The 10 Best Waterproof Backpacks

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Whether you are taking a day trip to the beach, heading out sightseeing, or planning an epic backcountry adventure, a waterproof backpack can protect your belongings. 

 

There’s nothing more frustrating than opening your backpack after a day outdoors or traveling to find your belongings soaked and potentially ruined. 

 

I wish I had a waterproof backpack when I was traveling around Asia. I got caught in several surprise afternoon showers and encountered a few beautiful waterfalls on some hikes. The rain and waterfalls were refreshing in the hot weather, but it was difficult to dry out my notebooks and travel papers that got damp in my backpack.

The best waterproof backpacks will keep your belongings safe and dry, whether you are enjoying an afternoon at the water park or get caught in a surprise rainstorm while out on a hike. 

 

Waterproof backpacks are also a wise investment for people trekking across campuses or walking to work. It’s essential to keep your computer, papers, and books dry. 

 

Selecting a waterproof backpack can be an overwhelming process. There are countless features and options to consider. We are here to help you find the right one to meet all your needs.

 

Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Backpack

 

Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Backpack with Wet Pocket – Durable Waterproof…

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$22.99

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This 40-liter backpack weighs in at just 0.7 ounces and easily folds into its pouch for convenient storage or transport.

 

Mesh shoulder straps with sponge padding are helpful because they are breathable and lightweight while preventing pressure points and stress in your shoulders. The chest strap has a built-in safety whistle on the buckle.

 

The Venture Pal has multiple storage compartments to keep your gear organized. There is one waterproof “wet pocket” in the main compartment to keep things extra dry or to separate wet items from everything else. 

 

This backpack will last through many adventures and daily use. Venture uses durable water and tear-resistant nylon as well as metal zippers and bar-tacks at major stress points. The bottom of the backpack has a double layer of nylon so you can carry more weight. 

 

Venture offers a 30-day return and a 1-year warranty for their backpacks.

PROS

  • Compact and foldable for easy storage
  • The wet pocket keeps dry things dry or separates damp stuff from the rest of your belongings
  • Plenty of comfort features to make this pack suitable for everyday use or sports use. 
  • Several color options

CONS

  • Only the wet pocket is fully waterproof. The rest of the backpack is water-resistant. 
  • Even though this pack is advertised as 40 liters, it is closer to 25 or 30 liters.

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

 

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack Water Resistant Hiking Daypack,Small Backpack Handy Foldable…

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$15.99

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This backpack has a waterproof coating and is perfect for day trips, vacations, traveling, school, camping, and busy moms who want to stay organized while keeping everything dry.

 

This backpack is small enough for day trips or to use as a small carry-on bag or small backpack. 

 

It weighs just 0.6 ounces, and the main pocket has about 20 liters of storage. The front zippered pouch is perfect for small items. There is a zippered pocket inside the main compartment for small things that you would like to keep safe. 

 

There are two convenient mesh side pockets for water bottles, umbrellas, and other things you would like to keep within easy reach. 

 

ZOMAKE uses high quality, water and tear-resistant nylon materials and abrasion resistant SBS metal zippers. High-stress points are reinforced with the Bartack Process for maximum durability. 

 

The ZOMAKE backpack folds into a sandwich bag sized pouch for secure storage. You can stuff it in your suitcase if you are globetrotting or store it easily in your closet. 

 

One downside of this backpack is that it is water-resistant, not waterproof. So, it will not keep your gear dry in a torrential downpour.

PROS

  • Washable
  • Packs very small for easy storage
  • Zippered pockets for organizing gear
  • Available in a variety of colors

CONS

  • Not 100% waterproof; do not expose this backpack to heavy or prolonged rain
  • Small, only about 20 liter carrying capacity
  • The fabric is very durable but thin, so you might be able to barely see some of the items in the backpack

BackSak Waterproof Dry Backpack

 

BackSåk Waterproof Dry Backpacks 25 & 35 Liter Sizes

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$55.95

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This durable backpack is made with heavy-duty 500-denier PVC for maximum watertight protection. Welded seams and a roll-down top keeps even the most torrential downpours out. 

