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The 35 Best Minimalist Backpacks

By September 7, 2020 No Comments
35 Best Minimalist Backpacks

When it comes to finding the best minimalist backpack in the world, there are certain criteria the requisite bag has to meet. But before I interrogate those requirements, let’s first discuss what you’ll be using your minimalistic backpack. Will this serve as an urban backpack that you want to use as a daily commuter that you can throw on your back while traversing narrow bike lanes and concrete canyons on your folding electric bike? Or perhaps this will serve as a minimalist travel backpack that you tote along on your next trip through Europe or other far-flung destinations? As a woman, maybe you’re looking for something smaller or feminine? Or as a man, perhaps you’re looking for the ultimate men’s minimalist backpack that will not only look refined and sleek but also store a lot of stuff. Or maybe you’re looking for a minimalist laptop backpack that will keep your precious MacBook safe while on the go. However, if you are in the market for a camera backpack to haul your expensive photography gear around, I’ve written about that elsewhere. 

Aside from that minor exception, whatever your use case, man or woman, boy or girl, I’ve explored the web’s depths to find not only the best brands of backpacks but the type of minimalist design that is sleek, sexy, and stand the test of time. From hiking to daily motorcycle or bike commutes, a stylish backpack will never go out of style. Because if it’s an object that you will strap to your back and haul around for any period of time, it may as well be as chic, understated, and cleanly design as possible. So without further ado, I present to you the finest minimalist backpacks this side of the earth. 

1. INCASE City Backpack

The Incase City backpack is considered by some to fall into the category of compact backpacks. But don’t let that categorization fool your senses. It’s minimalist looks belie the fact that there’s still plenty of room on the inside of this stylish blended weave polyester bag. There’s more than enough room for a 16″ laptop inside the internal laptop compartment. This minimalist backpack features two primary storage areas and multiple pockets that have been placed with thoughtful purpose throughout this bag. And while there is plenty of space for other accessories you’ll be toting about, you won’t look like a turtle with a house on its back. That’s due to the brilliant and slim design that comes with adjustable and comfortable shoulder straps.  

Key Features

  • 360-degree padded laptop compartment fits up to a 16-inch laptop
  • Two quick-access zippered pockets
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Durable weave polyester construction means plenty of durability and reasonable weather protection

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 52 x 34.3 x 14 cm
  • Weight: 2 lbs (907.18 grams)
  • Brand: InCase
  • Model: City Backpack

2. Bellroy Studio Backpack

If you’re looking for a stunningly stylish and minimalist backpack with plenty of colour options, this Bellroy Studio Backpack is perhaps the backpack you’ve been looking for. Affordable and mid-sized, it’s the perfect slim and smart backpack designed for traversing today’s urban environments. Available in six different colours including the mid-grey you see pictured above, the foldover closure uses a magnetic clip to contain the main compartment. The magnetic clasp lets you easily open the backpack with just one hand, but that’s not the end of the convenience features.

This urban warrior of a backpack is perfect for the creative professional that likes to keep things tidy, sleek, and minimalist, both on the inside and out. The padded laptop pocket can hold up to a 16-inch laptop and has an easy access external zip pocket with a key clip. Need to throw in a camera, an extra t-shirt, over-the-ear headphones, a water bottle, sunglasses, charging cables, your phone, and your laptop? No problem. This urban backpack will hold that and more in a sleek and stylish profile. Now all you have to decide is what colour you want this elegant laptop-toting backpack in.

Key Features

  • Water-resistant woven fabric
  • Fits up to a 16″ laptop in a padded laptop pocket
  • Available in the following colours: Black, Mid-Grey, Red Earth, Red Ochre, Charcoal, Olive
  • Flexible and padded shoulder straps that are adjustable
  • 3-year warranty

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.6″ x 14.5″ x 4″
  • Brand: Bellroy
  • Model: Studio Backpack

3. Fjallraven Men's Raven 20L Backpack

Yes, I had just as much trouble pronouncing the name of this brand as you did. But nomenclature aside, this spacious yet minimalist backpack from Fjallraven is a terrific everyday companion for your daily commuting or urban adventuring needs. Simple, clean lines pervade throughout, and this black, minimalist backpack comes in more colour options than you can shake your stick at. Given its 20 litres capacity, it could even double as a decent minimalist hiking backpack for shorter day hikes. Stash your laptop easily in the padded sleeve on the inside and use one of the many external pockets to keep other smaller items.

Key Features

  • Constructed out of 65% polyester and 35% cotton 
  • Polyester lining inside
  • Zipper closure
  • Multiple main compartments
  • Can hold up to a 16″ laptop
  • 20L of storage space
  • Padded and adjustable shoulder pads provide ample comfort
  • Available in 11 different colours, including some truly funky ones

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.7″ x 10.6″ x 7.9″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Brand: Fjallraven
  • Model: Men’s Raven 20L Backpack

4. Tom Bihn - The Luminary 15 Backpack

Tom Bihn - The Luminary 15 Backpack

Hailing from Seattle, USA, Tom Bihn is a storied brand in the world of backpacks, travel bags, and briefcases. The very name of this brand has become synonymous with high-quality packs. Don’t be surprised if you see more than one minimalist bag from their brand appearing on this list. The Luminary 15 Backpack is designed to hold and fit plenty of items while keeping its minimalist styling throughout. And while larger than its younger sibling, the Luminary 12, this minimalist backpack from Tom Bihn can accommodate laptops of up to 13 inches in size. This backpack isn’t designed for multi-day trips; rather, it’s your daily driver. This is the kind of urban travel backpack you take with you for a day out at the museum or an evening on the town (remember when that was still a thing? Thanks, global pandemic!)

