Are you an avid hiker? If so, you know how problematic sudden storms can be. Unexpected rain can and will soak your best backpack and all of the trekking essentials you’re carrying in it. In other words, your extra clothes, snacks, and electronics will end up soaked and potentially destroyed.
How to combat this? One option would be to carry a dry bag or a waterproof backpack. However, a lot of these products lack features you’d want to have in your lightweight backpack, particularly in terms of capacity. You can read the best backpack for the Camino de Santiago for more recommendations. The other, and a much better option, would be to simply get yourself a quality backpack rain cover.
These uncomplicated but exceptionally convenient products are water-repellent (obviously) and, at the same time, quite lightweight. In addition, most of them fold small enough that they don’t take up a lot of space when they’re not being used. Finally, backpack rain covers are extremely easy to use, which comes in very handy when you’re in a hurry to wrap up your rucksack before it’s drenched.
If you’re considering getting one of these handy products in order to protect your gear from sudden downpours, keep reading. Our short but informative reviews of the market’s 12 best backpack rain covers are bound to help you out. Also, make sure to check out our buying guide down below – it should give you some idea of what features to look for when shopping for the best backpack rain cover.
Best Backpack Rain Cover – The Reviews
Mountainsmith Rain Cover
- Weight: 4.32 ounces
- Sizes: L, M, S, XS
Although one of the best small backpacks on our list, the Mountainsmith Backpack Rain Cover has a pretty decent size range – from L to XS. With a couple of different sizes to choose from, you shouldn’t have any issues with finding a variant that suits your needs.
This model is made out of a material called 190T taffeta nylon. This is a heavy-duty material that allows rugged use, while at the same time giving the backpack’s user peace of mind when it comes to potential leaks. The bag’s seams are taped and sealed for additional protection.
Another great thing about this model is its hook and loop closure system. While it may sound complicated, this feature is actually very easy to use – whether you’re in a rush or not. The cord attachment points, on the other hand, are angled, while the model’s full circumference drawcord allows for a tight fit.
We also liked the fact that this is one of those backpack rain covers that come with an integrated stuff sack – you won’t have to worry about losing it during your backcountry adventures. In addition, this waterproof rain cover can be folded up when it’s not in use.
OUTAD Waterproof Rain Cover
- Weight: 4.9 ounces
- Sizes: L, M, S
As they’re designed to keep your gear dry, the best backpack rain covers also need to be very durable. They need to be capable of withstanding some pulls and tugs while they’re in use. The model we’re about to analyze here, Waterproof Rain Cover by OUTAD, manages to achieve this through the use of polyester oxford fabric with rip-resistant properties.
What’s more, this model comes with a reinforced bottom section. This means that you’ll never have to worry about putting it down on the ground while trekking in a damp area. Besides keeping the moisture at bay, this waterproof backpack blocks out dirt and mud as well – your hiking essentials will always stay clean and dry.
Available in large, medium, and small sizes, the OUTAD easily fits over most bags. This means that you’ll be able to use it both for your school bag and your trekking backpack. And once the rain stops, you’ll be able to tuck it into its drawstring storage stuff sack and store it away.
Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover
- Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Sizes: XL, L, M
Once it begins to rain, you don’t want to find yourself struggling to hide your stuff. This is precisely where Osprey Ultralight comes in. It combines harness attachments and a secure hip belt with a wrap-around cinch attachment to protect your essentials from the downpour.
Made out of nylon ripstop fabric (40-denier), this backpack cover easily endures daily wear and tear out in the backcountry. The model is also quite lightweight – it won’t put additional weight on your back when you’re using it.
Although black, this rain cover for the backpack also sports some reflective graphics. Obviously, this feature can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation as it ensures high visibility. Osprey Ultralight also comes accompanied by a convenient carry case, allowing easy transport and storage.
Made out of a durable material and coming at a reasonable price, this backpack cover is certainly one of the best backpack rain covers currently available on the market. Plus, it comes from Osprey, which is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers of trekking accessories.
CamelBak Unisex Rain Cover
- Weight: 3 ounces
- Sizes: M/L, S/M
Looking for a brand-made backpack cover that will keep your gear safe and dry from water and moisture? If so, CamelBak’s latest offering may be a great choice for you. It is extremely easy to use – you only need to use the hook and loop closure system to attach it to your backpack.
Once you find the black elastic strap, slip it under your bag’s shoulder straps and then simply thread it through the loop. After that, use the Velcro attachment to achieve a secure fit. Finally, use the convenient drawstring (which is located at the bottom of the backpack cover) to seal everything up.
Since it’s exceptionally lightweight, the CamelBak waterproof backpack cover does not weigh down its user. High visibility is here, too, as this rain cover comes in bright yellow color. One thing we particularly liked is the size range – the model can be used with a wide variety of trekking bags.
In summary, those looking for an easy-to-pack and waterproof backpack cover won’t make a mistake by going with CamelBak Unisex Rain Cover.
Gregory Accessories Rain Cover
- Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Sizes: XL, L, M, S
The next rain cover for backpacks on our list is made by Gregory Accessories. It’s a simple but convenient model that’s perfectly sized to protect all of your trekking essentials from water and moisture.
