9 Best Backpack Rain Covers

Last Updated November 12, 2023
Top 3 Best Backpack Rain Covers
Kelty Backpack Rain Cover
Kelty Best Backpack Rain Cover
  • Material Durability: Made from 190T taffeta nylon ripstop and treated 600D polyester, providing robust protection against rain.
  • Adjustable Fit: Features an internal adjustable pull cord and a cinching drawstring for a snug fit.
  • Size Versatility: Available in large size, perfect for packs around 60 liters, and adaptable for bags between 49 to 110 liters.
  • Easy Attachment: Internal webbing loops for secure attachment to shoulder straps.
  • Compact Storage: Folds into a small bundle with an attached storage stuff sack for easy carriage.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
  • Ultra-Lightweight: Made from 30D Ultra-Sil nylon, weighing under 4 oz.
  • Water Resistance: Siliconized ripstop woven nylon with water-resistant treatment.
  • Size Options: Available in four sizes with built-in keeper straps for a tight fit.
  • Compact for Travel: Packs down into a carry sack roughly the size of a soda can.
  • Ideal for Light Travel: Perfect for backcountry use where minimizing weight is essential​.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
  • Material: Constructed from 40D ripstop nylon.
  • Capacity Range: Suitable for packs from 30L to 110L.
  • Design: Features a wrap-around design with cinch attachment and harness and hip belt attachments for comprehensive protection.
  • Lightweight: Weighs slightly over 3 oz.
  • Packable Size: Comes with a stuff sack about the size of a tennis ball.
  • Visibility Features: Includes reflective strips and a blinker-style light for nighttime visibility
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When you’re out on a hike there’s nothing worse than a sudden downpour. Your socks get squelchy, your clothes get damp, and worst of all, you pack can begin to soak through. Carrying a quality rain cover is an essential part of preparing for a hike. Today we’ll be reviewing the best Backpack Rain Covers on the market to find the perfect one for your needs.

Best Backpack Rain Covers

Rain covers serve a single purpose, keeping your backpack dry in the rain. Cyclists, runners, and others participating in outdoor sports use them often, but hikers are the ones who need them the most.

When you’re out in the backcountry warm, dry clothes can be the difference between a pleasant trip and a dangerous situation.

The waterproof backpack covers below cover the full range of features, price, and materials. Read on to find the best one for your needs.

Kelty Best Backpack Rain Cover

Kelty Best Backpack Rain Cover
The Kelty backpack rain cover product picture

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I am an avid outdoorsman, always on the lookout for gear that can stand up to the elements. On a recommendation, I decided to try out the Kelty Backpack Rain Cover on my recent 10-day hiking spree across the Appalachian Trail. This rain cover quickly became an indispensable part of my gear.

The cover is crafted from 190T taffeta nylon ripstop and treated 600D polyester, making it a lightweight yet robust barrier against the relentless rain. Its durability was proven during a couple of unexpected thunderstorms that could have otherwise drenched my gear. The internal adjustable pull cord was a godsend, allowing a snug fit around my pack, keeping it securely in place even as the winds howled.

I chose the large size since my pack often teeters around 60 liters, especially on long expeditions. The fit was perfect, accommodating my Kelty Zyp 48 along with a tent bag strapped below. The versatility in size coverage between 49-liter bags and 110-liter bags is something I appreciate, especially when my load varies from one adventure to the next.

One feature I find ingenious is the internal webbing loops. They effortlessly attached to my shoulder straps, providing that extra bit of security and protection. And oh, the cinching drawstring is a lifesaver, adjusting the cover to fit my ever-changing load.

The rain cover folds into a small bundle, fitting into its own storage stuff sack that’s conveniently attached to the inside of the cover – no chance of losing it. I love how it tucks away neatly, finding its space in the top pocket of my pack, adding an extra layer of protection over my electronics.

While I share the sentiments of some about wishing for a waterproofing coating, the cover held its own, keeping my belongings bone dry. It’s a minor trade-off for a rain cover that delivers on its promise at a reasonable price point.

