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The 20 Best Backpack Brands of 2023

On a quest to find the perfect backpack? This list of the best backpack brands will help you in your search, whether you need a sleek laptop bag or a rugged hiking pack.
Best Backpack Brands
Photo credit: Jeremy Scott Foster

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There are so many name-brand backpacks out there—choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

I’m a big believer in investing in quality gear—gear that will last a lifetime. Investing in a high-quality backpack means finding a bag you’ll love that will last for years while keeping your items safe in any condition. The best backpack brands offer a balance of quality, comfort, and design.

Here’s my list of the best backpack brands for both men and women to help you choose!

1. Aer: Best Backpack Brand Overall

Aer Brand

Aer is on my hypothetical list of the most underrated brands on the market. This backpack brand creates incredibly sleek, stylish packs for travel, fitness, and everyday use.

While every brand on this list offers outstanding quality, Aer goes a notch above with their material choice and excellent fit and finish. Most of their packs are available in X-Pac fabric, which is a material originally designed for high-performance yacht sails. Yes, that sounds awesome and gives you bragging rights, but it also gives you a bomber highly water-resistant backpack.

Aer packs have some of the most functional designs out there. In addition to standard features like a padded laptop sleeve and comfortable shoulder straps, their bags are packed with clever features. You’ll find expandable designs, hidden security pockets, functional compression straps, and IKEA-level organization.

Even with all the bells and whistles, Aer manages to keep their packs sleek, streamlined, and simple to use. They never feel cluttered or cumbersome. Though, to be fair, if you prefer minimalist designs, you might like a brand like Rains better.

My favorite Aer backpack is probably the Travel Pack 3. It’s one of the best carry-on backpacks out there. It’s comfortable, easy to pack, and is loaded with smart features that get out of the way when you don’t need them. There’s also a smaller version that does double duty as a pack for weekend trips and everyday use. You can check out our full Aer Travel Pack Review to learn more.

Aer definitely specializes in urban and travel backpacks. Many of their other packs (like the Daypack 2) have very comfortable padded shoulder straps and will work great for light-duty hiking, but if you’re looking for a dedicated hiking and outdoors pack, a different option.

2. AmazonBasics: Best Budget Backpack Brand

Everyone knows Amazon. And everyone knows that Amazon is plotting world domination (wait, was that a secret?). It’s no secret that if you want to find cheap stuff, shopping on Amazon is the way to go. Unfortunately, quality is often lacking when you buy from unknown brands on Amazon.

Amazon’s in-house brand AmazonBasics is out to change that with a range of decent, functional products at bargain prices. They make and sell everything from dress shirts to electric fans, and that includes backpacks.

AmazonBasics sells a good range of everyday bags for school, work, and running around town. No, they aren’t the highest quality, and no, they aren’t going to win any design awards, but they work.

And they’re cheap.

My favorite option is the AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack. It’s a standard work or school bag for carrying a computer and other essentials. The padded laptop pocket can fit up to 17-inch devices, which is better than most packs out there.

You get plenty of other pockets to keep books, pens, tablets, chargers, etc. organized and accessible. There are nice water bottle pockets on the sides, and the shoulder straps and padded mesh back panel are decently comfortable.

Of course, if you do have a bit more money to spend, I highly recommend finding a bag with a bit more durability and quality. For anyone on a tight budget though, AmazonBasics will do the job.

3. Topo Designs: Best Backpack Brand for School

Topo Designs Brand

Whether you’re shopping for a bag as you head off to college or are looking for a backpack for your kid to wear to school, Topo Designs is a great brand for backpacks for students. They have some great options that are affordable, functional, and stylish.

With retro outdoor-inspired styling and functional no-nonsense designs, Topo Designs backpacks are perfect for students. Plus, they’re actually pretty affordable, so you won’t have to pull out your college savings.

For college students, the Rover Pack Tech is going to be your best bet. It’s got a great padded laptop compartment that’s accessible through its own dedicated zipper, so you don’t have to dig through everything to pull out your device. The size is perfect for carrying a few books, snacks, and a water bottle. Maybe most importantly, the low-key styling won’t make you look like a dork on campus.