Available in bright orange or bright blue color, this is one of those backpack covers that come with a reflective logo. As such, the Gregory Accessories Rain Cover keeps its user-visible to those around him, even during the worst weather conditions.
The main material used in the manufacture of this waterproof backpack cover is polyurethane-coated nylon (210-denier). As expected, all of the model’s seams are taped – you’ll never have to worry about water getting inside the bag where it could soak your maps, clothes, food, or the sleeping bag.
This backpack rain cover also has a strap that keeps it tight to the user’s bag and a stuff sack that allows easy storage and transportation. No matter which size you get, you can rest assured that not even the strongest wind will be able to shift this backpack cover.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain Cover
- Weight: 4.6 ounces
- Sizes: L, M, S, XS
One of the best things about the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Rain Cover is how small it is. Even in the largest size available, this backpack cover weighs mere 4.6 ounces. Size XS variant, on the other hand, weighs only 2 ounces – pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say? No matter which size you ultimately decide to go with, this backpack rain cover certainly won’t weigh you down.
Available in several bright colors, this model is made by one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of hiking accessories. As such, it is packed with convenient features, one of which is the drainage hole on the model’s base. This backpack rain cover also has a mid-back keeper strap and an elastic & adjustable bungee rim with a hook.
However, the best thing about the Sea to Summit backpack rain cover is how durable it is. Sporting a 30-denier Cordura ripstop siliconized construction, it’s a heavy-duty backpack rain cover and one of the best products of this type in terms of durability. Finally, this is one of those fully waterproof backpack covers – leaking will never be a problem.
Osprey Hi-Visibility Rain Cover
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Sizes: XS, S
Most of the backpack covers we’re analyzing here can be obtained in bright colors. This is because good visibility can literally save your life in an emergency situation – even the most experienced trekkers are always in potential danger of getting lost in the backcountry.
As its name suggests, Osprey’s newest backpack rain cover takes this into consideration. Besides offering rain protection, this model also promotes high visibility with its bright yellow material. Some extra visibility is provided by the reflective graphics on the model’s back, while the blinker light attachment turns this model into the best rain cover for cyclists.
Furthermore, this backpack rain cover comes equipped with a wrap-around cinch attachment, allowing the user to secure it in his or her backpack. The harness attachments and the hip belt, on the other hand, add some extra protection and further reduce the chances of leakage.
Once the heavy rain stops and the sun comes out, you’ll be able to fold down this backpack rain cover to the size of a tennis ball. You can simply store away this tiny package and use it again the next time heavy rain threatens to soak you.
Terra Hiker Backpack Rain Cover
- Weight: 3.84 ounces
- Sizes: L, M, S
Although very protective, complicated closure systems also have a downside – they take a lot of time to secure, which translates to soaked hiking gear. That is precisely why Terra Hiker’s newest backpack rain cover uses a very simple but highly functional drawstring closure. With it, securing the bag is as easy and quick as it gets.
As a waterproof backpack rain cover, this model effortlessly protects one’s belongings from both heavy and light rain. It does this through the combination of a fully seam-sealed design and a PU coating. The bottom of this water-repellent cover, on the other hand, is reinforced in order to prevent potential damage to belongings in case you place the backpack on a rough surface.
Terra Hiker Rain Cover is available in three colors, including bright blue, black, and a camouflage-like variant. No matter which size you go with, your Terra Hiker Rain Cover will include a handy carry bag that allows easy storage and transportation.
Outdoor Research Lightweight Rain Cover
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Sizes: XL, L, M
The most important feature of every hiking bag rain cover is water resistant. The one made by Outdoor Research is fully seam-taped and therefore as waterproof as it can be. In addition, it weighs only a couple of ounces, regardless of the size you decide to go with.
This bright-colored, water resistant-model will protect your backpack and its contents with its tough outer shell – the material used here is ripstop polyester (40-denier) with a polyurethane coating. As mentioned above, the seams of this water-repellent backpack cover are fully taped – the water is kept at bay and the hiking gear stays dry.
Just like most models on our list, this trekking bag rain cover features an integrated stuff sack. It also has an elastic drawcord around the bottom and the back and the brightly colored fabric ensures high visibility during nighttime backcountry escapades.
The North Face Pack Rain Cover
- Weight: 2-4 ounces
- Sizes: XL, L, M, S, XS
Everybody knows about The North Face – it’s one of the world’s most reputable outdoor apparel brands. Their latest rain cover is just as good as the rest of their products, but that’s something we’ve totally expected. Let’s take a closer look at it:
The main material used in the manufacture of this backpack cover is 190T taffeta fabric (70-denier) which is combined with a 2000mm PU coating. Due to this effective (and expensive) construction, the North Face Rain Cover keeps the backpack dry – there’s no question about that. To eliminate leaking, the company has equipped this model with fully taped seams.
