10 Best Backpack Brands
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Searching For The Best Backpack Brands
Backpacks see you through life’s journeys. Though they carry your essentials, a good one will also give you support when you need it most.
Essentially, they’re like a best friend, so there’s no wonder people are super serious about finding their perfect match. We’ve put together this list of the 10 best backpack brands to help you find yours.
Whether you’re looking for one that prioritizes aesthetics, functionality, sustainability, or all three, you’ll find an awesome selection here. On this list for their sterling reputation, gold star-worthy ethics, or durable construction, when we say these are the best backpack brands around, we really mean it.
10 Best Backpack Brands
Ahead, we’ll lead you through a trail of popular (and in some cases, revolutionary) backpack options known for their ethics, features, and looks. They’re ready for your next adventure.
#1: The North Face
Does this one really need an introduction? The North Face is one of the most popular backpack brands to ever exist. Getting its start in 1966, it’s Ruthsack trekking pack changed the face of backpacking forever, paving the way for other companies to follow suit.
In fact, its streamlined gear actually helped create the concept of “backpacking” which hadn’t been possible before. Imagine that.
Founded by Doug Tompkins, a climber based in San Francisco, The North Face was named after the toughest side of the mountain. The brand has always been inspired by the mantra to “Never Stop Exploring”—a phrase the brand has actually trademarked.
Its collection includes women’s, men’s, and kid’s backpacks along with school and commuter bags. They all have a functional, sporty style.
Overall, this brand is associated with quality and durability—its bags are equipped with tons of smart features to make your load lighter and your necessities more accessible.
Day and trekking packs range from $70-$200.
Related: For more information view our full The North Face Review
- Huge selection for men, women, and kids
- High-quality materials & design
- Affordable prices
- Renewed line offers upcycled & recycled items
- Recycling program
- Pushing for responsible sourcing by 2025
- Sustainable packaging
Everything that Patagonia does is with the planet in mind. Known for its high-quality gear, its backpacks are thoughtfully designed for modern outdoors folk who put the health of this planet first.
The California-based brand was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard and has grown from a single shop to 70+ stores around the world.
Part of 1% for the Planet, this massive company donates a percentage of its sales to help environmental initiatives.
Patagonia encourages the repair of its products, teaching customers to keep and fix what they have instead of buying more, something that is completely opposite to what traditional businesses do.
Patagonia makes everyday backpacks, laptop bags, and technical packs in waterproof designs made to get you through the toughest of elements. With a sporty, no-nonsense look, you’ll find everyday bags ranging from $80-$200 while technical packs are around $300.
- Good variety of designs
- Durable & made to last
- Responsible & encourages repair
- 1% for the Planet
- Sells used bags
- 87% of its line uses recycled materials
Land on BAGGU’s website and you can’t help but smile. Loved for its trendy, gotta-have-them designs, the brand is best known for its reusable totes but offers a single backpack as well.
The brand was founded by mother and daughter team Joan and Emily Sugihara in 2007 with the mission to offer a reusable shopping bag that people actually wanted to use. Back then, plastic bags were running rampant and BAGGU was the perfect solution to stop them in their tracks.
Since BAGGU was created to help people be more sustainable, it’s no surprise that the brand itself has pretty clean manufacturing processes.
Constructing its bags from a single piece of recycled nylon, it tackles two birds with one piece of fabric: reducing fabric waste from off-cuts and also by giving life to retired materials.
But designing the bag to fold into itself, your BAGGU further cuts down on fabric use. Right now, the brand makes just one style of pack, the Drawstring Backpack in brown cow and black color options for $46.
- Fun colors and patterns
- 100% vegan
- Transparent about manufacturing practices
- Great for everyday use
#4: Herschel Supply Co.
Herschel Supply Co. may very well currently be the most popular of the best backpack brands on this list. It was founded in 2006 by Jamie and Lyndon Cormack, brothers with a vision for a well-made backpack with a timeless aesthetic.
Designed for everyday wear, its designs are more casual than they are sporty, so you won’t want to take these ones on your next expedition…unless it’s braving a snowstorm to make it to your best friend’s house to camp out.
Popular among the younger generations, Herschel backpacks are everywhere. Next time you head out to the grocery store or take the bus, we bet you can spot at least 1-2 people wearing one.
What’s made them so popular? Well, for one thing, they look great. Simple but with all the right features (think: fleece-lined laptop sleeves and magnetically fastened straps), you won’t have to spend an arm and leg to get one which explains why they’re so popular among students.
