Did you know that roll top backpacks are the most simple, durable, and water-resistant backpack design out there? Seriously, if it’s well-made, a roll top backpack can last you a lifetime because there are no zippers to snag or
Because they use the same closure style as drybags, roll top packs are also incredibly weather-resistant.
Like with other travel daypacks and backpacks, finding the right one can be challenging. There are hundreds of options, and you want to make sure you find one that is durable, functional, and (most importantly) fits you and your needs.
To help you make an informed decision, here is a list of my favorite roll tops, from bomber waterproof backpacks, to stylish laptop bags.
- Best Overall Roll Top Backpack: Fjallraven Ulvo
- Best Budget Roll Top Backpack: Timbuk2 Tuck
- Most Stylish Roll Top Backpack: Bellroy Melbourne
- Best Roll Top Backpack for Commuters: Timbuk2 Especial Supply
- Best Roll Top Laptop Backpack: Mission Workshop Rhake
- Best Waterproof Roll Top Backpack: Rains Rolltop Rucksack
- Best Small Roll Top Backpack: Stubble & Co Roll Top Mini
- Best Roll Top Hiking Daypack: Camelbak Octane 16
- Best Roll Top Backpack for Photographers: Shimoda Action X
- Most Eco-Friendly Roll Top Backpack: GOT BAG Rolltop Backpack
- Most Versatile Roll Top Backpack: Osprey Arcane Roll Top
- Best Waterproof Roll Top Backpack: Filson Dry Backpack
- Best Roll Top Backpack for Commuters: Chrome Urban Ex 2.0
- Best Leather Roll Top Backpack: MAHI Roll Top Backpack
- Best Roll Top Backpacking Pack: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400
Why Choose a Roll Top Backpack?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to choose a roll top bag for your next adventure:
- Gear protection: Compared to the zippered or cinch openings you’ll find on most backpacks, roll tops offer superior weather protection. The tight seal you get with a roll top bag will keep out the elements and keep your gear dry. The best waterproof backpacks use a roll top construction
- Adjustable volume: Adjustability is inherently built into the roll-top design. Packing your bag to the max? Roll the closure over once or twice, and you leave yourself a lot of extra room. Carrying only the bare essentials? You can roll the top all the way down and cinch it tight with compression straps. Roll tops are great for anyone who wants one bag that’s suitable for many different trips.
- Durability: zippers are prone to snagging, and cinch closures can get tangled or broken. Because of their simple design and large components, roll-top backpacks are much harder to break. If you want the most reliable opening for your bag’s main compartment, a roll top is the way to go.
1. Fjallraven Ulvo: Best Roll Top Backpack Overall
Fjallraven is a Swedish brand that builds outdoor gear that blends timeless style, quality craftsmanship, and functional design. I love that all of their products are built with an emphasis on durability and sustainability. They place more focus on materials than any other outdoor brand I know of.
The Fjallraven Ulvo is a streamlined roll top daypack that’s good for just about anything. It is comfortable enough for day hikes, has a laptop pocket and accessible organization for everyday use, and has enough room for traveling.
The carrying system is comfortable and supportive. It has well-padded shoulder straps, an adjustable chest strap, and a minimal removable hip belt. This is great for all-day comfort, whether you’re on the crushing miles on the trail or rushing through airports.
Since this is designed as a do-it-all bag, it’s not optimized for any one purpose. Only need a hiking pack? Then the Camelbak Octane might be better. Want a stylish dedicated laptop bag? You might prefer the Bellroy Melbourne. If you’re like me, though, and prefer to have one bag that works for multiple uses, The Fjallravel Ulvo is a great choice.
- Versatile design
- Made from recycled materials
- Comfortable for all-day carrying
- Not the best at any one thing
- Few external pockets
Fjallraven Ulvo Specs:
|Hiking, Commuting, Travel
|Recycled 400D nylon
|11” x 19” x 7”
2. Timbuk2 Tuck: Best Budget Roll Top Backpack
Timbuk2 is one of the best brands in the business when it comes to daypacks optimized for day-to-day city life. Their bags are durable, stylish, and packed with convenient features.
The Timbuk2 Tuck delivers the quality and style you’d expect from the brand in an affordable, roll top package.
When you’re looking for an affordable backpack, you want one that focuses on getting the basics right and doesn’t cut corners on build quality. Fancy features aren’t as important as durability and basic functionality that works.
The Tuck backpack is an urban everyday bag for commuters, students, and anyone who uses a backpack for day-to-day life. The design cuts out unnecessary frills to get a minimal, dialed-in look, but still delivers on practical features and design.
The bag is made from 100% recycled nylon and polyester. Not only is this bag eco-friendly, but the material is durable and offers decent water resistance. It won’t stand up to hours in drenching rain, but for the quick sprint through the rain to the car, it’ll keep your stuff dry.
You get two external zippered pockets on the front of the bag, stretchy water bottle pockets, and a laptop sleeve that can be accessed through the main compartment or a zipper on the side. There aren’t internal zippered pockets, and the bottle pockets are a bit small for larger bottles, but overall I think the organization works well.
For such a well-designed bag, the price point is awesome and makes this a fantastic everyday backpack for anyone on a budget.
- Great price point
- Well-thought-out pockets and features
- Side-access laptop sleeve
- Limited water resistance
- No sternum strap
Timbuk2 Tuck Specs:
|X-Pac laminate fabric
|12.6” x 17.9” x 5.2”
|20 L (up to 26 L expanded)
3. Bellroy Melbourne: Most Stylish Roll Top Backpack
The Bellroy Melbourne backpack is a slim urban backpack featuring a roll top entry to keep modern professionals ready for business. This backpack has a chic, minimalist design with a sophisticated feel without being too formal.
One of my favorite features of this roll top bag is the side zip, which allows the bag to open wide from the top down. This way, you will not need to rummage around in your backpack trying to find specific items.
One thing to note is that the adjustable shoulder straps don’t have much padding. This bag is comfortable as long as you don’t overload it. If you’ll be carrying heavy loads, you may want a bag with shoulder straps that have a bit more padding.
The Bellroy Melbourne also has all the features needed to ensure the safety of your gear as you travel to and rom work, including a strong MagSnap security flap and padded sleeves for your laptop and/or tablet.
- Low profile pockets to store your valuables
- Fashionable, minimalist design
- 3-year warranty
- Padded laptop compartment
- Small size
- Limited color options
- No sternum strap or hip belt
Bellroy Melbourne Backpack Specs:
|Travel, Casual, Commuting
|Durable, water-resistant woven fabric made from recycled materials
|18” x 12” x 6”
4. Timbuk2 Especial Supply: Best Roll Top Backpack for Commuters
If you get around town on a bike, you need a backpack that can carry your daily essentials without getting in the way. Large backpacks can make you feel unbalanced, and poorly-designed shoulder straps will let the bag shift around while pedaling.
The Timbuk2 Especial Supply Roll Top Backpack has a slim pack body and well-designed padded shoulder straps with sternum straps to keep the bag secure. It won’t feel overly cumbersome or block your over-shoulder sight lines while on your bike. I don’t love cycling with a backpack, but this bag makes it less of a hassle.
This roll top pack keeps things simple with a stripped-back design that gives you the features you need and nothing more. In addition to the main compartment, you get a zippered pocket on the front, a stretchy bottle pocket on the side, and an internal laptop pocket.
There isn’t much going on here, so if you like having tons of little organization pockets, this bag may not be for you. For a minimal pack that works well without unneccessary frills, I highly recommend the Timbuk2 Especial Supply Roll Top pack.
- Nimble, compact design
- Waterproof construction
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Sternum strap to dial in fit
- Easy-access zippered pocket
- Small laptop sleeve
Timbuk2 Especial Supply Roll Top Backpack Specs:
|Bike Commuting, Casual
|10” x 14” x 5”
|19.5L up to 22.5L expanded
5. Mission Workshop Rhake: Best Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Mission Workshop is a San Francisco brand that focuses on building incredibly functional and durable products. They aren’t afraid of using the newest cutting-edge materials and components and innovating their designs.
The Mission Workshop Rhake pack is designed to be the ultimate waterproof daypack for daily use. Instead of ballistic nylon, the main pack material is four-layer laminated X-Pac. This fabric was initially developed as a high-end modern sailcloth, but its durability and waterproof qualities make it perfect for high-performance packs as well.
The construction is bomber all around. In addition to high-end materials, you get oversized components, reinforced shoulder straps, and superb build quality all-around.
Unlike most waterproof backpacks, this pack is absolutely loaded with pockets and organization features. It has individual pockets specifically designed for a laptop, tablet, phone, keys, sunglasses, and more. There’s no way you’ll run out of pockets with this bag. If you prefer a more minimal design, you’ll probably want a different pack, but anyone who likes to have a dedicated place for everything will love this.
While it’s expensive, this pack is well-designed and will last a lifetime. If you want a bomber laptop pack that doesn’t compromise on quality or function, you should check out the Mission Workshop Rhake.
Want more options? Check out our full list of the best laptop backpacks.
