12 Best Backpacks for Men in 2019: Reviewed, Rated & Compared
Most of the features that make a backpack great apply to both men and women.
Now, more than ever, men and women do a lot of the same activities, so obviously they need most of the same functional elements in a backpack.
However, there are some things that men especially need to take into account when fitting and choosing a backpack.
YOREPEK Large Capacity Backpack
Hynes Eagle 40L Flight Approved Carry On Backpack
Mancro School Backpack
20 X 12.2 X 5.7 Inches
SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack
Herschel Supply Company Retreat Backpack
Mubasel Gear Backpack
Polare Cowhide Leather Multiple Laptop Backpack Day Pack Travel Bag Satchel with YKK Metal Zippers
12.6 X 5.1 X 17.3 Inches
P.KU.VDSL Augur Series Vintage Canvas Backpack
11 X 16.5 X 6.3 Inches
OutdoorMaster Sling Bag
Vaschy Classic Backpack
Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
62L (Small) – 68L (Large)
Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
17 X 14 X 7.5 Inches
Why Should Men Get a Specifically Designed Backpack?
When it comes to choosing a backpack size or adjusting the suspension system, torso length is usually the biggest factor. Therefore, male and female differences do not come into play often.
However, there are some differences to consider: men usually have broader shoulders, so shoulder straps might need to be loosened; men have narrow hips relative to the rest of their torso, so hip belts might need to be tightened. Also, men usually can carry more weight, so a heavy backpack is less likely to be a problem.
Backpacks either have J-shaped or S-shaped shoulder straps. Usually, women find that S-shaped straps accommodate their breast area more comfortably. However, note that some men actually find the S-shape ideal too.
However, the appearance is often the defining feature of a men’s backpack. While a backpack is a chance to express yourself any way you want, most men want a backpack that indicates robustness and practicality.
3 Important Questions before Buying
1. Where will you be using the backpack?
First, you have to assess how much you are likely to be outside in your backpack: water resistance is more of an asset if you are likely to end up stuck in rain. If you will be using your backpack for work, you probably will want a subtly stylish backpack with practical features. If you want a hiking pack, you need durability and high capacity.
2. What will you be mostly carrying?
Increasingly, people want to bring all of their electronic devices with them—there are backpacks that can accommodate and protect all devices; you might even delight in extra tech features such as an external USB port (to charge devices with a battery connected inside the backpack). If you need to carry textbooks, be sure the backpack is large enough in dimensions to fit the books; most quality backpacks of sufficient size will also be strong enough to carry the weight.
3. How much do you want to spend?
With some searching and advice (such as this article), you can find great men’s backpacks that fit your needs perfectly for a low price. However, pricier packs usually last longer, and they usually look more expensive. If you want to use the same backpack for decades or you want something that really shows off, a multi-hundred- (or even multi-thousand) dollar backpack is right for you.
What to look for in a Good Men’s Backpack
Weight & Capacity
Men generally can accommodate more weight and more volume, too—because, on average, men are bigger people. However, men can suffer from injuries—or back, neck, or shoulder pain; if pain or injury is an issue, even a man might benefit from a lightweight backpack.
Fortunately, many high quality backpacks are very lightweight. Also, there are situations where a large-capacity backpack is excessive. Fortunately, there are plenty of masculine-looking small backpacks.
There are many backpacks that have a streamlined appearance—these are especially great in professional settings—however, men may prefer a streamlined look, in general, even as an everyday carry bag.
Alternatively, some men might prefer a backpack that advertises its high functionality—with military-style attachment loops, many external mini-compartments, and a rugged or almost bulletproof appearance. Some of the best men’s luxury backpacks are leather—beloved for their durable, high-quality, and, sometimes even, rugged look.
One thing to beware of is that not all leathers are equal: The highest quality of leather is full grain, followed by top grain, and last, genuine leather.
More compartments is not always better. If you want to use a backpack as gym bag or extra clothes bag, a simple interior is probably ideal. The most basic backpacks have a main compartment, a front pouch, and usually one or two side pockets of some kind. Many people enjoy a laptop and/or tablet sleeve in the main compartment.
