For all the frills and thrills innovative backpacks can offer these days, the overarching premise remains the same. That is, a convenient and comfortable means through which to keep your personal items safe and sound while in transit. It’s also no secret that different variations of backpacks pertain to different activities; from hiking to backpacking to daily motorcycle commutes. It’s with the stylish urban commuters, however, that we find striking examples of the age-old testament that less is more.
So, within this ethos, we decided to handpick a selection of the finest minimalist backpacks around today. Some, of course, are larger than others. Some more expensive than others. However, everything included in this list of the 25 best minimalist backpacks all adheres to a similar clean design that’s both sleek in appearance yet utilitarian in nature. Just take a look through and match one to your personal wants, needs, and expectations.
Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack
Built out as a minimalist daypack for hiking expeditions, the Tom Bihn daylight is a USA-made ultralight option for hitting the outdoors. Features include YKK zippers with plastic sliders, top-shelf U.S. webbing backpack straps, and a 420D nylon ripstop exterior. Be it in the open country or commuting to work in the am, this a surefire go-to minimalist bag without a doubt.
Dims: 17.3” x 11.8 x 5.1”
Incase City Collection Backpack
As a sleek alternative to carrying a messenger bag to work, Incase’s City Collection is built for the urban commute without a doubt. Each handsome piece is made with a blended weave polyester, is built right here in the USA, boasts a laptop sleeve that’s compatible with a 17-inch computer, and adjustable shoulder straps complete with an air mesh padding allows you to comfortably haul all that weight without the shoulder pain associated with lesser-quality options.
Dims: 20” x 13.4 x 5”
Rains Backpack in Smoke
With a handsome matte finish and a smoke colorway to help add to the subtle nature of the bag, Rains did a fantastic job of bringing it all together with this release. It’s a bit smaller than most, but if you’re into lighter carry then it would behoove you to give this offering a second look. Features include a main compartment with carabiner and magnetic closures, an interior zip pocket, and exterior zip pocket in back. Adjustable straps also add an element of comfort to the piece as well.
Dims: 19.7” x 11” x 3.5”
Heimplanet Monolith Minimal Daypack
Boasting a minimalist design at its very core, the Heimplanet Monolith hides its functionality quite well. First of all, this is one durable bag thanks to its construction built from 500D Cordura. There are also three lower pockets kept shut by PU-coated and weather-resistant YKK zippers and inside the bag lies a MOLLE organization grid to keep your small carry items in check no matter what. An ideal bag for stylish individuals with just the right amount of utilitarian value.
Dims: 19” x 12.6” x 5.9”
The North Face Kaban
There was no question whether or not we were going to include The North Face in this roundup. Especially with the Kaban available. In short, this sleek commuter backpack is a high-end essential carry item for both gear and gadgets. It features two-side water bottle pockets for secure storage, multiple zippered pockets for a myriad of safe and secure storage options, and FlexVent shoulders to keep things as comfortable as can be wherever the road may lead.
Dims: 19” x 13” x 6”
Chrome Industries Urban Ex Daypack
Built with purpose for the city, the Urban Ex Daypack can handle just about any obstacle thrown its way. Each bag is built with a lightweight Knurled Welded construction that works to keep any and all gear dry in even the wildest of weather. Couple that with a wide-opening zip top, a quick access u-lock, water bottle and wallet compartments, and you have a match made in the concrete jungle.
Dims: 18” x 11.4” x 6”
AER Fit Pack 2
As a continuation of their original Fit Pack, AER’s new Fit Pack 2 is the ideal work/gym bag built for commuters. It’s all thanks to a generous amount of internal space for organization, a separate section for EDC gear, a laptop sleeve, and even an isolated/ventilated shoe compartment the can fit up to a men’s size 13 without an ounce of worry. To top it all off, each Fit Pack 2 is built with durable water-resistant 1680D Cordura nylon to leave a lasting impression.
Dims: 18.5” x 12.5” x 8”
Herschel Studio Tarpaulin Settlement
Any fan of forest green is sure to be in for a treat here. As a minimal water-resistant option that keeps things both stylish and dry, this zip-around backpack features a plethora of useful features for the commuter. For instance, how do waterproof zippers, adjustable seatbelt webbing straps, an air mesh padded seat panel and shoulder straps sound? It’s also made with high-quality tarpaulin and is a simple yet highly useful daypack to consider for short trips.