With 44 different styles of backpacks for adults and kids in its collection, you’ll pay as little as $31 for a good-looking, durable backpack or up to $160 for a larger design. In other words, they’re worth the money.
- Great for everyday wear
- Great variety of bags
- Come in modern colors
- Attractive design
- Smart features
#5: Dagne Dover
Great-looking, fashionable bags come easily to the folks at Dagne Dover. Launched in 2013 by Deepa Gandhi, Melissa Mash, and Jessy Dover, the latter is the brand’s designer and who it gets its name from.
Dagne Dover’s tagline is, “bags that get it, so you can get after it,” a phrase that nods at its functional line that was made with the needs of real people in mind.
In its collection you’ll see three styles of bags, the $185 Dakota Neoprene Backpack, $185 Indi Diaper Backpack, and $145 Nova Sling Bag—all of which are made with recycled bottles.
The designs are modern-looking and available in on-trend, versatile colors like army green and mustard yellow. Made from non-toxic materials, Dagne Dover also offers a few different vegan options like its Neoprene line for those who want to keep animals and chemicals out of their go-to pack.
- Uses recycled materials
- Vegan-friendly options
- Modern aesthetic
- Smart features
Fjällräven bags are known for their quality and performance but are sported by those who don’t need either simply because they look good.
Bringing together the best of both worlds, its backpacks are functional and attractive, meaning you won’t have to compromise on one for the sake of having the other.
The Swedish brand was brought to life in 1960 by Ake Nordin, who started making and selling his backpacks from his basement.
With the mission to get more people out in nature, Fjällräven focuses on quality materials and durable design that will move with you through your activities, and ultimately, your life.
Building its bags in that way helps the earth, reducing the number of backpacks you’ll buy, and therefore the materials and carbon emissions created to make them.
Offering backpacks for all kinds of activities, you’ll find trekking, hunting, and mountaineering bags in its collection, along with daypacks and laptop bags.
A trusted name in Sweden and now in North America, Fjällräven’s daypacks range from $60-$90, while trekking and mountaineering bags cost anywhere from $200-$429.
Related: For more information view our full Fjällräven Review
- Uses renewable materials like wood and wool
- Repurposes fabric scraps
- Started the Arctic Fox Initiative
- Transparent about materials and their ecological impact
- Uses recycled materials
- Unisex line
- Affordable options
For huge variety and innovative designs, look no further than TUMI’s great selection. With 110 backpack options, you’ll browse through bags designed for everyday use, hiking, and adventuring with tons of recycled versions woven throughout.
TUMI is one of the best backpack brands if you’re looking for high-end design and quality. Its well-made backpacks are equipped with useful features included to keep up with your real life.
You’ll find classic colors in its line-up, along with premium materials like ballistic nylon and luxury features like magnetic snaps.
Though founded by Charlie Clifford in 1975, luggage giant Samsonite acquired the Jersey brand in 2016. A true luxury company, $120 is the lowest amount you’ll pay for a TUMI backpack, while most others hover around the $600 range. Its most expensive bag is the Larson Leather Backpack for $1,380.
- Uses recycled materials
- Made with premium materials
- Wide variety of backpacks
- Equipped with smart features
- Incredibly well-made and durable
Deuter is the oldest name on this list of best backpack brands, founded all the way back in 1898 in Germany. A driving force behind functional designs in mountain sports equipment, its gear has always been made with the intent to last as long as possible.
The creation of Hans Deuter, his namesake company offers sturdy, useful backpacks with a retro style.
You’ll discover packs designed for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and climbing in its collection, along with daypacks, travel, and children’s bags. Most options are unisex, but some come recommended for either men or women.
Deuter bags don’t mess around—what’s there is there for a purpose, all with a sleek, weather-proofed design breathable on hot days and water-repelling in wet weather. Daypacks range from $55-$150, while mountaineering packs cost between $190-$300.
Just a note: some of Deuter’s bags come with a Prop 65 Warning to let customers know they contain chemicals that may cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive harm.
- Sustainable manufacturing
- Long-lasting bags
- Repair service
- Ethical production
- Green Button certified for sustainable textiles
#9: Topo Designs
Adventure and outdoor living are the things that make the folks at Topo Designs tick. Its collection of backpacks is a mix between modern tech and classic design, fusing thoughtful details into tough bags that can handle a mountain or two.
You’ll find daypacks and trekking bags in its collection, with simple styles and bright colors to make your journey a little brighter. Primarily made from cotton canvas with a water-repellent coating, its bags are for sunny day hikes—not so much for month-long adventures.
