Without our backpacks, we’d just be broke. Nobody gets very far without a good bag strapped to their back, and most outdoor businesses in the world know that.
Every single one of them has attempted to make a bag worthy of everyday carry, but that doesn’t make them a backpack brand. We wanted to find out what companies out there are truly changing the game and pushing backpacks to their limits, so we started a list.
The Broke Backpacker crew has worn holes through loads of different backpacks and we have walked for miles with an uncomfortable load across our shoulders. We know the pain of lousy gear and the pleasure of opening up a pocket and finding your bus tickets exactly where you expected them to be.
A good backpack will have you feeling like a travel pro even if it’s your first time leaving the state, but a bad backpack can ruin the day in one snapped strap — or slowly ruin your life through years of unnatural weight on your back.
So we’re here to help narrow down the playing field. We’ve done the dirty work and talked to backpackers, bankers, and busboys to find out who has been making the best bags for all sorts of lifestyles. And we’re looking beyond the stitching.
In our eyes, the best backpack brands do more than sell a great pack. To truly outperform the competition, most of the brands on our list focus on sustainability and fair employee treatment just as much as they focus on making top quality products.
So before you buy your next bag, read on to find out who’s tough enough and who ain’t quite up to snuff.
Quick Answers; What Are The Best Backpack Brands?
#1 – Best Overall Backpack Brand – Nomatic
#2 – Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Osprey
#3 – Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Peak Design
#4 – Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD
#5 – Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc
#6 – Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather
#7 – Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply
#8 – Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI CoOp
#9 – Most Innovative Brand – Tropicfeel
#10 – Best New Backpack Brand – Stubble & Co
- > $$
- > Heavyweight
- > 100% vegan and 100% compatible with hikes and adventures
Deuter Speed Lite 20
- > $
- > Sneaky reservoir pocket
- > Versatile bags under 100$
- > $$
- > RFID security pocket and easy access passport pockets
- > Water-resistant fabric
- > $$
- > Come with two different camera cubes
- > Separate mesh space for SD Cards
- > $$
- > Comes with sternum and waist straps
- > Made out of recycled material
- > $$
- > Top-grain leather
- > Magnetic closure
- > $$
- > Water-resistant and slightly shiny
- > Main storage spaces are split up into two separate pockets
Trail Pack 25
- > $
- > Two large water bottle holders
- > Camelbak reservoir and a complete rain fly built-in
- > $$$
- > Completely waterproof
- > Great internal packing cube system
Stubble & Co Adventure Bag
- > $$
- > Versatile
- > Easy Packing
So, Who Makes The Best Backpacks?
The simple answer? Osprey.
The real answer? Way more complicated when it comes to the best luggage brands. No two lifestyles are the same, so no backpack is the best for everyone. Each of these brands tries to appeal to as many people as possible, but they all have their niches. For us, the best backpack makers are those that fulfil their primary function to the highest quality.
Decide what lifestyle you’re shopping for before you start to think about what bag to buy. Shoppers looking for something to take into the woods will have a completely different answer to this question than someone looking for a work partner, but everyone is looking for backpacks that last — after all, a solid pack is the cornerstone of any travel packing list.
These bags perform their jobs using high-quality materials and without cutting corners in production, which makes them the best outdoor brands in the business.
#1 The Best Backpack Brand – Nomatic
The wanderers responsible for this hip brand are a great embodiment of the American Dream that meets the 21st century. This Kickstarter-funded project has snowballed into an industry leader in various products that make travel days easier. They didn’t meet fundraising targets on one project, but ten! People keep coming back for more.
It started with a wallet, but now Nomatic has a wide range of accessories built for the world’s movers and shakers. This company grew up in the internet age and didn’t carry the same traditional mindset that slows many luggage companies down.
Nomatic is not afraid of trying new techniques and tinkering with bags to see where they can add value. Their bags are based on quality, function, and versatility first. The team made sure to take plenty of time to focus on the look and feel of their products, too, resulting in bags that are professional enough to fit into the board room and comfy enough to accompany a week-long getaway.
The Nomatic company’s website makes it easy to shop by needs, trip lengths, and styles to help direct you towards your perfect pack.
Featured Nomatic Backpack – Travel Pack
This epic carry-on pack throws it all into fulfilling one specific niche; air travel. Custom-made for carry-on, Nomatic took TSA rules and regulations into consideration during creation and implemented loads of unique features that make your life easier.
Built for 3-7 day trips or as a modern briefcase alongside a checked bag, you’d have to pack very light if this is the only piece of your luggage. Once you’ve checked in, Nomatic’s RFID security pocket and easy access passport pockets will save valuable seconds at security. Cord pass-throughs and secret pockets line the inner lining of the water-resistant fabric that emits a soft black glow.
These famous travel backpacks raised 3 million dollars on Kickstarter, promising to change your layovers, and Nomatic has been delivering their end of the bargain. Read our full and detailed Nomatic Backpack review if you need to know more
Our team love Nomadic packs and their high level of functionality and construction quality. Our team loved how well-designed these packs were and many of our testers commented on just how much thought they felt had gone into them. From well-placed pockets to internal organisation and different carrying options, this bag has it all! Not only that but they loved how the bag also looked stylish and that it was sleek enough for business trips and commuting too.
#2 – Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Osprey
Osprey packs were born out of Mike Pfotenhaur’s bare hands. The madman made a living in Santa Cruz, flipping custom-fitted backpacks from his front yard until demand got too high and the company moved its headquarters to its current location in Dolores, Colorado. Today, Osprey’s backpacks are some of the best backpacking bags on the planet!
Osprey’s founders credit Navajo blanket weaving techniques for the bags’ sustained success. Ancient practices to hold firm when the buffalo roam have made their way into modern stitchings.
Perhaps that craftsmanship is why the company is confident enough in their products to offer up the All Mighty Guarantee. You see, Osprey bags are protected for life. Ship your bag back, even if it’s from 1975, and the repair team will do its best. If they can’t fix it, Osprey will replace your pack on the house. So either way, you’re going to get the highest quality backpack possible from Osprey!
They’re sourced from Vietnam, and the company pledges to take sustainability into account as a core part of its identity. They’ve always felt it’s just the right thing to do. From sourcing materials to testing chemicals, Osprey opens up their process to third-party audits and always welcomes new ideas for making better, more technically advanced, and more sustainable gear.
They’re one of the most popular backpack brands for a reason!
Featured Osprey Backpack – Aether 65
That’s where the Aether line steps in. This sustainable heavyweight is designed to spread the pounds across your whole body for healthier hiking when you’re going the distance. Osprey’s bags are made of the best stuff out there, and they just so happen to be recycled materials. A few Osprey lines are 100% vegan and 100% compatible with hikes and adventures big and small.
Three different ways to enter your bag’s main compartment will help reach the gear at the bottom of the bag without entirely unpacking. You’ll find each pocket in a perfect spot and loads of customisation options to adjust the torso, shoulders, hips and chest. The list goes on and on.
Minute differences in load and hip straps may not be noticeable on mile one. Still, as the miles increase, Osprey’s attention to detail pushes the Aether into the upper echelon of backpacking bags.
You could throw countless lines from the company’s history into a list of the best backpacks on the market, and they would belong at the top. If you want to know more about it, you can check our list of the BEST Osprey backpacks.
This pack is popular amongst our team. Several of us use this pack and we have taken it to over 100 countries between us. I personally love the useful top lid which allows for efficient storage and after 5 years the pack is still in incredible shape.
#3 – Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Peak Design
Peak Design is renowned for their commitment to creativity and innovation in backpack design. They craft carry-on backpacks with the traveler’s needs at the forefront, focusing on aspects like accessibility, organization, and adaptability. Their products often feature expandable compartments, adjustable straps, and specialized pockets to accommodate various travel essentials. Such thoughtful design allows for quick adjustments to suit different travel scenarios, whether it’s a short business trip or a leisurely vacation, making their backpacks incredibly versatile and user-friendly.
long with design excellence, Peak Design emphasizes quality craftsmanship and sustainable practices. Their carry-on backpacks are made from durable, weather-resistant materials that can endure the rigors of travel. Moreover, the brand is committed to using recycled materials and adheres to responsible manufacturing processes, aligning with modern eco-friendly values. The blend of quality and sustainability in their products not only ensures longevity but also resonates with conscious consumers, making them a leader in the carry-on backpack market.
