Need A New Backpack, Fast

So I thought I’d crowdsource this one. My backpack is falling apart on me, and it’s only a matter of time before the straps finally give way. It’s a SwissGear I bought about a semester ago, and it seems that I cannot keep a back longer than a semester and a half. They can’t take the weight. I carry a lot of books and notes in there, as well as my laptop, charger, water bottle and travel mug. I asked my roommate to hand it to me once, and she could barely lift it. I think on average it’s about 25-30 pounds, but I’ve never weighed it.

Either way, it’s murder on most backpacks I’ve tried. I need something durable and that will last at least a year or two. Preferably something that doesn’t actually look like I’m about to ascend into the Catskills for a week, even if it could make the trip. Anyone have experience or advice here?

ETA: I’m willing to pay more to get more use out it. It can be a little pricier if it delivers.


My Ogio Renegade has served me well, and I think they still offer the model. I guess I’ve been wearing this one for 12 years or so.

I also have a leather-bottomed JanSport from the 90s that’s weathered nicely, but I doubt you could find an analog new.

As long as you’re splurging on a critical item, get a good hat. Tilleys are the gold standard. :smile:


REI has some great packs. I still have my freshman year backpack, I got it from REI, and it’s never held less than 30 pounds. Seriously, it’s got my bugout kit, which is 20 pounds by itself.

It’s also very water resistant.

REI doesn’t sell my beloved model anymore, but the REI Trail-40 was just becoming popular as a day pack as I left the BSA. It’s got all the standard features, plus it comes with a pack cover so you don’t have to carry around a fracking umbrella to keep it dry when it’s raining.


I don’t use backpacks, but I’ve had a Crumpler messenger bag for forever and it still looks as good as new, so I’d imagine their backpacks are of similar quality.


Backpacks/bags are important. There’s a thread somewhere around here where I exposit on my attachment to my fraying old REI pack. It’s a home away from home, and an item of armor. It’s where I keep all the stuff necessary to go about daily life, and in a pinch, as long as I have it I can just take off and run, and I’ll be okay.


I use Tom Bihn bags but there is usually a lead time to get one.


Victorinox I scooped up for about $30 has lasted me… about 9 years. They don’t seem to make a version like mine any more. And they cost about $180 - $200. Good stuff though.


Direct Action Dust backpack - bit survivalist, but OK in ‘ranger green’. I’m persnickety about backpacks, ticked all the boxes for me, the military angle I just accepted as a trade off for the quality. Not fully waterproof. Critical element - the cushions leave the spine alone.

I do like the look and feel of Tom Bihn though!


I just looked and saw that the Tom Bihn Smart Alec comes in Dyneema! Holy awesomesauce, I really want one now.

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These are all great suggestions, y’all! I’m glad that I’ve never heard of a lot of these before. It helps me feel like I’ve genuinely not been looking at the really good bags all along.

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If you can swing it, I recommend @albill’s suggestion of Tom Bihn. They make some of their out of Dyneema. That’ll be the last bag you ever buy. Like, indestructible.


Literally looking into that right now. Very pricey, but it sounds like I will not regret it. I’ll have to save up a little, but I might be able to swing it.

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You’re in the US? Vaude has stable and nice-looking backpacks but sells only in Europe.

I am in the exact same boat… Bookmarking this thread.

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