The Best Waterproof Backpacks and Dry Bags in Australia [2019]


Author: The Adventure Lab Staff

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If you go hiking, walking, or travelling when there’s a chance of rain, you should consider investing in a good quality waterproof backpack. And if your outdoor activities include kayaking, caving, or canyoneering, a dry bag is essential for safely storing and transporting your gear.

In this article we review the best waterproof backpacks and drybags in Australia and discuss the key things you should keep an eye out for when making your selection.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #1 RATED

SEA TO SUMMIT RAPID DRYPACK

  • Withstands extensive wear and tear as well as water
  • Removable waist strap and top handle for when it’s not on your back
  • Padded straps for extra shoulder comfort


PATAGONIA STORMFRONT WATERPROOF BACKPACK

  • Removable shoulder straps
  • Can be used with the Patagonia vest for easy front pocket access
  • Breathable


SEA TO SUMMIT BIG RIVER DRY BAG

  • White interior makes things easier to find
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly 


Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack ? Dry Bag - Premium Quality with Padded Shoulder Straps - Mesh Side Pockets ? Front Pocket. For Hiking Kayaking Paddle Board Boating Skiing Snowboarding

CHAOS READY WATERPROOF BACKPACK

  • Durable, heavy-duty materials
  • Mesh pockets for storage and easy-access items
  • Floats, waterproof, and comes with a lifetime guarantee


CARIBEE TRIDENT WATERPROOF DRY BAG BACKPACK

  • Quick-release side buckles for the roll top
  • Back system includes padded air mesh
  • Utility loops and front zip pocket 

Waterproof Backpack and Dry Bag Buyers Guide

Consider what activities you like doing and where you’ll be going before buying a waterproof backpack or dry bag, along with the following considerations:

Water Resistant, Water-Repellent, or Waterproof

Water resistant materials are alright for light rain showers when cycling to work. They are usually made out of nylon or high-grade polyester. Water resistant fabric stops rain from penetrating, but rain will soak through over time.

Water-repellent packs are ideal for when you plan on spending more time outdoors in contact with water. They are constructed out of a textile fabric containing Polyurethane, Durable Water Repellency, or coated with TPU. These additives ensure the water puddles on top, and doesn’t soak through. The pack zippers will also be waterproof and the seams taped.

If you expect significant water exposure, stick to buying waterproof packs and bags. They are airtight so they float in water and include heavy-duty zippers and welded seams. This is your best bet for protecting expensive devices and cameras. Some styles can convert from a backpack to a dry bag with detachable straps.

Comfort

Key features to look for are a hip belt, chest strap, padded back panel, and padded straps.

Price Range

One of the main factors that will define your purchase is what kind of budget you have. You can find decent waterproof backpacks and dry bags for under $50, and some outstanding ones for over the $100 price point.

Capacity

You know what you need to carry with you, but remember you might also pick up a few things along the way. If you’re in the market for a commuters daypack, you may need enough space for work stuff and a padded laptop sleeve to store your device safely.

If you plan on using your pack for camping or watersports, check that every part of the bag is waterproof, and not just the main section - every exterior compartment should ideally waterproof as well. 

Colour

Obviously dark colours don’t show the dirt and bright, light colours are easier to see. If you are traveling to hot climates, it can be a good idea to stay away from dark colours. These attract and absorb the heat which is bad news for electronics.


Waterproof Backpack and Dry Bag reviews

#1 ​Sea to Summit Rapid Drypack

TOP PICK

BUY AT wild earth

This hardy, hefty pack is completely waterproof, spacious enough for all your gear, and comes in blue and yellow colour choices. This is great for when you have to check-in your luggage and want something you can identify quickly on the carousel. The universal (one-size) pack and shoulder harness size is surprisingly comfortable and compact enough to fit in small boat bellies and SUPs.