Also, many backpacks have smartphone sized slots in multiple places to accommodate all preferences. Exterior features are helpful, too. Men may particularly like the look and functionality of MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment), which is a military-style system of attachment loops.
Many backpacks have a laptop sleeve. However, consider whether you need any other particulars:
- Some backpacks also have a dedicated tablet sleeve or compartment
- Others have TSA-friendly features that allow you to get your devices scanned without removing them from the backpack
- Some backpacks have an external USB port; some have a conveniently placed smartphone pocket and headphone port so that headphone cables can be strung easily through to the device.
If you fear your pack might be treated roughly, consider a pack that not only pads your devices but also suspends them above the backpack’s bottom.
The ultimate security/anti-theft feature is a combination lock on a strong zipper system. To be lockable, there must be double zippers (2 on a track). However, there are other, more subtle, security features, too: Pockets in the back panel of a backpack are hidden from a thief while the pack is being worn; strong, abrasion-resistant fabric on a bag is a straightforward way to slow down or stop a thief who is trying to cut his/her way in. We discuss the most secure bags on the market in this article.
Water Resistance Levels
Most backpacks are nylon or polyester (or a combination thereof) which makes for a water resistant fabric. However, these do not keep water out under all circumstances, and even high-quality zippers can leak water. If you are going to be out in the rain a lot or doing a water sport, you should look for a truly waterproof pack, possibly even a 100% waterproof pack that can handle submersion.
However, all most people need is an effectively water resistant build; if you are carrying electronics, you might also want to spray your pack with water repellent material or carry a rain cover that fits the backpack.
Ergonomic Design & Padding
All good-quality backpacks have some padding on the shoulder straps and back panel. Smaller backpacks do not need to have as much padding. Larger backpacks especially should also have some sort of ventilating mechanism (to prevent back sweat): usually this comes in the form of a back panel material and/or shape that promotes airflow. Ideally, the shoulder pads are lined with this same ventilating mesh material.
Many larger backpacks are also designed to distribute weight favourably and to mould to the wearer’s back. Very large backpacks should have hip and chest belts for more weight stabilization and a torso adjustment mechanism so distribute weight appropriately for your body. All of these features are just as important on a men’s backpack as on a women’s.
For most purposes, it is possible to get a men’s backpack that completely fits both your practical and aesthetic needs for less than $50. However, to get something highly durable and long-lasting, you probably need to pay over $50. (Nike and North Face men’s backpacks are in this under-$100 zone.) A durable large-capacity hiking pack or a men’s fashion backpack will generally be over $100.
Leather, which is highly durable and upscale-looking, raises the price of a backpack. Therefore, when it comes to backpack price, an important question to ask yourself is whether or not you really want leather. Also, keep in mind that not all leather is equal, as addressed above under the Style Options heading.
Inexpensive (but still potentially good-quality) backpacks do not usually come with warranties. Mid-range backpacks sometimes come with 1 to 3 year warranties or lifetime warranties. Expensive backpacks almost always come with some sort of warranty. Note that, here, lifetime means the reasonable period of use for the product, not your lifetime.
Most often, these warranties are limited, meaning that the company will only replace, repair, or refund you for what they determine to be manufacturing flaws—not for all damages. A few companies do offer unlimited warranties, meaning they will repair or replace your backpack forever, under all circumstances.
12 Best Men’s Backpacks Reviewed
1. YOREPEK Large Capacity Backpack
Best Overall Mens Backpack
This YOREPEK is ideal for any situation (professional, travel, recreation, school, etc.) in which you want medium-high capacity. The build has a robust, masculine quality—regardless of the color pattern you choose. With its 17-inch laptop sleeve and USB and headphone ports, it is perfect for carrying electronic devices.
In addition, it is TSA-friendly: you can open laptop compartment all the way so that the laptop (and potentially the tablet and other gear stored on the opposite side) is exposed for scanning. While this is not technically an anti-theft backpack, one could easily put a lock on the heavy-duty double zippers.
