LAST UPDATED: November 7, 2020
The Best Waterproof Backpacks (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Keeping your stuff organized and safe while on the move is important, and a waterproof backpack will do just that
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PUBLISHED ON November 7, 2020
Let’s talk about backpacks—the utilitarian carry-all used by millions around the world. But better than just a backpack is a waterproof backpack. One could argue that there is no point in having a backpack that isn’t waterproof. Who doesn’t want that extra level of protection in harsh weather conditions? For many of us, we carry some of the most cherished and essential items in our backpack, from wallets to passports, laptops, books, important documents, clothing, and much more.
As a result, a good quality waterproof backpack is an essential accessory for many of us. Whether we are hiking, camping, going to school, commuting to work, or going to the gym, we need a dependable and durable backpack to hold our stuff. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite options on the market to help you narrow down your search for the ideal waterproof backpack.
The Shrradoo Travel Laptop Backpack offers all the space, features, and comfort one could want in a backpack. Overall, it easily comes out ahead of most of the market.
- Has many features usually reserved for more expensive backpacks
- Is an excellent all-rounder that can excel at almost any task normally given to a backpack
- Depending on the color selected, it’s not a professional-looking backpack
- Not as water-resistant as other backpacks, and thus not as all-weather friendly
While much simpler than a regular backpack, the Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is an incredibly tough container that will keep your items safe.
- Capable of keeping its contents safe even in extreme environments
- Extremely simple and durable design
- Naturally buoyant when closed correctly
- Lacks the compartments and refinements of more expensive packs
- Rugged and tough, but overly simple for multitasking
- Only best at a narrow range of tasks
A premium backpack with premium design and materials, the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack carries your stuff with dignity. This pack is feature-rich and heavy on style.
- Sleek and professional design, aided by well-crafted textures in the materials
- Built with comfort in mind, including helping to keep your back from sweating
- High cost compared to other backpacks
- Not completely waterproof when compared to more hardcore dry bags for camping
- More useful in town than in the wilderness
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Waterproof Backpacks
- Protection of your important travel items. Many of the essential pieces of gear often brought along when traveling are electronic, none of which play well with water. For this reason, a water-resistant or waterproof backpack can be an extremely important tool for travelers, especially those who walk outside to their destination.
- Practical personal transportation of gear. It is all too easy for important items to get damaged in the hustle and bustle of getting where you need to be. Keeping all your stuff in one very portable package makes a lot of sense, both for the sake of logistics and the sake of safety.
- Storage space for camping. When out camping, many little things can easily become a mess or lost entirely in a tent. A backpack can act as a portable dresser of sorts in these situations, housing much of what you may need, big or small.
- "Go-package" capability. A Go-package, or a single item with everything in it for a specific situation, can be useful in many cases. Whether your particular application will have you rushing out for an emergency, work, or fun, a backpack makes an ideal container for everything you might need at a moment’s notice.
- Easy and practical organization of gear and items. One of the best things about backpacks is that they often have great subdivisions in their interior space for all kinds of items. This allows them to easily organize large numbers of disparate pieces of equipment, from pens to power banks to laptops.
Types of Waterproof Backpacks
All backpacks offer some very basic protection from the elements by default. This protection is mostly just down to the backpack contents being in a closed container built from somewhat sturdy materials, not because of any specific engineering. While it is much better than an open-top container or just leaving things out in the open, basic backpacks will easily get soaked through in anything more than a drizzling rain. While these backpacks are not very protective, they do tend to be cheap.
Water-resistant backpacks are essentially standard backpacks meant to keep your stuff safe even when walking through moderate rain. They are built specifically to handle some amount of water and keep their contents dry even when the weather is dousing the person wearing the backpack and everything around them. The design elements that make these backpacks water-resistant include more sturdy closure mechanisms and coatings applied to the fabric. It should be said that water-resistant is very different from waterproof, and these backpacks cannot handle being immersed in water.
Truly waterproof backpacks are generally called drybags, and they are often used for activities like rafting, kayaking, and camping. While standard backpacks carry many internal and external pocks and harnesses for all kinds of gear and situations, drybags tend to be extremely simple. This simplicity is made up of their extreme durability and completely waterproof nature, with their high-performance seals and multi-layer exteriors making them immune to soaking, tearing, and puncturing.
Shrradoo is a brand that makes high-quality backpacks for impressively low prices. These packs are as stylish as they are utilitarian and feature enormous storage space and a litany of different pockets and straps to hold just about anything securely. One of its most popular backpacks is the Travel Laptop Backpack.
Marchway provides an array of highly regarded and highly durable outdoor equipment, from chairs to cots to pillows. It creates some of the toughest drybags on the market, essentially backpacks that can keep their contents safe and dry even if the bag gets knocked out of a kayak and floats miles downstream. The Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is an excellent example.
The Ronyes brand specializes in offering exceedingly trendy backpacks that also hold up under intense use. Style is ubiquitous in the Ronyes lineup, exemplified by the Ronyes Waterproof School Backpack, but so is quality. These backpacks are meant to last and will soldier on through everyday life rigors and, in some cases, quite a bit more.
