MUST READ • 8 Best Backpack Brands (2021)

Without our backpacks, we’d just be broke. Nobody gets very far without a good bag strapped to their back, and loads of companies know that, so modern shoppers have a sea of different backpacks to sift through. We’re here to help narrow down the playing field. 

Every outdoor brand in the business has attempted to make a bag worthy of everyday carry, but that doesn’t make them a backpack brand. We wanted to find out what companies out there are truly changing the game and pushing backpacks to their limits, so we started a list. 

The Broke Backpacker crew has worn holes through loads of different backpacks and have walked for miles with an uncomfortable load across our shoulders. We know the pain of lousy gear and the pleasure of opening up a pocket and finding your bus tickets exactly where you expected them to be. 

A good backpack will have you feeling like a travel professional even if it’s your first time leaving the state, or help make sure even if you show up to work a bit late, your organised bag keeps everything on schedule. 

But a bad backpack can ruin the day in one snapped strap or slowly ruin your life through years of unnatural weight on your low back. Choice always eventually works in the consumer’s favour, but it can feel like an impossible task to navigate the industry and find signature backpacks from the best backpack brands. Luckily, we have a lot of time on our hands, and we’ve done the dirty work for you. 

We talked to backpackers, bankers, and busboy’s to find out who have been making the best bags for all sorts of lifestyles, and we can’t wait to share our results. These backpack brands are young upstarts, classic industry powerhouses, and surprise contenders you may not expect. 

To qualify for our list, we looked beyond the stitching. In our eyes, the best brands do more than sell a great backpack, although that is step one. To truly outperform the competition, most of the brands on our list focus on sustainability and fair employee treatment just as much as they focus on making top quality products. 

So before you buy your next bag, read on to find out who’s tough enough and who ain’t quite up to snuff. 

Quick Answers; What Are The Best Backpack Brands?

#1 – Best Overall Backpack Brand – Osprey

#2 – Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Deuter

#3 – Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Nomatic

#4 – Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD

#5 – Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc

#6 – Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather

#7 – Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply

#8 – Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI CoOp

#9 – Best New Backpack Brand Tropicfeel

Best Overall Backpack Brand – Osprey

Osprey Aether 65

Best Overall Backpack Brand – Osprey

Aether 65

  • > $$
  • > Heavyweight
  • > 100% vegan and 100% compatible with hikes and adventures

Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Deuter

Deuter Speed Lite 20

Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Deuter

Deuter Speed Lite 20

  • > $
  • > Sneaky reservoir pocket
  • > Versatile bags under 100$

Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Nomatic

Nomatic Travel Pack

Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Nomatic

Travel Pack

  • > $$
  • > RFID security pocket and easy access passport pockets
  • > Water-resistant fabric

Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD

Wandrd PRVKE Series Camera Bag

Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD


  • > $$
  • > Come with two different camera cubes
  • > Separate mesh space for SD Cards

Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc

Monarc Backpack

Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc


  • > $$
  • > Comes with sternum and waist straps
  • > Made out of recycled material

Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather

Kodiak Kobuk Leather Backpack

Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather


  • > $$
  • > Top-grain leather
  • > Magnetic closure

Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply

Boundary Supply Errant

Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply


  • > $$
  • > Water-resistant and slightly shiny
  • > Main storage spaces are split up into two separate pockets

Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI Co-Op

REI Coop Trail 25 Pack

Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI Co-Op

Trail Pack 25

  • > $
  • > Two large water bottle holders
  • > Camelbak reservoir and a complete rain fly built-in

Best New Backpack Brand – Tropicfeel

Shell Backpack

Best New Backpack Brand – Tropicfeel

Tropicfeel Shell

  • > $$$
  • > Completely waterproof
  • > Great internal packing cube system

So Who Makes The Best Backpacks?

The simple answer? Osprey.

The real answer? Way more complicated. No two lifestyles are the same, so no backpack is the best for everyone. Each of these brands tries to appeal to as many people as possible, but they all have their niches. 

Decide what lifestyle you’re shopping for before you start to think about what bag to buy. Shoppers looking for something to take into the woods will have a completely different answer to this question than someone looking for a work partner, but everyone is looking for backpacks that last. 

These bags perform their jobs using high-quality materials and without cutting corners in production. 

#1 – Best Overall Backpack Brand – Osprey

Osprey packs were born out of Mike Pfotenhaur’s bare hands. The madman made a living in Santa Cruz, flipping custom-fitted backpacks from his front yard until demand got too high and the company moved its headquarters to its current location in Dolores, Colorado.

