1. Fold this super lightweight backpack into a pouch when you’re not using it for hikes and beach days.
I own this and recently used it while hiking and for beach days on a Greek vacation! It may be lightweight and look small, but it’s seriously tough without weighing you down as you schlep up a hill.
Promising review: “We’ve just returned from 7 days of hiking with these beauties; both my daughter and I loved them. We have the smaller of the two sizes (20L) and found them perfect — they suit Frontier’s size requirements for a ‘personal item’ and were light and COMFORTABLE for hiking in upper 90s weather for mountainous 9-mile hikes in both North Carolina and Colorado Springs. They helped us conquer the legendary ‘Incline’ of Manitou Springs and a fabulous bike ride all the way down Pikes Peak when hydration, stability, and comfort were paramount. They easily carried several water bottles, personal items, car keys safely zipped into the carrying pouch, light jacket, sunscreen, snacks, maps, phone, etc. (I even washed mine when we returned last night and it came out looking like new after I snipped a few threads around the zipper.) EVEN if it had not survived for another trip, these were WELL WORTH the price. And yes — I have gotten mine back into its pouch several times with ease. I traveled with this packed in my larger backpack until we were preparing for the day trips; she slid hers under the airplane seat easily. Both worked beautifully.” —Kenya Anders
Price: (available in two sizes and 19 colors) CHECK ON AMAZON
2. File it all away in this slim-profile laptop pack that only looks expensive.
Promising review: “Great pack! It fits everything I need and more. I work IT and am always in need of spare room for wires and various items for clients. This pack isn’t overwhelmingly large yet it still fits my lunchbox, novel, notebooks, Lenovo laptop, tablet, Yahtzee sheets, and my new love interest, the Switch. It’s sturdy without my back having to suffer for it and I love knowing my gear is protected. The design is obviously gorgeous and I’ve since decorated it with various pins and patches. Most importantly, I’ve yet to have any issues with the straps. They’re strong and I trust their durability, even with my whole life shoved in the pack. I also feel pretty cool showing up at businesses with this on my back.” —Jamie Gould
3. Bring this versatile, flight-approved backpack on all your adventures.
Promising review: “Took this backpack on a two-week family trip to Hawaii. I stuffed a laptop, seflie stick, and a tripod along with (est.) 15 pair of clothes. I was scared it’ll pop during the traveling. Nope. Not a single zipper, belt, or strap snapped. I lend it to my friend who took it on another two-week trip to Spain and Belgium, and it was no problem for her either. I compared this with the Thule and Swiss backpacks and finally decided to go with this Hynes Travel Pack since it was easier to access my clothes and can store more. If you’re looking for a backpack to carry your clothes in and not have to worry about suitcase this is ideal. I would not recommend packing for three weeks in this backpack since it does get very heavy. If you’re looking for a stylist backpack this is NOT it.” —Tang
Price: + (available with or without packing cubes and in 10 colors) CHECK ON AMAZON
4. Keep it simple with this classic backpack in a variety of colors.
Promising review: “After years of frustrating experiences with other backpacks, I’ve finally found the perfect alternative in this basic and simple one. It has the size, shape, look, and quality of a JanSport backpack for almost $20 less…and is way better in that it has pockets for notebooks, writing utensils, and even a laptop sleeve inside, along with a side compartment for water.” —Ricardo A
5. Run errands with this patterned pack that’s so cute you’ll wanna carry it around empty.
Promising review: “I was intending to give this to my daughter, but decided to keep it for myself because it fits my style, the straps do not dig into my shoulders, and it is very comfortable to wear. I can see myself using this when I travel.” —JAH
Price: + (available with or without packing cubes and in six colors) CHECK ON AMAZON
