15 Best Urban Backpacks for 2024

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
March 14, 2024
Looking for the best urban backpacks on the web today? We round up the best urban backpacks available to help you decide which one to purchase...
best urban backpacks

Are you a digital nomad?

Office worker? 


Whichever it is, you need a high quality urban backpack that can last you a long time.

A bag that is multifunctional. Allowing you to store your laptop, gadgets, books, and accessories.

Whilst also being sleek and modern with some top notch tech features.

Simply put … a top quality urban backpack.

With thousands of brands and seemingly endless backpack models, finding the right one to get can be overwhelming.

Don’t worry … we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here’s a handy round up of the best urban backpacks; with an ideal fit for all sorts of users.

Want a quick answer? Go for the CITYC 2 in 1 Laptop Backpack from DRiiBE.

CITYC Laptop backpack
Hands down, our top pick has to be the CITYC Laptop Backpack from DRiiBE. This up and coming company currently has a very targeted product line of just a few bags, but we absolutely love them!
They are fantastic quality, functional, and above all, creative! Offering some unique design ideas that other backpacks lack. Best of all, it's designed specifically for the urban environment.
Plus, get 10% off at DRiiBE with the code: DREAM10
Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

Quick overview of our top picks

Technical Backpack
4 starsCustomer reviews
19.5 x 11.5 x 4.75"
Our top pick
CITYC Laptop backpack
CITYC Laptop Backpack
5 starsCustomer reviews
15.4 x 11.4 x 4.4"
Melbourne Backpack Compact
4 starsCustomer reviews
15.7 x 11 x 6.3"
The Commuter
4.5 starsCustomer reviews
18 x 12 x 6”
Kånken 15"
4 starsCustomer reviews
15.7 x 11x 6.3"

Features to look for in an urban backpack

1. Organizational pockets

Personally, we feel like this is one of the most essential features of an urban backpack. Things like a padded laptop sleeve and internal pockets are a must, but other types of compartments can be useful too.

For instance: external loops, side pockets for water bottles, pockets on the shoulder straps, and a hidden panel at the back.

2. Commuter friendly

Some commuter-friendly features a bag can have include high visibility and reflective logos, daisy chain, quick-access pockets, and sternum straps. These are just some things you can look out for if you commute daily, especially by bike!

3. Water resistance

Most backpacks aren’t waterproof or even weather-proof, but choosing materials with some water resistance can be useful. This will give you some time to find shelter when it suddenly pours, while your belongings are still dry inside.

4. Anti-theft

There’s always the risk of pickpocketing and theft, especially in a crowded and large city. This is why having anti-theft features in your daypack can be super helpful, so you have a safe, hard-to-access spot to hide your valuables. Better yet, you can get a dedicated anti-theft bag that can double as your regular urban backpack.

5. Style and design

The style and design of your urban backpack should also be an important factor, especially if you’re going to use them everyday! 

Some people may prefer a simple and neutral color that can fit every outfit, but you may also like bolder, more colorful designs.

6. Comfort

Lastly, don’t overlook the comfort of your backpack! This is especially important if you’re going to use it daily.

Look for a breathable back panel as well as padded and adjustable shoulder straps, so that your back and shoulders won’t hurt from carrying the bag for too long.

15 best urban backpacks

1. DRiiBE CITYC 2 in 1 Laptop Backpack - All-round best urban backpack

driibe city C 2 in one laptop backpack

Weight: 1.98 lbs

Capacity: 17 litres

Size: 15.4 "x 11.4" x 4.4”

If we had to pick the single-best urban backpack, DRiiBE CITYC Laptop Backpack would far and away win the title.

It’s got everything you could possibly need for a multi-function daypack in an urban environment.

The CITYC is durable and well-made, looks very chic, has excellent organization with a secret pocket, and is super comfortable for your day-to-day use.

One of its main highlights is the expandable bottom, which unlocks with a simple zip, and can give you 25% more volume whenever you need it.

Some of its organization functions include side pockets, internal compartments, an anti-theft pocket, shoulder strap pockets, and a front flap you can use to hold a jacket or yoga mat.

