Top 70 Best Reviewed Waterproof Backpacks - Buyers Guide 2018


Choosing the right waterproof backpack isn't as easy at it might seem. There are quite a few models to choose between - and many of them are not 100% waterproof even if they are described as waterproof by the brands!

So if you need a waterproof backpack, you need to take care and make sure you choose a backpack that really is waterproof and not just water resistant.

You also need to make sure the backpack matches your needs, so it will have room for all your stuff without being too big and heavy.

To help you choose, we have checked 7,177 reviews to find the best reviewed waterproof backpacks.

Check out the top 70 list below - and the top 3 most popular waterproof 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 waterproof backpacks 2018


Timbuk2 Spire
Timbuk2 Spire
Rated 4.3 based on 386 reviews.
Chrome Barrage
Chrome Barrage
Rated 4.5 based on 2 reviews.
Patagonia Stormfront
Patagonia Stormfront
Rated 4.8 based on 13 reviews.

Below is the top 70 list based on the thousands of reviews we have checked.


Top 70 waterproof backpacks 2018


Gregory Tempo
Gregory Tempo
4 models available. 1.5, 3, 5 and 8
Size 8 L (488 CI)
Gregory logo
5.0
8 reviews

Mountain Hardwear Direttissima
Mountain Hardwear Direttissima
3 models available. 35, 46 and 50
Size 50 L (3051 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
5.0
3 reviews

Mountain Hardwear DryCommuter
Mountain Hardwear DryCommuter
2 models available. 22 and 32
Size 25-33 L (1526-2014 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
5.0
1 review

Arcteryx Khamski
Arcteryx Khamski
4 models available. 31, 38, 48 and 50
Size 34 L (2075 CI)
Arcteryx logo
5.0
8 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 Grand Tour
Montane Grand Tour
2 models available. 55 and 70
Size 55-70 L (3356-4272 CI)
Montane logo
5.0
1 review

Fjallraven Friluft
Fjallraven Friluft
3 models available. 35, 45 and 55
Size 45 L (2746 CI)
Fjallraven logo
5.0
1 review

Salomon X Alp
Salomon X Alp
Size 23 L (1404 CI)
Salomon logo
5.0
1 review

Beal Genius
Beal logo
5.0
1 review

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

Matador Transit
Matador Transit
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Matador logo
5.0
2 reviews

Sea to Summit Rapid
Size 26 L (1587 CI)
Sea to summit logo
5.0
12 reviews

YETI Panga
YETI Panga
3 models available. 100, 50 and 75
Size 50-100 L (3051-6102 CI)
Yeti logo
5.0
1 review

Black Diamond Creek Transit
Black Diamond Creek Transit
2 models available. 22 and 32
Size 22-32 L (1343-1953 CI)
Black diamond logo
4.9
16 reviews

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400
Size 55 L (3356 CI)
Hyperlite mountain gear logo
4.8
33 reviews

Chrome Bravo
Chrome Bravo
2 models available. 1.0 and 2.0
Size 32 L (1953 CI)
Chrome logo
4.8
27 reviews

Thule Versant
Thule Versant
3 models available. 50, 60 and 70
Size 50-70 L (3051-4272 CI)
Thule logo
4.8
18 reviews

The North Face Homestead
The North Face Homestead
Size 52 L (3173 CI)
The north face logo
4.8
26 reviews

Patagonia Stormfront
Patagonia Stormfront
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Patagonia logo
4.8
13 reviews

Arcteryx Alpha
Arcteryx Alpha
2 models available. FL 30 and FL 45
Size 23-45 L (1404-2746 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.7
57 reviews

Granite Gear Slacker Packer
Granite Gear Slacker Packer
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Granite gear logo
4.7
4 reviews

Fjallraven Kaipak
Fjallraven Kaipak
3 models available. 28, 38 and 58
Size 58 L (3539 CI)
Fjallraven logo
4.7
3 reviews

Timbuk2 Robin
Timbuk2 Robin
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.6
31 reviews

Exped Torrent
Exped Torrent
4 models available. 20, 30, 40 and 50
Size 20-50 L (1220-3051 CI)

4.6
21 reviews

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

4.6
9 reviews

Timbuk2 Classic
Timbuk2 Classic
Size 9 L (549 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.5
2,052 reviews

Osprey Ultralight
Osprey Ultralight
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Osprey logo
4.5
876 reviews

