The Best Minimalist Backpack in 2019: Buying Guide

best minimalist backpack

Traveling light is our passion. We spent years looking for the best minimalist backpack that not only will be our carry-on backpack but also the best everyday backpack. We compared the top backpacks brands on the market, and we hope to give you some advice on what are the best minimalist backpacks to buy.

Why should you want a minimalist backpack?

Before we find your best light travel backpack, let’s think about why you might want to buy it. For us, the best travel backpack needs to be small-sized so we can use it as a carry-on backpack, but at the same time, it must have a lot of packing space. We are always looking for good quality backpacks that last for years but still, their price is within our budget. Our minimalist backpack doesn’t need to have any extra additions or unnecessary pockets. We love having quick access to our things when we need them the most. We are not going to use it for mountain hiking either. Preferably it should have a dark grey or black color which suits most of our outfits.

Minimalist backpack: our backpacks review

best minimalist backpack

Are you trying to work out which minimalist backpack to buy? In this backpack buying guide, check out our comparison chart, understand different types of the high-quality backpacks to decide which is best for you and then check out our reviews of the top-rated backpacks that best suit your requirements.

Comparison chart


NameSize (l)Water-resistantLaptop sleeveOur rating
Kanken Classic16NN4.5/5
Sosoon38YY4.5/5
Outlander20/33YN3.5/5
Herschel25NY4.5/5
Bagsmart16/22YY4/5
Kishu16NY3.5/5
Mantein32YY4/5

There are many fabulous best quality backpacks available to buy. The following table displays the most recommended backpacks with different types and price ranges. You can then find more information on all of these with our backpack reviews below.

Minimalist backpack: buying guide

best minimalist backpack

Before you start reading best minimalist backpack reviews, ask yourself these few questions, to decide which backpack is best for you.

How often will you use your backpack?

If you plan to travel extensively, focus on quality, weight, and ergonomics. It is essential to find the most durable backpack as most probably it will be heavily exploited. Consider looking for water resistant materials. If you look for the best backpack for everyday use, which perfectly suits your daily outfit, look for classic designs, colors, and high-quality materials.

What are you going to carry on with you?

The most critical question you need to ask yourself here is whether you plan to carry on a laptop or other electronic equipment with you. If so, we will help you to decide which is the best minimalist laptop backpack on the market.

How important is the quality of the backpack?

This can be a tricky question. Sometimes when you see these perfect best designer backpacks, which are a perfect fit with almost all of your outfits, you may put the look before quality.

What is your budget?

When it comes to minimalist backpacks, there is an extensive range of prices. At one end of the spectrum, you could pay less than $20, on the other, you could spend over $100! How much you need to spend depends on how much the quality of the backpack matters to you.

What is the best minimalist backpack on the market?

Fjallraven – Kanken Classic

Are you wondering what is the best minimalist backpack to buy? We think that one of the best-rated backpacks is the Kanken Classic by Fjallraven. There is no way you could not be satisfied with this quality best lightweight backpack. It is perfect for people who want the best day backpack and aren’t concerned about the price tag.

Details

We have no doubt that Kanken backpacks are currently the most popular backpacks on the market and they have as many fans as opponents. The most popular version of Kanken backpacks is the Classic line, that is, a medium-sized backpack that holds the A4 briefcase format. Its shape is very minimalistic and rectangular. It has one main compartment and a smaller pocket on the front, simple straps, and a wide grip. You can wear Kanken with a dress, jeans, a trench coat, sports jacket, walking in the mountains, as well as go to the picnic in the park. I was wearing it during my pregnancy, and it was a relief for my back. In our opinion, it is the best backpack for daily use.

Value

All this quality comes at a cost. This Kanken backpack is not a cheap backpack at over $80. It is an excellent value if you are looking for the best-looking backpack and best ultralight backpack which at the same time is comfortable to wear.

Pros
  • Storage space, perfect for carry-on
  • Many colors to choose
  • Durable material
  • Ergonomics, comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Price
  • Be aware of fakes. Make sure you purchase from a legitimate seller.
  • Side pockets may be too small for some water bottles.
Our Verdict

Despite various opinions about Kanken, this is our favorite minimalist backpack. It is easy to clean, spacious, and relieves the back from pain despite its thin straps. We can see this bag being used for years.

Click here to see the latest prices of Kanken Classic

What is the best cheap minimalist backpack?

Sosoon

The backpack Sosoon is the best affordable backpack, and we think it is the best minimalist backpack for the money. It is a popular choice and for a good reason. Its excellent price tag also comes with good quality. This backpack is perfect for people who do not wish to spend much money but would still like to have the best laptop backpack for travel. It is excellent for travelers and students who look for a waterproof laptop backpack.

Details

The backpack Sosoon is made from water-resistant and tear-resistant polyester fabric. It has a capacity of 38 liters and holds up to a 15.6-inch laptop.

Value

This Sosoon backpack is excellent value at just under $30. We don’t label it the best inexpensive backpack for no reason. It is not only cheap but has the features and performance to make this a top backpack option in this price range.

Pros
  • Great price
  • Water-resistant
  • Carry-on size
  • Minimalist look
  • USB charging port & anti-theft lock
Cons
  • In our opinion, there are too many unnecessary pockets inside, however, they may be useful if you usually carry a lot of smaller items.
Our Verdict

The Sosoon backpack is the best inexpensive backpack and one of the best minimalist backpacks for the money around. It has a perfect carry-on size, keeps the laptop secure, and it is comfortable to carry. This makes it the ideal option for people who look for the best lightweight travel backpack for a fair price.

