What’s the difference between Waterproof and Water resistance?

If a rucksack or backpack is labeled “waterproof”, it means you can completely submerge the bag in a body of water without letting moisture inside. It goes beyond a rainstorm and optimizes your bag for more extreme conditions. Typically, so-called “waterproof” backpacks and “waterproof” rucksacks don’t fall into this category.

In the context of outdoor gear, the term “waterproof” means that you can submerge a waterproof backpack under water and it won’t let moisture in at all. This means that it is impervious to all rainstorms and can handle the most extreme conditions including white water rafting and waterfalls without a trace or moisture penetration.

There are clearly a number of things to look out for because “waterproof” materials aren’t necessarily going to give you a waterproof backpack. You see, “water resistance” isn’t the same as “waterproof”. You can have a fabric that is waterproof and you can get water resistant zip fasteners but this doesn’t guarantee water “proofness“.

Let’s face it , there are a few situations that require waterproof bags but water resistance will be adequet in most weather conditions.

From a design and manufacturing perspective, waterproofing bags is a big deal because the bag must be able to be submerged below the water’s surface and keep objects completely dry which is the case with dry bags.

Options for designers are limited which means that sacrifices have to be made in the pursuit of waterproofing. Rucksack material, by its nature, has tiny holes between woven strands of fiber. Joining this together creates more holes and allows water to penetrate, and although this may not matter when it rains, it does when the bag is submerged.

The only way to get around this is to use a thermoplastic which is welded together using ultrasonic sound waves. This can only be achieved with simply designed dry bags which don’t involve sewing. Ultra Dry Bags utilise bucket-like designs and are the most popular, having a limited number of pockets. Although this limits the choice of aesthetics and in some cases, functionality, it performs perfectly as a simple waterproof container.
Typically, our waterproof Ultra Dry Bags are IPX66 which means that they are capable of being plunged underwater for a few seconds at a time. However, our phone cases and pouches can go below 3 feet and can stay there for a lot longer. This makes them perfect for kayaking and more extreme wet conditions.

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