Functional or stylish daypacks? We’ve all had to make that decision before regarding what type of daypack we should get for our next big trip.

While deep down we know we should go for functional, the strong desire to still look good while traipsing through the airport duty free section often over-rides. What ultimately happens is sore shoulders from bad straps and frustration when you can’t find anything in your bag and have to unpack everything just to find your passport!

Luckily, those days are over with a huge range of both functional, casual, and stylish daypacks on the market. These daypacks can be used for all sorts of activities, from carry-ons to bags used for your daily commute. You can now look stylish while perfectly carry everything that you need while on the go.

It can be tricky to find a decent daypack though, so we’ve done the hard work for you and asked around to find the top 10 casual, functional & stylish daypacks currently on the market.

See also: How to Pack Lightly

Top 10 Functional, Casual and Stylish Daypacks

1. The North Face Vault

This one is for the slightly sportier folk. It is one of North Face’s slightly less rugged options. Featuring a FlexVent, suspension system with compression-moulded shoulder straps and a ventilated back pad. It also has a 15” laptop sleeve in the main compartment and comes in a variety of colours and patterns.

Buy on Amazon

The North Face Daypack
The North Face Daypack

2. Day Owl

Day Owls make a range of stylish daypacks that are sustainable! We love their Slim backpack for a sleek travel bag that looks great and fits everything you need – including your laptop! It has pockets on the front, top and side and also super convenient organizer slides inside.

Best of all. Using it while flying? Slip it onto your roller bag, and cruise through the terminal. The Day Owl backpacks are a great eco-friendly gift idea.

Buy directly from Day Owl

stylish daypacks - Top Functional, Casual And Stylish Daypacks

3. Jansport Hatchet Backpack

This daypack comes in a variety of colours and patterns, from floral designs to two-tone colours. It fits up to 15” laptops and has a spacious interior with various compartments. The padded straps make it comfortable to carry for long periods of time.

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4. Eastpak Backpack

This daypack can easily be used for both the office and exploring the great outdoors. It has a padded back and shoulders, making it really comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It has a drawstring close and buckle-strap for aesthetic purposes. The main compartment is roomy with a padded laptop sleeve and two side pockets. It comes in a variety of colours, including a few fun floral designs.

Buy on Amazon

5. Nomatic Navigator Collapsible backpack

This the daypack for photographers on the go. They pride themselves on creating functional gear that still looks good and their backpacks do just that. We love their Navigator Collapsible Backpack for its sleek design.

This bag has been optimized to take up the least amount possible when not in use but give you the most space possible when you need it. It has 2 external water bottle pockets, a quick access top pocket, EVA molded back panel, and tamper proof zippers.

Buy directly from Nomatic

Stylish daypacks for traveling from Nomatic
Stylish Daypacks for traveling from Nomatic

6. Herschel Supply Co. Little America Mid-Volume Backpack

This Herschel pack has a fleece lined laptop sleeve pocket, as well as ventilated mesh back padding, keeping you cool while on the go. The front magnetic buckles give it an old-fashioned rucksack feel, and this one also comes in various colours and designs (including the popular floral design). There aren’t as many compartments as some other bags, with only the main section and one outside pocket.

Buy on Amazon

7. Sandqvist Backpacks

This Swedish daypack was designed to work well for both Nordic escapes and city galivanting – while still looking stylish. The interior laptop pocket will fit a 13” laptop and there is a big exterior pocket that will hold a decent amount of goodies to save you rummaging in the main compartment.

Buy on Amazon

8. Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack

This backpack features a funky square look and comes in a range of bright colours – don’t worry, they also have the generic black and grey if that’s more your vibe. There is a laptop sleeve in the main compartment, along with a document sleeve. On the outside there’s a small external pocket where you can store your other goodies.

Buy on Amazon

9. Heimplanet Monolith Minimal Daypack

If you’re all about living the minimalist life then this daypack is for you. They come in either black, navy, or white. While it looks super basic from the outside, it’s not lacking any features. It is built from 500D Cordura and lined with water-resistant YKK zippers. Overall it can carry 18 litres, and can fit a 15” laptop in its internal sleeve.

Buy on Amazon

10. Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L

For travelers that travel with a lot of equipment – this backpack was made for you! Not only is this backpack weatherproof and comfortable to wear, but its aesthetic versatility is hard to match. The expandable design offers storage to hold 2 DSLR camera bodies with 3-6 lenses. The padded laptop sleeve can hold laptops up to 16″ and there are 3 Flexhold Dividers that can be used to protect drones, lenses and cameras. There are also many exterior and interior pockets to carry all of the other small things that you take with you.

Buy on Amazon

Tips on how to find a good backpack

The quality of your backpack is a key component in determining the quality of your vacation. You could very easily get exhausted or hurt carrying the wrong backpack around, lose some of your valuables, or end up feeling out of place. Read through these pro tips to help you choose the right backpack:

Drop the stuff you will not need for the trip

If you are planning to carry excessive things on your trip, the chances of choosing a bag that is too big will increase. Regardless of the length of your business trip or vacation, there are things you can leave behind, like those extra pairs of shoes or bathrobes. With lesser luggage, you will be able to see travel backpack options and pick a duffel bag or travel backpack that will offer a practical solution, and that will be easy to carry.

What kind of trip are you taking?

Will you be walking on sandy beaches, trekking dirt roads, or making simple hops from plane to train or cab to the hotel? All these are crucial factors to consider while choosing a backpack. With this information, you will know whether you should carry a bag with wheels or sleeves. You may also have to determine whether you will need to use the bag as a pillow, or will either check it in or throw it in a pickup truck.

Ergonomic carrying options

Being able to carry your backpack comfortably is infinitely important, especially if you are traveling for an extended period, or your trip entails lots of hiking and walking. The right travel backpack lets you enjoy the advantage of carrying the load on your back so that your arms are free. Ensure the bag you choose makes it possible for you to venture out of your hotel room as often as you want without hurting your arms.


A good travel backpack should be durable and should be able to withstand harsh weather and the conditions of travel, such as being stashed in a car boot or on the roof of a vehicle. Also, ensure the backpack is waterproof to protect your belongings from the rain and moisture. Some bags come with tarps that you can throw over them in case of a massive downpour.


Traveling in a foreign country may predispose you to attacks by pickpockets and other unpleasant incidences in airports, bus stations, or even on the streets as you trek. Ensure the bag you pick has two zippers that you can lock together. Other bags come with a lockable mesh that you can wrap your bag with and tie to a larger object so that no one walks away with it.


A travel backpack is a perfect solution for you compared to other kinds of travel cases such as suitcases because they offer most of the features a traveler needs. A good backpack has smart features like compartments for sleeping bags and RFID protection. By selecting the most practical travel backpack, your trip becomes many times easier and more fun.


  • Melvin

    Melvin is the founder and CEO of Travel Dudes, co-founder of the Social Travel Summit and the former COO of iambassador.

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