Handy for far more than just carrying around books in your grade school days, the best backpacks are among some of the most useful men’s accessories ever invented. Unlike sling bags that don’t evenly distribute weight, backpacks even displace the weight on both shoulders, allowing you to carry stuff without compromising your back, as most modern backpacks are designed to offer really comfortable and cushioned shoulder straps.
When choosing the right backpack for you, it’s important to consider style, capacity (usually measured in liters), the number of compartments, reviews, and price. And if you need a backpack for a specific purpose, such as securely transporting your work or school laptop, it’s important to find a design that’s up for the task. Most backpacks now come with a laptop sleeve that’s tucked away so it won’t interfere with the other items you need to store.
Whether you’re looking for a dedicated laptop backpack, a backpack for day hikes, a backpack for commuting, or a backpack for the gym, we’ve got you covered with these 15 options for any activity. With vibrant colorways, handy features, and plenty of storage space, these backpacks will help you get to wherever your travels take you — and will take you there in style.
1. Topo Designs Rover Backpack
The Colorado-based Topo Designs has its roots in outdoor gear, which makes all of their packs ready-made to hit the mountain, slope, airport, and classroom in equal measure. The Rover is the brand’s classic day bag that’s constructed with versatility in mind, featuring a tough nylon exterior for extended use, an internal laptop sleeve, a spacious interior compartment, and a zipper front pocket for quick access. With a variety of visually striking patterns, there are all sorts of options to fit your personal stylish preference. You’ll happily reach for the Rover time and time again, knowing you can count on it to satisfy all of your needs.
2. Patagonia Atom Backpack
Patagonia frequently makes some of the absolute best gear around, so if you don’t spring for that Topo Designs bag for whatever reason, this Atom backpack is a fantastic secondary option. While its exterior is inherently minimalist, the interior is anything but: a dedicated laptop ensures safe and secure storage while a bountiful interior offers plenty of room for your daily essentials. The exterior is durable enough to hold up if it gets tossed around, while breathable mesh on the back makes it so your back doesn’t get too sweaty when you’re carrying it.
3. Monos Metro Backpack
“This backpack changed the way I carry my things for the better,” says our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber. He received this backpack as a gift a few weeks back from Monos, and ever since, he’s been obsessed. The backpack has a number of pockets for keeping your stuff both safe and properly placed. For real, there are so many pockets that you’re going to have to think a little extra about where exactly to place your laptop. There is also an extra steal-proof yet removable dopp kitt that sits on the exterior as an added bonus.
4. Mission Workshop Rhake Backpack
BEST FOR TRAVEL
If you’re flying and want plenty of room to gear a variety of items, Mission Workshop’s Rhake travel backpack is the bag for you. Whether it’s camera gear, a laptop, or even extra clothes, the Rhake has significant storage room to stuff it full of whatever you need to bring with you — while making sure you’re still comfortable. Totally weatherproof, you don’t have to worry about the elements. The real game-changer has to be the included luggage handle sleeve, making it easy to tote through the airport from flight to flight.
5. YETI Crossroads 27L Backpack
The YETI Crossroads line is a brand-new effort from your favorite cooler brand that finally places them on the map in terms of travel gear. Yeah, they have released a few backpacks and portable coolers in the past before, but this time they’re focusing on making travel easier in this new world we’re living in. YETI’s 27L Backpack is one of the best picks from the new line. It’s made from 700D, water and abrasion-resistant TuffSkin Nylon to keep everything inside safe from outdoor issues and a ton of room for whatever it is you’re packing on vacations far and wide.
6. The North Face Jester Backpack
BEST FOR COLLEGE
It’s no secret that we love North Face bags. And college students in need of an all-purpose backpack that can conveniently hold a variety of textbooks and a laptop will find The North Face’s Jester backpack a helpful solution. With plenty of storage room and a comfortable set of straps, it’s great for campus strolls. Plus, its floating padded laptop sleeve can hold up to a 15″ computer and provides a bit of cushion should the bag get tossed around a bit too much.
7. Herschel Little America Backpack
Herschel was a frequent entry on our list of the best backpacks for college students, and their entire product line is worth a look. Sitting at the intersection of affordability and elegance is this striking backpack from Herschel. Accented with synthetic leather straps, the brand’s Little America backpack evokes classic mountaineering-style bag. A toploading drawing string closure provides extra security and plenty of storage. Plus, it has the luxury of being an Amazon’s Choice product with more than 7,500 reviews and an average of 4.7 stars.
