Best Waterproof Hiking Backpacks (Top 5 Picks)

Best waterproof hiking backpack

Experienced outdoor enthusiasts recognize the critical role of dependable gear while hiking, particularly when confronted with unpredictable weather conditions. A waterproof hiking backpack serves as an invaluable companion, guaranteeing that your essentials remain dry and secure, regardless of the elements. It enables you to confidently tackle rain, snow, or wet environments during expeditions while safeguarding your belongings from moisture.

Presenting our comprehensive buying guide featuring the best waterproof hiking backpacks for 2024. Whether you’re in search of one for yourself or looking for the perfect holiday gift, we have everything you need.

Best Waterproof Hiking Backpacks of 2024

Comparison table of the TOP 5 best waterproof hiking backpacks:

ImageNameWeightVolumePrice
1. Earth Pak Original Dry Bag – Best OverallEarth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag1.65 lbs40 LitersCheck
2. Transit Waterproof Backpack – Well OrganizedTransit Waterproof Backpack3.55 lbs42 LitersCheck
3. Yeti Panga 28 Liters – Practical and UniqueYETI Panga Pack 283.91 lbs42 LitersCheck
4. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag – UltralightSea to Summit Big River0.44 lbs13 LitersCheck
5. Oak Creek Canyon Falls – Multi FunctionalOak Creek Canyon Falls2.21 lbs30 LitersCheck

1. Earth Pak Original Dry Bag – Best Overall

1. Earth Pak Original Dry Bag – Best Overall

Specs:

  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Waterproof index: IPX7
  • Weight: 1.65 pounds
  • Closing mode: Three-fold closure
  • Material: 100% PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)
  • Usable: Outdoor activities, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, etc.
  • External compartments: A large pocket with zipper on the front of the bag

This is an original waterproof dry bag from the Earth Pak brand. With its capacity of 55 liters, it has a multitude of interior and exterior pockets. This will allow you to organize your valuable documents and gear truly well. This model is available in 30 liters and 40 liters.

It is made of PVC with an IPX7 waterproof rating. It guarantees you total protection against liquids and ensures that you keep your belongings dry. It is adaptable and can accompany you during all outdoor or nautical activities, such as canoeing, cycling, fishing, rafting, hiking, etc.

This model is designed with a three-turn roll-top closure and with a reinforced strap to ensure 100% waterproofness. It is compact and therefore easy to transport. This additional pocket provides convenient access to smaller items without the need to open the main compartment.

The Earth Pak Dry Pack is designed with an ergonomic back panel, reinforced shoulder straps, and a chest and waist belt, ensuring maximum comfort during all your outdoor adventures.

Pros

  • Additional storage spaces
  • Padded carrying system
  • Waterproof phone case
  • IPX7 rating
  • Adjustable straps

Cons

  • Limited organization
  • Bulky design

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2. Transit Waterproof Backpack – Well-Organized

2. Transit Waterproof Backpack – Well Organized

Specs:

  • Capacity: 42L
  • Waterproof index: Fully welded with a single-side TPU coating
  • Weight: 3.55 pounds
  • Dimensions: 22.3 x 15.8 x 2.9 inches
  • Closing method: Three-fold closure
  • Material: Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
  • Usable: Nautical activities, paddling, rafting, kayaking, fishing, etc.
  • External compartments: 4 compartments with openings that fit water bottles and other essentials

The P162-LMBK-OS from the Transit is the reference for waterproof backpacks in the USA. Indeed, Transit is a Western brand that has specialized in sports accessories since 1997. It is a well-organized and state-of-the-art waterproof bag that can accompany you in all your sporting adventures, at sea, or on dry land.

It features fully welded construction with a single-side TPU coating, boasting a 100% waterproof rating. This design effectively safeguards your belongings against immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for a maximum duration of 30 minutes.

With this premium backpack, you can carry your belongings without risk during all your aquatic outings., such as kayaking, rafting, paddleboarding, fishing, and many more. The self-standing structure simplifies the packing and unpacking process compared to roll-top bags, offering added convenience and ease of use.

