There is always that one person who has to stuff all their things in their pockets—headphones, phone, wallet, keys, chargers, and more. Maybe that person is you. And you might realize that putting everything in your pockets or purse can be cumbersome, especially when you get that mini panic attack over which pocket your phone is in. Instead of burdening yourself like that, you should get yourself an EDC backpack.
It’s the answer to all your troubles. Whether you want an anti-theft backpack, hiking backpack, weekend daypack, or something for the gym, there is an EDC backpack out there for you.
What is an EDC Backpack?
Also known as an “everyday carry” backpack, an EDC backpack is precisely what you think it is: something that you can carry around day in and day out and not get tired of it. If you need to carry a backpack with you, then you want an EDC bag to help you organize your belongings.
You might have stumbled upon the EDC trend while scrolling through social media. There are plenty of images of people wearing fancy backpacks while they travel and talking about how they can fit their entire life inside. Others use an EDC backpack merely for the convenience of having everything right where they need it. You can pack a book, headphones, your RFID wallet, and your phone easily.
But at the same time, the best everyday carry backpack for you depends on what you want to primarily use such a bag for. We recommend thinking about your lifestyle before deciding on what kind of EDC bag to purchase.
As you peruse the list of the best EDC backpacks available, keep the following things in mind:
- Shoulder, chest, and waist straps: If comfort is at the top of your priority list, you are going to want straps that are wide, padded, and ergonomically designed for the human body. Chest and waist straps that distribute weight will make carrying your rucksack a breeze.
- Laptop and tablet sleeves: Plan on using your EDC backpack for work or school? Then you are going to need one that is designed to accommodate technology and electronics. Look for one that will fit your laptop or tablet.
- Pockets: The more pockets, the better the storage. Some bags will have more internal pockets, while others may have external pockets or mesh side pockets for objects you need quick access to.
- Slash-resistance: Don’t risk losing your belongings while you travel. Slash-resistance is always a nice feature to have.
- Hidden pockets: Again, if you are traveling in a high-risk area, having an EDC backpack that keeps your valuables from view is great.
- Padding: The back should have enough padding and ventilation to keep you cool throughout the day, especially when you are moving around a lot.
- Water-resistance: While an EDC bag does not have to be completely waterproof, commuters or those who do a lot of walking around town should consider materials that repel water to some degree. No one wants to find out that their valuables are waterlogged after getting stuck in a rainstorm.
Best Everyday Carry Backpack
What makes an EDC bag the best of the best? You would think the criteria would be a bit more demanding, considering the flexibility of the everyday carry backpack definition. That is why we looked at things like how much the backpack can carry, how comfortable the straps are after prolonged use, and how well you can store and organize your belongings.
We also thought about the durability of materials and the quality of construction. After all, a bag that shreds after a few uses are not good enough to be called an EDC backpack. The features, too, should hold up throughout your activities.
So, without further ado, here are our selections for the best everyday carry backpack:
Overall Best EDC Backpack: Kriega R20 Backpack
When we consider what makes an EDC backpack an EDC backpack, all the elements provided by the Kriega R20 (20L) come to mind. Maybe that is why we named it the overall best everyday carry backpack. Despite having a contemporary design and no extra color options, the R20 is a compact backpack that will outlast all kinds of poor weather. Kriega is a brand that is highly favored by motorcyclists and bikers for that very reason.
Kriega bags stand the test of time, thanks to the 1000D Cordura harness and base material, as well as a 420D nylon ripstop. Reinforcing the backpack against abrasion is Hypalon fabric. So, you get waterproofing from both the material and the YKK water-resistant zippers. To top it all off, the bag also has reflective print and panels for enhanced safety.
But that isn’t why we love it so much. The Kriega R20 uses a Quadloc-lite harness for the shoulder straps and chest that transfers the weight of whatever you’re carrying across the torso rather than gathering all the weight on your spine. Whether you are biking, walking, or commuting, you will be comfortable the whole time. Plus, the harness angles away from the underarms, meaning you get a full range of motion in your upper body.
