17

Ask DN: Backpacks

over 5 years ago from , Product Design

Righty. I wanted to see if DNers have some good suggestions on backpack choices. A fellow designer was asking for suggestions. He's looking for one that is good to fit an MBP with some extra space for other stuff (think note pads, gym cloths, small camera maybe)

I'm carrying this at the moment.

89 comments

  • Cory GibbonsCory Gibbons, over 5 years ago

    Budget? It's on the expensive end but I have the Isar by Côte&Ciel and couldn't be happier.

    9 points
    • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 5 years ago

      Yes, another Côte&Ciel user!

      2 points
    • Account deleted over 5 years ago

      Exquisitely designed, but also exquisitely priced :(

      2 points
      • Account deleted over 5 years ago

        That's right, they are (kinda) pricey. But look at this from another angle.

        Backpack is the house for your laptop for most of the time. That said, you don't want for your Xk machine get wet when caught by rain or damaged by fall from a chair.

        0 points
        • Casey BrittCasey Britt, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

          I'd buy this logic if there weren't plenty of other stylish/waterproof/protective bags on the market for a fraction of this price :p

          0 points
    • Helen . Helen . , over 5 years ago

      Oh sweet baby jesus. Those things are gorgeous!

      proceeds to scrimping on food to afford one

      2 points
    • Asher SimondsAsher Simonds, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      +1 for C&C. It took me a couple days to choose between one of the Isar or Nile variants but ended up going with the former.

      I'm hoping this pack will last many many years and based on the past couple months of use, it was worth the investment.

      0 points
    • Wayne Spiegel, over 5 years ago

      I too would recommend Côte&Ciel's Isar Rucksacks. I've had mine for 2 years now. I use it on weekdays for work, 2 weeks in Japan as a traveling backpack, and have walked under the rain a couple of times. Still looks fairly new to this point.

      I find it may seem pricey at first, but once you've had one for a while, you'd come to understand why. Overall, it's good looking (lots of compliments), nice material (depends which one you get, but most are nice), and well made.

      0 points
    • Kris KimKris Kim, over 5 years ago

      I guess I have to win the lottery to afford one. Looks cool though.

      0 points
    • Quintin Carlson, over 5 years ago

      Isar by Côte&Ciel all the way. Saw it for the first time while working at Evernote (when they were starting up the Evernote Market) and immediately purchased one.

      0 points
    • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 5 years ago

      Thanks , they are beautiful and I'm a little jealous he's out with a budget. He's willing to splash if it's quality stuff and I think he's definitely going to enjoy this.

      0 points
    • Jon MyersJon Myers, over 5 years ago

      I've had mine for two years now. They age very well. Love it.

      0 points
  • Antoine Lord, over 5 years ago

    This christmas I got a new Everlane backpack and honestly it's perfect!

    Perfect size, resistant, comfortable and cheap!

    4 points
  • Folake Knudsen, over 5 years ago

    I own a Herschel Supply Co. backpack, from the Little America series.It fits my 15in MBP plus a ton of other things. I ordered mine on Amazon but here's the backpack

    4 points
    • Yasen DimovYasen Dimov, over 5 years ago

      I came here to say this! I have the same, same colour... it's been through snowboarding and summer hols, raves and other travels... and it still feels like brand new! Best backpack imo...

      0 points
    • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 5 years ago

      Herschel is almost everywhere here in Singapore. I guess it's really popular with the kids. How's the quality holding up through wear and tear?

      0 points
      • Folake Knudsen, over 5 years ago

        Yeah the downside is it's a super popular backpack. I've only had it for a year and I put al sorts of things in it, it's only a bit dirty on the outside.

        0 points
    • Account deleted over 5 years ago

      How has it held up over time? My lady friend uses one of their camera packs for her gear and it seems to hold up very nice even during extensive travel to Asia for work. Have you had any issues with it?

      0 points
      • Folake Knudsen, over 5 years ago

        No I haven't. I also use it for my camera gear. I can fit two bodies plus a few lenses and my laptop and clothes and things.

        0 points
  • Account deleted over 5 years ago

    I'm partial to something that both looks nice and is utilitarian for biking into work. For me it's the blend between durable and effective (plus some style points). That being said, about 3 years ago I invested in a Rambler from Mission Workshop:

    The Rambler

    I slide my 13" MBP in the back, and typically have my notebook, snacks, and misc. stuff in the front. The pack also expands quite a bit if you have a heavy load (shoes, change of clothes, or whatever else).

