The 10 Best Waterproof Backpacks of 2021

These packs will keep your essentials dry, no matter the splash

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 heavy-duty rainproof pack is lightweight but has a generous storage capacity that makes it great for hikes or everyday use."

Best Lightweight: Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack at Backcountry Gear

"This lightweight pick is the ideal size for a variety of outdoor activities—be it hiking, bike commuting, or traveling."

Best for Commuting: Rains Backpack at Rains

"This highly practical pick is great for commuting on the subway, by car, or by bike."

Best for Laptops: Matein Mlassic Travel Laptop Backpack at Matein

"The perfect vessel for toting your laptop to and from work or the coffee shop."

Best for Hiking: YETI Panga Backpack 28 at Yeti

"This pick has you covered for all of your wet, rough-and-tumble adventures on the trail."

Best for Biking: Skog A Kust BackSak at Amazon

"This pick has great technical outdoor functionality, comfort, and durability for all your biking needs."

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 at Backcountry

"Equal parts stylish and functional, this backpack is durable enough for whatever foreign city you’re zipping around."

Best Style: Fjallraven Classic Kanken Backpack at Urban Outfitters

"This pick is beloved for its boxy-cool shape, comfortable fit, and sizable capacity."

Best Expandable: MIER Expandable Travel Backpack at Mier Sports

"This pick has an expandable zipper, capacity expands from 30 liters to a roomy 40 liters."

Backpacks are more ubiquitous than ever—you’re just as likely to see people toting backpacks in the streets of New York or LA as you are on trails in national parks, for instance. 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 never 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 Granville 20 Backpack

 Arc'teryx

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Great storage capacity

  • Can clip in a bike light

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

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.

Weight: 1 pound 14.2 ounces | Capacity: 20 liters | Dimensions: Not listed

Best Lightweight: Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack

Sea to Summit Rapid 26L DryPack

Courtesy of BackcountryGear

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note hip belt could have more padding

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.

Weight: 27 ounces | Capacity: 26 liters | Dimensions: 21 x 6 x 15 inches

Best for Commuting: Rains Backpack

Rains Waterproof Backpack

Courtesy of Nordstrom 

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Has a two-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Limited pockets than other options

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.

Weight: Not listed | Capacity: 13 liters | Dimensions: 18.9 x 11.8 x 4.7 inches

Best for Laptops: Matein Mlassic Travel Laptop Backpack

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Affordable

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note zippers tend to slide open

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.

Weight: 1.68 pounds | Capacity: 28 liters | Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 7.8 inches

Best for Hiking: YETI Panga Backpack 28

YETI Panga Pack 28

Courtesy of YETI

What We Like
  • Durable

  • HydroLok zippers

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

For all of your wet, rough-and-tumble adventures on the trail, the YETI Panga Backpack 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 comfy, durable DryHaul shoulder straps, removable webbing chest strap, and hip belt, and you’ve got yourself one mighty, secure, and comfy-fitting daypack.

Weight: 3.9 pounds | Capacity: 28 liters | Dimensions: 7 x 20 x 12.5 inches

Best for Biking: Skog A Kust BackSak

Skog A Kust BackSak

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors and sizes

  • Padded shoulder straps

What We Don't Like
  • Exterior pocket is not waterproof

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.

Weight: 2.5 pounds | Capacity: 25 or 35 liters | Dimensions: 16 x 6 x 11.5 inches or 19 x 6 x 12.5 inches

Best for Paddling: Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack

Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Welded seams

  • UV light-resistant

  • Comes in various colors and sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

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.

Weight: 2 pounds 4 ounces, 2 pounds 15 ounces, 3 pounds 7 ounces, or 3 pounds 15 ounces | Capacity: 35, 65, 90, or 120 liters | Dimensions: 13 x 8 x 28 inches, 14 x 10 x 33.5 inches, 16.5 x 11.8 x 39.5 inches, or 18.5 x 12.6 x 44.5 inches

Best for Travel: Fjallraven Ulvo 23

Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Made from recycled materials

  • Great storage capacity

What We Don't Like
  • Limited color options

Whatever foreign city you’re zipping around, the Fjallraven Ulvo 23 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.

Weight: 1 pound 6.9 ounces | Capacity: 23 liters | Dimensions: 17.7 x 11 x 4.9 inches

Best Style: Fjallraven Classic Kanken Backpack

Fjallraven - Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday

 Courtesy of Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G4ZYFXI

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Durable

  • Padded back

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note colors don't match website pictures

A true cult-fave backpack, the Fjallraven Classic Kanken is on everyone’s wish list, beloved for its boxy-cool shape, comfortable fit, and sizable capacity. This pack 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.

Weight: 0.7 pounds | Capacity: 16 liters | Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 4.5 inches

Best Expandable: MIER Expandable Travel Backpack Business Lugguage Backpack

MIER Expandable Travel Backpack Business Lugguage Backpack

Courtesy of MIER

What We Like
  • Generous storage capacity

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Limited color options

The MIER Travel Backpack is outfitted with supreme weather-resistant protection—it’s made of durable polyester fabric, complete with a waterproof rain cover, just in case you find yourself up against the elements. It’s also easy to keep everything organized with this bag; the storage is top-notch. There’s a large front pocket with seven organizational pockets and multiple others. Plus, with an expandable zipper, capacity expands from 30 liters to a roomy 40 liters.

Weight: Not listed | Capacity: 30 to 40 liters | Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.87 inches to 9.84 x 19.7 inches

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Arc'teryx Granville 20 Backpack (view at Back Country). It's water-resistant, lightweight, and has a very generous storage capacity. If you're looking for something more affordable, go with the Matein Mlassic Travel Laptop Backpack (view at Matein). It's durable, comfortable, and has plenty of pockets, so you can organize all of your belongings.

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 just 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. Then, hiking backpacks generally come in three types: frameless, internal-frame, and external-frame—frameless packs are best for carrying light loads, internal-frame packs are capable of handling medium to heavy loads, and external-frame packs are for carrying heavy loads.

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.

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, mild soap and a soft sponge should do the trick just fine.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Justine Harrington is a freelance writer who covers travel, food, lifestyle, and more. She has been writing for TripSavvy since 2018, and her work has appeared in many publications like Travel + Leisure, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Forbes Travel Guide, and more. As a frequent traveler herself, she's always on the lookout for the best waterproof backpack.

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