Tech gadgets like iPhones get dropped, bent, tumbled, and dunked underwater to test their durability. However, some people overlook the importance of resiliency when it comes to backpacks. But if you want your bag to last the long haul — not to mention protect the contents inside — then it’s essential to choose one of the most durable backpacks you can find. The best options are constructed with tough materials like nylon, polyester, or polyethylene, and some are woven with abrasion-resistant designs. Thicker fabrics are usually sturdier, too.
Another factor to consider when it comes to durability is resistance to scratching, scuffing, and water damage. No matter how careful you are with it, your backpack will inevitably get tossed around and exposed to various weather elements so look for waterproof coatings or bags with tear-proof features that make them better equipped to withstand this kind of wear-and-tear.
Lastly, keep in mind all of the other qualities you want in a backpack that don’t necessarily relate to durability. These can include things like size, weight, strap design, padding, and storage options such as pockets, pouches, laptop sleeves. As a bonus, some come with special features like USB ports, media pockets, mesh drink sleeves, key fob hooks, and swivel clips.
With those considerations in mind, check out this list of the most durable backpacks below.
1. The fan favorite
Size: 36.5 liters
What’s great about it: Made with incredibly durable polyethylene, this extra-large backpack is a popular choice on Amazon when it comes to ruggedness and longevity and has thousands of five-star ratings. The thick and sturdy material doesn’t rip or fray easily, according to reviewers, and the water-resistant coating offers protection from light splashes and rain. This backpack has well-organized, spacious compartments, along with extras such as a laptop sleeve, media pocket, and USB charging port. If the crimson/black option above isn’t for you, this backpack comes in dozens of other colors and patterns.
One reviewer wrote: “I love this backpack. It is very well-made, tough, and durable [...] I lug around heavy textbooks all day, every day and the bag is holding up fine...no hint of a strap fraying or interior cloth ripping.”
2. The extra-rugged backpack
Size: 22 liters
What’s great about it: This heavy-duty backpack is constructed with thickly woven nylon and a fully welded waterproof liner underneath, making it exceptionally durable and weather-resistant. The rucksack-style bag is ergonomically designed with soft, EVA foam and comfortable padding. It has a waterproof roll-top closure and abrasion-resistant webbing on the front as well, in addition to special features like a sternum strap, water bottle pockets, and a laptop sleeve. On top of all that, it comes in eight different colors.
One reviewer wrote: “This thing is absolutely incredible! It's tough, durable, and super spacious, and it just looks awesome! The laptop compartment is great too! I like how its lifted just a few inches up from the bottom, so if you drop the bag, the laptop won't really be affected. Oh yeah... when they say waterproof, it's pretty water proof. The first day I had it I got caught in the rain without an umbrella. When I got out and looked inside, not even [a] drop got on any of my stuff. Overall though, 10/10 would recommend.”
3. The ultra-lightweight backpack
Size: 10 liters
What’s great about it: If you’re looking for something simple and incredibly lightweight, this low-key minimalist backpack is just the ticket. Weighing in at just 10 ounces, it’s made from tough sailcloth which is specifically designed to be durable and weatherproof. Not only that, but the fabric has a high strength-to-weight ratio, so it’s rugged without being heavy. It is also highly compact, with one main compartment and one zippered pocket on the front — and the zippers are water-repellent. In addition to the heather gray pictured above, this backpack also comes in coyote brown and a navy/white/orange combo.
One reviewer wrote: “This pack has really been an asset from my everyday commute, to hiking my first 4,000 footer, Mt Moosilauke in the White Mountains. It fit my 1 liter water bottle, lunch, sunscreen and a few other small items for my hike. During my hike it rained, and all of my contents stayed safe and dry. I also used it on a 72 mile ATV trek through northern Maine Columbus Day weekend, and although the trails were very dusty and dry, all of my contents stayed clean and dust free. I would highly recommend this product to someone looking for a minimal, comfortable, and well constructed backpack.”
4. The budget backpack
Size: Not specified
What’s great about it: For folks on a budget, this durable laptop backpack offers a high-quality design at a wallet-friendly price point. The popular bag, which has more than 13,4000 reviews and a 4.7-star overall rating, is constructed with strong nylon that holds up well to wear-and-tear, according to fans. On top of being thick and well-made, it has a USB charger, pen pockets, a key fob hook, and mesh padding. The only drawback is that this backpack is not water-resistant. But it comes in your choice of six colors, including gray, sky blue, and red.
One reviewer wrote: “This back pack is legit the best backpack i have ever bought, very comfy, durable, and a good amount of travel space. I took this backpack on my 2nd trip to japan and lets just say, this beats my other bag. Would definitely recommend this backpack.”
5. The commuter bag
Size: 28 liters
Material: Nylon and polyester
What’s great about it: Constructed with a sturdy blend of nylon and polyester — and equipped with tons of storage pockets — this is one of the best commuter backpacks out there. The nylon and polyester fabric is thick with an anti-scratch lining. The backpack also features a padded back panel and strong webbing loops. Get it in solid black or blue/black.
One reviewer wrote: “This is a well-made and well-designed back pack. Quality materials; the zippers are easy to grab and don't jam like my old back pack.
6. The splurge
Size: 42 liters
What’s great about it: Not only does this rugged backpack feature an ultra-tough 1,000-denier polyester shell, but the TPU-coated bag also boasts 840-denier ballistic nylon paneling. Its weight-distributing harness system makes it more comfortable to carry, and the sturdy zipper runs smoothly without snagging. It has a wide open, spacious design and a fully waterproof rain cover to protect it from the elements.
One reviewer wrote: “I love this bag! Perfect for weekend getaways and short trips. The material and zippers are durable and the inside is easily accessible when needing to quickly grab an item from the inside. Highly recommended!