As a kayaker, having the right gear can make or break your paddling experience. One essential item that is often overlooked is your backpack. Choosing the right kayak backpack ensures you can carry all your gear comfortably and keep your essentials dry.
What Is a Kayak Backpack?
A kayak backpack is a waterproof, durable backpack designed specifically for kayaking. It has padded, adjustable straps for comfort when carrying and paddling. The backpack is made of lightweight yet abrasion-resistant material and has a roll-top closure to seal out water. It has multiple pockets and compartments to organize paddling gear like lifejackets and dry bags. Reflective accents on the backpack improve visibility. Overall, a kayak backpack allows kayakers to comfortably carry and access gear while keeping it protected from the elements on the water.
With so many backpack options on the market, it can be tricky finding the best kayak backpack to suit your needs and budget. In this buyers’ guide, we’ll highlight the key features to look for in a kayak backpack. Whether you’re a casual recreational paddler or avid whitewater kayaker, we’ll help you find the best backpack for your kayaking adventures. Here is our list of the best kayak backpacks on the market.
List of the Best Kayak Backpacks
Check out the thorough reviews of the best kayak backpacks below.
The Rockagator waterproof kayak backpack is an ideal 40 liter capacity dry bag for outdoor adventures like kayaking, rafting, and hiking. Featuring welded seams and a roll-top closure, this backpack creates an airtight seal to keep your gear protected from water, snow, mud, and dust. Upgraded UTX clips provide a secure closure, while durable straps minimize tearing risks. When sealed properly, this backpack floats if dropped in water, ensuring your electronics and valuables inside remain dry.
The external splash-proof pocket allows quick access to items, while the internal zippered pouch safely stores small valuables. Side mesh pockets conveniently hold water bottles and snacks. Hypalon tether points accommodate extra gear, and daisy chain loops enable tie-downs. With robust waterproofing and smart storage features, the Rockagator backpack is equipped to handle wet environments during paddling, while also working great for regular hiking and camping trips.
The IDRYBAG roll top waterproof kayak backpack is an ideal dry bag for outdoor adventures and water sports. Constructed with 500D PVC fabric, this 25L/45L backpack provides excellent waterproofing and durability. The roll-top closure and welded seams securely protect gear, while the removable 13-inch laptop sleeve and multiple organizational pockets allow easy access and storage. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps enhance comfort when loaded, and the sternum strap ensures a stable, bounce-free fit. For visibility and safety, reflective accents are smartly incorporated. Topped with a protective hood and featuring a mesh exterior pocket, this backpack keeps contents dry through wet conditions.
The Saltie 30L dry bag backpack is designed to keep gear safe and dry during outdoor adventures. Constructed from durable welded PVC material, it features a roll-top closure with sturdy clips to seal out water. Even when fully submerged, the backpack’s waterproofing keeps contents dry. Weighing 2.2 pounds, the backpack measures 18 x 13 x 6 inches, providing 30 liters of storage capacity. Padded shoulder and hip straps evenly distribute weight and are fully adjustable for comfort, while the breathable mesh back panel promotes airflow. The backpack withstands rugged use from splashes, rain, and spray. A zippered front pocket allows quick access to essentials. With quality construction and comfort features, the Saltie backpack is ready to protect gear on kayaking, boating, camping, hiking, fishing, and beach trips.
The lightweight 1.6 pound geckobrands Hydroner 20L backpack provides versatile and dependable waterproof protection for your gear during any watersport activity. Constructed from rugged 250D tarpaulin material, this folding travel bag features adjustable padded shoulder and chest straps for comfortable hands-free carrying while floating, fishing, paddling, or swimming. The water resistant clear phone pouch and zippered mesh interior pocket allows quick access to small necessities. Perfect for storing keys, phone, wallet, and other compact valuables, the interior dry sack keeps belongings dry while boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, or beachcombing.
