The 13 Best Backpack Brands of 2022

Patagonia is our favorite for its sustainability and lifetime warranty

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The 12 Best Backpack Brands of 2022

Tripsavvy / Chloe Jeong

TripSavvy's Picks

From fanny packs to rolling duffels to technical mountaineering packs, Patagonia has something for nearly every type of traveler and adventurer. We also love Patagonia's commitment and leadership in the sustainability space and the lifetime warranty with every product. Osprey is our runner-up for best overall backpack brand, as it's been a leader in the pack space for decades. And Everest is our pick for the best budget backpack brand.

Suitcase replacement on a round-the-world backpacking adventure. Rugged protector of your laptop and other valuables on the urban commute. Part overnight bag, part fashion statement. There are countless uses for a backpack, and almost as many brands manufacture them. To help you narrow down your search for the ideal pack for your particular purpose, we decided to review some of the best names the industry has to offer. They are brands whose products stand out for their durable materials, intelligent design, and often, unique selling points that range from flawless sustainability to versatile expansion options or 100 percent waterproofing.

After careful consideration, here are the best backpack brands for every type of customer.

Best Overall: Patagonia

What We Like
  • Wide range of packs for every occasion

  • A lifetime warranty backs all products

  • Focus on sustainability

What We Don't Like
  • Expect to pay extra for the brand name

Founded in 1973, Ventura, California-based outdoor equipment manufacturer Patagonia is one of the most trusted brands in the business. Its backpack range is hugely diverse, from convenient daypacks with reinforced laptop compartments to oversized hiking packs and technical packs developed especially for extreme sports. Common materials include recycled ripstop polyester and nylon, often with a laminate lining for extra weather resistance. 

Expect clever compartments and stash pockets, external grip handles, and daisy chains for lashing gear onto the outside of your pack. Patagonia also stands out for its commitment to sustainability, using Fair Trade Certified labor and recycled materials across 87 percent of its line. Best of all, 1 percent of all sales go toward preserving the environment. Another planet-friendly priority? Making products built to last a lifetime. But if they don’t, Patagonia welcomes those products back and provides a lifetime warranty through the brand’s Ironclad Guarantee.

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Osprey

Osprey

Osprey

What We Like
  • Backpacks for pretty much anyone, no matter the travel or outdoor pursuit

  • Continuing improvement in eco-friendly standards

  • Focus on philanthropy and other impact initiatives

What We Don't Like
  • Bags come with a higher price tag but are usually worth it

Unlike Patagonia, which has its roots in climbing and mountaineering gear and then branched out to packs and luggage, Osprey launched in 1974 as a backpack brand. Patagonia started making gear in Ventura, while Osprey got its start several hours north on California’s coast in Santa Cruz. Founder Mike Pfotenhauer, his business partner, and wife Diane Wren moved the company to southwest Colorado, where it employed its first expert sewers—a team of Navajo women.

The brand is still in Cortez, continuing its tradition of innovation and forward-thinking business practices. We love that Osprey makes high-quality packs for almost any travel and outdoor occasion. We also love that Osprey considers sustainability and eco-friendly practices, recently releasing its most planet-friendly pack yet, the Talon Earth 22. We’re also looking forward to its first plus-size-focused backpacking line.

Best Budget: Everest

Everest

Everest

What We Like
  • Simple backpacks for everyday use

  • Multiple colors to suit all tastes

  • Limited lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Have to buy through a retailer

  • Little choice of styles and sizes

Since 1982, Everest has been making everyday bags to suit the most modest budget. Products are simple yet reliable, and there are several different backpacks to choose from (although all of them follow the same classic outline). They range from the entry-level Basic Backpack—a mid-sized option with a spacious main compartment and a zippered front pocket—to models with added features ranging from mesh water bottle pockets to a durable suede bottom. 

Although prices vary depending on which retailer you choose (Everest is a wholesaler that doesn’t sell directly to individuals), the Basic Backpack generally retails for under $20, making it less than a tenth of the price of packs of a similar size sold by the more expensive brands on this list. All options feature sturdy, 600-denier polyester and are available in a rainbow of colors. Patterned Basic Backpacks are also offered.

Best for Hiking: Deuter

Deuter

Deuter

What We Like
  • Specialist packs for outdoor pursuits

  • Lifelong repair service

  • Ladies fit versions available

What We Don't Like
  • Limited choices for urban use

  • Not the most affordable choice

Since 1898, Deuter has made products based on a passion for mountain sports. The brand focuses exclusively on backpacks and bags—a specialized approach that ensures each product has the utmost attention to detail. Options range from dependable all-rounders for those new to backpacking to ultralight hiking daypacks, maximum capacity expedition packs, and backpacks made specifically for sports such as trail-running, skiing, and mountaineering.