The main chamber is top-loading and with a roll top closure. Once that’s sealed, it keeps the interior desert dry. If you don’t have time to scratch around for items at the bottom, there’s a zippered pocket compartment for easy-find essentials. The pack also has mesh pockets on the sides for water bottles and a roomy exterior zipper compartment.

Pros
  • Withstands extensive wear and tear as well as water
  • Removable waist strap and top handle for when it’s not on your back
  • Padded straps for extra shoulder comfort                                                    
cons
  • Roll top closure can sag if the pack is not completely full
  • Read instruction manual for how fold the top closed for 100% waterproof effectiveness                                                     

#2 ​​​​Patagonia Stormfront Waterproof Backpack

BUY AT surf stitch

​The Patagonia Stormfront has removable straps that are designed to slot into their convertible vest, but works equally well as a stand-alone item. It’s extremely lightweight, with a mesh lining at the back of the pack that separates the straps.

The 3D mesh permits air to flow across your neck and back, and this allows your shoulders to dry while your pack remains impermeable. It’s this breathability, along with the removable straps that turns the Stormfront into a dry bag, and makes this a stand out waterproof luggage choice.

Pros
  • Removable shoulder straps
  • Can be used with the Patagonia vest for easy front pocket access
  • Breathable                                               
cons
  • High end price
  • Limited colour options Black/Charcoal/Orange                                                     

#3 ​Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag

best value

BUY AT wild earth

​The Big River Dry Bag is a classically designed, old school dry bag that’s perfect for both recreational and advanced watersports. The Big River keeps your gear nice and dry; it’s manufactured from material that repels water and the seams are taped, not welded.

Under prolonged submersion, this bag may allow a small amount of water inside. However, it’s budget-friendly and durable enough to handle regular use.

Pros
  • White interior makes things easier to find
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly                                       
cons
  • May leak under constant submersion
  • No straps for easy handling and carry on                                                         

#4 ​​Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack

Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack ? Dry Bag - Premium Quality with Padded Shoulder Straps - Mesh Side Pockets ? Front Pocket. For Hiking Kayaking Paddle Board Boating Skiing Snowboarding

BUY AT amazon

​This dry bag with backpack capabilities is 100% waterproof. You can throw the worst Melbourne downpour at it or travel in a tropical monsoon, and your electronics will be protected. The Chaos Ready floats, which makes it doubly effective against accidental drops in water.

The high-quality tarpaulin material keeps the bag lightweight and foldable; it’s this compactness that makes it easy to transport and pack. Don’t expect any perforations on this bag, it’s durable and flexible enough to withstand the roughest treatment on the road.

Pros
  • Durable, heavy-duty materials
  • Mesh pockets for storage and easy-access items
  • Floats, waterproof, and comes with a lifetime guarantee                                  
cons
  • Bag bottom sags which makes it fall over from upright
  • Tarpaulin has been known to shred during motorbike accident                                                      

#5 ​​Caribee Trident Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

BUY AT wild earth

​Any adventure becomes more enjoyable when there’s no fear of losing your gear: this includes water damage. In the long run, it’s easier to buy a high-quality waterproof dry bag backpack like the Caribee Trident, then it is to buy waterproof electronics and accessories.

It’s easy to see why travellers love the highly functional and versatile Caribee. It ticks all the dry bag boxes with its TPU-Nylon and heat-welded seams. The roll top opening is easy to fold shut; the padded shoulder straps, sternum strap + back supports make this dry bag backpack super-comfortable to carry.

Pros
  • Quick-release side buckles for the roll top
  • Back system includes padded air mesh
  • Utility loops and front zip pocket        
cons
  • Only comes in black
  • Interior colour makes it hard to locate items                                                       

verdict

Although all the waterproof backpacks and dry bags on this list have the best essential features to make every user happy, take your own requirements into consideration before choosing the right one for you.

Our pick of the bunch is the impressive Sea to Summit Rapid thanks to it's durability and wide range of features.

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