The 7 Best Surf Packs Reviewed

The 7 Best Surf Packs Reviewed

If you need a backpack to get your wetsuit down to your local break or need a pack to live out of for a surf trip, we’ve reviewed 7 great surf packs that can handle it all. These are the 7 surf backpacks we’ve found to offer the greatest features and quality.

What is a Surf Pack and how is it different than a normal backpack?

  • Surf packs are a practical bag that allow you to easily transport your wetsuit and all your gear to a beach. Most surf packs come with additional pockets and areas to store fins, food, drinks, wax, leashes, a towel and whatever else you can stuff in.
  • A surf pack differs from a normal backpack by allowing you to keep your wet gear stored in a compartment separate from the rest of your bag’s dry contents. This will save your backpack from getting completely soaked and moldy and keeps everything you want to stay dry totally protected. Surf Packs are more convenient and designed for surf gear, unlike normal backpacks.

Dakine Cyclone 32L Wet/Dry Backpack

“The Shop Favorite”

Dakine Cyclone Wet/Dry Backpack

The new Cyclone is a dependable pack that does everything really well. At $129.95 it’s one of the more expensive bags on this list but it’s definitely worth the extra coin. Starting off with the essential part of any surf pack, this bag’s wet compartment is spacious and durable. Dakine went through the trouble of welding all the seams to make sure your bag won’t spring a leak anytime soon and the whole compartment feels really solid. There’s easily enough space in it for all your wet gear plus a beer or two. 

The outside material of this backpack is made of Cordura, which Dakine has been using on their best bags for a few years now. This material is a coated rip-stop covering that’s extremely durable and water resistant. 

Checking out the rest of the bag, there’s a water bottle pocket, two waterproof accessory pockets for your keys and wax that’s hidden underneath the outside flap of the bag. There’s even a strap on the side that latches onto your board bag’s handle. This feature is designed in case your arms need a break on a long hike out. In terms of comfort, this is probably the most comfortable pack to wear with a reinforced back panel. 

Trading in a lot of the more unnecessary bells and whistles for well-thought-out features that work, the Cyclone is as good as it gets for surf packs.

Buy the Dakine Cyclone Wet/Dry Backpack Now

Rip Curl F-Light Surf Backpack

“Ultra Lightweight Travel Bag that Fits it All”

Rip Curl F-Light Surf 40L Backpack

The F-Light by Rip Curl is the bag that allows you to be as prepared as a boy scout for any session or trip. There’s a large insulated wet compartment and another fairly large dry pocket with a laptop sleeve for your clothes and valuables. With a large 1 liter insulated water bottle holder on one side and a wax pocket on the other, this bag has a ton of nooks and crannies to store almost anything you could think to pack to the beach.

The dry pockets are also reinforced on the outside with a thicker plastic material that will make sure your phone and other valuables stay safe in the bag. The best part is that all of this storage and pockets don’t come at an additional weight. By using super light materials, this bag weighs in at only 3 lbs. This would be an ideal bag to travel with and it’s also nice for those who like to have an extra leash, fins, and gear on them. 

For those looking for a heavier-duty version of the F-Light, there’s now a new version made of a Cordura for extra durability.

Buy the Rip Curl F-Light Back Pack Now

Dakine Cyclone Rolltop Backpack

“Best Day-Trip Pack Out There”

Dakine Cyclone Back Pack

Not to be confused with it’s heavy-duty big brother, the Cyclone Roll Top is another great pack with a very simple design, made well.

Using top materials like the strong, tear-resistant Cordura Fabric for the outer shell of the bag and welded seams, the Cyclone keeps it uncomplicated and practical. This pack has one large roll top pocket that’s big enough to fit all of your neoprene in, with two small side pockets. These pockets really can only hold a bar of wax and your phone/keys but I think that’s part of the appeal of this bag.