On the fourth day of my Appalachian Trail expedition, the skies opened up with a vengeance. The rain was coming down in sheets, and I was miles away from any shelter. It was the real test for my Kelty Rain Cover. I hastily pulled it over my backpack, cinching the drawstring tight. The fit was snug, and the internal webbing loops attached securely to my shoulder straps, a feature I found to be incredibly thoughtful. As I trudged through the muddy trail, the rain cover stayed put, not budging an inch despite the gusty winds. Hours later, when I finally reached a shelter, I was soaked to the bone, but when I removed the Kelty Rain Cover, my gear was as dry as a bone – my sleeping bag, clothes, and most importantly, my electronics were all safe from the deluge. The quality and effectiveness of this rain cover not only saved my gear but also kept my spirits high in what could have been a morale-sapping situation. This personal experience cemented my trust in the Kelty Rain Cover, and it’s a story I share with every fellow outdoor enthusiast I meet.

The Kelty Backpack Rain Cover has now become a staple in my outdoor ventures, proving its worth with every drop it keeps at bay. Whether it’s a short weekend hike or an extended wilderness venture, I am now always equipped to face the unpredictable weather head-on, all thanks to Kelty.

Pros:

  • Durable Material: The 190T taffeta nylon ripstop and treated 600D polyester is robust and reliable in harsh weather conditions.
  • Adjustable Fit: The internal pull cord and cinching drawstring allow for a snug fit on various pack sizes, securing your gear even in windy conditions.
  • Size Versatility: Available in medium and large sizes, it caters to a wide range of backpack volumes, from 49 to 110 liters.
  • Easy Attachment: The internal webbing loops attach easily to shoulder straps, providing extra security.
  • Compact Storage: Packs down into a small bundle fitting in its own attached storage sack, making it easy to carry without any bulk.
  • Effective Protection: Proven to keep gear dry even through severe thunderstorms.

Cons:

  • Waterproofing Coating: Although highly water-resistant, a waterproofing coating would provide an extra layer of assurance for the most cautious of adventurers.
  • Learning Curve: Takes a few tries to efficiently pack it back into its attached bag.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
The Sea to Summit backpack rain cover product picture

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The Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Pack cover is an ultra-lightweight rain cover made from 30D Ultra-Sil nylon. This makes it incredibly lightweight but somewhat more fragile than other rain covers.

Ultra-Sil is a siliconized version of ripstop woven nylon. It’s actually a lot more durable than you would expect given its silky smooth texture and lightweight. Strands of cordura are woven into a ripstop pattern and treated for water resistance.

The Ultra-Sil Pack Cover is available in four sizes to better fit your specific pack. The small, medium, and large covers have built-in keeper straps to tightly conform the rain cover to the body of your pack.

The biggest draw of the Ultra-Sil Pack Cover is its low weight. Even the largest rain cover is under 4 oz. They each stuff down into an included carry sack that’s about the size of a soda can.

If you’re looking for the lightest possible rain cover that’s still durable enough for use in the backcountry, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover is the one for you.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
The Osprey backpack rain cover product picture

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The Osprey Ultralight Raincover is a range of pack covers designed for hiking and camping. They’re made from 40D ripstop nylon and capable of protecting packs from 30L to 110L in capacity.

It uses a wrap around design with a cinch attachment that securely places it on your bag. It also has harness and hip belt attachments that protect every element of your bag. Despite its high potential capacity the Osprey Ultralight Raincover weighs just over 3 oz.

It’s designed to pack down into an included stuff sack about the size of a tennis ball. Other cool features include reflective strips along the body and a blinker style light for added nighttime visibility.

The Osprey Ultralight Raincover is a lightweight and highly adjustable rain cover. It’s a great option for ultra light hikers and others who prize weight reduction.

Unigear Backpack Rain Cover

Unigear Backpack Rain Cover
The Unigear backpack rain cover product picture

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The Unigear Backpack Rain Cover is an inexpensive option for keeping the rain out of your pack. It’s made from 70D nylon and is available in several different sizes that fit packs from 15L to 90L.

It has small drain holes at the bottom of the cover to allow any water to quickly exit the body of the cover. The cover attaches to your pack with a pair of buckled straps and an elastic band. This gives you excellent and secure coverage.

It’s available in a variety of different colors and has a reflective logo for added nighttime visibility. The whole thing packs down into a small stuff sack for easy transport when not in use.