Featured Product – Travel Backpack
The Peak Design Travel Backpacks, available in both 30L and 45L versions, are designed with adaptability and personalization in mind. The 30L model is perfect for weekend trips or minimalist travelers, while the 45L version provides additional capacity for longer journeys or those needing to carry more gear. Both models feature adjustable compartments and side openings for easy access, along with expansion zippers to accommodate different packing needs. These innovative designs enable travelers to customize the backpacks to their specific requirements, making them suitable for a wide variety of travel experiences.
Both the 30L and 45L Peak Design Travel Backpacks are constructed with high-quality, weather-resistant materials to ensure protection from the elements. These backpacks are crafted to withstand the wear and tear of travel, whether it’s a city adventure or an outdoor expedition. Comfort is also a priority, with padded straps, back support, and a sternum strap and waist belt to evenly distribute weight. Whether choosing the 30L for a compact option or the 45L for greater capacity, travelers can rely on these backpacks to provide comfort and durability throughout their journeys.
Peak Design’s commitment to enhancing the travel experience is evident in both the 30L and 45L Travel Backpacks. Both versions come equipped with specialized pockets for essential travel documents and laptops, as well as locking zippers for added security. Stowable straps and a sleek exterior ensure hassle-free handling during flights. The 45L version, with its larger capacity, offers extra space for those extended trips without sacrificing the thoughtful design and features found in the 30L model. The balance of aesthetics, functionality, and user-centered features in both versions underscores Peak Design’s reputation as a leader in travel backpacks, offering options to suit various travel needs and preferences.
#4 – Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD
All your camera gear can quickly add up when it’s time to pack. Wandrd founders were itching to head across the world and document their travels but couldn’t find bags that could hold up to the rigours of the job. Frustrated at the lack of dedicated camera backpacks, the boys rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Mom made peanut butter and jellies while company founders went to the drawing board. They etched out prototype after prototype, brainstorming camera-friendly features and building a bag that lasts for life.
All that hard work resulted in the original Prvke, Wandrd’s first bag and an instant hit. The bag’s expandable roll-top and integrated camera cube revolutionised travelling with a camera. Consumers finally found a modern-day camera bag that can hold everything you need for a day’s shoot.
They had found success. But the company was on a mission to stay radically curious and kept scheming improvements and tweaks to their bags, as well as coming up with functional accessories.
Now you can find ten different bag models and various camera accessories on their dedicated online store.
Featured WANDRD Backpack – PRVKE 31
The latest in a long line of Prvke bags that have provoked a change in the industry, this bag had big shoes to fill. It took the same successful roll-top shape and reinforced the carry points to help the bag hold up to 40 litres. They took something easy to carry and made it even more portable for all body shapes.
The company dared to be different by listening to customer feedback and making various changes that resulted in a more comfortable bag. Whether it’s for a day hike, commute, or travel day, the PRVKE may be the best option to get your camera safely to the shoot.
Various sizes all come with two different camera cubes and enough straps to hold everything in place. Your roll-top can expand to bring along a change of clothes or two, but no matter how much you pack, interior laptop sleeves and fleece-lined pockets will guarantee a compartmentalised interior – there’s even a separate mesh space for SD Cards!
Wandrd has been on the scene for six years now, and their latest bag steals the show when it comes to the best camera bags on the market.
I’ve had this bag for a couple of years now and I’ve taken it on many trips on various continents and I’ve been super impressed. From a photographer’s perspective, it feels really well designed with our distinctive needs really taken into account. The side opening for quick access to your camera for example was a game changer for me. The material also feels really high quality and keeps my gear safe and dry whether wandering around Rome or hiking in the Lake District.
#5 – Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc
Travellers across the globe are starting to realise we all need to do better if we want to keep enjoying untouched natural beauty. Monarc wants to make it easy for travellers to do better by providing the world’s first plastic-negative bag company. We have tried a few awesome eco backpacks lately, but this is by far the best.
Monarc collects and shreds discarded plastic bottles to build the thread and fabric of their bags. They have used modern technology that removes 2 kilograms of plastic from the environment for every 1 kilo used. That’s already a fantastic achievement, but Monarc didn’t stop at plastic negative.
The company has shown they like to say yes to sustainability. It wasn’t enough to use recycled plastic in their products; they also pledged to remove twice as much waste as they use for their products. They’ve helped employ thousands of people with quality working conditions that raise communities while cleaning up. And still, they pull in a profit, so they joined the 1% for the planet initiative to help their business do more.
All of that effort has added up to a legit bag brand that proves you can make top quality products without harming the natural world. The niche company focuses on products for modern travellers, from a signature duffle bag to camera cubes all made from recycled plastic bottles.
A sustainability pledge is impressive, but you still have to deliver a quality product. Luckily, Monarc checks off all the boxes.
Featured Monarc Backpack – Settra
Settra is the heart and soul of the Monarc brand. In fact, this signature duffel backpack is the only bag the brand makes. 50 recycled plastic bottles make up one of the most technologically advanced travel pieces on the market
A nifty handle and strap system allow the bag to work as both a duffel and a backpack make it the best eco luggage piece for all tastes. Conversion is quick and painless, and the backpack straps tuck away when not in use to keep a clean appearance. You can pick between a grey and black muted exterior that matches plenty of sheik travel styles, all without generating more trash.
The backpack’s carry feature comes with sternum and waist straps which makes this bag surprisingly comfortable to hold. It was deliberately built with TSA regulations in mind, so Monarc maximised space while keeping the bag small enough for carrying on. It’s versatile, functional, and brings so much style with it you won’t believe it is all made out of recycled material.
We love how functional this pack performs in a variety of different travel and home scenarios. I find it great for organising and very easy to access my gear on the go. It also carries all I need for long weekends and even some trips of up to a week. The only major criticism I have of it is that its not all that comfortable when used as a backpack and I personally only use it as a duffel.
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#6 – Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather
No matter the style, the best leather backpacks on the market were all crafted by Kodiak. They have everything from a diaper bag to an 80L mega duffel, all built with nothing less than the best top-grain leather and reinforced brass knuckles. Since they were shipping bags out of their garage office, Kodiak has hand-crafted each bag built to last a lifetime.
The company fully expects you to pass on your Kodiak leather for generations. A strict inspection process ensures each product is looked at three times before it ships to keep a high-quality assurance standard. For many adventurers, they’ve become a one-stop-shop for quality leather bags.
Leather has its limitations, but there is nothing more iconic than a piece of fine leather. Each bag has a slightly different shade of brown or grey leather that results in natural differences in the cow’s development. These delicate shades bend and change over time to help provide your bag with even more personalisation.
After a few years, owners swear their bags have their personality, as each scar leaves an aesthetically pleasing blemish on the exterior. Their smaller products have clever compartments and laptop pockets that style up the morning commute, while larger duffels give you everything you need to pack for longer trips. Each one of their products features easy-access pockets for essential things.
If you’re shopping for leather, you should be willing to invest a few extra dollars in a brand that goes the extra mile with its products, and that’s what Kodiak does best.
Featured Kodiak Backpack – Kobuk
Alongside their more traditional leather satchels and duffels, Kodiak is pushing the boundaries of leather with this adventurous, backpack style leather unit. The top-grain leather gives off a rustic glow that draws the eye across the roll-top compartment.
A single brass knob holds down the pocket, and a magnetic closure built into the buckle makes sure your stuff won’t pop open. Once you get inside the pack, you’ll find all sorts of nooks and crannies that are ripe for organisation.
Not many top-grain bags come with laptop compartments, but the padded sleeve inside the main pocket of the Kobuk will keep your electronics ready to roll. The shoulder straps don’t offer enough shoulder protection to take this bag on a long hike, but that’s about the only thing Kobuk can’t do.
