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5 Best Waterproof Backpacks and Water-Resistant Backpacks for Travel (2023)

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A waterproof backpack or water-resistant backpack can save your valuable luggage and electronics from irreversible damage.

However, many on the market claim to sell a waterproof backpack or water-resistant backpack, only for the reviews to state otherwise.

When looking for a waterproof backpack or water-resistant backpack, it’s important to understand the reasons why you need your backpack to be waterproof.

For days of hiking in challenging conditions, a 100% waterproof backpack is going to be ideal compared to a water-resistant backpack.

Likewise, if you need only to protect your laptop and electronics, a heavy-duty waterproof dry bag isn’t going to be practical.

Whether you’re looking for a waterproof backpack, water-resistant backpack, or waterproof cover for your backpack, our list of some of the best waterproof backpacks and water-resistant backpacks will cover you for a wide range of needs.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive right in, excuse the pun!

Best Waterproof Backpacks

Top Pick

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Durable, spacious, and built to withstand wet conditions and rugged terrain, the Patagonia Black Hole Pack is a great choice of travel backpack for seasoned travelers and outdoor adventurers.

Quick Picks

Don’t have time to read this article? Then don’t worry. Here are some quick picks to get you to the right waterproof backpack, without having to spend a long time reading everything in the article:

Things to Consider Before Buying a Waterproof Backpack

6 Best Waterproof Backpacks and Water-Resistant Backpacks for Travel

The Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant

Understanding the difference between a waterproof backpack and a water-resistant backpack is imperative to finding a backpack that does exactly what you need it to do.

Many companies online will claim that their backpack is ‘waterproof,’ only then for the product reviews to state otherwise.

Likewise, you may only need a water-resistant backpack to keep your laptop dry while commuting in the rain, yet may end up buying a 100% waterproof dry bag. Perfect for hiking, but not so much for carrying a laptop!

At a higher level, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you need to submerge the backpack underwater fully.

The Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant backpacks

If yes, you most definitely need a waterproof backpack. If not, a water-resistant backpack should work for you.

Water-resistant backpacks will keep heavy rain and other precipitation out of the bag, but would not be able to stop water coming in if they were fully submerged.

Also, some backpacks may be ‘waterproof,’ but only for up to ten minutes, for example.

If a backpack says it’s waterproof’, the best thing to do is, firstly, read the product description and then, more importantly, read the reviews.

Some backpacks may also be listed as ‘waterproof,’ but in fact, have a small waterproof pouch inside the backpack, so look out for this.

What Does the L Mean in Backpack Description?

waterproof backpack and water resistant backpack cover

Particularly for hiking or outdoor backpacks, you’ll often see the size measured in L, rather than “ (inches). L stands for liters, but it does not mean how much water a backpack can hold.

Quite simply, L means the backpack’s volume in liters – the total amount it can hold at maximum capacity.

It’s a little harder to visualize, but the larger the L, the more ‘room’ inside the bag at full capacity.

Best Waterproof and Water Resistant Backpacks

Now that we’re clued up on the features of waterproof backpacks and what to look out for let’s delve into my list of top picks.

Best 100% Waterproof Backpack

Let’s start the list with a backpack that is, unquestionably, 100% waterproof. Due to this requirement, you’ll find it is are something of a backpack/dry bag crossbreed. Its functions, style, and storage features, as a result of this, will be a little limited.

But you can guarantee it has been designed for water-based outdoor activities, where the bag will consistently come into contact with, or be fully submerged beneath water.

1 – Earth Pak Heavy Duty Roll-Top Waterproof Backpack

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An excellent backpack from Earth Pak, this waterproof backpack has a roll-top closure strip at the top, to make sure water stays out and keeps your valuables inside dry. All you have to do is fold the top section 3 or 4 times, buckle it up, and away you go.

You get three choices of size. 35L in itself gives you a good amount of storage space, but if you want to carry a lot of items, the 55L gives you almost twice as much volume to store your belongings inside. If you really want ample space, you can go big with the 85L model.

The backpack has also been designed with a few handy additional storage features, such as a built-in zippered pocket and mesh compartment on the inside.

It’s also very comfortable to carry, despite how expanded it can get. Both the shoulder straps and back panel are padded heavily, which stops unwanted bulges and items from digging into your skin.

The heavy-duty waist belt is a welcome relief and helps take the strain off your back and shoulders.

It packs well in your luggage, and with five colors to pick from, it is an excellent choice if you need a waterproof backpack that does what it says on the tin.

Best Hiking Backpack

A 100% waterproof dry bag or backpack hybrid is great for hiking, but by design, its heavy-duty and can be larger than a standard backpack.

If you want a strong, durable, and water-resistant backpack that can hold up against even the harshest of elements, this section is for you.

