Not Just for School Books
23 Great Backpacks for Every Budget and Lifestyle
With a few notable exceptions (lawyers and actors playing lawyers, mainly), a 21st-century businessperson doesn’t have to wear a suit to conduct business. That means you don’t necessarily have to carry a briefcase. With comfort and functionality as priorities, lots of people 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. The backpacks below 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
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.
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.
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.
For those who live in wet climates, the Rains Backpack is a godsend. Not only do the water-repellant seams protect your gear from weather, but the bag looks good while doing so, especially in this sleek off-white.
$100 to $200
Aer Fit Pack
The Aer Fit Pack carries all that you need without being bulky making it the perfect option for travel, work, or play. It’s also a brilliant solution if you need to carry an extra pair of shoes thanks to a clever dedicated compartment. It’s available in black and gray color options.
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.
Master-Piece Over-v6 Daypack
Made in Japan, this bag from Master-Piece is made from high-density nylon canvas with a cowhide-suede base reinforcement. Its straps feature vegetable-tanned suede accents, and a hidden interior zip pocket keeps your valuables stashed safely.
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.
Filson Ranger Backpack
Filson’s Ranger backpack is made from rugged twill with black leather trim and brass hardware. Its interior has a divider for magazine and paper, a wool zip pocket and enough room for your laptop.
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.
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
Anderson’s Leather and Suede Backpack
A $920 backpack isn’t a necesssity. But when the pack in question is a beautiful marriage between chocolate brown leather and rich blue suede, you have every right to indulge in such an extravagance. Such is Anderson’s latest backpack, which puts other luxe bags to shame with its two-toned, two-fabric construction.
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.
Brunello Cucinelli Leather Backpack
Brunello Cucinelli’s take on the backpack is made from supple leather with a perforated suede back panel. Luxurious? Yes. But its spacious interior still has enough room for all your daily essentials, from your laptop to your gym kit.