6. Strap on everything AND the kitchen sink with this Oakley pack that has every pocket, strap, and compartment ever.
Promising review: “The headline doesn’t quite do justice. 10 years ago I bought an Oakley backpack on clearance and it lasted the whole 10 years and probably 200 airplanes with only one failure, one of the chest clips fell off, gave it to my buddy and he still uses it. So Oakley is extremely durable. I started climbing last year and decided this one would be better because of the front rings. This bag has exceeded my expectations 10 fold, after a year of constantly hooking carabiners and other climbing equipment from the rings, they are just as intact as day one. Nothing has loosened at all and all the zips are still as smooth as butter, despite being covered in chalk. There is plenty of room throughout. An average pack for me is a change of pants, a shirt, socks, climbing harness, a chalk bag, a chalk bucket, training mask, climbing shoes, rope, various other climbing tools, iPad, dog leash, dog food, bottled water, dog bowls, and other miscellaneous items. There is still room in here for more. The chest straps are constructed better, there’s a bottom pocket for dirty shoes or wet clothes that will keep them from your dry stuff, the waist strap is nice and wide so keeping a heavy bag tight to the body is easy to manage, and a padded back with an access zipper to easily access you tablet or laptop. Only complaint I have is that the center compartment, between the clips, can’t really be easily accessed without opening the clips. It’s stupid, I know, but I feel obligated to at least list something negative.” —samuel sale
7. File all your equipment away safely in this camera bag/backpack.
Promising review: “At first glance I was skeptical that this backpack would carry what I needed it to. Then I started to move around the foam dividers in the main compartment, and within a few minutes I could fit in my SLR with a mounted 55-200mm lens, an 18-70mm lens, a speedlight flash, and camera manual. In the top pocket and accessory pockets: card reader, camera battery charger, 8-AA batteries for the flash. With some thought I was even able to secure a full size tripod on the back with the tie down cord. The backpack sling mount is very comfortable. I like that it has metal, not plastic, hardware.” —swiffish
8. Lengthen your camping or hiking trip with this expandable pack.
Promising review: “It’s exactly as pictured. The removable waist belt that is held in place with Velcro won’t slide around. The two little pouches on the shoulder straps are held stable with Velcro, also. The sternum strap has room to adjust, as well.” —Ruth Elgers
9. Hark back to the ’90s with this clear backpack that’s fit to hold all you’re OK with the world eyeing.
Promising review: “I use this backpack to take into the prison system. Others have complained about the zippers on their backpacks breaking or wearing out — well, this is one tough backpack, and the zippers are substantial as well.” —GM
Price: $24.99 (available in nine colors)
10. Equip yourself for your next outdoor adventure with this Treton internal-frame backpack that comes with a rain cover.
Promising review: “A perfect sized and fully adjustable backpack. Incredible for the price, I’ve used it for several pack trips now and the pack has held up very well, held all that I needed. There are plenty of side pockets, separate sleeping bag compartment and organizer areas on the top, as well as places to strap extras onto the pack exterior. Padded and adjustable, the pack is comfortable and lightweight.” —trav s
11. Maintain your personal brand while carrying a bunch of stuff with this sleek, stylish pack.
Promising review: “I used this backpack to travel overseas. It has a huge amount of room inside — enough for a travel pillow, blanket, and simple toiletries, and also mesh pouches big enough to hold a bottle of water. This is a comfortable bag to wear on your shoulders because the straps are wide. The fact that this bag has held up so well after I was so rough with it is impressive! It looks nice, simple, and a lot more expensive than it was.” —K.
12. Organize your whole life in this mesh bungee backpack.
Promising review: “I got this pack to bring on marches as I have recently found myself becoming actively involved in some political protests. Some marches do not allow backpacks unless contents are visible. I thought the mesh would be more comfortable than a plastic or vinyl one… and I like this one a lot. I It is large enough to hold some clothes and food. It has an external zipped pocket, as well as two side pockets with elasticized tops good for water bottles or snacks. It’s light and comfortable. The only improvement I would suggest is to add a small padded waist belt.” —Cathy
13. Tuck you laptop — and every other thing you could possibly need for class — in this hyper-organized floral pack.
Promising review: “This was exactly what I needed, a sturdy, large backpack to hold all of my stuff. I have a five-subject notebook, two folders, a Chromebook, chargers, a hairbrush, a water bottle, and little essential items in mine! Love all of the pockets and the design looks great.” —ANL
Promising review: “Great rolling book bag. My teenage boy went through two bookbags in just a couple of weeks, but this book bag has not shown any wear after months of use. Lots of room and pockets for supplies.” —Ronnie Turner