Sports Gear

Finding the Best EDC Backpack

Check out some of the best packs to keep your gear safe and secure

The idea behind a tactical backpack is protection and durability. In general, backpacks have evolved far beyond the sole purpose of lugging things around. What we’re seeing more and more of is a need for the EDC backpack that can help keep the elements out of your important gear.

I, like many people, often travel with my laptop and other pieces of tech sitting in my bag. As a result, being able to keep these things protected is a priority. From the rain-soaked tendencies of London to the excruciating heat of Dubai, these are some of the best packs to keep your gear safe and secure.

Maxpedition Falcon II Backpack EDC

Falcon-II Backpack 23L

Maxpedition’s design ethos reminds that tactical backpacks are not to be considered for function alone. Sure, you need to be able to protect your gear. But, a tactical EDC backpack also needs to be fairly easy to wear. It may come across as an obvious preference, but it’s easy to sacrifice the feel of a pack for some added functionality.

Maxpedition makes it clear that this doesn’t always have to be the case. The Falcon II is designed to be as ergonomic as you need it to be. The shoulder straps are loaded with foam and formed in a comforting style. They also conform to your shoulders and chest so that you never quite feel like the bag is weighing you down.

Backpack EDC Essentials

Having said all of that, no sacrifices are made here when it comes to protective function. This sturdy model is constructed with a 1050 Denier nylon. This high-grade frame is abrasion and water resistant. There are also inner compartments that layered with even more protective materials. There, you’ll find additional pockets and pouches which feature in a noticeably greater amount here than most backpacks in this size category. Dual-direction YKK zippers bring it all together to keep everything cozy and protected.

An interesting extra bit here is the inclusion of a high-capacity water reservoir. You can hold up to 3L (or 100oz) comfortably. Once you’ve packed everything in the way you prefer, it’s easy to compress it down via the included side-straps. And off you go!

What separates it from other backpacks?

Maxpedition has been a leader in the ergonomic design of durable packs for quite some time. The notion of a tactical EDC backpack has been evolving over the years primarily thanks to names like Maxpedition. As a result, this high-capacity durable carry-all is a preference not just for hikers, but for military and law enforcement officials as well.

Triple Aught Design FAST Backpack EDC

https://tripleaughtdesign.com/shop/fast-pack-edc/

Triple Aught Design brings customization to the forefront of each of their products. The durability and protection profile are in top form, but the added wow-factor comes from just personalized these packs are. The conditions their materials can take on make them some of the best EDC backpacks on the market for all purposes.

The best of military design meets mountaineering ergonomics, as the bran suggests. Essentially, this goes to suggest that the FAST pack is built for most all outdoor conditions, whether you’re adventuring nearby or on a grueling trek far away. Interestingly, it isn’t all advanced features here. Some of the more familiar details are considered standards in all EDC backpacks.

Backpack EDC Essentials

Loaded with features, the FAST model is teeming with functionality. The outer shell is in a 1000 and 500 Denier Invista Cordura Fabric. It protects all of your gear from water and abrasion while keeping everything securely fastened. Speaking of water resistance, the Dri-Lex Aerospacer Moisture Management Mesh helps to further that aspect. The separate protective layers make it even harder to damage items such as your phone or laptop in the rain.

Coming in at about 72 oz (2 KG), you’re looking at one of the sturdier choices for a tactical EDC backpack. It comes together with a clamshell closure, held firmly by details such as YKK and nylon coil reverse zippers. The zippers even come with a paracord for a more practical closure.

What separates it from other backpacks?

For one, this one of the rare entrants in any product line that’s made in the USA. Even beyond EDC backpacks, that’s a rare sighting. Outside of that, there’s a lot to love here. The FAST pack is the definition of a tactical EDC. It’s functional elements are, at this point, an expectation. But, the modular capabilities are a nice bonus.

Smaller details like the zipper and closure system are quite effective in aiding this goal. However, the more evident details are noteworthy as well. The pockets are divided up into two in the front, two external, and two internal. Each comes with a solid mesh or nylon construction that works surprisingly well in protecting your gear.

From anchor points to Ladderloc buckles, it’s all about being able to adjust this protective design to your needs at any given time or place.

GORUCK GR1 EDC Backpack

https://www.goruck.com/gr1/

There might not be a more telling stamp of approval than that of the US Army. GORUCK’s products have been heralded for quite some time now. Amongst outdoors enthusiasts and enforcement professions, the brand’s offerings are lauded for a clear sense of aesthetics. Within those subtle builds is a whole suite of protective features.

