With a few notable exceptions (lawyers and actors playing lawyers, mainly), a 21st-century businessman doesn’t have to wear a suit to conduct business. That means he doesn’t doesn’t necessarily have to carry a briefcase. With comfort and functionality as priorities, lots of guys now use backpacks for their everyday commute — just throw it over the shoulders and you’re hands-free for a coffee, a handshake or holding on while the bus creeps forward. These are our favorite backpacks. They cover the spectrum of possible uses, so whether you’re looking for a simple vessel for getting from A to B with the day’s goods or you plan to hump in to a remote office in the jungle, these backpacks are up for the task.
$100 and Under
Herschel Supply Heritage Backpack
Fans of Herschel Supply will recognize this backpack’s unique look. It’s lined with the brand’s signature cotton-poly material, has a 15-inch laptop sleeve, and is available in more color combinations that you can count on both hands.
JanSport Right Pack Backpack
If you went to middle school, chances are you owned a JanSport backpack. This iteration still has the brand’s iconic suede leather bottom and timeless style, but it also has a laptop sleeve in addition to the main compartment and the front pouch.
Everlane Twill Snap Backpack
This snap backpack has a 100 percent cotton exterior and leather details. Originally, it was priced at $140. Now it’s $65 — not bad for a company that takes the transparency of its manufacturing processes seriously.
Patagonia Ironwood 20L Pack
Made with 600-denier 100 percent recycled polyester, and a 200-denier polyester liner, this pack is both lightweight and tough. The Ironwood 20-liter has a padded laptop sleeve inside, along with enough room to hold several essentials or a raincoat.
$100 to $200
Penfield Vaughan Backpack
All Penfield products are designed to hold up against a harsh New England winter. And this pack, made of a tough nylon weave, is no different. You also get a little alpine style with the Vaughan. Think of it as the JanSport for the cool kids.
Fjällräven Greenland Backpack
Available in six colors, like mountain gray, dark olive and autumn leaf, this simple pack has a flat, padded laptop pocket, two exterior bellow pockets and webbed shoulder straps.
Topo Designs Daypack
Comfortable in the streets of Manhattan or scrambling in the Adirondacks, this tough pack has a 1,000-denier Cordura exterior and is detailed with leather lash tabs.
Norse Projects Einar Nylon Backpack
This unassuming pack from Denmark-based Norse Projects is made of industrial-grade nylon, with a waterproof rubber base, wraparound zip opening and adjustable shoulder straps.
Boasting a 15-inch laptop compartment and an exterior made of water-repelling 1,680-denier ballistic nylon, this American-made pack has a lifetime guarantee.
Kletterwerks Kletter Flip
Kletterwerks’ trademark pack was originally meant for alpine climbing, but has since evolved into a pack for the everyman. Today it has a padded internal sleeve tit for a 17-inch laptop, along with a 22-liter capacity for whatever accessories you deem essential.
$200 to $300
The Sanction by Mission Workshop
This 20-liter rucksack has several weatherproof compartments and urethane-coated zippers, and it’s perfectly suited to house a tablet or laptop in whatever weather you throw at it.
Madden Equipment Daylite
Here’s a pack that was designed to take day hiking, ski touring and fly fishing. But it has no problem fitting a 15-inch laptop or an extra pair of dress shoes. The Daylite has a 1,000-denier Cordura exterior, multiple storage compartments and leather decals made from Colorado bison.
Brooks England Hackney Backpack
If you can’t stand zippers, get the Pickwick backpack. It features a waterproof canvas exterior, a roll-top closure design and webbed nylon shoulder straps. An ideal bag for the bike commuter with a classic sense of style.
Built in America with waterproof military-grade fabric, the GR1 has two big compartments: one main compartment and one to hold a 17-inch laptop. Another cool feature of the GR1 is that it opens flat, which is optimal for quick and efficient packing.
$300 to $500
Ignoble Mona Cocoon Backpack
This lightweight pack is durable, weather resistant and has a large vertical-zippered front pocket. Within its capacity to hold 30 liters of goods, a laptop and lots of other items in internal and external pockets, this pack will get you through the day or even a long weekend on the road.
Joshu+Vela Zip Backpack
Handmade in San Francisco, this minimalist pack features natural canvas, American tanned leather, heavy brass zippers and solid copper rivets. The natural canvas and leather will age beautifully over time, showing a unique patina for every user.
Harvey Backpack by Filson
A great all-purpose pack, the Harvey features a buckle closure system, comfortable padded shoulder straps and removable padding in case you don’t need to carry your tablet or smartphone.
Haerfest H25 Arch Backpack
This twill backpack features a cowhide leather base, a minimalistic veneer and shoulder straps, each made out of one continuous cut of leather.
Lexdray Ibiza Pack
Designed by DJ Clark Kent and DJ Young Guru to carry music-making essentials, the Ibiza backpack is also ideal for commuters. It has specific compartments to carry headphones, a 17-inch laptop, a vintage camera and more. Plus it has feet to ensure the bag will sit upright on the floor.
Yuketen Leather-Trimmed Canvas Backpack
Made in Maine, this bag is composed of durable army canvas and features numerous of leather accents. A unique D-ring strap attachment and spacious interior make this the perfect bag for a weekend away.
More than $500
Killspencer Utility Backpack
Almost entirely crafted out of premium black leather, this American-made backpack has military-grade webbing that’ll house most any laptop, tablet or smartphone. Though it look simple and timeless from the outside, the interior pockets are specially built for organizing your tech accessories.
Lotuff Leather Backpack
Handmade in New England, this leather pack has three internal compartments for all your commuting essentials, including a laptop. It has a buckle closure system and enough character to be comfortable in any setting.
The Explorer is a far cry from the backpack you had as a kid. Its exterior is made of vintage chestnut calfskin, its hardware is polished brass and its adjustable shoulder straps allow for several carrying options. And no, there are no zippers.