Top 90 Best Reviewed Water Resistant Backpacks - Buyers Guide 2018


Most waterproof backpacks are actually just water resistant - but luckily that's also all that most of us need.

Most of us don't need to cross rivers with our backpacks. All we need is to be able handle a bit of rain and for that, a water resistant backpack is all that is needed.

But watch out when you are looking for a new water resistant backpack. Not all packs are of the same quality, so you need to compare the different brands and models before you buy.

To help you choose, we have checked 15,878 reviews to find the best reviewed water resistant backpacks.

Check out the top 90 list below - and the top 3 most popular water resistant backpacks, if you just want to check out some of the most popular models (the models that most people end up buying).
How we rate the bags

We have checked more than 800,000 reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of thousands of bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.



Top 3 most popular water resistant backpacks 2018


Fjallraven Kanken
Fjallraven Kanken
Rated 4.6 based on 4,297 reviews.
Patagonia Black Hole
Patagonia Black Hole
Rated 4.7 based on 1,254 reviews.
Eagle Creek Pack It
Eagle Creek Pack It
Rated 4.7 based on 626 reviews.

Below is the top 90 list based on the thousands of reviews we have checked.


Top 90 water resistant backpacks 2018


Arcteryx FYX
Arcteryx FYX
2 models available. 13 and 9
Size 9-13 L (549-793 CI)
Arcteryx logo
5.0
2 reviews

Patagonia Snow Drifter
Patagonia Snow Drifter
3 models available. 20, 30 and 40
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Patagonia logo
5.0
4 reviews

Deuter Walker
Deuter Walker
3 models available. 16, 20 and 24
Size 16-24 L (976-1465 CI)
Deuter logo
5.0
5 reviews

Montane Cobra
Montane Cobra
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Montane logo
5.0
1 review

Montane Medusa
Montane Medusa
Size 32 L (1953 CI)
Montane logo
5.0
1 review

Montane Ultra
Montane Ultra
5 models available. 22, 38, 40, 55 and 7
Size 55 L (3356 CI)
Montane logo
5.0
1 review

Filson Sportsman
Filson logo
5.0
4 reviews

Herschel Barlow
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Herschel logo
5.0
3 reviews

Matador Beast
Matador Beast
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Matador logo
5.0
4 reviews

Ortovox Tour
Ortovox Tour
3 models available. 30, 32 and 32+7
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Ortovox logo
5.0
1 review

Gregory Baltoro
Gregory Baltoro
3 models available. 65, 75 and 95
Size 65-95 L (3967-5797 CI)
Gregory logo
4.9
554 reviews

Patagonia Ironwood
Patagonia Ironwood
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.9
60 reviews

Patagonia Bonsai
Patagonia Bonsai
Size 14 L (854 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.9
5 reviews

Patagonia Paxat
Patagonia Paxat
2 models available. 30 and 32
Size 30-32 L (1831-1953 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.9
90 reviews

Patagonia Chacabuco
Patagonia Chacabuco
3 models available. 28, 30 and 32
Size 28-32 L (1709-1953 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
46 reviews

Deuter Zugspitze
Deuter Zugspitze
5 models available. 20, 22, 24, 25 and 65
Size 24 L (1465 CI)
Deuter logo
4.8
12 reviews

Fjallraven Stubben
Fjallraven Stubben
2 models available. [31120] and 27
Size 27 L (1648 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.8
14 reviews

Ortovox Haute Route
Ortovox Haute Route
4 models available. 30, 32, 35 and 45
Size 32 L (1953 CI)
Ortovox logo
4.8
5 reviews

Patagonia Toromiro
Patagonia Toromiro
Size 22 L (1343 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
68 reviews

Granite Gear Lutsen
Granite Gear Lutsen
3 models available. 35, 45 and 55
Size 35-55 L (2136-3356 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.8
60 reviews

Patagonia Drifter
Patagonia Drifter
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
250 reviews

Patagonia Fore Runner
Patagonia Fore Runner
Size 10 L (610 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
8 reviews

Mystery Ranch Kletterwerks
4 models available. [31111], 11, 15 and 30
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Mystery ranch logo
4.8
11 reviews

Arcteryx Arro
Arcteryx Arro
2 models available. 16 and 22
Size 22 L (1343 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.7
89 reviews

Patagonia Jalama
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.7
45 reviews

Patagonia Black Hole
Patagonia Black Hole
5 models available. 120, 25, 45, 60 and 90
Size 25-120 L (1526-7323 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.7
1,254 reviews

Fjallraven Kajka
Fjallraven Kajka
5 models available. 100, 55, 65, 75 and 85
Size 55-85 L (3356-5187 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.7
28 reviews

Gregory Zulu
Gregory Zulu
5 models available. 30, 35, 40, 55 and 65
Size 30-65 L (1831-3967 CI)
Gregory logo
4.7
161 reviews

Patagonia Linked
Patagonia Linked
Size 16 L (976 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.7
23 reviews

Patagonia Nine Trails
Patagonia Nine Trails
Size 15 L (915 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.7
40 reviews

Exped Lightning
Exped Lightning
2 models available. 45 and 60
Size 45-60 L (2746-3661 CI)

4.7
40 reviews

Eagle Creek Pack It
Eagle Creek Pack It
Size 13 L (793 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.7
626 reviews

Outdoor Research Isolation
Outdoor Research Isolation
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Outdoor research logo
4.7
17 reviews

The North Face Ice Project
The North Face Ice Project
Size 45 L (2746 CI)
The north face logo
4.7
3 reviews

Ortovox Free Rider
Ortovox Free Rider
4 models available. 16, 22, 24 and 26
Size 26 L (1587 CI)
Ortovox logo
4.7
3 reviews

Filson Field
Filson logo
4.7
38 reviews

Patagonia Headway
Patagonia Headway
4 models available. 22, 40, 45 and 70
Size 22-70 L (1343-4272 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.6
222 reviews

Granite Gear Superior
Granite Gear Superior
3 models available. [31084], 17 and 32
Size 32 L (1953 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.6
167 reviews

Patagonia Refugio
Patagonia Refugio
3 models available. 15, 26 and 28
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.6
1,304 reviews

Granite Gear Haulsted
Granite Gear Haulsted
Size 33 L (2014 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.6
63 reviews

Arcteryx Carrier
Arcteryx Carrier
8 models available. 100, 35, 40, 50, 55, 60, 75 and 80
Size 98 L (5980 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.6
35 reviews

Fjallraven Kanken
Fjallraven Kanken
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.6
4,297 reviews

Patagonia Arbor
Patagonia Arbor
4 models available. 26, 30, 32 and 60
Size 26-60 L (1587-3661 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.6
595 reviews

Exped Transit
Exped Transit
3 models available. 30, 40 and 60
Size 28 L (1709 CI)

4.6
9 reviews

Eagle Creek Morphus
Eagle Creek Morphus
2 models available. 22 and 30
Size 48 L (2929 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.6
28 reviews

Eagle Creek Load Warrior
Eagle Creek Load Warrior
7 models available. 20, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 32
Size 42 L (2563 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.5
180 reviews

Patagonia Atom
Patagonia Atom
3 models available. 18, 7 and 8
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.5
948 reviews

Fjallraven Foldsack
Fjallraven Foldsack
3 models available. 1, 2 and 3
Size 16-17 L (976-1037 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.5
65 reviews

Granite Gear Trailster
Granite Gear Trailster
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.5
200 reviews

Arcteryx Blanca
Arcteryx Blanca
Size 19 L (1159 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.5
15 reviews

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior
4 models available. 22, 26, 29 and 32
Size 38-92 L (2319-5614 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.5
268 reviews

The North Face Access
The North Face Access
2 models available. 22 and 28
Size 22-28 L (1343-1709 CI)
The north face logo
4.5
87 reviews

Eagle Creek Load Hauler
Eagle Creek Load Hauler
Size 49 L (2990 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.5
61 reviews