 

There are no side pouches on the outside, but there are D-rings to clip water bottles and other gear to for convenience.

 

An interior zippered pocket keeps small valuables and electronics separate from the rest of your equipment. The water-resistant outer pocket is perfect for maps, keys, travel documents, and other small items you want to keep handy. 

 

Whether you roll the top down and buckle it at the sides or roll the top and clip the corners together to create a handle on top, the backpack remains waterproof. Thick, adjustable shoulder straps are comfortable for all-day adventures. 

 

The BackSak is available in two sizes and a variety of colors.

 

One disadvantage to the BackSak is that it weighs 2.4 lbs. It is heavier than many waterproof backpacks because they use high quality, heavy materials for durability.

 

If you are looking for a lightweight bag, this might not be the best choice, but it will last a long time and keep your gear bone dry.

PROS

  • Two sizes available
  • Truly waterproof for maximum protection
  • Reflective trim and patch for visibility in low light conditions

CONS

  • No waist strap to support heavy loads, especially on the larger size option
  • Backpack weighs 2.4 lbs.
  • Very few pockets to organize gear and no internal laptop sleeve.

Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack

 

Chaos Ready | Waterproof Backpack – Durable Heavy Duty Dry Bag |…

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$38.99

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Chaos created a 100% waterproof backpack made of 500 PVC Tarpaulin, making the pack lightweight and foldable without compromising the waterproof attributes.

 

No matter what the conditions, this backpack will keep your gear safe and dry. The Chaos bag will also float!

 

There are two mesh pockets on the side and one front pocket for storing small valuables. However, the front pocket is not waterproof. 

 

The main compartment rolls down and buckles for secure closure and to keep water out.

 

This backpack does not have many pockets, so you may want to put smaller items in other bags to keep all your gear organized.

PROS

  • Truly waterproof and it floats
  • Easy roll-down closure
  • Excellent lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Only available in one color 
  • Few internal pockets for organization

Luisport Foldable Hiking Backpack

 

 

Luisport designed this backpack for day hikes and backcountry adventures. The “S type” mesh shoulder straps are breathable and keep you comfortable for hours.

 

The pack only weighs 0.8 lbs and folds down into a tiny storage bag that is easy to toss in a suitcase or store in your closet.

 

Luisport uses waterproof nylon to make sure their backpacks are tear and abrasion-resistant.

 

They added two mesh side pockets for water bottles or small items, and two elastic ropes hold trekking poles. 

 

This backpack has one large main compartment and an internal laptop compartment as well as other zippered compartments.

 

It all adds up to 35 liters of carrying capacity. That is enough space for a day trip (or longer if you are a minimalist).

PROS

  • Waterproof main compartment made of lightweight, durable nylon to keep it lightweight
  • Includes protective laptop compartment
  • Folds into a small storage bag for easy storage

CONS

  • No waist strap to distribute heavy loads

WolfWarrior X Military Tactical Assault Backpack

 

WolfWarriorX Military Tactical Assault Backpack for Men Expandable Travel Backpack Waterproof Outdoor…

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$37.99

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This unique backpack is designed to be fully adjustable and versatile. The main compartment expands from 39 liters to 64 liters depending on what you need to carry.

 

There are four main compartments to keep your gear separated and organized, and mesh side pockets hold water bottles. 

There are two walkie talkie pouches on the shoulder straps, and the removable waist strap helps distribute heavy loads for extra comfort.

 

WolfWarrior uses heavy-duty, oversized zippers, and high quality 600-denier for maximum durability. Attach gear to the outside of the pack for easy access with the Molle system and the bundle band.

 

There are also velcro patches for nameplates or other identifier patches. 

 

This backpack comes in a variety of colors and is perfect for all kinds of activities from hiking, traveling, hunting, and fishing, to school and office use.

 

WolfWarrior backs their bags with a 100% satisfaction guarantee! It does look more like a tactical military bag than a regular, waterproof backpack, which may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on where you plan to use it.

 

One disadvantage of this backpack is that it is water-resistant, not waterproof. It will easily handle light rain and exposure to small amounts of water, but heavy rains and a lot of water will soak through the bag.