Due to its elastic closure, slipping this waterproof cover is incredibly easy, even in a heavy (and unexpected) downpour. The model’s drain hole, which is located at the bottom, is there to let out any water that could accidentally end up between the cover and the backpack. In other words, you’ll never have to worry about puddles of water soaking your bag’s lower area.
The XS variant of this water-resistant model is particularly convenient and works great with small backpacks. It is, in addition, extremely lightweight, at only 2 ounces. Check out the best North Face backpacks. If you already have a NF pack, check out this guide to washing a North Face backpack.
Joy Walker Waterproof Rain Cover
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Sizes: XXL, XL, L, M, S
Once you find yourself in the middle of a downpour, the last thing you need is having to deal with a bunch of straps. In heavy rain, it takes only a minute for the bag’s contents to get soaked – by the time you slip the cover on, it will be too late. This is precisely where the Joy Walker Waterproof Rain Cover comes in.
As it uses a simple but functional elastic rim, slipping this waterproof cover over the backpack can be done in seconds. In addition, the model is very durable – its 300D nylon material is highly resistant to sand, dirt, and scratches. The model’s inner material is waterproof as well and will keep the contents of your backpack safe from moisture caused by snow, fog, as well as heavy and light rain.
In terms of portability, this is one of the best rain covers out there – it packs down to the size of a cell phone. Size-wise, there are 5 options to choose from, so finding the ideal fit for your backpack shouldn’t be an issue.
BlueField Outdoor Rain Cover
- Weight: 5.3 ounces
- Sizes: L, M, S
Those looking for the best backpack rain cover don’t actually have to spend a lot of money to end up with one. While it’s not necessarily the best model out there, BlueField Outdoor Rain Cover certainly has a lot to offer for its affordable price.
The main material used in its manufacture is 300D polyester oxford fabric. This type of fabric sports a double coating, which means that it’s resistant to water, or, in simple terms, waterproof. With this model, even the heaviest downpour won’t be able to soak your precious belongings, whether we’re talking about electronics or your sleeping bag.
The seamless construction of this backpack rain cover also reduces moisture on the inside. The elastic closure, on the other hand, is there to make sure that the model offers a secure fit no matter the shape or size of your backpack. While we do like all of these perks (as well as the low weight), we still consider the affordable price of this model to be its best feature.
Best Backpack Rain Cover – The Buying Guide
Here are the most important factors you should keep in mind while shopping for a backpack rain cover:
When it comes to these products, they are usually made out of either nylon or polyester. While both of them sport a low weight, each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Since it’s very stretchy and durable, nylon is the most popular material. It is effortless to clean in case it gets dirty, and it effortlessly resists stains, mildew, mold, abrasions, and water. Although stronger than polyester, it is susceptible to fading when exposed to sunlight and it’s not recyclable.
Polyester, on the other hand, is just as durable but not as stretchy. However, it is recyclable and doesn’t fade so easily. Furthermore, it dries very fast and it’s just as resistant to mildew, mold, and water.
Low weight and resistance to elements are important features of every good rain cover. The best ones, however, are also very durable and wear-resistant. In other words, they can be used repeatedly in all conditions and environments without exposing your gear to damage.
The best rain cover needs to be scratch-resistant, i.e. you shouldn’t be left with a large tear in case you brush the bag against sharp rocks or pointy branches. Many models are seamless, too, removing the need to worry about threads coming loose and exposing your belongings to rain and snow.
Obviously, this is the most important feature of every product of this type. When a backpack rain cover is waterproof, rain glides over its surface instead of getting inside of it.
When shopping for a rain cover, one needs to consider the activity he’s planning to use it for as well the season during which he’ll be using it. If you’re someone who often hikes in dry areas where it doesn’t rain that often, you don’t really need to go for a heavy-duty and fully waterproof model. While it’s good to have some protection in case of unexpected showers, buying the most expensive and most water-resistant option would be overkill.
Longer backcountry escapades are an entirely different matter, though. During these, the weather can always surprise you with a sudden downpour. That is precisely why serious hikers need to consider investing in quality, brand-made, fully waterproof models.
Just like backpacks that they’re used for, these products can be obtained in many different sizes. No matter the weight and capacity of your hiking bag, there’s probably a rain cover of an appropriate size for it.
However, just because a particular model claims to fit your bag perfectly doesn’t mean that it actually does. Make sure to open it up and slip it over your bag to see if it fits correctly. If the fit is too snug, for example, feel free to get one size larger. Getting a rain cover that’s too tight is bound to leave some sections of your bag exposed to rain and moisture.
In addition, try to get a model with plenty of drawstrings and straps – these will make it much easier to tighten the cover to the backpack for a tight and secure fit.
Best Backpack Rain Cover – The Verdict
So, you’ve decided to get yourself a quality backpack rain cover. Best products of this type are all over the market, however, which makes the task of choosing just one of them quite intimidating.
As far as we’re concerned, all of the rain covers we’ve analyzed above are good in their own ways. If we had to choose just one, however, that would probably be the Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover. With features such as durable outer shell, reflective printing, handy carry case, and the overall low weight, it’s a model that easily withstands rough use and keeps the user’s belongings safe from the elements.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.