submitted by Jonathan Tayag
When it comes to efficiently hauling your gear on a daily basis, nothing gets the job done quite like a good EDC backpack. The best everyday carry backpacks typically feature plenty of storage, thoughtful organization, durable materials, and an ergonomic design to make carrying heavier loads comfortable and easy. With the right EDC backpack, you can have one bag to cover most of your needs, whether you’re using it as a travel pack, a laptop backpack for college, or a bug out bag for emergencies. In this buying guide, we’ll help you pick the right bag for your EDC by highlighting 15 of the best everyday carry backpacks. Whether you want a tough-as-nails tactical backpack, a laptop backpack for your tech or mobile office, an outdoors-ready hiking backpack, or a feature-rich commuter backpack for carrying around town, we’ve got you covered with these picks.
Bellroy Classic Backpack PlusKey FeaturesWater-resistant YKK zippers15″ dedicated laptop storageHidden quick-access pocketSpecificationsCapacity22LWeight1 kgMaterialsRecycled poly blendEDC RatingPrice$$$$Bellroy’s Classic Backpack Plus is well-suited for everyday commuters with a comfortable 22L of internal storage space and a dedicated laptop compartment that can fit up to a 15″ computer. The exterior of the bag is made of water-resistant Venture-weave polyester, finished with leather accents and touch points. That water-resistance is further enhanced with the durable YKK Aquaguard zippers that help keep the rain out even under extended downpours. Because the bag is available in a plethora of colorways, you can pick adesign that suits your style. The low-profile minimal aesthetic of the backpack helps you blend in when you’re in a crowd for discreet travel.
Peak Design Everyday Zip 15L BackpackKey Features270 degree UltraZip accessFlexFold dividers for internal configurationLifetime warrantySpecificationsCapacity15LWeight2.51 lbsMaterials400/900D DWR-impregnated recycled nylon materialEDC RatingPrice$$$$Peak Design’s Everyday Zip is an extremely minimal and low-profile travel backpack. Its 100% recycled 400D weatherproof construction features a single 270-degree zipper. The 3/4 zipper allows for full access to the internals of the bag when you need it, as well as easy side access that can come in handy if a camera is part of your carry. The fact that the interior of the backpack is configurable with FlexFold dividers and that the bag itself is well-padded against damage makes this a great laptop backpack and drone photography backpack too. Last but not least, its dedicated computer sleeve accommodates up to a 15“ device, making it an excellent backpack for college too.
Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck 24 BackpackKey FeaturesFixed harnessRip-zip easy access with VelcroFits up to a 15″ laptopSpecificationsCapacity15LWeight2.3 lbsMaterials330 Robic fabricEDC RatingPrice$$$With the Rip Ruck series, Mystery Ranch used inspiration from their military bags to design a commuter-friendly EDC travel backpack. True to its name, the Rip Ruck 24 benefits from no-fuss, quick access to the main compartments as well as the two external organization pockets with a quick pull to “rip” the zippers open. There’s also low-profile PALS webbing on the exterior in case you want to attach other gear to the bag, but the whole ensemble works better without the added bulk. The backpack has a floating padded sleeve with Velcro closure that’ll fit up to a 15″ laptop and there’s also an additional document sleeve that keeps your travel documents safe and easy to access when you’re going from point A to point B.
Hazard 4 Pillbox BackpackKey FeaturesFits up to a 16″ laptopThermo-molded foam exterior for rigidityHardpoints on exterior for expansionSpecificationsCapacity29.5LWeight5 lbs 2.5 ozMaterialsInvista 1000D CORDURA fabricEDC RatingPrice$$$The Hazard 4 Pillbox camera backpack was designed to keep expensive optics like camera lenses safe, but the molded foam shell’s semi-rigid structure allows for extra protection for whatever you choose to put inside. The unique look of the backpack is an added plus as well. The interior is lined with Velcro to allow for further configurability, which is especially useful if you use smaller pouches to organize your gear when you travel.
