• Solid everyday backpack

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  • I'm looking for a good everyday backpack that is durable and has quite a bit of room. Currently I'm using this backpack that I received as a gift: http://www.mastodonrocks.com/files/merch/preview/detail_backpack.jpg

    It's a great backpack in that it has the features I want- rucksack style loading, two small front pouches (about the size of a deck of cards) and one larger front pouch (about the size of a graphing calculator) but it's not very durable (it is just band merch, after all). It has almost no structure at all, and while I don't want something with an actual internal frame, I'd like something a bit more rigid.

    I use the backpack mostly for taking my laptop to class and for weekend trips- the top flap is great for throwing a sleeping bag under.

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    Question by wilbus

Apple laptop and iPad users are quite fond of Tom Bihn bags. The primary focus is the secure storage and transport of computers. The secondary focus is functional bags for all sorts of activity. The Synapse backpack sounds like a pretty good fit for your requirements. I use the somewhat-larger Smart Alec pack. The even-larger Brain Bag was reviewed here in 2003 (although I'm sure the design has been updated a bunch of times since then). Their Ristretto bags are well-liked by folk for carrying tablets and Air-class laptop computers.

Answer by floatingbones

For simple style, you can't beat the Jandd Tozi Kletter. Simple looks, burly cordura construction, attachment points, comfortable straps and well made. It has a traditional klettersack style, which means one main pocket and a top flap/pocket. alt text I did a review on my site here: http://robonza.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-jandd-tozi-kletter-backpack.html

For a combination of more business looks and more doo-dads. I have been carrying a Osprey Flapjack. It has a padded area for a laptop, dressier looks and more pockets for office life. I have been using this one for over a year and really like it. alt text More photos and a detailed review here: http://robonza.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-osprey-flap-jack.html


Answer by xjoex

LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack is by far the best SIMPLE backpack there is. Keyword here is SIMPLE. Lots of room and compression straps make it easy to pack a lot of stuff. MOLLE straps are a bonus for those who want to expand the use of the pack. Several colors to choose from and a price that is LESS than $30 make this a no brainer. I have used this bag on a daily basis for over a year now and it has done everything that I have asked it to. I had reservations with the pack prior to purchase because of the low price. I figured that it was cheap and not well made. That is the farthest thing from what I got. Well made pack, lots of space, quality materials, and nothing fancy. I am very hard on gear given the nature of my line of work, Tactical SWAT Medic, but this bag has been worth every penny!

LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack

Answer by leviathan

LL Bean's Deluxe Book Pack is as simple and solid as they come. It's got some pockets without having too many. I've had more than a few during the past 20 years, often carrying many heavy books and laptops. And not one of them has showed any signs of wear (including the straps, zippers and seams).

Answer by gotmigs

I have a type of bag I get. Anything with a laptop comparment, a second laege compartment for books and third small compartment for spare pens, leatherman, flashlight, EDC gear. And A pocket for a water bottle. I am a backpack junky. Currently I have a Wenger. http://www.amazon.com/SYNERGY-SwissGear-Wenger-Computer-Backpack/dp/tags-on-product/B000NONHYY I love the layout, but I am finding that the lower back pad is wearing out due to friction.

Answer by mpechner

I have a type of bag I get. Anything with a laptop comparment, a second laege compartment for books and third small compartment for spare pens, leatherman, flashlight, EDC gear. And A pocket for a water bottle. I am a backpack junky. Currently I have a Wenger. http://www.amazon.com/SYNERGY-SwissGear-Wenger-Computer-Backpack/dp/tags-on-product/B000NONHYY I love the layout, but I am finding that the lower back pad is wearing out due to friction.

Answer by mpechner

I have to second LL Bean's backpacks. I know people who have gotten them in middle school, and now, in our 30s are still using them. LL Bean does honor their lifetime warranty, and has great customer service.

Answer by courtney ostaff

Use this one daily as an IT infrastructure engineer. Carries my laptop and tools easily ,comfortably & you can beat the heck out of it.


Answer by wehrgeist
Answer by jeremy smith

Well, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Maxpedition-made rucks and/or slingers. I am a big fan of Kodiak slinger. alt text

What I like about Kodiak is that it fits up to 15" notebooks and can quickly be pulled up front so you can retrieve your stuff from pouches while still on the go. This allows you to sit down without removing the slinger as well as pull it up front for security reasons if you're in the crowded spaces where you don't want to keep your valuables behind your back where you can't keep an eye on them. They also have smaller slingers and a line of fanny-pack replacing Versipacks.