Osprey’s founders credit Navajo blanket weaving techniques for the bags’ sustained success. Ancient practices to hold firm when the buffalo roam have made their way into modern stitchings.

Perhaps that craftsmanship is why the company is confident enough in their products to offer up the All Mighty Guarantee. You see, Osprey bags are protected for life. Ship your bag back, even if it’s from 1975, and the repair team will do its best. If they can’t fix it, Osprey will replace your pack on the house. 

Osprey’s backpacks are sourced from Vietnam, and the company pledges to take sustainability into account as a core part of its identity. They’ve always felt it’s just the right thing to do. From sourcing materials to testing chemicals, Osprey opens up their process to third-party audits and always welcomes new ideas for making better, more technically advanced, and more sustainable gear. 

That’s where the Aether line steps in. This sustainable heavyweight is designed to spread the pounds across your whole body for healthier hiking when you’re going the distance. Osprey’s bags are made of the best stuff out there, and they just so happen to be recycled materials. A few Osprey lines are 100% vegan and 100% compatible with hikes and adventures big and small.

Minute differences in load and hip straps may not be noticeable on mile one. Still, as the miles increase, Osprey’s attention to detail pushes the Aether into the upper echelon of backpacking bags. 

Three different ways to enter your bags main compartment will help reach the gear at the bottom of the bag without entirely unpacking. You’ll find each pocket in a perfect spot and loads of customisation options to adjust the torso, shoulders, hips and chest. The list goes on and on. 

This bag is here to help; Osprey is here to help. You could throw countless lines from the company’s history into a list of the best backpacks on the market, and they would belong at the top. If you want to know more about it, you can check out our Osprey Aether Review.

#2 – Best Backpack Brand For Hiking – Deuter

If you wanted to make a Western European version of Forrest Gump, you could call it Hans Deuter. Just like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Deuter’s founding fathers seemed to have their noses in every significant event of the 19th century. 

Deuter saddle bags protected army horses in both world wars and were the official bag builders for the 1972 Olympic team. This hype led to their first year being recognised as a German backpack bestseller; they haven’t spent much time off of the lists of Germany’s best rucksack producers since. 

Deuter hasn’t just talked the talk; they’ve promised to repair any Deuter pack free of charge, no matter how old. They’ve undoubtedly had to make their fair share of repairs when gearing up countless expeditions. 

The German-Soviet Pamir expedition, the Nanga Parat expedition, and the first ascent on the North Face of the Eiger were all powered by Deuter bags, as well as the Thousands of adventurers who have hit new personal peaks with Deuter on their backs. 

Modern-day Deuter has gifted the market with almost a hundred years of bagmaking craftsmanship, but this company isn’t afraid to change to keep up with the times. The company was an early adopter of taking a serious stand against climate change, being Bluesign certified since 2008. This certification declares that Deuter has optimised material use at every stage of the production chain.

Featured Deuter Backpack – Deuter Speed Lite 20

Deuter Speed Lite 20

You don’t have to be the first person on top of a rock to appreciate Deuter’s compelling quality. This Speed Lite pack gives you everything you need throughout the day in a lightweight shell that can go anywhere. Its our pick for the best hiking backpack.

That all-important top pocket keeps space for necessities, and a sneaky reservoir pocket makes this bag day trek certified. My favourite part of this backpack is the approachable price. One of the most versatile bags under 100$, Deuter Speed is just as comfortable in the office as in the woods. 

#3 – Best Backpack Brand For Carry On – Nomatic

The wanderers responsible for this hip brand are a great embodiment of the American Dream that meets the 21st century. This Kickstarter-funded project has snowballed into an industry leader in various products that make travel days easier. They didn’t meet fundraising targets on one project, but ten! People keep coming back for more.  

It started with a wallet, but now Nomatic has a wide range of accessories built for the world’s movers and shakers. This company grew up in the internet age and didn’t carry the same traditional mindset that slows many luggage companies down. 

Nomatic is not afraid of trying new techniques and tinkering with bags to see where they can add value. Their bags are based on quality, function, and versatility first. The team made sure to take plenty of time to focus on the look and feel of their products, too, resulting in bags that are professional enough to fit into the board room and comfy enough to accompany a week-long getaway. 

The company’s website makes it easy to shop by needs, trip lengths, and styles to help direct you towards your perfect pack. 

Featured Nomatic Backpack – Travel Pack

Nomatic Travel Pack

This epic carry on pack throws it all into fulfilling one specific niche; air travel. Custom made for carry-on, Nomatic took TSA rules and regulations into consideration during creation and implemented loads of unique features that make your life easier. 

