12 Best Small backpacks
For Men That Fit Every Lifestyle

Small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack


Backpacks with Hidden Pockets

Backpacks for Techies

Everyday Carry Backpacks

Nordace Siena similar backpacks

Backpacks with lots of pockets

Waterproof backpacks

North Face Borealis vs Jester

Hardside Luggage

Carry-On Luggage

Luggage for Int’l Travel

Wandrd Travel + Camera Pack

There are many small backpacks for men out there. I mean a lot, and there is a ton of information to wade through.

But don’t freak out just yet.

To help, I have spent hours searching for the best small backpacks for men—from budget-friendly options with glowing reviews to eco-friendly options that won’t destroy our planet—so you can find the perfect bag for your daily items.

Small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack

These bags have the capacity and pockets to help you lighten the load on your pants pockets (hello, bulky wallet owners) so you can look more polished, even in a business suit.

In addition, a detailed guide on the best small backpacks for men along with FAQs below would steer you in the right direction in making an informed decision.  

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

12 Best Small backpacks for Men 2021

Check out this quick list of the best small backpacks for men if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see my full list with in-depth reviews. 

  1. Best overall small backpacks for men: Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
  2. Best for the office: Knomo Berlin backpack
  3. Best EDC small backpacks for men: Bellroy Classic Backpack
  4. Best for Travel: The Strøm 20L Backpack
  5. Best for security small backpacks for men:  PacSafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack
  6. Most sustainable small backpacks for men: Solgaard Lifepack pack
  7. Best sling small backpacks for men: AER Tech Sling 2
  8. Most durable small backpacks for men: Tom Bihn Synapse 19
  9. Best for minimalist’s small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack
  10. Best for the gym small backpacks for men: AER Fit Pack 3
  11. Best leather small backpacks for men: WP Standard Leather Rucksack Backpack
  12. Best compact small backpacks for men: Lacoste Men’s Neocroc Canvas Backpack
Small backpacks for men: Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L
Credit: Nomatic

Summary:  The Navigator pack allows you carry quite a handful of gear in a streamlined, compact package.

The Nomatic Navigator pack tops the list of the best small backpacks for men because it’s an all-purpose and ultra-elegant carry.

In fact, with this backpack, you’ll always appear suave and organized, even if you’re hiding a car crash within.

There are 5 mesh pockets, and two zipper pockets including an RFID safe pocket for you to organize your smaller gear. It also has a dedicated tech compartment that fits a 14inch laptop and tablet.

Not to mention that the tech compartment is suspended a couple of inches away from the edge of the bag for protection from accidental falls or hasty drops.

Now, about that car crash…

You can expand the bag from a 15-21 liters capacity if you ever need the space.

Small backpacks for men: Nomatic Navigator Backpack 15L

This sleek bag also boasts of amazing features like a roller luggage pass-through sleevethree external handles, a hidden water bottle pocket, and a Nomatic lifetime warranty.

Plus, it’s travel-friendly, water-resistant, and of highquality construction.

Whether you’re headed to a seminar, to the gym, or you’re smashing a day at the office, this sleek carry can save the day.

What we also love

The bag also allows you to move with ease throughout your busy day thanks to a breathable back panel, sternum strap, and comfy straps. 

What’s not great 

Just like other Nomatic offerings, the Navigator pack is expensive and comes only in black.

Small backpacks for men: Knomo Berlin backpack
Credit: Knomo

Summary: It is designed for work and anything that might come after.

The Knomo Berlin pack makes the list of the best small backpacks for men due to its cool and laid-back design that looks great with just about everything, including a business suit.

This 15.3-liter bag offers smart organization for your tech, documents, and other work supplies.

The main compartment features a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, with space for items like cables, chargers, files, and even a pair of shoes.

And there’s of course, the two front pockets allow for easy access to smaller items like your phone, cards, headphones, etc.

