Should You Get a Waterproof Backpack for Kayaking?

People who enjoy watersports can never have enough waterproof equipment. Even if you feel like your arsenal of waterproof equipment is pretty strong, there may be one useful item you’re missing: a waterproof backpack. Today, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of using a waterproof backpack for kayaking and help you decide if you need one. 

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ve probably been counting down the days until spring. As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, it’s time to bring your equipment out of storage. Give everything a once-over to make sure it’s still in good condition and make note of things that need to be replaced or new items that will help you live this summer to the fullest.

What is a Waterproof Backpack? 

After a long and satisfying day on the water the last thing you want is to return to shore and find your belongings soaked through. 

A little bit of water may do no more than dampen your mood, but it can do some real damage to electronic equipment. Replacing a water-damaged cell phone could cost hundreds of dollars but there’s a simple and economical solution: a waterproof backpack. 

Waterproof backpacks are exactly what they sound like. They’re backpacks made from waterproof materials that are designed to keep your belongings completely dry, even if the bag is submerged in water. This is the difference between a backpack or satchel that is considered water-resistant. The two may be made from similar materials, but if the bag is constructed in a way that lets any water in, it’s water-resistant and not waterproof. 

Water-resistant backpacks are perfectly fine for light showers or even medium rainfall, as long as you don’t open the bag. For water sports like kayaking, however, a fully waterproof backpack is recommended if you intend to take it out on the water. Waterproof backpacks can be pricey, but the protection they offer is worth the cost. 

Tips for Choosing a Waterproof Backpack

When selecting a waterproof backpack, the most important factors to consider are the materials from which it is made, the construction, and the size. 

The most common materials for waterproof backpacks are nylon, polyester, and cotton. These materials are highly durable and, depending on the weave, can be water-resistant. To ensure true waterproofing, however, they require some kind of backing or coating. Polyurethane, thermoplastic elastomer, and polyvinyl chloride coatings can be applied to the back of the fabric to prevent water from penetrating. 

The two most important aspects of construction to check are the zippers and the stitching. A standard zipper has openings between the teeth but water-resistant zippers are typically covered with water-resistant fabric. Check the seams as well. Needle holes and external stitching may mean water can get in, even if sealed with silicon because the seals may eventually break down. 

A good waterproof bag has multiple levels of protection against water ingress. Durable materials, waterproof backing, water-resistant zippers, and sealed stitching are essential. Some bags go so far as to use special techniques like ultrasonic welding to join seams without stitching. 

Once you’ve determined that the backpack is solidly constructed from quality materials, you can think about details like size and storage. The size of your backpack should be appropriate for its intended use. Smaller backpacks are ideal for short jaunts on the water but if you’re planning an all-day trip, you’ll want the extra space afforded by a large backpack.

Think about the storage as well. Look for a waterproof backpack that has separate compartments to help you organize your gear. Side pockets are great, just make sure everything is waterproof and not just the main storage compartment. 

The 3 Best Waterproof Backpacks from Amazon 

When it comes to finding a waterproof backpack for kayaking, Amazon is a great place to shop. We’ve narrowed down the options to bring you our top three picks to help you get started in your search. Check them out below!

Wise Owl Outfitters Waterproof Dry Bag

Serious kayakers enjoy every opportunity they have to spend on the water. Whether you’re heading out for an hour or spending the whole day on the river, you need a waterproof bag that is appropriately sized for the trip. This set of waterproof dry bags from Wise Owl Outfitters comes with three different sizes: 5L, 10L, and 20L. 

Affordably priced and available in three colors, these dry bags are made from lightweight diamond ripstop polyester. With its watertight construction and roll-top design, this dry bag will keep your valuables dry and accessible. 

Buy on Amazon

Earth Pak Waterproof Backpack

It’s important to keep your valuables protected during a kayaking adventure, but you also want them to be accessible. The Earth Pak waterproof backpack offers 100% waterproof protection with an easy-access roll-top closure. 

This waterproof bag comes in two sizes – 35L and 55L – and five different colors. It is constructed from 500D PVC materials with plenty of interior and exterior storage. The ergonomic back panel and padded straps offer comfortable carry and it eve comes with an IPX waterproof phone case. 

Buy on Amazon

OMGear Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

For occasional kayaking trips, you may not be ready to make a significant investment in a waterproof backpack. This model from OMGear is economically priced and offers waterproof protection in four sizes and more than ten colors. 

The OMGear waterproof dry bag is constructed from 500D PVC tarpaulin with a vinyl coating. It also comes with a waterproof phone pouch. This dry bag is designed with two back straps and adjustable buckles for comfortable carry and it is designed to float on water. 

If you prefer to shop in-store, an outdoor recreation store or sporting goods store is a great place to start. You can find popular products like North Face waterproof backpacks and Patagonia waterproof backpacks in store. Prices may be more competitive online, however, but it may be worth trying a few backpacks in-store to help you decide what you’re looking for.

Buy on Amazon

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just getting started, having a good waterproof bag is a must. It will keep your possessions protected while you’re on the water – especially delicate electronics like your phone and GPS. 

Take what you’ve learned here to start thinking about what you want in a waterproof backpack for kayaking and consider our top picks.

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