Waterproof fishing backpacks are on the rise, and for good reason. A waterproof fishing companion ensures all your gear stays bone dry from your tackle to your lunch and extra layers.
A good fishing backpack is equipped with an array of features and storage potential to support you on the water, but what good is that if all your gear can still get soaked? The cost of truly waterproof backpacks is not low, but it’s a purchase that’s worth every penny when you consider the gear (and fun on the water) you’re protecting.
A day on the water is easily ruined if you wade too high with your pack or lose it over the side of the boat — why not own equipment that has you covered no matter what? Submersible fishing backpacks just make sense the more you think about it, if you’re an angler who prefers to bring a backpack on the water then we’ve got the list of bags that you need to consider upgrading to!
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1. Orvis Waterproof BackpackPros:
- 500D nylon, TPU coating is tough as nails
- Low profile design is meant to keep you as mobile as possible and also to avoid line snags
- Front water resistant zippered pocket is awesome for stashing smaller sized gear
- Rod/water bottle holder system on either side of the pack carries rod tubes effectively
- Space for tool attachment on the shoulder strap that's perfect for forceps, nippers, etc.
- 21 liters is a great size for day pack use that provides you plenty of space
- Strapping is very comfortable and carries weight well
- Includes a clip for attaching your net
- Padded bottom for protecting sensitive gear
- Excellent customer service from Orvis
- Fairly expensive waterproof backpack
- Not much on the exterior of the pack to secure fishing tools and equipment other than the shoulder strap and net clip
- Zipper is pretty stiff in order to be totally waterproof and requires some strength to operate
The Waterproof Backpack by Orvis is a top of the line fly fishing backpack that you will own and beat on for many seasons. It’s a little on the expensive side, but for good reason – this pack is a killer fishing companion.
There are 21 liters of internal storage with this backpack, so there’s no shortage of space for packing everything you need for a day on the water. The main compartment is surprisingly spacious and furthermore has a flip-out panel of zippered pockets and mesh pockets that’s flush against the back for keeping all your smaller tools and items organized.
The front, water-resistant pocket provides a space for stowing the gear you want easy access to while hiking or on the water. The front storage pocket is not totally waterproof like the main compartment, but your gear will still stay dry in there through even a heavy rain – just don’t put your camera or electronics in there if you plan on high wading or potentially submerging the pack.
There are two pouches with corresponding lash loops for securing rod tubes or water bottles on either side of the pack. These two spaces can be utilized for all sorts of storage adding some major versatility to this pack. Orvis has made it easy to load up two rods, reels, a ton of tackle, some layers, lunch and a camera with room to spare!
The shoulder strapping is contoured and padded for some serious comfort while on the move and also creates a tight, low profile fit while trekking or actively fishing. There’s even a space for tool attachment on the shoulder strap that’s perfect for your forceps.
The waist and chest straps also allow you to comfortably carry a lot more weight with this waterproof backpack that you normally would with a 21-liter unit. Feel free to use this as a high capacity daypack or overnight pack – you can handle the weight.
The way this backpack wears makes it a great companion on the water that’s honestly not much more cumbersome than wearing a vest. Orvis has designed their waterproof backpack to cooperate with your body motion while hiking, wading and casting and has left the pack mostly bare on the exterior to avoid line snags.
If you have the fishing funds to shell out for this waterproof backpack then you’ll be impressed by its longterm performance.
2. Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible BackpackPros:
- 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon constuction is super durable
- "Daisy chain" and D-Ring on the pack exterior for various accessory/tool attachments
- Interior of the main compartment contains a zippered pocket and clear stash pocket
- Removable hip belt can be vertically adjusted for different torso lengths
- Zippered closure makes for a very lightweight, low profile pack
- Compatible with Fishpond chest packs due to modular buckles on the shoulder straps and hipbelt
- Excellent quality strapping for comfort and durability
- Pretty large capacity at 28 liters, yet this pack feels much smaller on your person
- Bad-ass, professional aesthetic
- One of the more expensive fishing backpacks
- Rod tube straps are not wide enough for some larger sized rod tubes
- Color choices make a statement rather than remaining neutral and may not be your style
Here’s one of the ultimate waterproof fishing backpacks from renowned outfitter, Fishpond. The Thunderhead Submersible Backpack is a 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon backpack with a zippered main compartment that has both a high capacity and low profile, streamlined fit.
This is an airtight unit that can be trusted wading high water or on the boat. There is an impressive total of 28 liters of internal space yet this feels like a sporty day pack. The fit and feel of the lightweight foam shoulder strapping and back panel make the Thunderhead a great pack for longer hikes and for actively fishing. This is the ideal size for anglers who want to use their waterproof backpack as their fishing station/tackle box as well as overall gear transport.