For younger students, the Rover Pack Mini is a perfect school bag. It’s ergonomic, just the right size, and comes in a wide range of fun colors.

4. Osprey: Best Hiking Backpack Brand

When it comes to outdoor backpacks, Osprey is a household name. They are one of the best backpack makers, period. They offer a huge range of bags aimed squarely at outdoor adventure enthusiasts. For decades, Osprey has made some of the best hiking backpacks on the market.

From lightweight daypacks to burly mountaineering rucksacks to “anti-gravity” backpacking packs, Osprey seemingly has a backpack for everything. Their backpacks are a common sight on all backpacking routes because they’re versatile enough (and certainly durable enough) to suit anybody.

One of the best aspects of pretty much any Osprey pack is comfort. Osprey has really dialed this in with their padded shoulder straps, breathable back panels, and supportive suspension systems.

Osprey packs are also typically loaded with well-thought-out features, from easy-access water bottle pockets to compression straps to waterproof covers.

One of my favorite Osprey packs is the Exos 58 (or Eja 58 for women). This is one of the best backpacking packs on the market. In fact, it’s one of the most common packs you’ll see on long thru-hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail.

Coming in under three pounds, it’s light enough to not weigh you down. But the supportive frame, padded backpack straps, adjustable sternum strap, and sturdy hip belt help distribute weight evenly. This makes for a much more comfortable carry than most lightweight backpacks when you start carrying heavier loads.

I also love the zippered pockets on each side of the hip belt and the stretchy slip pockets for water bottles. Also, pretty much the entire backpack is made from recycled materials!

With Osprey, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for…even if you’re just starting out. Plus, their backpacks are well-built and come with an awesome lifetime guarantee.

I’ve tested and reviewed quite a few Osprey packs in my day, including:

5. Tortuga: Best Travel Backpack Brand

Tortuga is one of the best backpack manufacturers out there (and certainly a favorite of mine). They excel at making some of the best travel backpacks designed for urban travelers and digital nomads.

Each model backpack that Tortuga creates is designed with extreme attention to detail, which means there are a limited number of backpacks in their line of products. Right now they only have three backpacks in their lineup!

And although each backpack is highly functional, they’re also sleek and stylish. Whether you just need an overnight bag or are packing for long-term one-bag travel, one of their models will be a good backpack choice.

Tortuga makes backpacks that really excel at organization—with lots of pockets and a padded laptop compartment that’s ultra protective—and they make the perfect pack for digital nomads.

My top pick from Tortuga is their 40L Travel Backpack. This carry-on-sized pack is the ultimate choice for one-bag travel. It’s durable, comfortable, and roomy enough for longer trips.

The spacious main compartment opens wide like a suitcase, which makes it super easy to pack. The padded laptop pocket keeps your device safe and easily accessible. The padded straps and removable waist straps make for a comfortable carry.

Tortuga packs are built with a highly durable and water-resistant material that’s actually made of recycled plastic bottles. I always try to find sustainably made products, so that’s a big win in my book.

One downside of Tortuga is the high price tag. If you’re looking for something a bit less expensive, Aer sells some comparable packs at a lower price.

6. Timbuk2: Best Backpack Brand for College

If you’re looking for a backpack for college, you want something that’s stylish, functional, and comfortable. You might be living out of your backpack for long days on campus, so it needs to work well.

Oh, and it helps if it doesn’t cost more than a month’s worth of groceries.

Timbuk2 is a great brand for college students. They specialize in sleek urban packs for commuters and urban travelers. They use high-quality materials and functional designs for everyday use.

Looking for something to stand out from the crowd? The Timbuk2 Custom Tuck Backpack lets you design your own pack. You get to choose the fabric type and color for five different fabric panels. You customize your design, and then Timbuk2 makes your pack to order.

This means you can get a one-of-a-kind pack that is totally unique to you. Want a combo of hot pink and army green? They’ll make it for you.

It’s more than just a customized, snazzy-looking bag though. The Tuck Backpack is a perfect choice for college students with its external-access laptop compartment, water bottle pockets, streamlined organization, and comfy shoulder straps. It’s also surprisingly affordable!

