There’s really no more practical way to shuttle your gear around than with a high-quality backpack. Read on to see our top backpack picks!
Rather than carrying your stuff around in your hand with a briefcase, or on a shoulder with a duffle, you can distribute the weight evenly over your core. You’ll be able to carry heavier loads with much less strain.
But there’s a problem: A lot of backpacks just don’t look good. They’re usually a little over-the-top and flashy. They often feature huge logos, and they don’t match a mature guy’s style very well.
You need a modern backpack that looks great and functions even better. You don’t want something that looks like the bag you wore to the arcade for a Tekken tournament with your buddies 20 years ago. While those are great memories, they, and that backpack, belong in the past.
Here are the best backpacks for men in 2021, broken down by style and price range. You’ll be able to find something to fit your personal fashion sense and budget.
Table of Contents
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best functional and stylish backpacks you can buy right now:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Best Everyday Backpacks for Men
Here are some good casual backpack options…
Stuart and Lau Capstone Backpack
Guys who need a high-quality backpack and appreciate incredible design need to check out Stuart and Lau’s Capstone Backpack.
This super sleek backpack features a waterproof DuraLite nylon twill shell, as well as full-grain leather handles, straps, trim, and bottom. It looks great, and it’s tough enough for everyday use.
Yes, this backpack looks awesome, but it’s also super functional. It has a toploading laptop sleeve, a luggage trolley tunnel, as well as two full length zippered flaps that open to reveal storage for an umbrella and EDC items.
- Super Functional
- Great Styling and Design
- Somewhat Larger Footprint
It measures 16 ½ inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 6 ½ deep, so it’s not the most compact option on this list, but only ultra minimalists will notice.
Herschel Buckingham Backpack
If you’re looking for a quality backpack that you can use for everyday, run of the mill tasks, check out the Herschel Buckingham Backpack. This backpack offers lots of storage, measuring 18 ½ inches tall, 12 ¼ inches wide, and 8 inches deep, totaling 33 liters of storage.
You’ll get a drawstring closure and a buckled top flap, as well as a 15-inch laptop sleeve and dual water bottle pockets.
The Buckingham Backpack comes in several color choices, including black, blue, and gray, as well as a few different patterns like camo and dot checks.
- Lots of Storage
- Several Color Choices
- Faux Leather Straps
The only complaint worth mentioning is that the leather straps on certain color variations are actually faux leather. Faux leather doesn’t gain a patina, and it might not last as long.
The North Face Pivoter Pack
A product from The North Face rarely claims an affordable spot, but the Pivoter is an attractive backpack at a really good price. For your money, you get a backpack with a padded laptop pocket, a mesh internal pocket organizer, and lots of storage.
It measures 18 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and 8 ½ inches deep, all of which create more than 27 liters of storage. It has two main zippered pockets and an external stash pocket for storing a sweater or light jacket.
- Affordable Price
- Padded Laptop Sleeve
- Internal Pocket Organizer
- Surprising Amount of Storage
- No Shoulder Padding
The one area where the Pivoter feels like it falls short is the straps. While it has a nicely-padded back panel, the straps don’t have any padding. A bag this big can get heavy, so that might be an issue for some guys.
Filson Tin Cloth Backpack
Even almost 125 years after Filson first sold outfitting equipment as CC Filson’s Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturer, it’s still producing heirloom quality gear. The Tin Cloth backpack is an ideal example.
Filson uses its famous waxed canvas, or tin cloth, material, as well as top-quality bridle leather to create a hard-wearing, water-repelling bag that will only look better with time.
It features a drawstring closure and a buckled top flap for keeping your gear secure. It also features interior pockets, including a removable three-compartment snap-closure pocket.
- Super Tough
- Water Repellent
- Dependable Heritage
- Slightly Limited Storage
The only complaint is that the Tin Cloth might be short on space compared to other backpacks on this list. It measures 15 inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 5 ½ inches deep. But that could be appealing to guys that don’t like bulky backpacks.
Most Functional Backpacks for Men
If you want a backpack that’s super functional but doesn’t totally sacrifice form, here are some good picks…
AER Duffle Backpack
Some bags just embody function, and the AER Duffle Backpack is one of them. This bag converts from a backpack to a duffle bag, allowing you to choose how you want to carry your gear.
It has tons of pockets, including a traditional top-zippered backpack pocket, a duffle pocket and a pocket for stashing your water bottle. It also has a shoe pocket, making it almost ideal for a gym/work backpack.
- Converts from Backpack to Duffle
- Built-In Shoe Compartment
- Lots of Storage Pockets
- A Bit Long
One thing that shorter guys need to keep in mind: This bag is 22 inches tall, so it might feel a little too large for everyday use.
United by Blue Westward Rolltop Backpack
If you’re on the hunt for a backpack that can take your weekend adventures but still look suitable for regular around-town duties, you should check out the Westward Rolltop Backpack from United by Blue.
This backpack is a legitimately heavy-duty bag made from tough waxed canvas, and it offers plenty of functionality.
