Look, there’s nothing we hate more than “backpack guy.”
You know: the guy who won’t take his massive, bulging pack off in a crowded bus/train/concert venue.
But don’t blame the bag. Backpacks are great: they protect, organize, offer endless versatility and — when used properly — don’t get in anyone’s way.
And since every high-end baggage company is now making one, they’re no longer the domain of harried students.
So herein, nine bags that’ll fit you just right.
For the distinguished packer: Tanner Goods Voyager Daypack
Part of the Portland brand’s Salt and Pepper Collection, these dapper canvas bags feature veg-tanned Meridian English Bridle leather and black hardware, a padded interior laptop sleeve, external zippered pocket and two side catch-all pockets.
For honoring America: TM1985 Roll Top Backpack
A roll-top sack with brass hardware, as inspired by military surplus dry bags. The black leather is a looker, but we truly dig the harvest and olive waxed canvas. Also: made in the USA.
For the detail-oriented: Hard Graft Backpack L. Volume One
Our favorite leather accessories company just debuted this unisex looker crafted with Italian suede and cotton herringbone webbing. It shines in the little ways: a wider-than-usual bag opening, a front pocket inspired by bomber jacket pockets, RiRi zippers, and a hidden zip pocket on the back behind the padded straps.
For the complex of mind: Nixon Origami Backpack
This unique nylon carrier closes with a “lobster-claw” clasp that passes through eyelids on the folded top. Dig inside and there’s also more to find: the bag features a six-pocket interior and a side entry zip laptop sleeve.
For the stylish: Lexdray Tokyo Pack
A pick from our style director: “I will keep recommending LexDray backpacks to anyone who will listen until I die. Just a crazy amount of utility [12 total pockets, both zippers and snaps] and they're stupid durable. Also it has enough room to double as a small travel bag.”
For the minimalist: Harvest Label Capsule Backpack
A Japanese favorite that just entered the U.S. market, Harvest Label’s flat pack cleverly hides its pockets on first glance (outside, there’s one on the left, another on the front panel). Also, the “rearward” opening design prevents theft.
For the frugal: Everlane Dipped Snap Backpack
Your correspondent has rocked an Everlane pack for four years now: they hold up beautifully, and at $80, they’re a steal. The new Dipped Snap is a water-resistant twill backpack with a leather handle and a contrast base you’ll feel comfortable setting down in any environment.
For the picky: Timbuk2 Custom Alcatraz Laptop Bag
We’re big fans of this SF company, which makes an array of backpacks, duffels and messengers designed for the urban commuter. The reflective Alcatraz features separate compartments for both your laptop and tablet, reinforced grab handles on all sides so you can carry things however you want, and an on-strap bottle opener (“for party tricks”). Most importantly, the front, boot, flap and side panels are fully customizable, as well as the binding and logo color.
For knowing exactly what you’re getting: Oliver Cabell Logan Backpack
A new direct-to-consumer brand that offers “radical transparency” on how they make their products — along with some radical prices (read: high-end travel bags for about 1/10th the cost of a designer bag). Their backpack is a minimalist wonder: a laptop pouch, an exterior zip pocket and magnetic strap closures. No bells and whistles necessary.