Trip Planning Tech & Gear The 11 Best Waterproof Backpacks These packs will keep your essentials dry, no matter the splash By Krystin Arneson Krystin Arneson Instagram University of Edinburgh Krystin Arneson is a writer and editor based out of Berlin, Germany. She covers an array of hotels, products, and destinations for TripSavvy. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 09/13/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: Arc'teryx Granville 20 Backpack at Backcountry "This pack features water-resistant materials and a padded laptop sleeve." Best Sling: Patagonia Stormsurge Sling 20L at Backcountry "The fully adjustable, low-profile shoulder strap slings easily over the right shoulder." Best for Style: Caraa Cloud Stratus Waterproof Backpack at Caraa "A great pick for ladies who want a bag that’s comfy, stylish, and weatherproof." Best Lightweight: Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack at Backcountry Gear "The ideal size for a variety of outdoor activities—be it hiking, bike commuting, or traveling." Best for Commuting: Rains Backpack at Rains "There’s a main compartment, a 13-inch laptop pocket, an inside zippered pocket, and an outer phone pocket." Best for Laptops: Matein Travel Laptop Backpack at Amazon "The perfect vessel for toting your laptop to and from work or the coffee shop." Best for Hiking: YETI Panga Backpack 28 at Yeti "For all your wet, rough-and-tumble adventures on the trail." Best for Biking: Skog A Kust BackSak at Amazon "For technical outdoor functionality, comfort, and durability while you bike." Best for Paddling: Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack at Backcountry "Solidly designed in every way, this pack effectively keeps your gear nice and dry while you’re on the water." Best for Travel: Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack at Backcountry "Equal parts stylish and functional, this backpack is made from super-sturdy, recycled ripstop nylon." Backpacks are more ubiquitous than ever. You’re just as likely to see people toting backpacks in the streets of New York City or Los Angeles as you are on trails in national parks. Decidedly more stylish than the bulky school bags of our youth, the backpacks of today come in sleek commuter-friendly styles, cute and compact designs for travel, and all manner of utilitarian styles for hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and more. Best of all, it’s not hard to find a pack that’s either fully waterproof or extremely weather-resistant. So you rarely have to worry about your belongings getting soaked or destroyed in the rain. Read on to find out our picks for the best, coolest, most functionally waterproof backpacks available. Best Overall: Arc'teryx Granville 20 Backpack Arc'teryx Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Arcteryx.com Buy on REI The Granville 20 Backpack is water-resistant, with Arc'teryx's proprietary Advanced Composite Construction technology. It’s also remarkably lightweight, given how heavy-duty the rainproofing is, so it’s great for day hikes or everyday use. Sleek and minimalistic, this pack has a deceptively spacious storage capacity in the form of a padded laptop sleeve, a stretchy zippered pocket, and pockets under the flap. It also features a spot to clip in a bike light. Best Sling: Patagonia Stormsurge Sling 20L Courtesy of Patagonia Buy on Backcountry.com Keep your gear protected with the Patagonia Stormsurge Sling 20L pack, which is 100 percent waterproof. Aside from being made from durable nylon (with a TPU coating), with waterproof TiZip zippers, this practical bag was designed for carrying comfort. The fully adjustable, low-profile shoulder strap slings easily over the right shoulder, and there’s also a quick-access external grab handle. Built for fly fishing, you could dunk this pack fully into water and your stuff will remain totally dry. Best for Style: Stratus Waterproof Backpack Courtesy of Caraa Buy on Nordstrom Buy on Caraasport.com The Stratus Waterproof Backpack is a great pick for ladies who want a bag that’s comfy, stylish, and weatherproof. This pack is outfitted with cloud-like waterproof nylon, along with smart compartments and pockets for storing all your essentials. The sleek silhouette goes with anything. And, the adjustable padded shoulder straps make toting this bag around a total breeze. Best Lightweight: Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack Courtesy of BackcountryGear Buy on Backcountrygear.com The ideal size for a variety of outdoor activities—be it hiking, bike commuting, or traveling—the Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack is definitely on the lightweight side, at 21 x 6 x 15 inches and 27 ounces. This impressively-made pack boasts waterproof, abrasion-resistant, TPU-laminated, 420D nylon fabric construction, so you can rest assured that it’ll survive the elements. Other features include a waterproof roll-top closure with side straps and the brand’s Field Repair Buckles. The 15 Best Carry-On Backpacks of 2021 Best for Commuting: Rains Backpack Courtesy of Nordstrom Buy on Rains.com Whether you’re commuting on a super-packed subway, in a car, or by bike, the Rains Backpack is a gorgeous, highly practical pick. The ultra-modern design and chic color selection (think pale yellow, olive green, navy, and slate, among others) would already make this bag a standout, but the hardy water-resistant fabric and storage features put it over the edge. There’s a main compartment, a 13-inch laptop pocket, an inside zippered pocket, and an outer phone pocket, complete with magnetic closings and carabiner details. Best for Laptops: Matein Travel Laptop Backpack Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Crafted from durable water-resistant polyester fabric, the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack provides the perfect vessel for toting your laptop to and from work or the coffee shop. The separate laptop compartment has space for a 15.6-inch computer, plus there’s a front compartment with multiple pockets. Comfy, sturdy, and breathable, this pack also has a multi-panel ventilated body, so you get maximum back support. Best for Hiking: YETI Panga Pack 28 Courtesy of YETI Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI Buy on Yeti.com For all your wet, rough-and-tumble adventures on the trail or bike commute, the YETI Panga Pack 28 has you covered. The high-density nylon