What separates an average work backpack from a great one? A carefully honed combination of form and function. They need the aesthetic touch for the formal world of ‘work’, set alongside access and organization for the gear they need to carry. Add in comfortable carry, protection from inclement weather, and a little versatility for play or travel needs, and you’re onto something pretty special.
Meet our Best Work Backpack finalists below. All ready to get down to business. But which bag deserves the ultimate recognition for a job well done? Choose your top candidate…
From creating their first backpack in 2014, OPPOSETHIS have continually honed their signature blend of minimalist style and functional design. Resulting in minimal gems like the ARK Backpack. This 25L clamshell backpack moves easily between work and play. Two separate compartments and a range of interior pockets organize your daily essentials, with an exterior water bottle pocket and top pocket handling quick-access items. Made from a lightweight and weatherproof nylon-polyester blend, the pack looks elegantly clean but also suits travel use too, with a luggage passthrough providing added trip-ready functionality.
The Synik 22 provides a new spin on the ever-popular Synapse 19, with some added features through popular request. Designed as a versatile piece that can handle the daily commute and short/overnight trips too, the pack’s full clamshell opening makes it easy to pack and access gear, with removable internal tie-down straps to secure items on the go. And for added travel ease the bag also includes a luggage passthrough. The pack features a suspended 13″ laptop compartment that can be accessed via the main compartment and an exterior side zip. Five exterior pockets keep your daily and travel essentials easily accessible, while the padded bottom adds protection against bumps. New Edgeless EV50 1/2″ shoulder straps as well as adjustable and removable sternum and waist straps provide carry comfort while you’re on the move, with a removable internal frame for added support and structure. Available in multiple fabric and colorway options, the pack is made in Seattle and backed by a lifetime guarantee.
The rofmia Daypack V2 welcomes a range of updates to the original design, making this an even more appealing daily companion. Meticulously crafted in Japan, the pack swaps out the original 2.92 oz Dyneema Composite Fabric for 5.0 oz DCF, increasing its durability for long-lasting daily use. A new independent, padded and suspended laptop compartment with organizer pockets makes it easy to access tech throughout the day. And the pack welcomes a capacity increase from 17L to 22L in order to handle a greater variety of loads. Redesigned shoulder straps and additional pocketing round out this sleek boutique pack that brings a touch of style and character to your work day.
Taking inspiration from the hustle and bustle of London living and travel, the Stighlorgan Finn Flapover Laptop Backpack delivers a slick pack that nods to heritage rucksacks of old. The London-based brand have created a clean 18L pack that’s elevated with details such as the custom C-bar hardware that secures the main flap. Lift the flap and you’ll find a zip pocket for valuables, along with a drawcord closure that reveals the main compartment. An interior padded 15″ laptop pocket stores your tech securely inside. The shoulder straps are mounted on D-rings, allowing them to automatically adjust to suit different users. And the pack dishes up extra functionality with reflective strap detailing to enhance visibility in low-light conditions.
Portland-based Tanner Goods brings beautiful aesthetics and technical construction together in an elegantly practical pack. It’s crafted in Mexico from lightweight Konbu fabric, a material made from Cordura fibers with a natural finish courtesy of a proprietary Japanese mill technique. Well complemented by English bridle leather details, the 34L pack exudes class and quality but is a great option for those packing for after hours or weekends. It can be accessed via a rolltop opening or exterior two-way zipper on the side. The interior 15″ laptop pocket can be accessed from the side or through the top, while further pockets neatly stash your smaller items.
San Francisco-based Aer consistently nail a dialed-in balance of minimalist aesthetics and well-considered functionality at great value. And their expertise is well on display with their Day Pack 2. Crafted to handle the daily grind with ease, the pack features an 840D nylon face with a weather-resistant carbonate polyurethane coating, paired with 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon and YKK zippers. The 14.8L pack’s structured self-standing design, dual compartments, and multiple pockets including a padded and suspended laptop pocket make it easy to organize and access your gear throughout the day. And with a convenient luggage passthrough this versatile pack also lends itself to travel use too.
When premium quality is called for, Bleu de Chauffe answers the call with the Arlo Backpack. Expertly handcrafted in France with vegetable-tanned full-grain leather, this pack instantly elevates your work setup with its pared-back silhouette and luxurious look and feel. However, there’s more than just eye-catching aesthetics here. Built with functionality in mind too it features felt-lined leather shoulder straps for comfort, an inbuilt 15″ laptop sleeve, and a removable interior zippered pocket. Additionally, a discreet rear zippered pocket securely holds valuables. A clever blend of simplicity, versatile utility and style ensures this timeless piece will serve you well for many years to come.
