Backpack Gift Guide for Urban Commuters & Backcountry Explorers

Text by: Kelsey Begg


We’ve all been there once… leaving the house while juggling a wallet, keys, a granola bar snack or two, maybe a laptop and a hairbrush or a book to read if you’re stuck in transit. In moments like these, any kind of bag is necessary for your sanity and just simplicity.

You can stow all your important belongings and have total hand-freedom to open doors, hail a taxi and even search through your wallet for some change to donate to the kind jingler collecting donations for the Salvation Army. The bottom line, a bag whether it be a tote bag, a backpack or a purse, is very convenient.

Surprise the urban and exotic explorers on your Christmas list with a new bag or backpack this holiday season. Whether their old one has finally kicked the bucket and no amount of duct tape can help it through another year or you’re sick of seeing their belongings falling out of their tattered reusable grocery bags, at Altitude Sports, we have the perfect backpack for everyone.

Top Picks for the Urban Commuter

  • Fjällräven Kånken No. 2

fjallraven kanken no. 2 fjallraven kanken #2 fjallraven kanken no 2 fjallraven kanken #2

The Kånken is a classic wherever you go. From a stroll through the woods or a day in town, this little 16L pack is sure to please. Available in an assortment of colours and multiple sizes, the Kånken is a simple yet functional backpack. A YKK zipper opens the entire compartment allowing for easy access in and out of the top of the bag. There are also two side pockets and one front pocket so you can keep all your little items organized. The convenient size and top handle allow the backpack to be easily transported wherever you go. From the bus to a bike, the Fjällräven Kånken is sure to be your new favourite backpack. 

  • Arc’teryx Blade 20L

arcteryx blade 20l backpack arcteryx blade 20l backpack arcteryx blade 20L backpack arcteryx blade 20L backpack

Available in three different sizes, this commuter favourite has been redesigned and packed full of features for another year. Although it was originally designed for urban pursuits through a bustling city, the Blade backpack is the perfect sized companion for traveling abroad as well. Its clamshell design makes it exceptionally easy to find what you’re looking for inside in a matter of seconds. For quick access, there is also a side zipper which also provides entry to the contents inside. Keep your laptop safe in the laptop sleeve while an additional sleeve can securely hold a tablet at the same time. The Blade is sure to be a favourite for any business commuter or traveler with a need for efficient organization. 


  • Matt & Nat Brave Backpack – Dwell Collection


matt & nat brave backapck matt & nat brave backpack

The Brave backpack is a stylish backpack suitable for urban commutes to class, work or simply strolling around town. Currently available in black or pomelo, you can choose to stick to neutrals and go with black that matches everything or jump for the pomelo and stand out in the crowd. The top zipper opens to the main compartment which is equipped with a 13″ laptop sleeve as well as two interior pockets, one with a zipper and one without. Adjustable webbing straps allow you to get the perfect fit so you’re all set with your belongings all safe and secure.

  • Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Backpack

herschel supply co pop quiz backpack herschel supply co pop quiz backpack herschel supply co pop quiz backpack herschel supply co pop quiz backpack

A Herschel Supply Co. classic, the Pop Quiz backpack is the perfect size for a day in class or an afternoon at the gym. Equipped with an internal laptop sleeve and a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket, the Pop Quiz is sure to keep all of your belongings safe and secure wherever you’re headed. A small zippered pocket on the front is a convenient spot for little items that need to be accessed quickly and a reinforced bottom ensures you get the longest life out of your backpack.

  • Arc’teryx Veilance Nomin Pack

arcteryx veilance nomin backpack

Simple and sleek, the Nomin pack is designed with performance and functionality leading the way. This urban-use backpack is crafted with a waterproof outer face fabric, WaterTight™ external zippers and seam-sealed construction so your belongings inside will remain safe and dry even during a light rain. The large front pocket is equipped with an internal organization pocket while the rear compartment is home to a rigid tablet, laptop or document divider. Exceptionally lightweight and durable, the Nomin is sure to please the urban commuters on your Christmas list.


Top Picks for the Exotic Explorers

  • Osprey Kestrel 38

osprey kestrel 38 osprey kestrel 38 osprey kestrel 38

The Osprey Kestrel is the ultimate versatile backpack. Great for overnight trips or multi-day weekend adventures, the Kestrel has a collection of pockets and convenient features making it the ideal backpack. Equipped with a torso-adjustable harness, the backpack can be easily be fitted to suit any of your fellow adventurers.

  • Arc’teryx Women’s Bora AR 49L

arcteryx womes bora ar 49L

Arc’teryx is known for their top of the line designs and attention to detail for gear and apparel and the Bora AR backpack is no exception. Available in a men’s specific model as well as a women’s specific model and different sizes, this backpack is sure to be a favourite for many. The main feature that makes this pack such a winner is the RotoGlide™ hip belt and Tegris® back panel. It is a backpack that not only easily carries your gear and equipment without hassle but also provides exceptional support and comfort. Say goodbye to uncomfortable chafing and hello to endless hours exploring mountain terrain comfortably.


  • Gregory Men’s Baltoro 65L

gregory baltoro backpack

gregory baltoro backpack

If you’re looking for a great back sturdy enough for you epic, backcountry adventures, the Baltoro is sure to fit the job. After winning the Outside Gear of the Year award in 2015, it continues to be a favourite for many gentlemen. Packed full of features including a removable daypack, rain cover and even a front U-zip pocket for access, this backpack is all about convenience and comfort.


  • Thule Women’s Guidepost 65L

thule women's guidepost pack

Thule makes more than just great roof racks, they make excellent backpacks too! This handy travel backpack is equipped with a customizable TransHub suspension system which ensures you get the perfect fit to suit your needs. Other great features include a pivoting hipbelt, a removable rain cover and the lid even turns into a conveniently sized 28L pack ideal to use as a daypack for shorter outings from base camp. The Guidepost pack is designed for your backcountry weekends.


Osprey Atmos AG 50

The most famous of the Osprey fleet, the Atmos AG continues to be one of the top travel backpacks on the market. Osprey’s Anti-Gravity™ system ensures a comfortable ride with zero chafing no matter how long you’re out exploring for. Every tiny detail has been carefully designed in order to ensure the utmost comfort on the trails so you can focus on exploring and reaching your destination. Compression straps and internal compression secure your gear safely so you’re ready for a day on the trails.


Happy Bag Shopping!

Whether you’re shopping an urban explorer or an exotic traveler, Altitude sports has a wide selection of bags for everyone. From crossover bags and tote bags to backpacks and duffel bags, there’s a bag that suits everyone’s needs and fun patterns and colours to match anyone’s personality.

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