12 Hand-picked Best Minimalist Backpacks for 2021

Minimalist Backpacks are an item that everyone should have on hand. They are versatile and can be used for work, travel or even just casual every day use. Often, they also work well as hiking backpacks because of their comfort and quick access compartments. This style of backpack is specially designed to be lightweight and durable, so you can store all of your essential belongings without having to struggle with the bulk of a traditional backpack. Minimalist backpacks offer lots of space and organizational compartments to keep items neat and tidy but have no more than two external pockets. Travellers especially like using these bags as they have useful features for those on the move. For example, minimalist backpacks for travel offer USB charging ports, straps or sleeves that can attach to luggage, and safety features like hidden zippers and secret pockets. In general, minimalist backpacks are intended for use with electronics and can make for a good camera backpack. Therefore, they have customized sleeves for laptops that ensure electronics are protected. The price tags of minimalist backpacks vary, so there is something for every price range.

In this article we will look at the best minimalist backpacks and offer advice on how to find the best minimalist backpack for you.

Things to Look for in the Best Minimalist Backpack

When trying to find the best minimalist backpack, there are a few things you should be aware of prior to purchasing. Will you be using it as a hiking backpack? A travel bag? Or simply for an everyday backpack? While the proclaimed best minimalist backpack just comes down to a matter of opinion, here are four key elements you should consider when buying.

Style

A nice thing about a minimalist backpack is it can be worn by men and women. The styles and aesthetics are unisex, but also commonly come in a variety of colours and patterns. The best minimalist backpacks have two common styles. The first one being a classic appearance, like what you would picture a traditional schoolbag to look like. This style typically is made of nylon, has a wide body and has one main compartment without many pockets. The second style has a modern and futuristic look. It usually is made of a blend of fabrics like polyester or nylon and a microfiber. They commonly have sleek finishes, narrow bodies, and limited external pockets. This style of minimalist backpack mostly comes in black or grey. They are also suited for minimalist travel with features like back sleeves that can slide over luggage handles and luggage straps that are compatible with suitcases. No matter your personal style taste, you won’t have a problem finding a model that is suited for yourself.

Comfort

The best minimalist backs are always comfortable. Nobody likes wearing a backpack that is uncomfortable and causes muscle pain, especially if you are commuting or hiking. One thing about the best minimalist backpacks for men and women is they won’t put stress on your body, as they are created to be comfortable and breathable. Many have padding on the shoulders and back area that allows for airflow. This means you won’t have to experience an uncomfortable rough fabric strap rubbing against your shoulders. You also won’t have to deal with body sweat touching your bag as the best minimalist backpacks have water protection. Although not overly common, some of these bags come with a chest strap to relieve your body from the weight of the backpack. These backpacks are lightweight and range around the 1.5 lb mark, so they are not bulky to carry around.

Storage

Minimalist backpacks are highly popular primarily because of the amount of space and organization they offer. If you find yourself struggling to keep your belongings in order and desire specialized pockets, then you’ll appreciate a minimalist design. They are similar to a traditional backpack but have more room and storage, while still having special compartments for electronics. For example, the best minimalist backpack for someone who has a lot of belongings would have multiple interior pockets of various sizes. If you can’t keep track of your keys, you’ll want to look for a model that has a key clip or key hook. This is a fool proof way to never lose your keys again. Headphones, USB cables, and power banks are compatible with minimalist styles and its easy to find types that include a port for . On average, they range between having a 16 litre and 23 litre capacity, making them suitable for a variety of objects.

Safety

One of the main reasons a minimalist backpack is used as a minimalist travel backpack is because of safety. Minimalist backpacks can have features like hidden pockets, hidden zippers and locks that are appealing for travellers. Therefore, while exploring a new city you can feel at ease wearing a minimalist backpack, as pick pocketers will have a difficult time trying to access your valuables. The interior laptop sleeve offers additional safety as it is tucked away making it difficult for someone to know you are carrying a pricey electronic. Sometimes, this style of travel bag even has fabric that is blade proof in order to prevent a violent robbery. If you need an everyday backpack, then these safety features may not be a priority for you in which case you will have no problem finding a minimalist backpack that has more basic features.

