Have you ever opened your backpack after a couple of hours in the rain only to find you gear wet just enough to ruin your day? Whether this happens on the commute to work, in a kayak or while hiking, it is always quite upsetting. Dry backpacks are an awesome solution, but with so many to choose from, it can be a real challenge to choose the best waterproof roll top backpack!
A good dry roll top backpack should be big enough to carry a day worth of gear for a kayaking trip or a laptop and some other essentials that you might need at work. It should be made of a durable material that will last a while and be designed in a way that makes your life easier. If you are wondering where to find this unicorn, look no further!
In this article, we wanted to present to you what we consider to be the best waterproof roll-top backpacks on the market at the moment. We want to make sure you get the best product for your hard earned money, so we feature some well-known brands and some new players on the market. So put your feet up and relax, we got you covered!
Our Top Picks
BackSak Waterproof Backpack
|35 L||500D PVC||Approx. 2 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|COR Board Racks Waterproof Dry Bag||25 L and 40 L||500D PVC Tarpaulin||3 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|Aqua Quest Rio 40L Pro||40 L||420D Ripstop||1.9 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|SKORCH Original Dry Backpack||30 L||PVC mesh||1.9 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|Bovida Gear Rolltop Backpack||40 L||Tarpaulin||2 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|LuckRoute Waterproof Dry Backpack||20 L||500D PVC||1.85 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
|Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpackxt||22 L||500 PVC Tarpaulin||1 pound||Check price on Amazon|
|The Friendly Swede Dry Bag Backpack||33 L||500D Polyvinyl Tarpaulin||2.2 pounds||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
When looking for a good waterproof backpack there are many things to consider. Apart from the materials, you should keep in mind your lifestyle, the design of the pack, and some additional features that will make your life easier. We’ve put together a list of things to think about so you can choose the right fit for your needs.
You decided a dry roll top backpack would significantly improve your lifestyle. Which one to get is a big question and it starts with a simple thought: what do you need it for? Before diving into exploring all the specific features, you need to decide if you only need it to commute to work or if you have more adventurous, outdoorsy needs to fulfill.
If the problem we are solving is keeping your laptop and documents safe and dry on the way to and from work, you might want to look for one that has a good design of the shoulder straps and maybe a laptop sleeve. If you are a looking for a daypack for your kayaking trips, check out those that are big enough to store all your gear and food.
Maybe you need a backpack that will be useful during the week and on the weekend adventures – check out those that look good enough for the office life but are also big enough for your sports needs. It might seem like the majority of dry backpacks will fit a variety of needs you have, and this is true to a certain degree. However, if you have a specific need in mind, recognizing that and shopping for it will make the process of choosing the right product much easier.
The name “dry” backpack suggests that the material used to make it will protect your belongings from weather and elements. As you can see in the table above, the majority of products featured are made of a 500D PVC material, maybe from Tarpaulin. A question occurs: what does 500D stand for and what is Tarpaulin?
The label “500D” refers to a 500-Denier material. Denier is a unit to explain the linear density of fibers. To put it simply, a 100-denier yarn is finer than a 150-denier one. The higher the number, the heavier the fabric is. To protect your belongings, you want your backpack to be made of a material that is tough enough to withstand some rough handling, especially in the great outdoors.
Tarpaulin stands for a cloth material (different types) coated with polyurethane. There are further classifications to define what kind of tarpaulin is used. Anyhow, to choose a dry backpack it is a good sign that the material used is made and/or treated in a way that will make it very water resistant or even waterproof.
To reason majority of dry bags and backpacks are made of some sort 500D Tarpaulin or PVC material is that this density is a good compromise between toughness and stiffness. Higher numbers are tougher but also harder to handle. The products you will read about in this article are all thick enough to protect your gear but they aren’t heavy or stiff to the point where you would struggle to use them.
The market offers dry backpacks in all possible sizes, but the ones we consider the most useful range between 20 and 40 liters. These are big enough to store a laptop, a day worth of gear for a trip but can also be used as part of a bigger group of dry packs. This is one of the most versatile sizes on the market.
If you ever looked at classic backpacks you could see that daypacks range between 15 and 30 liters, and if you needed one for traveling you would go for 50-65 liter one. So you can see that a backpack in 20 to 40 liters range will be able to fit most of the people’s needs.
We already talked about your lifestyle. This is where padding comes in as well. If you plan to carry your dry backpack for hours on a hiking trip, you need ample back support and well-designed shoulder straps to avoid hurting yourself.
If the main purpose of this dry backpack will be to be strapped down in your canoe or kayak, straps and padding aren’t that important. Padding seems like it isn’t such an important feature of a dry backpack but we disagree. If you plan to hike in a wet environment such as PNW you will appreciate well designed back support while keeping your gear dry.
