Design & Style
Say Hello to Coastal
Find the Perfect Work Backpack
31 AUGUST 2017
The work backpack is having a moment. Both practical and cool, it’s the mark of the unstuffy professional style common amongst tech workers, freelancers and bike commuters. And it’s about more than just looks: Anyone who’s experienced shoulder strain from a messenger bag, or wants to transport work gear hands-free, will be happy about this laid-back carry-all’s graduation from student accessory to office wear staple.
The ideal commuter backpack needs to be comfortable and durable enough to use every day. It has to be organized and tech-ready, and be versatile enough that you can take it to the office, on weekend errands, or to the airport. Here’s how to choose the perfect style.
If you’re going to use your Backpack every day, it had better be comfortable. Look for wide, contoured straps that follow the curves of the body and distribute weight evenly. They should have padding that feels resilient to the touch and be adjustable so you can fine-tune the fit. The back should also be cushioned and allow for ventilation, especially if you commute by bike.
Your backpack has to stand up to weather, transit and other indignities. Hardwearing materials, like a ripstop fabric, resist tearing and abrasion and protect the look of your bag from the rigors of the commute. Zippers, straps and handles should hold up to years of daily use.
For many workplaces, casual professionalism is the overriding ethos. Your look can be informal, but you’re still going to a job. A neutral color like grey or black will blend well into most office wardrobes, and darker hues will look cleaner longer. Avoid extra straps and other visual clutter that might be more at home on a hiking trail than on a business trip. A streamlined silhouette is the goal here.
The big question: Can it hold all your gear? The pack should be roomy, but not too big—you’re not going camping. You need space for your Tech, work files, lunch and other essentials. The main Compartment should have a wide enough opening that you can see inside and pull things in and out without struggling.
The level of organization you need depends a lot on what you carry. But in general, a few interior pockets will help keep your cords and accessories in check, leaving the main space open for large items. Exterior stash pockets are great for having quick access to things like your wallet, phone and sunglasses. For next-level tidiness, choose a backpack that has a dedicated organizer compartment with additional small pockets, pen loops and card slots so you don’t have to dig around for these essentials.
Safe transport of your tech devices is a must. Your laptop should be carried flat against your back, for protection, weight distribution and balance. A separate, padded compartment secures your computer and protects it from bumps and scratches. If you also carry a tablet, find a bag with two tech sleeves to keep your devices from banging together in transit.
If you’ll be traveling frequently for work, look for a backpack that will make your journey go more smoothly. An exterior laptop compartment allows you to grab your computer at security checkpoints without having to open the main compartment. A pass-through strap lets you attach the backpack to a retractable luggage handle so you can rest the bag on your suitcase as you move through the airport.
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