There’s an important test to determine whether a backpack is a good backpack: does it hold your stuff?
You know—your laptop, your charger, your lunch, that book you borrowed from a friend and never read but can’t quite give back yet or it’ll be obvious you never read it. They are the things you can’t live without, and therefore strap to your back and carry them with you everywhere.
But here’s the dirty secret about backpacks—the cheap ones hold your stuff just as well the expensive ones.
An Eastpak backpack will cost you $45 at Urban Outfitters. But for that price—which pales in comparison to a $900 leather backpack—you’re quite literally getting military-grade technology.
The brand started in 1952 as Eastern Canvas Products USA, making backpacks and duffle bags for the U.S. Army. And considering that soldiers are the kings of carrying mass amounts of stuff—the average U.S. soldier carries 60 pounds of weapons, food and supplies—it’s pretty obvious that canvas backpacks pass the “stuff carrying” test.
Another worthwhile option is the classic Jansport backpack—yeah, the same one you probably had in elementary school. For one, it’s cheap ($36 on jansport.com) and colorful (the SuperBreak backpack comes in 60 different designs). And of course, it’s damn near indestructible.