Despite being smaller than some other bags on this list, the R20 EDC backpack holds plenty of gadgets and essentials. If you feel that you need a bigger size, there are 25L, 30L, and 35L bags as well. That said, the R20 has a front pocket, side pockets, and a large main compartment. Within the main compartment, you can fit smaller electronics, a change of clothing, your wallet, glasses, and much more.
- Water-resistant and abrasion-resistant
- Solid construction—this bag will last you for many years
- Inner sleeve pocket can be converted to fit a back protector or hydration reservoir
- Supremely comfortable harness for all-day use
- Lightweight design
- Not entirely waterproof
Best Women’s EDC Backpack: Himawari Women’s Backpack
For the ladies who are looking for an answer to a non-tactical EDC backpack, we introduce to you this trendy EDC bag from Himawari. One of the first things you will notice is the fashionable design that comes with dozens of color choices. From solid colors to a mix of pastels, you can find an everyday carry backpack that suits all your favorite outfits. But you will probably only need one of these bags for commuting, work or school, travel, and casual outings.
Right off the bat, you will notice that the Himawari Women’s Backpack can be carried either as a purse or as a backpack. The front pocket is large enough to hold smaller books or note pads (or even some toiletries) and shuts tight with securely fastened leather buckles. On either side of the bag is a narrow but deep pocket that can be used to store things you need immediate access to, like a public transportation card or your phone.
The inner compartment can be opened to lay completely flat, and there are pockets and slots aplenty. Thanks to the double zipper closures, you can tuck away a 14-inch laptop or iPad, stationary, a water bottle, umbrella, clothing, glasses, keys, electronics, cables, and more. Altogether, the backpack has a volume of 16.5L.
The material is another plus. Although it is not completely waterproof, the scratch-resistant nylon will repel a gentle rain. The shoulder straps are soft and adjustable. The straps can also be buckled so that they do not get accidentally loosened throughout the day.
- Cute, feminine design
- Free 30-day return and free 60-day exchange if anything happens or you are not satisfied
- Dozens of colors and patterns to choose from
- Laptop pocket and several other pockets for your belongings
- Straps are padded for comfort
- Can be carried as a handbag
- Extremely durable
- On the smaller side—not made for extensive travel or hiking
- No outer water bottle pocket
Best Men’s EDC Backpack: Carhartt Legacy Backpack
We happen to love Carhartt a lot. From cushioned work socks that keep your feet warm on even the coldest of days to their conveniently designed work pants for construction workers, Carhartt continues to make products that are rugged, durable, and reasonably priced. That is why the Carhartt Legacy Backpack is our favorite EDC backpack for men.
While the design is simple and understated, this backpack holds more than you would assume. The two front compartments contain pockets and clips to keep your goodies organized. On either side is a large mesh pocket for your water bottle, and they are deep enough to keep the said bottle from sliding out (which is a real blessing). In the main compartment, you have multiple panels that separate a 15-inch laptop from a tablet and the rest of your stuff.
The fabric feels reminiscent of a Carhartt jacket and is 1200D polyester. On top of that, you get a Duravaz abrasion-resistant bottom and Rain Defender water repellent. So, this bag is not only durable, but it is also water-resistant. That is good news for your electronics.
The last thing that makes the Carhartt Legacy Backpack a winner is the padding along the back. The contoured straps help keep your back straight, so you don’t get fatigued while carrying around your belongings.
- Available in several colors, including black, navy, and brown
- Multiple pockets for organization
- Laptop and tablet pockets
- Water- and abrasion-resistant materials
- Air mesh back panel and ergonomic shoulder straps
- Some people have reported that the Carhartt backpack begins to fray along with the zippers after a few months of heavy usage, but the manufacturer warranty should cover it
Best Urban EDC Backpack: SwissGear Cecil Everyday Carry Backpack
SwissGear is a well-trusted brand that offers up a balance of quality and affordability. If you don’t like the idea of spending hundreds on an EDC backpack, then the SwissGear Cecil might be the bag for you. Aside from being perfectly sized for both adolescents and adults, the SwissGear Cecil allows you to make commuting much less of a hassle. The backpack is not as bulky as some other EDC bags, and it protects all of your electronics.