 

PROS

  • Expandable main compartment for versatile carrying capacity
  • Many pockets and storage options to organize your gear
  • Removable waist strap and chest straps to distribute heavy loads comfortably

CONS

  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Will not be suitable as a carry-on backpack for airplanes when it is expanded
  • No internal laptop sleeve

Markryden Large Capacity Business Bag

 

Water-proof Backpack Markryden large-capacity Modern rucksack Business Bags for men with USB…

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$51.99

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Designed with urban commuters and students in mind, this backpack contains an inner laptop sleeve that fits standard 15-inch laptops.

 

It has plenty of pockets to organize your things, including an anti-theft pocket that is impossible to access when you are wearing the backpack. There are also quick access zip pockets on the front and side water bottle pockets. 

 

The Markryden backpack is ultra water-repellent thanks to the Oxford cloth and waterproof SBS zippers. 

 

There are several ways to carry this backpack. There is a soft handle on the top to carry the bag as a briefcase or handbag. Use the strap on the back to attach the bag to a rolling carry-on when running through a busy airport.

 

Or, wear it as a standard backpack with padded, air-cushion shoulder straps. 

 

There is even a USB charging port that allows you to charge your devices on the go! You will have to purchase the charging battery separately.

 

PROS

  • Laptop sleeve and plenty of pockets for organization
  • Water-resistant fabric and waterproof zippers
  • Versatile carrying options 
  • Includes USB charging port
  • Anti-theft pocket on the back

CONS

  • Charging port does not include charging battery
  • Fabric is water-resistant, not guaranteed to be 100% waterproof
  • The back doesn’t have a lot of structure so heavy loads sometimes cause the bag to lose its shape

Oak Creek Canyon Falls 30 Liter Dry Bag Backpack

 

Oak Creek | Canyon Falls 30L Dry Bag Backpack | Premium Waterproof…

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$34.95 $49.95

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This waterproof backpack is made with heavy gauge PVC to keep your belongings safe and dry in any conditions.

 

The large, 30 liter carrying capacity allows you to bring plenty of gear on your next adventure. It has a padded back and adjustable, padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort even when you carry heavy loads. 

 

There is a zippered front pocket so you can easily access small items and a mesh side pocket holds a water bottle or umbrella. The bungee cord on the front allows you to stuff your jacket or other things for easy access. 

 

It has a roll-top and buckles closed for extra protection against water and the roll-top doubles as a carrying handle. An adjustable waist strap adds comfort and stability when carrying heavy loads. 

 

Overall, this is a great, multi-purpose bag that works great for everything from backpacking and outdoor adventures to motorcycle riders, urban commuting, and college life. 

 

This backpack is my top pick because it’s the perfect blend of function and comfort. I can throw it in the back of my kayak and trust that my gear will stay dry. I can also carry it around town without looking like a lost hiker. 

 

The outer bungee cord holds my bike helmet conveniently. I also like that I can clean it easily. With so few internal pockets, I can turn it upside down and shake out any sand or dirt collecting on the bottom then wipe everything down with a damp rag.

 

PROS

  • Truly waterproof backpack that will protect your gear
  • Padded shoulder and back support for all-day comfort
  • Large main compartment and smaller zippered compartments for organization

CONS

  • There is no laptop sleeve or internal organizing compartments
  • No color options

HIKPRO 20 Liter Lightweight Packable Backpack

 

HIKPRO 20L – The Most Durable Lightweight Packable Backpack, Water Resistant Travel…

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$15.99

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This lightweight backpack appeals to minimalists looking for a bag that has all the necessary features without any extras. It is ultra-lightweight, weighing in at 7.5 ounces, but has 20 liters of internal carrying capacity.

 

When you need to store it or toss it in your suitcase, this backpack folds into a sandwich size!

 

Three zippered pockets help you keep your belongings organized, and water-resistant nylon easily keeps everything dry for up to an hour standing in the rain.

 

The nylon is also tear-resistant, and the double fabric on the bottom of the backpack adds extra strength and protection. 

 

The construction protects the bag from wear and tear in areas that are prone to dragging and rubbing.  HIKPRO also reinforces over fourteen major stress points with Bartack Process to prevent splitting. 

