If you love to trek through the outdoors, hike your way through travel destinations, or dedicate full vacations to backpacking some of nature’s most glorious trails, a waterproof hiking backpack is an absolute must-have accessory. A great hiking backpack holds everything you need with ease and keeps your necessities close at hand on the trail. Pair a great backpack design with a high-quality waterproof material, and your items are safe from rain, snow, accidental splashes, spills, and whatever else nature has to throw at you.
Here, we’re sharing our top 9 waterproof hiking backpack picks in a variety of categories to help you choose the perfect backpack for yourself, or as a gift to someone this holiday season.
Key Features Of A Waterproof Hiking Backpack
If you have never invested in a hiking backpack before, and are wondering exactly what you should be looking for in a high-quality option, there are a few important things to know. Hiking backpacks are different from regular day-to-day backpacks and are built for combined comfort and efficiency over long distances, not from school bus to classroom. Here’s what you should be looking for in a great waterproof hiking backpack.
Size & Weight
Before purchasing any backpack, it is important to know what your body can handle. You’re hiking, which means you will need to carry the pack for the duration of the journey without overloading yourself and causing stress or strain on your body. Height, width, and weight all matter when it comes to choosing the right backpack since sizing will impact both comfort and safety on the trail.
Whether you are going for a short trek or a multi-day backpacking trip covering dozens of miles, you need a pack that can carry absolutely everything you might need during your journey. Before choosing a backpack, you’ll need to know how much you want to carry so that you can choose an option with sufficient capacity.
When considering how much you want to bring along on your hike, consider whether items can be kept together or will need to be kept in separate pockets. Some hiking packs are designed to carry everything in one compartment, whereas others include a huge number of pockets, zippers, and compartments.
Backpack Size Chart
Below we have a helpful chart for you to understand the capacity you should be looking for.
|Duration Of Hike||Recommended Backpack Capacity|
|Half Day Hike (<4 Hours)||Less Than 20 Liters|
|Full Day Hike (4+ hours)||20-40 Liters|
|1-3 Nights||40-50 Liters|
|3-5 Nights||50-70 Liters|
|5+ Nights||80-110 Liters|
Padding & Comfort
Hiking backpacks need to be made with additional padding and support straps to make them comfortable and to properly distribute the weight of your load across the body. Additional padding around the hips, lower back, and shoulders help to prevent chafing and pain during the hike, though not all hikers prefer these features for shorter hikes. If you plan to take a longer, multi-day backpacking trip, a pack with additional padding will help you stay comfortable longer.
It is also nice to have a backpack that has natural airflow between your back and the bag. This will reduce your back sweat which will keep you more comfortable in summer, and more dry in winter.
If you want a waterproof backpack, it is important to take note of the materials it is made from. Some packs are wrongly advertised as being waterproof when the materials they are made from are water-resistant, meaning they will repel water but not keep it out entirely in the event of heavy rain or accidentally dropping your pack into water. Check that the materials featured on your pack of choice are waterproof and high-quality since this will help ensure you get the most use possible.
Some packs may have waterproof ratings. You can read our guide here explaining waterproof ratings.
Finally, choose a pack within your budget – don’t try to overextend thinking it’s your only option. Excellent hiking backpacks can be found in every price range, so there is no need to break the bank on the most expensive backpack the first time you choose one. With this being said, you may need to sacrifice features, durability, weight, or comfort when you go for budget backpacks. We try to highlight the best options for you in this list.
Best Waterproof Day-Packs
If the hike you are planning is just a few hours, or anything less than a day, you won’t need a large backpacking pack or a super-heavy duty travel pack. Instead, you’ll want to choose a simple day-pack, designed to be lightweight and easy to carry with just enough room for essentials on the trail. Here are our top waterproof day-pack picks:
The BackSåk from Skog Å Kust is the ideal waterproof day-pack for the minimalist that wants something sleek and super-efficient. Made from 500D waterproof PVC fabric for total moisture protection plus splash-proof exterior and interior pockets that keep everything safe from water no matter where items are in your pack.
