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Synthetic Fabric Backpacks – Five Plus One

Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.


Here at Heddels we are big proponents of natural materials; leather, waxed canvas, and linen just age and develop character better than synthetics. But that isn’t everything. Synthetic materials have their own benefits, longevity and water resistance, and lend themselves to styles that just can’t be achieved with natural fibers.

One of the most effective uses of synthetics is on luggage and carry goods, when high tensile strength and abrasion resistance are most put to the test. Below we have five options for manmade fiber backpacks, plus one more that’s a little bit outside the norm.

1) Fjallraven: Räven 28

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Fjallraven is known for their simple, techwear-y designs, and their Räven 28 backpack certainly fits the bill. It’s not the largest backpack on the market, but it has enough room for your laptop, water bottle, and other essential gear. It’s constructed from a poly/cotton blend, making it a perfect choice for those of you who don’t want a fully synthetic pack.

Available for $110 from Fjallraven.

2) Nanamica: Cycling Pack

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Nanamica is a Japanese brand known for their incredible attention to detail, and their Cycling Pack does nothing but live up to these expectations. It’s made from Cordura polyester fabric and is accented with nickel hardware, black leather straps, and a cotton inner lining. The primary compartment features a simplistic snap closure, which makes it far more practical for those of us looking for an easy to access bag.

Available for $346 from Unionmade Goods.

3) N. Hollywood: City Dwellers Backpack

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N. Hollywood is quickly becoming a popular brand in the US, and Blue Owl is always bringing in their best products. The City Dweller Backpack has just about all the bells and whistles you could hope for: ripstop nylon fabric, custom hardware, a laptop compartment, a hidden back compartment, two coats of water resistant polyurethane, and a lifetime warranty (provided by Mountain Hardware). The design might not be for everyone (although it’s definitely for me), but if it is your style there is no reason to not go with this pack.

Available for $285 from Blue Owl.

4) Timbuk2: Spire

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Timbuk2 might be a household name these days, but there’s good reason for that — they produce high quality bags in a ton of different styles, and their prices don’t break the bank. The Spire is one great option. It features a flap topped opening with a hooked closure, and it’s entirely made from a waterproof coated fabric. As for storage, it has room for a laptop as well as all your odds and ends in its various organizer pockets.

Available for $99 from East Dane.

5) WTAPS: Reconnaissance Pack

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WTAPS Reconnaissance Pack is a great option for those of you that like military inspired pieces. It’s constructed from a drab fabric is a traditional olive color, and the combination drawstring/flap closure will surely keep your possessions safe and dry. It features one main compartment as well as several smaller pockets and dividers. Each bag is made in Japan from a resistant nylon fabric.

Available for $279 from Need Supply.

Plus One – Cote & Ciel: Isar Backpack

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Cote & Ciel produce some of the most uniquely designed bags on the market, and the Isar Backpack is a fan favorite. It’s sea shell-esque design is certainly eye catching (although a bit divisive), and the Black Melange fabric pairs with the design very well. Its shape allows the main compartment to be opened fully, a simple feature that many bag makers seem to overlook. It’s made from a resistant ballistic fabric, ensuring that the bag (and all of its contents) will be with you for years to come.

Available for $285 from East Dane.