If your electronics or even paper get wet while you are outside, it can ruin your day. That is why a decent waterproof pack is a must for anyone who uses a pack on a daily basis and relies on it to keep their gear safe and dry.
You might think that waterproof backpacks aren't that easy to find or that they are going to be really expensive, but that's not the case. You just need to know what you are looking for, since most packs already feature some kind of weather resistant coating.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Picks for Waterproof College Backpacks
In this review we are going to take a look at some of the best waterproof backpacks for college that money can buy. With a focus on packs that suit students, you will quickly find a pack that is going to last you for years.
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Backpack
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AMBOR Laptop Backpack
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Gysan Waterproof Travel Laptop Backpack
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Outjoy Waterproof Laptop Backpack
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ZBRO Waterproof College Backpack
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936Plus College Backpack
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This is a great combination of a water resistant and anti-theft backpack. It's small, but large enough for all your college necessities, and it has a lot of different compartments and pockets so you can organize everything neatly. But more on that later.
First, let's talk about the technical things - the Metrosafe LS450 backpack is made from a soft, durable, water resistant and easy to wipe clean polyester. It's obviously very water resistant, but it is also great for keeping it clean. So, you can expect this backpack to last you for years to come.
As you can see in the photo below, this Pacsafe backpack has three separate compartments, and several different pockets. The laptop and tablet sleeve is completely padded and suspended, and it's hidden in the main compartment. It can comfortably fit most 15.6" laptops and protect it from hitting the floor.
This is a great all-in-one backpack, and if you've read my post on anti-theft backpacks, then you're probably already familiar with this one. It's perfect for students because it's extremely affordable (under $30). But also because it is very versatile - you could use it for travelling, hiking and pretty much whatever you want.
For one thing, this pack has anti-theft locks that ensure the safety of your belongings. In addition to that, it is also a smart backpack - it has a headphone port and a USB charging port. That basically means that you can charge your phone on the go - just plug it into your (powerbank inside the) pack. It's really convenient if you run out of charge mid-day, or if you just want to listen to some music secretly in class - even though you shouldn't. :>
The AMBOR backpack has two compartments. The laptop sleeve is inside the main compartment, and it perfectly fits a 15"6 laptop. It can also fit larger laptops (up to 17.3") but they will fit slightly less smoothly. The front compartment features an organization panel, as well as a roomy sleeve for your tablet.
Obviously the pack is waterproof, so you know your electronics will stay dry even if you get soaked in the rain. It's made of nylon, which is a pretty sturdy material. In addition to that, the pack also has mesh fabric on the padded straps, which guarantees their breathability and your comfort.
There is also one side pocket for a bottle, but not much else in terms of external pockets. However, that's due to the emphasis on the safety of this backpack and its anti-theft features. Additionally, the pack is equipped with several compression straps, which will help keep all of your things in one place.
This is a simple school backpack. It doesn't have too many cool features, like the headphone port we saw on the previous pack. But, it is very functional, and it's perfect for those of you looking for an old school, affordable pack.
The Gysan pack is available in a lot of different colors, and not all of them are made from the same material. Some are made of polyester, and others of nylon, but all packs are waterproof and highly durable.
There is one thing that I don't like that much about this backpack - the back panel. It is padded, but it is not breathable, so you might get sweaty with this on your back in warmer weather. However, the Gysan is incredibly lightweight (just over a pound), which certainly helps in terms of comfort.
Additionally, this is a pretty small pack. It has a capacity of some 21 liters, which is not a lot, especially when you compare it to the High Sierra Tactic pack. But, some of you are going to find that enough, especially if you don't really carry a lot of items other than your laptop.
And while we are talking about laptops, I have to mention the laptop sleeve in the main compartment. It is about 29 cm wide, and it can comfortably fit most 15" laptops. There is also a zippered pocket on the sleeve, which is the perfect size for your phone or wallet.
