Whatever your travel plans this summer, Best Made Co’s The Bonded Duffle has your back — or, rather, 44 litres worth of the clothes on it. Based around their bonded canvas which is the result of the permanent bonding of 10 oz canvas with 7 oz flat cotton twill using a rubber-based adhesive, this durable duffle resists abrasion as well as water, the latter helped by taped interior seams and an internal storm flap backing up the brass zipper. Both leather handles and a wool felt-lined removable shoulder strap offer two modes of carry while the bag itself comes in either black or olive drab (shown).
Grab one at Best Made Co – $230
If self-expression is amongst your primary concerns and you’re looking for a new bag, give Rareform’s Classic Backpack a shot. Old vinyl billboards go into the making of every one of their products, upcycling what would otherwise hit the landfill into a series of interesting packs of which no two are quite alike. Each backpack features a durable heathered body with a padded air mesh back panel, a fully padded laptop compartment, a plush fur lined quick-access pocket, and a colorful hand-selected billboard piece that makes up its front.
Check out the offerings at Rareform – $65
Slim, stealthy, and with a ton of organizational prowess, the PX Invisible Backpack is the ideal companion for lugging your daily gear through the urban jungle. The pack pairs 1000D military grade nylon with a genuine leather top and bottom for a hard-wearing waterproof finish. Five compartments keep everything well partitioned and include a padded slot for your laptop, a side pocket for a bottle, a bottom compartment with expandable divider for shoes and the like, and a 20 litre main compartment. It also includes niceties such as all-around waterproof rubberized outer zippers, detachable metal hooks that can hold a wet umbrella or jacket on the outside as it dries, and a front compartment that’s accessible from either side without ever removing the pack from your back.
Find it at PX – roughly $200
Logically, a backpack, when empty, shouldn’t weigh you down. And the Outlier Ultrahigh Backpack, made of featherlight Ultrahigh Nonwoven Composite and tipping the scales at a paltry 490 grams, most definitely won’t. The pack is based around an Armordon frame back sheet that molds to the shape of your back over time for a remarkable fit and that, like the aforementioned composite, won’t stretch or give in any direction, keeping the bag snug and centered as you move about. It also features four-way stretch pockets on either side, a quick-to-operate Fidlock magnomechanical roll-top closure, and overall attention to detail that’s all but unheard of.
Find it at Outlier – $375
A cut above your standard overnighter, Weldon’s Stamford Duffel is sized just right for weekend trips and meeting carry-on requirements. The bag is classically shaped and constructed from 18oz waxed cotton with vegetable tanned leather handles & trim and a cotton twill fabric lining. It’s also equipped with a detachable seatbelt webbing shoulder strap, YKK zippers, and a single other zippered pocket on the inside for security and simplicity.
Hit up Weldon for the full lineup – roughly $245
Simple, spacious, and built to last, Fjall Raven’s Duffel No. 6 is tailor made for long journeys in foreign lands. This practical duffel is built using nigh-indestructible G-1000 HeavyDuty weave that’s also waterproof and fitted with carry handles plus a natural-toned leather grip. Outside are two open side pockets alongside one zippered pocket, while the main compartment boasts a mesh pocket within to keep small items organized. It even boasts hidden padded backpack straps for those longer commutes, with padded panels on the top of the bag as well to keep its harder contents from pressing into your back uncomfortably.
Find it at Fjall Raven in three sizes – $200 to $300
Unlike virtually any packs we’ve seen before, Urban Kraft’s Bags offer a new take on the classic brown bag, the main difference being that these are bigger, better designed, and won’t tear. Each bag is made of Urban Kraft’s durable paper material — that’s also tear-resistant, waterproof, and flexible — then fitted with straps, zippers, inner and outer pockets, and a padded laptop compartment. They also come in messenger bag, backpack, and duffle variants, the latter of which can hold up to 120 lbs of goods as a testament to the strength of the material from which it’s made.
Check out the full lineup at Urban Kraft – $45 to $100
A new take on the traditional rucksack, the Black Ember Neoruk can be tailor-fitted to nearly any situation. Multiple bonded and bar-tacked hypalon mag-lock attachment points make the Neoruk compatible with all Black Ember Accessories — including a hard case, military pouch, and roll-top expander — to scale the bag up or down as needed before hitting the field (or the office) with your gear on your back. It’ll also stand up to plenty of abuse thanks to its waterproof carbonate-coated 1000 denier ballistic nylon build, reinforced YKK waterproof zippers, and bracings at its critical weight bearing points. And it’ll even keep your back relatively dry what with its air flow dimensional-mesh backpanel.
Preorder at Black Ember – $212
Whether you need a pack that’ll handle your commute to work, to the gym, or to both sequentially, the Aer Fit Pack is about as clean and minimal as they come. An understated aesthetic disguises three main compartments: one for your work essentials, including a laptop, tablet, and accessories; a spacious main one for your clothing or larger goods; and a third dedicated shoe compartment that ensures the rest of your bag’s contents stay fresh and clean. It’s also made tough thanks to durable 900D polyester with a water repellent coating, boasts a comfortable padded mesh back panel, and hides a compact pocket up top for quick access to smaller stuff.
Find it at Kickstarter – $84+
Functional they may be, but most backpacks can’t exactly be classified as mature or refined. Jack + Mulligan set out to make the opposing case with their Whitman Knapsack. This minimal rucksack is built of rugged, water-repelling canvas, complemented with chocolate brown leather accents and fitted with matte silver hardware. Behind the buckle and flap is a main compartment with a padded back and two interior pockets — each big enough for a 15″ laptop, a few notebooks, or other goods — while two exterior side pockets keep a water bottle or two in close reach.
Find it in Navy (shown), Regatta Blue or Sand at Jack + Mulligan – $200