The Westward offers 23 liters of storage, measuring 25 inches high (unrolled), 12 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. It has a padded laptop pocket with a microfiber liner for a 15-inch laptop and several other internal pockets.
The roll-top has a three-snap closure, as well as aluminum and nubuck leather details throughout.
- Durable Material
- Plenty of Storage
- Thick Padded Straps
- Asymmetrical Straps
This is a great backpack, but there’s one semi off-putting detail: it has an extra compression strap on one side that appears to serve no purpose. Most guys won’t notice, but the detail-obsessed will ponder that design.
5.11 Rush24 Backpack 37L
Let’s cut to the chase: 37 liters of storage, durable 1050D nylon, and a double-digit price tag. All the other details almost don’t matter. But, since you asked, the Rush24 from 5.11 has plenty of other features as well.
It has three main compartments, a water bottle pocket, compression straps, and a spot for hook-and-loop morale patches, if that’s your thing.
The Rush24 is absolutely sprawling with MOLLE webbing, allowing you to add additional pockets, gear, carabiners, and almost anything you can ask for.
- Insane Amount of Cargo Space
- MOLLE Webbing for Additional Pouches and Gear
- Durable 1050D Nylon
- Very Tactical Looking
While the webbing allows the Rush24 to serve as a base for your modular backpacking needs, it also makes this backpack look very tactical. That could be a problem for guys with more reserved styles.
Best Traditional Backpacks for Men
If you want a straight up regular backpack, these options are your best bet…
Filson Dryden Backpack
The Filson Dryden Backpack shows us that sometimes, the classics are the way to go. This awesome backpack features a traditional zippered design, with two main compartments and a ton of storage.
Filson uses 1000D Cordura nylon for the body and durable bridle leather for accents and reinforcement. It measures 18 inches tall by 12 ¾ inches wide and 7 inches deep, providing a spacious 25 ½ liters of storage while still meeting airline carry-on standards.
The Dryden has a ton of pockets, including two large main compartments, a laptop pocket, internal organizers, and a side stow pocket.
It’s tough to find anything to complain about with the Dryden. It’s a classic and timeless design made by a company that excels in creating classic and timeless products.
- Classic Styling
- Made from Cordura
- Built-in Trolley Strap
- Lots of Storage
If there’s any room to moan, it might be that it’s expensive for a nylon backpack, but it’ll last long enough to pay for itself time and time again.
If you’re looking for a relatively compact backpack for day trips, work gear, or school, the MIS Backpack is certainly worth checking out. This traditional-styled backpack comes in several color variations, so you should be able to find something that works with your style.
It has comfortable padded straps, a laptop holder pocket, and several haul loops for attaching extra gear.
The MIS Backpack looks traditional, but the zipper is a little unorthodox. Instead of unzipping down both sides to open up the bag completely, it has a top-flap that zippers around the top of the backpack.
- Lots of Color Options
- Loops for Attaching Items
- Deep Design Might Be Hard to Get Used to
- While it creates a secure closure, it could be difficult to find smaller items at the bottom of the bag.
Herschel Classic Backpack
Summing up the Herschel Classic Backpack is pretty straightforward: a classic-style backpack at a killer price. Regularly selling for under $50, this backpack is a steal.
It features a large main compartment, a smaller zippered external pocket, as well as Herschel’s signature striped interior liner. It comes in several colors, including black, blue, purple, gold, and more.
- Classic Style
- Excellent Price
- Lots of Color Options
- No Separate Pocket for a Laptop
It’s hard to complain about a basic backpack that offers this much at this price. If there’s one thing that might be missing, it’s a padded laptop pocket. Other than that, it’s a top-notch product at a great price point.
Most Durable Backpacks for Men
Looking for something that can handle a lot of wear and tear? Check these out…
Filson Rugged Twill Rucksack
Finding a rugged backpack that can keep up with some serious travel and adventure isn’t always so simple. If you want a product you can use worry-free, check out the Filson Rugged Twill Rucksack.
This product uses a fabric similar to Filson’s tin cloth, just with a different weave pattern, making it incredibly durable and long-lasting. It also features Filson’s bridle leather accents and a laptop pocket that can handle a laptop up to 16 inches.
- Oversized Laptop Pocket
- Lots of Storage
- Rugged Twill Fabric
- A Little Short On Space
At 17 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and 5 inches deep, this backpack sure looks big to onlookers. But, it only offers 21 liters of storage, so be sure to keep that in mind. While it’s great that it fits standard airline carry-on requirements, a little more storage could go a long way on your adventures.
Able Archer Rucksack
When you’re spending a fair amount of money on a backpack, you want it to last. The Able Archer Rucksack does just that. It uses rugged, water-resistant canvas to create a durable and long-lasting backpack that will serve you for years to come.
It features several pockets, including easy-to-access side panels for getting to stashed items quickly and waist pockets for smaller items—a benefit to photography buffs, for sure..
