The 11 Best Beach Backpacks of 2023 | by Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure / Brian Kopinski

Beach life may be all fun in the sun for us, but it can wreak havoc on certain fabrics and materials, so should choose your beach backpack carefully. An ideal beach backpack will be as functional as it is fashionable and make it easy for you to transport all of your beach-day basics (and maybe even a few extras). 

We considered how each beach backpack below performs in terms of stability after exposure to the elements, storage and organizational features, water-resistance, and capacity, also taking into account how likely it’d be for your things to get wet or sandy inside. Function took a front seat to overall fashion, though style was still considered. 

Whether you’re looking for a beach backpack that will help keep refreshments cool, want something that is versatile enough to take on the sand and in the surf, or just need a comfortable and spacious hands-free bag to cart your stuff around in, we’ve got a pick for you.

Our Top PicksBest Overall:Of One Sea No Sand Backpack at Ofonesea.comJump to ReviewBest Budget:WANDF Drawstring Backpack at AmazonJump to ReviewMost Durable:Yeti Panga 28L Backpack at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Waterproof:Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Cooler:Igloo Outdoor Pro Snapdown 42-can Backpack at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Kids:Mygreen Gym Drawstring Bag at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Lightweight:Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote at Backcountry.comJump to ReviewBest Compact:Topo Designs River Bag at Topodesigns.comJump to ReviewBest Drawstring:Risefit Waterproof Drawstring Bag at Risefitpro.comJump to ReviewBest Sling:KAVU Rope Bag Sling Pack at AmazonJump to Review

Best Overall

Of One Sea No Sand Backpack

Of One Sea

View On Ofonesea.comWhy We Love It

It’s got almost all the features we’re looking for in a beach backpack, plus a patent-pending design for ditching the sand that inevitably always makes its way into your beach bag.

What to Consider

This bag is splash-resistant, not waterproof. 

While there are several backpacks on the market that can hold their own against water exposure, the patent-pending Of One Sea No Sand Backpack is one of the only models we’ve seen designed to deal with the perpetual problem of getting out the sand that always seems to make it into your bag and all over your stuff. This backpack has a handy mesh bottom with a zippered canvas flap that allows you to shake out the sand from the inside of your bag without removing all the contents. Secret hack? You can throw wet or damp clothes into the bag and leave the bottom unzipped to help ventilate and prevent mildew moments. 

The bag itself is made from durable recycled nylon so it’s got what it takes to stand up against harsh oceanside conditions, and it’s fully lined inside with a wipe-clean, water-resistant nylon. You’ll also get a splash-resistant detachable zip pouch for valuables, and the insulated front pouch offers some temperature control for a can or two. Two fixed side pockets can hold water bottles, and a back hideaway pocket secures your phone, wallet, and other sensitive items. All in all, we are big fans of this bag because it checks several boxes, has a stylish Fjällräven-meets-Herschel look, and comes in at a reasonable price point considering its style and features.  

Price at time of publish: $90

The Details: 17 x 7.5 x 13.5 inches | Three colors

Best Budget

WANDF Drawstring Backpack String Bag Sackpack


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

A shoe compartment keeps sandy shoes or wet clothes separated from the main compartment.

What to Consider

We wish the straps could be tightened more.

 If you’re having trouble picking just one of the 11 available designs, this backpack is affordable enough to snap up more than one. Made of high-density Oxford twill fabric, the exterior of the bag has a textured look similar to canvas with the plus of being durable and water-resistant. Inside, you’ll find nylon lining makes it easy to wipe away any dirt or spills. A back exterior pocket provides easy access to items like your phone and wallet, while a bottom zip compartment gives separate storage space for shoes or wet items. Placing three storage pockets inside is a smart move because it hides whatever you’ve got inside from any thieving eyes and helps protect the contents from sand exposures as you rummage through. The drawstrings double as the adjustable backpack straps, which can be a bit annoying to use and don’t fit small bodies very well. 

Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: 15 x 9.7 x 19 inches | 9.6 ounces

Most Durable

Yeti Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack


View On AmazonView On Backcountry.comView On Basspro.comWhy We Love It

It’s a completely waterproof bag with a laptop sleeve. 

What to Consider

The two color options are pretty subdued, and there are no external pockets.

This Yeti backpack has an IPX-7 waterproof and submersible rating and is made from a strong and durable puncture-proof and rip-resistant high-density nylon and TPU laminate. The price tag is nearly double the cost of our second-most expensive bag on this list, but you’ll likely have this bag for years of beach getaways to come. It’s also easy to customize thanks to the MOLLE loops on the front. Our biggest complaint is that there are no pockets or storage compartments on the outside of the bag. However, inside, you’ll get a zippered mesh stash pocket, rubber stash sleeve, and a laptop sleeve (up to 15 inches) for a touch of interior organization. It’s also worth noting that although the Yeti brand is known for their coolers, this bag is not insulated.

