There are a million decent backpacks out there, but few that can transition from workweek to weekend without being a visual distraction in either setting. Here are four, good looking backpacks I’ve found that satisfy all my functional requirements.
I think any general-use, everyday backpack should be slim and portable, but have enough room for the essentials. It should be able to carry a 13”-15” laptop, water bottle, over-the-ear headphones, a light jacket, and an array of accessories like USB cables, chargers, a notebook, and keys.
Aer Day Pack: prioritizes slimness and organization
The nice thing about Aer’s Day Pack is that not only is the bag minimal in size and design. There are no straps flapping around (the ones it does have are removable) or anything too distinct about it. It’s plain, but in a good way.
The water bottle holder is internal, and, because of the overall minimalism, you won’t be able to get more than a windbreaker or small sweater in the main compartment. That said, there should still be enough room for all the essentials. Organization pockets are designated to the front opening, while the back is for your computer, water bottle, and over-the-ear headphones.
Topo Designs Core Pack: prioritizes versatility and space
The main draw of the Core Pack is its substantial main compartment. That section fully unzips and is big enough for a few pieces of clothes, shoes, or other bulky items–while the entire pack stays small enough for day-to-day use.
The backpack has an outer pocket for keys, change, and miscellaneous items; as well as an outer water bottle pocket that is pulled shut with an elastic band when not being used so it doesn’t catch on anything.
Dsptch Daypack: prioritizes expansion
The Dsptch Daypack is modern looking enough, but does prioritize expansion to shrink and grow as needed. The two side compression straps can shrink the pack down when it’s not packed full.
There are top adjustments on each strap to conform to different people’s sizes. The bag also features things like water resistant ballistic nylon and an internal cord management system for routing headphones or a USB cable from one section to another.
OnePlus Travel Backpack: prioritizes comfort and padding
Beyond two diverse colorway options, the first thing you’ll likely notice about OnePlus’s Travel Backpack is how comfortable and padded it looks. The bottom, the back, and the shoulder straps all exude an air of fluffiness.
Like the Aer Day Pack, the Travel Backpack is slim and minimalist, but big enough for your daily needs. On the outside of the pack, there’s a water bottle pocket on the side and two front pockets.
Each of the outer compartments and zippers are discrete and don’t beg for attention. The bag also utilizes a side laptop compartment, instead of from the top, which tends to be quicker and easier to get to while on the move.
For additional bag recommendations, we rounded up some of the best travel cases for electronics for under $50.