Top 5 | Best Work Backpack
A great work backpack puts in the hard graft on both the style and functionality fronts. Work-friendly aesthetics are key and should fit the pack’s intended use environment, whether that’s the board room or somewhere a little less formal. Good organization and easy access to your gear are crucial features too, since these will influence your ability to work effectively throughout the day. Durability, comfort, and weather resistance play important roles too. A work backpack needs to be able to handle regular use and you can’t always count on sunny commutes. And lastly, a little versatility can go a long way too, be it doubling up as a gym bag or stashing gear for overnight trips.
So with the above in mind, we’ve narrowed down our Best Work Backpack candidates to the top 5 finalists. Which one deserves the ultimate promotion? Decide below…
Carl Friedrik City Hopper
Who It Suits
If you’re a city slicker who loves heritage materials and style, the city hopper backpack is for you. Clean styling, luxurious materials, and simple design make this a bag that will look better with each commute and turn heads at the office.
Carl Friedrik make high quality, luxurious, and heirloom worthy items. We’ve handled their luggage before and found ourselves impressed, and the same is true of the city hopper backpack. It is a minimalist take on the modern backpack, but with luxurious construction and thoughtful design features that make it a pleasure to use.
The star of the show here is the sumptuous nubuck leather body and Vachetta leather detailing. These materials have to be held to be believed. The hand feel is out of this world and is a delight each time you pick the bag up whether that be by the straps or the leather grab handle. Not only is the fabric exceptional, there is custom nickel-silver-finished hardware that rounds out the premium feel.
Materials are one thing, but a bags functionality, particularly at the higher price points like this, must match. I’m happy to say that the City Hopper is a wonderful bag to use. We live in a golden period of carry, and as such, there are bags for every scenario, with pockets for x, y, and z twice over. I personally find great joy in the bags that do the simple things and do them well. The City Hopper has all the trimmings you need, but not much more. You’ll find a rear entry (separate) laptop compartment, a front admin pocket, a hidden water bottle pocket, a luggage pass through (and hidden passport pocket), and then the beautiful main opening.
The main opening is rather unique, and I’ve grown to love it. The zipper to the main compartment runs from the very base of the bag all the way around to the top opposite “corner”. This allows great visibility and access to your items inside and makes it a breeze to use. Inside you’ll find a zipper pocket and two slip pockets for organisation. It’s an elegant approach to access and I’ve enjoyed using it immensely. There is also a g-hook on the front of the bag with cotton webbing to cinch down and shrink the size of the bag based on what you are carrying.
Carl Friedrik have made the leather backpack sexy again with the City Hopper. This isn’t just a bag that relies on great materials, even though they are incredible! This is a thoughtful approach to a backpack and one that’ll easily become a family heirloom.
- – Exceptional materials and build quality
- – Unique access via side zipper
- – Timeless Style
Pacsafe x SLNT Anti Theft Backpack
Who It Suits
Privacy continues to be at the forefront of our conversations in this increasingly digital world, and while we are more connected than ever, we are arguably more exposed than ever too. The Pacsafe x SLNT Anti Theft Backpack will help put your mind at ease during those busy commutes providing both physical and digital protection.
When you’re a commuter, chances are your bag is loaded up with some rather important items. Laptops, phones, wallets, cameras etc. etc. Whatever the items are, our work backpacks can be laden with a lot of expensive goodies, and more importantly, priceless information. Fear not, Pacsafe and SLNT have you covered with their anti theft backpack.
You’d be forgiven for glancing over this unassuming backpack on your morning commute, the sleek black 750 denier recycled polyester intentionally flies under the radar with it’s minimal branding, but on closer inspection, you’ll see a fortress for your EDC.
The 750d exterior is reinforced with stainless steel wire to prevent any would-be assailants being able to cut your bag free. Despite this robust reinforcement, it has a great hand feel. Aside from the cutting edge materials, there are also a plethora of brilliant security features. The two sets of zippers (one for admin access and the other for the main compartment) are easily secured by interlocking them through the Roobar on the top of the bag, a feature seen on many of Pacsafe’s bags. You’ll also find an RFID sleeve in the admin organizer, and a PopNLock security clip is easily attached to a table or chair to keep your bag safe. There is a hidden zipper pocket on the rear back panel which is a great home for wallets and phones.
As you can see, for an 18L bag, there is a wide array of features that make this bag something of a fortress. However, arguably the most useful and significant feature comes in the form of a removable laptop sleeve which doubles as a Faraday cage. That’s right, pop your laptop, tablet, phone or other transmitting device in this sleeve and nothing will get through. All of your private data is safe, until you next use free wifi at the airport or cafe!
This collaboration between two security powerhouses is really a match made in heaven for those who want a sleek backpack that manifests safety and privacy in so many different ways.
- – Innovative and useful physical security features
- – Removable Faraday Cage
- – Under-the-radar looks.
Cote et Ciel SARU EcoYarn
Who It Suits
Those looking for chic style in a slender form factor, look no further. Recycled materials, innovative openings and a comfortable harness make this ideal for the daily grind.