 

Wide, ergonomic shoulder straps make carrying this backpack more comfortable, and the side mesh pockets easily keep water bottles or small items handy.

 

HIKPRO backs their backpacks with a 5-year warranty!

 

PROS

  • Very lightweight backpack
  • Folds small for easy storage or travel
  • Ideal for a day pack or very small backpack

CONS

  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • No laptop compartment, only small zippered pockets

Nelson Rigg Hurricane Waterproof Backpack

 

Nelson Rigg SE-3040 40 Liter Gear Hurricane 40L Waterproof Backpack/Tail Pack

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$129.34

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This backpack is 100% waterproof, which makes it great for all kinds of adventures. Made from durable, UV coated 24-ounce Tarpaulin PVC, all the seams are heat welded and taped for complete protection.

 

Tarpaulin PVC is far more waterproof than nylon and heat-welded seams are less likely to allow water to seep in than sewn seams.

 

The top can close in two different ways, either fold it over and buckled it on the sides of the backpack or fold the top and buckle the corners together to create a handle. Either way, the pack is airtight and waterproof. 

 

The laptop sleeve fits most laptops up to 15 inches. The straps are padded and adjustable for added comfort, and the back panel has a padded “Airflow System” to keep you cool even when trekking with a heavy load. 

 

Two mesh side pockets hold large bottles or items you would like to keep handy. The MOLLE panel is removable and has a waterproof map pocket, which is very convenient when hiking in the rain.

 

This bag also has an integrated front pocket designed to hold a hydration bladder if you would like. A reflective webbing and bungee system on the outside allow you to attach small, lightweight items to the outside of the bag. 

 

A unique air purge valve allows you to squeeze out extra air and compress the backpack and contents. 

 

This bag comes in 20 liters or 40-liter sizes. Some people even use the side straps to attach this bag to the back of their motorcycle securely. 

 

All the features of this waterproof backpack are great, but they add up and make this bag reasonably heavy. It weighs over 2 lbs. If weight is not a factor, this bag will handle just about anything.

 

PROS

  • Truly waterproof backpack that will protect your gear
  • Padded shoulder and back support for all-day comfort
  • Large main compartment and smaller zippered compartments for organization

CONS

  • There is no laptop sleeve or internal organizing compartments
  • No color options

Who Needs A Waterproof Backpack? 

There are many types of waterproof backpacks on the market to suit all kinds of needs. Whether you are carrying your laptop, travel documents, work or school papers, or a change of clothing, a waterproof backpack protects your belongings. 

 

You never know what you might encounter when traveling the world or trekking across campus. These backpacks might not hold up against an all-day downpour or a complete submersion, but they will provide significant protection. 

 

All of the following would benefit from a waterproof backpack:

  • Day-hikers
  • World travelers
  • Students
  • Professionals who walk at least part of their commute
  • Busy moms who carry changes of clothing, food, and other items around for their children

 

If you are traveling to a location where the weather is unpredictable, a waterproof backpack will be an excellent investment to keep your gear dry. 

 

Waterproof backpacks might cost a little more, but they are well worth the investment. 

 

What Is the Difference Between Water Resistant and Waterproof?

There is a big difference between water-resistant and waterproof. A water-resistant backpack is designed to stand up to light rain or exposure to small amounts of liquid.

 

If the bag is wet for too long, it may absorb some water and become damp. They tend to withstand about an hour of rain or splashing before the material begins to absorb water. 

 

Water-resistant backpacks also tend to have more pockets and compartments for organizing your things than waterproof backpacks. It is challenging to keep seams fully waterproof. Waterproof bags eliminate a lot of extra pockets to reduce the number of potential “fail points” where water can seep in.

 

Fully waterproof backpacks are, as the name implies, able to withstand heavy downpours and more prolonged exposure to water while keeping the contents bone dry. They are designed to withstand everything from heavy rainstorms to river crossings.

 

We recommend waterproof backpacks to people who plan to go backpacking or take sensitive equipment where it is essential to protect it from getting wet or dirty.

