9 Best Waterproof Backpacks in 2020
Whether for hiking, water sports such as stand up paddling or kayaking, cycling or just for rainy days – a waterproof backpack is extremely practical. The feeling of opening the zipper after a heavy shower and pulling drenched notebooks and books out of your satchel is something everyone remembers from school.
This would not have happened with waterproof backpacks. Anyone carrying such a bag doesn’t have to panic immediately when it starts pouring out of buckets. And even the laptop in the backpack is guaranteed not to be damaged.
Meanwhile there are many waterproof backpacks that look like normal everyday models. However, thanks to their special construction and additional impregnation, the waterproof backpacks protect the interior well against moisture.
Water sports enthusiasts should fall back on other models. The best waterproof backpacks for water sports such as SUP or kayaking not only protect against splashing water, but also keep the contents dry (for a limited time) when submerged under water. These backpacks are perfect for carrying equipment, provisions and change of clothes for tours on the kayak or the SUP Board. In contrast to Drybags, waterproof backpacks have several compartments so that the contents can be sorted more easily.
In the following we present a range of particularly good backpacks that are really waterproof. These models have already been tested in a waterproof rucksack or have otherwise proven themselves in practice. So there is nothing wrong with these backpacks.
Water sports and outdoor experiences in general are very trendy. Young sports like stand up paddling, but also more traditional activities like hiking attract more outdoor enthusiasts every year. And a waterproof backpack is always best. The bag is an important part of the equipment for anyone who is not made of sugar and wants (or needs) to get out despite the rain.
A waterproof backpack also proves to be very practical in everyday life. The bags, which keep the contents completely dry, are ideal for carrying laptops, important papers and other water-sensitive items.
As great as the benefits are, so is the range. With the number of different waterproof backpacks on the market, it is not easy to get an overview. We will therefore take a closer look at the backpacks that we have already briefly introduced in our list of best and divide the waterproof backpacks into different categories such as waterproof backpacks for water sports or for everyday use.
The best waterproof backpacks
|Venture Pal 40L Lightweight|
|MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry|
|ZOMAKE 30L Lightweight Packable|
|SOLDIERKNIFE Durable Waterproof|
|FE Active Dry Bag Waterproof|
|Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack: 35L|
|Travel Laptop Backpack, Business|
|ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable|
|Fjallraven Mini Kanken Backpack|
Advice: Buy the right waterproof backpack
In the following, we will discuss what to consider when choosing a waterproof backpack. After all, not every waterproof backpack is suitable for every purpose. You should therefore pay particular attention to these characteristics.
The size of the rucksack depends on the type of use. For water sports, not all equipment needs to be kept dry. The change of clothes and valuables such as the wallet, papers and mobile phone should, however, already be protected from the water.
The latter are best additionally protected in a waterproof mobile phone cover, as water damage to expensive smartphones would quickly cost a small fortune.
Most waterproof backpacks have a volume of 15 to 40 litres. How big the ideal waterproof backpack should be depends on your personal requirements. If the backpack is only used for a day trip by kayak, a small model is sufficient, in which only the most important things and a few snacks are stowed away.
If you plan several days of camping trips with a kayak or SUP board, you will need more equipment, food, change of clothes and camping gear. Accordingly, a waterproof backpack with a high capacity should be chosen so that all these things can be stowed away in it without any problems.
We would also like to point out here that backpacks usually have a main compartment whose contents are protected from the water. In addition, most models have other small pockets that are often accessible from the outside but are only closed with simple zippers. The side pockets are therefore not completely water protected.
Water-resistant items such as energy bars or other snacks can be stored in the outer pockets and are always handy, but items that are susceptible to getting wet should only be stored in the main compartment. This is especially true for smartphones or car keys.
Water repellent or waterproof
The two words sound similar and are often confused, but there is a big difference between water-repellent backpacks and waterproof backpacks.
A good backpack should have as many extra pockets, inner and outer compartments as possible. The inner compartments are good for organizing and dividing the contents.
The outer pockets are practical because the items inside are always handy. These pockets are perfect for a water bottle, snacks or small items such as sunglasses or sunscreen.
Many manufacturers also describe these outer pockets as waterproof. In waterproof rucksacks tests and in practice, however, it has been shown time and again that a simple zipper, with which these side pockets are usually closed, cannot completely protect against the water. Even the application of impregnating spray is of limited help here.
Backpacks are available in all kinds of colours. The decision for a certain colour is mostly a personal decision, but nevertheless some things should be considered. For example, it is noticeable that most people choose green, blue or black backpacks. So if you want to stand out, it is better to choose other colours.
