Reviews Of The Top Rated Waterproof Backpacks For 2017

image-of-sea-to-summit-rapid-26l-daypackLooking for the best waterproof backpack? As an avid kayaker, I needed a backpack that would keep my DSLR camera and cell phone COMPLETELY DRY. Don’t be fooled into buying a backpack that’s not 100% waterproof. Remember, there’s a difference between water-resistant and waterproof.

My absolute favorite is the Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DayPack because you can submerge it in water with confidence!

Look, I’ve read every single user’s guide and I’ve been in the field in a HOT HUMID South Georgia summer and a Cold, Arctic Montana Winter. This guide distills all the BS into an easy-to-use-guide.

Comparison Chart

Mobile Device Users: For best results, turn your phone landscape (wide view) to see the entire comparison chart.

1. The Sea To Summit Rapid 26L

image-of-sea-to-summit-rapid-26l-daypackThis waterproof backpack is made from a TPU laminate that features a full-seam sealed design. I have been looking for a daypack for my next hiking trip and would like to share my research on this rugged daypack that is ideal for adventures in snowy, rainy and wet conditions. From various reviews it has been concluded that this is the type of day pack that is suited best for water-sport. In addition, the comfortable and excellent design makes it a worthwhile choice for travel, hiking, commuting and climbing.

Completely Waterproof

The feature that makes this day pack stand out is the fact that the bag is completely waterproof. Users have revealed that they were able to use it completely submerged in water and found that all the content inside the bag were completely dry once they came out of the water.

Another standout feature about the Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DayPack is that it offers various hiker-friendly features. Some of these include the Hypalon lash-loop, mesh pockets on the outside, hydration bladder-support along with the flexible fabric which is far more comfortable when it comes to all-day walking.

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Features And Specifications

  • It features a TPU 420D nylon laminated fabric that is 100% waterproof as well as abrasion resistant.
  • The buckles on the DayPack are made from 7075 Aircraft alloy.
  • The bag features a seam-sealed designed. It also offers comfort with the waist strap that can be removed and a large top-handle that makes it easy to lift the bag.
  • The bag has a white interior so you will find items you have placed in the bag, such as your cell phone or car keys, much easier.
  • The zippered pockets on the inside of the bag provide a convenient way to store smaller items.
  • It offers added comfort for the wearer with the integral ergonomic back, ventilation and the shoulder straps that are perforated.

What Customers Are Saying

The majority of customers who have invested in the Summit Rapid 26L DayPack state that they are impressed by how waterproof the bag is. Others say that the Summit Rapid 26L DayPack is an affordable option and are often impressed by the feel and the look of the stitching. They also state that the daypack is comfortable and easy to carry making it the ideal accessory for day hiking.

There are very few complaints about this product. However, a few people have mentioned that they would have preferred that the seams were welded as the sealed seams are not always as durable. However, even with these minor complaints the Summit Rapid 26L DayPack comes with a lifetime guarantee so this issue is taken care of.

Based on my research I have no hesitations in recommending the Summit Rapid 26L DayPack for adventurers who love the outdoors.

In conclusion, if you are searching for a DayPack for your next outdoor adventure the Summit Rapid 26L DayPack is the ideal choice. It is made from superior material, is comfortable to carry and will always keep all the contents you store in the bag completely dry due to the outstanding waterproof qualities.

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2. SKORCH Original

image-of-skorch-original-waterproof-backpackThe SKORCH original is an awesome dry bag, ready to protect your valuable belongings wherever you go.

With a 10 liter capacity, the SKORCH original is plenty large enough to keep your valuables safe and dry, without being too burdensome. Families have said that the volume is enough to easily hold everyone’s cellphones, cameras and wallets. People also store snacks and whatever else they need secure without issue.

This is a great bag for people who are active. Buyers have used them for camping, rafting, sailing, and even just going to an event in the rain. It does the job and keeps things dry, while looking sharp.

Another tested use for this bag is to store wet clothes, as not only does it keep water from getting inside, but also from getting out. Some people keep this bag in their car for storing swimming clothing or towels. They didn’t want to get their interior or other belongings getting damp and musty.

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What Are Customers Saying?

SKORCH original is a neat looking, well designed product. Users compliment the logo that stands out with a great font, actually contributing to its great looks. With the bold, bright color it’s hard to lose too, no matter where you are!

There are no weak seams or unsealed joints on this bag, and everything is designed to keep water locked out. Everyone says there isn’t any leakage after sealing, even when dropped in water. It doesn’t close like a normal bag, rather it folds down and then is buckled shut. That’s clever, if something that people said was a little different to get used to, but zips and other methods can let moisture in and potentially damage your belongings. Not with the SKORCH original.

Campers have praised the adjustable strap and reinforced bottom, and in general the portability and durability of this bag. Sailors and kayakers meanwhile have loved the easy to clean material, whether coated with salt, mud, or dried seaweed. Water just beads and runs off! The reinforcement of the base allows this bag to even stand by itself, making it easier and more secure when adding or retrieving items even while moving.

