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The 5 Best Waterproof Backpacks Reviewed – 2019

Protect Your Gear From Rain And Water With These Waterproof Backpacks and Dry Bags

All of these waterproof backpacks are well-suited to outdoor active sports like hiking, boating and motorcycling. To learn more about the the selection criteria, features and functionality of the top-rated best dry bags see, How To Choose The Best Waterproof Backpack. Also see the Top 10 Amazon Bestsellers.

Best Waterproof Backpack

 Nelson Rigg SE-3040 Hurricane 40LCougar Outdoor WatermanGivi Waterproof Backpack
editors choice
Material 24oz Tarpaulin PVC material PVC Vinyl material420 denier tarpaulin nylon
Waterproof 100% waterproof bags100% waterproof bags100% waterproof bags
Special FeaturesSide pockets for water bottles or fuel bottlesSeveral external pocketsxternal water bottle pockets
Customer Ratings4.4 / 5.0 Stars4.2 / 5.0 StarsN/A

Also see: Waterproof Backpacks Price Comparison Table.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Waterproof Backpacks – 2019

  1. Nelson Rigg SE-3040 Hurricane 40L
  2. Cougar OUTDOOR Waterman
  3. Givi GRT701 Waterproof Backpack
  4. Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag
  5. Firstgear Torrent Backpack

Waterproof Backpacks Reviews

#1 Nelson Rigg SE-3040 Hurricane 40L

best waterproof backpacks for motorcycle

This PVC waterproof backpack is made to live somewhere between the frontcountry and the backcountry. With niche features like a laptop sleeve, it’s handy in the RV, motorcycle, or kayak.

  • 24oz Tarpaulin PVC material
  • One-way purge air valve
  • Side pockets for water bottles or fuel bottles
I have to say that I like this backpack for a wide array of outdoor sports. It’s made with a comfortable harness system that can be worn for longer periods. Plus, at a reasonable 40L size it’s not out of the question to handle loads on your back with this bag.

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Nelson-SE-3040-Hurricane-Waterproof-Backpack view 2

For today’s EDC preppers, the MOLLE panel on the back provides room to attach everything tactical you can imagine. Or you can just remove it altogether if you don’t need the space to clip onto the webbing chains.

Whether you want to use the side pockets for water bottles if you’re riding a motorcycle or fuel bottles if you’re on a back country expedition – they’ll be there.

I think that features like these just show that this pack is positioned to do anything and everything. Best for versatile activities and adventurers that travel from the streets to the trails.

#2 Cougar OUTDOOR Waterman

While it’s not going to win any awards for ergonomics, the advanced backpack features make it clear this pack is meant to carry! It’s also hard to argue with a pack that comes in light on the wallet.

  • Several external pockets
  • Generous hip belt with pockets
  • PVC Vinyl material
I think of all the things this bag has going for it, the affordable price is one of the top. It’s hard to argue with details when you can get a functional waterproof dry bag backpack for the cost of dinner out!

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Cougar-OUTDOOR-Waterman-Waterproof-Backpack view #2

I think any dry bag backpack should be rocking side water bottle pockets as this one dose. Whether or not the additional mesh and shock cord back pocket is necessary will be up to your preferences.


I have to point out that the hip belt is really more like a chest belt. Since this pack is relatively short, the belt sits too high to be on the hips of just about anyone. It will, however, still help keep the bag stable while you carry it at least.

Best for an affordable dry bag backpack with standard features.

#3 Givi GRT701 Waterproof Backpack

Givi is known in the motorcycle world for making some of the best luggage and accessories. That’s why I’m not surprised to see the relatively high price tag on this waterproof backpack. Don’t be fooled, though, the quality is obvious!

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Of course, you can get by with saving some money and going cheap on your dry bag. But you’ll probably lose out on comfort and finish. That’s where the Givi pack excels past competitors.

I like the longer design of the bag which keeps the center of mass a little lower and helps the bag hang sensibly. Since the bag has just sternum strap, a good hang is important because there won’t be any help from a hip belt.

GRT701-Waterproof-Backpack-Gravel-T-Range front view

Like the Nelson Rigg, this bag has an air removal valve so you can size it down and squeeze out air. Unlike the Nelson Rigg, it has less accessories and keeps things truer to the slim design of a simple dry bag at just 25L.

