/19 Best Backpacks for Men 2022: Stylish, Spacious Carry-Ons Thatll Make Hauling Your Stuff Easy

19 Best Backpacks for Men 2022: Stylish, Spacious Carry-Ons Thatll Make Hauling Your Stuff Easy

What do your dinged laptop, shvitzy gym clothes, and rumpled K95s have in common? They all belong in one of these, the very best backpacks for men. See, the right backpack should be more than just another place to store your stuff. It can be an outfit-making accessory, a mobile office, an ad hoc weekender, a TSA-ready carry-on, or all four—at the same time.

A solid backpack offers peace of mind in bag form, the only accessory we know of that can comfortably house all the knickknacks you insist on schlepping around throughout the day, along with enough H2O and trail mix to fuel a JV football team—y’know, just in case. (It will also, and we don’t say this lightly, spare you the particular ignominy of patting down every pocket on your body to find the small doohickey you thought you left in your jacket that morning, only to realize it’s still on your desk at home.)

These days, plenty of backpacks outperform across multiple categories, but the ones we’re inclined to recommend most zealously boast a special set of skills specifically designed for your needs, whether you’re gearing up for your daily commute or booking tickets to the far-flung locale of your choice. (To wit: A brisk stroll to the office might require a padded laptop sleeve and minimal compartment space, but for a long jaunt halfway across the globe you’ll need a roomier exterior, enforced back panelling, and generously cushioned shoulder pads.) 

All of which means the journey to finding the right backpack for you can be just as exhausting as the journey to wherever you’re actually headed. So to streamline the process, GQ Recommends went deep on our favorite options on the market, deciphering the juicy specs that make each well-equipped to handle a dust-up in the airport terminal or some gentle jostling on the train—and look pretty damn great while they do it. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from the wilted canvas tote you swiped from your ex (be better than the canvas tote!) or jonesing for a ‘roided up crossbody bag with a heckuva lot more functionality, the best backpacks for men have your, uh, back. These are the 20 we’ve been relying on since we started writing this piece. 

The Best Backpacks Shopping Guide

The Best Budget Backpack

Herschel “Dawson” backpack

Sometimes you want to secure the bag without dropping one. Enter the Dawson, a medium-sized classic backpack from the carry-on whizzes at Herschel. Its dual pocket design is reminiscent of some of the best fanny packs on the market right now (spoiler alert: Herschel makes a great one too), sans the hoary associations and with a ton more storage space. Don’t let the sub-$100 price fool you: it comes kitted out with the same specs as its pricier counterparts, and then some. Practically speaking, that means drawcord closures, magnet-fastened straps, a front pocket organizer bigger than most NYC apartments, and a fleece-lined laptop sleeve so your computer stays cozy. More of a visual consumer? Just take a gander at its unassuming good looks. Go ahead, judge a bag by its cover. For less than a Benjamin, you can afford to.

The Best Travel-Ready Backpack

Porter-Yoshida & Co. laptop backpack

Wrestling to fish a laptop out of an overstuffed carry-on while a less-than-thrilled TSA agent glares on is a very particular type of hell. Mercifully, Porter-Yoshida & Co.’s aptly-named laptop backpack is so airport-friendly it might just make TSA’s day. It boasts a spacious interior sleeve to make accessing your portable computer a breeze (though iPad users might opt to use the front pouch for an even quicker grab), and a sleek nylon exterior and top-zip fastening that signal you’ve got an eye for efficiency and aesthetics. We’re not saying it’ll nab you a complimentary upgrade purely thanks to how easy it made customs for everyone else, but we’re not not saying that either. 

The Best Heavy-Duty Backpack

Filson journeyman backpack

If “heavy-duty” calls to mind the type of extra-bulky luggage that looks like it could double as an impromptu shield, relax: Filson’s journeyman backpack is compact enough to help you rethink your associations with the term. The American brand is famous (and famously beloved) for its durable, oil-finished tin cloth canvas, which it puts to use here in tandem with an industrial-strength twill to keep all your precious belongings impeccably dry. Its unassuming good looks feel consistent with the label’s ever-popular briefcases, but the the padded, moleskin-lined shoulder straps and reinforced panelling make a strong argument for its superiority. Basically, it’s like Superman in his Clark Kent disguise—and would probably look just as good in skintight spandex. 

