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Best-Made-in-the-USA-Backpack-Brands

Our Favorite ‘Made in the USA’ Backpack Brands

by , September 24, 2018

There are great American brands making awesome carry gear. And on the flip side, there are plenty making poor carry too. Ultimately where a bag is made is less important than the company behind it. So if you want to support carry that’s made in America, it’s important to look beyond that USA-made label tag and consider the brand as a whole. Do they create quality gear? Is it functional? Will it stand the test of time? If the answers are ‘yes’, then you’ve got a worthy contender on your hands. And it’s these kinds of values and design choices that our favorite made in the USA backpack brands uphold…


Bike

Inside Line Equipment

One of California’s lesser known bike carry brands, ILE are burly and bomber, and, in our book, deserve more cred. Founded in 2012 by Eric Fischer, it’s a brand that keeps it simple. Clean, no BS design, with a focus on easy functionality. Everything’s US made, from the super tough Cordura to the threads that stitch it together, and built in-house to rigorous standards. If you want a rugged pack for commuting (and nowadays travel and camera gear), ILE are a local brand to check out.

Backpacks of note:

Default

ASNMNT

Radius Mini


North St. Bags

North St. Bags

Lots of great things are coming out of Portland, Oregon, and North St. Bags are no exception. Founded in 2009 by Curtis Williams, their bags are simple and classic and made in-house, right on the store floor. In their early days, they drew acclaim for their ingenious Woodward backpack / pannier hybrid, and have now branched off into noteworthy collabs (recently with Kiriko Made) and experiments with technical fabrics like X-Pac sailcloth.

Their bags are built with mostly USA-made materials and backed by a lifetime guarantee. And if you fancy a little personalization to your pack, there are custom colorway options too.

Backpacks of note:

Belmont

Flanders

Davis


Chrome Industries

Chrome Industries

SF’s infamous Chrome Industries have been carried on the shoulders of tattooed couriers since 1995 and it’s a brand that sparked a new movement into technical lifestyle cycling bags. Instantly recognizable with its Russian-star red hits and Pegasus logo, it’s a brand known for crazy tough bags built to take a beating – and all backed by a lifetime guarantee.  In their stable, you’ll find backpacks for travel, commuting, or hitting the blacktop on a bike, of course. Many of their bags are made in Chico, California. And if you’re local to one of their Chrome Hubs, we’d suggest rolling in and asking them to craft you a custom bag like no other.

Backpacks of note:

Urban Ex Rolltop

Barrage Cargo

Bravo 2.0


Mission Workshop

Mission Workshop

Few brands have had such influence on an entire category as Mission Workshop. From their very first pack, the Vandal (the first-ever expandable bike pack), to their Arkiv System, they’ve blazed a trail of innovation like no other. Designed in San Francisco, made in the USA and backed by a lifetime warranty, theirs is some of the finest, burliest and aesthetically pleasing carry you’ll find, period. 

Backpacks of note:

The Rhake

The Rambler

The Sanction


Timbuk2

Timbuk2

One of the original cycling carry brands, Timbuk2 has been going strong since 1989. Forever experimenting and playing with new forms, the San Francisco brand backs their bags with a lifetime warranty and crafts bike-friendly backpacks that embrace work, travel and play. Although, nowadays, if you’re after US-made, you’ll have to invest in one of their custom packs – their non-custom products are now all produced off-shore.


Velo Transit

Velo Transit

While weather-resistant bags work for a lot of environments, sometimes you need more protection. And that’s what Velo Transit are dedicated to providing with their waterproof laptop and cycling bags. The bags are made by hand in Seattle and feature RF welded liners for 100% waterproof protection. Even better? They’re backed by a lifetime warranty too. And realizing that people aren’t built the same, Velo Transit also creates gender-specific bags and harnesses to suit different users. If you need a top-notch waterproof bag that organizes and protects your tech and gear no matter what the elements have in store, Velo Transit should definitely be on your carry radar.