GRT701-Waterproof-Backpack-Gravel-T-motorcycle view

This bag is the perfect size and shape for a day bag on the water or on the motorcycle.

#4 Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag

This bag might achieve the best balance of affordability and features on our list. Does that make it the best bag on our list? That’s up to you decide based on what features really matter for your needs!

  • Shock cord lashing
  • 2x water bottle pockets
  • Padded mesh back panel
If you’re a sucker for free goodies – watch out! This bag comes with a free waterproof pouch for your phone or MP3 player. Don’t be fooled though, you’re paying for it when you buy the pack.

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Vitchelo-Waterproof-Backpack-Outdoor-Kayaking inside view

At 30L in size it’s a good medium size for day trips or very lightweight overnights. Since it’s not massive there’s really no reason to worry about a hip belt and this bag doesn’t.

While we don’t get as much information about the tech specs of this pack as I’d like – we do get a 60-day money back guarantee. There’s also a lifetime limited warranty, though the depth and breadth of that remain mysterious to me.

Fortunately, with tons of highly speaking user reviews I don’t think you’ll need that money back guarantee.

Best for an affordable small backpack hybrid that can go anywhere.

#5 Firstgear Torrent Backpack

Of all the waterproof dry bag backpacks on our list, none can beat the Torrent Backpack for style. This bag looks sleek and mean, but is that enough to make it worth your time? Let’s find out.

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This pack is made to be a waterproof commuter backpack. The air-mesh back panel allows airflow to move around the pack as you ride so you don’t overheat. But don’t worry – that same rule applies if you want to take this on a hiking or kayaking trip.

I like the sternum strap and minimal hip belt. This pack isn’t big enough to warrant a full size hip belt but even small ones help stabilize your bag while you hike or ride.

Firstgear-Torrent-Backpack-USA waterproof motorcycle luggage
FirstGear Waterproof Outdoor and Motorcycle Luggage

Without a doubt this pack has more features for motorcycles than any other on our list. The D rings located around this pack are located so make it easy to lash down to a passenger seat. Being an avid rider myself, I know I would love to have a feature like this on my bags.

Best for daily motorcycle commuters who need a small waterproof backpack to keep everything dry and right!

Waterproof Backpacks – Price Comparison Table

Best Waterproof Backpacks  PriceMaterialWaterproofSpecial FeaturesCustomer Ratings
Nelson Rigg SE-3040 Hurricane 40Lfrom $104.9524oz Tarpaulin PVC material100% waterproof bagSide pockets for water bottles or fuel bottles4.4 / 5.0 Stars
Cougar OUTDOOR Waterman$49.95PVC Vinyl material100% waterproof bagSeveral external pockets4.2 / 5.0 Stars
Givi GRT701 Waterproof Backpack$108.00420 denier tarpaulin nylon100% waterproof bagExternal water bottle pockets, Shock cord lashingN/A
Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag$38.99Tarpaulin 100% Waterproof Dry Bag 2x water bottle pockets4.5 / 5.0 Star
Firstgear Torrent Backpack$61.67N/A100% Waterproof Dry BagMany external pockets, Sternum strap and waist belt5.0 / 5.0 Star

How to Choose the Best Waterproof Backpack for You

I never really understood the need for an enormous dry bag with backpack straps. That was until I spent a week paddling and portaging Michigan’s Au Sable river in its entirety. It was that trip which taught me the real beauty of having a nice-sized dry bag backpack and I would have traded just about anything to have one at the time.

best waterproof backpack reviews - how to feature image

Since you’re probably better prepared than I was chances are good that you’re here to find out which dry bag backpack to buy. That’s a really good thing because you’ll be glad you put the research in before you get left “high and dry” as it were.

Going outdoors for any length of time in rainy weather demands waterproof clothing and storage for your valuables and other belongings. In this article you’ll learn exactly what to look for in the best waterproof backpacks or dry bag backpacks.

What Size Do I Need?

