Let me know if this is too soon for another bag post, most recent discussion I see for general bags is 2021.
I’m just looking for a new backpack. I want to carry my 16" M1 MacBook Pro, big headphones, a couple hard drives, my ipad with the standard slim cover, sometimes my Canon G7X MkII, and all the accompanying cabling. Maybe room for a change of clothes for an overnight trip, but that should be the standard load 85% of the time. Oh, and I bike around town a lot too. Mainly looking to replace my Lowpro 250 Fastpack; it’s just too bulky anymore and I don’t use my DSLR camera enough to justify using it as a daily carry.
I’m curious if anyone has any experience with what I’m looking at and if there’s anything new or more proven that should fit my needs. Also just curious what’s out there, felt like it was time for a bag update from this community
eBags Pro Slim - Feels like this is a slimmer version of what I currently have
Nomatic Navigator Lite - I’m hesitant about the materials, not sure if they’ll hold up for years to come, but I love the expandability option
Bellroy Venture - Don’t love the internal water bottle pocket, otherwise this is very compelling
Rework Reset system - Maybe my top contender right now, but seems almost too good to be true. First kickstarter from a brand-new company makes me very nervous, but wasn’t that how Peak Design and Moment started?
Their lifetime warranty is fantastic. In my experience, I wear out at least one of the zippers in about 3 years. Outdoor products has replaced my bag twice in 10 years without charging me anything. In fact, they even let me pick some extra things to compensate for the lower price of this bag compared to what I originally paid.
I am really happy with this bag and with Outdoor Products.
It’s a big backpack and would easily copy with all your required items and it’s comfy on the back even when loaded up. I’ve had the V1 for at least 3 years, and it’s still pristine even after traveling round the world a few times!
Brilliant pack and very comfortable. I’ve just noticed a little rip between two inside compartments, and Osprey offered a free repair. I’ve yet to send it off because the 2-week return window doesn’t suit my timing, but I’m impressed with the guarantee.
One warning on Fjalllraven bags—if you’re a pet owner the bag will accumulate all their loose hair. Maybe this one has slightly different material, so it’s not as bad of a fluff-attractor.
Other than that, they make a fine bag. Their clothes are really sturdy too. Ive basically lived in pants from them for a few years now, including all the hiking and yard work.
Almost 15 years back I bought a Tom Bien Brain Bag. It’s still in great shape with no repairs or major damage to it. It’s gone on lots of photo trips to the desert and mountains, been luggage for international trips, carried my work gear for short jaunts etc. if I had to keep one backpack that would be the one. It is on the big side, but straps make it less bulky if you’re just going down to the coffee shop.
A Tom Bihn Synik 22 or Synik 30 would likely do the job nicely. (The 30 indicates a total of 30 cubic liters.) There are other backpacks they make that might work as well, but the Synik 30 works well as a tech-oriented daily carry (I use it myself) that can easily transition to an overnight (or weekend, or week depending on how light you pack…). I walk with this bag a few miles everyday and commute by cycling, so I’m doing similar activities. I generally carry an iPad Pro 12.9 with a keyboard case, so similar but smaller than your MacBook, which will fit in the separate laptop space in this bag. This bag is perhaps on the bulky side, but they make other bags that are less bulky as well. I have a number of Tom Bihn bags and accessories, so let me know if you have any questions.
I am enjoying the NuRoad Backpack. It has plenty of space and does come in different sizes and colors. I can fit a Windows laptop, a MacBook, and an iPad in the larger one. It has plenty of space in the front areas for cords, books, and has pouches in the sides for an umbrella or water bottle. I use it for work, but recently took it on an overseas trip. It was great as a carryon. It may be a little large for short jaunts, but they do come in different sizes which would fit the larger MacBook Pro well.
I love my bags from Evergoods, the CPL 24 and CTB 26. I carry my MBP 16 every day in the 24. The CPL 24 is a great daily carry, and the CTB 26 is better for work+travel. The 24 should have enough room for a change of clothes, but it probably won’t fit shoes plus the rest of your stuff. They also make a CHZ series which is a half-zip, large bucket with laptop compartment. They’re all great bags.
I offer this as an alternative to @cwc’s excellent suggestion of the Tom Binh bags. For me, the Synik 22 was too small and the 30 too large. And I like the Evergoods styling. But he has used the Synik for cycling, and I’ve never cycled with my Evergoods, so that’s a helpful data point.
Another choice is Aer. If you’re in San Francisco, they have a showroom where you can try them out. A lot of their bags have waterproof zippers, so if you are in SF, see if the zippers are smooth enough for you.
My wife has the Kanken and that hasn’t aged as well as mine, but she might treat things a bit different to me. It is a slightly different material so might be something in that - though we don’t have a pet (other than our toddler) to test it with!
The Kebs trousers are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, so seconded on the clothing!
A good option if you bike around town, is Prvke backpack from Wandrd. I have the first version of this bag (21L) and is pure joy, absolutely great if you’re cycling around.
the new model solve some issues and adds up more internal pockets.
I’m still using my original PeakDesign Everyday Backpack (30L) that I ordered during the Kickstarter way back. I just can’t wear this thing out, still looks great and functions perfectly. It also comes in a smaller 20L version. Yes, it has shelves inside and it’s really neat.
It has a similar extensible top to the very nice looking Belroy you linked to, very useful for the few times you need to carry a bit more than usual.
I’ve been pretty happy with First Tactical Specialist Half Day Backpack. You might find it ever so slightly small for your kit, but there is a range - 1/2-day, 1-day, 3-day - and the ‘Tactix’ line, which are almost identical but each has a few litres more capacity than it’s opposite number.
I carry an M1 MBP16 in what they call the “hook and hang through”. In the main compartment I carry a Maxpedition Beefy with power, mouse and assorted junk, 2 Helikon EDC inserts and a camera sometimes (Fuji X-T30). In the front organiser, plenty of room for slim junk like wallets, screwdriver sets, pencil case etc. There’s plenty of molle to attach anything else.
I’ve had this one for about 5 years now carrying the above pretty much daily. I find it really comfortable. Sometimes the zipper pulls on the top pockets get a bit tangled with each other but I’ve started stiffening them with garden wire, which has helped.
Wow, this is a tough choice! I’m actually looking for a new backpack too, and most of these look great to me, especially the four listed by @dustying in the OP. I’m particularly drawn to the eBags Pro Slim, but I’m not really sure. My thing is that I like to be able to pack certain small items, like a bottle or two of medications, nasal spray, my Beats Fit Pro earbuds (in the carrying case, of course), a nail clipper, etc. I think those small zippered pockets in the front would work well for some of those items (if not all of them), but I’m not really sure. My current SwissGear ScanSmart Laptop Bag has a small zippered pouch at the top which is really designed for sunglasses (which I don’t wear), so I just put the small stuff in there, but it’s not great. On top of the small stuff I mentioned, I also like to carry some charging cables and adapters, my MacBook Air 13 inch (soon to be upgraded to MacBook Pro 16 inch), my 11-inch iPad Pro, and maybe sometimes my iPhone 12 Pro, wallet, and keys.
What I never carry in my backpack are clothes, shoes, etc. And while I occasionally need to care a file or two, or some loose papers, I don’t often carry books and notebooks. Meanwhile, I want to minimize weight and thickness as much as possible, and this is why I think the eBags Pro Slim looks so good to me. Anyone have experience with it?