Explore more than a half-dozen minimalist, slim backpacks perfect for work and travel. These are some of the best minimalist (and in most cases waterproof) backpacks for adults I could find online for stylishly carrying laptops, technology gear and your professional life in the new normal.
Slim minimalist backpacks for adults: An essential accessory for the new normal
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I generally preferred a minimalist briefcase for work like this small leather computer bag from Herschel Supply Company.
But even back then there were times, like when I was traveling, where a slim, minimalist (and waterproof) backpack for grown-ups made a lot of sense to lug around a laptop, papers and assorted technology for hours.
In the new normal of flexible work schedules and dressing for your day, a professional-looking, minimalist backpack seems more like an essential accessory.
Here are some great options for minimalist backpacks for work that can handle your laptops, tablets, and technology gear and still look sleek and professional. (I have tried to note which bags are waterproof or water-resistant, and the dimensions and prices where available.)
Chart: Compare the Cheapest Minimalist Laptop Backpacks for Adults
Prices can vary widely for these sorts of minimalist backpacks. A decent adult backpack can range from anywhere between $70 and nearly $300.
|Minimalist Laptop Backpack||Dimensions|
|Everlane water-resistant ReNew Transit Backpack (fits 13″ laptop)||10.75 x 7 x 16||$68|
|Herschel Supply Company 23L Settlement Backpack||12.25 x 5.75 x 17.75||$70|
|Everlane 15″ water-resistant ReNew Transit Backpack (fits 15 inch laptop)||12 x 7.25 x 17.5||$75|
|Rafa Nylon waterproof Backpack by Italic|
* Requires Italic membership
|12 x 4.7 x 17.3||$75 *|
|Bartlett Pebbled Leather Backpack by Italic|
* Requires Italic membership
|9.8 x 4.7 x 11.4||$100 *|
|Rains Waterproof backpack||11.8 x 4.7 x 18.9||$110|
|Knomo London (waterproof) Cromwell Roll-Top Laptop Backpack||13 x 5.9 x 24.4||$140|
|The (waterproof) Backpack by Away Travel||12.4 x 7.2 x 17.5||$165|
|Away Travel (waterproof) Zip Backpack||12 x 5.9 x 17.7||$195|
|Beckett Simonon Logan leather Backpack|
* Take 20% off with code MODERNFELLOWS
|15.5 x 7.5 x 17||$289|
Where to buy the best minimalist and slim laptop backpacks for adults
Away Travel makes some of the most coveted luggage around. I’ve enjoyed following the brand, founded by two alumni of Warby Parker, over the years, as Away disrupted the overpriced luggage industry. I own, and love, Away’s soft-sided expandable bigger carry on. I also splurged on Away’s thoughtfully-designed pet carrier for my puppy.
The company has expanded its offerings to include an entire line-up of well-designed travel bags and minimalist backpacks perfect for work. Away offers a front pocket backpack, packable backpack, a zip backpack, a smaller zip backpack, a daypack, a convertible backpack tote, and its signature “The Backpack.”
Away Travel advertises its signature backpack as “the perfect backpack,” pointing to thoughtful design touches including a cushioned pocket with a water-resistant zipper that can hold a 15 inch laptop, a hidden passport pocket and a collapsible water bottle pocket on the side.
Another nice touch? Away’s backpacks are available in different shades like the light blue coast, green, and asphalt gray.
The dimensions of The Backpack by Away are 12.4 length x 7.2 width x 17.5 height.
Everlane, which launched way back in 2001 with a promise to create “radical transparency” into its supply chain practices, is fast-becoming one of my favorite options for minimalist and unfussy basics for men and women.
I enjoy Everlane’s relatively-affordable basics for women and men including cashmere crew and v-neck sweaters, outerwear and athleisure leggings (for women) and joggers (for men).
The company is an excellent illustration of a sustainable fashion brand that is focused on minimizing its impact on the earth doing right by the workers and communities on which it relies.
Everlane makes extremely attractive and minimalist backpacks that are large enough to hold your laptop and work life. Everlane’s minimalist ReNew Transit Backpack is constructed from 100% recycled polyester that features a water-resistant finish.
It comes in two sizes, a version that holds a 15 inch laptop and another that holds a 13 inch computer. It also comes in multiple colors, though there is a waitlist for many of them.
Everlane’s water-resistant ReNew Transit Backpack costs $75.
Founded by entrepreneurs Daniel Brix and Philip Lotko in 2012, Danish fashion brand Rains was founded to deal with, well, the rain. After launching with a single product, a poncho, Rains has come on strong with a series of gear designed to help women and men combat the elements, including waterproof travel bags, tote bags, crossbody bags, fanny packs and a range of waterproof backpacks.
Rains makes some of the tallest and slimmest backpacks on this list. Their classic Backpack is 18.9 inches long, 11.8 wide and 4.7 inches deep.
Beyond those, Rain makes an incredible variety of minimalist backpacks for adults, including the Mountaineer Bag, Large Rucksack, Charger Backpack, Buckle Backpack Mini, Rolltop Rucksack, Rolltop Rucksack Mini, Bucket Backpack, and MSN Cargo Bag.
Rains’ Waterproof Backpack costs $110.
Herschel Supply Co.
Canada’s Herschel Supply Company makes amazing bags. I adore my very slim and stylish leather laptop bag and regularly use it for work. The company also makes spectacular-looking backpacks for professionals.
Herschel’s unisex leather Settlement Backpack is a great option for women and men. It can handle your technology with a built in 15″ laptop sleeve and an internal media pocket that features a headphone port out of the bag. I love the hidden, brightly-striped fabric liner.
Available in black or tan leather, the Logan backpack features heavy-weight cotton twill lining, solid brass hardware and Made-in-Japan YKK zippers that “ensure a smooth zip” and “close effortlessly” according to Becket Simonon.
Beckett Simonon’s Logan Backpack costs $289 and is made to order, so confirm when the order is expected to ship before purchasing.
Italic makes “luxury without labels,” sourcing high-end goods from the same factories as labels like Gucci.
The Rafa waterproof nylon backpack is made by the same manufacturer that produces for Hugo Boss, Armani, & Longchamp. Internally, the bag has a waterproof sleeve to house a 15 inch laptop or tablet, 3 zipper compartments and a variety of internal elastic pockets. (Italic says the Rafa is for men, but it sure looks unisex to me.)
For women, Italic’s Bartlett Pebbled Leather Backpack is made by the same manufacturer that has been in operation since 1957 and produces for Celine and Prada. The bag is designed for everyday carry, featuring top-flight pebbled leather from one of the globe’s finest tanneries and internal capacity for 13” laptop.
Co-Founder and current CEO Howard Harrison helped launch British brand Knomo London in 2004 to offer a stylish backpack for professionals to carry their expensive, shiny new laptops.
Today the brand, whose name comes from blending knowledge and mobility, offers a range of attractive canvas and leather backpacks, briefcases and bags for men and women.
Their professional backpacks feature a number of small but important details from padded s-shaped straps to waterproof welded construction to interior padded pockets for laptops.
I particularly like the the striking leather and fabric combo of the Southampton 15″ Laptop Backpack (also available at Amazon) as well as the minimalist Harpsden Water-Resistant Laptop Backpack (also available via Amazon).
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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