As working remotely becomes a longstanding lifestyle, carrying around our mobile offices (bags of laptops, chargers, and books) wherever we go becomes normalized, too. This has inspired our search for the best designer backpacks. Of course, like any worthwhile bag needed to fill the shoes of a desk drawer, you want your backpack to fit all of your essentials comfortably and possess a more polished aesthetic than that of your JanSport youth. That said, there are styles for every preference, with a handful of trends leading the pack.
“We have been charting the evolution of gorpcore [or fashion infused with elements of practical outdoor wear] and trends that are informed by outdoor life, which definitely has a connection of returning to nature that we have all become enamored with during the pandemic lockdown,” says Anush Mirbegian, director of accessories at the trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. What her firm has found is that designers are in-tune with these sentiments and have sought to embrace the extreme sports details, like climbing rope details, buckle closures, and material innovations.
Meet the Expert
Charles Gorra is the CEO and founder of Rebag. Anush Mirbegian is the director of accessories at the trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. Shilpa Shah is the co-founder of Cuyana.
At the same time, for the luxury resale business Rebag, the most popular brands for backpacks are Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, according to the company’s CEO and Founder, Charles Gorra. Its bestsellers—which include Gucci’s coated canvas backpack and Louis Vuitton’s Montsouris and Sperone backpacks—are timeless, fashionable, and functional.
Find Byrdie’s edit of the best designer backpacks, along with insights from our experts, ahead.
Gucci GG Supreme Canvas Backpack
This Gucci backpack is the best of everything. It’s crafted with brown leather trims and designed with the signature GG Supreme canvas and an interlocking G patch for a logo-driven yet classic look. Size-wise, it’s roomy enough to hold essentials such as a phone, keys, a wallet, and a book or an iPad.
Price at time of publish: $2,250
Material: Coated canvas and leather | Dimensions: 5 x 12 x 10 inches | Color Options: Beige
Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack
Whether you’re spending a week exploring a new city or doing last-minute errands before heading home after a day’s work, Longchamp’s Le Pilage backpack won’t let you down. It’s a chic and simple mini style to tote around all of your essentials while remaining hands-free. Best of all, it’s budget-friendly, coming in at a price point under $150.
Price at time of publish: $140
Material: Polyamide canvas | Dimensions: 10.25 x 11 x 4 inches | Color Options: Navy, black, red
Best for Work
Cuyana Leather Backpack
“Our leather backpack is one of my all-time favorite products,” says Shilpa Shah, a co-founder of Cuyana, a label that specializes in responsible luxury leather goods. “It delivers both beauty and function, with a timeless, versatile design, alongside thoughtful touches to maximize comfort, provide plenty of storage, and streamline organization” Like all of Cuyana’s leather products, the backpack is made with Leather Working Group (LWG)-certified leather, so shoppers can feel good about their purchase.
Price at time of publish: $498
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 13.3 x 9.6 x 7.2 inches (13-inch) and 15.1 in x 11 x 7 inches (16-inch) | Color Options: Black, cappuccino, stone
Best for Travel
Tumi Voyager Hilden Backpack
This Tumi backpack is the ultimate travel companion, featuring subtle details to keep you organized through all of your days. (Think a magnetic-snap phone pocket for easy access, a detachable key fob, and a trolley sleeve for when you’re traveling with luggage, among other things.)
Price at time of publish: $345
Material: Nylon with leather trim | Dimensions: 14 x 11.5 x 5.5 inches | Color Options: Beetroot and Zinc
Khaite Iris Leather Backpack
Khaite's Iris backpack is stylish, sophisticated, and very spacious, so you can feel confident packing it for your daily commute or on weekend getaways. It's made from smooth black leather in an unstructured silhouette with gold-tone hardware to match the logo stamp. The slim straps adjust to the wearer’s ideal fit, and the cotton-lined interior provides plenty of space for a planner, water bottle, and spare pair of shoes.
Price at time of publish: $2,200
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 6 x 16 x 9 inches | Color Options: Black and cream-white
Louis Vuitton Montsouris Backpack
Louis Vuitton reinterprets the fashion house’s iconic Montsouris style from 1994 in embossed leather. In terms of details, there’s a vintage-style golden buckle and a playful LV leather cutout charm. Two adjustable leather straps make for the most comfort, while the zippered outside pocket gives easy access to essentials.