Like Patagonia, Deuter is renowned for backpacks built to last. Yours includes access to a lifelong repair service—and, if the pack is deemed irreparable, you will be offered a replacement at no extra cost. The brand is also committed to ethical conduct, adhering to bluesign standards for environmental protection, occupational safety, and consumer protection. For example, all products have been free from harmful PFC-treated materials since 2020.

Best for Commuters: Timbuk2

Timbuk2

Timbuk2

What We Like
  • Intelligent features for the commuter lifestyle

  • Eco-friendly line available

  • Ethical bluesign-certified materials

What We Don't Like
  • Limited crossover for adventure purposes

  • The lifetime warranty is conditional

If you need your backpack to get you from A to B in a city setting rather than in the great outdoors, Timbuk2 offers style and practicality in equal measure. Founded in 1989 by a San Francisco bike messenger, the brand’s original focus was to create the original messenger bag. It now offers a variety of bags for weekend to workday versatility—including a line of urban-inspired flap-top, roll-top, or clamshell-opening backpacks. 

Several options are designed specifically for commuters, with features ranging from easy access laptop compartments and key keepers to tricot-lined pockets for electronic devices and reflective panels for superior visibility on the road. Most include a removable cover for added wet weather protection. All Timbuk2 backpacks are covered by a limited lifetime warranty and use eco-friendly bluesign materials. For 100 percent recycled goodness, choose the Eco Lifestyle line.

Best for Students: JanSport

JanSport

JanSport

What We Like
  • Spacious packs with student-oriented features

  • Multiple styles and colors

  • Generous lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most sustainable company on this list

  • Not designed for specialist pursuits

Probably the most popular backpack brand on any school or university campus across the country, JanSport has been supplying students with their go-to backpack since the 1960s, when the brand launched the original SuperBreak pack. These days, there are nearly 30 affordable models to choose from, and you can filter them on the JanSport website by feature. Examples include laptop sleeves, water bottle pockets, and abrasion-resistant bottoms. 

Out of a wide choice of colors and patterns, backpacks typically feature abundant space for all your books and accessories—although lightweight versions are also available for those with back or shoulder issues. In 2022, over 80 percent of JanSport backpacks use 100 percent recycled fabric for the main body of the bag, while the brand’s lifetime warranty promises to fix or replace any broken product, no questions asked. 

Best for Versatility: Tropicfeel

Tropicfeel

Tropicfeel

What We Like
  • Stylish designs suitable for all occasions

  • Most models expand significantly

  • The company is carbon neutral

What We Don't Like
  • A limited warranty is only valid for two years

  • Fewer models to choose from than in previous brands

Founded in 2017, Tropicfeel is a contemporary brand committed to inspiring conscious travel. To this end, their backpack models feature ultimate versatility, being as suitable for everyday use at school or in the city as they are on the trail. There are four models from which to choose. Three (Hive, Shell, and Nest) use intelligent organizers and add-ons to expand their capacity. The Nest, for example, can be used as a 16-liter daypack or a 30-liter adventure bag. 

This ability to adjust your backpack daily eliminates the need to purchase a separate one for every occasion—saving you money, and helping to save the planet, too. Tropicfeel is also Climate Neutral Certified (meaning that it offsets all carbon emissions), while 100 percent of the nylon and 88 percent of the polyester they use is recycled. The only drawback? You won’t get the same lifetime warranty offered by more established brands.

Best for Durability: GORUCK

GORUCK

GORUCK

What We Like
  • Extra durable waxed canvas construction

  • Lifetime guarantee

  • One percent of revenue goes to veteran non-profits

What We Don't Like
  • Some of the most expensive packs on this list

  • Not suitable for ultralight backpacking

Founded by a couple with a background in the Special Forces and the CIA, GORUCK’s initial goal was to create a rucksack that could survive the harshest possible conditions. Now marketing itself as the manufacturer of “the world’s toughest gear,” the company offers a full range of backpacks suitable for everything from traveling the world to rucking (the practice of training with a weight on your back). 

Most packs feature ultra-strong, ultra-durable duck canvas, which is given even greater strength and water resistance by a waxing process proven over the last 170 years. Shoulder straps come with extra padding for carrying heavy loads, while YKK zippers are fitted with long-lasting parachute cord pulls. Many also feature a Bombproof Laptop Compartment with a false bottom for added protection. The brand’s Scars Lifetime Guarantee backs all products.