Built for 3-7 day trips or as a modern briefcase alongside a checked bag, you’d have to pack very light if this is the only piece of your luggage. Once you’ve checked in, Nomatic’s RFID security pocket and easy access passport pockets will save valuable seconds at security. Cord pass-throughs and secret pockets line the inner lining of the water-resistant fabric that emits a soft black glow. 

These famous travel backpacks raised 3 million dollars on Kickstarter, promising to change your layovers, and Nomatic has been delivering their end of the bargain. Read our full and detailed Nomatic Backpack review if you need to know more

#4 – Best Backpack Brand Photographers – WANDRD

All your camera gear can quickly add up when it’s time to pack. Wandrd founders were itching to head across the world and document their travels but couldn’t find bags that could hold up to the rigours of the job. Frustrated at the lack dedicated camera backpacks, the boys rolled up their sleeves and got to work. 

Mom made peanut butter and jellies while company founders went to the drawing board. They etched out prototype after prototype, brainstorming camera-friendly features and building a bag that lasts for life. 

All that hard work resulted in the original Prvke, Wandrd’s first bag and an instant hit. The bag’s expandable roll-top and integrated camera cube revolutionised travelling with a camera. Consumers finally found a modern-day camera bag that can hold everything you need for a day’s shoot. 

They had found success. But the company was on a mission to stay radically curious and kept scheming improvements and tweaks to their bags, as well as coming up with functional accessories. 

Now you can find ten different bag models and various camera accessories on their dedicated online store.

Featured WANDRD Backpack – PRVKE 31

Wandrd PRVKE Series Camera Bag

The latest in a long line of Prvke bags that have provoked a change in the industry, this bag had big shoes to fill. It took the same successful roll-top shape and reinforced the carry points to help the bag hold up to 40 litres. They took something easy to carry and made it even more portable for all body shapes.

The company dared to be different by listening to customer feedback and making various changes that resulted in a more comfortable bag. Whether it’s for a day hike, commute, or travel day, the PRVKE may be the best option to get your camera safely to the shoot.

Various sizes all come with two different camera cubes and enough straps to hold everything in place. Your roll-top can expand to bring along a change of clothes or two, but no matter how much you pack, interior laptop sleeves and fleece-lined pockets will guarantee a compartmentalised interior – there’s even a separate mesh space for SD Cards!

Wandrd has been on the scene for six years now, and their latest bag continues their run of best in class backpacks. 

#5 – Best Backpack Brand For Eco Travellers – Monarc

Travellers across the globe are starting to realise we all need to do better if we want to keep enjoying untouched natural beauty. Monarc wants to make it easy for travellers to do better by providing the world’s first plastic negative bag company. We have tried a few eco backpacks lately, but this is by far the best.

Monarc collects and shreds discarded plastic bottles to build the thread and fabric of their bags. They have used modern technology that removes 2 kilograms of plastic from the environment for every 1 kilo used. That’s already a fantastic achievement, but Monarc didn’t stop at plastic negative. 

The company has shown they like to say yes to sustainability. It wasn’t enough to use recycled plastic in their products; they also pledged to remove twice as much waste as they use for their products. They’ve helped employ thousands of people with quality working conditions that raise communities while cleaning up. And still, they pull in a profit, so they joined the 1% for the planet initiative to help their business do more. 

All of that effort has added up to a legit bag brand that proves you can make top quality products without harming the natural world. The niche company focuses on products for modern travellers, from a signature duffle bag to camera cubes all made from recycled plastic bottles.

A sustainability pledge is impressive, but you still have to deliver a quality product. Luckily, Monarc checks off all the boxes. 

Featured Monarc Backpack – Settra

Monarc Backpack

Settra is the heart and soul of the Monarc brand. In fact, this signature duffel backpack is the only bag the brand makes. 50 recycled plastic bottles make up one of the most technologically advanced travel pieces on the market

A nifty handle and strap system allow the bag to work as both a duffel and a backpack make it the best eco luggage piece for all tastes. Conversion is quick and painless, and the backpack straps tuck away when not in use to keep a clean appearance. You can pick between a grey and black muted exterior that matches plenty of sheik travel styles, all without generating more trash.

The backpack carry feature comes with sternum and waist straps which makes this bag surprisingly comfortable to hold. It was deliberately built with TSA regulations in mind, so Monarc maximised space while keeping the bag small enough for carrying on. It’s versatile, functional, and brings so much style with it you won’t believe it is all made out of recycled material.

