Whether you're commuting to work, or planning a rainy weekend getaway, the best waterproof laptop backpacks will ensure your valuables stay dry. But what should you look for when you're shopping around?
The first decision is how waterproof your bag needs to be. There's a wide range of options, and the terminology can be confusing. Often, bags that are labeled as waterproof are in fact only water-resistant. If you're commuting in light rain, these will do just fine, but if you're navigating heavy downpours or involved in water sports with a chance of full-submersion, you'll want a pack that's fully waterproof.
The main tradeoff between the two is that the more waterproof a bag is, the less malleable it tends to be. Fully waterproof bags are usually constructed from materials like vinyl, PVC tarpaulin, or other thick fabrics that are more rigid. Water-resistant bags, on the other hand, are usually made of nylon, polyester, or other flexible fabrics (and then coated with a waterproof treatment). They offer greater mobility, but won't be as protective in heavy downpours.
Another key factor is the closure system — one of the areas most vulnerable to water leakage. Fully waterproof backpacks usually have roll-top, dry-bag-style closure systems. Others have heavy duty zippers reinforced with plastic or thick seals. Velcro tends to be the least waterproof option.
With all of that in mind, I've rounded up the best waterproof laptop backpacks below, arranged from smallest to largest, so you can find the best fit for your lifestyle.
1. The Most Waterproof
Capacity: 25 liters
Laptop size: Up to 15 inches
What's great about it: With 4.5 stars and tons of raving reviews, this popular laptop bag has a fully airtight main compartment that's 100 percent waterproof, as well as a splash-proof front pocket. While most fully waterproof laptop bags have a dry-bag-style roll-top, this is one of the few on the market that has a regular zipper top, so it's not as stiff as many others. The padded laptop sleeve in the interior blocks out all moisture, even when completely submerged, and it has super soft neoprene straps for easy carrying.
What fans say: "As soon as I received the item I placed a dry towel into the large pocket and submerged it under water in my pool for 60 seconds and I couldn't believe it but no water got into the the bag. Dry towel. The front small pocket did fill up but not the large. Very happy with it. Glad I chose this style vs the crazy fold it over then snap it kind. That would drive me crazy. I'm ordering another one in a bright color for my wife as we speak."
2. The Best Roll-Top Backpack
Capacity: 33 liters
Laptop size: Up to 14.5 inches
What's great about it: Constructed with ultra-tough, 500-denier polyvinyl tarpaulin, this rugged roll-top laptop bag is exceptionally waterproof. The bag can't be fully submerged due to its velcro closure system, but the rest of it is 100 percent waterproof, making it a stellar choice in heavy rain. It has comfy, adjustable shoulder straps and reflective elements for visibility at night. On top of that, it's outfitted with two mesh pockets for water bottles, extra padding around the laptop compartment, and a bonus survival whistle.
What fans say: "So far the best water proof back pack I have owned. I used to have a simple water proof back pack until it broke. This one is really really nice. The back pack part holds a mac book air in it along with the case I keep it in for added protection. The exterior pocket is perfect for things you want dry but aren't too concerned if they get wet. The side pockets fit a 32oz Nalgene bottle perfectly."
3. The Most Travel-Friendly
Capacity: 40 liters
Laptop size: Up to 17 inches
What's great about it: If you need a TSA-compliant laptop bag, this is your best choice. Although it's only water-resistant, the shockproof polyester fabric does a fantastic job of blocking rain and moisture while you're traveling. The pocket-adorned bag is super airport-friendly, with a sleek, unfolding design that converts it from 90 to 180 degrees; this keeps the laptop section clear so you can breeze through the security line. There's also a discreet anti-theft pocket on the back for other valuables, along with a built-in USB charger. The luggage strap lets you slide it over the handle of your carry-on roller, and the foam pad on the back provides extra ventilation.
What fans say: "I love that it has many pockets. It fits my laptop, books and other essentials perfectly without looking bulky. It is very high quality. The straps are very durable and the padding is incredibly comfortable. It is also perfect for travel."
4. The Most Budget-Friendly Backpack
Capacity: 50 liters
Laptop size: Up to 15.6 inches
What's great about it: With 4.5 stars and more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon, this extra large laptop backpack is a great option if you have a lot to carry. It features a main compartment that's water-resistant and a fully waterproof cover you can put on if it really starts pouring. This design keeps it from being overly stiff and bulky, like some other waterproof bags. The cover is conveniently located in a built-in pocket at the bottom that you can pull out and wrap over everything. Best of all, it comes in seven color choices.
What fans say: "What an awesome backpack! Packed this for DisneyWorld and it met and exceeded all my expectations and more! Having the waterproof cover is a plus for the rain and wet rides! This backpack has more pockets, belts, and ties than you will ever need. It is very well organized. The sides for two water bottles are perfect. The shoulder straps are perfectly padded and balanced... The fabric is perfect and lightweight that makes great for any backpacking hiking day or overnight."
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