By Rena Behar
April 21, 2019
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The backpack is enjoying some much-deserved popularity right now as a street accessory, suitcase, and just generally handy transport. A good backpack will spare you shoulder strain, let you easily traverse uneven terrain, and maximize your storage space, all while complementing your personal style.

Finding the backpack of your dreams, however, can take some time. You want to make sure the design fits both your use case (even a great commuter bag probably won’t excel while climbing a mountain) and your body comfortably. You also want to look for solid construction in seams and zippers and a good warranty in case of any damage. Even the best brands can sometimes fail, but manufacturers should have enough faith in their bags to trust that it won’t happen often. And sustainable practices certainly don’t hurt, as these top backpack brands can tell you.

These are some of our personal favorites, along with brands that show up on gear nerds’ best-of lists time and time again.

 

Osprey

Courtesy of Zappos

It’s nearly impossible find a gear testing site that doesn’t include at least one Osprey model in its roundups, if not multiple. They come in an extensive array of sizes and colors for almost any outdoor activity or long-term travel option and offer a lifetime warranty.

And personally, my travel partner and I have carried our Osprey Farpoints on three months in Southeast Asia, eight months around the world, and shorter trips in between with minimal complaints.

Osprey is retailed at eBagsEastern Mountain Sports, and Zappos.

The North Face

Courtesy of Zappos

Not just for outerwear, The North Face’s backpacks are just as comfortable to wear as the brand's jackets and come in both commuter and outdoor lines.

The North Face is retailed at eBagsEastern Mountain Sports, and Zappos.

Fjallraven

Courtesy of Zappos

This Swedish outdoor brand is possibly best known for its charming fox logo patches, which is appropriate given its commitment to only sourcing materials from animals that are treated well. Fjallraven's other claim to fame is its rainbow of boxy Kanken backpacks, and there are plenty of technical packs on offer, as well.

Fjallraven is retailed at eBagsNordstrom, and Zappos.

Thule

Courtesy of Zappos

Thule’s backpacks lean toward a sleeker, more minimalist design but still offer plenty of protection for both your back and your gear.

Thule is retailed at eBagsNordstrom, and Zappos.

Deuter

Courtesy of Ebags

Take advantage of Deuter’s German engineering in its hiking, alpine, backpacking, and school/office lines. An impressive percentage of the brand's bags are available in specific women’s models, which is a definite perk when you’re looking for that perfect fit.

Deuter is retailed at eBagsEastern Mountain Sports, and Zappos.

Arc’teryx

Courtesy of Zappos

This popular performance retailer from the Canadian Coast Mountain Range offers solid outdoor packs for both single- or multi-day outdoor excursions.

Arc’teryx is retailed at Zappos and REI.

Jansport

Courtesy of Zappos

Though the brand name may induce flashbacks to a middle school backpack sagging beneath the weight of your decorative patches and jingling keychain collection, Jansport bags are built to last and come in adult-friendly designs, as well.

Jansport is retailed at eBags, Nordstrom, and Zappos.

Timbuk2

Courtesy of Zappos

While the designs may be better suited to city biking than the backcountry, all Timbuk2 bags are still equipped with a lifetime warranty.

Timbuk2 is retailed at eBags and Zappos.

Samsonite

Courtesy of Zappos

If you’re going for a full matching luggage set, go for Samsonite. Whether you’re looking for extra-slim, convertible, or even Kevlar, you’re sure to find something in their extensive range.

Samsonite is retailed at eBagsZappos, and Macy’s.

Tortuga

Courtesy of Tortuga backpacks

Tortuga makes attractive backpacks designed for travelers, investing in small touches like quality buckles and zippers to make bags that can stand up to how you're actually using them on the road.

Tortuga is retailed at Tortuga Backpacks.

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