Our Favorite Waterproof Backpacks for Travel and School

We all know that carrying your laptop in your backpack can be risky if it rains. If you’re anything at all like me, you’ve been caught in a few rainstorms, risking everything you carried. For me, rain generally resulted in the destruction of most of the textbooks I happened to be carrying at the time. I didn’t have a water-proof bag then, although I’ve since graduated to one. I didn’t dare take my computer with me when I left the house unless I had it wrapped up in plastic to help keep it safe from the elements. More often than not, my computer would stay home, unless I really needed it.

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It wasn’t just my laptop or textbooks at risk though, it was anything I chose to carry, which usually involved a change of clothes, snacks, pretty much anything that I would need for school and for work. I needed to protect my stuff somehow, so I was always using plastic bags to keep everything separate and dry. I can tell you, plastic bags do not work as well as I would have liked. Even a small hole meant the water was getting in, no matter what I did.

Thankfully, now I have a water-proof bag, making it so much easier to go where I need to without having to worry about getting my belongings soaked if there’s a sudden downpour. Read on to find out which bags have made our list.

Best Water-Resistant Backpacks and Rucksacks Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon:

  1. COR Waterproof Dry Bag Review
  2. Lululemon Everywhere Backpack Review
  3. Fjallraven-Kanken Classic Pack Review
  4. Patagonia Black Hole Pack Review
  5. Herschel Supply Co. Barlow Trail Backpack Review
  6. Oakley Men’s Blade Wet Dry 30 Backpack Review
  7. Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Backpack Review
  8. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack Review

1. COR Waterproof Day Bag Review

[amazon fields=”B019053ZT8″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019053ZT8?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors.

Let’s face it, if you are outside a lot, hiking or camping, you’re going to need a good bag. This one is perfect for being out on the trails. Also, being out hiking means you’re more than likely to get rained on at some point and besides, who doesn’t need a bag that floats if you drop it in water? That is one of the coolest features this has.

Some specs

  • It has a roll-top closure
  • This one is 100% waterproof
  • It has a large splash-proof zippered front pocket

More notable features

  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Ergonomic padded back panel
  • Extra-large side pouch fits a large hydra-flask
  • A large internal zip side pocket with a window
  • Reflective patches on front, back, and both shoulder straps

This bag is a great addition to your hiking gear, so if you’re in need of a new one, this is a perfect choice. With all the room and the option for two different sizes available, you really can’t go wrong. Plus knowing that if you happen to drop it in a river it’s not going to sink is pretty cool. You’ll have to catch it, of course, but it’s still pretty cool that it floats. I’m enthralled with that feature.


2. Lululemon Everywhere Backpack Review

[amazon fields=”B07917MLL8″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07917MLL8?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • It’s water repellent
  • Made from durable, wipe clean fabric

Who should buy it?

  • Women looking for a cute backpack to carry around

This bag is perfect for those women who need the extra space that a backpack can provide without sacrificing style. It’s cute and fully functional, making it a great option. It comes in more than one color too, which is great.

Some specs

  • It has a padded pocket large enough for a 15″ laptop.
  • There’s a front slip pocket for a cell phone

More notable features

  • Water bottle pocket
  • Sweaty gear pocket
  • Dimensions are 11.5 by 6 by 16.5 inches
  • 17 Liter volume

This pack is great for the ladies. They’re cute and still highly functional. There’s room for a decent-sized laptop, which is always a good thing. They come in a variety of colors as well, so have a look before you choose the one you want. The sweaty gear pocket is a nice addition for those who are into working out. No one wants to leave their wet, smelly gym clothes in the main pocket of their bag where it can make everything else smell too. It’s a great feature found in many of Lululemon’s bags now. Plus, if the exterior gets dirty, you can just wipe it down with a damp cloth and the dirt just slides off. It’s super easy to clean that way, and if it rains, your gear still stays dry.


3. Fjallraven-Kanken Classic Pack Review

[amazon fields=”B074GFFK85″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B074GFFK85?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • The classic design
  • That it’s dirt and water resistant

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone looking for a classic yet functional bag

This company has been making bags since 1978. These have a classic design, appealing to many different kinds of people. If you need a water-resistant daypack without sacrificing style, this one is for you.

Some specs

  • Made from Vinylon F
  • Can be wiped clean
  • Has a sleeve that can fit a 15″ laptop

More notable features

  • Dimensions 15 by 10.6 by 5.1 inches
  • 16 Liter volume
  • Two-way zipper and rain flip
  • Front zipper compartment and 2 side pockets
  • Adjustable ergonomic shoulder straps in “X” design
  • Dual top snap handles
  • Comes in multiple colors

If you want something more classic, this would be your best choice. There are so many colors and patterns that you may find it difficult to choose just one. These babies are super popular right now and can be used for many activities, including a daypack for your daily commute or a rucksack for a day-long hike. It’s a good-sized bag and is great whether you are a student that has classes to attend, or you have weekend plans as well. The versatility is one of the best things about this bag. The water-proof nature is just one more bonus in a long list of bonuses.