Quality and durability is top-notch, Maxpedition products will live thru abuse and neglect no problems. For most of the products they now have an option for bright (not military-looking) colours but even regular black/tan/foliage work very well for day to day use.

Answer by stangri

As System/Network Administrator I second 5.11 Rush 24. Awesome backpack. Versatile and roomy.

Answer by rmrf

The Duluth Backpack is the simple and elegant solution.

See: http://duluthpack.com/

Answer by bjohnson

I'm a (female) middle school teacher who has used this backpack to shlep a ton of books, papers, etc, with all required gear (iPad, iPhone, pens, folders, notebooks, thin jacket, small umbrella) for years. I was so enthusiastic about it that I bought one for son (sophomore in high school)--in a different color, natch! It'll hold up to 15" laptop. It's comfortable, roomy, has great, easy access: The Timbuk2 Computer Backpack. It's stylish, roomy, padded but not overly bulky. It looks different (easy to spot). Love all the compartments, secret pocket. It's great for organization freaks, but also has a very roomy main pocket, You can keep things simple, but it allows you to compartmentalize, too. Here's the video presentation on Zappos: http://www.zappos.com/multiview/7722847/264622

Answer by lisa

The RUSH 72, by 5.11 Tactical

alt text

As solid goes, 5.11 Tactical is about as good as it gets. Tested by Viking Tactics for the manifold stresses of modern warfare (no, not the game), the RUSH 72 will hold up to just about anything you can throw at it, water included. I wouldn't submerge it, of course—there are drain points in bottom of the hydration compartment as well as the main compartment—but in rain, there's very little risk of damage if you've closed the zippers fully.

The reason I recommend the 72 variant instead of the 24 is simple: there's more space if you need it, and if you don't need it, then you don't have to use it. The compression straps pull tourniquet-tight in a few seconds, and you can loop them into the attached MOLLE webbing to keep them that way. Though the 72 is a bit wider than its smaller cousin, it's not nearly as noticeable as it seems in the pictures, even when packed. I use my 72 as a Bug-Out-Bag, with the two side pockets functioning as compartments for items that might draw a few questions if packed in more accessible areas. And despite the considerable amount of gear I've managed to fit, it's still about the same as my old SwissGear pack. That is to say, fairly mid-sized, as backpacks go.

The 72 is also perfect because it's multipurpose, and fulfills various roles without needing any pouches tacked on (although I did find a MOLLE-compatible organizer for pens, an external hard drive, and other such tools). It has sternum straps and hip pads that take the load significantly off your shoulders, and also features an aluminum hard-plate in the back both for support and so any pointy items in the pack won't dig into your spine.

Oh. And did I mention pockets? Because there are a lot of those. It doesn't look like it from the picture above, but there are tons of pockets--a sunglasses pocket, an organizer pocket, a main compartment, a water bladder compartment, two side compartments, and additional mesh and closed-nylon pockets within nearly every one of those.

I won't lie, it's pretty expensive as everyday packs go, especially if you aren't used to paying for them. I was lucky enough to receive mine as a gift from those who knew which pack I wanted, so I was ecstatic. But every other pack I've owned (a lot of SwissGear) has suffered from ripped handles, zippers that catch and come apart, torn outer shells, and other flaws which significantly reduced the quality of the product. The 72 has every indication of being as battle-ready as Viking Tactics claims, and even with the heavy loads I've carried on a daily basis, it has held up superbly.

~ Nathaniel Gage

P.S: If you're not the kind of person to use a hydration bladder, you can consider using the hydration pocket as laptop storage. It fits my 15" Macbook Pro just fine with space to spare, so if you've got something like a gaming computer, then it will probably fit. The aluminum hard-plate doubles as extra protection.

P.P.S: And if you're used to being able to stuff a sleeping bag in the main pocket, the 72 has you covered there too. The recent design update now features underside attachment points, so a rolled sleeping bag can be carried under the pack with the aid of a bit of twine or paracord. Of course, you could also just stuff it into the compression pocket.

Answer by Nathaniel gage

Eddie Bauer Adventure backpack - $80 with lots of great features that allow flexibility for laptop bag (padded), for weekend camping or camera bag.

Answer by ghostrider

I highly recommend the GORUCK Echo.