Based in Houston, Texas, Vitchelo is a versatile company dedicated to personal care. It has products to support that care, whether it happens in the bathroom or by getting out into nature. Among its many impressive high-quality products are backpacks that include anti-theft and waterproof features, among them being the Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack.
Waterproof Backpack Pricing
- Under $20: Most backpacks under 20 dollars lack in quality, but a select few are at least as good as any other. Make sure to check the reviews to see if you are actually getting a bargain.
- $20 to $30: Most quality backpacks find themselves in this range. While backpacks that will fall apart are rarely seen at these prices, it should be said that spending any more is seldom useful.
- $30 and up: While there are worthwhile options for backpacks over $30—especially for those that include waterproofing—they are generally for specialized purposes and not just standard travel.
One of the most important aspects of any backpack is how much it can carry. This is measured by the backpack’s internal volume, generally in liters. Large standard backpacks can easily carry upwards of 30 liters internally, and if you need to have even more room, some backpacks offer more than 40 liters of internal space. For most, this much room is significant overkill.
The actual practical usefulness of a backpack depends on what you use it for, but for most, it would include tasks such as transporting a laptop and books. Backpacks with more internal and external pockets, USB hookups, and other features can be much more useful to you, depending on your use case for it.
Waterproof backpacks feature special materials and high-strength seals to keep water out. These components keep the items inside dry and safe, which is more than can be said for what most backpacks do to their contents in heavy rain. Drybags offer extreme levels of protection, and can be counted on to keep what’s placed inside safe in circumstances that might tear a normal backpack apart.
- Laptop Storage. Many backpacks specialize in laptop storage, with a specific compartment tailored to safely housing a precious portable computer. In most cases, particular laptop sizes will be best suited to a specific backpack. While most backpacks can easily accommodate a range of laptops, it is best to find a backpack that perfectly fits your laptop's size.
- Water Resistance. If you want protection from rain for the items inside your backpack, do not expect just any backpack to be able to handle a downpour. Make sure to look up just how water-resistant the backpack you’re looking at is, and reviews of how it has held up in the rain for other people. If you plan on putting valuables in your backpack, like a laptop, you should know in advance how it will handle getting wet.
- External Storage. While the inside of a backpack is the main consideration, the pouches, pockets, and straps on the exterior can prove just as useful. If you plan on moving quickly from one place to another without opening and closing your backpack constantly, a pack with the right mix of external storage will be better for you than a simpler all-internal backpack.
- Aesthetics. A backpack's looks may seem somewhat trivial compared to the actual practicality it can provide, but in a professional setting, having a backpack that is more mature looking might pay dividends. If one is in college and planning on joining the workforce soon, this is something to consider. The color and texture of the exterior matter as much as the backpack's design, in this case.
Best Waterproof Backpack Reviews and Recommendations 2021
Our pick for the best overall waterproof backpack has to be the Shrradoo Travel Laptop Backpack. This is a stylish and well-designed bag that can hold a laptop as large as 15.6 inches. It has a roomy main compartment for daily essentials and has several other pockets ideal for organization and safe storage. The front compartment has a hook for keys, pen pockets, and numerous additional pockets to hold wallets and your mobile phone for quick access and secure storage. A convenient luggage strap allows you to anchor the backpack the upright handle on your luggage for easy transportation.
This backpack comes with a thoughtful built-in USB charger and charging cable that will enable you to charge your cell phone and/or other mobile devices while on the go. One of the downsides to this travel backpack is that it is not waterproof, limiting its usefulness in inclement weather.
Backpacks are useful in an enormous number of situations, but in many of these cases, what you need is something more straightforward than a standard backpack. That’s where the Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag comes in. This bag is buoyant, tear-proof, rip-proof, puncture-proof, and of course, waterproof. While a backpack is great to have when camping, this dry bag is essential for when you’re going white water rafting.
No matter what happens to you or how drenched everything around it gets, this dry bag will keep its contents safe and free of water. It does this via a unique solid roll-top closure system, making a reliable waterproof seal regardless of the conditions. That said, while dry bags are excellent for keeping your items safe no matter the conditions, they lack the style and versatility of more standard backpacks.
Our choice for the most stylish waterproof backpack has to be the Ronyes Waterproof School Backpack. Available in eight different colors, this sleek and aesthetically pleasing backpack is constructed of high-quality waterproof material. It features comfortably padded and adjustable shoulder straps suitable for long periods of wear and an external USB charger and charging cable for your mobile devices' on-the-go charging.
The main pocket is substantially padded and suitable for carrying a laptop safely and securely. Convenient side pockets are ideal for carrying water bottles or umbrellas. The only real downside to this backpack is that it is not very large, and it will struggle to house as much material as a less stylish but more voluminous pack.
If you need a waterproof backpack that can handle full submersion in water and still keep your gear bone dry, this backpack is the ideal choice. This large and roomy backpack is the epitome of waterproof. Constructed of vinyl tarpaulin with fully welded seams and a sensible roll-top closure, this bag creates a truly watertight environment guaranteed to keep your gear dry.
