15 Best Urban Backpacks for 2023

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
December 23, 2022
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 here
Show Table of Contents

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. Hex Technical Backpack - Most innovative and modern urban backpack

Hex Technical Backpack

Weight: 2 lbs

Capacity: 17.5 litres

Size: 19.5"H x 11.5"W x 4.75"D

From wireless charging to antimicrobial material and fantastic organization, the HEX Technical Backpack is a tough one to beat, especially when it comes to unique features.

It’s perfect for an urban environment and the tech-savvy.

Its rugged, water-resistant construction includes genuine Cordura® ballistic nylon, metal hardware, and a molded EVA foam back panel.

The antimicrobial fabric has been tested in labs and can resist 99% of bacteria, mold and fungus. You can read more about their science here.

Moreover, the backpack itself is pretty huge and can fit a lot! 

The faux fur interior feels very premium, and you’ll find inside a magnetic secured 16-inch laptop compartment with multiple organizational pockets.

In addition to the interior divider, there’s a utility strap, luggage strap, lay-flat bottle holder, and a combination passport and phone pocket.

There are also two front pockets with a magnetic closure.

Not to mention the easy-access charger pocket on top that can fit the HEX wireless power bank for the most convenient charging on the go.

Special Features:

  • Antimicrobial fabric technology
  • Wireless charging pocket
  • Tough construction with 1680D Cordura® ballistic nylon

3. The Ridge Commuter - Best urban daypack for commuters

The Ridge Commuter Urban Backpack

Weight: 2.49 lbs

Capacity: 15 litres

Size: 18x12x6 in

Our favorite thing about the Ridge Commuter is how tough its weatherproof construction is, which is helpful for daily commuters!

All thanks to the waterproof 600D nylon shell and YKK Aquaquard zippers for the safest seal.

So, if you’re ever caught in the rain while biking or walking in the city, your laptop and belongings will stay dry inside.

It also comes with a power bank pocket and external usb port, making it easy to charge your phone or tablet on-the-go.

Best of all is the shock-resistant laptop holder to ensure that your laptop doesn’t break as it gets jostled around.

Another thing that we appreciate is its anti-theft feature. The hidden RFID-blocking pocket can be a great place for you to protect your passport and cards from theft in the streets.

Plus, the frontline zipper can open all the way for easy packing and access!

Special Features:

  • Weatherproof with YKK Aquaquard zippers
  • Hidden RFID-blocking pocket
  • Power bank pocket

4. 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

5. 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

6. North Face Recon - Urban backpack with best organizational compartments

North Face Recon Urban Backpack

Weight: 2 lbs 9 oz.

Capacity: 30 litres

Size: 11.6" X 7.5" X 19.3"

The Recon is one of North Face’s best-selling daypacks and a go-to for both small adventures and daily use.

It features a large mesh storage pocket and daisy-chain attachment points for quick access to your everyday essentials.

This is also the perfect urban backpack that you can also use for traveling, thanks to its large 30L volume. You’ll surely have plenty of room for everything in your packing list.

Of course, the bag is on the heavier side and may not be ideal if you just have to carry a few, lightweight items.

However, its FlexVent™ suspension system has been certified by the American Chiropractic Association to ensure the most comfortable backpack experience.

This includes articulated shoulder straps, a curved back paneling, comfy stitch lines, and soft chemise fabric, not to mention a sternum strap with whistle buckle.

Inside, there’s a protective laptop pocket, main compartment for books, and bottom compression, as well as a front compartment with multiple secure pockets and a tablet sleeve.

Outside, you’ll find two multi-function side pockets, a fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses, a removable waist belt, and a padded top handle.

Special Features:

  • Huge 30L volume
  • Great for everyday and traveling
  • 15-inch laptop pocket and tablet sleeve

7. Cuyana Leather Backpack - Best urban leather backpack for women

Cuyana Leather Backpack

Weight: 2.6 lbs

Capacity: 15 litres

Size: 11 in. x 15.1 in. x 7 in.

For the women wanting something stylish to use in their everyday lives, we’d highly recommend this Cuyana backpack.

It’s a beautiful leather daypack made by a family-owned Italian manufacturer near Pisa. It blends high-end fabric with a classy silhouette that is suitable for both work and the weekend.