Extra Design Features
As with all the other gear on the market, the producers are working really hard to satisfy a wide range of users and that results in interesting, sometimes useless additional design features. Making sure that extra design features are in fact, making your life easier, was one of the criteria upon which we choose the products to feature.
We appreciate a nice side mesh pocket to store away a water bottle but have it easily accessible. It can get wet, so if you stand in a river up to your ribcage, water needs to flow away and mesh material is a good solution.
For those who need to store a laptop or some folders as well, we though a laptop compartment or case is a good feature to have. It will eliminate the need to have your laptop packed away in another case and thus eliminate some of the weight. it is also useful to store maps, guidebooks and similar objects on your outdoor adventure.
Most dry backpacks also have some sort of organization solution. It can be hard to keep things organized, so an additional pocket you can access from outside is a good place to store your keys, lip balm, sunscreen – small objects you might need. However, there is usually a compromise that needs to be made regarding water resistance, as zippers will definitely let in some water over time.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Below, you can find a list of eight interesting dry roll top backpack we thought you might find useful and enjoy reading about.
Såk Gear BackSak Waterproof Backpack
Weight: Approx. 2 pounds
Specific features: Padded back support, cushioned straps, D rings at sides, 2 zippered protected pockets, reflective patch and trim
Best use: Water, snow sports, and camping
It doesn’t really matter if you are an avid kayaker, snowboarder or weekend warrior – you will all love this Såk Gear BackSak Waterproof Backpack. It is made of very durable 500 Denier PVC material which is an industry favorite. The seams are welded and the material is basically a vinyl-coated woven polyester.
There are plenty of interesting features that make this backpack a good candidate for you. The back is padded and the adjustable straps are cushioned for added comfort. There are two options for secure closure: the adjustable side clips and a top clip.
The additional inner zip pocket makes it easy to separately store dry and wet stuff. On the outside, there is a splash-proof zippered pocket to store small items like keys, ID or cards. You also have D rings at the side of the backpack to hold a water bottle or other items you want to reach easily.
This is a very multi-functional backpack that can be used beyond sporting activities. The safety reflective trim and patch make it a good option for everyday use while commuting to work and/or school. It isn’t the best option to take out on a multi-day hiking trip because the back support isn’t strong enough but it will perform great as a water sports daypack.
- Well made
- Roomy and comfortable
- Not appropriate for multi-day hiking
- Straps might wear out too quickly
Related: Big dry bags and backpacks can be a mess when trying to organize and pack neatly. To solve this problem, we suggest this Mudder Waterproof Bags Pouch that can be used for your tech or any other items you want double protected in case the dry bag fails.
COR Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
Weight: 3 pounds
Specific features: Interior padded laptop sleeve, water-resistant front zipper, air mesh padded back panel, and reflective patches
Best use: Travel and watersports
This COR Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack is perfect for everyone who travels a lot and enjoys watersports in their free time. If you want to have a waterproof backpack that can handle different situations like these, look no further. At 40 L it is big enough to contain multiple days of travel or all the gear and snacks for a day out on the water.
The interior features a padded laptop sleeve so you can use it for work as well. The front zipper is water resistant, so it will protect from outside weather such as rain, dust, and wind. The actual bag is made of 500D PVC Tarpaulin, which is among the strongest materials for backpacks.
Back panel and adjustable straps are padded; the back also has air mesh so this is a really comfortable backpack that would perform well on hikes as well. There are several reflective patches on front and shoulder straps so you are seen in the dusk and dark when cycling home from work.
Lots of people love it for its durability, good performance on kayaking, canoeing and rafting trips. You can submerge it if needed; your stuff will stay safe. However, the straps can come loose and break. So, if you know already that you need a truly heavy-duty backpack, maybe give in another thought.
- Good option for traveling
- Great back support
- Reflective patches
- Durability of straps
- Front zipper pouch might leak
Related: Having a great travel backpack is a good way to make your travel easier. To make it even more comfortable we suggest this Kikkerland Zip & Flip Bear Pillow. This adorable little whale folds out to form a simple C shape travel pillow and when at your destination, you can simply fold it together. Also works great as a conversation starter.
Aqua Quest Rio Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
Weight: 1.9 pounds
Specific features: DWR coating, heat taped seams, hip straps with zip pockets, foam backplate and adjustable shoulder straps
Best use: Travel and multisport
If all you need is a good backpack but also have it waterproof, this Aqua Quest Rio Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack is the right option for you. It is made of 420D RipStop fabric that is resistant to abrasion so it can handle some rough treatment. Stress points of the pack are double bar-tacked for reinforcement.
This backpack is a good travel solution – 40 L is enough to carry essentials and gear for a week (or more if you travel light). In the front, you have a water resistant zip pocket for items you need quick access to. This pocket is also fully reflective so you will be safe and can make yourself more visible to others, for example in traffic.
