If your budget isn’t quite compatible with the price point of the average waterproof backpack, then you may want to consider investing in a less expensive product – the waterproof rain cover for backpacks. Think of it as a raincoat for your backpack.
After many hours spent on research, gathering opinions from the critics and other users, and of course siphoning through the endless products out there, we’ve managed to compile the list below. We have also put together a Buyer’s Guide and some tips and tricks how to keep your gear dry on rainy trails.
At the top of our list is the Sea To Summit SN240 rain cover. It’s ultralight, rugged, and its no-seam construction ensures complete waterproofing. This is a great buy for anyone looking for a versatile and long-lasting backpack cover.
- Buyer’s Guide – How Do I Choose The Best Waterproof Backpack Cover?
- The 9 Best Backpack Rain Covers 2018 Reviewed
Buyer’s Guide – How Do I Choose The Best Waterproof Backpack Cover?
There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a waterproof backpack cover. First of all, it should be noted that backpack covers are not going to keep your backpack 100% dry in very wet conditions.
While they may offer a certain level of water protection in light rain, heavy rain or immersion can pose a problem. During strong or persistent rain, water may flow down your back and infiltrate your backpack from the part below the shoulder straps where the rain cover doesn’t reach. This of course depends on the kind of backpack you have.
If you know in advance that you will be exposed to harsh elements and potentially heavy moisture laden conditions, then you may want to consider combining a backpack rain cover with waterproof pack liners, drybags or contractor bags or even an actual waterproof hiking backpack. This combination will guarantee your gear stays dry in the wettest environments.
Here are a few key factors to keep in mind when choosing a backpack cover:
Look out for (mm) ratings in the product descriptions as these will help you determine which rain covers are worth buying. For example, the Topoint cover has a 2000mm waterproof design, which in layman’s terms means this particular rain cover can withstand up to 2000mm of water before the water penetrates.
Generally nylon and polyester fabrics tend to be durable and wear-resistant materials, and luckily for us outdoor enthusiasts, these are popular materials used in most outdoor products. Although the price tag may increase based on the materials being used, it’s worth the extra buck to ensure you have a rain cover that can stand the test of time.
Although it is not necessarily a necessity, finding a rain cover that has adjustable features can be an asset. Good backpack covers feature an adjustable drawstring or elastic design that allow for the accommodation of various backpacks. After all, backpacks come in all different shapes and sizes.
Safety is paramount, or it should be. Some backpack rain covers such as Osprey, FiveJoy, and Bluefield, feature reflective strips and/or high visibility designs. Although you may not intentionally set out into low visibility conditions, it’s quite possible you may find yourself unexpectedly in said conditions, so it’s better to be prepared.
Seamless designs tend to be better where waterproofing is concerned. Seams are sometimes considered to be weak points in the world of waterproofing, so if you can get your hands on a rain cover that features seamless construction then you’ll definitely increase your gear’s chances of protection against the elements.
The 9 Best Backpack Rain Covers 2018 Reviewed
Sea To Summit SN240 Ultralight
- Rugged seamless construction
- Mid back keeper strap
- Own stuff sack included
- Available in 4 sizes & 9 colors
- Sizes reportedly run small
Our Editors’ pick is the Sea To Summit SN240. Constructed from siliconized ripstop material, this rain cover is ultralight and features a no seam construction for complete waterproofing.
It incorporates a mid-back keeper strap for additional support and is available in 4 sizes. Its smallest size (X-Small) weighs in at 2 oz., the size up (Small) weighs 3 oz., its Medium size weighs 4 oz., and the largest size (Large) weighs only 4 oz.
Osprey Hi-Visibility – Ideal for Runners & Cyclists
- Durable 70D ripstop nylon
- High visibility Design
- Cinch attachment to secure cover
- Folds up into its own case
- Available in only 2 sizes
If there’s one thing that stands out with the Osprey rain cover is its high visibility design and the clever blinker light attachment, which makes it ideal for cycling. Available in 2 sizes – X-Small and Small, this cover is durable, lightweight, and easy to carry.
