If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, it’s backpacks. I own at least two dozen and have spent most of my adult life searching for the best EDC backpack to take with me on all of life’s adventures.
The best EDC backpack (aka the best everyday carry backpack) should include a few key features: a padded laptop compartment, plenty of organization options, and enough room for everything you need for the day, minus the bulky frame.
Since I’ve spent 10+ years hunting for the ever-elusive, perfect EDC backpack, I thought I’d share my findings with all the other backpack aficionados of the world. Whether you’re looking for your very first EDC backpack or are seeking the cream of the crop, keep reading to discover all the options deemed worthy as the best backpack for EDC that you can own today.
There are a lot of incredible backpacks on the market. Ultimately, it all boils down to your primary use. If you’re looking for the best EDC backpack for work, choose a lightweight model with plenty of organization and a padded laptop sleeve, like the Troubadour Apex Compact Backpack.
Size: 16 Liters | Material: Recycled Polyester, Vegan Leather Trim | Colors Available: 3
Sleek, slim, and sophisticated are all qualities of the Troubadour Apex, the best EDC backpack for pretty much anyone. Ideal for commutes to the office or trips to the backcountry, this lightweight backpack fits plenty without feeling like a burden.
It accommodates a 16” Macbook and is made from a waterproof fabric, which means nothing will get soggy during rainy travels. Plus, the nifty luggage sleeve slips over any carry-on bag handle to transport it with ease.
Troubadour’s organization is second to none, with slots for everything. Since each item has its place, you’ll spend way less time digging around for what you need. Finished with padded straps and an external water bottle holder, this EDC backpack streamlines your daily necessities, making it easy to grab and go, no matter where life takes you.
Size: 16 liters | Material: Italian Cotton, Nylon Canvas | Colors Available: 12
Dinky backpacks are so ‘90s—retire your old Jansport for a polished upgrade. This grown-up
Sporting a high-end design and unique construction, this backpack can fit it all, thanks to the flexible D-ring closures. It’s more dressy than your average, run-of-the-mill backpack, making it suitable for office use or business travel. Don’t be surprised when you rack up compliments on the adjustable leather straps and shiny brass hardware.
Size: 16-30 Liters (expandable) | Material: Recycled Nylon, Recycled Polyester | Colors Available: 4
Tactical doesn’t always mean camo and lots of useless pockets. Rather, tactical can look luxurious, so long as you’ve picked the right backpack. This is the best EDC backpack for men on the go. Yes, you can take it to work, but you can also take it on that week-long road trip, your annual camping excursion, and even to the gym.
Tropicfeel’s revolutionary design transforms from 16 to a whopping 30 liters thanks to the Spider Net system that creates extra space on the front of the pack. It also includes a signature kangaroo pouch that appears from the bottom for more storage.
Another unique aspect is the foldable compartment that allows you to protect valuables (cameras, headphones, and beyond) or stash wet clothes away from the rest of your belongings. It also comes with lots of interior organizational pockets, a top pouch for easy access, a sunglasses strap, and a secret pocket for a passport or cash. Talk about tactical.
Size: 14.5 Liters | Material: Synthetic Leather | Colors Available: 2
The best EDC backpack for laptops and other gadgets, this Maverick & Co. pick fits a 16” computer. It’s waterproof to protect your precious tech—one of the most important aspects of any good laptop backpack.
Designed for the organization crazed, there are slots for everything. The dual key rings are superb for quick access, and there’s a zippered internal pocket to keep valuables out of sight. Though it’s not the biggest backpack on the market, it’s a top choice for minimalists. It’s also great for travel with an easy access pocket to get to your belongings quickly and the strap for attaching it to a roller bag.
Size: 9.5 Liters | Material: Polyester | Colors Available: 2
Dubbed the “most comfortable backpack you’ll ever own,” you may forget you’re wearing this little beast. Good things come in small packages, and this backpack is proof with its ingenious design and stripped-down silhouette.
It’s big enough for a 16” laptop, with accompanying pockets for a tablet, notebook, and small accessories. The front pocket is ideal for grab-and-go items like your wallet or passport while traveling, and if you want to kick things up a notch, attach it to Oda’s Shoulder Bag for an all-in-one jet-setting solution.
Size: 27 Liters | Material: Polyester | Colors Available: 16
North Face backpacks have carried me through every season of life, and the best EDC backpack on a budget is the Vault. This model is hard to beat, with a large main pocket for your daily essentials, a padded laptop sleeve, and a smaller front pocket to stay organized.
While it’s less sophisticated than other options on this list, North Face makes dependable gear that won’t break the bank. This rendition has a sternum strap for when you stuff it to the max and a padded back panel to keep you comfortable with a full load. Finished with dual water bottle holders (use one for a small umbrella), this backpack will make it from campus to the office without breaking a sweat.