As a day-to-day bag or a carry-on, the Kobuk takes the best in leather quality and turns it into a modern backpack. Our team really loved the stylish design of this bag and how it offers something different and more traditional looking than the super modern and highly technical options other brands offer. But it’s not just looks over substance. Our team felt the leather material offered superb protection from the elements and a high level of durability.
#7 – Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply
Boundary Supply crafted rucksacks built to tackle urban public transit, board rooms and departure lounges. Their bags are built to function all over the world, but Boundary knows their place. Designers focused on creating innovative backpacks that make the day-to-day a bit more comfortable.
They have a wide range of backpack and duffel bag lines that all feel at home during the workday. From light and sleek everyday carry backpacks, straps and belts with hidden pockets, specially designed camera bags, all the way to duffel bags with enough space to pack gym clothes, Boundary Supply is an online shopping store focused on products for nomads.
Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, Boundary supplies gear that will make your life easier. Modern companies know that sustainability is an excellent step towards making everyone’s life a bit easier, so they source their products and plan their factories using Bluesign guidelines, an international standard for pollution control and chemical safety. They believe that sustainability effort starts at the designing table, where they hold themselves to intense environmental standards, and you can too.
See exactly what makes up your bag straight from the source. Every material that goes into these award-winning bags is on display on their websites. So often, companies drop buzz words like “201D HT Nylon Kodra” or “Nywool with Barricade DWR” when describing their products but don’t go any further, so this transparency is quite refreshing.
This lifestyle brand is more focused on the urban jungle than the mountain top, but their gear is uniquely capable of getting you through your daily grind in style. Best of all, they back up their bags with a lifetime warranty, so you can rest easy knowing this company is confident enough in their products to bet they last.
Featured Boundary Supply Backpack – Errant
The Errant hasn’t been around very long. The bag burst into life in 2020 and immediately became some tech-savvy adventurer’s day-to-day pack. We tested the bag ourselves on the streets of Liverpool and were blown away by the adaptability. Our slate blue bag used a material similar to a tarp to protect your goods. It’s water-resistant and slightly shiny through cloudy days.
At 25 litres, it’s a bit too small to be the only bag you bring with you on the road, but it’s got more than enough space to work as a daily commuter. The main storage spaces are split up into two separate pockets so you can easily store dirty clothes without the risk of community transmission.
The laptop compartment is a fully-fledged space protected by a full zip. You can open up this rear laptop section only instead of rifling through your main room if you want to quietly take out your laptop at 10,000 feet without waking up the neighbours. It’s full of fun features that make your life easier and still weighs less than 3 pounds.
Errant has found its niche. The backpack is a perfect companion for day-to-day use or anyone who wants loads of organisation options in their carry-on. Our team also agreed with this assessment, commenting particularly on the awesome level of organisational features built into this pack. They loved how the pack opens up entirely from the back as well as the top. It meant our team were able to easily organise their gear and most importantly get at it without any fuss.
#8 – Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI Co-op
Last but certainly not least, unless we’re ranking in terms of prices. REI Co-op is the closest thing to a corporate outdoor supply chain on our list, but they’ve managed to keep the soul of their company alive while enjoying unprecedented success. The company has been stocking the goods since 1938, and their brick and mortar stores are now outdoor mainstays across the country. As they’ve grown, they’ve only managed to be more beloved in the outdoor communities they support.
Most of REI’s company ethos revolves around its Co-op model. Ever since 23 climbing buddies decided to group up to get gear, the company has always been a co-op. Now, that small co-op consists of 20 million civilian members, 15,000 employees, and 168 stores. The Co-op offers some pretty awesome profit-sharing with members and their employees, constantly sharing the wealth. Nearly 70% of profits are directly invested back into the people building out the company.
REI has slowly become more than just a middle man. Their house line of products holds incredibly safe choices for outdoor gear. Anyone who is looking for a way to find equipment or a backpack on a budget should look towards REI first.
If their house line is still too expensive, REI has an online outlet that redistributes used gear at a heavy discount, and most stores will offer up a garage sale. Any returns are resold at a steep discount, and I can often find brand new tents, sleeping bags, and assorted socks all for pennies on a dollar just by walking through their shops.
The reason this garage sale is such a big deal is because of REI’s relaxed return policy. REI can also stand for return everything incorporated because they will accept any returns for six months, no questions asked.