Salomon Trail
Salomon Trail
2 models available. 10 and 20
Size 9-20 L (549-1220 CI)
Salomon logo
4.5
2,560 reviews

Black Diamond Creek
Black Diamond Creek
4 models available. 20, 32, 35 and 50
Size 48 L (2929 CI)
Black diamond logo
4.5
42 reviews

Exped Expedition
Exped Expedition
3 models available. 100, 65 and 80
Size 25-80 L (1526-4882 CI)

4.5
4 reviews

Chrome Barrage
Chrome Barrage
Size 34 L (2075 CI)
Chrome logo
4.5
2 reviews

Thule Stir
Thule Stir
3 models available. 15, 20 and 35
Size 15-35 L (915-2136 CI)
Thule logo
4.5
46 reviews

Timbuk2 Parker
Timbuk2 Parker
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.5
17 reviews

Deuter Airlite
Deuter Airlite
5 models available. 16, 20, 22, 26 and 28
Size 16-28 L (976-1709 CI)
Deuter logo
4.5
57 reviews

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

Timbuk2 Especial
Timbuk2 Especial
Size 30 L (1831 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.4
308 reviews

Salomon Skin
Salomon Skin
5 models available. 10, 12, 15, 5 and 95
Size 15 L (915 CI)
Salomon logo
4.4
72 reviews

Timbuk2 Spire
Timbuk2 Spire
Size 32 L (1953 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.3
386 reviews

Arcteryx Granville
Arcteryx Granville
3 models available. [31094], 20 and 25
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Arcteryx logo
4.3
26 reviews

Timbuk2 Bruce
Timbuk2 Bruce
Size 45 L (2746 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.3
20 reviews

Timbuk2 Stark
Timbuk2 Stark
Size 14 L (854 CI)
Timbuk2 logo
4.3
14 reviews

Klymit Splash
Klymit Splash
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Klymit logo
4.3
9 reviews

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

Outdoor Research Rangefinder
Outdoor Research Rangefinder
3 models available. [31131], 20 and 23
Size 35 L (2136 CI)
Outdoor research logo
4.3
14 reviews

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler
Mountain Hardwear Scrambler
4 models available. 20, 30, 35 and 40
Size 21-46 L (1281-2807 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
4.2
64 reviews

Mountain Hardwear Hueco
Mountain Hardwear Hueco
4 models available. 20, 28, 34 and 35
Size 35 L (2136 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
4.2
21 reviews

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

Mountain Hardwear Ozonic
Mountain Hardwear Ozonic
4 models available. 50, 58, 65 and 70
Size 50-70 L (3051-4272 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
4.1
8 reviews

Exped Cloudburst
Exped Cloudburst
2 models available. 15 and 25
Size 15-25 L (915-1526 CI)

4.1
11 reviews

Mountain Hardwear South Col
Mountain Hardwear South Col
Size 70 L (4272 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
4.0
4 reviews

Gregory Pierpont
Gregory logo
4.0
1 review

Mountain Hardwear Single Track
Mountain Hardwear Single Track
3 models available. 12, 18 and 24
Size 12-24 L (732-1465 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
4.0
1 review

Petzl Alcanadre
Petzl Alcanadre
Size 45 L (2746 CI)
Petzl logo
4.0
1 review

Phantom Aquatics Walrus
Phantom Aquatics Walrus
2 models available. 120 and 25
Phantom aquatics logo
4.0
1 review

Mountain Hardwear BMG
Mountain Hardwear BMG
Size 105 L (6407 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
3.9
7 reviews

Salomon Agile
Salomon Agile
7 models available. 12, 17, 2, 20, 250, 500 and 7
Size 12 L (732 CI)
Salomon logo
3.6
27 reviews

NRS Hydrolock
Nrs logo
3.5
2 reviews

Exped Serac
Exped Serac
3 models available. 25, 35 and 45
Size 45 L (2746 CI)

3.0
6 reviews

Matador Droplet
Matador Droplet
Size 3 L (183 CI)
Matador logo
3.0
1 review

Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow
Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow
3 models available. 18, 26 and 36
Size 18-35 L (1098-2136 CI)
Mountain hardwear logo
2.8
2 reviews

Exped Black Ice
Exped Black Ice
3 models available. 30, 40 and 45
Size 45 L (2746 CI)


Exped Typhoon
Exped Typhoon
2 models available. 15 and 25
Size 12-15 L (732-915 CI)