If you have an active lifestyle, you need a dry bag- and the SKORCH original would be perfect choice. With it, you can explore and have fun without fear or damaging your property.

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3. Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25 Rucksack

image-of-phantom-aquatics-walrus-25Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25l Premium is a durable and safe backpack, aimed at day trips in wet environments. It’s built strong, and suitable for nearly any outdoor activity in any weather.

Everyone loves the comfort of this backpack, with its padded shoulder straps and lumbar support, as well as the satisfying airflow of the back panel. There are two straps to hold it firmly against your torso, one around the waist and one at chest height. Once those are all buckled up, the bag is reported to stay snug, even when mountain biking. The buckles are easy to use, even when wearing gloves.

25 liters is a perfect size for short trips, whether boating, hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking or motorcycling. Some customers have kept it on board their boat for use in emergencies, and have reported no problems when swimming from a boat to shore, or even going for a quick surf!

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What Are Customers Saying?

Some customers complain that the Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25 Premium isn’t large enough, and it isn’t suitable for multi day excursions. There is, however, sufficient space for a towel, a change of clothes, snacks, valuables (it can fit a laptop), and anything needed for a day trip.

This sturdy, waterproof bag is available in a range of fantastic colors. Customers love the choice between black, yellow, blue, olive, pink and red. Each color includes highly reflective patches both on the shoulder straps and on the front of the bag. They make it, and the wearer, greatly visible for safety.

The unique two way sealing system of the Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25 Premium, with its zipper and roll top, makes this a 100% waterproof backpack. A fantastic feature is that it will float safely if dropped in water, with everyone saying that it kept their things sound and dry. It also protects from dust, mud or sand as well.

The frame is constructed for sturdiness, and buyers have mentioned the quality of materials. The top handle is appreciated by most people for easy carrying when not on user’s backs.

While not big enough for overnighters, customers rave about the quality and comfort of the Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25 Premium and its waterproofing, perfect for day trips. On the backpack there is also a small pocket (around 6” by 4”) made out of mesh that has been used to hold ipods or phones- but not by those going swimming!

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4. CVLIFE (30 Liter)

image-of-cvlife-outdoor-30lSome people have complained about the size fitting of these rucksacks. Like any product, it’s important to test before use. There’s a good trick that anyone with a new bag should do. The trick is to load the bag fairly lightly, but fully, and then go for a short walk. During the walk the bag will settle and you can adjust the straps as needed. After that, the majority of people will not have any problems.

A lot of people have praised the adjustable straps and customization available. Short and tall, young and old, male and female, CVLIFE makes rucksacks suitable to fit the majority of body shapes. Chest straps keep the bag secure so it won’t slip on your shoulders. Users’ results do vary when using these bags for athletic endeavors. Some people jog without difficulties, even with a fully loaded bag, but that depends more on fitness levels than the bag itself.

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These backpacks make for perfect grab bags. Customers who live in hurricane, tornado or flood prone areas mention how great it is for their prepared bag. This bag is fantastic for emergency preparedness for a family. With multiple different sized pockets that have different uses, you can pack whatever you need. There’s also the MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) compatibility of course, which further adds customization and every customer who uses it finds a wonderful feature.

There are occasional complaints about the quality of the sticking and general toughness. Those are usually from people who use the bags very roughly and with a large size and weight jammed into the bag. For the price point, these bags are very sturdy and will hold up well under normal hiking and camping trips. Of course, for day trips these bags perform to the high standards imposed by the majority of users.

Every person who uses these bags enjoys the camouflage colors and the quality of construction. While they may not be the very best available, for the price point you can’t go better. CVLIFE Outdoor Military Rucksacks are built strong with great customization and are suitable for a variety of uses and for a range of users.

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5. ArcEnCiel 70-85L

image-of-arcenciel-70-85l-adjustable-capacity-outdoor-sports-bagArcEnCiel has made a fantastic, rugged, yet comfortable backpack with its 70-85L. It’s made with military specifications and suitable for nearly every big trip or overnighter you may plan to take into the wilderness.

The materials and quality of construction are the best available. The fabric is military grade nylon- tough, and waterproof. Hikers and bikers have said that it is easy to wipe clean, even when covered with mud, and that it doesn’t rot after long term use in wet environments. Every single seam and buckle or zipper on this bag has been reinforced as much as possible. Buyers have said that even with rough handling or moments of stupidity, nothing became cracked or torn. It is built tough.

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What Are Customers Saying?

Buyers said that the ample space in this bag can hold a couple of sleeping bags, water bottles, and all their other gear and special equipment for their hiking or hunting trip. One great feature is the MOLLE expansion system, so it’s easy to strap on a water bottle and other accessories.

Be warned however, even at the smallest capacity (it’s side zips make for an easy adjustment), some customers said that this bag was too large. That is the most common complaint, but for those who are serious about the outdoors, the 70-85L size is wonderful. Of course, it’s not suitable for day trips or tourist excursions to the zoo, but for those of us who need a quality backpack for camping or other trips, it’s a marvel. This bag has been proven by customers to perform in any situation in the great outdoors, from the jungle to the desert.