- 25-liter capacity
- 2.3 lbs.
- Padded shoulder and adjustable sternum straps
- Large interior pocket
- Smaller exterior pockets
- Reflective trim
Pros: We love how simple and super waterproof this backpack is, making it one of our absolute favorite day-packs currently on the market. Super lightweight and easy to carry, this backpack is so waterproof that it can withstand being fully submerged while kayaking or surfing.
Cons: While this isn’t a con if you plan to use this pack as a day-pack, but if you need anything more than the bare necessities, the BackSåk will be too small for your purposes.
This pack has a classic day pack feel, but is extremely packable, and contains a waterproof sack within the bag. This makes it super versatile and more comfortable than other day packs of this size, all while being very affordable.
- Fold Size: 6.6 x 1.9 x 8.2 Inch
- 40 Liter Capacity
- Waterproof sack within the bag
- Multiple storage compartments
- Ability to fold into a small size
Pros: Extremely lightweight while having a large capacity for a day hike.
Cons: Most of the pack is not waterproof. This pack simply contains a small waterproof section perfect for your phone or other essential items.
Sometimes, you need a pack you can sling over your shoulder at a moment’s notice, and don’t want to deal with bulky packs and overly complicated straps and fasteners. The Waterproof Dry Bag from Earth Pak is the perfect choice for a quick trip through a local park, a hike in a nearby forest preserve, or a trek into nearby wilderness to enjoy an afternoon of soaking up nature. Perfect for a water bottle, your phone, and a couple of snacks, you can bring this tiny waterproof pack anywhere. If you may be getting completely soaked, or kayaking, or wading through water, something like this might be a perfect option for you. Basically, an untraditional pack for very wet scenarios.
- 10-liter capacity
- 1 lb.
- 500D PVC
- Large interior pocket
- Small exterior pocket
- Single shoulder strap
Pros: By far the smallest pack on this list, the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag is an amazing choice if you only need a few basic items. Despite its small size, this pack packs some serious waterproof power, and can not only be fully submerged in water but can even float!
Cons: With only one pocket and a 10-liter capacity, this is NOT the kind of pack you’ll want with you on a long, tiresome hike, or if you need to carry anything for kids or hiking partners.
Not only is this simple day-pack from Geckobrands waterproof, this 0.6 pound backpack can carry more than enough snacks and water for a simple day-hike. Few backpacks can be made as compact as this one, which is why this is an absolute must for anyone who likes to bring their hiking gear on the road. Featuring a roll-top closure and super secure clips to keep your items safe, you’ll get tons of use out of this simple pack.
- 30-liter capacity
- 0.6 lbs.
- Polyurethane coated 210D ripstop polyester
- Folds down for compact travel
- Large interior pocket
- Small exterior pocket for small items
- Internal hidden zipper pocket
Pros: If you like to add a quick hike to all vacations, or like to keep hiking equipment on you just in case you come upon a trail, you’ll love the Geckobrands Waterproof Dry Bag. Super thin, lightweight material can be folded into a super-small, compact shape for easy storage in a car, pocket of your bag, or luggage.
Cons: This Geckobrands backpack is great for a quick day trip, but if you need to carry anything heavy, this isn’t the pack for you.
Suitable for use in virtually any weather conditions, the Platinum Sun Dry Bag is one of the most versatile day packs currently available. Large enough to carry the necessities for several days of hard hiking but lightweight enough to be worn comfortably while hiking, climbing, or even surfing, this is a great in-between bag that will do anything you ask of it. Featuring an attractive black and yellow design plus superior waterproofing for such an affordable pack, you can’t go wrong with the Platinum Sun Dry Bag.
- 30-liter capacity
- 2.65 lbs.
- 500D PVC
- Dual chest and waist straps
- Netting side pockets
- Roll-top closure
Pros: Designed to be ‘weatherproof’ in addition to being waterproof, the Platinum Sun Dry Bag is perfect for nature lovers that take on every season. Bring this pack with you on ski trips through the mountains, hikes through the forest, or for long journeys in harsh and variable conditions.
