- Buyer's Guide
The Best Backpacks for Everyday Carry
Choosing an EDC backpack deserves careful consideration. After all, it’s going to be your daily companion for years to come, so you want to ensure it suits your needs and tastes, both from a functional and aesthetic standpoint. So what makes an epic everyday carry backpack?
You never know where the day (or night) might lead, so it’s good to have a bag that can keep up. Get more out of your gear by opting for a backpack with the aesthetics and feature set to adapt to changing needs and environments, such as pivoting from work or school settings into outdoor, sport or short travel scenarios.
The degree of organization depends on what you’re going to carry in it. Make sure it can handle your daily tools and carry items such as snacks, an outer layer, tech devices and small EDC items.
Avoid unnecessary strain by choosing a bag that’s comfortable for the commute to work or school. Features such as suitable padding, a waist belt and sternum strap, wide shoulder straps and sufficient ventilation all play their part in keeping you comfy on the go.
You don’t want your bag to fall apart after only a few months of use. Opt for a pack that can handle the daily grind for years on end.
Got some ideas in mind for your ideal pack? Take a look at the solid suggestions below to see if these everyday carry backpacks could be right for you and your budget…
Budget-friendly carry for on and off the bike
If you’re looking for a functional EDC pack that won’t break the bank, the Timbuk2 Tuck Pack is a great place to start. Made in the US, the rolltop design features an interior padded laptop sleeve and quick-access exterior pockets, along with reflective detailing and a loop for your bike light if you’re cycling at night.
Sleek tech carry with city style
This slim pack delivers low-key style that suits a range of environments, from work to campus or your local cafe. A faux-fur padded laptop compartment keeps your tech protected on the go, and there’s a choice of pockets available for organizing smaller items.
Easy access meets affordable durability
The Y-Pack features a wide flap opening with an inner drawstring and exterior latch closure for fuss-free access. Peek inside and you’ll find a laptop sleeve, while outside the flap pocket keeps frequently used items within easy reach. The pack is constructed in the USA with durable 1000D Cordura, but remains an affordable option for day-to-day carry needs.
Clean commuter with outdoor flexibility
With its sleek aesthetics and range of useful pockets, the Kabyte is a good choice for the daily commute. But its versatile design also lends itself to outdoor activities too, from day hikes to cycling. A solid choice if you want one bag that meets multiple carry needs.
Pack in work and workout gear
Don’t let the clean exterior of the Aer Fit Pack fool you. There’s plenty of designated storage for work tools and supplies along with gym clothing and shoes. The sleek silhouette won’t look out of place in an office setting, while comfortable backpack carry lets you easily move between work and workout environments.
Jump between the gym and the office
Thule’s 25L Vea Backpack is a great gym/work hybrid, with separate compartments to store your work and gym gear. The pack fits both a 15″ laptop and 10″ tablet, includes an expandable separate pocket for shoes, and accommodates bulky items like a yoga mat or outer layer under the flap. All delivered with clean, work-friendly aesthetics that transition easily to a range of environments.
Tough versatility for outdoor and urban use
Taking inspiration from military assault packs, the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault is built tough to withstand demanding use in urban environments and outdoor settings alike. The 3-ZIP closure provides fast and convenient access to your gear, with inbuilt laptop and tablet sleeves storing your tech and three pockets storing smaller items. If you’re keen on mil-spec build with a more tactical feel and extra features such as an adjustable Futura Yoke, check out the Mystery Ranch ASAP.
Suave styling that’s built to last
Want a backpack that will turn heads? The AEL002 is certainly one to consider. This handsome pack looks stylish in work and play settings alike, but a reliable build and useful features make this bag more than just attractive aesthetics. The pack’s water-resistant construction provides protection against rain and snow, and a removable waist strap and adjustable sternum strap help with carry comfort and stability on the go. A dedicated laptop/tablet pocket houses your tech, and quick-access pockets let you stash smaller items close at hand.
Handy organization and access for work and travel needs
The Blade 20’s clamshell main compartment allows for easy packing and access, with quick entry through a side zip, making this a versatile choice for work needs and traveling alike. In addition to backpack straps, the pack includes top and side handles. There’s plenty of organization for your gear such as a dedicated padded laptop compartment, a tablet sleeve, and pockets for smaller EDC, travel or work items.