The backpack doesn't have other large compartments, which you probably expected due to its small capacity. But it does have two roomy front pockets, and also a hidden zippered pocket on the back panel. That's probably my favorite feature, as it is perfect for any items you treasure very much. That pocket will lie flat against your back, and no one will be able to touch it without you knowing.
The Outjoy pack is definitely not a simple backpack. In fact, it is so full of features that I think it might warrant its own review! But, I'll try to tell you about the most important ones, like the shockproof coating and three huge compartments. Let's start with those.
The main compartment is all the way in the back. It has a padded laptop sleeve that fits even 17" laptops, and there's not much else inside it. It's meant for your notebooks, textbooks and all other large things you might want to keep inside it.
But the smaller two compartments have lots of pockets. The middle one features a padded sleeve for your smartphone, a separate slip pocket and even a hole for your headphone jack. But, the frontmost compartment is the most glorious - it has a big organization panel, with a slip pocket for pretty much anything you can think of. And it also has one small zippered pocket, as well as a keychain clip.
That's all fun, but what about your comfort with this college backpack? Well you don't have to worry about that either. For one thing, the back panel and the entire harness of this pack are padded and feature a layer of breathable, mesh fabric. That will ensure that the pack doesn't retain any water or odors, and also that nothing pokes you in the back while you are carrying it.
There is something else to note about this Outjoy - it is very versatile. Yes, it is a great pack for school because it allows you to organize pretty much anything you can carry, but its large capacity also makes it a great pack for travelling. And the luggage strap on the back also helps with that.
This pack also has a sternum strap, which is a very useful feature. It helps distribute the load of the pack more evenly across your torso, so that your shoulders are not carrying all the weight. And it also ensures that one of the padded straps won't slip off your shoulder.
Overall, it is a really good backpack. If you are looking for something that's packed full of different features, then this is the best choice for you. Just know that it's not the most affordable pack out of the bunch.
I usually like to save the best for last, and in this case that's the ZBRO 100% waterproof backpack! You know how most manufacturers will say that their pack is waterproof, but that you still shouldn't completely submerge it underwater? Well, ZBRO is one of the few manufacturers who won't tell you that. In fact, they will show you a photo of their completely dry backpack floating in water. But granted, with an additional cover on it.
The ZBRO pack has one roomy main compartment, with two pockets inside it, and a capacity of 25 liters. There is also a single front pocket for any other items you might want to add to the pack. But, there are no other compartments on the backpack, and I assume that was done to make the pack as waterproof as possible.
Both the main compartment and the front pocket are equipped with airtight zippers, which further ensure that no water will get inside this bad boy. Oh, and if you thought that one compartment meant no pockets and organizational features, you were very wrong.
This college backpack has a removable panel with a laptop sleeve and several organizational pockets. The sleeve can comfortably fit 15" laptops, but anything larger will poke out. And as you can see, there are slip pockets for your phone, powerbank, glasses and whatnot on the panel, as well as a large mesh zippered pocket for any bulkier items.
The features of this pack are average at best. But the materials used in it are excellent. For one thing, there's the completely waterproof exterior of the pack, which is made of high quality nylon. Additionally, the back panel of the ZBRO is padded with Neoprene, so it will feel very soft against your back. The back panel is also breathable, and you don't have to worry about the pack getting wet or smelly.
This backpack comes equipped with a sternum strap, which I think you'll find very useful. Especially if you find yourself in a crazy adventure in which your pack could easily slip off your shoulders. And it also has some reflective accents that will help you stay visible in the dark.
Is this the most efficient college backpack? No. But it is pretty much the only backpack that will allow you to go kayaking straight after school, without having to drop off your electronics. And if that's what you're looking for, then there's no need to look any further.
If price is one of your biggest concerns then the 936Plus is a great college backpack for so many reasons.
It usually comes in way under the price of all other waterproof bags on this list, and it still has lots of great functionality too. For example, it has one large main compartment that is quite roomy compared to many other college backpacks. It fits 26 Liters all up. There is also a handy front pocket where you can throw all your small stuff.