GORUCK GR1 21L USA BackpackKey FeaturesLifetime guaranteeMade in the USAUp to 16″ laptopSpecificationsCapacity21LWeight2.9 lbsMaterials1000D CORDURA nylonEDC RatingJust releasedPrice$$$$The GR1 remains a popular pick as one of the best tactical backpacks in the community for its proven bombproof durability, made in the USA quality, and lifetime guarantee. While the hydration compartment can fit a 3L water bladder, it also lets the GR1 pull double duty as a laptop backpack. If you really pack this bag to its limits, the extra-padded shoulder straps make hauling heavier loads more comfortable.
Aer Day Pack 2 BackpackKey FeaturesLuggage passthroughHolds up to a 15″ laptopDuraflex hardware and YKK zippersSpecificationsCapacity14.8LWeight2.9 lbsMaterials1680D ballistic nylonEDC RatingJust releasedPrice$$$Aer recently re-designed their travel backpack line, and their new Day Pack 2 incorporates feedback-driven design changes to its organization and layout. There are more quick access pockets and better access to the exterior water pocket, while the structured upright design remains the same for easy loading and unloading when you’re away from home.
Recycled Firefighter “The Chief“ BackpackKey FeaturesFits up to a 15″ laptop in dedicated laptop sleeve550 paracord zipper pullsLay flat designSpecificationsCapacity21LWeightN/AMaterials1000D CORDURA nylon, YKK zippers, recycled firefighter clothingEDC RatingPrice$$$$If you’re tired of your EDC travel backpack failing on you, you should check out a bag like Recycled Firefighter’s “The Chief” backpack. It’s made of 1000D CORDURA fabric, military-grade webbing, and recycled fabric by hand here in the US. The disaster-proof durability of the bag extends to the zippers as well. While other bags sport YKK zippers they are rarely as big as the #10 zips on this bag, making them extremely well-suited for heavy duty applications and frequent opening and closing when you life a life away from home all the time.
Able Carry Daily BackpackKey FeaturesFits up to a 16″ MacBook ProZipper stows for TSA-compatible lockingSternum strapSpecificationsCapacity20LWeight2.1 lbsMaterialsX-Pac or 1000D CORDURA nylonEDC RatingPrice$$$True to its name the Able Carry Daily is a compact backpack made for comfortable and convenient carry of your EDC on your back. Its use of X-Pac fabric makes it lightweight for its size and features at just 0.9 kg and 20L of space, but of course if you load up a 16″ MacBook Pro into the mix it will weigh things down a bit. The key leash built into the front pocket of the bag is great if you lose your keys from your pockets frequently. They’re especially nice if you’re trying to keep a set of keys you don’t normally carry safe like when you’re renting a house far from home. There isn’t a full-on frame built into the bag but the strap system adds some rigidity to the bag especially when it isn’t filled to the brim and that helps prevent against small items flopping around as you run to make your next deadline.
NutSac RuckSac BackpackKey FeaturesLifetime guaranteeSide zipper accessInternal laptop sleeve up to 15″ computerSpecificationsCapacity19 x 13 x 5 inchesWeight3.5 lbsMaterialsWaxed canvas and full-grain leatherEDC RatingPrice$$$$If you’re looking for classic styling out of your “onebag” travel backpack, not much can beat the timeless heritage look of the classy waxed canvas and full-grain leather on the NutSac RuckSac. Like the classic rucksacks of old that this bag is based upon, the RuckSac keeps water out with thick canvas impregnated with wax and a flip-top design that keeps the rain out as well. That flip top can be secured with the leather and brass hardware, and that helps keep items from falling out when you’re on the move.
Black Ember Citadel R2 Minimal BackpackKey FeaturesIPX6 rated waterproof15″ laptop compartmentFurther configurable for photographers if you opt for the DSLR setupSpecificationsCapacity25LWeight3 lbsMaterials800D microhex three layer waterproof textileEDC RatingPrice$$$$The Citadel R2 is a community favorite pack that’s highly configurable (especially if you’re a photographer) but its base minimalist configuration lets you maximize the space and configure it how you wish. This waterproof backpack provdies a full 25 liters of immersion-safe storage thanks to the microhex 800D three-layer textile that’s laser cut to shape and sealed against intrusion from moisture and the elements to an IPX6 rating. The blacked-out design keeps things low-profile and the lack of loud external webbing and hook-and-loop areas that tactical bags have let you run discreet in foreign places.