The Best Backpack for Stashing Your Workout Gear

Lululemon Everyday backpack

For sworn devotees of Lululemon’s straightforward activewear, the brand’s fuss-free backpack is a no-brainer. Normally, we wouldn’t put too much stock in a product name, but the legging juggernaut’s Everyday bag lives up to the mandate. It’s got ample room for an extra pair of running shoes, plus bonus space for your work computer if you need to liaison with the marketing team in between sets. A sturdy nylon exterior and an all-important water bottle pocket ensure you’ll always look like you know what you’re doing, no matter how frantically you’re googling “best workouts for bigger traps” from the comfort of the shoulder press. Pick from an array of downright luscious jewel tones and then cram your sweaty exercise duds into it post-workout—no one will suspect the damp mess it conceals.

The Best Backpack for Your Morning Commute

Troubadour Explorer “Apex” canvas backpack

Hauling ass to catch the subway is the last place you should be stressing the state of your bag. So Troubadour’s backpack is designed to make the early-morning grind as seamless as possible, leaving you free to bump EST Gee in noise-cancelled serenity. The Apex is a tour de force of streamlined ergonomics housed in lightweight, waterproof canvas accented by clean lines and a minimalist’s eye for aesthetics. It runs laps around your clanky briefcase when it comes to utility and your DTC-branded tote when it comes to sex appeal, and looks so nice you’ll be proud to leave it parked by your cubicle. Fielding an endless stream of compliments on your backpack is only slightly less annoying than rolling with tier-two baggage, but it’s a tradeoff you should make every time.

The Best Backpack for Braving the Great Outdoors

Patagonia black hole water-resistant backpack

Spend enough time trawling the internet for the best men’s backpacks, and you’ll encounter dozens of options promising some variation of alliterative versatility. (The train to the trails is the new boardroom to the bar!) In this case, though, all that marketing hoopla is true. Patagonia’s recycled polyester backpack is big but not bulky, merging a durable, water-repelling exterior with a spacious interior you can pack with trail mix and a first-aid kit or the trappings of urban life. (The padded laptop compartment and phone pocket help.) Its outdoorsy bona fides—see: the two-way zip closures and lash points—mean it’ll serve you well while you’re exploring the wilderness, but it’s compact enough that your coworkers won’t mistake you for the team member who signs on to Zoom from a different location every week.

Plus 14 More Backpacks We Love

Côte&Ciel “Isar” backpack

If “chic” and “backpack” are two words you never considered in the same train of thought, the Isar might give you pause. Recycled ecoyarn is elegantly folded over to the side, masking any unseemly bulges when you decide to push you carry-on to its limits.

Carhartt WIP kickflip backpack

A little water-resistant camo to keep your goods protected while you’re roughing it out in the city streets.

Eéra rocket backpack

For when you want all the perks of a backpack without looking like you’re actually wearing one.

MM6 x Eastpak dripping nylon “Pak’r” backpack

If your middle school backpack suddenly got really into Salvador Dalí this is what it would look like. 


Saks Fifth Avenue

Saturdays “Jackson” backpack

Maybe you’re already a backpack connoisseur. If that’s the case, why not treat yourself to this silky number for special occasions.


Saturdays New York City

Indispensable suede-trimmed backpack

More of a slingback dude? Don’t worry, there’s a backpack for you too.

The North Face commuter roll top backpack

Now that it’s getting darker earlier, reflective details aren’t just a cool feature—they’ll keep you (and your goods) safe while heading home.

Prada leather backpack with hood

Plot twist: there are luxury backpacks that actually look good and not gaudy. Keep it high fashion while you pack away.

Baggu drawstring backpack

Baggu’s drawstring backpack might be the most affordable pick here, but it’s definitely not the weakest when it comes to functionality. If the handy drawstring closure and wider straps don’t convert you into a full-time backpack wearer, the durable cotton canvas will. 

Eastpak x Aries pakr backpack

Art looks better when you can wear it. 

And Wander X-PAC 30L backpack

Raisins and peanuts sold separately.

Jansport “Cool Student” book bag

Your one-way ticket to middle school stardom is still a winner.

Nike “Brasilia” training backpack

Need a place to store your gym clothes that’s slightly less bulky than the Nike option above? The Swoosh also offers plenty of sportier best-sellers, few better than this icy blue version.