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A handy backpack should provide the right balance of comfort, durability, and capacity for your needs. But when it starts to rain, only the best waterproof backpacks can keep your things away from water. Moreover, these bags ensure your valuables stay dry if you forget to remove them before washing.
You’ll find several ‘truly waterproof’ backpacks from a quick internet. However, we’ve written this piece to save you from digging through them for ‘the one’ or ending up with a rip-off.
In this article, you’ll get our honest reviews of the top 7 fashionable yet waterproof backpacks. We’ll also provide a guide on what to consider before buying one. Finally, we’ll round things off by answering the most-asked questions on waterproof backpacks.
Our top 3 picks
Here’s a glimpse of our top waterproof backpacks if you’re in a hurry:
- YETI Panga 28 Waterproof backpack (Best overall waterproof backpack): This is a simple and comfortable backpack. It is made from superior materials, including quality zippers, handles, and Velcro straps. According to YETI, the Panga 28 is a 100% waterproof backpack that keeps everything in it dry.
- FE Active Cloudbreak Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for design): The Cloudbreak can hold 30-liters of gear. It is PVC tested and made from thick Vinyl tarpaulin. Asides its decent capacity, the Cloudbreak comes with bungee cords.
- iDrybag Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for comfort): This backpack has a sleek design and minimalistic look. It is designed for various outdoor activities and has inner and outer pockets to keep your things bone-dry.
|YETI Panga 28 Airtight Waterproof Submersible Backpack
|FE Active Dry Bag Waterproof Backpack - 30L Eco Friendly Bag for Men & Women for Fishing, Travel, Hiking, Beach & Survival Gear. Storage for Camera & Camping Accessories. | Designed in California, USA
|IDRYBAG Waterproof Dry Bag Dry Sack, Lightweight Dry Backpack Water Sport, Hiking Dry Backpack Shoulder Straps 20L/30L/40L
Reviews of the best waterproof backpacks of 2020
After researching, checking out related reports and recent customer reviews, we came up with this list of the best waterproof backpacks on Amazon:
1. iDrybag Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for comfort)
This 100% waterproof backpack is one of the most stylish bags available. It comes in different capacities, which all have ‘humanized designs.’ This means the iDrybag backpack has ergonomic features for your comfort. It also features an inner pocket for keys, clothes, and books, and an outer pocket for easy-to-grab items like a knife or flashlight.
The iDrybag backpack is suitable for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping. Additionally, it is ideal for water sports like kayaking and surfing.
Dimensions: 12.6 x 6.3 x 21 inches
Weight: 2.68 pounds
Capacity: 30 liters
Material: 500D PVC fabric
IP Standard: IP 68
Warranty: Lifetime warranty, three-month money-back guarantee
1. Ergonomic design: The iDrybag backpack is a multipurpose backpack that’s designed for comfort. It has adjustable waist and sternum belts and a widening handle. Its breathable straps use a honeycomb carrying system.
2. Safe build: Asides its ergonomic design, this bag also comes with a lifeguard whistle on its sternum buckle and reflective trips.
3. Quality material: This backpack’s 500D PVC fabric is scratchproof, dustproof, and snowproof. It also has three waterproof layers.
- Sleek and attractive design.
- Super comfortable for outdoor activities.
- Spacious inner and outer pockets.
- Thin shoulder straps rip easily.
This iDrybag unit is our best waterproof backpack for comfort.
The China-made bag is soft, and you can fold it into your suitcase or travel bag. We like that its inner and outer pocket helps keep you organized. However, our favorite thing is the extra 2-liter dry bag that iDrybag includes in the box.
We found that you can wipe dirt off the iDrybag backpack (except its logo and printing area) with alcohol. But according to recent customers, you’ll need to be careful because it’s not the most durable backpack.
The iDrybag backpack comes with six simple instructions on how to use it. Overall, consider getting this bag if you need an affordable, waterproof, and comfortable backpack.
2. FE Active Cloudbreak Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for design)
A top-notch backpack should be spacious, comfortable, durable, and wearable for rainy adventures. The Cloudbreak is an example of a dry bag that meets and exceeds these requirements.