Tortuga was founded in 2010, born from the desire to create a travel backpack that actually made travels easier. Since then, the brand has grown from strength to strength, creating adaptable pieces like the 27L Tortuga Outbreaker Laptop Backpack. With its work and travel versatility, this bag helps you get more from the gear you own, offering up dual clamshell compartments to store tech and day-to-day gear or travel clothing separately. Thoughtful organization including a front admin panel, interior pockets and quick-access pockets ensures all your smaller essentials stay tidy but are accessible when you need them. And since you can’t always avoid downpours on the commute or your travels, the pack is built to protect your gear with its weatherproof X-Pac VX21 exterior and weather-resistant YKK zippers. Stowable backpack straps and a sternum strap keep the load secure and comfy on the go and a luggage passthrough makes it easy to pair with rolling luggage when you need to travel with more.
Work, play, travel…when you need one bag to handle them all, Minaal doesn’t disappoint with their Daily Bag. The 21L bag’s sleek exterior moves easily between changing environments, with stowable shoulder straps allowing it to convert to briefcase mode for more formal settings. And an included rain cover helps protect your gear wherever the day takes you. Two separate clamshell-style compartments organize your everyday and travel items as required, with dedicated storage for a laptop and tablet in the custom shock-proof DeviceNest™ (which is also adjustable to different device sizes). And since the daily commute and travel isn’t always easy on your gear, Minaal built this pack to provide long-lasting durability. It’s made with a combination of 600D nylon and 1000D nylon in high-abrasion areas and backed by a lifetime guarantee, so you can worry less about your bag and focus on the task at hand.
A lot of women’s carry makes you choose between style and function. But what if you could have a versatile everyday bag that delivered style, comfort, practical organization and sustainable construction in one? Father and daugher design team Elie and Natacha thought you could, so they formed Laflore. A French brand offering Parisian chic, everyday practicality and sustainability courtesy of the bobobark Backpack. This innovative bag is handmade from premium cork skin that is sustainably harvested in Portugal (the harvesting process actually helps the cork trees grow and release more oxygen). The cork is polished to create a soft texture and is as durable as leather but three times lighter and waterproof. The bag has three carry options including shoulder bag, backpack and briefcase-style. And access is well considered too, with a wide opening for easy access and practical interior organization including a padded 13″ laptop compartment and a phone pocket, both of which are accessible from the inside and outside of the bag.
Japanese premium sportswear brand DESCENTE ALLTERRAIN prioritizes the design philosophy of “form follows function”. A philosophy realized with skill and style through the DESCENTE ALLTERRAIN BACKPACK “CLP 26 Boa”. Lightweight yet durable, it’s crafted with 450D Cordura polyester material and high frequency welding, resulting in a clean and highly weatherproof pack. The main compartment is accessible through top and side zippers, with a further side zipper providing convenient external access to your tech. The shoulder straps are also easy to adjust on the fly thanks to BOA® Fit System dials, with a simple turn of the dial to tailor the fit. Pared-down in form and adaptable to a wide variety of settings, the 26L pack offers savvy minimalism for both weekly commutes and downtime pursuits.
Swiss carry brand QWSTION have always strived for sustainability in their carry. And the QWSTION Zip Pack offers their most impressive efforts to date. The bag is made from water-repellent, sustainably produced Bananatex, a fabric produced from 100% naturally grown Abacá (banana plant) fibers. The Bananatex is paired with vegetable-tanned leather trims, creating a casual-chic style that morphs between tote and backpack mode thanks to a modular handle and adjustable backpack straps. Two interior pockets and a Merino felt-lined sleeve organize tech and small essentials, with top and side access to the main compartment to easily reach your gear.
British brand Troubadour believe you don’t have to sacrifice refined style for multifunctional performance. A belief they support with the Explorer Apex Rucksack V2. Updated from the original design, the pack features new interior organization instead of the previous removable organizer pouch. You’ll find a padded pocket for a 16″ laptop, as well as further pockets to tidily store smaller items. Additionally the exterior bottle pockets have been redesigned too in order to hold bottles more securely. The pack also gets a makeover in the comfort department, with redesigned shoulder straps and a redesigned back panel, both featuring premium EVA padding and ventilation. And Troubadour salutes a more sustainable approach to construction too, crafting the bag with weatherproof nylon made from 100% recycled plastic. Streamlined, efficient and multifunctional, it’s a stylish and smart pack for the daily commute that can accompany you on weekend and travel adventures too.
