The 12 Best Waterproofing Products for Travel of 2023
From sprays to covers, here are the best waterproofing products for travel.
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Travel + Leisure / Marcus Millan
What do an iPhone X, vintage winter boots, and my favorite copy of Little Women have in common? They’re all items that I’ve lost to water damage. It took me far too long to learn about the magic of waterproofing treatments and covers that go far beyond the sad plastic bags that I’ve used as makeshift protection. I speak from experience: They are worth investing in.
Waterproofing sprays, which fill in the pores in fabric with a silicone-like material that repels water, offer excellent protection for a variety of clothing, accessories and gear in materials such as leather, suede, and canvas. Lightweight, usually-collapsible covers made from nylon or PVC offer peace of mind that your electronics and other belongings will stay safe and dry. Deciding which type of waterproofing product you need will depend largely on your item, its care instructions, and your intended use for it. So whether you’re looking for a long-lasting spray that will protect your favorite shoes in unexpected weather or a transparent cover for your luxury luggage, our list of the best waterproofing products is ideal for every need, material, and budget.
It can be used on everything from sneakers to luggage and furniture.
It's recommended to reapply between washes.
Nobody wants to get caught with water-logged sneakers or a damp messenger bag, which is why we’d recommend spraying your canvas belongings with Scotchard's Fabric Water Shield. It's formulated specifically for fabrics and won't cause any discoloration or impact breathability — plus, one 13.5-ounce can protects a standard-sized couch or five jackets. The spray is intended for heavy-duty materials like canvas, but can also be applied to delicate fabrics like silk. Beyond clothing and furniture, it's also excellent for waterproofing backpacks and soft-side luggage, so you can rest assured your belongings are safe on the go.
Price at time of publish: $14
The Details: Available in 13.5 and 40 ounces
The triple-layered blanket features waterproof backing, foam padding, and a stylish woven design.
The award-winning formula is more expensive than other options on the market.
If you’ve invested in luxury leather products, it's worth the splurge to also track down a top-tier waterproofing spray to ensure you keep your pieces in prime condition. Luckily, we’ve done that for you. This award-winning French formula — which was honored with the Médaille d’Or at the world's fair in Paris in 1925 — has been top of the line for a century, thanks to it's delicate but hardworking formula that can be used on all kinds of leather, including suede and nubuck. While there are less expensive options on the market, this one is truly worth its weight in, well, whatever your most prized leather possession is; use it on handbags, wallets, shoes, and more — it won't discolor your pieces and is impressively long lasting. It's easy to use as well: Just gently wipe down your shoe or accessory with a brush, then spray the formula on from 12-18 inches away and wait 30 minutes for it to dry.
Price at time of publish: $27
The Details: Available in 6.56 ounces
It's specifically formulated to protect against salt stains.
It's not intended for use on smooth leathers or other fabrics.
Yes, suede is technically leather, but because of its softer texture, it requires a targeted formula when it comes to waterproofing. While it's imperative to check the care instructions on your item first to ensure it's compatible with waterproof sprays, this gentle-but-effective spray is generally a safe bet for all suede and nubuck pieces, as it won't discolor them. If you live in (or are traveling to) a rainy or snowy destination, you’ll want to give your items a once-over with this spray once every six months (or more often, if you’re wearing them frequently). Designed to protect against winter weather and ultra-effective against salt stains, the formula can be used on nubuck and suede shoes, coats, accessories, and more — but note that it should not be sprayed on any other types of leather.
Price at time of publish: $13
The Details: Available in 6 ounces
It minimizes color fading and yellowing on your outdoor furniture and gear.
It's not recommended for use with leather, despite the product description.
Yep, you guessed it — another Scotchgard product. While other UV-protecting sprays exist, few are as affordable and effective as Scotchgard's Sun and Water Shield, thanks to its strong broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays and its impressive water-repellant formula. It's intended specifically for outdoor use on furniture and gear — think patio furniture, boat covers, camping gear, grill covers, and more. Note that while the product description says it's compatible with suede and leather, the actual canister specifically states it is not to be used with leather; if you’re looking to protect leather, go with a formula made specifically for that instead. In addition to making sure your outdoor items are safe from summer storms, the odorless spray also provides a barrier that makes it easier to clean up spills and protects against discoloration. Be sure to reapply seasonally.
Price at time of publish: $10
The Details: Available in 10.5, 21, and 42 ounces
The half-transparent material means you can still see your bag through the cover.
