Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (2024)

Outdoor activities in Britain are always undertaken with the knowledge that rain is an ever-present risk, and while getting the garments you’re wearing wet is one thing, a downpour drenching your sleeping bag, spare clothes, map, camera, laptop or phone can be a real disaster.

Sometimes ‘showerproof’ and ‘weather resistant’ just doesn’t cut the mustard. When you’re heading out on wet-weather walk, climbing into the clouds, embarking on a soggy cycle or planning an aquatic adventure by kayak or canoe, you need a backpack that can truly cope with water.

Here we look at the best bags on the market for keeping your kit dry and fit for purpose. Note, only some of the following are IP-rated as waterproof to the point of being submergible, but all reliably protect contents from even the heaviest rain without requiring an external cover.

Reviews by Patrick Kinsella and Rob Slade

Best waterproof backpacks

Sea To Summit Hydraulic Pro Dry Pack 75L

Durable option

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (1)
  • Weight: 1.7kg
  • Capacity: 75L
  • RRP: £400.00

This duffel-style bag offers excellent protection against the elements and the rigours of transport while remaining lightweight – a tough piece of kit that does its job well. The solid grab handles and multiple lash points make for effortless transportation, and packing is a breeze thanks to the wide opening.

For short two hour stints, the bag is comfortable enough. There are removable and adjustable shoulder straps as well as a fair amount of padding, but don't expect the kind of support provided by a hiking backpack. With a 75L capacity, this is not the kind of waterproof pack to take on hikes, but we’d certainly consider a model like this for a trip to the Alps or Himalayas for trekking, and it would also be ideal if you're going on a boat trip.

Pros: Tough, waterproof, solid grab handles and lashing points

Cons: Cost, soft luggage means kit may be exposed to knocks

Verdict: A fantastic, lightweight pack for adventurous journeys via land or sea

Read our full review of the Sea To Summit Hydraulic Pro Dry Pack 75L.

Review by Rob Slade

Ortlieb Atrack 25

Best technical pack on test

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (2)
  • Weight: 1.43kg
  • Capacity: 25L
  • RRP: £210.00

With a waterproof (and dustproof) rating of IP67, the Atrack pack is an impressive piece of kit that will keep contents safe and dry even if fully submerged. This unusual and highly technical bag opens via a waterproof TIZIP zipper that runs vertically down the rear of the pack, ensuring it remains mud free. It isn’t a pack designed for repeated mid-activity opening, but positioned immediately behind the main opening are two baffles with four zipped sub compartments, so you can organise smaller items and keep them handy.

The backpanel has a lightweight metal frame for rigidity and is kept proud of your body by comfortable ventilating pads, and the harness is excellent, with an easily adjustable chest strap and a substantial waist belt with large hip wings, each with a zipped pocket for snacks and essentials. There are compression straps across the exterior and multiple hoops and loops for attaching everything from skis and helmets to bike lights. There’s no hydration bladder facility, but there are two mesh pockets for water bottles on the sides.

Pros: Highly technical (can be fully submerged), strong waist belt

Cons: Rear zip isn't the most convenient for easy access

Verdict: A superhero, submergible backpack for serious aquatic adventurers

Exped Typhoon 15

Best budget option

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (3)
  • Weight: 380 g
  • Capacity: 15L
  • RRP: £60.00

Good waterproof backpacks can be a pricey piece of kit, but this lightweight (380g) roll-top pack from Swiss brand Exped is an excellent cheaper option. Made with tough 210d Robic HD ripstop nylon, it’s relatively small, with a 15L interior and no hydration bladder compartment, but there are two deep mesh pockets on the sides, plus twin lines of daisy chain hoops, a pair of hiking pole/climbing axe attachment loops and a light attachment on the front, offering ample options for external equipment carry.

Inside there’s a zipped pocket for valuables, and the main compartment is large enough to take most laptops and some clothing if you’re using it to commute. The mesh back panel is comfortable against your back and it has an easily adjustable sternum strap and waste belt.