Of course, you get two side pockets for your water bottle or umbrella, in case it's going to rain! There is also a dedicated phone pocket, of course, and a 15.6 inch laptop sleeve to keep your most prized posession safe. There are also other spots for various items you may have with you, so don't worry that it will all be swimming on the bottom of your pack!
And this bag is also super light at 1.3lb, so quite easy on the shoulders, with it's padded shoulder straps there to help. It also has quality YKK zips, and comes in an insane array of colors, so you will surely find one you like.
The only big downside of this college backpack is that it is NOT as waterproof as the others. But hey, you are getting a bargain, so "water resistant" is the best you can expect! Oh, and it doesn't have water bottle pockets on the outside either.
Obviously, you don't have to think about the materials and the weather-resistance of the packs I'm about to show you - I've made 100% sure that every college backpack in this review is waterproof, if not weatherproof. But you still can't just randomly pick out one and get it - you have to make sure that all of its key features suit you.
You're getting a waterproof pack to protect your precious laptop, right? Well, you definitely need to make sure that your laptop will be able to fit inside the pack that you have your eyes set on. Some packs have a laptop sleeve that can fit pretty much any laptop, while other can only fit an 11" laptop. Because of that, you need to double check the size of the laptop sleeve in each of your favorite college backpacks.
To make this as easy for you as possible, I've put that information in the product information boxes at the end of each section.
This one really varies from one person to another. But, if you are someone who likes to have all of their stuff organized and divided into different compartments, then you should be looking for college backpacks with plenty of organization features - at least two compartments and an abundance of pockets is what you are looking for.
But if you don't care about this aspect too much, then you will be fine with a pack that has just a main compartment and nothing else. So, be sure to check the main body of each section, as well as the photos - I'll do my best to tell you (and show you) the exact number of compartments and pockets that each pack has.
This seems like the obvious thing to check, but you'd be surprised just how many people forget that photos are deceiving - myself included. But, you should definitely check the dimensions and the capacities of the backpacks, and compare them to the ones you own already. Why? Well, the amount of items you carry in your college backpack is an individual thing. But if you often carry about 5 different textbooks and 5 different notebooks, you are going to need a backpack with a larger capacity than someone who just carries a laptop and a notebook. So, say your current pack has a capacity of 35 liters - you'll want to get one with a similar capacity.
The dimensions of the pack are important in terms of making sure you are getting what you are paying for. Photos can be decieveing, and a backpack might look awesome, but arrive three times smaller than you expected. To avoid that, you should compare the dimensions of a pack you own to the ones that you'll find in the product information boxes. That's the only way to know 100% what you are spending your money on.
I think all five of these packs are very good, and that you won't have any regrets whichever you buy. That being said, I did like two packs more than the rest, and I want to talk a little bit about them.
The High Sierra Tactic backpack is a classic. It's very versatile, and you could use it for things other than college - travel, hiking, camping etc. That immediately gives you better value for money. In addition to that, the pack has a huge laptop sleeve, which can fit pretty much any laptop - unless you managed to get your hands on a 20" laptop, in which case you need to share your secrets with me! But a 17" one will fit without an issue. And the pack is completely waterproof, and it will keep all your precious electronics completely dry. Overall it is certainly one of my favorites, due to its design, features and high quality materials.
And the second backpack that I have to mention is the ultra-mega-giga waterproof ZBRO backpack. No, it is certainly not the most functional or versatile pack we talked about in this review. But it is without a doubt the most waterproof one - thanks to the 100% waterproof PVC and the airtight zippers. And it's pretty much the only backpack that would allow you to bring your laptop on a diving trip - but don't take that for granted. Anyway, it is sleek, great for school due to its roomy compartment and convenient removable organizer panel and light weight.
Those are my top two backpacks! But I'm judging them by what I'm looking for in a backpack, which is organization, features and durability. If you're prioritizing other things, then you probably liked some other backpack more. But in any case be sure to check them out on Amazon - more often than not, the price of the pack is going to be what convinces you to buy it (or not).
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!