best urban backpacks

Best Urban Backpacks - Ultimate Guide for the Perfect City Backpack

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If you're reading this, you're probably looking for your next urban adventure companion. And I can understand why you're seeking help. With so many brands on the market, so many different features, so many different prices or simply too much information, it's hard to get your head around it.

Don't worry, we have prepared a small but curated selection of our favorite urban backpacks, which we believe fulfill all the necessary conditions to become your future daily partner.

This guide not only offers a comprehensive selection of urban backpacks, but also looks at the important features of such a bag. If you don't find what you're looking for in our list, you can always keep these criteria in mind when you go shopping.

adventurer city backpack

How Do I Know What Type Of Urban Backpack To Choose?

When looking for an urban backpack, you must first consider your lifestyle in a general way to clearly identify your personal needs and expectations. You must therefore take into consideration :

  1. Organization of your daily life - are you looking for a bag only for work or for all your day-to-day activities?
  2. Proximity of your work - do you commute by bike, subway, car or on foot?
  3. General lifestyle (busy or not) - the number of activities in a day will affect your needs
  4. Personality - are you a minimalist, organized or adventurous?

It is therefore essential to make a list of your daily activities and the items you want to carry every day in order to have a clear idea of the type of bag you need.

Waterproof Commuter Backpack
Waterproof Commuter Backpack
Recycled Urban Backpack
Recycled Urban Backpack
Small Waterproof Backpack
Small Waterproof Backpack
Eco Friendly Urban Backpack
Eco Friendly Urban Backpack

There are generally four main profiles, even if we think that there are as many as there are individuals, they can help you:

  1. "Active Businessman": looking for a classic urban backpack, sober and functional, subtly blending with his look and allowing him to carry his work essentials efficiently and comfortably. He usually goes for relatively compact (10-15L), functional and minimalist backpacks
  2. "Sporty Commuter": sports lover, he is looking for a solid and practical companion that can withstand all life's events. He tends to choose comfortable but larger bags (15-25L) to move around easily and that can be easily adapted to his different activities. They often choose bags with roll-top opening or modular design.
  3. "Technology Lover": modern life also impacts the backpack industry and tech lovers often turn to backpacks that include many gadgets such as USB ports, locking zippers, ripstop fabrics, secret pockets and so on. They appreciate these kinds of features that ensure functionality, security and robustness around town.
  4. "Wanderer" : A motion enthusiast, he likes to travel for short and longer periods of time, sometimes spontaneously. He is therefore looking for a sturdy, spacious and practical bag that will allow him to comfortably carry his whole life on his back and easily cover those many trips while keeping his travel essentials close at hand.

Of course, you don't have to fit into a box. What we want you to understand is that style, price or brand reputation are not the primary factors to consider when looking for an urban backpack. Base your search on your life and your needs, and you will be more satisfied with your future bag.

urban backpack

What Are The Most Important Characteristics Of An Urban Backpack?

Now that you've figured out what you need, it's time to dive into the various important features that an urban daypack should fulfill. Again, not all of them will be met - or maybe, but it will be more expensive - so it's up to you to decide which features are essential for you.

If you do a lot of biking, waterproofing and comfort will be important. If you carry fragile items like a laptop, consider storage and protection features first. It's up to you to decide!


An ideal urban backpack should be made of high-quality materials that can withstand daily wear and tear, as well as varying weather conditions. This includes materials like nylon, polyurethane, or leather. Also, good quality stitching and reinforced handles and straps are important to ensure the backpack can hold heavy loads.


A comfortable fit is crucial for an urban backpack, as it will be worn for long periods of time. Padded straps and back panel, as well as a breathable mesh back panel can provide comfort. A well-padded back panel can help to distribute the weight evenly and reduce pressure on the shoulders.


An ideal urban backpack should have multiple compartments and pockets for organization and easy access to frequently used items. It should also have a padded laptop compartment for added protection. This will keep your items separate and easy to find, without having to dig through the entire bag. Multiple pockets also help to keep the items inside the bag secure and prevent them from falling out.