Small backpacks for men: Knomo Berlin backpack

Stylish and durable, it is made of polyester with split leather trim and a water-repellent exterior.

What we also love

It’s comfortable to wear courtesy of a padded back and S-shaped straps.

What’s not so great

Although a great contender in the list of the best small backpacks for men, this bag is only available in two colors (black & bottle green). 

Small backpacks for men: Bellroy Classic Backpack
Credit: Bellroy

    Summary: Streamlined and practical, the Bellroy Classic is the kind of bag you can pretty much take everywhere.  

    This cool Bellroy Classic backpack is worth your consideration for small backpacks for men to take to work, the gym, and even a day trip.

    It is stylish, comfortable, and functional for everyday carry.

    A great EDC, the pack has a 20L capacity main compartment that will fit an iPad, a change of clothes, a water bottle as well as a protected 16” laptop pocket.

    There are also external as well as internal pockets for your smaller valuables. 

    Small backpacks for men: Bellroy Classic Backpack

    Even better, the bag is not only durable and water-resistant but is also ecofriendly as recycled fabrics are used to help keep plastics out of landfills and oceans.

    What we also love

    The addition of padded shoulder straps, a contoured back panel, and a quick grab handle means you won’t even feel the weight of a fully loaded pack.

    What’s not great

    It would have been nice if the Classic pack had a USB port so you can charge your smart device on the go.

    Best for Travel: The Strøm 20L Backpack

    Small backpacks for men: The Strøm 20L Backpack
    Credit: dbjourney.com

    Summary: The Storm bag is a lightweight pack and a practical suitcase blended into one.

    The Storm backpack has the space and features needed in a tech travel backpack, hence, the consideration in the best small backpacks for men.

    It packs like a suitcase with the mobility of a backpack.

    It’s a top-loading bag, with the main compartment that opens fully so you can see and access all your things and more pockets to hold everything else. It also boasts of a designated space for your 17’’ laptop.

    Plus, its 20L capacity and 1.2 kg weight mean this pack is carry-on compliant for most airlines, which means you’ll avoid checked bag fees to boot!
    Small backpacks for men: The Strøm 20L Backpack

    Also, the design is simple and understated, which means you can take it to work, school, not just on day trips and adventures.  

    The padded air-mesh back panel together with the shoulder straps ensure you wear it all day long comfortably.

    What we also love

    I like that the Strom bag maintains its structure even if half empty.

    What’s not great

    To access the large main compartment from the top, you have to dig through everything to get access to your stuff.

    Small backpacks for men: PacSafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack
    Credit: PacSafe

    Summary: Beef up security with the Pacsafe Vibe pack.

    Worried about the safety of your valuables?

    Pacsafe Vibe backpack is made for worrywarts like you.

    One of the safest and best small backpacks for men, this bag comes loaded with anti-theft and security features.

    Its antitheft features include a cut-resistant exterior material, RFID-protected pockets as well as zippers you can lock for additional peace of mind.

    Apart from these, the shoulder strap is also cut-resistant and is lockable around a fixed object so your bag isn’t taken away, in an unguarded moment. 

    For a small pack, its storage is quite impressive.

    This 20L bag has pockets and internal attachment points for your smaller bits, including a 13” laptop sleeve that doubles as a hydration pack system.

    Small backpacks for men: PacSafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack

    And construction-wise, the bag is durably made with 100D robic nylon and 200D polyester for the lining.

    Plus, it’s pretty stylish and comfortable too.

    What we also love

    This pack is available in four cool colors so you can pick a style you are comfortable with.

    What’s not great

    The Pacsafe bag can’t stand up on its own when it is set down.

    Small backpacks for men: Solgaard Lifepack backpack
    Credit: Solgaard

    Summary: With the Lifepack, you’ll look good and feel good knowing you’re making an eco-friendly choice.

    The Solgaard Lifepack backpack is an excellent option for small backpacks for men designed for those looking to snag a premium bag that’s dedicated to the environment.