The comfort of this backpack come up frequently in customer feedback. The thick breathable sponge backing keeps them dry, while the silky but waterproof cotton lining keeps equipment in good shape, no matter the climate. The straps are comfortable to wear, and buyers love the long length that can adjust for any height. At just 4.6 pounds when empty, this backpack won’t break your back, although, due to its size, customers have struggled when fully loaded.

The ArcEnCiel 70-85L is a reliable and strong pack, made with military grade materials and an eye for functionality. This backpack is definitely not the best choice for buyers who want to take a casual two or three hour stroll in a park. For longer trips, in any circumstances or weather, the size and sturdiness of this pack impresses and lives up to any expectations.

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6. ROTHCO Men’s Medium Transport Pack

image-of-rothco-medium-transport-packThis medium-sized bag from ROTHCO is a great option for every day carry or for a bug out bag. It is MOLLE compatible and features a wide range of different pockets and compartments suitable for almost everything.

While there are many compartments in this bag for organization, one that stands out is the included space for a hydration pouch and associated holes for tubing. There are small pockets of webbing perfect for your pens or keys, and the other larger pockets are suitable for electronics or clothing. The MOLLE loops on the outside allows you to attach any MOLLE compatible accessory-effectively expanding the potential storage space.

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What Are Customers Saying?

This multipurpose backpack features waterproofing, although it’s not fully waterproof. While it won’t keep everything dry if you go swimming with it, buyers say that it does the trick in most instances of even heavy rain. The breathable mesh backing is also a bonus that many people found fantastic. Those features make it a popular choice for outdoor use, and it has been reviewed kindly by hunters, kayakers and hikers.

It is important to note the size of this bag, as it only a medium size, and as such will not be useful for longer trips. However, customers have said that it works well, both as a daily carry bag for work or school, and as an emergency grab-bag. It’s also more than suitable for a hiking day trip, but probably not for an overnight trip in the wilderness. For overnight business trips, however, users say it works well. There is space for up to a seventeen inch laptop along with your other necessary items. For a medium sized bag, users are more than happy with how much it can hold and how easy it is to organize.

There are a few complaints about the strap down the center front of the bag, getting in the way of some pockets access. This strap can be easily removed or altered, and the majority of people find it more of a blessing than a curse.

The ROTHCO medium transport pack is a wonderful option, at a very approachable price, for every day carry, day trips, or overnight business trips. It’s also very suitable for a bug out bag. It’s compact but has a surprising amount of storage. There are only a few minor issues buyers mentioned. It is not the very best of its kind, but it’s reported to stand up to fairly rough long-term use- exceptional for its price point.

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7. Diamond Candy 40L Waterproof Mountaineering Bag

image-of-diamond-candy-outdoor-hiking-climbing-backpackFor a day pack with a decent, but not over-sized capacity, the Diamond Candy 20l Tactical is a great multipurpose backpack. It’s useful for a variety of purposes. While a few people find its not quite waterproof enough (without the cover) or is slightly uncomfortable to use, the vast majority find it fantastic and recommend it even for daily use.

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What Are Customers Saying?

At 20 liters, most people find this backpack the perfect size for their daytime as well as for daily commuting use. A few people even use it for grocery shopping as it’s large enough to hold the basics. Some customers have complained about their belongings getting damp after sustained use in heavy rain, but that’s to be expected without using the cover. The bag is highly water resistant and stands up to just about every test under normal conditions. The only real reason to be careful is because the zippers are not fully sealed.

So, if you’re riding home from work in the rain, it’ll be fine, just not if you’re going on a kayaking trip in thunderstorm season. Don’t be scared though, customers who used the included all weather cover had no problems. It’s an elasticised cover that will double the protection of all your things. That covers all the zips too, so you won’t have any worries.

Ample storage is loved by everyone, and this backpack features many pockets and enough storage for a variety of users and usages. There’s a soft lined pocket at the front that is suitable for electronics, used by many for their cell phones or cameras.

One downside that athletic and outdoors type of people sometimes don’t like is the lack of a hydration pouch. For most users, however, this isn’t a problem as there are pouches to hold two water bottles. There’s also plenty of sporting features on this backpack that mean it’s still suitable for outdoor use.

The other complaint heard from users of this backpack is occasionally some of them get slight irritation from the straps. Shoulder straps rubbing on necks is a common problem for all backpacks, so it’s always recommended to test a bag before buying. Everyone in the world has varying body shapes and sizes, so it’s unsurprising that not every backpack will fit everyone perfectly. For most however, this bag is very comfortable.

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or

Read our tactical backpack buyer’s guide for more options like this.