There’s a great array of external loops and clips for securing your tippet loops and other tools. Fishpond has really decked this bag out on the outside for fishing purposes. The shoulder strapping is furthermore compatible with many Fishpond chest packs due to the modular buckles so you can easily attach a separate tackle system like the Medicine Bow Chest Pack and secure it to your front side for easy access – pretty neat!
The main, waterproof compartment of this fishing backpack has a zippered pocket and also a clear stash pocket. There’s an additional water-resistant compartment accessed from the outside of this pack that’s perfect for items like sunglasses or a smaller fly box.
There’s one set of gear straps (velcro, buckled loops) included with this purchase that can be secured to either side of the pack. These straps can be used to fasten a rod tube, but some wider diameter tubes, unfortunately, won’t fit. Whether your rod tube fits or not, the gear loops on the sides of the pack will come in handy for all sorts of things.
The color choices are attractive (here’s a link to the orange option) and the overall look of the Thunderhead Backpack is downright bad-ass and professional. It’s clean, tough and high quality in appearance and there are no big logos that make you look like an advertisement.
For those that have been saving for a top of the line unit, the Thunderhead is a great way to spend your money. An excellent value bag from a top outfitter renowned for quality gear, no doubt a great choice of waterproof fishing backpack.
3. Best Value: FishPond Wind River Roll-Top BackpackPros:
- Very affordable waterproof fishing backpack - this is our pick for best value
- 420D TPU coated Cyclepond Fishpond Fabric is super durable and rolls with ease
- 38 liters max volume, but can be rolled down to create a smaller bag
- Removable hip belt can also be vertically adjusted for different torso lengths
- The included set of gear straps can be attached to either side of the pack and will recieve most rod tubes
- Hip belt can be outfitted with accessoy attachments
- Roll top closure design is a bit more cumbersome than most zippered waterproof backpacks
- Not many external attachment points for securing fishing tools
- Gear straps on sides of pack might not accomodate for larger diameter rod tubes
Here’s a more affordable waterproof fishing backpack from Fishpond that’s essentially the same as the Thunderhead Backpack, but instead employs a roll-top closure rather than a zipper. The Wind River Roll-Top Backpack is one of our top picks of great value waterproof fishing backpacks, so those seeking the most bang for their buck should absolutely give this one a look.
The roll-top closure makes this pack a bit more intensive to operate and slightly less streamlined, but it also gives it the advantage of being able to adjust in size. Roll the Wind River down minimally and utilize the entire 38 liters of volume or give it a few extra rolls to make it more compact and low profile. The ability to choose your pack size is a huge advantage and makes this waterproof backpack great for day use as well as for travel and more intense fishing expeditions.
Fishpond has unfortunately not included an array of gear loops on the exterior of this pack like they have with the Thunderhead, but there is a large water-resistant pocket on the outside that’s great for stashing less water sensitive gear. There is furthermore a set of gear straps included that can be secured to either side of the pack for cinching down a rod tube or any number of things.
The submersible main compartment like the Thunderhead Backpack, has a zippered pocket and a clear stash pocket. This is a fishing backpack with some pretty killer organization potential that you can really customize to your fishing style.
The strapping is top notch and engineered for maximum comfort and can also be paired with a number of Fishpond chest packs due to the modular buckle system. If you pair the Wind River with a fishing chest pack then your gear capacity and organization is downright exceptional.
Absolutely the go-to waterproof backpack for fishermen on a budget that refuse to settle for sub-par gear – you won’t find a better value waterproof backpack.
4. YETI Panga Submersible BackpackPros:
- Shell is made from high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination to be puncture and abrasion resistant
- Zippers are built with plastic so they won't corrode in salt water
- Removable chest straps and waist belt
- This bag floats! You could even use it as a life preserver in an emergency
- Great size for daypack use at 28 liters
- Great value bag, but still a price tag that's hard to swallow
- Not a ton of internal organization potential
- This pack might be a bit large for some smaller sized anglers
The YETI Panga Submersible Backpack is an exceptionally durable, modular waterproof option that’s highly capable as a fishing companion and furthermore compatible with other accessories and add-ons.
YETI builds some amazing quality gear, and this submersible backpack is no exception. This brand might seem a bit overpriced, but remember their equipment is also “over-engineered” meaning it will not fail you! YETI’s line of Panga airtight, submersible bags is one of the most rugged and indestructible options of waterproof storage on the market.
The “Thickskin” shell used for this pack is crafted from high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination. It’s designed to be puncture and abrasion-resistant so you don’t have to worry about damaging your pack on every adventure. The durability of this waterproof backpack makes it perfect for anglers who are HARD on their gear both on the water and while traveling.