8. Incase CL55452 City Compact Backpack
BEST LAPTOP BAG
Incase backpacks fall into the category of often imitated, never matched. If you’re looking for a modern laptop bag with a minimalist design, then go for the Incase City Backpack. At just $80, it’s an affordable laptop backpack that will carry all of your tech and EDC gear with ease. This laptop is designed to securely hold a 15″ laptop while you travel, commute or head to school, with enough room left over to hold books, clothes or gym gear. Both the laptop compartment and shoulder straps are padded, so you can protect your devices and back at the same time.
9. JanSport Right Backpack
JanSport’s classic style backpack — otherwise known as the Right — more than likely evokes feelings of nostalgia from your days of grade school. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it; while it doesn’t have a dedicated laptop sleeve or anything of the like, it’s great to use as an overnight backpack or just a general holdall in a pinch. Plus, you’ll get bonus points for rocking a throwback classic.
10. Timbuk2 Authority Backpack
BEST FOR COMMUTING
Whether you’re head to the office on a bike, bus, or public transport, you’re going to want a backpack that will safely and securely hold your laptop and other essentials through the hustle and bustle. Fortunately, the Timbuk2 Authority backpack does just this. A dedicated rear laptop sleeve keeps your computer close to your back and provides more space in the main compartment for other items, bottom buckles can provide quick access to something like an umbrella or rain jacket, and the grab handle is durable for quick lifting.
11. Killspencer Utility Daypack Backpack
BEST LEATHER BACKPACK
If you’re looking for the best black backpacks for men, you’re spoiled for choice, as this list proves. But if you’re specifically hunting for a premium leather backpack from a brand you can trust, you can’t do better than Killspencer’s Utility Daypack Backpack. Made from a combination of full-grain black leather and suede, this Killspencer bag is made entirely in the USA from premium materials for a truly luxury and elegant backpack. The price might give you pause, but Killspencer bags will last for years with virtually no wear and tear. This bag comes with a compartment for everything, including a separate zippered laptop compartment that will fit 15″ laptops. Plus, the exterior of the backpack is entirely waterproof.
12. Rains Field Backpack
BEST WATERPROOF BACKPACK
Mother Nature is often unpredictable — and the last thing you want to have your gear ruined by getting caught in the rain. That’s why the aptly named Rains Field backpack is a great option for those who want an entirely waterproof backpack. The minimalist option is sleek and refined, offering plenty of interior space (its capacity is 16 liters) and a dedicated laptop sleeve. But that waterproof material will be a godsend if you’re caught off guard.
13. Winter Session Waxed Canvas Backpack
Style shouldn’t stop at how you dress but should also extend to the accessories you carry too. Case and point: this eye-catching waxed canvas backpack from Winter Session. Made from a waxed canvas that’s only going to look better the more you use it, the backpack has two side bottle holders, a quilted back panel for comfort, a padded laptop sleeve, and other storage options. Get the form, without ever having to sacrifice function.
14. Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack
BEST FOR THE NEW NORMAL
Still working from home? Well, hopefully things will get back to normal soon and you’ll be back on your commute again. If you’re looking for the perfect backpack to bring to work in the late days of COVID-19, the Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack is made for you. It’s only 13-inches in size so it can fit your tiny laptop with an ample amount of room for whatever else you’re commuting with (i.e. extra face masks and such.) It’s made from 100% recycled polyester for less of an environmental impact and has two places to keep water bottles — so, one spot for water, the other for hand sanitizer.
15. Epperson Mountaineering Medium Climb Backpack
BEST SPORT PACK
Who says stylish backpacks and hiking backpacks can’t be one and the same thing? While this backpack from Epperson Mountaineering was originally designed for heavy outdoor and climbing use, it’s more than capable of fulfilling the need for a dedicated sports bag. The Daisy chain webbing makes it easy to cinch the bag down or up depending on how much gear you need to fit into it, while the Cordura nylon fabric can be easily cleaned after you toss sweaty clothes into its seam-sealed inner compartments. Plus, if you need it, there is a dedicated laptop sleeve.