Top 10 Best Waterproof Backpacks in 2018

Woman carrying a waterproof backpack in the rainChoosing 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.

Having checked thousands of waterproof backpack reviews, we can say that the Aqua Quest Himal 20L is the best choice for most people.


Aqua Quest Himal 20L

Aqua Quest Himal 20L

The best reviewed waterproof backpack
Rated 4.50 out of 5

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PS: We have checked 2,541 reviews to make this top 10 list!
RankModelRating
1Aqua Quest Himal 20LAqua Quest Himal 20L4.50Check Price
2SealLine Boundary 70SealLine Boundary 704.41Check Price
3Aqua Quest Stylin 30LAqua Quest Stylin 30L4.40Check Price
4Voli Dry Bag 20LVoli Dry Bag 20L4.26Check Price
5Aqua Quest Sport 254.26Check Price
6Watershed Big CreekWatershed Big Creek4.23Check Price
7Exped Cloudburst 15Exped Cloudburst 154.22Check Price
8Ortlieb VelocityOrtlieb Velocity4.14Check Price
9Lowepro DryZone 200Lowepro DryZone 2004.14Check Price
10SealLine Black CanyonSealLine Black Canyon4.06Check Price

How we rate the bags

We have checked 2,541 waterproof 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 waterproof backpacks to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!


1 – Aqua Quest Himal 20L

4.5 review stars Rating 4.50 based on 278 reviews

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Aqua Quest Himal 20L


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Aqua Quest Himal 20L:

Reviewers like these things about the Aqua Quest Himal 20L

  • Most users said that the material is top notch, waterproof, lightweight but durable.
  • Users said that it fit all their essentials in the bag cavity easily.
  • Many users mentioned that it has wide opening will accommodate even large items.
  • They also said that it is equipped with comfortable straps and two sets of support straps both on the chest and waist.
  • Many reviewers said that the front pocket is also a great feature with a decent amount of storage space.
  • Some reviewers said that the front pouch is not waterproof.
  • Most reviewers also said that the ability for the backpack to fold itself into the pouch was a great feature.
  • Users also said that the straps, stitching and padding on the bag are fantastic.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that the shoulder straps are very thin and without much padding.
  • Another user complained that It has a thin rubberized lining inside the case for waterproofing that may be susceptible to puncture if not careful.
  • Some users complained that the front pocket is not waterproof.


2 – SealLine Boundary 70

4.5 review stars Rating 4.41 based on 674 reviews

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SealLine Boundary 70


Here’s what the reviewers think about the SealLine Boundary 70:

Reviewers like these things about the SealLine Boundary 70

  • A lot of users thought that the SealLine Boundary pack has ample storage for necessary equipment and personal belongings.
  • Many of those who have tried the pack felt that it is comfortable and firm.
  • Users lauded the presence of continuous double sealing strips.
  • They also mentioned that the bag is ideal for canoeing and canyoneering.
  • Several reviewers observed that its roll-top closure is waterproof.
  • Other users praised its improved suspension system.
  • Reviewers have found that its shoulder straps are both breathable and waterproof.
  • Users noted that the bag comes with a waist belt.
  • Testers found that it is able to protect gear well.
  • Many testers said that it could come in three sizes, depending on personal preference.
  • They also thought that it is equipped with side-cinch buckles.
  • Other reviewers praised its simple yet striking design.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user remarked that it is not quite comfortable.
  • Another user thought that the straps need constant readjustment if things shift inside the pack.
  • A reviewer indicated that the folding top is too short to provide a secure seal.


3 – Aqua Quest Stylin 30L

4.5 review stars Rating 4.40 based on 270 reviews

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Aqua Quest Stylin 30L


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Aqua Quest Stylin 30L:

Reviewers like these things about the Aqua Quest Stylin 30L

  • Most users said that it fits all of their essentials like towels, cell phone, phone charger and extra clothing in it.
  • They said that it keeps books and tech completely dry.
  • Users also said that the front pocket is also very convenient for wet articles of clothing.
  • Some reviewers said that they use it daily to come and go from campus.
  • Some other reviewers said that the bag is extremely well built and the materials are high quality.
  • Many users said that the top of the shoulder straps has an adjustable buckle chest strap.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that the compression straps making even a full bag extremely space efficient.
  • Several users mentioned that they used this for many hiking, kayaking, fishing, and camping trips.
  • Many users also mentioned that this is waterproof to the point that if you drop it in water and submerge it for a little while.
  • Buyers said that the additional small pouch in the inside is perfect for holding cell phones, keys, etc.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that they aren’t very comfortable and can be somewhat abrasive.
  • One user complained that the zipper was not good, sometimes it’s hard to zip on.
  • Another user said that it would be better if there were compartments inside.


4 – Voli Dry Bag 20L

4.5 review stars Rating 4.26 based on 255 reviews

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Voli Dry Bag 20L


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Voli Dry Bag 20L:

Reviewers like these things about the Voli Dry Bag 20L

  • A lot of users have mentioned that the Voli Dry Bag backpack is comfortable to use.
  • Others thought that it the pack is waterproof, keeping stuff safe from rain.
  • Several reviewers thought that the pack could be worn over the shoulder or like a backpack.
  • Users found that its shoulder straps could be removed when not needed.
  • According to some users, it mains compartment is big enough to fit all the essentials when going on a day trip.
  • Users lauded the presence of a pouch on the front of the bag that could be accessed easily.
  • They explained that such pouch is an ideal place to stash a camera and goggles, among others.
  • Another reviewer thought that it has sufficient pockets which allows organization.
  • Testers found that the bag is durable.
  • Other testers noted that it is lightweight.
  • Many wrote that its has a rolltop seal design which secures things in place.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer found that its straps tend to break after a few uses.
  • Another user thought that opening and closing the bag is a little awkward.


5 – Aqua Quest Sport 25

4.5 review stars Rating 4.26 based on 323 reviews

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Here’s what the reviewers think about the Aqua Quest Sport 25:

Reviewers like these things about the Aqua Quest Sport 25

  • Majority of the users confirmed that the bag is sturdy and waterproof.
  • Some users said that the reflective area in front pocket is useful in case of cycling/hiking etc.
  • Other users said that the pockets on both inside and outside are sufficient to hold essential items.
  • Reviewers said that the waist pouch of the bag is ideal for holding handy items.
  • Other reviewers said that the bag is comfortable and designed to stay high on your back.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Many users complained about the quality of the drawstring.
  • Some users said that the water bottles slip out of the compartment as its loose.


6 – Watershed Big Creek

4.5 review stars Rating 4.23 based on 33 reviews

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Watershed Big Creek


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Watershed Big Creek:

Reviewers like these things about the Watershed Big Creek

  • Most users said that they are able to use this for fly fishing to keep their gear dry.
  • Some users said that they also used it to hiking in the rain forests, the beaches and used even to go to the hot springs.
  • Users said that they got several compliments on it while on vacation.
  • They also said that it was even great to use as their carry on while flying.
  • Other users said that the bag’s shoulder carries, sling-type design works great.
  • Several users said that the closer system of watershed packs to be the most trustworthy.
  • They mentioned that the material is far more rugged than traditional dry bags.
  • Buyers said that the backpack style is very convenient and frees your hands for swimming, catching your balance, etc.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that the opening is too small and inconvenient for packing.
  • Some other users complained that the tight opening and longer main compartment that may not be the best design for some.


7 – Exped Cloudburst 15

4.5 review stars Rating 4.22 based on 53 reviews

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Exped Cloudburst 15


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Exped Cloudburst 15:

Reviewers like these things about the Exped Cloudburst 15

  • Several reviewers mentioned that the Exped Cloudburst backpack provides extra comfort to the user because of the mesh shoulder straps it has.
  • A user likes its removable hip belt which allows him to use it when he does not wish to use it.
  • Reviewers thought that the Exped Cloudburst backpack is excellent for mountain trips, paddle adventure, and island exploration.
  • A lot of users who are usually exposed to wet environments enjoyed the waterproof feature of the backpack.
  • Many testers have attested to durable grab loop of the backpack which is beneficial in storing gears.
  • According to several users, its sufficient gear capacity is capable of storing quite a lot of their equipment and valuable items.
  • Several testers commended the durability of its PU coated Taffeta Nylon and TPU film laminated Polyester base material.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the backpack is fragile when used in high-intensity activities.
  • Another reviewer observed that it might easily be punctured.


8 – Ortlieb Velocity

4 review stars Rating 4.14 based on 69 reviews

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Ortlieb Velocity


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Ortlieb Velocity:

Reviewers like these things about the Ortlieb Velocity

  • Reviewers said that It’s great for walking around town, biking, and overnight hikes.
  • Reviewers also said that the foam ventilation system keeps the users back from getting sweaty when it’s hot.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that the detachable inner pocket fits their pens, phone, sunglasses, and computer cord just right.
  • They also mentioned that the straps are easy to adjust.
  • Users commented that the single-compartment design is versatile and can carry anything from a laptop and a bunch of books to a load of groceries.
  • Several users said that it also works as an airplane carry-on.
  • Other users said that the waterproofing has worked well.
  • Many reviewers liked the fact that the closure is easy to open and easy to close. It holds well and does not open by itself.
  • They said that there is one pocket with a zipper that can hold your wallet, phone, and keys.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that If the pack is full and they flex their shoulders forward, the Velcro pops open.
  • Another user complained that after a few years of consistent use, the seams are coming unglued at the point where they roll down against the hard plastic back liner.


9 – Lowepro DryZone 200

4 review stars Rating 4.14 based on 67 reviews

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Lowepro DryZone 200


Here’s what the reviewers think about the Lowepro DryZone 200:

Reviewers like these things about the Lowepro DryZone 200

  • Many users like the sliplock attachment slots which allow them to to attach additional accessories and pouches.
  • Some reviewers noted that it sits comfortably on their backs.
  • Others are impressed with how it held up after being taken to camping, hiking and canoeing trips.
  • Many users thought it provides a good amount of protection for gear.
  • Some reviewers thought the shoulder and waist straps are decently padded and comfortable to wear on the back.
  • A lot of users find it solid, well built and keeps equipment dry.
  • Some reviewers are impressed with how the pack stayed manageable and comfortable even when fully loaded.
  • Others said it provides good back support.
  • Many users like the presence of waterproof pockets to keep delicate items dry.
  • One user said that its water tightness is superb.
  • Many reviewers like the presence of several straps for hand carrying or backpack style.
  • A lot of owners are impressed with how it is able to fit several lenses, telephoto, a microphone, camera body, a go pro and a bunch of other stuff in it.
  • A number of users thought it has solid chest and waist straps to distribute the load evenly.
  • Others find the back harness system very innovative as it can be easily adjusted up or down based on their height.
  • Some reviewers love the hidden fold-out tripod holder down the centre of the bag.
  • many users thought the dry-suit zip works incredibly.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users thought the design doesn’t allow for quicker access to their equipment.
  • Others said it feels bulky to carry.


10 – SealLine Black Canyon

4 review stars Rating 4.06 based on 192 reviews

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SealLine Black Canyon


Here’s what the reviewers think about the SealLine Black Canyon:

Reviewers like these things about the SealLine Black Canyon

  • Several users noted that the SealLine Black Canyon backpack is durable due to its robust double coated nylon fabric.
  • Reviewers thought that its dry seal roll-top closure provides protection and added durability.
  • According to those who have tried that pack, the SealLine Black Canyon pack is comfortable to wear.
  • Reviewers thought that its lightweight design makes it easy to pack things.
  • Users found that its design is straightforward and versatile.
  • Other users thought that its eco-friendlier urethane reduces its environmental impact.
  • Users also praised its sufficient gear volume.
  • Users also noted that it could withstand quick submersions. It floats if it is dropped in the water.
  • Several reviewers have pointed out that it can be used for camping and hiking.
  • A lot of testers thought that it was stable when used on terrains.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the pack has no exterior pocket for an accessible storage.
  • Another reviewer said that the bag might not contain enough space for storage.

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Buyer’s guide to waterproof backpacks


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

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.

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.


Notes about this top 10 list


The list was last updated 19/09/2018.

The list shows the best reviewed waterproof backpacks from a much bigger list of selected products. The list should not be considered a complete list of all available, excellent waterproof backpacks

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


About MightyGoods

Here at our site MightyGoods, we have checked thousands of reviews in order to build the biggest directory of backpacks, luggage, handbags and lots of other bags.

So far we have checked more than 2,1 million reviews!

Using our bag review summaries, we aim to help you find the perfect bag without having to spend a lot of time reading an endless list of reviews.


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