Price at time of publish: $300

The Details: 28 liters | 12.5 x 7 x 20 inches | 3.9 pounds

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Best Waterproof

Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro


View On AmazonView On WalmartWhy We Love It

There’s an airtight waterproof exterior pocket, and the bag has reflective elements on the outside for after-dark visibility. 

What to Consider

It’s not very stylish and only available in four solid colors. 

The Skog Å Kust BackSåk Pro is 100 percent waterproof (IPX-6) and made from 420D nylon with a TPU coating. The welded seams and dry-bag style help to reinforce common leak areas. The 35-liter capacity is enough to fit all the beach musts, from towels to sunscreen, games, and more. Interior organization has a laptop sleeve, key clip, stretchy mesh zippered pocket, and a larger zippered pocket. On the outside, there’s a waterproof zippered pocket with an IXP-7 rating as well as two elastic side pockets that can hold standard water bottles. We especially like the fact this bag has reflective material on the front for those beach days that turn into after-sunset departures. Padded straps and a padded back make it comfy to wear, but don’t expect too many compliments on its basic looks and color options. 

Price at time of publish: $130-140

The Details: 25-35 liters | 14 x 20 x 7.5 inches for 25-liter / 12 x 16 x 7.5 inches for 35-liter | 2.3 pounds

Best Cooler

Igloo Outdoor Pro Snapdown 42-can Backpack



View On AmazonView On Igloocoolers.comWhy We Love It

It scores big when it comes to ice retention and durability. 

What to Consider

It’s only available in a retro blue color block or patterned black.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-carry cooler backpack for a picnic or party on the beach, this is it. Not only does it have room for up to 42 cans of your fave beverage, there’s a bottle opener on the outside. The exterior coated ripstop material and the heat-sealed liner make this backpack completely wipeable inside and out (but not machine-washable). During previous tests of this bag, we loaded it up with 40 cans and tossed it off a table — it survived without a single can inside being damaged. This bag has solid ice retention, too, even after hours in the sun. The rolltop design, its chunky zipper, and easy snap closure are a quick three-step process for opening or closing (and allow the bag to adjust in size to fit whatever you’re carrying, keeping it snug and supported). It’s a shame there are only two colors to choose from. 

Price at time of publish: $140

The Details: 13 x 7 x 13.5 inches | 2.18 pounds

Best for Kids

Mygreen Kids Toddler Gym Drawstring Bag


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s cute, colorful, and designed with kid-use in mind. 

What to Consider

The drawstring closure does not close all the way. 

This cute, kid-sized backpack is made of plastic and EVA wire and is perfect for family beach days. We love the colorful selection of hues and themes (elephant, frog, unicorn, rainbow, and more), and that the bag comes with a detachable front pouch that can be worn as a crossbody. It’s big enough to hold school books, snacks, tablets, clothes, and a towel. Weighing in under a pound keeps it light on kids’ shoulders, and the drawstring closure is easy to maneuver for small hands. 

Price at time of publish: $20

The Details: 11.8 x 5.5 x 16.5 inches | 0.7 pounds

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Best Lightweight

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote


View On Backcountry.comView On Endclothing.comView On Paragonsports.comWhy We Love It

It’s extremely stuffable and can pack down into its own carrying case. 

What to Consider

The backpack straps could benefit from slightly more padding. 

Weighing less than a pound, the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack does not disappoint. It’s made from a thin but strong and weatherproof nylon that’s 100 percent recycled, and it comes in solid black or two different color-block designs. The backpack straps are slightly padded, but we wish the padding was a little bit thicker for when the bag is stuffed to the brim and heavy (there is a chest strap to help with weight distribution, though). The 27-liter size is perfect for packing beach-day supplies for up to two people. When it’s not in use, it can be packed down into itself and carried with a small handle. 

Price at time of publish: $99

The Details: 27 liters | 15.5 x 10.25 x 8 inches | 13 ounces

Best Compact

Topo Designs River Bag


View On Topodesigns.comWhy We Love It

Large mesh side pockets are great for air-drying wet clothes.

What to Consider

Using the cinch closure can get tedious if you need to get inside the bag frequently. 

The Topo Designs River Bag is designed to be around water but is not waterproof. The exterior is made from 1000D nylon, which is by far the thickest on this list). The backpack straps are padded for comfort, but this bag can also be carried as a tote. Mesh sides allow for airflow into the bag, which is great for any items that may need to air dry after the beach, but is also why this bag is not waterproof. The mesh sides have two exterior mesh pockets with compression straps that can be used for securing contents from water bottles to water shoes (and, yes, your huge Hydroflask will fit). You’ll also get two outside zip compartments and an interior laptop sleeve. If you’re someone who frequently needs something inside, the cinch closure can start to feel like a process; a flip-top and buckle closure would be more efficient. 

Price at time of publish: $109

The Details: 12.8 liters | 10.5 x 15 x 5 inches | 8 ounces

Best Drawstring

Risefit Waterproof Drawstring Bag


View On Risefitpro.comWhy We Love It

The flat, reinforced bottom helps keep the weight evenly distributed. 