The simple lines and clean aesthetics hide their various functions and subtleties. The long slipper with four sliders allows for quick access to the main compartment and the two side pockets. The inconspicuous zippered and padded back pocket is large enough to fit a small laptop or tablet.

Key Features

  • 15L internal capacity
  • Can hold up to a 13″ laptop
  • Nylon exterior and nylon interior lining
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Water-repellent zippers throughout
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11″ x 16.5″ 7.9″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Brand: Tom Bihn
  • Model: The Luminary 15

5. Wandrd - Prvke - 21L

Wandrd - Prvke - 21L

Wow. The first moment I laid my eyes upon this waterproof urban backpack with a minimalist pedigree, I knew I was in love. I mean, how the hell do you pull-off an asymmetric design in a backpack and still rightfully call it minimalist? Somehow, this company pulled it off, and in the process, it also conjured up perhaps the perfect slogan they could for this backpack: “One bag, every lifestyle.” That summation is the perfect encapsulation of what this bag is capable of. Originally designed as a heavy-duty, waterproof, and weather-resistant backpack for photographers, the company discovered that its many customers began using this bag for far more day-to-day uses. Sure, it would still make an excellent backpack for all your photography gear, but it can serve as so much more. The three points of access to the main compartment, including a side-access, will quickly access nearly anything in your main compartment without undoing the roll-top backpack. This great minimalist backpack has so many more features; you’ll have to read about them below.

Key Features

  • 21L capacity, but expandable to 25L with the roll-top
  • Highly weather-resistant
  • Hidden passport / wallet pocket
  • Customizable main compartment
  • Roll-top closure
  • Multiple side-access points
  • Four zippered external pockets
  • Numerous attachment points
  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded back panel
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Constructed out of TPU-coated tarpaulin, ballistic 1680D woven Nylon, and weather-resistant YKK zippers

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17″ x 11″ x 6.5″
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
  • Brand: Wandrd
  • Model: PRVKE-21L

6. Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

This is not a small backpack. It’s the kind you bring with you where you know you’ll be traveling and need a large and capable backpack that will still serve as a great piece of carry-on luggage. With a 40L capacity, this minimalist travel backpack is large enough to comfortably fit up to a 17″ laptop with plenty of space for clothes and accessories for a short trip. The main compartment is subdivided into two areas and features an additional pocket to fit up to a 13″ tablet, like Apple’s 12.9″ iPad pros. It is made of splash-resistant and durable materials, and a dual zipper design with heads can be locked in the middle to protect your belonging from theft.

Perhaps my favourite feature of this dutiful backpack is that while it has all the features you’d want in a minimalist waterproof backpack, it’s still stylish enough that you can bring it with you to a business meeting. Of course, there’s also the compression strap that will let you compress this backpack into a smaller and slimmer form to reduce both bulkiness and ensure that the contents inside do not rattle around if the backpack is not full.

Key Features

  • Available in 30L and 40L sizes
  • Available in two colours: Black and Grey
  • Can hold up to a 17″ laptop
  • Easy to carry with two handles, one on the top and one on the side
  • Anti-theft zipper design
  • Compression strap
  • Water-resistant construction
  • Hideaway, padded shoulder straps
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Carry-on luggage size

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21″ x 13″ x 7″
  • Weight: 3.64 lbs
  • Brand: Inateck
  • Model: 40L Travel Backpack

7. Arc'Teryx Granville 20 Backpack

Attention, urban backpack aficionados – I present you with a gorgeous minimalist backpack that has been designed from the ground up to provide the best possible weather-resistance to the elements as possible. That’s no surprise given the fact that a Vancouver street inspires its name, Granville. Of course, Vancouver is famous for several things, including being one of the most beautiful cities in North America, the 2010 Olympics, and copious amounts of precipitation. The highly resistant advanced composite construction shields the contents inside this backpack from rain and snow.

Designed as a technical everyday carry backpack, the comfort and durability of this minimalist bag are top-notch. It’s also easy on the eyes as its sleek and modern lines conceal the interior’s useful complexity. Available in three colorus, this is the bag you want if you’re looking for a mid-sized backpack that you know will get rained on a lot.

Key Features

  • Available in 30L and 40L sizes
  • Available in two colours: Black and Grey
  • Can hold up to a 17″ laptop
  • Easy to carry with two handles, one on the top and one on the side
  • Anti-theft zipper design
  • Compression strap
  • Water-resistant construction
  • Hideaway, padded shoulder straps
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Carry-on luggage size

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21″ x 13″ x 7″
  • Weight: 3.64 lbs
  • Brand: Inateck
  • Model: 40L Travel Backpack

8. Thule Paramount Backpack 24L

Thule Paramount Backpack 24L

Here is another terrific weather-resistant minimalist backpack from a well-known bag maker, Thule. The secure, magnetic foldover closure simplifies and accelerates access to the main compartments, which is always a nice feature. Designed with a gorgeous 420D nylon material (more on that in a moment), this medium-sized backpack can fit up to a 16″ laptop in a soft-lined and padded internal pocket. The 420D nylon material is considered one of the tightest weaves of Nylon available on the market. This means it’s far more tear and weather resistant than other Nylon material constructed backpacks.