Pros: Affordable, neat size, lots of hoops for additional kit

Cons: No hydration bladder compartment

Verdict: A sensibly priced, small roll-top waterproof pack with great features

Columbia OutDry Extreme 28L

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (4)
  • Material: 100% Polyester
  • Capacity: 28L
  • RRP: £110.00

This tough, seam-sealed pack boasts a large zipped mouth, which isn’t waterproof itself but is protected by a hood overbite that keeps the contents dry in even the most furious weather. With no need to roll the sides down to achieve waterproofing, the capacity of this pack seems larger than 28L, and the extra-wide lid makes finding what you’re looking for nice and easy.

Inside there are multiple pouches and pockets for organising the contents, including laptop and tablet compartments (with a Velcro overloop to secure devices in place), two mesh pockets, one zipped and fleece-lined pocket, and an interior bottle holder. There are carry handles and hoops on the side and top, and a pass-through sleeve for luggage attachment.

The only exterior pocket is cleverly positioned on the lower back (right side), with a vertical zip and fleecy interior – this is for a phone, which is then reachable without removing the pack. The harness has reflective details, but it isn’t breathable and, although there’s an easily moveable sternum strap, this pack lacks a waist belt, which seems an odd omission.

Pros: Easy to find belongings, robust material, lots of pockets for impressive organisation

Cons: No waist belt

Verdict: A bucket-top backpack excellent for commuting and wet-weather travelling by foot, saddle or paddle

Montane Trailblazer LT 20L Backpack

Best for trail running

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (5)
  • Weight: 300g
  • Capacity: 20L
  • RRP: £110.00

Made with ultralight ‘Raptor Fly Lite’ TPU-coated 40-denier siliconised nylon ripstop fabric, this pack weighs just 300g. It’s angled towards adventure racers, runners and fastpackers who want to remain nimble but have something dry to put on when needed. The pack shuts with a roll-down system, tightened and clipped into place with integrated cords and tiny buckles. This works, but feels fiddly and flimsy.

The harness and backpanel are both made with breathable mesh, and there are two easily adjustable click-and-go cross-chest straps, plus a small waist belt, so you can pull the pack tight and avoid jiggling while moving fast.

There are no internal pockets, and the main compartment of the pack (also available in a 28L version) is simply a stuff sack for dry clothes and perhaps a very lightweight sleeping bag. On the outside, however, storage is generous. There are zipped pockets on both sides of the harness, perfect for phones, sweets and trail treats, and a pair of triangular zip-shut pockets on the hips. Two deep mesh pockets are big enough for water bottles, there’s a pouch and hook for housing a hydration pack, handsfree pole-carrying attachments and a bungy for stashing extra layers.

Pros: Lightweight, secure pack, space for a hydration pack

Cons: No internal pockets

Verdict: A super lightweight waterproof backpack for fast adventures in feisty conditions

You can also read our review of the Montane Trailblazer 18 backpack.

Patagonia Guidewater 29L Backpack

Best eco-friendly pack on test

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (6)
  • Weight: 960g
  • Capacity: 29L
  • RRP: £280.00

With an ingress protection certification of IPX7, the expensive but excellent Guidewater can actually be fully submerged (in up to a metre of water, for half an hour) without letting H2O in. Made with 100% recycled nylon, webbing and polyester, the pack opens via a chunky water- and corrosion-proof YKK zipper, which extends right around the bag, making it easy to locate things.

Inside there are pockets (one zipped) and pouches for organising kit. On the outside various hoops, lashpoints and D rings offer options for hanging extra gear, and there’s a fishing-rod holder, which can be repurposed to carry poles.

The harness straps are designed to repel water instead of absorbing it, and therefore aren’t very breathable, but otherwise they’re comfortable. Likewise, the foam backrest feels nice and soft, but can get sweaty on hot days (no problem if you’re splashing around in cool water). The pack has strappy chest and waist belts, both of which can be tweaked but aren’t as easy to adjust as some others. There’s no facility for a hydration bladder, and no pockets for carrying water bottles externally.