Fjallraven Greenland
Fjallraven Greenland
Size 15 L (915 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.5
168 reviews

Granite Gear Brule
Granite Gear Brule
Size 34 L (2075 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.4
5 reviews

Eagle Creek No Matter What
Eagle Creek No Matter What
3 models available. 20, 22 and 28
Size 38-77 L (2319-4699 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.4
1,235 reviews

Klymit Stash
Klymit Stash
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Klymit logo
4.4
16 reviews

Arcteryx Cierzo
Arcteryx Cierzo
4 models available. 18, 25, 28 and 35
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.4
13 reviews

Thule Crossover
Thule Crossover
5 models available. 25, 32, 38, 40 and 87
Size 25-87 L (1526-5309 CI)
Thule logo
4.4
771 reviews

Under Armour Hustle
Under Armour Hustle
2 models available. 2 and 3
Under armour logo
4.4
689 reviews

Mountainsmith Scream
Mountainsmith Scream
2 models available. 25 and 55
Size 26-55 L (1587-3356 CI)
Mountainsmith logo
4.4
14 reviews

Patagonia Yerba
Patagonia Yerba
Size 24 L (1465 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.3
148 reviews

Herschel Mammoth
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Herschel logo
4.3
1 review

Patagonia Cragsmith
Patagonia Cragsmith
Size 35 L (2136 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.3
11 reviews

The North Face Shadow
The North Face Shadow
5 models available. 200, 30, 30+10, 40 and 40+10
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
The north face logo
4.3
30 reviews

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler
4 models available. 120, 45, 60 and 90
Size 45-120 L (2746-7323 CI)
Eagle creek logo
4.3
457 reviews

Thule Pack n Pedal
Thule Pack n Pedal
Size 1 L (61 CI)
Thule logo
4.3
39 reviews

Gregory Cairn
Gregory Cairn
3 models available. 48, 58 and 68
Size 69 L (4211 CI)
Gregory logo
4.2
5 reviews

Montane Anaconda
Montane Anaconda
Size 18 L (1098 CI)
Montane logo
4.2
5 reviews

Chrome Yalta
Chrome logo
4.2
2 reviews

Granite Gear Talus
Granite Gear Talus
Size 33 L (2014 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.1
21 reviews

Gregory Sketch
Gregory Sketch
6 models available. 15, 18, 22, 25, 28 and 8
Size 28 L (1709 CI)
Gregory logo
4.1
67 reviews

Thule Paramount
Thule Paramount
3 models available. 24, 27 and 29
Size 24-29 L (1465-1770 CI)
Thule logo
4.1
33 reviews

Gregory Boone
Gregory Boone
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Gregory logo
4.0
1 review

Mountain Hardwear Lightweight
Mountain hardwear logo
4.0
2 reviews

Arcteryx Voltair
Arcteryx Voltair
2 models available. 20 and 30
Size 20-30 L (1220-1831 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.0
2 reviews

NRS Pelican
Nrs logo
4.0
2 reviews

Granite Gear Eagle
Granite Gear Eagle
Size 29 L (1770 CI)
Granite gear logo
3.4
12 reviews

Gregory Maven
Gregory Maven
5 models available. 35, 45, 48, 55 and 65
Size 65 L (3967 CI)
Gregory logo
3.0
4 reviews

Patagonia Tres
Patagonia Tres
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Patagonia logo
3.0
1 review

Exped Mountain Pro
Exped Mountain Pro
4 models available. 20, 30, 40 and 50
Size 49 L (2990 CI)

3.0
2 reviews

Exped Thunder
Exped Thunder
2 models available. 50 and 70
Size 50-70 L (3051-4272 CI)

2.0
1 review

Black Diamond Elixir
Black Diamond Elixir
2 models available. 45 and 60
Size 45-60 L (2746-3661 CI)
Black diamond logo
1.0
1 review

The North Face Rovara
Size 27 L (1648 CI)
The north face logo

Exped Glissade
Exped Glissade
2 models available. 25 and 35
Size 25-32 L (1526-1953 CI)


