We've all seen people wearing backpacks around town, and sometimes thought they didn't quite feel or look the part.

After all, isn't a backpack meant for the hills and mountains?

But many people are coming around to using backpacks in day to day life, including business life.

The main benefits of a backpack are comfort and convenience, but the modern backpack now has the benefit of being sleek and stylish too.

Read on for our full backpack guide.

Liberty Women's Leather Backpack worn by brunette woman in street

Is a Backpack Suitable for Work or Is It Unprofessional?

Backpacks can be worn to work whilst still looking professional, providing that they look like they're designed for work. The best option is to choose a leather backpack, as it avoids the "slouchy" appearance of fabric or nylon backpacks.

There is also a strong association with leather and professionalism, due to the common use of leather briefcases.

Can I wear a backpack to an interview?

If you have the option, then I'd recommend against wearing a backpack to an interview, as you want to be portraying your best possible appearance, and so you don't want to leave anything to chance. Opt for a briefcase or laptop bag instead.

Can adults wear backpacks?

Adult backpacks are perfectly fine, as long as they look modern and professional. They are very useful for running errands around town, commuting to work, or carrying your kid's extra belongings. Avoid slouchy looking backpacks, or bags that look tatty, and opt for a leather backpack instead. A leather briefcase backpack is a great choice when you want to remain professional, and they can often carry a laptop too.

Related post: Best Professional Bags for Lawyers

Can you wear a backpack with a suit, or will it damage your clothing?

It's recommended not to wear a backpack with a suit, as it can damage the padded shoulders and wrinkle the back part of the jacket, causing the suit to lose shape. The straps of the backpack will likely wear down other types of clothing a little over time due to friction from the straps, but that's something you can monitor.

Benefits of Wearing a Backpack to Work

Backpacks keeps both of your hands free, allowing you to carry an umbrella, card, and other items. You can use your phone, eat a sandwich, or sip your coffee. All of these get a bit more awkward if you are carrying a briefcase in one hand already.

It can also be better for your back, as you are carrying the extra weight more centrally, rather than being off-balance with a case in one hand.

Backpacks also usually have space for you to carry a laptop with you, which is excellent for the flexible worker, especially with the increased choice of remote working during the pandemic.

Related post: Best Leather Backpack Brands

Best Work Backpacks

Here we go over our top picks for work backpacks that keep things professional:

Best Women's Backpack - Prime Leather Backpack

Prime Women's Leather Backpack from Von Baer

Good qualities of the Prime bag include:

  • Professional - It has a minimalist yet structured design.
  • Quality - it's made from full grain leather.
  • Large - it has multiple pockets and compartments to store everything you need on the go.
  • Laptop compartment - it has a sleeve to carry up to a 14" laptop.
  • Colours - available in Tan or Black.

You can browse the Prime leather backpack here.

Best Men's Backpack - 10X Leather Travel Bag

10X Leather Laptop Travel Bag

Good qualities of the 10X bag include:

  • Adaptable - can be converted between a backpack, messenger bag, and briefcase.
  • Quality - it's made from full grain Italian leather.
  • Spacious - it has a large compartment, that offers plenty of space for all of your essentials.
  • Laptop Sleeve - the 10X has a laptop compartment for up to a 15.6" laptop.
  • Colours - it's available in Black, Brown, Tan, and Red leather.

You can browse the 10X Bag here

Best Commuter Backpack - Liberty Leather Backpack

women wearing liberty leather backpack while commuting to work

 There are many qualities of the Liberty backpack that make it great for commuting, including:

  • Multiple pockets - while commuting, you will want to keep some items secure, and some readily accessible, and the Liberty features one outside zip pocket, one sleeve pocket, and one central zipped pocket, to offer you this flexibility.
  • Quality - the full grain leather bag will be able to withstand everything your commute throws at you.
  • Laptop space - the laptop compartment can handle up to a 14" laptop.

You can browse the Liberty leather backpack here.

Best Small Backpack - Bella Leather Backpack

women carrying bella leather backpack on the way to work

The qualities of the Bella backpack are:

  • Small design - this is a very small backpack, designed to be minimalist, and stops you looking like you're carrying around your entire life on your back.
  • Cute - it's a really cute backpack, ideal for casual days or when you're traveling light.
  • Quality materials - it's made from high quality full grain leather.
  • Colours - available in black or brown.

You can browse the Bella leather backpack here.

Best Backpack for College/School - Minerva Hybrid Backpack

women carrying minerva leather backpack by the sea

The Minerva bag has many good qualities:

  • Hybrid backpack - this bag can be converted into both a backpack and a shoulder bag, making it excellent for college, when you might only want one bag to serve many different uses.
  • Space for a tablet - there's enough spac for up to a 10" tablet, ideal for when you're taking notes in class.
  • Quality leather - this is made from full grain Italian leather, the best of the best.

Browse the Minerva leather backpack here.

Related post: Cute Leather Backpacks for Travel/School

Best Alternatives to a Work Backpack

If you don't want to carry a backpack, but you still want the convenience of a work bag, then here are the best alternatives:

Laptop Bag

 A classic alternative to a work backpack is to choose a laptop bag, particularly if you need to carry your tech along with you.

A laptop bag needs to be sleek enough to look professional, but still have enough padding and size to handle carrying your laptop.

If you need some inspiration, browse our Men's range or our Women's range.

Messenger Bag

 A messenger bag is typically a bag with a shoulder strap, allowing you to carry it with your hands free, but looking much more professional than a backpack.

You can shop our men's messenger bags here, or our women's shoulder bags here.

One of our favorite messenger bags is the Essential Modern Briefcase, pictured below:

essential modern leather briefcase in brown


 A leather briefcase is about as professional as you can get for a work bag. They are ideal in business settings, and have been used for generations by commuters and busy professionals.

For inspiration, why not checkout our Men's Briefcases here, or Women's Briefcases here.

You could also consider a laptop briefcase as a good alternative.

Related post: Best Modern Briefcases

Duffel Bag

 A leather duffel bag is usually designed to carry a lot of things with you at once. They are typically held using two handles that wrap over the top of the bag, which is usually longer than a traditional bag. They make excellent travel bags as well, making them multi-use.

Our favorite is the Weekender bag, which is available in 2 different colours.

Carry-on Luggage

 If you do a lot of flying as part of your job, then choosing a carry-on bag makes a lot of sense. You want to look for one that has wheels, to save yourself from carrying it around in the Airport and beforehand.

We like the Voyager leather carry-on bag, as it has a built in laptop compartment for up to a 16" laptop, and it's made from premium full grain leather.

Is Carrying a Backpack Suspicious?

For most people it will not be suspicious to carry a backpack. If you're carrying a very large bag into a department store, then employees or security may keep an eye on you just in case, but as long as you aren't doing anything wrong, you should be fine.

Related post: What is Leather Tanning?

Can a store make you take off your backpack?

A store in the USA is considered private property, so they can se the rules of whether they allow people with backpacks to enter or not. If they have a policy of leaving it at the front desk (due to shop lifting) then they should be accepting liability for the contents of it. The best policy would be for the store to provide secure lockers for you to place your bags into. This is not legal advice, and it may be different by state or country.


The space and flexibility of the backpack mean you can accomplish many tasks in the day with just one bag. And if you make use of a Von Baer leather backpack, you have something which can carry some shopping, as well as being suitable for business meetings. This makes a leather backpack an ideal choice for a short business trip.

Backpacks give the wearer more freedom of movement, and also more freedom in what they carry. Being able to combine all these benefits with the beautiful leather construction is really the icing on the cake.

Read next: Types of Bags for Men

Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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