This bag’s other nice features include YKK zippers and reflective details, so you’re not entirely invisible to vehicles at night. But that’s just the start; check out the rest of the features below.

Key Features

  • 24L capacity
  • Two-way access to your laptop and main compartment through the zipped fold or side zippers
  • Quick access front pocket is hidden by the magnetic flap closure for additional security
  • Shoulder strap slip pocket for coins or cards you want quick access to
  • Padded, mesh back panel designed for airflow and breathability

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.8″ x 9.1″ x 21.7″
  • Weight: 2.29 lbs
  • Brand: Thule
  • Model: Paramount Backpack 24L

9. Alchemy Equipment - Minimalist Daypack

The Alchemy Equipment minimalist daypack is an example of what happens when a product designer worships at the altar of industrial design legend Dieter Rams. Refined, pared-back, simple, devoid of superfluous details, no matter the description, this is a beautiful backpack that is just as comfortable in an urban setting as it is on a hiking adventure. Incredibly light at only 1.3lbs, this backpack can fit up to a 16″ laptop, like the new MacBook Pro, and features low-profile shoulder straps.

Key Features

  • Available in three colours including Black, Gunmetal, and Stone Marble
  • 20L internal volume
  • TPU Grab handle
  • External pocket uses YKK zippers with AquaGuard
  • Aluminum hardware

Specifications

  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Brand: Alchemy Equipment
  • Model: Minimalist Daypack

10. Victorinox Altmont Classic Deluxe Flapover Laptop Backpack

Victorinox Altmont Classic Deluxe Flapover Laptop Backpack

Without a doubt, you know the brand Victorinox as the company that invented and popularized the classic red Swiss Army Knife. But aside from that category of products, did you know that Victorinox has branched out into things like cutlery, watches, travel gear, and yes, even fragrances. Weird right? But often, when a company diversifies its product lineup, it ventures into unknown territory, and the new products are not the same quality as the original items that made the brand famous. Nothing could be further from the truth with Victorinox’s line-up of backpacks. That also includes this minimalist flapover laptop backpack. Available in five gorgeous colours, I cannot stop staring at the black version, which conceals every other shade of colour. Stripped of any peripheral details, this bag would be more than suitable for a ninja trying to evade assassins whilst slipping under cover of darkness.

The Altmont Classic backpack is a minimalist example of a medium-sized bag that’s smart enough for your commute to the office, but sturdy enough for the roughest of outdoor adventures. Engineered to bear heavy loads, including laptops, books, and essential gear, this backpack features a vertical-zip side pocket that includes an attached handy bottle-opener and screwdriver.

Key Features

  • Holds up to a 16″ laptop
  • Padded rear compartment
  • Lockable zipper
  • Dual side-zippers allow access to the main compartment
  • Padded, air-mesh shoulder straps
  • Abrasion and scratch-resistant base

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 11.4″ x 16.5″
  • Weight: 1.54 lbs
  • Brand: Victorinox
  • Model: Altmont Classic Deluxe Flapover Laptop Backpack

11. Osprey - Transporter Panel Loader Pack

Osprey - Transporter Panel Loader Pack

There is something truly sublime about nearly all of the backpacks that Osprey sells. This minimalist everyday carry and commute backpack is no exception. Thoughtful in both function and aesthetic, this rugged, reliable, and water-resistant backpack can carry all your daily essentials. Inside you’ll find a padded laptop sleeve and internal pockets made of TPU-coated fabrics. One of the standout features is a rear taillight attachment loop to help you be seen at night. Available in three subtle colours, this slim backpack is a perfect daily companion on your commutes.

Key Features

  • Nylon TPU-coated fabric construction stands up to inclement weather
  • Padded laptop sleeve can hold up to a 16″ laptop
  • Internal water bottle pocket
  • Magazine / document sleeve
  • Loop for blinky light attachment
  • Key clip
  • Mesh-covered back panel to allow for better airflow
  • Adjustable and comfortable sternum strap with integrated safety whistle 

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.3″ x 12.6″ x 8.6″
  • Weight: 2.02 lbs
  • Brand: Osprey
  • Model: Transporter Panel Loader Pack

12. Cote & Ciel Oril S Ballistic Blue Backpack

Cote & Ciel Oril S Ballistic Blue Backpack

A cheap minimalist backpack, this is not. But before you scroll past this one, let me tell you about why it is worth every penny—first, the design. Inspired by the look of an envelope, it’s minimalist styling is next to none. Comprise of two stacked compartments, the zipper opening in the divider between the lower front and rear compartments allows for a unique experience. Made of ballistic nylon, the Oril backpack has two internal and one external concealed zipper pockets that allow for further organization of all your gear. Travel, commuting, or outdoor adventures, this backpack is suitable for all those uses. And because of its weather-resistant and tear-resistant construction, it may be the last everyday carry backpack you ever buy. It’s all about the quality of construction and thought put into this backpack design that makes it worth the higher price.

