Industry Knowledge

The Truth About Waterproof Tactical Backpacks

by Qingyun Qiu on May 28, 2024

one large black tactical backpack

Ever been caught in the rain while carrying important gear? If you have, you know the importance of keeping your equipment dry. This is where waterproof tactical backpacks come into play. But do they really exist? The answer is yes, and here's how they work.

The Science Behind Waterproofing

First, let's understand what makes a backpack waterproof. It’s not just about the material but also the construction.

Most waterproof tactical backpacks use a combination of waterproof materials and specialized techniques to keep water out.

Materials: The key to waterproofing lies in the fabric. High-quality waterproof backpacks are typically made from materials like PVC, TPU, or coated nylon. These materials are inherently resistant to water, preventing any seepage.

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Known for its durability and flexibility, PVC is a popular choice. It creates a tough barrier against water, making it ideal for extreme conditions.
  • TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane): TPU offers excellent abrasion resistance along with waterproofing. It’s more flexible than PVC and can withstand varying temperatures without cracking.
  • Coated Nylon: Nylon coated with polyurethane or silicone provides a lightweight yet effective waterproof layer. It’s common in tactical gear due to its balance of strength and weight.
Sealed Seams: Even the best waterproof fabric can fail if the seams are not sealed properly. Manufacturers use heat sealing or welding to ensure that the seams are completely sealed. This prevents water from entering through the stitching holes.


  • Heat Sealing: This method uses heat to bond the seams together, creating a watertight seal. It’s commonly used for PVC and TPU fabrics.
  • Welding: Welding involves using high-frequency waves to fuse the fabric at the seams. This technique provides a stronger, more durable seal compared to traditional stitching.

Waterproof Zippers: Regular zippers can be a weak point. Waterproof tactical backpacks often have waterproof zippers to keep water out. These zippers have a protective layer that covers the teeth, providing an additional barrier against moisture.

  • Rubberized Zippers: These zippers have a rubber coating that prevents water from penetrating through the zipper teeth.
  • Storm Flaps: Some backpacks have storm flaps covering the zippers, adding another layer of protection against rain.


Additional Features for Extra Protection

Waterproof tactical backpacks go beyond just waterproof fabric and sealed seams. They often include other features to ensure maximum protection.

  • Roll-Top Closures: Some backpacks come with roll-top closures instead of zippers. This design is inherently waterproof as it eliminates the need for a zipper, which can be a potential entry point for water. Simply roll the top down and secure it with buckles for a watertight seal.


  • External Waterproof Coating: Some backpacks have an additional waterproof coating applied externally. This coating adds an extra layer of protection against heavy rain and splashes. It also helps in repelling dirt and debris, keeping your backpack clean.


  • Drainage Holes: In the event that water does get in, some tactical backpacks have drainage holes. These allow water to escape, preventing it from pooling inside and damaging your gear. This feature is particularly useful for military or outdoor use where you might encounter unexpected water exposure.


  • Reinforced Bottoms: The bottom of the backpack is often the first part to get wet when you place it on damp ground. So, reinforced, waterproof bottoms ensure that moisture doesn’t seep in from below, keeping your gear safe.

Why You Need a Waterproof Tactical Backpack

So, why should you consider investing in a waterproof tactical backpack? The reasons are plentiful.

Protection for Your Gear: Whether you're carrying electronics, important documents, or just your everyday essentials, a waterproof backpack ensures they stay dry. No more worrying about sudden downpours or accidental spills.

Durability: Waterproof backpacks are designed to withstand harsh conditions. The materials used are not only waterproof but also robust and resistant to wear and tear. This means your backpack will last longer, even with regular use in tough environments.

Versatility: These backpacks are not just for military or tactical use. They are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, commuters, and anyone who needs reliable gear protection. Whether you're hiking, biking, or traveling, a waterproof tactical backpack is a versatile choice.

Comfort and Functionality: Modern waterproof tactical backpacks are designed with comfort in mind. They feature padded shoulder straps, breathable back panels, and multiple compartments for organized storage. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for waterproofing.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your belongings are protected from water damage gives you peace of mind. You can focus on your adventure or mission without constantly worrying about the weather.


Cost and Misunderstandings

Now, let's talk about the cost. You might wonder if a waterproof tactical backpack is very expensive.

The truth is that prices can vary widely. High-quality waterproof tactical backpacks generally range from $100 to $300, depending on the brand, materials, and features.

While this might seem like a significant investment, consider the protection and durability you're getting. A good waterproof backpack can save you from costly damage to your gear.

There’s also a common misunderstanding between water-resistant and waterproof. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things.

Water-resistant: Water-resistant backpacks can handle light rain or splashes, but they aren’t designed to be submerged or exposed to heavy rain for extended periods. They can repel water to some extent but will eventually let moisture in.

Waterproof: Waterproof backpacks, on the other hand, are designed to keep water out completely. They use materials and construction methods that provide a complete barrier against water. You can trust these backpacks to keep your gear dry even in heavy downpours or when fully submerged for short periods.


In conclusion, waterproof tactical backpacks are a reality and they offer protection for your gear. By combining waterproof materials, sealed seams, and innovative features, these backpacks ensure that you can brave the elements without worrying about your belongings.

So, If you often find yourself in wet conditions, investing in a waterproof backpack is the better choice.Transitioning to such a backpack will undoubtedly elevate your outdoor and everyday experiences.

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