Coteetciel have always made beautiful bags. Their designs are unique and stand out in a crowded market, and that is the same with the SARU backpack in our Top 5. A slender 18L backpack, this not only looks great, but very comfortable and full of great organisation, despite its deceptively clean look from the exterior. The EcoYarn recycled polyester has an excellent matte finish, and is very weather resistant, I’ve walked in some pretty good rain and not been too concerned about my precious cargo.
The SARU is compact and stylish, it is perfect for those who like to travel lighter. It features three external pockets for quick access to edc items, such as water bottles, headphones, wallets etc. While the main compartment is accessed via an interesting rear entry-cum-shoulder-harness combo. The harness and load lifters are attached to buckles which when unclipped give you access to the main compartment. This is a security feature, and while a little cumbersome at first, it quickly becomes second nature.
The harness is very comfortable, and rides higher up your back. Personally I like this as I’m usually carrying a pretty heavy load, but I also think this would be a great feature for bike commuters too.
Inside the main compartment you’ll find excellent organisation with a 16” padded laptop sleeve that also has two elasticated pouches on the front. These are an obvious home for cables, memory cards, chargers and other such accoutrement.
- – Recycled materials
- – Comfortable harness
- – Chic style
Db Freya Backpack
Who It Suits
Designed with women in mind, the Freya backpack is a stylish, reliable, and comfortable backpack for those who mix work and play. Lightweight, robust, and adventure ready, this bag will take you anywhere.
Db Journey are all about adventure. Every single one of their products are aimed at travel and how to do it better. From the roll up snowboard/ski carriers, to the front access carry-ons, and now to their first female-centric everyday bag. Db are innovators and it shows in the Freya.
One of Db’s great design successes is their Rib Cage Construction®. Essentially this ribcage (found on almost all of their lineup) means structure without weight, and protection without compromise. It allows the bag to maintain its shape without need for heavy reinforcements and it has been a favourite feature of mine on many of their bags, and now my wife’s on the Freya. I want to think of superlatives here, but after testing I’ll put it in my wifes words best “it just works.”. That told me everything I needed to know about this bag, and after pouring over the finer details of the bag I can see why she is enamoured with it.
The organisation is excellent, the full clamshell opening main compartment provides you with everything you could need for travel or your daily commute. There is a large elasticated slip on one side, the perfect spot for a change of clothes, running shoes, and the like. On the other side, you’ll find four zippered pockets that each have their own volume (thanks to that ribcage we talked about!). These are essentially like baskets and I love them, I kind of want them in all of my backpacks. My wife used them for her purse, keys, phone charger, earphones etc. But you could just as easily use these for toiletries when travelling or other essentials on your daily commute.
The rear laptop sleeve opens just above the harness and features a wonderfully smooth elasticated ejector strap, making your laptop retrieval a breeze, and this also has a secondary small slip pocket, well sized for a phone or passport. The bag also features Db’s hook-up system, which allows you to attach this backpack to one of their larger bags such as a suitcase or duffel, or attach one of their accessory cases to the front of the bag to gain a bit more storage. The harness is female centric, and proved to be very comfortable for my wife, which is not something she says about all of the bags I make her try and use!
- – Female-centric Design
- – Recycled materials
- – Excellent storage and modular expansion options
- – Two sizes (16 & 22L)
Aer City Pack Pro
Who It Suits
Those looking for a tough, versatile, and stylish everyday pack that can do it all. The City Pack Pro has all that you could need for a day of work and adventure.
Aer continue to refine and develop their products based on feedback from their customers and practices like those lead to excellent products such as the City Pack Pro. At 24L, the CPP sits in the sweet spot for a commuter bag, with all the space that you need, without making you look like a turtle.
Aer do an excellent job of focusing on usability, and in a work backpack, that is a critical feature. The array of pockets on the CPP aren’t there for the sake of it, they’re there to make your day more streamlined and keep your necessities organised. The interesting thing about the pocketing on the Aer is that you naturally find yourself using the pockets as intended rather than relearning how to use a new bag. That is always a hallmark of excellent and thorough design.
Featuring 1680D Ballistic Nylon from Cordura®, YKK®, and Duraflex® hardware, it’s safe to say that you’re getting top of the line materials when you buy this bag. While the exterior may be robust and hardy, ready for anything that you throw at it, the interior (accessed by clamshell opening) lends itself to looking after your precious cargo. A woven bluesign® lining is partnered with a fleece lined laptop compartment to keep your devices scratch free.
Externally, you’ll find a quick access pocket on the top of the bag (with a fleece lining to keep any sunglasses safe), a quick access side pocket, a larger front pocket, and a water bottle pocket. There is a spot for everything on the CPP, and it makes using the bag an efficient and enjoyable experience.
- – Excellent Pocketing
- – Tough Materials
- – Goldilocks Size
- – Travel Friendly
[VOTING CLOSES APRIL 6TH]