The Ultimate Backpack Buying Guide

The Ultimate Backpack Buying Guide
03/11/2019 sam

Strap in for a guided tour through our selection of feature-filled and eminently stylish backpacks

Dashing around town, heading to the gym, hiking in the hills or getting away for the weekend?

Our backpack selection is a huge focus at Bear & Bear, we favour the versatile, the functional and the downright dashing. A backpack is the ultimate everyday companion and we’ve put together a selection for this buying guide that will stand the test of any journey.

With a strong emphasis on robustness and innovation, we stock a strong range of specialist backpacks. Whilst they vary in style; they can all handle the stress of fast-paced city life or the most vigorous of adventures.

In this backpack buying guide we break down some of the best choices depending one what you might be using your backpack for.



Selected specifically to take the stress and hassle out of your daily commute, be it on a bike or the trusty (not so trusty) underground. Here are three bags that have the potential to improve every working day of your life.


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    Tokyo Totepack Bag 20L – Black

    Progressive and versatile 20L backpack with exceptional functionality and dual appearance

The 20L Tokyo Totepack in Black defies normal categorisation with its dual appearance and exceptional functionality. Designed as a very comfortable backpack that can quickly become an easy-carry tote bag, it excels for the urban cyclist who doesn’t want to wear a backpack to meetings.

The 14L SIV in Black Leather from Sandqvist is the ideal carrier for tackling city living. Exhibiting a secure and stylish roll-top design, you can rest assured your belongings are safe. The front has an easy access pocket and the main compartment is shut with a metal hook closure. It’s main fabrics are all made from recycled materials.

An exceptional bag from Filson that will easily meet your daily demands. Includes a manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee. The Dryden backpack is made from very hard-wearing 1000-denier Cordura nylon which is highly weather resistant. It has a double-layer bottom section and uses heavy duty zippers, Bridle leather detailing completes the focus durable materials.When it comes to functionality, this backpack delivers, with handy side pockets for a water bottle or two on the outside, cleverly concealed compartment for a 15” padded laptop sleeve that also has room for an iPad, the shoulder straps are padded with quick-pull ratchets to easily adjust them and Bridle leather tabs for gear attachment, there’s also a leather grab handle to give another carrying option.


Weekend Breaks

These vessels have been carefully designed for a great weekend escape. Each one packs in some ingenious features that will make your trip a breeze. Just don’t forget your phone charger.

Super functional 3 way bag, the ultimate durable travel backpack where utility and function are key Ideal for weekend trips and adventures. Made with extremely durable fabric, this bag has just the perfect amount of pockets and hidden extras. It features a YKK AquaGuard zip which allows AEL008 to open fully (like a suitcase), for easy access to the main section and to the separate water-resistant compartment. The upper section accommodates up to 15″ laptops in a padded sleeve with an nifty ejection mechanism. Carry options change quickly from duffel bag, to shoulder bag or carry as a backpack.

Made with water resistant Cordura® EcoMade ripstop and ballistic polyester, the Zack has been purposefully crafted to handle the stress of any journey with incredible durability. Internally you have a spacious 41L with a separate 15″ laptop compartment that can be accessed from both inside and via an exterior zip, with several further slip and zipper pockets for your smaller bits. The exterior features two hidden pockets for all of your frequently used items such as passports and chargers. The fully adjustable shoulder straps have been made with a mesh construction that perfectly moulds to your shoulder for a comfortable fit. Compression straps are available on either side with a removable sternum strap for comfort when carrying a heavy load.

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    Transit Backpack 28L – Black

    Exceptionally functional and refined 28L travel backpack for long commutes or short journeys

Designed specifically with a large capacity to make travelling more efficient. This 28L backpack has the capacity to fit a surprising amount of kit, whilst meeting all airline baggage restrictions for carry-on. Useful features include a quick access 15″ laptop compartment and external-access pockets that allow you to invisibly store your passport and other treasured possessions. Plus there’s a 3 years manufacturer warranty on this item.


Exploring the Great Outdoors

You don’t have to be a seasoned adventurer to appreciate the focus on durability and functionality of these pioneering companions. These backpacks have all the trimmings needed for a serious hike, but with streamlined good looks to boot.

Inspired by vintage forestry packs, this 26.5L backpack is constructed in the USA with exceptional care from abrasion-resistant tan rugged twill. Features a cinch-top opening with a drawstring that pulls tightly shut, which is protected by a water-resistant oil finish tin cloth storm flap. The adjustable shoulder straps are padded and feature daisy-chain webbing. It’s easy to access thanks to simple brass tension hooks that clip into loops on the storm flap. There’s a single main compartment with a zippable interior sleeve that can fit a 15” laptop. This finely crafted and rugged backpack is backed up by a Filson Lifetime Guarantee.

Ultimate foldable backpack, crafted with coated, water resistant rip-stop nylon that’s as hardy and durable, as it is lightweight. When unpacked the pack holds everything you need and more, when you’re done, it packs into the compression bag that fits right into your hand. It even accommodates most water bladders with integrated hose routing features. With waist and sternum straps. All of the straps are extremely breathable and the shoulder straps have been constructed with Lumbar Padding for extra comfort. Numerous pockets, a large main pocket, and a smaller stash pocket. Also features a daisy chain and gear loops for anything additional you want to attach.

The Smith 25L from Millican is a roll-top daypack that’s perfect for the active commuter who likes an outdoor adventure. It’s packed full of features that are useful in urban and outdoor environments, including a laptop sleeve, external and internal pockets plus removable waist and sternum straps. The highly durable material and design are backed up by a lifetime guarantee.


Streamlined Silhouettes

If you’re looking for something sleek that doesn’t cut back on features, then these are for you. All these slim backpacks have all been thoughtfully tailored to minimise size whilst retaining internal volume.


The Alva backpack by Sandqvist is constructed of robust 18oz cotton canvas and vegetable tanned leather. This sophisticated and functional bag is a superb everyday essential with an interior 13” laptop and iPad compartment and a large interior for all your gear.

Packed to the brim with uber cool features. The large and spacious main compartment is accompanied by an internal 15″ laptop and iPad sleeve. An additional side zipper to the main compartment and a further three internal pockets make for great organisation. The Hege has been designed with high-quality top grain leather and heavy-duty organic cotton canvas that will stand the test of time and the stress of modern day life applied to it. Finished with organic cotton lining and adjustable shoulder straps.

Eco-friendly dual-function bag. Can be worn as a backpack or a tote bag. With a uniquely innovative yoga mat slip pocket on the front of the bag. The shoulder straps are adjustable for optimising comfort and can be hidden in the back pocket of the bag. Inside there is a 13″ laptop pocket, an internal zipper pocket and four slip pockets for all your organisational needs. Crafted from 100% recycled nylon, this carry bag is the ultimate choice for the environmentally conscious carrier.

So that’s a wrap-up of our backpack buying guide, you can view our full collection of feature-filled backpacks here. If you need any assistance making a decision then get in touch and we’d be happy to help. We do love match-making people with their perfect bag.