Cons: Because the Platinum Sun Dry Bag is designed to keep your items as safe as possible, it can be a little difficult to get at items quickly. Excellent for carrying items long distances and keeping things dry in all conditions, this isn’t the bag you want if you are constantly snacking or grabbing items during your hikes.
Best Waterproof Backpacking Packs
Whether you are planning an overnight camping trip or a multi-day hike on your favorite trails, you need a good waterproof backpacking pack to keep your supplies dry and safe. Backpacking packs are designed to carry all the supplies you’ll need on the trail, which could include extra clothes, emergency supplies, food, first aid, and more without causing you physical strain.
You’ll often find in your search that these packs have built in raincovers for when the weather rolls in. You can also purchase rain-covers separate if necessary. So if you find a perfect pack that isn’t waterproof, you do have the option of purchasing a raincover to utilize that pack with.
Here are our top picks for waterproof backpacking packs:
TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
Teton makes affordable equipment that is extremely durable. You often have to pay double or triple for what you get with Teton’s gear. Even as avid backpackers, we often use Teton for our backpacking trips. They make big bags out of durable materials that contain some really awesome features. This pack is durable, contains a built in rainfly, and tons of awesome features.
- 65 Liters
- Multiple adjustment points for various sized hikers
- Incredibly use-full side pockets
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Tons of straps for easy addition of gear
Pros: Affordable, durable, large capacity, and super great features.
Cons: This pack is going to be a touch heavier than more expensive packs, and it doesn’t have the same cushioning or soft materials for extreme comfort like other bags out there.
These are some of the top of the line backpacking packs out there. We chose one for men, and one for women for you. Osprey is known for making extremely well designed and comfortable backpacking packs. Many hikers will swear by them and only go with Osprey. An Osprey pack will be durable, versatile, and comfortable.
- Ventilated back panel for comfort
- 65 liter capacity
- Integrated rain cover for waterproofing.
- Sleeping pad straps
- Internal hydration pack sleeves
Pros: This is going to be one of the most comfortable packs on the market.
Cons: Not much external storage, so you have to open the bag every-time you want to access most items.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Porter
Hyperlite makes some of the best gear around. It is high quality, lightweight, made from 100% waterproof Dyneema, and made in the US. This is perfect for a 1-4 day trip.
- 40 Liters
- Only 1.9 pounds
- 40 Pound carrying capacity
Pros: Extremely lightweight and well manufactured.
Cons: This is an expensive bag and doesn’t have a ton of features for weight saving reasons.
If you are new to backpacking or aren’t sure if you can handle an extra-large pack just yet, a backpack like the Diamond Candy Hiking Backpack is the perfect choice for you. Featuring an ample 40-liter capacity, tons of pockets, and additional straps for carrying extra camping gear, this backpack has space for everything you need without weighing you down. Featuring all the features you could want from a quality backpacking pack, the Diamond Candy Hiking Backpack is sold for a surprisingly affordable price. This is ideal for those short 1-3 day backpacking trips.
- 40-liter capacity
- 2.43 lbs.
- Bottom straps
- Chest and waist straps
- Rain cover
- 4 large compartments
- Side pockets
Pros: Able to fill the void between lightweight day packs and super heavy-duty travel packs, the Diamond Candy Hiking Backpack is the perfect balance of spacious and compact. Fit everything you need without worrying about finding a place for it while still enjoying easy toting and comfortable carrying throughout your hike.
Cons: Not the most durable pack on our list, this option will serve you well for a season or two, but won’t be able to withstand extended use.
A pack that looks more like a traditional backpack than most fully waterproof packs, the Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 gives you all the water-damage prevention you desire combined with the padded comfort of a typical hiking pack. Multiple compartments plus additional fasteners and straps to keep your bag extra-secure give this bag an extra dose of functionality, and padded shoulders, back, and waist help to keep this pack as comfortable as possible. Another pack ideal for 1-3 day adventures.
- 40-liter capacity
- 1.5 lbs.