If you need a rugged hiking backpack, look elsewhere. But for most college students, Timbuk2 is an awesome choice.

7. NOMATIC: Best Laptop Backpack Brand

NOMATIC Brand

NOMATIC first got its start by raising $2.2-million on Kickstarter to create the most functional gear ever. They make backpacks, duffel bags, and a few shoulder bag designs.

NOMATIC has three main backpacks: the NOMATIC Travel Pack, the NOMATIC Backpack, and the NOMATIC Travel Bag. Honestly, the confusing naming system is my least favorite thing about this backpack brand.

Otherwise, NOMATIC backpacks are absolutely brimming with features—each bag has at least 20+ of them, including things like RFID security pockets, laptop compartments, pockets for your water bottle, and hip belts with pockets.

If you’re looking for the absolute best laptop backpack, the NOMATIC backpack is going to be your pick. This slim, understated, feature-packed backpack is ideal for carrying your laptop to work or school. It’s got 24 compartments to keep you organized, including (of course) an ultra-protective laptop sleeve.

This bag has a wide clamshell opening, giving you easy access to the main compartment. There’s a single water bottle pocket on the side to keep you hydrated. It’s also very comfortable, with cushioned shoulder straps and a sternum strap to dial in the fit.

You can choose between two different sizes: 20L and 14L. Plus, both sizes are expandable, giving you 20% more space

So is it worth all the $2.2-million hype? Read my NOMATIC review for a deep dive.

8. Bellroy: Best Backpack Brand for Work

Bellroy Brand

If you commute to an office, or even if you work remotely, you need a backpack that’s capable of carrying your laptop and other essentials in comfort and style.

Bellroy is an Australian accessories company that makes bags, folios, wallets, phone cases, and more. Their USP is that they use sustainable materials used from recycled and plant-derived fabric.

Plus, their sleek, professional-looking designs are perfect for your daily commute. Their bags are optimized for carrying a laptop and all the essentials you need for heading to the office.

One of the best Bellroy packs is their Transit Workpack. This sleek everyday pack is optimized for commuting to work. It’s stylish but understated, and it’s packed with features for the modern worker.

The laptop sleeve is easily accessible from the outside, there’s a wide-opening main compartment, and the roomy pocket on the front makes it easy to store small essentials like keys, pens, and more. Plus, there is a zippered pocket on the side that can carry a water bottle without interfering with the sleek, minimal look.

This brand’s backpacks are dialed in and look very professional. You won’t find many flashy colors or patterns, but for a simple, reliable backpack for business trips or commuting, Bellroy has some fantastic options.

9. Peak Design: Best Camera Backpack Brand

Peak Design makes some of the best backpacks for traveling photographers, hands down. Their backpacks combine the versatility of a traditional backpack with the functionality and features of a camera backpack—plus a few added features.

Peak Design makes a line of Everyday packs, totes, slings and carry-on bags that are roomy enough to store your camera gear and pack your regular travel items. And you certainly don’t have to be a photographer to wear them. Their backpacks come jam-packed with features and are made with high-quality materials. All their products also come with a lifetime warranty.

If you’re looking for the ultimate camera backpack, check out the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This versatile bag beats out other bags with its streamlined design, great accessibility, and fantastic organization for carrying camera gear.

The Everyday Backpack comes with removable and customizable dividers. You can rearrange and reorient them however you would like to carry lenses, cameras, and more. They also have structure and padding to keep your precious gear safe from impacts or scratching.

One of my favorite things about this bag is the side access. Rather than opening the entire pack, you can unzip one side and instantly have access to the main compartment with your camera kit. There also are external pockets for a water bottle or tripod.

Peak Design also has a full range of accessories that integrate perfectly with their packs. When you buy a piece of Peak Design gear, you can build on it with a full system of add-ons.

If you’re interested in how this stylish and reliable backpack brand compares to Tortuga, check out my full comparison of the two brands or read my full Peak Design Travel Backpack review.

10. Able Carry: Best Everyday Backpack Brand

Able Carry Brand

Many of the brands on this list make great everyday bags, but Able Carry is an up-and-coming brand that specializes in durable, functional, and versatile backpacks for everyday use.