Cargo Works is a small brand that makes a big impression with their Daybreaker Backpack. A thoughtfully designed pack that handles the work day and after-hours use thanks to its functional design and understated style. The bag features a wide-opening main compartment and a separate tech compartment with padded storage for a laptop and tablet. And those quick-access items? Easily stashed in two front zip pockets. Built with a customized 400D Cordura nylon shell, the pack is durable enough for daily use yet lightweight enough to carry comfortably wherever you need its trusty practicality.
Sometimes you don’t need to carry a large load on the daily. So why carry a large bag? Amsterdam brand Property Of… delivers a compact, lightweight and stylish alternative to bulky bags with the Charlie 12h Backpack. The 9L pack weighs 0.8 kg and is a fine pick for daily essentials, combining classic and timeless style with practical organization. The bag is crafted with weatherproof polyester made out of recycled PET bottles and features a leather strap with a magnetic closure to secure the top flap. Beneath the flap, the main compartment unzips wide so you can easily access the contents. A removable travel pouch neatly stores small items and makes it a cinch to transfer them between bags, while the 13″ laptop compartment securely stores your tech.
With its luxurious details, minimalist silhouette and adaptable design, the Joshu+Vela Stone Backpack V2 is the kind of bag you can reach for during the daily commute, weekend day trips, or to carry your essentials while knocking out day-to-day tasks on your downtime. Crafted in San Francisco, the pack comes in a variety of quality fabrics and colorways to suit personal tastes, accented with luxurious leather on the grab handle, shoulder straps and base. The bag balances its clean silhouette with uncluttered organization to keep essentials neat and tidy, including a 15″ laptop sleeve, two interior pockets and two exterior side pockets.
Clean professionalism for the office, sleek style for the gym, and pairs-with-anything elegance for a night out? Look to the Haerfest Apollo Backpack to meet all these needs and more. Founded by two brothers, the New York City brand created this pack as an elegant and versatile companion for a variety of work and play settings. It provides an externally accessible laptop pocket, inner water bottle holder and zip pocket for valuables. Front exterior quick-access storage holds those items you need at the ready, while the luggage passthrough lets wheeled luggage take on carry duties when it’s time to travel. Crafted with abrasion and water-resistant nylon and micro-fiber leather, the pack comes in two sizes to suit different users and loads.
HEAD PORTER has been a prominent name in the Japanese streetwear carry scene for two decades. But the Japanese brand switched things up, rebranding to RAMIDUS in October 2019. And while the name may have changed, pieces like the RAMIDUS Day Pack confirm their covet-worthy carry is still going strong. The water-resistant pack blends clean urban style and utility, with zippered quick-access front pockets for frequently used gear and an interior sleeve in the main compartment. Versatile for work and the weekend, it’s a well executed daily staple.
Located in a small workspace in the hills of Japan’s Saitama region is Southern Field Industries. A small brand focused on producing beautifully handcrafted pieces that are timeless and practical in design. Pieces like this eye-catching backpack, crafted with a durable and handsome combination of Japanese heavyweight waxed cotton canvas, Japanese vegetable-tanned leather, and solid brass hardware. Expertly balancing a refined form with useful organization, the pack provides two exterior side flap pockets with magnetic closures, an interior 15″ laptop sleeve and a small interior pocket.
Your work bag is one of the most used pieces you’ll interact with in your carry collection. So why not bring a little luxury to your daily setup? And that’s what Bellroy have done, building on their Classic Backpack with a premium edition that pairs sustainably produced fabric with a specially developed leather, soft yet robust for an elevated aesthetic and luxurious feel. Further details include contrast webbing and handsome linings, weaved into a hard-working pack that performs when you need it to. Quick-access and interior organization takes good care of your tech, work tools and EDC essentials, so you can stay on top of the work day in professional style.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Mifland is a brand that nods to fashion-forward style with long-lasting durability and functionality. And that appreciation of form and function shines through in the Mifland Standard Rucksack. A piece that stands out with its striking, architectural-inspired design and rugged durability. Handcrafted with vegetable-tanned leather in a choice of colorways, it’s a bag that combines enduring style with simplicity. The self-standing design has an adjustable flap closure for different loads and easily makes the transition from commute partner to weekend companion.