The tightness of the backpack is guaranteed by its high-frequency welding. With its capacity of 42 liters, you can take everything you need for a daily outing. In addition, it has 4 nylon compartments with elastic openings, which can accommodate water bottles and other hiking accessories.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Equipped with several external pockets
  • 4 red LED beacon lights
  • High waterproof rating
  • Huge capacity

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of comfort

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3. Yeti Panga 28 Liters – Practical and Unique

3. Yeti Panga 28 Liters – Practical and Unique

Specs:

  • Capacity: 28 liters
  • Waterproof index: IPX7
  • Weight: 3.91 pounds
  • Dimensions: 31.8 cm x 17.8 cm x 50.8 cm
  • Closing method: Waterproof zip
  • Material: High-density nylon
  • Usable: Hiking, getaway in wet environments and water activities
  • Exterior compartments: No

The Panga Submersible, a waterproof hiking backpack from the Yeti brand, is crafted to be your ultimate travel companion for all outdoor escapades. With its IPX7 waterproof rating, this backpack is completely waterproof from both the outside in and vice versa.

No matter if you’re caught in a storm, trekking through mud, wading in a river, or enduring heavy rain, the Panga Submersible ensures that your belongings inside the backpack stay dry and undamaged. It features an interior sleeve that offers extra organization for your on-the-go essentials

This pack is rigid and guarantees a constant shape whether empty or full. In addition, it is equipped with quality equipment to ensure maximum comfort during your excursions. Its padded back and straps as well as its removable belt will allow you to distribute the load weight all over your body.

One notable drawback of this model is its relatively high empty weight of 1.8 kilograms. However, if you’re embarking on a short hike, this downside can quickly become inconsequential and easily overlooked.

Pros

  • Ergonomic and durable
  • Removable belt
  • High-quality zipper
  • Beautiful and practical design

Cons

  • Relatively heavy curb weight
  • No outer compartment

Check At rei.com


4. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag – Ultralight

4. Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag – Ultralight

Specs:

  • Capacity: 13 liters
  • Waterproof index: IPX6
  • Weight: 0.44 pounds
  • Dimensions: 94 x 50 x 40 cm and in waterproof mode: 69 x 29 x 40 cm
  • Closing mode: Three-fold closure
  • Material: 420D Nylon
  • Usable: Outdoor activities and nautical (canoeing, rafting, kayaking, etc.)
  • Exterior compartments: No

The Sea to Summit Big River waterproof hiking backpack is designed to be your trusted companion for all nautical and outdoor adventures. Constructed from 420D Nylon, this backpack features a super strong and abrasion-resistant material that ensures durability and reliability even in rugged environments.

The Big River hiking bag features an IPX6 waterproof rating ensuring good protection against all wet situations. However, due to its three-turn roll closure, it will not protect your belongings from submersion in water.

With its 20-liter volume, the Big River waterproof hiking backpack enables you to carry all your essentials, including water, food, clothing, and accessories, for your sports activities. Its rectangular design optimizes space utilization, making packing effortless and allowing for seamless stacking with other equipment.

Thanks to its lightweight design (200 grams), this model stands out from its competitors. If you want a comfortable, light pack that can accompany you in the majority of your activities, the Big River is most likely an ideal model. There are also five colors and seven sizes available now.

Pros

  • Multifunction backpack
  • Solid and resistant
  • Very light when empty
  • Adaptable for various activities

Cons

  • Limited capacity
  • Doesn’t have any outer pocket

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5. Oak Creek Canyon Falls – Multi-Functional

5. Oak Creek Canyon Falls – Multi Functional

Specs:

  • Capacity: 30 liters
  • Waterproof index: IPX6
  • Weight: 2.21 pounds
  • Dimensions: 30.48 x 17.78 x 45.72 cm
  • Closing mode: Foldable in threes
  • Material: 100% PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)
  • Usable: Outdoor activities outdoor and aquatic
  • External compartments: 2 side pockets and a front pocket

The Oak Creek Canyon Falls bag is ideal for outdoor and water enthusiasts, offering a 30-liter capacity that’s perfect for day trips. This multifunctional hiking backpack features numerous storage compartments, including two side mesh pockets and a front zip pocket, allowing you to carry additional accessories and have quick access to essentials like water bottles, papers, snacks, and more.

It is made of heavy gauge PVC which guarantees to keep your belongings dry even in the event of showers or total immersion for a short time. Weighing 2.21 lbs, this backpack offers excellent carrying comfort alongside its waterproof protection.

In addition, the backpack has padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a chest strap to ensure back support. Finally, it is designed with a three-turn roll closure, which can also be used as a handle for easier transport. However, there is no small pocket inside the bag for smaller things.

