Sometimes, you simply can’t fit all of your EDC kit into your pockets. Sure, you’ve probably got enough room for your knife, keys, flashlight, phone, and wallet, but once you start adding on a laptop, first aid kit, and rain jacket, having an EDC backpack can really help you maximize your effectiveness while out and about.
But what sets an EDC backpack apart from just your everyday run of the mill Jansport? What features should you key in on when looking for an EDC backpack?
Not to worry! We’re going to do a deep dive that’ll answer both of those questions and more! Here is not only a comprehensive buying guide for EDC backpacks, but a list of the 7 best EDC backpacks on the market in 2023.
What is an Everyday Carry Backpack
Simply put, an everyday carry backpack is an extension for your EDC loadout so that you can carry more gear efficiently. They’re incredibly durable to stand up to the grind of being used day in and day out.
The biggest key word about EDC backpacks is that they help you be more efficient. That means that EDC backpacks are also not cumbersome. A good EDC pack isn’t the same thing as a large 60L pack that you’d through your camping gear into for a couple nights in the wilderness. It’s small enough that it won’t inhibit your mobility as you wear it through-out your day while it securely carries the rest of your EDC load out.
What to Look for in an Everyday Carry Backpack
Now that we’ve properly defined what an EDC backpack is, let’s talk a bit about the features you want to be on the lookout for when you decide to start shopping for an EDC backpack. As we mentioned earlier, not all backpacks are created equal!
- Durability -
An EDC backpack must be able to stand up to the rigor of being used day in and day out. Keep an eye out for the material that the pack’s exterior as well as interior is made from. The toughest packs used nylon that is rated between 840D and 1680D ripstop nylon. Keep in mind that the higher the nylon rating, the bulkier and heavier the pack will be.
- Size -
Your EDC pack should be small enough that it’s easy to carry in a multitude of areas, but big enough to fit all of your EDC kit. Sizes are usually measured in liters. A good size for an EDC pack should be somewhere between 14 liters and 26 liters. Any smaller than 14 liters will limit the effectiveness of your pack and anything bigger than 26 liters will make it cumbersome to carry the pack everywhere you need to go.
- Storage -
Interior organization is an important factor to consider. While you can randomly stuff your EDC kit into the main body of the pack, it’ll make finding your gear a nightmare as you’ll likely need to unpack everything to find the piece of gear you need. Individual zippered pockets help to maximize your storage inside of the pack to make finding your gear a breeze, so be on the lookout for interior zippered pockets.
- Warranty -
As we’ve said time and time again, warranty is one of the best ways to tell how confident a company is in their product. While most companies offer some sort of limited warranty, they usually can’t hold a candle next to lifetime warranties. Companies that offer unlimited lifetime warranties typically design some of the most dependable and durable backpacks on the market, so be sure to double check the warranty of offered with the pack you’re interested in purchasing before buying.
7 Best EDC Backpacks in 2023
The Vanquest ADDAX 18 stands apart from most EDC backpacks in one surprising area: its high-vis interior. Blaze orange nylon fabric lines the inside of the backpack to make finding your gear in practically any light a non-factor.
The interior of the pack is divided up into 15 different pockets and slots, making it easier than ever to immaculately organize each piece of your EDC kit. With 18 liters of storage space inside of its water repellant exterior, you can rest assured that your gear is well protected.
One area to keep in mind when considering the Vanquest ADDAX 18 is that it has a limited lifetime warranty. While it does come with a 100-day money back guarantee, Vanquest limits warranty claims to defects with the manufacturing only. Everyday wear and tear isn’t covered by the warranty, so if you end up needing to get your pack repaired, you will likely incur some fees to have Vanquest repair it for you.
2) GoRuck - GR1
For a bigger pack with a beefier warranty, definitely checkout the GoRuck GR1. Coming in two sizes, 21 liters and 26 liters, the GR1 is capable of holding all of your essentials inside of its tough interior. The reinforced padding in the shoulder straps makes carrying practically any load feel like nothing at all, so load it down as much as you like! The extra padding in the shoulder straps is also assisted by a removeable hard plastic frame so that the pack remains rigid to improve stability as you carry it.
The warranty that protects the GR1 is incredibly generous. Covered by the GoRuck Scars Lifetime Warranty, you can send it back to GoRuck for repair for practically any reason. And if GoRuck can’t fix it, they’ll replace your pack free of charge.
The one area that the GR1 lacks in is its interior storage organization. While there are 3 different slots to store your gear in, there aren’t interior pockets to niche down your organization.