DRiiBE urban backpack laptop

Inside, there’s also a 15.6-inch padded laptop sleeve, while the interior lining comes with an elegant-looking DRiiBE logo.

Another unique, perhaps understated benefit of this backpack is that it’s machine washable. That means keeping it clean is as easy as chucking it in a washing machine!

What we’ve also loved is just how clean and sleek the stitching is. You can tell that it’s made with utter care and skill, which isn’t something you can say with some other backpacks.

The exterior also uses a water-repellent material, which may come in handy if it suddenly rains when you’re out and about.

All in all, we recommend the DRiiBE CITYC for anyone who likes style and comfort in their daily backpack.

To learn more about why we love this bag so much, read our in-depth DRiiBE CITYC 2 in 1 Laptop Backpack review.

DAKOTA 3 in 1

Another bag from DRiiBE we have reviewed is the DAKOTA 3 in 1 (pictured above). This is a convertible bag that can quickly and conveniently be restructured to suit different looks and purposes.

It's less gear-oriented than the CITYC, but if you don't need to store a laptop in your bag, then it could be a good option to check out.

P.S. Get 10% off any bag at DRiiBE with the discount code: DREAM10

Special Features:

  • Awesome organization pockets
  • Large 17L volume with expandable bottom
  • Modern and minimalist silhouette
  • Secret anti-theft pocket
  • Machine washable

2. Stubble & Co The Everyday Backpack - Minimalist and modern-looking urban backpack

stubble and co The Everyday Backpack, front of the bag being tested by woman outside

Weight: 0.9 kg

Capacity: 20 litres

Size: 30cm (W) x 46cm (H) x 14cm (D)

For the quintessential urban backpack with all the essential features, but nothing over the top, I recommend The Everyday Backpack by Stubble & Co.

It uses durable, water-resistant materials with sealed seams for the ultimate protection.

space inside the everyday backpack from stubble and co

At 20L capacity, it's large enough to fit all you need for a work day or even a gym day.

stubble and co everyday backpack fully packed out

The bag itself is comfortable to wear, featuring nice back padding that's still breathable, as well as adjustable straps.

Back system of the everyday backpack from stubble and co

You have organisational features like pockets in the main compartment, a quick access top pocket, two water bottle compartments, and some additional mesh pockets on the shoulder straps.

Not to mention webbing loop holes and a bike anchor light. Oh, and it has reflective trim for added visibility if you're ever biking at night.

Woman outside on train platform with stubble and co backpack on

The separate laptop compartment is also padded to ensure protection for your laptop.

If you ever need to travel, this backpack can do it too! It has a horizontal luggage slit for you to easily stack it on top of a suitcase.

Luggage slit on the stubble and co the everyday backpack

This is overall a great everyday carry for those wanting a smart and sleek backpack.

Read the full review of the Stubble & Co The Everyday Backpack here.

Special Features:

  • Very comfy padded mesh and straps
  • Organised without being over the top
  • Bike commuter-friendly features

3. VASCHY Backpack - Best budget urban backpack

Orlaigh in the snow testing out green Vaschy Backpack

Weight: 1.8 lbs

Capacity: 21 litres

Size: 3.15 x 12.6 x 17.13"

inside of the Vaschy Green Backpack

Sometimes, you don't want to splurge on expensive brands and just need a good backpack that does the job.

For that, I’d recommend the VASCHY Backpack, a unisex school bag that comes in several color options and has a versatile, contemporary style.

It includes a 17-inch laptop compartment, a spacious capacity of 21L with plenty of pockets, water-resistant materials, and good hardware.

The shoulder straps are well-padded and pretty comfortable for daily wear, although there’s no padding on the back panel. But there’s a hidden pocket here you can use for keeping your valuables like cards and passports safe.

The water bottle compartment stretches well and fits my 500ml.

I’ve been using this as a gym bag which is handy because of the space inside, but also for smaller bits and pieces you have the front pockets for easy access. 

There’s also a fabric flap at the front for a little added protection, which is also easy and convenient to swing around when you want to grab what you need.

Vaschy Backpack in the gym by lockers

Overall, this backpack has the right aesthetics for urban use and excellent features, especially considering the price point!

Orlaigh outside in snow with Vaschy Backpack

Special Features:

  • Large capacity of 21L
  • Easy organisation with laptop pocket and various pouches
  • Versatile use for city life
  • Sturdy and water-resistant polyester

4. Db Ramverk Backpack 21L - All-in-one Urban Backpack

db ramverk backpack

Weight: 1kg

Capacity: 21L

Size: 50 X 28,5 X 14,5 cm

db ramverk hardware on backpack

For an urban backpack packed with smart features and ultimate versatility, few compare with the Ramverk Backpack 21L by Db.

It’s an especially fantastic active backpack and I’ve mainly been using it at the gym. There’s enough space to fit all of my essentials without being too overwhelming in terms of the size.

It works well if you need an all-in-one backpack. The main compartment opens up fully, there’s a top pocket you can use for your smartphone, headphones, or other smaller accessories.

The mesh pockets inside come in handy for keeping things organised without being overwhelming.

opening of the Db ramverk backpack

There’s even a separate padded laptop compartment you can access from the back. Super convenient for travel, and you don’t have to worry about your other items scratching it up.

The back padding is very supportive, which is great if you’re commuting or moving about in the city, while the straps are thin but not uncomfortable.

It comes with the brand’s signature and patented hook-up system, which essentially allows you to attach the bag to a wheeled luggage.

Finally, all the materials and hardware feel high-end and well-made, which includes Synthetic PU leather for the main fabric and 100% Polyester on the lining and other fabrics.

Special Features:

  • Perfect for day-to-day use
  • Patent hook-up system
  • Separate laptop pocket with padding
  • Versatile features, but not overwhelming

5. Ortlieb Commuter Daypack Urban– Best urban backpack for bikers and cyclists

ortlieb backpack on a woman in a city

Weight: 740g

Capacity: 21L

Size: 19.7” H x 11.8” W x 6.1” D

If you’re looking for a pack with durability and longevity the Ortlieb commuter Daypack has really nailed this.

Ortlieb backpack outside for review on a woman

This area of careful focus is a total bonus for cyclists who want a bag that’s elegant but casual and still fits smartly into the office lifestyle.

To see if it held up I used it in my daily life cycling to work or out and about and I found it really easy to use and the water-resistance is out of this world.

back system of the ortlieb commuter backpack

With such a big main compartment there’s no doubt you’ll fit any important ring binders or work files (super protected for the elements). It comes with a detachable laptop organizer as well so you can change the pack according to your needs. I found the front access pocket super helpful as well.

tested outside on a woman wearing the ortlieb backpack.

They’ve kept it simple but smart with reflective branding for safety and what looks like a fashion choice with vent sections are actually loops to keep your U-lock, rear lights and any other cycling accessories.

When I first looked at the back ventilation I was a bit like are you sure? But I was really surprised at how cool it keeps you when cycling along and it was surprisingly comfortable.

With their German-engineered patented designs such as welding fabrics together you can be sure this pack will outlast time and elements.

stap and sternum strap on the Ortlieb commuter backpack

Special features:

  • Detachable waist & sternum strap
  • Reinforced bottom
  • Loops for U-Lock & rear light
  • Front access pocket

6. Bellroy Melbourne Backpack Compact - Best urban backpack for everyday use

Weight: 700 g

Capacity: 12 litres

Size: 400 x 280 x 160mm

The Bellroy Melbourne Backpack Compact is a stylish yet simple backpack that can be great for everyday carry. 

Despite its clean and minimalist construction, you can fit quite a lot inside!

From a 13” laptop sleeve, various interior pockets, an A5 document slip pocket, an external water bottle pocket, to an easy-acess sunglasses compartment with soft lining.

You can literally fit everything, including your laptop, tablet, wallet, bottle, keys, and other daily essentials!

The side zipper also opens all the way so you can easily scan what’s inside without having to rummage around.

Made from water-resistant recycled fabric and microfiber trims, it’s a well-made product that can last you a long time.

Meanwhile, the custom MagSnap fasteners are quite ingenious as it helps secure your bag but can open easily with a tug.