Many users indicate that there are abundant organizational pockets—including the key ring and smartphone-sized slots in front zippered pocket. The top handle contains a steel cable, so that the pack can be carried in hand even when it is heavy, and there are compression straps to balance loads of all sizes. In the comfort department, it has ergonomically sculpted mesh cushion on the back panel and straps to make it soft and allow airflow between pack and body.
2. Hynes Eagle 40L Flight Approved Carry On Backpack
Best Mens Travel Backpack
The Hynes Eagle has a clean design that agrees with its practical, suitcase-like build; it is an excellent men’s travel backpack. It is designed to be the maximum size allowed by IATA, but can fit in both the overhead and the under-seat area.
You can get the backpack itself or get it with 3 included packing cubes (large, medium, small); either way, the adjustable luggage straps in main compartment hold clothes in place, and external compression straps keep the load packed in.
The front main compartment has laptop and tablet sleeves with a retaining strap across both: it is positioned well to be opened to airport security. Both the luggage and the tech compartments are double zippered, so you could lock them. The front zippered pouch has wallet and smartphone-sized slots.
The large and cushiony top and side handles allow you to carry it like a suitcase, and the shoulder straps can be tucked into the large zippered pouch on the back panel so they do not get in the way when you do not want them.
3. Mancro School Backpack
Best Backpack For Work
The Mancro Basic Adventure has a durable and clean look that turns out to be true to the pack’s functionality, making it one of the best men’s backpacks for work. Its gender neutral look is perfect for a professional environment. It has an external USB port—commuting professionals especially appreciate this feature.
This pack is perfect for the professional who might end up traveling at times: there is a combination lock on main compartment with laptop sleeve, and the pack is a good size for carry on. The side pouches have snap closures on them and the compression straps runs just a little above, so you can securely carry a variety of items on the sides.
The larger front zippered pouch has a tablet-sized slot and two smartphone-sized slots. Those who have back or shoulder pain will appreciate that this backpack is lightweight, at under 1 lb. Users report that this pack is almost waterproof, too—a great feature when you are carrying electronic devices.
Learn more about Mancro backpacks here.
4. SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack
Best Laptop Backpack
The SwissGear 1900 is perfect for carrying a laptop (and tablet and smartphone) anywhere, just one of many features that make it the best laptop backpack for men.
It has SwissGear’s ScanSmart technology to make it TSA-friendly for laptop and tablet: the laptop is behind a mesh screen in its own protective compartment towards the back and the tablet is in a TabletSafe™ slot opening opposite the laptop; these compartments suspend the laptop and tablet, keeping them safe from impact.
The pack also has a headphone port and a conveniently placed smartphone slot at the top of the main compartment. In addition, the main compartment contains a variety of organizational features. The pack has a small zippered pouch at top front and a somewhat larger one at bottom front.
There is a prominently placed carabiner on the top front and a couple MOLLE-like attachment loops on the bottom front. The sides have both zippered pouches and mesh pouches. A great safety feature is the reflective strips on the shoulder straps. Users are satisfied with both its comfort and its water resistance.
Read our full Swiss Gear backpack review here
5. Herschel Supply Company Retreat Backpack
Best Backpack For School
The Herschel Retreat has traditional collegiate class with a suggestion of mountaineering ruggedness—both combined with modern functionality: The spacious main compartment holds a fleece-lined laptop sleeve; also, this pack has a headphone port and a conveniently placed smartphone slot.
Most users are impressed by how much stuff they can get into this backpack, and those who want a relatively simple and open main compartment will like the build. The pack is closed by drawstring, and there is a flap with leather straps that snap closed magnetically over the drawstring entrance. This closure system gives a retro look, while still being quite easy for the modern person to use.
The inside lining is Herschel-characteristic pink and white thin stripes, and the pack comes in external colors for every personality. The nostalgic but trendy look makes this one of the best men’s backpacks for school. Note that the Herschel Retreat is not so resistant to water, so if you will be walking outside in rain, you should use a rain cover.
