Top 5 Best Men's Backpacks (**2020 Edition**)
Looking for a great backpack?
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A backpack is the best thing that will get you from point A to B easily and efficiently if you are going to work, hiking or traveling.
The only problem is that it is hard to find one that’ll last.
It is common to spend money on a backpack that lasts about a month before it falls apart.
Be it the weight of your laptop or unexpected rain or a lost wallet due to a hidden hole or soaking wet documents from a backpack that isn’t actually waterproof.
Besides poor construction, many backpacks on the market don’t have your back—they may ache your back, shoulders, or neck after you commute or travel with them.
You shouldn’t have to spend additional money at the chiropractor just because your bag decided to hurt you.
So we’ve gone ahead and rounded up 5 backpacks that will carry you a long way.
But first, let’s go over the basics.
My Favorite Backpacks in a Short List!
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick recap of our favorites. Got 5 minutes? Keep reading to learn about what makes for a good backpack for men.
What Do You Need To Know About Backpacks?
Imagine, just a few years ago, backpacks were reserved for school kids to pack their books, lunchables and Pokémon cards; or backpackers.
They were much too functional and practical to be considered fashionable or respectable (wearing one everyday seemed like an admission that you’ve just given up in life).
But now, in 2018, these practical bags are fashionable and are considered the gold standard. Those same people who shunned the idea of wearing one are the same ones wearing them proudly at fashion weeks all over the world.
And it’s not just luxury backpacks that fashionistas are parading, the everyday backpack is in style too. Many men are choosing them today to use day-to-day.
They are trendy today because of the large need for a practical bag that has a good design and an affordable price. People need backpacks that are functional, look good and makes them want to rock one. And that hadn’t existed before.
People are also more on the move now than ever before. And they have a lot of things to carry around like electronics, gym wear, books, etc. Indeed, we live in a more commuting culture than ever before. People need bags for whatever they are doing.
Backpacks are a versatile fashion piece that you can put all your essentials in and more. It has got you covered for any activity—be it going to work, gym, hiking, the city for a day.
So, are you in the market for a functional and fashionable backpack? If so, here’s what you should be looking out for.
What Should You Look For In A Backpack?
Instead of choosing the first backpack you see, you need to find one that will meet every single need of yours and more. Similar to a book, you can’t just a bag by its looks.
And yes, you want something that goes well with your personal style, but just because something looks good on the outside, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to meet all your needs and expectations when you zip it open. So again, you shouldn’t just a backpack by it’s cover.
Most of us have bought a high-end backpack only to regret our purchase quickly because it didn’t live up to our expectations.
You need to pick a bag that goes well with your lifestyle. For example, a gym-goer needs a backpack they can take from work to the gym with enough space for their trainers.
Just like a cyclist needs a backpack that won’t slow them down or make them more sweaty on their ride. If you’re an outdoors person, you also need a backpack that has enough pockets and storage room for all of your gadgets to get you through the days out in nature. If you're a sailor, you'll need something a little more waterproof.
Indeed, backpacks are not a one-size-fits-all—we all need the perfect bag for every scenario.
To recap, you need a backpack that is both practical for your lifestyle and looks and feels great.
The Quality and Durability of a Backpack Matters
Arguably the most important feature of a backpack is the quality and durability of the bag. The backpack is an accessory that you should be able to rely on in all scenarios.
You should look at size and functionality, depending on what you’re going to be using it for, where you are going, and what you are carrying. Once you narrow all those down, you can then choose a style that best suits your personality.
Keep in mind that it’s a practical bag you’re looking for as well. Look for features like laptop pockets, key clips and air mesh straps. The details are important.
Picking the wrong backpack means that you are stuck with an awkward and uncomfortable bag all day long.
Color Of Your Backpack
Most backpacks come in black but you can find them in a variety of colors. Even a bright yellow backpack could work for you if it suits your style.
When choosing a color, focus on which color matches your dress sense as opposed to whether the backpack looks good on its own.
That is because backpacks can take up to 50 percent of the visual space on your body so if you use a bright yellow backpack with your business suit, it will stand out and not in the way you intended it to.
On the other hand, if you wear black to work, you can get away with a lot of different colors as long as they match the other accents of your outfit. So if you like black, go with a black or grey backpack as those colors will match with pretty much anything.
Also consider that most jobs allow you to wear business casual or casual clothes so color may not be too much of an issue for you. A grey backpack may work just fine in that case. That is because grey usually matches with everything without causing much of a contrast like black would. Darker greys like charcoal work great.
Of course, if you want color, go for it. But before you do, take a look at basic color theory so you can find something that can work well with your style.
Strap Comfort Is Important
We have arguably all worn a backpack that sagged on our back and never really rested as nicely as we wanted it to.
Padding helps but backpacks often sag because of the way their straps are sewn onto the bag. Adjustable straps also help (so don’t buy a backpack with no adjustable strap, most have adjustable straps anyway) in that scenario but you should really pay attention to how the bag is constructed.
Despite having adjustable straps, the straps usually loosen with use and you’ll have to readjust them often. To ensure that you get the comfortable fit every time, mark the straps where they’re most comfortable.
First, fill the backpack up with your day-to-day items, put it on your back and then adjust the straps to the point where you feel most comfortable when walking around. Before you take the backpack off, mark the location of the straps with a marker.
You should definitely do that if you have a bag already. However, if you’re looking for a new one, pay attention to how the straps are sewn into the top of the backpack. If the straps look like they were just sewn on and hang off the top of the bag, they will surely loosen at the seams with time and could cause that sagging problem we are all too familiar with.
However, if the straps look like they were folded in first before being sewn on, you will get better support from that backpack.
Backpacks with nice straps will cost you a bit more but it’s worth the price for your back in the long run.
