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The 15 Best Backpack Brands To Keep on Your Radar This Season

Just in time for the school year

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Under Armour, Gucci, & The North Face

Backpack, Backpack (Dora The Explorer voice). Like it or not, school is back in session. While some of you have already gotten your school supplies because you started school earlier this month, there’s plenty of you that aren’t starting until the end of August/early September. Backpacks are a necessary component of school success, and they have gotten much cooler/trendier than let’s just say twenty or thirty years ago.  On top of that, you can also use backpacks for easy traveling on those school vacations and study abroad trips you have planned. So we've compiled a list of some of the best backpack brands to consider as we begin the school year.

When it comes to selecting a backpack—or a backpack brand rather—quality is very important. Obviously you don’t want a bag that’s going to fall apart and tear easily. You’ll also want to keep in mind how much space you are going to need and what you plan on using it for (some book bags are smaller than others). Last but not least, you’ll also want to factor in your personality. Maybe a Star Wars back is right up your alley. Or perhaps a simple standard color bag will work best. Those decisions are ultimately up to you.

As always, we’re here to help. Below are fifteen of the best backpack brands to help get you started.

Table of Contents

  1. Best Overall Option: The North Face
  2. Longest Lasting: L.L. Bean
  3. Best Budget Option: adidas
  4. Highest Quality: Patagonia
  5. Best for the Athleisure Lover: Lululemon
  6. Gucci
  7. Osprey
  8. Nike
  9. Deuter
  10. Allpa
  11. Nordace
  12. Dagne Dover
  13. Herschel
  14. Under Armour
  15. Yukon

1. The North Face

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The North Face Recon / The North Face

Best Overall Option

North Face has long been one of the top-rated brands to buy backpacks from over the decades. Having been around for more than 50 years, the company specializes in activewear and outdoor sports gear that includes a wide range of backpacks. Pictured above is the North Face Recon backpack which is stylistically attractive with ample room to match. This our number one pick out of best backpack brands around when it comes to balancing price, quality and style.

SHOP NOW AT THE NORTH FACE, $99

2. L.L. Bean

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L.L. Bean Comfort Carry Bag / L.L. Bean

Longest Lasting

L.L. Bean is another tried and trusted backpack brand that has been around for decades. As we personally owned a couple of L.L. Bean bags through our school years, we can attest to it being durable and the highest of quality. Made with an ergonomic design and the same attention to detail as their hiking packs, this bag is built to last you for a long time.

SHOP NOW AT L.L. BEAN, $99

3. adidas

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adidas Prime 6 Bag / Dick's Sporting Goods

Best Budget Option

Adidas has multiple good backpack options as well that are built for the long haul. Like the other brands listed, there’s no shortage of bags to choose from, with plenty of sizing and color choices. For our adidas selection, we’re rolling with the Prime 6 as it is very spacious, highly rated, and has tons of units available at your disposal.

SHOP NOW AT DICK'S SPORTING GOODS, $48.75

4. Patagonia

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Patagonia 26 L / Patagonia

Highest Quality

Trusted, respected, and high-quality detected. As usual, we have a couple of luxury options for those that enjoy finer things in life. While not in the upper echelon of luxury brands, the pricing of Patagonia does technically qualify as such. The most important thing, however, is the features and durability, which are excellent. Our favorite is the Refugio Daypack 26L, which comes highly rated.

SHOP NOW AT PATAGONIA, $99

5. Lululemon

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Lululemon New Crew Backpack / Lululemon

Best for the Athleisure Lover

Lululemon doesn’t just sell athletic/athleisure wear, they also carry backpacks as well for those that didn’t know. Tons of backpack and color options are available as well, with the pricing reasonable like most of Lululemon’s products are. The New Crew backpack is among our favorites, designed for being on the move, while also water-repellent.

SHOP NOW AT LULULEMON, $98

A bunch of other options:

We did the best backpack brand on a budget, the longest lasting and the best overall quality. Here's a list of a bunch of other options, ranging from accessible to expensive.

6. Gucci

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GUCCI GG Black Backpack / GUCCI

If you really want to drop a bag (pun intended), you could go with any and everything Gucci. Gucci is Gucci, so not much else to be said as their bags are not only excellent, but a great investment. This visually stunning Gucci GF Black backpack pictured above is a black/gray combo enriched with Web straps and black leather trims that’s comfortable and easy on the eyes.