    It's definitely not a Soho House leather boardroom bag, but those bags won't hold up on the road in weather, so this was my hands down choice. Still looks like new and I'm very pleased with it. Use it about every day.

    3 points
    • spencer syfrig, over 5 years ago

      I love my Rambler too, having the expandable section makes it so versatile.

      1 point
    • Darren ChanDarren Chan, over 5 years ago

      Fan of Mission Workshop!

      2 points
    • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 5 years ago

      Ooh, I like how this looks.

      0 points
    • Casey BrittCasey Britt, over 5 years ago

      I had a rambler for several years and ultimately decided I didn't like it. It never looks as crisp as in that shot (though I guess that's true of most backpacks). I always used the roll top compartment to store my 15 inch laptop. There was no padding to protect the laptop and getting the laptop in and out of this compartment was a PITA (especially if the bag was full). Most of the time when removing the laptop from this compartment, the entire sleeve of the compartment would come out with the laptop. Not fun.

      The bag lacks compartments for smaller objects. Aside from the tiny zipper pouch on the outside it is really just 3 larger compartments. 1 of which is just a floating container inside of the main compartment. So adding objects to this compartment decreases the space for the main compartment.

      The one thing I liked about this bag was the expandable quality. On a trip to Japan I used it as my only luggage. Commuting between cities I would expand it and load everything up. Once at my hotel I'd pull out everything but what I needed for the day and shrink it down to its smaller size. Even though it was good for this, stuffing it full in expanded mode creates a really ugly and unwieldy pack.

      There are far better options imo. Personally I went with a GORUCK GR0 for daily use and a backpacking back pack for travel.

      1 point
      • Account deleted over 5 years ago

        I can sympathize about the laptop sleeve myself. If I had a complaint about this bag it would be that the sleeve isn't attached to the inner workings, making the removal of a computer frustrating until you get a method down. I've since figured out how to do that w/o hassle, but agree it's a nuisance.

        With regards to looks and functionality, I haven't seen the same issues. I use mine each day, have traveled with it extensively (Japan, too!), and it still looks sharp years later. The roll top is important to me in bad weather to better protect the laptop, namely on a bike commute.

        Seems like the GR just worked better for your needs and preferences, and you liked the look/feel better as well, which is cool :)

        0 points
        • Casey BrittCasey Britt, over 5 years ago

          I didn't use the roll top as much and instead used it as a fold over flap. The flap wold curl up in weird ways and didn't look super great. And it also didn't look good when fully packed and expanded. Functionally it was fine it just didn't look super good. Its possible they fixed this in later version of the bag. Just issues I had. The bag didn't have any wear and tear issues though. I will give it that.

          0 points
  • Brian A.Brian A., over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I have a GoRuck Radio (now discontinued) and I love it. It was a little pricey at $245, but it holds all my stuff, looks cool, and has incredible build quality—I seriously doubt I'll need a new bag any time soon.

    3 points
    • diego fernandezdiego fernandez, over 5 years ago

      I've got the Goruck GR1 for a year now, and I think this is the best backpack I ever owned.

      2 points
      • Nathan RobertsNathan Roberts, over 5 years ago

        I've had the GORUCK GR1 for three years. I won't need another backpack again. This thing will last forever.

        0 points
        • Adam FerchAdam Ferch, over 5 years ago

          I've used my GORUCK GR0 for 2 years now. Fits my 15" MBP and plenty of other on the go goodies. I Couldn't agree more with the above comments about the GORUCK products.

          0 points
          • Casey BrittCasey Britt, over 5 years ago

            GR0 owner here too. Sold my Mission Workshop bag for this and couldn't be happier. Fantastic backpack that I will most definitely never wear out. Wonderfully made and does everything I need in a backpack of this size. Highly recommend any of their GR line.

            0 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 5 years ago

    Y'know how some women are obsessed with handbags? I'm like that with backpacks. A couple years ago, I stumbled upon the Nile. I friggin' love this thing. And, if I am ever without my umbrella for some reason, I can just unzip and pull out the built-in hood.

    3 points
  • Patrick LoonstraPatrick Loonstra, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I am the happy owner of a Eastpak Out of Office. It holds all my work stuff on the road and has a lot more space for stuff. Right now, I have my MPB, external HD, Wacom Tablet, extra cloths, iPad, sleepingbag and pens and notebook with me in it for a long weekend.

    Eastpak

    2 points
  • Sam MularczykSam Mularczyk, over 5 years ago

    I wouldn't buy anything other than a Crumpler bag. They're brilliant. I posted about them a while ago, but they are some of the most ingenious bags with quirky designs and a real lifetime warranty. Well worth checking out.

    Crumpler bag

    1 point
  • KQ DregerKQ Dreger, over 5 years ago

    I've been using a GORUCK GR1 and love it. GORUCK's bags are expensive, but they come with a lifetime guarantee and are built to last. I have more pictures and a little review over on my site.

    goruck gr1

    1 point
  • Joe Blau, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    If you don't have a budget and you want a bag that you'll probably never ever see anyone else with, I have the Incase x Parabellum Range Pack.

    range pack

    • It's ballistic nylon and bison leather (as will all Para stuff)
    • Limited edition (Only 50 made) so you're probably never going to see anyone else with one
    • Comfort of a regular incase backpack
    • Has a cover that you can pull out to cover the whole bag and protect it form the elements (rain/snow).
    • Has velcro for interchangeable velcro patches
    1 point
  • Evan BowersEvan Bowers, over 5 years ago

    If you ride a bike, you might like this convertible bag/pannier. I've had mine for about a year and a half and love it. Great small company down the street from me with great customer service.

    http://northstbags.com/collections/route-nine

    1 point
  • Darren ChanDarren Chan, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    A friend bought a bag from Mission Workshop, they look great. And similar to Timbuk2, local and lifetime guarantee. http://missionworkshop.com/products/bags/backpacks/

    I would have jumped on one myself but because of Timbuk2's guarantee, haven't really purchased a new backpack in a while. The last one that broke, I ended up replacing it with a Especial Medio. But I loved the line so much, I bought the larger one too and eventually gave it to my cousin. http://www.timbuk2.com/especial-medio-cycling-backpack/435.html

    Especial Medio

    Especial Tres

    1 point
    • Account deleted over 5 years ago

      Huh, nice. I dig that profile especially for the bike. Thanks for sharing.

      0 points
  • Nick Matarese, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I just picked up the Brooks Hackney Utility and love it. Super minimal, fits a 15" MBP and is waterproof. http://www.brooksengland.com/catalogue-and-shop/bags/cycle+bags+&+accoutrements/HACKNEY+Backpack+(Utility)/

    Image alt

    1 point
    • Account deleted over 5 years ago

      Looks sleek. Are the shoulder straps comfortable with any kind of load in it?

      0 points
      • Nick Matarese, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        That was my concern but i like them. The bag cant hold enough for the load to be awful. So far a solid purchase.

        0 points
  • Jason BeatonJason Beaton, over 5 years ago

    Legit Post: I use the Bootlegger packs from Boreas (Mostly the Hopper pack). http://www.boreasgear.com/collections/packs/products/bootlegger-eclipse-black They make some sweet gear.

    1 point
  • Ray MartinRay Martin, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I've been using the Fjall Raven Foldsack No. 1 for some time now. I primarily bought it for a trip to Mexico, but been using it as my daily bag.

    Alt text

    This pack features a flat pocket with a padded bottom for safe laptop transport; large zippered front pocket accessible without unbuckling the main opening; durable metal buckles for the main opening as well as the shoulder straps; and leather details.

    I can fit my 15" MBP, a few sketchbooks, pens, etc. Definitely recommend.

    Cheers

    1 point
    • Account deleted over 5 years ago

      How has it held up? I've seen these in stores and they don't give off the impression of a long lasting bag based on feel alone, but obviously don't own one. What's your experience been like?

      0 points
      • Ray MartinRay Martin, over 5 years ago

        The material is very, very durable and has definitely held up. As far as "long lasting" goes, I think it obviously depends on how it's used (actual hiking, long travel trips, etc.), but for day-to-day use, it's a great alternative to some of the pricier bags being posted here.

        0 points
  • William GuerraWilliam Guerra, over 5 years ago

    I have this one. Its actually too small and can barely hold my macbook pro, but it has my name all over it, so its pretty great.

    1 point
  • Ben WarmuthBen Warmuth, over 5 years ago

    Maybe it's too small? I don't know. It's also not a backpack but a messenger bag. But this is what I use every day. I drive to work then have about a half-mile walk from my parking garage to work itself. And when I go out of town this comes with me - it's made it easily through three days at PAX last year.

    http://www.timbuk2.com/dashboard-laptop-messenger-bag/143.html?dwvar_143_size=8&dwvar_143_color=4090

    I can carry my macbook air and an ipad (but it'd fit a MBP no problem). I have a mouse in there, pens, notebooks, small portable battery pack for my phone and ipad, umbrella, my nice office shoes, some stuff for headaches, lunch (which isn't in a lunch tote, just a plastic grocery bag) and a water bottle. And I could probably stuff some other things like a 3DS, Kindle, etc. in there if I wanted to.