Size: L11.81 x H16.14 x W4.72in | Material: Italian Leather | Colors Available: 1
Not a briefcase guy? This is the best everyday carry backpack for work as it’s a smart option that doesn’t skimp on practicality. The supple Italian leather gives this backpack a timeless feel with enough room for all your essentials. If Don Draper wore a backpack, it would be this one, especially because of how good it looks with suits.
The main pocket is roomy enough for all you need for the day and gives you an excuse to leave larger laptops at the office, considering this backpack only fits a 13” model. Rather than unnecessary pockets covering the bag, it keeps things simple with a single external section for loose items. Topped off with Roderer’s signature silver crown, everyone will know there’s a backpack king among them.
Size: 13 Liters | Material: Polyester With Polyurethane Coating | Colors Available: 8
I’ve seen Rains bags on men all over the world. I first noticed these sleek backpacks while living in China and continued to spot them on stylish men in Paris, New York City, and even Casablanca, Morocco. They’re the Burberry trench of the EDC backpack world—fashionable, waterproof, and above all else, practical.
While you won’t want to take this backpack to the backcountry, it’s a prime choice for commutes. And even though it’s a tactical bag, it’s more stylish than its nylon competitors, with a smooth faux leather exterior and a smart adjustable closure.
The only downside to this bag is it doesn’t offer much in the way of organization. But what it lacks in arrangement, it makes up for in space, as this backpack is pretty much a black hole in the storage department.
Size: About 5 Liters | Material: Nylon, Polyester, Suede | Colors Available: 1
Not a fan of the classic two-strap construction? Made with a single strap to wear as a crossbody, this sling bag for men is designed to throw on and go. Smaller than a messenger bag, it has two exterior pockets on top of a roomy main compartment, ensuring there’s space for all daily necessities. Rather than a work bag that fits papers and a laptop, this is the best everyday carry backpack for all other life events.
Embodying the best of Japanese functionality, take it to concerts, on city strolls, or plop it in the front seat of your car. It keeps everything you need for the day close at hand without the hassle of digging around a larger backpack.
Size: 26 Liters | Material: Recycled Polyester | Colors Available: 3
It’s one thing to have a nice backpack. It’s another thing to have a nice backpack that weighs more than the contents inside. Rather skip the burdensome construction? Go for something more parred back like this lightweight (1-pound) Eagle Creek option.
Made by experts in the outdoor game, this is the best everyday carry backpack if you seek something lightweight and functional. The mellow design features a large main compartment, complete with a 16” laptop sleeve, that’s as at home on the city streets as it is on the trail. What’s more, it comes with a detachable hip belt for smaller items like a wallet, phone, or passport—yes, you get two bags in one. And if that’s not enough, the entire backpack is made from recycled materials, so you can feel as good as you look while sporting it.
Size: 20 Liters | Material: Vegetable Tanned Leather | Colors Available: 3
Nothing says “I’m important” quite like a leather backpack. Whether you take it to the board room or on trips, you’ll turn heads everywhere you wear it as a result of the ultra-unique design. Besides the shoulder straps, this backpack also has dual carry straps to use as a tote bag if you prefer. The high-end construction features a top zipper for easy access to what’s inside without exposing the contents to the rest of the world.
Like all good backpacks, it has a padded back, laptop sleeve, and slip pocket on the outside of the bag to stash your phone quickly. With a generous 20 liters to fill, you’ll likely wonder how you lived so long without this fashionable EDC backpack.
Size: L12.6 x H17.7 x W3.5in | Material: Full Grain Quilted Calf Leather | Colors Available: 1
Dropping a grand on a backpack may seem ridiculous, but not if you’re into the world of luxury leather goods. This luxe everyday carry backpack from Dunhill is a stunning option to add to your collection if you’re after a timeless piece that will garner plenty of attention.
With a classic folded closure backpack design, Dunhill kicks things up a notch with a buckled front pocket and full-grain Italian leather construction. But just because it’s high-end doesn’t mean it sacrifices practicality. There’s an internal pocket and a laptop sleeve because, let’s be honest, what’s the use of having this backpack if you’re not going to use it to impress your boss at work?
Size: 13 Liters | Material: Recycled Polyester | Colors Available: 16
Osprey reigns supreme in the world of hiking packs, which gives them plenty of street cred when it comes to the best EDC backpack for adventuring. If you’re headed off the beaten path or even to explore a new city, the Daylite is hard to beat, with a cushy 13 liters to fill. The internal sleeve can fit a 13” laptop or hydration bladder, and the mesh back panel ensures that you stay cool while wearing it.