Cycling safety with expandability
Need a bag that can handle diverse loads, looks good in an office, and helps keep you safe on two wheels? The Mitch Backpack delivers on all fronts with its expandable rolltop design, urban-friendly styling, and retroreflective construction.
Work, travel and outdoors in one
Like getting more out of your carry? The versatile Klettersack lends itself to a range of carry uses, from the daily commute to overnight trips or outdoor adventuring. Built by hand with hard-wearing 1000D Cordura, the pack fits a 15″ laptop and offers leather lash tabs for attaching extra gear externally.
Gym meets office
Aer delivers all-in-one work and gym carry with the Duffel Pack 2. The sleek silhouette looks suitably understated in a range of work settings, while the durable build will hold up to the daily grind year after year. Two compartments keep your gym gear and work supplies separate, and there’s even a ventilated shoe pocket. And with a choice of further pockets on hand you’ll find convenient storage for your bits and pieces on the go.
Durable, low-key carry for day-to-day essentials
As the name suggests, the Daypack is designed for daily use and offers understated styling that can move between informal work environments and weekend needs with ease. The Daypack features designated storage for a laptop and tablet, organization for keeping smaller items neat and tidy, and a wide opening on the main compartment for easy access to your gear.
City-sleek style with gym skills
Want a bag you can take to the office, the gym and about town without skipping a beat? The RYU Quick Pack LUX moves easily between all these environments thanks to its sleek aesthetics and great access. A drop-front opening and a range of pockets let you easily pack and retrieve items without having to rummage. And with its molded internal shell and weather-resistant build you get peace of mind that your gear is safe on the go.
Excellent access with heritage influences
The Drei Zip takes inspiration from a classic Kletterwerks design but updates it with 3-zip entry that provides fast and convenient access to contents throughout the bag. Handcrafted in the USA, the pack features an interior laptop sleeve, a lid pocket for quick access to frequently used items, and solid construction that will stand the test of time.
Cult classic with great access
The Arro 22 mixes Arc’teryx’s technical expertise with fast access and a multifunctional design that works well on the trail or about town. The pack fits a 15″ laptop, accommodates a hydration bladder, and keeps quick-access items within easy reach thanks to its exterior side and front pockets.
EDC to one-bag travel
Tom Bihn have built up a loyal following, and with pieces such as the Synapse 25 it’s not hard to see why. Thoughtfully placed pockets keep smaller items within easy reach without disturbing the silhouette of the pack. The main compartment provides plenty of space for a laptop, outer layer, your lunch and work supplies. Alternatively store a packing cube inside and roam in one-bag travel freedom.
Understated urban style with multiple carry options
QWSTION bring a refined blend of Swiss functionality and style to your EDC with their Daypack. The bag features stowable backpack straps and detachable side and top handles that allow for briefcase-style and tote carry options. The Daypack opens wide for unhindered access and fits up to a 15″ laptop.
Classic looks with outdoor ruggedness
The Trakke finds the sweet spot between outdoor durability and office-friendly aesthetics. Inspired by vintage mountaineering gear, the Assynt 17 is built by hand to be tough enough for outdoor adventures. The clean styling however lends itself to urban and work environments, allowing for added versatility. Inside is a laptop sleeve for your tech and a zip pocket for valuables, with an exterior lid pocket to store quick-access items.
Tough cycle-friendly design with office-friendly style
The weatherproof Sanction adapts to life on two wheels or two feet. Built in the USA and guaranteed for life, this durable 20L pack fits a 15″ laptop, provides a choice of pockets for smaller items, and brings sleek style to the commute and your weekend downtime alike.
Pared-back street style that rolls to outdoor duty too
The Eiger 25L pack fuses durability, urban style and versatility into a design that’s at home on busy city streets but can also roam outdoors if the need arises. The side zippered pocket provides access to a laptop compartment as well as the rest of the interior. The water-resistant pack also provides a mix of pockets to keep work and EDC items tidy.
