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The Features of a Good Modern Backpack

by Melanie Peterson

Backpacks are essential pieces of everyday utility kit. Whether you are out on a run, heading to sports practice or making your way to lectures, you’ll be needing your trusty backpack. Here are the features to look for when purchasing a new pack. 


A good backpack should be completely waterproof. Almost all decent modern backpacks feature waterproofing elements such as Gore-Tex fabric, thick nylon or rubber interior layers. 

Technology Compatibility

Technology is an inescapable part of almost every modern person’s life. A good backpack will be compatible with your technology. Good everyday backpacks usually feature protected laptop sleeves and easy to access phone pockets. Some also contain charging points for phones and tablets. It might be worth measuring your laptop before buying a backpack. The more snugly your laptop fits into the sleeve, the safer it will be. 

Easy Access Pockets 

Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to easily reach your phone, medicine or water bottle. Good modern backpacks regularly feature easy access pockets. Water bottle pockets on the side of the pack are also now considered to be standard features. These usually feature elasticated lips that keep a water bottle secure whilst also being easy to grab on the go. 

Tough Construction

Backpacks take an awful lot of punishment. A good backpack is constructed with longevity in mind. Tough canvas fabrics, double or triple stitching and good factory quality control will ensure that a pack lasts for several years even when treated like dirt. Nobody wants to coddle their everyday backpack like it was a piece of high fashion. Go for tough, not pretty when choosing a practical backpack. Established sporting or adventure clothing manufacturers typically make tough packs. You can’t go wrong with Under Armour backpacks or similarly practical options. The toughest backpacks are made of ballistic nylon. This material was developed during the Vietnam War for use in anti-fragmentation jackets worn by American soldiers. Although the military moved on to materials like Kevlar and adopted plate carriers soon afterwards, ballistic nylon is just about the toughest readily available fabric on the commercial market. It can be rather expensive, but it is worth the price if you want a truly resilient backpack. 

Sweat Minimizing Design

Backpacks are great, but active people often shun them due to the huge amounts of sweat they can cause when worn. Bad backpacks have rather monolithic areas of contact between the back and the backpack. This causes a huge amount of sweat to be produced – even during the most relaxed of activities. Decent backpacks designed for active living have designs that slightly separate the back from the pack using a layer of taut netting. Never purchase a hiking or running backpack without this design feature. Recently some manufacturers have begun to incorporate small fans into their designs. These might work, but they add weight to your pack and are a little bit gimmicky. The best option for active people is still a backpack that has some kind of spacer between the pack and the back. 

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