waterproof backpack

5 of the Best Waterproof and Water-Resistant Backpacks For Your Next Trip

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Since not all of our outdoor gear can be waterproof, we need waterproof backpacks to protect that gear.

I'm not sure what you pack on your kayaking or camping trips, but I know that my smartphone, compass, and granola bars aren't typically ready for a dunk in the water. Although not every bag needs to be waterproof, it's important to look for at least a water-resistant backpack if your adventures might include wet or rainy conditions. If it can't at least wick away light rain, your things may be ruined — which means every outdoor enthusiast needs one or the other. After all, who has time for ruined valuables or expensive gear? That's what LifeProof phone cases and the best waterproof and water-resistant bags are for. They're also essential for water activities, like kayaking, days on the boat, or fishing.

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

If your backpack is water-resistant (or water-repellent), expect it to wick away water as it rains. If it's waterproof, your backpack will be able to be submerged in a specific amount of water (per the manufacturer's guidelines), and keep all of your gear safe and dry, thanks to the unique and secure taped seams, which are the hallmark of waterproof bags. Basic guidelines: If you're looking for protection against rain, go water-resistant. If your bag might run the risk of falling into a stream, river, or lake, go waterproof. Here are our favorites:

1. Our Pick for Best Waterproof Backpack

FE Active Dry Bag Waterproof Backpack - Amazon, $44.99 

Made from eco-friendly PVC tarpaulin, this backpack is as waterproof as it gets  — it comes with an IPX8 rating, making it a perfect pick for scuba diving as a dive bag. However, it's also great for plenty of other uses — the thick marine-grade vinyl tarpaulin material is ready to take on any extreme outdoor activities from canoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. It's heavy-duty, but only weighs two pounds. It's comfy and sturdy, due to padded shoulder straps and a back that are equipped with a breathable mesh lining. We also love that it  floats, making it extremely useful in rugged conditions: and many reviewers have noted that this has survived everything from surf expeditions to the Costa Rican Jungle.  This is bag is made in the USA, and if you love to support small businesses, consider this backpack from a California-based family.

2. Best Waterproof Bag That Locks

WaterSeals Locking Backpack - Amazon, $31.99 

This waterproof bag has a 3-digit lock, and it's under $35: so if you're looking to prevent theft and water damage to your belongings while enjoying the beach or lake, this is a great deal. This will also be an excellent choice for amusement parks with water rides or cruises where you might need to take important documents — and you'll be able to lock the backpack to a fence or chair if needed. It's made with Ripstop material, has taped waterproof seams, and the roll-top closure is great for keeping debris like sand and dirt out of your gear. You'll have plenty of room for your wallet, clothes, and a few gadgets for the day — and it comes in three colorways.

3. Best Waterproof Bag for Hiking & Camping

SKOG A KUST. Waterproof Floating Backpack - 79.99, Amazon

Our favorite waterproof bag for hiking and camping is made from heavy-duty PVC, welded seams, and a roll-down top to completely seal out water. Take advantage of the interior pockets that are roomy enough for electronics like phones, a waterproof main compartment, and zippered inner pockets — and you'll feel confident taking your valuables  with you for water activities. The splash-proof outer pockets are perfect for keys, IDs, and other necessities for easy-access. Also, with the D-rings, you can hold water bottles and other gear on the sides. This has so many storage options — making it perfect for a day out hiking or a weekend away camping. Choose between various colors and two sizes — 25 or 35 liters. Either way, you'll have plenty of room for your items! The bag was made in Pennsylvania by a family-owned and operated brand, SKOG ?... KUST.

4. Best Water-Resistant Hiking Option


ZOMAKE Packable Hiking Backpack - Amazon, $21.99

Our pick for the best water-resistant hiking backpack earns its title for good reason: It's made of water-resistant nylon fabric, is super lightweight (under one pound), and easy to fold for storage. The 30L bag has one main compartment that's spacious enough for an outfit or two, a towel, and a laptop. The zippered pockets will store essentials like keys, water bottles, and IDs. The quality of this bag can't be matched by various brands. Many reviewers love this bag for so many different uses — like Disney trips, long hikes, and day trips. This is the perfect bag for you if you don't need to carry a lot of things — just the main essentials. Also, check out that price: this bag is a steal. Choose from 12 different colors, too.

5. Best Water-Resistant Rugged Option

Tactical Military Backpack - Amazon, $30.99 

If tactical gear is your style and you want something a little more rugged than the option above, consider this water-resistant backpack. The budget-friendly pack is versatile and customizable to organize your necessities. There's tons of space for your gear, including a sleeve that fits most 15- to 17-inch laptops. It includes a hydration pack for bladders up to 85 ounces: so if you love your CamelBak, you can't go wrong here. The insulating lining will keep food and drinks warm for up to five hours — seriously, that feature alone makes it a great survival pick, as do the many compartments for things like sleeping bags (there's an attachment on the bottom for one) and separate compartments to hold keys and phones.. As for comfort, the padded mesh on the straps and back panel allows for airflow. If you like military-style gear or want something that can withstand a ton of wear and tear, this tactical backpack is the perfect fit. It's around $30 and will keep you highly organized for easy access to your gear.

This post was originally published on December 30, 2019.