Why this backpack is perfect for anyone travelling during monsoon season

Overboard Backpack Review: a backpack so waterproof you can go kayaking with it.

Want to know why a dry pack is so much better than a regular waterproof backpack? This is the review for you. Find out why we decided to make sure we could protect all of our valuable electronics, rather than sticking with a traditional backpack. The Overboard Dry Bag is advertised for Kayaking and beach use, but we realised just how useful it could be for travellers heading into a monsoon…


What is a dry bag/dry pack?

If you lived in England, or any other wet country, you probably had an experience as a child where your supposed “waterproof” backpack and yourself got caught out in a storm and your school books got partially destroyed.

These sorts of traumatic childhood events led me to have a massive level of scepticism about any backpack that describes itself as “waterproof”… until now!

As a long term traveller, it’s no longer schoolbooks getting damp that is a concern. I’m more worried about my expensive laptop ending up in the river whilst speeding down the Meekong on a long boat… or my video camera being soaked beyond repair during a monsoon.

So we did some research and ended up purchasing what industry insiders call a “Dry pack” or “Dry Bag”.

The difference between a standard waterproof backpack (waterproof rating 1 & 2) and the dry pack (rating 3 to 5) is that the dry pack is almost completely airtight – I’ve actually inflated it and used it as a pillow.

The Overboard Dry Bag is like a giant zip lock bag but made from tough material. It will also float if dropped in the river – and of course remain dry inside.


How this pack works for a long term traveller, and other benefits.

The 30 litre pack works for us because there are 2 of us. One gets our main pack (70 litre) with all our clothes and non-damageable things in, the other carries the waterproof pack with all of our valuable electronics in. So now you know which one of us to mug… please don’t mug us though!

The 30 litre pack can come through customs as our carry-on baggage.

As a solo traveller it is possibly too small to be your only travel pack, depending on how good you are at travelling light.

Other benefits:

  1. It got its first test in a Singapore monsoon, no problem! We were a LOT wetter than the contents of the bag!
  2. Reduced chance of pickpocketing. No outside pockets, and no zips makes getting to the contents of the pack more tricky than a traditional bag… it would be pretty obvious if someone had sneaked up behind you and tried to open it.
  3. Comfortable. Its got decent lumbar support and quality straps.
  4. Strong. Made from a thick durable material, rather than canvas/fabric.

Check out our Ultimate Packing List to see how this fits in with our packing overall.


Any Cons?

There are 2 cons that we have encountered:

  1. Condensation. It doesn’t let water in… so it doesn’t let water out either. Some cheap fixes for this, on hot sunny days open the pack occasionally to let the condensation out. Also, put some of those little sachets you get in shoeboxes in with your electronics to absorb some of the moisture.
  2. Quick access. Lacking any exterior pockets (other than the water holder) you have to fully open the pack to get anything and hunt through the whole bag. The process is only mildly more time consuming than zipped bags, and given the other benefits of the pack, its worth it.


Why choose Overboard backpacks?

Its not the only option available in the dry packs category, but we liked the design, the durable material its made of, and it was the best value for money given price to quality.

Prices range from about $80 to $110 depending on colour and capacity. We found our OverBoard Waterproof Backpack on Amazon for a little cheaper than the official site.

disclaimer: We are NOT affiliated with Overboard Backpacks. We do make a small commission on sales through Amazon. Opinions, as always, are our own.

About The Author


Tommo is a world nomad, pizza addict and travel pro. A bus ticket and a backpack are all he needs to get by. From kissing a crocodile in Thailand to dancing on tables in Greece, Tommo is living the dream and then writing about it.


  • Robert

    June 23, 2013

    Hi there !!!
    I recently purchase this backpack and I love it! I have noticed that a fully adjustable waist belt and sternum strap as well as the padded support on the shoulder straps makes these packs comfortable for hours or days of use. Hope this will help to make a decision of your next backpack. All the best from Robert (http://waterproofbackpackguide.com/)

  • Dion Giacchina

    July 18, 2018

    Very cool backpack, thank you for sharing with us!