In today’s modern era, the number of items one must carry when heading out can become quite burdensome. From small essentials like mobile phones, wallets, chargers, and earbuds (and much more!) to larger items such as laptops, spare clothing, water bottles, and beyond, the need for a backpack has become an absolute necessity. Backpacks offer unparalleled convenience and have become an essential requirement in our daily lives.
If you find yourself in search of a new backpack, worry no more! We have got you covered. In this guide, we will showcase the finest backpacks for men, suitable for various adventures. Whether you’re engaging in trekking, hiking, or any other outdoor activity, or even just commuting or strolling around the office with style and sophistication, we have the perfect backpack recommendations for you.
We have meticulously handpicked the top backpacks in each category, considering factors such as functionality, size, user-friendliness, and convenience. Without further ado, here is our carefully curated list of the best backpacks for men:
- Best Backpack for Travel: Aer Travel Pack 3
- Best Backpack for Gym: Nike Utillity Speed Training Backpack
- Best Backpack for College: Patagonia Refugio Daypack 26L
- Best Backpack for Laptop Carry: Troubadour Apex Backpack
- Best Backpack for Rucking: GORUCK GR1
- Best Sling Backpack: Boundary Supply: Errant Sling
- Best Carry-On Backpack – Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
Best Backpack For Men
1. Aer Travel Pack 3
With a 35-liter capacity, the Aer Travel Pack 3 offers ample space for all your travel essentials. It is crafted using high-quality materials such as CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, YKK zippers, Duraflex Hardware, Woojin Hardware, X-Pac, and CORDURA® Nylon, ensuring durability and longevity.
The Aer Travel Pack 3 is a carry-on-compliant backpack that meets the requirements of nearly 95 out of 145 airlines, which accounts for approximately 63% of airlines worldwide. This high level of compliance ensures that you can travel with peace of mind, without the constant worry of whether your backpack will fit in the overhead compartment or not. What sets the Travel Pack 3 apart is its sleek and stylish aesthetic. Aer has perfected its design language, and it shows in this backpack. The black-on-black color scheme, combined with the squared-off shape and bisecting zippered opening at the front, creates a visually appealing look. Aer has carried this design language across its product range, making its gear instantly recognizable.
Additionally, Aer offers a lifetime warranty, showcasing their confidence in the backpack’s quality and craftsmanship.
2. Nike Utillity Speed Training Backpack
Priced at $95, this Nike backpack stands out as our top choice for gym backpacks due to its excellent combination of spaciousness, durability, and comfort. The bag’s flat opening allows easy access to the generously sized main compartment, while its multiple pockets ensure optimal organization and storage.
Despite its roomy interior, you will notice that the backpack is neither bulky nor uncomfortable, thanks to its well-designed construction. The interior mesh sleeve adds versatility, accommodating items like books, resistance bands, or a 15-inch laptop.
Regardless of how tempting it may be, we strongly discourage anyone from stealing equipment from your local gym, even if the backpack offers ample space for storage.
All jokes aside, the comfort and fit are further enhanced by the backpack’s air-cushioned straps, which effectively alleviate shoulder pressure. The conveniently placed haul handle allows easy lifting, even when the bag is full, and the sternum strap offers a balanced and secure feel. Additionally, the cargo loops provide practical attachment points for extra gear like keys, shoes, bottles, or gloves.
While the backpack’s basic design and square structure may not suit everyone’s aesthetic preferences, its overall functionality, and quality make it an excellent choice if you are seeking a reliable and comfortable backpack.
3. Patagonia Refugio Daypack 26L
Designed for individuals who need to carry a significant amount of belongings, such as heavy textbooks, a large water bottle, or bulky gym gear, the Patagonia Refugio Daypack 26L proves to be an absolute delight.
Out of all the backpacks meant for college purposes, the Refugio Daypack stood out as the most comfortable and efficient in weight distribution. Its adjustable contoured shoulder straps and generously padded back panels are made of a breathable recycled polyester mesh, resulting in a lightweight and cool experience even when the pack is fully loaded. Moreover, the removable sternum strap, which can be positioned at six different heights, adds stability.
What sets Refugio apart are its unique organizational features. The stretchy mesh dual side pockets effortlessly accommodate larger water bottles, and the compression straps positioned above the pockets provide additional security. The front-panel pocket opens vertically, eliminating the need to dig deep for items. Behind the spacious main compartment, ideal for bulkier items, a dedicated top-access zip compartment is designed specifically for laptops and textbooks. Inside, a removable padded 15-inch laptop sleeve with a zippered mesh pocket allows for organized storage of chargers and school supplies.
