If you’re looking for a chic but functional backpack, then this is the blog for you.
I was recently on the hunt for a new backpack that was:
1) Functional with lots of pockets
2) Large enough to fit my 14 inch MacBook Pro, water bottle, change of clothes and other miscellaneous travel items (chargers, sunnies, kindle and so on)
3) Cute and didn’t look like an enormous backpacker’s pack
After scouring through the internet, I’ve put together a list of backpacks that I ended up short-listing.
You’ll find that many of these brands that make these backpacks also make other travel related gear including toiletry bags, duffel bags as well as luggages, and suitcases.
Away is one of the trendiest travel brands out there right now, and for good reason. Their backpacks typically feature thoughtful compartments, durable materials, and a modern aesthetic. The backpacks are monochromatic and gender neutral. I looked at their “The Everywhere Backpack” which comes in two editions 1) sleek & chic 2) quilted and a bit puffy, like a backpack version of the TikTok famous quilted Cos bag.
I personally preferred the cute fluffy “Quilted The Everywhere Zip Backpack” so let's look at that. Firstly, it's made of water-resistant materials which is handy. It has one large compartment though it does also have a small front pocket to slip in small items. Inside you’ll find tons of pockets to easily fit away your belongings including pockets for sunglasses and penholders. There’s a separate zip at the back for you to stash away a 15 inch laptop or iPad. There’s enough space inside for a jumper and a small bag of essentials such as your makeup and beauty products. I also liked that while the backpack opens up fully, it has a clam-shell like design that prevents your stuff from falling out.
“The Quilted Everywhere Zip Backpack” comes in black and a lovely olive green Overall, I thought it was a great backpack - very stylish and functional.
Founded by Pretty Little Liars alumni, Shay Mitchell, Beis is a slightly more affordable version of Away. “The Backpack” comes with a nice front pocket with compartments and enough space on the sides for two water bottles. Inside you can easily fit in a 14 inch laptop in a padded case and there are 3 little zip pockets as well. It also has a handy trolley pass-through so you can slip it over the handle of your luggage.
I didn’t love the fact that it was made of cotton as the material makes it a touch less versatile, though it does have a water resistant lining inside.
The Backpack comes in a selection of neutrals such as cream and gunmetal grey though I was partial to the “Atlas Pink”.
I would classify July in the same bucket as Away - seek and monochromatic with very functional elements hidden throughout. Their “Carry All '' has one large main compartment through there’s a small front pocket to slip in a few small items. Handily, there’s also a separate zip that allows for easy access for your laptop. There’s a pocket on the side for a water bottle as well though it’ll be a tight fit for larger bottles (such as a beloved Stanley Cup). Overall, “The Carry All” is large enough to carry all your essentials including a 16 inch laptop, shoes and a thick jumper. It is very compact though, so while you have enough space for core essentials, it’s probably going to be a tight fit as an overnight bag.
Rather handily, the backpack comes with a 5 year warranty which is ideal if you’re a heavy user of your backpacks. The “Carry All” is only available in dark colours - either a deep navy blue or black.
There wasn’t much wrong with this backpack in terms of functionality (it's also water resistant). The only downside for me was that it was just a touch too compact but if you’re not an over packer like me, this isn’t going to put you off.
A brand driven by sustainability, augustnoa has a small selection of really well-created travel products. The “Classic Noa” had everything that I was looking for in a backpack. Large expandable side pockets for a water bottle or umbrella, water-resistant exterior, strong branded YKK zippers, a luggage sleeve, laptop sleeve to fit a large 17 inch laptop and padded shoulder straps. It’s roomy enough to stuff a change of clothes but doesn’t look bulky when full or awkwardly saggy when half empty. Everything about the backpack is really thoughtfully designed, including small pockets on the shoulder pads for easy access for keys, cards, airpod cases, and a secure backpocket to keep your passport safe.
“The Classic Noa” comes in 3 colours, a creamy white (stressful, how do I keep it clean), black, and a very chic olive green.