2 – Patagonia Black Hole 25L Waterproof Backpack

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For a durable backpack to brave the great outdoors we turn to Patagonia, and their striking, ‘we mean business’ 25L black hole backpack.

With a sizeable 2L and 17.7” x 14.2” x 9.4” of capacity at your disposal, you have ample room for all your travel gear, and then some.

At 1.6lbs, it’s a durable, heavy-duty backpack that will hold up against even the most difficult of terrain.

Inside, you get an eye-opening amount of padding that will protect even the most delicate of electronics. You get a sizeable main compartment, with added side pockets, and a padded front pocket.

Everything inside will be protected with more resistance than a fiercely loyal guard dog.

It has a vented back and padded straps, making it easy and comfortable to carry, even at its size and capacity, and the elastic pockets can be used to store your water bottles.

This is a lean, mean waterproof backpack to take with you on some truly epic outdoor adventures.

Best Waterproof Laptop and Camera Backpack

Now that we’ve explored the outdoor options let’s look at a backpack that is designed for commuters, college kids, and a traveler that needs to work.

3 – Matein Water-Resistant Laptop Backpack

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The Matein travel laptop backpack gives you get a separate laptop compartment for laptops up to 15.6”, a spacious secondary compartment for your electronics, a front compartment, two side mesh pockets, and a key fob hook, all in one.

Your back, shoulders, and hands will have plenty of support with the ventilated padding straps, airflow back panel, and foam strapped top handle.

Inside, you also get plenty of padding to keep your trusted laptop and belongings safe.

Its slim design allows it to be slid over the top of luggage handles, and you also get a built-in USB charging cable, which can be a life-saving feature in those dreaded dead battery moments.

Lastly, its durable polyester fabric exterior and metal zippers keep the seal tight and rain or heavy precipitation out.

Best Women’s Waterproof Backpack

If you’re specifically looking for a women’s waterproof backpack that strikes a balance between fuction, style, and water resistance, take a look below.

4 – The North Face Women’s Vault Water Resistant Backpack

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Lastly, we turn to The North Face and their stylish, well-designed Vault water-resistant backpack.

Composed of sturdy 600D polyester, The North Face Vault model gives you a backpack that can handle a little rough and tumble, while also keeping your valuables dry against heavy precipitation or spillages for those hand-over-mouth moments.

At 26.5L, there’s ample room to store your valuables, with plenty of top-notch organization. You get the main compartment, a front zippered pocket, a sleeve in the main compartment, and two side mesh pockets.

The straps, injection-molded, feel great against the shoulders and skin, and the addition of the chest strap allows you to distribute the weight without putting your back under enormous stress.

With several colors to choose from, this is a great choice of water-resistant backpack for any frequent female traveler.

Best Waterproof Backpack Cover

Replacing your backpack entirely, however, isn’t just the only way to get your hands on a waterproof backpack.

Waterproof backpack covers, which fit around your standard backpack, are a more compact, cheaper option if you love your current backpack and don’t want to part with it.

5 – Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover

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The industry-leading Osprey complete my list with their ultralight rain cover. A stylish, durable bag to behold, you get the choice of medium, large, or XL, covering you from 30L – 110L of waterproof backpack.

Made from tear-resistant 40D rip-stop nylon, you’ll have no problem taking this waterproof rain cover through difficult terrain or very wet conditions.

The cover folds up small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, so it is very light and easy to travel with when not being used.

And, with its full-wrap clinch attachment, you’ll have no issue with the cover pulling off your backpack due to rain, wind, or strap movement.

It also comes with reflective graphics and a blinker light attachment, so you can wear this cover under the darkness of night safe in the knowledge you’ll be visible to those around you.

This is a great addition for any traveler who wants to keep their backpack safe and dry.

Waterproof and Water-Resistant Backpack Summary

Hopefully, you should have no trouble finding the right backpack or cover to keep your valuables dry and free of damage.

Just remember, think long and hard about the key reasons you need to buy a waterproof backpack.

A water-resistant backpack may suffice, depending on the type of travel you’re looking to do.

But if you’re going out into the wilderness, where the weather and conditions can be very wet, be sure to look at how waterproof each rucksack or backpack is.

You Might Also Like to Read

If you’re still keen to add to your travel gear, or to buy complementary products for your brand new waterproof backpack, be sure to check out some of our other articles:

Save and Pin for Later

Already planning to purchase a waterproof backpack, but not right now? Pin this article to one of your Pinterest boards, to keep it in a safe place ready for when you’re looking to get yourself a waterproof backpack.

5 Best Waterproof Backpacks and Water-Resistant Backpacks for Travel

Author: Dale Johnson is a full-time digital nomad and content creator, hailing from the UK. He is passionate about the latest travel gear and tech and is always looking to bolster and improve his nomadic setup and attire.

Images licensed via Shutterstock


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