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Buyers Guide

Buyer’s Guide – Work Backpacks

by , December 5, 2012

Ahhh, Buyer’s Guides… These are posts when we get to step back and think about all the amazing bags we monitor and review, picking out some of our favorites.

In a similar vein to our Work Messengers, a good Work Backpack should look appropriate in the work environment, carry your work tools, and perform well getting to and from work.

More specifically, it should take a laptop (and/or tablet computer), some tech, a change of clothes, and be comfortable enough on a ride to work. It should travel well on a plane trip, and generally not look like you’ve only just graduated from school. In fact, it shouldn’t look too much of anything, otherwise it references your life outside of work too much, rather than showing your respect to the workplace.

Oh, and there has to be a touch of sex appeal. Too many work bags are nothing but synthetic geek.

Following are some of our favorites. Anything with an [R] has been previously reviewed by our team…

Haglöfs Connect


For anyone that mountain hops, you will have seen countless traveling Swedes ducking ropes and poaching freshies wearing this cult local brand. While better known for their ski and snowboard packs, they also make a mean work bag. Very similar to the Arc’teryx Blade packs, the Haglöfs feels just a touch simpler.

Interested? Buy it now.

Incase Premium Backpack


When Incase first released their Nylon backpack, it got our attention as a refined and dialed work pack. With price pressure and an evolving edit, this pack was gradually de-tuned and simplified, but we finally see its heir re-emerge to fill the gap. The Premium has the right amount of sections, pockets and organising for most work needs. It won’t get attention, but that’s kinda the point.

Interested? Buy it now.

KILLSPENCER Utility Backpack


We wanted to include something worth a little more coin, so it was going to be something like Visvim or Haerfest. We feel that the KILLSPENCER just gets the vibe better for an office space, and the newer versions of their Utility backpack add just the right level of organising. This is a playfully naive silhouette, beautifully finished with just the right level of personality. We like the waxed canvas the most.

Interested? Buy it now.

(R) Gravis Metro


One of our favorite value packs might start to disappear from much of the world, as Burton contracts their Gravis brand into just a Japan and Asia-Pacific focused brand. Tough luck for most of you, as we love our Metros, and will continue to talk up its strengths.

Interested? Buy it now.

(R) Chrome Ivan


While there are packs with more features and more dialed functionality, there are few that look as interesting and dialed as the Ivan (and its smaller sibling). One of the first cycle roll-tops in this format, it’s a classic pack with lasting appeal.

Interested? Buy it now.

Côte&Ciel Isar


The Saab of the carry world, Cote&Ciel love rocking to a different beat. And just as it’s architects that embraced Saab, we find architects and office creatives that love C&C. Cool enough to rock it, but geeky enough to froth on the design quirks, we’re stoked that these guys continue to bring new formats and ideas into the carry world.

Interested? Buy it now.

(R) MW Fitzroy (and VX)


While we love the MW Vandal as a versatile travel pack, we think the Fitzroy format is simpler and works better for the day to day of a work bag. It’s water-resistant, reasonably versatile, and attractive. You might need additional organising pouches, but it has the basics covered. The VX adds a more premium feel if that’s your thing.

Interested? Buy it now.

(R) Goruck GR1


The GR1 looks good pretty much anywhere doing anything. And with a dialed system of pockets and attachments, you can make it function at pretty much any level you care for. It doesn’t have the same weatherproofing of the bike packs, but will perform across a range of tasks for generations to come.

Interested? Buy it now.

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