Click here to see the latest prices of Sosoon Backpack

Top 5 Minimalist Backpacks

The Kanken Classic and Sosoon sound good, but you are not sure if they are precisely what you are looking for? Below you will find our minimalist backpack reviews of the top five backpacks that you can buy right now. These are all the most functional backpack of best backpack companies we are aware of.

Outlander Ultra Lightweight

This Outlander backpack is an ultra-lightweight backpack for everyday use and travel. The most significant advantage of this minimalist backpack is that it fits anywhere and shrinks to the pocket size. You can bring it on a plane as a carry-on.

Details

This Outlander backpack is made of a water-resistant and rip-proof nylon. It has a small zipper pocket inside the main compartment, as well as two small front zipper pockets.

Value

It is impossible to criticize the value of this backpack, given its low price well under the $30 mark.

Pros
  • Compact, folds into a zippered inner pocket
  • Ultra-lightweight and roomy, perfect for everyday carry
  • Price
Cons
  • It doesn’t hold its shape
  • Not padded straps
  • Thinner material than a standard backpack
  • Better for occasional backpacking than daily use
Our Verdict

The outlander backpack is, in our opinion, the best low-cost and compact backpack on the market. The producer says that you can fit 26 of their backpacks into a single one! We highly recommend this for people who want an inexpensive, ultralight travel backpack for a low price.

Click here to check the latest prices of Outlander Ultra Lightweight 

Herschel Little America

The Herschel Little America backpack is a successful combination of modern functionality and retro style. This backpack is best suited to people who want the absolute best quality, vintage look and are not scared off by the price tag. It is perfect for college students, workers, as well as travelers!

Details

This lightweight backpack is made of the durable polyester. There is plenty of room for all your travel gears, as well as a soft 15″ laptop sleeve to protect your laptop from scratches. This Herschel backpack has soft padding, so it is very comfortable to wear for a long time, even with a heavy load. There are stylish magnetic strap closures with metal pin clips, media port, and key clip in the front pocket. There is one large compartment with no other pockets inside.

Value

This backpack is priced at over 90$ making it an expensive option although excellent quality and unique look make it one of the highest-rated backpacks on the market.

Pros
  • Retro style
  • Storage space, perfect for carry-on
  • High-quality, durable material
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Price
  • A lot of fakes on the market
  • 15″ laptops other than Macbook may not fit in the laptop sleeve
Our Verdict

If you are looking for the best quality and cool backpack designs, then this is the perfect backpack for you. It is not cheap, but considering that this is the best durable backpack on the market, you will no doubt know that you have made the right choice.

Click here to see the latest prices of Herschel Little America

Bagsmart

The Bagsmart backpack has a sleek and professional-looking design. It is large enough to hold a laptop securely, and it is made of water-resistant polyester. It is perfect for daily use as well as travels.

Details

This Bagsmart backpack has one padded laptop sleeve, one large main pocket, one smaller pocket for iPad or Kindle, and one zipper pocket for smaller accessories. On the exterior part, there are three additional smaller pockets. It has a unique roll-top closure.

Value

At under the $50 mark, this backpack is a good value for reliable quality and interesting design.

Pros
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable, made of sturdy material
  • Easy access laptop zip pocket
  • Even more room thanks to the foldable top
Cons
  • Narrow shoulder straps
  • Only two colors to choose
Our Verdict

The Bagsmart has a unique design that stands out from the other backpacks on the market, but at the same time, it is easy to match everyday clothes. If you’re looking for a durable travel backpack and the price range is right, we would definitely recommend this backpack.

Click here to see the latest pricest of Bagsmart Backpack

Kishu

The Kishu minimalist backpack has a unique anti-theft design, influenced by Japanese minimalism. There are no unnecessary elements, as the goal of the designer was to focus more on quality rather than aesthetics. This best minimalist travel backpack will steal your heart.

Details

This Kishu backpack has hidden zippers and a private money compartment. It is made of cordra nylon, which is a fabric used for military bags. It has one main compartment as well as eight smaller ones for loose items. This super lightweight backpack is one of the best good looking backpacks on the market. Besides, the producer claims that the Kishu backpack is sized to be a personal bag so that you can travel with your carry-on and a Kishu backpack with no additional cost.

Value

Kishubag minimizes all its expenses on advertising to pass the cost savings to make a better quality bag. With its low price under the $40 mark, it is not only cheap but has the features and performance to make this a top backpack option in this price range.

Pros
  • Minimalist design
  • Smart anti-theft pockets
  • Durable fabric
Cons
  • Only four colors available
  • Not water-resistant
Our Verdict

Although the size of this backpack may be too small for more extended travels, it is perfect as a personal bag for all your travel essentials. We love the minimalist look and all the anti-theft facilities. If you look for the best simple backpack at a reasonable price, Kishubag may be the right choice.

Click here to see the latest prices of Kishu Backpack

Matein

The final of our top five minimalist backpacks is Matein backpack. This travel laptop backpack is spacious, functional, and durable. It is best suited to people who want a world traveler backpack at a reasonable price.

Details

This Matein backpack is made of water-resistant and durable polyester. It has a separate laptop compartment (15.6-inch laptop), one big spacious pocket and the front compartment with additional little pockets.

Value

At well under the $50 mark, this backpack is a good value for reliable quality. It is the best professional backpack in our ranking.

Pros
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Many pockets
  • USB charger built-in
  • Professional look
Cons
  • No padding at the bottom to protect the laptop
  • Low-quality zippers
Our Verdict

This Matein backpack is suitable for travelers as well as business professionals. It holds a lot and has a vast amount of inner pockets (and two secret pockets), so it keeps everything organized. It is padded and comfortable for the back, suitable for long walks.

Click here to see the latest prices of the Matein Backpack

Disclosure: Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by us. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission with no extra cost to you.

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