- Buyer's Guide
The Most Popular Bags, Backpacks and Gear of 2019
With a new decade and a new year of carry ahead, it’s fun to look back and celebrate the great gear that’s come before. And 2019 featured a truly stellar selection of pieces across travel, EDC and more. So we’re saluting the year’s most popular bags, backpacks and gear, measured by views, clicks and readership surveys. Enjoy!
The clamshell packing convenience of a suitcase, the flexible adaptability of a backpack and the kind of clean, understated aesthetics that look just as good on the street or striding through the airport. It’s not hard to see why the Invisible Carry-On has garnered a lot of carry love this past year.
Aer took a solid travel bag and made it even better with the Travel Pack 2. The design welcomes a variety of updates, from redesigned organization and shoulder straps to a luggage pass-through and space for an optional hip belt. And with its clamshell access, separate shoe/laundry storage and rugged build it’s ready to take on travels near and far.
Heimplanet’s Transit Line Travel Pack does double duty as a carry-on bag or day bag for hauling larger loads. Made with sustainably produced DYECOSHELL fabric, the durable and weatherproof pack keeps gear readily accessible with a clamshell opening and is smart enough to straddle the work/play divide.
The Setout Divide Backpack is all about packing flexibility, with an expandable design that grows from 26L to 34L as required. Great whether you need to pack in extra gear or roam with a more compact setup. And with its clamshell opening and multiple quick-access pockets, getting to gear is a cinch.
Sleek styling, a durable weatherproof build, convenient clamshell access, and all coming in at great value for money? The Vapour Overnighter Pack delivers it all in a versatile 33L carry-on design.
The Away Carry-On combines chic style, a travel-ready build and functional design in one. Made with durable yet lightweight polycarbonate, the suitcase features spinner wheels for easy maneuverability, interior compression, and a laundry bag. Add in its removable battery and you get a stylish travel companion that helps keep your tech charged up on the go too.
Thule are no strangers to the carry scene. But their Revolve collection is their first foray into hardside luggage. And they’ve nailed it with understated styling, functionality and travel-ready durability. Crafted with tough yet lightweight virgin polycarbonate and a reinforced design, the luggage suits business and leisure travel equally well. An eight-wheel system delivers smooth portability over diverse terrain. And maximized packing space helps make your travels easier.
Need a bag that adapts smoothly to business travel, weekends away or daily missions? Bellroy’s Transit Backpack does just that, pairing clean and professional aesthetics with a lay-flat main compartment for packing convenience. You’ll find interior compression straps and a range of exterior pockets to organize your gear, along with an externally accessed laptop pocket for zipping through airport security. And with its padded shoulder straps, contoured back panel and sternum strap, this 28L pack will be comfortable every step of your journey.
Water-resistant pouches aren’t new. But truly waterproof pouches with the world’s first truly waterproof zipper? An industry game changer in the making. The TRU Zip is a toothless, silent, sliding zipper that features across the collection of waterproof pouches and packing cubes. Great options for both EDC and travel organization with reliable protection from the elements.
The T&P Avis-Pry Titanium Tool Companion shines for its multifunctionality in an attractively sleek and compact design. Featuring a pry tool, bottle opener and replaceable utility blade, it’s an elegant way to add adaptable functionality to your daily carry without weighing yourself down.
Taking care of the small things is the name of the game with Peak Design’s Tech Pouch. Origami-inspired pockets keep items neatly in place and easily accessible. And its weatherproof recycled nylon canvas shell keeps gear safe and sound from the elements too.
Bellroy’s Note Sleeve Designers Edition offers EDC functionality with elevated details. A premium piece for your pocket, you’ll find useful storage for flat bills, cards and coins. And the limited edition collaboration with French artist Elsa Boch takes your daily setup to the next level. Eye-catching, practical and with a luxurious look and feel, it’s a clever balance of form and function.
Winner of our Best Work Shoulder Bag 2019 award, the Cary Briefcase Double offers an excellent blend of functionality, classy aesthetics and luxe build quality at a reasonable price tag. Dual compartments and a range of quick-access pockets make it easy to organize your gear, with a luggage handle pass-through when work trips call.
Aer’s Day Pack is a slick EDC pack that neatly stores your work or day-to-day gear, all served up with a generous dose of minimalist style. Self-standing, built for the daily grind, and providing thoughtful organization, it’s modern functional minimalism done right.
Japanese brand Rofmia caused serious carry cravings with their Shift Series. A range of bags that brings Japanese streetstyle, technical materials, artisan build quality and versatility together to tackle a variety of carry needs. The lightweight durability of Dyneema combined with urban-friendly aesthetics makes these enticing investment pieces worthy life-long additions to your carry collection.