Yeti’s “Hydrolok” zipper is also crafted to be exceptionally durable and long-lived against any conditions. Zippers make for a more streamlined, low profile waterproof backpack as opposed to roll-top closure, but they are more easily damaged and degraded. The construction of this zipper is plastic rather than metal-based so even saltwater won’t corrode or slow this unit down. Yeti even includes some zipper lubricant for maintaining smoothness.
The Panga is very highly reviewed for being totally airtight. It’s what you pay for with Yeti – a product that performs exactly the way it’s advertised. This bag will absolutely keep your gear bone dry and will furthermore even float if it goes overboard.
As far as storage goes, what you see is more or less what you get with the Panga Backpack. There’s not a ton of organization potential with this unit, but it can be effectively set up for fishing. There’s one large interior pocket (28 liters) with an interior sleeve against the back and a mesh pocket against the front. This schematic maximizes internal space but still allows you to separate and organize your smaller gear from your bulkier items.
Loops on the front of the pack allow for easy gear and tool attachment and also work as a modular attachment point for additional storage like the YETI Hopper Sidekick Dry. You could stash your forceps, nippers or tippet bar on the exterior of the Panga for easy accessibility or you could even secure an action camera or wading staff. There’s a ton of possibilities with an exterior like this, Yeti has done a great job at leaving it up to you how you regarding how to utilize the Panga.
5. Cor Surf Dry Bag BackpackPros:
- Very affordable option
- Tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction makes for a strong and flexible pack
- Nice external storage/attachment points for gear that you want to have on hand
- Side mesh pocket could be modified to recieve a rod tube
- Reflective patches as an added safety feature
- Two sizes (25 and 40 liters) and two colors (green and grey) available
- 5 year warranty
- Not designed specifically for fishing
- Roll top closure is a bit more cumbersome than a zipper
- Lack of external attachment points for smaller tools/gear
The Cor Surf Dry Bag Backpack might be the perfect fishing backpack for you if price is a big factor. This roll-top waterproof backpack offers a lot of the features typical of a fishing backpack despite not being specialized for angling.
For a budget unit that will still keep your gear bone dry, this is a great go-to.
Tough 500D PVC Tarpaulin construction means this is a rugged fishing companion. COR hasn’t cut any corners in terms of materials, this pack can absolutely hang with the competition when it comes to long-term durability.
This bag will float if it ends up in the water so it could be perfect for the drift boat, kayaking, and other fishing styles where your gear has the potential to go overboard. For fishermen who enjoy bringing a camera or other sensitive electronics, a floating submersible pack is a wise move.
The main compartment of this pack doesn’t give you much in terms of organization, but it provides you with plenty of space for cumbersome gear. There’s a 25 and a 40 liter size available (in green or grey) so you can choose between high capacity and really high capacity. 45 liters is more than you should ever need for day pack use, but this larger sized pack could be perfect for travel.
Perhaps the best feature of this waterproof backpack is the large water-resistant zip side pocket that allows for fast access to the gear and fishing tools you want on hand. There’s also a side mesh pocket for tucking a water bottle or for modifying a rod tube attachment depending on your style tube.
There’s not really any external points on this pack for securing gear like forceps, nippers or a net so you’ll have to be creative with how you set this budget bag up.
The air mesh padded back panel and shoulder straps provide solid lumbar support making this bag a fine option for longer, intense hikes. This is a pack that’s up for whatever you put it through so rest assured it won’t hold you back when you embark on more intensive fishing expeditions. It’s challenging to find a true dry bag that also feels like a trail-pack, so this unit gets big points there.
All in all, if absolute protection of your gear from wetness is what you’re looking for, this is one of the best value, affordable options out there. With a little creativity and patience, you’ll have no issue setting up this waterproof backpack to be a complete fishing machine.
Waterproof Waist Packs
If you're seeking waterproof storage, don't neglect the advantages of utilizing a waterproof waist pack or lumbar pack.
Waist packs might not offer the same level of storage as backpacks do, but they wear much more streamlined and low profile for actively angling, and can even be paired with a waterproof backpack in order to better compartmentalize your gear.
While our list of the best waterproof waist packs covers all of the top options, our highlighted favorites are as follows:
- Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar Pack
- Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack
- Mountainsmith DryTour Lumbar Pack
- YETI Hopper Sidekick Dry
Waterproof Sling Packs
A sling pack is a kind of happy medium between wearing a full-sized backpack and a less cumbersome waist pack. If you don't require the storage capacity of a backpack, but don't think that a lumbar or hip pack will offer quite enough, then chances are utilizing a sling pack will be just the ticket!
Fortunately, there are some excellent waterproof sling pack options. A few of our favorites include:
- Best Telescopic Fishing Rods: The Ultimate List
- Best Value Spinning Reels For Freshwater Fishing
- Best Fishing Shoes For Wet Wading
- Cool Fishing Gadgets: Your Ultimate List
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