If you’re in need of a smaller pack, don’t sleep on the AER City Pack. The 14 liter interior is lined with interior zippered pockets to make organization incredibly easy. And while the shoulder straps aren’t as beefy as the GR1, the contoured back panel of the pack curves to the shape of your back for comfortable all-day carry.
Something that makes the City Pack unique is that it is designed with a specific “smart tracker” pocket. This allows you to insert a small tracker like AirTags, Tile Trackers, or even the Chipolo Tracker. Having a GPS tracker on board will ensure that your backpack is within arm’s reach, no matter what.
But like the Vanquest ADDAX 18, the City pack is only covered with a limited lifetime warranty. While it does cover manufacturing defects, normal wear and tear isn’t covered and can only be used with proof of purchase (aka, you have to hang onto your original receipt).
For those who intend to carry a firearm with them in their EDC kit, the Vertx Gamut 2.0 is the ideal pack for you. Not only does the pack have a concealed area to holster a handgun and an extra magazine, but the top of the pack also comes with a quick draw retention loop that allows you to quickly access your EDC firearm at a moment’s notice. When not used for carrying a EDC firearm, the back panel can easily be used to carry a 16” laptop comfortably.
The 180° front pocket is a great design feature as it makes loading the front slot of the pack a breeze. And when you open it up to access your gear, you’ll find plenty of organizational slots to quickly find the exact piece of gear you need.
One area that the Gamut 2.0 lacks in is its exterior water bottle pocket size. It’s fairly small and only able to accommodate a 16 oz. water bottle. So if you’re looking to carry a larger water bottle like a Nalgene or a Hydroflask, you’ll likely need to store your bottle inside the pack.
If you’re into digital media creation or just want to ensure that each piece of your EDC kit has a slot to rest in, look no further than the Peak Design Everyday Pack. The Everyday Pack is a highly organized machine as the top flap of the pack opens up to reveal several small dividers that meticulously organize the 20 liters of interior storage space.
Carrying the Everyday pack is incredibly comfortable. With vented quick dry mesh lining the back panel and shoulder straps that pivot to match the contour of your back, you can carry the Everyday pack every day and all day without issue.
Another unique feature of the Everyday Pack is that it comes with stowable exterior straps on the exterior of the main body of the pack so you can cinch down a myriad of other items that won’t fit inside of the pack. Whether it’s a rain jacket, blanket, or anything else that’s too big to fit inside the interior of the pack, the Everyday Pack has a way to help you carry your gear where you need it to go.
Mystery Ranch is a well-known brand in the hunting community. They’ve consistently built packs that are capable of packing in all of your hunting gear for a backcountry excursion and capable of packing out your camp plus practically all the meat you can carry from a successful hunt. The bottom line here is that Mystery Ranch knows how to make long lasting packs that are comfortable enough to carry the heaviest of loads.
Their experience in designing packs that make heavy loads feel like nothing at all makes them immensely qualified to offer the Rip Ruck 15 as their go to EDC backpack. With a top open compartment to access the main body of the pack, they’ve made it easier than ever to access each piece of gear inside of your EDC kit. The lid also comes outfitted with a couple of rows of MOLLE to make it easy to add additional storage options to the pack so you can customize it to your liking.
One of the most secure packs on our list is the Alpaka Elements Backpack. The anti-theft lockable zippers allow you to pass a small lock through the eyes of the zippers to ensure that all of your gear stays safe from anyone who’d want to rifle through your pack while you aren’t watching. The interior of the pack is loaded with organizational pockets to help you find a place for each piece of your EDC kit.
The most unique feature of the Elements Backpack is the row of nylon loops that allow you to place Alpaka’s quick detach clips for any small and frequently used pieces of gear that you carry. Simply attach the QD ring to the exterior of the piece of gear you want to be able to pull from your pack and clip it to the QD clip. Feed the gear into the QD clip and your gear is held in place securely until you need to grab it!
Alrighty, we’ve gone over a lot, so let’s recap. EDC backpacks are made from some of the most durable materials on the market to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use. They’re perfectly suited to carry your essentials that help you get through each day, but not too big that carrying it would be cumbersome. Their storage organization is second to none, making finding each and every piece of your EDC kit a non-factor, even in low light scenarios. And they’re backed by a warranty that will repair or replace your pack at no cost to you!
All of these factors lend towards these packs costing a pretty penny. So if you’re looking to upgrade other parts of your EDC kit, be sure to be on the lookout for special discounts and bundles to help you stretch your dollar further. In fact, if you sign up for the Axwell Army Newsletter by clicking here, you’ll be sent a special discount on your first Axwell Wallet purchase!