8. Seal Line Pro Pack 115

image of Seal Line Pro Pack 115

Seal Line Pro Pack 115

Specs

  • Fully adjustable suspension system
  • 30-ounce vinyl bathtub bottom
  • Roll top closure
  • Top loading
  • Double sealed seams
  • Extra-large capacity

What Owners Are Saying

This is one of the highest rated models on the market. The majority of owners love the the size of the bag. It is spacious, but fully adjustable for smaller loads.

Most consumers have said they are happy and that there isn’t anything they would change about it. One of its best qualities is its versatility: This backpack can be used for almost in almost any situation.

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What We Love

The bag is completely waterproof. Every seam is double sealed giving them the strength that you need and want to hold all your gear. It is top loading and has a roll top closure to ensure the bag remains completely waterproof. There were some concerns about the size. That’s because it’s on the large size but it can be easily cinched down using the compression bands. That makes it more compact and fit just about anyone’s frame.

This backpack is well designed and an excellent choice for any activity from exploring to boating. The price you pay for it is worth every dime.

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9. Sea to Summit Flow 35L Dry Pack

image of Sea to Summit Flow Drypack 1

Sea to Summit Flow Drypack

Specs

  • Waterproof abrasion resistant material
  • White interior
  • Top loading with roll top closure
  • Seams are sealed

What Owners Are Saying

This one is a very popular choice for hikers and kayakers. The top loading capabilities with the abrasion resistant and waterproof body makes this ideal for anyone that does not want to worry about their gear.

What We Love

We like the size. 36 liters is easy to carry for most anyone. We like that it has a fully padded waistband to add support and we love the fact that it is a top loader. It has easy to use compression straps to keep everything nice and snugly packed, and it looks great. The white interior is a thoughtful design touch; it makes it easier to see what is floating around in your pack.

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10. Scrambler 30 Outdry Backpack

image of Mountain Hardwear Scrambler TRL 30L Pack 1

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler TRL 30L Pack

Specs

  • Waterproof and tested for 24 hours in a rain room
  • Top loading with pull down toggle closure
  • Two deep side pockets
  • Compression straps
  • Ergonomic hip support and shoulder straps

What Owners Are Saying

This is a very affordable pack option. It offers complete watertight safety for all your gear. It is lightweight yet durable. It can pack a nice load.

Consumers have been impressed by the quality despite the fair price tag. The price and the construction of it seem to be the largest selling points.

What We Love

It performs like you would expect a premium priced bag to perform. This is a good solid choice if your budget is low.

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Waterproof Backpack Buyer’s Guide

bikingIf you are an active person at all, then you probably need something to carry your stuff. And whether it’s traveling, hiking, biking, going to school, or work, then you most likely need something that can withstand the elements or whatever adventurous situation you find yourself in.

While in transit and trying to keep your things safe, maybe you’ve asked yourself, “do I need a waterproof backpack when I’m just going to work?”

However, if you’re like Nathan Drake on the show Treasure Quest: Snake Island and trying to keep all of your important documents and electronics safe, you need something that can withstand your lifestyle.

Unless you can outrun raindrops, getting a waterproof backpack to safely house your laptop and other electronics no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing is a must.

History of Waterproof Fabric

mountaineers and outdoor enthusiastsFor mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts, a lot of what makes it fun is how comfortable you are in your gear. Fortunately for us, there have been a lot of innovations in how we carry and store our belongings. Personally, I think it all started with the advent of GORE-TEX. The GORE-TEX fabric membrane has over 9 billion pores per square inch, giving it waterproof, windproof, and breathable characteristics.

Since wet clothing conducts heat three times faster than dry clothing, your body loses its warmth at a much more rapid rate. The folks over at GORE-TEX understood early on that wet fabric takes away your body’s warmth and soon figured out to create a fabric that doesn’t leak. GORE-TEX and other companies then began to work towards creating durable, waterproof products that last a lifetime and prevents that heat loss. As a result, you can enjoy the activities you love while staying dry and comfortable.

Although it is mainly used in clothing, the windproof/waterproof material is easily translatable to backpacks, keeping your extra layers dry. Companies also figured out that fluoropolymer-based treatments make good water repellants and soon extra DWR coatings like Scotchgard were integrated into materials.

Nowadays, waterproofed materials have evolved into breathable fabrics made of nylon or polyester and laminated with a membrane coating made of expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (also known as Teflon) or polyurethane. The strength of the carbon and fluorine bonds in PTFE make it hydrophobic- which I guess makes this chemical reaction allergic to water.

Manufacturers describe how “waterproofed” a fabric is in numbers. For instance, if you put a square tube over a piece of fabric and start filling it with water, then the point where it starts to leak through is the fabric’s waterproofing threshold. This is measured in millimeters and the higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric is. Along with fabrics being better waterproofed, there has also been much innovation in the way of computers, cameras, and technology and the ease of travel.

Therefore, it only makes sense for there to be a high demand for packs that can carry all of our 21st-century stuff and keep it dry in all of the elements. Hopefully, this guide helps you realize what you’re looking for in a backpack with whatever activity you need it for.

