Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: The Day Owl backpack on a female model
Credit: Day Owl

You don’t need me to tell you the important role backpacks play when you are on the move. Or for that matter, the importance of finding the very best everyday carry backpacks for that purpose.

The trouble is – with so many options on the market, it can be hard seeing the wood from the trees. 

They all make the same promises – like how the bag holds everything and looks sharp while doing it.

But how many of them actually deliver? Well, we’ve done the research and we have the results.

Today I’m going to share with you reviews of 20 best everyday carry backpacks so that you can hopefully find an option that suits you. 

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: A collection of everyday carry backpacks

Depending on what is most important to you, you find options based on price, style, activity, organization, etc.

And while these are some of the very best EDC backpacks on the market today, I also cover their shortcomings so that you can make an informed decision when buying any of these packs.

Ready? Let’s go.

Table of Contents

A quick rundown of the best everyday backpacks

Backpacks similar to Nordace Siena: Day Owl backpack
Credit: Day Owl

Just go further down and read an in-depth review of each of the backpacks.

Best Overall: Day Owl backpack

Backpacks similar to Nordace Siena: Day Owl backpack
Credit: Day Owl

Summary: Streamlined and ecofriendly, this is one cute and functional pack that you can use for pretty much anything you want!

If you are interested in a versatile everyday carry backpack with a minimalist appeal, the Day Owl backpack has a clean-cut style that blends in well in any setting.

Water and abrasion resistant as well, it has a total of ‘5 sneaky pockets’, a dedicated laptop compartment, and a 21L capacity for all your everyday necessities. 

What we also love   

More impressively, it’s an eco-groovy backpack with features such as a luggage sleeve, carryon sized, and a free repair for life warranty. 

What’s not great  

The pack doesn’t have a false bottom for laptop protection against sudden drop impact nor a USB port to charge your smart device on the go. 

Best EDC Backpack For Work – AER Day Pack 2

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: AER Day Pack 2
Credit: AER

Summary: An urbane and dependable companion with insane organization, it works in both casual and professional environments. 

Thanks to its sleek and clean vibe, this 14.8L bag is perfect for everything from running to meetings to commuting to the office.

It features a padded and suspended 16″ laptop sleeve, document/tablet sleeves, an expandable water bottle pocket and an organizational pocket with slots for smaller items.

Built with durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon, YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware, you can expect this bag to serve you faithfully through years of intense use.

What we also love

It also features a self-standing design, padded straps, breathable back panel, a nice sternum strap with an impressive lifetime warranty.

What’s not so great

Although a great contender in our list of the best everyday carry backpacks, this bag is only available in one color (black). 

Best EDC Backpack For The Minimalist – RAINS Field Bag

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: RAINS Field bag
Credit: RAINS

Summary: A beautiful and functional everyday carry backpack with a minimalist style.

The Rains Field Bag has a super stylish minimalist aesthetics and simple organization that makes it fits seamlessly into all environments which is why it made it onto our  best everyday carry backpacks category. 

It’s made of a woven polyester combined with a thick polyurethane coating that gives it a water resistant and matte finish.

It spots a 16L compartment with a padded 13-inch laptop sleeve, and a front pocket for smaller items like your keys, wallet, hand sanitizers, Airpods, etc.

What’s not great

While the back panel is reasonably padded, it doesn’t have any air mesh for ventilation. Also, the laptop sleeve isn’t suspended, so you might want to use a laptop case for extra protection.

Best EDC Backpack For Techies – Incase Icon Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Incase Icon Backpack
Credit: Incase

Summary: A modern carry with the best protection and optimal organization for all your tech and daily essentials.  

With a dedicated and well-padded felt compartment that fits a 15-inch laptop and a separate tablet compartment to avoid stacking it with your laptop, this sleek bag is great for your tech.

Your expensive devices are also protected from scratches and bumps, thanks to a super soft faux fur and a slightly suspended and padded bottom. 

What we also love

This 17L bag is constructed with a durable DWR 840D nylon and comes with a power bank pocket so you can charge on the go.

What’s not so great

There’s no single water bottle pocket on the side, and the color options are limited.

Best EDC Backpack For Women – Knomo Beauchamp Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Knomo Beauchamp Backpack
Credit: Knomo

Summary: The Knomo Beauchamp Backpack keeps contents in your bag organized while maintaining a chic and compact silhouette.

If you need a feminine and functional backpack for all bits and pieces, this 16.5-liter bag offers smart organization for just about everything, be it your tech, documents and other work supplies.