An urban backpack should be stylish and visually appealing, as it will be worn in a variety of settings. This can include sleek and minimalist designs, classic styles or bold and trendy designs.


An ideal urban backpack should have enough space to carry everything you need for the day, whether it's a change of clothes, a laptop, or a water bottle. This will depend on your specific needs, but in general, a capacity of 20-30 liters is a good range for an urban backpack.

Water resistance

An urban backpack should be able to withstand light rain, snow or mist. It should be made of materials that can repel water to protect the content inside. Waterproof zippers and a rain cover can also help to keep the contents of the backpack dry.

Recycled Plastic Backpack
Squamish | MERO MERO
Recycled Plastic Backpack
Eco Friendly Laptop Backpack
Reflective Roll | LEFRIK
Eco Friendly Laptop Backpack
Eco Friendly Backpack
Wanaka | MERO MERO
Eco Friendly Backpack
Recycled Bottle Backpack
Annecy | MERO MERO
Recycled Bottle Backpack

Reflective elements

An ideal urban backpack should have reflective elements on the outside, this can help in low light conditions and increase the visibility of the user. This can include reflective strips on the straps or reflective detailing on the exterior of the backpack.

Adjustable straps

Adjustable straps can be useful to adjust the backpack according to your body shape and size, this can help to distribute the weight evenly on your back and shoulders. This can include adjustable shoulder straps and a chest strap or a waist belt.

Easy to clean

An ideal urban backpack should be easy to clean and maintain, as it will come in contact with dirt, dust and other elements. This can include a wipe-clean surface or a removable and washable lining.

Durable zippers

The backpack should have durable zippers that can withstand frequent use, this will ensure the bag stays closed and secure. This can include heavy-duty zippers with large pulls for easy use.


An ideal urban backpack should be lightweight, this can help to reduce the load on the back and shoulders. This can be achieved by using lightweight materials and by minimizing the number of unnecessary features on the backpack.

Brand reputation

Consider the reputation of the brand, this will give you an idea of the quality and durability of the backpack. This can be done by researching the brand online, reading reviews or asking for recommendations from friends.


It's always good to have a warranty on the backpack, this can give you peace of mind and make it easier to get a replacement if there's a problem with the backpack. A good warranty will cover the backpack against defects and damage caused by normal use.

We could go on and on but these are, for us at least, the few important characteristics you should definitely consider when shopping a city backpack.

best urban backpack

10 Best Urban Backpacks



Photo Credit: Black Amber

The Citadel R2 from Black Amber kicks off our selection in the best possible way. This backpack is a state of the art bag. It uses ultra-resistant materials, including a waterproof, 3-layer, 800D MICROHEX textile, resistant to time and wear, making the Citadel R2 an extremely robust and durable bag.

Speaking of resistance, we can note the presence of YKK Aquaguard zipper which, combined with a bonded seam construction offers the bag an incredible waterproof certification - IPX6 Waterproof rating (1200 PSI water-jet tested). You don't mess with the Citadel R2 my friend

As for comfort, there is not much to complain about. The bag offers adjustable and padded straps, like the back panel, with two layers of EVA-foam for ultimate wearing comfort.

It's just as functional with a number of cool features like the 360° Clamshell opening, the internal compression divider and the built in laptop and tablet sleeves. City life has never been easier.

It's an expensive backpack, but one that represents a long-term investment. With a minimalist look and only available in black, it is best suited for technology lovers.

