When I was just a wee lass I used to love packing my bag on the first day of school. Later, it became a a calling card that defined a genre of hip hop.  People of all ages will always get excited about a new bag. It just teems with possibility. All the places you will go and the things you will take with you, or bring back . Whether you’re preparing for your first day of Kindergarten, a rugged hiking trip or just a day out and about, there’s a backpack for everyone—and every personality type. For something so practical, backpacks are a great form of self-expression; scrolling through the Internet yields seemingly endless options in every style, color, and function. With the needs of commuters in mind, we rounded up our list of favorites in five different styles, so you can go to work, travel, and explore with confidence.

In our office backpacks are worn by the super mobile and sporty majority—those who come to work from the gym, on bike or on from a fast hike with water bottle in tow. Backpacks, once only for backpackers or school kids, now come in a wide variety of styles and shapes, so you can not only find what’s comfortable, but what also expresses your inner YOU.

I personally love my Black Diamond Creek Transit 22, which is waterproof, slim and minimal, BUT when looking at the category for our readers, testing those below and listening to what everyone said in the office, I had to choose the Everlane Twill Snap because it’s got a lovely, approachable style that works from home to gym to office, isn’t geeky and IS professional enough for when you show up to your meeting in midtown.



Herschel Supply Co. Retreat™ Backpack - Main View

Even if you have no interest in backpacks, you’ve definitely seen this brand. Herschel’s signature double strap detail and drawstring closure is an update to classic mountaineering bag styles, making their backpacks fit in easily in both rugged and urban environments. Herschel sells a wide variety of backpack styles, but the popular Retreat bag is our favorite, with a 15″ laptop sleeve, great shoulder support and over 15 different color options.

Patagonia - Arbor Classic 25L Backpack - Camp Green

If you do a good deal of traveling, consider this super durable backpack from Patagonia. It fits a lot without being huge, and can easily double as an everyday commuter backpack, with room for a 15″ laptop, plus some. The materials are also worth mentioning—the Arbor is made of water-repellent fabric and is bluesign approved, meaning that it offers the highest level of consumer safety and minimizes environmental impact.


Image result for Lifepack Hustle Backpack

Designed with hustlers in mind, this backpack from Solgaard Design’s Lifepack Collection is for the person who’s constantly on the move. The Hustle can comfortably fit a 15″ laptop and comes with lots of pockets (including a secret Passport holder), plus an integrated USB charging port. It kind of feels like a Mary Poppins bag—you won’t believe how much can fit in there. Launched on Kickstarter, this backpack is full of surprising details, like the retractable lock for the front latch and the simple yet effective magnetic closure.


Marketed as the best anti-theft backpack you can buy, the Bobby was created by XD Design and got its start on Kickstarter, quickly taking off due to its smart and attractive design. This backpack is full of hidden zippers and pockets that will put any anxious traveler at ease (it’s even made of cut-proof material!). Aside from the safety features, the Bobby is just simply well-designed. It evenly distributes weight inside the bag to relieve pressure on your shoulders, and is water-repellent, anti-sweat and anti-permeable—and if that’s not enough, the Bobby comes with a matching rain cover, just in case.

Main View

From luggage company Tumi comes the Davis, a near perfect carry-on backpack that is worth the high price point. Sleek and sophisticated, the Davis has a 15″ laptop pocket, plus pockets for your iPad, cards and really anything else you need on hand. Another small but important feature is the add-a-bag sleeve, which lets you slide the backpack onto the extended handles of your carry-on suitcase without worrying that it’ll fall off. It really is the little things, people.


GOUSE No.2 Grey Roll Top Backpack Laptop Backpack College image 0

This minimalist, structured backpack comes from Ukrainian Etsy shop MiroS Accessory. It’s completely made out of leather and comes in eight colors, plus is hand sewn to ensure high quality. It’s narrow, making it perfect for laptops or notebooks, but not so much heavy travel. It also comes in two different sizes: the small has a height of 12″ while the large is 15″. If you don’t love the style, this shop has a variety of other bags to choose from—in fact, Etsy is a treasure trove of cute backpacks and totes.


Jansport Superbreak Backpack - Surplus Camo - Surplus Camo - One Size

Good old reliable Jansport, oh how we love you. Everyone’s first backpack isn’t just for middle schoolers anymore, people of all ages can find one to love. This update to the classic SuperBreak pack comes in a couple of different fun patterns and colors, while still staying true to the spirit of the original. Trusted, practical and budget-friendly, this backpack doesn’t have any fancy features, but you’ll have it forever (fun fact: I used the same Jansport from 6th grade through college, with a short break in high school when I was too cool for backpacks).

Fjällräven Kånken Unisex Daypacks Blue Main Front 59518

Whether you like it or not, Scandinavian design is everywhere for a reason. Well-constructed, minimalist and functional, the Kånken pack from Swedish company Fjällräven is just another example of Nordic superiority. First created in 1978 to address back problems showing up in Sweden’s youth, the Kånken quickly spread throughout the country and beyond, becoming a cultural icon that you’ve surely seen on city streets today. There are a couple different sizes and styles, but we love the original for its timeless appeal.