To seal the deal, it features a water-repellent exterior, a well-padded 15.6” laptop compartment, and a luggage strap for hitching a ride on your wheelie suitcase.

What we also love

Specially designed for women, it’s comfortable to wear courtesy of a padded back and S-shaped straps and is stylish to boot!

What’s not so great

While it’ll keep your belonging dry during some light rain, it won’t do much in heavier downpours.

Best EDC backpack For Men – Tom Bihn Brain

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Tom Bihn Brain Bag
Credit: Tom Bihn

Summary: A spacious and sturdy everyday carry backpack that you can rely on.

The Tom Bihn Brain bag is a high-quality and heavy-duty bag every man should consider having in his arsenal.

At 36L capacity, you’ll love the enormous space (two main compartments, four pockets and 9 O-rings), and organizations this bag affords, even for your tech.

What we also like

Designed with the finest materials with a lifetime guarantee, there’s also a TSA-friendly laptop compartment so you can breeze through airport security.

What’s not so great:

There’s no false bottom to protect your laptop from hard impacts in case you inadvertently drop the bag.

But you can buy Tom Bihn’s thick-foam padded laptop sleeve accessory (or Cache as it’s referred to on their website) for added protection. 

Best EDC backpack For Kids – Herschel Heritage Youth Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Herschel Heritage Youth backpack
Credit: Herschel Supply Co.

Summary: Well-made, practical and of course, kids friendly.

Designed for kids to youth, the Heritage Youth lineup has three size options to fit different age groups, and is great for school-day organization, and everyday use.

There’s one main compartment with a padded 13” laptop sleeve, a front pocket and side pockets to hold water bottles.

What we also love

Plus, it features padded straps and back, a removable sternum strap for support and a variety of fun prints and colors, so your kids can select what suits their personality.

What’s not great

While the back panel is reasonably padded, it doesn’t have any air mesh for ventilation.

Best EDC Backpack For Students – The North Face Recon

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: North Face Recon Backpack
Credit: The North Face

Summary: Tuck your laptop- and every other thing you could possibly need for class, outdoor adventures or short trips- in the ever-practical North Face Recon backpack.  

The North Face Recon backpack is made of a 600D polyester material and water-resistant exterior that helps shrug off daily abuse while staying lightweight at 1.6 lbs. only.

At 30L, it’s spacious with three separate compartments, a dedicated protective 15” laptop compartment, and several pockets for books, gadgets, water bottles, a change of clothes, with room to spare for other items.

What we also love

Incredibly comfy thanks to its FlexVent™ suspension system and padded back panel as well as sternum strap and a removable waist belt.

What’s not great

Due to its shape, the bottom is slanted so it falls over or slides down constantly when you try to load and unload it.

Best EDC Backpack For Photographers – Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Peak Design Everyday backpack
Credit: Peak Design

Summary: A sturdy tech bag for your camera, laptop, tablet, and other everyday accessories.

If your ideal best everyday carry backpack is a camera backpack that doubles as a flexible EDC carry, you’ll like the Peak Design Everyday backpack.

Specifically designed for transporting your camera and related photo gear, the Peak Design Everyday Pack gives the needed protection you want for your fragile devices and photography equipment.

Aside from keeping your precious camera and kits safe and snug, there’s a protective laptop sleeve that you can adjust to fit any size of your gear -be it a 15-inch or a 13-inch device -along with pockets for tablets and documents.

Designed with the finest materials, inside the bag are 3 FlexFold dividers to keep gear organized, protected, and not bunched at the bottom of your bag.

What we also love

Not to mention that it’s made of 100% recycled plasticis water resistant with a lifetime warranty and looks good such that you won’t mind being seen with it. 

What’s not so great

It’s especially great for people who carry their camera around a lot but it doesn’t really do much for the casual user looking for a carry backpack for regular use.

For one thing, when you remove the dividers to fit regular items, the space isn’t big enough to accommodate all EDC essentials like spare clothing, lunch, notebooks or anything you pick up during the day.

Best EDC backpack For Gym – AER Fit Pack 2

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: AER Fit Pack 2
Credit: AER

Summary: The AER Fit Pack 2 is perfect for one who transits between an office setting and the gym.

Perhaps the finest thing about the AER Fit Pack is how it helps you keep your office essential separate from gym and day to day use.  

Not to mention how a small looking bag can hold quite a lot ranging from a pair of sneakers, a 15.6” laptop, an iPad, a few magazines, headphone, charger, a change of clothes and related items. 

