You can go from workout to work and vice versa and not be a bag lady. Here are the sleekest, chicest backpacks that accommodate laptops, leggings and your beauty loot without making you look like you’re moving house
If you associate backpacks with the school playground, Brownie camp or a torturous D of E expedition in your past, get ready to reacquaint yourself with the humble rucksack in an altogether more adulty, sophisticated context. Backpacks are more covetable, convenient and compartmental than ever - you can store your tupperware next to your trainers and tech without looking like a turtle or risking your lunch going all over your laptop. From high-end weather and thief-proof options to practical high street buys that look more expensive than they are, here are the backpacks to bag.
The sturdy urban one
Like most things Lululemon, this bag doesn’t come cheap, but it is a technical marvel. Minimalist and simply styled, organised types will appreciate the well thought out inner compartments - there’s an expandable pocket for damp gym kits, a padded laptop ‘sleeve’, an easily accessible yet secure phone pocket and an inbuilt water bottle holder. Despite this ‘carpet bag’-esque storage potential, it doesn’t look in the slightest bit bulky and it’s lightweight and comfortable as well as aesthetically on the money. Which is just as well given the price point really.
The wipe-clean classic
Trust M&S to come up with something that’s resistant to British rain showers (it features water-repellent Stormwear fabric) yet doesn’t look too Trainspotter-y. Available in black and silver, the iridescent clasp adds a bit of an edge and the loose, drawstring style allows you to pack in a change of clothes plus provisions and work essentials with ease. The backpack straps aren’t padded so don’t go too gung-ho with heavy kit, but otherwise it’s a stylish way to cart your stuff about town.
The super secure one
Knomo backpacks are taking both the business and fashion worlds by storm and they’re slick when it comes to carrying your gym kit too, but it’s the techy features that sets this bag apart from the crowd. Justifying the nigh on £200 price tag is an RFID compartment in which to store your valuables - the section is tagged by radiofrequency and features a unique serial number so that, should your bag go walkies or be stolen, you’ll be able to trace it. In addition you can register your bag with a Knomo ID so that if it gets lost it can be returned to you by way of the Knomo portal. As someone who had their handbag wander off this year with all ID/ house keys/ treasured possessions within, I can see the appeal of dropping more than I might normally to secure my stuff.
Happily the Barlow looks pretty elegant as backpacks go and it fulfils the practicality brief too - it’s very roomy with a sizeable laptop pouch, well structured dividers and it’s rigorously drop-tested for durability.
The all-weathers one
You don’t expect waterproofs to look this slick, but Scandinavian “contemporary rainwear lifestyle” brand Rains make it their business to create dapper downpour resistant clothing and accessories. This matte finish backpack is waterproof down to the zips, with a padded laptop pocket and a neat front pocket to store your immediate access bits and bobs. Whether you’re on your bike or sprinting through sleet, it will stay snug, secure and dry as a bone.
The light one
Light in feel and on your wallet, this neat pack doesn’t have techy features or a million pockets, but it comfy to wear, easy to fold your fitness wear into and the simple pink stripe design makes it look more high-end than high street.
The sporty one
With silver and gold accents this roll-top backpack looks polished but it comes to the fore performance wise too - the adjustable padded straps won’t pull or chafe when you’re running and the multiple pocket situation means that you won’t have to stop and dig in your pack to locate your work pass.
The bright one
If monochrome or muted tones aren’t joyful enough for your tastes, this sunshine yellow backpack will cheer up even the earliest, darkest, drizzliest Monday morning. There are no bells and whistles, just a large inner pocket with two separate zipped compartments and a cinch and buckle closure to keep your work files and gym kit firmly under wraps. You might even enjoy packing this on a Sunday night…