Review: OverBoard waterproof backpack

OverBoard specializes in waterproof stuff. I happened across their waterproof backpacks at Costco a few months ago, and eventually caved in and bought one to combat the rainy season in Kansas City. May has been exceptionally rainy, and I have put this pack through many miles in torrential downpours. First, let’s take a look at it:

The design is much like a roll-top dry bag, with some reflective trim on the back…

… except it has shoulder and waist straps, also with some reflective trim on the front.

It also features an internal zipper pouch that’s designed to keep your small stash-ables such as your wallet and phone from falling to the bottom of the bag, and an outer mesh pocket on each side, neither of which is quite big enough for a bike bottle. Good for stashing things you might want quick access to that aren’t going to get damaged by water: your bike lock and office keys, for example.

To seal it up, you simply roll the top 3 or more times, then clip the straps together at the top like you would a traditional dry bag. The velcro strap can help hold the rolled top in place.

Optionally, you can attach the roll-top clips down to the side straps. I’ve found that both ways are sufficiently waterproof. Aesthetically, I think it looks better clipped down and to the side like this, and as shown in the first photo above.

This pack is pretty big for a backpack, and looks absolutely cavernous when opened before you roll the top down to close it up.

So, how did it do? Quite well, actually! Last week was the rainiest yet. I was out in heavy rain for 90 minutes on Wednesday. Thursday, it was like riding home under a pressure washer for half an hour. Both days, my gear arrived home nice and dry:

The shoulder straps are actually quite comfortable and adjustable in many ways. The part that rests on your back is padded with foam channels. It’s certainly not the most comfortable backpack I’ve worn, but if you’re trying to get to work with your goods safe and dry, your options are somewhat limited. My usual commute is a bit more than 6 miles each way. A backpack isn’t too bad for a trip like that. I wore it for a rainy 20-mile ride while running after-work errands last week, and it was completely tolerable, but I didn’t have it loaded too heavy.

I may have preferred a set of waterproof panniers, but they’re relatively expensive compared to the $30 price tag at Costco. Online, prices vary from $40-$80. Available in solid black, or black with yellow, blue, red or gray trim.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

12 Comments

  1. Mike Myers May 26, 2010 6:26 pm 

    Noah—is this your only pack, or do you use it on rainy days exclusively? It seems like it would make for an awfully sweaty back. My Schwinn backpack has wicking material where it contacts the back, and that still drenches me.

  2. elmonica May 27, 2010 3:55 pm 

    For $30 you can’t go wrong. I spent $88 recently on an Ortlieb Velocity backpack which I love in part because it holds a ton of groceries and is relatively comfortable on my back.

    P.S
    Here is a different link for your backpack:
    http://www.thewaterproofstore.com/backpacks.html

    P.P.S.
    I enjoy reading your KC blog regularly even though I am in Oregon.

  3. Stephen June 6, 2010 3:55 am 

    I rushed out to my local Costco here in VA and found this pack for $30 too (as compared to $60 or more on other sites such as Amazon). Haven’t tested it in a downpour yet, but this review seems fair.

  4. Faceman July 22, 2010 12:48 pm 

    I found myself at Costco recently and went looking for this bag. At $30 it was worth it compared to the similar Ortlieb backpacks. The size puts it in between the Ortlieb Velocity and the Ortlieb Messenger. I am a pack rat but sometimes big backpacks end up being too big. This one fits in nicely between, a good size. It’s Summer so the pack is more than enough room (less stuff to carry in the Summer). Glad to have it as a commuter backpack.

  5. Heath November 2, 2010 3:58 pm 

    I own this exact backpack and I love it. I use it to keep my books for school dry. Being a commuter in Portland, Oregon you will do just about anything to keep everything dry. Even loaded heavy this backpack still works and it is the best I have ever tried :)

  6. Ed C January 5, 2013 11:30 am 

    I am always skeptical of reviews. I wonder how many are fabricated by the manufacturer/supplier

  7. Raiyn January 5, 2013 5:50 pm 

    None of the reviews here are “fabricated”.

  8. Ghost Rider January 5, 2013 7:40 pm 

    Thanks, Raiyn…we appreciate you sticking up for us when the trolls appear!

  9. Raiyn January 6, 2013 1:08 am 

    @ Ghost No problem.
    As you well know having submitted my own review I can attest to the validity of the reviews and opinions expressed here. I may have differing opinions from time to time but I will never discredit the genuine nature of the information or experiences presented on this site.

  10. Robert June 22, 2013 9:48 am 

    OverBoard waterproof backpack looks really cool and it has fresh design which is important as well as capacity. I am a biker too and recently I purchased ORCA Waterproof Backpack. You can find it in black or white color. I like it so much that I wrote my own review here: http://waterproofbackpackguide.com/category/backpacks-for-biking/
    Does any one have any good backpacks for biking for less than 50 dollars?

  11. Robert August 1, 2013 1:01 pm 

    I love this backpack and I wrote my own review please enjoy!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *