Backpacks—long a street style staple—are all grown up, having graduated from grammar school to Wall Street in the last few seasons. Here are five spacious and stylish bags that will take you from the classroom to the office and keep you sorted no matter what.
Classic and handmade
Founded in Detroit just over a year ago, the folks at Shinola are bringing back good, old-fashioned American craftsmanship with hand-made timepieces, bicycles and leather goods. This duffel-style backpack is crafted from natural canvas and is fitted with a leather roll-top closure (with hide that hails from a Chi-Town tannery that’s been operated by the same family for no less than a century). Solid brass hardware and zippers give it a premium feel, and side zips maintain hassle-free access to the contents of the adjustable main pouch. Regardless of how much you carry, the padded straps will also keep every individually-numbered bag feeling comfortable on your shoulders ($595, Shinola).
It’s hard to guess just by looking at it, but this old school rucksack from hard graft can hold practically every modern contrivance you could ask for—laptop, phone, documents and more—without giving up a nice, slim profile. While the exterior’s vegetable-tanned Italian leather looks tough as nails (it is), its most interesting quality is the soft 100 per cent wool lining on the inside, ensuring the safety of its contents no matter how bumpy the ride. Add in a few external pouches to hold the finer details of your life and you’ve got an investment that will last you generations ($715, hard graft).
Built to make sure you don’t have to choose between separate bags for work and for play, this backpack is big enough to fit your whole life into. Tumi’s “Knox” has six compartments to hold your mobile phone, laptop, keys, workout water bottle and more. It’s fashioned from the luggage company’s trademark ultra-strong ballistic nylon fabric, softened with premium leather accents near the top of every pocket and on the tab details. The luggage tag is buffed up with a heavy-duty metal hinge, guaranteed to make those luggage throwers think twice on your next trip abroad ($399, Tumi).
Minimal and light
On the opposite end of the spectrum is this less-is-more collaboration between Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Outlier, ideal for hiking as well as navigating the concrete jungle. It’s made from a lightweight and nearly indestructible fabric known as nonwoven Dyneema—according to their website, it’s stronger than steel, and could be used to make body armour—so it weighs in at a paltry 237 grams. The handmade roll-top bag is extremely water resistant and, more surprisingly, can even be packed down to a pocket-friendly size. Consider it your new go-to gym bag ($168, Outlier).
Offering a lot of bang for your buck, Herschel Supply Co. dropped their new knitted Woodside backpack earlier this year, featuring contrasting textures and classic good looks. Knitted front pockets stay on point with the bag’s tonal rust colour scheme, while mustard suede leather pulls contrast the body. Inside, you’ll find media pockets, open pouches for your loose change and Herschel’s signature custom lining ($70, Need Supply Co.).