Top 7 Best Surfing Backpacks | 2020 Reviews (Dakine, Rip Curl)

The best way to enjoy your surfing trip is not having to worry about your dry things getting wet because they have to be dumped into the same bag as your wet things are. 

If you’re like me who didn’t know about the existence of surf backpacks, you’ll be amazed at how it can make your trip better. I was the type who’d rather not bring a lot of stuff to make sure nothing gets wet except my wetsuit. Even so, my backpack gets wet and it takes a while to dry up. 

Technology brought surfers the ability to bring anything they want to bring without stressing so much on water and moist. The best surfing backpacks address every surfer’s need to organize surfing accessories such as wax, sunscreen, laptop, camera, beer, and whatnots.

Best Surfing Backpacks – Your Wet and Dry Sack

We’ve nothing against normal backpacks. They could surely bring your wetsuit wherever and other things down to the seaside. It’s just that surf backpacks have many advantages over them. 

Here are some of the best surfing backpacks in the market that will surely keep your phones, wallets, and your dry jacket protected from your wetsuit. 

  1. Cyclone II Dry Pack Surfing Backpack by Dakine
  2. Cyclone Roll Top Surf Backpack by Dakine
  3. F-Light Surf Pack by Rip Curl
  4. Panga 50 by Yeti
  5. BackSåk by SKOG Å KUST
  6. Patrol Backpack by Dakine
  7. Borealis Backpack by The North Face

#1. Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack by Dakine – Best Overall

Cyclone II Dry Pack Surfing Backpack

Dakine started their company believing the land and the sea are more than just our playground. It is a sanctuary where we can discover escape, freedom, and connection. Therefore they desired to engage in their business with enough respect for the environment as well as Maui’s waves and locals. 

One of their sustainable product is the Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack. 

Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack is not just for a trip to the beach. Not a surfer, no problem. It is not all year round that you go surfing or kayaking but, there will be certain trips where you can not rule out getting wet. So, a dry pack like Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack makes perfect sense. 

This dry pack is made from 305D Cordura HP coated ripstop fabric with a pack that has waterproof welded construction. The engineers added a roll top to protect the roomy main compartment from water. 

Other welded parts of Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack are the front stash pockets. The bag’s contents are protected by water-resistant YKK PU (Polyurethane)—coated zippers. 

Holding 36 liters makes this bag one of the most reliable and versatile. You will be able to keep practically everything, except of course your surfboard. 

This rough, rugged, fully-waterproof backpack has a two-way purge valve that is exceptionally useful in compacting the bag down. Overall, the Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack boasts the classic looks and lines of a regular backpack.

ProsCons
Watertight welded construction with roll-top closure
More expensive than most surf backpacks
Loads of storage room and sections
Vent reported breaking easily
A useful two-way purge valve
Built-in board-carry system
Remarkably durable

#2. Cyclone Roll Top (32L) Backpack by Dakine – Minimalistic Surfing Backpack

Dakine Cyclone Roll Top Surf Backpack

Dakine proves its worthiness in surfing backpacks with their 2nd entry on the best surfing backpacks list. As if Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack is not enough yet, they’ve thrown in its little brother, Cyclone Roll Top (32L) Backpack.

Built with the same materials and precision in construction, it comes with a design that is beyond remarkable. Welded 305D Cordura® HP Coated Ripstop makes it incredibly durable with a secret pocket. It does not just hold up against wetness but pickpockets, too. 

Cyclone Roll Top (32L) Backpack’s design of a big roll-top pocket allows easier access to fit all of your belongings inside the bag at once. Even the wettest and heaviest wetsuit won’t be a setback. 

The difference it has from Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) is the limited pocket that can only hold a bar of wax, or your phone and keys. It has just one big pocket instead of a bunch of small ones. Its smaller dimensions make it easier to fit if a petite person uses it.  

Cyclone Roll Top (32L) Backpack is just as cozy and convenient as Cyclone II Dry Pack with their standard shoulder fastenings and back panel. Both are topped with waterproof YKK zipper. 

The smaller version of Cyclone II, it also has a cheaper price tag since there are lesser pockets, carry hooks, and purge valve. If it is a quick hike or a day trip you are going out for, this minimalistic themed surfing backpack will have you covered. 

ProsCons
Air-permeable ergonomic shoulder straps and back
Lesser accessory pockets
Long-lasting, durable, and watertight
No laptop pad
Huge pockets for easy access
Tractable sternum strap
Comfortable to wear

#3. F-Light Surf Pack by Rip Curl – Best Lightweight Surf Backpack

Rip Curl F-LIght Surf Pack

Anyone who surfs must know Rip Curl. They are one of the world’s most recognized and respected brand and has been at the forefront of surf and snow scenes since it came in the business. What makes Rip Curl unique the crew that was behind the driving force in the creation of the company – The Search. 