Find our full Herschel backpack review at this page.
6. Mubasel Gear Backpack
Best Budget Backpack
The Mubasel Gear Backpack is the perfect inexpensive backpack for men. It is very lightweight at under 1 lb and can be folded up into itself to make a small, stash-able bag. However, this is not a flimsy backpack: it has padded shoulder straps, compression straps, and strong SBS double zippers; it also has extra stitches strategically placed to keep the pack from falling apart at stress points.
In the front, there are two sizable zippered pouches. If you are going on an outdoor adventure, the built-in whistle on the chest strap and the water resistance will particularly come in handy; also convenient are the large mesh pouches on the sides can hold large beverage bottles.
This pack is a good size for carry on, to boot. Users confirm that the fabric is effectively water resistant—pretty much waterproof—even internally, so it can protect dry items from wet items if you have them in different compartments.
7. Polare Men’s Handcrafted Leather Backpack
Best leather backpack
The Polare Men’s Leather is definitely one of the best leather backpacks for men, as well as most stylish backpacks for men: It is made of full-grain Italian leather that is guaranteed to take on a desirable worn look over time as you use it.
The design has a tough, horse-saddle-like quality to it—a good build for men. However, this pack is not super-expensive or made to last for over one hundred years of use, but it makes up for this with functionality.
Three of its front pouches are sealed by Velcro and a leather band through a metal loop (which gives a traditional buckle-like look); the other two front pouches are zippered. The pack also has two side pockets that can be sealed off with leather straps that snap closed. It has a substantial top handle where the two leather top loops come together under a leather handle.
The back panel zippered pouch can carry items you want to keep completely safe while wearing the pack. An added bonus: Users note that the customer service is good. You can use Polare’s leather care guide to keep this or another Polare leather pack in good condition.
We have also review more leather backpacks in this article.
8. P.KU.VDSL Augur Series Vintage Canvas Backpack
Best Canvas Backpack
The combination of canvas, leather, and buckles gives the P.KU.VDSL Augur a traditional look—a suitable everyday carry or freelance work backpack for men. It has a drawstring closure covered by a flap with buckled straps that snap closed very securely.
Despite its relatively slim contour and old-fashioned look, this pack does include a small padded laptop/tablet sleeve. Also there is a slightly padded, tablet-sized zipper compartment along the back panel. This pack is highly durable, but not waterproof, so bringing a rain cover is advisable. It has side zippered pouches can be closed to retain small items or opened for small water bottles, and there is the normal small front zippered pouch, as well.
In addition to the tablet sleeve, the interior has several small slots and zippered pockets, including one right below the main compartment entrance. Users are generally satisfied by the comfort features—the lightweight quality, and the padding and contour of the shoulder straps.
More canvas bag reviews can be found here
9. OutdoorMaster Sling Bag
Best sling backpack
The OutdoorMaster Sling has a smooth, comfortable form—a cool backpack for a man. The pack is lightweight at under 1 lb, but the main compartment is large enough to accommodate an electronic device up to 12.5 inches.
Users are generally satisfied with the capacity and organizational features: It has one side pouch, suitable for a small water bottle; an unseen zippered pocket along one side of the back makes for an anti-theft mechanism—it would be hard for someone to covertly remove items while you are wearing the pack. There is also a sizable front zippered compartment with organizational slots.
A helpful feature: The shoulder strap can be reversed to suit both right- and left-handed people by unhooking the strap and attaching it at either side of the bottom. Even though this is a sling bag, it does have plenty of soft padding with a breathable design on both the shoulder strap and the back.
We have a thorough article on all the top sling bags here.
10. Vaschy Classic Backpack
Best Small Backpack
The Vaschy Classic has a no-nonsense build that makes it the best small backpack for men. Students of all ages and everyday carriers will especially appreciate its build. It has a headphone port near top of main compartment.
