Need a bag that’ll tackle your daily workload, then just as easily double as an overnighter? Ogden Made’s flagship Junction City Messenger has the capacity and stature to handle either-or, and everything in between. These rugged packs are handcrafted using 1000D Cordura plus X-pac ripstop fabrics, equipped with a shoulder pad over a 2-inch webbing strap, velcro and two adjustable buckles to keep the flap secured shut, and a large flap-mounted pocket lined with a water-resistant YKK zipper. Inside, one large main compartment swallows up misc. gear and/or a sleeved 15-inch laptop with ease, while two smaller pockets are large enough for iPads and Kindles, and sport dividers for chargers, mice, pens, and other crucial goods.
Over 60 color combinations available. Personalize your own at Ogden Made (use coupon GearHungry10 to save 10%) – $145
Checking in baggage and rolling around a carry-on: we’re done with that. But while travel backpacks are often lighter than their wheeled brethren, they’re still often hefty, bulky, and laden with hanging straps. Boreas’ philosophy is different. Their minimalistic Lost Coast Series ranges in carrying capacity from 45 to 60 litres, yet weighs only 3 pounds and 7 ounces, or as little as 2 pounds 7 ounces without the included rain cover and removable back stiffening frame sheet. Despite this, the pack is still highly adjustable and boasts a molded eVa z-foam backpanel that keeps your back cool by pumping through air as you walk. To maintain a clean look, most straps and loops tuck away within the seams when not in use, an innovation we’ve yet to see on another pack . A variety of pockets and compartments on both the main pack – including two hip belt pockets, two stretch side pockets, and a full-face stretch one on the front – plus on and within the removable top lid keep your smaller goods organized, while a dedicated sleeve locks your hydration pouch in place.
Find it at Boreas- $190 to $210
If you enjoy archaeological digs in Peru or just need something to take your tablet and accessories to work, Ember’s Modular Urban Pack is all you require. Designed with influences from outdoor enthusiasts and city travelers alike, this stealthy pack offers protection for critical gear with its 20 liters of storage space, padded internal sleeves for laptop and tablet, and weather-proof exterior pockets. Its modular design also allows for instant upgrade with available options like storage gear with magnetic lock-equipped hardware, aluminum hardware, and utility patches. Constructed of water-proof cordura nylon and genuine leather, the pack also features compression straps, utility straps, cargo handles and dedicated phone case, meaning that your next trek through the jungle, urban or otherwise, the Modular Urban Pack will protect your gear in style.
Hit up Kickstarter for more info – $209+
In the end, there can only be one… or two, or three. Hard Graft’s 2Pack Laptop Bag allows you to choose your own carry style based on your wardrobe, mood, day of the week, or tarot reading. Does a rucksack suit your fancy, or how about a grab folio? You can use this versatile carry all as a messenger, backpack, portfolio, or shoulder bag. Available in 13” and 15” sizes to accommodate your laptop and accessories, while the rugged good looks afforded by the genuine leather only improves with age.
Hit up Hard Graft to learn more – $822
On a recent expedition to Southeast Asia, we had the pleasure of lugging around our gear in one of Osprey’s many Travel Trek Backpacks: The Farpoint 55. And lucky for that, because our plan B was a not-quite-ergonomic big garbage bag. As its name suggests, this pack can be crammed with about 55L of goods of which 15L are conveniently detachable through the zip-away removable daypack, lined with a zippered front slash pocket perfect for quick-access items. With heavily padded top and side carry handles, a peripheral LightWire™ alloy frame suspension, and compression straps inside and out, this pack can be comfortably carried through first class airport lounges or zip-lined across the typical jungle creek.
Of note, every Farpoint zips open wide like a carry-on, meaning it’s a cinch to get at your stuff inside without much digging. And like a carry-on, we were able to sneak it onto every flight cabin by popping off the day pack, both cutting down wait time and the risk of lost baggage en route to every destination even though it doesn’t technically meet the TSA’s size requirements. But should you decide to check it instead, a zip-up cover protects its straps from conveyors and careless baggage handlers. Else, its resilient 210D double ripstrop nylon construction, 3.7 pound weight, and forty pound capacity just add to its versatility as an ideal backpacking adventure companion. So spin the globe to a far point and see where the wind (and a lot of jet fuel) takes you.
Travelling with a notebook computer and a bunch of related gizmos can be a drag, particularly when the TSA agent does his or her job properly and makes you pull your laptop from within your pack before passing it through the X-ray screener. Case Logic’s Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack makes frequent flying bearable thanks to a TSA-compliant dedicated laptop compartment that opens flat at the pull of two zippers, thus helping you zip through security while protecting your device from bumps and bruises via plush padding. Otherwise, a luggage strap holds it nice and tight against your carry-on, strap management features keep excess strap material rolled and out of sight, and an organization panel provides slots and compartments for all your junk to remain easily accessible, even from the comfort of a legroom-less budget airline seat.
As versatile as a duffle gets, the Carter is Property Of’s answer to a weekender that’ll also carry your groceries, gym gear, or work stuff without breaking a sweat. Carter’s thick, distressed denim outer comes in either green or brown and is fitted with heavy leather trim, YKK zippers, plus thick cotton grab handles on both the top and side for lugging it around like a standard duffle. Else, it opens right down the middle for full and immediate access to its contents, and wears either as a traditional backpack or across your body like a sling.
Check it out at Property Of – $320
It doesn’t matter what you’re lugging to your workout because Goruck’s Gym bags were built to handle it. Each duffle boasts one large main compartment for shoes, clothes, towels, and the like, plus external pockets on each end and another inside for stashing valuables. Like all Goruck gear they’re backed by a lifetime guarantee, though you’ll likely never need it since they’re made with double-layered 1000 D Cordura, fitted with YKK zippers, and stress tested at critical points with a 400 pound strength check.
Find them in 20- and 38-litre models at Goruck – $75 to $95
Bike-mountable messenger bags needn’t look the part, though that’s not to say that Nisnas line of bags are in any way conventional. The Kul Rex keeps its shape thanks to a racing stripe-adorned wooden spine along its underside that also protects its contents while looking sharp coupled to a handsome brown leather. Its two closure straps adjust to fit snugly over most flat bar bikes, a third keeping it from swinging, while the multitude of internal pockets and compartments carry along a tablet or small laptop, books, pens, and whatever else compact gadgetry you’ve got in an orderly manner.
Camo packs may help you go unnoticed in the shrubbery or the last row in class, but at night and on a bike that level of stealth is the exact opposite of what’s good for you. Enter Chrome’s Reflective Camo Series, a line of packs that gives you the best of both worlds – an awesome camo pattern in the day and extreme reflectiveness after sunset – thanks to an overlaid rain print that bounces back light from up to 100 feet away. They’re also each made in the USA using bombproof & weatherproof materials such as abrasion-resistant Cordura, a truck tarpaulin inner liner, and five-bar seatbelt webbing, meaning they won’t fall apart unless you’re trying (and even then).
Check out the lineup at Chrome – $95 (Victor), $180 (Citizen; right), $200 (Barrage; left)