- Weatherproof design
- Awesome durability
- Tons of zipper pockets, organization, and compression features
- Comfortable padded straps
Mission Workshop Rhake Specs:
|Commuting, Casual, Hiking
|X-Pac laminate fabric
|11” x 20” x 5”
6. Rains Rolltop Rucksack: Best Waterproof Roll Top Backpack
Rains is a modern lifestyle brand that is built around their signature waterproof fabric. They make a wide array of waterproof jackets, pants, and bags. Their products also look amazing.
The Rains Rolltop Rucksack is a streamlined bag with fully waterproof material and minimal stitching. Combined with the roll top closure, this means you count on it to keep your stuff dry in even prolonged downpours. It isn’t rated to be submerged, so it’s not a true dry bag—but it will seal water out in any conditions short of dunking it in a lake.
If you like having lots of pockets, this might not be the backpack for you. It has one large main compartment, a front zippered pocket, and a side-access laptop sleeve. I love the stripped-back design but wish it had at least water bottle pockets on the sides.
This is definitely a city-oriented backpack. You could take it hiking no problem, but if you want a dedicated hiking pack, you’ll probably want something else.
Unlike most waterproof backpacks, the Rains Rolltop Rucksack is stylish fits right into an urban environment. This is a great pack for keeping your stuff dry on around town.
- Durable, waterproof material
- Stylish design
- Easy access with carabiner closure
- No side pockets
- Not much internal organization
- Small main compartment
Rains Rolltop Rucksack Specs:
|Polyester with polyurethane coating
|12.6” x 18.8” x 4.3”
7. Stubble & Co Roll Top Mini: Best Small Roll Top Backpack
The Stubble & Co Roll Top Mini backpack is a minimalist black roll top bag designed for everyday use—while being capable enough for day hikes. It’s lightweight, durable, has sealed seams and water-resistant zippers, and comes with reflective logos to keep you safe on the road, whether you’re biking or walking.
If you’re a commuter, this roll top comes with several compartments to keep your gear snug against your back as you make your way to and from work. There’s a direct access laptop pocket, an adjustable chest strap to keep the bag tight to your form, bike lock pockets, and side pockets for your water bottle.
And if you’re caught in a downpour while you’re in the bike lane, your belongings will stay nice and dry…even if you don’t.
- Made almost entirely of recycled materials
- Built-in reflective logos for the road
- Easy-access laptop compartment
- Lightweight and fits snug against your body
- Not much padding around the laptop
- Only available in black
Stubble & Co Roll Top Mini Specs:
|600D Recycled PET, 200D Recycled PET Lining, Tarpaulin (Base), Recycled PET Webbing, 3D Poly Air Mesh
|11” x 16.1” x 4.7”
8. Camelbak Octane 16: Best Roll Top Hiking Daypack
Camelbak is an industry leader when it comes to hydration packs for hiking, running, and biking—they pretty much invented the category. With decades of innovation behind them, their packs are well-thought out and highly functional for outdoor adventures.
The Camelbak Octane 16 is a lightweight modern hiking daypack with a vest-style harness inspired by trail running packs. It comes with a 2L hydration bladder, so it’s ready for days on the trail.
I am a huge fan of vest-style daypacks for hiking. The harness on the Octane 16 does a fantastic job at keeping the load close to your back and distributing weight across your chest and back rather than digging into your shoulders. The adjustable cinch straps really help compress your load and keep it close to your back.
There are plenty of external pockets to keep gear and snacks accessible on your hike. You get a large front stuff pocket, a side slip pocket that can fit a 1L water bottle, and pockets on the shoulder straps. You won’t have to go digging through the main compartment to get your most-used items.
This is a fairly small pack, so if you’re carrying a lot of gear on dayhikes, you may want something a bit bigger. I think most people will love the compact size. Too often, big daypacks just mean you overpack and carry more weight and bulk than you need.
- Comfy vest-style shoulder straps
- Comes with water bladder
- Roll top closure with convenient vertical zip
- Double sternum straps
- Limited space for gear-intensive trips
- Lightweight materials may suffer in long-term durability
Camelbak Octane 16 Specs:
|Hiking, Running, Biking
|75D Cordura Balistic Nylon
|8.7” x 18.1” x 7.1”
9. Shimoda Action X: Best Roll Top Backpack for Photographers
The Shimoda Action X series is a whole line of camera backpacks and accessories. These innovative backpacks do a great job of safely storing all your photography gear so you can get outdoors without having to worry about smashing an expensive lens or delicate body.
There are plenty of compartments for keeping gear organized, making this pack ideal for photographers bringing a camera with extra lenses, chargers, tripods, and other accessories. There are also rear and side access points, providing you unobstructed access to the bulk of your gear.