Organization Matters a Lot
The average backpack has front pockets for quick access coupled with a large empty space to put whatever you want in it. That works well for most people.
But some of us like a bit more organization. So, before you choose a backpack with useful storage spaces and pockets, consider what works best for you.
Tiny pockets do sound great but do you carry anything around that fits well into them? Perhaps you carry things like note cards, hard drives, business cards and such. In that case, you’d need a bag with pockets and spaces of all shapes and sizes.
To figure out what you need, it might be helpful for you to put all your pocketable objects on a piece of paper and trace all those shapes. That will give you a visual representation of what you need.
You can take the paper with you when shopping for a new backpack to see if the pockets will suit your needs.
You can also put out your pocketable items on a table and take a photo. You may not be able to match it up when you go backpack shopping like you would when you draw out all the shapes, but you’d at least have a reference for what you plan to store in your new backpack.
Consider Quick Access Pockets (QAPs)
QAPs are great for when you need something and it’s a quick zip away. You don’t have to dig deep in your bag to find what you’re looking for. Too many small pockets sometimes cause problems but you won’t find a lot of bags with too few quick methods to getting your fave stuff.
Take a close look at the size of the QAPs on the backpack you plan to buy. If the pocket is too spacious, it might be hard for you to get your hand inside your bag and your small items might get lost in it.
Look for backpacks that have the QAP inside of the bag with one zipper to access it. Generally avoid backpacks with the QAPs in the posterior (the part of the backpack that lies against your back) as the contents would lay right against your back, making the backpack feel bumpy or stiff.
Look out for backpacks with QAPs on the sides of the backpack as you can easily access them while wearing your backpack.
Consider Padding As Well
When you put everything you need for the day in your backpack, you want it to feel good against your back. When you go shopping, you don’t squeeze all your items in a thin plastic bag as the bag could break as you’re walking home. That’s why you should look for backpacks with padding.
You don’t need a lot of padding to make your back feel better and you can easily find out how much padding works for you. When you fill up the backpack and it doesn’t lose its form against your back, that’s the right amount of padding.
That being said, you should also consider the type of padding as well. Backpacks can create a considerable amount of heat against the body, especially if you have electronics in it, and you don’t want to walk into the office with damp or sweaty clothing.
Although there is not much you can do about that, a breathable mesh can help. Look for holes when looking for the best padding in a backpack. Puffy padding with holes are usually the way to go.
Most importantly, pick a bag that makes you happy—one that you like. Don’t stress too much about finding the perfect bag cause that doesn’t exist. Make the experience fun and pick something that you’d enjoy.
Here are 5 of my favorite backpacks for men.
5 of My Favorite Backpacks For Most Men
This comfortable and stylish Timbuk2 Spire backpack is great for cyclists. It has a ventilated back panel so you won’t have an overly sweaty back when you get to your destination.
It may look small but it is quite functional: it has front zip pockets, a large main compartment and an internal organizer. So it can hold your electronics, chargers and clothes with some room to spare.
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Keep in mind that this backpack is designed to hold Apple products so it might not work for you if you have other products of different dimensions or if you’re not a cyclist.
It has a storage strap on the exterior for U-lock bike locks. So if you’re a cyclist, this water-resistant backpack is a great fit.
The North Face Borealis backpack was made with travelers in mind. The backpack is highly functional but doesn’t compromise style. The shoulder straps are padded and the back panel provides increased back support which makes it great for weekend travel.
It has a large main compartment that can fit your clothes, shoes, toiletries and whatever else you need for a weekend getaway. The main compartment also has a 15-inch laptop sleep so you can carry along your computer while the front stash pocket can fit your quickly accessible items.
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The should straps are quite narrow so if you’re in any other position besides upright, they may rub on your neck. Something to consider if you’re cycling or doing any activity that involves different postures.
Carhartt is known for quality—they have been producing quality workwear and accessories for over a century. This backpack is no different.
It has 30 liters of internal storage, a secondary external zippered QAP (remember what we said earlier about QAPs with zippers?), a DWR-coated polyester exterior and a separate laptop pouch and tablet sleeve.
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It appears to have everything you need for an everyday backpack. Any man would be able to use this one for work, travel and leisure.
The only downside seems to be that the bag is smaller than it looks and also has relatively short straps.
This Herschel Supply Co. backpack is perfect for any man looking for an everyday functional backpack that is stylish. It has a faux leather strap and a belt buckle-style flip top closure, which unfortunately does not have the advantage of being accessed quickly. So it can be a little tricky.
Consider also that the flip top closure functions with a drawstring magnetic snap. So, it’s not that easy to access your stuff like other bags but it helps with keeping your stuff safe from pickpockets.
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The bag is very durable and visually appealing. It has red stripes in the interior to compliment the black exterior of the bag. The straps look quite durable and comfortable so perhaps you won’t experience a saggy back with this one.
The great thing about this Vaschy backpack is that it is water resistant and is designed for both heavy duty use and light use.
It is constructed of polyester and has quite a lot of pockets for all sorts of items: a large outer pocket, four interior pockets, a zippered back pocket and two water bottle pockets. It also has a padded interior compartment for a 15-inch laptop. It can carry up to 32 liters.
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It comes in multiple colors including black, grey and blue so you have options that could suit your style.
The closures for the flaps are modified magnets so they are not very secure. Many people who own the bag complained of the magnets falling off after a few weeks of use. Some were however able to get the bag replaced under warranty.
Backpacks are one of the hardest accessories to shop for. Indeed, it can be hard to find one that is durable, quality, stylish and meets all other specifications.
We hope this list has made your backpack shopping a whole lot easier.
Share your experiences on finding the “perfect” backpack below. We’d love to hear all about it!
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