If you are someone who commutes on a bike, on foot, or by public transportation, you know what a hassle it can be to carry all the necessary belongings. You can find yourself struggling with carrying items like food, laptop computer, files, a change of clothes, and other everyday essentials in multiple bags or by hand. The good news is that you can get rid of the difficulty by finding the best commuter backpack, albeit you do need to find one that fits your individual needs.
With the right backpack, you will be amazed at how convenient it is to shrink your usual day to the size of a backpack – one that easily carries everything you need but is also easy for you to carry!
How to Choose the Best Commuter Backpack?
A certain backpack could be extremely popular and have tremendous sales, and it could still be the wrong one for you. In order to find the truly best backpack, you must put active thought into the process and not just find a bag that is commonly liked, but one that fits your specific needs.
Before you delve into the options, you must consider a few questions and keep them in mind as you move on to sifting through options and finally purchasing one.
What Do You Carry?
Make a list of all the items you need to have with you in your bag. If the list is long, you will need a bag that has a lot of space. However, remember that a spacious bag does not have to be a large bag. There are several remarkable backpacks out there that have stretchable pull-out compartments to carry different kinds of items. Other than the number of items you carry, you will also need to focus on the types of items you carry.
For example, do you need a backpack that has a separate compartment for a laptop? In this case, the best backpack for you will be one that has a padded sleeve built in that is compatible with the size of your laptop. Consider specific needs like this before you choose your bag.
How Do You Commute?
Are you going to be carrying the bag on foot, or do you commute by a bicycle or through public transport? If you travel by foot, you probably want something with an effective weight management structure, so that it does not strain your shoulders and bag if you are carrying a considerable number of items.
If you travel on a bike, your bag will need to be one that can easily and safely fit on your vehicle. Depending on your commute method, you might also want a backpack that comes with a waterproof rain cover to protect your belongings.
How Do You Like to Organize?
It is essential to consider whether you need something with one or two large compartments – to carry items like clothing – or something with several small compartments to keep multiple everyday items organized. Every backpack is different in this regard, and there are also some that cater to both extremes by offering expandable parts in the design.
What Does Comfort Mean to You?
A bag that carries everything becomes futile if it is a nuisance to carry itself. The ideal bag will have additional straps for when you’re carrying more load, padded harnesses, waist straps and compression straps. According to your comfort needs, some backpacks may also come with ventilation for humid temperatures and extra waterproofing for wet environments.
Do Aesthetics Matter?
Are you the type of a person who wants comfort and style in one, or would you be happy with a rugged-looking backpack as long as it serves your needs? You can find commuter backpacks for both types; there are those that have a modern style about them and smartly hold your belongings, while there are others that look tough and rustic and serve just as well. It all depends on what suits your aesthetic.
Ultimately, with hundreds of product options available, you are going to have to effectively filter so as to find the best backpack that seems to be tailored for your specific needs!
Top 10 Best Commuter Backpacks
To make the process of finding the ideal bag easy for you, we have compiled a list of the 10 best backpacks available out there! Every bag on the following list has been carefully evaluated in terms of aesthetics, features, comfort, reliability and feedback. We are positive you will find the right one for yourself in this ultimate list!
Timbuk2 commuter backpacks are popular among users, and rightly so. This sturdy and stylish Spire bag may the backpack that you are looking for if you need lots of space! It not only looks compact and chic, but is a multi-purpose bag made out of durable canvas. It is ideal for those who need to carry a change of clothes, a jacket, or other large items like books.
Other than large compartments, it also has an internal organizer for smaller items like pens, phones, cards, cash, earphones, and other accessories. On top of this, it can also carry a 15-inch Macbook and an iPad. All of this is topped with a water-proof rolltop cover and a ventilated back panel. It is really hard to go wrong with this one!
Ideal for commuting
Excellent endurance to rain
Useful chest strap
Organized internal storage
May retain tough scratches
The width may be small for some
This two in one bag is a backpack and a pannier, depending on what you need. It is ideal if you commute by a bicycle, because it comes with clasps to easily attach it to a bike. It comes with a laptop sleeve that can carry a 15.6-inch device, a safe pocket to carry your phone, pen holders, as well as zip and bottle pockets.
The bag itself is made out of waterproof polyester, but comes with a rain cover for additional safety. It is specifically made for commuters biking to work or school; it provides convenience with its light clips, key leash, top handle and sternum strap. Reviewers also love it for its stiff protective shell, as well as its spaciousness and overall stylish appearance!
Perfect for carrying on a bike
Great for large laptops
Waterproof polyester material
Zippers may be slightly stiff
Transforming the bag may be slightly complicated
This smart-looking backpack is popular among thousands of users, given its plethora of features in quite a reasonable price. It can serve as a commuter backpack, while also being the ideal laptop bag, a charger for your devices, and a travel bag. This durable, water-resistant backpack offers ample space and storage, since it can carry a 15-inch laptop along with other devices and accessories all organized into individual pockets.
The comfortable structure is designed to provide airflow through ventilated padding, which means it is easy on the shoulders and offers back support. It also comes with foam carrying handle as well as a luggage strap to help fit it on top of a suitcase. What makes it stand out is the hidden anti-theft back pocket for carrying valuables, and the USB port design that lets your charge your phone on the go!
Ventilated padding makes carrying easy
Effective anti-theft back pocket
Several pockets and great storage
Comfortable foam handle
Average quality zippers
No padding in laptop sleeve
This sleek bag is in popular demand because of how sleek and deceptively simple it looks. This may be the one if you are looking for a bag that is extremely safe and durable. The Kopack backpack is unique in that it has no zippers or pockets visible on the front. The main zipper that contains the laptop and other valuables is completely hidden, thus making the bag theft-proof. The bag is also water-resistant, hard-covered, shock-proof and anti-scratch.
Moreover, it may look simple on the outside but it contains compartments for individual belongings inside. The cherry on top is a built-in USB port, which really makes this one of our favorite commuter backpacks!
Hidden pockets provide security
Great for traveling
Built-in charging port
Two sizes for suitability
No easy-access exterior pockets
Accessibility may be a problem while traveling
This Pacsafe bag is another one we can safely say may be the best commuter backpack for you if you want something that looks sleek and stylish, but packs a ton of features that may not initially meet the eye. The 18-inch backpack is slim and lightweight, and comes in two stylish colors and two different sizes – 15 liter and 25 liter – according to your storage needs. It is highly recommended because of its multiple zips and pockets, with a secure laptop sleeve that can fit a 13-inch notebook that is secured from touching the bottom of the bag and thus hitting any hard surfaces.
The reason we confidently recommend the Pacsafe Venturesafe is because it is very hard to go wrong with it. The cut-proof anti-theft material, the roomy compartments and the compactness make the bag ideal for commute, while also making it a potential compact daypack and an effective travel backpack. Carry work supplies, clothes or a DSLR camera – this bag can take it all!
Ideal for multi-purpose usage
Great anti-theft features
Secured laptop with bottom airgap
Sleek and stylish
Bottom gap for securing laptop
Straps may be too long
Thin and non-padded fabric top handle
The Swissgear Scansmart stands out for its 1200D ballistic polyester that is made to withstand harsh conditions while also carrying a heavy load. This is ideal if you’re looking for vast storage space and ease while you move around.
The spacious bag can contain a 17-inch laptop which is stored in a lay-flat technology flap separate from the main compartment, making it hassle-free to quickly open it during scans. There is additional room for a change of clothes, a large water bottle, and even an umbrella. The backpack is ideal for comfort while carrying load, since the shoulder straps are contoured, and the compression straps are adjustable. The padded back and its airflow ventilation adds further support and comfort. The backpack is definitely worth its money!
Sturdy and durable
Ideal for harsh conditions
Padded and ventilated
Ample storage and space
Several pockets for all belongings
Average quality zippers
Metal zippers may be noisy for some
This Cahartt Legacy backpack, especially in its Cahartt Brown color, is coveted for its compact design and stylish appearance. It makes for a great bag for men and women looking to carry something compact and trendy. However, that’s not all there is to this bag. It is made with 1200D polyester, making it water-repellent and abrasion-resistant. The 18-inch height allows it to carry a large laptop computer as well as a tablet in a separate sleeve.
It also carries other smaller accessories in an organized front compartment. It is all put together with an air mesh back and comfortable shoulder straps. We can safely recommend this to those looking for effective storage and comfort with a sleek design.
Good compartment sizes
Good storage for small accessories
Great color and appearance
Can carry a large laptop
May be too small for some
Not many large compartments
Boapi is known for its protective hard-cover leather bags that also look extremely attractive! This one is on our list because it stands out with its appearance coupled with its diverse set of features, really making it worth its price. This is a remarkable backpack with an intelligent increase design, which means that opening the intelligent zipper reveals an invisible hidden compartment that adds an extra 50% storage space! There is another invisible anti-theft zip on the back, which can easily hold your phone, keys, cash and cards.
The water-resistant leather and nylon materials make the bag safely portable, the back sleeve design adding to the convenience. You can carry all your everyday valuables in this, including a 15.6-inch laptop, all the while looking chic!
Convenient for portability
Intelligent increase design
Ample storage and deep pockets
Zippers may be slightly stiff
Accessibility may be a problem due to deep pockets
This Osprey backpack is a unique commuter backpack due to its deceptive storage and space. It looks snug and compact, but it packs more than it gives off, while effectively protecting your belongings. The design is a stretchable one, with stretchable pockets and a bungee cord in the front. It also has a large organization pocket as well as a padded laptop sleeve and a separate tablet compartment and a document organization sleeve.
This commuter backpack is great for traveling, since it has a scratch-free front pocket as well as an attachment point for a blinker light. With comfortable padded shoulder straps, the backpack is great for modish, safe and compressed storage.
Attractive and smart design
Stretchable side pockets
Convenient for airport commuting
Large front organizer
Side pockets may be flimsy
This affordable Case Logic backpack is the ultimate bag if you are looking for additional padding for your comfort. This all-round bag has cushioning on the front and on the shoulders, and can safely hold up to a 15-inch MacBook in a dedicated compartment.
It has additional compartments for documents, passports, tickets, and a scratch-resistant pocket for fragile items like mobile phones and sunglasses. It is all held together with an effective strap management system that keeps excess straps rolled and stored out of the way. We can safely say this is a great backpack for cushioning and organized storage!
Ideal comfort with padding
Ideal protection and sturdiness
Easy-access exterior pockets
Excess straps are rolled and stowed away
Zippers and seams can carry heavy load
Lack of bottom padding for laptop
May be too small for some
Frequently Asked Questions
Purchasing a quality commuter backpack is not an easy decision. You may have several questions about what you should buy and why. Here are some of the most common questions answered, so that you can find the best commuter backpack for yourself by making an informed choice!
1. Do I need a commuter backpack?
There are a number of other types of bags to carry everyday items while commuting, like rucksacks, daypacks, shoulder bags, and hand bags. Backpacks are usually for those who would like to put all their items in a compartmentalized and organized space, and comfortably carry the bag by dividing the weight on both shoulders. They are hassle-free and streamlined, and many of them now come in sleek designs and affordable prices. If this is what you want, you do need a backpack!
2. Can a commuter backpack be used in different situations?
The best companies make bags that have sufficient compartments to carry all belongings, adequate protection, and comfort. Most of these bags can be used as everyday commuter bags as well as travel bags. However, you must read the specifications for each bag, since some will have additional features to serve specific purposes.
3. How do I choose the right size?
Depending on your needs, you can choose a bag based on dimensions or capacity – or both. Backpack dimensions are measures in liters, which is what you will need to focus on if you plan to carry large loads. If you are more focused on carrying items like a laptop and other devices, you must check the length, width and height of the bag as well as sizes of the device compartments and sleeves.
4. How do I know if the backpack will fit me?
Most companies make backpacks for the average torso length – up to 21 inches. While purchasing a bag online, you can make sure it will fit you by looking up the dimensions and comparing them to your torso size. Most companies include comparison photos of the product worn on an average-sized torso, which can also aid the purchase. If you still have doubts, it is best to get a bag with adjustable shoulder and waist straps and harnesses. The best commuter backpack will have these adjustable options.
5. What does a good backpack cost?
Like any other wearable items, backpack prices vary a lot. How much you spend will eventually depend on the brand you trust, the material, the durability, and the functionality. A decent backpack can cost anywhere between $25 and $250, or even more. At the end of the day, it is about what you are comfortable spending. However, we can safely say that the more reliable brands, though usually more expensive, will definitely last way longer, and will prove to be a good investment in the long run.
6. Do I need additional accessories?
The ideal backpack will be fully functional without additional accessories. However, add-ons are always a choice and you can purchase them if you want to add functionality – including pockets and straps – to any backpack.
7. Are all backpacks waterproof?
You must carefully differentiate between slightly different terms like waterproof and water-resistant. Not all backpacks are truly waterproof, though they can resist water damage. It is perfectly fine to buy a backpack that is water-resistant, though you should look for one that comes with a rain cover in situations where your devices need extra protection in an emergency.
8. Are all backpacks theft-proof?
No. Anti-theft is a feature that comes in a few of the best backpacks, but not all. It usually includes hidden zippers, hidden compartments or sleeves, and/or scratch-free and cut-free material. Some backpacks offer small antitheft pockets to carry items like mobile phone, cash and cards, while others offer large hidden compartments. This will depend on your needs. Alternatively, if you feel an anti-theft backpack does not fit other needs, you may also buy a regular backpack you like, along with add-ons like backpack locks.
9. Can commuter backpacks be used as carry-on luggage?
Almost all backpacks are the right size to be used as carry-on luggage. You still may check the dimensions, though a backpack will not be problematic to carry while traveling unless it is unusually large.
10. How long does a backpack last?
This will depend on quality, endurance and usage, and can vary greatly. Depending on the material and the protection you invest in, and the way you use your backpack, it last anywhere between a few months to a few decades.
At the end of the day, the best commuter backpack will not be one that is the most expensive, the most famous or the most beautiful. It will be a backpack that has the feature that you need, and serves your exact needs and suits your preferences. As long as you are familiar with your needs and do your research on the best backpacks, we are sure you will find the one that will become your ideal commuting companion!