Day Owl Backpack Review (Should You Buy It For Daily Carry?)

Stylish and versatile backpacks that can easily transition from work to the weekend and are ideal for travel can be hard to find. The Day Owl backpack is an adorable, trendy backpack that can carry all of your essentials and is surprisingly as roomy as it is comfortable.  

In this guide, we will break down the pros and cons of this backpack in our Day Owl backpack review to help you make your decision.  

Size

The size of the Day Owl backpack depends on the model that you choose. The traditional backpack’s dimensions are 17” H x 12” W x 5” D. The slim backpack’s dimensions are 15.5” H x 11” W x 3.5” D.  

If you value storage space and want the most room for your things, then we recommend the traditional backpack. On the other hand, if you love comfort and compactness, then we recommend the slim backpack.  

Carrying Capacity

The carrying capacity of the backpacks is not mentioned online, but both backpacks have ample room. The traditional backpack is 2” taller, 1” wider, and 1.5” greater in diameter. Another point of reference is that the traditional backpack can hold a 16” laptop while the slim backpack can only hold a 14” laptop. Another carrying capacity consideration is that the traditional backpack comes with a secret side pocket for an additional spot to store small items. 

Inside The Bag

Both designs have a padded laptop compartment with the traditional backpack able to hold a 16” laptop and the slim backpack able to hold a 14” laptop. Both backpacks also have a flat front pocket and a floating top pocket. The spill-resistant bottle pocket is also available in both bags and is perfect for carrying bottles up to 750mL (water bottle or wine bottle!) The traditional backpack also includes a secret side pocket, which gives you another compartment to help separate all of the smaller things. 

Color & Style Options

The Day Owl backpack comes in numerous colors, including a core group of colors as well as a seasonal set (subject to change). The core group is perfect for fashion-forward people who prefer subtlety, professionalism, and practicality. This core group includes dawn grey, deep navy, olive green, maple brown, and nocturnal black.

The seasonal colors are perfect for people who prefer innovative, fresh, vibrant colors and styles. The seasonal colors include sky blue, moss green, lavender, and dandelion yellow. The slim backpack only comes in three colors: dawn grey, sky blue, and dandelion yellow. 

Material Quality

The Day Owl backpack material is water repellant and made with sustainability in mind. This backpack is perfect for people who care about the environment and only want to purchase from sustainable, eco-friendly, and eco-positive brands. The bag is made out of First Mile waxed canvas, which is a canvas made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The foam is algae-based and the water repellant elements are neoprene. Even the zippers are conflict-free by YKK. 

Zip Quality

The YKK zippers are high-quality metal and conflict-free. These zippers are easy to use, and you can rest assured that the metal was mined ethically. Each compartment has a zipper from the small pockets to the large pockets so that you can make sure all of your items are secure while on the move.

Design & Comfort

The Day Owl backpack is a comfortable backpack with padding added to each of the shoulder straps. However, the padding is minimal, so if you like a thoroughly, heavily padded shoulder strap, then this backpack might not be for you. A mesh lining is part of the system to make everyday wear more breathable and comfortable.


Our Review Of The Day Owl Backpack 

1. The Backpack

Day Owl Backpack On Man

The Day Owl backpack is a beautiful, stylish backpack with a traditional sleek look. Our favorite thing about this backpack is the way it has managed to stay youthful, fun, and sophisticated, all while using sustainable materials. From the zipper and canvas material to the neoprene and foam, every element of this backpack is made with sustainable, environmentally friendly materials.

The numerous color choices as well from the core collection (dawn grey, deep navy, olive green, maple brown, nocturnal black) to the seasonal collection (sky blue, moss green, lavender, dandelion yellow), make it fun to choose your pack and easy to match your personal style.  

dayowl backpack

The many compartments allow you to keep things organized, and the padded laptop pocket can hold a 16" laptop. Additional compartments include a secret side pocket for your phone or keys, a flat front pocket, a floating top pocket, and even a spill-resistant bottle pocket for your water bottle (or wine!)

Furthermore, the repair guarantee allows you to ship your backpack in for a repair if something happens to it. If you want a supportive, fashionable, functional backpack with several compartments that can take you from work to the weekend and back, then we recommend this classic larger Day Owl backpack.  

