7 Best Waterproof Backpacks for Everything From Hiking to Commuting

The 7 Best Waterproof Backpacks for Everything From Hiking to Commuting

It’s one thing to get caught in the rain without an umbrella, it’s another thing when your gear gets caught in the downpour without one—and without the right bag to keep it dry. But there’s a big difference between water resistant (aka, more than a sprinkle and you’re out of luck) and waterproof (shower with your bag if you want!). Whether you’re trying to keep the 10 essentials safe on a hike, bring your camera on a kayaking trip, or commute to work without drenching your laptop, these waterproof backpacks are here to keep your stuff high and dry.

See recent posts by Colleen Stinchcombe


Best for Hiking: Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow OutDry 26

Rainshadow™ 26 OutDry® Backpack

Covered in the brand’s signature OutDry materials, this daypack’s waterproofing is no joke. (It’s described as a sealed “membrane” around your gear.) This pack also has enough room for all your hiking essentials with 26 L of space, and it adds convenient features like a mesh stash pocket at the front of the pack, side pockets, and loops for extra gear like ice axes, if you want to get hardcore. A hydration sleeve gives the added bonus of having H2O on hand without fumbling with water bottles in a downpour.

  • Dimensions: 20” H x 11” W x 11” D
  • Carrying capacity: 26L
  • Weight: 1 lb 9 oz
  • Primary material: Nylon
  • Available colors: Gray, black
  • Price: $104.98
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Best for Cyclists: Showers Pass Transit

Showers Pass Transit Waterproof Backpack, One Size, Black/Lime

Bike commuters, here’s the pack for you. The waterproof materials here can hold up to drenching downpours, but its design goes way beyond just keeping your gear dry: Velcro attachments for a U-lock, reflective trim, and four beacon lights keep you and your bike safe from harm, while fleece-padded compartments for a laptop or tablet insure your items won’t bump against the ground. A removable hip belt can be turned into a hip pack when you only need a few things on you—and comfortable mesh on the back and shoulder straps will make you ditch your old messenger bag for good.

  • Dimensions: 20" H, 13.75" W, 8" D
  • Weight: 2 lb
  • Primary material: Nylon
  • Available colors: Orange-black, green-black, white-black
  • Price: $264
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Best for Everyday: Timbuk2

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

OK, so technically this pack is advertised as “water-resistant,” but try telling that to the reviewers who have found themselves in soggy rainstorms only to discover their papers and electronics “bone-dry” inside their Timbuk 2. A waterproof roll top and sturdy nylon exterior does its part to keep items free from wet weather. Other helpful features like a water bottle pocket and spot for a U-lock give more to love, but the best aspect of this pack could be its sleek, urban style that looks good in all weather, which is more than we can say for those zip-off commuter pants.

  • Dimensions: 18.7” H x 12.4 W x 5.1 D
  • Weight: 2.36 lb
  • Primary material: Nylon
  • Available colors: Black
  • Price: $91.82
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Most Heavy Duty: Patagonia Stormfront

Patagonia Stormfront Pack

Leave it to Patagonia to make something waterproof to the ultimate degree—as in, forget a rainstorm, you could take this pack to a river and dunk it underwater. What makes this bag incredible is that it has exposed zippers (aka, the easiest way to get in and out of a pack) and it’s completely submergible. For those adventures where the weather is a giant question mark, this bag will keep your electronics Sahara-dry when surprise downpours hit. It’s also got loads of handy spots to tuck away items, including an exterior stash pocket and web loops.

  • Dimensions: 21" H x 12" W x 9” D
  • Carrying capacity: 30L
  • Weight: 1 lb 13 oz
  • Primary material: Nylon
  • Available colors: Black, gray
  • Price: $299
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Most Lightweight: Outdoor Research Dry Summit HD Pack

Outdoor Research Dry Summit HD Pack

For its size, this is one of the all-time lightest fully waterproof packs on the market. And Outdoor Research hasn’t skimped on comfort, either—padded straps and a hip belt make it possible to stuff this pack to the brim without feeling too weighed down. Don’t need the hip belt? It can be clipped to the top of the pack to help cinch your gear into a compact size. The waterproofing here is legit, too: One Amazon reviewer raved that all his gear was still dry even after trekking through the Galapagos Islands during rainy season.

  • Dimensions: 22” H x 12” W x 7” D when rolled
  • Carrying capacity: 28L
  • Weight: 13 oz.
  • Primary material: Nylon
  • Available colors: Blue, black
  • Price: $95
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Most Affordable: Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack

Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack – Dry Bag

Truthfully, this pack is more dry bag than backpack, but its super friendly price point—well under fifty bucks!—makes it a good option for your next on-land or water-based excursion. And a lifetime warranty insures that your money is well spent. Beyond the dependable waterproofing here, this bag offers bonus features that put it a level above the usual roll-top models, such as comfy straps and extra pockets with a space for your cellphone or keys.

  • Dimensions: 24” H x 12” W
  • Carrying capacity: 22L
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
  • Available colors: Gray
  • Price: $35.99
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Best Splurge: Caraa Studio Duffel Backpack

Studio Duffel Backpack CARAA

Whether you want a traditional backpack, satchel, or crossbody bag, this pack can do it all. Its interior lining is waterproof—super handy when you want to quarantine your sweaty gym clothes. And its chic, duffel silhouette paired with gold hardware would fit in just fine on Fifth Avenue. While this is a good bag for your commute, your carry-on, and the gym, it’s not rugged enough for the trails, so keep this one to your urban adventures.

  • Dimensions: 13.75” H X 9.75” W X 9” D
  • Weight: 3.5 lb body
  • Primary material: Italian nylon
  • Available colors: Navy
  • Price: $450
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