12 Best Minimalist Backpacks in 2021

1. Bellroy Campus Backpack

If you’re looking for a stylish minimalist backpack that has protection for electronics, you’ll want to check this out. The Bellroy Campus Backpack comes in eight colors and is versatile enough to take you from the classroom to a weekend adventure.

Materials & Design

Made of non-toxic materials and environmentally certified leather, this backpack is durable and lightweight. The leather of the Bellroy will age gracefully due to its tanning and dying process, making it a bag you can rely on for years. It is designed especially for devices and has a deep padded laptop compartment with extra room for additional belongings. The bag weighs almost one and a half pounds, so it is not heavy yet still sturdy. Its premium YKK Aquaguard zippers are heavy duty and will prevent rain from leaking through. The Bellroy works well as a minimalist travel backpack thanks to its comfortable straps and back padding system. Making it easy to wear all-day without causing muscle strain. It also has a quick-grab handle for quick pick up when you’re on the go.

Storing & Carrying

There is a compartment with a minimalist laptop sleeve that works with models up to 16”, and won’t cause them to bend or bounce. Inside there is tiered storage that makes it easy to store objects and prevents them from getting crushed at the bottom of the backpack. If you find yourself always loosing your keys, you will appreciate the clip that holds keys in place. The Bellroy also has a handy internal zip pocket to keep smaller items separate from large ones. With its 16-litre capacity, this backpack can hold all of your smaller essentials without bulk.

Pros

  • Comes in multiple colors
  • High price tag
  • Comfortable straps
  • Laptop compartment and protection
  • Clip for keys
  • Backside padding system

Cons

  • Narrow body
  • Not a waterproof backpack

 

 

2. The North Face Vault Backpack

The North Face Vault is a high-quality day pack made for anyone with an active lifestyle. It has many features that will help keep your belongings organized and safe, including electronics! As a North Face product, you can rest assure that this possibly the best minimalist backpacks for men and also women available.

Materials & Design

The North Face Vault is made of polyester and although it is not completely waterproof, it does have a light durable water-resistant finish. Customers recommend storing valuables in plastic bags within the Vault Backpack if there is a risk of rain to prevent damage. As a safety feature, this backpack has reflective areas so you can feel confident wearing it in the dark. Its front compartment is designed with internal organization and has an extra padded tablet sleeve, a pendolier and secure-zip pockets. The main compartment of the backpack is large enough to store binders and there is a 15” padded laptop sleeve. Meaning even if you endure a few bumps, your laptop won’t get damaged. The Vault is available in several colors and patterns making it somewhat customizable depending on your design preferences.

Storing & Carrying

For a minimalist backpack, this one is quite roomy and can hold up to 26.5 litres. The North Face really focused on comfort when designing this minimalist backpack. The bag features FlexVent technology with custom molded shoulder straps and a padded mesh back panel, for breathable and comfortable support. The top handle is also padded and there is a chest strap for extra back support while wearing. The Vault has 2 extendable mesh pockets especially designed for water bottle storage, but they could also be used to store an umbrella or thin jacket. The backpack itself is not overly heavy and weighs just over 1.5 lbs, making it an excellent hiking backpack as well.

Pros

  • Comes in multiple colors and patterns
  • Mid-range price point
  • Custom molded shoulder straps
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Padded mesh exterior panel
  • Sternum strap
  • Very durable
  • Water bottle pocket

Cons

  • Not completely water-proof

 

 

3. Herschel Settlement Backpack

Classic meets trendy with the Herschel Settlement Backpack. This backpack has a minimalist design that is timeless yet versatile. It works well for casual use but is especially good for use as a daily commute bag, air-plane carry on or as a hiking backpack.

Materials & Design

The Herschel Settlement Backpack is designed to keep electronics safe while also being practical. It has multiple compartments to keep objects organized, including a tech-safe sleeve that is padded and line with fleece for laptops up to 13”. There is also a handy internal media pocket so you’ll always have a designated and secure place to store your phone. The front pocket features a clip for keys so they won’t disappear and get lost in the bottom of your bag. Those who like to listen to music or podcasts while one the move will appreciate the headphone port. The Settlement Backpack is made of polyester and to keep with its vintage style, there are exposed zippers with pebbled zipper pulls.