This is a tricky question and it varies heavily from person to person. However, it is possible for us to narrow things down a bit and work within a few rules of thumb. I’ll give you some guidelines that you can work with so you’re not buying blindly.

hiking with waterproof backpack

  • 0-10L – Accessory bags for ditties
  • 10-20L – Enough room for day trips
  • 20-30L – Larger gear loads on day trips
  • 30-40L – Enough room for lightweight overnight trips
  • 40-60L – Enough room for overnight trips with heavy gear loads
  • 60-80L – Enough room for multi-day trips
  • 80+L – Enough room for extended expedition style trips
The thing with dry bags is that you have to roll them closed. On top of that, things never seem to fit snugly inside so the use of space tends to be inefficient. That said, it’s always easier to go a size larger than you need. You can always roll the top down more, but you can’t make the bag any bigger once you buy it!

It’s worth noting that carrying multiple smaller dry bags gives you some redundancy. If you’re concerned about dry bags breaking or rupturing, carrying two 20L instead of one 40L might be an ideal worth considering.

Choosing a Material

Today’s dry bags are becoming lighter and more effective every day. That said, they tend to still be made from one of two main materials.


A very thick, heavy, and durable waterproof material. It’s great for bags carrying rough or abrasive items. If you’re going into conditions where your dry bags will be exposed to abuse – such as whitewater trips in sandstone canyons – consider going for durability!


A lightweight waterproof fabric. This is a great material choice for backpacking trips or bags that will be sheltered inside a more robust pack. Silnylon is durable, but not nearly as durable as thick vinyl dry bags.

Both materials are relatively easy to repair. Just be sure to carry a well prepared repair kit and practice repairs before you need to perform them in the field. I’ve seen many vinyl and nylon dry bags live dozens of years in the field with repair patches!

Closing a Dry Bag

This is, arguably, the most important single operation in keeping your gear dry. Dry bags won’t do any good if you fail to close them properly. That’s why I always double check the dry bags when heading on a trip with other inexperienced people.

In order to properly seal a dry bag you need to roll the top at least three times. Then you can clip the top closed.

One thing to note is that if you clip the top roll seam the wrong direction it may unroll! Pick up your dry bag by the handle and be sure that the material isn’t going to unroll. Once you’re experienced with it, you’ll be able to tell which direction to clip the top closed so it holds itself but many beginners make this mistake.

If you overfill a drybag and try to close it, you may have trouble rolling the seam fully. Remember to leave room to fold the top down adequately.

Backpack Features

Dry bag backpacks have to be two things at once. They must function perfectly as waterproof bags and they need to be passable as backpacks.

Few, if any, dry bag backpacks attempt to be full featured backpacks. Instead, they usually have just enough backpack features to help you portage or load and unload from the dock.

Cougar-OUTDOOR-Waterman-Waterproof-backpack features

Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps on dry bag backpacks can often be an afterthought. There are two ways to look at this, though. If you’re rarely carrying the bag by the shoulder straps and only need to travel a few dozen yards through portages, this may be acceptable.

If, however, you’re carrying your dry bag backpack a considerable distance on a regular basis, poor straps may be unacceptable. An example of this would be sea kayakers carrying gear to and from camp every night.

Hip Belts

Hip belts are a low priority for those in the “I don’t need to carry this very far” camp. However, for those with large dry bags and heavy loads, the shoulder straps just won’t be enough. Good hip belts are critical to spread out the load!

Hip belts are harder to find in dry bag backpacks, but if you feel these are a necessity, they are out there.

Additional Features

Some waterproof travel bags have flashy extra features. These can range from clear viewing windows to zippered access outer pockets.

Generally speaking, I prefer to avoid additional features. Every added seam, zipper, clip, and weld on any dry bag is another place that water can eventually get in.

Instead of fancy dry bags, I look for additional features on PFDs, backpacks, or boats that can take the place of fancy additions to my dry bags.

Nelson-SE-3040-Hurricane-Waterproof-Backpack features

In the case of drybag backpacks, durable external storage pockets, clips, and straps can actually be handy. Ensure that the bag you’re buying is of good quality, however, or these areas can be prone to delamination on cheap bags.

One feature that I do enjoy is the eVAC dry bags from Sea to Summit. These bags have a waterproof breathable material along the bottom which allows air to escape but keeps water out. Using these you can compress your dry bags – particularly those with clothes and sleeping bags – to make them smaller. I have enjoyed these dry bags for years!

A similar feature that sometimes appears on dry bag backpacks is a vent nipple. Like sleeping pads, you can turn these valves and let air out and then close them off. These valves are simple and rarely prone to failure or leaking so I like them!