Backpacks of note:

Edge Pro 40

Edge 30

Edge Molle 30


Road Runner Bags

Road Runner Bags

Road Runner started with a dream for better bike carry and a tiny manufacturing studio in founder Brad Adams’s bedroom. Founded in 2010, the brand has subsequently flourished and is dedicated to crafting bags for a variety of cycling-related needs. Bike touring? Cycle commuting? Chilled weekend rides? Large loads? Just the essentials? Whatever you need, they’ve got a bag for you. The bags are handmade in Los Angeles using USA-made materials and hardware.

Backpacks of note:

Medium Anything Pack

Evil Mini

The Americano


Tactical

GORUCK

GORUCK

GORUCK have made a name for themselves by creating some of the toughest American-made bags around. Founded by a Green Beret and made with military-grade toughness in mind, their gear is built to take a beating and keep on performing. Backed by their Scars Lifetime Guarantee, you’ll find GORUCK bags embracing everything from GORUCK Challenges to everyday commutes and day hikes. Rugged 1000D Cordura is the material of choice for their bags, and legions of loyal fans will testify to the bags’ hard-wearing durability and adaptability.

Backpacks of note:

Echo

GR1

GR2


Triple Aught Design

Triple Aught Design

Triple Aught Design build gear to help people live more adventurously. It’s reliable and adaptable gear that will get you through the task at hand, whether that’s scaling a summit or commuting to work. Based in Dogpatch, San Francisco, the brand has been one of constant progression. Experimenting with technical fabrics, modularity and expansion, their packs are some of the most exciting on the market. You’ll find packs with military-grade toughness for demanding travel and outdoor use, to sleeker offerings that employ stealthy aesthetics.

Backpacks of note:

Axiom 18

Azimuth

Spectre 22L


Kifaru

Kifaru

Kifaru is a brand that flies under the radar for most folks, with little spent on marketing and everything invested in crafting the best gear possible. And from that, they’ve built an incredible reputation in durable and reliable hunting and military backpacks. The brand was founded in 1997 by Patrick Smith (also the founder of Mountainsmith) and builds packs to order, focusing on comfort and functionality to ensure years of dependable use.

Backpacks of note:

X-Ray

Urban Zippy

Antero


Outdoors

Mystery Ranch

Mystery Ranch 3-zip

If you haven’t heard of Mystery Ranch, then you haven’t been reading Carryology.com very long. Whether they’re making for the military, fire department, or taking those learnings to their everyday line, their packs have a following at cult level. Revered throughout the carry world for their laser-like attention to detail, bomber builds, and comfort when carrying loads, they’re some of the very best packs in the world, bar none.

Note, while many of their packs are now made in the Philippines, Mystery Ranch does build some of their outdoor packs, tactical and fire packs in the USA.

Backpacks of note:

3DAP CL

ASAP

Terraplane


McHale Packs

McHale-Packs

Most might not have heard of McHale Packs. But if you scratch away at the backpacking world (and its burrow-like forums), you’ll discover the army of Dan McHale disciples who swear they’re the greatest UL packs around.

And the best part: they’re reportedly built in his garage. All by hand, using Dyneema and Cordura. Completely custom-built to each individual’s precise measurements. No two are alike. A word of warning, you’ll need to navigate your way through his archaic website to make contact, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Backpacks of note:

All custom


Hill People Gear

Hill People Gear

Hill People Gear knows that when you’re in the backcountry you need dependable gear that won’t let you down. That’s why they prioritize efficiency in their designs, creating gear for backcountry travelers that focuses on functionality, effective load carriage, flexibility and long-lasting durability. While they are aware that the do-it-all pack is likely never achievable, they do believe in crafting gear that adapts to a wide variety of needs. In addition to making gear in the USA, they also use American suppliers and are dedicated to maintaining American manufacturing.