The Unigear Backpack Rain Cover is a value priced pack cover that gets the job done. It isn’t the lightest or most durable rain cover available but it gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

Osprey Hi-Visibility Rain Cover

Osprey Hi-Visibility Rain Cover
The Osprey Hi-Visibility backpack rain cover product picture

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The Osprey Hi-Visibility Rain Cover is a brightly colored pack cover designed specifically for smaller bags. It comes in a single color, electric lime, and fits packs from 10L up to 35L.

It’s the cyclist’s and day hiker’s answer to the celebrated Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover. The body of the cover is made from 70D ripstop nylon and weighs under 3 oz. It uses a wraparound style cinch attachment to securely attach it to your pack.

The electric lime coloring is enhanced with reflective graphics and a blinker light. For cyclists sharing the road with inattentive drivers this is a significant set of features. Once the rain goes away the cover packs down into an included carry pouch.

The Osprey Hi-Visibility Rain Cover is optimized for cyclists, runners, and others who need high performance and high visibility. It’s ultra-lightweight and includes tons of features to make you as visible as possible to drivers.

Deuter Waterproof Rain Cover III

Deuter Waterproof Rain Cover III
The Deuter backpack rain cover product picture

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The Deuter Waterproof Rain Cover III is the company’s large capacity rain cover for packs between 45L and 90L. It’s made from 70D polyamide fabric with a water-resistant PU coating.

This gives it excellent rain resistance at a very lightweight. The Rain Cover III weighs just over 4 oz despite being made from high-capacity packs.

It attaches to your bag with a drawstring cinch. The exterior of the rain cover has several reflective logos and patches to aid in nighttime visibility.

When the storm passes you can pack your Deuter Rain Cover III into the included carry pouch, about the size of a small water bottle. If you find the Rain Cover III to be too large for your pack they also offer a I and II version that fits smaller bags.

Overall the Deuter Waterproof Rain Cover III is a great pack cover option from a highly respected outdoor brand.

Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover

Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover
The Joy Walker backpack rain cover product picture

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The Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover is a value-priced pack cover designed for casual use. It’s made from 300D nylon and available in a variety of sizes and color choices.

The cover attaches with a pair of buckled straps for a snug fit. The cover itself is made using a triple-layer approach that combines a water repellent outer layer with a breathable inner liner and sturdy middle layer.

This gives it excellent strength and pretty good water resistance. Each pack cover includes a velvet carry pouch that allows you to stuff it into just about any nook and cranny of your backpack.

The Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover is a no frills pack cover available at a very affordable price. It gets the job done and costs just a fraction of similar rain covers.

CamelBak Pack Rain Cover

CamelBak Pack Rain Cover
The CamelBak backpack rain cover product picture

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The CamelBak Pack Rain Cover is a high visibility pack cover designed for cyclists and runners. It fits perfectly on CamelBak’s line of hydration packs and most any pack between 25L to 38L.

It comes in one color, a blindingly bright yellow, and has multiple reflective logos and patches. It uses a hook and loop closure system paired with a drawstring elastic cinch.

This allows you to get a customized fit for your specific bag. When the clouds have cleared it packs down into an included stuff sack that fits into the palm of your hand.

The CamelBak Pack Rain Cover is perfect for CamelBak’s line of hydration packs or any small backpack under about 40L.

Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover

Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover
The Mountainsmith backpack rain cover product picture

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The Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover is a lightweight pack cover available in a variety of sizes. It’s made from 190T taffeta nylon and has fully taped/welded seams.

This helps prevent water intrusion at the seams and provides overall better protection for your pack. Depending on the size you get it will cover packs from 15L all the way up to 100L.

They attach to your pack using a pair of hook and loop closure straps and a drawstring cinch. This gives you a snug fit no matter what size your bag is.

They weigh between 3.8 and 4.2 oz depending on the size and are designed to pack down into an included stuff sack. This makes it easy to stow them in just about any pocket of your backpack when not in use.

The Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover is a lightweight and high-quality line of rain covers. They’ll fit just about any size pack and offer several ways to fully secure them to your pack.