This dry bag does not have any internal divisions, so unless you add separations or put items in individual containers, they will be pushed together inside the backpack. It comes equipped with durable elasticized webbing on the front, and heavy-duty mesh webbed pockets on each side for holding accessories. A padded back and breathable shoulder straps allow for much-needed ventilation. This bag is well-loved by sailors, mariners, boaters, kayakers, and anyone else who spends a significant amount of time on the water.
If you’re looking for a rugged and large waterproof backpack that will handle longer trips, the WintMing 70L Camping Hiking Backpack is the ideal option. This tough and durable 70-liter backpack comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. It’s constructed from a durable, military-grade 600D oxford fabric. It’s more durable and reliable than a lot of other backpacks on the market.
The main storage compartment has an elastic drawstring and is spacious enough to stow a sleeping bag or hammock. Its large volume cannot easily store small items because they could end up lost. It also has space for a laptop and lots of extra pockets and buckles suitable for attaching shoes, an umbrella, a sleeping mat, water bottles, cooking and eating utensils, and much more. Reinforced suturing and adjustable waist, chest, and shoulder straps allow you to comfortably wear it over miles of uneven and rugged terrain.
The Simple Modern Legacy Backpack combines style and practicality in a definitive and elegant way. With sizes ranging from 10 to 35 liters of internal volume, every Legacy Backpack is water-resistant and built with care and attention to detail. It comes in a wide variety of colors and designs, fulfilling every taste several times over.
Depending on the size, these backpacks can carry everything from laptops and books to pens and chargers. The straps are adjustable, and many of the backpacks can be ordered with a laptop compartment. Simple Modern’s brand has long been based on delivering quality design and construction, and the Legacy Backpack offers on most parts of that brand image. One of the few downsides of this pack is that the zippers can be a challenge to work with, having trouble opening and closing smoothly.
The Zomake 30L Lightweight Packable Backpack does not skimp on options, and especially not on color choices. This water-resistant backpack was specifically designed to work as a daypack for camping, so despite the dozen or more color options available, this 30-liter bag can get the job done. The brass tacks get your stuff where it needs to be safely and easily.
This Zomake backpack doesn’t hold its shape on its own, due to its foldable nature. Do not expect it to keep its geometry without something sturdy inside of it. One often-overlooked facet of a backpack is its weight, but this backpack is made to be as light as possible. Tipping the scales at under three-quarters of a pound, this backpack is light while being almost as useful as a pickup truck. It is also packable to easily fold up into a tiny area and then unfurl when needed.
The Matein Travel Laptop Backpack is a comfortable and stylish way to move your laptop and supplies. While these backpacks come in a range of colors, just about all of them maintain a professional appearance that is as sleek as it is mature. These packs have ventilated padding so that your back stays cool, and an anti-theft safe pocket on the back.
Also included is a luggage strap to attach securely on top of a suitcase, ideal to have when waiting for your flight. The Matein backpack is designed to carry up to a 15.6-inch laptop but can handle as small as a 13-inch laptop just as easily. A distinctive feature of this backpack is that it’s laptop compartment is completely separate from the main holding area of the backpack, which aids in keeping the large backpack organized when full.
The Yorepek Laptop Backpack is as comfortable as it is capable. Built from tear-proof and water-resistant heavy-duty polyester with a nylon interior lining, the Yorepek Backpack can take pretty much anything you throw at it. This pack’s real usefulness comes from its size and litany of pockets and compartments. There are areas for pens, documents, clothing, drinks, food containers, portable power banks, and of course, an incredibly well-protected bunker for laptop storage.
This backpack’s upper capacity limit is a rather shocking 45 liters, but once you see the pack with all the pockets open, that huge number starts to make a lot of sense. With room to spare and compartments to go around, this backpack offers maximum space for maximum versatility. The only real problem is that this huge truck of a backpack tends to lack in style when compared to other backpacks.
- Don’t pick a backpack solely on its volume, as you have to carry all that weight with you. Match your chosen backpack with how much you can comfortably carry.
- When traveling, some locks to keep your backpack secure could be an almost lifesaving purchase.
- The comfort of a backpack is almost as important as how much it can carry. Consider the ventilation of the backpacks you’re evaluating, as a sweaty back when traveling is a good thing to avoid if possible.
Q: What backpacks are waterproof?
Standard backpacks that are water-resistant will say so in their description, but make sure to read the reviews of a backpack to ensure its level of protection is suitable for you.
Q: What is the best waterproof backpack?
Drybags are the most waterproof backpacks there are, but more conventional water-resistant backpacks like the Ronyes Waterproof School Backpack are best suited for most people.
Q: Are all backpacks waterproof?
No, and it should be said that in heavy enough rain, even water-resistant backpacks may allow some water inside. Truly waterproof backpacks do exist but generally come at a premium.
Q: How much is the cheapest waterproof backpack?
The Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag is a good example of a cheap and completely waterproof backpack, at under $20.
Waterproof backpacks are very useful, and while the SHRRADOO Travel Laptop Backpack is great for when water isn’t an immediate concern, the low-cost Marchway Floating Waterproof Dry Bag will be sure to protect everything inside it even under extreme conditions.