Whether you’re using your waterproof pack for kayaking, bicycling, or anything in between there’s something here for you. Just remember that there’s no single “best” waterproof backpack because each person needs different features.

Think about how you’ll use your bag and what’s most important to you before you click that purchase button. That will save you from being frustrated and having to buy another one down the road in order to find what you really wanted in the first place.

I like to keep things simple when using waterproof dry bags. This means less hassle and less likelihood of things breaking or leaking. However, there’s something to be said about the convenience of advanced features!

Thanks for reading The 5 Best Waterproof Backpacks. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best dry bag or best dry pack for your needs and your preferences.

And if you’re shopping for other gear take a look at these related review articles from Outside Pursuits:


Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers

Bestseller No. 1
Travel Laptop Backpack,Business Anti Theft Slim Durable Laptops Backpack with USB Charging Port,Water Resistant College School Computer Bag for Women & Men Fits 15.6 Inch Laptop and Notebook - Grey
  • LOTS OF STORAGE SPACE&POCKETS: One separate laptop compartment hold 15. 6 Inch Laptop as well as 15 Inch, 14 Inch and 13 Inch Macbook/Laptop. One spacious packing compartment roomy for daily necessities, tech electronics accessories. Front compartment with many pockets, pen pockets and key fob hook, make your items organized and easier to find
  • COMFY&STURDY: Comfortable airflow back design with thick but soft multi-panel ventilated padding, gives you maximum back support. Breathable and adjustable shoulder straps relieve the stress of shoulder. Foam padded top handle for a long time carry on
SaleBestseller No. 2
FE Active - 30L Eco Friendly Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack Great for All Outdoor and Water Related Activities. Padded Shoulder Straps, Corded Exterior and Mesh Netting for Increased Carrying Capacity
  • ECO FRIENDLY: Environmentally safe PVC - tested and certified.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Carefully constructed dry bag made of thick marine grade 5mm eco friendly PVC Tarpaulin with high frequency welded stitching made to withstand the most rugged outdoor activities. It is extremely light at just under 2lbs. This 30L dry bag backpack also includes padded shoulder straps with mesh lining for better air flow as well as a built-in padded support for your back for greater comfortability.
Bestseller No. 3
Boncas Waterproof Backpack, 20L Dry Bag with Waterproof Phone Pounch, Roll Top Bag Dry Sack Waterproof Dry Bag Perfect for Kayaking, Fishing, Rafting-Green
  • Durable material: Boncas roll top dry bag has solid construction and stout seams, they made of a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin, with strong durable plastic buckles, D-rings, offer a longer service life.
  • Excellent design: Large circular base gives it tremendous amount of space inside, excellent roll top functions keep all your things dry from in the water. The pocket on the back of bag fit for somethings you need quick and easy access to, the front mesh bag specal design for keeping damp items.
Bestseller No. 4
AUGUR Laptop College Backpack Waterproof Lightweight Minimalism with USB Charging Port Business School Book Bag Travel Hiking Camping Outdoor Daypack Rucksack Fits 15.6-Inch Notebook (Black)
  • 【Practical Compartment and Large Volume】14.2"x6"x18.9"H, 3 independent partitions,11 storage compartments, 35L capacity, fit for laptop up to 15.6", A4 files, books, clothes, power bank, etc.
  • 【USB Port Design】With built in USB charger outside and built in charging cable inside, a separate zipper compartment in the bag to put the data line, easy to organize!This usb backpack offers you a more convenient way to charge your Devices while walking.
Bestseller No. 5
MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack 5L/10L/20L/30L/40L, Roll Top Sack Pack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Hiking, Beach, Fishing (Grey, 30L)
  • Lightweight Compact and Durable: Made from ripstop tarpaulin with sturdy welded seam which is designed for years usage, tear, rip and puncture proof. Perfect for almost any extreme adventure you imagine.
  • Waterproof Guarantee: Solid roll-top closure system provides secure watertight seal. Keep your gear dry in any wet situation where the bag is not fully submerged. Protect your valuables from water, snow, mud and sand.
Bestseller No. 6
Ronyes Unisex College Bag Fits up to 15.6'' Laptop Casual Rucksack Waterproof School Backpack Daypacks (AllBlackWithUSB)
  • Waterproof Durable School Bag with Folder Cover.