Able Carry’s packs are extremely well-thought-out, and it’s clear that attention was paid to every detail in the design. They feature lots of pockets and compartments to keep you organized, but not so many that it becomes overwhelming.

Their packs are also very sleek and stylish. There are minimal straps, buckles, or other components on the outside of Able Carry Backpacks, which make them look very streamlined.

By using materials like X-Pac and 1000D Cordura, Able Carry has made their backpacks take some abuse.

I highly recommend checking out the Daily Backpack from Able Carry. It’s got all the features you need for daily carry, plus an amazingly comfortable fit. It uses a seatbelt-like webbing connecting the shoulder straps down through the bottom of the pack in what they call “A-frame support.” Essentially, this helps prevent sagging when you load the pack up, keeping it comfortable all day.

It’s also definitely worth looking at Able Carry’s other backpacks. Whether you need a big load-hauler for carrying a lot of tech to the office or a compact bag for cruising around town, they have some great options for day-to-day use.

11. GORUCK: Best Tactical Backpack Brand

GORUCK Brand

When you think of a tactical backpack, you probably imagine something made of burly materials with rugged construction and a ridiculous number of straps and buckles. Oh, and it must come in black and camo.

GORUCK is a backpack company that builds tactical bags that give you the burly materials and construction without the complexity you often see.

GORUCK isn’t just a backpack and apparel brand, they also have built their entire company ethos around the activity of “rucking.” Essentially rucking is just an exercise that involves walking or hiking with a loaded backpack. In addition to their packs, they also sell a variety of fitness gear like sandbags and weight plates, and they are building an entire community around rucking for fitness.

Plus, GORUCK is a veteran-owned company, and they proudly make all their gear in the good old USA. They pride themselves on the legendary durability of their products and back them up with one of the best warranties I’ve ever seen. Essentially, if you break it, they will fix it.

I can get behind that, but of course, it does mean you pay more for a GORUCK backpack. These things are expensive, but they’re meant to last a lifetime.

The classic backpack from GORUCK is the GR1. They say that this pack is “proven to Special Forces standards.” While those types of marketing claims usually cause me to roll my eyes, they aren’t kidding in this case. This pack has actually been tested and used by the Green Berets for taking a laptop into combat.

Everything about this pack feels burly and overbuilt. It’s made with near-indestructible 1000D Cordura and burly YKK zippers, and every stitch is designed to handle heavy loads and hard use. While it does have some “tactical” features like molle webbing, this bag has a much more minimal and mainstream look than most tactical backpacks. It wouldn’t look out of place carrying this to the office. In fact, this could be your only bag for a wide range of uses, from work to hiking to travel.

Of course, the military vibe of GORUCK and their products won’t be for everyone. If you’re looking for a tactical backpack, though, the GR1 is sure to make you smile.

12. Db: Best European Backpack Brand

Db Brand

If you’re not looking for something so obviously and proudly from ‘Merica, a European brand may fit your style more.

Founded in Norway, Db designs backpacks for surfers, skiers, mountain bikers, and even photographers—some of the world’s top athletes use Db. They also make a great range of streamlined everyday backpacks.

I love that Db is constantly innovating and doesn’t settle for industry-standard designs if they think they can come up with something better.

For example, the Db Hugger line of backpacks and luggage features padded sides with a built-in ABS “rib cage” that adds structure and protection without extra bulk and weight.

Another cool feature is their patented hook-up system, with quick attachment links (G-buckles) that connect multiple wheeled bags or backpacks together to make travel a breeze. If you typically carry a lot of gear, this system is a game-changer.

My favorite Db pack is the Hugger Backpack. Designed by and for skiers, this pack is capable of much more. It is simple and streamlined, but packs in surprising functionality with its protective laptop compartment, top zip pocket, and wide-opening main compartment. The rib-cage design means this bag keeps its shape whether it’s almost empty or stuffed to the brim.

It checks all the boxes for a streamlined day-to-day bag that’s also easy to pack for weekend trips.

If you think of yourself as a minimalist, you also might love their Essential Backpack. This 12L stripped-back bag gives you a clean, simple design without any frills.