Best Waterproof: Rains

Rains

Rains

What We Like
  • Fully waterproof PU fabric design

  • Wide range of styles and sizes

  • One hundred percent vegan

What We Don't Like
  • Warranty only lasts for two years

  • Few options for serious adventurers

If you live in a location defined by its frequent rainfall, you may need a backpack that’s not just water resistant but fully waterproof. Outerwear lifestyle brand Rains has just the solution, with a wide range of packs crafted out of a specially developed PU fabric that’s both PFC- and PVC-free. Like the brand’s clothing line, its bags combine superior functionality with an on-trend urban, unisex aesthetic. 

There are plenty of styles to choose from, from roll-top rucksacks that fasten with a buckle to flap-top cargo bags with multiple outer pockets and carabiner fastenings. The packs’ intended purposes are just as diverse. Choose the Mountaineer Bag with its large main compartment, compression straps, and exterior bungee system for your next outdoor adventure, or the fashion-forward Backpack Micro, with its internal laptop pocket and concealed external phone pocket, for a day out in the city.

Best Sustainable: Terra Thread

Terra Thread

Terra Thread

What We Like
  • Fairtrade-certified, organic cotton

  • Affordably priced

  • Sales support Feeding America

What We Don't Like
  • A limited number of styles and functions

  • Material is not water resistant

While most of the brands on this list have committed to sustainability, it is the defining feature of ethical bag and backpack manufacturer Terra Thread. The company is entirely carbon neutral, offsetting carbon emissions by supporting reforestation and renewable energy initiatives. All products are created using Fairtrade organic cotton in a Fair Trade Certified factory that guarantees premium pay and safe conditions for its workers. 

The company is also B Corp Certified, which means it meets the highest social and environmental responsibility standards. There are three backpack models to choose from in large, medium, and mini sizes. All are made from heavy-duty cotton canvas with a zippered external pocket, while the two larger packs include a laptop compartment and two water bottle sleeves. Choose yours in a variety of bright colors and cute patterns.

Best Style: Troubadour

Troubadour

Troubadour

What We Like
  • Packs transition easily from business to leisure

  • Classic yet contemporary aesthetic

  • Sustainable materials

What We Don't Like
  • High-end prices

  • The guarantee lasts for five years only

Troubadour is the result of two friends’ search for a bag that is refined enough for the boardroom, durable enough for outdoor use, and stylish enough for an urban getaway. Today, the brand offers a variety of bags, including backpacks, all with a clean, sophisticated aesthetic that prides itself on being “luxe but not loud, timeless but twenty-first century.” Available in classic colors such as navy, black, and khaki, backpacks come in various fashionable styles and sizes. 

Some have concealed zippers for a seamless look, while others have contrasting gold zippers that make a statement all on their own. The backpacks are as functional as they are attractive, using waterproof fabrics and a lightweight design to maximum effect. Expect clever compartments, padded laptop sections, breathable back panels, and comfortable shoulder straps. Materials include recycled plastics and ethically sourced leather.

Best Lightweight: Hyperlite

Hyperlite

Hyperlite

What We Like
  • Ultralight Dyneema Composite Fabric

  • Range of packs for specific applications

  • Discount program for military and first responders

What We Don't Like
  • Limited warranty for one year only

  • Backpacks are a major splurge for most budgets

Hyperlite’s focus is ultralight adventures and the art of reducing the base weight of your gear to a bare minimum so that you have the energy to go further, faster, and longer. Aimed toward serious hikers and expeditionists, the brand sells everything from tents and apparel to sleeping pads and backpacks. Backpack models are assigned a list of recommended uses and ideal destinations to help you choose the best fit. 

Options include everything from the Northrim (ideal for backpacking and canyoneering) to the Ice Pack (perfect for alpine climbing). There are also lower-volume daypacks for spontaneous hikes and up-and-down peak bagging adventures. All models are made from ultralight Dyneema Composite Fabric for the ultimate blend of lightness and durability, while features range from external mesh pockets to ice ax loops, depending on your choice.

Best for Photographers: Lowepro

Lowepro

Lowepro

What We Like
  • Exclusive focus on camera equipment

  • Huge range of packs to suit all set-ups

  • Complementary accessories available

What We Don't Like
  • Warranty is significantly limited

  • No significant sustainability commitment

If you’re an avid photographer, you know it’s crucial to ensure your equipment is sufficiently protected while traveling. Lowepro has been making backpacks for camera enthusiasts for more than 50 years. All products are laboratory tested and designed with professional photographers to ensure peak performance. There are around 60 backpack models to choose from, with options to suit all set-ups—including hard-sided backpacks for drone pilots. 

