- Buyer's Guide
Best Work Backpack Finalists :: Third Annual Carry Awards
When we talk Best Work Backpack, there’s always a fury of constructive repartee – which is fair enough, we spend way too much time commuting to our 9-5ers donning our pack to not have a rock-solid checklist of criteria floating around our thinktanks. But if we had to break it down, collectively, I’d say we’d all like the following: a) to look swish and suave, and b) a pack that’s uber comfortable and nails everyday functionality with keen aplomb.
And hey, if we’re being kinda exacting (aka Carryologists), it should be versatile, too. If the travel bug bites down hard and fast, you want a pack that adapts on the fly, right?
This year, many a pack ticked the above boxes with elegance and mastery – carry is alive and well. In this category, refinement shined, and brands from around the globe darted a fierce hand in the air and announced their presence. Exciting times, peeps!!
So, without further ado…
Your voting form is latched to the bottom of this post. You have two votes to use as you will…
Allocate your 1st choice with 2 points
And your 2nd choice just with the 1 point.
If this award was purely for charisma, we think the Vike might win hands down. This top-heavy design has a playfulness that makes you want to sling it on your back and skip down the garden path. Classic fabrics, understated tech, and harmonious design elements are all worthy of our respect.
South Korea is so hot right now. There’s a fresh yet restrained design language that is finding it’s way into numerous brands we want the world to know about. RAWROW make carry that fits in great at work, but doesn’t feel like you’ve given up life for a suit. Whether you want to carry as a backpack or a briefcase, the RAWROW range feel at home as either, with all the pockets and zones that make work life easy.
Aer mix a gym and work bag to great effect. This SF Kickstarter startup have created a zoned form that genuinely handles work and play needs, without looking forced or out of place at either. It’s understated, sleek, and its first run sold out. Nice one, Aer!
Alchemy Equipment is the brainchild of the former creative director and co-owner of Macpac, and a few of the crew that came across with him, who’ve hit the ground running with a super mature range of muted colors and compelling pattern making. While there are loads of interesting packs in their range, we’re really liking the balance of their 30 Litre Daypack – a great blend of capacity and restraint.
Go on, try and take your eyes off it. This is a design so entirely in balance between material and form that your leather has to be perfect, or the whole design would sag and fail. But they are perfect. And somehow, they get better with age. The Wanderer is unmistakably Tailfeather, which means heirloom product that isn’t a slave to the past. This is leather sculpture that has utility and well resolved features.
It’s great seeing Teranishi and Tailfeather both nominated this year, as while they are on opposite side of the globe, they share an artisan vibe that is somehow familiar. Instead of firm leather as their material of choice, Teranishi give you soft and accommodating canvas with washes and prints. The Venture has the classic wanderlust appeal of a roll-top, but with enough pocketing and access points that it won’t frustrate you for access. Slim, versatile, lovely.
With two nominations in the one category – you know Haglofs must be doing lots right. The RYGGSÄCK is a passion project for Haglofs, which draws on 100 years of backpacks for them. Essentially, it takes a 100 year old design (the No. 6), modernises the silhouette (think a bit of Chrome Ivan to its shape), mixes in some heritage mood, and then totally reinvents it all in a modern package sourced from all local ingredients. This is a huge achievement that results in a unique and very expressive pack, which can turn heads and stoke owners.
The problem with most tech integration in backpacks is that your tech is out of date in a year, and your backpack should last 10 (at least). The Colfax gets around this by making clever compromises and modular sections, leaving you free for all of the gains with very few of the pains. And these guys know packs, as the pair behind MHM and their innovative outdoor packs.
It’s an urban military tactical fashion vibe, in a tub opening that somehow feels fresh. The AA Rucksack is a hugely customisable pack that elevates it’s MOLLE compatible webbing to art, giving you a pack you can configure for cameras, travel, work or play. Kinda rad eh…?
Seriously, do we need yet another generic backpack with heritage pig-snout and slouchy format? Thank you Helinox, for doing something different, rad and between categories. It’s like a tote, messenger, and backpack, and looks utilitarian and totally fashion. Here’s a bag to defy convention, yet carry work tools with ease. Oh, and unsurprisingly, they’re South Korean.
The return of a classic, now updated for today’s tech. Incase has new energy, the return of it’s founding CEO, and a pack that once again will stoke office workers or tech travellers around the globe. The ICON is the larger version, with a Compact iteration that works well for smaller folk. Good to have you guys back and charging.
We like to emphasise value over price at Carryology, but sometimes that means you’re left staring at a lot of zeros. With the JanSport Platform, you get a super affordable pack that will work for study or office, weekend or work week, and do so without feeling like you cut corners. Well done JanSport, and thanks for continuing to stoke so many folk at such affordable prices.
*Voting closes 22nd Feb.