Exped Vertigo
Exped Vertigo
2 models available. 30 and 45
Size 45 L (2746 CI)


Exped Mountain
Exped Mountain
4 models available. 20, 30, 40 and 50
Size 49 L (2990 CI)


Montane Summit Tour
Montane Summit Tour
2 models available. 50 and 50+15
Size 50 L (3051 CI)
Montane logo

Ortovox Ascent
Ortovox Ascent
4 models available. 22, 28, 30 and 32
Size 22-32 L (1343-1953 CI)
Ortovox logo

Lole Deena
Lole logo

Review Summary

15,878 reviews of bags checked.

Average rating is 4.6 out of 5.

Related Ranking Lists



These days, everyone carries a small fortune in technology around with them at all times. So, even a little bit of rain can be cause for some serious concern, if you don’t have the proper protection. If you are not planning on facing down any storms or going swimming with your backpack on, you should be just fine with a water resistant backpack.

Are Water Resistant Backpacks What You Need? (Buyers Guide)

Of course, this brings on an entirely new debate including what is a water resistant backpack, is it really right for you, and how do you decide which one is best? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to look elsewhere, we have all your answers right here.

Backpack manufacturers like to throw around various terms and specifications to make their bags sound more rugged and durable. This is partly why so many labels are often used interchangeably with others. For instance, while many companies like to claim that their backpacks are waterproof, what they actually mean is that they are water resistant. For you to truly be able to understand the difference between these terms and other categories, you need to take a closer look at this aspect of the backpack industry:

What Does a Water Resistant Backpack Do?

First things first, let’s narrow down what a water resistant backpack actually is. These backpacks are made from material where the fibers are woven together very tightly. This creates a surface that makes it very difficult for water to penetrate through. However, while these bags are capable of keeping the moisture being absorbed, it is only capable of doing so for a short period of time. If the material continues to be exposed to water, particularly droplets falling with force, the water will penetrate through.

Now, water resistant backpacks are the only form of water protection available. There are also backpacks that are water repellent and waterproof. The main difference between a water repellent backpack and a water resistant one is the treatment on the material and its resulting properties. With water repellent backpacks, the material is sprayed with a protective layer. This causes the water to pool on the surface of the bag and then flow off. Therefore, unless you submerge a water repellent backpack in water for a period of time, it will keep your backpack dry.

Last but not least, there are waterproof backpacks which provide the ultimate form of defense against moisture. These packs are made from materials that prevent the water from entering in, even when submerged. On top of that, the zippers, seams, and various other features that are designed to keep water out no matter what.

Best Water Resistant Backpack

Why Water Resistant Backpacks are More Suitable for You

So, with more than a few options available to you, the question is which type of moisture protection is right for you. While it can be tempting to straightaway opt for a water repellent or waterproof pack, this isn’t necessarily something that you may need. In fact, precious few people actually require a waterproof backpack in their daily life.

If you live or travel in a region that experiences continuous, heavy downpours then perhaps, a waterproof backpack may be useful. The same can be said if you go kayaking, diving, or engage in similar water activities. These, however, are typically the only occasions where waterproof backpacks are really utilized to their full potential.

Whether you are a cyclist, commuter, or hiker that relies on backpacks, you will often find that water resistant packs are more than enough for you. Here are some of the advantages of this type of backpack:

  • Sufficient Protection from Water: water resistant backpacks have been built to keep your belongings dry during light drizzles and intermittent showers of rain. The fabric is able to prevent the water from coming in until it gets waterlogged and the water droplets force their way in. Since rain droplets are often quite large, it will take a while for the moisture to seep in, protecting your things in most rainy conditions.
  • Additional Storage Space: whether you are on a daily commute or a hike, one of the most required features is easy access. Most water resistant backpacks have plenty of external compartments available. This has two benefits. First, you are able to store a greater number of items in your bag. Also, you can easily access them when needed, even while on the move.
  • Better Access Points: the truly waterproof backpacks often have roll-top access points or have a top loading opening. This means that it can be quite difficult to organize your belongings. It can be just as hard to actually get to them very quickly. With water resistant backpacks, however, there are often front loading panels, making storage a lot easier.
  • Lower Cost: one of the main advantages of a water resistant backpack is that is often considerably cheaper than a waterproof backpack. The materials used as well as the techniques for constructing this bag are cheaper which makes the end product more affordable as well.

