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The best backpacks

For both men and women, a backpack is a handy way to transport your stuff from A to B, and it can also make a great fashion statement too. Depending on what you want it for, there are certain factors you should consider when buying a new backpack.

Size is everything, so make sure you have enough room to carry your stuff comfortably. If you want a backpack for commuting, look out for well-organised packs that may even have a compartment for your laptop. If you’re off on your travels, you’ll want a proper backpack designed to hold a high capacity of stuff, and one that is adjustable so that you can carry it comfortably for prolonged periods of time. 

For day trips out or exercise, a smaller pack that is lightweight and comes with a hydration pack would be ideal. They tend to be breathable and hug your body shape for ultimate comfort. If you don’t fancy something sporty looking, then there are plenty of fashionable backpacks on the market that are a little more basic in function, but that get the job done nicely. 

They don’t have to cost a fortune, but you get what you pay for, so if you want something that will last, investing in a high-quality backpack will be worth the money. We’ve rounded up some of the best backpacks for commuting, sports, travel and day-to-day use to suit all style and budgets. It’s down to you to choose your favourite!

1. The North Face Jester Backpack

Commute in style with this stylish pack and laptop sleeve

Best for: Commuting | Material: Polyester | Size: 50x34x19cm | Volume: 26L

Laptop sleeve
Comfortable straps
A little ‘sporty’ looking 

If you cycle to work, then this backpack will come in super handy when safely transporting all your stuff. It has a handy padded laptop sleeve as well as several compartments for all your bits. The straps are designed with comfort and breathability in mind, meaning it won’t get hot on your back on the way to work. Although it is sporty looking, it remains professional so you can use it for work and leisure. 

2. Eastpack Out Of Office

A casual backpack for daily use

Best for: Casual wear | Material: Polyester | Size: 44x29.5x22cm | Volume: 25L

Cool designs
Laptop sleeve
A little small 

For something a bit more stylish, this Eastpack backpack can take you from day to night with ease. It looks stylish but still has a laptop sleeve which makes it perfect for commuting and it would easily go with causal outfits for days out. It is surprisingly spacious inside allowing enough room to fit all the necessities with ease and there are two funky designs to choose from. 

3. The Cambridge Satchel Company Portrait Backpack

A smart ladies office bag

Best for: Professional ladies | Material: Leather | Size: 26x35x9cm | Volume: n/a

Pure leather
Laptop sleeve

For professional ladies who want to commute to work in style, this leather satchel-style backpack is perfect for you. It features a laptop sleeve and adjustable shoulder straps so you can ensure the best fit. Although not the biggest, this bag is super-stylish and made from 100% leather. This could be an ideal gift for the businesswoman in your life. 

4. JanSport Baughman Backpack

A casual day pack with laptop sleeve for easy transportation

Best for: Men’s laptop bag | Material: Canvas | Size: 44.5x32x14.5 | Volume: 25L

Stylish laptop bag
Lots of pockets
Not the most durable 

If you want a stylish alternative to a laptop bag, this backpack will carry your laptop and other belongings nicely. Although not the sturdiest, this bag is ideal for frequent use as a school bag or daily commuting bag. It has lots of pockets which is great for organising your things and the fold-over top makes it easy to fasten and access your things when you need them.

5. Hi Gear Tibet 65+10 Rucksack

Travel the world with this high capacity backpack

Best for: Travelling | Material: Polyester | Size: unknown | Volume: 75L

Detachable day pack
High capacity
Tricky to pack 

If you’re off on your travels, then you’re going to need a sturdy backpack that is comfortable and supportive on your back. You’ll be able to adjust the straps and supportive frame so that it fits perfectly and allows you to carry it easily. Although a little tricky to pack and easily get to something inside, this 75 litre bag comes with a detachable day pack for when you don’t need to take absolutely everything with you, and a rain cover to ensure your bag is waterproof should you get caught in some bad weather.  

6. OMM Ultra 15 Running Backpack

This lightweight pack is perfect for on the go

Best for: Runners | Material: Texturised fabric | Size: 38cm | Volume: 15L

Reflective detailing
Pricey for the size 

For those who are training for a marathon or who often go out running at night, this is a great little pack that has enough room for all of your essentials, without being too cumbersome. It has reflective detailing so you can clearly be seen in the dark, and is a comfortable fit that doesn’t move when you run. It is designed in a way that assists your performance rather than hinders it, and it has removable pack padding for when you need to achieve that barely-there feel. 

7. Michael Kors Rhea Zip Back Pack

A stylish alternative to carrying a handbag

Best for: Designer fashion | Material: Leather | Size: 13x24x32cm | Volume: unknown

Choice of colours

All ladies love Michael Kors, and this backpack is no exception. It is small yet stylish and is a quirky alternative to carrying a handbag. Made from 100% leather, this bag is expensive, but it is guaranteed to be an investment piece that you will use for years to come. It features two zip compartments that don’t fit a huge amount, but is the perfect size for your daily essentials. 

8. Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack

A multi-purpose backpack that is great for taking on the road

Best for: Multi-use | Material: Mesh fabric | Size: 33x66x33cm | Volume: 55L

Large capacity

The Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack is very well made and can be used for anything from commuting to travelling. If you liked the look of the Hi Gear Rucksack but don’t like the way it’s packed, this backpack features panel access so it is easy to open up and access your things whenever you want. It also features several straps to make it easier to distribute the weight evenly so it is comfortable on your back during long journeys. This is a smart backpack that comes in a range of colours and makes for an ideal travel companion.