Best Backpack Rain Cover Comparison Table

Buyers Guide to Choosing the Best Waterproof Backpack Cover

Picking out the perfect waterproof backpack cover is a lot easier than you’d think. There are tons of options to choose from, but relatively few features and metrics to look at.

Price

Hiking rain covers are very affordable. Even high-end models from very well known brands rarely break $50. When compared to the price of a good hiking pack waterproof backpack covers are almost negligible.

You can find quality rain covers for a steal of a deal if you look hard enough.

Water-Resistance

The bulk of rain covers are water resistant rather than waterproof. In order to qualify as a waterproof cover it would need to be able to stand up to at least partial submergence.

Most rain covers only protect the part of your bag that’s exposed to the elements and do nothing to protect your stuff from submergence. That’s not really a bad thing though.

We’ve reviewed fully waterproof duffel bags, backpacks, and dry bags before, they aren’t usually something you’d want to lug around on a long hike.

Water resistant rain covers are perfectly adequate for protecting your gear from a downpour while out hiking and camping.

Should You Use a Water-Resistant Spray

The materials used in your rain cover go a long way to making them water resistant, but they aren’t perfect. If you’ve noticed that your rain cover has started to seep a bit, especially around any seams, it’s not a bad idea to give it a thorough coating of an outdoor waterproofing spray or wash.

We’ve done a review of several great tent and gear waterproofing sprays. Check it out to find the best one for your rain cover.

Material Denier and Durability

The bulk of waterproof backpack rain covers are made using either nylon or polyester. Nylon is slightly more expensive on average but is very durable and can stretch slightly for the best possible fit.

Nylon rain covers are highly water resistant and easy to clean. They will wear out eventually but only after a long working life.

Polyester is a bit cheaper than nylon on average and is also highly water resistant. It’s not quite as durable as nylon but does offer acceptable performance at a reasonable price.

Denier is the metric used to measure the toughness of a bag. For a hiking backpack rain cover you want to balance durability with flexibility and weight.

If you’re doing light hiking across relatively smooth terrain 150-200D is perfectly acceptable. If you plan to do long duration hikes across rough terrain you should go for a rain cover that’s more resistant to damage.

300D is a good place to start, though you’ll see examples that are 400D, 500D, and even 600D. You may also encounter rain covers measured in Tex units. A Tex is a unit similar to a Denier but based on an actual volumetric measure.

A good way to roughly compare the two is to multiple Tex by 9 to get Denier.

Whatever material you decide to go with we highly recommend you choose a ripstop version. Ripstop fabrics are specially stitched to prevent a small tear from becoming major damage.

Coating

Because the majority of rain covers are made using woven plastic strands they’re often coated with a waterproofing material. Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coatings are extremely common, as are similar coatings such as siliconized nylon and polyurethane (PU).

You’ll likely need to replenish the strength of these coatings on a regular basis.

Size

Sizing your rain cover is one of the most important factors to consider when picking one out. You need one large enough to fit your backpack without being too big for a snug fit.

General purpose rain covers not designed for a specific bag usually offer a method to cinch down the body of the cover against your bag. Rain covers will give you a range of pack sizes that they’ll protect.

This is generally shown in liters or cubic inches. If you aren’t certain what size you need for your pack we recommend you go a size up just to be safe.

It’s always possible to cinch in or strap down a too large rain cover. If it’s too small though you’re pretty much out of luck.

Straps and Adjustable Drawstrings

General rain covers designed to fit a range of packs often have straps, drawstrings, and elastic strips. This allows you to customize the fit of your rain cover to better match your specific hiking pack.

Common methods include a criss-cross style pair of straps that fit along the back of your pack. This prevents the rain cover from sliding off.

Color

You can choose from a vast array of colors and patterns depending on the rain cover brand you choose. If flying under the radar is important for you many manufacturers offer camouflage rain covers.

For hunters, or those hiking during hunting season, a bright color such as blaze orange or red helps draw attention to you and prevent accidents. Some hikers prefer earth tone rain covers that allow them to hide their packs on the side of a trail while going for a wash or taking a break.

Dustproofing

Rain and water aren’t the only things to worry about when out hiking. If you’re in the desert or a similarly dusty, windy area sand, dust, and dirt can be a big concern.