Case in point: the padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, 10-inch by 7-inch tablet pocket, and premium harness system. Everything will stay where it is supposed to, even if your bag ends up getting jostled on public transport. The bag also comes with two water bottle pockets on either side that are enclosed with mesh.
One thing that we look for in urban EDC backpacks is the cushioning and straps. So many commuter bags have flimsy straps that cut into your shoulders the more you load it up. The SwissGear EDC backpack? Not so much. The shoulder straps have an ergonomic design, and the back panel is made with breathable materials to keep you comfortable.
- Overall bag volume is 27.3L
- Contoured back straps and cooling mesh for comfort
- Three compartments, including one for a 15-inch laptop
- Water-resistant material
- Reliable backpack for the price
- Excellent customer service; if something happens with the bag, reach out, and SwissGear will respond
- The zippers are less durable than the rest of the bag
Best EDC Gym Backpack: KAKA Gym and Travel Backpack
Are you one of those people who spend their day on the move, jumping from the office to the gym and back home for more activity? Then the KAKA Travel Duffel Backpack is going to be worth checking out. This EDC serves as a gym bag, travel backpack, college bag, overnight weekender, carry-on, and much more. Because of the unique design, you can pack away a lot of belongings and never lose track of where those items are.
What do we like about this backpack? First off, the amount of space you get. The front pocket opens up a full 180-degrees for easy access to several compartments. Within the front pocket alone, you can store cables, chargers, a notebook, a power bank, a smartphone, pens, and an iPad. The main compartment is cylindrical and can hold a 15.6-inch laptop, iPad, notebooks, a water bottle, books, clothing, and more.
Next, the shoe compartment. Even if you have no intention of carrying around an extra pair of shoes, the top shoe compartment allows you to separate things. For example, you might be coming home from the gym and want to keep your sweaty gym clothes away from your university textbooks. Maybe you have your biking gloves and hat stored there. Either way, it’s nice to have that extra space.
Besides, it looks cool—and that’s always going to be a bonus!
- Sturdy construction that will last for years
- Padded laptop slot
- Dozens of pockets for more organization
- Separate zippered pocket for your gym shoes
- Sleek design that is bound to get you plenty of compliments
- Zippers do not function smoothly and may break before the rest of the bag
- No water bottle pocket
- Straps can be uncomfortable
Best Outdoors EDC Bag: Skog Å Kust BackSak
Once upon a time, waterproof backpacks were just sacks without any form. Now, they have evolved, and at the top of the food chain is the Skog Å Kust BackSack. Although this backpack was originally designed for water-based activities, you can certainly use it as an everyday carry backpack, especially when you have to deal with biking through the rain to work. Or protecting your belongings from an unexpected coffee spill…
Regardless of what you plan on using the Skog Å Kust backpack for, you are going to love how roomy it is. The BackSack might not hold a laptop, but it will hold clothing, a wallet, smaller electronic devices, books, your lunch, and more. The EDC backpack comes in a variety of sizes and colors. All of the sizes are made with 500D PVC, fully welded seams, and a roll-top closure.
In other words, no water is getting in this bag.
The backpack straps may not look like much, but they are comfortable and padded with durable EVA foam. Overall, the Skog Å Kust BackSack is ideal for anyone who wants added protection for their items at a reasonable cost.
We also rated this Skog Å Kust BackSak very highly for work, college, and travel. Check out the full review here.
- Super comfortable straps
- Available in two sizes: 25-35L
- Completely waterproof
- Small zippered front pocket for your wallet, keys, phone, and more
- Comes in a fun array of patterns and colors
- Does not have a laptop compartment
Best Tactical EDC Backpack: 5.11 Tactical RUSH24
5.11 is a brand that sells dozens of tactical gear that we love (we’ve even reviewed their cargo pants). This backpack is just another example of outstanding quality for a very fair price. The RUSH tactical EDC backpack is a rugged-looking, multi-purpose bag that can handle several purposes, from traveling the world, hunting, military, bug out bag, and even for daily use. With 1050D Cordura fabric as the base, the RUSH24 is also built to last.
