This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear, rounding up the most notable releases of 2021.
Bags, even more so than most clothing, serve a function — to stow, protect and transport our EDC (and then some). As such, they have to really work, meaning they can’t falter at the first sign of some of additional weight or melt whenever mild weather turns sour. All of the bags below emphasize function first and foremost but balance form just the same. TLDR: These look good but the get the job done. (That’s why they’re the best bags of the year.)
Billykirk No. 237 Briefcase
Billykirk’s No. 237 Briefcase was recently redesigned to be bigger, feature leather handles and have brass feet so it stands upright on its own. Ultimately, these tweaks turned a bag we already loved into a bag we really, really love.
Sealand Core Pronto Water Repellent Crossbody Bag
This Sealand Crossbody Bag is big enough to carry your EDC, like a phone, wallet and a few keys — plus AirPods and a vaccine card. The bag is water repellent, too, which means your valuables won’t get wet.
Pleasures x Eastpak Padded Backpack
Pleasures channels the angst of adolescence for this collab backpack with Eastpak, which comes decorated in a dozen patches, illustrations and other add-ons.
Joshu+Vela Palermo Tote
San Francisco bag brand Joshuvela’s new tote, the Palermo, is built from 24-ounce cotton canvas with a 10-ounce cotton canvas liner. There are six pockets on the inside and all of the trim is vegetable-tanned Italian leather. It’s luxe while retaining an air of simplicity.
State Lorimer Fanny Pack
State’s simple Fanny Pack is a favorite of mine, because it’s simple. So many bags are loaded with unnecessary pockets, branding, mesh buckets and straps that they become cumbersome to carry. This iteration has two zipper pockets for safe keeping but nothing extra.
Craighill Arris Tote
Featuring a bag made from nylon and straps made from rubberized mesh webbing, the Craighill Arris Tote is an easy, do-it-all tower for getting groceries, going to the park or the beach, eventually.
Public School New York x Montblanc Duffle
Montblanc and Public School New York — by Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow (the designer spearheading Tom Brady’s forthcoming clothing line, BRADY) — dropped a collection of bags and luggage this week. The entire line is made from ECONYL, a sustainable fabric sewn from material waste. There are leather accents and luxe features, but it’s environmentally friendly for the most part.
Garbstore x Porter Sacoche Hour Bag
Fanny pack not for you? Tote bag too much? Garbstore and Porter’s collaborative Sacoche Hour Bag blends the best of both, resulting in a carry-all that has enough room for the things you’d usually put in your pockets but not much more. Impossible to weigh down, easy to wear.
Herschel x Birdwell Alexander Tote
I’ve preached about the versatility of Herschel’s insulated Alexander Tote before. I even called it the best beach bag you can buy. Now, it’s gotten even better. This revamped version comes cut from Surfnyl, Birdwell’s proprietary nylon fabric (which they use for their boardshorts). It also features a luggage trolley strap, utility handles, a zippered internal pocket, and a classic camo liner.
Rimowa Essential Cabin Carry-On Suitcase
What better way to welcome a return to routine travel than with an upgraded carry-on? Rimowa’s new online-only Essential option comes in a new translucent hue, Lime Yellow. It’s a bold green with black accents, TSA-approved locks, flex dividers, and a telescopic handle.
King Kennedy Rugs Tote Bag
Made in Los Angeles from vintage Turkish rugs, these tote bags are completely unique. Each one is features a leather bottom, 7-ounce canvas reinforment (lined with a nylon interior) and folded veg-tanned leather handles. There’s also a 9-inch interior pocket for storing your valuables.
Troubadour x Sunspel Tote
This tote is the perfect size for daily outing around town. It’s made from waterproof canvas and features leather handles, a padded laptop pocket and elasticated sections to small items in place.
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