  • Made of high quality waterproof material; padded and adjustable shoulder straps; external USB with built-in charging cable offers a convenient charging
SaleBestseller No. 7
ZOMAKE 30L Lightweight Packable Backpack Water Resistant Hiking Daypack,Small Travel Backpack Foldable Camping Outdoor Bag Grey
  • 0.74LB!LIGHTWEIGHT:Super lightweight and easy to fold up into a small pocket (A true space saver) to fit anywhere. So you can easily fold the backpack into its own pocket for storage, and unfold it when you reach your destination. To avoid overweight charge, simply unfold from your checked bags and use it as a carry on for your excess baggage. A must have for every trip!
  • 30L!TRAVEL CAPACITY:Suitable for day trips or a week long journey. One main compartment, two zipped front pockets, two side pockets as well as external attachment points. Spacious pockets keep all things organized and separated, It's roomy enough for your laptop, tablet, clothes, towel, journal and a couple beers( if needed) etc
SaleBestseller No. 8
Vitchelo 30L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack for Outdoor Water Sports Kayaking Camping - Fly Fishing & Boating Gifts for Men - 100% Tear-Free, Lifetime Kayak Storage Bag - Free Waterproof Phone Pouch
  • WHILE OTHER DRY BAGS WATERPROOF leak, fail to protect your stuff, are too stiff or just uncomfortable to wear, the VITCHELO 30L wet dry bag backpack will safeguard your essentials on water sports, kayaking, hiking, camping or traveling adventures. Made of vinyl tarpaulin with a sturdy welded seam, its solid roll-top closure system provides secured watertight seal and holds longer than most brands. This means greater protection for your electronics and belongings.
  • PRACTICAL & VERSATILE - Besides a high-frequency welded construction, this Deluxe 30L dry sack waterproof backpack features an elasticated front webbing and mesh netting pockets on both sides for extra storage, a reinforced one-handed strap to give your shoulders a well-deserved break, chest & waist straps securing the bag and limiting side movements, breathable shoulder strap allowing for more ventilation, padded back to prevent back strain, all to maximize your comfort.
Bestseller No. 9
Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Backpack with Wet Pocket - Durable Waterproof Travel Hiking Camping Outdoor Daypack for Women Men-Orange
  • 【Upgraded Wet Pocket Design】Venture Pal backpack stands out with more humane design for easy and convenient use. One waterproof wet pocket is added to the main compartment, a zipper on the back of this backpack which led to the internal wet pocket, to better separate sweaty clothes, towels or other personal things after swimming or taking exercise.
  • 【Durable Material】This backpack is made of high quality tear and water resistant nylon fabric,heavy duty metal zippers and enhanced by bar-tacks at major stress points provide long-lasting durability against daily activities.The extra strength provided by the double-layer bottom piece makes it possible to carry more stuff.
Bestseller No. 10
WolfWarriorX Military Tactical Assault Backpack for Men Expandable Travel Backpack Waterproof Outdoor 3-Day Bag,Large,Molle System for School,Hiking,Camping,Trekking,Outdoor Sports,Work
  • 【Large Capacity and Multi Compartment】Regular Size: 14.5''x 21''x 8''. Expandable Size: 14.5''x 21''x 13''. Main compartment expands from 39L (2380 cu in) to 64L (3905 cu in). There are 4 main loading spaces and water bottle mesh pocket. Plenty of room for a lot of stuff and plenty of separate compartments you have organized.
  • 【Disperse the Pressure, More comfortable】The adjustable chest belt can disperse the pressure of this military backpack, carrying more comfortable. The adjustable belt, let the whole tactical backpack fit our body, additional straps around the chest and waist to distribute the weight better. Moreover, the side buckles make it easy to secure it and reduce the size if it's full.
Weight : Strength
Sizes Available

We chose the Nelson Rigg SE-3040 Hurricane 40L as Editor's Choice for the best dry bag or backpack.

User Rating: Be the first one !

Last update on 2019-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OutsidePursuits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. OutsidePursuits.com earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com. Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

Richard Moore

Richard is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in the U.S.A. , Mexico and Central America. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys road touring, dual-sport and motocross riding. Richard lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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