There are plenty of backpacks for men that are loaded with technical features, zippers galore, and enough clips, straps and dangly bits to make a whole other backpack out of. And while these features can be handy, they’re not always aesthetically pleasing. That’s why minimalist backpacks are a popular option for the stylish traveler or urban commuter. Characterized by a sleek design and few extraneous details, the best minimalist backpacks will have a stylish look that doesn’t immediately scream “first day of middle school” or “summitting Half Dome.”
The simple exteriors of a minimalist backpack can belie the fact that many of these bags are practical, too. Many minimalist backpacks have a variety of interior compartments for storing and organizing your essentials. Some have hidden external pockets that are great for travelers who need a secure place to stash passports or electronics.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite minimalist backpacks to keep you organized in style, including options in materials such as leather, nylon and canvas. These are the minimalist backpacks to buy right now.
1. Thule Lithos Backpack
Thule is best known for its cargo carriers, which are sort of like a backpack for your car. Well, they’re also in the business of backpacks for humans, too. The Lithos backpack has a stylish two-tone design, and they come in a variety of colors, like this stylish concrete/black colorway. It has a top flap with a metal clip, and there’s a discrete zippered compartment on the side for secure storage. An interior mesh pocket can be used for laptops.
2. Incase City Compact Backpack
BUILT FOR LAPTOPS
The Incase City Compact backpack was built with laptops in mind. The backpack has a zippered compartment for your laptop, which is also padded to provide protection. It has a unique design with multiple discreet zippered compartments on the front of the bag. The minimalist backpack is also very slim, so it won’t sag on your back.
3. Rains Waterproof Backpack
BEST FOR WET WEATHER
The Rains Waterproof Backpack is about as streamlined as they come — this bag has a unique rectangular shape with a simple flap and clip closure. The bag is made from polyurethane, making it an effective backpack to wear in wet weather. The back of the bag has a hidden zippered compartment that’s ideal for a phone or passport, and there’s an internal sleeve that can hold a 15″ laptop.
4. Topo Designs Light Pack
BEST FOR HIKING
Topo Designs builds outdoor bags with a sense of fun, and many of their bags come in vibrant colors. Take this simple black minimalist backpack, which features pops of yellow, purple and green. There’s a diagonal zippered compartment across the front of the bag. An internal sleeve can hold a 15″ laptop.
5. Timbuk2 Tuck Laptop Pack
BEST FOR CYCLING
Rolltop backpacks have a sturdy, adventurous look that’s practically synonymous with bike messengers. The Tuck keeps it simple. There are two side pockets for water bottles or umbrellas, a plastic clip for the roll-top, plus a sleek vertical zippered compartment for easier internal access. The inside of this minimalist backpack has several pouches for laptops, notebooks and pens. The contrasting yellow interior makes it easier to see what you’re looking for.
6. Want Les Essentiels Kastrup Backpack
BEST LUXURY BAG
Want Les Essentiels is known for its minimalist backpacks, and Kastrup backpack is arguably their most iconic piece. It’s an investment, sure, but the leather trim and detailing, combined with the sturdy fabric, make this a bag that’s as long-lasting as it is good-looking. The bag also comes with a padlock for securely locking the zippers. There’s also a padded laptop sleeve.
7. Levi’s Men’s Backpack
Levi’s might not be the first place you look for minimalist backpacks, but they have a surprisingly great selection of bags that feature details you might not expect from a brand that primarily deals in denim. This sleek bag has a horizontal zippered compartment across the front that’s great for small items you might want quick access to like keys and sunglasses. The main compartment has a variety of pockets and pouches for easy organization, and there’s also a separate exterior laptop compartment. The side of the bag has a small zippered pocket that’s great for stashing any items you want to keep hidden, but still want to be able to easily access.
8. Bellroy Slim Backpack
BEST FOR SMALL LAPTOPS
All of the backpacks on this list are obviously pretty minimalist in design, but this one might take the cake for simplicity. There’s a flap with a single snap for securing it, and there are no other visible exterior pockets. There is, however, a hidden exterior pocket that’s great for a wallet, phone and keys. The inside of the bag has a padded sleeve for a 13″ laptop.
9. Eastpak Padded Pak’r Backpack
AN OLD-SCHOOL CLASSIC
There are a lot of simple, schoolbag-style backpacks out there, but few are as stylish as the Eastpak Pak’r. It has a slightly wider silhouette that sets it apart from the pack, and designers like Raf Simons and Vetements have put their spin on the Pak’r. This bag has been given a further upgrade by swapping out standard canvas for a slick, raincoat material that elevates the look of the bag while also adding the benefit of water protection.
10. Samsonite Classic Leather Slim Backpack
BEST LEATHER BAG
If you want to elevate the look of your everyday bag, consider this option from Samsonite, which is made from leather. It’s available in either black or brown. The minimalist backpack has three zippered compartments on the outside of the bag, including the dedicated laptop sleeve. There’s also a smaller compartment on the front of the bag. Each compartment has multiple pockets and sleeves for staying organized.