#6 – Best Leather Backpack Brand – Kodiak Leather

No matter the style, the best leather backpacks on the market were all crafted by Kodiak. They have everything from a diaper bag to an 80L mega duffel, all built with nothing less than the best top-grain leather and reinforced brass knuckles. Since they were shipping bags out of their garage office, Kodiak has hand-crafted each bag built to last a lifetime. 

The company fully expects you to pass on your Kodiak leather for generations. A strict inspection process ensures each product is looked at three times before it ships to keep a high quality assurance standard. They’ve become many adventurers and a one-stop-shop for quality leather bags. 

Leather has its limitations, but there is nothing more iconic than a piece of fine leather. Kodiak uses  Each bag has a slightly different shade of brown or grey leather that results in natural differences in the cow’s development. These delicate shades bend and change over time to help provide your bag with even more personalisation. 

After a few years, owners swear their bags have their personality, as each scar leaves an aesthetically pleasing blemish on the exterior. Their smaller products have clever compartments and laptop pockets that style up the morning commute, while larger duffels give you everything you need to pack for longer trips. Each one of their products features easy-access pockets for essential things. 

If you’re shopping for leather, you should be willing to invest a few extra dollars for a leather bag that doesn’t cut any corners, and you won’t need to look further than Kodiak.

Featured Kodiak Backpack – Kobuk

Kodiak Kobuk Leather Backpack

Alongside their more traditional leather satchels and duffels, Kodiak is pushing the boundaries of leather with this adventurous, backpack style leather unit. The top-grain leather gives off a rustic glow that draws the eye across the roll-top compartment. 

A single brass knob holds down the pocket, and a magnetic closure built into the buckle makes sure your stuff won’t pop open. Once you get inside the pack, you’ll find all sorts of nooks and crannies that are ripe for organisation. 

Not many top-grain bags come with laptop compartments, but the padded sleeve inside the main pocket of the Kobuk will keep your electronics ready to roll. The shoulder straps don’t offer enough shoulder protection to take this bag on a long hike, but that’s about the only thing Kobuk can’t do. 

As a day to day bag or a carry on, the Kobuk takes the best in leather quality and turns it into a modern backpack. 

#7 – Best Backpack Brand For Digital Nomads – Boundary Supply

Boundary Supply crafted rucksacks built to tackle urban public transit, board rooms and departure lounges. Their bags are built to function all over the world, but Boundary knows their place. Designers focused on creating innovative backpacks that make the day-to-day a bit more comfortable. 

They have a wide range of backpack and duffel bag lines that all feel at home during the workday. From light and sleek everyday carry backpacks, straps and belts with hidden pockets, specially designed camera bags, all the way to duffel bags with enough space to pack gym clothes, Boundary Supply is an online shopping store focused on products for nomads. 

Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, Boundary supplies gear that will make your life easier. Modern companies know that sustainability is an excellent step towards making everyone’s life a bit easier, so they source their products and plan their factories using Bluesign guidelines, an international standard for pollution control and chemical safety. They believe that sustainability effort starts at the designing table, where they hold themselves to intense environmental standards, and you can too.  

See exactly what makes up your bag straight from the source. Every material that goes into these award-winning bags is on display on their websites. So often, companies drop buzz words like “201D HT Nylon Kodra” or Nywool with Barricade DWR” when describing their products but don’t go any further, so this transparency is quite refreshing.

This lifestyle brand is more focused on the urban jungle than the mountain top, but their gear is uniquely capable of getting you through your daily grind in style. Best of all, they back up their bags with a lifetime warranty, so you can rest easy knowing this company is confident enough in their products to bet they last. 

Featured Boundary Supply Backpack – Errant

Boundary Supply Errant

The Errant hasn’t been around very long. The bag burst into life in 2020 and immediately became some tech-savvy adventurer’s day-to-day pack. We tested the bag ourselves on the streets of Liverpool and were blown away by the adaptability. Our slate blue bag used a material similar to a tarp to protect your goods. It’s water-resistant and slightly shiny through cloudy days. 

At 25 litres, it’s slightly too small to be the only bag you bring with you on vacation or work for camera gear, but it’s got more than enough space to work as a daily commuter. The main storage spaces are split up into two separate pockets so you can easily store dirty clothes without the risk of community transmission. 

The laptop compartment is a fully-fledged space protected by a full zip. You can open up this rear laptop section only instead of rifling through your main room if you want to quietly take out your laptop at 10,000 feet without waking up the neighbours. It’s full of fun features that make your life easier and still weigh less than 3 pounds. 