The Earth Pak waterproof backpack provides complete watertight protection for gear while traveling, kayaking, biking, camping, and fishing. With a durable PVC and polyvinyl chloride lining, the bag ensures contents stay 100% dry. The roll-top closure reinforced with a single strip fastens securely to keep water out. Simply fold the pack down 3-4 times, buckle, and it’s ready for the elements. For organization, the backpack has a large 20in x 13in splash-proof zippered front pocket and interior mesh compartment, key ring, and zippered pocket. Weighing only 2.5 pounds, the bag is lightweight for easy carrying with padded and contoured shoulder straps. D-rings on the straps plus the MOLLE system provide anchor points while boating or biking. The cushioned back panel and removable waist-belt provide comfort by distributing weight off the back.
The 25-liter Xelfly Submersipack is a versatile, durable, and innovative waterproof backpack perfect for water sports and outdoor activities. With just a few breaths of air, the pack inflates to float alongside kayaks or paddleboards. The sleek, lightweight TPU coated nylon is puncture resistant and the reinforced bottom withstands abrasions. Breathable foam padded shoulder straps provide comfort, while sternum and hip straps secure the pack during active use. Two mesh water bottle pockets and interior organizational features allow quick access to gear. However, the standout feature is the airtight and fully submersible zipper seal that keeps contents dry while floating, boating, paddling, or hiking. The heavy-duty reflective pull tabs and included zipper lubricant ensure a watertight closure every time. The Xelfly Submersipack combines portability, organizational storage, and waterproof confidence all in one durable, inflatable, and floating backpack perfect for any outdoor adventure.
The GVANCA waterproof dry bag is an excellent backpack for water activities and outdoor adventures. Crafted from durable 500D PVC material, this backpack has undergone rigorous waterproof testing to ensure gear stays completely dry. With a 35L capacity, it provides ample space for 2-3 days worth of gear for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and camping. The bag features thick padded shoulder straps and a chest strap with an emergency whistle buckle for comfort and safety. Its roll-top closure system with clip buckles creates an air-tight seal to keep contents protected. Weighing only 1.1 lbs, the bag is lightweight and easy to carry.
The Breakwater SupplyTM Meanhigh Dry Bag is a must-have waterproof backpack for adventures on land or water. This 25-liter rolltop bag features welded PVC construction and airtight seams for guaranteed protection against rain, waves, and spills. Adjustable padded shoulder straps provide a comfortable, secure fit during extended wear. A large front mesh pocket with zippered access conveniently stashes wet items separately. Sleek side pockets allow easy access to water bottles while kayaking or paddleboarding. At just 2 pounds, this backpack is lightweight while still offering ample storage for up to 5 beach towels.
The 35-liter Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro is a heavy-duty 420-denier nylon kayak backpack designed for rugged all-weather protection. With welded waterproof seams and roll-down top, the BackSåk Pro keeps gear dry in wet conditions. Adjustable sternum straps, removable waist belt, and padded back support provide custom comfort, while thick cushioned straps relieve pressure on muscles. Multiple D-rings allow easy attachment points to secure the pack. The completely airtight and IPX-7 rated exterior front pocket protects sensitive items. The spacious interior features a laptop compartment, large zippered pocket, mesh slip pocket, and key clip for organization. Side elastic pockets hold water bottles for easy access. Reflective elements on the front and back increase visibility in low light. With ample storage and features for comfort, convenience, and weather protection, the BackSåk Pro is equipped for kayak adventures.
The DraDraLee waterproof Dry Bag is an excellent choice for keeping gear safe and dry during water sports and outdoor adventures. Constructed from durable 500D TPU tarpaulin material, this bag resists tears, punctures, and abrasions while keeping out water, dust, and sand. Featuring an ergonomic design to reduce strain on the back, this 30L bag is lightweight and easy to carry. The roll-top closure provides a watertight IP65 rated seal, while the reflective trim enhances visibility at night. With the ability to float if dropped in water, this bag can even double as an emergency flotation device. For easy access to necessities, exterior mesh pockets allow storage of personal items.
