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Best Waterproof Backpacks

The Best Waterproof Backpacks of 2018

What To Look For When Purchasing A Waterproof Backpack?

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. 

What's The Difference Between Waterproof & Water-Resistant?

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?

  • Are you spending extended periods of time on the water? Think Kayak, dive or surf trip?
  • Are you exposing your inner Indiana Jones and trekking through waist high water?

Do I need a water resistant backpack?

  • Are you traveling through an area during the wet season?
  • Are you commuting to work?
  • Are you planning an extended backpacking trip?

Storage Volume

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.

Materials & Construction

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.

Best Waterproof Backpacks

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. 

Comparison Table

Feature /Brand

Sealine Boundary Pack

Scrambler Outdry Pack

Baksak Waterproof Pack

Ultra-Sil Dry Pack

Patagonia Stormfront


Best Waterproof Backpacks


PVC-free PU-coated polyester

Nylon Plain Weave

Vinyl-coated woven polyester

Siliconized CORDURA® fabric

Polyurethane-coated nylon

Size (L)

35, 75 & 115






Black, Green, Blue, Yellow

Grey, Green, Blue, Black

Black, Grey, Blue, Pink, White, Yellow

Black, Lime, Blue

Black, Orange, Grey

Star Rating

Product Breakdown

Sealine Boundary Pack

This fully waterproof backpack has you covered for all of your full weathered adventures. It offers a Dry Seal roll-top closure which is perfect to keep your gear dry.  The backpack is made of long-lasting, PVC-free PU-coated polyester and scrim-reinforced urethane. The bag is designed in bright colors and has features such as waterproof shoulder straps and a waist belt.

Sizes: 35L, 75L & 115L

Material: PVC-free PU-coated polyester 

Colors: Black, Green, Blue & Yellow



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  • Durable rugged construction
  • Fully waterproof roll-top closure

  • There are no pockets so organization can be hard

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler Outdry Backpack

This backpack is very popular amongst hikers, climbers and skiers. It has an easily accessible hydration sleeve to keep you hydrated during day hikes. The backpack is designed to be supportive and comfortable and users report it lives up to this standard.

The backpack is constructed to be fully waterproof and has a guaranteed watertight compartment made using Outdry technology, which is sure to keep your electronics safe! Outdry uses a one-piece patented construction process that creates a waterproof, breathable barrier. Heat-bonded directly to the outer fabric, this layer leaves no seams, gaps and no way for water to get in.

Side compression straps add to the stability of the pack, and allows you to secure your load tightly. Lastly, two deep side pockets allow easy storage of smaller essentials you may need on route such as water bottles or energy bars, allowing easy access without having to stop on your trip.

Size: 30L

Material: Nylon Plain Weave 

Colors: Grey, Green, Blue & Black



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  • Good accessory straps on the outside
  • Questions around the top drawstring quality

BakSak Waterproof Backpack

This rugged 35-liter backpack is designed with vinyl-coated woven polyester with watertight welded seams. It is constructed to keep you dry from the Asian wet season or getting caught in a downpour during a trek. It has both an option of roll top close or the ability to use the straps on the side, both of which offer a watertight fit. The bag is designed to be comfortable and offers padded back support and cushioned adjustable straps.

From a safety point of view the bag also has reflective material on the outside which is great for commuting and it even floats if it were to be knocked overboard.

Size: 35L

Material: Vinyl-coated woven polyester

Colors: Black, Grey, Blue, Pink, White & Yellow



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  • Rugged design with reflective material
  • Splash proof pocket on the front is not waterproof

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Day Pack

Made from siliconized CORDURA® fabric, this ultra-lightweight and compact day pack resists water and packs into its own tiny stuff sack complete with a Hypalon® key ring attachment. The seams are double stitched and sealed with high density PU seam tape. The unique double Hypalon® roll top is non-wicking and helps create a good seal. The compression lacing system provides secure storage.

Size: 22L

Material: Siliconized CORDURA® fabric

Colors: Black, Lime & Blue



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  • Compact stuff sack to pack itself into
  • Not intended for situations where the pack will be submerged

Patagonia Stormfront Backpack

Downpours and wet river crossings are no match for the Patagonia Stormfront Backpack. Built with a double polyurethane-coated nylon shell, fully welded seams, and waterproof zips, this water-shedding schlepper keeps water at bay so you can carry your gear with confidence. Whether you're fishing for roosterfish at Crocodile Bay in Costa Rica or wading along the Henry's Fork in Idaho, your lunch and fly boxes are guaranteed a dry ride in this lightweight, breathable pack.