Errant has found its niche. The backpack is a perfect companion for day-to-day use or anyone who wants loads of organisation options in their carry-on. 

#8 – Best Budget Backpack Brand – REI Co-Op

Last but certainly not least, unless we’re ranking in terms of prices. REI Co-Op is the closest thing to a corporate outdoor supply chain on our list, but they’ve managed to keep the soul of their company alive while enjoying unprecedented success. The company has been stocking the goods since 1938, and their brick and mortar stores are now outdoor mainstays across the country. As they’ve grown, they’ve only managed to be more beloved in the outdoor communities they support. 

Most of REI’s company ethos revolves around its Co-Op model. Ever since 23 climbing buddies decided to group up to get gear, the company has always been a co-op. Now, that small co-op consists of 20 million civilian members, 15,000 employees, and 168 stores. The Co-op offers some pretty awesome profit-sharing with Co-op members and their employees, constantly sharing the wealth. Nearly 70% of profits are directly invested back into the people building out the company. 

REI has slowly become more than just a middle man. Their house line of products is incredibly safe choices for outdoor gear. Anyone who is looking for a way to find equipment on a budget should look towards REI first. 

If their house line is still too expensive, REI has an online outlet that redistributes used gear at a heavy discount, and most stores will offer up a garage sale. Any returns are resold at a steep discount, and I can often find brand new tents, sleeping bags, and assorted socks all for pennies on a dollar just by walking through their shops. 

The reason this garage sale is such a big deal is because of REI’s relaxed return policy. REI can also stand for return everything incorporated because they will accept any returns for six months, no questions asked. 

To sum up this budget backpack brand, they’re everywhere, focused on customer support and sustainability, and have everything in stock. Whatever you need for your next adventure, you’re bound to find it at REI. 

Featured REI Backpack – Trail Pack 25

REI Coop Trail 25 Pack

A signature pack from a powerful brand, this rucksack has space for everything you need for a day in the woods or wandering through a city. The muted blue checkerboard exterior fits into most lifestyles without making a scene, and the bag has all the little things you need to get from point A to B.

Two large water bottle holders and a few big clips on the exterior of the bag will help you cart plus-sized hardware, and the zippered top pocket provides a perfect place for your cellphone, wallet, and keys while you commute. Once your bag is packed, clip the shoulder straps and hip protected to feel lighter than air while heading into the office. 

You can find the trial pack with 25 or 40 litres of storage. Either size will have a Camelbak reservoir and a complete rain fly built-in. The bag itself isn’t waterproof but will hold against the most substantial downpours with the rainfly produce. 

It’s tough to find bags this small that are still so effective in the woods. While this bag is not big enough for a multi-day hike, it’s technical and classy enough to work well on practically any other adventure. 

#9 Best New Backpack Brand – Tropicfeel

There are new backpack brands opening up on Kickstarter all the time right now so it really does take something special to stand out above the crowd and earn our place as the best new backpack brand. The Spanish based brand Tropicfeel have a simple ethos – to create a top travel gear brand making versatile, high-quality, and sustainable products. Their mission is to change the way we travel while contributing to a more responsible lifestyle.

So far, their product range is pretty slim consisting of just around 5 different packs but all of them are special, unique and well-deserving of a place in your gear collection.

Shell Backpack

Ok, what we have here is a very special pack indeed. Firstly, the Tropicfeel Shell is actually to change its size capacity from 22l stretching out to 40l. Essentially the Shell is a 2-1 backpack which can be utilised as either a day pack, an overnight bag or even a Carry-on backpack for short trips.

The next special feature is that it comes with a built-in wardrobe – yes it is designed with a hanging wardrobe inside which allows you to perfectly, neatly, pack and arrange tier clothes so that when you arrive at your destination you just take it straight out and hag it up!

Novelty aside, it’s also a genuinely great bag made from high quality, fully sustainable materials. In terms of downsides, will it’s not light or versatile enough to be a useful hiking or camping bag and of course, 40l is not enough storage for all occasions.

Final Thoughts on The Best Backpack Brands

This marks the end of our deep dive into the multifunctional world of the backpack industry. Some of these brands have spent decades making high-quality backpacks, while others are new faces on shopping lists but have already proven themselves way ahead of the curve. 

We looked through small companies looking to fill a particular niche through the most significant outdoor behemoths on the market to come up with the best backpack brands out there, but ultimately this is a subjective list.

If you disagree with our rankings or just want to tell us about your favourite backpack brands, we always want to learn about new faces. Let us know which bags hold a special place in your heart in the comments below.  

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