We love the outdoors as much as we love our gadgets but how to keep our gadgets safe from the elements when travelling.
Be it for school trips, holidays, jungle trekking, boating, river rides, cycling (just about any outdoor activities) or simply for work, college or university, you need a fit-for-purpose backpack that will keep all your things clean and dry.
Laptops, gadgets and most smartphones just do not do well with water, and having a waterproof backpack offer that peace of mind, knowing that your gadgets are not going to get wet if you have to go in the rain or should you backpack gets dunked into water.
Waterproof is the highest level of protection against water and other elements one can have so choosing waterproof instead of water resistant or splash proof means maximum protection for your valuables. Your gadgets and clothes will be safe from:
- Rain, including heavy downpours, skating, cycling or commuting
- Waves & splashes – perfect for kayaking, boating surfing & sailing
- Snow & sleet – ideal for skiing, snowboarding & more
- Sand, dirt, mud & dust – great for camping
What to Look For
Talking from experience, after having had our backpacks soaking wet and risk getting our gadgets broken, we decided to go shopping for a Waterproof Backpack. After having considered some of the waterproof backpacks in the market, here are some of the things we found:
- They come in varying sizes and for what we want it to do, it needs to have 20 Litre or more in capacity. Bigger capacities up to 35 or 40 litre are also available.
- We need our backpacks to be waterproof and not just water resistant or repellent or shower proof. It has be have water tight lining that keeps all the things inside dry.
- It needs to have a secure and water proof closure so no opening is left to chance. These are typically secured with a roll down top, fasten with velcro strap.
- For comfort, it needs to have padded and adjustable shoulder strap and even better if it comes complete with a chest strap, we found this helps with prolonged use, easier on the shoulder especially when you are carrying a full size laptop and books.
- Safety reflective strips or bright colour options for visibility.
- Profile – dry bag in the shape of a sack or the more conventional backpack with roll top closure, there are plenty of designs to choose from. It may be that your buying decision be based simply on the look knowing that the bags are waterproof. Whatever the shape and profile, you are sure to find one that suits your taste and lifestyle. A high capacity punching bag shaped dry bag is shown in the photo below.
Top 20 Best Waterproof Backpack & Dry Bag
Simply a must have for travellers and commuters, here are 18 of the best t
- Under Armour Storm Undeniable II Backpack
- Aqua Quest Himal 20L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
- BackSak Waterproof 35L Backpack
- Timbuk2 Especial Primo Pack
- Aqua Quest Mariner 30 – 30L
- Aqua Quest Mariner 20 – 20L
- Ortlieb Velocity Backpack
- Lowepro DryZone Rover
- Sea To Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
- Aqua Quest Sport 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
- Outdoor Foundry Waterproof Backpack – 35L
- OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sports Backpack – 20L
- Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
- Streeter by Just Porter
- Seal Line Pro Pack 115
- DryCASE Masonboro 35L
- Over Board 30L Classic Backpack
- Phantom Aquatics Walrus 25
- SealLine Urban Backpack
BONUS: Velo Transit Edge Pro 30
Here, we take a closer look at each of these waterproof backpacks.
Suitable for everyday use with stylish design and plenty of pockets including laptop compartment.
Also available in Black, Blue or Red as well as other colour combinations, the Storm Undeniable II Backpack from Under Armour brings UA Storm technology to backpack delivering element battling, highly water resistant finish. The bottom panel is tough with abrasion-resistant material and the body panels are foam reinforced for added protection. There is a lined laptop sleeve inlay with room for a 15-inch laptop. The front and side pockets are covered with water-repellent material to keep your gadgets safe. While the shoulder straps and back panel are foam padded there is no front chest strap buckle.
Suitable for back packers and travellers. Packable Roll Top Travel Daypack with Adjustable Shoulder Strap.
Available in Blue, Black (shown here), Red and Camouflage design, the Aqua Quest Dry Bag System is 100% waterproof, suitable for all kinds of activity and urban living. The AquaQuest Himal can keep your valuables safe from rain, snow, dirt, dust or sand. If you make sure all openings are shut tight, it can even protect your belongings from temporary submersion. Even with all that, it is still ultra lightweight and tough using 70D fabric and TPU lamination as well as heat taped seams. The waist and shoulder straps are fully adjustable and the mesh back panel offers comfortable all day use. While it offers up to 20L of storage, when empty, it can be folded and stored in its own front zip pocket for easy storage.
Suitable for outdoor activities including water sports. 500D PVC, 35L with welded seams, reflective trim, padded back support, cushioned adjustablesStraps, inner and outer pockets.
This SakGear bag has a huge 35L capacity with welded seams, reflective trim, padded back support, cushioned adjustable straps and splash proof outer zip pockets. It is available in three colours, sky blue, pink or yellow with reflective patch and trim. Made with 500D PVC material, it seals out rain, snow, sand and mud. For added comfort, especially when carrying the bag for long journeys, the sternum clip and padded back support help reduce pressure on the shoulder. The thick and cushioned straps are adjustable to the right fit. It comes with a roll tab closure, simply roll down and snap together the top clip to double up as a handle or snap the clips to the side. The bag comes with an interior and an exterior pocket (see image below).
Suitable for cyclists and commuters with high visibility reflective trims and racing stripes.
Timbuk2 Especial Primo Pack is a vertical messenger bag designed for cyclists. It has welded ripstop construction to offer maximum weather and complete waterproof protection. Reflective strips and tabs makes it visible in low light. It has a U-lock Airmesh ventilated back panel for added comfort. Inside, you get a roomy interior big enough for laptops of all sizes. We would recommend however, that you use a padded laptop sleeve for additional protection. An external neoprene pocket is big enough to hold a water bottle or bike lock. Also available is the Timbuk2 Especial Primo horizontal messenger. As Timbuk2 is in the business of designing cyclists’ bags and paneers , it appeals particularly to cyclists and commuters.
A huge 30L waterproof dry bag backpack, a large roll top day pack with adjustable fit suitable for excursions, boating, kayaking or any water activity and adventures.
You either love it or hate it, the Aqua Quest Mariner is available in three sizes, 30, 20 and 10L. The bigger is the 30L. It comes with a roll closure with a tube or punching bag profile. While most back packs have back panels which are flat, with the tube shape, you have a feeling like you are carrying a bolster on your back. It does mean that it will roll around left or right a little when you move but should be fairly stable with the adjustable and padded shoulder straps.
The real strength of this backpack, apart from the capacity is the waterproof construction, done up correctly, the bag is 100% waterproof and ready or any extreme adventures. It will keep your valuables safe from rain, snow, dirt, dust or sand and even temporary submersion. The material used is strong and durable PVC fabric put together with welded seams and double bar tacked.
Apart from the shoulder straps, there is also a side handle that lets you carry the bag like a duffle bag. When sealed properly, it will even float when dropped in a lake, river or ocean. Depending on the size, you can find them in cyan, yellow, black, dark green or more.
The 20L equivalent of the big Aqua Quest Mariner 30 reviewed above, the waterproof dry bag backpack has a roll top closure and is fully waterproof, perfect for kayaking, boat or any extreme adventures.
Like the bigger brother, here is a smaller variety holding up to 20L capacity. And, like its bigger brother, the Aqua Quest Mariner 20 has the same dry bag systems to keep your clothes and gadgets safe and dry with a roll top easy snap- on closure. You will find that for the average users, the 20L version is more than sufficient unless you are packing for a long trip. There is nothing like having the peace of mind knowing that all your kit and gadgets will be kept dry and safe anywhere your adventure takes you.
Suitable for cyclists and commuters with plenty of colours and design motifs to choose from.
Another favourite among cyclists, the Ortlieb Velocity Backpack is available in a variety of designs and colours. It does not stop with cyclists though, the bag is easily a favourite with any commuters, day trippers and schools or colleges with its energetic motif and utilitarian design.
Like most waterproof backpacks, it uses a roll top and velcro closure to secure and keep the main compartment out of harm from the elements. Inside, you can organise smaller items like keys, money and cell phone in a removable inner pocket. It has dual padded shoulder straps with adjustable waist and chest straps for enhanced stability and support. For long journeys, the form back panel offers plenty of ventilation and comfort. The strong top handle makes it easy to carry and transport your belongings.
There is no compartment for laptop inside the bag so you will need to rely on a laptop sleep or skin.
Suitable for photographers with space for camera, additional lenses and more.
A name that is synonymous with camera cases and storage, the Lowepro DryZone Rover is an outdoor waterproof bag for camera and lense totting professionals looking to protect their investment. Keeping their camera and lenses safe means they can get to their assignment and back with his equipment in one piece.
