GEAR,  Product Reviews

Best adventure bags for outdoor swimmers

Durable, weatherproof and ready for anything: whatever you’re looking for in a new adventure bag, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our expert guide

Best post-work swim bag | Chrome Ruckas Tote, £100
Best swim bag for everyday use | Finisterre Drift Waterproof Roll Top Backpack, £185
Best swim bag for longer trips | Ulu AquaTrek® 36 Waterproof backpack, £159.99

Patagonia Black Hole® Pack 25L Classic Navy


They say: A burly 25-litre daypack with just the right amount of space to haul your daily essentials, with the durability you expect from our Black Hole® bags. Made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing. Light and strong recycled polyester ripstop with a highly weather-resistant TPU-film laminate. Featuring an air mesh back panel for comfort and increased ventilation.

We say: The clever design of this backpack means it can withstand big adventures, while being smart enough for day-to-day activities. There are multiple storage options in addition to the main compartment, including a zippered top pocket, front stash pocket and stretch water-bottle section, allowing for a multitude of uses. It is incredibly comfortable to wear and it looks great.

Finisterre Drift Waterproof Roll Top Backpack


They say: Made from 100% recycled heavy duty polyester material, our Drift Backpack is fully waterproof with welded seams and a whole host of technical features to help get you out on your adventures – no matter where they take you. Tough and durable, with an IP64 rating and high frequency welded seams, plus roll top construction.

We say: A bag expertly designed for big adventures, with an excellent quality and fit to match its size. The material of the backpack feels extremely durable. The design means you can wash out dirt that may accumulate on long journeys, and it should withstand scrapes and bumps that may occur. Overall, a great bag, but would be made even better with the addition of an internal zip!

Aquapac 28L Heavyweight Waterproof IPX


They say: This is from our TrailProof range. It’s designed to waterproof your gear for rugged adventures but be simple and affordable. Brilliant for paddling, biking, vacation and extreme sports. Tough 500D Vinyl will resist scrapes and abrasion on the trail. Mesh side pockets for drinks or quick-access items. Breathable mesh straps and padding.

We say: For the price point, it’s a fantastic backpack. The tough, waterproof material allows for ease of mind when travelling across various terrains and entering water. I tested out the acid green backpack, which also enables greater visibility when travelling in the dark. Feeling slightly bulkier than others on the list, this is probably more suited for shorter, swim-specific trips.

Wild Moose Caribou Backpack


They say: This fully waterproof, roll top, wet/dry bag rucksack has been designed for wild swimmers – whether you are hiking, cycling or just sauntering to the water. It will keep your kit dry, has tons of storage space, is fully adjustable for comfortable wearing and has an array of features to facilitate carrying your gear to your favourite swim spots.

We say: A waterproof drybag made of tough tarpaulin, it will resist anything the British weather can throw at it. At 45 litres, it is big enough to pack a changing robe, towel and kit without being so big as to be cumbersome. It also has plenty of pockets. The roll top means you can compress it if you are not carrying a lot of kit. Nice extras include loops for hiking poles/ice axe and padded shoulder straps for comfort.

Osprey Transporter Waterproof 30L


They say: Built to get you from point A to B and handle any conditions that come your way. Waterproof, lightweight, reliable packs that offer comfortable carry and simple organisation for the day ahead. With an IPX6 waterproof rating, when rolled this pack is the perfect companion for every active user.

We say: We loved this, and used it on a city swimming trip. It was a great flight carry-on bag, You can get a lot in it. It was super light when empty, and wasn’t heavy once full. The outer secret pocket was great for phone and passport, while inside the zipped smaller pocket was great for wallet. Threw it into the lake to see how good it was at keeping things dry inside and it passed the test! The roll top is stiff to begin with but softens with use.

Ulu AquaTrek® 36 Waterproof backpack


They say: This backpack has been designed to give you the freedom to explore and flow across land and water. Packed with all the essential features for safety on land and in the water, this inflatable backpack is unique! With a zipped top style opening, removable back panel and harness, external compression straps and a tow system, it provides a quick and easy way to explore.

We say: This is a serious piece of kit and worth the price tag. Designed and built for proper adventure, it is big and so you could get a weekend’s worth of kit in it and still tow it from A-B. It is also bright, so you will not be missed in the water. As a decent size floating bag, this was brilliant. If you wanted to go on a swim-camping weekend or swim along a coastline, this would be perfect. This is worth it if you love a weekend adventure.

Chrome Ruckas Tote


They say: This roomy hybrid bag has been cleverly designed to be worn either as a backpack or a traditional tote, with convertible shoulder straps. Light not only on weight, but also on the planet, the Ruckas Tote is PFC free and has been consciously constructed with weather resistant and recycled scratch resistant outer shells. Designed to transport your tech safely and securely, inside the spacious main compartment you’ll also find a padded laptop sleeve designed to hold devices of up to 15”. All packs in the Ruckas family feature a handy webbed hanging/grab loop to the top and wide, adjustable straps to allow for all day carrying comfort and great weight distribution when loaded.  

We say: We loved this robust, versatile and lightweight bag, which converts easily between a rucksack and tote bag. For its 0.5kg weight, it has a generous 27L capacity, which is ample room for a quick-dry towel, swimsuit and goggles. On the outside, it has two expandable pockets for drinks and an external stash pocket for goggles or snacks, while inside there’s a 15″ padded laptop sleeve and various internal pockets. The recycled material feels hard-wearing and is water-resistant. While it doesn’t have the back support of some larger adventure bags, we think it’s ideal for post-work swims and those who prefer minimal kit.

Find all the gear you need for open water swimming, from adventure bags and swimming togs to tow floats and changing robes, at the Outdoor Swimming Shop. If you buy a product through a link on this page we may receive a commission. Last updated Feb 2024.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.