This eco-friendly bag comes in black, has two side pockets for bottles, and features an inner pocket for your items. According to its manufacturers (FE Active), the USA military uses it for its floating capabilities and ability to keep gear dry.
The Cloudbreak is suitable for virtually all types of outdoor activities, including trekking, rafting, hiking, camping, and skiing. If you throw some ice packs in it, this FE Active backpack can also double as a cooler.
Dimensions: 13 x 7 x 21 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Capacity: 30 liters
Material: Marine-grade 500D PVC
IP Standard: IPX8
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
1. Sleek design: Thanks to its lightweight design, the Cloudbreak can fit into your luggage. It has a roll-top closure system for storing valuables and an adjustable chest strap. More still, the Cloudbreak features padded mesh-lined shoulder straps.
2. Corded exteriors: The Cloudbreak has bungee cords on its backside. This allows you to carry additional items for adventures.
3. Ergonomic design: The dry bag has breathable straps. It is designed to improve airflow than previous FE Active units. Also, its back panel is padded for comfort.
- Comfortable to wear for long hours.
- Submergible and handy for water sports.
- Durable and cool design.
- No waist-strap.
The Cloudbreak has virtually everything anyone would want in a mid-size dry bag. Its manufacturers use quality materials to construct it, and this dry bag is a reliable IPX8 unit. Nonetheless, the Cloudbreak is our best for design on this list.
FE Active claims that the Cloudbreak passes controlled and uncontrolled tests, including a dip in the Pacific Ocean. We think this is pretty impressive, even for an eco-friendly unit that is designed to withstand harsh conditions.
Our research found that the Cloudbreak floats, but you’ll have to roll and secure it properly.
We are convinced this backpack is worth its tag, considering the features it packs. Therefore, consider investing in the Cloudbreak if you need a 30-liter sleek dry bag.
3. Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for material and durability)
This bag is one of the top stylish waterproof backpacks on Amazon. Made for various adventures, the Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag packs outstanding durability and ergonomic features. It also comes in exciting colors and capacities.
According to this dry bag’s manufacturer, you’ll get a 6.6-inch phone case in its box as a gift.
Dimensions: 11.2 x 5.4 x 17.7 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Capacity: 40 liters
Material: 500D PVC
IP Standard: IPX8
Warranty: One-year warranty
1. Secure seal lock: This backpack features fully welded seams and a solid roll-top closure system. It is made from rugged PVC materials. Altogether, these features protect the bag from rips and punctures.
2. Innovative design: The Piscifun Waterproof Dry Bag is a comfortable backpack. It has adjustable, removable straps and an outer mesh for easy-to-use gear. This makes it suitable for surfing, boating, camping, and other outdoor activities.
3. Lightweight: Despite its design, this backpack is easy to lift even when fully packed.
- Durable and quality construction.
- Suitable for several outdoor activities.
- Cool colors to pick from.
- Mesh pockets rip easily.
- No side pockets.
If you’re looking to get a bag that’ll keep your gear from the rain, this backpack should be one of the top ones you consider. It is bigger than it looks on Amazon and foldable. Still, you can carry valuables like a pair of jeans and blankets with it, as long as you roll them up tightly.
The only hitch we found is that there are no side pockets on the unit. However, this takes nothing from the functionality of the backpack.
Overall, the Piscifun 40-liter waterproof dry bag is worth considering if you’re working on a budget.
4. MarchWay Floating Waterproof Dry Bag (Best affordable waterproof backpack)
There’s hardly any backpack that can challenge the MarchWay Floating Waterproof Dry Bag when it comes to minimalistic design. It is a multipurpose backpack that keeps your gear dry, even if you decide to dance in the rain. This foldable backpack comes in different attractive colors and capacities, asides the popular 40-liter orange model.
Like other backpacks on this list, the MarchWay Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is smooth and has advanced ergonomic features. Its cylindrical shape is hard to miss, and it is suitable for both men and women.
