As most people already know, the EDC in EDC backpack stands for everyday carry, which gives consumers a good idea of how these packs are intended to be used. They’re designed to be easier to carry than conventional backpacks and to keep all of the user’s essentials within their reach. And they do their job very well. That’s why consumers should seriously consider owning one of the packs, regardless of whether they need it for carrying electronic equipment or for some other purpose. Below we’ve not only reviewed some of the best EDC backpacks available, but we’ve also listed a guide on buying and using these useful bags.
Quick Summary of the Best EDC Backpacks
- Best Overall: 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Military EDC Backpack (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended: SOG Urban Tactical Day Pack (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider: Carhartt Legacy Classic Brown Backpack (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Military EDC Backpack
One of the best EDC backpacks we’ve seen is this one. This product is a tactical backpack that doesn’t have a tactical backpack feel to it. What we mean is that this pack is not only suitable for use as a bug out bag, but it’s useful for all kinds of other purposes. Students will love to pack it with all of their school supplies and gamers will love loading up their game system and all of their controllers in it. It’s truly an everyday carry pack that’s suitable for taking just about anywhere. And although it holds quite a bit of stuff, it’s not oversized like other backpacks.
This backpack has a main compartment of 18x11x6.5-inches and it has a front pocket that’s 12x9x1.75-inches. It also features a 17×11 hydration pocket as well. This gives this backpack a total capacity of 1,476 cubic inches. That’s enough space for a whole lot of stuff. Inside of this backpack is sixteen individual compartments that can be used to carry an assortment of items that might be needed. What’s impressive about this backpack is how it’s made. This model is made out of 1050D nylon and is equipped with YKK zippers—zippers that are widely considered to be the best garment zippers in the world.
Now that we all know that these bags are spacious and that they’re designed to last year after year, it’s time to turn our attention to how easy this pack is to carry. These packs are equipped with two external compression straps, an adjustable height sternum strap, and a yoke shoulder strap.
These features allow this backpack to sit comfortably on the wearer’s frame, without placing undue burdens on the back or pushing the wearer’s shoulders back. And since this backpack is made to be water-resistant, the wearer can carry it through just about any weather conditions.
Also Recommended: SOG Urban Tactical Day Pack
Consumers who are looking for a mid-size EDC backpack that’s durable and economical as well are probably going to want to examine this pack a little bit closer. It’s an urban tactical pack that’s made out of polyester and has a size of 22×12.7×7-inches. It also has an integrated 39.1-liter capacity to it, although we did find it to be quite curious that there wasn’t a pouch for carrying a water bottle on it. Even though it didn’t have a water bottle pocket, we did find that it had a few other pockets that were quite useful. It had 2 zippered accessory pockets, a stash pocket, and a large main compartment.
We also liked the fact that this backpack had a padded back and had wide shoulder straps. It also had an adjustable sternum slider, too, so it was easy to carry from one place to another. Another thing that we found interesting about this backpack was that it was equipped with MOLLE webbing. What’s MOLLE webbing? MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment that can be used for attaching a variety of items within the user’s reach. This pack was also equipped with tubing ports that give the user quick access to the bladder hydration pocket.
What we didn’t like about this backpack was that it wasn’t water-resistant. While the manufacturer does state that it’s water-repellent, that’s not the same thing as being water-resistant. Therefore, consumers who buy this pack are probably going to want to use a backpack cover with it. Fortunately, this is just a slight defect and derail our opinion of this backpack.
We still think that it’s a budget-friendly backpack that gives the urban user plenty of packing options when they’re out on the town. We also think that for a backpack in the under $50 range that it’s an exceptionally durable backpack that should last the user for quite some time to come.
Also Consider: Carhartt Legacy Classic Brown Backpack
Consumers who are looking for an EDC backpack that’s a little less tactical and has more of an urban-wear feel may want to put this backpack through its paces. This 11.5x18x8-inch backpack only weighs 1.3-pounds when empty, and it has a classic brown look to it that works well for school or the office.
It’s a backpack that’s made of 1200D polyester that’s been treated so that it’s water repellent and is resistant to abrasions. It’s also equipped with contour-fit should straps that make it easy to carry and a padded air-mesh back panel. It’s also equipped with high-quality zippers that are designed to be durable and to hold up to daily use.