GORUCK even has regular events where they get to showcase their wears in a more interactive format. Here, fans from all over get to see the latest in what the label is cooking up. The GORUCK challenges across people of all outdoors experience, and even some former and current military members. The GR1 is, per the brand, consistently the most popular option every time.

Backpack EDC Essentials

What’s a tactical EDC backpack without some serious features? Luckily, the GR1 is fully loaded in this regard. Let’s start with the most eye-catching quality on the specifications sheet. The laptop compartment on the GR1 is bombproof. The idea here is to be able to load up important data and intelligence into a shell that is fit for a soldier on the battlefield. For the rest of us, that means that it’ll take more than incidental kicks and drops on the train to damage your laptop!

Knowing that, it may come as no surprise to you that the GR1’s outer shell is also waterproof. For the water you’d like to keep in, a hydration port is just under the top handle.

I keep coming back to zippers on this list, and for good reason. Tactical backpacks – and bags in general – need to be able to close and open in intuitive ways. Otherwise, the practicality and protectiveness take a hit. In that regard, the GR1 is impressive. The YKK zip system here comes with glove-friendly zipper pulls with a parachute cord.

Thanks to the additional MOLLE attachments, you can customise your own GR1 to have whatever extra elements you see fit.

What separates it from other backpacks?

The GORUCK GR1 is a preference of the US military for a reason. The protective features are pretty impressive. The bombproof laptop section is definitely going to be the main outlier here. How many EDC backpacks, tactical or otherwise, can really boast that. It’s another USA-made design that’s earning it widespread accolades.

Personally, the lowkey design is a big plus on the GR1. Tactical EDC Backpacks seem to be especially useful when they don’t look like you’re carrying your entire home with you. The GR1 looks like a lot of rucksacks you’d see on your daily commutes. This makes its protective features something only you – and other GR1 fans you might bump into – are aware of.

That’s an important piece of subtle design. It may not look like it, but that toned down visual really shows how much attention was paid to the overal look and feel of this bag. It’s also a great way to feel like you’re part of a select group of backpackers who know quality when they see it. And if that’s not enough to convince you, I’d like to repeat: bombproof laptop compartment!

Osprey Flare 22 EDC Backpack

https://www.ospreyeurope.com/shop/gb_en/flare-1

Brand mission can be a make or break call in just about any consumer-oriented industry. That story is no different with regards to backpack providers. Companies often spend immense amounts of money just to get that section of the marketting efforts right. For Osprey, it was fortunate that the brand mission was relatively simple but managed to carry the intended weight of its vision.

“My personal philosophy is that I enjoy life more if I’m surrounded by things that I made myself. I understand my surroundings and I connect better with my environment.” That is straight from Mike Pftonhauer, the founder and chief designer at Osprey. This ethos is what led to the brand’s central focus on craftsmanship. It’s also resulted in some of the best EDC backpacks available.

Osprey is known for their All Might Guarantee, which aspires to focus on quality of products rather that quantity. No mass productions or clearance sales. They even strive to fix backpacks at every angle before deciding to replace them. The Flare 22 EDC is a standard representation of the Osprey ideal.

Backpack EDC Essentials

This is one of those tactical EDC backpack options that is pretty subtle. It doesn’t come with the overt punching power of some of the others already mentioned. Still, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with a host of its own wothy features.

It’s in a solid build, boasting a 210D Nylon oxford shell. The inner laptop sleeve is equipped just about any size computer. It’s also a very lightweight option as far as tactical bags go, coming in at just under 1kg. The front panel comes with an organizer pocket, leading into more internal features.

A document sleeve and separate attachment clips for keys and an LED light add utility. A sternum strap with emergency whistle rounds off this model, while reflective graphics give it a combination of visual intrigue and nighttime visiblity.

Being that it’s an Osprey product, it also comes with the brand’s All Mighty Guarantee. They have been vocal proponents of fixing any bags that need the attention and preventing a simple replacement. While being good for the environment – part of the brand’s personal focus – this guarantee also works in another way. The willingness to fix most defects shows a dedication their own quality-focused ethos.

What separates it from other backpacks?

Not every tactical backpack has to be this monolithic, war-ready beast. Sure, the point of tectical EDC backpacks is to be super protective and get the job done. But, and this is worth nothing, they don’t always have to be absolute beasts. The Flare 22 is the perfect example of this.

It’s the perfect all-purpose tactical option. It comes with all of the standard features you’d expect from one of the best EDC backpacks out there. The outer shell comes in protective materials. There are plenty of pickets and compartments for serious storage capabilities. It’s the perfect choice for a daily work grind or a trip to school. Meanwhile, it’ll come in handy on weekend hikes or camping trips as well.