Pros: Can be fully submerged, comfortable, lots of hanging options for extra kit

Cons: Not the most breathable option for hot days

Verdict: A fully submersible, super-versatile, waterproof-zip–top backpack, ideal for myriad aquatic adventures from fishing to coasteering and canyoning

We've also tested the Patagonia Altvia 22L backpack.

Chrome Urban Ex 2 Rolltop 20L Backpack

Best on test for cycling and commuting

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (7)
  • Weight: 820 g
  • Capacity: 20L
  • RRP: £159.95

Designed for cyclists who venture out in all conditions, this waterproof backpack is ideal for year-round commuting, but can also be useful for hikers as well as bikers, in a whole range of soggy situations. The roll-top closure system automatically compresses the main compartment to cut down on wobble when you’re in motion.

The rear panel sits proud of your back to reduce sweatiness and the harness features breathable foam. There’s a chest strap, but no waist belt, which makes it more comfortable when you’re in a riding position. Also reflecting the primary focus on cyclists, who typically carry water bottles on their bikes, there are no outer pockets, nor a pouch for a hydration bladder.

The hoops on the front hold a D-lock, and the lower part of the pack is made with a smooth material, so you can easily wipe off muck thrown up by wheels. There are two excellent carry handles just inside the lid, and a strong grab handle on the back. Inside you’ll find a storage pouch for a laptop, plus other pockets for organising little things (although none are zipped).

Pros: Roll-top closure makes for a compact design, easy to clean, great carry handles

Cons: No waist belt, no outer pockets

Verdict: A stylish waterproof wonderbag for cycling commuters and tourers

Osprey Transporter WP 30L Pack

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (8)
  • Weight: 854g
  • Capacity: 30L
  • RRP: €200.00

This bluesign-certified roll-top backpack is 70% made from recycled material and comes with a waterproof rating of IPX6. It’s not designed for sustained submersion, but will keep contents dry even when being hit by high-powered water jets coming from all directions. The main compartment features an internal organiser with a pocket large enough for a laptop, plus a zipped pocket.

The Osprey Airscape backpanel prevents excess sweatiness, and the harness is also highly breathable. The sternum strap has an emergency whistle and can be moved up and down, but the waist belt is a bit thin and strappy, and there are no hipwings. Neither is there any capacity for carrying a hydration bladder. Additional non-waterproof external storage takes the form of one huge stretchy pouch on the front, which can accommodate plenty of layers and water bottles, and there is a secret zipped pocket within this. There’s a strong carry handle and attachment points for safety lights.

Pros: Breathable harness, good storage options

Cons: Thin waist belt

Verdict: A reliably waterproof backpack for keeping contents completely dry during any adventure on the wetside

Deuter Amager 25 + 5

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (9)
  • Weight: 970 g
  • Capacity: 25L
  • RRP: €200.00

This day-adventure proportioned backpack is extremely comfortable and reliably keeps contents dry in all kinds of conditions. The back is well ventilated, and the highly breathable harness is excellent. There is no pouch for a hydration pack, however, and just one pocket on the outside.

Pros: Comfortable harness, removable internal pouch

Cons: Only one external pocket

Read our Deuter Amager 25 + 5 review

Red Original Waterproof Backpack 30L

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (10)
  • Weight: 1.57kg
  • Capacity: 30L
  • RRP: £114.95

Famous for their excellent stand-up paddleboards, Red also produce clothing and accessories, including this waterproof 30L roll-top bag made with Cyclepet fabric, a yarn produced from recycled plastic bottles. Ideal for both commuting and adventuring, the back contains a removable internal organiser for securely storing laptops and other devices, and features reflective safety elements.

A foam backpanel keeps the pack proud of your back and facilitates good airflow, and the harness is breathable. There’s an easily adjustable sternum strap, but sadly no waist belt. On the front the pack boasts a very generous pocket protected by a showerproof zip (store non-submergible electronics in the main compartment if you’re venturing out on the water – there is an internal zipped pocket for valuables).