 

There are different levels of waterproofing. Some backpacks are fully waterproof in rainy conditions but cannot submerge in water. If you are trekking across campus, you probably won’t need a completely waterproof bag.

 

However, if you plan to take your backpack kayaking, it is crucial to get a fully waterproof backpack. 

 

Often the main compartment of a waterproof backpack is fully waterproof while the rest of the pockets are only water-resistant. 

 

What to Look for in a Waterproof Backpack

There are many features to consider when choosing a waterproof backpack. In addition to keeping your belongings dry, you need a pack that will meet all your needs.

 

Material

Nylon is the most common material used to make waterproof backpacks because it is lightweight and durable.

 

When nylon has a high thread count, it can be surprisingly water-resistant, especially if it is treated with a waterproofing membrane or film. 

 

Capacity

The carrying capacity of backpacks is measured in liters. Backpacks come in a variety of sizes, usually from 5 to 40 liters.

 

It is essential to choose a bag that will fit everything you plan to carry but isn’t too big and bulky.

 

Generally, waterproof backpacks come in four size categories:

4 Main Size Categories for Waterproof Backpacks

  • Daypacks: these small, lightweight backpacks usually have a 20 to 35-liter capacity and are designed to carry the essentials for a day or two. (We focused on these types of waterproof backpacks in this article.)
  • Multi-day Backpacks: this is the biggest size backpack. They offer between 50 and 70 liters of carrying capacity and have a full shoulder and waist harness system to help you carry so much weight. 
  • Expedition backpacks: if you are planning a globetrotting expedition, this backpack is for you. They are the most substantial and largest waterproof backpacks on the market, and they usually have up to 95-liter capacity.’
  • Weekend Backpacks: the capacity of weekend backpacks is usually between 40 and 50 liters. They are designed to carry sleeping bags, toiletries, extra clothing, and other essentials. 

 

If you are using your backpack for day trips or commuting, you will probably prefer a smaller size. If you are going on an overnight trip or preparing for an epic globetrotting adventure, you will need a much bigger backpack to hold and organize all your gear. 

 

Pockets and Storage

Do you plan to carry your laptop computer or other electronic devices? Your waterproof backpack should have the right pockets and sleeves to hold your belongings safely.

 

Internal pockets are great for keeping everything organized and preventing things from shifting around.

 

The pockets on the outside give you easy access to essential items like travel documents, snacks, charging cables, or water bottles. If you plan to use your backpack primarily for day-use (trips around town, day-hikes, or around campus), you will probably want more pockets and storage options. 

 

If you are planning longer trips, then large, open compartments are easier to pack with a lot of gear. You can use small compression sacks or packing cubes to keep things organized. 

 

Price

There is a wide price range for waterproof backpacks. While there are undoubtedly expensive options, you can find a quality pack for under $100 that has plenty of features. 

 

Comfort

If your backpack is not comfortable, you won’t want to use it. Whether it’s memory foam shoulder straps or padding that helps distribute the weight, it is crucial to select a backpack that fits you well and is comfortable. 

 

Before you buy a backpack, make sure you can adjust the straps to fit correctly, and there are no places that rub or dig uncomfortably. Try putting a little bit of weight in the backpack as you try the pack on in the store. This will help you determine how comfortable it will be when all your gear is in the bag. 

 

Weight

Backpacks today don’t vary that much in weight. Lightweight materials make it easier for companies to create ultra-light backpacks. But, the less your backpack weighs, the more comfortable it will be on long trips. You will also be able to carry more gear comfortably. 

 

With all your gear in your backpack, you should be able to comfortably carry your pack for quite a while. A good rule of thumb is that your fully-loaded backpack should not weigh more than 20% of your total bodyweight.

 

If you are going on a day hike or adventure, your backpack should not weigh more than 10% of your bodyweight.

Adding More Waterproofing

Unless your backpack is made of PVC or similar material, the waterproof film will wear off the fabric over time. It is easy to add more protection with waterproofing spray. This won’t protect zippers and seams, but it will prevent the material from absorbing water when it gets wet. 

 

If your backpack is water-resistant, not waterproof, consider purchasing some waterproof spray to add a layer of water-repellant to your bag. It’s also wise to put any valuable belongings and electronics in another waterproof case to protect them. 