Launched in 2008 by Jedd Rose and Mark Hensen, Topo Designs started with Jedd sewing together packs in his basement as Mark handles resources and partners.
Based in Colorado, mountain living is a big part of this brand’s aesthetic and is carried through its packs for day, tech, and travel. Prices range from $80-$300.
Related: For more information view our full Topo Designs Backpacks Review
- Uses recycled materials
- Functional features
- Good variety & attractive design
- Transparent about manufacturing
- Long-lasting & durable
The story of how Osprey came to be is really cool and starts with, then, 16-year-old Mike Pfotenhauer.
After making his first backpack, realizing its potential, and opening up a custom backpack shop for travelers in his Santa Cruz home, Osprey was born in 1974 to give people well-made, utilitarian hiking packs.
Today, the brand is based in Colorado, and every single design it puts out must get Mike’s approval first. His vision is still an integral part of what makes his company so authentic and sought-after, along with its sustainable practices that connect the consumer to the earth.
The brand’s polyester bags are made of 100% recycled materials, while its paper packaging is recycled and recyclable.
It even helped found the Climate Action Corps (an organization to help the environment by reducing carbon emissions) and uses the Climate Neutral system to help reduce and offset their carbon footprint.
The majority of backpacks Osprey offers are for activities like backpacking, hiking, and mountaineering, along with sports like mountain biking and trail running. You’ll find those styles for between $120-$450 while lifestyle and commute packs range from $120-$200.
- Has a pack repair service
- Uses recycled materials in every bag
- Recyclable packaging
- Durable & long-lasting backpacks
- Tons of outdoor backpack options
How to Shop for the Best Backpack
You may have thought shopping for the best backpack brands would be a breeze. We’re sorry to say there’s a lot that goes into selecting the right pack—that is if you’re looking for one that fits you well, will last for years, and has everything you need.
We get that this list of best backpack brands can get a little overwhelming. There are so many awesome companies out there with noble missions and functional products, sometimes, it feels like it would be easier to close your eyes, spin around a few times, and blindly pick. Please don’t do that.
You most likely came here to find a backpack that fits into your life, and to do that, it’s important to pay attention to the details. Below, we’ll walk you through a few to look out for when making your decision.
There’s a good chance that as you read through our picks for the best backpack brands, you felt like you identified with one more so than the others. That’s because its unique ethos has drawn you in.
Do you identify as an outdoorsman? You’ll probably gravitate to a brand that has a lot of hiking or trekking bags. Does your trekking primarily consist of trips to and from work? One that identifies more with street style may be more up your alley.
Materials and Durability
Material is a big one when it comes to backpacks. The better the materials are, the longer you’ll have the bag for. How do you suss out which materials are better than others? A little research will help, but we’ll give you some pointers a little further down in this guide.
More so, when it comes to materials, you’ll most likely already have a few preferences. Is leather a no-no? Opt for an all-vegan line.
Need something waterproof? You’ll have tons of options here, but then, you’ll also have preferences for the type of waterproofing. Some companies use non-toxic coatings while others don’t.
A lot of the best backpack brands we recommend use recycled materials. In fact, almost all of them use recycled or upcycled fabrics in at least a portion of their designs. If it’s sustainability you’re concerned with, you’ll have a lot of options on this list.
Just like how you’re drawn to a company’s unique vibe, you’ll most likely be drawn to its styles. Brands like Herschel & Co. and Fjällräven are super trendy right now, and some would argue the most stylish.
Modern aesthetics can also be found in the fun, everyday designs at BAGGU, while Deuter is a great place to shop retro looks.
We’d say about 75% of the best backpack brands design for functionality, making them perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. So, you’ll find a lot of companies with sporty looks on this list.
Storage and Design Features
Here’s the thing about backpacks: they’re designed for different purposes. You wouldn’t buy a daypack for a 3-month trek on the Appalachian trail, just as you would choose a mountaineering pack for trips to class (even though with all of your books, sometimes it may feel like you need one).
Once you know what kind of backpack you’re looking for, examine its features.
Do you want compartments for your laptop? How about padding on your back or a zipper on the front for easy to reach snacks? There’s a lot of variety out there, and if you take the time to look at the details, you’re sure to find the perfect fit.
If you can find a backpack that suits more than one activity, then all the better. Though your trekking bag certainly won’t be the one you take to work with you, you may find that daypack bags can be.
