- Buyer's Guide
The Most Popular Bags and Backpacks of 2018
With a new year upon us, we’re eagerly anticipating the carry gear on the horizon. But it’s just as enjoyable revisiting the great pieces that have come before. Pieces that captured the carry community’s imaginations and interest in 2018. And there have been some distinct trends along the way. Lots of new players stepped up to the global carry stage. Our Carry Awards winners garnered well-earned respect and recognition. Classics stood strong with sustained appeal. And our collabs garnered lots of love (and clicks) from you all – and that really made us smile too!
So without further ado, see what stoked the carry community with the most popular bags and backpacks of 2018…
Worthy winner of our Best Everyday Bag, the Black Ember Citadel Minimal is on point in toughness, weatherproofness, urban sleekness and excellent versatility. Comfortable enough for all-day carry, durable enough to withstand regular use day in and day out, and offering an IPX-06 waterproof rating, it thrives in all weathers while zipping from work to play and back again.
The Conceal Backpack scooped a well-deserved High Commendation in our Carry Awards, offering a killer blend of clean urban styling, everyday functionality and quality construction. Available in a choice of materials, it’s a considered all-rounder that keeps your essentials in check with uncluttered organization, from the commute to a weekend day trip.
When it comes to urban stealth and adaptability, TAD are on the top of their game with the Axiom 18. Picking up a High Commendation in our Carry Awards, this pack is ideal for those seeking low-key carry that lets them move agilely through diverse environments and weather conditions. Tough, weatherproof and adept at slipping from city streets to outdoor settings, it packs a host of organization options into a clean silhouette that glides under the radar wherever the day or night leads.
Creating the ultimate all-rounder? A pack that could move from the city to the mountain? A tough challenge but one we were stoked to embrace with our friends at Alchemy Equipment. The Alchemy Equipment X Carryology AEL222 builds on the foundations of the AEL002, enhancing the tailored yet technical feel. With robust durability, everyday functionality and travel versatility for good measure.
What do you get when you take a solid foundation and add refined style and honed details? Our Pacsafe X Carryology Z400 Briefcase. An understated piece that’s right at home in the office or on business trips, but extends to downtime use too. A collaboration that provides welcome peace of mind with discreet security features, while looking suitably professional in work environments. But color pops and quality materials give it character and a touch of playfulness. Because who said work carry needs to be boring, right?
Winner of our Best Active Messenger award, the Arc’teryx LEAF Courier Bag 15 showcases Arc’teryx’s technical design expertise in an exceptionally stealthy and versatile piece. Designed for their LEAF (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces) line, the bag has the pedigree to perform in demanding environments. Paired with the understated aesthetics and practicality that lend themselves to civilian use too. Three entry points, a Velcro panel for customizable organization, flexible carry options, and a hard-wearing and water-resistant build help this piece glide seamlessly between environments and changing carry needs.
Aer have established themselves as a go-to brand for functional and stylish urban carry. Their Day Pack pairs practicality with minimalist aesthetics, so you get that clean style without cutting day-to-day usability. Winner of our Best Work Backpack award, the Day Pack demonstrates Aer’s commitment to honing their design expertise while staying true to their core values. The sleek silhouette looks equally suited to the office or striding down city streets, complemented by thoughtful interior organization to keep on top of your everyday essentials.
The Highly Commended Arc’teryx Veilance Nomin 2.0 is the kind of premium bag you can’t help but take a second look at. Uber-clean in form, this pack is built with superior durability and weatherproofness while remaining lightweight. It’s well suited to minimalists who don’t require lots of organization but want a dependable pack that can move from the office to beyond. All while looking seriously slick in the process.
It’s a big carry world out there and sometimes the little gems get overlooked. But the Code of Bell X-Pod is a shining example of a small brand doing small carry really well. Ideal for carrying light while cutting excess bulk and weight, this versatile piece offers multiple portability options too. Great for exploring with those travel essentials or simply out and about when you’re roaming with a pared-back setup.
The Vertx EDC Gamut packs a punch in the adaptability department. Tactically-inspired organization options and unobtrusive aesthetics allow it to blend into a variety of environments. Wide-opening access and a range of pockets let you get to gear easily and quickly throughout the bag too. A solid choice whether you’re carrying work tools or weekend gear.
The Assynt 17 takes outdoor inspiration to the urban jungle. The pack is tough enough to explore in the wilderness but ready when the commute or campus calls. Handcrafted in Scotland, it features a durable and water-resistant waxed canvas exterior. The straightforward top-loading design also offers dedicated laptop storage in the main compartment. Handsome and versatile, this pack scooped a Highly Commended nod in our Best Work Backpack award and is a solid pick if you’re after urban/outdoor flexibility.
Time and time again, the GR1 keeps cropping up as an all-rounder of note. The military-tough build complements its excellent versatility and convenient wide-opening access. A pack you can carry work essentials in one day, while handling an overnight trip the next, and then drag through the mud on a GORUCK Challenge on the weekend is pretty darn impressive.
Classic good looks, useful organization and enough space to handle a variety of day-to-day needs makes this a popular pick for commuters, students and EDCers alike. You can take it to workouts, to the office, around town or even on an overnight trip. And with two separate compartments you can easily access work essentials without displaying your gym socks during that important business meeting.
A brand forged by founders with design expertise from Patagonia and GORUCK, dedicated to creating crossover carry for urban and outdoor needs? We were suitably intrigued (as were many other carry enthusiasts), and EVERGOODS didn’t disappoint. Their CPL24 fuses urban functionality with outdoor durability. A bag designed to provide great comfort throughout the day, ready access to your gear on the go, and the flexibility to move from the commute to some outdoor R&R on your downtime.
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