    Made from 100% recycled material called Shore-tex, this bag pulled 5 lbs of plastic waste from the oceans! 

    For an 18L bag, the organization is top-notch.

    It comes with two main compartments so you can separate and organize your work items from your daily gear as well as four hidden pockets to safeguard your valuables.

    Perhaps, the feature I love most is its drop-proof laptop section for ultimate protection of your devices.

    Small backpacks for men: Solgaard Lifepack backpack

    You’ll also like that this bag can stand upright on its own, and is comfortable to wear courtesy of plush shoulder straps with back support.

    What we also love

    Man, this backpack keeps impressing with handy features.

    It has a Bluetooth speaker, a solar-powered battery, and a USB port, so you can keep your devices powered.

    What’s not great

    It’s quite heavy at 4 lbs.

    Small backpacks for men: AER Tech Sling 2
    Credit: AER

    Summary: The AER Tech Sling 2 keeps your tech organized and safe.

    A fan of sling bags?

    With the AER Tech Sling 2, you can carry around precious cargo like laptops, tablets, or other expensive electronics in its fully padded and organization-friendly bag.

    The front compartment features an organizer panel for smaller accessories and a tablet, while the separated and padded compartment keeps up to a 13″ MacBook safe within its cushioned interior.

    On top of that, it also has a quick-access top pocket with a soft lining that protects your phone, or passport, in case of travel.

    Small backpacks for men: AER Tech Sling 2

    Plus, it is sleek and comfortable.

    Made with durable 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon with a water repellent coating exterior, YKK zippers, and Duraflex hardware, this is one of the most durable and best small backpacks for men.

    What we also love

    This 8-liter bag weighs just 1.4 lbs and is perfect for everything from running to meetings to commuting to the office and even a business trip.

    What’s not great

    There’s no room for overloading.

    Small backpacks for men: Tom Bihn Synapse 19
    Credit: Tom Bihn

    Summary: If you need something rugged, the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 bag is easily one of the best in the game.

    If you’re the kind of guy who wants a bag that’ll share many experiences with you, look no further than the Synapse 19 small backpack for men.

    Warning: If you know anything about Tom Bihn, you’d know the brand has developed a devoted fan following that swears by how durable and well-made their bags are.

    The Synapse 19 is made in the USA with high-quality materials that are not only bluesign® approved but also a solid choice for heavy-duty uses and even short trips.

    At 19L capacity, you’ll love the enormous space and organization this bag affords, even for your tech.

    Trust me, it can hold a lot.

    Small backpacks for men: Tom Bihn Synapse 19

    A fan of pockets?

    Well, the Synapse 19 exterior alone has 5 zippered pockets, and 8 O-rings to attach additional gear while still retaining a compact carry silhouette.

    Rugged and reliable, this bag is perfect for daily use, travel, and even the outdoors, which is why it qualifies as one of the best small backpacks for men.

    What we also like

     It makes for a comfortable carry, from the padded back to the shoulder straps, everything feels balanced just right when it’s loaded up.  

    Since the waist and sternum straps are removable, and this is a small bag, you have the option to use it only when your bag is packed full.
    Cool, right?

    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.

    If interested, here’s a more detailed review of the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 backpack.  

    Small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack

    Summary: A sleek and functional small backpack carry for men.

    It’s sleek; it’s stylish; it’s functional: the Troubadour Off Piste backpack could be everything you’re looking for in a versatile carry.

    You can take it to work, the gym and even a day trip!

    Aside from its stylish minimalist aesthetics, its durable and waterproof fabric ensures your items always stay dry.

    It spots a 19L compartment with a padded 16-inch laptop sleeve, a retractable bottle holder, and many internal pockets for easy organization of your items.

    Plus, a trolley sleeve allows you to slide this bag over a suitcase handle.

    Small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack

    What we also love   

    In addition to its sleek appearance, it comes with breathable padding on the back and shoulder straps, so you can move around more comfortably.