Key Features

  • Fits laptops up to 13″
  • Ballistic Nylon construction
  • Water-resistant
  • External concealed pockets

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.7″ x 12.6″ x 7.1″
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Brand: Cote & Ciel
  • Model: Oril S Ballistic Blue Backpack

13. Bellroy Campus Backpack

Bellroy Campus Backpack

This extremely popular backpack from Bellroy is a dream come true for any college or high-school student. It’s got just the right amount of space and style to meet all your educational needs. Available in seven colour combos with room for up to 16″ laptop, the comfortable shoulder straps will ensure that you don’t strain your back while carrying even heavy loads. The simple-looking design will ensure that you’ll be taking one of the nicest backpacks around no matter where you roam, on or off-campus. The thoughtful details inside are hidden by a classic and refined aesthetic.

So let’s look inside this minimalist backpack. First, the dual padded main compartment will protect all of your books, devices, and papers. Then come the YKK Acquaguard zippers to ensure that no water intrusion occurs by way of the zippers enclosures. With a slim silhouette on the outside, you’ll be surprised by how many items you can fit inside.

Key Features

  • Fits laptops up to 16″ in size
  • YKK waterproof zippers
  • External access pocket to your valuables
  • Internal zip pockets
  • Key clip
  • Padded shoulder pads
  • Quick-grab handle
  • 3-year warranty
  • Available in 7 colours including Red Ochre, Black, Blue Neon, Charcoal, Desert Ochre, Ink Blue, and Olive

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.5″ x 14.5″ x 3″
  • Weight: 1.43 lbs
  • Brand: Bellroy
  • Model: Bellroy Campus Backpack

14. Mr. Porter - Brooks England Backpack

Mr. Porter - Brooks England Backpack

I’ll be honest. This is not the most practical backpack you’ll own. But if you can look past that, it might just well be the best looking backpack you’ve ever had. This amazing minimalist leather-trimmed backpack from British brand Mr. Porter is filled with fine details. First, the colour-block pattern is an aesthetic design choice to behold. With a water-resistant finish, the leather trims enhance this backpack’s durability, and the roll-top fastening mechanism keeps its contents safe and secure.

The adjustable canvas straps may not be the most comfortable in the world, but because they are so wide, they nicely distribute the weight of this minimalist backpack across your back, and the sternum strap helps with this as well.

Key Features

  • Side zipped pocket
  • Silver-hardware and feet
  • Fully lined in weather-resistant canvas and leather
  • This backpack has a capacity of 12L 
  • Manufactured in Italy

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20.5″ x 10.4″
  • Brand: Mr. Porter
  • Model: Brooks England

15. Lululemon - Out of Range Backpack 20L

Lululemon - Out of Range Backpack 20L

It’s been a long time since Lululemon was only known for their amazing yoga pants. And while those are still very nice, this Canadian company has moved into selling a wide variety of amazing products, including backpacks. The awesomely named Out of Range backpack boasts a 20L capacity with an impossibly thin profile. With tons of quick-access storage and a protective, hard, shell pocket dedicated specifically for your glasses or sunglasses, this minimalist backpack has reserved a warm place in my heart.

Made with 100% water-repellant Polyurethane, you won’t have to worry too much about your backpack getting rained or snowed on. With multiple side pockets to accommodate water bottles and other small items and numerous zip interior pockets, there’s not much this backpack can’t accommodate.

Key Features

  • The padded compartment can carry up to a 16″ laptop
  • Interior pockets
  • A hard-shell top protects glasses or sunglasses or something like a smartphone. 
  • Quick-access phone pocket

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.5″ x 7″ x 18.5″
  • Brand: Lululemon
  • Model: Out of Range Backpack 20L

16. ArkType - DashPack Mark II

ArkType - DashPack Mark II Minimalist Backpack

1680D Durable Water Repellant ballistic nylon is at the heart of the life of this EDC backpack. It’s tough, uncompromising, and fully water-repellant. So it won’t just take you through the sunny days, but the bad weather days also. Inside the 15 liters of internal space, not a single inch is wasted. Every nook and cranny of this deliberately slim backpack has been utilized in the service of function. That’s probably why it can safely fit, not one, but two laptops inside its padded interior. The internal and external YKK zippers ensure more weather sealing while the external webbing provides more functionality. Handmade in the USA, this backpack has a tremendous amount of features in a slim package.

Key Features

  • Dual interior zippered pocket
  • 15L capacity
  • Compression straps to reduce the profile of the backpack and secure internal items
  • Hidden front vertical pocket
  • Internal storage for 2 laptops or tablets
  • Largest laptop compartment can accommodate up to a 16″ laptop
  • Constructed from ballistic nylon and has a double-walled ripstop nylon liner

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.5″ x 11″ x 4.5″
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Brand: Arktype
  • Model: Dashpack Mark II

17. Sandqvist - Bernt - 20L Rolltop Backpack

Sandqvist - Bernt - 20L Rolltop Backpack

There’s just something about Scandinavia and brutalist design that goes together. Between sleek lines and a terrific boxy shape, this minimalist backpack from Sandqvist brings forth an amazing set of uncompromised functionality and flawless good looks. This water-resistant day backpack is made from extra-tough Cordura EcoMade polyester. That fact alone will provide plenty of durability and long life, but let’s talk about what you can expect to find inside.

The Bernt Rolltop gives you side access to a laptop compartment designed to fit laptops up to 13 inches in size. There is also a terrific large zippered pocket on the front for stashing smaller EDC items or valuables. The two inner mesh pockets will help keep things organized on the inside, and the water bottle slip pockets on either side of the exterior provide room for a large bottle or other items.