What to Consider

There’s no padding on the straps. 

The Risefit Waterproof Drawstring Bag comes in 15 colorful, perfect-for-the-beach designs. This bag outdoes other drawstring bags with its fat, adjustable straps (versus flimsy string cords) and shape-reinforced bottoms (versus an amorphous bottom). It’s comfortable to carry and easy to find items inside. A large front zippered pocket can fit an iPad mini or anything you’ll want to quickly access. The interior is one large compartment, big enough to pack your beach towel, a beach hat, and other essentials. It’s also lined with slip pockets toward the top, convenient for organizing and locating your most important items. One thing that is slightly annoying is that you’ve got to fiddle with the straps just right when closing or they may come out uneven. 

Price at time of publish: $19

The Details: 12.6 x 5.9 x 16.5 inches | 9.6 ounces

Best Sling

KAVU Rope Bag Sling Pack


View On AmazonView On REIWhy We Love It

It’s got a functional and comfortable design and comes in several fun colors and patterns. 

What to Consider

It’s designed to be worn on the right shoulder.

The lightweight Kavu Rope Sling Bag is designed to be comfortably slung over one shoulder or worn as a crossbody. It’s full of thoughtful features that make it functional, from the buckle clip closure on the side, two spacious main zippered pockets for the big stuff, and two smaller stash compartments to front stash compartments, one zippered and one velcroed, for storing your cell phone, wallet, and other items you might want to access quickly or often. The sling strap is made from a triple row of recycled climbing rope that remains soft to the touch but sturdy over time, while the body of the bag is water-resistant 600D polyester. We love the 15 different colorful patterns available (and that the sling ropes are made to match). One downside is that the design/shape of the bag is made to be worn on the right shoulder only (sorry, lefties!). 

Price at time of publish: $60

The Details: 10 liters | 20 x 5 x 11 inches | 11 ounces

Best Floatable

Chaos Ready Waterproof Backpack


View On AmazonView On Chaosready.comWhy We Love It

Padded backpack straps make it comfortable to carry. 

What to Consider

It’s a bit lacking in the features department. 

Made from 500D PVC, this rolltop bag is both durable and Class 3 waterproof, so you can easily wear it into the water or bring it along when there’s a possibility of heavy rain or exposure to waves. Note that the front pocket is not waterproof, so be careful what you pack in there. This bag is submersible, but once you toss it in the water, it’ll automatically float. It’s a great beach backpack for activities like snorkeling because you can attach the bag to a lead around your wrist while it floats above. Padded straps keep it comfortable on the shoulders and two mesh side pockets give easy access to water bottles. We do wish this bag had more features, like a dedicated waterproof pocket to store your cellphone and wallet, for starters. 

Price at time of publish: $39

The Details: 22-liter capacity | 21 x 17 inches

Tips for Buying a Beach Backpack

Consider your size and storage needs

Make sure to buy a beach backpack that delivers on what you need and want it to do. Check out how much it can hold, if there are any organization pockets, wet compartments for swimsuits, water bottle sleeves, cooler-lined compartments, and anything else you may find useful during trips to the beach.  

Prioritize durable materials

The beach may be a fun and relaxing spot for us, but it will expose your beach backpack to some pretty harsh conditions. Salt water, sand, and UV rays can quickly take their toll on some materials. Choose a bag made from materials that are tough, water-resistant, and won’t fade, rip, or wear (like nylon, mesh, and rubber) after a few beach days. 

Keep it lightweight

You’ll likely be loading up your beach backpack with all the essentials, like towels, sunscreen, a change of clothes, refreshments and snacks, entertainment, or even snorkeling equipment. The weight can add up quickly. Starting off with a lightweight bag will make for easier transport and less strain on your sun-kissed shoulders. 

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the right size for a beach backpack?

The size of the right beach backpack will vary from person to person, but, as a general rule, try to keep it to about the size of a day bag or school bookbag. If you’re looking to bring just the basics (towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat) then something with a capacity of about 10-12 liters will probably work. If you’re looking to pack a picnic or are packing for family, larger bags up to 30 liters are likely your best bet. 

What are the features of a good beach backpack?

A good beach bag should be lightweight, made of durable materials, and have a few different pockets and compartments for storing your beach-day items. Mesh pockets will help damp towels and wet clothes air-dry, wet compartments are great for keeping damp items away from dry items, and waterproof pockets come in handy for storing things like your money, phone, parking tickets, and credit cards. 

Is a backpack better than a tote for the beach?

Whether you choose a backpack or a tote to take to the beach is a completely personal choice. If you’re unsure, look into convertible bags that can be worn as backpacks or tote bags.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this story, Katherine Alex Beaven researched top beach backpacks from brands big and small. Alex has lived most of her life by the beach, and took her own experience, trials, and errors into account when choosing the best picks for this list.

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