Dims: 17.75” x 12.25” x 5.75”
Bellroy Classic Backpack
From the famed brand that brought us slim and minimalist wallets comes a handsome minimalist backpack complete with a classic silhouette. Here, each Bellroy Backpack boasts an exterior construction of environmentally-certified leather and venture-weave polyester. There’s also a convenient pouch for a laptop, iPad pocket, and quick access pockets to protect various valuables while on the go. A padded back panel also makes it a comfortable daily pack.
Dims: 19.29” x 14.57” x 2.76”
Material: Leather & Polyester
Rawrow 3 Way Bag
Gotta love a minimalist backpack that looks unique in its own right and boasts simple design principles to round everything out. The Rawrow offers just that, thanks to a water-repellent and breathable wax-coated fabric, a modular connector loop, front and back pockets, and an internal rubber band to keep things as organized as possible. Not to mention the vegetable-tanned leather detailing and a one of a kind appearance.
Dims: 17.7” x 12.6” x 3.9”
Alchemy Equipment AEL013 Minimalist
Featuring all the essentials you’d come to expect from a bag of utility but with a minimalist vibe, Alchemy Equipment’s AEL013 is one fine choice for the urban warrior. Here, we have a spacious external pocket with YKK waterproof zippers, a large internal pocket with a laptop sleeve, low profile shoulder straps, and anodized hardware throughout.
Dims: 19.75” x 11” x 8”
Arktype Dashpack Mark II
Compliments of 168D durable water-resistant nylon, Arktype’s Dashpack is certainly built to handle the wettest and wildest of commutes without a doubt. Additional features include water-repellent YKK zippers, a double-wall ripstop nylon interior, padded laptop pouch, and a handful of additional organizational pockets. Oh and don’t forget it’s made right here in the USA and comes equipped with mil-spec internal webbing for good measure.
Dims: 18.5” x 11” x 4.5”
Brooks England Hackney
Looking similar to a rollaway bag with straps, this Italian-made minimalist backpack is made from waterproof textile and genuine vegetable-tanned leather for good measure. Also, in addition to its sleek appearance, the Hackney comes equipped with three wide inner pockets, two outer pockets, and a separate compartment entirely with enough room to fit a 15-inch laptop. Ideal for working remotely or commuting to the office and back, both style and function are at the forefront here.
Dims: 18.5” x 11.8” x 6.3”
Booq Cobra Squeeze
With an award-winning design that incredibly roomy to boot, it’s no surprise this sleek bag made our list. Inside, the Cobra is jam-packed with compressed storage potential peppered with sufficient functionality – a welcome trait in conjunction with the bag’s pared-down appearance. Key features here include an eco-friendly and water-repellent exterior, contoured shoulder strap, genuine leather zipper pulls, quick access top pocket and a padded laptop sleeve.
Dims: 16.9” x 11.8” x 6.3”
NN07 Canvas and Shell Backpack
Built from a combination of both a water-repellent canvas and a shell that’s durable enough to withstand some serious wear and tear on a day to day basis, the NN07 does a fine job of hosting enough spacious room inside the bag to fit all the essentials and then some. Users will also enjoy the bag’s cushioned shoulder straps and mesh back panel when in route to and from the office. All around, this is one fine daily pack that’s made for the commute.
Dims: 18.9” x 11.8” x 7.9”
Opposethis Invisible Backpack One
Simplistic and low key but one of a kind nonetheless. This weatherproof minimalist backpack from Opposethis is designed specifically to up your organization and personal style on a daily basis. It comes complete with a distinctive triangle shape with a clean cut-off top that’s tech-friendly as well. We’re also talking a separate bottom compartment for sneakers, a secret bottle compartment, quick access pockets, and a separate padded compartment for a laptop to boot.