Pros

  • Adjustable chest, waist, and shoulder straps
  •  Several internal and external pockets
  • Easy to carry
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Cannot be fully immersed in water
  • Capacity limited to 30L
  • Not stretchable

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Best Waterproof Backpack for Hiking: Your Complete Guide

When selecting the best waterproof backpack for hiking, it’s important to follow a series of steps to avoid making a poor purchase and to find the one that suits you best. Let’s explore the key factors step by step:

Choose Based on Your Body Shape

When selecting a waterproof hiking pack, it’s crucial to consider your body’s morphology for optimal comfort and functionality. Here are some tips based on gender-specific needs:

  • For Women: Choose a backpack with a shorter back length and shorter shoulder straps to accommodate a female torso. Opt for a wide waist belt that can comfortably wrap around the hips for better weight distribution. Look for shoulder straps that are contoured or indented to avoid discomfort or pressure on the chest area.
  • For Men: Men’s hiking backpacks generally have longer back lengths and straight, adjustable shoulder straps to suit a male torso. Ensure the waist belt is adjustable and sits comfortably on the hips for proper support and stability during hikes.

Weight and Physical Condition

These are important variables because they indicate how much load you are capable of carrying. It is important to ensure that the total weight of your backpack does not exceed 15% of your total weight. Of course, this rule also depends on your physical condition. For example, if you are a confirmed and seasoned athlete, it is possible to increase the total volume of the bag and vice versa.

Different Types of Waterproof Hiking Packs

There are indeed various criteria and categories to consider when it comes to waterproof hiking packs. Let’s delve deeper into these distinctions:

  • Waterproof Backpacks: These are designed to offer maximum protection against water ingress. They are made from highly waterproof materials like PVC, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), or laminated fabrics with taped seams. These backpacks often have roll-top closures, waterproof zippers, or welded seams to prevent water from seeping in. They are ideal for activities where you expect heavy rain or immersion in water.
  • Moderately Waterproof Backpacks: These packs offer decent water resistance but may not be completely waterproof under prolonged exposure to heavy rain or submersion. They are usually made from water-resistant fabrics like nylon or polyester with water-repellent coatings. While they can withstand light rain and splashes, they may eventually allow water to penetrate through seams, zippers, or openings if exposed for an extended period. These packs are suitable for day hikes or shorter outdoor adventures in mildly wet conditions.
  • Backpacks with 100% Waterproofness: This category includes backpacks that use advanced waterproofing technologies to ensure complete protection against water. They often feature innovative closures like ziplock seals, TIZIP waterproof zippers, or specialized roll-top systems with additional waterproof layers. These packs are designed for activities where absolute waterproofing is crucial, such as river crossings, extreme weather conditions, or water-based sports like paddleboarding or rafting.

Level of Tightness

The IP (Ingress Protection) index indeed provides a standardized way to measure the level of water protection offered by electronic devices and equipment, including waterproof hiking packs. The IP rating consists of two digits, with each digit representing a specific level of protection against solids and liquids, respectively. However, it’s important to note that the IP rating is primarily used for electronic devices and may not always directly apply to hiking packs. Still, understanding the general concept can help in evaluating the waterproofness of hiking packs.

Here’s how the IP rating scale correlates with water protection levels:

  • IPX0: No protection against water (not recommended for waterproof hiking packs).
  • IPX1: Protection against vertically falling water drops.
  • IPX2: Protection against water drops at an angle of up to 15 degrees from vertical.
  • IPX3: Protection against spraying water at an angle of up to 60 degrees from vertical.
  • IPX4: Protection against splashing water from any direction.
  • IPX5: Protection against water jets from any direction using a nozzle.
  • IPX6: Protection against powerful water jets.
  • IPX7: Protection against the effects of immersion in water up to 1 meter for a specified time.
  • IPX8: Material can be submerged under specified conditions beyond 1 meter for an extended period.

Closing Method

Both folding closures (like roll-top closures) and waterproof zippers are popular methods for creating waterproof seals on hiking backpacks. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Folding Closure (3 Turns):

The folding closure, particularly when executed with three turns, offers practical and effective protection for belongings, especially against splashes and light rain. It provides a relatively high level of waterproofing. This type of closure is often featured in durable waterproof backpacks designed specifically for outdoor activities.

However, it may not be ideal for prolonged immersion or heavy rain, as the reliability of the seal can decrease over time. Also, overloading the backpack can compromise the tightness of the closure, reducing its effectiveness.