As we mentioned before, the pack is made of RipStop fabric. However, it doesn’t stop here – the fabric is coated twice with Thermoplastic PolyUrethane and finished off with DWR treatment. This ensures lightweight material that can sustain everyday and travel use but also some more serious hiking or another outdoor adventuring.
People used this bag for month-long travel, everyday use, biking to work, and motorbike trips… It performed exceptionally well in all of those situations. If you are an adventurer, this could be a nice solution for you. However, if you are looking for a more serious travel backpack, this one might not fit all the needs you have.
- Very comfortable
- Too small for traveling/backpacking
- Price performance – among more expensive ones
Related: To make sure you are able to pack up all the gear you need for your adventures but have them all neatly organized, we suggest this Sea to Summit Stuff Sack. It is durable and a favorite in the outdoor industry. Despite its lightweight, the sacks are water resistant. The variety of colors and sizes makes it easy to find things you are looking for.
SKORCH Original Dry Backpack
Weight: 1.9 lbs.
Specific features: Strong PVC mesh material, wide straps, cross elastic in front for storage, 2 sides mesh pockets
Best use: Water sports, skiing, snowboarding
This tough but comfortable SKORCH Original Dry Backpack is all you need if you are looking for a backpack with some additional features that will simply perform well. It is made of strong PVC mesh material that might appear stiff at the beginning, but it is also very sturdy. At 30 L this is a good option for a day out on the water enjoying kayaking, fishing or canoeing.
The straps are wider so that they provide some more comfort. However, this backpack doesn’t have a lot of back padding, so we wouldn’t recommend it for hiking. It has two side mesh pockets to store a water bottle or some gear that can get wet and a front cross elastics to stash away a jacket you don’t need at the moment.
Depending on your needs, you can clip it to the side, and be able to use a top handle to carry the bag around. You can also clip it on top and have some more protection for the gear inside. People appreciate this bag for its toughness, multipurpose use, and ability to protect not only from water but also from sand, mud and any possible bad weather situations.
So, if you are an avid kayaker, love canoes, SUP boards and other water sports this is the perfect bag for you. If you need it for hiking as well, you might be disappointed with this one – look for one with more back padding. But nevertheless, this is still a good option for a variety of other uses as well.
- Practical size
- Wide straps
- Poor back support
- Might have some residual industrial smells
Related: If you love water sports you might want to look into some water shoes. We suggest these EQUICK Water Sports Shoes. They are available in a variety of fun colors and patterns and will satisfy the whole family. No more sand between your toes, sunburns on your feet or slipping around in the canoe.
Bovida Gear Rolltop Backpack
Weight: 2 pounds
Specific features: Padded back, adjustable straps, chest buckle, inner zip pocket, and detachable laptop sleeve
Best use: Work and play
If you are interested in a good-looking multi-purpose waterproof backpack you can take to the office and then for a hike, look no further. This Bovida Gear Rolltop Backpack might solve all your needs at once. At 40 L this is big enough to pack a laptop and everything else you might need for work or school but also gear for a day trip.
It is made of tarpaulin, which is a very durable product that can withhold quite some beating. The idea behind the design is to eliminate all possible points of entry for the water, so there are no outside zippers where this might happen. There is one extra zip pocket, but you can only access it from the inside so that there really is no way for your gear to get wet.
The backpack has padded back support so you can take it hiking as well. It also has adjustable and padded shoulder straps that also have a chest buckle. This way you will be comfortable and wearing the weight properly, so you can avoid unnecessary back or shoulder pain.
The package includes detachable laptop sleeve. You can secure your laptop to the backpack inside when you need it, but it won’t get in the way when you need all the storage you can get for a day out adventuring. The work to play solution is a great way to eliminate unnecessary items from your life.
- Great looking design
- No zippers on the outside
- Work to play purpose
- Detachable laptop sleeve
- Straps might be a problem if riding a bike
- If you are looking for more color, you’ll be disappointed
Related: Since you will be running around all over the place with this backpack, you have to make sure to stay hydrated. We suggest this CamelBak Chute 1L Water Bottle. Simple and functional design available in many interesting colors – this is all you need in a water bottle. It is comfortable to carry and to drink from.
LuckRoute Waterproof Dry Backpack
Weight: 1.85 pounds
Specific features: Smart storage, reflective tape, unique screw-fix-lock, floating
Best use: Watersports
This LuckRoute Waterproof Dry Backpack comes highly recommended by many users. Once you read on, you will understand why. It is made of very tough and durable 500D PVC rucksack vinyl and has fusion welded seams so you know your gear is safe. There are many smart solutions and additions that will make you one happy camper (or kayaker, boater, adventurer…).
