Top 40 Best Urban backpacks in 2018

We have read and checked 191,961 reviews to make this top 40 list!

First, here's the best reviewed urban backpack of all the many bags we have checked:


Brooks Pickwick

Most urban backpacks are used every day, so it's important that the quality is high.

Unfortunately not all backpacks are of the same high quality, so it pays to spend some time checking the different brands and models before you choose your new backpack.

To help you choose, we have read and checked 191,961 reviews to find the best reviewed urban backpacks.

Now, let's take a look at the 30 best rated urban backpacks here in 2018:

Rankurban backpackRating
1Brooks PickwickBrooks Pickwick4.8
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2Patagonia PaxatPatagonia Paxat4.8
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3Patagonia ToromiroPatagonia Toromiro4.8
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4Deuter GigantDeuter Gigant4.8
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5Sherpani SoleilSherpani Soleil4.8
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6LowePro RidgelineLowePro Ridgeline4.8
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7The North Face BerkeleyThe North Face Berkeley4.7
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8Fjallraven RavenFjallraven Raven4.7
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9The North Face BorealisThe North Face Borealis4.7
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10The North Face ReconThe North Face Recon4.7
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11Patagonia JalamaPatagonia Jalama4.7
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12The North Face JesterThe North Face Jester4.7
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13Dakine FoundationDakine Foundation4.7
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14The North Face Iron PeakThe North Face Iron Peak4.7
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15Dakine FrankieDakine Frankie4.7
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16Kenneth Cole Reaction No Looking BackKenneth Cole Reaction No Looking Back4.7
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17Ogio ClarkOgio Clark4.7
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18Herschel DawsonHerschel Dawson4.6
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19Osprey MomentumOsprey Momentum4.6
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20Sherpani IndieSherpani Indie4.6
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21Dakine ExplorerDakine Explorer4.6
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22The North Face TerraThe North Face Terra4.6
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23The North Face SurgeThe North Face Surge4.6
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24Timbuk2 RobinTimbuk2 Robin4.6
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25The North Face IsabellaThe North Face Isabella4.6
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26Burton AnnexBurton Annex4.6
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27Burton ProspectBurton Prospect4.6
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28The North Face RefractorThe North Face Refractor4.6
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29The North Face Hot ShotThe North Face Hot Shot4.6
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30Burton TinderBurton Tinder4.6
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List based on 191,961 checked reviews.

How we rate the bags

We have checked 191,961 urban backpack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Not sure what urban backpack to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!





The urban backpack buyers guide


If you need a backpack that is going to be your daily companion, then you need an urban backpack to help you out. In fact, this can be one of the most invaluable packs you ever own. Of course, since it can be difficult to narrow down what bags actually meet the necessary criteria, it isn’t always easy to find what you are looking.

Due to all of the confusion surrounding these types of backpacks, we decided to simplify things for you. Here, you will figure out what to look for with these packs and to how to be able to choose the best possible options. Here is the guide that you need.

Urban Backpacks: Find the One You Need

It is becoming more common to take a backpack with you, regardless of the nature of your journey or your destination. If this is something that you too are interested in doing, you are going to need an urban backpack to sling from your shoulders. This article provides you with all of the material that you need to make the right decision:

What Are Urban Backpacks?

Before we move any further, the first thing we need to do is actually define what an urban backpack is. From the name of the backpack, you may have surmised that this is something to do with city living and you would be right. See, urban backpacks are packs that you can essentially carry with you wherever that you go in a city.

The main difference between these packs and those that are meant for the outdoors is that urban backpacks tend to be a little less rugged. Not to mention, they are also often quite stylish and don’t look out of place in most urban settings. At the same time, they perform the same function as any other backpack – help you to transport your belongings from one place to another with as much comfort as possible.

Matching the Urban Backpack to the Environment

The best way to find an urban backpack that is perfectly suited to you is to determine what you need it for. Then, you can consider the series of features that will be most useful to you:

Your Daily Commute

Do you want a backpack that will securely hold all that you need while you are traveling? Now, if you are journeying in a vehicle, there are too many specifics that you need to worry about. However, if you are a runner (or walker) or cyclist, you may need to think a bit harder about backpack choices. If you are running, you should find a lightweight pack that is made from breathable material and that clings to your torso well. Cyclists should think about getting smaller backpacks that sit well on your back and doesn’t move all that much.

For School

With this type of backpack, you need to think about organization most of all and depending on how much you need to carry, space too. So, look for medium to large backpacks that are sturdily built and that have comfortable carrying systems. They should be equipped with lots of pockets and compartments as well.

For Work

Interestingly enough, it is actually becoming more commonplace to find backpacks in the workplace. Of course, the big difference here is that these backpacks don’t look like the traditional models. Rather, they have a more compact and stylish appearance and can even be made from leather or canvas so that they look more sophisticated. These bags also tend to have a greater number of compartments for documents and files.

