Backpacks are undoubtedly the ideal type of bag to bring to the office in terms of function and convenience. Unlike tote bags, briefcases, and messenger bags, a backpack keeps both of your hands free, and it’s comfortable to carry when holding a lot of stuff.
As Kim - a blogger and Knackpacker - told us “...as many work at home and in the office now, backpacks make carrying your laptop to and from work safe and easy. Backpacks are also convenient for business travel since they allow you to keep your hands free.”
The major drawback to backpacks for the office is that most backpacks seriously lack a professional look: they have dangling straps, bulky pockets, water bottles hanging off the sides, and loud colors and patterns. Unfortunately, too many backpacks carried to work today make you look like a college student or a hiker. And while sporty backpacks have their place, that place isn’t the office.
So, is it ever ok to bring a backpack to the office?
Definitely, but you want to make sure that any backpack you carry for work looks professional and performs well. There are plenty of office-appropriate backpacks on the market, but few of them have all the pockets needed to keep your work life organized, nor do they have the protection needed to keep your tech safe.
That’s why we designed Knack Packs with a streamlined, professional aesthetic that looks awesome at the office, but with a sleek exterior that gives no indication of the many pockets and compartments on the inside that keep your stuff safe and organized.
Knack Packs also have an expandable suitcase compartment that allows you to pack a few day’s worth of clothes in your work bag. You can take your Knack Pack on a business trip, look professional, and still keep your mobile office separate from your clothes and toiletries (avoiding the very unprofessional “underwear next to your laptop” syndrome).
Here are some of the items you should consider when choosing a professional backpack that you can take to your workplace, including what to look for in terms of aesthetics and function.
Choosing a backpack that looks professional
Colors for a professional backpack
When choosing a backpack color, you need to consider your office culture. Different offices have different levels of what they consider professional - ranging from business casual to suit-and-tie professional.
If you have a business casual workplace, you can bring a backpack with more color, like this blue Knack Pack. But if your workplace is suit-and-tie professional, you should probably opt for blacks, grays, or dark blues, which will go with most clothes and blend in really well to most situations. Unless you want to look like you just came from Econ 101 class, you should almost always avoid loud colors and patterns when choosing a work backpack.
If you work in a highly professional office, you might enjoy the ability to carry your backpack in briefcase mode like in this backpack.
Fabrics for a professional backpack
Some fabrics look more polished than others. For example, nylon and polyester have a very clean look, and if this fabric is treated with stain-and-liquid-resistant coatings, like Knack Packs are, then they’ll stay clean day in and day out. You should definitely avoid fabrics more prone to stains, like canvas or cotton, as choosing such fabrics may force you to prematurely retire your backpack (or spend too much time cleaning it).
Also consider the interior fabric. Does it have an antimicrobial interior lining that will prevent mold, mildew, and bad smells? Smelling bad at the office is probably worse than looking bad, so we treat the interior fabric of all Knack Packs with a mildew, mold and odor-resistant coating.
Pockets on a professional backpack
Too many exterior pockets and other exterior features make a backpack look clunky (or like you just finished summiting El Capitan). And if poorly designed, pockets will make your backpack bulge in all the wrong places. But we’re pocket-lovers, so we designed our classic Series 1 Knack Pack with lots of streamlined exterior pockets, and our Series 2 with a super-sleek exterior and tons of internal pockets.
All Knack Packs have an awesome stealth water bottle pocket. Check it out.
Straps on a professional backpack
Always avoid backpacks with lots of loose and hanging straps. They look unprofessional, but they’re also annoying and can get caught in subway doors, transit turnstiles and your bicycle
Ideally, even the shoulder straps should tuck away so that when you’re flying for a business trip, they don’t dangle into the aisle, flop into your neighbor’s seat, or, if you have to check your backpack, get caught in the baggage claim conveyor belt (that’s why Knack Pack’s shoulder straps tuck away!).
“The weight is evenly distributed whether full or relatively empty. The lines are sleek and professional. The color pops enough to get noticed without being out of place in a work setting. And the clean lines project a sophisticated design that doesn't make you look like a hiker or a high school student. There's not a lot of "stuff" dangling and hanging which helps maintain that polished look and feel. But make no mistake - that does NOT mean this bag lacks space. I carry two laptops, a full-size tablet, noise-canceling headphones, a pouch for chargers and cords, battery pack, pens and pencils, eyeglasses and sunglasses, some books and files, water/coffee bottle, change of clothes - and more.” - Michael D.
Other things to consider when choosing a professional backpack for work
Make sure that it can hold and protect your tech
Many of us travel to and from work with our laptops and a whole bunch of other incredibly important tech, so it’s crucial that your work backpack can take care of these MVP’s.
First of all, the backpack should have a padded, dedicated laptop pocket. Knack Packs have an independent, side-access, padded laptop pocket that keeps your laptop secure while still being easy to access. In contrast to a laptop pocket that’s located in the main compartment of a backpack, a side-access laptop pocket makes it much easier to grab your laptop at a moment’s notice (or to pull out in the TSA line) without having to dig through your entire backpack.
Other tech storage that we added to Knack Packs includes a fleece-lined pocket for your tablet, mesh pockets for storing smaller electronic items like batteries and headphones, and a cable garage (in the Series 1) where you can keep your cables and chargers tangle-free and easy to access. Speaking from experience, it’s awesome to not have to frantically untangle your computer charger when it’s on 3% battery.
Consider your commute
Do you bike to work? Do you walk? Do you drive? In almost all cases, you want your backpack to be comfortable to carry, and also strong enough to carry a heavy load.
Knack Packs have padded shoulder straps and a comfort-cool back panel that helps you comfortably shoulder all the weight, even when you’ve packed the suitcase compartment with 4 days worth of clothes. The interior pockets of a Knack Pack keeps all your stuff in place and in an ideal weight distribution. And, all Knack Packs are thoroughly tested at the factory with 40 pound loads to ensure quality and durability.
If you bike or walk to work, you should make sure that your backpack is water-resistant. Knack Packs have water-resistant fabric and a reverse-coil zipper that keeps your things dry, even in heavy downpours.
Beyond the office
Can your backpack do more than just go to the office? When you have plans to meet friends after work, or when you have a laundry list of errands to run, having a backpack that you’re comfortable with and fits your lifestyle ensures that you won’t have to stop at home and change bags between activities.
Similarly, can you use your backpack for travel? With Knack Pack’s expandable suitcase compartment, you can pack a few days worth of clothes, remove them when you get to your destination, and then zip up your back for a slim work-and-adventure-ready backpack.
“The excellent build quality of the backpack also makes it extremely durable and great for travel, while the sleek design makes it equally well suited for the office” - Evatte S.
Not only does a well-designed, professional backpack leave a great impression with your coworkers and clients, but it will make your life easier. With lots of features that keep you comfortable and your stuff safe and organized, Knack Packs make carrying all of your stuff around with you a joy, rather than a burden.
Do you bring your backpack to the office? Let us know in the comments.