Tried and Tested – Backpacks
We rarely leave the house without a bag these days, and backpacks are the best option if you want to look after your back. We find out which styles are the best for work, school, sport and travel, looking at shape, quality and price
Fjällräven Räven 28, £105, fjallraven.co.uk
This daysack might seem a little on the expensive side, but, made from Fjällräven’s G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco material – a densely woven fabric made from 65 per cent polyester and 35 per cent cotton and treated with Greenland Wax, which resists moisture – it is adaptable to a whole variety of conditions and with the right care will last for years. It’s simple in design but has a host of practical details – a padded pocket for a laptop, a fleece-lined pocket with a zipper which has room for sunglasses or a phone, as well as two side pockets for drink bottles – making it perfect for everyday use, commuting, or any outdoor adventures. The padded shoulder straps make it comfortable to wear, even when filled to its 28-litre capacity.
Best for walkers
Eurohike Pathfinder II 35L Rucksack, £45, blacks.co.uk
This bag packs in all the design features you’d need for a day in the great outdoors, with multiple compartments including a hydration reservoir pocket – you’ll need to buy your own hydration pack – a bungee cord pocket and a zipped lid pocket. It also has a hip belt and compression straps which bring the weight and bulk nearer your back for better weight transfer and balance, which meant that even when filled to its 35-litre capacity, it was comfortable to carry. Itsfoldaway rain cover and air mesh back system mean it’s good for any weather. A great buy at a great price.
Best for travel
RiutBag R15.3, £119, riut.co.uk
This bag is designed primarily with security in mind – the zippers and openings are all positioned at the rear of the bag, so facing the wearer, making it nearly impossible to be accessed by thieves. It is airline carry-on size, and has a multitude of features such as a zipped 15in laptop holder, a quick-access smartphone or passport ‘D-pocket’, a water bottle holder and padded straps, and is made from waterproof materials. It doesn’t have the greatest capacity – perhaps due to all its padding and extra features – but with clever packing you could easily fit enough for a day out or your daily commute.
Best for children
Shimmy Shake Backpack, £37, Basketball Backpack, £37, smiggle.co.uk
Both cool and practical, Smiggle backpacks can be used for school, sport or days out and about. Our little testers loved the trendy designs of these – a variety of colours are available on its website – and, with the padded adjustable shoulder straps, found them comfortable to wear. They have four zipped compartments, including a main compartment with a double zip, which had plenty of space in which to stuff random treasures, and even a rolled-up coat. They have two drink bottle sleeves, a 15in laptop compartment (great for keeping books neat) and an internal name label. A definite hit with the kids.