Db also has a wide range of accessories, duffel bags, and wheeled luggage. All their gear works together seamlessly, so if you like the idea of an integrated packing “system,” Db is worth checking out.

13. REI Co-op: Best Outdoor Backpack Brand

REI Co-op Brand

REI is instantly recognizable as the big retailer that sells hiking, biking, skiing, and other outdoor gear all over the country. They also have their own line of REI-branded gear that ranges from mountain bikes to underwear.

REI has been in the outdoor industry since 1938, so they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to backpacks designed for the outdoors. They use durable materials and have an awesome warranty and return policy.

REI has a wide range of backpacks for outdoor enthusiasts, from full-featured backpacking packs to ultralight daypacks to streamlined travel backpacks to versatile town-to-trail bags. Odds are, you’ll find what you need from REI.

They also pack in some incredible value. Their well-built hiking and outdoor adventure packs typically come in at much lower price points than other competing brands. Part of this is due to the fact that they are able to sell exclusively through their own stores and control the entire distribution process.

If you’re looking for a simple all-around pack for the outdoors, I highly recommend checking out the REI Flash 22. This lightweight, versatile daypack is ready for everything including fast-and-light climbing missions, long day hikes, and paddleboarding on the lake.

It has a large water bottle pocket on either side, a large main compartment, and a top zip pocket. While the shoulder straps don’t have much padding, they are comfortable, and the sternum strap helps you adjust the fit.

For a pack with a few more features, the Trail 25 is a great choice. This classic backpack works well for hiking but is more versatile than most technical packs designed for the outdoors. It also works well for carry-on travel or commuting to work.

14. Mission Workshop: Best Backpack Brand for Men

Mission Workshop Brand

When it comes to men’s backpacks, Mission Workshop is an excellent top pick.

All of Mission Workshop’s backpacks are built proudly in America and combine durable construction, incredible functionality, and rugged yet refined styling. While they definitely have a bit of a tactical look, they are streamlined enough to be right at home in the city or at the office.

They don’t have the most lightweight packs, but they are nearly indestructible, made of high-quality materials, and loaded with features.

The Rhake is easily my top pick from Mission Workshop. This everyday pack is designed to be water resistant, insanely durable, and ready for anything, whether that’s packing gym clothes for a workout, a laptop for commuting, or clothes and gear for shorter trips. It uses a few options for waterproof fabrics and water-resistant YKK zippers.

This backpack is packed with internal and external pockets, side compression straps, and concealed zippers. There is a big front pocket on either side of the pack, a hidden water bottle pocket, and a rolltop main compartment.

In my opinion, the Rhake is one of the best backpacks out there for everyday use. That being said, Mission Workshop is one of the most expensive brands on this list. You’ll pay a lot of money to wear their packs proudly on your back! But just remember—you get what you pay for.

15. CALPAK: Best Backpack Brand for Women

CALPAK Brand

Originally founded in LA by Edward and Judy Kwon, CALPAK is a family-owned business that makes stylish and high-quality luggage, bags, and travel accessories.

The CALPAK line of backpacks includes sleek, stylish bags ranging from mini backpack-purses to active hydration packs for hiking or running. With simple designs and thoughtful features, these are some of the best backpacks for women.

The Kaya Laptop Backpack is a sophisticated faux leather pack that’s perfect for work, college, travel, or everyday use. The styling is top-notch and it looks good in any situation.

For some women, one downside of CALPAK backpacks will be that they are all pretty flashy, with metallic zippers, glossy fabrics, and lots of bright colors. If you prefer more subdued designs, you may want to look at some of the other brands on this list.

16. Kodiak Leather: Best Leather Backpack Brand

Kodiak Leather Brand

There’s something inherently appealing about high-quality leather gear. Maybe it’s the smooth, natural finish. Maybe it’s the sturdy construction. Maybe it’s the timeless style or the craftsmanship involved in making good leather products.

Whatever it is, it’s hard not to love leather backpacks.

Kodiak Leather specializes in making high-quality leather packs and bags with top-grain cowhide that is durable, water-resistant, and only looks better with age and wear.

I’ve really enjoyed the Katmai Leather Backpack. This durable bag has that classic backpack style while including features you don’t usually see in leather backpacks. Features like a laptop sleeve, padded straps, and multiple pockets for organization.