Removable shoulder straps stay separated by the 3D spacer mesh lining the back of the pack. Fresh air can flow across your back and shoulders, even as you cast mid-stream. If you need a waterproof fishing bag to sit happily on the deck while you wrassle with your latest catch, simply remove the shoulder straps. The TiZip zipper on the main compartment won't let water in, and the water-resistant stash pocket is perfect for a plastic baggie with your ID and cash.

The harness system comes with tool attachments and a bit of storage. A rod tube holder on the back of the pack gives you the option of bringing an extra, or your one and only, a safe ride to and from the river. The Patagonia Convertible Vest attaches to this pack when you want more upfront storage and immediate access to nippers, flies, and lip balm. Even if you've forgotten a poncho and a tropical deluge ensues, you'll finish the day knowing your gear will be dry, even if you aren't.

Size: 30L

Material: Polyurethane-coated nylon

Colors: Black, Grey & Orange



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  • Removable Shoulder Straps

Best Water Resistant Backpacks

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. 

Comparison Table

Feature /Brand

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Hikpro Packable Backpack

Patagonia Black Hole Backpack

The Outbreaker by Tortuga


Best Waterproof Backpacks


TPU and canvas fabric

Nylon Material

Lightweight & strong polyester

X-pac Waterproof Sailcloth

Size (L)






Army, Merlot, Grey & Black

Black, Orange, Purple, Green, Blue & Red

Black, Blue, Red & White


Star Rating

Product Breakdown

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Designed exclusively for apple with the 15" MacBook Pro and/or iPad in mind this backpack offers a stylish design with water resistance thanks to the TPU and canvas fabric construction. The company Timbuk2 was originally founded by a bike messenger so if you're a commuter looking for a quality product, you can rest easy.

The backpack has a quality buckle and offers either a roll top or flap close depending on preference. There is plenty of internal storage and multiple pockets for organization and easy access. The back support is developed with great ventilation and there is a water bottle holder as an added bonus.

The backpack also comes with a lifetime guarantee which is fantastic.

Size: 32L

Material: TPU and canvas fabric

Colors: Army, Merlot, Grey & Black



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  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Quick access laptop sleeve
  • The bag is tall and slim so wider objects may struggle to fit
  • Stitching on the bottom of the bag can be off

Hikpro Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

This backpack is the perfect daypack for travelers or hikers alike, coming in at only 6.5Oz in weight and a sizable 20L capacity. It is made from light durable water resistant nylon material and has been designed with practicality in mind.

The material and construction allows this bag to be easily folded into a small pocket, this is great for when you need to stuff it into underseat storage on a scooter or into your pocket when bags aren't allowed. We actually had to do this when visiting Forbidden city in Beijing, China. Sure my pockets were super packed, but it worked.

Size: 20L

Material: Light durable water resistant nylon

Colors: Black, Orange, Purple, Green, Blue & Red



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  • Two side mesh pockets for water bottles or umbrellas
  • Folds down into small pocket
  • Thin design means the backpack is not padded

Patagonia Black Hole

Patagonia are known for quality products and this backpack is no different. The backpack is made with lightweight and strong ripstop polyester material with a weather resistant laminate finish. It has a main compartment and a padded sleeve which is said to house most 15" laptops. The top section of the bag offers a smaller zippered section for organization.

The backpack has a molded back panel for comfort and durability. The padded straps offer comfort for day hikes with the sternum strap as an added bonus for those who like.

Size: 25L

Material: Ripstop polyester

Colors: Red, White, Black & Blue



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  • Zippered front pocket for quick access items
  • Water resistant laminate finish
  • No water bottle holder
  • Questionable zipper quality

The Outbreaker by Tortuga

Tortuga were founded in 2009 with a mission to help you live, work and travel on your own terms. I actually purchased and used the predecessor to this backpack for my recent 12 month Asian trip and have no problem recommending this backpack which offers the added benefit of water resistance.

The main backpack compartment offers 35L storage with multiple pockets for organization. The backpack is constructed with sailcloth material which offers almost complete waterproofing, or pretty bloody good water resistance!

It has soft padding for comfort with an adjustable and removable hip belt. There is a protected laptop sleeve which can house up to a 17" laptop.

Size: 45L

Material: X-pac waterproof sailcloth

Colors: Black



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  • Large enough but still within carry-on limits
  • Excellent organization through multiple pockets
  • Front 'flat' pockets aren't very practical
Best Waterproof Backpacks

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.

About the Author Rob & KIm

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!

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