The Bannoch scored our Best Work Backpack 2019 award, and with good reason. The handcrafted pack features premium waxed canvas that will stand up to the elements and regular use like a champ. A good range of pockets keep your day-to-day gear tidy on the move, while its smart-casual styling moves smoothly from work to the weekend. Plus if you want to swap city streets for outdoor trails, it’s more than up for some wilder ventures too.
TAD’s Axiom 24 Pack welcomes 13 updates to keep your gear better organized and quickly accessible on the go. Dual rear-panel compartments store tech, magazines, folders and other flat items at the ready, while the main compartment’s wide opening, multiple attachment points and choice of pockets provide fast, straightforward gear access. Rounding things off is a durable, weatherproof build in a stealthy, low-key design that slips easily between diverse environments.
The Arctery’x Granville 16 Zip Backpack nods to the aesthetics of the Arc’teryx Nomin, but at a much more friendly price tag. And while it’s not cheap, you’re getting Arc’teryx’s industry-leading technical construction in a highly water-resistant pack that’s ready for work, travel and play.
A super-sleek exterior meets well-considered, flexible organization and top-notch American construction in the Brown Buffalo Conceal V3. A backpack that serves you well at work, on weekends, or exploring on day trips, it’s a worthy winner of our Best Everyday Bag 2019 award.
Tote. Backpack. Messenger. Shoulder bag. If you love versatile portability in your carry gear, the BRAVO 18 certainly delivers. A bag designed to grab and go, adapting on the fly to changing needs and settings, it’s got plenty of appeal as a multifunctional hauling companion.
The Synik 22 is an updated take on the legendary Synapse. An adaptable daily or travel bag that offers a host of handy features including a suspended laptop sleeve, luggage handle pass-through, removable internal frame, and clamshell opening. A piece that integrates many asked-for features without losing the distinct Synapse aesthetic and versatility.
Dreams realized and small carry troubles taken care of? Big ticks on both fronts with this collab. We teamed up with one of our all-time favorite brands to create the Balian Sling from the ground up. A grab-and-go companion for work and play. One that lets you carry small but go big on luxe detailing, timeless style and versatile functionality. And we’re super chuffed with how it turned out.
Chrome Industries MXD Notch Sling and MXD Segment Sling
When you need to keep smaller loads secure but easily accessible on the go, Chrome Industries has your back with their 5L MXD Notch Sling and 9L MXD Segment Sling. Wearable as cross-body or waist bags, these slings provide just the right amount of organization for essentials, while keeping the design compact and tough for day-long roaming.
The award-winning X-POD offers a triumphant blend of access, adaptability, durability, and slick urban-friendly style. Dual compartments, multiple pockets and the ability to expand for larger loads allows this sling to handle a wide range of daily or travel carry needs. And its tough, weatherproof build lends confidence to your carry setup.
We’re big fans of Aer’s distinct blend of urban minimalism and functional design. And it’s great to see them explore and expand on their designs even further with their Special Projects. A series of collections, collaborations and more that allow Aer to explore with product experiments and like-minded creators. From the limited edition use of X-Pac to Japan-only releases (boy are we envious), their Special Projects is a great showcase of Aer’s creative exploration.
Shoes take up a lot of packing space in your luggage. But the Tropicfeel Canyon Travel Shoe is designed to provide multiple shoes in one. Sustainably made with recycled plastic bottles, the shoes are quick-drying with a slip-resistant outsole. Swim with them, walk with them, hike with them and look the part in urban settings thanks to their low-key, highly versatile design.
The Evolution Pant scooped our Best Travel Clothing 2019 award. And it’s not hard to see why. Lightweight, breathable, stain-resistant, water repellent, sustainably made, and integrating two-way stretch, it’s a go-pretty-much-anywhere pant that’s easy to dress up or down and helps keep packing to a minimum.
A solid addition to your travel wardrobe, the AP Pant has a comfy, stretch build for freedom of movement. Roll-up cuffs reveal reflective detailing, while the understated aesthetics move easily from urban to outdoor and back again.
Made with 100% merino wool, the Convoy Henley offers a bunch of travel-friendly features including odor resistance, lightweight packability, temperature regulation, and water repellency. And its soft, versatile design works equally well in your day-to-day wardrobe too.
Timeless aesthetics, technical construction and versatility make the Outlier Futureworks Pant a go-to option for everyday and travel use alike. Lightweight, breathable, durable, and featuring two-way stretch, the pant looks equally good in the office, on the city streets or relaxing in the airport lounge.
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