8 Roll-Top Backpacks to EDC in Any Weather

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Whether you’re a photographer looking to protect your gear, a student who's never without their laptop, or a bike commuter constantly on the move, there are plenty of reasons why investing in a quality roll-top bag is a good idea. The main one being that the gear you put in a backpack is usually more expensive than what you carry in your pockets. If the contents of your bag aren’t protected against a little water, you’re one April shower away from a really bad day. When it comes to bags that will protect your gear from rain, roll-tops are the way to go. And if you're lucky enough to not worry about weather, roll-tops have the added benefit of being able to expand to haul oversized gear when you need to pack more than usual. In this guide we’ll point out a few options that you can count on when the weather goes south.


Timbuk2 Grid Pack

Roll-tops are designed for keeping your gear safe, but once you get to where you’re going having to undo the top everytime can be annoying. The Grid Pack from Timbuk2 aims to solve this problem with a build that incorporates stretchy circular bike tubes, letting you roll down the bag for quicker access throughout the day. The polyester build is both water- and dirt-resistant and the durable hook closure ensures there’s no accidental openings. Inside the main compartment there’s space enough for a 13-inch laptop and pockets on either side are perfect for water bottles or umbrellas. To top it off the front pocket has a strong magnetic closure so if you need to get to smaller items like your keys in a pinch there’s little resistance.

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ILE Flaptop Mini

Inside Line Equipment, or ILE, is one of those companies that sticks to what they do well. They make plenty of small accessories for travel and EDC out of their California-based workshop, but you’ll likely see their packs on the back of a cyclist. One of their newer offerings is the Flaptop Mini which, despite its name is a fairly sizable bag at 21L. The durable Cordura exterior and ballistic nylon bottom make this a hard bag to break, and the weatherproof vinyl interior keeps water from seeping in. You’ll get a large main compartment for your most important gear, a smaller front pocket for quick access to your essentials, and a sturdy sternum strap to distribute the weight.

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MiiR Commuter

Sometimes the most functional designs are the simplest ones, and the MiiR Commuter bag is the perfect example of that. This 25L bag was designed with commuters in mind, so you’ll get a dedicated padded 15-inch laptop sleeve along with the large main compartment and a quick access pockets. The body is constructed of 630D nylon with a water-resistant finish and the zippers are equally hydrophobic with a water resistant PU coating.

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Datum Trecknos

A good pack makes it easy to carry your stuff, which is why the 26L Datum Trecknos is worth checking out. This all-black bag keeps has a fairly minimal design at first glance, but upon further inspection shows off just how rugged it can be. Quality YKK watertight zippers keep the contents of the front and side quick access pockets dry in the rain, while the roll-top design does the same for the main compartment. The shoulder straps are heavily padded to make carrying at full capacity a little easier on the shoulders and if you need some extra help, you can always buckle the waist to get the weight off your back.

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Velomacci Speedway Backpack

If you usually get to where you’re going on a bike, then not only do you need a bag that’s weatherproof but you also need one that will stay on your back at high speeds. That’s where the 28L Velomacci Speedway backpack comes in. This rolltop has a magnetic closure that seals tight keeping your gear dry in the main compartment, but it also has a few pockets on the front (also watertight) and a hands-free clip to stash your helmet. The cherry on top is the cross-body harness that ensure this pack stays on your back where it belongs.

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North St. Flanders

Roll-tops are mainly a functional bag, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a touch of style and color thrown in. Take the Flanders backpack from North St Bags. The Portland-based company offers all of the water-resistant goodness you’d expect from a roll-top bag including an internal compartment made of waterproof sailcloth and a 1000D Cordura exterior. Even though it has a slim profile, this 32L bag can stash up to a 15-inch laptop thanks to a sleeve in the main compartment. You also get two smaller pockets right on the front with watertight zippers and ergonomic contoured straps that make it easier to carry when at max capacity.

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Wandrd Prvke

Because roll-tops are so good at keeping water out, they’re perfect for protecting your electronics. If you’re a photographer looking for a gear bag, check out the Wandrd Prvke. It comes in 21L or 31L sizes and lets you carry everything from camera equipment to clothing (or both) thanks to a removable camera cube insert. It even has a strap on the side for keeping your tripod at the ready but out of the way when you’re trying to get the perfect shot. Even if you’re not looking to carry camera gear, the padded tablet and laptop sleeves combined with the water-resistant tarp construction makes for this a solid bag for commuters looking to protect the expensive things they carry that don’t play well with water.

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YNot Neo

If you want the protective roll-top design in a bag that’s just the right size for everyday use, then check out the YNot Neo. At max capacity it’s roughly a 19L bag, and thanks to the 400D Ripstop Nylon interior lining, your essentials will stay dry in the rain. The exterior of the bag is made of 1000D Cordura and you can also add wax for extra water protection. To help carry heavy loads, there’s a rigid back that’s padded for comfort and maintains the shape.

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For more roll-top bags, check out our previous guide.

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Don’t forget Mission Workshop bags. Built insanely tough and the Arkiv model is modular. Been using it for about three years. Love it!
Once you get a bag made by Savotta you never look back. They are SUPER durable, good looking and will last a lifetime. Sure - you pay more - but since it will last decades it's a bargain. I now buy all my packs and equipment from varusteleka.com and they ship to the US for $10 in less than a week.
What’s a good decent roll top back pac for a high schooler. He likes the timberland bag he has but it only lasted a year. Any suggestions?
I have the Mixed Works Falcon and love it
What kept the topo mountain bags off the list? Just curious.
How come no one mentiones probably the best roll top backpack out there. IMHO Ikea Forenkla 35l rolltoo is one of the best, if not the best backpack I've owned. It's dirt cheap and unbelievably sturdy. Combined with a raincover perfect backpack for everything.