Storing & Carrying

This bag has a 23-litre capacity and can carry heavier items like textbooks, making it appropriate for use as a school bag. It is very comfortable to carry around because of its padded contoured, shoulder straps and breathable air mesh back padding. So you won’t feel the need to constantly adjust this backpack while wearing! Some customers have reported concerns about the quality of this product. There have been issues with zippers not closing smoothly and falling off. The brand tag on the bag has also been known to peel. That being said, the body of the Herschel Settlement is quite sturdy, therefore while this bag shouldn’t be used for anything more than causal use, it is a stylish product that comes in a variety of colours and patterns.

Pros

  • Price ranges depending on pattern/color chosen
  • Padded and contoured shoulder straps
  • Mesh back padding
  • Classic and stylish design
  • Laptop sleeve and protection
  • Headphone port

Cons

  • Not a high-quality product
  • Does not have water protection

 

 

4. KOPACK Slim Laptop Backpack KP510

The KOPACK Slim Laptop Backpack is without a doubt one of the best minimalist backpacks for travel currently on the market. It has all the features you could ever want in this style of bag. It’s affordable and has a unique internal organizational system, so you will always know exactly where your belongings are.

Materials & Design

Made of a durable and textured tear-resistant oxford material, KOPACK Slim Laptop Backpacks are built to last. This bag is a particularly good option for minimalist travel as the main compartment has an anti-puncture 4 tooth zipper that provides double anti-theft protection. It was thoughtfully designed with over 10 slots to store items of various sizes. There is also a hidden laptop compartment for additional safety. This compartment can only be accessed when the backpack is taken off your back, and it fits slim laptops up to 15”. The KOPACK Slim also has an external detachable USB cable that can charge devices by using your power bank inside (power bank is not included). There are also pockets on either side of the backpack for water bottle storage.

Storing & Carrying

This backpack is extremely comfortable to carry and was designed to minimize backpain while wearing. Its ergonomic and S shaped padded straps alleviates pressure. The back panel is also padded for support and helps improve posture when carrying heavier items. You’ll never have to worry about the zippers not being strong enough on this backpack. Its patented dual layer zipper on the main compartment has an extra tooth, this makes the zipper extremely strong and can even resist a knife stab. The KOPACK Slim is versatile enough to be used for school, work or travelling. Its anti theft features and comfortable design make it ideal for commuters or anyone who must carry a full backpack for an extended period of time. The best minimalist backpacks for travellers typically have many safety features.

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Lots of storage
  • Comfortable design features
  • Anti theft-protection
  • Hidden laptop storage
  • External USB cable
  • Water bottle pocket
  • One of the best minimalist backpacks

Cons

  • Bottom is not reinforced
  • No handle on the top
  • Not water-proof

 

 

5. VASCHY Unisex Classic Backpack

There’s not doubt you’ll turn heads when wearing the VASCHY Unisex Classic Backpack. Its cool yet simple and is appropriate for both casual and active wear. This bag won’t let you down and will be a staple piece in your wardrobe.

Materials & Design

This minimalist backpack is made of water-resistant polyester and has cotton lining on the inside. The polyester ensures the bag stays wrinkle-free and won’t shrink or stretch. The bottom is padded with a suede-like material for protection against falls or sudden jolts. The main compartment has a double zipper closure to ensure belongings stays dry. There are 3 small interior pockets and two zippered pockets that are great for storing small objects like chargers, loose change or tissues. It also has side water bottle pockets and a padded laptop sleeve for computers up to 15”. The front pocket of the VASCHY Unisex Classic Backpack features a key-hook so your keys will never go missing. Something important to note is this minimalist backpack has extra long leather pulls on the external zippers. This allows for quick zipping and unzipping as they move smoothly and easily. There is also an earphone port that makes it easy to listen to music while wearing the bag.

Storing & Carrying

The VASCHY Unisex Classic Backpack has a 23-litre capacity and because of its reinforced bottom, you can rest assure that even your heavier belongings will be safe. The straps of this minimalist backpack are also reinforced making this a heavy-duty product. The fully-padded back panel delivers optimum comfort and when worn, it sits comfortably on your body. Customers love this minimal backpack as it is reliable and lasts for a long time. They also praise its functionality and ability to withstand rainy weather.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Low price point
  • Available in a variety of color combinations
  • Water protection
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Stylish
  • Reinforced bottom
  • Extra long leather zipper pulls
  • Earphone port

Cons

  • Straps are not padded
  • Has limited space

 

 

6. Mancro Laptop Backpack

The Manco Laptop Backpack is one of the best minimalist backpacks for electronic protection during business travel. It has several features that are convenient for those who are often on the road for work but also can be used as a hiking backpack and for everyday carry.

Materials & Design

Made of a water-resistant and durable eco-friendly nylon fabric, the Manco Laptop Backpack is ideal for busy people who need a reliable minimalist backpack. The main pocket has a lot of storage and mini pockets to keep items organized and safe. The minimalist laptop pocket offers a special protected space that is suitable for laptops up to 15.6” in size. There is also a thin front pocket on the bag that can hold small belongings like a passport or keys. One of the convenient features of the Manco Laptop Backpack is its built-in USB port. No more worrying about a low battery or trying to find an outlet. All you have to do is leave a power bank in the bag and pull your charging cord through the port, and voila! Instant charging anywhere you may be. The metal accessories on the backpack are good quality and won’t break or snap when using.

Storing & Carrying

The Manco Backpack is lightweight making it easy to commute with or wear for long periods of time without discomfort. In addition, it has S shaped adjustable padded shoulder straps for comfort. When carrying your belongings in this bag, you can feel safe knowing there is anti theft protection. For example, it comes with a lock so no one will be able to steal your electronics or important documents. If you need to carry travel gear like an umbrella or a portable fan, there are two side pockets that would accommodate these kinds of products or a water bottle.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Low price point
  • Water protection
  • Built-in USB port
  • Lock
  • Electronic storage
  • Would work as a camera backpack
  • One of the best minimalist backpacks

Cons

  • Does not protect against anything but light rain
  • Looks slightly different than in the photo

 

 

7. BOPAI Slim Laptop Backpack

If you want to stand out in a crowd, you need to check out BOPAI Slim Laptop Backpacks. This ultra modern and sleek bag will no doubt catch people’s attention. It has a futuristic feel with amenities that will impress customers. If you’re looking for some of the best minimalist travel backpacks, this one will catch your eye!

Materials & Design

This backpack is made of 80% waterproof nylon and 20% microfiber material. Making it a partially waterproof backpack and also flexible because of its elastic sponge-like material. The sponge-like material also provides an additional layer of protection for your valuables inside, in case the bag is dropped. This minimalist bag has high quality zippers that are strong and not prone to fall off. There is a detachable key chain that allows quick access to your keys, while always knowing where they are. It is a suitable bag for work, travel, or even just as a fashion statement. The bag only weights 1.5 lbs and therefore is very portable. Travellers will find its back-sleeve design especially convenient, as the backpack can slide over a luggage handle for easy mobility. Included with the purchase of this product is a blue dust bag and a high-density plastic bag, a great addition if its being purchased as a gift.

Storing & Carrying

The BOPAI Slim Laptop Backpack has a large storing capacity, so you’ll never run out of room or your belongings. It features 6 internal pockets that are multi-functional and can organize daily necessities. The main compartment has a soft fleece sleeve for electronics and can thin laptops up to 15.6”. The fleece lining helps reduce friction between electronics and the backpack, so you don’t have to be concerned about damage while storing. One strap has a small card pocket for credit cards or bus cards making them easily accessible while on the go. There is also a hidden pocket on the back on the bag with an invisible zipper to prevent valuables like your phone from being stolen. The sponge-like material of the BOPAI Slim makes carrying this backpack comfortable as it is very breathable and won’t trap sweat.

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Mid-range price point
  • Water protection
  • Special sleeve design for travelling

Cons

  • Slim body
  • Straps sometimes don’t stay in place
  • Hidden pocket is hard to access
  • Not many small pockets

 

 

8. Oscaurt Laptop Backpack

The Oscaurt Laptop Backpack is a modern and minimalist designed bag for anyone with an active lifestyle. It is comparable to the previously mentioned BOPAI product, however there are some differences in features and the Oscaurt is slightly cheaper than the BOPAI.

Materials & Design

This grey minimalist travel backpack is made of a combination of PVC polyester cloth and fine twill polyester cloth, which allows for a unique fabric design. This blended weave polyester is water-resistant, lightweight, durable and won’t wrinkle or mildew. The fabric is also easy to keep clean as it can easily be wiped with a cloth. The bag has an external USB port with a built-in charging cable, so you can charge your devices no matter where you are. Its curved adjustable shoulder straps are widened with padding for pain free wear. The back of the bag is made with an EVA material that is breathable therefore increasing comfort. Backpacks like this are great for use at night, as it has reflective strips on the front for safety. A convenient luggage strap also allows this minimalist backpack to hook onto a suitcase, so no more trying to juggle various pieces of luggage in an airport or while on a train.

Storing & Carrying

The Oscaurt Laptop Backpack has various compartments with pockets of different sizes. It can hold everything from pens to tablets with specialized pockets. There is a dedicated compartment that is a laptop sleeve and can protect laptops up to 15.6”. This section has velvet lining with an elastic band for shock protection to ensure electronics are not damaged. What is especially unique about this product, is the way it opens. Unlike regular backpacks that don’t fully zip all the way down, the front of this backpack completely opens allowing easy access to belongings. The Oscaurt backpack is an excellent choice if you’re travelling or concerned about security in general. Its fabric is scratch and blade proof, and the zipper of the main compartment is hidden, which would make it difficult for a thief to access. There is also a secret pocket for additional safety. Backpacks like this one have the best minimalist designs.

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Hidden zipper and pockets for safety
  • Water protection
  • Built-in USB port
  • Luggage strap
  • Travel backpack
  • Padded electronic sleeve
  • Would work as a camera backpack

Cons

  • Small space is not enough to fit several items
  • Zippers can be difficult to use
  • Weak stitching on the interior pockets

 

 

9. Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack

If you truly desire a simple and minimalist bag, then the Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack is a great option for you. It’s extremely versatile, very affordable and perfect for everyday carry.

Materials & Design

This day pack has a classic design that will never go out of style. Customers really enjoy using this day pack to carry textbooks and binders, making it a suitable choice for school or work. There is a large main section that has a double zipper closure and is designed for flexible organization. It has enough space to hold a laptop or other electronics and there is a sleeve, but it is not padded. The inside section features a zippered pocket which helps keep items separated. For smaller items, there is a zippered front pouch.

Storing & Carrying

The Amazon Basics Classic School Backpack has shoulder straps that are adjustable and padded. It is lightweight yet durable and has a loop handle on the top, so it can easily be hung. Its 2 external side pockets have Velcro closures and are perfect for storing items that you need to grab quickly.

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Easy to carry
  • Versatile style
  • Durable
  • Straps are padded and adjustable

Cons

  • Electronics sleeve is not padded
  • Not appropriate for wet conditions
  • Overall size of the day pack is small
  • No safety features

 

 

10. ITSHINY Laptop Backpack

This ITSHINY day pack is truly a one-of-a-kind minimalist backpack thanks to its unique design. Say goodbye to what you think a traditional backpack looks like and say hello to a new and original kind of bag. ITSHINY thought of everything you element you could imagine when creating this product, making it one of the best minimalist backpacks available.

Materials & Design

What makes the ITSHINY bag so unique is its roll top design, which allows for wider storage space. The roll top also offers a stylish element that is cutting edge. This backpack is made of a polyester fabric that will ensure your belongings stay dry even during rainfall. It is also practical and safe to use making it optimal for minimalist travel. There is a luggage strap on the day pack that allows it to be compatible with luggage or it can slide over your luggage with its upright handle tube for super easy carrying. On the side of this minimalist backpack, you’ll find a USB charging port making it a breeze to charge your electronics without having to slow down. The port can also be used for head phones so no more struggling with tangled up cords.

Storing & Carrying

This bag has a large capacity and is even large enough to hold shoes, clothes and books. Its multiple compartments ensure there is a place for everything and its effortless to pack. The roomy main compartment is ideal for larger items and there is an exterior waterproof compartment for items that may be wet like an umbrella. Another exterior pocket acts a minimalist laptop sleeve and can fit slim electronics up to 15.6”. The small front pocket has a zipper and is perfect for coins, pens and other trinkets. It also has a hidden pocket to keep valuables safe and difficult for thieves to access. The thick padded backside and adjustable shoulder straps of this day pack provide maximum support and comfort while still being lightweight. Also, it should be noted that the padding is made of a breathable fabric allowing airflow so you’re never overheated or uncomfortable. This ITSHINY day pack is available in one color, a dark heather gray.

Pros

  • Unique and fashionable design
  • Low price point
  • Large capacity
  • Protects against rain
  • USB and headphone port
  • Hidden pocket
  • Laptop pocket
  • Same features as travel backpacks
  • May be the best minimalist backpack

Cons

  • No side pocket
  • Mesh on padded shoulder strap can cause damage to clothing

 

 

11. LACCATTURA Lightweight & Comfortable Backpack

Who doesn’t want a stylish and minimalist backpack that is electronic friendly? The LACCATTURA Lightweight & Comfortable Backpack will check off all the boxes on your shopping list when searching for the best minimalist backpack. And the best part about this bag? It’s one of the most affordable options on our list!

Materials & Design

The exterior of this day pack is visually appealing and made of a durable Oxford fabric that is scratch-resistant and has water protection. The bag has reinforced stitching for ultimate durability, so you’ll never have to worry about it falling apart while in use. It comes in a few trendy color options and has a solid colour-blocked thickening bottom. There are long zipper closures making zipping smooth and quick. The day pack includes a handy USB port with a removable USB cable (does not include portable charger) for charging on the go.

Storing & Carrying

This day pack was designed so you can pack belongings efficiently while having easy access to them. Its multi-functional main compartment has a double zipper closure and a laptop sleeve for thin electronics up to 15.6”. There are several other pockets throughout the bag including a hidden one for valuable objects. Although the front pocket is very slim, you could still fit a phone or small wallet in it. Like several of the other travel backpacks on our list, the LACCATTURA is good for minimalist travel. Its luggage strap conveniently slides over luggage to save time and hassle. The LACCATTUURA could also be used as a hiking backpack thanks to its padded shoulder straps that are also adjustable straps. Ensuring that no matter what is in the bag or where you are carrying it, there will be no strain on your body. The soft multi-paneled ventilated padding also makes the day pack breathable while wearing.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • USB port
  • Water protection
  • Hidden pocket
  • Laptop compartment
  • Travel backpack

Cons

  • No side pocket

 

 

12. Carhartt Trade Plus Backpack

The Carhartt Trade Plus Backpack was made for conditions that require a durable and reliable day pack. Known for its premium workwear and rugged products, Carhartt produces top quality items, and this day pack arguably could be the best minimalist backpack available. This item has a mid-range price point which is quite reasonable for a Carhartt product.

Materials & Design

Made of a flexible textile material and heavy-duty poly with Rain Defender, the Carhartt Trade Plus Backpack is water repellent and strong. It has metal hardware, triple-needle stitching and YKK zippers for long term use. This day pack comes in 3 versatile colors that are appropriate for any environment or occasion. It is designed with plenty of room for all your essentials and the main compartment has a dedicated electronic sleeve that can hold slims electronics up to 15”. There is plenty of additional room to store books, clothes or other bulkier products. The front pocket works well for smaller belongings like a phone, keys or wallet. There is a pocket on each side of the day pack for water bottles or something like an umbrella or thermos.

Storing & Carrying

The Carhartt Trade Plus only weighs under 1.5lb so it is light to carry and store. There are adjustable shoulder straps that will stay in place allowing you to find the perfect fit for your body. Customers are very impressed by the overall quality of the day pack and say it exceeds their expectations. Its sturdiness can withstand all conditions and it does not show signs of wear. Sometime these minimalist style backpacks run overly large or small, but the Carhartt Trade Plus’s size hits right in the middle for a perfect size.

Pros

  • Reasonable price tag
  • Easy to carry
  • High-quality product
  • Water repellent
  • Good size
  • One of the best minimalist backpacks

Cons

  • Electronic sleeve is not padded
  • Only has a couple of pockets
  • Shoulder strap does not have padding

 

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