Aside from The Search that defines who they are, their products and the events that they run, the riders that they support, as well as the people they reach globally make them known worldwide. Since 1969, they remain a company built by surfers for surfers. 

F-Light Surf Pack by Rip Curl has tons of features you will be glad about. Let’s start with the easy access pocket on its front. This pocket includes a soft brush lining that is ideal for your gadgets. Then, there is the full organizational panel when you unzip the front section. 

The easy organizing panel has clips for your keys and slots for the smaller items you don’t want to lose. Just a little above the organizing panel is a dedicated compartment for your eyewear – sunglasses or winter goggles. It is made up of extremely soft materials to make sure your goggles’ lenses won’t get scratched up. 

Its wide shoulder straps are breathable and quick-drying. The back panels have perforations that create good airflow against the padding. Its adjustable sternum strap allows you to adjust the backpack for a comfortable snug fit. 

F-Light Surf Pack boasts a lot of useful pockets like the cooler pocket for your cold drinks, dedicated wax and sunscreen pocket, and the bottom is for your extra gears. One of the sides has bungees that you can use to hold your fins. 

The top has a wet and dry rolling film that is perfect for keeping your wetsuit to keep it separate from the rest of the bag. Rip Curl made sure that you will be able to carry everything you need to bring including that that does not relate to being wet, like your laptop. Inside is a laptop sleeve that is padded with soft brush lining with an organizer for all your cords and cables. 

ProsCons
Spacious backpack with useful compartmentsNot big enough to hold wet clothes and wet water boots
Comfortable and breathable
Lightweight but durable
Easy organization
Watertight fabric

#4. Panga 50 by Yeti – Most Versatile Surfing Bag

Yeti Panga 50

YETI was inspired by the limited sources of items to use during their hunting and fishing trips. They were too tired of coolers whose handles would break, latches would snap off, and lids that would cave in. Every season, they needed to replace their coolers. 

It was in 2006 when they felt they had enough of these poor coolers. They founded YETI Coolers with one simple mission, which was to build a cooler that can be used every day. It didn’t take long for them to realize that there is so much more to market than just coolers. So, they thought that they would have product innovation that would come from necessity and firsthand experience. 

One of the innovations they brought to the market is their surf duffel/backpack bag, Panga 50. Yeti Panga is 100% waterproof. Its durability and build quality are obvious just by looking at it. It comes not just in 50 liters but in 75 and 100 liters, as well. Panga 50 only comes in one color which makes it more identifiable in a sea of surfing backpacks. 

The top of the bag spans a waterproof zipper that uses YETI’s U-dock system. This system is the same that they have on the hopper flip cooler series. No, this bag doesn’t keep your items cooler, rather, they protect it from water and keep everything inside all dry. 

Panga 50 offers quite a bit of a room. At 50 liters, you can pack almost everything you need for a few days-long trips. Inside are a couple of zippered mesh pockets that help with the organization of smaller things. 

This duffel/backpack has an EVA molded bottom to aid in keeping the gear you have inside protected. Carrying this bag is pretty simple. You can hang it on your shoulders just like a normal duffel bag, or use it as a backpack. It has straps that you can attach to different points in the bag to make it turn from a duffel to a backpack. 

ProsCons
Laminated thick nylon for tough construction
More expensive than most surfing backpacks
Sturdy straps and other metal pieces
No compartment separating wet from dry items
Can be used as duffel or backpack
Doesn’t have as many pockets for organization
Unique hydrolok zippering system
Submersible

#5. BackSåk by SKOG Å KUST – Best for your budget

Backsak by Skog A Kust

SKOG Å KUST are Swedish words that mean “forest, creek, and coast.” 

S.Å.K. produces functional and durable products for outdoor enthusiasts while focusing on all-weather protection. Their goal is to design and create unique, utilitarian gear that is still attractive enough for daily use. 

BackSåk is available in an assortment of colors and in two different sizes, the 35 liters, and 25 liters. Both sizes are made from the same materials, extremely sturdy but soft 500D PVC. This allows you to be able to roll or fold down the bags when not in use. 

Its front has large exterior pockets that are splash-proof. This spot is ideal for your keys, sunscreen, wallet, and anything you need easily accessible while still being kept against wetness. The back features a padded EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, adjustable shoulder straps, sternum clip, making them comfortable, adjustable, and easy to wear. 