In terms of comfort, we love that the shoulder straps are adjustable and contoured, and that the back panel padding feels breathable.

Oh, this bag also comes with a 3-year warranty from Bellroy!

Special Features:

  • Wide open zipper access
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Low-profile pockets

7. Evergoods Civic Half-zip 22L – Best for Style, function & comfort combined

evergoods civic 22L backpack

Weight: 2.25lbs/ 1KG

Capacity: 22L

Size: 18” X 11” X 8 inches

fit check of the evergoods sternum strap on female body

When it comes to an active lifestyle and urban living, the Civic half-zip would be a fabulous companion.

Although it specialises as an everyday backpack I couldn’t resist using it for an overnight stop just because of how easy it was to use. I knew it’d make my trip easy.

I used this cycling into work and It functions pretty breezily which surprised me as it doesn’t look like a cyclists pack. I loved how versatile this bag could be!

inside organisation of the evergoods 22L half zip backpack.

There was perfect storage for my U-lock in the other water bottle holder and if you want a hydration pack you can totally do that.

It offers a lot of options but doesn’t overwhelm you, the laptop compartment can fit a laptop up to 17” and there’s some tidy storage compartments on the main compartment opening.

After using it through cycling and long city walking the breathable back padding stays true to its word so you can be confident and comfortable using it in any scenario and not end up a sweaty mess.

The comfortability also comes from the contoured backpack straps to enhance the fit for everyone.

In terms of quality this bag is mountain apparel grade and abrasion resistant.

Special Features:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Versatile for different uses
  • Laptop compartment has special patterning so it contours to your body
  • Integrated harness for streamline fit (built for certain torso sizes)

8. Moment Everything Backpack - 21L Overnight - Urban backpack with optional camera storage

Moment Everything Backpack - 21L Overnight - Workwear

Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz.

Capacity: 30 litres

Size: 11.6" X 7.5" X 19.3"

Moment Everything Backpack - 21L back of the backpack outside

The 21L Everything Backpack by Moment is a simple and well-made minimalist backpack with features you can adapt for everyday life as well as weekend travels.

Use this as an active backpack for hitting the gym, work commute, and more.

This backpack comes with accessory inserts so you can easily organize everything from electronics, daily accessories, and even some overnight clothes.

There’s also a fast front access and side access. Ideal for when you need to get something quickly without fumbling with the rest of the bag.

The laptop compartment has super solid padding that includes a special shock absorbing foam along the back panel, which protects it in case of drops and bumps.

In terms of comfort, Moment definitely hit the nail on the head!

Moment Everything Backpack - 21L camer cube outside testing

It’s designed to hug your body, has a supportive sternum strap, and a three layer contoured back panel that’s very soft and breathable.

Not to mention water-resistant and weatherproof materials.

But the best thing? You can add Moment’s camera 4L insert for additional protected storage! With special padding and dividers, this is perfect to keep your camera and gear safe.

Special Features:

  • Excellent interior for organization
  • Fast side & front access
  • Very comfortable with breathable back panel
  • Weatherproof
  • Compatible with Moment camera insert

9. Osprey Transporter® Duffel 40 - Best transformable duffel backpack

Osprey Transporter duffel Backpack outside testing

Weight: 2.509 lbs / 1.138 kg

Capacity: 40 litres

Size: 55H X 37W X 26D cm

back of the osprey duffel backpack

For an urban backpack that you can also carry as a duffel bag, check out the Osprey Transporter® Duffel 40.

This is a great getaway travel backpack with a cool urban look that’s not your mainstream sleek, plain silhouette.

Osprey itself is a reliable brand with long-lasting materials, and the Transporter® Duffel uses bluesign® approved recycled polyester with dual-sided TPU coating both inside and out.

The hardware is well-made, while the main body fabric has accent ribs and overlapping zippers for extra protection from the elements. It’s always nice to know that your belongings are safe!

I love that it’s not overwhelmed with too much organisation but there’s still enough to keep you intrigued.

For instance, the interior includes a zippered mesh pocket and an end pocket for quick-access storage.

osprey duffel straps

The main compartment has a lockable U-zip access, while the exterior features 8 webbing lash points you can use to secure the bag.