  1. https://www.goruck.com/shop/images/40/echo_1-goruck-backpack_100.jpg/
  2. https://www.goruck.com/shop/images/55/echo_3-goruck-backpack.jpg
  3. https://www.goruck.com/shop/images/79/GR-ECHO_2.jpg/
  4. https://www.goruck.com/shop/images/78/GR-ECHO_1.jpg/

It's a tough as nails, ballistic nylon bag built to military specifications but designed for city folk. There are two compartments - a large main pocket and a rear, reinforced compartment that is designed to hold a laptop or a hydration pack. There are a pair of zip pockets on the inside and a front slash pocket too.

The bag is substantial without being heavy. The straps are supportive and comfortable. The zippers are strong and error free.

This one is the right size for my everyday stuff, but they have larger ones too.

Answer by dtbrady77

These are all pretty busy backpacks added so far... I use a Black Diamond backpack and not only is it cleaner looking than all of these, it is certainly lighter and probably cheaper.



Quality is insanely high for the price... comparable to Arc'teryx or other top-end brands. The best part about the Magnum I have is that whether it's loaded with clothing and sketchbooks for a weekend trip to the beach, holding just a change of clothes while I run to work, or crammed with metalworking tools while I bike to studio, it looks great and fits like I was born with it.

Answer by nhfoley

What you want is the MEC Klettersack. Cheap, cool, functional, no excessive garbage, just a great functional pack.

MEC Klettersack

Answer by johnnyt

Many good suggestions above. I am a fan of Tom Bihn products (someone suggested the Synapse above -- a good choice!) but on the trip I'm on right now, I left behind my Brain Bag (another good choice from Bihn) and am carrying a Jansport Agave 32 (http://www.amazon.com/JanSport-Agave-Outdoor-Lifestyle-Backpack/dp/B000XQ6BUE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312404292&sr=8-1), which I bought at a good price from ebags.com -- an addictive site for bag junkies like me. The Jansport looks small (I have a larger similar Jansport with more rigidity, too), but holds an impressive amount. It also looks nicely inconspicuous (doesn't scream "valuable laptop inside!") but has a padded slot that fits any smallish laptop well. I've used it to hold enough things for casual 2-3 trips, including clothes, snacks, computer, a paperback, phone, etc. Flexible to load, with mesh pockets on the side for water-bottles or other small-stuffables (even a small umbrella).

My favorite feature: a small suede(ish) pocket up top, perfect for wallet and phone while going through airport security system. I bought this one as a mostly toy bag, but have been impressed way past its price.

Answer by timothy lord

I use Rickshaw's Commuter Backpack.

Image of Rickshaw Commuter Backpack from rickshaw.com

Sturdy yet not as pedestrian as the Kensington Saddlebag, which is similar in design but doesn't have the same level of materials or function.

I like how it has some PALS/MOLLE attachment points for extra pouches and the like but doesn't scream "imperialist contractor, shoot me first" when transiting through foreign airports. I also have some fantastic Maxpedition bags but purposely don't carry them overseas for that reason.

Is it worth 3x the price of the Kensington? Not sure, as I got mine (actually one of the TED2009 swag bags) for free. But it is hella nice. :-)

Answer by jameshom


The best pack I have ever owned. Super simple rolltop opening that results in a massive space to just chuck stuff, no silly zips to snag or break, no good in theory, useless in practice bungie cord fixings, no external pockets that never quite hold what you want to put in them, and no requiring you to organise your kit like a Navy Seal.

Totally waterproof and very easy to clean.

There is a little pocket inside fixed with poppers for bits and pieces, but easy to take out. Also brilliant is the simple construction means that it's very easy to buy spare bits to keep it going for ever. The link above is to the 20 litre version, but you there are bigger too.

Answer by logospotter

My 12 year old lower alpine backpack finally bit the dust. I needed something that could carry all of my gear for airline travel, serve my biking needs and be waterproof.

The Chrome “kirov” fit those requirements exactly. I liked the pockets are all inside, preventing pickpockets and items from falling out. It keeps the items low, so it is comfortable for cycling. Considered its “pro” line, it. shows plenty attention to detail.



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Answer by daus studenberg

I got this one a couple of years ago and it has become my daily use bag.

It has lots of space, the back and straps have some padding so it makes it comfortable to carry around.

The major selling point for me was the main compartment has a zipper so that you can unzip it and lay the bag flat on the conveyer at security so you dont need to remove the laptop from the bag.




Answer by jwarren12
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