I really love the styling. If you’re a fan of something like the Herschel Classic Backpack XL, then the Kodiak Katmai is right up your alley.

Leather backpacks probably won’t be for everyone. There is a little bit more care involved in keeping a leather pack in good shape. If you like that timeless leather style though, Kodiak is a great brand.

17. Rains: Best Waterproof Backpack Brand

RAINS Brand

If you live somewhere with a rainy climate, getting caught out in a storm may be a fact of life. That doesn’t mean you should have to always worry about whether your laptop and everything else in your backpack will get soaked as a result. A waterproof backpack can give you confidence that your stuff will stay dry when the weather gets bad.

Rains is an “outerwear lifestyle brand” that focuses on stylish, functional, and waterproof clothing and bags. All their backpacks are made of the same signature PU fabric as their rain jackets, meaning they are waterproof, not just water-resistant. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend dropping one of these in a lake with your laptop inside to test it out.

My favorite backpack from Rains is the, well, Backpack (cool name, I know). This stylish, minimalist pack is a great choice for anyone who craves simplicity and wants to keep their stuff dry when the weather turns south.

There’s not much in terms of features with the Rains Backpack. There’s a wide-open main compartment and a single phone-sized zip pocket. That’s it. Beyond that, there aren’t many features to speak of. 

It’s got a flap closure for a classic backpack style, and with the extreme simplicity, it looks really good.

Of course, there are other models in Rains’ lineup that include more features like a laptop sleeve, padded straps, or a zippered front pocket. Simplicity is still the overarching theme across their product line.

With the uber-minimal city-oriented design, Rains packs aren’t for everyone, and you definitely won’t want to take one on a long trek through the mountains.

18. Matador: Best Packable Backpack Brand

Packable backpacks are great for trips where you need to bring more than one bag but don’t want to deal with the bulk of always carrying around multiple packs. A packable backpack can be squished down to take up less space. 

I’ve found this especially convenient during travel when I have one main carry-on bag but want a smaller pack for day excursions.

There are a lot of packable backpacks out there, and most of them are not very good. You can find some for insanely cheap on Amazon, but they always end up falling apart after a few uses. Besides, they are usually uncomfortable and don’t have any features beyond a sack to hold your stuff and some shoulder straps.

Matador is a Colorado-based adventure and travel brand that has really cornered the market for high-quality packable packs.

The Matador Freerain 22 is one of the best packable backpacks on the market right now. Seriously. This pack is comfortable, feature-packed, and fully waterproof with a waterproof fabric and internally taped seams to keep rain out. Sure, it’s five times the price of those cheap Amazon bags, but it works way better and will last for years to come.

Is it worth spending more money for a packable bag? That’s ultimately up to you, but if it’s something you’ll use a lot, I don’t think you’ll regret investing in a Matador backpack.

19. Pacsafe: Best Anti-Theft Backpack Brand

Pacsafe Brand

Getting your stuff stolen while traveling is a nightmare. What if a thief takes your wallet? Your passport? Your brand new souvenirs from your trip *gasp*?

Having experienced travel theft firsthand, the founders of Pacsafe set out to make a product that offered some peace of mind while traveling. They developed a full range of anti-theft backpack technology to prevent thieves from opening, ripping, scanning, or grabbing your backpack and running off with your valuables.

Some of their innovations include slick locking zipper systems, RFID-blocking materials, cut-resistant steel mesh woven into the fabric, slash-resistant straps, and a system that lets you lock your backpack to a fixed object so you don’t have to keep eyes on it at all times.

These are some high-tech bags that are designed to put some serious obstacles in the way of a thief trying to break into or run away with your pack.

I recommend checking out the Pacsafe Eco 25L. This streamlined daypack combines all Pacsafe’s anti-theft technology with a comfortable fit, a roomy laptop sleeve, and recycled fabrics.

While an anti-theft backpack isn’t a surefire guarantee that your stuff won’t get stolen, it definitely helps. Once a thief realizes they aren’t getting into your bag easily, they will likely leave it alone and go after someone else’s.

