Best Backpack Brands: The Category Showdown

Much like luggage, the world of backpacks is large and can be overwhelming at times. There are so many brands competing for your business, it can be difficult to pick out a good bag when you aren’t familiar with all the backpack brands available. Should you go with one of the popular backpack brands you already know, or take a stab at an unknown brand with good reviews? We’re here to sort out that clutter for you by offering up what we think are the best backpack brands available online right now. We’ve created a quick guide to show our favorite brands for a variety of shopping categories.

BrandCategoryPrice RangeRating
Jansport brand logoBasic/Cheap$20 - $504.5/5
incase brand logoTechnology$50 - $1604.7/5
Herschel Supply Co brand logoFashion$32 - $2004.6/5
tumi brand logoLuxury$220 - $5004.8/5
osprey brand logoHiking/Outdoors$25 - $7004.8/5

There are a lot of good backpack brands, but to find the best backpack brands, we took a look at online reviews on a very high level. Most brands have favorable reviews, but the brands we chose seem to rise above the rest. For some additional help, we’ve also decided to mention other brands that we really like for each section below.

best cheap backpack brandBest Cheap Backpack Brand: JanSport

JanSport has been a household name for years, and remains one of the best backpack brands of all time when it comes to the basic backpack style. Most people identify JanSport as the go-to best backpack for school, but the truth is a basic backpack can come in handy for many different types of people. You won’t find any bells and whistles on JanSport backpacks, rather a minimal amount of pockets on their flagship models. What we like most about JanSport, is that you can get a really good backpack for under $30, without sacrificing quality or durability.

Established: 1967

Headquarters: Seattle, WA

Our favorite JanSport Backpacks:

  • T501 SuperBreak Backpack
  • Classic Superbreak Backpack
  • Big Student Classics Series Daypack

What makes JanSport such a great brand is the trust that they’ve accrued over their 40+ in business. They’re basically synonymous with backpacks, at least when people think back to their school years. If you’re looking for a simple, basic backpack – go with a JanSport.

 Other popular basic backpack brands:

Amazon Basics, Dakine.

best tech backpack brandBest Backpack Brand for Electronics: Incase

Here’s a brand you may not be familiar with: Incase. The Incase brand wasn’t created until portable technology was in full swing. The need for backpacks specifically designed to hold electronics like laptops and other electronics was met head on by Incase.

Established: 1997

Headquarters: Chino, CA

Our Favorite Incase Backpacks:

  • Icon Slim Pack
  • EO Travel Collection Backpack
  • Icon Pack

Incase bags are not cheap, but they are a great value for what you are paying for. A lot of popular laptop backpacks tend to wear down quickly, all while not even looking very stylish. Incase bags have a very distinct style to them that helps the backpack double as a fashion statement. You won’t find any polka dot or stripe patterns on these bags, rather a very simple, almost minimalist design.

Other popular backpacks for electronics:

Swiss Gear, Everki.

most stylish backpack brandBest Stylish Backpack: Herschel Supply Co.

Before people get too upset, a lot of backpacks, even some others on this page, look VERY stylish and could easily qualify for this category too. However we wanted to isolate a brand that we absolutely love for their style. The Herschel Supply co aren’t trying to be the first name in cheap bags, hiking bags, or electronic bags – their goal is to help you make a fashion statement with a backpack.

Established: 2009

Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada

Our Favorite Herschel Backpacks:

  • Little America Backpack
  • Classic Mid-Volume Backpack
  • Heritage Backpack

What we love about Herschel Supply Co. is that you can always find something within your price range, that will go with any outfit. Each style of backpack has dozens of color and style combinations that can really help ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for. The company mission statement located on their Facebook page reads: “Our goal is to create timeless product with a fine regard for detail.” So if you’re looking for something along those lines, you’ll love Herschel Supply Co.

Other popular stylish backpack brands:

Jack Spade, Filson.

best luxury backpack brandBest Luxury Laptop Brand: Tumi

It’s widely-known that Tumi luggage is very highly-rated, but what people may not know is that they also make amazing backpacks. Some may argue that ‘stylish’ bags, like Herschel Supply Co. above, could be considered “luxury”, however luxury in this sense is tied to the brand recognition and “status symbol” of the backpack. Owning a Tumi suitcase or backpack, is similar to owning a Coach or Michael Kors handbag.

Established: 1975

Headquarters: South Plainfield, NJ

Our Favorite Tumi Backpacks:

  • Alpha 2 Business Backpack
  • Voyageur Calais Backpack
  • Alpha Bravo Kingsville Backpack

What sets Tumi apart is their high quality, which is the same high quality and attention to detail as they put into their luggage. Tumi has various “collection” of their luggage each with a distinct style. The Alpha Bravo collection, for example, features a carry-on suitcase, brief, satchel, backpack, and wheeled backpack. The ability to match your backpack to your luggage is a great benefit of being a Tumi owner.

Other popular luxury backpack brands:

Michael Kors, Gucci.



best hiking backpack brandBest Hiking Backpack Brand: Osprey

Last but not least, the specialty category known as hiking/outdoors. This is the only backpack category on our list that is truly role-specific. Some of the brands listed above could work for you if you’re just a casual hiker or outdoorsperson, but for anyone serious about hiking should look at a backpack brand that specializes in hiking, like our favorite: Osprey

Established: 1974

Headquarters: Cortez, CO

Our favorite Osprey Backpacks:

  • Atmos 65 AG Backpack
  • Aether 70 Backpack
  • Exos 58 Backpack

Osprey is a true pioneer in the backpack world. They were the first to introduce a breathable mesh material to the backpack world, among other innovations. As you’ll see in our table at the top of this page, Osprey backpacks can be had for $30 all the way up to $700. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can find a great Osprey backpack at just about any price. Towards the lower end of the price spectrum, you’ll find the basic “day packs” for everyday use, and on the higher-end you’ll find the serious hiking backpacks.

Other popular hiking backpack brands:

The North Face, Eberlestock.

We hope that our guide to the best backpack brands is helpful for you. Backpacks are more than just book carriers for students, just about anyone can benefit from a good backpack. Please let us know if you have any favorite backpack brands in the comment section below.

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