The smaller BackSåk is ideal for smaller kids or petite adults, while the 35-liter version is perfect for long weekenders or if you are packing for one or more people. 

The BackSåk can be closed in two different ways. The first one is to close it by the male and female clips on the top. This method allows for an extra handle on the bag. The other is to clip them in the sides, so you can compress it down and make it more minimal. 

The BackSåk is simple to use with its single compartment. Despite that, the bag remains utilitarian with its internal organizing pockets that are helpful. 

ProsCons
Splash-proof exterior pocket, interior zipper pocket, mesh pockets
Some have reported strap and zippers ripping off
Zippered and protected utility pockets
No dedicated laptop sleeve
Comes in different colors and 2 sizes
Rugged and perfect for any weather
Comfort and convenient

#6. Patrol Backpack by Dakine – Best Everyday Surfing Backpack

Patrol Backpack by Dakine

A deconstructed take on one of their popular surf backpacks Network II is the Patrol Backpack. 

Patrol Backpack is a huge backpack that does not come short on compartments. It comes with a very large front insulated cooler pocket. The sides have a deployable water bottle pocket that you can close up. Just above the water bottle compartment is a tarp wax pocket that is ideal for storing your surf wax. 

Above the cooler pocket is a perfectly sized organizer. It is designed with mesh zip closure and few pockets lined with fleece which is ideal for keeping your gadgets, keys, wallets, and more. The larger pocket gives you a roomy space that includes a padded laptop divider. Perfect for 14 to 15 inches laptop. 

There are two more pockets at the Patrol Backpack’s top. The first one is fleece lined that is useful for keeping your sunglasses or winter goggles. The other one just beside the first one is another organizer.   

Patrol Backpack’s back is padded as well as its straps. You will also find as you look at the back a hidden pocket where you can store your personal belongings you don’t want to lose. 

This bag is what you need if you are looking for one that is durable and rugged but does not require a dedicated waterproofing. 

ProsCons
Ergonomic back panel and shoulder straps 
Material has been reported to be coarse
Fleece-lined padded gadget sleeve
No dedicated laptop sleeve
Can fit most 15 inches laptop
Breathable air mesh
Sunglass pocket

#7. Borealis Backpack by The North Face – Best for College Students / Adventurers

Borealis Backpack by The North Face

Since 1996, The North Face’s fundamental mission remains the same: to provide the best gear for adventurers, modern-day explorers, while supporting the preservation of the outdoors and inspiring a global movement of exploration. 

While their name sounds like from the coldest part of our planet, it is all too surprising to know that their legend began on a beach. In a sunny San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, at an altitude of just 150 feet above sea level, two hiking enthusiasts built their dreams, followed their passion, and founded what is now The North Face. 

One of The North Face’s best selling backpack is their Borealis Backpack. And, it is for a good reason. To start off, this bag has little stash pockets for just about anything: laptops, tablets, sunglasses, etc. It has enough space to hold your things for the weekend. 

Borealis has an extremely comfortable suspension system that helps to carry it even for longer periods bearable. It is one technical backpack that you can bring on a trail, a weekend hike, or stroll to store all your stuff while keeping everything in style. 

Made of tough 210D Cordura nylon ripstop, 420 D nylon, 600D polyester print 1680d ballistic nylon, you are sure it will last a long time, if not a lifetime. It comes with an external fleece-lined pocket that is great for your eyewear, two handy water bottle pockets on each side, side compression straps, and very comfortable padded back with a spine channel for maximum support. 

One interesting feature of this backpack is the whistle that is integrated on the buckle of the sternum strap. This surely comes in handy when you need to get attention in times of trouble. 

ProsCons
Enough multi-functional compartments
Back padding may be too stiff
Smaller, outer pockets for easy access
Laptop sleeves, tablet compartment
Sweat factor for the back panel
Easy to bring on long bus rides

Our Top Pick

It would have been better if we have reviewed just one product for you to narrow down your choices instantly. But, that would be so helpful from our end. We would encourage you to find out exactly what you need and what you need it for so you can make the best decision. 

We laid out every pro and con of all 7 surfing backpacks we’ve reviewed and hopefully it gave you an idea of what you need to pick on your next trip. 

For us, our top pick is the Cyclone II Dry Pack (36L) Backpack by Dakine. This surfing backpack delivers the perfect combination of waterproofing, durable materials while incorporating clever extras like board carrier and purge valve. 

The pockets also offer the best arrangement of every piece you need to bring. Not to mention you can put everything in the same bag, wet or dry, and you won’t have to worry about getting the dry ones wet. Thanks to the waterproof compartments. 


