Not Just for School Books
The 25 Best Backpacks for Everyday Use
Last Updated August, 2018.
With a few notable exceptions (lawyers and bankers, 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 your 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 telecommute to a secluded bungalow on the beach, these backpacks are up for the task.
The North Face Berkeley Backpack
This simple 25L bag is stripped down to the essentials: a main compartment with a laptop pouch and a front zip pocket for smaller accessories. The Berkeley backpack has padded shoulder straps and leather accents — a great value for under $60.
Everlane The Modern Snap Backpack
Everlane delivers quailty products for a fair price, as this water-resistant flip pack proves. The bag features a 19L padded internal compartment, two side slip pockets and a front zip pocket — spot the leather detials and YKK zippers.
Mystery Ranch Stadt Backpack
The 21L Stadt bag is cut from incredibly durable 1000D Cordura with a 1680D reinforced bottom. It features heavy-duty YKK zippers, metal hardware, a laptop pocket and two large external torpedo pockets. The shoulder straps have an abundance of padding and the back features a light layer of cushion to separate laptop and spine.
Eastpak for J.Crew Backpack
Eastpak started making bags for the US military in 1952, but expanded its product offering to include consumer goods in following decades. This basic backpack has a main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve, a front zip pocket and a suede bottom panel.
Rains Field Bag
Though it’s well-known for its waterproof outerwear, Rains also makes a range of water-repellent bags perfect for inclement weather. This minimalist bag has a padded laptop sleeve and an external zip pocket, and the material blend is inspired by the Danish brand’s classic raincoats.
$100 to $200
Trakke Fingal Backpack
Millican Smith The Roll Pack
This 15L roll pack is cut from weatherproof Bionic Canvas — a blend of cotton, recycled polyester and high-tenacity polyester — and features an easy-access padded laptop sleeve. For commuters, the bag has a foldd-away reflective strip and comfortable ergonomic shoulder straps.
Topo Designs Rover Pack
And Wander 20L Daypack
This teardrop backpack is made from high-density, waterproof Cordura nylon. When not in use, the bag is packable and can be rolled ito a small internal pocket.
Joshu+Vela Stone Backpack
Made in San Francisco, this simple flip pack secure your goods without the need of a drawstring closure. The bag is cut from 18-ounce cotton twill, features a military-grade “G” hook closure, includes an internal laptop sleeve and has a double-layered bottom for durability.
Mission Workshop The Fraction
This 14L weatherproof bag is made in America and includes multiple stash pockets and an internal laptop pocket. Built with mil-spec materials, this bag has urethane-coated zippers, an internal frame sheet and a double-buckle flip top.
Kletterwerks Flip Pack
Based on a style designed for alpine climbing, this classic 23L bag has been updated for the 21st century. Cut from Cordura and ballistic nylon, the bag includes a padded laptop sleeve, YKK zippers and leather accents. It’s also made in the USA.
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$200 to $300
Evergoods Civic Panel Loader
Brooks England Pickwick Backpack
If you can’t stand zippers, get the Pickwick backpack. It features a water-resistant 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.
Master-Piece Slick Series Ballistic Backpack
Built in America with waterproof military-grade fabric, the GR1 has two big compartments: one main compartment and another 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
Cote&Ciel Nile Rucksack
Filson Journeyman Backpack
Made from oil finish Tin Cloth, this rugged bag features a padded laptop sleeve, a storm flap and a solid brass zipper. Made in America, it features shoulder straps lined with tear-resistant, sueded Moleskin.
Killspencer Special Ops Backpack 3.0
Designed for travel, this sleek backpack is cut from full-grain leather and has a fire retardant and waterproof nylon lining. The design includes an internal padded laptop pcoket, zippered mesh pockets for accessories. a bullhide leather passport pocket and Swiss-made Riri zippers.
Want Les Essentiels
Visvim Cordura 20L Backpack
Arc’Teryx Veilance Nomin Backpack
Kikany Postal No. 3
Made in Brooklyn, this roll-top bag is cut from vegetable-tanned Italian leather. It includes hand-tooled brass hardware, an interior laptop pocket, a large zippered pocket and a small zippered pocket on the back pannel for securing your wallet or phone.
Tumi Ashton Leather Morrison Backpack
This leather bag from Tumi has a wraparound zipper, a lined interior and a padded laptop sleeve. An exterior front pocket is designed to carry small accessories and the bag’s straps are padded for a more comfortable wear.
Lotuff Leather Zipper Backpack
This backpack is cut from vegetable-tanned leather and includes solid-brass YKK zippers. Interior pockets organize valuables, pens, and keys, while a larger pocket is designed to carry a laptop or tablet. This bag is made in New England and comes with a lifetime guarantee.