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 will not 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
- 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.