The Refugio boasts a sleek and sporty appearance, with nine color options that perfectly blend in on college and high school campuses. The outer body, constructed from abrasion-resistant polyester, features a PFC-free DWR (durable water-repellent) finish, making it water-resistant.
4. Troubadour Apex Backpack
If you prefer a backpack over a briefcase for your laptop, Troubadour Apex Backpack is the perfect choice. It strikes the perfect balance between style, comfort, and organization, making it suitable for both conference meetings and after-work activities.
A perfect harmony of professionalism and casual aesthetic.
The Apex Backpack features a tailored, softly geometric shape and refined vegan leather trim. What sets it apart is the inclusion of plush ventilated back panels and contoured memory-foam shoulder straps, which are uncommon in such an elegant, non-technical-looking backpack. These features ensure a comfortable carrying experience. Additionally, the interior of the Apex Backpack boasts numerous pockets and sleeves, enhancing your packing organization.
It is made from thick and substantial waterproof recycled polyester canvas with a subtly tweedy texture. The smooth and lightweight zippers, adorned with vegan leather pulls, are set in waterproof tape for added weather protection. The well-built luggage pass-through sleeve stabilizes the bag on a suitcase, and the padding feels luxurious against the back and shoulders, even when carrying heavier loads. The quality and craftsmanship of these bags are truly what sets them apart from the others.
With dimensions of 19 by 12.5 by 6 inches and weighing 2.2 pounds, the Troubadour Apex Backpack offers ample space without being overly bulky. The thoughtfully organized interiors of the Apex Backpack simplify the packing process. The main compartment is spacious and features an organizer panel with slip pockets, zip pouches, and pen holders. The dedicated 16-inch laptop compartment is adequately padded and includes an extra sleeve for a tablet. On the exterior, there is a deep front zip pocket and two generously sized water-bottle holders for quick-access storage.
5. GORUCK GR1
If it’s about Rucking, it’s gotta be GORUCK. No Questions Asked.
Made by the team largely known for bringing rucking into the limelight, the GORUCK GR1 is the ultimate rucking backpack. Available in a compact 21-liter and 26-liter size, its versatility for everyday use, as well as rucking, is simply unmatched.
For a no-nonsense daily backpack, it stands out with its “open flat design,” which allows for easy loading and unloading. The pack also boasts a “bombproof laptop compartment” with heavy padding, ensuring the safety of your laptop while also doubling as a dedicated space for GORUCK’s rucking weight plates.
Although the GR1 comes with a higher price tag of $395, GORUCK offers a lifetime guarantee that sets it apart. This guarantee ensures that GORUCK will repair or replace your GR1 if it ever gets damaged, providing peace of mind and long-term value.
The GORUCK GR1 excels as a rucking backpack due to its thick shoulder straps, durable 1000D Cordura nylon outer material that is resistant to tears and abrasions, and the unique integration of a “bombproof” laptop pocket that doubles as a tailor weight compartment, keeping the weights close to the spine for optimal comfort and stability. The backpack features high-quality components such as 1000D Cordura fabric, YKK zippers, MOLLE webbing for customization, and an internal frame sheet for added support.
6. Boundary Supply Errant Sling
Previously known as the Arclite Sling, Boundary Supply has rebranded its flagship sling bag to Errant Sling. Crafted from Stormproof fabrics and zippers, this bag ensures the protection of your belongings within its 15-liter magnetic compression storage.
Versatile in nature and crafted for everyday carry, The bag features a laptop/tablet compartment that is conveniently accessible through water-resistant zippers. This allows you to maintain your creative momentum while on the move, knowing that your devices are secure and protected. Additionally, the Errant Sling X-Pac variant is also available, offering further options to suit your preferences.
The Errant Sling measures 10 inches in width, 15 inches in height, and 5.5 inches in depth (25 x 38 x 14 cm). With a capacity of 15 liters and weighing just 2 pounds (0.91 kg), it strikes a balance between ample storage space and lightweight portability. The bag can accommodate laptops up to 14 inches in size, with dimensions of 8.5 inches in width, 14 inches in height, and 0.75 inches in depth (21.6 x 35.6 x 1.9 cm).
The Errant Sling includes an Active Commuter stability strap and a Secure Bike Lock lash loop, catering to active individuals who commute by foot or bike. The bag offers a dedicated 13-inch laptop/tablet sleeve and the main compartment can accommodate a 15-inch laptop. With an adjustable design, you can wear it comfortably over your left or right shoulder. The Stormproof closure with a magnetic auto-lock buckle ensures secure and convenient access, while the magnetic auto-compression feature keeps your belongings in place.
The LFT™ molded foam back panel provides breathability for comfort during extended wear. The YKK® stormguard zippers and reflective flashpoints contribute to safe commuting, especially during low-light conditions. It is worth noting that Boundary Supply prioritizes sustainability, as the Errant Sling is produced in Bluesign® factories and mills.
7. Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
If you are looking for a comfortable-to-carry backpack and also want to support a B-Corp company, Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is the ideal choice.
The Allpa 35L features a convenient clamshell design, making it effortless to pack and access your belongings. Its highly adjustable straps ensure a comfortable fit, catering to travelers who prioritize packing light. Furthermore, the bag is equipped with handles on all four sides, making it easy to grab regardless of its storage location. With a full lifetime warranty and exceptional build quality, the Allpa has proven itself through over four years of rigorous testing, replacing the need for multiple travel bags or luggage pieces.
The Allpa’s clamshell design allows it to open like a hard-sided suitcase. One side contains a deep compartment, spacious enough for two large packing cubes or a substantial amount of clothing. The other side offers space for an additional medium-sized packing cube behind a zippered flap with high-visibility backing, ideal for personal items. Cotopaxi also offers a hip pack designed to fit snugly into the Allpa’s front top compartment, providing a convenient add-on for those who enjoy wearing fanny packs while traveling.
The Allpa features two side-access zippers, allowing quick access to items when the bag is hanging from your shoulder. One zipper reveals a flat computer pocket with a padded false bottom, ensuring your laptop remains protected even if the bag is dropped. The other zipper unveils a “secret” pocket with a hidden zipper, providing access to the main compartment. All zippers in the main compartment are secured with loops for added security, preventing unauthorized access when you’re not paying attention.
Notably, the Allpa comes with a rainfly, setting it apart from others in its category, and providing additional protection during unfavorable weather conditions.
The bottom line is that Allpa is a highly efficient backpack that has several compartments for storage and is very convenient to use due to its handles on all four sides. In other words, it’s hands down the best carry-on backpack we have seen.
How to Choose The Best Backpack For You
Let us start by stating the most important thing. There is NEVER any best backpack out there. There just never is. Someone may tell you that the backpack they use is the best. Someone may be on a stroll at the mall on a regular Thursday and they come across a backpack that they believe is truly the best. Chances are, those backpacks won’t be the best. The best backpack is purely subjective. What may be the best backpack for one may not be the best backpack for another.
All backpacks are different. You gotta choose the one that is right for you. And by the right one, we mean a backpack that is comfortable to wear with all your everyday essentials neatly packed inside.
In this section, we lay down a few guidelines for choosing the backpack that is right for you.
- Purpose: Consider your purpose for needing a backpack. Are you using it for daily commuting, travel, or school? Determining the specific purpose will guide you in selecting the appropriate backpack. Different activities require different features and capacities. For instance, if you’re planning to use the backpack for trekking, opt for a sturdy and waterproof one to withstand various terrains and weather conditions. On the other hand, if you need a backpack for college, prioritize ample storage space to accommodate heavy textbooks and other essentials.
- Capacity and Size: Assess capacity and size: Determine how much storage space you need. Consider the volume of items you typically carry in your backpack. Backpacks are often measured in liters, ranging from small daypacks (15-25L) to larger backpacking packs (50L+). Ensure the backpack is spacious enough for your essentials without being too bulky or oversized.
- Comfort and fit: Many a time people take the comfort and fit of a backpack for granted. Having a backpack that rests comfortably on your shoulders and back helps you carry high amounts of loads with relative ease. Also, being comfortable will help you avoid back pain and will improve your posture. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps, padded shoulder straps, and a supportive back panel. Ensure the backpack fits your body properly, distributing weight evenly across your shoulders and hips. Try on different backpacks and adjust the straps to find the most comfortable fit for you.
- Check organizational features: Assess the compartments, pockets, and organization options in the backpack. Consider if you need dedicated compartments for a laptop, water bottle, or other specific items. Look for pockets and dividers that allow easy access and help keep your belongings organized. This may be optional but nevertheless, a good thing to have.
- Evaluate durability and quality: Choose a backpack made from durable materials that can withstand regular use and potential rough handling. Look for strong zippers, reinforced stitching, and sturdy construction. High-quality backpacks tend to last longer.
- If you anticipate using the backpack in rainy or wet conditions, opt for a backpack made from water-resistant or waterproof materials. Look for features like sealed zippers or an included rain cover to protect your belongings.
- Consider the weight: Consider the weight of the empty backpack itself. Lightweight backpacks can help reduce the overall load you carry and prevent unnecessary strain on your body.
- Try before you buy: Whenever possible, visit a store and try on the backpack before making a purchase. Wear it around the store, test the straps and compartments, and assess its comfort and fit on your back. Until you don’t try, you can never be sure whether its the right backpack for you or not.
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API