Keeping with this minimalistic yet practical theme, the shoulder straps on this pack are lightweight and “breathable” with ventilation. If you need a surf pack for quick hikes or day trips, the Cyclone has you covered.

Buy the Dakine Cyclone Backpack Now

Nixon Shores 28L Backpack

“Great All Around Pack With A Few Twists”

Nixon Shores 28L Backpack

The Nixon Shores stands out on this list with a few unique features. Starting with the wetsuit compartment, Nixon uses a wide fold-down top closure that’s pretty cool because it opens up wider at the mouth of the compartment than most bags. This makes packing and unpacking your bag easier. This wet/dry compartment is also insulative so it can double as a cooler if need be and here’s even a bottle opener for the drinks. 

The most unusual feature is the removable changing mat that adds some value to this pack as those alone run about $30.

Overall, this is a very solid bag with all the usual pockets and stashes, a water-resistant covering and a couple cool extra features you’re not going to find on any other pack.

Buy the Nixon Shores 28L Backpack Now

Channel Islands Essential Surf Backpack

Core Surfer’s Dream Pack

Channel Islands Essential Surf Backpack

If you’re looking for a pack that is well designed specifically for surf gear, look no further than the Channel Islands Essential Surf Pack. The Essential has built in accessory organizer pockets (pictured below) that are perfect for fins, extra leash ties, wax, fin keys etc..

It also has a few other pockets, including a fleece-lined sunglass pocket. A few unique features on the Essential Pack are the water bottle pockets,  placed in front to avoid dinging your board as you hike in and a hanging loop to help dry the bag out after sessions.

I like how large the wetsuit compartments are on Channel Island’s surf packs and this bag is definitely no exception with an ample 42 liters of room. The Essential has been around longer than most packs out nowadays and remains a customer and employee favorite.

Buy the Channel Islands Essential Surf Backpack Now

Dakine Mission Surf 25L Backpack

Best Value

Dakine Mission Surf 25L BackpackAt only $74.95 the Dakine Point pack is a huge value with features found on backpacks twice it’s price.

There’s a waterproof, seam-sealed pocket to store your wetsuit, an organizer pocket  that big enough to fit a few books or a laptop and side pockets for accessories.

Dakine even threw in a fleece-lined pocket for your sunglasses. This is a good, affordable pack that would be perfect for the traveling surfer who wants to pack more than just their surf gear with them.

Buy the Dakine Mission Surf 25L Backpack Now

Patagonia Storm Front Roll Top 45L Backpack

“Built to Last”

Patagonia Stormfront Roll Top 45L Backpack

The Storm Front is the most expensive pack on this list but well worth the extra dough for it’s durable and high quality build. The Stormfront is Patagonia’s take on a surf pack and it features an extra large 45L wet/dry compartment. The top of this compartment is taller than a lot of other bags on this list which allows you to really pack a ton of gear in and still fold it over at the top for 100% water protection. The outside material of this bag is water repellent and like a wetsuit has fully welded seams for added toughness. 

The Stormfront is more than just a surf pack and while it has all the usual compartments for your valuables, fins or wax it also has some lash points on the outside. These are perfect for the surfer going on off the grid to strap down some more gear, whether it be a fishing rod or cooking pans. 

Like all of Patagonia’s gear this bag is designed for the long run and comes with Patagonia’s excellent iron-clad gurantee.

Buy the Patagonia Stormfront Roll Top 45L Backpack Now

 Final Thoughts

Surf Packs are great for any surfer and will keep you stoked for those long hikes. You can view our entire selection both backpacks and surf packs here

If you have any questions about any of these surf packs or others you can always give us a call toll free at 1-888-546-6176 or via email at



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A part of the Cleanline Crew since 2015, Stefan can be found answering any questions you might have about surf gear on the phone, online or in the shop. Always stoked for the next stretch of good surf or shipment of boards, Stefan rides and uses the gear he writes about. When he's not at Cleanline, Stefan is out in the water, on a bike, or playing music.

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