Top 10 Back to School Packs

With the start of the school year right around the corner, the excitement and anticipation of new challenges and experiences are growing. Whether you're a student preparing for another year or a parent getting your child ready for their first year, finding a perfect backpack is a necessary step of the process. We are going to take a look at 10 of our favorite packs that are purpose built to help you conquer the school year. 

With traditional styling, leather back straps, and premium features the Mesabi Range Daypack makes a phenomenal every day pack for trekking around campus. Coming in both a standard and a premium version, the Mesabi has a full width sleeve on the interior perfect for a laptop with organization pockets on the front of the sleeve. There are 3 slip pockets on the exterior of the pack as well as cinch-able paracord on the front. The premium version comes with additional leather detailing and a zippered pocket on the front of the flap.

We build them in two sizes from trusty waxed canvas at our shop in Duluth. One has a 5in gusset and is a classic daypack size, the 7in is deeper, perfect for boxy or bulky items. All have a sleeve at the back for storing flat stuff, you get the choice to have it padded or not. The zippers go all the way down allowing the pack to open wide. Interior pockets provide organization and 2 exterior zippered pockets are great for storing small items and other essentials.

Offered in 2 versions, the Standard Knapsack and the Mini Knapsack, the generous top-flap buckles over the Knapsack's ample opening; cord-lock and drawstring cinch out spindrift and alpine blasts. Comfortably wide cotton web shoulder straps plus a large grab loop complete the pared-down elegance of the Frost River Knapsack. A classic daypack, simple, functional, and effective.

A full-sized laptop slips neatly into the main compartment. The outside zippered compartment offers dividers, and the inside zip pocket is ready to protect electronics, kindling, or whatever treasures you need to keep high and dry. Wide web shoulder straps and a grab handle remain at the back. The design is modern, but the materials remain unchanged -- tough canvas, robust leather, and solid brass. The premium version adds on leather styling as well as a zippered slip pocket on the front panel.

The simple adaptability of the Arrowhead Rolltop makes carrying a small bundle, or a large load, a breeze. If you’re only carrying a little bit, roll the 18 oz. waxed canvas top all the way down and cinch the leather straps to the bag. Need more space? Unroll the top. There’s a loop for a blinking bike light, along with lash squares to tie stuff on… it’s a waxed canvas commuter pack that’s made in Duluth and really hauls! Available in 2 sizes (13in and 15in) and 2 pocket layouts, the Trail version has slip pockets while the 

ECO version has our 2-in-1 snap pockets.

Our Itasca Outset Daypack opens wide to allow access to all your contents. With a deep six-inch gusset the Itasca Outset doesn't skimp on access or capacity. The robust zip closure is strong, secure, and reaches down low on the sides of the bag. Zip it open and see what's in there! Two secure pockets on the front of the pack allow quick access to small stuff. Several lash tabs allow customization of the front panel. Inside, there's a full-width sleeve to separate contents or provide sanctuary for a laptop. Wide web backstraps support the pack with utility and grace.

Popular in town as much as on the paths less traveled, there are no boundaries as to where you can deploy a Book Pack... It's a versatile pack design that will hold up to years of use and abuse. The standard Book Pack is a "box-style" pack where there is an extra panel between the front and back of the pack. It has a gusset. The Simple Book Pack is a traditional envelope style pack. There is no gusset. The front is sewn directly to the back of the pack. Small, trim and streamlined, you can almost forget you're wearing this pack with a small load.

This pack keeps a low profile, and offers more capacity than meets the eye. Ample pockets, sewn web backstraps and waxed canvas construction give you peace of mind, and function for city life or woodsy wanderings. Available in two sizes, the Small is petite, built on the same body as our Skyline Rolldown Satchel and fits great on small body frames or for hauling a little, the Large is modeled off the same pattern, but larger, sized in between our Knapsack and Mini-Knapsack. There’s quick, easy access to the main compartment through the top with a rolldown flap that secures shut with a leather strap and solid brass post. Two pockets inside, one works great for a phone.

The Sojourn is a box style pack where there are gussets sewn into each side, and offers a full length slip pocket inside at the back as well as an exterior slip pocket on each side. Your choice to have it padded or not. All have a hanging zippered pocket. The Skinny version is an envelope style with the same features except for the exterior slip pockets.

Summit Packs are simple, classic, and yet refined knapsacks. It's been said "It's all you need!" Just toss stuff inside, throw your shoulders through the straps and go. No need to meticulously pack contents (though it's better to pack carefully) the Summit's won't mind. The Summit Expedition takes the same simple charm of our original Summit Pack and adds 2-in-1 side pockets. They'll carry a water bottle or thermos with ease and offer additional storage between the pack body and pocket. There's also a gusseted front zip pocket to stow small items. Lash squares are solidly stitched on the top lid to secure items to the exterior of the pack.

Looking for More? Check out the Field Guide!


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