Dimensions: 11.9 x 5.2 x 16.9 inches
Weight: 1.67 pounds
Capacity: 40 liters
Material: 500D tarpaulin
IP Standard: N/A
Warranty: One-year warranty
1. Top-notch construction: The MarchWay Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is made from tough fabrics. The bag is also featherlight and takes up little space when rolled. There’s a strip of protective material on its lips.
2. Impressive seal system: This backpack has welded seams for durability and airtight protection. It has a simple roll-top closure system with buckles.
3. Comfortable straps: The 40-liter MarchWay backpack comes with two removable straps. However, the 5-liter and 10-liter models have a single detachable strap.
- Simple to use and versatile.
- Cool colors to choose from.
- Floats when sealed properly.
- Not submergible
The MarchWay Floating Waterproof Dry Bag offers an exceptional balance between functionality and simplistic design. Its 40-liter model has one large compartment that can hold:
- Clothes for a few days
- Passports, iPad (or laptop), phones
- Books and a water bottle
However, you’ll need to fold this backpack multiple times before you can seal it completely. Making three to four folds slightly reduce its capacity.
Recent customers report that completely squishing out air before closing this dry bag isn’t the best way to make it float. Instead, they suggest leaving some air to make it bob around better.
The MarchWay 40-liter dry bag is highly visible. With this feature, you can tell what’s in your bag without having to pull everything out. Our only disappointment is that some customers reported that droplets (that can’t cause damage) still get inside the backpack.
Take a look at the MarchWay 40-liter waterproof backpack if you want an easy-to-use backpack and don’t care much for organizing your things. Considering its high-end features and floatability, this bag is perhaps the best waterproof backpack for kayaking on Amazon.
5. FENGDONG 40-liter Waterproof Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for capacity)
If you need a backpack for hiking, camping, or traveling, you can’t go wrong with this waterproof bag. It is a well-designed model with enough space to keep your things dry while out on wet adventures.
Despite its sturdy look, this model is quite light. It has one main compartment and small pockets for you to organize your things. More still, it packs several external buckles and straps.
This FENGDONG bag’s regular-backpack design is its selling point. Therefore, it is one of the top waterproof backpacks for college available on Amazon.
Dimensions: 13 x 7.2 x 20.5 inches
Weight: 1.9 pounds
Capacity: 40 liters
Material: Polyester with nylon lining
IP Standard: N/A
1. Comfortable design: This waterproof backpack has breathable mesh paddings on its shoulder straps and backside. This, as well as its double strap reinforcement, helps the backpack’s weight distribution.
2. Multi-compartment: The backpack’s main compartment has one separator and a zippered pocket. Asides its main compartment, the FENGDONG 40-liter waterproof model, has one zippered front pocket and two side pockets.
3. Quality build: The waterproof backpack’s material is tough and tear-resistant. The bag comes with SBS zippers.
- Durable and sturdy profile.
- Easy-to-reach pockets.
- Available in different colors.
- Shoulder strap stitches pop quickly.
This 40-liter unit is FENGDONG’s response to the demand for waterproof backpacks that can double as school bags. The backpack fits a laptop, books, clothes, a 32oz bottles in its side pockets, and has room for more gear.
From customer reports, recent users claim that this backpack works as it should, offering top-notch waterproofing properties. They also suggest that it is best suited for carrying convenience items, and not things for several days.
If you’re looking for a hiking bag that blends in with other regular backpacks, then this FENGDONG backpack is perhaps the best waterproof backpack you’d find. It also comes at an affordable price.
6. YETI Panga 28 Waterproof backpack (Best overall waterproof backpack)
If you’re in the market for the best waterproof backpack for work, this YETI bag should be one of your top picks. It looks solid and comes in a characteristic grey color. It is also downright durable, with top and side handles.
This backpack has one main compartment that’s large enough to hold your gear and keep them dry. In its box, you should find removable straps, YETI stickers, and a user manual.