Key Features

  • 20L capacity
  • Can fit up to a 13″ laptop
  • Tons of terrific finishes
  • Clean and stylish Scandinavian styling
  • Water-resistant fabric makes this a great waterproof minimalist backpack
  • Padded and adjustable shoulder straps
  • Compression straps
  • Available in three colours: Black, Green, and Navy

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11″ X 25.6″ x 6.3″
  • Brand: Sandqvist
  • Model: Bernt – 20L Rolltop

18. The North Face Isabella Daypack - Women's Backpack

The North Face Isabella Daypack - Women's

While this is designated as a women’s everyday carry backpack, I don’t see why a man wouldn’t love this fashionable and compact minimalist gem. Available in four different colour combinations and even slightly different materials, the North Face Isabella daypack can be the ideal daily commute backpack for women or the perfect school backpack. With plenty of space for up to a 15-inch laptop, an iPad, and 17 Litres of overall capacity, you’ll have no trouble fitting in all your daily necessities. And while there are plenty of features this urban backpack has to offer, which you can read below, there is another reason I decided to include it on this list. Plain and simple, it’s goddamn gorgeous and somehow very affordable. This may be the best women’s everyday backpack with minimalist overtones on the planet.

Key Features

  • Padded shoulder pads
  • Hideaway sternum strap with soft, breathable mesh
  • Holds up to a 15″ laptop
  • Front mesh panel for quick access to items
  • Hidden zippered side pocket 
  • Fleece-lined, and a zippered pocket on the top for sunglasses or your phone

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19″ x 11″ x 8.25″
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Brand: The North Face
  • Model: Isabella Daypack – Women’s

19. Victorinox Packable Casual Lightweight Backpack

Victorinox Packable Casual Lightweight Backpack

Are you looking for an extremely light, capable, slim, and minimalist backpack? You’ve come to the right place, my friend. This compact backpack will even fold nicely to fit in your luggage. With ample space for essentials and adjustable shoulder pads, this is the type of minimalist backpack you bring when you want to breeze around town or while taking in the sights. But while traveling light, you don’t have to sacrifice style. Tha’s why Victorinox made this backpack.

Key Features

  • Folds for easy storage or transportation
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Polyester construction
  • Comes with a zippered bag for storage

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 18″ x 10″
  • Weight: 0.61 lbs
  • Brand: Victorinox
  • Model: Packable Casual Lightweight Backpack

20. Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

This type of small backpack for men and women combines all the right details and minimalist styling. More than that, it’s the type of bag that has been designed by people who care about every last detail. The Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack results from deliberate thought put into creating a pack as light and utilitarian as possible. Off to work, or off for a hike, the minimalist approach and webbing straps with just a pocket or two are perfect approaches to minimalist design. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great features. Starting with room for a 13″ laptop encased in a padded and protective interior sleeve.

To keep things ultra-light, the designers of this backpack decided to keep the shoulder straps unpadded. It is an interesting decision, but ultimately the right one, given that you’re unlikely to be carrying heavy loads inside this pack. A beautifully designed exterior zippered pocket that runs diagonally across the backpack’s face securely holds all the stuff you want quick access to.

Key Features

  • Folds for easy storage or transportation
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Polyester construction
  • Comes with a zippered bag for storage
  • Available in two fabric options: 400d Halycon and a beefier version in 525 Ballistic Nylon
  • YKK coil zippers
  • 16.5 L capacity
  • Can fit up to a 13″ laptop

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.8″ x 17.3″ x 5.1″
  • Weight: 12.3 oz or 15.4 oz depending on fabric choice
  • Brand: Tom Bihn
  • Model: Daylight Backpack

21. Fjallraven - Greenland Top Backpack

Fjallraven - Greenland Top Backpack

We once again venture into the world of less than easily pronounceable brand names with this impressive everyday backpack from Fjallraven. Available in 20L and 30L capacities, you can choose the pack that will fit your carrying needs. Made of water-resistant G-1000 canvas, this classically styled minimalist backpack is chock-full of modern features, including space for up to a 16-inch laptop. What’s particularly cool about this pack is that the material can be waxed for added waterproof protection. Available in four beautiful colours, this is a very affordable and lovely backpack.

Key Features

  • Hardwearing canvas can be waxed for additional waterproofing
  • Front stash for organizing your easy to reach items
  • Interior sleeve is padded at the bottom to protect your valuables
  • Can hold up to a 16″ laptop
  • Available in two sizes: 20L and 30L
  • 2 water-bottle sized pockets
  • Available in four colours: Black, Dahlia (Orange/Red), Forest Green, and Dusk Blue
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • The main compartment is accessed through the top

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17″ x 10″ x 6″ and 20″ x 11″ x 7″
  • Weight: 1.56 lbs or 1.75 lbs
  • Brand: FjallRaven
  • Model: Greenland Top Backpack

22. Peak Design - Everyday Backpack - 20L

Peak Design - Everyday Backpack - 20L

This may be my dream backpack. The one I’ve been lusting for and saving all my pennies for. Because I’ll be frank, it’s not cheap. But sometimes, to get the best, we have to spend a bit more, don’t we? This minimalist and award-winning backpack is designed for everyday carry but can easily double as a camera gear backpack and the optional photo gear inserts. It’s available in two sizes, 20L and 30L, and based on the idea that organization, expansion, protection, and style don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

This urban pack uses a proprietary MagLatch system to provide ultra-quick access to the interior by way of the top enclosure. Additionally, if you don’t want to fumble with taking the backpack off your back to access the main compartment, you can use one of the two side access pockets with waterproof zippers. The interior sports three configurable flex fold dividers and has a dedicated padded sleeve for up to 16″ laptops, tablets, or documents. Tons of interior pockets complete the package inside, and the 400D weatherproof shell keeps everything nice and dry.

