Best Minimalist Backpack in 2021

Best Minimalist Backpack in 2021

Backpacks are among the most useful inventions of modern times. But with each model differing in capacity, functionality, and design, finding the right one among the wide selection may be challenging, especially if you’re looking for a minimalistic option. Many brands overcomplicate their products with fancy designs that aren’t always great for daily use.

To save you time hunting for a perfect backpack, we’ve gathered the five best minimalist backpacks to fit any style and purpose. From compact and affordable to capacious luggage-style options, you’ll likely find what you’ve been searching for in this guide.

Best Minimalist Backpack Reviews

Best Minimalist Backpack in 2021

Incase ICON Laptop Backpack

Quality of materials is crucial in minimalistic designs. This Incase backpack is constructed from heavy-duty, 840D ballistic nylon for utmost durability. In addition, it’s free from unnecessary decorative elements, showcasing only the brand’s logo on the front.

The molded back panel and padded adjustable shoulder straps ensure a comfortable fit. For even better ergonomics, this backpack features a sternum strap that helps distribute the weight. A perfect fit is crucial for a bag of this size, as it may get pretty heavy. The Incase ICON can be used daily, caring for your back’s health while allowing you to carry all your necessary items.

Design and comfort are essential, though the central aspect of any backpack is functionality. The Incase ICON is capacious and provides excellent protection for your items. The bag holds a 16-inch laptop in a dedicated faux-fur-lined padded compartment. An additional lined compartment located at the front of the backpack is large enough to hold a MacBook Air or a tablet of any size.

The middle section offers plenty of pockets, slots, and pouches, which help maintain order in the backpack. Your items won’t get mixed in a single large compartment, as you can keep each in a designated space. One of the side pockets has a gap for a cable. You can therefore charge devices when the pocket is fully zipped. The second side pocket is used for storing a water bottle or other items requiring quick access.

Overall, the Incase ICON is one of the best minimalistic backpacks on the market. It’s a reliable companion for anyone who lives on the go.

CapaciousIsn’t the most affordable option
Elegant and ergonomic design 
Durable materials 
Designated compartments for laptop and tablet 
Cable slot in the side pocket 

Thule Landmark Women’s Travel Pack

A minimalistic backpack doesn’t necessarily have to be black. This design from Thule comes in two color options: dark Bordeaux and deep teal. The bag is constructed from durable 600D polyester and weighs only 3.17 pounds. It’s the most spacious option in our selection, measuring 9.8 x 13 x 21.5 inches.

Thule Landmark Women’s Travel Pack

The Thule Landmark was created with women in mind, providing excellent comfort with a gender-specific fit. Fully adjustable padded straps and a sternum strap ensure superior ergonomics and maintain the health of your back and shoulders. The straps can be tucked away when not in use to prevent wear and tear. In addition, the sternum strap has a whistle for your safety in needed circumstances.

This backpack is a perfect choice for explorers and is carry-on compliant for most airlines worldwide. A suitcase-style main compartment offers plenty of mesh pockets for convenient organization. 

Compression straps keep all your things in place. For the most valuable items, the Thule Landmark has a hidden internal pocket. You can discreetly store cash and documents without worrying about someone finding them. 

Then, of course, there’s a water bottle pocket – a must for travel backpacks. Last but not least, the zipper pulls are lockable to prevent theft. A loop lock is included in the set, but you can change it for a code lock for maximum safety.

Although the Thule Landmark offers plenty of travel-designated features, it’s also suitable for daily use. For example, 15-inch padded laptop and 12.9-inch tablet compartments make this backpack a great work aide. For more valuable items, it features a reinforced compartment with overlapping mesh pockets.

Capacious and ergonomicPricey
Cash-stash pocketThe suitcase-style opening may not be very comfortable for daily use
Reinforced compartment 
Women-specific fit 
The luggage-style organization is great for traveling 

Travelpro Essentials SparePack Foldable Backpack

This Travelpro backpack is yet another option designed for travel, even if it is much smaller than the Thule Landmark. It measures 6.5 x 12.75 x 15 inches. The backpack is large enough to hold a 15-inch laptop, though it isn’t padded or waterproof. It’s lightweight and can fold in a small zipped pouch. 