Surfing Backpacks

Before my knowledge about surfing backpacks, my packed stuff would usually include tons of big plastic bags to compartmentalize wet and sandy from dry ones. My bag for the beach would be the same bag I use for work to bring my laptop and office things. 

It was not until I learned about backpacks specially made for surfing or a trip to the beach when all that lessened. Yeah, I still have plastic bags in case my impermeable sack fails. 

 Surf backpacks are specifically and practically made to allow you to transport your wetsuit and other gears to the beach, sans the worries of wet and dry things getting together. These bags come with additional pockets and compartments for you to store your fins, food, drinks, wax, leash, towels, wetsuits, laptops, cameras, and anything you think of bringing. 

What separates surf backpacks from a normal backpack is it allows you to keep your wet gears kept in a compartment isolated from the rest of your bag’s dry contents. It keeps your backpack from getting from top to bottom wet, moldy, and smelly. And, you are sure your dry items are kept as they are. 

Unlike normal backpacks, surf backpacks are more convenient to take on surfing trips are they are designed particularly for that.


Buying Guide: Things to Consider in Getting the Best Surfing Backpacks

As surfing involves surfboards, boardshorts, bikinis, and wetsuit, the bag you need to carry them with should be weather and waterproof. Not only that, but it should also be able to bring not just your wet items but your dry things too, with the confidence they won’t get moist or wet. 

Aside from that, there are also a few numbers of things you should consider in buying the best surfing backpack for you. 

Purpose

Understand what you need this surf backpack for. Do you need a bag that will solely be for surfing? Or do you wish to use it in school or the office after the surfing trip? Consider why you need a surf backpack before getting one as there are many surfing backpacks in the market that are specifically made for every need. 

Water Proof/Resistance

A lot may argue whether or not a surfing backpack needs to be completely waterproof. In reality, it ultimately comes down to personal preference as well as the weather at the spot where you surf the most. 

What’s important is for the bag to be exposed to the waters without anything from the inside getting wet. We don’t intend for you to dunk your bag in the ocean. Just safe from sprays or rain. 

Size

If you are a big surfer with a big wetsuit, get at surf backpack that is at least 40 liters. That should be enough to take you for a day or two at the beach. Most backpacks state on their labels whether they are for day trips or for longer. Review them as much as you review the things you need to bring. 

Weight

You will surely have to carry a ton of stuff with your surfing backpack, so it is just wise to have a backpack that is not too heavy when empty.

Material

The bag’s materials say a lot about how long it will last and what you can use it for. It will also let you know how water resistant they are. Some of the surfing backpacks in the market today are made of:

  • Cotton (Canvass): Two types of materials are brought together to give the best of both worlds. 
  • Park-Cloth (Nylon): These are the shiny and vinyl-looking fabrics.
  • Corduba: Essentially nylon but injected with air. 
  • Polyester: Comes at par with Corduba when it comes to durability and water-resistance. 

Pockets/Compartments

For a person who is keen at every detail of their belongings, surfing backpacks with enough pockets and compartments are recommended. These compartments are useful to keep everything organized and in place. Then, there are also those who just want to toss in everything in one place. Yeti’s duffel bag is perfect for them. 

Comfort

Backpacks help you carry everything you need all at the same time. They could go beyond the limit of the weight you can carry. Whether they contain just the right amount of things or beyond what you can carry (which we do not advise), it is wise to get a bag that does not make you feel strained or tired from carrying it. A lot of surfing backpack manufacturers now consult with engineers and specialists to come up with bags that are ergonomically designed. 

Budget

The best surfing backpack is the one that covers everything you need at a price you can afford. The amount of money you are planning to spend on a surfing backpack should compare to how much you will actually use it. Do not buy an expensive bag with features you don’t need. It is just not wise. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Why use a surf backpack?

Backpacks, whether the normal ones or the ones specifically made for surfing are useful gears. They help to take a few steps towards our comfort as we tread along every adventure. While a normal backpack is ok to bring at the beach, it would be more helpful to have one that is waterproof so you don’t have to worry about anything getting wet and damaged. 

Q: Which backpack brands should I look out for?

A: Some of the most reputable surfing backpack brands are: Dakine, Rip Curl, The North Face, Oakley, Channel Islands

Q: What surfing specific items can I put inside my surfing backpack?

A: Most surfing backpacks have a compartment for particular items you are assumed to be bringing on a surfing trip. Manufacturers have incorporated within bags pockets for wax and comb, fin keys, leashes, sunscreen, lowels, dry clothes, flip-flops, first aid kit, and a wetsuit.

Related Resources

Leave a Comment