Constructed from different sturdy materials depending on the colorway you go for; the Day Pack 2 has a water-resistant exterior and AquaGuard YKK zippers.

What we also love

You’ll find this lite pack a snug fit against your back thanks to its decently padded mesh back panel with handy straps and sternum straps,

What’s not so great

There are 4 zipper tracks with pulls that easily get in the way of each other. Since they are close to each other, they sometimes overlap and can cut your ease of access especially when you’re trying to locate a particular pocket quickly.    

Best EDC Backpack For Travel – Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack
Credit: Tortuga

Summary: A durable and comfortable pack tailored for the modern traveler.  

If traveling light is your thing, or you are looking for one of the best everyday carry backpacks with enough space, the Tortuga Setout backpack is your guy.

Made with a 900D polyester with a water-resistant coating and YKK zippers, it has a clean design without any distracting straps.

This 25L one-bag travel solution is stuffed with features: a protected 15” laptop compartment, sternum strap & waist belt, and contoured back panel with padded straps for all day comfort.

What we also love

Its simple design and streamlined look make this look more like a backpack and not a travel bag (and that’s a good thing).

What’s not great

You may find yourself constantly opening the wrong pocket by mistake because the front, laptop and main compartments all have the same zips that are very close together. 

Best EDC Backpack For Outdoor adventures – Patagonia Black Hole

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Patagonia Black Hole backpack
Credit: Patagonia

Summary: The Black Hole backpack combines versatile styling with outdoor functionality, offering a bag that can works for EDC, outdoor and travel. 

Patagonia is known for their durable outdoor gear, and the sustainable Black Hole is no exception. 

Made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining and webbing that’s bluesign® approved, it’s also water resistant, so you won’t have to worry when faced with the elements.

It’s also equipped with a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, and is thankfully crafted with padded shoulder straps and a fully adjustable harness to keep your shoulders happy throughout your hike.

What we also love

One of the best everyday carry backpacks to love and use for years to come, the Black Hole comes with lifetime warranties and repair program.

What’s not great

The price tag is quite steep.

Most stylish EDC Backpack – ISM backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: ISM Backpack
Credit: ISM

Summary: The ISM Backpack is a super stylish and well-designed bag that will fit your EDC and much more.

If you’re big on looks and quality, this head-turning ISM backpack is made from first-rate grain leather and water-resistant nylon with lovely leather trim details.

The addition of a separate laptop compartment, AguaGuard YKK zippers, breathable back panel and a luggage sleeve makes the backpack functional to daily use. 

What’s we also love

Also, it comes in two sizes (17.2L and 10.8L), has a discreet side flap to charge your electronic on the go, and is backed by a lifetime warranty.

What’s not great

It doesn’t come with any external water bottle pocket. 

Most durable EDC Backpack – Goruck GR1 USA/ SLICK Huckberry Edition

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Goruck GR1 USA OR GRI 1000D SLICK (Huckberry Edition)
Credit: GORUCK/Huckberry

Summary: Designed for the city, trips and even warzones, the GoRuck GR I is the   kind of everyday carry backpack that might just last forever. 

Streamlined and made of military grade 1000D Cordura with bombproof tactical DNA, there’s no denying that this waterproof bag is built for the wild as well as for urban settings.

In fact, there are many pockets and MOLLE attachments webbings with a bombproof laptop compartment so you can better organize all your EDC.

What’s more?

The GR1 is available in two sizes (21L or 26L) and in two styles: the one with the three rows of MOLLE on the bottom and sides for clipping and stashing, and a “Slick” Huckberry edition that’s much more minimalist and unfussy.  

What we also love

It’s a high-quality US-made pack with smooth YKK zippers, Molle attachments, rainproof exterior and extra padded straps.

What’s not great

Lacks external water bottle pockets and is pricey.   Some people have also complained that it may not be the most comfortable backpack.

Best Luxe EDC Backpack – Nomatic Travel Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Nomatic Travel backpack
Credit: Nomatic

Summary: Pack killer features with a bold twist – from a high-quality construction to water resistant exterior and a super stylish vibe.

Although expensive, I believe it’s totally worth the splurge because it’s one of the best everyday carry backpacks out there.

Made with strong water-resistant material and YKK zippers, this sleek bag is the ultimate EDC for protection from rain, coffee spills, thieves and perhaps the apocalypse.