Dims: 20” x 16 x 5.5”
Southern Field Industries Backpack in Black
Here’s a timeless design from Souther Field Industries. Made from reputable waxed Japanese canvas paired nicely with leather and brass accents, this Japanese-made backpack is surely one of a kind. Key features include a top zip closure, dual exterior side pockets, an interior laptop sleeve, padded shoulder straps, handsome brass hardware, and hand painted leather edges. Not bad for a completely handmade product right?
Dims: 17.25” x 14” x 6.25”
Material: Waxed Canvas
Defy Bucktown Backpack
Made right here in the USA and named for the windy city’s Bucktown neighborhood, the Bucktown backpack is a hand-crafted beauty built from tough M35 military truck tarpaulin making it a daypack that’s purposed to take a beating during the daily commute. There’s also two easy access large compartments to consider and a convenient laptop sleeve that will surely come in handy when transporting your tech around town.
Dims: 19” x 12” x 6”
Material: Tarpaulin Vinyl
Porter-Yoshida & Co. Beat Day Pack
Sometimes the name simply says it all. In this instance, what we have here is an attractive and minimal day pack made in Japan with soft cotton canvas. Each bag boasts a zip-around closure, front zip pocket, a large interior zip pocket, padded back, adjustable shoulder straps and is finished in a desirable beige. What’s not to like? Quality materials built with care for those with both style and utility on their minds.
Dims: 20” x 16” x 5
Material: Cotton Canvas
Cote & Ciel Isar M
With a highly unique look and appearance, the Isar M boasts both form and function in spades. It’s all based on a sleek ergonomic design concept that results in a backpack with an eye-catching silhouette that’s practically futuristic in looks. Each bag is built from a water-repellant coated polyester fabric, that’s paired quite well with its sporty light grey interior. You’ll also find an external document compartment, two internal accessories pouches, and concealed side pocket.
Dims: 18.9” x 12.6”
Outlier Ultrahigh Rolltop
As far as lightweight rolltop backpacks are concerned, this offering from Outlier certainly takes the cake. It’s all thanks to the bag’s durable Dyneema composite structure resulting in unparalleled durability. Each bag is also built right here in the USA, boasts cast aluminum duraflex ladderlocks, a rolltop opening system with Fidlock magnomechanical closures, and two four-way stretch external pockets.
Dims: 24.5” x 12”
Killspencer Special Ops Backpack 3.0
If there’s one design principle Killspencer knows best its minimalism. Especially when it takes the form of black leather. Case in point, their Special Ops Backpack. Each offering here is outfitted with original full grain leather and built right here in the USA. Additional features include a Swiss-made Riri zipper in antique silver, a double IFAC class 1 fire retardant interior, waterproof black nylon interior lining, and foam padded straps as well as a series of internal mesh pockets for smaller carry items.
Dims: 17” x 11” x 4.5”
Arc’Teryx Veilance Nomin Pack
With simply superb functionality, a lightweight profile, and a composition of exceptionally durable materials, the Nomin Pack is a minimalist daypack taken to the next level. Each pack boasts a waterproof outer face fabric, a taped seam construction, watertight external zippers, a large front storage compartment with internal organization pockets, an easy access side pocket, and tablet divider. A top carry handle and low profile laminated shoulder straps keep things versatile and simultaneously comfortable as well. Slated for release in the coming months.
Thom Browne Leather Trimmed Nylon Backpack
Like any proper high-end style essential, each Thom Browne backpack is made in Italy from high-end durable nylon that’s built to last. No need to baby this one. It’s purposed for commuting and adventuring in style. There are several interior pockets to store electronics along with small essential items as well along with a pared-down minimal appearance to the piece that’s as attractive as it is non-assuming considering the price point.
Dims: 17.3” x 10.6” x 5.9”
Common Projects Leather Backpack
In case you’re wondering, yes the makers of the famed shoes also build backpacks. And by the looks of it, they don’t skimp on both the execution and the details either. Each backpack is constructed in Italy from smooth black leather with a twill lining. Up front lies a convenient external pocket for ease of access when on the go and a spacious interior offers enough room for a sizable amount of common carry items.
Dims: 15.7” x 11” x 4.9”
The Best Everyday Carry Backpacks for Men
Looking for something a little more technical and EDC friendly, then be sure to check out this list of the 30 best everyday carry backpacks where you’re sure to find something that fits the bill.