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A backpack that truly looks and feels professional is something most of us can get behind, regardless of whether that’s because you commute to work by bike or public transportation, or you just want the most functional carry option possible.
Backpacks are popular for a good reason. And the more functional one gets, the better it is at being a backpack.
Everlane’s Commuter Backpack is an efficient tool that just got an upgrade. Like its predecessor, it is sleek, actually business appropriate, and sold at a fraction of the traditional retail price (instead of $130, it’s $68). Which, if you’re familiar with the Everlane mission, is par for the course. They want to provide high-quality products at affordable prices by cutting out middlemen. It’s one of the biggest names pioneering company transparency, willfully telling you where the products were made, for how much, and why.
Now, their backpack is made to serve you as well outdoors in sideways or torrential rain as it is on a crowded commuter train. The new nylon material is water resistant, with a waterproof TPE backing to keep everything from your laptop to your headphones dry and working, no matter how you get home that day. I can say that it performs exceptionally here.
I’ve used it multiple times in various drizzles and downpours, and every time I unzipped it to grab my gear, they were as dry as they’ve ever been. The material itself won’t hold onto moisture, but instead performs like wax might, just minus the feel of it. And I’m not sure if its a side effect of the TPE treatment, but a very welcome surprise was that the material is stiff enough to mean the bag doesn’t topple over when you set it down, but can stand on its own.
The front pocket has side entry so you can quickly throw your phone or keys in and snatch them out as easily, and there’s a laptop sleeve inside for the gear you’re trekking.
The minimalist design means Everlane didn’t pack the inside with pockets you’d likely never use, just the basic ones you’d be disappointed not to see; and frankly, that was also a welcome surprise. Sometimes you want a spot for your phone, your laptop, and your keys, and the rest wide open to shove a sweatshirt or gym shoes into. It’s spacious without any bulk, and it doesn’t look at all like anything you’ll see at the school bus stop in your neighborhood.
For me, it’s a win-win between functionality, look, and convenience. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s as well made as other models listed for much more.
Everlane’s sleek nylon commuter backpack retails for $68 and is available in three great business-ready colors.Everlane
Breton Fischetti, senior director, commerce:
When I first reviewed Everlane’s backpack I said: It feels very solid, and I like the minimalist design and lack of visible branding. The fabric is thick and durable. The backpack looks and feels high quality. The zippers stay put and don’t feel like they’re going to break when the bag is overstuffed.
The slim design is great for commuting because it isn’t too bulky to carry in a crowd. It also fits more than you would expect for a relatively slim design. I can carry a rolled up yoga mat securely while biking. The mat sticks out of the top, but I don’t have to worry that the zippers are going to fall down. There’s also a padded pouch on the inside that’s great for carrying a laptop safely.
If you take all that and add water resistance, you’re left with an even better version of something that’s already very useful.
Brandt Ranj, associate commerce editor:
I’ve used a commuter backpack from Everlane before, so I knew what to expect as I was testing this water-resistant version. As you’d expect, it’s well crafted, good looking, and spacious. The water-resistant lining doesn’t make the backpack feel much bigger or heavier, but I feel much more comfortable carrying my laptop and other gadgets on rainy days because of it. If you live in a wet climate, I strongly suggest you consider picking one up. There are less expensive options out there, but they won’t minimize the risk of having to replace or repair your electronics because of water damage.