How to Choose the Best Water Resistant Backpack

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.

Picture Brand Rating
Picture Brand Rating
Gregory - ( Baltoro 75 )

Gregory Baltoro

65-95 L / 3966-5797 CI


407 reviews
The North Face - ( Ice Project  )

The North Face Ice Project

45 L / 2746 CI


1 reviews
Exped - ( Glissade 25 )

Exped Glissade

25-32 L / 1526-1953 CI
Granite Gear - ( Lutsen 35 )

Granite Gear Lutsen

35-55 L / 2136-3356 CI


58 reviews
Klymit - ( Stash 18 )

Klymit Stash

18 L / 1098 CI
Fjallraven - ( Kajka 65 )

Fjallraven Kajka

20-85 L / 1220-5187 CI


25 reviews
Deuter - ( Zugspitze 24 )

Deuter Zugspitze

22-24 L / 1342-1464 CI
Deuter - ( Freerider 26 )

Deuter Freerider

24-30 L / 1464-1831 CI


37 reviews
Gregory - ( Maven 55 )

Gregory Maven

35-65 L / 2136-3966 CI


4 reviews
Fjallraven - ( Kanken 17 )

Fjallraven Kanken

7-20 L / 427-1220 CI


4055 reviews
Arcteryx - ( Arro 22 )

Arcteryx Arro

22 L / 1342 CI


35 reviews
Herschel Supply Co - ( Barlow Large )

Herschel Supply Co Barlow

20 L / 1220 CI
Arcteryx - ( Blanca 19 )

Arcteryx Blanca

19 L / 1159 CI


6 reviews
The North Face - ( Rovara  )

The North Face Rovara

27 L / 1648 CI
Herschel Supply Co - ( Mammoth  )

Herschel Supply Co Mammoth

18 L / 1098 CI
Gregory - ( Sketch 28 )

Gregory Sketch

19-28 L / 1159-1709 CI


1 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Brule  )

Granite Gear Brule

34 L / 2075 CI


4 reviews
Deuter - ( Walker 24 )

Deuter Walker

16-24 L / 976-1464 CI
Exped - ( Transit 40 )

Exped Transit

28 L / 1709 CI


8 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Eagle  )

Granite Gear Eagle

29 L / 1770 CI


12 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Talus  )

Granite Gear Talus

33 L / 2014 CI


21 reviews
Gregory - ( Cairn 68 )

Gregory Cairn

69 L / 4210 CI


3 reviews
Exped - ( Thunder 50 )

Exped Thunder

50-70 L / 3051-4271 CI
Mountainsmith - ( Scream 55 )

Mountainsmith Scream

26-55 L / 1587-3356 CI


4 reviews
Exped - ( Lightning 60 )

Exped Lightning

60 L / 3661 CI


31 reviews
Exped - ( Vertigo 45 )

Exped Vertigo

45 L / 2746 CI
Arcteryx - ( FYX 13 )

Arcteryx FYX

9-13 L / 549-793 CI
Granite Gear - ( Superior  )

Granite Gear Superior

32 L / 1953 CI


164 reviews
Gregory - ( Boone  )

Gregory Boone

40 L / 2441 CI
Arcteryx - ( Carrier 80 )

Arcteryx Carrier

36-98 L / 2197-5980 CI


15 reviews
Eagle Creek - ( No Matter What 32 )

Eagle Creek No Matter What

38-101 L / 2319-6163 CI


1100 reviews
Eagle Creek - ( Load Warrior 26 )

Eagle Creek Load Warrior

42 L / 2563 CI


127 reviews
Eagle Creek - ( Gear Warrior 32 )

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior

62-92 L / 3783-5583 CI


158 reviews
Lole - ( Deena  )

Lole Deena

Eagle Creek - ( Load Hauler  )

Eagle Creek Load Hauler

49 L / 2990 CI


61 reviews
Eagle Creek - ( Morphus 22 )

Eagle Creek Morphus

48 L / 2929 CI


28 reviews
Eagle Creek - ( Pack-it  )

Eagle Creek Pack-it

11 L / 641 CI


5194 reviews
Exped - ( Mountain 20 )

Exped Mountain

20-32 L / 1220-1953 CI
Filson - ( Ranger  )

Filson Ranger


1 reviews
Fjallraven - ( Foldsack No. 2 )

Fjallraven Foldsack

16-17 L / 976-1037 CI


57 reviews
Fjallraven - ( Stubben  )

Fjallraven Stubben

27 L / 1648 CI


11 reviews
Montane - ( Summit Tour  )

Montane Summit Tour

50 L / 3051 CI
Mystery Ranch - ( Kletterwerks  )

Mystery Ranch Kletterwerks

20 L / 1220 CI


10 reviews
Ortovox - ( Free Rider 22 )

Ortovox Free Rider

22-26 L / 1342-1587 CI
Ortovox - ( Haute Route 32 )

Ortovox Haute Route

32 L / 1953 CI


4 reviews
Ortovox - ( Tour 32+7 )

Ortovox Tour

30 L / 1831 CI
The North Face - ( Apex  )

The North Face Apex

31 L / 1892 CI


705 reviews
Under Armour - ( Storm  )

Under Armour Storm


86 reviews
Chrome - ( Yalta  )

Chrome Yalta

Granite Gear - ( Reticu-Lite 26 )

Granite Gear Reticu-Lite

46-78 L / 2807-4760 CI
Granite Gear - ( Trailster  )

Granite Gear Trailster

40 L / 2410 CI


200 reviews
Ortlieb - ( Back Roller  )

Ortlieb Back Roller

20 L / 1220 CI


2 reviews
Ortovox - ( Ascent 22 )

Ortovox Ascent

22-32 L / 1342-1953 CI
Eagle Creek - ( Pack It  )

Eagle Creek Pack It

13 L / 793 CI


449 reviews
Filson - ( Field  )

Filson Field


37 reviews

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:


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.

Last updated on November 14, 2017