4. Patagonia Black Hole Pack Review

[amazon fields=”B078T53F4L” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B078T53F4L?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • The highly weather-proof laminate with durable water repellent finish
  • The light-weight and strong polyester material

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone wanting a truly water-proof bag.

With the laminate and the polyester combined, this backpack is unstoppable. It will keep your belongings dry in more than just the occasional rainstorm. Carrying your laptop in here won’t even phase you since it will be double-protected. Whether you’re taking books or a computer, or even just using it as an overnight bag, you’ll be able to relax, knowing all your gear is staying super dry.

Some specs

  • It has an easy-access main compartment
  • There’s a padded sleeve for 15″ laptop
  • A zippered top pocket

More notable features

  • Dimensions 50cm by 14cm
  • Heavy-duty molded back panel
  • Padded harness and sternum strap
  • Top-loading

This backpack is fantastic. It comes in a range of colors and is perfect for hiking or a long commute. Carrying it around will make you feel great because this bag is just that awesome. You really can’t go wrong with this one.


5. Herschel Supply Co. Barlow Trail Backpack Review

[amazon fields=”B01N20P4RC” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N20P4RC?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • It’s made from 210D Nailhead Dobby nylon
  • It has premium reinforced base panels

Who should buy it?

  • Someone looking for a strong rucksack that they can take anywhere

This carry bag is one of our favorites. If you are looking for a security with lots of features, this one is a great option for you.

Some specs

  • The laptop sleeve holds 13″ computer
  • It has a key clip and neoprene keychain sleeve
  • There’s an internal multi-loop webbing strap

More notable features

  • Draw-cord closure with storm flap and clip
  • Dual external micro-mesh pockets for water bottles
  • Hidden zippered storage sleeve
  • Contoured shoulder straps with adjustable sternum strap

This Herschel is the first of two designs on our list. It’s great for everyday use, and you can’t go wrong with this quality. This brand is popular with college students everywhere, so if you want an option that helps you to feel younger or lets you fit in with the crowd, this is the right choice for you.


[amazon fields=”B017Q69L46″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Q69L46?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • It’s a decent size
  • It’s resistant to saltwater

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone looking for a good bag to have around the ocean

Not all outdoorsy people hike in the woods in the middle of the country, and if you’re one that likes to spend time by the ocean, then this is a good option for you. Being saltwater resistant is fantastic, and this bag will be a great addition to your outdoor gear.

Some specs

  •  100% polyester inside and out
  • Zipper closure
  • Dimensions 20 inches by 13 inches

More notable features

  • Comes in 3 colors
  • laptop sleeve fits 15″ computer
  • 7 slip pockets
  • 6 exterior pockets

This backpack is a great one too. Take it along for hiking or swimming adventures. It’s also great for around town, making it the perfect choice for going on any outings straight from work or school. A good-sized pocket fits your laptop and the polyester lining helps to keep it nice and dry in the rain and keeps out the humidity on warm days near the water.


7. Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Review

[amazon fields=”B011U0L1SI” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011U0L1SI?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • The size is great

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone looking for a good, mid-sized daypack

This one is great for anyone wanting a decent sized bag without feeling like they’re weighted down with something heavy.

Some specs

  • It has a mesh organizer
  • The signature striped lining
  • It’s got a padded and fleece lined 13″ laptop pocket
  • Dimensions 16.25 by 11.25 by 4.25 inches
  • Volume 15.5 Liters

More notable features

  • Internal zippered pocket
  • Front pocket with key clip
  • External pocket with organizer
  • Waterproof, zipper-detailed front storage pocket

This is our second Herschel on the list. It’s a great size, with room for a smaller laptop in a padded fleece pocket. You’ll know your computer is safe when you carry it in this bag. The mesh organizer is a fantastic extra that you can use to stash things like your keys, extra cash in case you need it, and any other little bits and pieces you might need a place for.


8. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack Review

[amazon fields=”B00M480ON4″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_link=”http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M480ON4?tag=lolw-general-20″ image_class=”ais350″]

What we liked

  • It’s the top rated bag we reviewed
  • Made from 630D Oxford nylon

Who should buy it?

  • Anyone looking for a tough and rugged bag for their daily commute

This bag is tough and ready for your day. If you’re looking for something that looks good and is fully functional, this is would be a great choice for you.

