A traveler with a backpack

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There are times and situations, when with a regular backpack it’s not enough anymore.

Maybe you are getting ready for a weekend adventure, an adventurous trip abroad or maybe you are just cycling a lot and you want to have a better protection for your valuables. A good waterproof backpack might come in handy in many different situations. But how to choose the best waterproof backpack for yourself when the choice is so big?

And then there is another question to answer – water resistant or waterproof backpack?

Or in other words – do you really need a 100% waterproof backpack? Because not always waterproof backpack is the best solution.

Let me help you with this task!

At first I’m gonna talk about the best waterproof backpacks in general.

Scroll down, if you want to learn more about the best waterproof laptop backpacks or best water resistant backpacks!

Best Waterproof Backpack 2019

All of the backpacks listed below aren’t just great waterproof backpacks.

All of them are also carry on size backpacks. And that means that they will fit in as a carry on luggage with most of the airlines globally. Some of these backpacks come in different sizes. If you plan to use it as a carry on luggage, take something not bigger than 40 – 50 liters. To read more about every one of these backpacks scroll down!

Most of them are available in different colors.

For more photos, latest price and user reviews check them out on Amazon – just click on the name or image of the backpack!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even though the backpack is called completely waterproof, not always it means, that it’s built to be submerged in water for more than just a couple of minutes. Actually by far most of even the best waterproof backpacks are like that. You can’t, for example, swim with them. And it’s not recommended to submerge them in water for more than a minute or so.

Backpacks have different classes, depending on what they can withstand:

IP66 – Floats and can handle quick submersion.

IP67 – Submersible to depths of up to 3ft / 1m for 30 minutes.

IP68 – Submersible to depths of up to 19ft / 6m for 60 minutes.

Source: Over Board.

Waterproof Backpack Basics

There are really only a few backpacks, that we could call 100% waterproof backpacks.

That’s if you compare it to the total number of different waterproof backpack models. Why, you will ask? Because only a few of the backpacks are built to withstand prolonged immersion in water. Be careful with that and always read product descriptions until the end.

Most of the waterproof backpacks you can buy today are built to withstand only a brief immersion.

It doesn’t necessarily mean, that throwing them in water for a couple of minutes (or even 10-20 minutes for that matter) all of your stuff inside will get wet. Or that prolonged heavy rain will do some serious damage. It’s just manufacturers saying, that they can’t promise, that a backpack will withstand something more than a quick immersion.

And then there are water resistant backpacks. These ones you definitely shouldn’t immerse in water.

Waterproof or Water Resistant?

Or maybe you are OK with a regular backpack + a rain cover?

That’s the first question you need to answer, when looking for a new pack.

If you are planning to go on a longer kayaking or rafting trip, or anything else, that will include spending a lot of time near or on water, then waterproof bag is a necessity not a luxury, of course. But if it’s, for example, a hiking trip, that you are up to. And you just want to be ready for snow and/or rain, then, in your place, I would think twice, if I need a waterproof backpack.

Taking into account all the possible weather conditions, length of the trip and what kind of gear I’m bringing with me.

Because, you see, there are many really good hiking backpacks available, which aren’t waterproof, but which will be more comfortable than most of the 100% waterproof ones. And many of the newest travel and hiking backpacks are water resistant.

But, of course, there are also situations, when you just want to be ready for whatever comes.

And waterproof backpack then is the best choice.

A dry bag hanging on a tree

Speaking about my experience, during my travels I’m mostly fine with my current setup.

I have one regular, carry on size backpack (currently: Osprey Farpoint 40) + a 20 liter dry bag (100% waterproof? Kind of.), which I use also as my day pack. I also always have a rain cover with me. In case it’s raining, snowing or I’m putting my backpack somewhere away, for example, at the back of the bus.

And, yes, my passport always is in a quality waterproof case, similar to this one.

Best Waterproof Backpack for Travel: Reviews

1. Aqua Quest Stylin 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

Built to withstand rain, snow, dirt, dust and sand.

Perfect both for everyday use in the city and for adventure trips.

Only slightly smaller than the popular Outdoor Foundry backpack (30 liters compared to 35 liters), this backpack is 40% lighter. And with a weight of 0.86 kilos (1.9 lbs) it’s also one of the best lightweight backpacks ready for some pretty serious adventures.

For extra comfort this bag has padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Back panel of the backpack is soft and made of breathable material. There are also chest and hip straps.

You shouldn’t submerge this one in water fully for more than a minute or so. Well, you can do it. And as we know everything can happen during an adventure trip, but anyway I wouldn’t recommend throwing your backpack in water on a purpose. Especially if you have your laptop, camera or any other electronics inside.

Backpack is available in several colors.

Dimensions: 21.65” x 11.81” x 9.84” (55 x 30 x 25 cm).

Size: 30 liter.

Weight: 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg).

2. Aqua Quest Sport 30 PRO

Lightweight dry bag backpack designed for hiking and traveling.

Made by Aqua Quest. And, if we compare only materials used and backpack’s built quality, then it’s the same Aqua Quest Stylin. It’s also the same size – 30 liters – and weight.