Backpacks of note:

Tarahumara Pack

Ute Backpack

Aston House Backcountry


CiloGear

CiloGear

CiloGear crafts their bags in Portland, Oregon on a built-when-ordered process. For them ,‘In Stock’ means they have all of the sub assemblies of the pack. Then they build it for you. Lean and mean, and we like that. While their focus is on crafting lightweight alpine climbing and hiking packs, you’ll find UL urban commuter packs in the mix too, and they’re darn great! 

Backpacks of note:

Simple Commuter

20L WorkSack

Ski Pack


Alpine Luddites

Alpine Luddites

John Campbell is Alpine Luddites… quite literally. AL’s a one-person operation. Every pack or bike bag is built to order by him, with his famed attention to detail and quality. John’s waiting list can bounce from 6 to even 12 weeks at times, but you’re getting something special when you wait, especially if you go the custom route, so we recommend you roll into his Colorado workshop with a little patience, and a big plan for your perfect pack.

Backpacks of note:

White Light / White Heat

Alpine Machine

Pinnacle Rucksack


Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Ashley Hill - Hyperlite-Mountain-Gear

If you’ve ever been passed by a hot white pack hammering up the trail, it’s most likely come from the Maine workshop of Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Building for alpinists, backpackers, thru-hikers and other adventurers, their packs are stripped back and minimal, ultralight, and dialed to increase speed, distance and efficiency. One of our favorite UL brands. And well worth a closer look.

Backpacks of note:

2400 Ice Pack

Daybreak

Summit Pack


Zpacks

Zpacks

Zpacks was founded in 2005 by Joe Valesko, a man who knows all about long-distance thru-hikes and the gear needed to conquer them. The brand builds ultralight backpacking gear that finds that tricky balance of shedding grams while remaining comfortable and durable enough for extensive use. Their designs cater to day hikes, short trips and long-distance hikes, with optional modular accessories and a choice of sizes to tailor them to specific users. The bags are made in West Melbourne, Florida.

Backpacks of note:

Arc Blast

Arc Scout

Nero


Urban / Everyday

DSPTCH

DSPTCH---best-made-in-the-usa-backpack-brands

DSPTCH is a great example of humble beginnings to global success story. Beginning life in an apartment, their first product (a camera strap) was launched in 2010. They’ve come a long way, with stores in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo and a solid offering of gear that caters to EDC, work, travel, photography and workout carry needs. Products are cut and sewn entirely in the USA, mostly in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Built to be durable, timeless and functional, their gear mixes military inspiration with urban styling and functionality and comes with a lifetime guarantee too.

Backpacks of note:

Daypack

Ruckpack

Bookpack


The Brown Buffalo

Brown-Buffalo---Best-USA-Made-Backpack-Brands

The Brown Buffalo is a carry brand based in California, crafting seriously slick and considered pieces. Founded by our good friend and master designer Douglas Davidson (whose extensive experience includes Burton and The North Face), the brand creates quality, functional pieces for urban everyday and travel needs. The USA-made Conceal Pack is a fine example of understated aesthetics, excellent craftsmanship and practical design that reliably handles work, travel and play requirements.

Backpacks of note:

Conceal


DEFY MFG. Co.

DEFY

DEFY is a brand built on, well, defying expectations. Founder Chris Tag defied remaining in a “safe” but soulless corporate job in favor of venturing into the unknown with the aim of creating a top-notch American manufacturing company. And he’s done just that. The brand defies fast fashion in favor of what they like to call “slow manufacturing” and an appreciation of enduring quality, building their gear by hand in Chicago. Overbuilt to take years of demanding use and keep on thriving, their backpacks feature rugged materials such as Martexin Original Wax Canvas, M35 Military Truck Tarpaulin, and 1000D Ballistic Nylon. Ruggedly suave style, excellent durability and straightforward functionality lets their packs adapt easily to diverse urban settings and needs.