There are large mesh water-bottle pockets on either side, but no facility for using a hydration pack. Hoops on the front, combined with a couple of bungy pulleys on either side, can be used for extra carry capacity and the pack has a sturdy carry handle on the top.

Pros: Internal organiser, decent airflow, good eco-credentials

Cons: No waist belt

Verdict: A robust, roll-top, water-ready rucksack made with recycled plastic bottles

Lifeventure Packable 22L Waterproof Backpack

Best for travelling light

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (11)
  • Weight: 150g
  • Capacity: 22L
  • RRP: £36.99

This clever little compressible Cordura backpack weighs just 150g and crushes down into a stuff sack (supplied) that fits into the palm of your hand and can easily be thrown into a larger bag when you’re travelling, to give you a waterproof pack option when you want to go exploring for the day and rain threatens. It will even fit into a jacket pocket, so you can shed layers or pick up items throughout the day and have a waterproof bag to cart them around in.

With a nifty roll-top design, this bag has a Tardis-like capacity that belies its tiny size, and it can easily be used to carry a fleece, lunch, books and much more besides. Pockets on either side comfortably hold water bottles and the bungy web on the front can take more layers if required. The harness is surprisingly comfortable, and there’s a waist belt to help distribute the load.

Pros: Lightweight, ideal for travel, spacious

Cons: No internal pockets

Verdict: An ultralight, easily transportable waterproof backpack, perfect for travelling

Dare 2B Ardus 30L Waterproof Backpack

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (12)
  • Material: 100% polyester tarpaulin waterproof fabric
  • Capacity: 30L
  • RRP: £95.00

Constructed from hard-wearing tarpaulin material, and with heat-sealed seams to complete its waterproofing credentials, the Ardus is a no-frills weatherproof bag that will suit pedestrian and pedal-powered commuters, and occasional wet-weather countryside walkers.

The main compartment is accessed from the top and sealed with a roll-top system, just like a simple drybag. There are no internal or external pockets or pouches at all. The foam-padded rear panel is ribbed, which facilitates some airflow, and the harness is also padded and has a breathable mesh on the inside. There’s a sternum strap, but no waist belt. A strap on the front means you can compress the bag when it’s not full, although this does tend to round out the back.

The Ardus boasts a bike light/reflector attachment loop, and is available in high-vis fluro yellow for cyclists, or black and ebony for more discreet walkers.

Pros: Classic dry bag design, hard-wearing material

Cons: No pockets, no waist belt

Verdict: A tough tarp backpack made for walking and commuting in heavy rain

Sea to Summit Flow 35 Dry Pack

Best for everyday use

Check availability at Alpinetrek

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (13)
  • Material: TPU laminated, 420D Nylon
  • Capacity: 35L
  • RRP: £185.00

Sea to Summit were one of the first brands to make genuinely 100% waterproof backpacks with proper harnesses, and they have been refining their design for the last 15 years. This is an expensive but excellent and highly durable roll-top pack, which works exactly like a dry bag, made with tough TPU laminated 420D nylon and with all seams fully sealed. The harness system and waist belt is all substantial, very comfortable, highly breathable and easy to adjust.

The rear panel of the pack has indents, but can get a little sweaty on your back when worn for a while in warm weather. There are two mesh water-bottle pockets, one on either side, and a front pocket protected by a showerproof zip, although we’d advise putting non-submergible electronics in the second zipped pocket, which is inside the main compartment.

The pack has a dedicated pouch for a hydration bladder (with a Velcro hook for hanging the reservoir), an excellent grab handle on the top, two compression straps on either side (with aircraft-quality alloy buckles) and myriad loops and attachment points for fixing things to the outside if you so desire (annoyingly, bungees are sold separately). The 35L capacity is ideal for all kinds of adventures, and the interior is white to make the contents more visible.