The carrying harness is well thought out, and works well for carrying heavy loads. The padded shoulder straps, hip belt, and sternum strap work well to make it comfortable.
The Shimoda Action X series has only large roll top backpacks, but this extra storage space is useful for larger gear setups. Of course, another useful feature is the expandable roll top. This allows you to adjust the bag to your gear needs while maintaining a tight and compact fit.
- Plenty of storage space
- Easy access to your gear
- Compression straps to secure load
- Padded camera compartment
Shimoda Action X Specs:
|12” x 22” x 8”
|dependent on backpack (X30, X50, and X70 available)
10. GOT BAG Rolltop Backpack: Most Eco-Friendly Roll Top Backpack
The GOT BAG is a well-rounded backpack suited to most adventures, but most notably, the brand also has a key mission to help protect our oceans and the environment.
This is undoubtedly the most eco-friendly roll top pack on this list, as it uses recycled ocean plastic. Each GOT BAG started as pieces of plastic floating around off the north shore of Indonesia. Following the GOT BAG cycle, the end result is a backpack that is stylish, durable, and water-resistant.
You’d never suspect that these backpacks are made from recycled plastic—they have a quality feel. My only wish is that there were more color and size options to appeal to more people’s tastes, but that’s a minor issue when you weigh the pros. Regardless, this backpack looks good and meets all the basic performance requirements expected of a travel backpack.
- Ample storage space
- Stylish, modern design
- Abrasion-resistant material
- Not many pockets
GOT BAG Specs:
|Hiking, Travel, Everyday
|Recycled plastic, organic polyurethane coating
11. Osprey Arcane Roll Top: Most Versatile Roll Top Backpack
Osprey is a Colorado-based brand that builds some of the best outdoor adventure backpacks in the world. They are known for innovative designs, legendary durability, and an industry-leading lifetime guarantee.
They also have a fantastic range of packs optimized for everyday and travel use that incorporates much of the same innovative design and bomber construction. The Osprey Arcane Roll Top is a stylish, streamlined pack that is perfect for travelers.
When choosing a backpack for travel, you need something that can go anywhere and do anything. The Arcane Roll Top delivers a simple pack that can fill many roles, from airplane underseat bag, to daypack when exploring a new city, to hiking pack for trail days.
With a ventilated back panel and padded shoulder straps, this bag is comfortable and supportive for long days.
The design of this bag is very simple and streamlined, but that conceals a ton of functionality. In addition to the wide-open storage space of the main compartment, you get well-thought-out features to keep your gear organized and accessible.
On the front of the pack you have a stuff pocket for jackets and an easily accessible zippered pocket to keep small essentials handy. There is one low-profile water bottle pocket and a stretchy pocket on the shoulder strap. I’m a fan of shoulder strap pockets, so this is a win in my book.
The Osprey Arcane Roll Top is hard to beat when you’re looking for a roll top daypack for travel. It is sturdy, intuitive, and stylish.
- Made of durable recycled polyester
- Highly weather-resistant
- Functional minimalist design
- No sternum strap or waist belt
Osprey Arcane Roll Top Specs:
|Travel, Commuting, Hiking
|600D recycled polyester
|12” x 20” x 9”
12. Filson Dry Backpack: Best Roll Top Dry Backpack
Whether you’re going fishing, white water rafting, or chasing waterfalls, you will need a backpack that will keep your gear dry. The Filson Dry Backpack does exactly that, as it’s engineered for straightforward water protection.
The Filson Dry has a number of features that make it fully waterproof. The thick polyurethane coating, welded seams, and roll top closure all make sure this pack stands up to true drybag standards.
It’s worth pointing out that while the fabric does a great job at keeping the water out, it doesn’t breathe well and can lead to a sweaty back if you’re walking long distances. But if you’re out on the water, this may not be too big of an issue.
This backpack also sports a classic look. There’s no reason why a waterproof backpack can’t be functional and stylish at the same time. It’s also comfortable thanks to the padded shoulders, so it can be worn for longer periods (even if you might end up a little sweaty).
- Comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps
- Chest strap distributes weight from your shoulders
- Modern, fashionable design
- Lighter than most waterproof backpacks
- Back panel isn’t breathable
Filson Dry Backpack Specs:
|White water rafting, Hiking, Everyday
|840D nylon, EVA foam, high-density plastic
|20” x 12.5” x 6.5”
13. Chrome Urban Ex 2.0: Best Roll Top Cycling Backpack
The Chrome Urban Ex 2.0 is a lightweight backpack designed for commuting on a bike. This roll top is water resistant, so you won’t have to worry about your expensive tech getting ruined in the event of a sudden downpour.