  • Top and Side Handles
  • Clamshell Opening
  • External Zipped Pocket With Theft Deterrent Zipper Garage
  • Body Contoured Backpanel
  • Internal Compression Divider
  • Protective Pockets for Laptops and Tablets
  • Hidden Zipper Pocket
  • Magnetic Key Ring
  • Removable Magnum Sternum Strap
  • Microhex 800 Denier, Three Layer, Waterproof Textile (Px6 Waterproof Rating)
  • T6, Aircraft-grade Anodized Aluminum + Laser Etched Hardware
  • Matte-silver 200 Denier Ripstop Nylon Lining
  • Ykk Aquaguard Zippers
  • Laser-cut Hypalon
  • 49.5 x 32 x 16.5 cm | 19.5" x 12.5" x 6.5"
  • 25 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 1.35 kg

📷 Credit: HICONSUMPTION's Youtube Channel

2. TROPIC FEEL - HIVE (229€)

TROPIC FEEL - Hive backpack

Photo Credit: Tropic Feel

This bag is definitely one of our favorites. Functional, incredibly robust and equipped with numerous storage features, it is the ultimate modular bag. Able to go from 22L to 47L depending on its configuration, it is ideal for those who like to have an "all purpose bag".

It is manufactured with 100% Recycled Polyester Fabrics with DW finishes in both the lining & main materials and, notably, is certified CO2 neutral by Climate Neutral.

In terms of functionality, it couldn't be better: it offers a 12L smart packing cube and a compression wardrobe system, allowing you to save space and stay organized. It also offers:

  • a kangaroo pocket,
  • an external detachable divider,
  • a magnetic fidlock,
  • a perimeter zipper to gain 3cm of width,
  • a clamshell opening,
  • an adaptable bumbag,
  • adjustable sternum straps,
  • an offload mechanism.

Some of these options are complementary, optional and, let's face it, expensive. It's up to you to put together your bag as you wish.

  • Wardrobe & Smart Packing Cube 12l
  • Kangaroo Pocket
  • Spider Net System™
  • Magnetic Fidlock
  • Perimetral Zipper
  • Full Clamshell Opening
  • Adaptable Bumbag
  • Top Pocket
  • Secret Back Pocket
  • Front Pocket
  • Side Bottle Pocket
  • Laptop Compartment
  • Zipped Mesh Pocket
  • Side and Top Handles
  • Sunglasses Holder
  • Elastic Strap Holder
  • Adjustable Sternum Straps
  • Ergonomic Back Panel
  • Offload Mechanism
  • Thumb Loops
  • 49 x 30 x 17 cm to 60 x 30 x 26 cm | 19.2" x 11.8" x 6.7" to 23.6" x 11.8" x 10.2"
  • 22 L to 46.5 L
  • 17" laptop sleeve
  • 1.4 kg to 1.9 kg

📷 Credit: Nicholas Farmer's Youtube Channel



Photo Credit: Wandrd

The ALL-NEW PRVKE bag is a technical marvel and is the result of years of development by the Wandrd team to offer a bag that is comfortable, functional and ultra-resistant. It is suitable for both photographers and travelers.

It offers a lot of travel possibilities, with hidden pockets, magnetic tote handles, a pass-through, a back panel and reworked and padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort. Its secure roll-top opening gives you extra storage space when you need it.

The interior is not to be outdone with, in addition to the traditional compartments for laptops and tablets, a set of pockets to store all your essentials and stay organized. There's a quick access pocket and weather-resistant zippers to keep things safe.

It is available in three different sizes (21L, 31L and 41L) to meet the different needs of their adventurers, which is appreciable.

  • Camera Protection
  • Internal Organization
  • Weather Resistant
  • Luggage Handle Pass-through
  • Removable Chest Strap
  • Secure Passport Pocket
  • Water Bottle Pocket
  • Magnetic Tote Handles
  • Laptop and Tablet Sleeve
  • Fleece Lined Phone Pocket
  • Key Clip
  • Mesh Pockets
  • 43.2 x 27.9 x 16.5 cm | 16.9" x 10.6" x 6.3"
  • 21 L | 31 L | 41 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 1.1 kg

📷 Credit: Rushfaster's Youtube Channel



Photo Credit: Topo Designs

The Rover Pack Tech is a less expensive backpack that is perfectly suited to urban life. Offering a clean and classic design, it fits perfectly into the different situations of your life while providing the strength and security you need.

