If you’re looking for a backpack that you can use on your commute, for short trips, or weekend getaways, we have some great recommendations for you! I’ve been reviewing backpacks for 6 years now and have found some clear favorites among the smaller backpacks that I’ve used.
The following packs all work equally well as an EDC (Every Day Carry) pack and as luggage suitable for a short trip. They can even work as a daypack on a longer trip, used in combination with a larger backpack.
- Most versatile daypack for travel & nomading: Camelbak ATP 20
- Most stylish vintage daypack: MAHI Classic Backpack 3.0
- Best tech gear & camera daypack: Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Camelbak ATP 20
Camelbak ATP 20
- Perfectly suited to adventure travel and hiking
- Well-padded back panel is comfortable for extended use
- Removable laptop sleeve also makes it fairly suitable for everyday carry or digital nomads
- Travel organizer is well-placed on the side
- Sternup strap can be somewhat fiddly to attach
The Camelbak ATP is a perfect daypack for the outdoors or adventure trips (ATP stands for Adventure Travel Pack). It’s made to resist the elements with a high-quality Cordura outer shell and is comfortable to wear for many hours, thanks to its well-padded back panel.
While it’s pitched as an adventure pack, it also works great for daily carry or digital nomad trips, with enough organizational features to store accessories and electronics.
The travel organizer (with space for pens or other small items) is very cleverly placed on the side, where it offers quick access. The laptop sleeve is fully removable, so if you are taking this pack on a hike or outdoor trip without any electronics, you can easily make space for other items.
If you’re looking for a pack to take on an international adventure, but that you can also use closer to home, then the ATP covers both scenarios very well.
MAHI Classic Backpack 3.0
Stylish leather daypack
- 100% leather exterior in 7 different colors
- Understated and elegant design with minimal logos
- Many pockets to make organizing easy
- Impressive production quality
- The leather is sturdy but also heavier than synthetic materials
Made entirely from genuine leather and using brass buckles and latches, the MAHI Classic Backpack is simply gorgeous. If you’re looking for a timeless backpack, then here you are. Currently sold at around $165, it’s also amazingly well-priced for a full-grain leather product (this is the best and most durable type of leather). I was skeptical at first but it really is a premium product at a great price.
Although it has a vintage look, it has modern features such as an electronics compartment that fits up to a 15″ laptop, an easily accessible phone pocket, and waterproof side pockets for bottles. The laptop compartment is slightly raised so that you’ll never bump your gear against the ground. The back has a pass-through allowing you to attach this pack to a rolling suitcase.
This stylish pack is best used for daily carry or city travel. With a capacity of around 18 liters, it’s also suitable for carrying books, or as an overnight pack. The Classic Brown version is shown, but you can view the 7 different color options here.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
The perfect tech or camera bag
- Incredible versatility
- Lots of clever features & expandability
- Ideal for photographers or tech gear (but equally for a picnic or city trip)
- Magnetic latch for easy access
This is the closest thing to a Swiss Army Knife of daily carry backpacks. Just watch a video of its features and you’re sure to be impressed of its versatility. It’s been created with complete accessibility in mind, letting you access your stuff either through the top or via zips on both sides. Inside you can customize the space using modular walls.
I’ve had the 20L version of the Peak Design Everyday Bag as my daily carry for a long time. I highly recommend it, especially if you are a photographer or have a lot of tech gear. It has some of the best internal organization, letting you store even smaller items easily. Features such as hidden straps and magnetic pouches make it fun and easy to use.
Ideal for everyday carry, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack can also be expanded and work well for a weekend or other short trip. Ideal for photography or tech.
Versatile daily carry or weekend pack
- 16L extendible up to 30L
- Kangaroo pouch provides extra space when needed
- Versatile quick-access pouch (with optional use)
- Lots of internal organization
The Tropicfeel Nest is a highly versatile daypack and everyday backpack. Thanks to various modes and extensions, it can also work as a weekend pack with plenty of space to spare; by default it has a capacity of 16L, but it can be expanded up to 30L.
A stowable ‘kangaroo’ pouch adds space at the bottom for a pair of shoes, jumper, or other travel item. An elastic front pocket meanwhile is a perfect place to put a smart organizer accessory.
One interesting innovation of the Tropicfeel Nest is its versatile side pocket. You can use it for quick access to a camera, food, or something else you want to keep separate. But if you don’t need this side pocket, you can merge this space entirely with the main compartment and not use it.
If you’re looking for a pack that works for everyday carry, but is also highly versatile, then the Tropicfeel Nest is an excellent choice.
Osprey Daylite Plus
The perfect outdoorsy daypack
- Outer pouch for seperate items
- Side pockets fit large water bottle or tripod
- Support for water reservoir
- Simple and lightweight
- A little on the small side
The Osprey Daylite Plus is a hiking-friendly daypack that is simple and lightweight but offers all the essential features. It has a tablet/laptop compartment at the back, several pouches, and two side pockets that will fit a large water bottle or a small tripod (a compression strap will hold it in place).
There is support for a water reservoir (sold separately) for easy hydration on hikes. The back panel is particularly comfortable with a ribbed texture and a mesh layer ensuring there is some space between your body and the back panel and so preventing a sweaty back. The Osprey Daylite Plus comes in a range of different colors.
This small pack can be used as a daily carry, even though it is designed with hiking in mind (Osprey being one of the biggest hiking gear manufacturers). It has more of a sporty look and is a great everyday pack with more outdoorsy features, though it’s a little bit too small to work well as a weekend pack.
Herschel Little America Backpack
- Fun retro look
- Easy access with magnetic straps
- Enough space for everyday gear or a short trip
- Laptop compartment with false bottom to protect your gear
- Lacks internal organization
Canadian manufacturer Herschel creates backpacks with hipster retro look. Despite the classic look of the Little America Backpack, it has modern features such as a laptop sleeve (up to 15″), headphone cord access, comfy padded mesh back, and easy-to-access main compartment.
(The classic straps look amazing but, shhh, they are just for show as they actually snap into place with little magnets!)
Although the Herschel bag doesn’t have that much internal organization, it does have a lovely striped internal lining and plenty of space to store your stuff. It’s a stylish option that comes in many colors and it’s a daily carry backpack that’s always easy to recommend.
With enough space for a weekend trip but the features of a daily carry, Herschel’s pack has you covered.
Patagonia Arbor Roll Top Pack 30L
- Updated edition of Patagonia's classic
- Lots of internal packing space
- Seperate laptop sleeve
- Great for light travel (1.45 lb / 0.7 kg)
- Rolltop limits accessibility
A great pack for carrying your laptop and daily essentials, the Patagonia Arbor Roll Top sports a colourful outdoorsy look while being a modern everyday backpack. While a roll-top does not provide as immediate access as a zipped compartment, the aesthetics are strong on this pack, with multiple patterns and colors available.
Big enough for a weekend trip but also suitable as a daypack, you can use this backpack in many different situations. A water-repellent treatment ensures you can carry it even in bad weather.
Topo Designs Daypack Classic
- Quirky and stylish design
- High-quality materials
- Tablet/laptop sleeve
- Back panel doesn't have breathable mesh
Topo Designs is known for its highly usable and practical backpacks designed with fun color accents. The Daypack Classic is Topo’s main everyday pack, combining an attractive price with essential features for commuting, study, or weekend activities. The Cordura fabric is very hardy while the wide range of colours ensures this backpack will fit your style.
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