot, Grey & Black
Black, Orange, Purple, Green, Blue & Red
Black, Blue, Red & White
Finding the right backpack is a huge part of traveling, you need to make sure that the pack meets your needs. These packs have you covered for those water adventures or the daily grind of commuting to work.
If you would like to check out what we carried in our backpacks for 12 months through Asia check out our carry-on packing list.
Give me some love by either sharing this article or letting me know what your favorite waterproof backpacks are in the comments below.
Simply Travelled is a travel blog dedicated to helping people like YOU break the mold. We want to inspire you to question the status quo and get the most out of life! In short, Simply Travelled encourages people to take a LEAP! – an adult gap year, career break, sabbatical – call it what you will. We’re leading by example and want to motivate you to take 6-months or 1-year out of your daily routine to travel the world and really experience life!