For starters, the shoulder straps are removable, so this backpack turns to just a dry bag very easily. The roll-top also has a fixed lock that will hold your rolled part tight and waterproof.
The storage has some really good ideas as well. It comes with an organizer inside a zipper pocket so your most valuable items will be safe and easy to find. You can also attach extra rings and hooks if needed.
The reflective tape is there so you can spot the bag quickly if it falls into the water or if it gets misplaced. It is also there to highlight you in the dark, so you’ll be safe. Due to all the extras and interesting solutions, it seems like this backpack tries really hard to keep your valuables, cameras and other gear dry – and many happy users can confirm that.
- Detachable shoulder straps
- Smart organization in zipper pocket
- Roll top lock
- No back padding
- Shoulder straps not padded
Related: This bag will surely be a crucial part of many adventures, but so should be this Aootek Upgraded 188 Pcs First Aid Survival Kit. No matter what unfortunate situation occurs on your boating, kayaking or rafting trip, you need to be ready for it. This kit features all the things you might need to provide first aid and help when needed.
Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack
Weight: 1 pounds
Specific features: Easy access front pocket, mesh side pocket, padded shoulder straps, high-performance bag
Best use: Water sports and day trips
If you are looking for an innovative, high-performance dry backpack, look no further – this Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack is all you need. It is made of 500D PVC Tarpaulin, which is an industry favorite and you can bet it will keep your gear safe! It is designed with an adventurous and demanding client in mind. The main compartment of the backpack is 100% class 3 waterproof.
There are two side mesh pockets to store your water bottle and a zippered pocket for small items that you want easy access to. Keep in mind that this pocket is not 100% waterproof so make sure to keep only items that can get damp or wet in there.
The straps have an interesting design and are padded to provide maximum comfort and good fit. This way you can even go for a small hike, maybe explore the shore with this backpack. Maintenance is pretty simple – you just need to wipe it clean with a damp cloth and if needed, a bit of soap.
Bottom line – if you need a dry backpack to do what it is supposed to do, this might be a good option. People use it for water sports, days on the beach and even as a work companion where exposure to the elements is an important factor. It is sturdy and at a 20 L perfect size for a daypack.
- Strap design
- Main compartment class 3 waterproof
- Extra pocket not 100% waterproof
- No back padding so not good for longer hikes
Related: To make sure your phone will be safe for you watersport adventure, we suggest this Mpow Universal Waterproof Case. It is see-through so you know what’s going on, and fits most of the newer models of smartphones. The top has a plastic open/close solution and a lanyard attached so you can wear it around your neck while kayaking, paddle boarding or just enjoying time at the beach.
The Friendly Swede Dry Bag Backpack
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Specific features: Reflective stripes on shoulder straps, adjustable and movable chest strap with lock, two side mesh pockets, adjustable waist strap
Best use: Water and snow sports
If you are an avid outdoorsman or woman but also like to travel light, this The Friendly Swede Dry Bag Backpack might be a good solution for you. At 33 L it is big enough to pack all you need for a day on the mountain or in the water. It is also spacious enough so you are able to pack a week worth of travel gear and has a laptop sleeve in case you want to take it to the office.
Like many others, this one is also made of industrial 500D PVC Tarpaulin and has glue welded seams. You can be assured that your backpack will last a while. It is highly water resistant and very heavy duty, so whether you will use it for a motorbike trip, to go to work or go kayaking, it will last perform well.
The design is full of interesting add-ons. The shoulder straps are ergonomic and adjustable, so are chest and waist straps. You can really fit it to your frame if you will carry it for longer periods of time.
The outside features two mesh pockets, reflective stripes, and easy to access emergency survival whistle. It also has an additional zippered pocket which, unfortunately, isn’t 100% waterproof. You can roll the top and close it in a loop or lock it to the sides.
- Ergonomic design
- Organization solutions
- Classic color
- Smart position of reflective stripe
- Zippered pocket not 100% waterproof
- Possible stitching failures
Related: If you want to attach some more gear to the outside of your backpack, we suggest these Gimars 3″ 10 Pcs Aluminum D Ring Carabiners. You can also use them for traveling, camping, hiking, or as organization help. They are available in a variety of bright colors, so you have to smile when you see them.
Buying a good product to fit your outdoor needs is always an investment – not only of your money but also of your time spent educating and learning about the subject. With so many options on the market, the choice can be even harder, since manufacturers are fighting hard for your support. However, we feel confident that we gave you all the information you might need to make a good decision about your new waterproof roll-top backpack.
The most famous category – the price performance – was definitely considered when choosing the products for this article. We believe all the products chosen deliver on this note. There are some brands that have been around for a while and some young innovative companies that want to make your life easier and much more fun.
In case you might feel like we missed a really good product please, do let us know about it in the comments! We appreciate your feedback and are always happy to hear from you!