Topo Designs Daypack BackpackKey Features15″ internal laptop sleeveContoured padded shoulder strapsMade in the USASpecificationsCapacity21.6LWeight1.85 lbsMaterials1050/1000/420D CORDURA, Horween leatherEDC RatingPrice$$$The mix of heritage natural leather and modern 1000D CORDURA fabric makes the Topo Designs Daypack a great choice for travel EDC. Its low-profile, yet colorful design allows this bag to look aesthetically beautiful but not necessarily “too nice” making you a target from people looking to mug people who look unfamiliar with the locale. The large external access zip area is great for small quick access items like documents and other travel essentials, and you can fit up to 21.6L of gear into the main compartment. There’s two side access water bottle pockets for your hydration needs on the go, and for especially adventurous excursions there’s even an ice axe loop built in for when the temperatures get low and you find yourself at high altitude trying to climb.
EVERGOODS CPL24L V2 BackpackKey FeaturesFits up to 17″ laptopFull suspension harnessTop and side carry handlesSpecificationsCapacity24LWeight2.9 lbsMaterials420D HT nylon liningEDC RatingJust releasedPrice$$$$The EVERGOODS CPL (short for Civic Panel Loader) was designed to be a capable travel backpack for everyday commuting during the workweek, with technical materials and outdoor-ready features that make it suitable as a hiking backpack for weekend warriors. It offers easy access on the go with a large amount of storage areas and easy loading and unloading of all your gear and clothes when you have more time. The full suspension design of the backpack also makes it an extremely comfortable bag to carry even when it’s filled to its full 24L capacity. And since the bag weighs 2.9 lbs unloaded, the bag itself doesn’t contribute much to the maximum carry-on weight when that’s a consideration you need when you’re flying internationally.
DSPTCH Daypack BackpackKey Features15″ laptop compartment, additional space for 10-13″ tabletInternal water bottle pocketsMesh internal zip pocket for loose itemsSpecificationsCapacity22LWeight2 lbs 12 ozMaterials1680D ballistic nylon, DWR coatedEDC RatingJust releasedPrice$$$$The DSPTCH Daypack features super-durable 1680D ballistic nylon fabric, which is far more abrasion-resistant (and water-resistant) than your standard off-the-shelf backpack. This means it’s well more than capable to stand up to daily cuts and scrapes during your commute, and it serves it well too when you opt to take this bag out with you when you’re traveling far from home. The mil-spec webbing lets you configure the bag further with additional pouches, and DSPTCH makes a dedicated set of them that fit will with the overall aesthetic design of the bag. The DSPTCH Daypack fits up to a 15″ laptop and there’s also a 10-13″ tablet sleeve with loop cord management, making this a great option if you carry more than one electronic device everyday.
5.11 Tactical TAC Essential Pack 25L BackpackKey FeaturesCompatible with 5.11’s RUSH line of add-onsExternal low profile side web MOLLEQuick release yoke shoulder strapSpecificationsCapacity25LWeight1.8 lbsMaterials1050D nylonEDC RatingJust releasedPrice$$5.11 Tactical has earned their reputation in the everyday carry community for their excellent tactical backpacks, but their TAC Essential Pack pares things down the the essentials. This tactical backpack takes a more low-profile approach, with a discreet design to help you blend in with the crowd and not draw unwanted attention. Similar to their RUSH series of bags, the TAC Essential features 25 liters of space and a super-padded yoke system that makes carrying gear comfortable even through a full day’s use. There is PALS/MOLLE webbing on the sides of the item, but they’re more blended in than with other tactical backpacks, so only you have to know they aren’t just there for decoration.
LBT 20L G2 Go Pack BackpackKey FeaturesTablet / laptop storage area fits up to 13″ laptopAdjustable padded shoulder straps with sternum strapMesh storage area for small itemsSpecificationsCapacity16 x 12 x 5 inchesWeight1.1 lbsMaterials500D nylonEDC RatingPrice$$$As per its name, this is designed as a “go pack” but all the storage and durability that mission requires also makes it great for travel. At just 1.1 lbs fully unloaded thanks to its 500D construction, this is a lightweight yet spacious bag that’s still durable enough for all-day carry, and the two compartment areas let you separate gear and clothing as needed. If you prefer more outward military styling, the bag comes in multiple service camo colorways, but there’s also more low-profile grey and solid black for discretion in public.
Source: Everyday Carry