Some specs

  • It’s waterproof
  • It has a roll-top closure
  • It’s got incognito back zip access

More notable features

  • Designed exclusively for Apple.
  • Custom-fit strap design for a better fit
  • Laptop compartment fits a 15″ MacBook
  • Separate pocket for IPad
  • Ventilated back panel

This backpack is the bomb! I’m loving the roll-top on this one, it looks great and closes tightly. It comes highly recommended and rounds out our list well. If you want the ultimate in waterproof backpacks, this one is for you. You can’t go wrong with this one, especially if you’re an Apple fan. This bag is specific for Apple products, ensuring they don’t rattle around as you move. These are the best choice for carrying around that MacBook.


Top Features Buyers Look For:

All Weather

One of the traits buyers are looking for more and more is weather-proofing. So many people are carrying around electronics, like their laptops and tablets, that it’s now almost essential to have a pack that will protect them from the rain. That said, rain isn’t the only hazard either, people are looking for options that are dust and dirt-proof. Most of the backpacks we looked at can just be wiped down with a damp cloth to clean the dust off them. This is a handy feature that keeps your bag looking its best and also keeps your electronics safe and dry at the same time.

Bag Closure Style

There are several popular closure styles. Most are still a zipper close, usually with double zippers and a rain flap to cover the seams and keep everything inside the backpack nice and dry. Some companies are using other styles as well. One type featured on our list is a bag that closes with a drawstring but has a heavy duty flap that covers the entire top, keeping the weather elements out. Another one is the roll-top. This is becoming a much more popular method of closing a rucksack, keeping everything nice and dry. In fact, one of the bags on our list has a roll-top and it floats if you drop it in water! Quite the invention. Another feature with the roll-top is the ability to access the interior without having to undo the whole pack. Just open the zipper and you can reach whatever you need. I am really loving these myself. I think it looks great and the hidden zippers are a great idea for gaining access when you’re on the go without having to unroll the whole thing.

Fits Into Another Bag

One thing that many hikers and campers will be looking for is whether or not these bags can be compressed or folded up to fit inside another bag. For some of these, the answer will be yes. For others, you won’t be able to. Some of these are built to be the primary carry bag, while others are great to roll up and stuff into a larger one. It will depend heavily on where or not these have a padded back or a padded laptop sleeve.


How well organized are these? Many buyers are going to be looking for options that are organized with lots of pockets. Some will only be interested in a compartment that has sleeves inside it. Either way, there has to be some sort of organization to the backpacks. Many of these have special pockets on the front, giving them easier access. Some have water bottle pouches on the sides, making it easier to reach them while you’re on the go. There are as many ways to be organized as there are bags on this list, so if this is important to you, you should be able to find a bag that suits you perfectly.


Most of these backpacks are made of either a water-resistant nylon or polyester. Some of them are coated to make them even more water-proof. Nylon is a tough material and can withstand a lot of abuse before it tears. This is a good thing, as an everyday pack can be subjected to a high level of stress or wear and tear, even if all you’re doing is walking around your city. When you are choosing a new bag, look for heavy-duty ripstop nylon, as this will be the strongest and most tear-resistant. Besides, no one wants to be replacing their bags every season, simply because they can’t withstand heavy usage.


Size is always of concern when you’re shopping for a new backpack or rucksack. You want one big enough to hold everything you need, of course. Do you really need to get the biggest one though? The bags in our review today are a variety of sizes, and all can carry a laptop or tablet. Do you need lots of room for clothing and supplies? Are you carrying textbooks? All these things need to be considered when buying a new pack. Getting a bag that’s too small won’t be of use, but if it’s too big it’s just going to hang loose and look funny, so make sure you’re getting the right size for your needs.


Appearance may be the last on the list, but it is still the first thing that people consider when making a new purchase. You will be attracted to a bag first based on how it looks. You want one that looks good and suits you. The rest of the features are typically considered only after a person decides that they like the way it looks. Appearance is what drives us to pull a bag off a shelf, or causes us to click on it when we see it online. Whether we are going out around town or headed for the hills, it’s most likely that we will choose a rucksack that we feel looks good on us or suits our style. Whether choosing based on appearance is superficial or not, it is the biggest driving force behind making a purchase. Remember, if you don’t like it, you probably won’t use it.

Final Thoughts

Okay, that’s it for this review. Here are a few things you should take into consideration before you go and buy a new waterproof backpack:

  • Is it the right size for what you need?
  • Will you be carrying your laptop with you?
  • Are you expecting to be outside with your bag in inclement weather?
  • Do you have a preference for the way it closes?
  • Do you like the overall design?
  • What is your price range?

Hope you found this article helpful, and as always, if you have questions feel free to email us

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Scott Moey

Based in Brooklyn, New York, entrepreneur and philanthropist Scott Moey lives a wild life as an adventurer, explorer and traveller. He blogs about his love for the outdoors on LiveOnceLiveWild.com.

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