If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, having a waterproof backpack is kind of a necessity. Otherwise, you may find yourself wrapping plastic bags or garbage bags around your backpack each time it rains. Whatever the reason you need a backpack for, it should be able to keep the stuff inside it dry. Having a waterproof backpack is not only for hikers and campers, but also for everyone who is on the run. You can use it to transport your gym equipment, when you go to classes, a picnic or even to spend the night over at your best friend’s house. Being prepared for rain is not to be taken lightly.
Before helping you choose the best waterproof backpack, we’ve decided to write a section with general considerations, tips and tricks that can help you decide what to look for in such an item.
Types of waterproof backpacks
Choosing the best waterproof backpack means you have to determine the type of rucksack you need.
You can opt for a minimalist backpack. These are super-light and are useful for those who travel light. If you need to carry just a couple of small items (like your keys, a book or 2, your cell phone and wallet), this would be the right choice. The other option would be to choose a traditional backpack. These are bigger and they are used to carry several things, including a sleeping bag if needed.
Another backpack category could be established by the frame type. Internal frame backpacks are generally used by people who are looking to carry heavy loads. The internal frame can be made of aluminum stays, plastic frame sheets, curved Delrin rods or from a combination of them. Internal frames will clinch the load closer to your spine and they are generally preferred by people who want to transfer the weight to their hip area. On the other hand, we have external frame backpacks, which are also good for carrying heavy loads, but are preferred by people who go hiking or climbing. This type of backpack is hung off a simple exterior and the load is further away from your back.
Features to look for
The best waterproof backpacks depend on the construction and materials. But I discovered some tricks to help you find the best waterproof backpack:
- Every good backpack has to be taller in comparison with the width. This will help you move around freely, without feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
- Materials are also super important. The best choices are nylon and polyester.
- In order for a backpack to be waterproof, the pores of the construction have to be smaller than the water molecules.
- Stitching and zippers have to be of high quality, in order to prevents any water from getting inside the backpack.
- It’s important to determine how much weight you’ll be carrying. The backpack should have enough pocket to store all your items.
- Functionality is also important. Can you operate your backpack in the dark, if needed? Do you have fast access to important items, like keys or a flashlight?
- Weight is another important factor. The base weight of your backpack should be as low as possible.
Measuring your torso
The size of a backpack can make or break a deal. If you buy a backpack that’s either too small or too large, you won’t feel comfortable carrying it around. While you normally don’t measure your torso when you go out shopping for a jacket, its size is really important in choosing the optimal backpack. You need to take into consideration the 3 points of security that a backpack needs to have: sternum support and strap, load lifter straps (which go over the shoulders) and the sternum straps that go across the chest. By all these powers combined, a backpack needs to be comfortable, above everything else.
Even if there are a lot of nice unisex waterproof backpacks, women should pick a backpack that was especially designed for women. Women have different hip shapes, so that’s another factor worth taking into consideration. As you’re measuring your torso, you need to use a flexible tape. It should be places at the base of the bottom of your neck, where the neck meets the top of your shoulders. This is your torso length.
This is one aspect that shouldn’t be negotiable: a good waterproof backpack should also be easy to use and maneuver. As simple as a backpack may seem, they are actually built after months, maybe even years of planning, designing and testing. But when we refer to usability, what is it that we should actually have in mind? Answer the following questions:
- Can you take your backpack off/put it on easily?
- Are the straps adjustable to a perfect fit? Can you adjust them even without taking off the backpack?
- Does it have a special pocket for your water bottle?
- Can you store your valuables in a safe place (a smaller pocket that’s out of outside reach)?
- So the zippers and fasteners work well? Do you need to force them?
- How difficult is it to clean the backpack? How long does it take for the backpack to dry after you’ve washed it?
Other important factors
There are 2 more features which I believe to be important for everyone who is looking to find the very best waterproof backpack: suspension and adjustability.
Suspension is that feature that makes sure weight is distributed properly across your back, from your shoulders to your hips. This will make it easier for you to carry around heavy loads without having severe back pain. Most new suspension technology is patent-pending, but techniques like changing shoulder straps to slide through the back panel are being implemented. Adding lumbar swivel balls and using dual peripheral aluminum rods to stabilize and transfer weight closer to the body are also used to help the backpacker endure less energy and stress while hiking.
Adjustability is what allows you to customise your backpack to better fit your own shape and size. The more expensive backpacks will allow you to modify more than the hip belt and shoulder straps. You need and adjustable backpack so that it stays fixed on your body and doesn’t leave to much wiggle room.