Dimensions: 12.5 x 7 x 20 inches
Weight: 3.9 pounds
Capacity: 30 liters
Material: high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination
IP Standard: IPX8
Warranty: 3-year warranty
1. Impressive THICKSKIN™ shell: Thanks to its fabric, the Panga 28 backpack is puncture- and abrasion-resistant. It is also grease and oil-proof.
2. Quality HYDROLOK™ zippers: These jagged-toothed zippers keep your gear bone-dry at any depth you take the backpack to.
3. U-DOCK™: This is another trademarked feature of the Panga 28 backpack. It is the terminal end of the zippers for airtight sealing.
- Super durable and comfortable.
- Sleek look and design.
- Packs multiple storage options.
- Not the cheapest backpack on Amazon.
The Yeti Panga 28 backpack is the best for durability on this list. It has a handy mesh pocket on its insides, lash points for bottles, and several other handy pockets. Like recent customers, our favorite feature is its stylish yet minimalistic look.
There’s hardly any match to the Yeti Panga 28 backpack when it comes to safeguarding your valuables. Therefore, you can dive or swim with it. However, it’s definitely not a cooler.
Recent customers report that this bag is tough and just what they wanted for work. On the other hand, a few others claim it’s a tad more pricey than traditional bags. However, most users are convinced they got value for their money.
Consider the Yeti Panga 28 if you need to up your style with a quality waterproof bag.
7. Diamond Candy Hiking Backpack (Best waterproof backpack for seal and closure system)
Next is this versatile 40-liter backpack from a reputable brand. The imported backpack has four compartments and can fit a 16-inch laptop convenient. It is a well-built unit with advanced design features for trekking and hiking. However, it can also pass for a school bag.
As a top backpack from a reputable brand, the 40-liter Diamond Candy backpack comes with a giveaway rain cover. More importantly, it is a safe bag for your things when you want to step into the rain.
Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.0 x 19.7 inches
Weight: 1.94 pounds
Capacity: 40 liters
IP Standard: N/A
Warranty: 1-year warranty
1. Comfortable design: This backpack has wide shoulder straps and waist belts. It also features a padded and breathable mesh back panel.
2. Superior closure system: The 40-liter Diamond Candy backpack works on a zipper closure system. It has SBS zippers (with rubber pulls), side buckles, and latching loops.
3. Large capacity: The 40-liter capacity of this backpack is expandable using its hip-belt pockets and side buckles. This bag also has trekking pole attachments.
- Available in different colors.
- Made from quality material.
- Lightweight for its capacity.
- No frame.
The 40-liter Diamond Candy backpack is perhaps the best waterproof hiking backpack you’d find on Amazon. It delivers on virtually every feature a hiker would want for day hikes. On this list, it is one of the most expandable models.
Our research found that the 40-liter Diamond Candy backpack provides long-lasting performance. Its size meets the requirements for most airlines. Therefore, the bag can double as a regular travel carry-on.
We like the smooth inside-lining of its main compartment and its Velcro-closed laptop compartment. But our favorite feature is the sternum belt emergency whistle.
The 40-liter Diamond Candy backpack is an affordable unit for your gear. Consider getting it if you want to go hiking and don’t want the rain to ruin your plans.
Buying Guide: Things to consider when getting a waterproof backpack
Getting the best waterproof backpack available can be tricky. For example, should price, durability, or comfort be the ultimate decider? Ultimately, there’s no hard and fast rule. However, consider the following before committing to any dry bag or backpack:
1. Size and capacity
The capacity of a backpack is measured in liters while the size is in inches or centimeters.
These factors go hand in glove and depend on what you intend to carry in the backpack. For example, you might not need a 50- or 60-liter backpack for day hiking but a 20- to 30-liter unit.
Many waterproof backpacks come in different sizes. If you’re unsure, here is a size and capacity guide that can help you out:
- Daypacks: These bags can hold daily essentials. Usually, a 20 to 35-liter capacity will suffice.
- Weekend and multi-day backpacks: These bags come in handy for short trips. Anything from a 40- to 60-liter backpack will do.
- Expedition backpacks: If you’re going for a long adventure, you’ll need a pack containing 70 to 90 liters.