Backpacks of note:

Verbockel 2.0

Bucktown

Theodore


Recycled Firefighter

Recycled Firefighter

Dig into the history behind Recycled Firefighter and you’ll find a pretty darn inspiring story. It was founded by full-time firefighter Jake Starr who wanted additional part-time work he could do from home to support his family. He taught himself to sew and went through hundreds of failed products and prototypes before getting his big break in the carry community through a wallet made from decommissioned fire hose. Countless hours of work month after month (and learning from plenty of mistakes along the way) allowed him to grow the brand. Now Recycled Firefighter offers a range of bags and wallets, made by hand in the USA. The packs are crafted with 1000D Cordura, USA-made hardware and reinforced stitching in high-stress areas. Designed for everyday use and short trips, these tough packs offer an appealing mix of functionality and dependable durability you can count on for years to come.

Backpacks of note:

The Chief

12hr Battalion 

Battalion Duffelpack


Rucksack Village

Rucksack Village

Rucksack Village is a custom carry brand founded by James Kamo. Bags are designed based on a thorough understanding of each user’s carry needs as well as influences from their personalities and preferences. Though James is super busy and the packs are a side project now, there’s still a chance to get your own (just be prepared to wait for the carry goodness).

Backpacks of note:

All custom


Colfax Design Works

Colfax Design Works

Military inspiration meets everyday versatility with Colfax Design Works’ gear. Made with adaptability and durability in mind, CDW bags feature technical fabrics and mil-spec components. All brought together in functional designs that don’t shy away from demanding EDC and travel needs. Their gear is made in small batches, giving nods to modularity and multifunctionality so it’s ready to tackle present and future carry needs equally well.

Backpacks of note:

ADP_39


Remote Equipment

Remote Equipment

Remote Equipment was founded with the goal of creating adaptable gear for urban mobility needs. Gear that could handle active commutes and weekend adventures, embrace the elements, and carry comfortably throughout the day. All while celebrating simplicity and functionality. And while they’re a young brand, it was founded by a designer with over ten years of industry experience. And it shows in their first offering. The Alpha 31 was successfully launched through Kickstarter and is a fine example of technical design honed for everyday use. An impressive debut that has us keen to see future creations by this up-and-coming brand.

Backpacks of note:

Alpha 31


Rickshaw Bagworks

Rickshaw Bagworks

Rickshaw Bagworks are a customizable bag manufacturer based in San Francisco. Founded by Mark Dwight in 2007, Rickshaw Bagworks was born from an appreciation and passion for the maker culture and interaction with customers. But it’s also a brand fully aware that accountability falls on them, driving them to create quality bags and a good employee working environment. Bags are crafted with urban mobility, simple functionality and enduring quality in mind.

Backpacks of note:

Sutro Backpack

Potrero Backpack

Medium Velo Backpack


BaileyWorks

BaileyWorks

BaileyWorks have been in the business of making tough, utilitarian bags since 1993. The brand was inspired by California’s bike messenger culture and their need for rugged, functional bags that could take a beating and keep on performing. Turns out, that kind of bag had widespread appeal beyond bike messengers. So BaileyWorks set out to deliver simple, practical and durable bags for a range of urban carry needs. Over two decades later, you’ll find those design principles haven’t changed. Each bag is made by hand in Newmarket, New Hampshire, and can be customized to suit your particular style and requirements.

Backpacks of note:

The Nomad

Citi Pack


Upcycled

Mafia Bags

Mafia-Bags---Best-USA-Made-Bag-Brands

Mafia Bags got its start in 2012 in Buenos Aires, founded by brother-and-sister team Marcos and Paz Mafia. As a former professional kitesurfer, Marcos came across piles of sails in storage and knew they could be put to new use. The brand expanded to San Francisco in 2014, now their HQ, and has an in-house production facility. Mafia Bags has a strong commitment to sustainability and uses upcycled sails to make their bags, guaranteeing gear with a lifetime warranty. The certified B Corp offers a variety of unique bags for urban carry requirements, including backpacks, duffels, messengers and totes.