Obviously the same like with its “sister” it’s not recommended to fully immerse this backpack in water. It’s built to withstand it, but manufacturer can’t promise for how long time. It’s not a backpack you can swim with, unfortunately.

Main difference between these 2 backpacks is that this one has also 2 side pockets. Apart from that it also looks slightly different. And it doesn’t have the same as many attachment points – straps like Stylin 30 has. Which might be important for some of you. So take it into account!

Backpack is available in 2 colors: charcoal and red.

Dimensions: 23” x 14” x 11” (58.4 x 35.6 x 28 cm).

Size: 35 liter.

Weight: 1.9 lbs (0.86 kg).

3. OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sport Backpack

A backpack you can sit in a puddle with. All day long. Or on a boat.

Or you can cycle in the torrential downpour with this backpack on your back.

Backpack’s shoulder straps and back panel are padded to ensure a comfortable use. In the front it has large mesh zip pocket. And there is an internal zip pocket for your smallest stuff, too.

Sides and base of this pack are made from super tough material – PVC coated 600D nylon. Which means you don’t really need to be too careful, when putting down your backpack. It doesn’t mean that it’s a shockproof backpack, though.

If case you wanna take your laptop with you as well, then take a look at this OverBoard laptop sleeve. It’s compatible with all OverBoard 12, 20, 30 and 45 liter waterproof backpacks.

Backpack is available in 2 colors: blue, yellow.

Dimensions: 20.4” x 15.5” (51.8 x 39.4 cm).

Size: 20 liter.

Weight: 2.05 lbs (0.93 kg).

4. OverBoard Pro-Vis Waterproof Backpack

A backpack you will notice from far away. One of the best commuter backpacks.

Perfect companion even for the most hardcore bike commuter.

Thanks to high visibility PVC tarpaulin this backpack can be seen very well both during the day and also at night. It’s 50% bigger than the previous bag from OverBoard, but otherwise it’s very similar and the same as sturdy roll top backpack, built to withstand a lot.

However, speaking about the design, OverBoard Pro-Vis is among my favorites. Well, but design, as you can see, is almost the only difference, when we compare all of these backpacks. And the size differs as well.

30 liters is not too much, but it’s completely enough for a few day adventure. Actually, if I can put my camping gear and food somewhere else, then backpack of this size is enough for me even for a week or two-week long trip. It’s definitely big enough for most of the bike commuters.

Do you want to protect your laptop as well? Take a look at this OverBoard laptop sleeve. It’s compatible with all OverBoard 12, 20, 30 and 45 liter waterproof backpacks.

Backpack is available in 2 colors: orange, yellow.

Dimensions (20 liter): 17” x 9.5” x 6.5” (43.2 x 24.1 x 16.5 cm).

Size: 20 & 30 liter.

Weight (20 liter): 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg).

5. SealLine Boundary Pack

Ready for everything, from kayaking to canyoning. Made in the USA.

One of the first things you notice, when looking at this backpack, is that it doesn’t have any pockets or straps on the outside. At first I thought, that it’s a big disadvantage. But on the other hand – it makes things safer for you as well.

Like both of the Aqua Quest roll top backpacks this one is a very light bag, too. It weights the same 1.9 lbs (0.86 kilos).

SealLine Boundary Pack is available in 3 sizes: 35 liter, 70 liter and also 115 liter. 37 liter, as I have already mentioned above, is very OK size to fit in all your most important stuff. In 70 liter backpack you will also easily fit in your camping gear. But 115 liters…, well, that’s a lot.

Backpack is available in 4 colors: black, blue, green, yellow.

Dimensions (35 liter): 16.5” x 11” (42 x 28 cm).

Size: 35, 70 & 115 liter.

Weight (35 liter): 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg).

6. Sea To Summit Rapid 26L Dry Pack

Waterproof backpack for your next hiking trip.

It can rain, it can snow, but your gear will stay safe and dry.

Like the most of the others it’s not a 100% waterproof backpack. Yes, it’s ready for tough conditions. And it can go through a lot. It can even be thrown in water and maybe (!) all of your stuff will stay absolutely dry. But you can’t leave it in water for prolonged period of time, definitely not fully immersed.

One of the biggest advantages of this backpack over others is that functionally it’s more a regular hiking backpack than a dry bag. Waterproof hiking backpack. Which means that more than others it’s ready to be carried around for prolonged periods of time.

Made by Sea to Summit, a company with many years of experience in outdoors.

Size: 26 liter.

Weight: 2 lbs (0.91 kg).

7. Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack

Gearing up for some serious adventure in the wilderness…

Thanks to PVC free fabric this backpack withstands also cold temperatures. But removable harness will come in handy, when you will want to transport a bag from one place to another, for example, on a plane.

While the smallest one you can also take on the plane as a carry on luggage, the biggest will be big enough to carry a gear for 2-3 people weekend kayaking trip. Or if you are going alone, then it will be enough for a pretty long self supported adventure.

