Weatherproof, comfortable and built to last, these aren’t your gradeschool backpacks. Production to fully custom, here we have four USA-made backpacks. Capacity of main compartment measured in 12 oz beverage cans.
Green Guru Commuter Backpack
Capacity: 40 cans
Features: Upcycled bicycle innertube construction with 100% recycled PETE fabric. Rolltop main compartment with small outer pocket.
The Green Guru Commuter is the simplest backpack in our lineup—essentially a large rectangular compartment with a small outer velcro pocket. The rolltop closure is more fold over and close with the single strap, with no secondary velcro closure. The outside pocket is large enough for a few small items but does not expand beyond its essentially flat profile, though it does hide a small secondary open top pocket behind it for easy lock stowage. The shoulder straps are padded mesh and the back features a thin, full length foam pad. I wish the strap closure was longer for overloading the bag. An economical, ecological choice in a simple, weatherproof backpack.
Mission Workshop Sanction
Capacity: 20 cans
Features: Waterproof and lightweight materials. Multiple interior and exterior organizer pockets. Military spec construction.
The Sanction is the smallest of these four bags yet has the most pockets; five, aside from the full-length main compartment. Subtly angled and curved backpack straps with dense padding throughout makes this the most comfortable bag I’ve ever worn—it just sits right, and doesn’t interfere with checking for traffic over my shoulder. Laptop, camera, a change of clothes and a small toolkit is about all I need most days, and that’s about what the Sanction holds. Perfect for the daily essentials or traveling light, a similarly constructed but more than twice as large Vandal is also available. Mission Workshop makes some of the finest bags and clothing I’ve used, two years on and the Sanction still looks new. www.missionworkshop.com
R.E. Load Small Flight Pack
Capacity: 45 cans
Features: Custom colors available. Lightweight rolltop bag. Side bottle pockets, single outside pocket. Internal pen/change organizer.
R.E. Load has over a decade of experience with cycling backpacks, and the Flight Pack fits it all into a commuter bag. Daily needs fit just fine, along with that after-work grocery run and a waterbottle or two in outside pockets designed to drain rather than soak your gear. Rolltops are great for overstuffing and two long closure straps make it possible to still secure, though I wish there was a secondary hook-and-loop closure for normal sized loads. Pen holders are all too rare these days, but I regard them as almost necessary and found the interior organizer a welcome sight. If I had to live with a single bag, it would not be far from the Flight Pack. www.reloadbags.com
Trash Bags Garbage Burner
Capacity: 75 cans
Features: Made to order, with many custom options and colors. Padded straps and back. Heavy duty materials and construction.
The Trash Bags Garbage Burner is born from daily courier use with heavy duty construction, expansive capacity and a myriad of custom options. Compression straps all around allow you to cinch down the empty bag to a fraction of its full size. Fill it beyond capacity thanks to extendable dog ears and strapping that allows it to swallow boxes. I’ve carried a week’s worth of groceries, photo gear all over town in the rain and lived out of the the bag for a 10-day road trip. The heavily padded straps proved comfortable for the overloaded long haul, the overall construction meant for years of abuse. Built to order with endless customization available. www.trashmessengerbags.com