Although it’s unlikely to hold all the items required for a week-long vacation, the Travelpro backpack is a perfect carry-on addition to your main luggage. A rear strap fits around the suitcase extension handle for easier transportation.

The backpack is made from high-density, abrasion-resistant polyester to ensure durability. Three color options are available: black, navy, and beige. The mono-color design is sleek and elegant; even the brand’s logo doesn’t stand out. As a result, it’s a perfect choice for all minimalists. The straps aren’t padded but are adjustable.

This backpack is a simple yet functional option. The number of compartments can’t be compared to Thule Landmark, though it is still impressive for a bag this size. A large zipped exterior pocket is perfect for quick access. The front side additionally features a quick slip pocket with magnetic closure for a cell phone or passport.

To conclude, the Travelpro Essentials is an affordable option for those looking for a compact daily backpack. It’s stylish and has plenty of compartments for convenient organization. 

Travel-friendly features, such as the rear suitcase strap and foldable design, make it ideal for vacations. You can easily fold it and tuck it in your suitcase if it’s not needed during a flight. Then, you can use it to hold all the essential items when exploring a new area.

Foldable designStraps aren’t padded
Quick access compartmentsNot waterproof
Adjustable straps 
Rear strap for suitcase 

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft Backpack

Pacsafe is a US-based brand specializing in anti-theft items. This backpack was made with city life in mind. Pickpocketing is a common issue in crowded areas such as subways or city centers, and this backpack has many safety features to prevent theft.


The backpack features RFID-safe pockets blocking transmissions from 10MHz to 3GHz. This frequency range covers most electronic identification, payment, and key cards. In addition, Pacsafe’s original eXomesh Slashguard is embedded into the fabric at the most vulnerable areas of the backpack, including shoulder straps. It’s a lightweight, flexible, and cut-resistant stainless steel mesh that provides reliable protection for your most valuable belongings.

The Lockabout Zipper Clip offers three security levels. All detachable hooks on this backpack feature turn and lock functionality. A turning mechanism secures the hook in place, preventing bag snatchers from getting away with your backpack.

Excellent protection isn’t the only advantage of this backpack. It’s also spacious, holding a 15-liter volume while weighing under 1.5 pounds. Pacsafe Metrosafe has a padded 13-inch laptop compartment and plenty of pockets for organization.

Adjustable straps provide a comfortable fit. Three color options are available: black, khaki, and grey tweed. Overall, the design is simple, and every detail has a functional purpose.

Sleek designLack of small, quick-access exterior pockets
Anti-theft features (RFID-safe pockets, steel mesh lining) 
Padded laptop sleeve 
Great value 

Kroser Laptop Backpack

This sleek and affordable backpack is an excellent choice for any purpose, from travel to work and studies. Three design options are available: plain black and two different floral patterns. Thus, this backpack is suitable for men and women of all ages and style preferences.


Reinforced edges and a steel frame ensure durability and protection for your belongings. Faux leather handles and golden-tone elements make this backpack especially elegant. The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable for a comfortable fit. A rear strap allows you to attach the bag to a suitcase handle.

This Kroser backpack is not only stylish but also functional, featuring a padded 15-inch laptop compartment. The bag is water repellent, so you can carry electronic devices in it worry-free. 

Additional inner pockets are great for the organization of smaller necessities, such as cell phones, power banks, documents, or a wallet. A large exterior pocket allows you to quickly access your items. A built-in USB port is a valuable extra for those living on the go.

AffordableRelatively narrow for a backpack this size
Elegant design 
Water repellent 
Plenty of pockets, including a padded laptop compartment 
Built-in USB port 

Buyer’s Guide

Unfortunately, the ultimate backpack without any flaws doesn’t exist. Thus, your choice should be based on your personal needs and preferences. To help you understand what to look for in a backpack, we’ve created a short buyer’s guide.


  • Consider what you’re planning to use the backpack for. 
  • Are you traveling a lot? 
  • Will you use it as a laptop bag? 
  • Are you going to use it daily or occasionally? 

The answer to these questions should be your starting point. You may also consider how you travel and the weather patterns in your area. For instance, if you fly often, choose a carry-on-compliant option. If you live in a rainy region, purchase a water-repellent backpack.


Backpacks vary in size. Some can easily fit all your belongings, including a laptop, sleeping bag, and half your wardrobe. Others are compact and more suitable for everyday use. 

