Waterproof vs. Water Resistant: Why It Matters
April 28, 2023 | Christian Schauf
Waterproof vs. Water Resistant: Why It Matters

Waterproof products are incredibly helpful for hiking, rafting, and outdoor activities where you want to keep everything dry. However, don't be fooled into thinking water-resistant is the same thing.

Both water-resistant and waterproof gear will help in the face of weather, but only one is going to save essential papers and food when you need it most, like during a flood. So, what’s the difference between them?


Water-resistant gear will keep liquids out somewhat, but not entirely. Usually, a water-resistant label means the material itself isn't as porous or that it has a repellant coating. They're typically a little more expensive than a regular backpack, but more affordable than waterproof options.

So, what does all that mean for the things in your bag? They’ll stay relatively dry if there’s a light shower, and you’ll avoid damp items from overnight dew. What it won’t do is save your snacks when you fall into a river. For that, you’ll need to invest in a higher protection level.


Waterproof bags, like our SEVENTY2 Pro Dry Bag, are entirely impervious to liquids. The materials used will keep your GPS, battery pack, and everything else inside completely dry. The waterproofing includes any seams and openings as long as you close the bag properly. Of course, that is user-dependent. If you leave the bag open or don't follow the exact closure instructions, you'll end up with soggy clothes.

With the help of Ingress Protection Ratings, it's easy to see how well your phone will keep out water and dust. However, no equivalent scale exists for backpacks or other items. You'll have to do a little extra research to make sure your gear is genuinely waterproof before trusting it with your battery pack.

You can always fill up your bag with junk mail, throw it in the pool, and make sure everything inside stays safe before using it. The paper will make it easy to tell if water gets in, and you're not out anything vital if things in the backpack do get wet.

Which One Should I Get?

As with many purchases, this depends on what items you're buying. If you're looking for an everyday watch or a work backpack, there's no need to go all-in on waterproof. Water-resistant items will do just fine. 

If you're going camping or prepping an emergency bag, spend a little extra on the waterproof options. Even if it costs a bit more, it's worth it if it keeps you safe. In case the bad isn't zipped properly, put things inside in an extra layer of protection. For example, you'll have a hard time lighting a fire with wet matches, so grab a waterproof case for them. 

Check out our full collection of waterproof bags here.