MightyGoods > Minimalist backpacks

Top Minimalist backpacks Reviews and Buyer's Guide

Last updated July 3, 2019

Most minimalist backpacks are super elegant and look great, but unfortunatly not all of them are of the same high quality.

Depending on the brand and model, some of the packs just can't handle being used every day!

It therefore pays to spend some time checking the different brands and models, so you can make sure you choose a quality bag.

The 10 Best Minimalist Backpacks

PS: We have checked 3,319 reviews to make this top 10 list!

RankMinimalist BackpackRating
1Cotopaxi CuscoCotopaxi Cusco
39 reviews
2Arcteryx GranvilleArcteryx Granville
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
43 reviews
3Peak Design EverydayPeak Design Everyday
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
744 reviews
4Pacsafe VenturesafePacsafe Venturesafe
1,172 reviews
5Chrome UrbanChrome Urban
335 reviews
6Incase CityIncase City
456 reviews
7Timbuk2 UptownTimbuk2 Uptown
395 reviews
8The North Face KabanThe North Face Kaban
82 reviews
9Gregory BorderGregory Border
38 reviews
10Brooks HackneyBrooks Hackney
13 reviews

Buyers Guide to Minimalist Backpacks

[toc] There are lots of people who don’t want to carry personal belongings in as understated a manner as possible. If you fall into this category, then you are in need of a minimalist backpack. These backpacks are stylish, sleek, and are a good fit for practically any environment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal known about this type of carrier either.

So, if you do want to choose one, it can be a little tricky. To provide you with the insight that you require to buy a proper minimalist pack, we have offered up some much-needed information. After you have read through this article, you will be able to choose a bag for yourself with greater confidence.

Flying Under the Radar with a Minimalist Backpack

These days, the concept of minimalism is spreading through various industries and lifestyles. From daily living to travel, more and more people are trying to find a way to whittle down their lives into a streamlined form. Well, if you are looking to do this with your bag, then a minimalist backpack is just what you need. It will certainly change the way that you carry things. So, without any delay, here is a comprehensive guide to this type of pack:

What is a Minimalist Backpack?

Before we go any further, you need to know precisely what a minimalist backpack is. After all, this term can mean different things to various people. With backpacks, however, minimalist refers to the design of the bag. You will often find that these bags are understated and have very few features. If it doesn’t serve a function, you will probably not find it on or in a minimalist backpack.

Therefore, minimalist packs tend to look quite bare on the outside and sometimes lack pockets in this area as well. While the interior does have a few more details, it isn’t all that extravagant on the inside either. That is not to say that these backpacks are stylish, though. In fact, it can be argued that these are one of the more fashion-forward types of backpacks. The classic designs never go out of style.

Sometimes, the term minimalist can be extended to refer to the structure of the backpack as well. This isn’t a hard and fast rule and isn’t observed by all manufacturers. Typically, though, you will find that most minimalist backpacks have a basic configuration and tend towards a more medium size.

Which Minimalist Backpack is Right for You?

The thing with minimalist backpacks is that they aren’t always easily categorized. However, when it comes to the design and even structure of the bags, there are some clear differences.

If you are looking for a backpack to take with you everywhere that you go, then an urban minimalist backpack is a good option. They typically range from very small to medium sized backpacks. These have a moderate level of organization features, although the main compartment is the most significant feature.

For those who are looking for student or work packs, then there is the minimalist laptop bag. As the name entails, the major focus of this type of backpack is the laptop compartment. There is a dedicated sleeve for your laptop and there is also a separate place for a tablet as well. This bag tends to be a bit more padded than most to help protect the electronic devices. If this is a bag that you are considering, you should remember that the compartment should be able to accommodate a laptop with your screen size.

There are minimalist backpacks that are also suited to hiking, camping, and travel. These can be considered as travel or adventure packs. These bags are on the bigger side and may have more exterior pockets than other styles. They are also made from hardier materials so they don’t rip or get damaged as easily. These bags are often weatherproofed as well.

Men’s vs. Women’s Minimalist

Unlike with many of the other types of backpacks, the difference between men’s and women’s packs aren’t as obvious with minimalist bags. In fact, most of the backpacks are unisex and work with each gender. That being said, there are some backpacks that noticeably targeted towards women. There isn’t a lot of difference in the fit of the backpacks either.

