Every man should own at least one backpack. Whether it’s for your commute to work or you’re planning on hiking through the mountains for a few days.
While buying one might not be the most important decision of your life, finding a rock-solid central location for your belongings – like your earphones, sunglasses, and laptop – deserves a slice of your time, and maybe even a decent amount of your money.
This guide will help you navigate this expanding portion of the accessories market, whether you just need a pack for early morning pre-season training or a replacement for your old-fogey briefcase that makes you feel like the 50-something accountant you see on the bus every morning.
Best Backpacks FAQs
Nylon has been the go-to staple material for backpacks for men. It’s strong yet lightweight and more weather- and rot-resistant than cotton. Nylon backpacks are also more durable and affordable than polyester. Ideally, the best backpacks should be spacious enough to hold just a little more than what you need it for. It should also be comfortable to carry. For size and capacity, it can range from 6 to 50 liters. If you’re wanting a backpack for a daily commute, you only need a small backpack whereas for travel you’ll need a large one. Most internal backpacks only have one huge compartment, with several zippered access points. External frame backpacks have several smaller compartments to make organisation easier. You may also attach extra gear to the frame, like a sleeping bag.
What is the best material for a backpack?
What size backpack do I need?
What is the difference between internal and external backpacks?
Nylon has been the go-to staple material for backpacks for men. It’s strong yet lightweight and more weather- and rot-resistant than cotton. Nylon backpacks are also more durable and affordable than polyester.
Ideally, the best backpacks should be spacious enough to hold just a little more than what you need it for. It should also be comfortable to carry. For size and capacity, it can range from 6 to 50 liters. If you’re wanting a backpack for a daily commute, you only need a small backpack whereas for travel you’ll need a large one.
Most internal backpacks only have one huge compartment, with several zippered access points. External frame backpacks have several smaller compartments to make organisation easier. You may also attach extra gear to the frame, like a sleeping bag.
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Below are the best backpacks for men, all perfect for your everyday essentials. You’re bound to find the perfect backpack, whether you’re looking for padded shoulder straps, ballistic nylon, water-resistant, padded laptop sleeve, water bottle compartment, easy access, one big main compartment, heavy-duty, a padded back; whatever you’re looking for in a backpack, you’ll find it here.
Producers of altogether more elegant men’s accessories, the group of designers at Aussie label Bellroy have become renowned for their stylish, modern take on everything from wallets and bags to passport holders and laptop cases. But it’s this Premium Classic that has caught our attention, constructed using high quality, sustainable leathers merged with dyed fabrics that age with more grace than standard market efforts. It also features a 15” laptop sleeve and a water resistant media compartment.
Tropicfeel’s Shell Backpack is an ultra-versatile, multi-size backpack with a lightweight, weatherproof, yet minimalist design men will love. Calling it the “backpack for a lifetime” because it’s designed to meet modern-day travelers’ needs, from your daily journey to work to long-distance hikes across the country. With a 3-in-1 adaptable design, the backpack can shift between 22L and 40L, and can carry up to 20% more than most backpacks. Tropicfeel is best if you’re on a budget but still want a backpack with great style.
Kelly Slater’s Outerknown brand is known for its sustainable efforts and tough, rugged approach to fashion. It’s with this in mind that the brand has teamed up with Japanese label New Life Project for a range of sustainably-made backpacks.
The men’s range includes the ‘backpack’, which should be the only thing you need for a weekend getaway. A 17-inch laptop sleeve, ergonomic padded shoulder straps, a water-repellent coating and a tough-as-nails attitude. Your best exploring companion.
Founded in 2011, Peak Design “makes tools for doing”. The San Francisco-based brand specialises in bags and camera gear; and their carry solutions help men, creatives, commuters, and adventurers keep their gear accessible, organised, and protected. Peak Design’s versatile backpacks are perfect for travel but will also keep all your daily essentials safe on your commute to work.
Founded in New York City, Haerfest Bags is dedicated to equip men with bags that are designed to inspire. Haerfest has a huge range of backpacks that are all generous and reliable. Available in multiple colours and prints, Haerfest’s backpacks will hold all of your essentials, as well as protect them (including your laptop) when you’re on the go. A little more stylish in design, these backpacks are perfect for daily commutes to the city or travelling to lavish places.
Realising that there was a gap in the market when it came to outerwear for men that was both high-performing and stylish, Rains launched into instant success in 2012. Rains’ backpack collection is simple, stylish, and above all practical. All are completely waterproof and come in a variety of colours and sizes. Their bags are best for the design concious man.
After starting life as a trendy little fashion store in New York’s hip SoHo district in 2009, Saturdays NYC has now moved into the mainstream as a high quality lifestyle brand. Their designs are extremely cool and combine classic men’s style and craftsmanship alongside a minimalist ethos. Their small range of backpacks are perfect for those who spend their days travelling around the inner city, and want a good-looking yet functional backpack.
Berlin-based Horizn Studios is perhaps best known for its range of ‘smart’ luggage, which is thoughtfully designed to make traveling men’s trips through the airport terminal as easy as possible.