It is made with 1000D nylon and coated heavy duty #10 YKK zippers, which is extremely resistant and offers optimal protection against the elements. With plenty of storage, including 2 laptop sleeves, inside and out, and a multitude of pockets, you'll be able to easily carry your daily life while keeping your essentials close at hand.

You'll enjoy its comfortable RidgeBack™️ back panel and its PackFast™️ Travel Bag attachment loops to roam in comfort.

  • Spacious, Fully Padded Main Compartment
  • Flat Top With Dual Ladder Lock Buckle Closures
  • Drawstring Cinch Closure
  • Padded Base
  • Internal Laptop Sleeve Fits Most 15” Laptops
  • External Padded Laptop Sleeve Fits Most 15” Laptops
  • Large Zippered Front Compartment
  • Daisy Chain at Front for Gear Attachment
  • Fully 1000d Nylon
  • Color Matched Woven Label
  • Color Matched Hardware
  • Coated Heavy Duty #10 Ykk Zippers
  • Ridgeback™️ Back Panel
  • Paracord With Reflective Ticking
  • 43 x 28 x 12.5 cm | 17" x 11" x 5"
  • 20 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 0.65 kg

📷 Credit: Pack Hacker Reviews's Youtube Channel


UCON ACROBATIC - Niklas Backpack

Photo Credit: Ucon Acrobatic

The Niklas backpack from Ucon Acrobatic is also more affordable than the other urban bags on our list. It offers a minimalist and light design making it the ideal backpack for commuters, especially cyclists. Made of PU leather and lined with nylex fleece polyester and featuring a roll-top opening secured with an aluminum G-buckle, it easily fulfills its role as an all-purpose, waterproof and durable backpack.

With a padded back panel, shoulder straps and handle, it ensures optimal comfort, whether you wear it on your back or in your hand. On the functional side, it offers a neoprene laptop compartment with two additional mesh pockets for phone and wallet.

It is a minimalist bag, light and practical for daily activities, but not very suitable, even if the roll top offers additional storage space, for longer trips.

  • Closes as a Roll-top or Folded With a G-buckle and Hidden Zipper
  • Full-padded Handle on the Roll-top
  • Can Be Folded Up for Maximum Volume
  • Zipped Fast Access to the Main Compartment
  • Front Pocket Closes With a PU-welded Zipper
  • High Quality Neoprene Laptop Compartment With Two Additional Mesh Pockets for Phone and Wallet
  • Inner Zipper Pocket
  • Full-padded Backside for More Comfort
  • Padded and Adjustable Shoulder Straps for More Comfort
  • Embossed 'Ucon Acrobatics‘ Label on the Front Side
  • 49 x 30 x 12 cm | 19.3" x 11.8" x 4.7"
  • 18 L
  • 16" laptop sleeve
  • 0.950 kg

📷 Credit: TravelLiebe's Youtube Channel (German Language)


The Ramverk 21L Backpack

Photo Credit: DB

The Ramverk is an aesthetic, minimalist and functional little gem developed by DB. Their intention is to offer an ultra-sturdy and functional backpack that allows you to carry your accessories everywhere, safely. It seems to be more suitable for photographers and people carrying/traveling with electronics.

This 21L urban bag offers a clamshell opening to a voluminous storage space with a set of internal pockets for quick and easy filling or emptying of your bag. The added bonus is the padded computer compartment (up to 16 inches) separated from the rest of your belongings, ensuring optimal security and avoiding contact with potential objects/liquids. It also allows you to have immediate access to your computer in case of need, without having to rummage through your bag.

It is constructed with 600D polyester for the exterior and interior, 200D polyester for the mesh pockets and EVA foams for the back and shoulder strap padding. Combined with their "Rib Cage Construction", this bag offers comfort and lightness (1kg), which is important if your trips are relatively long and/or tiring.