Backpacks of note:

Discover

Sail Pack

W-Pack


Truce Designs

Truce Designs

Truce was founded by Luke Mathers, who learned to sew industrial-grade fabrics while crafting boat covers and repairing sails at North Sails Oregon. In 2016 Truce Designs joined the TREW family, an Oregon-based outdoor company. Truce still holds true to its commitment to environmentally responsible design and manufacturing, using reclaimed materials such as sailcloths and drysuit fabrics to create unique bags. Made in Portland, Oregon, and designed to offer high-performance functionality, Truce bags are also backed by a lifetime warranty.

Backpacks of note:

Drop Liner Backpack

Special Edition 34th AC Defending Champion Drop Liner Backpack

Rescue Series Drop Liner Backpack – Orange/Black + Cobra Buckle


Heritage

Bradley Mountain

Bradley-Mountain---Best-USA-made-brands

Heritage-inspired carry has enjoyed a huge resurgence during the past few years. But while plenty of brands jumped on the bandwagon of heritage aesthetics, many toppled off hitting functionality and quality stumbling blocks. Not so with Bradley Mountain. Founded in 2012, the brand aims to inspire adventure not just through travels but in everyday life, crafting gear that embraces whatever the day brings. Bags are designed with a considered mix of functionality and durability in addition to handsome heritage aesthetics. Their bags are made by hand in San Diego, California, and where many other brands have fallen short Bradley Mountain keeps going strong, backing their commitment to long-lasting quality by offering free repairs too.

Backpacks of note:

The Wilder

The Biographer

The Scout


Rivendell Mountain Works

Rivendell Mountain Works

One of the original cottage industry carry brands, RMW was founded in 1971 and has influenced numerous designers and brands within the outdoor industry. While it dropped off the radar in the ’80s, RMW has enjoyed a brand resurgence over the past decade. Staying true to their heritage roots, the brand makes gear by hand through what they like to call a “village” manufacturing process. In addition to the iconic Jensen Pack™ (a true game changer in the carry industry), RMW offers a variety of backpacks to handle outdoor and urban environments alike.

Backpacks of note:

Jensen Pack

Mariposa

Larkspur


Tanner Goods

Tanner Goods

Based in Portland, Oregon, Tanner Goods was founded on the principle of crafting gear that’s worth holding onto. They do this through gear that fuses heritage styling, modern-day functionality, and long-lasting construction that will have you sighing in appreciation. Made for day-to-day and travel needs, the carry range features quality materials such as waxed 18 oz. filter twill canvas and vegetable-tanned leather, brought together in practical and durable designs built to last for years to come.

Backpacks of note:

Wilderness Rucksack

Voyager Daypack


Kletterwerks

kletterwerks-review.---piotr-ma

Kletterwerks was founded by the legendary Dana Gleason in 1975, his first endeavour in pack design and manufacturing. Though the brand stepped off the carry stage for many years, it was resurrected as part of the Mystery Ranch family. While the enduring, simple designs merited a resurrection, there have been new additions (such as padded laptop sleeves) to set these bags up for modern-day use while still retaining their heritage charm.

Backpacks of note:

Flip

Drei Zip


Frost River

Frost River

Born from the need to traverse the terrain of the Northern Wilderness, Frost River builds its gear to withstand just about anything. Handmade in Duluth, Minnesota, their bags are crafted with care and precision, using American-sourced materials, such as Martexin Original Wax Canvas and leather from the SB Foot Tannery. And, the fun part, you’ll never have trouble spotting one from afar. See that brown waxed canvas, chestnut leather and solid brass combo above? That’s the signature vibe, and they darn well stick to it.

