Best Waterproof Backpack

Opening up your backpack after walking through a torrential downpour to find all your stuff is dry just feels good. Or maybe you're out fishing, kayaking, or doing something else on the water and need a dry pack. Whoever you are, a truly waterproof backpack is a great asset to have. And truth be told, there's a lot of packs out there that claim to be completely waterproof that just aren't. So, we set out to put those backpacks to the test and find the best waterproof backpacks.

Below, you'll find the results from our 3-phase waterproof testing process and which waterproof backpacks rose to the top and earned the title: Waterproved.

Our Top Waterproved Backpacks

FE Active Cloudbreak Backpack Budget Shoppers
Vitchelo 30L Dry Bag Backpack Kayakers & Other Water Sports
Patagonia Stormfront Backpack Day Pack for Hikers & Travelers
Skog A Kust BackSak Folks Who Need Quick Access
NRS Bill's Bag Water Guides & Overnighters
RAINS Waterproof Backpack Ladies Roaming Around the City
The Friendly Swede Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack Commuters & Students

FE Active Cloudbreak Backpack

Best Affordable Waterproof Backpack

Waterproof testing results: The FE Active Cloudbreak Backpack did well in all three phases of our waterproof tests (the mist, the rain, and the dunk), which we were pleasantly surprised about given the price point, even if it is made of PVC. We had some small electronic items, a few papers, and some other odds and ends in the bag and none of them got wet. When we dunked it in our full tank of water, it popped up very quickly and easily floated. The rolltop with connecting buckles sealed everything up tightly. As with any rolltop backpack without a watertight zipper, it will never be 100% submersible for more than a few seconds, but the fact that it floats well should prevent any major disasters.

Who should get it: As we noted above, this dry bag is great for folks who are on a budget. It can work well for hikers, fishermen, or frankly for anyone who needs something waterproof for traveling or cycling to work. While not the most supportive backpack on our list, the Cloudbreak Backpack has some nice padding support for your back and shoulders, which we found to be pretty comfortable and you could easily wear around for the whole day.

Other features we like:

  • Large 30L capacity, although can be rolled down as needed
  • Bungee cords and hip pockets for outside storage
  • Secure buckle

What we don't like:

  • Stitching is not super durable, may only last you a couple of years
  • No hip belt for extra support

Vitchelo 30L Dry Bag Backpack

Best Waterproof Backpack for Kayaking and Water Sports

Waterproof testing results: The Vitchelo 30L Dry Bag Backpack passed all three waterproof tests we put it through. Even after being fully submerged for a few seconds, the pack popped up quickly and floated well, and everything inside was pretty dry. There was some dampness inside the bag after our first full submerge, but once we tightened up the rolltop a bit more everything inside stayed very dry.

Who should get it: We think this backpack is a great option for paddlers, fisherman, and other outdoor sports enthusiasts. For folks in any type of boat, the Vitchelo bag has multiple straps and tie-down points around the outside of the bag to help keep it secure. We don't love this bag for serious hikers though, since it doesn't quite have enough support on the shoulders and hips.

Other features we like:

  • Phone protection case included
  • Durable stitching
  • Roomy interior
  • Lightweight

What we don't like:

  • Strong off-gassing smell when you first receive the bag
  • Lack of padding on back and shoulders
  • No hip belt

Patagonia Stormfront Backpack

Best Waterproof Daypack for Hiking and Traveling

Waterproof testing results: Alrighty, now we're jumping over to a high end backpack (much more expensive than other options on our list). Is the Patagonia Stormfront Backpack worth it? From a water protection standpoint, we think so. We were a little wary at first given the zipper construction (as opposed to rolltop), but this backpack passed all three of our waterproof tests. The Patagonia Stormfront uses TIZIP zippers, which are watertight and used in diving suits, among other things. The base material is a 800-denier nylon with a thermoplastic polyurethane coating (TPU). So, this bag is very watertight and we would feel confident storing valuables and other gear in here on your next hike or excursion.

Who should get it: Given its "traditional" backpack look and quick access, we think this is a great dual-purpose backpack for both hikers and everyday travelers. For hikers, it has pretty comfortable back padding, adjustable shoulder straps, and a small hip belt to take some of that weight off your shoulders. For the traveler, the quick access to your stuff is key and it has a couple small compartments on the outside and inside for smaller items.

Other features we like:

  • External zipper pocket
  • Straps for holding rods and other gear
  • Comfortable and supportive straps

What we don't like:

  • Lack of interior compartments can make organization a challenge
  • No compression straps on the outside of the bag

Skog A Kust BackSak

Best Waterproof Backpack with Quick Access

Waterproof testing results: The Skog A Kust BackSak performed quite well in most of our tests. It passed with flying colors in The Mist and The Rain tests, but had a slight hiccup in The Dunk test where we submerged it in a tank of water for few seconds. Everything inside the main compartment of the backpack stayed very dry, but a couple of items in the exterior pocket on the front of the bag got a little damp. There isn't as much padding around that exterior pocket, so Skog A Kust describes it as "splash proof", which we agree with. The backpack is primarily made from 500-denier PVC, which is a slightly thinner material than some of the other options on our list.

Who should get it: Despite that small slip in our waterproof testing, we still think the Skog A Kust BackSak is a solid option for anyone who needs quick access to their gear. That exterior pocket is convenient (and will keep your stuff dry, just not when fully submerged), and this backpack also has a nice interior pocket in the main compartment for quick access to your phone, keys, or other items.

Other features we like:

  • Two ways to close the backpack
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Large interior

What we don't like:

  • Material and stitching could be thicker and more durable
  • No hip belt for extra support

NRS Bill's Bag

Best Large Waterproof Pack For Guides & Overnight Campers

Waterproof testing results: The NRS Bill's Bag is the largest backpack on our list and held its own in all of our tests. It was between this pack and Sea to Summit for the large backpacks in our research, and the NRS Bill's Bag won handily when it came to durability and The Dunk test. Packing it the right way to make it completely watertight took a couple of tries, but once we figured it out, everything inside stayed very dry. The exterior is primarily made of 21oz. PVC and it has a reinforced bottom with 34oz. PVC, so this bag can definitely take a beating.

Who should get it: Given its size, we really like the NRS Bill's Bag for overnight campers and folks who are headed out for trips on the water that need to carry a lot of gear. If you're a canyoning or rafting guide, we think this backpack could be a really good option for you. One drawback we didn't love was the skimpy hip belt - would love to see more support there.

Other features we like:

  • Large capacity
  • Secure compression straps
  • Storm flap

What we don't like:

  • Took a couple tries to figure it out
  • Lack of interior organization

RAINS Waterproof Backpack

Best Waterproof Travel Daypack For Ladies

Waterproof testing results: Now we're getting into the more casual backpacks for carrying to work or around town. The RAINS Waterproof Backpack performed well in The Mist and The Rain tests, but obviously failed The Dunk test miserably. This backpack is not designed to be fully submerged, which is okay for ladies who just need something to travel around the city with. All in all, the RAINS Waterproof Backpack performed exceptionally well for how it is designed to be used - to protect your stuff from the rain.

Who should get it: Like we mentioned above, we really like this backpack for women who just want something stylish yet waterproof to carry around while they are exploring and traveling, or a good bag to commute to work with. The RAINS Waterproof Backpack comes in a bunch of different colors and has a stylish clasp to close the top flap. It has a laptop pocket inside the bag and relatively thin black shoulder straps.

Other features we like:

  • Good interior pockets
  • Minimalist
  • Outer pocket for your phone

What we don't like:

  • Edges seem to wear out quickly
  • Not a ton of padding around the laptop sleeve

The Friendly Swede Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

Best Water Resistant Laptop Backpack for Commuters & School Students

Waterproof testing results: The Friendly Swede Backpack was the top performer in our testing for laptop bags. It has a similar construction to some of our other top picks with the rolltop clasp and 500D PVC material, but what sets this backpack apart is the interior laptop sleeve and general organization. It was impervious in The Mist and The Rain tests and did decently well when we dunked it - a few small drops made it into the bag, but we don't think you'll be taking this backpack on any serious water hikes or excursions.

Who should get it: Given the nice laptop sleeve and pockets on both the interior and exterior of the bag, we think The Friendly Swede Backpack is a great option for work commuters and students. The zippers on the outside of the bag use a similar technology to the Patagonia Stormfront Backpack on our list above, which makes the bag incredibly watertight. While not the most supportive, the shoulder straps are padded enough to be comfortable if you're on a bike or walking to school or work.

Other features we like:

  • Good interior space
  • Looks sleek
  • Snug fit for your laptop

What we don't like:

  • Stitching could be more durable
  • Doesn't fit larger laptops

Recap: The Best Waterproof Backpacks

Our Waterproof Testing Stats


hours of research


products tested


gallons of water used

Yep, we actually tested these backpacks. First, we researched over 50 backpacks to weed out the bad stuff and narrowed it down to the top 20 finalists. We put each of our finalists through our 3-phase waterproof testing process to determine which backpacks really deserved to be on this list.

How to Choose a Good Waterproof Backpack

Outer Material

The primary material or fabric that the backpack is made from determines how porous it is going to be against water. A real waterproof backpack is going to have zero holes and no breathability. Breathable bags mean they have holes in them, which is a highway for water to get in and soak your stuff.

Generally, you want to look for backpacks that are made from at least 500D Lined PVC Tarpaulin or laminated with PVC. Stay away from bags that are made from a thin Nylon fabric - while they may be lightweight and hold off water for a little while, this material soaks up water and will eventually give in.


The stitching around the seams of the backpack is important to seal off the crevices around zippers and other potential openings. The sealing or sewing of the backpack can be achieved in one of three ways:

  • Taping the seams - This is the least reliable method.
  • Gluing the seams - A reliable and durable method for sealing the bag.
  • Welding the seams - This method creates an entirely waterproof bond and is the most reliable.


Like we just mentioned above, any zippers around the exterior of the backpack are a point of vulnerability. Typical YKK zippers (used on normal backpacks or other stuff like your jeans) don't cut it here because they have small openings that allow water to seep through. Look for backpacks that use waterproof, airtight, and pressure-resistant zippers like TIZIP zippers, which a couple of our top picks use.

Buckles and Compression

For rolltop backpacks especially, the buckles used to secure the bag ensure you are creating an airtight seal that makes it nearly impossible for water to get in. Look for durable plastic or metal buckles with thick compression straps that can take a beating.

However, rolltop bags are never truly 100% watertight if they don't have a waterproof zipper since you are just relying on your folds to keep water out. Therefore, for full submersion, make sure their is some waterproof zipping mechanism if you know you're going to be underwater for more than just a few seconds.

Straps and Padding

As with any backpack, you want to make sure it is comfortable. Look for padding around the shoulder straps, the back, and a supportive hip belt if you are going to be carrying a heavier load.