Remember the crazy-colorful backpacks from your childhood? You know, the ones that featured your favorite cartoon characters and were often ornamented with bold, kitschy keychains? Now, delete that from your memory, because backpacks have come a long way in both style and function.
There’s no reason for any man to turn his back on the convenient, hands-free bag style. Rich textures, sleek shapes, and useful compartments make the bag perfectly acceptable for men to haul their gear everywhere, even in a business suit. For both work and weekends, the coolest backpacks for commuting and travel help to lighten the load on your pants pockets (especially if you carry a bulky wallet) and look way more polished than your beat-up gym bag. Sure, you could opt for a messenger bag, but why do that when you can evenly distribute the weight of your gear to both shoulders and move freely?
With great options from top men’s clothing brands for every guy’s style and budget, check out these 26 cool backpacks for full-grown men to look like a total boss while carrying all their daily gear with ease.
Is it a backpack? Or a messenger bag? The answer is: yes. Mack Weldon’s convertible bag is all of these things, and more, thanks to its suite of detachable straps that let you switch between bag styles. And because this is Mack Weldon, it’s made with performance in mind. Its interior lining has anti-stink capabilities, handles are non-slip, and its zippers are waterproof.
Co-founded by a Green Beret, GoRuck’s newest line of backpacks combine the superior durability you’d expect from military-grade materials with timeless, retro-inspired styling. The Heritage edition of the brand’s popular GR1 pack includes Red Wing leather and a rainproof Martexin wax finish—a process that dates back 170 years—on duck canvas. Your laptop will always remain extra-safe, too, thanks to a bombproof (as in really, really tough), double-reinforced storage compartment.
Even the zippers go heavy-duty, fashioned from 550 paracord, along with double stitching on every final seam and high-quality, comfortable shoulder strap foam that won’t wear down with time. In short, it’s perfect for just about any adventure you can conjure up, but versatile enough to look right at home in the boardroom or at the airport.—Mike Darling, Executive Editor
Think of Dagne Dover as the Allbirds of backpacks. All of its pieces have a minimalist, nothing-like design that works for practically any errand or occasion. Take this clean backpack, which is made with neoprene and performance air mesh that wicks away moisture and is incredibly soft, so you can comfortably sling it over your shoulders for hours. Plus it can hold up to a 16″ laptop and your every day essentials, so you can take this to the office, or a weekend getaway.
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This delightfully boxy business backpack will replace your briefcase without hopelessly clashing with your suit. The leather material elevates this backpack to fit in even the most professional workplaces.
This slim cotton backpack may be sleek, but it is also performance-minded, with water-resistant fabric and a water bottle sleeve. Copious pockets will store your essentials, including your laptop in a cushioned internal sleeve. Call it the perfect everyday bag.
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You’ll get a lot of miles out of this stellar backpack. This tricked-out 2-in-1 hybrid duffle backpack can be used for the gym or the office with laptop storage, shoe storage, and a special pocket for your sweaty gear. With all these features, you wouldn’t expect this cool backpack to have such a sleek, stylish look, but that’s the genius of Lululemon.
When you live in a small apartment, a hefty backpack can be more bothersome than helpful. A packable backpack provides the perfect solution to space-saving with its own zip pouch for easy storage.
By far one of the most stylish roll-top-style backpacks we’ve ever seen, this slim stunner fits all the gear you need, but with an elegant exterior to give your briefcase a much-needed breather.
Durable fabric and an innovative design make this cool backpack with multiple pockets a total winner.
This lightweight option can be carried as a tote or a backpack with durable ripstop-nylon fabric that’ll last for multiple seasons.
The white elastic cord pops against the dark navy of The North Face’s best-selling functional backpack, giving you a stylish yet functional bag for every day.
This khaki-colored roll-top pack pairs perfectly with your go-to work chinos. The spacious interior and multiple compartments make it easy to carry all your 9-to-5 essentials—laptop included.
This stylish bag stands out with high-quality, durable (and water-resistant) fabric and exceptional details like the drawstring top and buckled flap. Plus, it has a pocket to hold a 15″ laptop.
Just like your best jeans, this water-resistant pack is made of recycled material that gives it a casual-cool vibe. The classic shape and sleek construction make this bag polished for work and cool for weekends.
A cool nylon exterior makes this lightweight, waterproof backpack worthy of your attention with unexpected features, such as a USB cable holder and power bank pocket with a phone charging dock.
Rubberized leather provides an interesting, sleek texture that’ll also protect your precious gear on any rainy day.
This WANT Les Essentials classic backpack features silver hardware and an asymmetrical zipper pocket to level up this standard nylon backpack for top-notch style.
Leather isn’t the cheapest material to use for a backpack, but the long-lasting, luxe fabric will age nicely over time for a vintage vibe.
The Rucksack is a classic choice for guys of all ages with quality construction, leather accents, and snazzy gold hardware.
New dads looking for a bag to carry all their baby gear will be stoked to find this gem. This backpack has all the compartments you’d find in a diaper bag with a much cooler look.
Love to add a pop of color to your everyday look? This bright (yet still versatile) option from Someone Somewhere—which works with local artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico—is just what you need. Complete with a secret pocket to hold your most important things, this statement-making bag has form and function.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a Herschel backpack. We’re partial to this colorway, which was inspired by the Mandalorian series (for the megafans out there, there’s a Baby Yoda-themed liner on the inside).
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Just in case you’re looking for an everyday backpack to take on your daily commute, Bee & Kinn has combined style and tech in the form of its Nomad backpack. Built to fit a 16″ laptop, this luxe leather style features a wireless charger in the front pocket just for your smartphone.
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Keep your laptop and other daily essentials secure and protected in this style, which is made with waterproof fabric, lining, and zippers to keep everything dry. It even comes with a separate shoe compartment to make your gym-to-work (or vice versa) virtually seamless.
If there’s any brand that’ll know how to make a quality backpack for commuting and beyond, it’s a cycling company. This modern rectangular style is undoubtedly sleek and fashionable, but it also has a molded back panel for more airflow.
If you’re planning for an upcoming trip, this sturdy style has multiple compartments for everything you could need, whether that’s your laptop, a water bottle, or something else.
There’s a reason this backpack is called the Black Hole—the number of storage pockets and compartments feels endless. It has front pockets for the things you need within arm’s reach, but it also opens up like a suitcase, making it the perfect accessory for traveling.
Outfitted with a laptop sleeve, this backpack is great for daily commutes. However, it also has a hydration tube port, a kangaroo pocket, and a watertight zipper so you can take it on your weekend hikes, too.
Truth be told, the color alone is enough to want to carry this bag every day. But in case you need more convincing, the sleek bag includes several pockets for intense organization, making sure you have a place for all the essentials.
An all-around awesome, budget-friendly, small hiking backpack option. It’s super packable, collapsing into a small sack on the side of your hand.
The best hiking backpack under $100 still has a ton to offer. Though not as adjustable as other options, this pack still soars with a more rigid design that’s secure and holds a very solid 50 liters of stuff.
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