“Waterproof” Definition

kayakingMany different backpacks serve all kinds of needs from rock climbing and kayaking to simply biking to work in the rain. So let’s first get ourselves acquainted with what exactly it means when shopping for a bag that’s “water-resistant,” “waterproof,” or “weatherproof”:

Water-resistant:

These bags generally can shield your belongings from light rain showers or water splashes. However, if the pack is left in any precipitation for too long allowing rain or snow to soak through, then you’re at risk to it damaging your things.

Anything that says it’s “water-resistant” means that the material (usually nylon) has been treated with the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) chemical. What the treatment does is help water molecules bond together and then the beads easily roll off, instead of penetrating into your pack and getting stuff wet.

If you are commuting to work or school via car, bus or other secured vehicle, then a little water won’t hurt anything. However, if it’s dumping outside and you have a long trek on your scooter, then there’s no guarantee that your bag (and its contents) won’t be drenched.

Waterproof:

hikingSomething that is waterproof works to keep the water out, period. There’s no seepage going on here, which makes this type of pack ideal for hiking, traveling, and will keep your gear dry in case it falls in the water for a brief period. Although the term “waterproof” can mean different things to different companies, the science of waterproofing includes these three ideas:

  • There is a membrane in the clothing material
  • That the membrane can tolerate 7,000 millimeters of cylindrical water pressure or more
  • The seams are sealed via taped or laminated, and the zippers has some weather guard (to prevent leakage through the non-waterproofed areas)

We wouldn’t recommend using a waterproof bag as a floaty in the pool, but it can keep your stuff dry during a long trek in the rain.

100% Waterproof:

This type of bag is the cream of the crop in dryness. 100 percent waterproof backpacks are a necessity when it comes to white water rafting trips, kayaking, or trying to keep your sleeping bag dry on an overnight camping trip. Not only can a 100 percent waterproof backpack keep out all water, but it can also repel sand, dirt, and dust too. This is the type of bag that can be fully submerged, so is a must-have for water-based excursions.

Weatherproof:

A weatherproof backpack is designed to keep everything out that doesn’t belong there such as dirt and dust particles swept in from the wind and sleet soaking into your pack.

As a relatively new term to the garment industry, “weatherproofing” speaks more to keeping your belongings from being damaged in any bad weather, but doesn’t have the clout that the term “waterproof” holds. In science-speak, weatherproofed bags have a thinner membrane than a waterproofed bag and doesn’t necessarily have sealed seams. However, a weatherproofed bag is still more resilient to water than a standard “water-resistant” pack.

Finding The Right One

Now that you know about the types of water-resilient bags out there, let’s check out the perfect bag specific to your needs:

College Students:

Image of V7 Edge- the 17.3Rain or shine, you have to go to class, and it’s totally understandable if you don’t want your laptop to be ruined on your way there. The best bags for school are ones that have several compartments to hold your phone, wallet, some pens, notebooks, textbooks, and keep your laptop secure and dry.

Since this is a bag you will use quite often (depending on how much you decide to show up to class), then you want to find something that holds everything but is still manageable, and waterproof. We don’t know if your instructor will accept the “my homework got soaked and disintegrated” excuse, so it’s best not to push it.

The one that we recommend is the V7 Edge- the 17.3” shock and water-resistant pack has a ton of room for all of your important items along with its heavy duty weather resistant polyester outer shell. For the warm days, the back padding and moisture control airflow mesh keeps your back dry so that you can finally get up the nerve to ask that girl out who sits next to you in English 101.

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Hiking:

Image of Chaos ReadyYou finally committed to that long hike up to Acatenango volcano, but you have no idea what the weather’s going to be like or what exactly you are getting yourself into. The Chaos Ready 100 percent waterproof backpack is perfect for that down-for-anything, don’t-know-what-to-expect day hike.

The Class 3 heavy duty 500 PVC tarpaulin material that lines the main compartment creates an airtight seal that protects your belongings from dirt, sand and of course water. When the Chaos Ready gets dropped in the lake, it floats.

A highly durable sealed folded system bag is pretty common to see on kayaking trips and water-based activities, but the Chaos Ready has the added benefit of an easy access front pocket to store waterproof accessories or already-wet materials and mesh side pockets for other things without taking up precious room in your pack. Just as the name suggests, the Chaos Ready is equally prepared for anything you may get into.

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Image of Patagonia Black Hole 25It’s also worth noting that the Patagonia Black Hole 25 is a pretty durable day pack. Its 450-denier rip stops polyester material prevents everything from cactus spines to red rock muck from damaging anything in your pack. The thermoplastic polyurethane and durable water repellent coatings will pretty much keep all water out (unless the pack gets completely submerged).

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Kayaking:

Image of COR waterproof dry bagSpeaking of kayaking, you may have your eyes set on a multi-day kayaking, surfing, or whitewater rafting adventure that needs to hold something more than your iPhone and wet swimsuit bottoms. The COR waterproof dry bag has the roll-top folded system to seal everything in as well, but this bag is meant to keep everything dry in a longer duration out in the wild.