Exped Backcountry
Exped Backcountry
5 models available. [29011], 35, 45, 55 and 65
Size 65 L (3967 CI)


Exped Tempest
Exped Tempest
2 models available. 100 and 140
Size 40-100 L (2441-6102 CI)


NRS Animas
Size 54 L (3295 CI)
Nrs logo

Montane Torque
Size 40 L (2441 CI)
Montane logo

Montane Jaws
Montane Jaws
Size 10 L (610 CI)
Montane logo

Montane Bite
Montane Bite
Size 1 L (61 CI)
Montane logo

Montane Dragon
Montane Dragon
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Montane logo

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

Fjallraven Kiruna
Fjallraven Kiruna
Size 22 L (1343 CI)
Fjallraven logo

Ortlieb Packman
Ortlieb Packman
2 models available. [31122] and 25
Size 25 L (1526 CI)
Ortlieb logo

Ortlieb Velocity
Ortlieb Velocity
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Ortlieb logo

Blackburn Barrier City
Size 20 L (1220 CI)
Blackburn logo

Sea to Summit Flow
Sea to Summit Flow
Size 35 L (2136 CI)
Sea to summit logo

Seattle Sports E-Merse
Seattle Sports E-Merse
Size 11 L (671 CI)
Seattle sports logo

Review Summary

7,177 reviews of bags checked.

Average rating is 4.5 out of 5.

Related Ranking Lists



Whether you are a hiker or a commuter, there is a good chance that you need a waterproof backpack. That is, of course, if you want a pack that can be used in all conditions. Most people looking for this type of pack have either been led astray or been severely disappointed. This is why we created this guide to make sure that you are getting exactly what you paid for.

In this article, we look at what the different terms mean, the materials that are used, and any other features that you need to know about. By the end of it, you will definitely be able to pick out your own waterproof backpack.

Want a Backpack that is Actually Waterproof? Here’s How to Find It (Buyers Guide)

Trying to find a backpack that actually lives up to the claims that it is waterproof can be quite difficult. Of course, if you are looking for a bag that is capable of keeping all of your items safe, then it is important to find one that is impervious to water. Here is what you need to know to be able to make the right decision for yourself:

Water Resistant, Water Repellent, and Waterproof

First things first, you need to understand exactly what manufacturers are saying when they use the above terms to describe their backpacks. Now, more often than not, these descriptions are used quite interchangeably. However, water resistant and water repellent are not the same as waterproof. These three terms can be considered increasing levels of just how capable a material is of keeping water and moisture at bay. Here is how they differ:

Water Resistant

Water resistant backpacks can be considered the first level of protection against water. Most backpacks are actually water resistant as opposed to anything else. What this means is that your backpack will be able to prevent the water from seeping through, but only for a little while. Eventually, the water will enter the backpack. These type of backpacks are usually best for light rain showers and when the pack won’t be exposed to water for too long.

Water Repellent

Water repellent backpacks are the next tier. What sets water repellent packs apart from water resistant ones are the coatings. Water repellent bags are made from materials that will keep water out. On top of this, however, there are coatings and laminates that further improves the bag’s imperviousness to water. This is why water repellent packs are better suited to longer journeys where the backpack may need to withstand greater amounts of water.

Waterproof

Finally, there are waterproof backpacks. These packs are those that can be submerged in water for short periods of time and still not take on water. Waterproof packs can be kept out in the pouring rain and still not let any water in. The materials used as well as the overall construction of the pack makes it fully protected against water. These type of bags are also airtight.

The Materials Used

The materials that are used largely depend on the manufacturer. At the same time, the level of waterproof-ness that wants to be achieved will also determine the materials that are utilized.

For Water Resistant Backpacks

With water resistant backpacks, the materials most commonly opted for are incredibly strong polyester or nylon. The weight and the weave of the nylon will define just how water resistant a backpack is. Polyester, on the other hand, has hydrophobic fibers which keep water away for a while.

For Water Repellent Backpacks

Water repellent backpacks are often made of the same materials as water resistant backpacks. This means that they will either be made from polyester or nylon. The difference here is that there is an additional layer of protection provided. The most common synthetic material used to coat the backpack is polyurethane. While the laminate can wear away over time, it will allow the backpack to repel water until then.