OutdoorMaster Hiking Waterproof Backpack 50L
The OutdoorMaster backpack is packed with so many features and pocket, it’s bound to become a good companion on your next trip. While it’s mostly dedicated to hikers, you can use it for a variety of purposes. Hikers prefer it because of its large capacity and the potential to carry a lot of items at once. It comes with a waterproof rain cover, which always offers that additional protection that you need when the weather gets tough.
It has 50 liter capacity and there is even a pocket dedicated for 15.6 inch laptops, which means that the OutdoorMaster backpack is also reliable for student or people who want to carry their laptops around in a safe environment. The shoulder straps are adjustable, so they will fit a variety of torso sizes, but they are also padded, which ensures comfort even if you’re not carrying the lightest of loads.
The backpack also carries a lot of external attachments points, which are dedicated to carrying things such as trekking poles, sleeping bag, tent and even a hydration reservoir. The backpack’s dimensions are 23 x 14 x 9 inches and it has a total weight of 2.6 pounds.
HEXIN Rated 20L/33L Lightweight Waterproof Backpack
HEXIN is really not planning on letting backpacker down with this product. As you may have guessed, this particular model is available in 2 sizes: one with a 20 liters capacity and a bigger one, with a 33 liters capacity. This backpack drew our attention because it’s lightweight and it folds. It’s made of nylon, one of the most common fabrics for waterproof backpacks. Nylon doesn’t just keep unwanted humidity away, but it’s also tear-resistant. The YKK metal zipper located on the surface of the backpack is abrasion resistant and durable, making sure you won’t need to change it for a new one anytime soon.
Aside from the great amount of pockets that this backpack has, you have 2 neat ones placed directly on the shoulder straps. This is a relief, since you can put some items you need to have at hand without taking off the backpack all the time. The next time your cell phone rings, quickly take it out of this front pocket and answer your call. A slight disadvantage would be the fact that you can only place items that measure 5 inch max in these pockets. People with the latest smartphone models (that generally have more than 5 inches in diagonal) won’t take full advantage of the placement of these pockets.
On to the folding part. This particular backpack model can fold into the zippered inner pocket, so you can easily carry this backpack in your luggage or have it occupy less space in the trunk of your car.
Here are some additional numbers you should know:
- Unfolded: 16.92 x 10.63 x 7.08 inches
- Folded: 6.29 x 5.90 x 1.97 inches
- Weight: 0.46 Pounds, 20 Liters
- Unfolded: 19 x 13 x 8.2 inches
- Folded: 6.29 x 5.90 x 2 inches
- Weight: 0.5 Pounds, 33 Liters
Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack
The first thing that caught my eye when I came across this backpack is its stylish design. The second was the overwhelming positive customer feedback (4.5 out of 5 stars). Not only is the Chaos Ready waterproof backpack capable of waterproofing your stuff, but it’s also dust, sand and dirt resistant, making it a good choice for using pretty much everywhere. It even floats safely when you drop it in water, making it suitable for quick submersion.
Then, I discovered 2 more features that lead me to believe this is the best waterproof backpack in terms of the price/quality ratio. First, it’s made of heavy duty 500 PVC tarpaulin and it has high frequency welded seams. This translates into durability and flexibility as you want to transport more and more items with it. But be aware that the main compartment has a maximum storage of 22 liters, so don’t overdo it. However, these 22 liter pocked is air and water sealed, so you can rest assured that whatever you store inside will be 100% safe.
Second, it’s super easy to clean this bag. You can just wipe it and store it away and it’s ready for usage in the future. There is a convenient pocket located on the front side, which makes it easy to access small and important items, such as your house keys or your money. However, you need to be aware that the front pocket is not 100% waterproof, which means that whatever you store inside won’t be safe in case of heavy rain.
There are also 2 water bottle pockets located on each side of the backpack, meaning that it’s super easy for you to stay hydrated if you’re hiking without having to take the backpack off your shoulders.
This part is always the hardest, because we always review the best items we can find. It’s tough to say which is the best waterproof backpack because it really depends on what you need.
The OutdoorMaster waterproof backpack is ideal for those who need a large capacity backpack to carry around as many items as possible. However, the Chaos Ready backpack seems to have it all: a waterproof and windproof 22 liters pocket, quick access to water bottles and a front pocket to find your keys faster. Disadvantage? In only comes in gray. 🙂