The Chrome Urban Ex 2.0 has a lightweight construction, which is ideal for bike commuters who want to cut down on weight. It also has comfortable shoulder pads and an adjustable sternum strap, allowing the load to be evenly distributed for extra comfort.
This bag is ideal for cycling around town with its secure fit, low-profile size, and built-in loops for carrying a U-lock
This bag doesn’t offer much in terms of external pockets, but the internal organization is impressive. It has a large padded laptop sleeve along with several compartments for books, pens, and anything else you want to keep secure and accessible inside. I’d like to see some external side pockets, but if you like a clean look, this may be a fantastic choice.
Overall, the Urban Ex 2.0 is tough, convenient, and an all-round impressive bag for anyone who commutes on a bike. It’s a bit more expensive than some others on this list, but you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.
- Waterproof roll top closure
- Abrasion-resistant material
- Spacious main compartment
- Chest strap keeps it secure while riding
- U-lock carrying loops
- Limited color options
Chrome Urban Ex 2.0 Specs:
|600D polyester with polyurethane coating, 420D nylon back
14. MAHI Roll Top Backpack: Best Leather Roll Top Backpack
MAHI is a brand based in Kanpur India that builds high-quality handmade leather bags and packs. If you enjoy the classic, timeless style of handmade leather products, you’ll love the MAHI Roll Top Backpack.
This bag is perfect for upping your style game at work. The different color options look professional and beautiful, and the design is dialed-in. You’ll love the quality look and feel of the 100% full-grain leather used in this bag.
It’s not just for show, either. MAHI has impressive quality control and uses high-end materials. This roll-top bag will last a lifetime if you take care of it.
There is also an impressive level of organization and accessibility packed into this leather bag. In addition to the main compartment, you get two external zipped pockets, and internal phone pocket, and space for a 15″ laptop. All the zippers are high-quality YKK components, so you can count on them to last.
Whether you need a daily driver for heading to the office, or a laptop bag for business travel, this leather roll-top backpack will get you where you need to go in style.
- Timeless aesthetic
- Durable construction
- Smart pockets and organization.
- Some may find the leather straps uncomfortable
MAHI Roll Top Backpack Specs:
|Business, Commuting, Travel
|100% full-grain leather
|11” x 20” x 5”
15. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400: Best Roll Top Backpacking Pack
Hyperlite Mountain Gear was started by one guy with a sewing machine and the determination to build the best backpack in the world. Now its iconic packs are some of the most coveted pieces of gear in the long-distance-hiking world.
Designed and manufactured in Maine, Hyperlite packs pair some of the world’s most advanced materials with a stripped-back design. The Hyperlite Southwest 3400 is one of the brand’s most durable backpacking packs, and it’s designed to thrive on long and rough trails.
It all starts with the material. The Southwest is built from a composite fabric with non-woven Dyneema and a polyester face fabric. Dyneema is a synthetic fiber that’s several times stronger than steel, and it adds a lot of tear resistance to this pack.
This material is also fully waterproof, and Hyperlite tapes the seams to create a pack that will stay dry in the worst downpours.
Hyperlite cuts out the features and pockets of most backpacking bags. You don’t get lots of zipper pockets and organization. Instead, it has a streamlined feature set with water bottle side pockets, a large stuff pocket, hip-belt pockets, and a massive main compartment.
The sturdy hip belt, padded shoulder straps, and removable aluminum frame do a great job of distributing the weight of the pack. One thing I don’t like, though, is that the back panel is just waterproof fabric and has no breathability.
This pack is plenty supportive for heavy loads, but it doesn’t have the same level of cushioning and suspension as many packs from mainstream manufacturers like Osprey. Not everyone will love how it fits, so I would highly recommend trying one of these packs on in person if possible, or buying from a retailer like REI with a good return policy.
This pack is also expensive, so it’s not for everyone. If you only get out for a few trips a year, it’s probably overkill. For long-distance hiking though, there’s not much better.
- Virtually waterproof
- Great durability
- Back panel isn’t ventilated
- Less cushion and ventilation than other packs
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Specs:
|Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF)
|10.5″ x 34″ x 9″
Summary of the Best Roll Top Backpacks
There are many advantages to using roll top backpacks. From their clean and simple design to their protective capabilities, these backpacks are all-rounders suited to most occasions. Whether you’re commuting to work or exploring the outdoors, these backpacks are a reliable travel companion.
I hope that this article you find the perfect backpack for your next adventure. Leave a comment with your favorite choice!