  • Clamshell Opening
  • Roomy Top Pocket
  • Rib Cage Construction
  • Padded Back Panel and Shoulder Straps
  • Hook-up System
  • Laptop Pocket
  • Spacious Main Compartment
  • Zipped Mesh Pockets
  • 47 cm x 28.5 cm x 14.5 cm | 18.5” x 11” x 5.5”
  • 21 L
  • 16" laptop sleeve
  • 1 kg

📷 Credit: Odie Matthews's Youtube Channel



Photo Credit: Misson Workshop

The Sanction rucksack is a much more expensive bag than these companions but it deserves its place in this ranking. Where does this price difference come from? It's designed and manufactured in the USA with a lifetime warranty, premium materials (1000D nylon) and is completely weatherproof, allowing you to walk around with a clear head.

It offers 4 internal storage spaces, a zippered compartment for your laptop up to 15" and/or tablet, and an external compartment with a velcro closure, also weatherproof, to keep your essentials close at hand.

Comfort is also at the forefront with padded back panel and shoulder straps, in addition to an adjustable chest strap and an offload mechanism that, when your bag is loaded, allows you to better distribute the load of your bag, avoiding back pain and improving your comfort. You can also add an optional waist belt, which is interesting for long walks or trips.

  • Laptop Storage: Zippered Pocket Fits Most 15" Laptops and Tablets
  • Body Fabric: 1000d Nylon
  • 4 Internal Weatherproof Pockets
  • 1 External Compartment
  • Internal Frame Sheet
  • Optional Waist Belt - Sold Separately
  • 45.7 cm x 30.5 cm x 12.7 cm | 12" x 18" x 5"
  • 20 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 1.2 kg

📷 Credit: Koh Ben's Youtube Channel



Photo Credit: Timbuk2

Is it still necessary to present Timbuk2 products? Their Grid backpack is the ideal accessory for modern adventurers who want a lightweight, minimalist, sober, and resistant bag that offers all the essential features for carrying their everyday items. This backpack is particularly suitable for work, as a carry-on or for daily commutes.

In terms of functionality, it is difficult to do better for this price. Waterproof design, secure roll-top opening using 'G-buckles', side access to the interior compartment and padded laptop sleeve, reinforced drainage holes in side pockets, and a magnetic front pocket to hold small items. Lots of little touches that offer an excellent overall experience.

It also offers optimal comfort with a padded back panel and shoulder straps, an adjustable chest strap, and a molle system on the shoulder straps for attaching small items.

The only two minor "defects" in our opinion are the reduced size of the laptop compartment, which can only hold laptops up to 13" (or 14" according to customer reviews) and the absence of a zipper at the roll top, which can only be closed with the straps, which can be a problem if you fill it to its maximum capacity.

  • Roll-top for Expandable Volume and Weather Protection
  • Side Access to Main Compartment and Laptop Padded Sleeve
  • Reinforced Drainage Holes in Side Pockets
  • Multiple Different Levels of Compression
  • Magnetic Front Pocket to Hold Small Items
  • 39 cm x 26 cm x 14 cm | 15.4” x 10.2” x 5.5”
  • 20 L
  • 13/14" laptop sleeve
  • 0.7 kg

📷 Credit: Rom Po's Youtube Channel



Photo Credit: Boundary Supply

The Errant Pack is our favorite on this list because it's packed with features essential to earning the best urban backpack trophy. It offers

  • a clamshell opening,
  • two padded compartments for your laptop and tablet secured with a buckle,
  • a large number of internal pockets and storage,
  • new generation magnetic closures,
  • reflective elements for more security,
  • an ultra resistant design in 750D nylon and 500D Duramax Kodra, "stormproof" lined with YKK stormproof zippers,
  • a comfortable and breathable back panel, quick drying.

The list is not exhaustive and we recommend that you take a look at their product page to see how ultra-functional this bag is and how it meets all the needs of everyday life, as well as those more specific, making this bag the perfect "all in one" backpack.

As a little bonus, depending on your profile, you can add up to 18 modular accessories to build the perfect bag that fits exactly what you're looking for.