Backpacks of note:

Summit Expedition Pack

Isle Royale Bushcraft Packs

Arrowhead Trail Rolltop


Filson

Filson

When you think of heritage-style carry, Filson’s name always crop ups. Not surprising when you consider they’ve been creating quality gear for demanding outdoor use since 1897. The brand has a manufacturing facility in their Seattle HQ (which you can tour) and backs its gear with a lifetime guarantee. Pore over their packs and you’ll find hard-wearing, functional pieces that accommodate work, travel, outdoor and everyday needs.

Backpacks of note:

Journeyman

Rugged Twill Rucksack

Tin Cloth Backpack


Topo Designs

Topo Designs

Founded in 2008, Topo Designs was born in a basement in Fort Collins (and continues to make a lot of bags in Colorado) but now enjoys a global fan base. They set themselves apart in the industry by finding that sweet spot between urban and outdoor functionality. Rather than making you choose the city or the wilderness Topo gear embraces both, balancing heritage style with fun and modern practicality. You’ll find designs catering for everything from day hikes to work commutes to weekend getaways, all backed by a lifetime warranty.

Backpacks of note:

Klettersack

Daypack

Rover Pack


Luxe

KILLSPENCER

KILLSPENCER

Founded by Spencer Nikosey, KILLSPENCER have been crafting covet-worthy carry since 2009. A suave mix of clean styling, premium materials and excellent construction ensures low-key luxury in every piece. But the Los Angeles brand puts a focus on utility too, so their California-made pieces don’t just look good but perform reliably day in and day out. Their range of fashion-friendly yet functional packs are well suited to work and everyday use in urban settings, featuring chic silhouettes and quality materials such as premium full-grain leather, waxed canvas, and fire retardant and weatherproof nylon.

Backpacks of note:

Special Ops Backpack 3.0

Daypack

Utility Daypack


Lotuff Leather

Lotuff Leather

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Lotuff Leather crafts uber-luxurious leather carry pieces by hand. Many of the team members are artists who create Lotuff’s meticulously crafted pieces – pieces that nail that appealing balance of luxe style and everyday functionality. Each piece is backed by a lifetime guarantee and features premium vegetable-tanned leather.

Backpacks of note:

Leather Zipper Backpack

Leather Knapsack

Leather Backpack


Outlier

Outlier---best-made-in-the-usa-backpack-brands

Brooklyn-based Outlier stand out from the crowd through their commitment to innovative, technical apparel and fabric experimentation, but check out their carry offerings and you’ll find them impressive too. Pieces such as the Ultrahigh Dufflepack, Ultrahigh Duffle and Ultrahigh Backpack have delivered eye-catching modern aesthetics with premium technical fabrics. Made in small batches, their bags sell out fast, so keep an eye out. One better, sign up to their newsletter to be one of the first to know.

Backpacks of note:

Ultrahigh Rolltop

Ultrahigh Dufflepack


Travel

Tom Bihn

Tom Bihn

Tom Bihn combines over three decades of design experience (four if you consider the founder has been making bags since 1972) with a dedication to eco-conscious production and a rad company philosophy (that they actually genuinely follow). Their gear is known for its functionality and durability and is made in their Seattle factory (you can also visit the factory showroom). Tom Bihn’s travel backpacks handle diverse needs and trips, from outdoor excursions to urban carry-on use. But they also make a variety of other packs that handle work and EDC needs. All backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Backpacks of note:

Synapse 25

Aeronaut 45

The Guide’s Pack


Red Oxx

Red Oxx

Red Oxx makes some of the burliest travel bags out there, backed by their legendary “No Bull” lifetime warranty. The bags exude a military level of toughness and dependability (not surprising since the founder and current CEO both have military backgrounds). Wherever you’re going, these bags will get there and back again, multiple times over. Their bags are made by hand in Billings, Montana, using trusty 1000D Cordura, rugged #10 YKK zippers and reinforced stitching for dependable durability.

Backpacks of note:

Sky Train

Tres Hombres

C-ruck Carry-on Rucksack

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