To sum up this budget backpack brand, they’re everywhere, focused on customer support and sustainability, and have everything in stock. Whatever you need for your next adventure, you’re bound to find it at REI.
Featured REI Backpack – Trail Pack 25
A signature pack from a powerful brand, this rucksack has space for everything you need for a day in the woods or wandering through a city. The muted blue checkerboard exterior fits into most lifestyles without making a scene, and the bag has all the little things you need to get from point A to B.
Two large water bottle holders and a few big clips on the exterior of the bag will help you cart plus-sized hardware, and the zippered top pocket provides a perfect place for your cellphone, wallet, and keys while you commute. Once your bag is packed, clip the shoulder straps and hip protected to feel lighter than air while heading into the office.
You can find the trial pack with 25 or 40 litres of storage. Either size will have a Camelbak reservoir and a complete rain fly built-in. The bag itself isn’t waterproof but will hold against the most substantial downpours with the rainfly produce.
It’s tough to find bags this small that are still so effective in the woods. While this bag is not big enough for a multi-day hike, it’s technical and classy enough to work well on practically any other adventure.
Our team loved this pack and felt it pretty much cut through the middle ground to create the perfect day pack that “wasn’t too big or too small” and “was just technical enough”. By this they meant it wasn’t overly fussy, it has just the right amount of features and pockets without ending up over-engineered and complex and also held just the right amount of gear for day hikes or city trips without becoming too heavy.
#9 Best New Backpack Brand – Tropicfeel
There are new backpack brands opening up on Kickstarter all the time right now so it really does take something special to stand out above the crowd and earn our place as the best new backpack brand. The Spanish based brand TropicFeel have a simple ethos – to create a top travel gear brand making versatile, high-quality, and sustainable products. Their mission is to change the way we travel while contributing to a more responsible lifestyle.
So far, their product range is pretty slim consisting of just around 5 different packs but all of them are special, unique and well-deserving of a place in your gear collection.
Featured Tropicfeel Backpack – Shell
Ok, what we have here is a very special pack indeed. Firstly, the Tropicfeel Shell is actually to change its size capacity from 22l stretching out to 40l. Essentially the Shell is a 2-1 backpack which can be utilised as either a day pack, an overnight bag or even a Carry-on backpack for short trips.
The next special feature is that it comes with a built-in wardrobe – yes it is designed with a hanging wardrobe inside which allows you to perfectly, neatly, pack and arrange tier clothes so that when you arrive at your destination you just take it straight out and hag it up!
Novelty aside, it’s also a genuinely great bag made from high quality, fully sustainable materials. In terms of downsides, well it’s not light or versatile enough to be a useful hiking or camping bag and of course, 40l is not enough storage for all occasions.
Our team were really pleasantly surprised by just how functional this pack given the somewhat complex features packed inside it. In particular, they just loved the way the internal wardrobe solved their organisational issues and allowed easy assess to their gear without having to unpack and repack at every destination… something backpackers in particular can appreciate!
#10 Best New Backpack Brand – Stubble & Co
Stubble & Co are a hip and plucky new brand who make a small number of great backpacks. Founded in the UK, their mission is to create tough, durable and highly functional bags and packs. Their gear is designed for every aspect of travel from boarding the plane, to hiking in the mountains.
Best of all, not only are Stubble & Co’s bags all built to last, their production and supply chain is both ethical and sustainable and all of the Stubble & Co packs are part made from recycled materials. Stubble & Co are not as established as some other brands on this list and don’t boast the same wide range of products but what they do do, they do really well.
Featured Product – The Adventure Bag
This is the go-anywhere, do-anything bag in the Stubble & Co line-up. Tough and durable without compromising on style, The Adventure Bag is built to last, designed for adventure and should be your perfect travelling companion whatever the destination.
The Adventure Nag is designed to be lightweight and comfortable, and because this is not a rigid bag and is soft-sided with compression straps it can be packed to fit as an airline carry-on.
Where possible, Stubble & Co have made The Adventure Bag from recycled plastic. The main body of the bag is made from waterproof materials, and all zips are water-resistant.
Our team fell in love with this bag and just loves how stylish it looks whilst feeling super durable and offering great protection for their gear. The simple but stylish thick canvas exterior, g-hook closure and matt black colour mean it doesn’t look out of place wherever our testers took it, they felt comfortable heading to meetings or to university as well as heading off on business trips and city breaks.
Wanna know more? Check out our rundown of the best Stubble & Co. bags.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉Buy on REI!
|Name||Capacity (Litres)||Dimensions (CM)||Weight (KG)||Price (USD)|
|Aether 65||65||81.28 x 40.64 x 27.94||2.27||315|
|Deuter Speed Lite 21||21||45.97 x 26.92 x 19.05||0.43||80|
|Travel Pack||20||46.99 x 30.48 x 24.13||1.89||299.99|
|PRVKE 31||31||48 X 30 X 18||1.5||239|
|Settra||40||60.96 x 33.02 x 27.94||2.04||299.95|
|Kobuk||–||53.34 x 33.02 x 27.94||1.36||340|
|Errant||22||48.01 x 29.01 x 14||1.42||235|
|Trail Pack 25||25||49.53 x 33.66 x 19.05||0.91||79.95|
|Shell||40||50.8 x 30.5 x 19.1||1.5||290|
How and Where We Tested To Find The Best Backpack Brands
To test these different backpack brands we got ahold of several different bags that each produce and gave them a good test drive. Over time various members of our team took them out on different trips around the world to put them through their paces to find out who makes the best backpacks.
One of the main criteria we judged each backpack by was its packability. I mean, that’s what we use them for right!? To judge each brand we assessed how their different models carried and stored our gear. How well do they maximise space and effective packing?
We also looked at how easy each model by each brand was to unpack too and how easy the items inside were to retrieve.
Weight and Comfort of Carrying
If a pack is overly heavy or awkward to carry then taking it along on trips becomes uncomfortable and unenjoyable to wear. Believe me, I have had more than my fair share of backpacks that weighed too much or perhaps had crappy straps that dug into my shoulders… and it wasn’t fun!
As such, we awarded full marks to those brands that produced packs that minimise weight and maximum carry comfort.
For each brand, we tested various packs and how they fulfilled their primary purpose. So, if it was a carry-on pack, we took it on a Ryanair flight and prayed it fit in the overhead storage cabins! Hiking packs, we hit the trails! Photography bags, cycle packs… you get the idea!
Each brand was judged on how well its different models fulfilled their purpose.
Each backpack brand has its characteristic look and aesthetic, in fact, some brands are pretty famous for that and have transcended the fashion market as a result. Many people think a bag just needs to function well and looking good doesn’t matter. Well, we’ve got higher standards here! For us, the best backpack brands combine both style and function!
Durability and Weatherproofing
Different backpack brands offer different levels of quality and protection for your gear. Here in our search to find the best backpack company, we’ve awarded more points to those that offered higher quality materials and featured such as weatherproofing. When we asked the question “what are the best quality backpacks?” we had a few different criteria to measure this by before we decided.
As much as we’d love to have taken each bag into space or conduct some other wild experiment, instead we kept things simple and instead performed some inspections and tests. We paid attention to details like material, stitching, zip quality and pressure points. We also tested out how waterproof the packs were by well, pouring a litre of water over them!
We awarded the highest points to those brands that offered the most durable and waterproof packs with the highest consistency across their range. For us, the best backpack brands need to keep your gear safe, dry and do it for a reasonable amount of time.
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Final Thoughts on The Best Backpack Brands
This marks the end of our deep dive into the multi-functional world of the backpack industry. Some of these brands have spent decades making high-quality backpacks, while others are new faces on shopping lists but have already proven themselves way ahead of the curve.
We looked through small companies looking to fill a particular niche through the most significant outdoor behemoths on the market to come up with the best backpack brands out there, but ultimately this is a subjective list.
If you disagree with our rankings or just want to tell us about your favourite backpack brands, we always want to learn about new faces. Let us know which bags hold a special place in your heart and what are the best backpack brands in your eyes in the comments below.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!