Whatever you’re carrying, there are 20 secured spots for it as well as a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment that lays flat to make TSA checkpoints a breeze.

What we also love

Its other amazing features include a 20 – 30-liter expandable ability, a magnetic water bottle pocket, luggage sleeve, and a Nomatic lifetime warranty.

What’s not great 

The NOMATIC Travel Pack is expensive and comes only in black!

Best Budget EDC Backpack – Matein Mlassic Travel Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Matein Mlassic Travel Backpack
Credit: Matein

Summary: Security, enough space and style options in an affordable package. 

Not only does this Amazon highly rated 34L spacious bag have multiple compartments and pockets, it’s also available in a 15-inch and 17-inch options.  

Even better, it comes with a hidden pocket and a well-padded tech compartment for a 15.6-inch laptop and tablet.

What we also love

The addition of a USB connector, comfortable padded straps and a handy luggage strap to attach a suitcase makes the bag easy to use.

What’s not great

While it’s slightly water resistant, it’s not waterproof, but that’s expected of a bag of this price.

Best Secured EDC Backpack – Oscaurt Anti-Theft Travel Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Oscaurt Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
Credit: Oscaurt

Summary: The Oscaurt anti-theft backpack is built to carry all your items secured and organized.

For one, the back pocket, pockets and main pocket zippers are fully hidden to deter the most determined thieve.   

Aside from the concealed pockets and a good number of pockets that are installed, the material on this backpack is water resistant and breathable to give your back the best support.

What’s we also love

It also travels friendly with a dedicated laptop compartment, a USB cable to connect to your power bank and won’t break your bank account.

What’s not great 

There are some red flags, like its rigid shape, and limited storage.

Best Eco-friendly EDC Backpack – Fjallraven Re-Kanken

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Fjallraven Re-Kanken backpack
Credit: Fjallraven

Summary: An iconic piece, the Fjallraven Re-Kanken is sustainable and great for work, school, commute and everything in between.

Dedicated to sustainability, the Re-Kanken backpack is made from polyester recycled from 11 used plastic bottles, with lesser use of water and energy in the production process.

The polyester material used is hardwearing and water resistant and whenever the Re-Kanken reaches the end of its life, it is completely recyclable.

What we also love

This everyday carry backpack is comfortable, has a lifetime warranty and comes with plenty of colorways to suit diverse tastes.

What’s not great

There aren’t enough pockets and compartments in the bag to enable you to arrange and separate your items as you’d like.

To know more about the Fjallraven backpack, check out my detailed review on the brand and some of their offerings. 

And if you want to consider other eco-friendly backpack alternatives, be sure to check out my detailed guide on the best eco-friendly backpacks.

Best adventurous EDC for women: Osprey Fairview backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Osprey Fairview backpack
Credit: Osprey

Summary: A super comfortable pack that alternates between hiking and travel.

Sleek and compact, at 40L, it fits a 15” laptop, tablet, two water bottles, sunglasses and comes with a weight of 3.17lbs so you can pack as light as possible without the temptation of hauling excess weight.

What we also love

It comes with a LightWire frame suspension and comfortable waist strap that take the weight off your shoulders and transfers it to your pelvis so your back doesn’t feel the pressure.

Plus, the addition of a well ventilated and padded shoulder straps, sternum strap, compression straps and hipbelt makes carrying a bliss, even when the pack is stuffed full.

What’s not great

The laptop pocket isn’t well positioned; you can easily crack your screen since it’s on the curved front of the bag.

Best Smart EDC Backpack: Nordace Siena Backpack

Best Everyday Carry Backpack review: Nordace Siena backpack
Credit: Nordace

Summary: Secure, features packed and stylish to boot!

Although the Nordace Siena is designed for travel, it is versatile for work, school or short getaways; this is due to its minimalist style and numerous compartments for organizational bliss.  

Plus, you’ll get so many compliments for its clean-cut style which comes in six different color options – black, beige, blue, dark green, gray, and red

What we also love

To seal the deal, it features a water-repellent fabric, USB charging port, a padded laptop compartment, a plush back panel, and a luggage strap for hitching a ride on your wheelie suitcase.

What’s not great

The laptop compartment is not well padded, particularly at the bottom for extra safety and the water pocket is not stretchy enough to fit bigger bottles.

Final remarks

So there we have it – 20 best everyday carry backpacks that caters to various preferences and tastes.

I hope this list helps you to decide on the bag that suits your needs. 