It can store a Professional SLR, three to four additional lensees with sizes up to 80-200mm, a tripod or monopod, compartments of memory cars, cables and personal accessories. The waterproof compartment or Drypod is made of Tarpaulin PVC with a TiZip zipper. The backpack also comes with a 50 oz HydraPak hydration system with Wide Mouth design for easy and clean refilling. The shoulder straps are contoured for comfort and support.
Suitable for back packers and for longer journeys.
Available in black (shown here), blue, green o yellow, the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack has everything going for it as far as a waterproof backpack goes. It is made with TPU laminated heavy duty fabric with UV resistant. The waist strap helps with support, easily the load on the shoulders. The non-wicking TPU roll top closure applies an innovative interlocking profile that is secure and waterproof. Welded seams makes for every better, long lasting and permanent construction.
Punching bag styled roll top closure backpack with protection for your laptop when hiking or camping.
The Aqua Quest Sport 30 is the perfect waterproof pack for daily use or for carrying a weekend’s worth of gear. You’ll enjoy the solid, no-nonsense design and proven durability. The 30 L size offers plenty of storage, perfect for a day hike, a light expedition, or even a quick vacation. It is fully waterproof so its great for any adventure. The bag is made from Abrasion resistant 420D RipStop fabric and TPU lamination and DWR coating. It uses bouble bar-tacked stress points and heat taped seams for superior waterproof protection. The waist and shoulder straps are fully adjustable, padded, flexible, and contour to the shape of your body. The Air-Mesh back panel is breathable and comfortable against your back. There is a pair of water bottle pockets secured with strong elastic drawstrings and can be used to carry a wide variety of items. Two D-rings on the shoulder straps and seven reinforced webbing loops on the front of the pack provide multiple attachment options.
11. Outdoor Foundry Waterproof Backpack – 35L
Suitable for light back packers and those looking to carry more with them. The dry bag with secure closure and laptop sleeve offering maximum capacity of 35L. It has a padded and shoulder strap. Suitable for water sports, outdoor adventure and travels.
This fully waterproof backpack has a rugged construction with welded seams to offer protection from rain, splashes and even waves. It’s roll top closure like most waterproof bags featured here can even withstand brief immersion in water, staying afloat if it goes overboard. Inside, there is a removable liner, a laptop sleeve for up 15-inch display and additional pocket for a tablet. There is also a removable liner pouch with pockets for passport, pen and paper work attached to the interior of the bag with zips. The padded shoulder strap is fully equipped with chest and waist strap for maximum comfort over prolonged used. To add to that, it also comes with foam padded and ventilated back panel, a large waterproof exterior pocket with water resistant zipper for small frequently accessed items, two mesh side pockets and a bungee cord system.
12. OverBoard Waterproof Pro-Sports Backpack – 20L
As the name suggests, it can go overboard and survives brief submersion, although like other waterproof bags, it is likely to just float. The sports backpack is also available in blue and offers maximum protection from water and the elements for your valuables, clothes and gadgets. The 20 Litre Pro-Sports Backpack gives you full protection against water, dirt and sand, with easy access to all your gear via an intelligent roll-neck sealing system. There are multiple additional internal and outer side mesh pockets. The welded seams and the trusty Fold Seal System™ with hook-and-loop fasteners work together to make this sports bag 100% waterproof and suitable for quick submersion. Once shut, sealed and properly tightened, it is dunkproof it can handle quick submersions or float on water. The backpack’s front panel, side and base are made of super tough PVC tarpaulin offering a durable and extremely resistant product suitable for rough usage. In addition to that, the bag comes with a waterproof front zip pocket for quick access.
13. Timbuk2 Spire Laptop Backpack – 32L
Suitable for cyclists, city dwellers and commuters with dedicated space and quick access zip for laptop up to 15-inch and large main compartment holding up to a total of 32L.
The Timbuk2 Spire backpack is both popular and highly rated with a distinctive design. It is available mainly in dark shades of black, carbon, merlot, gray or army colour. Finished with an aluminium buckle, the flap and roll top closure offers a water resistant storage. The Timbuk2 is designed exclusively for MacBook Pro and iPad so it offers plenty of protection for laptops up to 15-inch in its own separate pocket. There body is made from water-resistant TPU and canvas fabric and it has an expandable volume, exterior pockets as well as hidden side and back zip access to access your laptop without opening the whole bag. For comfort, it uses a custom fit strap, removable sternum strap and ventilated back panel for breathing room. There is an exterior side pockets for water bottle and front pocket for U-lock if you have one for your bike. Other series from Timbuk2 includes Rogue and Jet.