    And you can get this pretty cheap on amazon.

    1 point
    • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 5 years ago

      Looks really robust! I used to have a messenger bags with me and I bike to work, love them because it's easy access to everything. However, I find that carrying then 15' MBP (2011 models) did a toll on my body and gave me mild high shoulder, had to switchover to backpack. If I'm not with my laptop, I always try to switch back to it.

      0 points
  • Ed AdamsEd Adams, over 5 years ago

    I'd love to get some backpack recommendations in the sub-$100 range!

    1 point
    • Brynn HawkerBrynn Hawker, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      I have the Patagonia Anacapa, it's a bit on the smaller side but really deep at the bottom which I like. I also wanted something that would be comfortable/stable for biking but didn't have a waist strap. So far it's been perfect although more organisation pockets would be sweet.

      Picture of the Anacapa

      0 points
  • Jacob Horne Jacob Horne , over 5 years ago

    I'm a proud owner of this backpack by Everlane:

    Everlane Backpack.

    Perfect size for laptop, a few books and a jacket. Very water resistant and look slick.

    Link

    0 points
  • Anmol BahlAnmol Bahl, over 5 years ago

    Right now, I am using Sandqvist Lars Goran Multi-color. I lived in Sweden for a year and loved the designs from the brand. This particular can easily hold luggage of a three day conference along with your tech essentials. Comes with an add-on Rain cover.

    Image alt

    0 points
  • John MauroJohn Mauro, over 5 years ago

    I like topodesigns.com. I got an older model of the daypack on The Clymb. It's been great so far.

    0 points
  • Joe Carney, over 5 years ago

    I use this:

    http://www.crumpler.eu/laptop-tablet-bags/slings/dinky-di-laptop-messenger-l-black-espresso

    It is a messenger bag as opposed to a backpack (if you live in hot country, backpacks produce a lot of sweat on your back). Great for walking around a city (can reach into it without taking it off) and also has straps (to be used like a backpack) whilst on a bicycle.

    0 points
  • Joel CalifaJoel Califa, over 5 years ago

    OGIO Newt

    By far my favorite bag ever. So so convenient. Won't fit gym clothes but it's enough for everything I need. Usually packing:

    • Macbook Air 13"
    • Kindle
    • Bunch of papers
    • Notebook
    • Macbook charger
    • iPhone charger
    • Wallet + keys + cash

    All fits neatly with a lot of room to spare.

    0 points
  • Xavier BertelsXavier Bertels, over 5 years ago

    I’m very happy with my current Brenthaven Collins Convertible Backpack as a daily backpack and my Minaal as a longer-trip-travel backpack.

    0 points
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, over 5 years ago

    Whichever incase that can hold a 15" macbook and is under $100. I've been using the same one for about 5 years

    0 points
  • Emmanuel HerreroEmmanuel Herrero, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Someone already mentioned the Little America Herschel bag, but...

    I bought the Black Nylon variation (which is a little pricier at $170 instead of $90) and I couldn't be happier with it. It might definitely be a placebo effect, but I feel better about carrying my laptop around when it's raining or if I'm riding a bike. (I commute via bus and the weather is temperamental where I live)

    I traveled with it over the holidays and it came through for me splendidly when my checked bag was over 50lbs...

    I goes above and beyond for every day items, but it does lack compartments if that's something you're looking for. Instead, it's a small pocket in the front, a large bag and then a really nice feeling laptop sleeve.

    The leather straps grew on me once I loosened the main ones to keep my jacket through the loops.

    Here's what it looks like Little America Black Nylon

    0 points
  • Alex ChanAlex Chan, over 5 years ago

    I use a Topo Designs Trail Pack (discontinued), but I would recommend their other bags as well.

    Trail Pack

    0 points
  • Account deleted over 5 years ago

    I have an Osprey Pixel in Black Pepper: http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/product/everyday_packs/pixel

    PROS: I like how much thinner it is than a typical backpack and the quality of Osprey's packs. I also like that the access to the laptop area is independent of the main compartment... very easy to slip the laptop in and out quickly.

    CONS: Even with some expandability, it's very low on carrying volume compared to even minimal daypacks. I get by, but have definitely run into issues where I've been limited by space. In day-to-day use, it feels much less than 1,300 cubic inches.

    Overall, I'm not sure I'd get it again. While I thought I really wanted something slimmer, it is almost TOO restrictive in storage simply based on the slim design. The quality and details are top notch though.

