I carry a lot of gear every day, from my mirrorless camera and extra lenses to a 16-inch MacBook Pro and various other accessories. So I spent months looking for a bag that could fit it all but still have a way to access the goods quickly. My search led me to Wandrd's Prvke series. Despite several months of daily use, it's in fantastic condition thanks to the 1,680-dernier ballistic nylon exterior, not to mention the weather-resistant zippers. I have the 31L, which allows me to add a good deal more into the expandable roll-top. (There's a 21L option, too.) There are lots of little pockets around the bag to store cables, card readers, microfiber cloths, and the like (even one underneath that houses a rain fly to keep the bag dry when it's raining).
I opted for the Photography Bundle, which adds a camera cube filled with foldable, Velcro liners you can use to organize camera gear and keep them secure. It's also easy to access my camera from the side pocket without needing to take off the entire backpack. I've tried a lot of backpacks and messenger bags, and this is the happiest I've been with one so far. —Julian Chokkattu
Is your gym near, or at, your office? The Aer Fit Pack 2 is the work backpack for you. When you lay the bag down, the top unzips to reveal a clever, integrated gym bag, complete with a separate, ventilated shoe compartment that keeps your sweaty kicks away from your laptop and your lunch.
It’s relatively affordable but looks much more expensive than it is, with a waterproof, minimalist exterior. It also has a padded laptop compartment and plenty of accessible storage pockets, including a handy grab-and-go pocket at the top for your wallet, phone, and keys.
Personally, I prefer backpacks to totes or messenger bags; I prefer to balance weight on both shoulders. However, I am aware that turning around with a backpack at a work event in a cocktail bar or restaurant is a great way to accidentally send someone flying. So far, Bellroy's convertible totepack is my favorite. (Disclosure: I own and use a Bellroy wallet.)
The totepack is made from 30 recycled water bottles, woven into a water-resistant fabric with Aquaguard water-resistant zippers. At under 2.5 inches wide, it's slim enough to tuck under my arm with two padded grab handles but still expands to fit my laptop, water bottle, and assorted sundries. After I leave a work event, I can slide the backpack straps out of the back panel, clip them on, and bike away.
The GoRuck GR1 was designed by an ex-member of the Special Forces, so it's tough enough to take whatever you or nature can think to dish out. Its slim profile in no way betrays its awesome carrying capacity, which is bolstered by a hefty amount of MOLLE webbing to accommodate all sorts of straps, carabiners, or other items you might choose to clip to the interior or exterior.
The thick, padded straps take a while to break in, and at 3.5 pounds it's heavy for an everyday pack. But if you’ve spent years customizing your own idiosyncratic carry system, complete with hand-sewn straps and just the right pouches for all your gear—or if you exit and enter your workplace by busting through a plate-glass window—then the GR1 will thrill you.