The best bags and backpacks released in 2021


This story is part of our year-end This Year in Gear series, bringing together the most notable releases of 2021.


Bags, even more than most clothing, have a function: to store, protect and transport our EDC (and more). As such, they must really work, which means they can’t falter at the first sign of extra weight or melt away whenever the warm weather turns sour. All of the bags below focus on function above all else, but the balance remains. TLDR: These look good, but the job is done. (Which is why these are the best bags of the year.)

Billykirk case n ° 237

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Billykirk’s # 237 Briefcase has been recently redesigned to be taller, with leather handles and brass feet to stand on its own. In the end, those adjustments turned a bag we already loved into a bag we really have, really to like.

Price: $ 725

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Sealand Core Pronto Water Repellent Crossbody Bag

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This Sealand shoulder bag is large enough to carry your EDC, like a phone, wallet, and a few keys, as well as AirPods and a vaccination card. The bag is also water repellent, which means your valuables won’t get wet.

Price: $ 45

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Pleasures x Eastpak padded backpack

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Pleasures channels the angst of adolescence for this backpack in collaboration with Eastpak, which comes in a dozen patches, illustrations and other add-ons.

Price: $ 90

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Joshu + Vela Palermo tote

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San Francisco Joshuvela’s new tote bag, the Palermo, is made from 24-ounce cotton canvas with a 10-ounce cotton canvas liner. There are six pockets inside and all trim is in vegetable tanned Italian leather. It is luxury while keeping an air of simplicity.

Price: $ 298

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State Lorimer belt bag

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State’s Simple Fanny Pack is one of my favorites because it’s simple. So many bags are loaded with unnecessary pockets, brands, mesh buckets and straps that they become cumbersome to carry. This iteration has two zippered pockets for secure storage, but nothing more.

Price: $ 85

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Craighill Arris handbag

craighill arris handbag

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Featuring a nylon bag and rubberized mesh straps, the Craighill Arris Tote is an easy all-rounder for grocery shopping, going to the park or possibly the beach.

Price: $ 175

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Public School New York x Montblanc sports bag

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Montblanc and Public School New York – from Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow (the designer behind Tom Brady’s upcoming clothing line, BRADY) – dropped off a collection of bags and luggage this week. The entire line is made from ECONYL, a durable fabric sewn from waste materials. There are leather accents and luxe features, but it’s mostly eco-friendly.

Price: $ 1,555

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Garbstore x Porter Bag Hour Bag

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The fanny pack is not for you? Tote bag too? The Collaborative Sacoche Hour Bag from Garbstore and Porter blends the best of both, making this a backpack that has enough room for the things you usually put in your pocket, but not much more. Impossible to weigh down, easy to wear.

Price: $ 250

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Herschel x Birdwell Alexander Tote

Herschel tote

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I’ve preached about the versatility of the Herschel Alexander Tote Insulated Bag before. I even called it the best beach bag you can buy. Now it’s even better. This updated version is made from Surfnyl, Birdwell’s exclusive nylon fabric (which they use for their boardshorts). It also includes a luggage cart strap, utility handles, interior zip pocket and classic camo liner.

Price: $ 100

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Rimowa Essential cabin suitcase

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What better way to welcome a return to routine travel than with upgraded carry-on? Rimowa’s new online-only Essential option is available in a new translucent shade, Lime Yellow. It’s a bold green with black accents, TSA approved locks, flexible dividers, and a telescoping handle.

Price: $ 820

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King Kennedy Rugs Tote Bag

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Made in Los Angeles from vintage Turkish rugs, these tote bags are quite unique. Each features a leather bottom, 7-ounce canvas backing (lined with a nylon interior), and folded vegetable-tanned leather handles. There is also an interior 9 inch pocket to store your valuables.

Price: $ 525

Troubadour x Sunspel tote

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This tote is the perfect size for everyday city trips. It’s made of waterproof canvas and features leather handles, a padded laptop pocket and elasticated sections for small items in place.

Price: $ 325

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