It may not quite be bombproof or anything, but the best designs often do enough to get the job done while making sure your money was well spent. If nothing else, the Osprey All Mighty Guarantee is enough to at least warrant your consideration.

The Best Backpacks for One Bag Travel and EDC

The whole purpose of doing this much research before you a buy a backpack is so that you get the right one. Doing this work before you purchase means you’re less likely to spend on multiple purchases in the future. So, ideally, you’re looking to make this a one-time purchase for the foreseeable future.

As such, it’s always been the case for me that the best EDC backpacks are those that condense my carrying needs. When I’m picking a new backpack, I look for which one I can use that ticks the most boxes – work, camping trips, mountain biking, travel, conferences, etc. You get the picture. So, in light of that, here are our picks for the best in the one-bag-travel EDC category.

Minaal Carry-On 2.0 Backpack EDC

Carry-on 2.0 Bag

Another minimalist gem, the Carry-On 2.0 is about making sure you’re packed and on the move to tackle your day ASAP. Its design is specifically compliant with both European and US airline carry-on limits, which is super handy! This is the sort of design approach you’d expect from a company like Minaal. They are pretty much the emblem of backpacks in the most mobile generation ever.

As the company puts, they’re “making toold for a world where people change locations, jobs, cities – and countries – at will.” It reflects the fact that fewer and fewer of us are ever geographically settled. Consequently, we tend to carry everything we value on our shoulders at any given point in time.

Minaal’s products, highlighted by this Carry-On 2.0 model, are a direct answer to this growing need.

Backpack EDC Essentials

Coming in at about 1.4 kg, the outer shell is made from an industry-leading 600D nylon fabric. As with the other options we mentioned it comes with protective qualities such as water resistance. That trait, in particular, is possible thanks to a seam-sealed rain cover. The additional layer acts as a sort of backup/ failsafe should pour-downs get strong enough to pose a threat to your tech.

The DeviceNest compartment, a signature design of the brand, is a nice touch. It fits laptops that measure up to 15”. The YKK zippers are a smooth and adjustable closure mechanism, bringing the full-packed model together for quick stow-away. The main compartment measures in at a depth of 20cm, so you’re not exactly lacking in volume here.

Other included features run the standard gamut. The chest strap comes with modular adjustment for a snug feel. The zippers feature an extra locking mechanism for added security. The pockets included consist of 3D sections in mesh and fabric. Finally, a water bottle holder wraps things up, sporting a 9cm capacity.

What separates it from other backpacks?

The practicality of this option cannot be overstated. Some of the best EDC backpacks in the world present a bit of an incomplete profile. Particularly when you talk about the one-bag-travel category, traditional powerhouse names can fall short. You can fit every one of your items in just the right spot and have it all sit snug…only to be told that you’re going to have to pay extra to check the bag in as it doesn’t meet carry-on luggage requirements.

This is where Minaal comes in. The notion that their bags have gone through the development stage of researching these regulations speaks volumes of the brand. The Carry-On 2.0 ticks an all too important box when looking for the perfect travel accesory. The company is well aware of the evolving needs of their consumer base, and this model reflects that.

The protective shell is impressively durable. Even beyond that, the decision to go with an extra waterproof layer is sure to lend a sense of security. The Carry-On 2.0 comes with more than enough supportive features. What really pushes it over the edge of being worth the time – and money – is the chance to actually make trips to the airport a lot easier.

As an added bonus, you don’t even have to constantly carry this bag via shoulder straps. In the spirit of a dynamic travel backpack, it can be carried around via the top-handle, briefcase style.

NOMATIC 40L Travel Backpack

40L Travel Bag

Nomatic is another brand that operates with the needs of the traveling consumer in mind. Much like with Minaal, the central ethos of each pack includes a dynamism and versatility that keeps up with you no matter what you’re up to. Ultimately, the goal of each Nomatic design is to be a comfortable go-to when you need every advanced and standard feature in one place.

Of course, there’s more to their products than that. Every option on this list has a solid candidacy for being considered one of the best EDC backpacks on the market. And yet, each comes with a unique selling point that separates it from the rest. For Nomatic, that seems to be keying in on organization and clean design.

Nearly everything Nomatic offers up has a crisp, understated finish to it. Most of the backpacks in their catalog are even finished in a stealthy Black. More importantly, each comes with a clearly laid out set of pockets and features. It’s almost like the purpose here was to bring about a cathartic sense of arranging – a place for everything and everything in its place.