    What’s not great

    It would have been better if the bag had a dedicated laptop compartment at the back to avoid any case of scratches.

    Small backpacks for men: AER Fit Pack 3
    Credit: AER

    Summary: The Fit Pack 3 allows you to stay active and professional.

    A neat option to keep your gym and office essentials in one carry — the Fit Pack definitely counts as one of the best small backpacks for men.

    Even better, this small-looking bag can hold quite a lot ranging from a pair of sneakers, a 15.6” laptop, an iPad, a few magazines, headphones, a charger, a change of clothes, and related items. 

    Small backpacks for men: AER Fit Pack 3

    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.

    Small backpacks for men: WP Standard Leather Rucksack Backpack
    Credit: WPStandard.com

    Summary: A timeless choice for the urbane gentleman.

    Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a classic like the WP Standard Roll Top Leather Backpack (it’s timeless, duh!).

    Its vintage appeal and sleek aesthetic are exactly what make it the ideal option for the best small backpacks for men.

    Made from high-quality full-grain leather with a 100% water-resistant rolltop closure and exterior, it will keep your belongings dry in damp weather conditions.

    This is a rucksack you can certainly take to the office — and then out on a trip immediately after the workday.

    You can fit a laptop, iPad, and a paperback along side multiple notebooks and planners and even overstuff the thing on long flights.

    The straps are handy enough to hold your jacket.  All you have to do is fill it up and roll down as far as you need.

    Plus, the standout looks of the Rolltop Rucksack are nearly worth the price in and of itself.

    What we also love

    The backpack is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, which is always nice.  

    What’s not great

    It could do with more pockets for better organization.

    Small backpacks for men: Lacoste Men's Neocroc Small Canvas Backpack
    Credit: Lacoste

    Summary:  The Lacoste Canvas pack is small, simple, and sleek.

    It doesn’t get much simpler than the Lacoste small backpack.

    Constructed from canva fabric, it has everything you need to conquer your day in style.

    It comes with one zip pocket for quick-access items and a single roomy main compartment complete with three interior pockets for easy organization.

    Small backpacks for men: Lacoste Men's Neocroc Small Canvas Backpack

    Functional and aesthetically pleasing, it makes the perfect small backpack for men who love to move about light without the bulk.

    What we also love

    This teeny baby is lightweight and has adjustable straps for better sizing to fit your height.

    What’s not great

    It might be smaller than expected.

    Small backpacks for men: Troubador Off Piste Backpack

    When looking for small backpacks for men, there are features to look out for.

    For one, you want a bag that can keep your phone, wallet, tablet, and other essentials safe and accessible.

    Getting it wrong could mean struggling to fit your stuff or worse, a low-quality pack you are too embarrassed to be seen with. 


    Small backpacks for men are bags below 25 liters.

    So, take into account how many daily items you carry at any given time.

    A small backpack does not entirely mean that you should compromise on space. Some backpacks will blow your mind with how many items they surprisingly can hold.

    Some of the bags featured in my small backpacks for men review can hold a laptop, amongst other things.


    Men who use their backpacks as an everyday carry know the importance of a well-made bag. You don’t want issues with a broken zip, damaged seam, or even a bag without weather protection.

    The best small backpacks for men are bags that are comfortable, durable, and with protection from the weather.

    Style and Design

    Small backpacks are trendy.

    If you’re buying small backpacks for men, it will make sense to find one that will seamlessly blend with your overall look no matter what you’re wearing.

    And to answer your question, yes, you can carry a sleek backpack on a suit.


    Would you rather have a bag that’s worth your money or one that’ll break down after less than two months?

    While a bag’s price tag doesn’t translate to quality, an investment in a well-made bag always pays off.

    Small backpacks for men: Lacoste Men's Neocroc Small Canvas Backpack

    In my estimation, the size of a small backpack is anything below 25 liters.