This dry pack is available in 4 sizes: 35 liters, 65 liter, 90 liter and 120 liter.

Backpack is available in 4 colors: black, blue, green, yellow.

Dimensions (65 liter): 33.5” x 14” x 10” (85.1 x 35.6 x 25.4 cm).

Size: 65, 90 & 120 liter.

Weight (65 liter): 2.94 lbs (1.33 kg).

Laptop on the table

Best Waterproof Laptop Backpacks

8. Pelican U100 Elite Backpack for Laptop

Crash-proof, dust-proof & waterproof laptop backpack for professionals.

One of the best business backpack designed to be taken anywhere.

Pelican U100 Elite backpack has a built-in watertight & crash-proof laptop case.

It’s IP67 Tested – 3 ft (1m) under water/ for 30 minutes.

Yes, you can drop this bag in water for half an hour, and your laptop should be still perfectly fine afterwards. BUT remember that it’s not the same with all of the content of your bag. Because not all of the backpack is 100% waterproof. And not all of it is crash-proof either. If you want something to be fully protected from the elements, you should put it in laptop compartment.

Fits laptops with up to 17” screens.

As you can imagine, it’s not the lightest backpack available on the market. It’s a really heavy one – 8.8 lbs (4 kilos).

Dimensions: 19.3” x 13.8” x 7” (49 x 35 x 17.8 cm).

Size: 16 liter + case.

Weight: 8.8 lbs (4 kg).

9. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Stylish and simple, 32 liter backpack for your laptop and tablet.

Fits 15” MacBook and iPad. Or any other laptop and tablet of the same size or smaller.

Designed by Timbuk2 exclusively for Apple.

Timbuk2 Spire waterproof laptop backpack is available in 8 colors.

To see the latest price and all the colors available check out Timbuk2 Spire backpack on Amazon!

Dimensions: 18.7” x 12.4” x 5.12” (47.5 x 31.5 x 13 cm).

Size: 32 liter.

Weight: 2.36 lbs (1.07 kg).

Timbuk2 is a company from San Francisco producing travel bags, backpacks, messenger bags, cycling bags, panniers, totes and shoulder bags.

See all of their products together here, on Amazon!

A kid with an umbrealla

Two of the Best Water Resistant Backpacks

Well, here the choice is really big.

Many of the best travel backpacks nowadays are also (more or less) water resistant.

I’ll give you 2 examples of really good travel backpacks. Both made for different purposes. Both water resistant.

1. Cabin Max Metz Backpack Flight Approved Carry on Bag

An affordable backpack, made to fit the maximum carry on baggage allowance in Europe – 22” x 16” x 8” (55 x 40 x 20 cm). Great choice for your European vacation.

It’s maybe not the sexiest backpack available on the market. And it’s not the best one to be carried on your back for hours on end. But it does one job really well. It can fit in A LOT. And it’s water resistant as well.

Another cool thing about it is that it’s a panel loading backpack. You can open it the same way like a suitcase. Having this type of backpack you always have a little bit of both – accessibility of a suitcase and mobility of a backpack.

So, yes, unless you know, that you will be walking around a lot, with your backpack on the back, Cabin Max Metz is one really good option between the cheapest water resistant backpacks.

Backpack is available in 20+ colors.

Dimensions: 22” x 16” x 8” (55 x 40 x 20 cm).

Size: 44 liter.

Weight: 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg).

2. 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

Military design backpack built to be taken anywhere you want.

No matter what the condition, climate, or weather.

Thanks to all the compartments this backpack has (2 big ones and many smaller) organization of your stuff is very easy. If you want to attach something to the outside of the backpack, well, you have plenty of choices, how to do that. As this bag has a lot of attachment points. You will only need your carabiners or straps.

It’s a quality backpack. And it costs more than many others I have mentioned here, in this article. But if you are looking for a good backpack, which you plan to use regularly. If you are looking for a long term companion. Then this is one I can recommend you to think about.

Like most of the backpacks, however, it’s not built to withstand prolonged submersion in water. But rain and snow shouldn’t be a problem.

Backpack is available in 7 colors.

Dimensions (main compartment): 23” x 13.5” x 8.5” (58.4 x 34.3 x 21.6 cm).

Size: 55 liter.

Weight: 5.2 lbs (2.36 kg).

Do you use a waterproof backpack? If yes – which one?

Book Your Trip Like a PRO

1. Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights using Kiwi.com, Momondo.com. Or subscribe to Dollar Flight Club, if you don’t want to be searching for the flights yourself. Momondo usually is my first choice.

2. Book Your Accommodation

Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb. I use Booking and Agoda at least a dozen times a year, and Airbnb – when looking for a long-term stay. My best tip is to ALWAYS compare the price. Sometimes the same hotel is cheaper on Booking.com, other times – on Agoda. Always compare the price!

3. Buy Your Travel Insurance

World Nomads and SafetyWings are two companies I can recommend. World Nomads offers some extra benefits, that will be important for those doing some higher risk activities, while SafetyWings is significantly cheaper. SafetyWings is only $9.25 / week.

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