- Waist strap
- Waterproof map pouch
- Heat-welded seams
- Watertight PVC
- Large internal compartment + laptop sleeve
- Side pockets
- Padded back panel
Pros: Featuring heat-welded seams and super-durable double UV coasted tarpaulin PVC, this bag has some of the coolest waterproofing tech out there!
Cons: Although the Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 is super-waterproof and an excellent option for shorter backpacking trips, this pack is more expensive than other similar 40-liter bags. So, if you need something on a budget, look elsewhere!
Best Waterproof Travel Packs
When a weekend or a few days of hiking just won’t cut it and your wanderlust calls for a more extended vacation, you need a travel backpack to keep you organized throughout your journey. Travel packs are extra-large to carry enough supplies for weeks or months of travel, have a flexible design that allows you to pack however you want to, and feature superior durability to last all the bumps it’ll experience along the road. Here are our favorite waterproof travel packs:
Designed to keep everything you need in arm’s reach, the TOPSKY Electron travel pack is an absolute workhorse of a backpack. Large interior compartments, auxiliary pockets, and secret zippers help to keep every item you need safe while on the road, no matter how far you have to travel. What makes this bag really unique is that it can expand by 10-liters to accommodate the things you pick up during your travels. This will be a great backpacking or large travel pack.
- 70-liter capacity
- 4.5 lbs
- Tear-proof nylon
- Cushioned waist strap with pocket
- Drawstring closure
- Extra hanging system
- Tons of pockets
- Rain cover
Pros: The TOPSKY Electron features tons of space for storage with more than 10 internal pockets and compartments. To carry extra items, the Electron also features an extensive hanging system to attach camping gear, shoes, jackets, and other items to your bag.
Cons: If you have limited experience putting together and organizing a travel pack, the TOPSKY Electron may be difficult to use. Packs like these require exceptional organization and a little time to learn exactly where everything should go, so this bag is for experienced travelers and hikers rather than newbies.
Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack
Whether you choose an understated black or a bright yellow to adorn your Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack will stand out on the trail. Featuring tons of space (up to 120-liters) and adjustable/removable straps to attach this bag to yourself or anything else, this waterproof pack is super versatile and can work for long-journeys in various climates. Reinforce laminated fabric and welded seams provide additional waterproofing, so you can even trust this bag to float down a river on its own without your items getting wet. There are various capacity sizes available.
Price: $169.95 – $269.95
- 120-liter capacity
- 3 lbs. 15 oz.
- Fail-safe aluminum buckles
- TPU-laminated nylon
- Removable harness
- Waist strap
Pros: Packs that float are typically made smaller, useful for day trips and short boating adventures. The Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack not only floats, is fully waterproof, and can withstand weather conditions at varying temperatures, but also holds up to 120 liters so you can bring everything you need on your journey.
Cons: Although the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pack is large enough to fit anything you may need on the trail, this pack is best for people that like to pack everything in one compartment, and doesn’t offer much in the way of internal organization or security.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Prism Pack
Ideal for mountain climbers, winter hikers, and snow-enthusiasts, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Prism Pack is a super-lightweight backpack that features tons of pockets, zippers, fasteners, and adjustable straps for added comfort. Carry everything you need and more in this pack, then empty it and fold it down small to store your pack until your next adventure. Bring on your next journey to the alps, your next month-long ski adventure, or your next trip to a cold, damp region.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear is known for providing the most top notch backpacking and adventure gear in the world. You’ll have the gear that many of the best in the world use if you invest in gear from this company.
- 40-liter capacity
- 1.82 lbs
- Adjustable sternum and waist straps
- Exterior daisy chains and fasteners
- Side pockets
- Weight distributing padding
- Sealed seams
Pros: Designed for hikers, skiers, and mountain climbers, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Prism Pack is so lightweight, you will barely feel it at all. Able to hold up to 40-liters with ease and built to be extremely durable, you’ll love how easy this pack makes it to bring everything you need on the trail.
Cons: Only available in a bright, snow-compatible white, this pack can easily become dirty after weeks of travel, and is best suited for snowy conditions rather than dirt, mud, or rain.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about