Backpacks are awesome. You knew that. But there’s something about backpacks no one talks about: the fact that they’re notoriously tough to shop for. Undeterred, we decided to crack the code and found that each one has a personality type so, as long as you know who you are deep down inside, you’ll know which backpack fits the bill. Looking for a pack that’s got your back this spring? You’ve come to the right place.
1. Sealtech Lawson for the Can’t Be Bothered Guy ($150): For the dude who can’t be bothered to take care of his possessions, we recommend the Lawson—a pack with seriously high-tech “self-healing ripstop” fabric that can be rubbed together with your fingertips to close rips or punctures caused by keys, pens and your general disdain for owning awesome stuff.
2. Mountainsmith Mayhem 45 for the Hardcore Hiker ($160): For the hardcore hiker, consider the Mayhem 45, a mountain pack guaranteed to support your addiction to hoofing it across all types of terrain. It’s got a giant asymmetrical zipper opening at the top for accessing survival gear (like extra-strength condoms) in harsh, unpredictable environments (like youth hostels). It also features tool/trekking pole mounts and a wire-frame load dispersion and stabilizer bar.
3. Oliberte Krabu for the Fair Trade Conscious Guy ($180): Made in Ethiopia, this vintage, eye-catching pack plays fair with workers’ rights so you can enjoy yourself without the extra cheap goods consumer guilt. It features premium leather construction.
4. Marley Lively Up Leather Day Pack for the Environmentally Conscious Dude ($80 on sale): Kombucha. Hemp. Scrabble. If these are everyday words to you, you might be enviro-conscious enough to desire a sweet leather saddle bag made of exclusive REWIND Material (a blend of hemp and organic cotton mixed with recycled water bottle and hardware fibers). Plus, The House of Marley gives a “generous portion” of its proceeds to the Bob Marley Family 1Love foundation. You’re givin’ back, mon.
5. Timbuk2 Walker Laptop Backpack for the Style Conscious guy ($278): If you’ve been looking for a backpack that actually makes your outfit look better, shed a tear of relief, because your search is over. Genuine leather binding and trim spread across a soft surface of premium liner fabric. Pretty luxe, no? It’s also got a waxed, water-resistant canvas body that actually looks better with age. Built for walking and public transit, but keeping you on top of your game at the office, its look, comfort and access make it one sweet pack.
6. Case Logic DSLR Compact for the Adventure Photog ($40): Comfy, lightweight and durable, this compact backpack is perfect for the adventurous photographer who might find himself dangling over a precipice just as often as luxuriating in a natural hot spring. It fits a DSLR camera, two reasonably-sized accessories, an iPad and other assorted personal items. It also sports a unique fold-out camera storage compartment, protective flap and dual zippers for fast gear access.
7. H.L. James Alligator Skin Backpack for the Trust Fund Trendsetter ($34,999): Got an extra 35K laying around? For the trendsetter with disturbingly deep pockets, may we present H.L. James’ signature alligator skin backpack, hand-stitched with silk threads by Tuscan artisans, secured with a you-set-the-combo double-lock and containing a removable, zippered gator-skin pouch. And it’s even made with alligator skin that was harvested in accordance with state, federal and international law under a biologically sound sustainable use program.
8. The Battenkill® Businessman's Backpack for the All Business(Man) ($225): Your demeanor may not be all business, but you’ll sure seem like you mean some with this plaid-lined, brass-accented, oil-tanned leather- and canvas-detailed backpack. It streamlines access to all your goodies (business documents, work laptop, pb&j sammy) with standard trimmings like a padded laptop pocket, front-side organizer and side pocket. But let’s be honest: it’s really all about making a handsome, respectable entrance in a way the briefcase never could. Emboss or engrave it for an additional $8.
9. The Speck MightyPack Plus for the Frequent Flier ($100): Billed as the “ultimate TSA-approved tech backpack,” the MightyPack Plus goes the distance with ample room and numerous compartments, including a hard-molded EVA and a plush foam- and faux fur-lined “Tech Locker.” Its padded laptop sleeve, triple-layer foam base and reinforced handle give it serious durability, but it’s the TSA-compatible flat-open style (achieved with an extra-long zipper) that sets it apart. Think of it as a pleasant airport security line experience! Just kidding, that still doesn’t exist.
10. EO Travel Backpack for the Weekend Warrior ($220): When a super commute or weekend away is the name of the game, you’re gonna love a pack that expands 35 percent for overnight travel. Zippers go all the way down to the bottom of the bag allowing for a security checkpoint-friendly experience. Plus, its superior organization, comfy straps, weather-resistant front panel and versatility (carry it as a duffel bag or wear it as a backpack) make it your go-to for a grab-and-go.
11. Hylete Icon Expandable Backpack for the Gym Rat ($80-$165 depending on color): This compact yet expandable pack has a few features for the gym rat’s daily regimen. Its expandable wet/dry storage will keep your sweaty jock strap and other unmentionables away from your after-workout attire; and an insulated side-pocket cooler is there to keep post-workout protein shakes or a hearty sandwich at the right temperature. And hell, if you want to throw away your morning on a pre-work workout, this bag’s got a padded laptop/tablet sleeve and mesh pocket for folders, notebooks and more.