Showers Pass is a brand based out of Portland, Oregon that makes technical apparel and accessories for cyclists and people who love the outdoors.
The Showers Pass Utility Backpack is a fully waterproof backpack that was made with cyclists in mind but we wanted to explore if this backpack also makes a good daily carry backpack and see how functional it is for people who aren’t cycling enthusiast but still want a 100% waterproof backpack for college, work or city commuting.
Most waterproof backpacks available today are either rolltop backpacks or bucket-style dry bags with very little storage options. What really sets the Showers Pass Utility Backpack apart from other waterproof bags are the variety of pockets and compartments for everyday items like a laptop, keys and a phone.
Where to Buy
Utility backpack Specs
Made of 840-denier Ballistic Nylon
Waterproof welded construction
Anodized aluminum hardware
3M reflective trim & option to attach included LED lights
Laptop pocket (15”) and tablet pocket (10”) in main compartment
Pockets and Compartments
Let’s dive deep and explore what the Utility backpack has to offer in terms of carry.
Starting with the front of the backpack you have two pockets. The first is a small vertical zipper that gives you access to a fleece lined media pocket. This media pocket is fully waterproof and the perfect size for a phone or a wallet.
The second pocket on the front of the bag is a larger quick stash compartment. It’s expandable using side zippers and can open large enough to fit a bike helmet.
Unlike the smaller media pocket this quick stash pocket is not fully sealed and waterproof. There are points of contact where water could sneak it. This is something to keep in mind when decided what to store here.
But Showers Pass does address this by providing mesh drainage on the bottom of the stash pocket so that water doesn’t get trapped inside. You’ll see the same mesh drainage points on the side pockets as well.
The Showers Pass Utility backpack also includes two side pockets that are large enough to fit a water bottle or bike u-lock.
Moving on to the back of the bag you have a hip belt with additional pockets for easy access to small items. One of the hip belt pockets even includes a small key hook. It’s worth mentioning that the zippers on the hip belt pockets are not waterproof and water can get inside these pockets quite easily.
One clever feature is that the hip belt is fully removable. This allows you to use it as a standalone hip pack for carry of small essentials.
The last pocket on the outside of the backpack is a flat waterproof pocket found on the top of the bag.The pocket was designed for holding a hydration bladder and includes an aluminum clip for hanging.
Inside the Main Compartment
Now let’s dive into the carry features inside the main compartment.
The main compartment can be accessed through a fully waterproof zipper and inside is where you’ll find your laptop and tablet pockets. These pockets are fully padded and fleece lined on one side.
The laptop pocket can hold a laptop up to 15 inches while the second pocket can support a tablet up to 10 inches. Showers Pass does a great job at designing a false bottom to protect the laptop from bumps and drops. The Utility backpack also has plenty of room between the laptop and tablet sleeves and the walls of the backpack for extra protection.
The only con for some people will be the size of the laptop compartment. 15 inches is perfect for a Macbook Pro and slimmer laptops but anyone with a bigger laptop might not have enough room. If you do have a bigger laptop then Showers Pass does offer a similar waterproof bag called the Showers Pass Transit that has a laptop sleeve big enough for 17 inch laptops.
On the other side of the main compartment you have an aluminum clip for keys and a zippered media pocket that is fleece lined on one side. This media pocket is great for any small valuables you don’t want getting lost inside the main compartment.
Below the media pocket are two elastic slip pockets that are large enough to fit water bottles but can be used for just about anything like external hard drives or a laptop charger. The main compartment is large enough to fit a couple of 1-inch binders and a few notebooks and still have plenty of room to add something like a light jacket or pair of shoes on top.
At 26 liters the Utility backpack is just the right size for a daily carry backpack. If Showers Pass went any larger they would run the risk of the bag becoming too bulky and heavy. This capacity should work for most people who just need a mid-sized commuter backpack for their books, clothes and tech.
LED Lights & Safety Features
A neat feature of the Utility Backpack is the option to attach LED lights. Showers Pass includes a pack of their LED Beacon Lights with every backpack purchase which you can attach to the front and side of the bag. Everything is included so you can start using the lights right away.
This is a great feature not only for cyclists but for anyone who commutes at night and just wants the added safety feature. Along with the lights the Utility backpack includes plenty of 3M Reflective trim for additional visibility at night.
Showers Pass claims that the Utility backpack is fully waterproof and we wanted to test to see if this was true. For our waterproof test we sprayed the backpack with a water hose for about 10 minutes and made sure to soak every side of the back (including the back panel.)
A laptop was stored inside the main compartment and a pair of bluetooth headphones was stashed inside the front media pocket for this test. Both items were completely dry by the end of the waterproof test (thankfully) with no signs of dampness or water leakage inside the main compartment or front media pocket.
As expected the large front stash pocket and side pockets were not waterproof but the mesh drainage did a great job at preventing the inside of those pockets from being flooded.
The backpack dried within 10-15 minutes but the backpack shoulder straps and back panel took much longer to dry. Although they are made out of a quick-drying 3-D mesh they did take about 3 hours to dry completely inside at room-temperature.
Is the Showers Pass Utility Backpack really waterproof?
Yes and if it can survive a downpour with a garden hose then we are confident that it should have no problem during a rainy day commute.
Now let’s discuss backpack comfort features. The back panel is made out of 3-D mesh and Showers Pass does provide enough padding, especially around the lumbar area. The same 3-D mesh is also used on the shoulder straps for padding.
The shoulder straps are very thick and sturdy. They measure in at 3.25 inches and do a good job at distributing weight evenly. Comfort-wise this backpack is customizable enough where it can fit a variety of body types. The shoulder straps are adjustable and the bag also includes load adjusters on the top.
The only concern is for people with smaller frames and shoulders. Keep in mind that the shoulder straps on the Showers Pass Utility are a little under 4 inches apart. This is important for anyone considering purchasing this backpack who has narrow shoulders or a small frame. Although the backpack is fully adjustable the shoulder strap width is fixed.
Sternum Strap and Hip Belt
The sternum strap has an elastic band that conforms to your body easily. The sternum strap is also fully adjustable vertically and removable.
The hip belt is also fully adjustable to fit your hips and can be removed completely if needed.
The removable hip belt and sternum strap are something Showers Pass does really well. It allows you to customize the backpack so you can wear it how you like it without dangling straps or extra pieces getting in the way.
Once you have adjusted the backpack to fit your body the Utility pack is actually really comfortable when fully loaded. The padded back feels comfortable and the wide shoulder straps, sternum strap and hip belt help distribute the weight evenly.
Where to buy
This concludes our Showers Pass Utility Backpack review. Hopefully this gave you some insight into this waterproof backpack with all of its storage options.
We think it’s one of the better fully waterproof daily carry backpacks out there and definitely worth checking out if you are curious about a waterproof backpack for college, work or commuting.