How to Choose The Best Kayak Backpacks?
Determine Your Carry Style
How do you prefer to carry your kayak? The most common options are:
- Shoulder carry – Backpack straps worn like a regular backpack
- Hand carry – Using side handles or end handles
- Cart carry – Rolling the kayak while packed into a backpack cart
Consider your usual carry distance and terrain. If it’s over 1 mile or very uneven, shoulder carry is best. For short distances on flat ground, hand carry may suffice. Carts are great for longer distances if you don’t mind the extra weight.
Pick the Right Size
Make sure to choose a kayak backpack that fits your boat. Measure your kayak’s length and confirm the backpack is designed for that size. Trying to stuff a 14 ft kayak into a 10 ft backpack is a recipe for failure and frustration!
Also consider your torso length. Like regular backpacks, kayak packs should match your torso size so the shoulder straps fit comfortably.
Assess the Padding
Good padding is vital for a kayak backpack. Padded shoulder straps prevent painful digging into your shoulders. Look for wide straps with ample thickness. A padded back panel or frame sheet also enhances comfort during extended carries.
For your kayak’s protection, padded base and sides prevent dings, cracks, and scratches to the hull. No one likes damaging their prized boat!
Mind the Material
The best kayak backpacks use abrasion-resistant materials such as vinyl, cordura, or tarpaulin on high-wear areas. This protects your gear during transit.
Water-resistant fabrics are also useful to keep your equipment dry if you get caught in the rain between the car and the launch point.
Some nice extra features to look for in a kayak backpack include:
- External daisy chains for rigging gear
- Internal pockets for organizing small items
- Removable hip belts for extra support
- Compression straps to stabilize loads
- Reinforced kick plates for durability
With this advice in mind, you can pick out an awesome new kayak backpack for paddle season.
Frequently Asked Questions When Picking The Best Kayak Backpacks
What is a kayak backpack?
A kayak backpack is a specialized backpack designed to carry kayaks for transportation and storage. It allows you to easily transport your kayak from your car to the water.
What are the benefits of a kayak backpack?
Kayak backpacks make it much easier to carry your kayak compared to manual carrying. They distribute the weight more ergonomically across your shoulders and hips. Kayak packs also protect your kayak from scratches during transit.
How much weight can a kayak backpack hold?
Most quality kayak backpacks can safely carry kayaks weighing between 30-60 pounds. Higher end models can handle 70-100+ pound kayaks. Always check the recommended weight capacity before purchasing.
What features should I look for in a kayak backpack?
Look for padded shoulder straps, a padded back panel, external daisy chains, internal pockets, compression straps, kick plate, valve protection, a sternum strap, removable hip belt, and water-resistant fabric.
What size kayak backpack do I need?
Measure your kayak’s length and match that to your prospective backpack’s length capacity. Also consider your torso length for a good fit. The backpack size needs to properly fit your kayak and body size.
How do I transport my kayak with a backpack?
Load the kayak upside down into the backpack and secure the straps. Use proper lifting techniques, keep your back straight, bend your knees, and avoid twisting. Use two people if needed for larger kayaks.
Are kayak backpacks comfortable to carry?
A well-designed kayak backpack with proper padding, weight distribution, and adjustments can be very comfortable to carry moderate distances. Just take breaks as needed when carrying long distances.
Can I bring other gear in a kayak backpack?
Most kayak packs have exterior daisy chains and interior pockets to hold small essentials. But bulkier gear is best transported separately to not exceed weight limits.
The list of best kayak backpacks here provides a great starting point to find your perfect match. Whichever model you choose, the right backpack will soon become your kayaking companion, ready to haul your boat to hidden gems off the beaten path. With many more days of adventure ahead, happy paddling!
Enjoyed this article on the best kayak backpacks? Then be sure to check out our other guides.
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