Pros

  • Spill and stain resistant 
  • Environmentally friendly materials 
  • Comfortable and roomy interior 
  • Stylish 
  • Repair policy 

Cons

  • Fabric collects fluff (may need to run a lint brush over it, once a month) 
  • Shoulder straps are lightly padded 
  • More expensive than the slim 

2. The Slim Backpack

The Slim Backpack On Women

The Day Owl Slim backpack is similar to the classic version, but there are a few key differences. We love the slim profile because it is still roomy but without the added bulk. This is the perfect day backpack to wear around town while traveling or having fun over the weekend. It is lightweight but can still hold everything you need for the day.  

slim backpack held by man

The backpack is missing the secret side pocket of the larger version and can only hold up to a 14” laptop. It also comes in three colors rather than the myriad of colors offered in the larger version.   

If you love the classic Day Owl backpack, but want a more compact and lightweight version, then we recommend purchasing the Day Owl Slim backpack instead.   

Pros

  • More compact than the larger version 
  • Lighter than the larger version 
  • Thinner profile  
  • Perfect for day traveling, long walks on trips 
  • Not bulky 

Cons

  • Only holds up to 14” laptop 
  • Missing secret side pocket 
  • Fewer colors 

Price Guide & Sales Expectations 

The original Day Owl backpack costs $149, whereas the slim version costs $129. These backpacks are sold through the Day Owl website but can also be purchase through a few select online retailers.  

These backpacks rarely go on sale; however, there are 10-20% first-time purchaser coupons often released. The best way to find these coupons is to visit the Day Owl site to see if any coupons are currently available. You may also find deals on Amazon and eBay where the backpacks are closer to $80—$110 each.  


Day Owl Vs Other Backpacks 

Comparing the Day Owl backpack to other backpack options can give you a better idea of which backpack makes the most sense for you.  

One comparable backpack to the Day Owl backpack is the Kinmac Bohemian laptop backpack. This backpack is significantly cheaper than the Day Owl backpack and is marketed as a travel backpack. We love that the Kinmac Bohemian backpack has a fun patterned style in earthly, warm colors. It creates a subtle yet bold style.  

The Kinmac backpack can hold a laptop up to 15.6” (the Day Owl has it beat because it can hold up to 16” laptop). The Kinmac, however, is not made with sustainable materials and does not come with a repair policy. The Day Owl backpack has a more sophisticated look and a cleaner silhouette. It’s also made of more durable materials. 

Another comparable backpack to the Day Owl backpack is the Tumi Voyageur Halle backpack. This backpack is smaller than the Day Owl backpack and can only hold a laptop up to 12” rather than the 16” of the Day Owl backpack.  

The Tumi Voyageur is nearly 5” shorter on both the width and the height when compared to the Day Owl backpack. This makes it a better option for those who want a small, compact backpack. The Tumi is also made with durable materials, including a leather top carry handle. However, the inside of the backpack is small, and there isn’t a lot of room. This backpack is best for the light day traveler who prioritizes fashion.  

The backpack is a sleek, chic black and comes with a decorative mirrored tag as well as gold accents on the zippers. If you need to carry a lot of things or intend to use your backpack for work, we recommend the Day Owl. If you want a small, chic backpack to use primarily as an alternative to a purse, then we recommend the beautiful Tumi Voyageur.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Who manufactures Day Owl backpacks? 

Day Owl is a sub-brand from the company Thread International. The goal of the brand is to clean plastic from the ocean and then find ways to repurpose it into functional fashion items through their waxed canvas.  

Where are Day Owl bags manufactured? 

The Day Owl company is based in Pittsburgh, PA, in the United States. They do not share their manufacturing details, and it is possible that bags are manufactured in several locations. The company does ship internationally.  

Are Day Owl backpacks waterproof? 

No, Day Owl backpacks are not waterproof. However, they are water-repellant. The neoprene that is used helps dispel water, but we do recommend keeping the backpack away from water as much as possible.  

How do I clean my Day Owl backpack? 

The Day Owl backpack should be cleaned the same way as any backpack: a gentle scrub and soak. Start by using a mild soap, clean washcloth, and a soft brush or gentle toothbrush. Gently scrub the backpack inside and out. Let it soak. Then rinse it in clean water and lay it flat to dry.  

Does Day Owl accept backpack trade? 

Day Owl is a sustainable backpack brand, and that means that it cares about fixing and repairing backpacks rather than tossing them when damage happens. If you rip your backpack or find other long-lasting damage, email help@dayowl.com to start the repair process.  


Conclusion

The Day Owl backpack is a beautiful, classic yet trendy backpack that can carry everything you need from work to school and busy weekends jetting around town. The backpack works well as a travel pack, too, and can easily be used as your carry-on item when flying. If you want a simple, classic, fashion-forward backpack that will match any outfit, then this is our pick for you.  

  • Updated August 16, 2021