It leaves your handles exposed, which is ideal for portability but could allow water damage.
You already know that it's a good idea to carry a rain poncho while traveling in case of emergencies — so why not bring one along for your purse as well? Whether you’re looking to protect your designer bag or the belongings within it, a small, water-repellent slicker takes up next to no room and helps to keep your belongings looking their best for years to come. Original Club's Rain Slicker is edged with a chic satin bias tape and comes in two shades, clear and black, both of which are half-transparent, so that you can still show off your style in the rain. There's a velcro hook and loop top closure for easy access to the handles, which makes for convenient carrying but can be problematic if you are looking to protect your handles as well. This slicker is perfectly suited for medium-sized bags like a large Longchamp Le Pliage or an Hermes Birkin 30 or 35.
Price at time of publish: $30
The Details: One size, 39.3 x 13.7 inches
It offers a snug fit for a variety of backpack sizes, including extra-small ones.
It has a drawstring, but there are no true straps to secure it.
Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, camping, or commuting, having a reliable waterproof cover to protect your belongings is a must. The North Face has been a trusted outdoor gear outfitter for over 50 years, and its backpack cover is great for bags of all sizes — including extra-small bags of under 20 liters, which can be a difficult size to find a snug cover for otherwise. Made of durable polyurethane and nylon, this model (which is available in up to size XL, covering up to 85 liters) is fully waterproof and rip-resistant, so you can feel confident bringing it on any and all of your adventures. It also folds up into next to nothing and is ultra-lightweight at less than half a pound, so it's convenient to keep in your bag and pull out to secure your belongings with the drawstring at a moment's notice.
Price at time of publish: $22
The Details: Available in extra-small (0-20 liters), small (20-30 liters), medium (35-45 liters), large (50-70 liters), and extra-large (75-85 liters)
It's available in nine colors and can accommodate up to an 80-liter backpack.
The sturdy material runs slightly heavier than other brands.
The Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover is our top choice for covering larger backpacks in order to safeguard your electronics and other essentials on-the-go. We love its dual elastic straps, which enable you to secure it around your backpack. It's constructed from 210t Taffeta, an ultra-durable and rip-resistant polyester fabric that boasts the highest-grade waterproof coating to keep out rain and snow. The cover — which you can purchase in nine vibrant colors and a wide range of sizes — features a four-layer construction that includes a nylon lining. Shoppers rave about the brand's customer service as well, and they offer a lifetime guarantee that they’ll offer a full refund if your cover rips.
Price at time of publish: $15
The Details: Available in small (15-25 liters), medium (30-40 liters), large (40-50 liters), extra-large (50-70 liters), and extra-extra-large (70-90 liters)
It's transparent, so you can protect your suitcase while still showing it off.
The openings don't line up perfectly with all suitcase handles.
Yotako's Clear PVC Suitcase Cover Protectors are stain- and scratch-resistant and fully waterproof, so there's no need to worry about getting caught in the rain while toting your suitcase around. The cover is super easy to slide on and off your luggage for fast protection — but note that the openings for a side handle and telescopic handle don't line up with all models. The transparent material makes it easy to still show off your suitcase's design, as well as spot your luggage at baggage claim without any issue. While the PVC exterior is durable, we’d recommend this cover more for carry-on luggage than for checked bags, as any rough handling at baggage claim could potentially cause wear and tear to the cover.
Price at time of publish: from $14
The Details: Available in 20-, 24-, 28-, and 30-inch sizes
They’re fully submersible and float in water, so you’ll never lose them.
The adjustable strap isn't particularly size-inclusive.
This affordable two-pack of waterproof pouches comes with one opaque and one transparent colored option, so you can share them with a travel companion or alternate which one you carry in order to maximize your privacy. Essentially a super sturdy reusable Ziplock bag, these are triple sealed to ensure your belongings stay dry underwater for hours. At 9 x 6.7 inches, they’re compact yet large enough to fit essentials like your phone, cash and cards, passport, and keys. The nylon strap is durable and can be worn crossbody or around your waist, but it's only designed to fit waists sized 33.5 to 47.5 inches. While these are designed to be fully waterproof and submersible, we’d strongly recommend performing a sink test with just a paper towel inside the bag before taking them out on open water.
Price at time of publish: $20
The Details: 9 x 6.7 inches
You can securely use the touch screen underwater.
The triple-locking system at the top can be somewhat difficult to maneuver.
