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The 25 Best Everyday Carry Backpacks of 2023

Photo: Mission Workshop The Rhake VX Backpack

When it comes to gear of any type, everyday carry or otherwise, the bag category is one of the most ubiquitous. After all, most humans need a means of transporting items from one place to another — be that your mobile technology, school books, food, supplies, or whatever else. And there’s no denying the usefulness of a traditional backpack therein. In fact, backpacks are probably one of the most commonly available pieces of EDC gear, second perhaps only to wallets.

That can be both good and bad news. It’s good news in the sense that — no matter your lifestyle, preferences, desires, and budget — there’s a perfect backpack out there somewhere for you. It’s bad news in the sense that the sheer number of options can be exceedingly overwhelming, to the point that you might not know where to start. Well, we did the heavy lifting for you in that regard, so strap in and have a gander at our list of the best everyday carry backpacks for men. Whether you’re a city slicker with a flair for technology or a mountain man hoofing it from cabin to campfire, you’ll find the ideal bag for your daily life here.

Video Guide: 5 Best EDC Backpacks

Try as we might, it’s impossible to convey the complexity of these bags in writing. Check out our best EDC backpack video review for a closer look at our favorites.

The Best

Our Preferred Packs

Goruck GR1

Toughest Pack: In spite of the fact that the GORUCK GR1 has been around for a while, it continues to be one of the best backpacks ever imagined — regardless of the purpose. And our list of the best everyday carry backpacks simply would not be complete without acknowledging this outstanding carry solution. Along with its military-inspired styling and construction, including MOLLE webbing and a ballistic nylon exterior, this backpack also has a signature bombproof (literally) laptop sleeve, a removable frame sheet, plenty of organization, and more. Plus, it’s TSA compliant, making it great for travel, and made in the USA.

Capacity: 21L or 26L
Exterior Material: 1000D Cordura Ballistic Nylon or 500D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $325

Bellroy Classic Backpack

Best Student Pack: For a refined spin on the classic book bag, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Bellroy Classic Backpack. It features a middle-of-the-road 20L capacity — perfect for the average collection of work gear — alongside other impressive additions like a recycled polyester weave construction (go sustainability), a laptop pocket, a soft-lined, water-resistant top pocket, and a built-in key leash for quick access while on the go. Oh, and it’s entirely TSA compliant — should you want to take it traveling.

Capacity: 16L, 20L, or 24L
Exterior Material: Recycled Polyester
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $139

Aer City Pack

Best Minimalist Pack: San Francisco-based baggage specialist Aer is known for its characteristically minimalist backpacks, but the brand outdid even itself with the launch of the City Pack. While it’s a touch smaller than some of our other options at just 14L, it’s packed to the gills with organizational provisions. What’s more, the City Pack comes with some pretty handy features, including a built-in AirTag pocket and a soft-lined top pocket, as well as a contoured back panel and an integrated luggage pass-through.

Capacity: 14L
Exterior Material: 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $149

Black Ember Citadel R2

Best Weatherproof Pack: These days, most backpacks are built with at least some degree of weather resistance; it’s pretty much expected at this point. Never content to sit amongst the pack, however, Black Ember designed the Citadel R2 to be IPX6 waterproof, pairing a unique RF-welded construction with some YKK AquaGuard zippers and Microhex 800D three-layer membrane fabric. And they didn’t stop there; the straps are highly modular — adjustable top and bottom — while the inside boasts some of the best organization that we’ve seen on a bag of this size.

Capacity: 25L
Exterior Material: MICROHEX 800D
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $225

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Best Photography Pack: Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack has roped in numerous accolades in its time, including a Carryology award for the Best Active Backpack — which is certainly something genuine everyday carry enthusiasts will find appealing. Of course, even if it had never been entered into contention, this structured, beautifully-considered, and well-organized backpack would still be a tremendous find. That goes double if you’re interested in photography, as its internal divider system lends itself excellently to photo gear. Of course, you could also use it for anything else, including travel, office tech — really, the list is too long to fit here.

