5 Backpacks and Messenger Bags We're Obsessed With

Carry your stuff in something that looks awesome and doesn't hurt your back or need your hands

Unsplash / Felix Rostig

If you accept that you have gear—sunglasses, phone, wallet, water bottle, extra hoodie, a snack—that you need to get you through the day, you know you need to carry a bag. You can’t keep everything in your car if you plan to park and walk—or don’t have a car. A purse (man or woman) is one way to go. But if you get serious about the matter, you know that a backpack—or messenger bag—is a much better idea.

You need your hands for doing things, not carrying that crap. And slinging something over one shoulder is super bad for your skeleton.

Fortunately, backpacks and messengers are on trend right now so you don’t have to look like an outsider to take care of yourself.

Here are five bags you should seriously consider.



Stuart & Lau

This piece of engineering beauty has all your carrying needs solved. But it has also solved for accessing the gear you are carrying, not always simple with a backpack.

That massive side-entry access point makes getting your sweater out something you can do without breaking stride. Your keys (also tickets, pens, and other necessaries) are right there when you walk up to your door—no fumbling in a big bag in the dark.

It’s waterproof so don’t fear going outside. There is an easy-access umbrella compartment. The handle is leather.

This thing is pure class and engineered efficiency. If you are thinking of dumping your bag for something that enables your movement, this is a great solution.

Nomatic Backpack

Versatile. Waterproof. There’s a pocket for every darn thing you will carry. This thing knows what you need even more than you do.

For example, did you know you wanted to be able to open the entire bag so you can see all the contents? No. (Normally, we all just get frustrated and dump the contents onto a table.)

Did you know you wanted a built-in case for your sunglasses? (Where has that been my whole life?)

You did know, everyone knows, that you wanted a water-bottle pocket that expands to hold your bottle not some imaginary bottle no one owns. But it’s also great that this pocket snaps back to look sleek when not in use.

Then there is everything you did know you needed: Access while walking, waterproof, a laptop sleeve (slick one), and a reflective back for safety.

Chrome Industries Urban EX Sling - 10L

Chrome Industries Urban EX Sling - 10L


Have you ever encountered a bicycle messenger on the elevator and thought, “I want that job.”

Yeah, no. You probably don’t. That’s a tough, thankless job where you are more likely than average to get creamed by a bus. What you wanted was the awesome messenger bag she was carrying. It was, probably, made by Chrome Industries.

The one that bike messengers carry might be a bit more bag than you need for everyday. But this one? All the awesome, tough, serviceable cool with less bulk. Just enough room to get you through one of your own not-getting-creamed-by-a-buss days.

Waterproof, indestructible, and big enough for your book, water bottle, phone, a warm layer, and the other sundries you must always have on hand.

FILSON Rugged Twill Bandera Backpack

FILSON Rugged Twill Bandera Backpack


You don’t want any of that fancy garbage. Not for you. Keep your loops, fancy pockets, extra stuff. Just give you an excellent backpack you can rely on everyday forever—or until you stop being able to walk anywhere carrying things.

This. The Filson Rugged Twill Bandera Backpack is made of tough stuff by tough Northwesterners who know how to do outside in the rain without having a hissy.

Two zippers. Straps. A handle. Some padding for your laptop and a laptop sleeve. All of it designed to last forever and get better with time.

Fjallraven - Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday

Fjallraven - Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday


A classic backpack from a cold, rainy country that relies heavily on backpacks. It looks awesome. It’s completely functional. You can wear it on your back or carry it by hand. It’s waterproof, dust resistant, wipes clean and an absurd amount of thought has gone into every detail.

This is better than that man purse or woman purse in just about every way.

Also? It comes in like a billion colors so get ready to have a lot of trouble deciding which one you want. Oh, it comes in other sizes, too. No one said perfection was the same thing for everyone.

Fjallraven - Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday

Fjallraven - Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday