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 2023, broken down by style and price range. You’ll be able to find something to fit your personal fashion sense and budget.
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 Functional and Stylish Men’s Backpacks
Here are the best functional and stylish men’s backpacks in no particular order.
Stubble & Co. Backpack
This backpack has a classic, universally appealing style with its waterproof canvas and full-grain leather trim.
Its drawstring closure is hidden by a sleek top, so you get two layers of protection from the elements without sacrificing accessibility.
Reasonably sized for any frame (even smaller people), the Stubble & Co Backpack comes in 10.5 and 21 liter options.
- Intuitive and Functional Form Factor
- Solid Build Quality and Materials
- Stylish Design
- Reasonably Priced
- Limited color options
We’ve tried a lot of backpacks, and this one from Stubble & Co checks all the right boxes. Check out our full review here.
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.
Saddleback Leather 16″ Tumbled Leather Drawstring Backpack
Saddleback is known for making products that look rugged and are extremely durable. There’s no falsehood with their brand. Their products are made to be used hard, and their 16″ Tumbled Leather Drawstring Backpack is no exception.
While it is a backpack that you can take to the far reaches of the earth, it’s also great for EDC no matter where you are. It boasts a rugged, full-grain leather construction, stainless steel hardware, and a 100-year warranty (yes, really).
- Extremely durable
- Rugged aesthetic
- Needs to be broken in
The pros definitely outweigh the cons on this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Harber London Commuter Backpack
As is fitting for a brand named after one of the world’s fashion capitals, all of Harber London’s bags and accessories have a finely tuned blend of good looks and practicality. This is particularly true of their most popular backpack, the Commuter.
To craft the body of this bag recycled water bottles have been repurposed and woven into a water-resistant fabric, while full-grain leather accents give it a rugged and timeless appearance.
With a 17 liter capacity, the Commuter is ideally sized for carrying your computer, a notebook, and your daily essentials (but not much more than that).
- Cool and understated good looks
- Thoughtful material selection
- Water resistant, but not waterproof
Overall, it’s a fashion-forward backpack whose only real downsides are its higher price tag and lack of a permanent waterproof treatment.
Everlane Renew Backpack
Marrying a minimalist aesthetic with sustainable manufacturing, Everlane’s ReNew Backpack is a straightforward choice for any guy looking to minimize the carbon footprint of his wardrobe and accessories.
Aside from its eco-friendly construction, the ReNew Backpack is also decked out with the features you want to see in a travel backpack: an exterior laptop pocket for easy TSA checkthroughs, big zip pockets for all your travel documents, and a pass-through strap for attaching it to your luggage.
- Sustainably made from recycled materials
- Good price for a daily bag
- Lines of the bag could be crisper
- No waterproofing
The main area where big improvements could be made is in the overall silhouette of the bag. Its material has a sort of shapeless form, and may not be a great fit for guys whose outfits center around crisp lines.
Want to learn more? See our full review of Everlane’s lineup (including the Renew Backpack).
Aer City Pack Backpack
You don’t have to be scaling Kilamanjaro for your backpack to take a lot of abuse — heck, even a couple of weeks of being tossed around the downtown of any major city can be enough to put some bags into retirement.
Aer knows this and that’s why their City Pack Backpack is made from a tough-as-nails 1680D Cordura fabric. Often reserved for military and outdoor applications, this fabric is guaranteed to stand up to even the most severe handling.
- Ultra tough construction
- Highly water resistant
- Comfortable, contoured back panel
- Heavier material makes for a heavier bag (2.5 pounds)
- Relatively small volume (14 liters)
It’s worth noting that the City Pack is relatively small, with a 14 liter capacity. However, in spite of its size, it’s one of the heavier backpacks on this list thanks to the dense materials used in its construction.
Maverick and Co. Metropolitan Business Backpack
Being all business isn’t so bad when you can look like a million bucks while you do it.
That’s the idea behind the immaculately sleek Metropolitan Business Backpack from Maverick and Co. — and even though it’s one of the priciest bags in this review, its premium materials and finely tuned design make it live up to its expense.
If you’ve ever wanted to ditch your briefcase for a backpack without looking too casual, this bag will make that dream a reality. Its full-grain Saffiano leather exterior is paired with a plush double velvet interior, offering luxurious materials both inside and out.
And while it’s definitely on the smaller side for a backpack (at just over 10 liters), it competes nicely with the briefcase and messenger bag that you’d normally pack for work at an office.
- Exceptionally sleek and good looking bag
- Premium materials all around
- More of a luxury backpack than an everyday commuter
- Quite small (10 liters)
While a leather briefcase, being more formal than a backpack, will always be a more stylish choice than a backpack to carry while wearing a suit or dress coat — if you have to wear a backpack for health or other reasons the Metropolitan Business pack is a great choice.
Bellroy Classic Backpack
Bellroy’s Classic Backpack falls into that Goldilocks category, as one bag with just the right amount of, well, pretty much everything.
It’s appropriately sized as an everyday carry backpack that comes in 16, 20, or 24 liter capacities, with enough space to hold up to a 16 inch laptop.
Three extra pockets give you space to store your daily gear. And its water-resistant woven fabric is made sustainably from recycled plastic bottles.
- “Just right” combination of size, function, and appearance
- Six colors and three sizes to choose from
- Relatively pricey when not on sale
- Somewhat overshadowed by the Premium Edition
Taken together with Bellroy’s keen eye for details and laid-back but classy aesthetic, that makes the Classic Backpack, you guessed it, an instant classic.
Lululemon Everyday Backpack
For a company best known for their workout gear, Lululemon makes one heck of an everyday backpack.
Designed with daily carry in mind, the Lululemon Everyday Backpack is equipped with a padded laptop pocket as well as a bevy of interior and exterior pockets for both safety and quick access.
Its nylon body is highly water repellent, and will keep your gear dry in anything short of standing outside in a downpour.
- Excellent value for the price
- Nice selection of pockets
- Limited color options
- Straps could be wider for more comfort
Offered for under 100 dollars, the Everyday Backpack has great value for the price. If they had a few more color options and fixed the strap slippage problem, it could be a shoo-in for best backpack overall.
L.L. Bean Mountain Classic Cordura Backpack
L.L. Bean’s backpacks have a reputation for being the last ones you’ll ever buy. And, judging from the looks of decades-old Bean bags floating around the r/bifl subreddit, that reputation is well-deserved.
The Mountain Classic Cordura Backpack ups the ante on this buy-it-for-life durability, with a 1000D Cordura nylon construction and wide, reinforced straps that keep it comfortable no matter how much you load the bag down.
Aside from its “bulletproof” qualities, the Mountain Classic has a good range of pockets for your essentials as well. That includes a front zipper pocket, two side water bottle pockets, a padded laptop sleeve, and a bonus key fob attachment for easy access.
- Buy-it-for-life quality and durability
- Wide, comfortable straps
- Nice selection of colors
- Probably not appropriate for taking to an office
- Some guys won’t like the thickness of the straps
There’s really just not much bad to say about this backpack. If you like the more rugged and outdoor style, it offers an excellent value for the price.
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.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!