Pros: Comfortable harness system, lots of external pockets, great grab handle, durable

Cons: Expensive

Verdict: A pricey but fantastically well-featured, fully waterproof, fold-top backpack, fit for all sorts of adventures on the wet side

Find similar Sea to Summit backpacks

Reviews by Patrick Kinsella and Rob Slade

For more bag reviews, check out our favourite hiking backpacks and our top weekenders and holdalls of the year. You can also see our favourite lunch boxes for camping and commuting - we've tried and tested them to see how they perform.

Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures (2024)


Best waterproof backpacks reviewed in 2024 for wet-weather adventures? ›

YETI Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack

More than water resistant, YETI says the Panga backpack is submersible. Like the Breakwater Supply Fogland Waterproof Backpack, we can't fault the Panga backpack's waterproofing.

Is there a truly waterproof backpack? ›

YETI Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack

More than water resistant, YETI says the Panga backpack is submersible. Like the Breakwater Supply Fogland Waterproof Backpack, we can't fault the Panga backpack's waterproofing.

What is the difference between a waterproof backpack and a water resistant backpack? ›

A water-resistant backpack only resists the water, which means at a certain point, water will be able to break through. A waterproof backpack is, however, completely impervious to any amount of water assault, meaning water will never go through.

What is the best waterproof material for backpacks? ›

PVC Fabric is durable and colorful and can be used in all types of workwear and workwear products. It can also be used in backpacks to add color and waterproofing. and durability.

Are waterproof backpacks worth it? ›

In summary, a waterproof backpack is a practical and versatile accessory that offers several benefits. From protecting your belongings from water damage to providing comfort, durability, and peace of mind, a waterproof backpack is an excellent investment for anyone who values functionality and style.

How to choose a waterproof backpack? ›

Waterproof Rain Pants
  1. Backpack Materials.
  2. Weather Protection.
  3. Breathability.
  4. Fit and Adjustability.
  5. Pack Weight.
  6. Storage Options and Ease of Access.
  7. Straps.
  8. Comfort.

Do Navy Seals wear backpacks? ›

Backpacks are essential Navy SEAL gear because backpacks enable a SEAL to transport gear into the area of operations.

What are the disadvantages of waterproof bags? ›

Less flexibility and stretch: Waterproof materials are often less flexible and have reduced stretch compared to regular backpack fabrics. This rigidity can make it challenging to stuff the bag with oddly shaped items or overpack it.

How do I keep my backpack from getting wet in the rain? ›

A pack cover is the most obvious, and most packs actually come with these nowadays. The benefit to a pack cover is that it will keep the pack itself dry, saving you weight and adding a layer of dry between the rain and your stuff, and also make bringing your pack into the tent at night a possibility.

What is the longest lasting backpack material? ›

Materials such as nylon and polyester are often durable and water-resistant, but may be heavier than other options. Canvas and leather may be more breathable but may require waterproofing treatments.

What material is completely waterproof? ›

PUL, or polyurethane laminate

PUL fabric is a special fabric because not only is it waterproof but it is also breathable. This means that heat can escape through the fabric so you can wear it without getting all sweaty!

Is Osprey waterproof? ›

Our Transporter Waterproof Collection features packs and duffels with IPX6 and IPX7 water protection that can handle anything adventure throws your way—while keeping your gear dry.

Are waterproof bags really waterproof? ›

The main difference between a waterproof and water-repellent backpack is that a waterproof backpack is completely waterproof, while a water-repellent backpack offers only some protection against water. Waterproof backpacks are ideal for outdoor activities such as kayaking, rafting and hiking in wet conditions.

Is there such a thing as a waterproof sleeping bag? ›

There are a few sleeping bags on the market right now that are marketed as being highly water-resistant. They typically have a shell that incorporates a waterproof membrane, such as Gore-Tex. Examples include the Mountain Equipment Snowline, Redline and Iceline bags, as well as the Mountain Hardwear Phantom series.

Can you swim with a waterproof bag? ›

A dry bag is a waterproof bag that you can take in the water with and guarantee everything inside — phones, fresh clothes and all — will stay bone dry. Ideal if swimming from A to B or don't want to leave your valuables unattended.

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