If there was one thing that we didn’t like about this backpack, it’s the fact that it doesn’t have a whole lot of space available. Sure, it’s equipped with 2 zipper pockets, a large main compartment, a padded laptop pocket, and a tablet sleeve, but it’s still not as big as some people will need it to be. Some people will be able to cram all of their stuff into it for heading to the office or across a university campus, but some people are going to wish that it was a little bit larger. We didn’t feel that it was too big of a deal because it’s still a nice mid-size pack, but consumers who are interested in it might want to make sure it’s big enough for their needs.
What other features can be found on this backpack? Well, if you think that what we’ve covered so far is all there is to these backpacks, then you’re in for a surprise because these packs have quite a few other key features worth mentioning. For instance, they’re equipped with YKK zippers; zippers that are designed to be durable and to be easy to fix if they become misthreaded.
This backpack is also triple-stitched and equipped with metal hardware, so you can rest assured that it’s durable. Probably the best thing about this backpack, however, is that it’s designed to be very friendly to a person’s budget. These EDC backpacks are so inexpensive, even broke college students can afford to buy one.
A Guide To Finding The Best EDC Backpack
Now that we’ve gone over some of the models that we feel are the best, we thought that we’d give all of our readers the criteria by which we judged the above bags. Our readers who want to make sure that they’re buying the best everyday carry backpacks are probably going to want to consider giving the following features some thought.
Step One: Consider The Size Of The Backpack
Although there is no standard size EDC backpack that will serve the needs of everyone, most consumers probably have a pretty good idea of how large of a pack they need. And that’s probably the best place to start when choosing one of these backpacks. A good basic backpack for urban use is probably going to need to be able to carry the following items:
- Cell phone and/or smartwatch
- Pens and pencils
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses and keys
- Wallet, coin purse and/or identification
If the consumer also needs to use the EDC backpack in a survival situation or as a bug out bag, then they’re probably going to want to pack some or all of the following components as well.
- Lighter and/or fire starter
- portable first aid kit
And if the person using the EDC backpack is a student, a gamer or someone who needs to carry electronics, then they will probably need some or all of the following components:
- Laptop and/or tablet
- Cables and/or adapters
So what size EDC backpack is capable of fitting any or all of these components? Well, it does depend on how the backpack is set up, but as a general rule, the consumer should look for backpacks that are in the 20 to 30-liter capacity range. We feel that size will give the user the space they need for their stuff, all without the pack becoming overly bulky or hard to carry.
Step Two: Choose A Water-Resistant Backpack
The next thing the consumer is going to want to think about is whether it’s water-resistant or not. And sometimes this can be tricky. That’s because there’s a difference between being water repellant and water-resistant. Water repellent means that water the backpack resists water, but water is still capable of soaking it through. Water-resistant models are less likely to resist water, but they aren’t completely waterproof. Therefore, if the consumer is worried about whether their backpack is going to keep out water, they are going to want to choose a water-resistant one and equip it with a backpack cover.
Step Three: Look For Comfortable Backpacks
Now, we’re going to turn our attention to the features that help make the backpack more comfortable to use. Although most backpacks don’t have all of the following comfort features, the best EDC backpacks have enough of them that they are comfortable to wear for long periods. Let’s take a closer look at each of these to see how they contribute to the user’s comfort levels.
Adjustable Shoulder, Chest & Sternum Straps
These straps are designed to keep the backpack close to the wearer’s body and help to distribute the load of what they’re carrying across the user’s frame. A good EDC backpack will have adjustable shoulder and/or chest straps that allow the consumer to adjust the bag in such a way that it properly distributes the load across their body. Some of them even have sternum straps that help out as well. This prevents the bag from pulling the wearer’s shoulder back or causing them to have to strain their lower back to carry the load. It’s also a good idea if these straps are padded for additional comfort.
The best EDC backpacks also feature mesh in their design. This helps air to circulate easily and it prevents the bag from making the wearer’s back sweaty. If air is allowed to circulate around the wearer’s back, then the sweat will be able to evaporate and helps to keep the wearer’s skin at a constant temperature. Good airflow around the bag also improves the carrying capacity of the bag, so the consumer should keep that in mind when they’re choosing a new everyday carry bag.
Step Four: Additional Features To Consider
None of our readers need to worry because we’re almost done giving them advice on buying the best everyday carry backpack available. We just have a few more features to mention, then all of our readers can go back to choosing the best bag for their needs. When choosing a bag, the consumer might want to think about some of the following features to ensure they get a bag that’s suitable for their needs.
- Decide on either an ALICE or MOLLE design.
- Consider the number of pockets available.
- YKK zippers are the best backpack zippers available.
- Consider whether it has a pocket for water bottles.
- Check to see if it has a padded laptop pocket.