- Oversized Laptop Pocket
- Rugged Canvas Material
- Waist Pockets for Lens Caps and Small Items
- Tactical Styling
The Rucksack offers 22 liters of storage, thanks to its 22-inch height, just under 12-inch width, and depth just over 5 inches, creating 22 liters of storage. The only real downside to this backpack is its tactical styling, making it challenging to maintain gray-man status.
Guys looking for a nice blend between tactical styling and everyday use should check out the GORUCK GR1. Sure, this bag features a few rows of MOLLE webbing, but the overall design is a little more laidback and a little less “tacticool.”
The GR1 uses durable nylon material for the body, and the padded straps make carrying the load a bit easier. It also features a plastic sheet that slides into your laptop pocket to add a bit more rigidity. The GR1 also unzips completely and folds flat, allowing you to pack and unpack easily.
- Opens Flat
- Heavy-Duty Padded Straps
- Reinforced Laptop Pocket
- Expensive for Affordable Choice
If you want a top-tier quality product, you have to spend a bit of cash. Even though this is the affordable pick, it’s still an expensive backpack.
Best Minimalist Backpacks
If you want a backpack that’s simple and functional, these are some solid options…
Filson Weatherproof Leather Journeyman
The Filson Weatherproof Leather Journeyman Backpack is a classic, minimalist design with plenty of functionality and durability. The Journeyman features weatherproof full-grain vegetable-tanned leather and an interior fully-lined with tin cloth.
You’ll be able to take this bag anywhere in any condition without worrying about your investment.
The Journeyman also has felt-padded shoulder straps, a 15-inch laptop pocket, and solid brass hardware. It measures 17 ½ inches high, 12 ⅜ inches wide, and 5 inches deep, providing enough room for taking to work or around-town tasks.
- Full-Grain Waterproof Leather
- Fully Lined with Tin Cloth
- Traditional, Minimalist Design
While you’re getting your money’s worth out of the materials and production quality, it is still an expensive bag, which is the only complaint one could muster about this backpack.
Haerfest Travel Backpack
If you want the type of quality you get from a premium minimalist bag, but would rather avoid spending a week’s worth of pay to get one, the Haerfest Travel Backpack is a great meet-in-the-middle.
The Travel Backpack features a water-resistant nylon shell and leather trim to create a stylish and durable bag. This backpack features a luggage trolley tunnel, a padded laptop pocket, and an outer pocket for storing a phone and other smaller items.
It measures 17 ½ inches tall, 11 ½ inches wide, and 6 inches deep, so it has plenty of storage space, but still fits the minimalist aesthetic.
- High-Quality Materials and Craftsmanship
- Compact, Minimalist Design
- Straps Could Use More Padding
The only issue you might find with this backpack is that the straps are a little light on padding. That’s alright if you don’t load it up to the brim, but they can get uncomfortable if you need it to carry some weight.
Rains Field Pack
Rains’ design focus always leans toward Scandinavian, and that’s the approach they took when designing the Field Pack.
This backpack’s whole purpose is to be as streamlined and minimalistic as possible. It features two pockets, a polyurethane-coated fabric, two semi-padded straps, a laptop pocket, and nothing else.
This backpack features 16 liters of storage space, measuring 17 ½ inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 4 ½ inches deep. The polyurethane coating makes it waterproof, and it’s available in five different colors, all of which are neutral or earth-toned to stick with the Scandinavian design.
- Waterproof Polyurethane Material
- Very Simple Design
- Several Color Choices
- No Organization Pockets
When you think of minimalism, the Rains Field Pack should be the bag that comes to mind. It doesn’t even offer organizer pockets, which could make a mess out of your gear. But, if you’re a minimalist, the idea is to minimize the amount of gear you carry anyway, right?
AER Fit Pack 2 Backpack
If you need a backpack with a minimalist look that also offers plenty of storage, AER’s Fit Pack 2 Backpack might be a solid choice. This backpack features tons of storage pockets and room for gear but looks super streamlined when zipped up.
The Fit Pack 2 features a full-length front zippered compartment, a shallow top zippered compartment, as well as a standard full-length main compartment.
It has a padded laptop pocket and built-in shoe storage, so it could definitely serve as a work-to-gym bag if that’s what you need from your backpack.
- Built-In Shoe Pocket
- Streamlined Look
- Lots of Storage Pockets
- A Bit Bulky
The only thing worth noting is that this bag can get a bit bulky for a minimalist design. It measures 18 inches tall, 12 ½ inches wide, and 8 inches deep, which could stand out quite a bit from your back, so keep that in mind.
There are lots of outstanding backpacks on this list. Obviously, Filson and Herschel made the most appearances, but they’re great bags. They consistently deliver top-notch products in their price range. You can’t go wrong with a backpack from either brand.
Guys looking for the best design need to focus their attention on Stuart and Lau’s Capstone. The design, materials, and craftsman are top-notch. But, if you need a modular setup that you can customize, the 5.11 Rush24 or GORUCK GR1 might be the ideal foundation for your system.
If it’s minimalism you’re after, the Travel Backpack from Haerfest is hard to beat.
Choose a bag on this list that fits your personal aesthetic and lifestyle, and you’ll stay stylish for years to come.