Spring Update: The Best Backpacks


bomber | jeans | sneaks | backpack

If you follow me on IG (@shanachristine), you’ve already seen this rainbow nonsense cruising down the street.


I suspect that it’s the closest thing this girl will ever get to an ‘it’ bag.  I find that half the time I just stuff my pockets full, and the other half I use a backpack.

You know what we say, here at TME headquarters:  Once you go backpack, you’ll never go back!

Just kidding. Nobody actually says that.

Even if it’s true.

Our love of backpacks does run really deep on the TME team (like really, really deep), so we decided to round up the best backpacks for Spring and Summer, as well as best backpacks for travel.  But before we get down to business, a few notes:

  1. We are entering the Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack into the TME Hall of Fame.  Each one of us has this bag in some color, and it is, without a doubt, the best backpack we’ve had the pleasure of wearing.  It’s comfortable, lightweight, yet looks amazing on your back whether empty or stuffed.  I get countless reader emails that all say the same thing:  “I LOVE my Julian backpack so much I can’t find another as good.  Any other options?”  Nope.  Not really.  Although I did give it the ‘ol collage try below.
  2. Many of the links below take you to a new retailer we’ve never featured before, Shop Spring.  I met with these guys last weekend, and they’re totally legit.  It’s basically one-cart shopping for a bunch of our favorite retailers, in an online space that’s fun to browse.  I especially like that they have a good selection of smaller brands I had never heard of before (prepare to be blown away by Cote&Ciel, for example).  I’m obsessed.

Long live hands-free!

The Best Backpacks of Spring and Summer

Classic Beauties

Backpacks for Work, Travel, or Working Out

Gimme Gimme Some Shimmy and Shake


Did we miss any of your backpack favs?  Spill!




  1. We live in Lake Tahoe, Southern California and Costa Rica throughout the year. I wanted/needed a backpack that said hip | hipster | hippie and settled on the Fjallraven Kanken bag. So far I love it!

  2. I have a Fawn Diaper Bag (my babies are not in diapers anymore). I love this thing! I think it is classic and I can carry my work, my kids stuff, or use as a carry on. Very well made and worth every penny.

  3. Lotuff Leather sling backpack. Converts from backpack to tote and is made in Rhode Island. Full grain, vegetable dyed leather that ages beautifully.

  4. If you travel with a laptop (for work or fun), I highly recommend the Tumi Calais backpack (especially if you can find it on clearance). So much room and a wonderfully padded laptop pocket. I’ve used it for trips with kids and a business trip to Australia. Love it.

  5. I need to give a shout out to the Swedish brand Sandqvist (for example Stig or Hasselblad) as well as (surprisingly) the Ikea Family 9 gallon Förenkla backpack (Only the 9 gallon, not the others). Perfect as a daypack/diaper bag when you’ve got 2 kids in diapers. Love it when traveling or out all day long. The photo does absolutely not do it justice. Double roll the top and it’s unisex, cool, and durable.

  6. I kind of want a medium Julian but am afraid it will end up being too small and I’ll get frustrated and just stop carrying it. And it seems like in summer I am carrying *more* things not fewer, so Shanna, I am curious why you like the medium better for summer.

    • I have the unlimited membership of rent the runway (fun for rotating new clothes and work items). I got the medium bag to rent through it as I’ve been lusting after it. Unfortunately it was too small for me. It was lovely but I in the end need more room. I’m glad I just rented it vs buying it. Still want to try the big size.

      • I got the medium Julian after seeing it here and love it. I don’t find it’s too small for me at all, but I don’t need to carry much more than a wallet, phone, keys, and random small stuff. I adore the magnetic outside pocket… it’s one of the reasons I chose it. You could purchase the Medium and try it out at home and then return it if it doesn’t work… I tried a different one from Nordstrom and returned it (different brand) after trying it in favor of the Julian and am so happy about it.

        • Thanks! I usually am carrying around a water bottle, snacks and a mini first aid kit so I think I need more room.

          • I looked at both and chose the medium. I carry a wallet, phone, rx eyeglasses (big harden case), sunnies (small hard case), a little pouch with misc items and have room to spare. And damn if they’re not right that once you go backpack..,

    • Yes! I have a Target bag that looks like the older style Julian with fringe. I walked into a boutique the other day and the sales associate thought it was a Rebecca Minkoff, its that close. I think mine cost around $40 and it’s held up nicely for a few years now. Keep your eye out at Target!

  7. Love your blog, I have already purchased so many items, including the bomber and the RM Julian (in 2 colors). Oh and did I mention how many complements I get on the taupe Lucky Bashina boots?! I’m traveling to London in June for a work trip, but will be doing a weekend of sightseeing. I hardly ever buy purses, because I have twins and usually need both hands free. Do you think that Julian will work or should I be nervous about pickpockets? I thought you had done a post with cross body bags, but I can’t find it.

    • I rhink as long as you clip the center section and don’t keep anything valuable in the side pockets it should be fine.

    • Yes, I’d like some cross body bag recommendations too, especially lightweight ones that could double as a diaper bag.

  8. You missed the MZ Wallace Metro backpack regular and mini. By far the most comfortable backpack I have ever had and cute too.

    • I was going to mention MZ Wallace too! I just got an email from them featuring the Metro backpack and it’s on my wish list. Simple yet cool looking and made of nylon so it’s easy to clean. Reviewers say it’s lightweight which is a must for me given all the random yet surprisingly heavy kid stuff I carry around.

      Love all the other suggestions and going to have to check them out.

  9. Me, my sister and my mom all have some version of a Travelon backpack. I love the nylon fabric in olive or black, but my sister’s is cream, mom’s is gray. RFID protection, some have interlocking zippers, plus other anti-theft features. They’re no Julian! But they are cute and super functional.

  10. Everlane! Their Petra backpack is a perfect medium size made from buttery soft leather with a minimalist vibe. I have it in black and it works as well for work as it does for the zoo. There’s a convenient interior pocket for phone and it’s roomy but not so huge that I lose my keys.

  11. Awesome post! HELP though, Of these, which one would you recommend as a diaper bag? Or is there another bag you think might work. Busy mom w two boys 5 under and a little lady coming in a few weeks! Thanks! XO

    • Fawn Design!! These bags are made to act as diaper bags, but they’re chic enough to wear all the time like any of these packs!

      Durable, functional, and fabulous. YAS!

  12. I love my lesportsac voyager backpack in black. It’s sleek and the design works for both males and females so both me and my husband can carry it. Lesportsac fabric is so durable and lightweight and the bag is depceptively huge. I can fit my ergo baby carrier, our diapering stuff, extra baby clothes, 3 water bottles, baby blanket, and snacks for me and my 3 kids.


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