As a result of the refinement from the first generation of this minimalist but extraordinarily capable backpack, this second-generation product has a huge amount of external carry capacity. This capacity means that water bottles, tripods, and integrated luggage carry are a breeze. This is truly a great backpack for everyday situations, including your commute, urban treks, and outdoor adventures.

Key Features

  • Can hold up to a 15″ laptop
  • Two capacities: 20L and 30L
  • Adjustable height laptop sleeve
  • External carry straps for tripod, etc. 
  • One-handed top access via MagLatch
  • Dual size access pockets
  • Internal slip pockets for small items
  • Dual external side pockets
  • Four external carry straps
  • Back padding is designed to be breathable and quick-drying
  • Stowable sternum strap
  • Luggage pass-through for roller-top carry
  • Weatherproof construction
  • 900D waterproof bottom liner

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 15″ x 10″ x 1″ and 16″ x 10.8″ x 1.5″
  • Weight: 3.66 lbs and 3.88 lbs
  • Brand: Peak Design
  • Model: Everyday Backpack

23. Black Ember - Citadel R2 Backpack

Black Ember - Citadel R2 Backpack

If you’re once again going for a stealthy and subtle look that combines the dark tones of the night, the Citadel R2 is a backpack that you won’t want to scroll past. This is another high-end backpack that you can use for travel, commutes, and EDC. However, what’s kind of crazy is that I believe that this is the first backpack that I’ve encountered that uses laser-cut precision to form all of its individual panels. The result is an incredibly precise form that creates a waterproof layer from 800D Microhex material. This minimalist backpack is the very definition of over-engineering a product so that it lasts you a lifetime. This clamshell-style backpack is able to open 360 degrees revealing the interior. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of other ways to access all of your gear and components inside.

Designed around our increasingly tech-centric lifestyles, the Citadel R2 has plenty of interior room for laptops, tablets, and camera gear by way of an additional DSLR modular pack that is sold separately.

Key Features

  • Modular handle that can be attached either to the side or top of the backpack
  • 3-Layer Micro-hex waterproof textile construction
  • Laser-cut panels
  • Bonded YKK aqua guard zippers
  • Theft-deterring zipper garage
  • Laser-cut, bonded, and bar-tacked Hypalon
  • Essentials pocket in the front with two internal slip pockets and maglock key hook
  • Adjustable and incredibly comfortable shoulder pads which are completely stowable, meaning you can essentially turn this backpack into a large briefcase
  • Hidden document pocket in the back
  • Removable maglock compression divider on the inside
  • Mesh zipper pocket on the inside along with multiple slip-in pockets
  • Can hold up to a 16″ laptop

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.5″ x 12.5″ x 6.5″
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Brand: Black Ember
  • Model: Citadel R2

24. Arc'Teryx Index 15 Backpack

Arc'Teryx Index 15 Backpack

Rolling in with a 15L capacity, this is a small to medium pack, yet it’s a perfect compact and versatile bag that’s designed primarily for women. Suitable for everyday travails and quick day hikes, the Index 15 is a lean and simple bag. Its top-loading main compartment will easily hold lunch, a rain shell, mid-layer, and other gear while the internal stash pockets will support other small valuables. Large enough to be a quality women’s everyday carry backpack, this urban pack can carry up to a 13″ laptop and has eight external attachment points for expanded carry capacity. But let’s face it, boys and girls, what makes this backpack pretty awesome is that its relatively waterproof, super lightweight, and comes in a pretty awesome set of colours.

Key Features

  • Technical backpack
  • Plenty of comfort and durability
  • 15L capacity
  • Can hold up to a 13″ laptop
  • Available in red, black, army green, cobalt blue, and orange
  • Stows away in its own pocket (perfect for throwing in your luggage)
  • Front-zippered pocket
  • Internal stash pocket
  • Eight exterior cord loops
  • Adjustable shoulder straps

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 44cm x 25cm x 25cm
  • Brand: Arc’Teryx
  • Model: Index 15 Backpack

25. Travelon Anti Theft Classic Backpack

Travelon Anti Theft Classic Backpack

Affordable, uniquely styled, and designed to thwart slippery-handed thieves from getting to your valuables while you travel, you can move about with peace-of-mind with this minimalist backpack. This backpack is available in six colours and designed for everyday carry. It is not only spacious but perfect for heading out into the dodgier parts of town or while traveling in heavily touristed areas where bag thieves like to lurk. With enough room to hold up to a 13″ laptop, here’s a quick rundown of the best features this stylish and minimalist backpack offers.

