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Protect your belongings with the best waterproof backpacks for rafting and kayaking

Mar 26, 2023Mar 26, 2023

Protect your belongings with the best waterproof backpacks for rafting and kayaking

by: Kevin Luna, BestReviews Staff

Posted: May 31, 2023 / 09:16 AM CDT

Updated: May 31, 2023 / 09:16 AM CDT


Rafting and kayaking are exhilarating summer activities, but it's crucial to be well-prepared. Before you go, you need somewhere secure and waterproof to store your items. That's where a waterproof backpack comes in handy. Take one with you so you don't worry about your stuff getting damaged by the elements.

Although kayaking and rafting aren't considered extreme sports, there's a high chance of getting wet, even if it's a few splashes. While you can store your stuff in a traditional backpack, most aren't equipped to keep out water. A waterproof bag has a tough exterior, plenty of padding inside, and protects your personal belongings.

Many bags protect your stuff against sand, dust and other debris, so you can take them with you on your outdoor adventures. Most waterproof backpacks are versatile enough for various activities such as hiking, climbing and going to the beach.

It depends on how much stuff you want to bring with you. If you’re going to store food containers and items such as clothing and portable speakers, a bag with a 20-liter capacity or more is ideal. However, the larger the bag, the bulkier and more inconvenient it is to lug around. If you prefer to travel light, take a minimalist approach and pack a few essential items in a smaller, lightweight backpack.

Water-resistant and waterproof are distinct, so it's important to know the difference.

If you’re unsure how waterproof a backpack is, check its Ingress Protection rating. For example, an IP rating of IPX7 means it isn't tested for dust protection but is submergible in one meter of water for half an hour.

Many waterproof backpacks are oversized so they can hold more. However, it can be uncomfortable to lug around a large bag. It's crucial to ensure that the shoulder straps and the back have padding and soft cushioning. Ergonomically designed backpacks have a front sternum strap that helps your body gain more leverage against the bag. This means improved support and less strain on your lower back.

Zipper pockets can be helpful for organizing. The best waterproof backpacks have two or three. Here, you can safely store personal items such as your glasses, phone, watch, GPS, weather radio and gloves.

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack

This dry bag has an adjustable shoulder strap and a sternum strap for added support. It has an IPX8 rating, meaning it's submergible under 1 meter of water for up to half an hour. It comes with a waterproof phone case.

Sold by Amazon

Heeta Waterproof Dry Backpack

Made with 0.2-millimeter-thick waterproof fabric, this dry bag will suit all your rafting and kayaking needs. It has a transparent design to locate your valuables without fumbling inside the bag. It has a comfortable shoulder strap and a top handle that make it easy to lug around.

Sold by Amazon

Idrybag Waterproof Dry Bag Dry Sack

This backpack is available in 20-liter, 30-liter and 40-liter sizes. It uses heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride for a waterproof build. It's reinforced at all pressure points to help prevent wear and tear, and it has a reflective strip to boost visibility.

Sold by Amazon

Geckobrands Endeavor Waterproof Backpack

This lightweight backpack has plenty of interior and exterior pockets to store your things. It comes in a stylish ocean or gray design. It has a Teflon-coated interior for superior durability and is resistant to rain, light water splashes, dust, snow and sand.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

Field & Stream Waterproof 30-liter Daypack

Gear up for your next rafting or kayaking adventure with this premium backpack. It has adjustable straps and a padded back for extra comfort. There's a removable pouch where you can store valuables such as phones, jewelry, watches and other accessories.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

Black Diamond Creek Transit 22-liter Backpack

Although it's designed for climbing, this backpack works great for rafting, canoeing and kayaking. The exterior uses waterproof nylon, and the interior has an array of zippered pockets for safely storing small items.

Sold by Backcountry

Cyclone 32-liter Roll-Top Backpack

Pack all your essentials in this oversized 32-liter backpack. It's made for surfing but versatile enough for rafting and kayaking, thanks to its durable build. The roll-top closure prevents water from getting in. The ergonomic shoulder straps provide all-day comfort.

Sold by Backcountry

The North Face Basin 36-liter Backpack

Since it's designed for hiking, this backpack is not waterproof. However, it uses durable nylon and has a polymer coating for water resistance, making it a suitable bag for rafting or kayaking.

Sold by Backcountry

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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