Backpack EDC Essentials

You read that right. 40L. That’s 40 whole liters of volume storage in this beast of an EDC backpack. What’s more, it’s arranged beautifully so that all the compartments and sections are easy to get to. They’re also, as we mentioned above, really easy on the eyes. For those of you who are into neat, flowing lines in your bags, this Nomatic model is for you!

This EDC option comes with a combination sternum and shoulder strap. This way, you can fill that immense volume to its capacity without focusing the load squarely on your back. One of the more remarkable features here is the dedicated set of compartments. There are pockets for things like your cell phone, wallet, passports, laptop, underwear, and socks. You even get a specific section for your shoes!

The wallet and passport pockets are specifically intriguing as they come with RFID blocking properties. This is a welcome addition for most people as it only adds to the backpack’s overall security profile. If you’re one of those people who are concerned about an RFID reader being used to scan or hack your cards, this would be a pretty appropriate option.

What separates it from other backpacks?

The Nomatic is, for all intents and purposes, a weighty and sturdy beast of an EDC. It’s built with the needs of travelers as its designers’ first and primary mandate. What almost immediately comes through as a unique note is the massive and beautifully arranged storage capacity of this bag. 40L is no joke, folks.

More backpack storage designs would do well to imitate this scheme. It’s easy to open up and access. Of course, it also compartmentalizes everything so that it’s all visually accessible as well. The fact it unfolds the way it does is a huge bonus – reminiscent of a folder or a magazine, with different sections in page-like design.

If you’re constantly on the go and need to make sure you can take as many items with you as possible, this is the one for you. Nomatic takes versatility and convenience very seriously, and it shows in their design work. It’s also the sort of thing that would come in hand for, as an example, journalists!

I, personally, have a good buddy of mine who works as a freelance journalist in dangerous places all over the world. He has to have what he calls a “go bag.” This is the bag you have ready at all times so that you can get going to another country at a moment’s notice. For him, the Nomatic 40L Travel Backpack would make life a whole lot easier.

Best EDC Backpack Under 100 Bucks

So, now that you have some options in the more elite category, it’s time we think about some of the more budget-friendly models. Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean we’re sacrificing any quality. The models featured below have less to do with compromise and more to do with being a bit of a savvy shopper.

Some of the best EDC backpacks are hidden amongst the lower-tier choices in terms of pricing. Another benefit of doing this research and knowing what you want is that it makes your search for the EDC backpacks much easier. Specifically, you’re much more likely to find the perfect bag at a surprising price. In short, the research makes you more discerning.

So, with that in mind, here’s our pick for the best EDC backpack under $100.

SwissGear Travel Gear Laptop Backpack

https://www.amazon.com/SwissGear-Friendly-ScanSmart-Computer-Backpack/dp/B002OHDIWY/

When I say Swiss what do you think? Chocolate? Alright, that’s fair enough. But, does the term Swish Army Knife also come to mind by chance? Well, if it does, there’s a good reason for that. Swiss Gear has spent the overwhelming majority of its years as one of the leading proponents in functional design. Their contributions to the EDC backpack category are proof enough of this.

Their designs focus on a combination of utility and compact construction. Much like with some other top tier brands, there’s also an added emphasis placed upon convenience for the wearer. Admittedly, Swiss Gear does a good job of bringing all the necessary functional elements together in a smooth and fluent manner. In fact, it’s quite underrated in this regard.

And yet, it’s worth keeping in mind that this backpack won’t quite measure up to some of the more advanced choices mentioned above. With that being said, let’s see what we’re dealing with here.

Backpack EDC Essentials

This backpack is a study in all of the standard features of the urban bag. The main large pocket comes with a set of unsurprising partitions for different items. It’s designed to be capable of holding – and protecting – binders, paper, and tech accessories. Of course, there also a separate compartment for your laptop. One handy feature that often goes underappreciated is the protective pouch meant to secure your MP3 player.

A removable key fob is also included in this design. As someone who is constantly losing track of his keys, that’s a huge plus for me. The pocket organizer along the interior also comes with smaller pocket sections for a cellphone, pencils, and pens. The dual pockets along the outer shell are constructed from a stretchy and durable mesh.

Speaking of which, the build on this backpack’s outer shell is fairly impressive as well. It comes in a versatile ballistic weave fabric that boasts quite the long-term durability profile.

As if that wasn’t enough, this budget-friendly bag comes with convenience features for frequent travelers as well. The laptop compartment is designed to smooth your tech through the security checking process while also keeping safe and secure in your backpack. For different laptop sizes, the compartment also has an adjustable strap that sports some extra cushy padding.

