Waterproof Backpack Buyers Guide (2021)

A waterproof backpack is essential accessory for many water and ocean enthusiasts. Particularly for people who are surfing, kayaking or adventuring in more remote locations and don’t have the luxury of walking straight from the beach to their car or house.

You’ll need somewhere to put that drenched wetsuit once you’ve taken it off, and slinging it over your board only really works when walking short distances.

waterproof backpacks

What To Look For When Buying A Waterproof Backpack

There are a plethora of different factors to consider when deciding which waterproof backpack you’re going to buy. Below we unpack the four most important factors.

Durability

This is a very important attribute for any waterproof backpack. If the backpack is not well made from durable waterproof material, then the likelihood of the membrane eventually becoming permeable is rather high. Be sure to evaluate the thickness of the waterproof material used, the location of the seams as well as the stitching to discern whether the pack you buy will stand the test of time.

Seams

The general rule is the fewer seams on a waterproof backpack the better. This is for the simple reason that there are less points in which water could potentially enter the backpack. All good quality waterproof backpacks have taped seams to ensure no water gets in through these joined section. Be sure that the taped seems are glued down well and are as smooth as possible.

wading with backpack

Weight

Due to the thicker PVC materials that waterproof backpacks comprise of they will always be heavier than a regular backpack. Nevertheless it’s important to still try and keep the weight of the pack down as best you can. Fewer compartments, straps, and clasps will help keep the weight of the backpack down.

Comfort

Waterproof backpacks are generally less comfortable than traditional backpacks due to the rigidity that is created by the thickness of the PVC material and also sometimes the metal rods that sit in the lumbar section.

These packs won’t mould to the contours of your body like a regular daypack will. However, with a good lumber zone and well positioned straps a waterproof backpack can still be very comfortable.

Best Waterproof Backpacks

There are a number of great quality waterproof backpacks out there, but navigating the internet to find the best ones can be tricky. We’ve saved you the time by researching and scanning the web to identify the 11 best waterproof backpacks. Here they are.

Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro

One of the most sought-after backpack brands on the market today. This all weather Swedish apparel company gets its name from the words “Forest, Creek, Coast”. They have an impressive heritage when it comes to making waterproof backpacks and the BackSåk Pro is no different.

It’s made from heavy duty 420-denier Ripstop Nylon and coated with TPU to seal out the elements with watertight, welded seams and a roll-down top. The adjustable sternum clips, removable waist strap, & padded back support create a superior ergonomic carry system.

Multiple handy D-rings make for easy attachment points, or provide options to attach your bag to boats, kayaks or a fixed point when needed. It also comes with an airtight front pocket providing IPX-7 protection for all of your sensitive items.

BackSåk Pro’s spacious interior features a laptop compartment, a large zippered pocket, an elastic mesh pocket with clip so you can easily store and locate your keys. On the exterior, side elastic pockets provide a great place to carry a water, snacks and other accessories. This packs comes in a 35L size.

backsack pro

Faraday Defense Waterproof Backpack

This smaller 17L backpack is designed for military, police departments, forensic investigators, government and executive travel. It’ perfect for transporting or storing your sensitive, high-value electronics and keeping them secure from wireless signals and water.

Your valuables will not only be kept dry but also away from the grid and the damage an EMP can cause your gear. The roomy interior fits an assortment of electronic devices including laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The backpack is lined with triple layers of CYBER NC and along with a tight roll-top closure, this bag provides 100% signal blocking protection and a water-tight seal.

The resilient tarpaulin exterior is water repellent and puncture resistant. The seams are taped and reinforced providing durability in the parts where it is most needed. Think padded straps, multiple quick-release straps and two mesh side pockets, complete this minimalist design.

faraday waterproof backpack

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack

The Earth Pak comes with all the acoutrements you’d expect from a top quality waterproof bag – roll top entry and closure, an ergonomic back panel, and both sternum and waist straps.

It also is equipped with pockets on both the inside and outside of the bag. It has a large splash-proof zipper on the outside for quick grab-and-go items, and a built-in zippered mesh compartment for easy storage of valuables.

It’s compact and lightweight for easy carry on luggage when flying. Convenient D-rings attached to both shoulder straps and MOLLE looping system both provide anchor points to latch onto while sailing, kayaking or kloofing. This backpack comes in 4 different color options and two sizes, namely 35L and 55L.

earthpak

Mier Dry Bag

This waterproof backpack is constructed with a waterproof soft TPU, heat-taped seams and roll top closure for state-of-the-art waterproofing. The roll down system makes the dry pack easy to open and close. This system provides ultimate protection while traveling and can easily pack tighter or expand larger depending on your needs.

There are several external water-resistant pockets come in very handy for those items which need to be accessed quickly and easily. There is also a nifty internal pocket for storing your mobile phone, wallet, and other small items. There are also two side mesh pockets which can be used for storing water bottles. These pockets can be folded and zipped down when not in use.

The ergonomic padded back panel with reinforced contoured shoulder straps makes carrying this backpack an absolute breeze. The low-profile sternum strap helps distribute the weight off your back. This waterproof backpack is sized at 30L and comes in four different colors.

mier dry bag

Geckobrands Dry Bag

Geckobrands was founded with a dedicated focus on innovation, design and value. They strive to bring technical outdoor products to the recreational outdoor enthusiast. Each year they listen and leverage feedback from their customer base in order to continue refining and building even better products.

