The best backpacks for everyday use

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Although bags were once the gold standard in the office or at work, backpacks are becoming practical (and more accepted than ever). They balance weight better than a crossbody bag, and can pull more than one tote bag. Unlike some simple purchases – like a basic T-shirt or baseball cap – backpacks came in a range of shapes, sizes and colors with a million different combinations of pockets and with (or without) plenty of other additions.

Why should you carry a backpack

With comfort and functionality as priorities, many people now use backpacks for their daily commute – just throw them over your shoulders and you’ll be hands-free to grab a coffee, leave, or hold onto a handrail as the bus or train crawls ahead. They provide a safe and secure place for everything you need: a laptop, books or textbooks, work supplies and even a change of gym clothes. Ideally, they offer in-house organizational solutions to break down these different elements. (You don’t want your sweat-soaked gym pants to stain your laptop, say. Ew.)

Backpacks are also better at weight distribution. Balancing a heavy carry-on bag on one shoulder can lead to serious musculoskeletal damage. In fact, many chiropractors say it’s the main contributor to back, neck and shoulder pain: “Over time, the amount of stress we put on our bodies due to large cysts can cause some very serious pain and even long-term problems like muscle spasms or a pinched nerve.” ‘,” personal trainer Caleb Buck told Healthline. If you’ve been doing this for decades on end, you may run into something more serious – like thoracic outlet syndrome, which causes weakness in the muscles in your arms and back.

How to choose the right backpack

While the aesthetics (colors, textures, logos, etc.) are a matter of personal preference, there are a number of features that some backpacks definitely have while others definitely don’t. Do you remember Jansport? The popular school backpack perfect for classes comes without the many bells and whistles by Filson or The North Face. If you expand your search, you’ll find that there are backpacks for almost all needs: hiking, carrying a laptop, flying, or even riding on a boat (in the case of waterproof packs).

As important as your use case – localized: what you need it for – is important to consider the total weight of your shipment. If you’re pulling a lot of textbooks or a lot of tech, you’ll want something with a well-ventilated back and padded straps. If your contents are fragile or even remotely sensitive, you’ll want to find a backpack with a reinforced bottom, so when you put it on the floor, your cargo’s connection won’t be direct.

More Backpacks

    The best everyday backpacks

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Best backpack overall

The North Face Recon Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 28 liters
Materials Recycled ripstop nylon
Dimensions: 20 x 12.5 x 6 inches

Best upgrade bag

Felson Dryden Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 25.5L
Materials): 1000D heavyweight nylon, bridle leather
Dimensions: 18 x 12.75 x 7 inches

Best affordable backpack

Jansport Backpack Right

Specifications

Eligibility: 31 liters
Materials): 915 denier cordura, suede
Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 5.5 inches

Patagonia Black Hole Pack 25 Liter

Specifications

Eligibility: 25
Materials): 70D recycled ripstop nylon
Dimensions: 22 x 10.5 x 5.5 inches

Everlin The Renew Transit Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 27L
Materials): recycled polyester
Dimensions: 17.5 x 12 x 7.25 inches

Bellroy Classic Compact Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 16 liters
Materials): recycled nylon
Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 7 inches

Specifications

Eligibility: 22L
Materials): Polyurethane and polyester
Dimensions: 18.5 x 12 x 7 inches

Topo Designs Daypack Classic

Specifications

Eligibility: 21.6 liters
Materials): 1000D Cordura and Horween leather
Dimensions: 19 x 11 x 5 inches

Fjällräven Ulvö Backpack 30

Specifications

Eligibility: 30 liters
Materials): Polyamide
Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 10 inches

Timbuk2 Tuck Laptop Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 23L
Materials): Recycled nylon and polyester
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 5.5 inches

Specifications

Eligibility: 13L
Materials): recycled polyester
Dimensions: 15.75 x 11.75 x 5 inches

Lululemon Cruiser Large Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 28 liters
Materials): nylon and polyester
Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 6 inches

July Carry All Backpack Series 2

Specifications

Eligibility: 20 liters
Materials): polyester
Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 6.5 inches

Epperson . Mountaineering Package

Specifications

Eligibility: 23L
Materials): DWR Coated 1000D Cordura Nylon
Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 7 inches

Specifications

Eligibility: 45 liters
Materials): 100% recycled 400D nylon fabric
Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 9 inches

Snow Peak Everyday Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 20 liters
Material(s): 100% nylon
Dimensions 17 x 11 x 6 inches

Shenola Ranwell Backpack

Specifications

Materials): leather
Dimensions: 17 x 10.38 x 6 inches

Billykirk No. 297 Standard Edition Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 20 liters
Materials): tarpaulin, leather, nylon
Dimensions: 17.75 x 14.5 x 5 inches

State Kin Bags Double pocket backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 14 liters
Materials): polyester
Dimensions: 15.75 x 11.25 x 4.75 inches

Joshu + Vela Stone Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 25
Materials): 18 oz Cotton Twill
Dimensions: 16.5 x 12 x 5 inches

Troubadour Explorer Apex Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 25
Materials): 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 6 inches

Specifications

Eligibility: 18 liters
Materials): 500D Cordura nylon with DWR coating
Dimensions: 17 x 11 x 4 inches

Specifications

Eligibility: 17 liters
Materials): 600D CPH . Recycled Nylon
Dimensions: 18.7 x 11.4 x 5 inches

Mystery Ranch In & Out Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 19 liters
Materials): 100D Cordura Mini Rip Fabric
Dimensions: 16.25 x 9.5 x 8.25 inches

Eastpak Diren Power Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 20 liters
Materials): nylon
Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 5.5 inches

Air Nylon Duffle Backpack

Specifications

Eligibility: 21.4 liters
Materials): water repellent synthetic
Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 7.5 inches
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