Consider a mid-capacity waterproof backpack if you’re not sure of the gear you want to put in it as your safe bet. If a small waterproof backpack has additional storage space or pockets, then that’s a plus.
2. Carrying options and weight
From our list above, you’ll agree that there are different backpack designs to choose from. Generally, large backpacks offer multiple carrying options, while small ones have only one. These options are shoulder straps, sternum straps, lumbar straps, and carrying handles.
Ultimately, a backpack’s carrying options determine how comfortable it is for users. For example, imagine a fully packed mid-size bag. If it has only a strap, then your gear’s weight will be primarily on your shoulders. However, your gear’s weight will be distributed for better balance if there is more than one carrying option.
Backpacks that allow you to adjustable the carrying straps should come tops if you value your comfort.
A backpack’s weight also affects how comfortable it is to wear for long hours. Consider lightweight bags if you don’t want back pains from wearing a backpack for only a few hours.
3. Material and Durability
Different materials can be used to make waterproof backpacks. For example, some are made from PVC, PVC vinyl, rubber. The waterproof bag fabric determines the overall durability.
- Nylon: This is the most popular material used in making waterproof backpacks. Plastic is first melted into several things like fiber. In turn, this fiber is then woven and used in backpacks. Nylon is strong, durable, and abrasion-resistant. Its only significant downside is its average UV resistance.
- DWR (Durable water repellent): This material is used to coat backpacks. Although it helps to keep water from items, DWR deteriorates over time.
- PU coating: PU stands for polyurethane, and it is an alternative coating to DWR. PU has higher abrasion- and tear-resistance than rubber. It also offers high load-bearing abilities.
- TPU-film laminate: TPU is short for Thermoplastic polyurethane. When combined with DWR, this material can be effective in keeping water at bay.
- PVC fabrics: These fabrics are durable and colorful. In general, they tend to be tear-resistant.
Bags made from these materials offer top-notch protection against water damage. However, 100% content protection can prove difficult because of the stitching, zippers, and small openings.
4. Seam and closure system
A tiny hole in a backpack can damage your valuables. Therefore, consider this factor if you want to protect the content of your backpack from water.
Generally, there are three types of seam and closure systems in a waterproof backpack:
- Zipper closure: Generally, bags with this closure type look like regular backpacks. Zips can be watertight when they are tucked under a waterproof covering.
- Roll-down closure: Bags with this closure type have near-perfect waterproofing for the price of slightly reduced capacities. They can be sealed or latched with Velcro or any waterproof substances.
- Roll-top closure: As the name implies, this is the opposite of roll-top backpacks. These backpacks have a wider range of use, and they eliminate unnecessary backpack volume. This backpack’s large opening makes it easy to see what you have without digging through the bag up.
Here is another essential thing to consider before getting a waterproof backpack.
Why get a waterproof backpack for trekking if you can get another multipurpose waterproof bag with identical features?
There’s no backpack versatility measure. However, a backpack’s design usually gives its purpose away. For example, picture a small backpack with no side or outer pockets. From its design, you can deduce that it’s not the best fit as a work backpack. However, it’ll surely work for camping and other outdoor activities.
The best waterproof backpack for work can also double as a hiking bag.
Furthermore, some features in the backpack will reveal its intended purpose. For example, picture an orange mid-size backpack. If it has a trekking pole adjustment, then you should know it’s designed for trekking and similar outdoor activities.
6. Color and other features
Waterproof backpacks are more likely to drop in water than regular backpacks. When this happens, their colors can help you easily identify them from a distance. Therefore, if you’re big on backpack colors, consider this factor before shopping for one.
Like we mentioned earlier, a tiny hole in a waterproof backpack can make it worthless. Coupled with other defects that can arise over time, having a warranty can save you from spending more money.
Generally, you’ll find waterproof backpack brands that offer one- to lifetime-warranties on their products.
Waterproof vs. Water-resistant vs. Water repellent: What is the difference?
These three terms are thrown around loosely and used interchangeably. However, they don’t mean the same thing, and many manufacturers mistake one for the other.