For Waterproof Backpacks

The most commonly used material for waterproof packs is tarpaulin, also known as tarp. However, there are several types of tarp and not all of them are waterproof. Look for poly (or polyethylene) tarp or vinyl tarp as these are fully impervious to water. These materials keep water out as the holes in the fabric are so tiny that water molecules can’t enter in.

Of course, there are other materials that can be used. That being said, they need to stand up to certain standards to be considered waterproof. All fabrics and materials have some sort of membrane but in the case of waterproof materials, the membrane needs to be able to stand up to a considerable water pressure. If a material can withstand at least 7000 millimeters of cylindrical water pressure, it can be identified as being waterproof.

It should be noted that just because a backpack is made from waterproof materials, it doesn’t mean that the pack itself is waterproof.

Best Waterproof Backpack

The Construction of a Waterproof Backpack

For a backpack to be considered truly waterproof it needs to be built to keep any and all water out. The fabric is only part of the equation. The seams, zippers, and other features must also be able to prevent water from entering a backpack.

Apart from the waterproof fabric, the other most important part of these type of bags is how they are sealed. There are a few ways that waterproof backpacks can be sealed:

Stitching alone cannot be used for waterproof packs. This is because the holes created by the stitches can let water in. There are some manufacturers that use the stitching to hold the seams together. Additionally, they place a layer of silicone or other impervious material on the inside of the backpack, where the stitches are to create a waterproof seam. While this is effective, there is a chance for the silicone or other material to wear away over time, thus causing the backpack to lose its waterproof capabilities.

One of the best ways to keep the seams sealed is by using welded seams. Here, heat is used to bond the panels of material together. Since there are no holes or openings created in such a process, there is no space for the water to get through. The welding is permanent so there is no fear of the bonding wearing away.

Access Points on Waterproof Backpacks

As you can imagine, the fewer the access points on a backpack, the fewer the entry points for cascading water. At the same time, there must be at least one access point on any backpack. Here are some of the options that waterproof backpacks offer:

Roll Top Backpacks

Typically, the most waterproof backpacks are those that have a roll top backpacks. These packs have no other type of opening or zippers. The opening is at the top of the bag and is usually rather wide. To close the bag, the top of the pack must be pressed together and then rolled down several times. This creates a waterproof layer which is then secured with some form of fastening. This is a good design for you if you want to make sure that your pack will not take on any water, even if it is submerged.

Zippers

One of the downsides of zippers on backpacks is that they can provide spaces for the water to flow through. At the same time, they are easy to use and an important aspect of any backpack. This is why when zippers are added to waterproof backpacks, they need to be sealed. Here, a thin, waterproof material is attached to the underside of the zipper. This effectively creates a watertight seal, preventing water from coming through. The actual technique used for each waterproof zipper differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Additional Features

Here are a few other features you might like to include in your waterproof backpack:

  • Buoyancy: waterproof backpacks that are actually airtight will float when dropped into water. Now, this is not something that every person needs. However, if you are going kayaking or scuba diving, having a bag that will float in the water could prove to be useful. This is particularly true if you are worried about your backpack falling overboard into deep waters.
  • Waterproof interior sleeves or compartments: the whole point of having a waterproof backpack is so that the water will not get in and damage your belongings. However, if you are carrying expensive or important electronics, then you may want an additional level of protection. In these instances, look for internal sleeves or compartments that are not only padded but are also waterproof.
  • Durability: if you want to explore some pretty rough terrain, then you will need a backpack that is waterproof as well strong. In these instances, you should look for packs that are made from coated rip stop nylon. It is a lot more difficult to find tears or holes in bags such as these.

Testing Your Waterproof Backpack

With most products, it is normal to see an IP rating or some other form of evidence that it has passed waterproof testing. It is quite difficult to see such ratings or accreditations on waterproof backpacks. This is because the testing procedures can be quite pricey and it is not always available to many backpack manufacturers.

This is why, when getting a waterproof backpack you have to trust the backpack or rely on the reviews provided by others. Of course, once you have bought such a pack, you can always test it at home. For instance, hosing down the backpack with quite a bit of force can stimulate rain, waterfalls or other watery conditions. Place a dry cloth in the bag before you start your experiment. Once the pack has been thoroughly immersed in water wait a while before opening it up and taking the cloth out. If the cloth is dry, it is a good indication of how waterproof the bag actually is.

This is everything that you need to be aware of if you hope to find a backpack that is completely waterproof.


Last updated on December 14, 2017

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