This pack is made from 500D tarpaulin PVC material which strikes a great strength to weight ratio. It packs down easily, and once completely flattened takes up very little space. It comes with easy-to-adjust and comfortable padded shoulder straps, along with a well designed back support system.

At 30L it’s an ideal lightweight, waterproof daypack for the pool, beach, lake or dam. The interior and exterior zip pockets help provide alternate storage areas for valuables and other accessories.

geckobrands dry bag

Gonex Waterproof Backpack

This 35L backpack is constructed with 500D PVC this bag offers the very best quality waterproofing. Like many other waterproof backpacks on the market it comes with a roll top open and close system. This is very much the gold standard in the industry today due to its watertight capabilities.

The integrated back panel is made from a high-density EVA and the design of the channels ensure the area remains breathable and wicks away moisture where necessary. There is also a detachable computer compartment in the backpack which provides a great protection to your laptop or tablet device. It supports up to 14 inch laptop.

The mouth of the bag can be rolled in 3 different ways which then be connected with the two sides. You can get it in either yellow or black colorways.

gonex waterproof bag

IDRYBAG

As waterproof backpacks go this one is legit. It’s made from a 500D material, it’s not only waterproof but also scratch proof. It’s got a very simple top loading feature which make putting in and taking out your stuff seamless.

All you do is unroll/roll the top section of the bag to open and close it. To secure it you clip in a buckle on either side of the bag. The bag utilises an ergonomic mechanics system along with reflective trim, and adjustable sternum and waist straps.

The backpack floats in water which makes it perfectly suitable for river or sea crossings where you may need to swim/wade your way into a surf break. The bag comes in a 30L size and comes in yellow, black, blue and grey.

IDRYBAG waterproof backpack

The Friendly Swede

This is more of an urban waterproof backpack, but it will handle any outdoor adventure just fine. The first aspect that separates if from its competitors is that it’s super lightweight.

By keeping the bag as minimal as possible without having unnecessary zips and claps, this backpack only weighs 1.5 lbs. As its an urban backpack it comes with a laptop sleeve which can accommodate laptops up to 13 inches in size.

A roll top combined with welded seams with PVC tarp ensure your stuff is kept bone dry in the main compartment of this backpack. As sewn seams and zippers are prone to leaking water, welded seams and roll-top closure is superior construction for waterproof bags.

the friendly swede backpack

Acrodo Waterproof Backpack

With 4.5 stars on Amazon this waterproof backpack is the real deal. With a single vestibule, this bag is simple and effective. The three buckles on either side allow you to attach the bag to other bags which comes in very handy when crossing rivers and other bodies of water.

The Acrodo is certainly more of a water proof bag than a backpack. We say this because the shoulder straps are rather rudimentary and are attached to the bag with a plastic clasp. This is fine for carrying short distances but may get uncomfortable over protracted periods.

As long as you leave a small amount of air in the backpack before rolling it up and closing it, the bag will float in water and still be 100% waterproof. The bag is 15L in volume and is available in 7 different colorways including 2 translucent colors.

acrodo waterproof backpack

Platinum Sun Adventure Bag

This waterproof backpack is very well rounded bag. It’s got great shoulder straps, a padded back, water bottle compartments and stash area on the the front of the bag for an extra layer of clothing.

It’s made from 500D PVC tarpaulin making it highly durable. It can withstand pressure from water jets and strong rapids. The bag is not only waterproof, but can also withstand sand, snow, and mud.

With a weatherproof backpack like the Adventure Bag, you can go straight from your morning surf to fishing in the afternoon without worrying about your equipment getting wet. The bag weighs 2.5 lbs and is 30L in volume.

waterproof backpacks

Drytide Waterproof Backpack

The DryTide waterproof backpack just might be the ultimate surf travel backpack. Most surf backpacks are either comfortable to carry and packed with pockets and other features or extremely plain but waterproof.

DryTide waterproof backpack combines the best from both worlds. It is a full on waterproof backpack that will not only protect you gear and clothes from getting wet during a quick rain shower.

It will protect your things during heavy tropical rainstorms, during various water sports where water splashes all over it, you can even drop it into the sea and the insides will stay dry.

On the other hand with features like wide padded shoulder straps, padded back, hip belt and lots of pockets and straps it is a comfortable backpack to have on those long surf trips. The bag comes in a 50L size.

drytide waterproof backpack

Where Can You Buy A Waterproof Backpack?

Waterproof backpacks should be available at most good outdoor stores in your local town or city. However the best variety of packs these days are available online. Amazon, the world’s largest ecommerce store has an incredibly large selection to choose from.

Conclusion

A waterproof backpack is often just a nice-to-have but in some cases it’s really a must-have item. If you are going to be in an environment where you’ll be moving through a body of water where some of your items will need remain dry, then a waterproof backpack is essential.

There are a plethora of packs to choose from differing by design, size, structure and colorway. Do your research, evaluate your options, and then select the backpack which you think best suits your needs. Best of luck in your water-based outdoor pursuits!

maldives water

FAQ’s

Are dry bags the same as waterproof backpacks?

In the sense that they are both waterproof, yes. Dry bags don’t have two shoulder straps like a waterproof backpack does. They can come in a variety of other strap configurations.

Do waterproof backpacks float?

Yes. If they are rolled up in an airtight fashion with a little bit of air left in the pack.

Can I put my valuables inside a waterproof backpack?

Yes. As long as the pack it closed and sealed correctly your valuables will be kept dry.

Can I wash and dry a waterproof backpack?

No. They should only be wiped down with a wet cloth after use

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