From students and career people to campers and professional mountain climbers, backpacks have become a trustworthy companion among men.
Yes, you already have your own – long before this review article was written.
we believe that all men could always use a new backpack.
And that there will always come a time for old or worn out bags to be replaced with crisp and modern ones.
Ever since the dawn of everyday bags, backpacks have enjoyed a steady increase in popularity.
Today, there’re literally hundreds of different brands continuously manufacturing tens of thousands of different types and sizes of backpacks for men in all walks of life.
If you’re looking for the best way to start your search in this ocean of modern backpacks, you have come to the right place.
In this review, you’ll be introduced to everything there is to know about these dependable bags as well as the hottest picks in today’s market.
My Top Backpack Picks!
Are you prepping for a nice trip in the Alps with your crew? Need a new backpack to help you carry your laptop on your next flight out? Check out my top picks!
What's a Backpack?
The backpack is no doubt the most popular and most widely used type of travel bags. There’s a wide range of backpacks designed and built for users of all ages – from preschool toddlers to business travelers and tourists alike.
Different types of backpacks are also developed to meet unique requirements.
There are those made to be used on a daily basis with minimal storage options and there are others engineered to deliver utmost functionality on the most challenging circumstances.
Backpacks are basically made of canvas material. Some complex types are blended with other special types of fabrics and material such as polyester and leather in order to deliver certain needed functionalities and aesthetic qualities.
Did you know...?
The backpack is called by many names. Some call it a rucksack, sackpack, and backsack while others refer to it as bookbag, kitbag, and knapsack.
Historians believe that the main idea of a backpack (Otzi backpack) has existed for thousands of years.
Enter the Norwegian Sekk Med Meis. Invented in the 1880s, this great grandparent of our modern day backpacks was fairly simple in design and function.
It had a back frame with a sack tied to it. The backsack only had a single compartment and didn’t have other complex features that you can observe in today’s backpacks.
The simplest, smallest, and most commonly used type of backpacks is the daypack. As the name implies, daypacks are designed for daily use and are often worn by students to lug their books and other school supplies.
These kitbags are also referred to as canvass backpacks and come with at least two to three compartments in order to provide storage options for different sets or types of tools and accessories.
Daypacks are designed with a wide variety of colors and styles making them an attractive accessory for university students. Cheaper versions of daypacks are made of polyester. However, they are considered to be less durable and are not recommended for heavy loads.
Daypacks come in more durable and functional variations which are meant career individuals. These backpacks are often made of leather to project a smarter and more professional look.
Some of these leather daypacks are equipped with attachable straps which can dramatically convert the bag into the messenger type.
When looking for a backpack to purchase, your very first priority should be the bag’s comfort factor.
Backpacks are designed to be worn at your back and over your shoulders. Technically, your spinal column shoulders most of the weight. If you’re quite uncomfortable with the bag, a substantial portion of its weight will be displaced which will eventually strain and even cause injury to the concerned area of your body.
In order to make sure that your choice of backpack doesn’t fall short on its comfort factor, you should take a closer look on its back panel and shoulder straps.
The ideal backpack should have a back panel that is contoured and padded. This will help secure a comfortable arch throughout your back every time you put your bag on. Furthermore, straps should be easily adjustable and padded at the same time.
Heavy loads can inflict quite a painful pressure on your shoulders and the padding play a critical role in preventing this from happening.
External vs Internal Frames
Backpacks designed for heavier use are categorized into two types according to their employed framing systems – the external and internal frame bags.
In an external frame backpack, aluminum, lightweight metal alloy, and synthetic polymers are the most common materials used in the construction of its frames.
These frames are designed to hold the entire structure of the pack upright and encourage even weight distribution. Some portions of the frame are covered with fabric straps in order to prevent the back of the wearer from being in direct contact with the pack’s hard and cold material.
Because of the frame’s rigid nature, the backpack encourages better airflow at the back making it cooler to wear.
On the other hand, internal frame backpacks is equipped with the same framing support but from the inside. These frames are fully covered with fabric and padding.
Multiple straps are also in place to make sure that the load and valuables stored in the pack stay in place and that weight wouldn’t shift from one area to another.
And since the frames are placed internally, the fabric of the backpack leans firmly against the back of the wearer which significantly minimizes airflow. This is the main reason why internal backpacks are often inconveniently hotter to wear.
Basically, there are two major types of backpacks – the daypacks and the functional ones. Functional backpacks are designed to deliver complex features and functions needed in specific applications.
Functional backpacks are usually lightweight and are made of durable material. They often offer extra compartments and pockets for systematical storage of various load and valuables.
Straps and back panels of these backpacks are typically padded for added comfort. They also come with chest and waist straps for a more secured fit.
The exterior of these packs are often water resistant with an additional inner lining to make sure that everything stored inside the bag remains dry and intact. Camping bags and travel packs are major example of functional backpacks.
What to Look For in Backpacks
Looking for an ideal backpack to buy is not like a walk in the park. It is necessary to firmly determine what you really need in order to find one that truly meets your requirements. Listed below are some essential elements to consider before you hit that “Buy” button.
- Sizes. Backpacks come in a variety of sizes that offer different storage capacities. Apart from finding one that will be able to effectively accommodate the amount of load you are planning to carry with you, it is also important to get the size that is appropriate or proportional to your body. Besides, you wouldn’t want to look like a standing tortoise. In order to get the perfect size of backpack for your body, you should take a closer look at your hip size and torso length.
- Durability. Whether you are planning on using it daily or once a week, it is always recommended to consider the durability of the pack. The most common reason why a lot of us are opted to buy a new one is the presence of irreparable tears. Try considering canvas and super-strong nylon materials because they will help you make good use of your backpack for quite a long time.
- Protection. Apart from helping you conveniently carry your load from one place to another, backpacks are meant to protect your valuables. When buying, it is wise to throw in a few more bucks for an extra layer of protection such as water resistance and padding.
- Compartments and side pockets. You open your bag and you find your canteen partially opened and your laptop soaking wet. Why? Because you were moving too carelessly and you forgot to consider the importance of compartments and side pockets. When it comes to keeping your things well-organized inside your bag, compartment and side pockets are your best solution.
A sleek blend of high density canvas and real cow leather material, this backpack by Kettee is your perfect outdoor companion for all those camping and business travel escapades. It is designed to accommodate large load capacity and an extra 15 inch pocket for your gadget.
What I love about this backpack is its simple yet attractive design. It comes with a single front pocket for your smaller items as well as water bottle compartments on both sides. Its shape and size is meant to secure a 14-inch laptop without making it look too bulky. You can use at work or in one of your hangouts in a coffee shop.
If you just can’t get enough of JanSport bags, then this backpack might be a nice addition to your collection. It comes in four attractive colors and made of super durable polyester. It has two main compartments, a front utility pocket, and an elasticized side pocket to provide organized storage solution for all your tools and valuables.
From field trips and cross country travels to camping and mountain climbing, you can count on this travel gear to keep your things from electronic gadgets to clothing intact wherever you go. It has a generous number of exterior pockets to keep everything organized and is designed to stand upright on its own.
Conquer mountains with this internal frame backpack by Teton Sports. It comes with a rain cover so that you’ll never have to worry about getting your things wet even when you’re soaked in the rain. It has great load capacity enough for more than a day of supplies.
They say that the world is an open book and traveling is the only way to read it. Whether I’m camping in a local park or travelling internationally, I’d prefer having SwissGear Travel Gear as my reliable outdoor companion. It’s got more than enough compartments and pockets to keep my things well organized no matter how jam-packed I get. Leave it on the floor on its own to tie your shoe lace and it will never fall to the side.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.