For General Use

Then, there are the urban backpacks that you simply take wherever you are going to – a grocery run, outings, and perhaps even overnight trips. These backpacks need to look good as they should be versatile enough to blend into most surroundings. It can also be helpful to have more durable bags as they will be used frequently.

What Size Do You Need?

Urban backpacks tend to run a little larger than most other types so you will usually only find ones that are medium sized and bigger.


  • 18 – 25 liters: these work well as urban daypacks and are perfect for anyone who is commuting by foot or on a bicycle. They are smaller in size so they fit well on your torso but will also be able to carry most of what you will need for the day.


  • 25 – 30 liters: backpacks of this size work well for those who want to lug around laptops, books, and various other documents. It is large enough to carry all of this but will also avoid looking bulky at the same time.


  • 30 – 50 liters: if you are the type to live out of your backpack, then you will find this size to be quite useful for you. in addition to your digital devices, you will also be able to carry clothes and some pieces of athletic gear as well.



While the capacity of the urban backpack is one thing that you may want to pay attention to, the actual size and length of the pack is another. For the most comfortable fit, look for backpacks that are able to sit lower than the base of your neck and end above your waist. This way, the size of the pack will not impede your movement in any way and the weight will be distributed evenly across your torso.

The Carrying System

The carrying or suspension system on most urban backpacks tends to be quite simplistic. After all, you are unlikely to be carrying too heavy a load and don’t want a backpack that looks overly bulky. With urban backpacks that are geared towards corporate or professional use, you may find an additional shoulder strap. This is relatively common with backpacks that have a more satchel-like design to them.

In most instances, though, you will find that shoulders straps are the main component of the suspension system on urban packs. You should look for ones with slightly wider straps and perhaps a little padding. This way, the packs will be more comfortable to carry, especially if they are a bit heavy.

There are a few that sport a sternum strap although this is more to keep the backpack closer to your body so that it doesn’t move around as much. These should be high enough on your chest so that they don’t result in chafing if you have your backpack on for an extended period of time.

It isn’t often that you see hip belts in urban backpacks and they tend to be quite thin and offer very little padding, if any. Just make sure that the hip belt can fit properly around your waist and that it rests just above your hip bone.

Women Specific Backpacks

There are many urban backpacks that are available in women sizes. This usually means that the backpacks are a bit smaller and that the straps are suited for a woman’s body. If you are a bit taller or have a more narrow or athletic physique, you may be able to use traditional backpacks. On the other hand, if you are short or petite women-specific backpacks may offer more comfort and support.

How Durable Should Your Urban Backpack Be?

Now, since you aren’t scrambling through rugged terrain or walking through brush, you may feel that you don’t need a backpack that is all that durable. If you are using your backpack simply to carry papers and files and don’t abuse it too much, you may be right.

However, if you want an urban backpack for school, commuting, or general purposes you will need a slightly sturdy pack. In terms of school use, the main thing to pay attention to here is the stitching of the backpack. Since at times you may need to cart around heavy books, for instance, you need to make sure that your bag will not split in half. Here, double stitching or welded seams will come in quite handy.

If you take your urban backpack everywhere and leave it all over, you are going to need one that is made from tougher material. In this instance, rip-stop nylon will serve you well. Not only is it abrasion resistant, should any tears appear, they will not get any larger.

Since there is a chance that you will have to deal with rain at least some of the time, you will need to have an urban pack that will repel water. it is unlikely that you will require a full-blown waterproof backpack as you will always be close to some type of shelter. Nonetheless, getting a backpack made from water resistant material will help to protect your belongings in a drizzle.

If you are outside a lot and live in an area with a lot of sunshine, you may want to look into a material that has been treated to be UV resistant. This way, the fabric of the backpack will not degrade as quickly and you will be able to maintain its appearance more easily.

Other Features

Here are some of the additional elements that you may want to appraise in an urban backpack:

Laptop Sleeves/Compartments

If you want an urban backpack for either school or work purposes, you should definitely look for a laptop compartment. These keep your device in place and also protected against most minor dings and scratches. Some backpacks even have space for tablets and similar devices as well.

External Pockets

If you use your backpack to travel with, having external pockets can be quite useful. This ensures that everything that you need is within easy reach. It also helps to further organize and arrange your belongings more systematically.

Water Bottle Holders

Most urban backpacks aren’t outfitted with hydration sleeves as this isn’t what they are usually meant for. At the same time, you should always check for water bottle holders if you tend to walk or run around with your backpack on.

These are the aspects that you need to look for if you want to invest in an urban backpack for yourself.



The 3 best reviewed urban backpacks in 2018


Rankurban backpackRating
1Brooks PickwickBrooks Pickwick4.8
Check price »

2Patagonia PaxatPatagonia Paxat4.8
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3Patagonia ToromiroPatagonia Toromiro4.8
Check price »

Missing a great urban backpack? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated 17/06/2018. Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API.


Last updated on June 17, 2018

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