18 Grown-Up Backpacks You Can Carry With Confidence

If you don’t distinctly remember the first backpack your parents let you pick out on your own like it was yesterday, we are not the same. Mine was this sweet-ass navy blue number from L.L. Bean with my initials embroidered in white on the front real classy-like, because even back then I was a vindictive little fucker who wanted each and every kid in my fifth-grade class to know exactly who was stunting on ’em whenever I walked past. Oh, what’s that, Bryce? Yeah, that’s my bag. You trying to peep the new ‘pack? Don’t play like you seen some shit like this before, bro. I’ve been putting the class on for a minute!

So sure, I was chubby as all hell and probably sweating profusely from what other people would consider non-sweat-inducing activity, but you bet your ass I was coming through with that heat. The backpack was one of my first introductions to the transformative power of personal style, and to this day the silhouette holds a special place in my heart. (The fact that the best backpacks also happen to be more comfortable to carry than pretty much any other bag doesn’t hurt.)

Yes, these days there’s no shortage of bag styles that get the job done for grown-up guys trying to look the part—a brief or attaché case, for example—but there’s something charmingly old-school about the backpack and the much-needed dose of nostalgia it offers during a time when being a grown-up sure doesn’t seem all that enviable. From high-quality canvas numbers that could easily replace your beloved briefcase to heavy-duty, super-tactical styles ready-made for an impromptu spelunking trip, let alone the morning commute (to the, uh, desk in your living room), we’ve got you covered.

And when all else fails, why not embrace the backpack’s tinge of youthful whimsy and track down the preferred style from your own childhood? I’ve got a hunch L.L. Bean still makes a real solid option.

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Mono Superbreak Backpack

JanSport zappos.com

$24.96

An OG style that looks as good today as it did when your long-suffering mother first forced you to, “Pick it up off the floor and take it your room, young man.”

Padded Pak’r Backpack

Eastpak ssense.com

$39.00

Eastpak has cultivated a certain cultural cachet through its vaguely cosmopolitan vibe—the brand was actually founded in Boston—and the fact that the company almost definitely sold your high school crush’s backpack of choice. (Call me, Rachel!)

The Modern Snap Backpack

Everlane everlane.com

$68.00

A stripped-down (dare I say office-ready?) option sure to sync up seamlessly with any style. 

Medium Pack + 3 Can Insulated Cooler

Carhartt carhartt.com

$74.99

A sturdy pack made from ripstop Cordura that’s tough as hell and water-repellent. Plus, there’s a removable three-can cooler that comes along with it. Perfect for when you want to hike, but also crack open a cold one.

Mountain Classic Cordura Pack

L.L. Bean llbean.com

$89.00

Old-school mountaineering vibes from the brand that does, as it turns out, still make a great backpack.

Fit Backpack

Aer needsupply.com

$94.00

A super-sleek, heavyweight backpack rendered in Cordura nylon, one of the most durable fabrics in the world. (Seriously. This shit can stand up to damn near anything.)

Waterproof Backpack

Rains nordstrom.com

$95.00

Rain-proof, because real adults actually dress for the weather. (And prevent their electronics from certain ruin in the process.)

Arbor Classic Canvas Backpack

Patagonia rei.com

$99.00

No surprise your go-to outdoors outfitter also makes a go-to canvas backpack equally ideal for the outdoors as it is for the (these days, very much) indoors. 

Dawson Backpack

Herschel herschel.com

$129.99

Herschel has been doing its thing (and by “its thing,” I mean putting up numbers in the backback game) for a minute now, and the brand’s hard-earned industry credibility is nothing to scoff at. It should be one of the first places you check any time you’re in the market for an upgrade. 

Raf Simons Topload L Loop Backpack

Eastpak x Raf Simons ssense.com

$159.00

A classic, military-inspired canvas backpack of Eastpak’s collaboration with the beloved Belgian designer. 

Game Backpack

Master-Piece Co ssense.com

$160.00

There’s really too many technical details to delve into here, but suffice to say you’ll use almost none of them regularly yet reference all of them them constantly in describing your newest cop to anyone unfortunate enough to ask about it. 

Dakota Backpack

Dagne Dover dagnedover.com

$175.00

If you’re carrying your gym clothes throughout the day—well, some day in the future—it helps to have a bag made to handle the task. Dagne Dover’s signature neoprene is made to deflect sweaty smells, and it’s super easy to wash when you need to. 

Stratus Backpack

Caraa caraasport.com

$195.00

Caraa’s backpack is the bottomless bag you need for packing all day long. It can fit a lot, and the waterproof outer will keep what’s inside safe. 

Ridge Rucksack

AllSaints us.allsaints.com

$198.00

Can a plain old black backpack still somehow manage to be elegant? You tell me.  (The answer, for those still wondering: yes.)

Rugged Twill Rucksack

Filson filson.com

$375.00

If you’ve been using some sort of Filson bag at all over the last few years, the cotton twill fabric the brand is famous for speaks for itself. If not, consider this backpack the ideal introduction to what the brand doest best. 

Tahoe Finch Backpack

Tumi nordstrom.com

$450.00

A sleek, utilitarian take with ample room for all your travel essentials, and a waterproof outer shell to make sure they stay protected. 

Tanker Rucksack

Porter-Yoshida & Co. needsupply.com

$603.00

Compartments galore, of the master luggage-makers at Porter-Yoshida & Co. 

Cordura Backpack

Visvim mrporter.com

$990.00

A low-key but decidedly luxe take, done up in (what else?) Cordura. If you’re looking for a near-impenetrable option, this is it. 

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Avidan Grossman is the Style eCommerce Editor at Esquire, covering men’s fashion, shoes, grooming, and accessories.

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Source : Esquire