They’re smaller and make it easy to organize your essentials, translating easily from one that holds food, emergency supplies, and navigation tools to one that holds your laptop, lunch, and files.
Streetwear backpacks may also be able to keep up with the needs of your day trip. It just all depends on how they’re designed.
Some backpacks come with a warranty, others don’t. If you’re going to spend a pretty penny on your new bag, then it’s nice to know that it’s protected under a warranty should you ever run into defects or issues unrelated to daily wear and tear.
Looking through the best backpack brands to find your new trail companion? Brace yourself for prices above $200, but feel confident in those prices too knowing you have a top-of-the-line backpack that will see you through the worst that Mother Nature can throw at you…because she will.
If you came here in search of a new day-to-day commute companion, just know that the names on this list that offer them use quality, durable materials. Though no bag dips below $50, what you’ll get is a great price for the quality.
With all of that in mind, don’t take a loan out just to buy a bag. There are plenty of options here, check out the price ranges we’ve included for each company’s backpacks and go from there.
What Size Backpack do I Need?
It really depends on what activity you’re doing. If you’re just headed out for the day you won’t need a trekking pack. That’s an easy one. But if you are buying a backpack for hiking purposes, consider these three things:
- Capacity: How long are you going to be away from resources? If your trip time between towns is more than a day, you’ll need enough space to carry all that you’ll need for that time, such as food, water, tent, sleeping bag, etc.
- Features: For tricky treks, having a bag that functions with you is crucial. Load support and cushioning are important here. The ability to access your things when you need them may also be one of your needs. If so, look for bags that have easily accessible compartments on the outside like a drink compartment or phone pouch.
- Fit: Women have different frames than men, and professional hiking backpacks reflect this. Outdoor supply companies often make male and female-specific packs, and you may find some that offer youth packs as well.
Though you won’t be able to try on your backpack before you buy it if you’re shopping online, you can shop for your size to get the best fit, along with the size and features you know you’ll need.
What Backpack Material is The Best?
Different backpack brands exist for a reason. They use the materials they think are best for the purpose their bags are intended for. You’ll find a lot of different material names throughout this best backpack brands list, but for one bag or another, companies use similar fabrics because they work:
- Nylon: You’ll see this fabric come up a lot in bag descriptions. A synthetic thermoplastic, it’s strong, withstands wear and tear well, and is waterproof.
- Polyester: This one is very common too. Made from petroleum, polyester is durable, lightweight, and dries quickly. A lot of the best backpack brands use recycled polyester in their designs in an attempt to be more eco-friendly.
- Ripstop: This is a fabric blend of nylon, polyester, and polypropylene. It’s virtually resistant to rips and is woven for strength.
Then comes the waterproof coating and abbreviations. DWR, PU, and PVC (derivatives of plastic) are often used to help waterproof the materials we just talked about. But some brands use non-toxic coatings instead to create cleaner, greener bags.
What Are All The Straps on my Backpack For?
You may take one look at a hiking pack and wonder if you need all of these straps. If you’re carrying supplies like a tent and water, the answer is yes. We’re human, and as fleshy, bony beings, we can only handle so much weight for so long before it starts to take a toll on our bodies. That’s what straps are for.
Below, we’ll give you a rundown of common straps you’ll find on trekking or hiking bags and why they’re there.
- Sternum Strap: Located on the front shoulder straps of your backpack, this strap is designed to be buckled across your chest to help keep your shoulder straps in place and out of your armpits. You’ll need the use of your arms when hiking, and this little guy makes a big difference in arm movement.
- Load-Lifter Strap: You’ll find one of each of these straps on the top-back of each shoulder strap. Pull them to help stabilize your bag by moving it forward. This will alleviate some of the weight from your shoulders by centering your bag’s weight.
- Waist Belt: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it transfers up to 80% of your bag’s weight to your hips instead of having your shoulders bear all of it. Your waist belt may have stabilizer straps in the front to cinch your bag even closer to your body.
Since we’ve reached the end of our best backpack brands guide, we hope you’ve zeroed in on a bag to see you through your adventures. More so, we hope you’ve learned more about backpacks and can pick the one that’s right for you.
How We Chose The Best Backpack Brands
Before choosing any brand, we scour the web and all the biggest e-tailers to ensure we know all the available options on the market. We look at customer reviews, star ratings, brand ethos, processes, materials, accessibility, and so much more. We weigh the pros and cons, so you don’t have to, helping you make informed shopping decisions.
Looking for other top brands? Check out these curated lists below: