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It’s officially back-to-school season, which means it’s time to refresh your school or office lineup for the fall. Backpacks are practically a wardrobe staple when you’re a kid, but, as you get older, many adults tend to graduate to more “adult” bags like totes, briefcases, and satchels to carry their essentials to and from the office. But if you think about it, backpacks are really where it’s at—especially for those of us grown-ups who battle constant neck, shoulder, and issues.

Backpacks are the ultimate everyday carry item when it comes to both convenience, utility, and comfort. They allow you to commute and run errands hands-free, distribute weight evenly across your back, and can stow much more stuff than your average tote or briefcase.

Many adults shy away from wearing a backpack out of fear of coming across as juvenile (especially if you’re returning back to the office after a two-year hiatus), but rest assured that there are plenty of adult-friendly backpacks that are not only functional but also look sleek and professional too. They can seamlessly travel with you from work to happy hour, take a cruise with you on your bike while keeping a few grocery items safe, and many of them even double as a beach bag.

Of course, there’s a wide range of backpacks out there to choose from and, now that you’re a grown-up, you don’t really have the extra time to be sorting through all the options when your to-do list is never-ending. You have actual adulting to do, after all. With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and done the research for you. Scroll through below to check out the best backpacks for adults to buy this back-to-school season.

Herschel Heritage Backpack

Enjoy the look of a classic backpack with a slight twist—a leather bottom that won’t easily rip or tear when you toss this bag around. The interior sleeve pocket can hold your laptop and there’s a media pocket inside that includes a headphone port. You can also stash a water bottle or your wallet in the front zip pouch.

The Northface Cryptic Backpack

This backpack is specially designed to carry a ton of stuff while keeping you comfortable in the process. Injection molded shoulder straps keep your shoulders comfortable as you cruise around town while a breathable lumbar panel prevents things from digging into your back. This backpack is even endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, so you know it won’t screw with your alignment. Enjoy a dedicated laptop sleeve, elastic bungee system on top, and two mesh water bottle pockets for ample hydration.

Longchamp Large Le Pliage Backpack

Longchamp’s leather-trimmed backpack isn’t massive, but it gets the job done when it’s time to tote stuff your daily essentials around. Just slip in your laptop, favorite book, and water bottle, and go. There’s no need to stress about stuff spilling out: This backpack features a zipper and snap closure to keep everything contained. A top carry handle gives you options for transporting things. And, when your backpack’s not in use, it folds up small and can be stashed in a drawer.

Madewell Transport Rucksack

Looking for a fashionable backpack that will look chic year after year? You found it. The Transport rucksack is made of supple leather—choose between saddle and black shades—both of which look even cooler over time. Enjoy three inside pockets (including one with a zipper) and one outside so you can be organized on the go. A handle at the top makes it more than easy to grab your bag on the fly.

Adidas Originals National Backpack

This sporty Adidas backpack doesn’t just look cool—it offers up a roomy interior to house your must-haves. The main compartment features a zippered organization pocket that’s perfect for your money and ID, while a laptop and tablet sleeve has a special protective lining in case you tend to toss your bag around. It’s even equipped with a water-resistant base fabric for added protection, just in case you accidentally plunk your bag down on a wet spot.

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

This iconic backpack is a total statement piece while still being versatile and practical. The Kånken comes in a huge selection of colors, ranging from a cool salmon pink to a basic black, and features a simple Scandinavian design. You can stuff plenty in the roomy interior pocket, while a smaller exterior zip pocket can hold your wallet and a water bottle. Its water-resistant fabric protects your gear from rain. There’s even a foam insert you can remove and use as a seat pad when you’re on the go. Genius.


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