Ultimately, knowing what each term means can be the difference between drenched clothes and fresh, dry clothes.
1. Water-resistant: A water-resistant backpack offers the lowest protection from water damage. Such backpacks are designed to prevent water from reaching its content. However, at a certain level, this protection fails.
For example, picture a brown waterproof backpack for hiking. If you put it in the Pacific Ocean, it will prevent water from getting to your content for a while. However, after fighting off the water for some time, the water-resistant backpack will succumb at a particular depth.
2. Water-repellent: These backpacks are hydrophobic. Therefore, they do exactly what their name implies: repel water. Usually, water-repellent backpacks are coated with nanofilms on their insides or outsides.
3. Waterproof: The backpacks are impermeable to water. Therefore, if you take a waterproof backpack and sink it in an ocean, water won’t get to your content.
The waterproofing qualities of these backpacks don’t depend on time. Therefore, they retain this property irrespective of how long they spend in the water.
What is the relationship between IP ratings and backpack water protection?
In the backpack world, water protection is rated in IP (Ingress Protection). The first number refers to the backpack’s protection against solid particles and ranges from one to six. On the other hand, the second number reveals how much water it can hold back. The second number takes values from one to eight.
In both cases, a higher value implies more water protection. For example, picture a red and blue waterproof backpack. The backpack with an IP68 rating offers more water protection than the other with an IP67 rating.
The best waterproof backpack would have an IPX8 rating.
IP First Digit Chart
|Large surfaces like a hand, etc.
|Surfaces like fingers, etc.
|Tools, thick wires, etc.
|Screws and wires
|Dust particles; not completely protect.
|Dust particles; complete protection.
IP Second Digit Chart
|Submergible up to 1m
|Submergible beyond 1m
Q1. Do I need a waterproof backpack?
The weather can be unpredictable, and it could rain when you least expect. Sometimes you might forget to take out your stuff from your backpack. Other times, you could take a wrong step and fall in a body of water.
These are instances where you need a waterproof backpack.
Generally, you need a waterproof backpack if you don’t want your gear to get soaked, drenched, or water-damaged.
At their best, regular backpacks offer some water protection. However, this is nothing compared to the insane protection of waterproof bags.
Q2. What are the best waterproof backpacks?
The best waterproof backpacks are the Yeti Panga 28, FE Active Cloudbreak backpack, and the iDrybag 30-liter waterproof backpack.
They all offer an impressive balance of durability, comfort, and functionality. Consider getting them on Amazon if you need a reliable backpack.
Q3. Are Herschel backpacks waterproof?
According to Herschel’s official website, Herschel backpacks are water-resistant and not waterproof. For example, the Studio Herschel Settlement backpack is a water-resistant backpack with a tarpaulin material.
Q4. What activities would I need a waterproof backpack for?
You can use a waterproof backpack for:
- Scuba diving
Asides these outdoor activities, you can also use a waterproof backpack for virtually all types of water sports.
Q5. Are The North Face backpacks waterproof?
Yes. Some The North Face backpacks are waterproof. For example, this The North Face backpack is waterproof. Nevertheless, most of this manufacturer’s products are water-resistant and not waterproof.
Q6. How do I store a waterproof backpack?
If you have a dry bag, first hand-wash and air dry them completely. A handy tip is to turn them inside out when drying. Next, fold your dry bag and then put it in a container. The container should be stored in a cool, dry place.
If you have a waterproof backpack, follow the steps for a dry bag. However, you don’t need to store it in another container. A cool, dry room will do.
Q7. Can I use a waterproof backpack for school?
Yes. You can use these backpacks for school. We’ve reviewed the best waterproof backpack for school on our list.
Q8. Are Away backpacks waterproof?
According to Away, there are water-resistant backpacks. For example, this Away daypack is a water-resistant bag.
Ultimately, there’s no waterproof backpack for everyone. You need to figure out what factor you value the most and find a bag that meets your needs.
Don’t know where to start? Use our buying guide and detailed review to help you figure out the best waterproof backpack for you.
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