Five Good Not-Backpack Backpacks For Adults

Backpacks and adulthood are on the mind and has me wondering: what bag helps you seem both older and professional while maintaining a sense of utilitarianism? This is a challenging question.

But it’s not impossible to answer thanks to bags that convert from tote bags to backpacks, bags that toe the line between kid stuff and adult accessories. If you—Like me.—are looking for a bag that is both functional and formal, consider these five not-backpack backpacks for your luggable pleasure.

Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote Pack
Patagonia offers a rugged nylon hybrid perfect for the type of person who always looks like they could go for a hike, climb a mountain, or drive a compact SUV and thusly needs a sophisticated backpack because they work in an office. What I like about this bag is that it feels technical and antiseptic while maintaining a kooky oddity thanks to finishes and details. Go with black-on-black for this bag to be more adult or go full on outdoorsy crazy with the purple/gold/teal combination.

COS Tote Backpack
This minimal treasure is the opposite of the above: it is more tote than backpack. It is a direct conversion of a soft briefcase that you can lop onto your back. This is perfect for someone who has to lug a bag around but wants to look utterly professional and adult. The only con: COS is an H&M brand and the quality is not long lasting (and somewhat uncomfortable for situations like long bike rides).

A new take on a traditional kid’s backpack, this waterproof flopper of a bag offers an element of satchel’d elegance by way of discrete design and simplicity. This is directly a backpack, yes, but it’s litheness and slim straps help it blend in as an adult bag before being a backpack.

Fjallraven Totepack No. 2
For the Euro granola type, this leather trimmed bag is literally a tote bag with straps. Unlike the COS bag, this different take on the same concept emphasizes functionality over being cool. Thus, a convertible tote for the every person. It is also durable and is probably a solid investment despite looking slightly Portland 2002 mom.

Berluti Origami Convertible Leather Backpack
Good god. This is a beautiful leather daddy of a bag. It is sophisticated and weird, discreet yet work appropriate—and it can be both a tote and a backpack. Also: it’s two thousand dollars. This is the type of bag a real adult like Nick Wooster would use in the office and on his bike. Gimme.

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