When worn as a backpack, there’s a deployable harness with sternum strap, which can come in handy for long walks and commuting.

Special Features:

  • Use as a backpack or duffel bag
  • Duffle-style opening for easy access
  • Very large 40L capacity
  • Reliable material and protection
  • Sternum strap

10. Aer City Pack - Best small and minimalist urban backpack

Aer City Pack

Weight: 2.5 lbs

Capacity: 14 litres

Size: 18x12x5 in

This San Francisco-based brand is popular for its minimalist backpacks, and one of its most iconic models is the City Pack.

Although a bit smaller at just 14L, this is actually the perfect daypack if you don’t have too much to carry around.

And don’t let its small and simple silhouette fool you—it is jam-packed with organizational pockets and fantastic features!

For instance, there’s a padded and soft-lined inner compartment that fits a 16-inch laptop, a lined top pocket for your phone or sunglasses, and smart organization in the front compartment.

The exterior also offers a water bottle pocket and quick-grab side handle.

Finally, the bag itself is super comfy to carry around in the city!

It’s made of the durable 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon and Duraflex® plastic hardware, as well as YKK zippers.

However, it still has a premium look and feel, thanks to its soft woven lining.

Special Features:

  • Small and compact design
  • Large 16” laptop compartment
  • Premium construction with soft woven lining

11. Fjällräven Kånken 15" Laptop Backpack - Most Classic Urban Backpack

Fjällräven Kånken 15" Laptop Backpack

Weight: 460 g

Capacity: 18 litres

Size: 40x28x16 cm

The Fjällräven Kånken 15" is an absolute classic.

Since it swept the world back in the 60s, this Swedish brand has become one of the most popular backpack brands across the globe.

This version includes a padded compartment that can fit up to a 15” laptop as well as a removable seat pad.

We really like the two-way zipper design, and the fact that it opens horizontally for easy access.

The reflective logo patch at the front is a nice touch too.

There are also front and side pockets for your phone, wallet, water bottle, or even umbrella.

The bag itself is made from durable Vinylon F, which is its signature canvas material.

Plus, it comes in a TON of color options, from dark, muted colors to brighter versions for those who want a more eye-catching bag.

The only downside is that this may not be the best bag if you want to carry heavy loads, as the narrow straps can dig into your shoulders.

Special Features:

  • Iconic & durable canvas material
  • Two-way zipper opens all the way
  • Tons of color options

12. Black Ember Shadow - Simple city backpack with sleek design

Black Ember Shadow Urban Backpack

Capacity: 22 litres

Size: 18 x 12 x 6.5 in

The Shadow is a simple backpack from Black Ember. It’s got a clean and functional look that’s very straightforward.

It features YKK Aquaguard zippers and the brand’s trademark BOND-STITCH construction for a water-resistant pack.

One thing we like about it is the back panel that can adapt to your back’s shape, making it very comfortable. The ventilation here is also great, while the ergonomic shoulder straps let you carry this all day without the straps digging into your skin.

It has an easy-access charging pocket in the front, whereas the main compartment can be unzipped all the way for easy scanning of what’s inside.

There are also separate padded laptop and tablet sleeves, mesh pockets, and a water bottle pocket.

Another unique feature is the built-in Tech-Kit, which features six pockets for the ultimate organization! Simply grab the magnetic buckle to release this.

Special Features:

  • Cordura® 100% recycled nylon textile
  • BOND-STITCH high-precision construction
  • Very simple and versatile design

13. Ucon Acrobatics Jasper Backpack - Best roll-top urban backpack

Ucon Acrobatics Jasper Backpack

Weight: 940 g

Capacity: 16 litres

Size: 45 x 30 x 12 cm

The Jasper Backpack is another minimalist backpack that we absolutely love for an urban setting.

It comes with a roll-top closing that you can simply fold, in addition to a metal buckle and hidden zipper.

Folding it up will give you maximum volume, which can be great for days when you simply have more stuff to carry about!

But if you ever need quick access into the main compartment, there’s a zipper at the back so you don’t have to keep fussing with the metal buckle.