Minimalist Backpack Capacity and Size

As we already mentioned, minimalist backpacks aren’t all that big. The smaller backpacks have capacities between 2 to 9 liters. The medium-sized backpacks are often available with capacities up to 15 liters. The larger packs are typically travel bags but it is unusual to find backpacks that can hold more than 25 liters.

When trying to figure out which capacity is right for you, the thing to remember is getting the smallest possible option for you. After all, this is precisely what minimalistic packs are meant for. By only choosing a capacity that you need you will also avoid packing a larger load than necessary.


If you are considering a backpack in a larger size, there is something that you need to understand about the size. The dimensions of a backpack determine how easy it is for you to carry. This is because humans carry weight naturally with their hips. For you to be able to do this and avoid back strain, the bag needs to be a particular size.

Ideally, the backpack should sit, on your back, between your shoulder blades and the hip bones. The bag shouldn’t sit any lower than your hips as this will make it more difficult for you to walk. So, if you are buying a bag online or want to be precise about the measurements, make it a point to measure this length of your torso first.

The Fabrics

Minimalist backpacks are actually made from a wide variety of materials. This includes leather, canvas, nylon, polyester, and more. The material that you settle on should depend on the characteristics that you would like your backpack to have.

For instance, is durability your main concern? If so, you should consider a stronger version of nylon. Most sturdy backpacks use nylon that is made from nylon of a higher denier (1000D or higher). However, for something that will stand up to the test of time and rugged terrain, you may need a more robust fabric. You can choose from Cordura nylon, ballistic nylon, or ripstop nylon. These materials have varying levels of abrasion resistance. As such, they don’t tear or wear away easily, even if they are exposed to continuous friction.

If you are willing to spend quite a bit of money, you can actually get some minimal backpacks that are almost completely impervious to damage. Technology such as Sealtech or nano cure tech (NCT) offer self-repairing fabrics. So, even if a hole or tear does form, it quickly seals itself back up.

On the other hand, you may be more worried about your backpack being able to withstand the weather. In this case, waxed canvas or nylon that has been treated with a durable water-resistant coating is a solid choice. If it is sunlight that you are most exposed to, look for fabric that has been treated to prevent damage caused by UV rays.

Waterproof Features

Incidentally, a minimalist backpack’s ability to be waterproof isn’t solely based on the fabric that is used to make it. This is because the material isn’t necessarily the weakest point in a backpack. The zippers and other openings can all allow water and moisture to get in. So, if you want a backpack that is truly waterproof, you are going to need to pay attention to these elements as well.

First, look for a backpack that has few zipper openings as possible. Considering that you are shopping for a minimalist backpack, this shouldn’t be too difficult. If there are any zippers there should be waterproof material acting as a hood to protect them. Furthermore, the interior part of the zipper should be closed off with a waterproof sealant. This sealant should also be applied to any seams on the bag as well. There are some minimalist backpacks that are made almost entirely out of one length of fabric so that there are few or no seams at all.

Minimalist Backpack Closures

Minimalist packs can be closed up (and opened up) in one of three ways. There could be the typical zip-top feature that separates the backpack into panels. Or, there could be the roll-top that allows you to place things through the top of the bag and then roll down the rest of the material and fasten it with a buckle. Last but not least, you have the drawstring closure that may or may not be accompanied by a flap on top of it.

If you want to go with the more traditional zip-top option, then you are opting for easy access. These bags can be zipped almost in half which makes it simpler for you to get to your things quickly. Some zippers can also be locked which does come in handy while you are traveling. The downside of these backpacks is that the zippers can allow water to seep in so they aren’t the best choices for waterproof bags.

There is no denying that roll-top bags can be quite tricky to deal with. They can make organization quite difficult and it is not easy to get to your things as quickly as you would like. The advantage of this, however, is that roll-tops make the bag completely waterproof. The design ensures that bag will not take on water, sometimes even if it has been submerged.

Drawstring bags are great if you want to quickly access the items in your bag as it can take only seconds to do so. At the same time, these closures aren’t all that secure. So, if you want to carry about expensive or valuable items, this is not a good closure for this purpose.

So, this brings the discussion about minimalist bags to an end. Hopefully, you have gained more insight into this type of backpack and are better equipped to choose one for yourself.

2 More Minimalist Backpacks

Classic minimalist backpacks and models that haven't yet got enough reviews to be ranked.

RankMinimalist BackpackRating
Heimplanet MonolithHeimplanet Monolith
Hynes Eagle Veegul

List ID 88. Images from Amazon Product Advertising API and shop datafeeds.

Last updated on July 03, 2019