It is small and manageable, and it’s high visibility features make it ideal for conditions where visibility is restricted and low.
- Durable 210T nylon
- Seamless design
- With Drawstring
- Includes carrying case
- Bright color w/ reflective strip
- Available only in yellow
Second runner up in our list is the FiveJoy rain cover. Constructed of nylon with 3000mm waterproof PU coating, it features a seamless design for additional waterproofing.
Rip and tear resistant, this cover was intentionally designed with bright colors and reflective strips to keep you visible in dark, low-vis conditions. Definitely a good pick for camping (click here for the best waterproof tents), hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities.
- High-quality Nylon Oxford fabric
- Adjustable tightening string
- Reflective strip
- Available in 3 sizes and 4 colors
- Tight at the top but loose at the bottom
Made from high-quality Nylon Oxford fabric, this cover by Bluefield, comes in 3 sizes and 4 colors. An elastic band and adjustable tightening string make it versatile – to fit more backpack sizes.
A highly reflective strip makes it suitable for night outdoor activities and conditions where visibility is poor and restricted.
- Very Durable rip-resistant fabric
- Seamless design
- Elastic strap across the opening
- Includes drawstring bag for storage
- Reflective Strip
- Many users complained the OUTAD logo was far too big
Available in 4 colors and 2 sizes – Medium, and Large, the OUTAD backpack cover is extremely durable. It’s constructed from rip-resistant polyester oxford fabric.
The bottom is double sided to prevent potential soak-through, a seamless design provides superior waterproofing, and its adjustable elastic design makes it very versatile, perfect for hiking, cycling, traveling or any other outdoor activity.
- Full circumference drawstring
- Integrated stuff sack
- Available in 4 sizes
- Taped seam design not the best for waterproofing
This versatile cover was specifically designed for keeping hiking packs dry. Mountainsmith constructed this cover of 190T taffeta nylon fabric, making it durable but lightweight.
A full circumference drawstring keeps the cover tightly cinched, and it is available in 4 sizes – X-Small, Small, Medium, and Large.
- Durable 190T waterproof nylon
- Elastic adjustable design
- 4 colors available
- Size is smaller than expected
- No adjustable drawstring
This lightweight and easily storable waterproof cover, by Jepeak, is designed with 190T waterproof nylon plus PU coating to be both lightweight and durable.
Its elastic adjustable design makes it versatile – allowing it to adjust to the form of your backpack. The same cover is also available in other sizes.
- Durable Reinforced fabric
- Seamless construction
- Elastic design
- Sizes run smaller than expected
Made of waterproof, wear-resistant nylon fabric, the AYAMAYA rain cover is durable and lightweight.
An elastic design allows for adjustment to suit different backpacks and it is specially reinforced to keep your belongings protected from mud, rain, dust, and dirt. It is available in 4 colors and 2 sizes.
- Durable 210T Nylon fabric
- Adjustable drawstring and cord lock closure
- Sizes smaller than expected
The Topoint waterproof and dustproof backpack cover is designed to fit 50L – 90L backpacks. Its 210T nylon fabric design makes it durable and wear-resistant.
It features an adjustable drawstring and cord lock closure, and its 2000mm waterproof construct protects your rucksack in heavy rain and less than favorable conditions. It is lightweight and easy to carry. Available in blue and red.
Although a backpack cover cannot guarantee 100% protection against heavy downpours, when used in conjunction with waterproof pack liners or extra drybags as an added layer of protection, they can serve to be a formidable force against external elements.
Outdoor gear, as we all know and can appreciate, is an expensive investment and it could be considered sacrilege to lose it all to water damage. We’ve given you our list of the 9 best backpack rain covers the market has to offer and we’ve given you basic guidelines to follow when choosing backpack rain covers, so it’s virtually impossible to get your gear soaked on your next expedition.
The outdoors can be a freeing, enjoyable, and relaxing experience, and it is even more so when you know you’ve taken the correct precautions to safeguard your gear, equipment, and overall well-being.
Further reading: Pack Liner vs Pack Cover