20. RIMOWA: Best Luxury Backpack Brand

RIMOWA Brand

Best known as a manufacturer of high-end suitcases and luggage, RIMOWA also makes some of the world’s best luxury backpacks for travel and work. Made in Italy, their backpacks use the absolute best materials available, including premium canvas and full-grain leather.

The design of RIMOWA backpacks is elegant and sophisticated without being overly flashy. Their packs are simple, and streamlined and show a sense of style without calling attention to themselves.

The RIMOWA Travel Backpack is fantastic for anyone looking for a luxury carry-on backpack. Its rectangular shape and clamshell opening make it easy to pack, and the built-in laptop sleeve is easy to access from the outside.

The price point definitely means RIMOWA bags aren’t for everyone, but if you aren’t willing to compromise on quality and design, RIMOWA is the best of the best.

How to Choose the Best Backpack Brand

We’ve covered 20 brands, and each is great in its own way. So how do you choose the best one for you?

Know Your Use Case

Each brand on this list specializes in something slightly different from the others. You’ll have the best luck finding your perfect backpack if you know exactly what you need it for and how you will use it.

For example, if you need a comfortable hiking backpack for outdoor adventures, outdoor companies like Osprey will be a better fit than brands specializing in urban gear like NOMATIC.

Durability vs. Price

Ultimately, every purchase comes down to cost at some point. It’s at least always a factor. We all have a lot of bills to pay and want to save money wherever we can.

In my experience, you usually get what you pay for. That means if you buy a cheap no-name backpack from Amazon, I wouldn’t count on it lasting long before it starts to fall apart.

On the other hand, high-end brands may cost much, much more, but they build higher-quality products that will last a long time.

Fortunately, I don’t think you have to spend your life savings to get a good backpack. There are several brands on this list that sell high-quality gear at relatively affordable prices. No, not as cheap as the Amazon crap, but pretty reasonable.

I believe it’s worth investing in gear that will last. Take your time to do research and find products that are durable and well-made. I’ve found that every brand on this list does a good job at making reliable packs and standing behind what they make.

Warranty

Going hand in hand with durability is the issue of a company’s warranty. Most brands on this list offer some sort of limited lifetime warranty and guarantee their product against any manufacturing defects.

A few brands, like Osprey and GORUCK, go above and beyond, with incredible warranty programs that promise to repair or replace any damaged product, no matter how old it is or how it was damaged (within reason).

I really respect brands that stand behind their products, and I recommend you take a brand’s warranty into account as you shop for a backpack.

Sustainability and Brand Responsibility

I’m a big proponent of the belief that every dollar you spend is a vote. With that in mind, it’s important to support brands that are using their influence to create a positive impact in the world.

I always try to buy from companies that prioritize sustainability and diversity, from what their products are made of to how they run their business.

There are a lot of ways to identify brands that are seeking to do good. Many backpack manufacturers now are switching to recycled materials. There are also certifications like Bluesign, which rate companies on their sustainability.

Why Trust TravelFreak

Here at TravelFreak, our entire business is based on giving you the best information and recommendations possible. We take that very seriously. Because we are all adventurers, travelers, and gear junkies ourselves, we only recommend products we would be happy using ourselves.

I have been traveling for over a decade and am obsessive about finding the best gear that will hold up to use and abuse and streamline my travel experience. Over the years I’ve developed relationships with many of the brands in this list and really put their packs to the test. Every brand on this list is the best at what they do.

Best Backpack Brands FAQs

Which backpack brand is the most durable?

GORUCK builds some of the most durable packs on the planet, and have an incredible warranty.

What backpack is popular?

Bellroy makes some of the most popular backpacks with sleek styling and functional design.

What brand sells the best backpacks?

Aer is our top backpack brand overall. Their packs are high-quality and feature-packed.

Who makes the best travel backpack?

Tortuga makes the best travel backpacks whether you need a carry-on or personal item.

How do you know if a backpack is good quality?

Good quality backpacks use durable materials like Cordura and often come with a lifetime warranty.

Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.

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3 Responses

    1. Gregory is not as slick and clean looking. Plus it’s good to have brands that are different than the common. Let’s keep it more unique

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