The 25 and 40-liter versions come with a padded laptop sleeve that can hold an 11”x14” computer and water-resistant zippers keep all kinds of other jungle gunk out. The 100 percent waterproof COR dry bag also comes with a padded back panel, shoulder straps, and lumbar support with an airflow design.

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Image of NRS HydroLock Dry BagNRS also makes a dry bag ideal for paddlers due to its double protection Hydrolock system. After securing your contents in with the waterproof zip seal (like a Ziploc freezer bag), another roll-down buckled closure locks your belongings in even more. Go ahead, put a roll of toilet paper in it and dunk it in the water to see what happens. We dare you.

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Cycling:

Image of LED Turn Signal Light Reflective Vest BackpackWhen you’re cycling long distances preparing for the next Ironman or using your wheels as a mode of transportation to get to school, you probably want to carry your gear in something that holds all of it and keeps it dry.

While cycling through that next rainstorm or in low visibility areas, it’s also important for vehicles and other people to see you too, which makes the LED Turn Signal Light Reflective Vest Backpack the best in protection and safety.

In the day and night, this 18-liter sports backpack has an easy-to-charge built in lithium battery that quickly and safely gives other vehicles a heads up when you want to turn through its wireless control system without breaking your stride. The waterproof pack has four signals for a right, left, forward and stop to politely and silently communicate your intentions to other drivers.

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Image of Thule Pack’n PedalAnother backpack more designed for commuting worth noting is the Thule Pack’n Pedal Commuter backpack. This waterproof bag has all kinds of secret compartments to hold a reflective screen print rain cover, helmet attachment system while the helmet is not in use, and even comes with a padded removable compartment that can carry up to a 15” laptop. What’s also nice about that laptop partition is that it sits on top of the bag instead of digging into your back while you’re riding.

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Work:

Image of Wolffepack EscapeWhether you spend your days out in the field monitoring animals or live in a city and walk/ride a bike to work, then you probably want something that looks sleek and professional versus something on your back that makes you look like you can’t find your hostel.

For work-related activities, consider the Wolffepack Escape. Its revolutionary orbital design allows you to have your gear in the front and the bag strapped to the back so you can easily get what you need out of it (because it’s right there in front of you). The 18-liter capacity bag can hold a laptop, tablet, and other valuables safely stowed within its water-resistant, high grade polyester fabric, carbon fiber/Kevlar components, and waterproof zips.

But the award-winning design is what makes this backpack one of the best because the ability to keep your belongings in front of you not only gives you quick access to your stuff, but it helps prevent a thief from snatching anything out of your bag as well.

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Image of Chrome Excursion Rolltop 37The Chrome Excursion Rolltop 37 bag is worth mentioning as well. The 100% waterproof companion has plenty of interior pockets and a laptop sleeve to hold up to a 15” computer. The Hypalon MOLLE straps attached to the exterior of the bag are perfect to hold work tools or travel equipment that doesn’t necessarily have to stay dry.

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Fishing:

Image of Vitchelo Dry BagFor avid anglers out there, a waterproof backpack is a must. Whatever you need to catch the big one is likely to fit in a 30-liter Vitchelo Dry Bag. Meant to keep electronics and valuables safe from anything you may experience in the great outdoors, the Vitchelo makes sure that your survival gear, clothing, and everything else stays dry.

Even though it sounds big holding up to 30 liters of belongings, it can easily be carried by any adult. It’s small enough to store in your car trunk, but big enough to carry provisions or keep on the deck of your kayak. This deluxe dry case backpack is made of non-rip material and reinforced seams along with adjustable padded shoulder straps and waist strap.

If you buy a Vitchelo bag, then you can also give yourself a pat on the back for providing clean water to people who need it. Partnering up with Agua Yaku, every Vitchelo purchase goes towards supporting Bolivia’s clean and sustainable water efforts.

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Laptop:

Image of Timbuk2 RogueNow that laptops have gotten more durable and portable, a lot of people are now able to work on the road. Fortunately for us, a lot of backpack companies have realized that we take our computers everywhere we go and need something to keep it protected and dry.

The Timbuk2 Rogue is a boxy-looking bag that Amazon reviewers say a sleek, professional look and is perfect for commuting in Seattle rain. The dedicated laptop compartment is 11” wide and 16.5” deep and noted as “minimal and efficient” ideal for keeping your laptop snug as a bug while commuting.

The biggest fear in traveling with your laptop is that it may get dropped, stolen, or wet. Therefore, you want to find a bag that’s waterproof, padded, and maybe something with lock-option zippers. Just make sure that once you’ve found the perfect bag with all the bells and whistles, you are looking for that it’s big enough to fit your laptop.

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Camping:

Image of Sak GearWhen you plan on posting up in the forest, jungle, or another place where there’s constant moisture, you don’t want to worry about water soaking into dry clothes and getting your matches wet. The 35-liter Sak Gear waterproof backpack is a larger version of the day hiking bags and is designed to get you through the long haul.