SHOP NOW AT GUCCI, $2,250

7. Osprey

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Osprey Mutant 52 / Osprey

Osprey has been around for the better part of these last fifty years, certainly earning the respect of both avid and casual backpack wearers. Made with the outdoors in mind, these bags can be used for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and more. They even have backpacks for skiing and snowboarding! Since we’ve yet to feature a bag meant specifically for winter outdoor activities, we’ll go with the Mutant 52, which is one of their best.

SHOP NOW AT OSPREY, $200

8. Nike

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Nike Hayward Backpack / Dick's Sporting Good

Nike is another athletic/athleisure brand that provides options in the backpack scene (though they seem to be more geared towards book bags for sports). Sometimes you need different bags for different occasions, and Nike is obviously great for their gym/sports oriented products. We’ve mentioned the Nike Hayward Backpack on a few occasions as we feel this is a solid medium-sized backpack that is certainly cool for the gym.

SHOP NOW AT DICK'S SPORTING GOODS, $55

9. Deuter

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Deuter Speed Lite 21 / REI

Deuter is a German brand with a knack for providing sturdy well produced backpacks. While not a “household” name persay, you better believe that they can hang with the best of the best. Whether you are looking for a hiking bag, or even just something for the office, Deuter has you covered. Our recommendation would be the Deuter Speed Lite 21 Pack.

SHOP NOW AT DEUTER, $80

10. Allpa

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Allpa Backpack / Cotopaxi

Figured we’d throw something in that’s specifically for travel as Allpa is a company that designs bags specifically for traveling. Their motto is “Start Here. Go Anywhere,” which should be enough to get you searching for your next trip. With its intuitive hip design, Allpa was created with organization and minimalist features in mind. Perfect for impromptu road trips and international voyages. 

SHOP NOW AT COTOPAXI, $200

11. Nordace

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Norace Siena Bag / Nordace

Speaking of backpack brands that go down the minimalist route, Nordace is another hip suave brand to browse. A slightly less expensive option, Nordace bags are crafted in a modern square silhouette, while featuring roomy well-crafted designs. Most of their bags are pretty similar in terms of look, so it’s really just about picking the one that best suits what you are looking for. 

List above is the Nordace Siena, which we like a lot.

SHOP NOW AT NORDACE, $109.99

12. Dagne Dover

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Dagne Dover Neoprene Backpack / Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover. Just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? This is a brand for the organizationally challenged with its next level space and pockets. Simply put, there’s absolutely no way that you can lose or misplace any of your belongings with a Dagne Dover brand. You can go with their Nova Sling Bag if you are looking for something smaller, or their Dakota Neoprene Backpack if you want something slightly bigger. The choice is yours.

SHOP NOW AT DAGNE DOVER, $185

13. Herschel

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Herschel Retreat Backpack / Herschel

Herschel is another brand that actively keeps nature lovers in mind as well, with bags for men, women, and unisex. They are also very popular on Instagram if you need a little extra convincing to purchase. Since we mentioned nature, we have to include the The Herschel Retreat Mid-Volume, which is a sized-down take on a classic mountaineering backpack. There’s also a standard size if you are looking for something slightly bigger.

SHOP NOW AT HERSCHEL, $58.99

14. Under Armour

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Under Armour Contain Backpack / Under Armour

Under Armour is a little slept on in the backpack department as well. Like Nike and adidas, they have a lot of great selections such as this Contain Backpack. Doesn’t this bag look cool? Like you’re about to go into outer space?

While it appears small, it’s actually quite spacious (big enough to fit a basketball). It’s also water-resistant, has breathable air mesh, removable strap clips, and a laptop sleeve. You can find this and similar backpack options for a great bargain at Under Armour.

SHOP NOW AT UNDER ARMOUR, $56.25

15. Yukon

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Yukon Leather Backpack / Yukon

We’ve never seen backpacks that look like wooden floors before. That seems to be the theme amongst Yukon bags, and it is certainly very interesting. The Yukon backpack can take you from school to work, has a ton of room, and additional features including: zippered compartments, roomy open pockets, and built-in keychain holders amongst others. This is certainly one of the best backpack brands for the more aesthetic-oriented student in your life.

SHOP NOW AT YUKON, $389

Like we said, these are just some of the best backpack brands to help get you started. Be sure to keep up with us for more style content.

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