Waterproof Backpack – Is Mine Really Waterproof?

waterproof backpack
Water Resistant Is Not The Same As Waterproof

Waterproofing Your Trail Hiking Backpack

A waterproof backpack is most likely not actually waterproof. Many hiking backpacks claim to be 100 % waterproof, but due to seams and zippers, there could be leakage. As it turns out, a pack that is purchased as totally waterproof is a rare case. You really don’t want to carry a soaking wet hiking bag on your back, nor do you want the contents getting saturated. You need to be certain that the bag and your necessities inside stay dry if you encounter an unexpected rain storm. There are ways you can keep your outdoor backpack clean and dry under any conditions.

Hiking Backpack – Liners and Dry Bags

Waterproof backpack stay dry measures include the use of backpack bag liners. You would also need dry bags to separate your clothes, food and accessory items within your backpack. Plus, you must be careful that nothing sharp pokes holes in the liner or the dry bags. That would not be good.

Some fabrics resist water better than others.  A hiking backpack made of nylon may have a water-resistant coating that is also abrasion resistant, and makes an excellent barrier against accidental punctures.  Polyester has a higher resistance to ultra-violet (UV) degradation than nylon. However, it’s not the most rugged material for an outdoor backpack or for a multi day backpack for extended trekking.

DIY Backpack Waterproofing Method

Hiking rucksack enthusiasts can try this do-it-yourself method of making their backpack water resistant, and it works rather well. The backpack should be made of canvas.

You will need:

  • Two pots (If you cook and happen to have a double boiler pot, that would work great.)
  • A mixture of paraffin and bee’s wax, (which can be bought in a craft store)
  • A paint brush. 


  • Simply boil some water in one pot, place another pot (a bit smaller) inside of the bigger one.
  • Put the wax in the smaller pot on top of the boiling water to melt it.
  • Once melted, you then coat the bag with the wax using the paint brush. Be very sure you cover the entire bag in a film of wax, paying particular attention to the seams and crevices.
  • Let it completely air dry. 
  • Cover the bag with an old pillowcase and put it in the dryer on low heat for 15-30 minutes. 

This is actually a pretty easy and inexpensive means of protecting your hiking bag.

Manufacturer’s Dry Proof Claim On Waterproof Backpacks

Don’t learn the hard way by taking a manufacturer’s claim seriously that their hiking packs are 100% waterproof, especially when keeping dry is essential.  Due to the fact that outdoor backpacks have seams and zipper closures, there is potential for them to leak if exposed to being submerged or during heavy rain on the trail. You will find that marine and sailing shops have quality waterproof sprays that work well and also act as a stain resistor. You can use Ziploc bags, which can be more cost effective for the smaller sizes, but larger bags can get costly when you have to buy several.

Waterproof Backpack – It’s Important To Keep Your Pack Dry

The keeping of your pack and contents perfectly dry is more imperative for kayakers and river canoeists.  Keeping your bag contents and the exterior of your outdoor backpack dry, while hiking and camping,can be done with minimal expense and hassle. The most important thing is to utilize whatever suggestion here is simple and affordable and works for you,but make sure you are prepared for getting wet because Mother Nature is totally unpredictable. Stay dry. Happy hiking!


We love the great outdoors, backpack hiking, fishing, camping and experiencing nature's beauty.

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