If you’re looking for a waterproof bag that's large enough to protect your essentials but not as bulky or big as a dry bag, the AICase Universal iPad Waterproof Case is for you. It fits a range of tablets up to 10.2-inches in diameter, including Apple and Samsung products. Made from lightweight PVC, it's IPX8 Certified as water-resistant up to 98 feet, and boasts full touchscreen functionality underwater as well as protection from water, snow, and dirt. The three swivel locks plus closure clips at the top ensure a tight seal, but can be slightly delicate to maneuver. It also comes with an adjustable lanyard for carrying convenience.
Price at time of publish: $13
The Details: It fits most devices up to 10.2-inches in diameter
There's a front pocket for handy storage and it's incredibly versatile — it can also be used as a tarp and as a waterproof shelter.
It may not be suitable to wear over larger backpacks.
This isn't your typical trash-bag-posing-as-a-poncho. Pteromy's Hooded Rain Poncho is thicker and more durable than single-use ponchos — plus, it's more sustainable. Made from lightweight, rip-resistant polyester, it features sealed seams and a fully waterproof exterior. What makes this poncho stand out is its versatility, thanks to grommets installed in each corner that can be pinned to the ground in order to spread the jacket out into a tent-like shelter. For its impressive size — it can cover you and most medium-sized backpacks — it is incredibly compact, and comes with its own drawstring carrying case. We love that there's a front pocket for added convenience and a small visor on the adjustable hood to keep the rain out of your face. Scoop it up in 8 color waves, including vibrant shades like orange and pink.
Price at time of publish: $30
The Details: One size, 55.5 x 85.75 inches
The material is slightly translucent, so you can easily identify your belongings at a glance.
It's not designed for prolonged submersion in water.
This weatherproof rollable dry bag is perfect for packing up your essentials on a hike or for a day at the beach. Made from smooth yet powerful 30D Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon, it features double-stitched, tape sealed seams with reinforced stitching at sensitive points for maximum waterproof protection. It's available in four bright colors and seven sizes, ranging from one liter to 35 liters. At 8 liters, this model is ideal for toting around a sleeping bag, a change of clothes and a few other small essentials. The hypalon roll-top closure is meant to be folded down for a secure seal before it's rolled three full times and then buckled. Note that while the material is waterproof, it's not designed for complete or extended submersion, so this may not be the best choice for watersports.
Price at time of publish: $25
The Details: Available in 1, 2, 4, 8, 13, 20, and 35 liters
Waterproofing sprays are excellent for materials like leather, suede, and canvas, and can be used on clothing, shoes, and other accessories in order to preserve their finish and avoid water damage. However, some items — like your phone — will require a waterproof case. When it comes to bags and backpacks, you have the option to spray them or cover them; you’ll likely want to opt for the latter if you’re looking for optimal waterproof protection for any electronics or other essential belongings. Using a cover means you’ll have to tote around an extra (and usually, very lightweight) layer, while using a spray means you’ll likely need to reapply a few times per year.
It's crucial to read the fine print before purchasing a waterproofing product. For sprays, be sure to check that it's compatible with the care instructions on your item, and it's always a good idea to perform a test patch first. For covers, you’ll want to measure your item first and likely read some reviews to see if the cover runs true to size.
Depending on how you plan to use your item, you may require additional protections beyond waterproofing. If you’ll be camping or hiking often, it's a good idea to look into sprays or covers that resist dirt and grime as well, or offer broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection to minimize color fading.
This generally depends on the treatment: Some sprays need to be reapplied every few weeks, while others will last a full year. Ultimately, it depends on your usage, as something you wear or use daily will need to be re-treated much sooner than something you wear a few times per year. A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye on your items and reapply whenever they seem in need of added protection.
It's always necessary to read the care instructions on your item before treating it with a waterproofing spray. Most need to be applied outdoors, so that you don't fill the room with their odor. If you have specific concerns, you may want to consider odorless or non-toxic formulas that are safe for both people and pets.
Yes! Dry bags, which are flexible sacks made waterproof by a roll-top closure, are great for protecting your belongings on boats, at the beach, and while hiking or camping. Just be sure to note whether the option you choose is submersible or not, as that's a crucial detail for anyone planning to use a dry bag that might get more than a little wet while kayaking or boating.
For this article, T+L contributor Sophie Dodd researched the best waterproofing products on the market, from sprays to protect your clothing to pouches that keep your phone and other essentials covered. She used her expertise as a travel writer and as someone who has all-too-often been caught in the rain with her valuables to narrow down a list of the best waterproofing products for every need and budget.
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