The best backpacks are comfortable, well-pocketed, and protect what you need to carry, sure. But the best men’s backpacks also have to suit your lifestyle, whether that means a bag that’s tech-forward, one that helps you sail through TSA, or a slim backpack that lets you transition from work to workout without stuffing it to the gills. For some, the best backpack is one that has myriad compartments — including a laptop sleeve — while for others, the best backpack is stylish enough for the office but rugged enough to take on the trail.
What we’re saying is the best backpack for you is a matter of personal preference. And that’s a good thing because there are more categories of men’s backpacks out there than ever before. So we’ve broken it down for you, highlighting 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 cool men’s backpack 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.
The Best Everyday Backpacks for Men
Originally engineered for the rigors of the Alaskan Gold Rush in 1897, Filson products still stand out for their craftsmanship and tough-as-nails durability. And while this olive green pack is at home in the backcountry, it can also stand up the stress of any commute. Made from heavy-duty ripstop nylon, the flap enclosure covers an old-school drawcord cinch. Inside is a 15-inch laptop sleeve and there's a mix of zippered inside and outside pockets for all your gear.
Eastpak got its start in the 1950s making gear for the U.S. military, and they still put durability first, with a limited 30-year guarantee on their packs. This sleeker grown-up backpack is made with raincoat fabric, so it keeps your stuff dry. It's got a singular room compartment, and one zippered front pocket for the essentials.
A super-adaptable 27-liter backpack is designed to thrive around town or on the road. With an external pocket that fits a 15-inch laptop and a pass-through handle for attaching to luggage, this backpack is certainly ready for TSA. It's also dad-ready with two pockets for water bottles (one inside, one external) and a magnetic closure that's easy to flip open with one hand. Water-resistant with interior slip pockets and exterior zip pockets for all your things.
The strength of Peak Design's bags has always been in versatility. Its innovative dividers velcro in and easily pull out, subdividing compartments by an ingenious flip-up design. Add to this dual side access and you've got the most customizable backpack available. Its second version of its flagship model refines the original, rounding out its shape, switching the exterior fabric to a recycled water-resistant material, and upgrading the magnetic closure. It's now as functional as the original, but in a sleeker package.
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, look elsewhere. But if you want a durable daily carry with a lot of style and no-frills, this is the one for you.
In search of 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.
The Best Men’s Backpacks for Work and Commuting
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.
A Colorado company known for its whimsy, this bag is reminiscent of your old Scouting external frame, but it includes amenities for the man on the go. An inner laptop sleeve, exterior water bottle pocket, and rugged leather lash straps make it adaptable to the needs of the urban jungle. We appreciated the rugged plastic hardware, which, while not as solid as metal, was still robust enough to withstand the daily commute.
Does organization get your gears going? Then you’ll love this 27.3-liter ballistic nylon bag. It has 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 stow easy-to-access stuff as well as several reflective elements to ensure you’re seen. At 24 liters, it’s large enough for an overnight trip if necessary.
This is a great backpack for cyclers or really anyone who wants a tough, mid-size pack. The 20-liter bag is made from durable, water-resistant codura fabric and has a roll-top for added protection. In addition to the main compartment, there's a decently sized zip-pocket on the top outside of the bag, two smaller mesh pockets, and a nice 15-inch laptop compartment that you can access without unrolling the bag. All in all this is a no-frills backpack that's ideal for everything from riding to work to roaming the trails on a day hike.
The 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 (not to mention a 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.
Don't let its sleek, minimalist exterior fool you; the Travel Pack 2 is down to get dirty. Its ballistic nylon exterior is incredibly durable, and its interior is full of pockets to keep everything organized while you're on the road. While it's not as comfortable as your favorite hiking pack, a frame sheet offers a surprising amount of support.
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.
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