The Structure of a Water Resistant Backpack

So, the next thing you must ask is what makes up a water resistant backpack? What is it made of and what are the components involved? Here is what you need to know:

Materials

Water resistant backpacks can be made from a number of different materials. On the less durable end of the spectrum, these backpacks can be made from polyester of different strengths. However, it is becoming more common to find tougher water resistant backpacks such as those made from Cordura and rip stop nylon. For people who are willing to pay more, you may even find backpacks that are made from sail cloth. This material is not commonly found and is usually specific to certain manufacturers.

As mentioned, regardless of the material used, the bonds between the fibers are relatively the same. They are sewn very tightly together to prevent the water from seeping in immediately. Now, depending on the manufacturer, treatments are sometimes sprayed onto this material. This is so that it adds more protection against moisture. Some of the components that are used include polyurethane, thermoplastic elastomers, and polyvinyl chloride. These, however, only act as a barrier for a short period of time. Due to exposure to the elements, they can wear off after a while.

Assembly

One of the reasons that water resistant backpacks aren’t waterproof is because of the seams. To keep costs down, the seams are often sewed together. This, of course, leaves needle holes through which the water can pass through. To make the seams less permeable to water, they need to be coated on the inside of the bag. Oftentimes, the same treatment used on the exterior of the bag is used on the inside of the bag as well. As such, the coatings on the seams are prone to wear and tear as well.

Then, there are the zippers on the pack to think about as well. Traditionally, zippers have proven to be weak points on any pack, letting the most amount of water in. One of the simplest ways to prevent this to a certain degree is to keep the zippers hooded. These are like small awnings, made from the same water resistant material as the bag. In certain instances, manufacturers may apply a polyurethane seal over the zippers to act as a shield.

The other step that many manufacturers take is to have a lining inside the backpack as well. As you are aware of, the fabric used for water resistant materials only lets water in after a certain period of time. When the material gets waterlogged, the water passes through. This means that anything near the material is bound to get soaked. An internal lining, also made from water resistant material, can help to cut down on this a little.

Determining the Level of Water Resistance of a Backpack

Now, there is hardly any point in getting a water resistant backpack if you aren’t even sure that it can live up to its claims. While there are many manufacturers that say that their backpacks are water resistant, not all can live up to these promises. Of course, you can’t exactly go to a store, hose in hand, and spray the backpacks to find out whether they pass muster or not.

Fortunately, there are more subtle ways of doing this. By carrying out these small examinations, you will have a better chance of finding a water resistant backpack that will actually do what is supposed to:

Multiple Layers

One of the first things that you should check is just how many layers the backpack is made up of. Remember, how when water resistant material gets waterlogged, it lets the moisture through? Well, the more layers that there are, the longer it will take for this to happen. Therefore, multiple layers are often a good sign.

IP Rating

Even the term water resistance can mean many different things. After all, this definition refers more to a spectrum of properties rather than a distinct rating. To determine the precise water resistance of the backpack, it is best to look at the IP rating. It should be noted that this is not something that is commonly found on backpack labels, particularly the more economical options. This is because testing to figure out the exact level of water resistance can be quite expensive. So, to keep costs down, many companies skip this procedure. However, if you do find this rating, you should know what it means. Ideally, you should be looking either for an IP64 or IP65 rating. This indicates that the backpack can withstand drizzle and light water spray.

This is what you need to know what it means to buy and own a water resistance backpack. As you can see, it is not always simple and certainly not concrete. Still, this information should help you to make better choices regarding your backpack purchases.


Last updated on December 14, 2017

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