Over to you, let me know in the comments if you agree with my picks or have any recommendations for the best everyday carry backpacks, I’d love to hear from you.

This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These backpacks have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

9 thoughts on “20 Best Everyday Carry Backpacks [2021 Reviews] | The Best EDC backpacks from Knomo, Patagonia, Goruck, Tom Bihn and much more”

  1. This is a good selection, and now I don’t know which one to choose, 😉
    I like the Patagonia backpack; of course, the one with the steep price, but it’s probably the type of backpack that will last you forever, so if it’s a one time price it’s worth paying it. I also like the eco Fjallraven Re-Kanken, it looks sturdy, and I would be more inclined to buy an eco backpack.
    The Herschel kids backpack is cute, that one would be an excellent gift for my niece.
    I always see backpacks at the local grocery store, but I never know how long they’ll last and if they are worth it. The ones you share here with us are much better quality and definitely a much better choice.

    Reply
    • Hey Christine, Thanks for stopping to leave a comment. Yeah, that was part of the plan, to make sure you are spoilt for choice haha.

      But seriously with these types of posts best is subjective and very much depends on what individual folks really find most important for them in a backpack. So I try to provide a wide variety of the best everyday carry backpacks on the market today. Actually, the list is not exhaustive and I will be adding a few more in the not too distant future.
      Cheers
      Femi

      Reply
  2. There are many packs here that I have never heard the brand names of before. I like that, as it gives many more choices.

    Being practical, I would go for The North Face Recon because it’s large, lightweight, and has many compartments.
    However, it is not the best-looking backpack! Some of the others are much better looking.

    But looks are not everything. The lifetime guarantees that come with some of these packs are a great selling point. My partner had her pack damaged by airline security a few years ago. The zips were broken. We sent it away for repair, and the company was unable to replace the zips for whatever reason, so they gave her a brand new latest model pack free of charge!
    I think it’s great when companies stand by their products to this degree and go out of their way to keep their customers happy.

    Thanks for so many choices. I’ll go over them again when I’m in the market for a new pack.

    Reply
  3. Hey Femi

    You have gone above and beyond with this review! Who knew there were so many features you could get in a backpack?

    My favourite was the Day Owl one – right up until I saw the price! I love the colours and the overall look. My second favourite was Best Budget EDC Backpack – Matein Mlassic Travel Backpack. It’s over $100 cheaper but still has some cool colour options.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best,

    Jean
    P.S. Which is your favourite?

    Reply
    • Hey Jean,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I see you’ve got good taste opting for the Day Owl – not only is it eco-friendly, it has this appealing minimalist vibe to it and some decent features too.

      I think my favorite is probably the AER Day Pack 2 because of how sleek it looks and how well it fits both work and casual settings. It also has a number of other features going for it. My only qualm with it is that it’s a little bit on the small side at 14.8l. I wish it was more around 20L or even a bit more.

      Cheers
      Femi

      Reply
  4. I’m always on the go, so a good backpack is really an investment. So much love for this article. I’m personally torn between the Incase Icon Backpack and the North Face Recon. They both have that sleek look and of course ranking high on functionality and being sturdy.

    Thank you for sharing this! I’ll bookmark this page for sure.

    Cheers,
    SAM

    Reply
  5. I love the simplicity of these. That’s how life is now. Daypack #2 is by far my favorite looking. I always prefer leather as it lasts longer. The backpacks that I can’t stand are the ones where they look like a bag and you pull the string and it starts looking like a raindrop lol. I’ve had many different kinds and, ones like this have always worked for me. Highly recommended!

    Reply
  6. I have to say the Rains bag is beautiful but all white is not practical for me 🙂
    However, I love the Fjallraven Re-kaken bag, made from plastic bottles! To think that we saved water and energy when this was created. It is very unfortunate that there are so little pockets on the bag. I would have definitely bought the bag if there were at least two more pockets.

    I think I will then go for the Patagonia Black Hole, this one is sleek and water resistant, I like the padded shoulder straps as well.

    A good back pack is an excellent investment and if you can save nature while doing it even better.

    Reply
  7. I never realised there are so many different types of backpack. I like EDC backpack for techies as it can hold both laptop and tablet without fear of damage. Also, the backpack for kids is cute at the same time as being practical. I’m not an adventurer, but if I was the Patagonia backpack would be my choice. I like the idea it’s designed to keep your shoulders from hurting as well as being durable. Thanks for sharing such a good selection of backpacks and I’ll save this post for future reference:)

    Reply

Leave a Comment