Fashion meets function
Why sacrifice fashion or function when you can have both? The Isar Twin Touch exudes French chic with its eye-catching draping form, but there’s practicality in addition to aesthetic appeal. Available in a choice of sizes and material options, the backpack provides storage for documents and a laptop, with a front compartment that’s ideal for keeping spare clothes away from your work gear.
Fast access for professionals on the go
The clue’s in the name – the Access Pack puts the focus on fast access with nifty features such as one-touch access to the main compartment, interior pockets with ejector tabs, and an exterior laptop pocket with a pull handle for easy access to your tech. The molded EVA foam body also helps protect the contents when you’re on the move.
Military inspiration for changing missions
The FAST Pack Litespeed is designed to adapt to a host of carry needs. Multiple pockets, anchor points and PALS webbing provide organization for your gear and the option to carry bulky items externally. The comfortable suspension helps you move easily from one setting to the next, and the durable materials and tough construction ensures this pack can take a beating and keep on going strong.
A versatile, feature-rich pack for EDC and camera gear
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is a bag that stands out for the obvious thought and care that went into its design. Available in 20L and 30L sizes, the pack includes a range of features to make carrying gear easier, from expandability and great access, to single-handed closing and opening and a host of organization options. This multifunctional bag puts versatility front and center, adapting to work, day-to-day, and camera carry needs.
Handcrafted quality with casual-chic style
The Bedouin Delireis exudes quality with its premium materials and meticulous handcrafted construction. Simple, elegant and adaptable, the Delireis features an exterior double sleeve pocket, an interior laptop sleeve, and a rolltop design that caters to a range of loads and uses, from daily use to travel carry.
A touch of luxury with clean, urban appeal
If you’re after refined carry style, the Special Ops Backpack 3.0 is definitely one to have on your radar. Clean, elegant and versatile, this backpack looks suave on your commute and looks equally classy as a daypack for your travels or about-town needs. Crafted by hand in Los Angeles, the pack is available in luxurious full-grain leather, or alternatively save on weight and cost with durable and sleek water-repellent canvas. An exterior pocket keeps quick-access items within easy reach, while interior pockets provide storage for a laptop, documents and smaller EDC and work tools.
Dual carry for diverse day-to-day needs
Your carry needs change from day to day, so the Duo Totepack is designed to adapt accordingly. Two carry options including tote and backpack modes let you easily adjust to a range of settings, from work to laidback sightseeing. Plus with plenty of pockets and the ability to expand the bag, you can fit in as much (or as little) as you need to while keeping your gear tidy and accessible on the go.
Military toughness in a multifunctional design
The GORUCK GR1 has a well-deserved reputation as one of the toughest bags on the planet. But there are plenty of other features in addition to its hard-wearing 1000D Cordura construction. The bag lays flat for easy packing and access, with a choice of exterior and interior pockets and webbing to organize your gear. There’s also a suspended laptop compartment for your tech, and a hydration tube exit port. This is a versatile and durable companion for work, travel and outdoor needs.
Exceptional craftsmanship with understated versatility
The water-resistant Porter Hybrid Day Pack offers top-notch Japanese craftsmanship, complemented by useful organization. A choice of compartments and pockets provide convenient storage for work tools and an outer layer, a change of clothes, or travel essentials. Stylish enough for the office but versatile enough to serve as a travel daypack too, you’ll find yourself reaching for this bag time and time again.
Japanese precision with multiple carry and organization options
Master-piece is another brand that excels at quality Japanese craftsmanship, and this water-resistant and durable bag is no exception. Multiple pockets and compartments are on hand for organization, as well as a range of carry options including backpack straps, a shoulder strap and grab handles. If you’re after adaptability for work, travel and day-to-day use, this bag is well deserving of a spot on your shortlist.
Artisan style with refined function
It’s easy to fall for this pack in looks alone, but the Venture LT is more than just a pretty face. The backpack combines rolltop and side zip access, and provides dedicated storage for a laptop and water bottle along with a front exterior pocket for frequently used items. Constructed by hand with top-notch materials, this fine-looking pack will serve you well for years to come.
*The harsh bit, this is now a unicorn. Teppei’s hasn’t made a run of these since last year, so make sure to subscribe to his newsletter for any updates on this mystical creature. Good luck!
*This article was updated on 30th January 2018.