Also hikers and people who travel a lot outdoors should better deviate from these standard colours with their choice. The dark colours heat up much more than lighter colours. A yellow, orange or light blue waterproof backpack keeps the contents cooler.
Bright, bright colours or a backpack with fluorescent colours, on the other hand, is particularly practical for water sports enthusiasts. With such a bag you will be more visible from a distance.
Another situation where a backpack in a flashy colour is helpful is in case of a fall from the SUP board or in case of capsizing with a kayak. The waterproof rucksack can drift away. Bright colours that stand out clearly from the water are easier to spot in the wave valleys.
Of course, the price also plays a role. For a good waterproof backpack you don’t have to invest enormous sums. However, higher costs have to be taken into account than is the case with a Drybag.
Experience has shown that waterproof backpacks that have an inconspicuous design and can be used in everyday life are somewhat more expensive than models aimed at hikers and water sports enthusiasts.
Furthermore, the volume plays an important role. The larger the backpack, the higher the price is usually. However, even with a budget of 30 to 40€ you will be able to choose from a lot of excellent models. Even the backpacks from our best list, which also convinced in a waterproof backpack test, do not cost more.
degree of waterproofness
Depending on the area of application, the degree of waterproofness also plays an important role. We already mentioned the difference between water-repellent and waterproof backpacks. But we also measure how much protection against water a backpack offers.
The so-called IPX classes are the common standard for this. These are a series of tests that backpacks must pass in order to be allowed to advertise with a certain certificate. Typical classifications are IPX6, IPX7 and IPX8. The individual classes mean:
- IPX6: Protection against strong jets of water – The backpacks are irradiated for three minutes with water from a fire hose (100 litres per minute) and the contents must remain dry.
- IPX7: Protection against temporary submersion – The rucksack must be able to withstand the water for half an hour at a depth of one metre. Not a drop of water may get inside.
- IPX8: Protection against permanent immersion – There is no precise definition for this class. IPX8 rucksacks are proven to achieve only more than the test requirements for IPX7 say. The manufacturer can create his own rules. However, a test duration of 31 minutes or a water depth of 1.1 meters would be sufficient.
In everyday life, when hiking and also when cycling, the IPX6 class is completely sufficient. With the power of a fire hose, the rain will certainly not fall on your backpack. (Even though it can sometimes feel like that).
However, if you want to take the backpack on a kayak tour or if you want to clamp it under the luggage net of a SUP, you should go for a model with at least class IPX7. After all, if the rucksack capsizes or falls into the water, it may dive under water for a short time.
A model that is only water-repellent will be completely soaked within a few moments and the contents may already be wet. Only the completely waterproof models with a classification of IPX7 or IPX8 offer complete protection.
A rucksack that is not comfortable to wear is not used for long either. The critical point with rucksacks are the shoulder straps. Here, soft padding is required so that the straps do not cut into the shoulders.
The waterproof backpacks presented in our best list are not too big, with a maximum of 35 to 40 litres. However, heavy things can certainly be transported in these. For this reason, an abdominal belt can prove to be practical, which helps to distribute the load better over the entire upper body.
weight and size
Good backpacks don’t have to weigh much. Today’s models are also becoming lighter and lighter. Materials are constantly being developed that weigh even less and at the same time gain in robustness and tear resistance. Another exciting option are folding backpacks that weigh only a minimum and can be folded to a very small pack size.
The low weight is especially practical for hikers. Anyone who carries the rucksack on their back for a whole weekend will be grateful for every gram saved during development.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions about waterproof backpacks answered
Can a waterproof rucksack be carried as hand luggage on flights?
It depends on the size of the backpack. Each airline sets its own rules and has certain dimensions for hand luggage. In principle, however, the airlines are concerned that the bag can be stowed under the seat. As a rule, any bag that can be compressed and has a volume of 27 litres or less can do this.
In addition to these size requirements, airlines often have a weight limit for bags that can be taken into the aircraft cabin. For most airlines operating in Europe, the maximum weight limit is 8 to 10 kilograms.
How can you additionally ensure that the backpack is really waterproof?
On our best list we have listed a number of waterproof models that have a classification of IPX7 or IPX8, for example. On the other hand, we have also introduced several water resistant models. These backpacks do not offer complete protection against water. You shouldn’t submerge these bags, but in everyday situations like heavy rain, these backpacks keep the contents dry.
If you have bought a backpack, do not appear on our list, have carried out a repair to the cover or want to additionally protect the side pockets against water, it is best to apply impregnation spray.