    The best small backpacks for men is the one that has plenty of space for the items you consider necessary for your day-to-day activities.

    This is especially if you don’t normally have too many items in your backpack.

    Again, yes, I consider a 25L backpack small.

    This is because a 25L backpack is classified as a small daypack.

    It’s great for when you’re only carrying a few items that you need to keep handy, like a phone, light jacket, book, sanitizer, etc.

    Also, a 25L backpack is small because, for travel, it only works for a day trip or short trips at best.

    Small backpacks are for days when you don’t want something that’s bulky, especially if you’re moving around a busy city.

    It is what you can easily tote around, make a style statement or just transport your very essentials.

    Small backpacks for men can keep your phone, wallet, tablet, book, and other essentials safe and accessible.

    Bottom Line

    So, there we have it – the 12 best small backpacks for men that are worth your money.

    Whether you are running from home to the office, or from school to work, these portable 12 small backpacks for men will allow you to look like the total boss that you are.

    However, this list is by no means conclusive, so I’m open to hearing your recommendations, questions, or experiences with any of these bags or others of your own.

    Leave me a comment below!

    Oh, if you are on the hunt for a backpack designed specifically with laptop protection in mind, check out my comprehensive review on the best laptop backpacks.  

    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.  

    7 thoughts on “12 Best Small backpacks for Men That Fit Every Lifestyle”

    1. Well, now I am just confused, but in a good way!
      I’ve just checked out your article for motorcycle backpacks and found some really cool and functional packs available. I thought I knew which one I was going to get, but now I see another option that deserves consideration…. The Fit Pack 3 looks great and also has awesome features.

      So now I guess the decision I need to make is: Do I try and save money and just get one pack to do both jobs knowing that it’s not ideal, or buy one now and then one later so that I have two optimized packs to suit two different requirements?

      Let me think about it……. ok, easy decision, haha

      • Hey Andrew,
        I can appreciate your dilemma. Both the Ogio Mach 5 backpack and the AER Fit Pack 3 are great bags with awesome features. And I should say, they are worth your money too, but I do hope your decision becomes easy. Lol.

    2. What a great selection. I’m tempted to get one for my husband because I am constantly holding his keys, wallet, glasses, etc. in my purse! I’m not sure if he’d use it though. You know the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?? However, I can recommend them to my son and my girls’ boyfriends. I love how versatile they are.
      At first I thought they would be too cumbersome when men wore suits but after seeing how they fit nicely over one, it seems to work. Thanks for such a good selection of back packs. You’ve really done your homework!

    3. What an extensive article! I will use it to help my friend who has limited vision. Using your outline, we can find the one that is best for him. I like the ones that have a USB port, that is so vital when traveling. And he is very dependent on his iPhone. What backpack would you recommend for a senior citizen?
      I am not that well versed in men’s backpacks. You use the term EDC, but I don’t know what that is. Can you explain, please?

      • Hey Barbara,

        Thank you for your question.
        Of all the bags on the list, I’d recommend the Lacoste Neocroc Small Backpack for a senior citizen because it is small, and would allow the user to move about light without the bulk. Senior citizens certainly do not need the extra bulk and this bag comes with adjustable straps that can be sized just right to fit the height of the wearer.

        And in regards to your second question, EDC means ‘Every Day Carry’. EDC are bags designed to withstand the use and demand of the everyday life. You can take it t o work, school, the café shops, train stations, and more.
        I hope that answered your questions.


    4. Very interesting article! Wow I wasn’t aware man had so many options for backpack and they are all so gorgeous. I like the Normatic Navegator, Bellroy classic and Solgaard Life Pack the best. I will share this post with my husband, I’m sure he’ll love it to and get some idea for his next backpack.

      Thank you for the lovely article

    5. These small backpacks seem to be a great value that we are looking forward to purchasing and using for our school. We started school back up and want to learn more about these backpacks.
      The article explained the best small backpacks that look sleek in design and can still hold my stuff without it falling out.



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