Waterproof Zipper:

The waterproof zipper offers a 100% waterproof solution, maintaining its effectiveness even after prolonged immersion in water. It allows for quick and easy access to the contents of the backpack without the need for multiple folds or closures. This type of closure is ideal for carrying electronic devices or sensitive gear that requires absolute protection from water.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. Waterproof zippers are more expensive compared to backpacks with folding closures, which may impact budget-conscious consumers. Furthermore, some waterproof zippers require occasional maintenance, such as lubrication, to ensure smooth operation and continued waterproofing.

Volume or Load Capacity

The storage volume of your backpack should align with your specific activity and needs. Consider the following guidelines: for multi-day trekking, opt for around 50 liters; for water sports, 5 to 10 liters is sufficient; for general use without a specific activity, a multifunctional bag with 25 to 35 liters is ideal. Avoid burdening yourself with an unnecessarily large bag if you won’t fully utilize the space.

Backpack’s Empty Weight

The empty weight of the hiking backpack correlates with the previous criterion. Indeed, the larger the bag, the higher its weight. Regardless of the activity, it is therefore preferable to choose a pack that is relatively light in weight.

Quality and Budget

The quality of a waterproof backpack depends on its materials and seams. The market has a wide range of products, all of which cater to different needs. If you want to acquire a robust product, that will follow you for several years, it is necessary to put the budget into it.

Depending on the type of backpack, its specifics and features, as well as its load capacity, you will find models for purchase on sale at prices between $20 and $300.

Carrying Comfort

Like traditional hiking backpacks, the back panel of a backpack can be constructed using three main materials: stretched mesh frame, padded foam, or suspended stretched mesh. The choice of the carrying system depends on your specific usage needs.

  • Stretched mesh frame: Offers ventilation and is suitable for lighter loads.
  • Padded foam: Suitable for carrying heavier loads but may not provide optimal ventilation.
  • Suspended stretched mesh: Provides ventilation even with heavier loads.

Consider your priorities, such as ventilation and load weight, to determine the most suitable back panel material for your hiking backpack.

Straps and Suspenders

Waterproof hiking backpacks generally feature fewer straps compared to traditional ones, although the exact number varies by brand and model. However, key straps to look for include load reminder straps, chest straps, and shoulder straps. Choosing a waterproof hiking backpack with these features is crucial for comfort and weight distribution. More straps help distribute the backpack’s weight evenly, enhancing overall comfort during hikes.

Number of Pockets

Even if waterproof hiking bags have fewer external compartments, they still have two side pockets to place at least a water bottle. Some models have more, while others have less. You can choose one model or another depending on your needs.

FAQs

How to read and interpret the waterproofness index?

It is very easy to interpret this index. The first number corresponds to the protection against dust and the second represents the tightness against liquid. Let’s take the example that the index of a backpack is: IP67. In this case, the protection of this bag against water would be 7, which is a very good seal.

Can I completely submerge a waterproof hiking backpack in water?

Although waterproof hiking backpacks are designed to repel moisture and withstand light rain or splashes, they are not typically intended for complete submersion.

Do I still need a rain cover for a waterproof backpack?

A rain cover is not necessary for a waterproof hiking backpack since it’s designed to repel water on its own. However, if you anticipate heavy or prolonged rain, a rain cover can provide an extra layer of protection.

Can I add a hydration system to a waterproof backpack?

Many waterproof hiking backpacks are compatible with hydration systems. If you want to add a hydration system, look for models with a dedicated hydration sleeve and port for a hydration bladder.

Are there affordable options for waterproof hiking backpacks?

Yes, there are affordable options for waterproof hiking backpacks that offer decent water resistance and durability. Look for reputable brands offering entry-level models with features like water-resistant materials, taped seams, and basic waterproofing treatments. Consider brands like REI Co-op, Patagonia, or Columbia for budget-friendly yet reliable waterproof backpacks.

Can I use a waterproof backpack for other outdoor activities besides hiking?

Yes, waterproof backpacks are versatile and can be used for various outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, and commuting in rainy conditions. Choose a backpack with features and capacity suitable for your specific outdoor pursuits and gear requirements.

Conclusion

Selecting the right backpack is crucial for a successful hike. We strive to provide you with an updated comparison of products to help you choose the best waterproof hiking backpack for your needs. Remember, it’s important to choose a backpack that suits your requirements to avoid unnecessary strain. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below. Happy hiking!


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