and thermoplastic urethane laminated ThickSkin shell resists abrasion, while the HydroLok zipper seals out water so your gear stays dry. Add to the list the ergonomic, durable DryHaul shoulder straps, removable webbing chest strap, and hip belt, and you’ve got yourself one mighty, secure, and comfy-fitting daypack. Backpacking Gear Packing Checklist Best for Biking: Skog A Kust BackSak Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon For technical outdoor functionality, comfort, and durability while you bike, it’s tough to beat the Skog A Kust BackSak. This lightweight-yet-sturdy pack features 500-denier PVC to seal out the elements with watertight, welded seams and a roll-down top. The sternum clip and padded back support help relieve pressure on your muscles. And, the thick, cushioned straps adjust for custom comfort. Best for Paddling: Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on REI If you’re going kayaking or canoeing, it’s extra-important to get a pack that can withstand being submerged—and the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack fits the bill nicely. Solidly designed in every way, this pack effectively keeps your gear nice and dry while you’re on the water, thanks to its tough, laminated fabric and welded seams (which are also resistant to UV light and cold temperatures). Handily, you can then haul your stuff backpack-style off the boat, using the attachable harness. Best for Travel: Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on REI Whatever foreign city you’re zipping around, the Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack makes for the ultimate travel companion. Equal parts stylish and functional, this backpack is made from super-sturdy, recycled ripstop nylon, with a durable Bergshell fabric that’s water-resistant to handle most (potentially wet) situations. The comfortable back panel and shoulder straps have ventilating air mesh, too, and there’s plenty of storage, with a zippered main compartment, zippered front pocket, and two side pockets. The 12 Best Backpack Brands of 2021 Best Cult Classic: Fjallraven Classic Kanken Backpack Courtesy of Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G4ZYFXI Buy on Nordstrom Buy on Zappos Buy on Urban Outfitters A true cult-fave backpack, the Fjallraven Classic Kanken is on everyone’s wish list. This classic pack is beloved for its boxy-cool shape, ergonomic fit, and sizable capacity. This Kanken is also made from hard-wearing Vinylon F fabric that successfully withstands dirt and wetness. The bag’s most distinctive feature (aside from that adorable fox logo, of course) is the included PE foam cushion, which prevents the contents of your backpack from poking against your back. Plus, it comes in like a million different colorways (actually, about 38). What to Look For in a Waterproof Backpack Size How you plan to use your bag will determine what size to get. Are you looking for a streamlined bag for commuting, a light daypack for hiking, biking, or kayaking, or a roomy (and therefore bulky) backpack for multi-day treks in the backcountry? Proper weight distribution is key, so make sure your pack is appropriately sized for whatever adventure you’re taking it on. For most single-day activities, there's no need to go over 30 liters, and most likely 20 liters will suffice. Style No matter what activity you’ll be doing, there’s a backpack style for you. If you’re looking for an everyday bag for running errands or something to carry while traveling, a stylish mini-backpack or rucksack are both good options. Want a backpack for commuting to work? Get a bag that can fit a 13-inch laptop and the rest of your workday essentials. Style is fairly subjective, so pick what looks best for you. Pockets Depending on the type of bag, the size and placement of pockets will differ. For example, travel and commuter bags tend to have organizational features like a laptop sleeve, dividers, and organizer panels for holding smaller items. A good hiking backpack, on the other hand, should have stretchy side pockets for water bottles, a spacious main compartment, multiple interior and exterior pockets, and ideally, pockets on the shoulder straps or hip straps (a handy feature for storing your phone or snacks). Look for a bag with ample organized storage, whatever you’re getting. Price Splurging on a good backpack is absolutely worth it if you’ll be using it every day or often. On the other hand, if it’s your first hiking backpack and you don’t plan on hiking more than a few times a year, you probably don’t need to get a top-of-the-line pack. Going cheaper is totally fine. Key Specs Size/Capacity The exact size of the backpack you’ll need depends on what you’ll be using it for. In terms of specific capacity for hiking packs, note that most packs list their capacity in liters. In general, day-hiking packs shouldn’t go over 30 liters, whereas an overnight pack shouldn’t surpass 50 liters. You should also match your pack to your specific body type by getting either a women’s or men’s pack and getting measured in-store, if possible. Weight The general rule of thumb is that your backpacking pack shouldn’t exceed roughly more than 20 percent of your body weight, and your hiking pack shouldn’t exceed more than 10 percent of your body weight. So, for example, someone who weighs 160 pounds shouldn’t carry over 30 pounds of weight while backpacking or over 15 pounds while day-hiking. FAQs What's the difference between waterproof and water-resistant? If a bag is labeled "waterproof," this means you can fully submerge it in water without getting any moisture inside. "Water-resistant" bags are usually made from nylon with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating, and/or with coated zippers—this type of bag is generally able to repel some water, but you shouldn’t get caught in a rainstorm with it (that’s what rain covers are for). How should you clean your backpack? Never put your backpack in the washing machine, and always consult your bag’s specific instructions before washing. For most backpacks, a mild soap and soft sponge should do the trick just fine. Why Trust TripSavvy Krystin Arneson is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Travel is a huge part of her life. So finding the perfect travel backpack is crucial for her and that travel obsession. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 11 below. Continue to 9 of 11 below.