The average person needs a bag to carry their stuff. Plain and simple. Non-negotiable. An outlier simply needs a bigger or different type. Tote bags are great for grab and go transportation, but they rarely hold up for long. Messenger bags and briefcases stand much sturdier, but their off-the-shoulder approach impedes upon everyday life while promoting poor posture. Only the beloved backpack can offer the best of all worlds: peak storage space, durability, and hands-free capabilities. We’ve sorted through the market to help you find the best men’s backpack to suit your daily needs, whatever they may be.
What to Consider When Selecting Your Men’s Backpack
The backpack’s greatest strength lies in its supportive design, which distributes weight through both shoulders. Additional padding will cushion this load further. Some backpacks even have chest and waist straps to lend greater support.
An excellent men’s backpack will not prove a lightweight purchase. This piece of gear is an investment which should last you for life—that means strong seams and high-tech materials that make use of new materials and techniques in the outfitting world. Nylon and polyester are industry favorites, but canvas, leather and Cordura (a highly durable, military-grade fabric) all lend new specialties and textures.
In the spirit of working alongside you, buying a backpack shouldn’t break the bank.
This individualistic consideration comes down to a gut feeling. The design of your men’s backpack should balance functionality and style. How much exterior storage do you need? What type? Meanwhile, your backpack can also say something about you, anything from your profession to your taste in music. Materials, hardware, and embellishments share such a story.
At the very least, your new men’s backpack should offer options to keep your items secure in a closed compartment. If you’re hauling expensive gear or sentimental treasures, many backpacks offer extensive security features like locking zippers, impenetrable materials, and camouflaged exterior storage options. RFID-safe pockets prevent the electronic theft of credit card or other sensitive information via scanner.
Choosing the correct size for your backpack comes down to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. On one hand, you’ll want a size suits the extent of your daily carry. However, if you tend to load up a little heavier, your pack should also balance against your body—your torso length and hip size matter much more than your height, believe it or not. The best fitting backpack will contribute to your comfort rather than causing any unnecessary shifting or stances.
The design, material and size of your backpack will predominantly determine its weight. A larger pack will obviously weigh more, but the advent of increasingly lightweight materials always flooding the market doesn’t mean that a substantial backpack must become a big burden. Rather than contributing to the existing weight of your load, your pack should do its best to keep things light.
In the spirit of working alongside you, buying a backpack shouldn’t break the bank. More advanced features will fetch a higher price tag, but balancing each against each other strategically should put you in the right range. That being said, a backpack is an investment, a piece of gear you can ideally tote all around the world on all your adventures, wherever and whatever they are.
Ten Best Men’s Backpacks to Buy Online Right Now
Backpack by Nomatic
Best All Around: Catch this one when you can–this simple, ingenious mens backpack by Nomadic often sells out! And for good reason. It’s slim, streamlined, and packed to the very brim with 20+ helpful, innovative features. Even with a sleek shape like this, Nomatic’s pack starts out offering 20 liters of storage, which can expand up to 24 liters. It’s built from a rugged waterproof material with a laptop sleeve and other compartments for tech organization. Perfect for everyday use, this skillfully built backpack comes backed by the company’s lifetime warranty, just in case.
Urban Utility Ruck by 5.11
Best Tactical Pack: 5.11 traces their intense outfitting roots back to contracts with the FBI and first responders. Since launching, the company has produced a wide array of gear for anyone living at the edge of their own strength. The company calls this wide-mouthed, 25 liter men’s backpack ‘a no-nonsense hauler for serious ruckers.” And damn, does it look the part. Equipped with a zipped top lip, dual side wing zippered pockets, front panel gear, and bungee cord loops this bag proves best for long-distance hikes, camping trips, and fitness jaunts. 5.11 allows additional customization from color to pockets during the ordering process as well, to ensure this bag has everything you need when it matters most.
Southampton by Knomo
For the Academic: If backpacks connote books and papers and thesis statements, then consider this smart option from London-based retailer Knomo for your well-studied haul. In addition to offering room for a full 15-inch laptop, this stylish mens backpack also includes two slip pockets, an internally zippered security pocket, two mesh pockets, three card slots and a pen loop. Aesthetically, this bag features a water-resistant herringbone pattern, leather accents, and gunmetal hardware that puts in work with its own style. Buckets of black coffee not included.
