Top 10 Best Water resistant backpacks in 2018

We have read and checked 3,312 reviews to make this top 10 list!

First, here's the best reviewed water resistant backpack of all the many bags we have checked:

Patagonia Stormfront

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 read and checked 3,312 reviews to find the best reviewed water resistant backpacks.

Now, let's take a look at the 10 best rated water resistant backpacks here in 2018:

Rankwater resistant backpackRating
1Patagonia StormfrontPatagonia Stormfront4.8
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2The North Face HomesteadThe North Face Homestead4.7
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3Patagonia Black HolePatagonia Black Hole4.7
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4Aqua Quest HimalAqua Quest Himal4.5
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5SealLine BoundarySealLine Boundary4.4
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6Granite Gear JackfishGranite Gear Jackfish4.4
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7Aqua Quest SportAqua Quest Sport4.3
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8Mountain Hardwear ScramblerMountain Hardwear Scrambler4.2
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9Watershed Big CreekWatershed Big Creek4.2
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10Ortlieb VelocityOrtlieb Velocity4.1
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List based on 3,312 checked reviews.

How we rate the bags

We have checked 3,312 water resistant backpack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the 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.

Not sure what water resistant backpack to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

The water resistant backpack buyers guide

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?

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:


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.


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.

Popular Water Resistant Backpacks Brands

Here are some of the most popular brands that make water resistant backpacks:

Aqua Quest

Aqua Quest provides a wide array of water resistant backpacks that are suitable for most of the users who wish to venture outside and connect with the nature. This brand was founded in 1994 with the idea to produce some of the greatest water proof quality backpacks and with just little over two decades of its existence Aqua Quest is among the leaders in the industry and has a global reputation in quality and durability.

Some of the bestseller backpacks of the brand are Aqua Quest Sport Backpack, Aqua Quest Mariner Waterproof Backpack and Aqua Quest Stylin.

The products offered by Aqua Quest are made of lightweight and durable RipStop fabric combined with dual coating of TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane) and DWR (Durable Water Repellent) material. This advanced combination produces a lightweight material which is strong enough to hold a quite a lot of water before it actually leaks.


Arcteryx offers a diverse range of water resistant backpacks that are especially designed for outdoor activities and adventure. The products are made with great craftsmanship and quality control which provide great performance and utility to its wide range of products. The company was founded in 1989 and ever since then has come out with innovative technologies such as heat laminate, vapor harness etc. to improve the quality of their backpacks.

Arcteryx water resistant backpacks are made of ultralight material and are used by some of the most famous athletes around the world. The top selling waterproof backpacks are Arcteryx Alpha FL 30, Arcteryx AC2 Packs and others. One of the main feature of the backpacks is the watertight zippers which makes the bag water resistant to a great extent.

This brand has got a great loyal customer base and the products of the brand are tested in real world conditions and undergoes a serious situation testing.


Ortlieb is one such brand that has gained tremendous popularity among the bikers and globetrotters for their quality water resistant backpacks. The backpacks offered by Ortlieb are stylish, rugged and multifunctional. These backpacks are quite suitable for outdoor adventures as well as everyday urban activities.

For more than three decades now the brand is providing momentum in this arena and has set the standards very high. Each brand of the bag comes with a 5-year warranty which instills confidence in the buyer. Ortlieb waterproof backpacks are made of durable material using special high frequency welding procedure to make them water resistant and sustain any kind of harsh weather conditions so that the contents of the backpacks remain dry even in the heaviest and longest of downpours. Among the top selling waterproof backpacks of the brand are Ortlieb Velocity and Ortlieb Packman Pro besides others.


Patagonia is one such brand that offers the highest level of water resistant coating in the packs. Ergonomic back panel, comfortable shoulder harness and a burly TIZIP Closure are some of the salient features of its water-resistant backpacks.

Their backpacks are ideal for adventure sports and outdoor activities with product design demonstrating a bias for simplicity and utility. The environmental friendly brand donates every year 1% of their sales to several environment groups for the betterment of our planet.

Patagonia believes in giving back to the society and the planet and thus uses recycled polyester and organic material in most of its products. DWR (durable water repellent) fabric is used in the backpacks which repels rain and snow and decreases dry time. Patagonia Black Hole, Patagonia Toromiro Pack and Patagonia Linked Pack are the top selling backpacks in this segment.

Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit provides an extensive range of water resistant backpacks especially designed for backpacking trips and outdoor adventures. The brand also provides variety of accessories that are ideal for any backpacking and camping trips and further enhance the utility of their existing range of backpacks. The main motto of the brand is to design and build equipment that brings us closer to the outdoors.

Sea to Summit bags are lightweight and slim lined packaged using high quality laminated 210D waterproof Nylon in the body and 420D Nylon on the base for durability. Some of the best seller packs of the brand are Sea to Summit Rapid and Sea to Summit Flow. Sea to Summit inspires new product innovation with introduction of new technology and material over time.

Their products are priced reasonably and the quick and responsive customer care is a further addon of the brand.


Timbuk2 is a brand which is well known for its customized or made to order bags. They also ranked quite highly when it comes to water resistant backpacks. The brand which started making bags for bike messengers initially are now designing bags that is catering to a wide range of audience.

With their continuous innovations and upgradation, the brand is able to come up with some of the best water-resistant backpacks that are available in the market including Timbuk2 Tuck, Timbuk2 Spire, and Timbuk2 Especial. Timbuk2 is very successful in keeping up with the fashion and considers it as an important parameter of the bag along with utility and durability.

The brand is surely making its present felt over the last 30 years coming out from humble beginnings from a garage. The wide range of choices of size and colors will surely impress a large customer base.

The 3 best reviewed water resistant backpacks in 2018

Rankwater resistant backpackRating
1Patagonia StormfrontPatagonia Stormfront4.8
Check price »

2The North Face HomesteadThe North Face Homestead4.7
Check price »

3Patagonia Black HolePatagonia Black Hole4.7
Check price »

Missing a great water resistant backpack? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated 17/06/2018. Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API.

Last updated on June 17, 2018

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