The best backpacks are comfortable, well-pocketed, and protect what you need to carry, sure. But they also need to fit your lifestyle. Do you want to carry a backpack to work and then the gym? Okay, well, then the best backpack for you is one that looks the part, is slim enough to not slam into everyone on the train, and is able to hold some clothes as well as electronics. Do you want to carry a backpack when you travel? Okay. You could shove your belongings into a standard zip-pocket backpack. But, if you’re a regular traveler, the best backpack for you is one that has myriad compartments — including a TSA laptop sleeve — that is purposefully constructed make going from A to B a hell of a lot of easier.
What we’re saying is the best backpack for you is a matter of personal preference. And that’s a good thing becuase there are more categories of backpacks then ever before. That’s why we’ve taken the time to highlight the best backpacks for work, the best backpacks for travel, and the best every day backpacks that do a little bit of everything (including store the many parenting items you need). So, whether you’re looking for a stylish bag that wears well to the office, a ruggedized commuting backpack, or a backpack that excels at organizing all the stuff you need to carry on a weekend trip, there’s one here for you.
Best Men’s Backpacks for Work
Ideal for work or casual weekend adventures, this scaled-down 17-liter version of Herschel's ubiquitous pack features the brand’s classic drawstring closure system as well as multiple padded compartments for keeping valuables safe. Nice touches like magnetic buckle-downs, padded straps, vented mesh, and an internet pocket with a headphone port add to its everyday appeal.
Made of rugged ballistic nylon and featuring a few understated-but-oh-so-necessary leather details, the Kombi is a workhorse of a pack that will last for years. A 14-inch laptop sleeve and multiple pockets help you stay organized, while the bag’s below-strap sleeve slides over luggage handles to aid in airport travel.
Does organization get your gears going? Then you’ll love this 27.3-liter, ballistic nylon bag. There are elastic pen loops and headphone pockets as well as designated spaces to stow power banks, chargers, sunglasses, water bottles, and more. A padded sleeve coddles laptops up to 15.6-inches; lockable zipper pulls keep everything secure.
Ride the bus, subway, or a bike to work? You need a pack that won’t get in the way. This bag’s bulk-free design keeps things contained without skimping on the necessities (four pockets; padded laptop sleeve) or nice-touches (softly-lined interior; back pocket that expands for additional storage when the need arises). Translation: you won’t be that bonehead on the train whose bag slams into everyone.
Made in Colorado from such upcycled items as bike tires, street signs, and tent materials, this is a tough, moisture-shedding pack ideal for bike, bus, or train commuters. Its large roll-top closure further seals off the main compartments to make sure everything arrives safe and sound. There’s a large exterior pocket to toss items into as well as several reflective elements to ensure you’re seen. At 24 liters, it’s large enough for an overnight trip if necessary.
Best Travel Backpacks for Men
Consider this bag a carry-on suitcase that straps to your back. Able to expand easily from 20 to 30 liters — or transform into a briefcase — when the need arises, the water-resistant bag opens like a standard suitcase for easy packing and organizing. There are pockets galore (including a TSA-approved padded laptop sleeve and an RFID pouch) as well as a hard-shelled sunglasses case and lockable zippers (and retractable key leash) for security. A mesh divider helps you quarantine dirty clothes from clean at the end of a long trip. And yes, it fits in an overhead bin.
This rather standard-looking bag holds a shocking amount of stuff. a water bottle pocket, two main compartments with numerous organizational compartments and a fold-down shelf for splitting the main compartment in half. There’s a padded laptop sleeve and a zippered mesh panel inside the main compartment to keep gadgets in one place. Four external straps help keep the bag squeezed down— and come in handy for lashing down umbrellas or other such items.
Osprey makes great packs. Period. This travel pack is made of durable ripstop nylon and features heavy-duty zippers to handle the rough-treatment of the road. Actually two packs in one, a smaller day pack with a laptop pad unzips from the main body so you can take it for side trips. A wraparound zipper opens the entire main compartment, while side panels ensure there are no dangling items if you happen to check the bag. Comes in three sizes.
Best Everyday Backpacks for Men
This bag is all about organization — and customization. Intended for those carrying camera or drone equipment, but just as useful for anyone who wants to compartmentalize their everyday gear, the inside of this pack features three soft dividers for separating — and protecting — whatever you carry. A laptop sleeve that computers up to 16-inches, while several other small pockets hold various accessories.The main flap is held down by a nifty magnetic closure system, while two side zippers provide additional access. A waterproof 400D nylon canvas shell ensures everything is safe.
There’s a reason the Kanken has been a Fjallraven staple since 1978: the bag nails the basics, plain and simple. It has a 16-liter capacity, four pockets (a large main compartment, two side pockets, and a front pocket), and is both dirt and water resistant. If you’re looking for a bag with a lot of extras, this isn’t for you. But if you want a durable daily carry with a lot of style and no-frills, this is the one for you.
Looking for an affordable, lightweight travel pack? The Redwing is an excellent choice. It has a plethora of storage space (The front stash pocket is perfect for tossing a jacket when the temps rise, and there’s even a spot to stash hiking poles), an excellent ventilation system (no more sweaty backs!), and padded hip and shoulder straps to make the journey comfortable.
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