Riptop Nylon Backpack by Filson
Best for Weekend Adventures: Filson’s biography on digital outfitting marketplace Huckberry states they’ve been making the toughest gear on the market for roughly 120 years. Their substantial backpack built for adventure can withstand a quick hike through the mountains even if it turns into a longer camping trip. It’s lightweight, great for organization, and available in two colors–light green or a more mysterious ash hue. Nearly indestructible, this strong backpack has been crafted from trademarked cordura, built to successfully complete every backpack adventure available.
Citadel R2 by Black Ember
Most Professional: Briefcases continue to dominate the boardroom, but the businessman with a taste for innovation will understand the numerous benefits that backpacks offer. Caring for your posture and increasing carrying capacity doesn’t mean sacrificing professional polish—this backpack by Black Ember proves that. The bag’s description states that its proprietary, laser-cut construction creates a “super-durable, over-engineered pack with a blacked-out, minimal and stealthy aesthetic.” Packed with features down to a secret document pocket, this understated achievement compliments your work ethic, letting it take center stage.
Arena Leather Backpack by ALLSAINTS
Best for the Casual Carry: A staple brand for the fashion-forward, ALLSAINTS offers easygoing attire with a hard rock edge. Their straightforward take on the classic backpack shape offers a healthy amount of space distributed through one main pocket and two smaller exterior pockets. Crafted from sumptuous, real leather with minimalist detailing, this bag is better built for easy grab and go. Its pared down but very sexy features will blend seamlessly with every combination of vibes that you could pull from your wardrobe.
The Battallion 24HR by Recycled Firefighter
Best Heavy Duty Pack: This 18 liter backpack might have been designed for everyday use, but its innate ease results from long-term tinkering and contemplation. Like the other backpacks throughout Recycled Firefighter’s “Battalion Series,” this bag is made in America from 100% Military Spec 1000D Cordura. Furthermore, every load bearing stress point has been reinforced with box stitches or bar tacks for maximum durability. “I have taken months and months developing and carrying this bag without a single issue,” writes the designer, “besides totally falling in love with the design and making about 100 more bags for myself. Yes my wife told me I need to start selling all my extras, so here we are…..”
The ReNew Transit Backpack by Everlane
Best for Haulin’ on a Budget: Ethically-minded retailer Everlane has made a great name for themselves with tailored staples pared down to their most basic utility. This simple unisex backpack comes in both a light color that can be more difficult to find on the market, and the standard black hue that’ll obscure those marks life leaves. The ReNew Transit Backpack carries a lighter load, but can fit up to a 13-inch laptop. Built from recycled materials, it’s one of the cheaper offerings available on the marketplace, with the additional inclusion of a moral compass you can feel good carrying around!
The Backpack Pro by Db
Most Multi-Functional: Travel outfitter Db Equipment crafts transportable storage systems that are fully customizable to anything your adventures might throw at you. This swiss army knife of a bag can swing any which way you need, combining the functionality of a backpack with the spacious storage of a suitcase. Rather than opening from the top, the bag provides a closure that swings open with the full front, so you can access every last inch of your bag. This makes it a great fit for the DIY dividers that store camera gear or other specialized equipment. What’s more, this bag can be combined with the company’s proprietary roller system to switch up the style of travel with further accessories.
The Allpa Del Día Travel Pack by Cotopaxi
Most Unique: Turn the volume all the way up with this totally unique travel pack put together by the team at Cotopaxi. Their Allpa Del Dia backpack offers a staggering 35 liters of carrying capacity with a suitcase-like opening and numerous expandable pockets. This bag is made from 100% repurposed materials, pulling from even smaller batches of other company’s leftover materials to care for the Earth even harder. Even better? Each pack is completely, utterly one of a kind because it’s made in a color scheme chosen specifically by each employee on a case by case basis. Cotopaxi enables their customers to select their new pack from a shuffling array of combinations OR take the leap of faith on a random arrival. Vibrant and spacious, this bag actually embodies the spirit of adventure that backpacks are all about.