The internal laptop sleeve is made of durable neoprene. There are also extra mesh pockets inside for your smaller belongings.

Its comfort is not to doubt either, thanks to the reinforced back padding and adjustable shoulder straps. Meanwhile, the bottom is also padded for extra stability.

Finally, this bag comes in a variety of fun designs. From simple colors to two-toned and artistic patterns, you’ll definitely find something up your alley!

Special Features:

  • Roll-top or folded closing with metal buckle
  • Additional zipped fast access to the main compartment
  • Neoprene laptop compartment

14. Adidas Stadium II - Best city daypack for athletes

Adidas Stadium II Urban Backpack

Weight: 1 lb

Size: 20" x 12" x 9.5”

Who doesn’t know about Adidas?

Although known best for their shoes, sports clothing, and apparel, they also make pretty great backpacks that you can use for everyday, especially if you do sports!

The Stadium II is a lightweight daypack available in three simple colors, each bearing the brand’s iconic three stripes and logo at the front.

It features a dedicated shoe pocket with ventilation, so you can easily keep the rest of your items clean.

The other zippered interior pockets can be great for storing clothes or other necessities.

But the main highlight here is no doubt the zippered bottom ball pocket, which can fit a size 5 soccer ball. You can also carry this on the outside!

The bag itself is made from a water-resistant base and durable 3d ripstop fabric, not to mention the padded shoulder straps for comfortable wear.

Moreover, there are two water bottle pockets on the side as well as a tricot-lined media pocket where you can store your phone or tablet.

And did we mention that Adidas offers a lifetime warranty for this product?

Special Features:

  • Separate shoe compartment
  • Special soccer ball mesh pocket
  • Lifetime warranty

15. Able Carry Daily - Best daily backpack for modern workers

Able Carry Daily Urban Backpack

Weight: 2.1 lbs

Capacity: 20 litres

Size: 48” x 28” 19”

The Able Carry Daily is a great bag packed with modern features, and one of the best to use for working.

It has 20L of volume, a protective laptop compartment, and built for the most comfortable wear.

The A-frame support includes anchor straps and tapered panels, wide cushy straps for optimal plushiness, and multi-layer foam back paneling that’s also breathable.

It’s also made of X-Pac Fabric or Cordura 1000D nylon, which is durable and long-lasting.

In terms of the storage organization, you’ll get several lined pockets inside, a mesh pocket, front compartment with key leash, and a quick-access pocket at the top.

Most impressive is the Floating Tech Pocket, which is padded on the bottom to ensure extra protection in case your backpack falls or bumps into hard surfaces.

The bag also comes with a secret pocket inside for safely keeping your cash or other valuables.

Finally, there are a few commuter-friendly features, such as an attachment clip, sternum straps, and lock-loops.

Special Features:

  • Excellent storage organization
  • Extremely comfortable and ergonomic design
  • Commuter-friendly features

Urban backpacks FAQ

How do I choose a backpack?

We’ve detailed this in the first section of our post, but the main idea is to consider your personal needs. Think about factors such as the organization, size, style, comfort, and construction of the backpack.

What are the best quality backpacks?

When it comes to quality, you want something durable and well-constructed.

We’ve personally tested the DRiiBE CITYC Laptop Backpack and have found that it excels in all aspects of this!

What is the most popular brand of backpacks today?

Some of the most popular backpack brands you’ll find around the world include Fjällräven and The North Face. They make various models and different-purposed backpacks, including urban daypacks.

How long should backpacks last?

A backpack’s lifespan depends on factors like its quality, how often you use it, and the maintenance. Generally speaking, backpacks used everyday can last a few years, although high-quality ones can last you even longer.

Which urban backpack will you get?

Having a good quality urban backpack to use on a daily basis is great and yes, the choices can be limitless when you consider their different features and styles.

We personally love the DRiiBE CITYC 2 in 1 Laptop Backpack for everyday city life.

But you may have different preferences and priorities, and that’s okay!

We hope this list could help you find your ideal urban backpack.

Can you think of other city backpacks we may have missed?

Leave us a comment below!

Don’t miss our other gear guides:

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