Top 10 Best Waterproof Daypacks + Buyer’s Guide to Waterproof Daypacks

If you are constantly faced with terrible weather conditions or if you are carrying precious cargo in your bag, then you need a waterproof daypack. This type of backpack is just what you need for most of your adventures or even just your daily commute. Of course, the tricky part is finding a daypack that can actually live up to its waterproof claims.

In this article, we will go through how you can find a waterproof daypack that will protect your belongings no matter what. Here you will learn all of the signs and elements to look for in such a backpack, making your choosing process that much easier. Let the learning begin.

How to Find a Genuinely Waterproof Daypack

If you have previously gone looking for a waterproof daypack, you may be aware of just how confusing this can be. After all, what actually makes up a waterproof bag and how do you know that you are getting the real deal? After you have read through this guide, you will have all of the answers to your question and will be much better equipped to choose one for yourself.

What Does Waterproof Mean?

The first thing that we need to tackle is the exact meaning of waterproof and how it applies to daypacks. Unfortunately, manufacturers tend to use waterproof to describe bags that are, at best, water resistant. This is one of the reasons that it can be a bit difficult to pinpoint which daypacks are actually waterproof.

In terms of backpacks, waterproof refers to a bag that will not take on water, under any circumstances. See, most backpacks and daypacks are merely water resistant. While they may prevent the bag from taking on water for a little while, with constant pressure, the bag will leak. Waterproof daypacks, on the other hand, can even be submerged in the water for a period of time and not let any water in. As you can see, this distinction is quite important if you are looking for a daypack that is 100 percent waterproof.

Types of Waterproof Daypacks

To find the right fit for you, you first need to determine which type of waterproof backpack you are looking for. In order to simplify this a little, it is best to consider two different categories – daypacks for adventurous, outdoor activities and daypacks for everyday use.

Daypacks for Rugged Use

These backpacks need to be all about function, much like a travel daypack. Since these backpacks are most likely to encounter harsh weather conditions, every aspect of them needs to be able to keep water at bay for extended periods of time. You are unlikely to find too many internal compartments with these type of bags and it can be difficult to organize. These type of waterproof daypacks are also quite durable and able to withstand wear and tear.

Daypacks for Everyday Use

Waterproof daypacks for everyday use tend to look a bit more stylish than their outdoor counterpart. They also have more compartments and can even have laptop sleeves as well. However, many of the components of these bags are made to be waterproof. Depending on the design, they may not hold up as well to being submerged, though.

Waterproof Daypack Capacities

Waterproof daypacks may not have as much variety as traditional ones but you should be able to find several different sizes to suit what you need:

  • 20 – 30 liters: these are a good choice if you want to carry water, food, clothing, and small pieces of gear with you.
  • 30 – 50 liters: These are ideal if you need to carry larger pieces of equipment or need to take a greater number of supplies with you.

Materials for Waterproof Daypacks

There is often a considerable amount of variation in the materials that are used for waterproof daypacks. This is because, technically, there are a number of ways to ensure that a backpack is completely waterproof. Let’s take a look at the materials that you can come across:

Polyurethane Laminated Materials

Polyurethane is one of the most common ways of waterproofing a daypack. It tends to be applied to either polyester or nylon. This type of laminate works well enough for daypacks that are meant for commutes or other day to day activities. The downside is that when this coating does wear off, the daypack loses its waterproofing capabilities. These backpacks are often accompanied with a durable water resistant (DWR) coating as well.

If you want to ensure that your daypack is as durable as it is waterproof, you should look for coated, heavy duty options. Rip-stop nylon is a popular choice as it is abrasion resistant and holds up well in rugged environments.

Vinyl and Tarp

If you are serious about getting a waterproof daypack that will not let you down, you should look for ones that are made from either vinyl or tarp. These materials are naturally waterproof although they can be treated to improve this characteristic. What’s great about these daypacks is that they will not lose the ability to keep your belongings dry. Consider marine grade versions of these materials to ensure that they are durable too.

What to Look for in a Waterproof Daypack

So, apart from the materials, what makes a waterproof pack, waterproof? Well, it is actually a number of features on the backpack that work together to keep the water from penetrating the bag. On this note, here is what you should look for:

Waterproof Seams

In most daypacks, the seams are held together by durable stitching. These type of stitches, however, let water in. This is why in waterproof daypacks you need to look for specialized seams. In fact, you should consider daypacks with as few seams as possible as this means there are fewer weak points on the daypack.

In daypacks that are truly waterproof, you will find that the seams have been welded together. This is usually either done with the help of heat, pressure, or radio frequency. This is a permanent way of combining two pieces of material together, without leaving any gaps. In addition to being absolutely impermeable, these seams also have the advantage of being incredibly durable too.


The other part of your daypack that can be considered relatively vulnerable are the closures. If these aren’t designed properly they too can let water in. There are often two types of closures used for these daypacks – roll-top closures and zippers.

In most instances, roll top closures tend to be most reliable. Here, the excess material at the top of the daypack is rolled a few times to eliminate the possibility of water getting in. The rolled material is then usually fastened to the bag with the help of buckles.

The closures that rely on zippers don’t use ordinary zippers but instead use waterproof versions. Now, each backpack manufacturer works with a different design but the premise is the same. The zippers are tightly held together and have a waterproof material both under the zipper and on either side. This creates a seal when the bag is closed.

Extra Features to Consider

Suspension System

While you want your waterproof daypack to largely protect your belongings, you also need it perform other functions. For instance, you need it to be a good backpack. In this instance, you should always examine the suspension system of the bag. This is made up of the shoulder straps, the sternum strap, and the hip belt.

These features may not always be present with every waterproof daypack but tend to be there on larger backpacks. If you are going to be carrying quite a heavy weight with you, it is important that these features are available. It is a good idea to look for slightly wider straps that displace the weight more evenly on your shoulders. With this type of bag, overly padded shoulder straps aren’t always a good idea since they can take a long time to dry when soaked.

If there is a sternum strap on the bag, make sure that is only a few inches below your collarbone to prevent any unpleasant chafing. With the hip belt, make sure that it sits right above where your hip bones are. Again, you may not want a belt that is too padded in case it gets wet.

Hydration Features

If you want a daypack that is most suited to daily use or a commute, then looking for one that just has water bottle holders on each side may be enough. However, if you are a runner or don’t want to stop for water breaks, you may need to consider one with a hydration pack that is housed inside a waterproof pocket. You will need to make sure that the drinking tube and sip valve is adequately positioned and that is easy to drink from it.

Checking the Legitimacy of Your Waterproof Daypack

The first time that you test your waterproof daypack shouldn’t be while you are stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm with no shelter. If your backpack doesn’t work as claimed, you are going to end up with soaking wet belongings. This is why you should always test out your daypack once you buy it. There are two different ways to do this.

The first is to determine if the daypack will take on moisture if it is submerged in water for a period of time. To do this, simply place a cloth or similar item in the bag and seal it up tight. Then, leave it in a filled bathtub or sink for as long as you deem necessary although you should probably wait for an hour at least. If the cloth is still dry at the end of this trial run, you can feel confident in submerging your backpack.

The other thing you will need to check is whether your backpack can stand up to water pressure, such as when it is raining heavily. This time, you can repeat the experiment by hosing down your daypack with an intense water pressure. If the cloth is still dry once you are done, you can feel confident that you have chosen well.

So, these are all of the things that you will need to look for when searching for a genuinely waterproof daypack.

Top 0 Best Waterproof Daypacks

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