Features range from built-in weather resistance and fully waterproof covers to removable camera compartments, adjustable divider systems, armored protection, and multiple access points—so you never miss a shot while struggling to get your camera out of the bag. For even greater personalization, Lowepro also sells separate internal organizers and modular cases for even greater personalization. A limited warranty covers defects in materials or quality for as long as you own your bag.

What to Look for in a Backpack Brand

Price

Backpacks from brands listed in this article range in price from well under $20 for a basic book bag to roughly 20 times that much for a technical hiking pack—proving that you can spend as much or as little as you like. It’s important to consider what you’re getting for your money. Often, it’s worth spending a little more for a well-made bag constructed of durable materials that will stand the test of time (and prevent you from having to fork out more money for a replacement in a few months). Similarly, there’s no point in paying over the odds for features you don’t need. Consider your requirements, compare your options, and read past customer reviews to find the best bang for your buck.  

Materials

Backpacks have many different materials. The most popular are ripstop nylon and polyester, two fabrics renowned for their durability, lightness, and water resistance. Nylon is the stronger material, while polyester is less susceptible to UV damage. Many backpack brands on this list use specialist materials to fulfill a specific function. For example, GORUCK backpacks employ waxed duck canvas for unparalleled toughness. Canvas is a relatively heavy fabric, however, so if it’s an ultralight pack you’re after, the Dyneema Composite Fabric used by Hyperlite is a better fit. Similarly, most backpack materials are shower-proof, but you’ll need to choose one made of something like polyurethane for total waterproofness.

Warranty

Before deciding on your next backpack, check whether a warranty backs it and, if so, what the length and terms are. The best backpack brands offer their customers a lifetime warranty—such as Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, which promises a repair, replacement, or refund for any product that doesn’t meet your expectations. Most warranties do not cover natural wear and tear or neglect but will protect your purchase from defective materials or quality issues. Be aware that many warranties are only valid if you purchase your backpack from the brand directly or from an authorized reseller, while others cover customers in some regions (typically the country of manufacture) but not others.

Sustainability

In an era where concerns over climate change, pollution, and the depletion of natural resources are more valid than ever, conscious consumers should consider the sustainability of their next backpack purchase. This means choosing brands committed to using environmentally friendly materials and minimizing their carbon footprint and social impact as much as possible. The most sustainable companies are carbon neutral, Fair Trade Certified, and committed to using ethical materials such as organic cotton or recycled plastic. They also guarantee fair pay and working conditions for their labor force and often donate a percentage of their profit to environmental or community initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What backpack features should I look out for?

    The obvious place to start is to ensure that the backpack is the right size and weight for your requirements. Planning to use it as a carry-on? Make sure it complies with airline regulations. Need it for an extended backpacking trip? It must be big enough to fit all your belongings but light enough to carry for long periods. Quality materials that suit your specific purpose and guarantee durability are just as necessary, while YKK zippers are the most respected in the industry. 

    Comfort is key, too, which means looking for packs with padded shoulder straps that contour to fit your body shape and a padded back lined with breathable mesh. Sternum straps and a padded hip belt help to distribute weight evenly and afford better support. Other features that may or may not be helpful depending on your requirements include expansion options, the ability to load your backpack clamshell-style, an internal frame for added rigidity, external compression straps and grab handles, and multiple adjustable compartments.

  • How do you care for and wash a backpack?

    Different backpacks require different care, and you should check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best advice. Generally speaking, you should never machine wash or tumble dry your pack. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to clean off dry dirt. Then, if necessary, use a sponge or brush to clean stained areas by hand with mild soap and lukewarm water. Try to avoid scrubbing, as this could damage any protective coating. You can use silicone grease to lubricate stiff zippers. Backpacks should be hung out to dry and stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

  • How should a backpack fit?

    A correctly fitted backpack sits comfortably on your hips and shoulders and will distribute weight evenly to protect you from injury. To ensure a good fit, it’s always best to try the backpack on fully loaded (using simulated weights if you’re in a store). If relevant, fasten the hip belt first, then adjust the shoulder straps until the top of the hip belt lines up with the top of your hip bone. Some packs feature an adjustable back length; if so, you can shorten or lengthen yours until the shoulder straps line up comfortably with the contours of your body. If you have a sternum strap, it should be approximately parallel with your armpits.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Jessica Macdonald knows the importance of a reliable backpack, having used hers on multiple adventures around Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and South America. For this article, she researched more than 20 backpack brands, ranging from some of the best-known names in the industry to smaller companies that specialized in meeting a particular need. She chose the category winners listed above by comparing the scope of products offered, the quality of materials used, the brand’s reputation, and their commitment to sustainability.

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