- Buyer's Guide
Best Work Backpack – The Sixth Annual Carry Awards
Over the years, we’ve witnessed Aer spark and grow, from Kickstarter brand to industry powerhouse. Somehow reinventing that ‘secret sauce’ that inspires people, and puts bags on shoulders, season after season. But when you dig down, ‘the sauce’ is simple really, they stick to their core values. Creating simple, minimalist and functional bags for urban environments – and it’s undeniably effective.
And when they released their Work Collection earlier this year, users across the globe, from urban cats to office creatives, embraced its super clean lines and honed functionality.
The key piece from the collection, the Aer Day Pack measures a perfect balance of size and chic style, moving effortlessly from work to play. But peek beneath the surface and you’ll find more than just attractive aesthetics here. Two separate compartments and thoughtfully positioned pockets do away with rummaging for gear and surrendering smaller items to the recesses of your bag. And the nifty self-standing design gives you a mobile workstation with ready access wherever the day takes you. Since you never know when unexpected showers may spring on you, the water-resistant build adds welcome peace of mind too.
Creating minimalist carry that still retains everyday functionality is not easy. And doing it to the quality level that Aer has achieved is impressive. Factor in the price point here too, and its ‘value proposition’ is off the charts.
Massive respect, Aer, you’ve done it again!
These are the pieces that just missed out, and in most cases, by the smallest of margins. To them, we award a High Commendation. The below were of outstanding quality, displaying fine craftsmanship and design flair. With honor, we bow our heads in the utmost respect and kudos. If this were a dais, they’d be biting their teeth into silver medals, while their flags were hoisted into the horizon – a feat not to be overlooked. And we’re sure they’ll be back, to take it one notch higher, next year.
Carry needs change, not just from day to day, but sometimes from hour to hour. A lot of bags simply can’t keep up. But rather than holding you back, Bellroy’s Duo Totepack embraces this change. Clever functionality and smart, urban-friendly style come together in a bag that breezes from the week to the weekend, zipping along the daily commute one minute and bringing considered functionality to client meetings the next. How does it do it? First up, two carry modes. Carry it as a tote when you need to keep things more formal, or sling it over your shoulders as a backpack when it’s time to cover ground. And because no one wants to waste time searching through cluttered chaos, the bag features thoughtfully positioned pockets for your tech, tools, EDC essentials and quick-access items.
Of course, sometimes you just need more space for an extra workload or outer layer. And Bellroy’s got your back there too, building in easy expandability that makes carrying some additional gear a snap. Flexible in form, refined in details, and intuitively designed for everyday functionality, the Duo Totepack nails it. Crafted for folks who love gear that works hard day in and day out, letting you do more while carrying less. Take a bow, Bellroy. You’ve earned it.
Arc’teryx have built a reputation for technical prowess and quality. And their Veilance line takes this to the next level. The updated Nomin is designed for users who require outstanding technical utility combined with urban minimalism. Yes, it costs a pretty penny. But this is backpack construction at its pinnacle. Made in Canada with AC2 Plain Weave Nylon Urethane Laminate, taped seams and WaterTight™ exterior zippers, this pack offers superior weatherproof craftsmanship. Incredibly durable but kind to clothing, it’s the best of both worlds.
Its stealth-chic looks bring understated professionalism to work environments. The design offers updates such as a more oval silhouette compared to the boxier original, along with revamped laptop storage, a top pocket for storing quick-access items, and shoulder strap updates. This is very much a pack for users who don’t require a lot of inbuilt organization, but do want a bag that will withstand demanding use. A bag where the construction quality ranks with the best of the best, the aesthetics are the definition of elegant minimalism (and X-factor), and the low-key versatility moves between formal and informal settings alike. Bravo, Arc’teryx!