There are side pockets, sufficient for small water bottles or umbrellas. In addition to the padded laptop sleeve with retaining strap, the main compartment has zippered pouches and variously sized slots. There is a sizable front pocket, too, with slots of different sizes and a zippered pouch. The pack’s reinforced faux-leather bottom and fabric zipper coverings (Most of the color patterns come with this.) increase both the water resistance and security of this backpack.
The polyester fabric is light and resistant to heat (which keeps belongings safer while outside). Also, Vaschy uses a water repellent coating to increase the water resistance of the polyester yet further. The shoulder straps and back panel have appropriate padding for a pack of this size. An added bonus: this pack is machine washable, and it comes with extra leather zipper pulls, too.
11. Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
Best Hiking Backpack
The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG is one of the best hiking backpack for men. Users repeatedly praise the Anti-Gravity™ suspension system for making heavy loads feel lighter. The pack has a hydration sleeve and 2 tube exit sites, Stow-on-the-Go™ attachments for trekking poles, and plenty of compression straps that can double as attachment and retaining sites.
At the bottom, there is a compartment for a sleeping bag, but the divider can be removed to create more room in main compartment, too. There are small zippered pouches on both the interior and exterior. Users enjoy the convenient zippered pouches in both sides of hip belt. Along with a fabric flap, there is an extra fabric lid that is made to stretch over the drawstring entrance for extra protection.
The Fit-on-the-Fly™ hip belt can extend and retract to fit different hip sizes. Follow the chart on the Amazon listing to know which size (small, medium, or large) you should get based on your torso length (hip bone to neck base).
Osprey is one of my personal favorite backpack brands. Learn more about their complete range in this article.
12. Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
Best Diaper Bag Backpack
The Bag Nation Diaper Bag is best men’s diaper bag backpack: It has all practical diaper bag features and a completely non-diaper-bag appearance, so you will not need to carry multiple bags (even if you have multiple babies) or to feel any less a man.
A variety of 14 different small compartments in total—all unique and all evenly spaced around the interior and exterior of the pack for flawless organization. Customer favourites: the easy-to-work-with magnetic closure on the front bottom pouch, the prominent keychain, the bright turquoise interior lining (so it is easy to see things inside), and the stroller strap.
In addition, this backpack comes with a fold-up changing mat and sundry bag. It also has one side compartment with a square open space to make baby wipes easy to pull out, and another side has an insulating interior to retain a baby bottle. Other nice features: it has the rigidity to stand up on its own, and it is BPA- and phosphate-free.
We have also look at all the best diaper bags in this complete review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can these backpacks be cleaned?
All can be wiped off. Polyester, nylon, and canvas can be hand-washed with non-detergent soap. Leather requires special care; most leather product suppliers offer instructions with your purchase, either with the product or on the website. Care instructions are especially important if you have purchased a designer backpack for men, such as a Coach, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, MCM, or Michael Kors men’s backpack.
Can I put them in the washing machine?
A few polyester, nylon, and/or canvas products can be machine-washed. None can be machine-dried. Looking at the company website or online reviews or question forums is a good way to find out whether a particular backpack is machine-washable.
What is a comfortable weight for men to carry in a backpack?
This depends a lot on the wearer and the situation. Camping/hiking high-capacity backpacks are designed to help you carry a lot of weight, whereas small backpacks that are loaded with heavy objects, such as textbooks, might become uncomfortable very quickly. In general, experts recommend that no one regularly carry more than 10% of their bodyweight. No matter what amount of weight you are carrying, make a point of adjusting your backpack so that it is centred on your torso.
How many liters is a good size for men who need a daypack?
This depends on what you need to carry in the daypack. Generally, 19 to 45 liters is a reasonable range. The lower end of this range is more of an urban carry size; the upper end would be for freelancers who need to carry a lot of equipment or those going on outdoor expeditions.
What is the price range of the bags on this list?
The backpacks reviewed above range from about $20 to $490.
Ultimately, finding a comfortable backpack that has all the features you want is the real goal. Finding the right look is subjective, and men might have very different opinions about what looks right to them. There are so many different options that no one should feel that they have to settle for less than what they want.