May 23, 2024
Finding the Perfect Pack: Choosing a Waterproof Backpack

Backpacks are trusty companions for adventures big and small. But unexpected rain can soak your gear and dampen your mood. A waterproof backpack can offer peace of mind on the trail. But with so many options available, choosing the right one can be tricky. This guide will explore features to consider, different types of waterproof backpacks, and factors to help you find the perfect pack for your needs.

Understanding Backpack Materials

Backpack materials play a key role in water resistance. Here’s a look at some common materials:


A popular and affordable choice, polyester offers decent water resistance, especially when treated with a water repellent.


Similar to polyester, nylon offers good water resistance and dries quickly.


A classic and sturdy material, canvas can be water-resistant with a wax treatment. However, it can get heavy when wet.

Dyneema® Composite Fabric (DCF):

This ultralight, high-performance material offers exceptional water resistance. However, DCF backpacks tend to be more expensive.

Remember: Even water-resistant materials can eventually become saturated.

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Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant Backpacks

There’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistant backpacks:

  • Waterproof backpacks: These are designed to be submersible or nearly submersible and keep your gear dry. They are ideal for kayaking, whitewater rafting, or other activities where your pack might take a dunk.

  • Water-resistant backpacks: These backpacks repel water to an extent but can eventually soak through in heavy rain. They are suitable for hiking, camping, or everyday use where you might encounter light rain or splashes.

Considering Your Needs

The best waterproof backpack for you depends on your planned activities:

  • Day Hikes: A water-resistant backpack with a built-in rain cover is a great option for day hikes.

  • Multi-Day Backpacking Trips: For longer hikes, consider a waterproof backpack with a good amount of space and features for organization.

  • Travel: A water-resistant backpack with a sleek design might be your priority for travel.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Size: Choose a backpack with the capacity to fit your gear comfortably.

  • Weight: Lighter backpacks are ideal for long hikes, while heavier backpacks might be suitable for car camping.

  • Comfort: Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and padding for a comfortable fit.

  • Features: Consider features like hydration sleeves, hip belts, and chest straps depending on your needs.

Types of Waterproof Backpacks

There are different types of waterproof backpacks available:

  • Roll-top backpacks: These backpacks use a roll-top closure to create a tight seal against the elements.

  • Backpacks with built-in rain covers: These backpacks come with a rain cover you can deploy in wet weather.

  • Dry bags: These are essentially waterproof sacks with a closure system like a buckle or zip closure. While not technically backpacks, dry bags can be carried on your back with straps.

Popular Waterproof Backpack Brands

Many brands offer waterproof backpacks. Here are a few popular choices:

  • The North Face
  • Patagonia
  • Osprey
  • Sea to Summit
  • Arc’teryx

Remember: Research and read reviews before making a purchase.

The perfect waterproof backpack awaits! By considering the factors above, you can choose a backpack that keeps your gear dry and your adventures on track. Don’t be afraid to visit your local outdoor gear store and try on different backpacks to find the perfect fit for you.

Selecting the best waterproof backpack

There are several factors to consider to ensure you choose one that suits your needs and lifestyle:

  • Material: Look for backpacks made from high-quality, waterproof materials such as nylon or polyester with a durable water-resistant coating. TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are also commonly used for their waterproof properties.
  • Sealed Seams: Ensure that the seams of the backpack are sealed or welded to prevent water from seeping through the stitching. This is especially important in areas prone to heavy rain or snow.
  • Closure System: Opt for a backpack with a reliable closure system such as roll-top, waterproof zippers, or a combination of both. Roll-top closures provide excellent water resistance by rolling down the top of the backpack and securing it with clips or buckles.
  • Laptop Compartment: If you plan to carry electronics such as a laptop or tablet, choose a backpack with a dedicated padded compartment that offers additional protection against water and impact.

  • Comfort and Support: Consider the backpack’s design and features such as padded shoulder straps, adjustable sternum straps, and a padded back panel for comfort during extended wear. Look for ergonomic designs that distribute weight evenly to reduce strain on your shoulders and back.
  • Capacity and Organization: Determine the size and capacity of the backpack based on your intended use. Whether you need it for daily commuting, outdoor adventures, or travel, ensure it has enough space to accommodate your belongings while also providing convenient organization with multiple compartments and pockets.
  • Durability: Choose a waterproof backpack that is built to last with reinforced stitching, robust hardware, and abrasion-resistant materials. A durable backpack will withstand frequent use and adverse weather conditions without compromising its performance.
  • Brand Reputation and Reviews: Research reputable brands known for their quality waterproof backpacks and read reviews from other users to gauge their experiences and satisfaction with the product.


Here are a few top options across different categories:

  1. For Everyday Use: If you need a waterproof backpack for daily commuting, running errands, or navigating the urban jungle, look for a sleek and versatile option like the Patagonia Black Hole Pack. This backpack features a durable water-repellent finish, a spacious main compartment, and multiple pockets for organization. Its padded shoulder straps and breathable back panel ensure comfort during extended wear.
  2. For Outdoor Adventures: For outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, camping, or backpacking in all weather conditions, the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpack is an excellent choice. This high-performance backpack boasts a waterproof construction, a customizable fit with adjustable straps and harness, and a suspension system that provides superior comfort and support on long treks. It also includes features like a hydration reservoir sleeve, trekking pole attachments, and removable sleeping pad straps for added versatility.
  3. For Travel: Travelers seeking a reliable waterproof backpack for their adventures around the globe should consider the SealLine Boundary Pack. Available in various sizes ranging from 35 to 115 liters, this backpack is ideal for carrying clothing, gear, and electronics while keeping them dry and protected. Its roll-top closure and welded seams ensure waterproof performance, while padded shoulder straps and a removable waist belt offer comfort and stability during travel.

No matter your lifestyle or outdoor pursuits, investing in a high-quality waterproof backpack is essential for keeping your belongings safe and dry in any weather conditions. Consider your specific needs, preferred features, and budget when choosing the best waterproof backpack for you.

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