Key Features

  • Available Black, Charcoal, Graphite, Midnight Blue, Nutmeg and Pewter colours
  • Nylon construction
  • Padded laptop internal sleeve
  • Interior wall wallet
  • Five-point anti-theft system including lockdown straps
  • Locking compartments
  • Locking zippered pulls
  • Slash-resistant body prevents slash-and-grab tactics
  • RFID blocking pockets prevents electronic card theft

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 6″ x 16″
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs
  • Brand: Travelon
  • Model: Anti Theft Classic Backpack

26. Mission Workshop - The Sanction 20 L Backpack

Mission Workshop - The Sanction 20 L Backpack

Hailing from the left-wing utopia, or hellscape, depending on your political leanings, San Francisco, Mission Workshop is a high-end bag, apparel, and accessories company. Their products are not, as they say, cheap, but what they may lack in affordability, they more than make up in pure, unadulterated, completely bonkers awesomeness. This is a company that cares about the quality of their products. That’s probably why they’re more than happy to provide a lifetime guarantee on items like The Sanction backpack.

This compact and weatherproof rucksack is your high-end day-to-day bag built to last and withstand the worst weather days for an entire lifetime. The 20L capacity ensures you’ll fit almost everything you need daily, and it can hold up to a 15″ laptop.

Key Features

  • Available in three colours: Black, Grey, Sandstone
  • Multiple weatherproof components
  • Military spec 1000d Nylon construction
  • Holds up to a 15″ laptop
  • Urethane coated zippers
  • 1 external component
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12″ x 18″ x 5″
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs
  • Brand: Mission Workshop
  • Model: The Sanction 20 L Backpack

27. Aer - Fit Pack 2

Aer - Fit Pack 2

When you need a capable and streamlined everyday carry urban backpack that will get you through the day, you should consider this gem from Aer. The best way to describe this pack is to say that it’s a bit of a hybrid. Easily comfortable carrying your gym accessories while also safely storing all your work essentials, including a 16″ laptop. An isolated and vented shoe compartment will let you carry around work shoes and sneakers while keeping away the rank of foot odour from the rest of your valuables. Stylish, minimalist, and versatile, the Fit Pack 2 is made of high-end 900D eco-dyed polyester which provides plenty of water resistance. Have I sold you on it yet? No? Consider also that it’s quite affordable and has more features you can discover by shuffling your gaze below.

Key Features

  • Available in Gray, Black Camo, Navy, and Black
  • 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon exterior
  • YKK zippers
  • Front-loading main compartment
  • Padded laptop backpack fits a 16″ laptop
  • Multiple internal pockets
  • Padded mesh back panel
  • Padded shoulder pads and sternum strap
  • 18.8L total capacity

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.5″ x 12.5″ x 8″
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs
  • Brand: Aer
  • Model: Fit Pack 2

28. Chrome Industries - Warsaw 2.0 Messenger Backpack

Chrome Industries - Warsaw 2.0 Messenger Backpack

You may not think that a hybrid between a backpack and messenger bag would be useful or functional in a way that justifies the price of this particular urban warrior, but you’d be wrong. This bag can swallow a lot of items. Laptops, packs of beer, small children, you name it! Actually, you should treat this is an amazing minimalist backpack that has messenger tendencies and has been street-tested for well over ten years of iterative designs on this model. Featuring a 60L capacity, this is a very large backpack, but if you need something on the bigger side while adhering to minimalist principles, this pack might be your jam.

Key Features

  • Eva compression-molded back panel
  • Airmesh shoulder strap construction
  • Hook and loop accessory mounts on both shoulder straps
  • Reflective chrome logo on the front
  • Holds up to a 17″ laptop

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.5″ x 21″ x 9″
  • Brand: Chrome Industries
  • Model: Warsaw 2.0 Messenger Backpack

29. The Friendly Swede - Graneberg Roll-Top Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

The Friendly Swede - Graneberg Roll-Top Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack

Not everyone thinks that a Nylon or canvas made backpack is good enough for them. And while I’ll point to all the advances in construction and material science in recent decades as proof of why you might want to reconsider, there is still some of you that are tired of those materials. You want a backpack that you know, short of being dunked in a river or lake, will keep your items safe and dry. Enter the Graneberg Roll-Top Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack from The Friendly Swede company. This bag features a Scandinavian minimalist design with sporty overtones and clearly designed for life in the city. At only 1.5 lbs, it’s made of premium PVC Tarp and 500D Tarpaulin. What all this technical mumbo jumbo means is that it’s a highly durable and effectively waterproof backpack.

Key Features

  • Made from waterproof 500D PVD Tarpaulin
  • Internal padded laptop sleeve fits laptops up to 13″ in size
  • Three slim external pockets with waterproof resistant zippers
  • High contrast design with three colour options including white and black, all-black and green
  • Roll-top with welded seams and premium PVC tarp
  • 3-year warranty
  • 15L volume

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.4″ x 5.1″ x 19″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Brand: The Friendly Swede
  • Model: Roll-Top Graneberg

30. Osprey Packs Apogee 28L Backpack

Osprey Packs Apogee 28L Backpack

The Osprey brand of backpacks is never far from my mind when it comes to some of the best minimalist backpacks for travel, school, or everyday carry applications. As comfortable in urban settings as it is on the slopes or in muck-mired hikes, this pack has plenty of laudable features. With a very respectable 28L volume capacity, the Apogee backpack will carry all your essentials, including a 16″ laptop encased in a padded interior sleeve. The convenient side pockets stretch to hold water bottles or other oversized gear, while the compression straps help to tighten the extra space to prevent your equipment from shifting. Available in six truly beautiful colours.