The sprays ensure that the water beads off better and dirt no longer adheres to the surface. The waterproofing sprays also help with zippers, but they cannot seal them completely. Outer side pockets with zippers are not completely waterproof even after applying these sprays.
Can you repair a waterproof backpack?
Waterproof backpacks used for water sports usually have a plastic cover. If a sharp object punches a hole in the backpack, it can be repaired with a patch made of PVC or nylon. To do this, first locate the area with the leak.
Then the area around the hole is thoroughly cleaned. Then a plastic adhesive can be applied to this area and to the PVC patch. The adhesive must dry for a short time. Then the patch is placed on the affected area and pressure is continued for a few minutes. For a further 24 hours the backpack must not be moved. After only one day the backpack should be waterproof and fully operational again.
Can you clean a waterproof backpack?
Yes, you can. Too often the backpack does not need to be cleaned, but a thorough cleaning can help to maintain the waterproof properties. Small particles of dirt on the rucksack can ensure that the water does not roll off but is sucked into the fabric.
Most waterproof rucksacks can also be washed in a washing machine, but it is best to simply clean them with soap, water and a towel.
The cleaning procedure is as follows:
Why should you buy a waterproof backpack?
The question with many items is always whether you really need them or they’re just nice extras that are cool to have, but you can do without them. For true outdoor enthusiasts, however, there is no alternative to buying a waterproof backpack.
Those who often explore the waters with a SUP board or in a kayak need a container to store all kinds of luggage. And you can trust us. Whoever falls off the SUP board or capsizes with the kayak for the first time will be very happy that at least the luggage stays dry.
For water sports, a backpack is still practical because the gear sets are ready to hand. When doing stand-up paddling on the water, it is very difficult to reach the contents of a drybag. The drybag is located far forward on the board.
The waterproof backpacks also prove to be practical when hiking and in everyday life. Those who transport sensitive objects as a laptop, files or books are best done in a water resistant container as the backpacks just presented. Then nobody has to decide anymore if in case of heavy rain the umbrella should be used in order to keep the body or the backpack dry.
The waterproof backpacks used for water sports usually have a very eye-catching design. Therefore, these models are less suitable for smaller hikes or everyday work. More interesting in everyday life are the waterproof backpacks, which look like normal backpacks but offer protection against water.
What is the maximum weight of the backpack that should be loaded?
The backpack should be as light as possible for hiking and water sports. When packing, make sure that only the most necessary things are taken on the trip. We don’t mean that you should save on the first aid kit, but experience shows that many hikers and water sports enthusiasts take a lot of unnecessary things with them on the trip.
However, a good order is at least as important when packing. For example, place heavy items such as large water bottles at the bottom of the backpack, while lighter items such as clothes or snacks are placed last in the bag.
This depends on where the smartphone is plugged in. Many waterproof backpacks have extra pockets on the outside where the phone fits and is always ready to hand. However, these side pockets usually do not provide complete protection from the water. Usually only the main compartment of a waterproof backpack offers real protection from the water.
In heavy rain or when there is a risk of the bag being submerged, the phone and other water-sensitive valuables such as car keys and papers should be stored in the waterproof main compartment. Also proving particularly practical are waterproof mobile phone cases, which are very inexpensive and offer space for the most important valuables. These mobile phone cases also remain completely waterproof underwater.
Is a waterproof backpack really necessary?
For water sports enthusiasts who are on a fishing kayak, SUP board, canoe or other boat, for example, a watertight container in which equipment, change of clothes and food can be stored is part of the basic equipment.
On longer tours and especially on camping trips lasting several days, all kinds of things have to be taken along. But it is also important for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to have such a container.
Larger waterproof rucksacks can easily hold the change of clothes for several days, the sleeping bag and some provisions. If you do get caught in heavy rain during a longer hike or if your rucksack does fall into the water, you will be very grateful.
The last thing one wishes for after a hard day in the fresh air is a soaked sleeping bag. This is not only really unpleasant, but also a real danger due to the possible hypothermia.
If you are looking for a waterproof backpack, it is best to check which models have already proven themselves in practice or in a waterproof backpack test. Our best list is a good starting point for this.
Then you should ask yourself what the bag is used for. For short trips on the SUP, smaller models are well suited, which can also be submerged under water and still keep the contents dry.
For everyday use, however, the backpack should be unobtrusive and offer a little more space. Here, protection against splash water is practical, so that the books, laptop and the rest of the contents of the backpack remain dry even in heavy rain.
On the other hand, those who plan hiking tours of several days need a really large volume. The waterproof backpacks should also have several compartments to keep the contents in order. For cycling, on the other hand, smaller models are again a good idea, as they fit snugly against the body, are well padded and weigh little.