What separates it from other backpacks?

In the budget-friendly EDC backpack category, it’s tough to find enough quality that makes it worth stepping sp far down the price tier. That balance between high quality and price-mindedness can prove tricky enough to lead to a bad decision. It’s easy to go for the cheapest option you can find. It’s an entirely different story to manage to get the most bang for your buck.

With that in mind, Swiss Gear will likely always be a safe option regardless what your price range is. No matter what it is you consider the best EDC backpack, you’ll need the model you choose to tick a few boxes. Otherwise, there’s really not much of a point to the effort. Swiss Gear helps with this by keeping the prices reasonable while still refusing to compromise on overall quality.

Again, this model won’t compare to the likes of the tactical and one-bag-travel options we went over. But, if you’re looking for a happy middle between saving a bunch of money and getting a very good product for your efforts, the middle ground is called being a savvy shopper. As far as EDC backpacks go, Swiss Gear will usually be among your best options.

Honorable Mention

Fjallraven

We couldn’t put together this list without mentioning one of the most popular EDC backpack brands out there. In fact, it’s more than a brand that is focused on the backpack sector. It’s a more holistic enterprise, turning its attention to all things outdoor – from apparel/ clothing to equipment. As a Swedish purveyor, they’re focused on an ethical approach to design that doesn’t encroach on nature. It also doesn’t skimp on the quality.

Highlights include pieces such as the Kanken mini, a smaller version of their signature product. Laptop-carrying versions of this design come with a top capacity of 15” screens. For the less EDC-prone, a Totepack option is available as well, with a few notable features such as an additional zipper and leather detailing.

Fjallraven has been using their constantly growing popularity – you’ll recognize their logo on backpacks all over the world – to make a positive contribution. They go beyond refusing to disturb nature by also advocating for its preservation. This sort of mission statement resonates with a purchasing base that is putting an increasing amount of emphasis on brand ethics.

For our purposes, however, Fjallraven is worthy of honorable mention due to their balancing of this ethical mission with an uncompromising stance on their products’ quality.

Picking out the best EDC backpack can be quite tricky. This process involves a lot of technical jargon. Some of it focuses on knowing the brands you’re going to be dealing with. As far as the brands and product choices are concerned, our following list has got you covered. But, before all of that, we need to cover something equally as important – if not more so!

We need to talk a little about how to select the best EDC backpack for your individual needs. At this point, you might be wondering why that would even be necessary. Well, it’s quite simple, really.

In general, backpacks are getting more and more sophisticated. It seems like every other new design or modification brings something unforeseen to the table. And it all moves at a dizzying pace. Often, consumers spend a ton of money on a collection of features they really don’t need. Preventing that is precisely why it’s important to get down to how to pick the best EDC backpack.

Best EDC Tactical Backpacks: What are you looking for?

First thing is first, what exactly are you looking for? To answer that question in this context, you need to determine what it is you’ll be carrying. After all, EDC does stand for Every Day Carry. So, it’s important to think about the essential items you’ll be lugging around on an everyday basis.

For lots of people, the things that come to mind are smaller items. Wallet, keys, and cell phones are the top culprits. The common mistake here is forgetting that at least two of those things will be carried in your pants pockets.

So, you might want to delve a bit deeper into this question. Consider your environment and commute. What are the sorts of items that you carry with you as a reaction to them? This list would include, but is never limited to:

-umbrella
-water bottle
-flashlight
-extra headphones/ earphones
-laptop

Selecting the best EDC backpack for your needs is about determining how much of this applies to you. Sure, it may come across as a bit tedious to start with. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if you’re clamoring to hear about the brands already. But, trust me, it’s worth taking some time to understand your exact needs before shopping.

Take it slow

In my own experience, this sort of research would have been helpful. A few years back, starting a new job meant a new – and longer – commute. It also meant more exposure to the outdoors and all of its often unpredictable conditions. The idea I had was to find out what the top brands were and limit my shopping to them. It’s the equivalent to realizing you don’t have enough button-down shirts and heading straight to luxury brands.

Much like with fashion – or just about anything else – having a top tier backpack is a great feeling. You have the brand reputation to show off and it can be a bit of a status symbol. Yet, the fundamental reason you spend money on a backpack is so that it’ll help make your life easier.

Whether this means you’re trekking through long journeys to get to work or facing a hectic commute as a student, your time is better spent focusing on what backpack helps meet your personal needs.

Now, let’s take a look at our selection of favorites.

 

 

 

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FJALLRAVEN