In terms of organization, there’s plenty of space in the front pocket and even a key clip, so they don’t get buried. Since I also own this backpack—another one in my massive collection—I can attest to its practicality, especially when paired with other Osprey hiking packs (it snaps right onto the front).
Size: 20 Liters | Material: Nylon, Polyester | Colors Available: 6
The best EDC backpack for city slickers, this is probably the most common model on the streets of any major US city. Haven’t noticed it yet? You will now since this best seller is a killer option for anyone with multiple stops throughout their day.
Lululemon makes more than just leggings, and this backpack may be some of their finest work yet. There’s a roomy main pocket with a zippered internal sleeve and a lower compartment for gym clothes, sneakers, or other items you may want to keep separate. It’s designed for guys who like to get a workout in before or after the office and is made from water-repellant fabric to carry wearers through every season.
Size: 12 Liters | Material: Polyester | Colors Available: 10
If you’re looking for the best backpack that can take a serious beating, Dakine comes in clutch with the HeliPack. I’ve owned this bad boy for a couple of years, and my boyfriend and I fight over who gets to use it daily.
This backpack was initially designed for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, but it’s the optimal choice for a rough-and-tumble tote. Some noteworthy features include the hydration bladder sleeve that doubles as a padded laptop compartment, a fleece-lined sunglasses section, and handy organization thanks to the dual front pockets.
In terms of sport-specific additions, it has slots to carry your skis, poles, or board, a rescue whistle built into the sternum strap, and a hip belt for when things start to get heavy. Whether you wear it on the mountain or city streets, the slim design will keep your valuables safe at hand.
What to Look for in the Best EDC Backpacks
While easy to overlook, color is a prime consideration when it comes to the best EDC backpacks. Since you’ll be carrying it daily, it’s essential to choose a hue that matches your everyday look.
Black is always a safe bet, considering it goes with pretty much everything. It’s sophisticated for office wear and descript for traveling with. The same can be said for brown leather EDC backpacks that add a pop of luxury to any getup.
It pays to avoid bright colors that are harder to match. This will turn your pack into an eyesore and might even exude first-day-of-school vibes if you’re not careful.
The best everyday carry backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. From my personal experience, I’ve found the true sweet spot to be a 16-liter backpack that fits a 16” laptop and all daily essentials with a little bit of space leftover for anything you may pick up while out and about. This is also the ideal size for travel and easily stows under a seat as a personal item on a plane.
You can definitely get away with a smaller EDC backpack—13 liters fits a modest laptop and a hoodie, along with a few other items you may need throughout the day. I wouldn’t go any smaller than 13 liters unless you’re looking for an EDC sling bag to wear as a substitute for a full-blown backpack.
Since this type of men’s bag should accompany you on all of life’s adventures, it’s smart to think of it as an investment. There’s no use in buying a good-looking backpack that’s going to fall apart after only a couple of wears.
The best everyday carry backpacks cost anywhere between $100 and $500, with some slightly less expensive and some hitting the $1000 mark.
Looking to splurge on a luxury leather EDC backpack? Try out the Roderer Award Backpack, Billy Tannery Ziptop Backpack, or Dunhill Belgrave Leather Backpack, all of which are sophisticated pricey options.
For an EDC backpack to work its failproof magic, it must match your unique lifestyle. If you’re running back and forth between the office and the gym, choose a backpack with space for sneakers and sweaty clothes (like the Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack). Not to mention commuters, who will benefit from a waterproof EDC backpack that will be their companion, rain or shine.
Adventurous types benefit most from a versatile EDC backpack like the Tropicfeel Nest. The extra storage space comes in handy while traveling, and the sleek design ensures nothing gets left behind.
But if you’re looking to invest in a serious EDC backpack that looks smarter than the others lining your closet, pick a luxe leather option that will stand out in the boardroom and in business class. Because come on, no one is going to take you seriously with a North Face backpack while wearing your best suit.
While every option on this list is a worthy contender for the best everyday carry backpack, the Troubadour Apex Compact Backpack reigns supreme.
It strikes a perfect balance between style and practicality, with plenty of organization, a padded laptop compartment, and a sleek silhouette that never gets bulky. Whether for work or travel or those days in between, it will serve you well as the best EDC backpack on the market today.
You’ll want to carry items you use on a daily basis in your EDC backpack. Just in case you need a basic starting checklist:
- Small notebook
- Hand sanitizer
- Raincoat or extra layer
- Fresh socks
The size of an EDC backpack boils down to personal preference. A standard EDC backpack is between 13 and 16 liters, which is big enough for a laptop and other daily essentials without becoming too large, bulky, or heavy.