Capacity: 20L or 30L
Exterior Material: DWR-Impregnated, Recycled 400D Nylon Canvas
Laptop Sleeve: 13″-15″

Purchase: $260

The Brown Buffalo ConcealPack 21L

Honorable Mention: Douglas Davidson (the man behind The Brown Buffalo) is an absolute legend in the backpack space, so we just had to include one of his bags in our roundup. In the case of the ConcealPack pictured here, you’re getting a tough 1050D Ballistic Nylon shell, a Dimension-Polyant VX25 and VX21 fabric interior, and ample amounts of velcro to customize your carry. Designed to keep everything safely within its confines, the ConcealPack offers a masterclass in what backpacks can be.

Capacity: 21L
Exterior Material: 1050D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $395

The Rest

Options For Every Kind Of EDC Enthusiast

Jansport Recycled SuperBreak Backpack

JanSport is practically synonymous with backpacks, especially for students, but its offerings sometimes transcend campus usage — as is the case with the Recycled SuperBreak you see before you. While it’s a pretty minimalist backpack, the 16L capacity and dual-compartment design are enough for plenty of folks. But this bag has another bonus: it’s made sustainably from 100% recycled materials, making it a bit more eco-friendly for those who want to remain on the right side of history.

Capacity: 16L
Exterior Material: Recycled Polyester
Laptop Sleeve: No

Purchase: $50

Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack

The Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack, like the JanSport above, is one of the more traditionally-styled bags on our list — albeit this one is a touch more refined and stylish than the former entry. It also has a bevy of other features to help it stand apart, like a larger 22L capacity, a padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve, a waterproof front zipper, and more. And while its bottom and top hoop certainly look like leather, they’re actually synthetic — for all you vegan leather fans out there.

Capacity: 22L
Exterior Material: Polyester & Synthetic Leather
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $78

Timbuk2 Q Backpack 2.0

Timbuk2 was born from the needs of bike messengers in San Francisco, so you can bet they know a thing or two about solid everyday carry backpacks, like the Q Laptop Backpack 2.0 you see before you here. While the Q Backpack already existed, it’s recently been upgraded to the 2.0 version — which takes everything that was great about the original and doubles down on making it better. Now it has a more comprehensive internal organizational scheme, a padded front pocket for a tablet, hideaway storage for your power brick, and an impressive 17″ laptop pocket (one of the biggest we’ve come across).

Capacity: 20L
Exterior Material: Polyester
Laptop Sleeve: 17″

Purchase: $99

Fjallraven Kanken No.2 Backpack

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic and recognizable bags on our list, Fjallraven’s Kanken No. 2 has stolen the hearts of many a keen, trendy explorer. And while its popularity might deter some, we’d suggest taking another gander because this backpack definitely deserves its widespread recognition. Available in a multitude of smart, vibrant colorways, this pack boasts a sustainable canvas construction, weatherproofing, and has a manageable/pared-down 16L capacity — including space for a laptop of up to 15 inches.

Capacity: 16L
Exterior Material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $129

Topo Designs Rover Pack Tech

Topo’s Rover Pack is already one of our favorite backpacks, but when the brand released the Tech edition, we knew we were in for an EDC treat. It still has all the hallmarks of the original — including its flip-top closure, compression straps, and rectangular silhouette — but now it’s crafted from 1000D nylon, comes with an externally accessible laptop sleeve, features weatherproof zippers, and even has attachment points at the front for modular additions (like a bike light, carabiner clip, etc.). And you have your pick of four handsome colorways, too.

Capacity: 24.3L
Exterior Material: 1000D Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $129

Chrome Industries Urban Ex 2.0 Rolltop Backpack

One of the troubles with city commuting via a bicycle or public transport is that there are some times when you’re inevitably going to be exposed to the elements. And while you could don a jacket to stay warm and dry, your backpack will still be exposed. That’s why we’d suggest, if that lifestyle applies to you, to pick up the Chrome Industries Urban Ex 2.0 you see here. This expandable rolltop backpack is perfect for everyday carry, as it boasts plenty of internal room (which can be adjusted based on your load), a travel-friendly secure closure, and its exterior and welded seams are completely waterproof.

Capacity: 30L
Exterior Material: PU-Coated 600D Polyester
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $145

Incase ICON Slim Backpack

The Incase ICON is one of the best bags around, especially when it comes to short-form travel. However, for everyday usage, we actually prefer the pared-down Slim version, as you see here. It boasts many of the same features, but in a more svelte 16L capacity that’s a bit more conducive to day-to-day life. That includes things like a polyester-based Woolenex exterior (which is naturally weather-resistant), a fully-padded and faux-fur-lined laptop sleeve and separate glasses pocket, and plenty of unique organizational compartments accessible both inside and out.

Capacity: 14.5L
Exterior Material: Polyester
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $149

The North Face Kaban 2.0

Version 2.0 of TNF’s beloved Kaban backpack brings with it some important updates. Along with gaining an extra 3L of capacity, it also boasts improved back panel padding, a built-in luggage pass-through, as well as a new side grab handle and some added interior organization. Of course, the original was already a stellar backpack, so the Kaban 2.0 retains things like its dual water bottle pockets, 15″ laptop compartment, and reflective logos for visibility. Students can’t seem to get enough of this bag, and it’s easy to see why when you dig into all that it has to offer.

Capacity: 27L
Exterior Material: 1680D Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $149

DSPTCH Ridge Pack

DSPTCH may have gotten its start producing camera straps, but the California-based design studio has been quick to expand its offerings such that, these days, it makes everything from keychains to face coverings. With the Ridge Pack we’ve included here, the brand has engineered a simple, streamlined silhouette based around an ultra-light shell-style closure. Inside its eye-catching Dot Grid shell, the bag comes with a 16″ padded laptop sleeve and a small document pocket. Accordingly, DSPTCH has fitted the Ridge Pack with a series of MOLLE webbing loops that makes fitting modular storage setups quick and convenient.

Capacity: 18L
Exterior Material: 420D Nylon/Poly
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $168

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault Pack

Proof positive that tactical features can be beautifully integrated into more everyday carry-friendly gear, Mystery Ranch’s Urban Assault Pack looks like it belongs in the city but has features you might likelier find in a battlefield-born bag. For starters, it comes with a rugged Cordura nylon exterior — imbuing it with a measure of weatherproofing, as well as puncture and slash resistance. It also has a plastic frame sheet to give it structure, a full-opening triple-zip main compartment (ideal for speedy access, as well as compartmental organization), and more. Of course, it also has city-friendly additions, like water bottle and laptop pockets, too.

Capacity: 24L
Exterior Material: 500D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $179

Arktype Dashpack II

For many folks, a loadout of everyday carry gear and work supplies need not eclipse the high-liter mark — making a bag like the Arktype Dashpack II (with its compact 15L capacity) a much better option than much of its competition. Small, however, does not mean sacrificing quality or toughness. You see, this USA-made backpack is built from sturdy DWR-coated 1680D ballistic nylon, putting it in the same vein as some of the best tactical bags around and giving it a wide variety of resistances and durabilities. It also boasts a stellar internal organizational system that’s even tech-friendly, with both a dedicated laptop pocket and a tablet sleeve. And those are just some of the many, many excellent features.

Capacity: 15L
Exterior Material: 1680D DWR Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $198

Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Backpack

Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 Backpack. And we mean that as literally as we can, because the brand built this backpack to be used in the city, office, trails, commuting, and everywhere in-between. And while it comes standard with much of the features you’d expect from a backpack of this nature, it also boasts some of the most customizable options of any on our list — including over a dozen different color combinations, two different exterior materials, and two optional organizational inclusions. But what really makes this bag stand apart is that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Capacity: 19L
Exterior Material: 525D Ballistic Nylon or 400D Halcyon
Laptop Sleeve: Up to 13″ (Optional)

Purchase: $210

Aer Tech Pack 2

Technology has become so ubiquitous in daily life that it’s actually kind of hard to find a profession that doesn’t call for it on some level. As such, getting an everyday backpack that’s uniquely designed for housing all that tech is a pretty damn good idea, especially if the bag in question is the Aer Tech Pack 2. Crafted specifically to carry and protect your laptop, tablet, and all the accessories you’d need in your daily life, this bag boasts a useful internal organizational scheme (with a manageable 17L capacity), a ballistic nylon exterior that’s tough as nails, and a PU-coated front to keep everything inside even more protected from the elements.