Price at time of publish: $2,980
Material: Embossed cowhide leather | Dimensions: 11 x 13 x 5.5 inches | Color Options: Turtledove and black
Mifland Rolltop Rucksack
The Rolltop Rucksack is the ultimate carrying tool where the function and overall appeal of outdoor wear meet a minimalist aesthetic. It’s versatile with a convertible, roll-up design to be able to adjust the size and comfortably accommodate daily essentials of various dimensions.
Price at time of publish: $525
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 16-22 x 12 x 6 inches | Color Options: Yellow/black with stripes
Prada Re-Nylon Backpack
This sporty nylon backpack mingles utility and style in a way that doesn’t dress you down. It reflects the main characteristics of the brand: innovative materials, sensible luxury, and a reinvention of the classics with recycled plastic material collected from the ocean in classic black and silver. Wear it with everything from a humble white T-shirt and jeans to clean workwear.
Price at time of publish: $2,100
Material: Recycled nylon material | Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 10 inches | Color Options: Black
The Row Leather-Trimmed Canvas Backpack
Clean lines go a long way on this canvas style from The Row. In addition to a streamlined bucket design, it boasts spaciousness and a lightweight feel. It’s made from durable canvas with supple leather straps, and it includes an internal slip pocket suitable for organizing small essentials.
Price at time of publish: $1,420
Material: Canvas and leather | Dimensions: 15 x 10 inches | Color Options: Dark brown
Best Box Shape
Brandon Blackwood Portmore Backpack
A backpack was the debut shape from Chinese-Jamaican designer Brandon Blackwood, and oh, is it good. It’s a mini, square backpack just sizable enough to store all of your essentials (sometimes less is more) that’s perfect for easy errands around your city.
Price at time of publish: $375
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.5 x 5 inches | Color Options: Black
Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Backpack
This classic black leather backpack by Saint Laurent is low-profile yet lightweight and roomy enough for an overnight trip or weekend away—and sure to be an elegant addition to your bag rotation.
Price at time of publish: $2,050
Material: Leather | Dimensions: 11 x 15 x 6 inches | Color Options: Black
Brunello Cucinelli Stud-Trim Backpack
The soft beige tone in this all-suede mini backpack is light and versatile for everyday use and has the features to back it up: adjustable shoulder straps, top drawstring fastening, and magnetic closure, to name a few. We especially love the gun-metal tone studded hardware along the edges of the main flap for a slightly grungy edge.
Price at time of publish: $2,490
Material: Calf suede | Dimensions: 7.9 x 9.1 in x 3.9 inches | Color Options: Beige
We love the Gucci GG Supreme Canvas Backpack for its carefully crafted, classic design and its super practical size, perfect for housing all of your essentials. If you're looking for something more budget-friendly, you can't go wrong with the Brandon Blackwood Portmore Backpack.
What to Look for in a Designer Backpack
“Functionality has a serious connection to travel, as we are seeing [so-called] ‘revenge travel’ from people that didn’t get to travel during the pandemic or had plans canceled,” Mirbegian points out. “We have all seen the photos of the mountains of lost checked luggage, so that alone makes a strong case for a carry-on backpack.”
Sometimes, this goes hand-in-hand with function. A mini backpack is (clearly) different in proportion from an oversized one and also has a different use. To pick the best investment for you, think about how you might use your backpack. Is it for daily errands in the city or a personal item that you travel with? Do you require a laptop to fit in it and prefer easy access to it? Answering these questions will guide you to the best size and general silhouette.
What is the appeal of a designer backpack?
“A designer backpack is functional yet elevates your look, giving those who wear one the allure of status and style. It could also be a great investment that will give you a return if you decide to sell it,” Gorra points out.
What can you pack in a luxury backpack?
You should be able to fit daily essentials (e.g., a water bottle and snacks) or items for a weekend getaway (toiletries and reading material), perhaps to supplement a carry-on duffel bag or suitcase. If you have to conduct business, space for a tablet or laptop is ideal.
Why Trust Byrdie
Hayley Prokos is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor focused on fashion and lifestyle. She contributes regularly to Byrdie’s commerce section and has a passion for sourcing chic and practical pieces with long-term wearability. After hours of researching and chatting with our experts, she’s gathered enough insight to determine which designer backpacks are worth buying right now.