 

I often use Ziploc bags, small dry bags, and watertight containers inside my water-resistant backpack as an added layer of protection against the elements. It also keeps my gear organized and easy to find. 

 

Another option for adding more waterproof protection to your backpack is to get a rain cover. These are waterproof coverings that cinch over the outside of your pack.

 

They make sure water cannot absorb through the fabric of your backpack or leak through any seams or zippers. They also keep your bag cleaner. 

 

Cleaning A Waterproof Backpack

Many waterproof backpacks might be washable, but usually, it is not a good idea to throw it in the washing machine. The detergents are sometimes too harsh and might cause the waterproof membrane to wear off. 

 

The best and safest way to clean your waterproof backpack is to use warm, soapy water, and a clean rag. Dish soap or very mild detergent works great. Open all the pockets and pouches to shake out any dirt, sand, or debris that collected in your bag.

 

Then, use the rag and soapy water to wipe down the bag, inside and out. 

 

If your bag is filthy, you can soak it in a bathtub of warm soapy water. Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly to clean all the soap residue off. Dirt tends to stick to soap residue easier. 

 

Don’t forget to clean the zippers. Dirt can build up on the zippers and keep them from running smoothly. 

 

Does Color Matter?

Waterproof backpacks often come in a variety of color options. In most cases, the color of your bag is a matter of personal preference. Many people like dark-colored backpacks because they tend to hide dirt easily and don’t stand out in a crowd. 

 

In some situations, having a brightly colored bag might be a great safety feature. It will make you far more visible when hiking outdoors or walking around town at night. 

 

If you regularly take your bag to tropical places where the climate is warm, consider choosing a lighter colored backpack. Lighter colors absorb less heat and keep your belongings cooler. 

 

How To Fit A Backpack For Yourself

There are a variety of strap configurations on backpacks. Some only have shoulder straps; others have waist and sternum straps. The more weight you plan to carry and the further you plan to travel, the more straps you will want. 

 

Backpack straps are the straps that sit over your shoulders and hold the bag against your back. The straps should sit comfortably on your shoulders without digging in or rubbing anywhere.

 

Ergonomic “S-shaped” straps with gel or foam padding are popular for their added comfort.

 

Sternum straps help distribute the weight of the backpack and keep the shoulder straps from sliding around as you walk. If you are carrying a heavier load, a sternum strap will relieve some of the pressure on your shoulders and back.

 

Waist straps are essential for heavy backpacks and long journeys. They allow the majority of the weight to sit on your waist instead of your shoulders. Waist straps also add stability and keep the heavy pack from shifting around as you move. 

 

If you have a history of back or shoulder problems, consider purchasing a waterproof backpack with a waist strap, even if you don’t plan to carry heavy loads.

 

Adjusting the Straps

If you are shopping for a daypack or small backpack to use around town, the fit is not quite as important. If you plan to carry heavier loads or wear it all day, then fit is vital to make sure you are comfortable. 

 

After you put the backpack on, tighten the shoulder straps then cinch the waist belt, so it is snug but not uncomfortable. Your hips should carry the majority of the weight, not your shoulders. Now, look in the mirror to check the position of your shoulder straps. 

 

There should not be very much space between the back of your shoulders and the backpack. 

 

Conclusion

There are many great waterproof backpacks on the market that offer different features.

 

However, the Oak Creek Canyon Falls 30 Liter Dry Bag Backpack gets our vote for the best overall waterproof backpack. It is versatile enough that you can take it anywhere from the beach to an overnight backpacking trip or use it around town. 

 

This waterproof backpack is made with heavy gauge PVC to keep your belongings safe and dry in any conditions. The large, 30-liter carrying capacity will hold all your gear and has the right number of zippered pockets to help you stay organized. 

 

The only downside to this backpack is that it doesn’t have a designated laptop sleeve or lots of organizing pockets. But it is fully waterproof without being too bulky for day trips or uses around town.

 

Overall, this is a great, multi-purpose bag that works for everything from backpacking and outdoor adventures to motorcycle riders, urban commuting, and college life. 

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