Capacity: 17L
Exterior Material: PU-Coated 840D Nylon & 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $210

Filson Dryden Ballistic Nylon Backpack

If you’re the type to appreciate heritage styling, but you still want a bag with modern sensibilities, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Filson Dryden Ballistic Nylon Backpack you see here. It might look like something to have been passed down for multiple generations, but it’s actually made from super-durable state-of-the-art Cordura ballistic nylon (as the name suggests). Furthermore, it comes with a padded 15″ laptop pocket (accessible from outside), top-grain leather accents and zipper pulls, and a padded back and straps for all-day comfort.

Capacity: 25.5L
Exterior Material: 1000D Cordura Ballistic Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $225

Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L V2

After proving their mettle at GORUCK and Patagonia, Jack Barly and Kevin Dee decided it was high time that they start a backpack project of their own: Evergoods. Out of their combined experience arrive top-quality bags like the CPL24, a super-streamlined everyday city option filled with features galore. Carry-on compliant, it sports an asymmetrical laptop holder, Zote foam shoulder straps, and an internal harness system — amongst many other unique offerings. Honestly, the pack has so much going on, that the only way to truly appreciate its design is to get it in your hands (or on your back).

Capacity: 24L
Exterior Material: 500d High Tenacity Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 17″

Purchase: $259

Defy Bucktown Project Hybrid Backpack

Named for the neighborhood in Chicago that DEFY calls home, the Bucktown Backpack is an exceptional piece of everyday carry gear in any form. We’re just fonder of this extra-special Project Hybrid version, which takes everything great about the other versions and gives the whole package a marvelous boost by incorporating a hybrid construction of ballistic nylon and genuine mil-spec M35 truck tarpaulin (the same material used to cover combat transports). It still has a 23L capacity, heavy-duty hardware, a 15″ laptop sleeve, and so much more on top of everything else.

Capacity: 23L
Exterior Material: 1050D Ballistic Nylon & M35 Military Truck Tarpaulin
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $289

T.A.D. Axiom Pack

With so many great offerings to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down T.A.D’s offerings to just one solid EDC backpack. However, we’re entirely confident in the Axiom Pack you see here. Recently redesigned in 2020 with 13 exceptional updates, this pack is built from VX-21 Dimension Polyant material and comes equipped with weatherproof zippers, six different modular attachment points (PALS, Helix, etc.), plenty of internal storage (including dedicated laptop and tablet slots), and so much more. Oh yeah, and it’s made in the USA.

Capacity: 24L
Exterior Material: VX-21 Dimension Polyant
Laptop Sleeve: 16″

Purchase: $365+

Mission Workshop The Rhake VX Backpack

Cyclists and commuters can sometimes have a rough go of things while in transit from one place to another, but those journeys are much more manageable if you utilize the unrivaled Mission Workshop Rhake backpack as your go-to carry solution. It’s cleverly designed with organization for your laptop computer, iPad, phone, chargers, keys, sunglasses, water bottle, and more. And it’s entirely weatherproof to ensure that everything you stash inside of it stays safe and dry, regardless of what the conditions are like outside.

Capacity: 22L
Exterior Material: VX-21 Dimension Polyant
Laptop Sleeve: 17″

Purchase: $475

Killspencer Utility Backpack

If you’re a fan of traditionally-styled bookbags, like those made by JanSport and Herschel, but your pockets are a good deal deeper than necessary, you can have all that same styling in a much more elevated package with the Killspencer Utility Backpack. Made in the USA from premium Italian leather and nylon (and accented with 4,000lb test mil-spec webbing), this pack also has a handy internal organizational scheme — including a padded, externally-accessible laptop pocket capable of holding up to a 15″ MacBook Pro.

Capacity: 21.3L
Exterior Material: Italian Leather & Nylon
Laptop Sleeve: 15″

Purchase: $895

*Additional Contributions by Sean Tirman

The Best Travel Backpacks

While these backpacks make the perfect choice for a dependable daily companion, they’re not necessarily the best for jet-setting around the world. Should you be after an airplane-friendly alternative, head on over to our guide to the best travel backpacks. They’re sure to inspire some wanderlust.