The top strap is detachable so you have two options of carrying it: as a backpack or with one sling on your shoulder.

There is a padded laptop compartment inside and two exterior pockets to store your accessories and gadgets.

While we’ve featured the 16-inch version, you can also find the smaller, 13-inch model that is even more compact.

You’ll also enjoy thick, wide straps for comfortable wear, 7 adjustable notches, and a magnetic closing mechanism that’s super easy to use.

Additionally, we love that it uses LWG certified leather that’s responsibly produced. It’s as sustainable as it can get!

Special Features:

  • LWG certified leather
  • Sleek and elegant design for women
  • 13- and 16-inch versions

8. Boundary Supply Errant Pack - Best multifunctional urban backpack


Weight: 3.13 lbs

Capacity: 22 litres

Size: 11.42W x 18.9H x 5.51D"

Maybe the best thing about the Errant Pack is its ability to connect with 18 modular accessories, including packing cubes, camera inserts, key docks, and many others.

This allows you to completely customize your backpack and transform it to suit your needs.

The fluid organization and modular components really is this bag’s unique selling point, but those aren’t the only great things!

Its interior features a padded laptop sleeve with auto-locking magnetic closure, main compartment that opens flat, padded secondary sleeve for your tablet or documents, stretch-mesh pockets, and more quick access pockets.

Meanwhile, the side pocket is expandable and can fit a 32 oz bottle, while the durable loops in the exterior are great for attaching various accessories.

The Errant Pack is also very comfortable!

It has a molded foam back panel for better breathability and padded, adjustable shoulder straps.

Not to mention a hidden RFID pocket and a zippered bottom compartment for your shoes or wet clothing!

Overall, its sleek design and excellent functionality makes it an ideal bag for any commuter, photographer, or traveler.

Special Features:

  • Quick access opening
  • Connectable with 18 modular accessories
  • Hidden RFID pocket 

9. 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

10. Ortlieb Commuter-Daypack High Visibility - Best urban backpack for bikers and cyclists

Ortlieb Commuter-Daypack High Visibility

Weight: 2.49 lbs

Capacity: 15 litres

Size: 18x12x6 in

If you cycle to work or school everyday and are looking for the perfect backpack with useful features and accessories, the Ortlieb Commuter-Daypack High Visibility might be for you.

This high visibility bag is designed with bike commuters in mind.

It’s made of reflective Cordura yarn interwoven through the entire bag, which means you will have 360-degree protection even when cycling at night.

Motorists and pedestrians can easily spot you, including during bad weather!

Plus, it comes with an easy roll closure and hook so you can access its content quickly, while the back padding uses TPU with ergonomic straps, making it very comfortable to carry.

Not to mention a detachable chest and waist belt for added stability.

The interior features a removable organizer, padded compartment, reinforced bottom, and a front pocket.

Moreover, there are daisy chains and straps on the exterior for any rear light or U-lock you may have.

Oh, this entire Ortlieb bag is also waterproof, ensuring the best protection whether rain or shine!

Special Features:

  • Polyurethane-coated fabric with reflective yarn for night visibility
  • Versatile daisy chain
  • Excellent ventilation channels on the TPU back padding

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. Atelier de l'Armée Flight Pack Leather - Most stylish leather urban backpack

Atelier de l'Armée Flight Pack Leather Urban Backpack

Size: 25.2” tall x 11.8” wide x 4.7” deep

Atelier de l’Armée is famous for its sleek combination of style and function, which culminates in the Flight Pack.

This is a premium made backpack made of high-quality leather, designed for the outdoors but can also work well for urban use.

The leather editions are 100% vegetable tanned and finished with a natural wax for a luxury, matt look.

It has been fully lined in tone on tone with Jacquard Nylon and has in terms of the content, there are two inner pockets and a 16.5-inch laptop sleeve, as well as side panels with pockets.

Meanwhile, the top part is adjustable with leather straps, depending on how much volume you need.

We also love the soft padding on the back panel that makes the Flight Pack comfortable to carry around.

Overall, it’s a well constructed leather daypack that’s perfect for everyday city use, but also an excellent companion in case you want to explore nearby destinations in the wild!

Special Features:

  • Premium, high-quality leather material
  • Adjustable top height
  • Ideal for outdoor use too

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:

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
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