The pack features welded seams, padded back support, an inner zip pocket, splash-proof outer zip pocket, and reflective trim. It’s easy to close and waterproof any way you do it, minimizing user error. If the bag gets tossed overboard then it’s no problem- it floats and is easy to spot due to its reflective design.

Keep in mind that some of the top backpacking tents are about 2.5 pounds, so if you are traveling by yourself, then you want to factor in that weight as well. If you’re doing a month-long hike on the PCT or Appalachian Trail, then a waterproof backpack is a necessity because the status of your clothing can make or break your trip.

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Traveling:

COR doesn’t just make good day packs for kayaking- the 25 and 40-liter bags are perfect for camping, overnight rafting trips, and traveling as well. Even though it’s big, the roll-top 100 percent waterproof bag still floats when dropped in the water, making it one of the only types of bags you can take on a paddleboarding or kayaking trip.

If you are one of those people who like to travel with your computer everywhere you go- including taking it on your watersports excursions, the COR bag has an interior padded sleeve that keeps an 11”x14” laptop protected if you drop your pack or it ends up in the water. This bag comes with reflective patches on the front and the straps so you can find what you’re looking for in the dark, but its inconspicuous gray or green colors to help you blend in with your environment during the day.

The Exped Black Ice 45 though has been rumored to withstand everything from crampons to sharp cutting tools. The external attachment points make it easy to strap on tripods and water bottles to the outside while keeping the contents inside bone dry.

The pack is made of 420-denier ripstop nylon reinforced with thermoplastic polyurethane laminate with a waterproof front pocket adding a nice touch.

One person said that when he paddled the Amazon in relentless rain, his Black Ice sat in a puddle of water at the bottom of the boat the whole time and his pack’s contents stayed completely dry.

Cameras:

Image of K&F ConceptEveryone knows that you have to have the best camera/lens to get the best shots and those happen out in the wild. No matter if you are a casual photo snapper or on location for a National Geographic assignment, protecting your gear is of utmost importance (especially if it costs more than your life).

For day shutterbugs, we recommend the K&F Concept camera backpack. Fitted with several padded compartments for DSLR camera pieces, the K&F Concept is a smallish-sized backpack with large capacity.

It’s made of a durable black 100 percent waterproof nylon material. There are all kinds of storage options for cameras, lenses, tripods, accessories, and even a 10-12” tablet. Since there is usually a lot of money invested in camera equipment, the K&F Concept also comes with a customized honeycomb zipper to fasten a code lock or other anti-theft contraption as well.

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For hardcore photographers/backpackers, the 50-liter F-Stop Tilopa and 70-liter Sukha come highly recommended from the folks at Backpacker magazine. Serious photogs need a pack that can carry large loads and provide quick access to their cameras, all while being able to withstand the elements.

The bags are made with rip stop nylon material and coated with polyurethane film to keep equipment dry, which the Backpacker staff said worked perfectly when they got caught in a freak autumn snowstorm up in Banff National Park. After several hours of hiking in wet, heavy snowfall, their contents stayed perfectly dry.

Climbing:

Image of Boreas Monterey packIf you’re one of those people who looks at a mountain or rock crag and immediately thinks about when and how you’re going to get yourself to the top, then the Boreas Monterey pack is for you. The water-resistant, lightweight pack is built for keeping your gear dry so that your total focus can be on your ascent.

Rock climbers have said that the Boreas Monterey’s narrow frame and EVA back panel makes it feel like you’re climbing with a much smaller pack. Plus, the “double-hulled” dry bag inside the outer shell keeps everything from camera equipment to extra layers free from moisture during a storm.

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The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Ice Pack also has a slim profile and is extremely light, 100% waterproof. This simple pack doesn’t come with a lot of features but scores high on weight to volume ratio and comfortability.

If you are planning on going on a multi-day climbing adventure, try to look out for a waterproof backpack that comes with a bivouac sack (also referred to as a bivy, bivi, or bivvy). This very small, lightweight sheet works as a waterproof shelter used by mountaineers, soldiers, and minimalist campers.

Snow:

Creating functional and durable rucksacks for almost 50 years, Fjallraven recently created a Keb Eco-Shell pack perfect for shredding around in the snow. The Eco-Shell is made of waterproof, breathable, and sustainable hard shell fabric treated with a durable water repellant application free of fluorocarbons. Although the Swedish name is hard to pronounce, they have been making waterproof bags with that certain European stylish look.

Image of Patagonia Snow DrifterPatagonia also makes a 40-liter Snow Drifter pack for multi-day winter alpine mountaineers. The Snow Drifter features nylon and ballistic cordura fabrics with polyurethane coating finished with a DWR treatment, top-loading design with side access pockets, and a removable internal frame. The locking cam buckles give you multiple ski and snowboard carrying options for whatever gear you want to trek up there.

Some nice touches of the Patagonia pack also include the microfleece-lined goggle pocket to help keep the scratches off your eyewear, an internal thermos pocket and an organization system for your avalanche tools.

