Backpack rain cover

In the spirit of giftable items, here’s a project that I made a little while ago, but which has taken some time to make it onto the blog as a tutorial…

A waterproof backpack cover that’s great for rainy days cycling or hiking but which also has reflective tape which makes it extra handy for evening safety!


  • Waterproof fabric (like ripstop) I used 1m but it depends on your bag measurements
  • Round elastic, to thread through casing
  • Toggle to fit elastic
  • Reflective tape, enough to extend past the edges of your bag

I used fluro ripstop and I sewed on the reflective tape and didn’t bother doing anything to seal the back to make it super waterproof. I based the construction on this pack cover, which I snuck into the store and looked at, in person.

The piece of fabric that I cut out, ended up looking like this. I basically made sure the backpack was as full of stuff as it ever would be, and then I measured the length, depth, height, etc. all round. Basically, I wanted to create a shape that would kind of mirror the backpack, and leave enough for me to fold over the hem to add elastic to.

Below, the red dots indicate the top and bottom extremities of the bag, with the 16″ being the top and the 22″ being the length of the sides (ish)

I did make a toile to make sure that it fit, by cutting fabric out according to the scheme and sewing up the 4 sides (no proper finishing). I decided that I was happy with that, so cut into my ripstop fabric. I actually just serged the 4 corner parts together (with my matching fluro overlocking thread) and then I turned back a hem, then folded that under and used the overlocker (with the blade still engaged) to basically cut and re-attach the hem as a casing.

That sounds confusing to explain, but I had the bag on the table, right side facing down. I folded back the hem (so the hem was facing me), and then I flipped that underneath, so that it was facing the right side. This meant that when I was overlocking, I was feeding 3 layers in, overlocking the edge where the red overlocked section is above.

This made a casing where I threaded through some round elastic/stretchy cord, which I threaded through a toggle and then knotted and burnt to seal off.

Before threading the elastic through though, I sewed on the high-vis reflective tape (that stuff is strangely expensive). I had intended to leave the middle part open so that a bike light could be slotted right there for peak visibility, but I was informed that that was unnecessary. Stick on tape could have been an interesting thing to try out (but would have made it harder to leave a loop open for the theoretical bike light.


This cover is now over a year-and-a-half old and it’s held up well to use during the rain and also during the colder months when the sun sets early (the reflective tape makes it extra safe at night), although it could do with a wash after getting a bit grubby from gross wet days cycling on the mucky road.

Where to shop fabric

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