There are a couple of different compartments within the backpack—29 in total. You get around 37L of capacity in total. Every zipper is made with YKK zippers, and there are multiple compression straps, drain holes, and lashing points. If you plan on going hiking or camping with this bag, you will love the grab-and-go handle and fleece-lined eyewear pocket. For enhanced convenience, the 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 also has a side water bottle pocket.
As expected of a tactical bag, the 5.11 RUSH24 EDC backpack has the one thing that screams tactical: MOLLE webbing. MOLLE stands for “modular lightweight load-carrying equipment,” which means that you can attach all kinds of pouches and external gear to the bag that suits the occasion.
If you plan on using this bag as an EDC, then you are also going to love how roomy it is inside. You can fit a 15-inch laptop without any issues in the main compartment, and even a 17-inch can fit (though it will be a little snug). It is also an appropriate size to carry on an airplane.
- Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps are extremely comfortable
- Ample interior space and 29 compartments for organization
- Features a 60-oz hydration pocket
- Self-repairing YKK zippers
- Fits up to 17-inch laptops
- The glasses case is rather small and may have a difficult time fitting larger frames
- Back ventilation does not work well on warmer days
Best Hidden Pocket EDC Backpack: XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB Backpack
At first glance, the XD Design Bobby Original doesn’t look like much. The minimalist design does not turn heads. That is a good thing, though. Since there are dozens of hidden pockets crafted into this backpack, it is perfect for hiding your valuables wherever you go. But none of those pockets are visible to anyone, because they are facing your back. The unique construction also works to limit the tension on the spine, so you can carry a heavier load without getting a sore back.
Ideal for traveling, this TSA-friendly bag opens up 180-degrees, so you can lay it flat and fill it up with your toiletries, packing cubes, and more. Inside, you can fit a 15.6-inch computer and a couple of other devices and belongings, such as a 10-inch tablet. The total bag volume is 13L. Despite the small size, you will be shocked by how much you can store inside and carry around (and you won’t even realize how heavy it is)!
The pockets are shock-proof, and the YKK zippers prevent water from seeping in. Despite the steep price tag, the XD Design Bobby Original is an outstanding EDC backpack.
Check out the full review on the XD Design Bobby Original in our other article: “Best Backpack with Hidden Pockets.” We ranked it as the best overall there, too!
- Made with water-resistant and slash-proof materials
- Lightweight design
- USB charging point
- Can fit a 15.6-inch laptop
- Several compartments and internal slip pockets inside
- Not spacious enough to carry school books
- Does not have RFID-blocking properties
Best RFID EDC Backpack: PacSafe Venturesafe G3
These days, you never know when your digital information is going to be exploited. That is why you need an RFID-blocking EDC bag for those days when you are traveling or commuting. The PacSafe Venturesafe G3 Anti-Theft Daypack is the perfect option for you. Available in three colors—black, red, and blue—as well as four sizes—15L, 25L, 28L, 32L—there is a bag style for anyone. While the PacSafe EDC backpack is a pricier choice for many, it does do a lot more than a standard backpack.
The first thing we love about this bag is the interlocking zippers and steel mesh, cut-resistant materials. You not only keep your credit card information safe but there is little risk of having your bag slashed and stolen. Because of the design, the shoulder strap can be removed and looped around the bag, anchoring it in place or with a padlock. This gives you peace of mind.
Aside from the safety features, the PacSafe bag is well made. The construction is noteworthy because once you invest in this bag, you won’t have to worry about purchasing a replacement any time soon. Though the EDC backpack is lightweight and easy to carry, the materials are heavy-duty.
The only downside that may turn some people off is the overall lack of compartments. The inside is one big compartment with a built-in laptop sleeve.
- Has all kinds of security features: security clips, RFID blocking material, eXomesh slash guard, and a locking system
- Can fit a 15-inch Macbook Pro in the main compartment
- Adjustable sternum strap
- External attachment points for water bottles and pouches
- No water-resistance or rain cover
- Lacks organizational pockets
As you can see, the best EDC backpacks around come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are made for travel and commuting, while others are designed with hiking or workouts in mind. When choosing the best EDC bag for you or someone else, make sure you are looking at the quality of the material, the features, and also the price tag. You should be able to find something that meets all of your needs—and lasts long enough to be used every day.