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Style:

Image of Verdict bagIf you’re on that singles snorkeling tour and want to impress that person sitting next to you on the boat, whip out a Verdict water-resistant backpack. You will look sleek, prepared, and ready for activities with its easy-on-the-eyes pack in a stylish heather gray color.

The Verdict bag has three interior pockets to keep whatever you want separate from each other and an extra wide compartment for valuables, secured with a Velcro strap. While we don’t recommend dropping this in the water, taking it paddleboarding, or going on any hardcore excursion with it, the Verdict will do a moderately decent job of keeping your stuff dry.

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Sea-Trekking:

People are starting to get on board with the new sport of sea trekking and with that comes innovative waterproof equipment. This cross between swimming, free diving, snorkeling, and backpacking requires a pack that can meet its demands.

Sea trekkers who participate in this fringe outdoor sport will walk, snorkel, and free dive along a preset route for several days. A day in the life of a sea trekker involves exploring the sea, camping out on the shore, and then continuing on their path the next day. It’s a fusion of land and sea exploration and having the ability to bring enough gear for several days allows the sea trekker to make it farther than an average scuba diver.

A small group of people who got into sea trekking ten years ago quickly realized that they needed the proper gear to be able to do it, so they formed a company called AETEM. The company designs bags to be used on land and on the water, which can be worn like a backpack or tethered to your waist and dragged behind you in the water. A pressure system inflates the waterproof bag so that it bobs smoothly behind you.

The AETEM sea trekking bag contains a deployable anchor so that a sea trekker can be free of it while diving and a flag that alerts boaters that someone is in the area. A sea trekker needs a bag that is going to be fully submerged in the water 90% of the time and can keep one’s sleeping bag, provisions, emergency supplies, and fire-starting equipment dry as well. AETEM also makes a hard shell pack that doubles as a body board.

In conclusion, if you spend the majority of your time in the water and still want to keep your stuff close by, an AETEM pack is the way to go.

How Much Do They Cost?

CostThe cost of waterproof packs can range depending on what type of activity you are doing, how long you’ll need it for, and all of the features you want on it. You can find a good waterproof backpack for work or camera equipment for around $100-$200 whereas a backpack for school can be less than $100.

A super tough roll-down top 100% waterproof dry bag for kayaking and daily water activities costs anywhere from $40-$100 as well. For multi-day camping or hiking trips, a durable backpack that can withstand the elements and extended use is sure to cost between $100-$300 depending on how many liters it holds and quality of the warranty.

Sea trekkers are on another level of waterproofing needs as that niche sport requires a backpack that can be submerged in water most of the time and hold all of your camping gear. AETEM soft-shell and hard-shell packs range anywhere from $230-$500. The price of a waterproof backpack is also dependent on the level of how it is waterproofed, keeping in mind that “water-resistant” and “weatherproofed” may not be as sturdy as something that is 100% waterproof.

Personal Experiences

backpacking in the snowIn researching all of the different kinds of waterproof bags for all kinds of purposes, I thought back to all of the water explorings I’ve done over the years. I live in a place where I go backpacking in the snow and book vacations close to the ocean where I can surf, snorkel, and kayak.

Last November in Semuc Champey, Guatemala, our group had a full day of water activities. We started with a hike down to the limestone pools and continuous jumping down into sections of water followed by the exploration of an underwater cave with a candle to light the way. We ended the day tubing down the river and then jumped off a big yellow bridge.

Caught in the depths of a Guatemalan jungle with only a basic understanding of the Spanish language, our only options to keep our clothing, phones, and wallets dry was to either use a 100% waterproof bag or not bring anything at all. My personal favorite type of bag is a small 10-15 liter dry bag that holds my necessities and floats when it rolls off the boat.

I’m constantly impressed with the innovations of gear and technology to keep us happy, healthy, and dry while in all sorts of weather or environmental conditions. If you are like me and want to experience your life to the fullest without the fear of ruining your expensive stuff, it’s good to be proactive in getting the gear you need so that you are wholly prepared for anything.

Don’t be like Nathan Drake in Treasure Quest and risk your life by jumping in murky Brazilian water rapids to get your bag – just get a backpack with secured straps that is 100% waterproof and floats, so you don’t have to worry.

Whether your lifestyle requires a waterproof backpack or not is completely up to you, but it is nice to have in an array of different conditions. If you are regularly hiking in really wet weather and sea kayaking on the weekends and riding your bike to work in the rain on the weekdays, I highly suggest you get some waterproof backpack.

Conclusion

The journey to find the best waterproof backpack ended when we found the Seal Line Pro Pack 115. It was a simple choice really. When you have a model that someone buys because they remembered that their father has had one for 20 or so years then it’s a product we can easily get behind. It just has the features that make it versatile enough for all uses across the board. It is an excellent choice and number one on our list.

Of course, the other two packs are also great choices, and ultimately it will come down to how much you want to spend and what your personal preference is. If you are serious about the outdoors, then you should have a waterproof backpack; it is that simple.

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