As well as looking good, a backpack should be made to last
A good backpack is a friend for life, so it’s worth investing a little extra time when choosing the right one.
You’ll want a backpack that you can wear for several hours if necessary, especially if you plan on taking it abroad.
When it comes to selecting the right backpack the range of options can seem a little overwhelming, but applying these simple rules will help you find the perfect carry-on companion.
There should be enough space to fit the essentials for work and a long weekend away. And as well as looking good, it should be well made enough to last.
The following backpacks have been chosen with the following criteria in mind: comfort, storage, style and practicality.
So read on for a mix of classic, streetwear and all weather options to suit a range of budgets.
Peter Werth nason nylon rucksack
This backpack shows that style needn’t cost an arm and a leg. The sleek black canvas not only looks great, it’s easy to clean and the thin straps are surprisingly comfortable. There’s plenty of space inside to suit most needs, however it wouldn’t be suitable for anything longer than a weekend getaway. There’s a separate compartment for laptops and notebooks which is always a nice touch. The main compartment is secured with a magnetic latch which, although not the most secure, is actually very convenient for quickly retrieving your belongings. All in all this great little number from London designer Peter Werth is much better than its modest price tag suggests, marrying major style with some nice practical touches.
Buy now £30, Asos
Fjallraven kanken camo
This Swedish brand has become synonymous with laid back style over the last few years. This classic kanken backpack is eternally popular for a reason. Well-made and sturdy, it’s great for commuting or weekend city breaks, comfortable to wear and with a surprising amount of space. The zips extends the full length of the bag so you can squeeze and retrieve your belongings with relative ease. After a while the bag starts to feel like it’s been moulded for your body. The kanken comes in a huge range of colourways but this multicoloured camo number stands out from the rest.
Buy now £85, Asos Price comparison
Rains ltd. mountaineer bag
Rains has emerged as one of the coolest outerwear brands on the planet thanks to its hip minimal Danish design and quality. Fully waterproof, the mountaineer bag is suitable for the more active commuter. It’s lined with a highly reflective material that will benefit cyclists, especially after dark, while the cushioned shoulder and adjustable chest straps mean you hardly notice you’re wearing it. There’s oodles of space inside for storing two or three days worth of clothes and a separate compartment for laptops 13” or smaller. A handy side netting lets you easily store drinks containers. The limited edition neon green colourway is sure to stand out amid a sea of muted tones on the high street.
Buy now £125, Rains
Reiss bronnman backpack
Reiss is a high street brand well loved by those with a more classic sense of style. The bronnman backpack is no different and was clearly designed with care. There’s a fine attention to detail from the leather trim to the rugged technical nylon canvas. The sleek silhouette will suit most outfits, as will the classic navy colourway. There’s both a zip and slip pocket inside the main compartment and ample space to store 13” or smaller laptops along with enough clothes for a long weekend getaway.
Buy now £195, Reiss
Sandqvist stig backpack
Sandqvist is one of the pioneering brands that brought Scandinavian fashion to the masses. Obsessed with sustainability, Sandqvist even offers to collect old products and give them a new lease of life. So should you choose to purchase the stig backpack, made from organic cotton sourced directly from the farmers, you can rest assured knowing that it will find a new home when you’re done with it. With only one compartment it’s a little less practical than some of the other backpacks on this list, but can easily fit laptops 13” or smaller and has an inner zip pocket for keeping valuables extra safe.
Buy now £109, Sandqvist
The Cambridge Satchel Company canvas steamer backpack
The canvas steamer is a beautifully constructed backpack with a durable water resistant cotton canvas and leather lid. Like all Cambridge Satchel Company products, the materials are sourced from within the UK. This backpack is great for those with a more scholarly style and the leather ages gorgeously giving this product lots of character. It’s surprisingly light and has ample room for everyday use. The buckles used to fasten the main compartment look fantastic with the leather detailing, however they’re not the most practical when it comes to quickly getting in to reach for your belongings.
Buy now £155, The Cambridge Satchel Company
Carhartt WIP military rucksack
Carhartt is loved by skaters and streetwear enthusiasts alike. Originally a brand synonymous with blue collar American workers, Carhartt specialised in denim. While they still make great jeans, they also make mean backpacks with the DNA of the brand’s original no-nonsense ethos. The heavy duty military rucksack is very comfortable and boasts loads of storage thanks to three sizeable pockets on the front, taking inspiration from the armed forces. There are other options but the bright orange and black colourway stands out as a fresh alternative to the other more muted tones.
Buy now £85, Carhartt WIP
Mackintosh black nylon porter backpack
fasten the front pockets engraved with the Mackintosh logo. Inside, the sleek and soft lining features the Mackintosh watermark and there are plenty of hidden pockets to keep valuables safe and sound. This backpack has a flat profile, which is perfect for those who like their high-end fashion discreet, with just enough on show for those who know to catch a glimpse.
Buy now £395, Mackintosh
Uniqlo men backpack
The cheapest backpack on this list is by no means here to make up the numbers. Uniqlo has risen to extraordinary heights in the fashion world thanks to its constant material and design innovation. Nearly everything this Japanese powerhouse makes is designed with comfort and style in mind. This backpack has cushioned straps for extra comfort, a handy side pocket for storing drinks and enough space to store a laptop 13” or smaller plus bags more room. It comes in a wide variety of colourways, but this light brown is perfect for any season and somewhat unique.
Buy now £24.90, Uniqlo
The North Face borealis classic backpack
This American outerwear brand has become a streetwear cult classic. The borealis is no exception and simple design belies years of know how. The backpack, which was designed with camping in mind, is comfortable and practical and just as suited to city life. The spine channel offers extra ventilation for those crowded commutes and there are removable chest and sternum straps for support. There is ample space inside the main compartment with separate slots for organising your belongings and two side pockets for storing drinks containers. This is perfect for those looking for a no fuss backpack with more than meets the eye.
Buy now £85, The North Face Price comparison
A.P.C. construction backpack
French fashion label A.P.C. is synonymous with minimalist designs and high-quality denim. They also make a mean backpack. The construction backpack is both comfortable to wear, thanks to the extra padding on the back and shoulder straps, and very good to look at. The unusual ochre colour is unlike anything else out there and looks great with the white canvas and black silk screen A.P.C. logo. A little brash for those who prefer their accessories understated, but perfect to add a little colour to a summer look, and boasting plenty of storage too, with an outer zipped pocket for convenience.
Buy now £203.87, A.P.C.
The Verdict: Men's backpacks
If you’re looking for an everyday bag that will go with any outfit and won’t set you back then
Peter Werth is easily the best option. While technically not the cheapest bag on this list, it’s both affordable and very stylish. If its a heavy duty waterproof number that you’re after then the Rains bag is hard to beat, combining Scandinavian design with rugged durability and those handy reflective details. Carhartt is another great option and while not fully waterproof this bag could go with you anywhere and boasts enough street style credential to pass mustard in the urban jungle too.
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