In the world of accessories, there are few investments as important as a good backpack. It’s a bit like with shoes: you can very well be satisfied with a first price, but you will quickly have pain in your extremities, or you risk simply seeing the sole come off after a few months of use.
The job of journalist requires us to transport heavy equipment in all circumstances. Computer, camera, batteries, chargers, drones… everything goes there and often for long periods of time. Despite ourselves, on Frandroid and Numerama, we have therefore become sacs-nerds who try many models in order to find perfection: the bag that will rest the back and that does not look like a military package.
If this holy grail does not really exist, because concessions are the essence of these choices, several models approach it. You will find them in this guide, highlighting mixed models and which has been crowd sourced by the editorial staff and numerous external consultants.
The best value for money: the Xiaomi commuter backpack
A backpack at 19.99 euros is surely a scam! Think again: the Xiaomi backpack is a great deal, which the editorial staff of Numerama tried, and immediately adopted. In addition to being rather elegant with its “Ikea sofa” style fabric, it has several compartments to clearly delineate your belongings. The one dedicated to the computer is even padded to absorb any shocks.
Bonus: the new model even has a pocket for the water bottle on the side, and a strap to attach to suitcases.
The most comfortable backpack: the Eastpak Out of Office
Did you know ? Eastpak is not only its iconic bag worn by 98.7% of teenagers and decked out in blanco tags or personalized with patches of metal bands. When we dive into the giant’s collection, we find models, always inspired by the culture sk8ter, but which adapt to other stages of life. The Out of Office keeps exactly the simplistic look that we associate with the brand but offers much more space, and enough to store a large computer (normal, it is still 27 L!)
There is only one quick access but several pockets and computer compartments, and it is available in many colors. Some are even less than 50% on Amazon.
The unexpected surprise: the Elops
There are backpacks that impose themselves: the Elops sold at Decathlon is part of this category. In a mystifying black, it immediately catches the eye, tastefully oscillating between matte and gloss. The bag was originally designed for cycling — moreover, Elops also sells very practical two-wheeler bags — but it will adapt to the needs of any urban dweller looking for style, but who wouldn’t have a hundred euros to spend for the start of the school year. It’s waterproof, reflective, and can easily hold your laptop. Be careful, it is better to order it online, because there are not many left in the shop.
Style first: Rains
Always edgy on important topics, Numerama’s editorial staff wore Rains long before the whole of Paris decided it was cool. The collections offered by the Danes of Rains combine elegance and versatility. All bags are equipped with a sewn-in back pocket that will allow you to accommodate a computer – 13 and 15 inches pass without problem in the most common version. A zipped pocket inside helps keep sensitive items warm, and a pocket in the back provides access to documents to keep on hand — that’s where we put our removable batteries.
The colors are up to you — the shades are all tasteful, the darker ones go well with suits and the lighter ones with any outfit. Bonus: as the name suggests, Rains specializes in waterproof clothing – the bags are therefore completely suitable for use in the northern half of France. And you can easily combine them with other products in the range, of good quality.
All-terrain: the iTiwit
ITIWIT is a water sports brand, and it shows: its bags are all perfectly waterproof, which is often much more practical than you think! In France, Decathlon has made them flagship products this year 2022: well highlighted on the shelves at the entrance to stores, ITIWIT backpacks have sold like hotcakes. Blame it on their backpacker-friendly look which still manages to remain elegant (they actually look better in real life than in photos) and their pleasant-to-look colors (you can find them in black, navy blue, gray and orange) , not without a touch of madness.
The 20-litre ITIWIT, which we use in the Numerama editorial office, is a concentrate of simplicity: a large pocket in which you can slip a lot of objects, a practical pocket to put your computer, and another compartment that the you can close with a zip. The bag being made for the city as well as for the mountains, it allows you to keep your back straight even when you have loaded it well, thanks to reinforced and multiple straps (you can also tie it on the front for more support ). For 35 euros, it is very good value for money.
Fjällräven: the colorful must-have
We know that the countries of northern Europe have been producing for years, if not decades, some of the most elegant and practical objects in the world, from furniture to backpacks (hello Ikea). We feel all their know-how in terms of object design, never yielding to aesthetics for aesthetics’ sake, nor to tasteless utility. Fjällräven’s little fox is exactly in this philosophy.
The brand offers ultra-robust fabric bags that have for a few generations a padded pocket on the back to house a computer. Yes, even in the small Kånken it is possible to accommodate one of the latest MacBook Pros. The double handle will allow you to rest your back whenever you want and the very large side pockets can carry water et a backup battery. In addition, you have a huge range of choices at your disposal.
The Herschel alternative: classic but effective
Overall, the Herschel bag is the equivalent of the green Stan Smiths. A basic that has become a little (too?) popular, but which retains its qualities: a vintage style, expected but effective, with practical little pockets. The Canadian draws its lines from backpacks hikers, to which he adds a refined urban side. Front pocket with hidden zip, player pocket, computer compartment, inside pockets, key ring… the Herschel range, whose largest representative is the Little America, lacks nothing.