The last thing you want is to find out your clean clothes and comfortable sleeping bag were filled with sand during the day. Check prospective rain covers to find out if they offer protection against dust, dirt, and sand.

This also makes it a whole lot easier to keep your expensive hiking pack clean. It’s a lot better to get mud and grime on a $20 rain cover than a $200 pack.

Rain Cover Pockets

Many rain covers are designed with quick-access exterior pockets. This allows you to put items like snack bars or waterproof maps within easy reach.

It allows you to access them without removing the rain cover from your pack when it’s raining.

Top Hiking Backpack Rain Covers Video

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Best Backpack Rain Cover

When it comes to outdoor adventures, keeping your gear dry is essential, especially during unpredictable weather conditions. That’s where a backpack rain cover comes in handy. In this section, we have compiled some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about backpack rain covers to help you better understand their purpose, usage, and benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, these answers will provide you with valuable insights and guidance on choosing the best backpack rain cover for your needs. So, let’s dive into the frequently asked questions and get ready to tackle any rainstorm with confidence!

What is a backpack rain cover?

A backpack rain cover is a protective layer designed to keep your backpack dry during wet weather conditions. It is usually made of waterproof material that fits snugly over your backpack, providing a barrier against rain, snow, and moisture.

Why do I need a backpack rain cover?

A backpack rain cover is essential for any outdoor enthusiast, especially campers and hikers. It helps to keep your gear dry, preventing water from seeping into your backpack and potentially damaging your belongings, such as clothes, electronics, and food supplies.

How does a backpack rain cover work?

Backpack rain covers are typically made from waterproof materials, such as nylon or polyester with a waterproof coating or laminate. They feature an elasticized edge or adjustable straps to ensure a secure fit around your backpack. The cover creates a protective barrier, preventing rainwater from penetrating and reaching the contents of your backpack.

Are backpack rain covers universal or do they come in different sizes?

Backpack rain covers come in various sizes to accommodate different backpack sizes and styles. It’s important to choose a rain cover that matches the dimensions of your backpack. Most rain covers are adjustable and have elasticized edges or drawstrings that can be tightened to fit snugly around your backpack.

Can I use a backpack rain cover for any type of backpack?

While many backpack rain covers are designed to fit a wide range of backpacks, it’s still important to consider the specific dimensions and capacity of your backpack. It’s advisable to check the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult customer reviews to ensure compatibility.

Can I use a backpack rain cover in heavy rain or storms?

Backpack rain covers are specifically designed to provide protection against rain showers and light to moderate rain. While they are effective at repelling water, they may not be completely waterproof in heavy downpours or during extreme weather conditions. In such cases, additional waterproofing measures like using a dry bag or packing your items in waterproof stuff sacks are recommended.

How do I care for a backpack rain cover?

Taking proper care of your backpack rain cover will ensure its longevity and effectiveness. After each use, wipe off any dirt or debris and allow it to dry completely before storing. Avoid exposing the rain cover to excessive heat or direct sunlight, as this can degrade the waterproof coating. If necessary, hand wash the rain cover with mild soap and lukewarm water, then air dry it thoroughly before using it again.

Are backpack rain covers expensive?

Backpack rain covers are generally affordable, with prices varying depending on the brand, size, and features. Basic rain covers are often available at budget-friendly prices, while premium options with additional features like reflective elements or integrated storage pockets may be slightly more expensive.

Can I use a backpack rain cover for purposes other than camping?

Absolutely! While backpack rain covers are commonly used for camping and hiking, they can also be used for other outdoor activities such as biking, trekking, or traveling. They provide excellent protection for your backpack and its contents in various wet weather conditions.

Remember to choose a backpack rain cover that suits your specific needs and the dimensions of your backpack. It’s always beneficial to read customer reviews and compare different options before making a purchase.

Best Backpack Rain Covers Recap

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the best waterproof backpack cover you have to consider where and how you’ll use it.

If you’re a cyclist or runner you’ll likely need to prioritize visibility and compactness. A distance hiker needs performance, durability, and packability above all else.

As long as you know how you intend to use your rain cover it’s easy to pick out the version that works best for your needs.

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