Backpack Recommendation

I am looking for Backpack :school_satchel: recommendations that don’t break the bank. Something in the range of $100+ would be great. I wanted to get a Waterfield, but paying $450 (delivered) is too much to justify. I’d buy an Apple Watch instead.

Thanks everyone in advance.

I have had multiple Bellroy products they are all great. Well made and worth every penny.

This bag is $99. They have a closeout section on their website with old designs for great prices.

We were given Brenthaven backpacks with out work laptops. Kept mine when I retired 9 years ago and it’s still in great shape. Heavy duty nylon.

I really like my Tom Bihn Synapse backpack.
It definitely falls under the “buy quality, cry once” umbrella, but is really well made, and will last until I die (at least).

They have other messenger, briefcase, and travel-related bags and accessories too.


I know the Waterfield is expensive, as @mina said. But I’ve had my Waterfield Bolt Backpack (in black ballistic nylon) for 6 years, carrying it fully loaded all over the world. It is as clean looking and appears as good as the day I received it. It has outlasted several Apple Watches, iPads and other “quality” goods. The Timbuk2 that I had for a couple years before I bought the Bolt wore out quickly, seams separated, and the nylon fabric shredded in spots.


I’ve had good success with Timbuk2. I have a Parkside backpack that I’ve liked and it’s worked well for me. It was $59 on sale a year or two ago. It doesn’t look like you can get it new anymore, but you likely could find it used on eBay if you wanted that particular model. But I’ve also had a couple other Timbuk2 bags I’ve tried and they’ve been good quality to me.

I’ll second @JohnAtl’s recommendation of Tom Bihn. I’ve used their packs for years; they are well-designed and excellently made. My current go-to is the Synik 30 and love it so much that I’ve got the smaller Synik 22 on the way.


I have a bolt and love it. Highly recommend it

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Highly recommend Chase Reeves for bag reviews if you want to do some research. Just ignore his latest stuff from the last year and go straight to his bag stuff.

Another TB Synik user. At least I was until I became 100% WFH.

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I do like that clamshell main compartment!

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Another vote for Tim Bihn. I have both a Synapse and a Synik, the small size for both. You can’t go wrong with Tom Bihn.

I also have a Waterfield Sutter. Great bag.

None of these are in the 100+ range though unless that’s a big plus sign!

To stay in the 100-150 arena you might want to look at Aer.

I am currently using a bag from Able Carry that I just got. The opening at the top is a big small making it a slight pain to get things in after coming from the clamshell of the Synik, but otherwise a really nice bag for my edc and worth checking out.

You will find that us bagaholics have more opinions than those clicky keyboard enthusiasts.

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Count me as another member of Team Tom. :raised_hands:

I’ve been sporting his bags since my Zephyr in 2007. I had a Brain Bag after that, and the Synapse 19L has been my bag of choice for the last 7 years. At this point, it’s got some wear and tear on the bottom that I’ve patched with tenacious tape, but I’ve put it through its paces. Thanks to TripIt keeping a record of my travel, I can attest that it’s been on at least 115 trips so far (and thousands of commutes, many of which were stuffed into my bike trunk). My proudest packing moment was probably a trip to St. Louis where I managed to pack a bike helmet and running shoes and still managed to slide everything under the seat in front of me on the plane.

The following photo was a more typical trip:

I purchased a 25L last year, but I can’t bring myself to really use it. The 19L is, IMO, the perfect bag.


I like Waterfield stuff, too, but for my backpack I went with the Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe, and have been happy with it. I wanted something somewhat sleek that didn’t look too goofy.

Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe | Lifetime Warranty

I have a Nomatic Travel Pack: Best Nomatic Travel Backpack | Travel Pack | Nomatic – NOMATIC It will swallow everything. It has fantastic organization and is insanely flexible. Its only downside is that to be comfortable as backpack I find I need the sternum strap done up.

Big fan of the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 21. Ben Brooks at the Brooks review is pretty obsessive about bags and has been showing a lot of MR recently. It lists at 125, but you can usually find at least some colors at $75-$100.

Mystery Ranch makes very great packs. While their everyday packs aren’t quite what I’m looking for in a daily driver I own several of their backpacking/hunting packs and they’re very high quality.

Thanks a lot everyone for the recommendation, appreciate everyone’s time into that.

A little late, but after going through a series of inexpensive bags that always broke in one way or another, I’ve taken a chance on the Waterfield Sutter Slim (I don’t like a bulky backpack and it’s for my tech gear only, also easily fits under a plane seat). So far I’m extremely happy with it. It costs more than what you’re looking for, but it seems like it’ll easily outlast my less expensive bags.

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I’ve a 25L Patagonia Black Hole bag which has last me almost 10 years now and is still in good condition - it’s been with me longer than wife!

The colours are different to mine, but the design is pretty much identical.

What for? Hiking? To carry heavy tools? Or just a laptop? Or more stuff? etc., etc.

Personally, I just can’t settle on a backpack. I own several great ones for hiking/photography, but wasn’t able to find the “daily backpack”.

I want:

  • can fit one or two laptops, (paper) notebook, some writing stuff
  • some clothes for the gym after/before work
  • some space left for a camera
  • not too tight fit
  • weatherproof, rugged
  • dedicated laptop “sleeve” integrated…not a must
  • NOT the standard “black laptop backpack” look
  • available in the EU