But, of course, bigger isn’t always better; huge travel backpacks aren’t convenient for running around town and may not fit in the luggage compartment aboard a plane. In other words, make sure your backpack fits all the necessities but isn’t too bulky.

Specially Designated Features

Depending on the purpose of your backpack, it may offer additional useful features. For example, the Pacsafe Metrosafe is explicitly designated for people living in cities where theft is common. For that reason, it has a reinforced cut-proof lining and anti-scan credit card and document protection. In addition, the Thule Landmark is designed for travel and has a suitcase-style opening and compression straps.


If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely decided that you want a minimalistic backpack. However, not all minimalistic backpacks are the same. Even the smallest elements, such as zippers and lining, may drastically change the final look. So make sure your chosen backpack fits your style and is constructed from a durable and easy-to-clean material.


Ergonomics are crucial to promote back health and ensure that the backpack can be carried for long periods. Padded straps are a must for large backpacks that may get heavy. The backpack shouldn’t leave marks on your shoulders and has to be free from sharp edges that may cause pain during wear.


It’s worth spending more on a high-quality backpack that will serve you for a long time. Durable materials also help to protect your valuable items. In this respect, the Pacsafe Metrosafe backpack features a reinforced steel mesh lining. 

In addition, the shoulder straps of the Thule Landmark can be hidden to prevent wear and tear when not in use, as they’re the most fragile part of any backpack. Overall, durability is one of the key points to consider when making a decision.


Backpacks are often used to carry large weights. However, no one wants the backpack itself to further contribute to already heavy items. Hence, heavy backpacks aren’t suitable for carry-on baggage.


In this section, we’ll answer additional questions regarding the right choice of minimalistic backpack.

What Is a Minimalist Backpack?

A minimalist backpack is the very essence of free movement. It allows you to carry all the necessary travel items in one backpack without worrying about suitcases. Minimalistic may also refer to the style, which is uncluttered with no decorative elements. Instead, every aspect should have a functional purpose.

How Does a Minimalist Travel?  

Minimalist travel is about living in the moment. By carrying only the essential items, you can free your hands and get ready for an adventure.

How Many Liters Does a Person Need for a Backpack?

The answer to this question depends on the personal needs of the individual. Most daypacks range from 20 to 35 liters. This size is considered optimum for most people and is excellent as carry-on baggage or for work. 

However, travel backpacks may hold over 100 liters. Such options are suitable for expeditions that last more than a week. Of course, smaller backpacks with 5-20 liter capacity look great, but they aren’t very functional.

What to Look For in a Travel Backpack?

Travel backpacks are generally spacious and feature plenty of pockets for organization. If a backpack is your main piece of luggage, choose options similar to the Thule Landmark. You never know how your luggage is handled, so a backpack should protect your belongings. Reinforced compartments are useful for fragile items such as sunglasses. Hidden pockets are great for documents and cash. Ideally, a travel backpack should have space for a padlock. 

Finally, a comfortable fit is crucial. You should be able to walk with it the whole day without getting a sore back or shoulders. Foldable backpacks are another great travel option. They make an excellent addition to a suitcase or larger backpack and can be tucked away when not in use.

Which Backpack is Best for Laptop?

The most important feature of a laptop bag is protection. Make sure that your chosen backpack has a designated sleeve. It should be padded and located at the back to prevent bumps. 

Water-resistant or cut-proof material is a significant advantage. The Pacsafe Metrosafe is one of the best laptop backpacks on the market, protecting your belongings from physical and water damage and theft.

Should a Backpack Be Water Repellent?

Water repellent materials are generally more expensive than regular ones. Water resistance is a great bonus for any backpack, but you may consider whether it’s necessary to avoid overpaying. Ordinary polyester can easily handle moderate rain without getting your belongings wet. However, if you live in a rainy climate and carry electronic devices in the bag, water resistance is a must.

Focus on Functionality

When the design is simple, the focus turns to functionality. Manufacturers have to compete in quality rather than looks, including advanced features such as built-in USB ports, reinforced lining, and theft protection. 

Minimalistic backpacks also make a great gift, as they effortlessly fit any style. Hopefully, our guide has helped you find a perfect minimalistic bag for work, study, or travel.