14. Streeter by Just Porter 19L
This sleek and compact minimalist commuter backpack with a roll top closure and flap with fast magnetic buckles. It also features an external pocket but that is only covered by the flap so not water tight. It has a 19L capacity expandable to 23L and is made from military grade tarpaulin to safeguart your belongings. However, don’t be deceived by its size, the interior padded laptop compartment lets you keep up to a 17-inch laptop. Still it is designed as a scaled down rucksack for people on the move who wants the flexibility of working anywhere.
If simplicity is what you are after, the Seal Line Pro Pack offers just that, with a dry seal roll top closure, it ensures the best watertight seal possible. It is made from touch material with 19 ox scrim-reinforced vinyl side constriction and 30 oz scrim-reinforced bathtub vinyl bottom. The side cinch straps adds peace of mind. It can withstand quick submersions and even stay a float to keep your things dry. Also available in blue, orange or black. Still, when it comes to comfort, the Seal Line may look simple in front but goes all the way to ensure maximum comfort with fully padded shoulder, sternum and waist strap as well as ventilated and waterproof back panel. There are cheaper alternatives from competitors with a similar finish but do not offer much in way of comfort.
16. DryCASE Masonboro – 35L
35LWaterproof Adventure Backpack – BP-35
This DryCASE Masonboro 35L Adventure Backpack is fully waterproof with a huge 35L storage capacity. The main compartment is fully waterproof using Gadwall marine-grade waterproof technolgy. It has a two way purge valve for inflation and compression and can be use as a draining tool if using the backpack as a shower or cooler. An internal zippered waterproof pocket lets you store small items. A front mesh pocket lets you keep wet items out of the way, a side water bottle holder is handle for those long walks or journeys and the bungee cords for hanging other items. It is not short in the comfort department with padded shouder straps and back panel as well as chunky waist strap for added lower back support when carrying heavy load.
Another OverBoard back pack, this time the 30L classic waterproof also available in black with reflector. The bag is fully waterproof with a roll top closure and can stay floating safely if dropped in water. Secured with high frequency welded seams, it offers the perfect protection from dust, sand, dirt and water. It has padded shoulder straps and lumbar support as well as ventilated back panel for improved air flow and comfort. The classic has a minimalist feel if you are not one for fancy multi pocket design. The backpack’s front panel is made of tough PVC tarpaulin while the sides and base are made up of PVC bonded nylon offering a durable and extremely resistant product. The intelligent Fold Seal System™ provides an effective way of sealing this backpack by rolling the neck tightly towards the front of the backpack three times and bringing the ends together to buckle to securely fasten.
Premium waterproof backpack dry bag available in various colours; red, blue, olive, pink, yellow or black.
Again, a roll neck fold seal system ensures that your belongings are secured. You can seal the main compartment using either the side closure system by connecting the buckles on either sides and pull the straps to securely fasten the seal or the top closure system by bringing the ends together on top to buckle this together. Both offers total waterproof protection when secured. For added comfort, the back panel features an air flow design and the shoulder straps are padded and finished with reflective patches. Finally, an elasticated front webbing lets you strap on wet items outside the bag.
Seal Line Urban Backpack is available in attractive colours; gray (shown above), blue, green, orange or red. It has a simple waterproof roll top closure secured with a quick clip catch for easy access. The shoulder straps are padded and it comes with a chest and waist strap to ease off the pressure on the shoulder from prolonged used. The external zip pocket is splash proof and the bag is made from Polyester and Urethane material.
BONUS: Velo Transit Edge Pro 30
Waterproof laptop cycling backpack
Available in various shades; black, olive, coyote, orange or grey, the Edge 30 from Velotransit has pockets for everything imagninable. The Edge series is a serious urban laptop backpack for commuters and cyclists. Its nylon exterior panels are durable while a fully waterproof sonic welded liner completely protects your valuables, keeping them dry. Please check with vendor as some supplies the welded liner optional. There are four exterior pockets, two on top and two more at the bottom. The zip pockets are covered with a waterproof flap secured with a full width velcro. The top pockets are big enough for tablet and e-readers. The bottom pockets are suitable for tools and cycling essentials, keys and wallet.