That same ethos is applied to the company’s collection, which includes the Gion, named after the Gion district in Kyoto. This bag is available in small or medium sizes and is completely waterproof, ensuring everything inside remains bone dry. It’s also designed to attach harmoniously with Horizn’s smart luggage by way of a nylon strap that slides over the suitcase’s handle.
Founders, Samuel Bail and Abel Samet had a goal: to create the perfect overnight bag. Now, the two are head honchos at Troubadour, the business that grew from their combined passion to achieve this goal. They now make cool bags using artisan techniques and quality materials. All of Troubadour’s sleek backpacks are made from waterproof fabric and feature integrated sleeves that slide over suitcase handles. Perfect for the style conscious man.
It’s fair to say that Lyndon and Jamie Cormack could only have dreamed of their instant success when launching Herschel back in 2009. The two Canadian men targeted a younger 18-35 year old market and before they knew it their designs were popping up on the back and shoulders of bearded hipsters everywhere. They have pretty much stayed on track since, and even produce more modern, less vintage looking pieces such as this Pop Quiz bag, that still features the brand’s signature striped liner and a 15” laptop sleeve.
When legendary fashion photographer and designer Hedi Slimane was appointed creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, he made a very ballsy move. He rebranded the iconic fashion house to simply Saint Laurent. And it’s safe to say it worked, and helped bring in a new perspective, propelling them back into the highest echelons of the industry.
Saint Laurent’s City bag is a prime example of how this rebrand has opened up a flourish of more modern looking pieces. It’s available in a variety of styles (leather, nylon, etc.) and colours, and is entirely produced and constructed by hand in Italy.
Aer started as a crowdfunding project in 2014. Their idea? To design a bag that could be used whether you were off to the gym or on the way to the office. Aer like to keep their designs simple, and put more of an effort into functionality. Their Travel Pack model features a shoe compartment, bottle holder, and laptop sleeve, as well as an added mesh back panel for enhanced comfort and breathability and a sternum strap & load lifter straps for comfort and stability.
For a little luxury, check out Harber London. The British brand, founded in 2012, is a true champion of finely made leather goods, with all pieces being handcrafted in Spain. All of Harber London’s backpacks are built to last following the brand’s timeless design approach through clever product architecture, durable premium materials, and expert craftsmanship. These bags will always be functional, never go out of fashion, and last you a lifetime of happy service.
To get by in the grizzly infested forests of North America you better be prepared with the right type of kit. This is where Mystery Ranch comes in, a collective of designers that have been making outdoor gear for the military, hunters, hikers, and mountaineers. They specialise in rugged travel bags, such as this 40 litre Mission Duffel. Its’ made from 840D TPU coated Nylon and has a fully lined interior to help protect your essentials while you brave the great outdoors.
Mismo’s focus on contemporary luxury is instantly visible in their end product. The Danish brand has been producing fantastic briefcases, travel bags, and backpacks since 2003 – each with a touch of class that complements the ensemble of any well dressed modern gent. Mismo has a great range that are waterproof and feature a range of storage solutions for water bottles, laptops, and smartphones.
Mission Workshop started life as a bag company before expanding into countless other markets. Its bags remain a main focus though, and as a result there is a huge range to choose from. All Mission Workshop backpacks are made in the USA and all are weatherproof. Whether you want to protect your laptop or camera, find a backpack for travelling, or you simply need one for commuting, Mission Workshop has something for everyone.
Smythson is a British brand that places an emphasis on expertly crafted leather goods. Founded in 1887 on London’s prestigious Bond Street, the purveyor of luxury leather goods has previously been the brand of choice for the likes of Grace Kelly, Sir Winston Churchill, and European Royalty.
Smythson are expensive, there’s no denying, but with bags such as the Panama Zip Around being made in Italy from some of the finest crossgrain leather you’ll ever lay your hands on, coupled with a number of intuitive pockets, and a 13-inch laptop sleeve, they’re worth every penny.
The idea for Marmot first gathered momentum on Alaska’s Juneau Icefield, where a couple of California students decided to form a collective – which they named after the region’s highly social group of squirrels. The collective steadily formed into a brand in 1974, producing down products such as sleeping bags, jackets, and vests for unforgiving winter climates.
The brand now has a wide range of outdoor accessories, including backpacks. All of Marmot’s bags are super lightweight and weatherproof, and are perfect for those who want a backpack to accompany them on their outdoor adventures.
German brand Montblanc should need no introduction. Founded in 1906, Montblanc has remained a prominent leader in the luxury goods space thanks to a combination of well-designed products and using materials of seriously high quality. Best known for its range of pens, Montblanc has its leather-bound fingers in other product pies, which includes backpacks.
The Meisterstück, like other products bearing the Meisterstück name, represents the cornerstone of Montblanc’s range. Made from soft grain leather with padded shoulder straps and a large main compartment for all your essentials, it’s the very embodiment of what a luxury backpack should be.
Deuter started out as a canvas and linen mill in the Bavarian town of Augsbourg all the way back in 1898. However, they are now known for their high quality backpacks, bags, and sleeping bags. With a fantastic range on offer that feature multiple compartments and are available in an array of colours and styles, Deuter has extremely versatile backpacks that’ll carry your essentials to work, travelling, and outdoor hikes.