  • Padded Main Sleeve and Autolocking Magnetic (Laptop Up to 15")
  • Zippered Main Compartment Opens Wide and Flat
  • Padded Secondary Sleeve
  • Stretch-mesh Pockets
  • Stash Pockets Made From Stretch Mesh
  • Zippered Stretch-mesh Pocket
  • Expandable Side Pocket
  • Quick-access External Zippered Pocket Lined With Soft Nywool
  • Durable Loops
  • Luggage Pass-through
  • Zippered Side Pocket Features Internal Organization and a Magnetic Key Dock
  • Magnetic Dock
  • Molded Foam Back Panel
  • Adjustable Shoulder Straps
  • Hidden Rfid
  • Zippered Bottom Compartment
  • 45.7 cm x 30.5 cm x 12.7 cm | 18.9” x 11.42” x 5.51"
  • 22 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 1.4 kg

📷 Credit: Pack Hacker's Youtube Channel

10. SANDQVIST - RUBEN 2.0 (179€)


Photo Credit: Sandqvist

Let's finish this list with the Ruben from Sandqvist. It's a trendy, Nordic-inspired bag that easily adapts to your activities. Made of recycled polyester with a waterproof thermoplastic polyurethane coating and combined with YKK "AquaGuard" zippers, it can go anywhere, no matter the conditions

Its large roll top opening allows you to go from 21L to 27L, which is not to be underestimated and gives you great storage flexibility. Speaking of storage, the Ruben has nothing superfluous, just the necessities: an exterior zippered pocket, two exterior slash pockets, an interior mesh pocket, two interior pockets and a padded compartment for your laptop, up to 15 inches

The Ruben also offers a good wearing comfort with a padded back reinforcement and padded and adjustable shoulder straps. It is therefore totally adapted to urban escapades, but can also be used for longer trips, thanks to its 27L of storage space. 

The price, compared to other bags and when you look at the different features offered, is a bit high. The brand's position explains a lot of this price, which is not excessive either, but does not fully reflect, in our opinion, its intrinsic value.

  • 21L to 27 L Capacity
  • Waterproof Tpu Lining
  • Main Compartment: W 27 X H 42/65 X D 16 Cm
  • Laptop Compartment: W 27 X H 31 X D 2 Cm
  • One Exterior Zippered Pocket
  • Two Exterior Side Pockets
  • Ykk® Aquaguard® Zippers
  • Side Compression Straps
  • Inside Mesh Pocket
  • Two Inside Pockets
  • Padded and Adjustable Shoulder Straps
  • Padded Back Reinforcement
  • 42 cm x 27 cm x 16 cm | 16.5” x 10.6” x 6.3”
  • 21 L to 27 L
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • 0.8 kg


The modern adventurer is seeking a reliable, sturdy and above all functional companion to accompany him on his daily adventures. The best backpack for city walking is one that is light enough to carry for long periods of time, strong and sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of time and wear, and functional enough to meet the many needs of modern life.

Buying an urban backpack is not an easy task, especially considering the market prices and large choices. We hope we've given you the keys to help you navigate your way through. Take the essential features listed, select the ones that are important to you and compare them to the models you've been eyeing!

The backpacks on this list are in no way sponsored and there is no order or ranking. It is simply a list we made to guide you, based on what we think is suitable. You can find many more, at more affordable prices or with more suitable features for you.

Now that you know more, you know what you have to do: Happy shopping!

Environmentally Friendly Backpack
Environmentally Friendly Backpack
Sustainable Mini Backpack
Sustainable Mini Backpack
Sustainable Laptop Backpack
Sustainable Laptop Backpack
Sustainable Travel Backpack
Sustainable Travel Backpack

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Article by


Baptiste is an adventurer with a passion for urban and wilderness exploration and adventure, and a lover of vintage objects with timeless charm. As a Founding member of the Eiken team, he tries to share his passion and expertise for travel and vintage fashion through his articles.

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