Key Features

  • Nylon fabric construction
  • Zippered main compartment
  • Padded laptop sleeve can hold up to a 16-inch laptop
  • Compression straps

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20″ x 12″ x 10″
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Brand: Osprey
  • Model: Apogee 28L Backpack

31. Timbuk2 - Foundry Pack

Timbuk2 - Foundry Pack

This well made and luxurious backpack from Timbuk2 is a curious but sophisticated mix of luxury, fashion, and minimalism rarely seen in the backpack world. Hopefully, my use of the word luxury doesn’t put you off this, because it’s a relatively affordable everyday carry backpack. Made from a combination of leather and waxed canvas, the Foundry is made for getting you through your daily adventures in style. There’s plenty of room and protection for a laptop along with your other electronics as well as padded shoulders straps for carrying heavier loads. The interior is also well thought through with plenty of options for re-arranging the organization of your items.

Key Features

  • Available in three colours including Cocoa, Black, and Scout Green
  • Fits up to a 16″ laptop
  • 18L volume
  • Luggage pass-through strap
  • Secure magnetic closure
  • Padded shoulder straps

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13.4″ x 5.12″ x 18.9″
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
  • Brand: Timbuk2
  • Model: Foundry Pack

32. Mystery Ranch - Urban Assault Pack 24

Mystery Ranch - Urban Assault Pack 24

Born of the shadows (even one of the available colours is called that), and designed to be a more rugged and tactical backpack, this amazing pack still has that simple minimalist styling that we all love. Made from high-tenacity 500D Cordura fabric, the unique Y-shaped 3-zipper system on this backpack lets you quickly access your pack’s entire contents with one simple pull. But there’s plenty of other features to be had here. A floating padded sleeve will fit a laptop as large as a 16″ MacBook Pro, and plenty of interior dump pockets (like for poop?), weird name, but ok, will let you carry other accessories safely. Traverse the concrete jungle with confidence. This military-inspired backpack is an EDC item you won’t want to miss.

Key Features

  • 500D Cordura exterior construction
  • Two interior zippered mesh pockets
  • Floating padded laptop sleeve
  • Document pocket
  • Exterior water bottle pockets
  • 24L capacity

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20″ x 11.25″ x 9″
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs
  • Brand: Mystery Ranch
  • Model: Urban Assault Pack 24

33. Lululemon - City Adventurer Backpack 17L

Lululemon - City Adventurer Backpack 17L

Designed for light on-the-move applications, this is a great water-repellent backpack for women who value minimalist aesthetic. So whether heading to class, your gym, or for a day of hard work at the office, this relatively small backpack will get you through the day in a breeze. With space for a 16″ laptop, quick-access side pockets, internal water bottle pocket, and a terrific set of colour options, this chic pack is a stylish dream.

Key Features

  • Quick-access phone pocket
  • 17L capacity
  • Can fit up to a 16″ laptop
  • Expandable external pockets
  • Reinforced strap construction
  • Available in 8 different colour options

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.5″ x 7″ x 16.5″
  • Brand: Lululemon
  • Model: City Adventurer Backpack 17L

34. Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus

As we approach the end of this list, I wanted to bring your attention to another finely crafted product from Bellroy. This upgraded Classic Backpack Plus is an incredibly smart and slimming backpack. Embodied with Bellroy’s signature style and minimalist tones, this pack is made from a water-resistant woven fabric that’s made from recycled bottles. It can hold up to a 16″ laptop and has tons of external and internal pockets that are neatly integrated throughout its body. A good example of this is the waterproof top pocket where you can store your phone or other valuables.

Key Features

  • Holds laptops up to 16″ in size
  • Contoured back panel with stowable sternum strap
  • Internal zip pocket for small items
  • External zip pocket with easy access
  • Padded back panel
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Quick-grab carry handle
  • 22L capacity

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 20.8″ x 14.96″
  • Brand: Bellroy
  • Model: Classic Backpack Plus

35. Peak Design - Everyday Totepack 20L

Peak Design - Everyday Totepack 20L

The genius of this backpack is that people won’t know what to make of it. Is it a backpack, or is it a tote bag? It’s both! Well, sort of. It’s a hybrid of the two, bringing the clean and minimalist look of a tote and combining it with the convenience and adaptability of a backpack. This product is a rather inspired stroke of design genius. This backpack has plenty of space for nearly anything you want to carry around, available in two colors, and seemingly designed to appeal to women. Waterproof with a top access point, this magnetically sealed backpack has dual access points on either side of the pack for grabbing your oft-used items in a flash! The interior dividers let you organize this backpack in any way you want. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of interior pockets to keep things as neat on the inside as they are on the outside. A 400D weatherproof exterior shell keeps everything nice and dry during even the rainiest of days. Yup, it’s a totepack, and I absolutely love it.

Key Features

  • Dual side access by way of zippers
  • Dedicated backpack carry straps
  • Fits up to a 16″ laptop
  • Wide top access is closed with a magnetic latch
  • Padded shoulder pads
  • Roll-top design allows for an additional 5L expandable space
  • Dedicated tablet sleeve
  • Made of 400D nylon canvas shell
  • 2 Flexfold dividers
  • 1 anchor link key tether
  • 2 cord hook external straps
  • 20L capacity, expandable up to 25L

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 38cm x 46cm x 17cm
  • Brand: Peak Design
  • Model: Everyday Totepack 20L 
Sebastian Arciszewski

Sebastian Arciszewski

An enthusiast of all things minimalist. I love the simple design and always look for an aesthetic that complements how an item works. Because after all, a design is how a thing works. You can find me on twitter: @sebastian_a