    0 points
  • Bruno MarinhoBruno Marinho, over 5 years ago

    I've been using Incase CL55412 Heathered Backpack for something like 3 years and still like new. Really good one.

    0 points
  • Jon KantrowitzJon Kantrowitz, over 5 years ago

    Freitag F303 Hazardhttp://www.freitag.ch/Fundamentals/Backpacks/HAZZARD/pa/F303_01245 My daily commute bag. Great for carrying a 15MBP and anything else necessary. Perfect for travel, especially under plane seats.

    Freitag F13 TopCathttp://www.freitag.ch/Fundamentals/Messenger-Bags/TOP-CAT/p/F13_01313 Ton of space. Excellent for if you bike to work and want something rain resilient. This was my first Freitag bag. I now use it on the weekends and for going to hipster coffee shops to look cool.

    0 points
  • Jason BeatonJason Beaton, over 5 years ago

    Throwback to the 90's: I know I'm not the only one that had one of these Jansport Rugged Rubber Bottom bag

    0 points
  • iterati designiterati design, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I'm using Thule EnRoute, though an older model – great quality. This one's 21L, which suits my needs perfectly and is small/light enough.

    Thule EnRoute

    0 points
  • Ole-Martin BrattengOle-Martin Bratteng, over 5 years ago

    I know it's not a backpack, but I love this messenger bag I got from Amazon, the Falcon i-stayFalcon i-stay image

    0 points
  • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 5 years ago

    I've been using the Aer fit pack for a few months and it's been really great, gym clothes or no gym clothes. It has lots of space but not bulky, very well made.

    http://www.aersf.com/fit-pack/

    0 points
  • Charlie HieldCharlie Hield, over 5 years ago

    I second Mission Workshop. They are a bit pricey, but worth every penny!

    0 points
  • Helen . Helen . , over 5 years ago

    Looking at getting either

    This : https://www.duluthpack.com/scout-pack-backpack.html?ref=isp_rel_prd

    or

    This: https://www.duluthpack.com/scoutmaster-pack.html?ref=isp_rel_prd

    Anyone heard of this brand or use this? I am looking to get something I could fit my wallet,makeup pouch, notebook and possibly my ipad Mini as well. Wanting something that looks good without making me look like a turtle.

    0 points
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, over 5 years ago

    I've got this but it probably isn't great for carrying gym clothes, etc. Tends to do well with laptop-y typed things. Laptops, papers, books, etc.

    I've currently got this from Côte&Ciel

    0 points
  • Lasse AndersenLasse Andersen, over 5 years ago

    Sandqvist Hans 18L, 199USD. Really high quality production, clean cuts, produced in Sweden. It could use another pocket or two, but I still love it.

    https://www.sandqvist.net/shop/hans-blueSandqvit Hans

    0 points
  • Oscar P.Oscar P., over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Backpack by Bluelounge, $159

    Bluelounge

    I have this one but in black, I've used it pretty much every day for a year and it's holding up good.

    0 points
  • Sherizan SheikhSherizan Sheikh, over 5 years ago

    Hello fellow SG designer :)

    I used to own this until every person I bump into in the train also carries the same backpack: http://shop.herschelsupply.com/collections/backpacks/products/little-america-backpack-black-tan-synthetic-leather

    Then thought I'd bring back the good old secondary school days with my beloved Eastpak http://www.eastpak.com/uk-en/backpacks-c120/sloane-merge-black-pEK48B74H+00+999.html

    But the ultimate backpack hands down is from Incase (i was sold when i watched the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=YGaQb3ETnlk

    https://www.incase.com/shop/bags/incase-icon-pack/black/

    0 points
  • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 5 years ago

    Northface Surge. Just got it for Christmas, perfect for the daily commute. Has a separate section for my MBP, and can amply fit my gym kit. Also section for all tech goodies at the front. Water proof, comfortable and durable.

    I spent a long time looking into this before Xmas, and there are 2 types of bag. The trendy Herschel variety (which costs a small fortune for little functionality, but arguable style) and then then the useful but less "trendy" type. For me it was a no brainer.

    https://tinyurl.com/zbz5xmr

    0 points
  • Bart LigthartBart Ligthart, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I just bought one from InCase. I like bags with just a macbook compartment and where the rest is open space.

    Cargo Backpack $79.95

    0 points
  • Elmo JenkinsElmo Jenkins, over 5 years ago

    A little pricey, but love love love this bag from Patagonia

    0 points
  • James Young, over 5 years ago

    I run-commute to work so I have a Salomon Agile 17 which is great for that.

    0 points