Whether you prefer a shoulder bag, duffel, or backpack — or some combination of all three — the Alchemy Equipment AEL008 Carry On has you covered. It’s IATA-compliant, opens fully like a suitcase for easy packing, features 45 litres of space, and boasts a handful of convenient pockets for your passport, tickets, magazines, and tablet/15″ laptop, all stuff you’ll want to keep handy in an airport or in-flight. Switch from backpack to shoulder bag to duffel by stashing all extra straps within zippered compartments for a sleek, clean look that won’t leave snag-prone straps hanging out everywhere. And despite all this it weighs only 1,500 grams, adding minimal weight to whatever’s inside.
Buy one at Alchemy Equipment – $235
When your daily commute involves navigating both the weather and the rigors of above- and below-ground transportation (or simply a harrowing car or bike ride), you need a bag that can take a beating. And if that bag brings along some style as well, all the better. The Distilled Collection from San Francisco-based Timbuk2 draws on the company’s humble beginnings in a garage pumping out products for bike messengers. The Walker Laptop Backpack in particular harnesses that same spirit and combines rugged waxed canvas and genuine leather accents with a herringbone pattern that’ll perfectly complement distressed denim and boots for casual Fridays — or any day of the week, for that matter.
Find it at Amazon – $175+
When you’re loading up before heading to the great outdoors, space for gear is often critically limited. One solution to that problem is in sight for fortuitous Kickstarters. Houston-based Tenativ launched their roll-top bag and tent combination, known as Moedal + Totem, and packs some serious functionality. Moedal, the waterproof roll-top bag, is equipped with waterproof zippers and polyester webbing for durability. Totem, the one-man bivy tent, is equally durable and fit for use in three seasons; both attach seamlessly to one another, granting access to the inside of the backpack both without leaving the tent and without sacrificing floor space. And if that’s not enough, each product is made by an entirely blind-and-deaf workforce in America, and a portion of sales go toward providing life-changing support to homeless teenagers. What are you waiting for?
Learn more at Kickstarter – $375+
Access. It’s the one thing most backpacks lack (without of course taking them off), except perhaps to the gear packed in their tiny shoulder strap pockets. The Paxis Pax changes that thanks to ARC swing tech, which lets its “shuttle pod” — or the bottom third of the pack — swing out in front of you with a pull of a handle and a quick reach around. Fill the pod with a camera, snacks, fishing gear, or a multitude of other stuff you need to keep handy, and access it in an instant any time. The Pax is also highly water-resistant thanks to its NYLAR Ballistic Fabric construction, boasts an ergonomic padded and vented back, a hydration port, and a tripod/ski/fishing pole pocket. And while the stuff in its larger top segment is only accessible when you take off the bag, a bit of clever packing can minimize this need altogether.
Learn more at Paxis Pax – $240 to $275
Well sized for everyday needs yet rigged up with most of the functionality of a dry bag, Poler’s High & Dry Pack 20 begs to be used and abused. Its roll-top 300D Campdura poly coated body fabric is already highly water resistant, though for straight up waterproofing the pack is compatible with Poler’s High & Dry Bag, which zips in to create a two compartment system. It’s also fitted with YKK waterproof zippers, multiple Molle lash points for attaching extra gear, an internal laptop sleeve, and a variety of comfort-centric features including a removable sternum strap, shaped shoulder straps with load lifters, and a custom molded EVA foam back panel.
Get it at Poler – $100
One solid rucksack is all you need. And the Mission Workshop Black Camo Sanction aims to be the last one you ever need to purchase. Secured by MW’s Arkiv closure system, the pack is constructed of rugged MultiCam-Black Cordura and lined with hi-vis orange waterproof ripstop nylon. Urethane-coated YKK zippers work with the aforementioned materials to keep water out while a large inner zippered pocket holds a 15″ laptop computer, alongside 20 litres of miscellaneous gear in the main compartment. It can also be customized with a wasitbeld, internal tool roll, and single rail Arkiv accessories on either shoulder strap, including a cell phone pocket.
Grab one at Mission Workshop – $295
Ural’s Burn Bag always arrives in one piece whether you throw it in the trunk or strap it to a roof or luggage rack. This hardy escape bag is constructed from 1000D Cordura-lined 20 oz. Military M35 Tarpaulin fabric that’s both waterproof and highly tear resistant, and closes with industrial-grade #10 water-resistant YKK zippers. All hardware is metal, including a 4-point anchor system for attachment to the aforementioned racks, and the bag also features a Austin Calf Horween leather front pocket and accents. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, it’ll fit about $893,000 in $20 USD bills.
Learn more at Ural – $380
Essentially a bag that turns into a closet and back again, the Lexdray London Garment Bag is the most efficient way to pack for business trips or short getaways. It’s built from durable ballistic nylon & Neoprene to protect your goods within and unzips before unfolding and granting full access to its contents, letting you hang it up and forget it once at your destination. With four shelves it has plenty of room for shirts, pants, shoes, undergarments, and miscellaneous accessories, as well as space for a computer in a dedicated padded compartment and even a suit thanks to its removable suit bag.
Grab one at Amazon – $540
Redesigned and reworked where it matters, Tessel’s distinctive Jet Pack 2.0 Backpack features the same unique angular face panel that sets it apart from other bags, looks-wise. But the 2.0 is instead made of a more rugged 210D PU Ripstop Nylon, thicker foam for improved protection of the goods within, and water-resistant features that include YKK AquaGuard coated zippers and a storm flap zippered front pocket. It’ll still fit a 15″ notebook and look good doing it.
Preorder at Tessel – $120 [via]
Designed to function as both a camera bag and day-to-day workhorse depending on the need, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger is sleek on the outside but opens up to reveal a ridiculous amount of organizational prowess and versatility. Three fixed FlexFold dividers customize to your camera equipment or other gear, folding over for stacking, and the bag’s semi-rigid frame maintains its composure even when the bag is near empty, with four clasp closures along the front to accommodate varying loads. It also repels water thanks to its Kodra synthetic canvas build, employs Peak’s MagLatch latch for one-handed closure and access, features a gusseted front panel with eight stretchy pockets for taming smaller accessories, and also sports two Capture clip attachment points for keeping your camera handy outside the bag.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $195