If you’re a musician who gigs, you’d probably need a backpack that allows you sufficient capacity to transport and protect your gear, keep up with your pace and not wearing you down.
With that in mind, we’ve researched and analysed the backpacks available in the market and came up with a list of the Top 10 Musician Backpacks.
tl;dr Our pick for the “Best Backpack for Musician” would be the Osprey Quasar.
It checks all the boxes and fulfills the needs of (I’d say) 89% of all gigging musicians. You can read our full review of it below.
If it doesn’t catch your eyes, here are the rest that made our list:
Best Backpack for Musicians
|Backpack||Size (L x W x D)||Weight||Capacity (Liters)||Water Resistant?||Comfort Level||Price||Other Notable Features|
|Osprey Packs Quasar Daypack||20" x 13" x 11"|
50.8 cm x 33 cm x 27.9 cm
|28||Y||$$||Well known brand for durable backpacks|
Comes with laptop sleeve too
Good amount of compartments
Comes with Osprey's All Mighty Guarantee!
|Vic Firth VICPACK Drummers Backpack||21" x 13.5" x 5"|
53.3 cm x 34.3 cm x 12.7 cm
|not stated||Y||$$||Comes with removable stick bag|
Fits a 15" macbook pro
|Protection Racket TZ3016 Snare w/D Bass Case||32" x 32" x 19"|
81.3 cm x 81.3 cm x 48.3 cm
|not stated||N||$$$||Specifically designed to carry and transport drum equipment and parts like cymbals and pedals.|
Comes with semi-rigid foam that helps to keep your drum equipment safe.
Has a dedicated compartment to hold your drum pedal.
Comes with 12 months warranty.
|Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack||17.7" x 21.3" x 7.9"|
45 cm x 54.1 cm x 20.1 cm
|30||Y||$$$$||Separate compartment, can be converted to store a pedal or fragile instrument. |
Fits 15" MacBook Pro
|Rockville DJ Travel Backpack Bag||19" x 20" x 13"|
48.3 cm x 50.8 cm x 33 cm
|not stated||N||$||Designed for transporting DJ consoles or mixers, with a laptop, known to be durable|
Comes with various padded pockets and dividers
Fits a 17" macbook pro
|Kopack Deluxe||19.7" x 13" x 6.7"|
50 cm x 33 cm x 17 cm
|not stated||Y (Water Repellent)||$||Good amount of compartments|
Fits 16" Laptop
|FE Active Waterproof Dry Bag||23" x 17" x 8"|
58.4 cm x 43.2 cm x 20.3 cm
Doesn't come with compartments.
|SwissGear Travel Gear 5977 Scansmart||17.5" x 13.5" x 8.5"|
44.5 cm x 34.3 cm x 20.3 cm
|30||Y||$||Perfect for those who fly often. TSA Friendly.|
Fits 17" Laptop
|Patagonia Black Hole Backpack||18.5" x 13" x 10" |
47 cm x 33 cm x 25.4 cm
|7.14 lbs |
|25||Y||$$$$$||Watertight, Crushproof Case (for laptop)|
Thoughtful design for fast access during TSA
|Pelican ProGear S100 Sport Elite||21" x 11" x 6.5"|
53.3 cm x 27.9 cm x 16.5 cm
|25||Y||$$$$||Well known brand for durable backpacks|
Holds 15" laptops
|Pelican Mobile Protect Weatherproof Backpack (MPB25)||21.26" x 15.75" x 6.69" |
54 cm x 40 cm x 17 cm
|1.98 lbs |
|25||Y||$$$||Water resistant zippers|
|Thule Strävan Backpack||17.7"x 12.4" x 12"|
45 cm x 31.5 cm x 30.5 cm
|22||Y||$$||Dedicated compartment for laptop.|
Fits 15" MacBook Pro
Before we go on to the details, here’s a quick navigation table for you:
- Best Backpack for Musicians
- Best Backpack for Drummers
- Best Backpack for DJs or Music Producers
- Most affordable Backpack for Musicians
- Best Backpack for the frequent flyer
- Best Backpack to make a statement with
- Other Backpacks to consider
- 6 Things to consider when choosing the right backpack as a musician
- Water Resistant vs Water Repellent vs Waterproof
Best Backpack for Musicians
Now that you’ve taken a look at our picks of the best backpacks for musicians, let’s take a closer look at our top pick.
Drum roll please…
Osprey Quasar Daypack
A cross between an urban and a trail/hiking bag, the Osprey Quasar is a hardy backpack that comes with the best of both worlds.
With Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee, you’ll definitely enjoy a peace of mind.
Personally, I tend to browse for Osprey products whenever I’m looking for a new bag. It was the same case when I was looking for a dedicated bag as a drummer.
The Osprey Quasar daypack is the first backpack that caught my eyes. It is a fairly large 28L bag that comes with organizational pockets including a dedicated laptop or tablet sleeve.
28L backpacks tend to be a little large for females, especially if you’re not too tall like me. Surprisingly, the Quasar doesn’t look all too big on me (I’m 5ft5). Plus, it remained manageable even when full.
Of course, as drummers we’d usually carry our metronomes or practice pads along with other small accessories in our backpacks. The Quasar has a well designed front organization pockets that come in handy. With those pockets, I can be sure that my drum key and allen keys are easily accessible.
If you need to travel with a laptop or a small MIDI sample pad or electronic drum pad like the Alesis Samplepad Pro, you will find the padded sleeve very useful.
Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee
The “All Mighty Guarantee” in their words is;
“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”
Of all the backpack or racksack companies that offer similar guarantees or warranties, I’ve found Osprey to be the most versatile brand that offers the most affordable backpacks.
Do note that the Guarantee does not cover issues like color, size, cosmetic wear and tear or theft, which I find to be pretty reasonable as these reasons are mostly due to the user.
There are many reviews on the experience of using the All Might Guarantee. Here’s one:
Of all the reviews I’ve read and watched, all of the reviews are positive, with only one exception:
The complain had nothing to do with getting help to replace the bag, it was due to the fate of the bag. This starts a whole debate which I don’t want to get into.
However, it does go to show that Osprey is very willing to send you a new replacement bag!
Padded Laptop Sleeve
The Quasar comes with a padded laptop sleeve that is meant to provide an additional layer of protection to your laptop, it hold a 15″ laptop with ease.
The sleeve is designed to ‘hang’ within the backpack to reduce the chance of hitting your laptop when you place the bag onto the ground. Very thoughtful.
Side Stretch Pockets
Conveniently located side stretch mesh pockets are available on the sides of the Quasar backpack for storage and easy access of commonly used items like a water bottle or umbrella.
The side pockets come with a strap for extra security.
What Others Say
Osprey bags tend to garner great reviews, the Quasar has been highlighted as an “Amazon’s Choice“, for its great reviews. (138 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars) Click here to read the reviews
Most users loved the quality of the Osprey Quasar backpack and stand behind the Osprey brand as a trusted manufacturer of durable products.
A small handful had complained about the short lifespan of their zippers, while one user had complained that although the Quasar daypack is great, it is not suitable for cyclists who ride bicycles that require them to bend to the front.
As a backpack for musicians, the Quasar backpack provides sufficient space in the main compartment for most portable devices. I loved the front organizational pockets that allowed for neater packing and easier retrieval, especially for smaller accessories.
Best Backpack for Drummers
Since Drumming Basics is a website for drummers, let’s take a closer look at backpacks that are suitable for us!
You wouldn’t have took look too far. Vic Firth has a great solution:
Vic Firth VICPACK Drummers Backpack
As a leading drumsticks and mallet brand, Vic Firth knows what a drummer needs. On top of that, it has the knowledge and experience of working directly with professional drummers.
The VicPack is the perfect backpack for drummers who gig at locations that provide drum kits, as well as aspiring drummers who have to travel for lessons.
If you hate having your drumsticks sticking out of your backpack and having to constantly check if its still there while you’re travelling on the crowded bus or train, this backpack is a godsend.
The VICPACK comes with a removable drumstick bag that can be fitted onto the front of the backpack, like a well disguised front pocket. It allows for easy storage of your drumsticks.
When removed, the drumstick bag can be hooked onto your drum kit while you gig. It holds up to 12 pairs of drumsticks, mallets, brushes, etc, and you can throw a couple of drum keys and Allen keys in as well.
On top of that, if you wish to travel light, you can use the drumstick bag on it’s own as well.
The VICPACK is huge. It can hold a 15″ laptop and tons of drumming essentials.
If you use a sample pad or trigger pad during your gigs, you’ll find this backpack very handy. You should be able to fit a small portable size sample or trigger pad into this bag. (With that said, please do check the dimension of your sample pad)
Alternatively, you should be able to fit a single drum pedal into this bag. However, do note that the bag doesn’t come with additional padding or compartment that will protect your pedal from movement or any shock.
The front compartment also comes with various pockets for tidy organisation of your content.
With its size, I think the VICPACK functions as a drummer’s backpack and can definitely double up as a general purpose backpack.
In summary, the VICPACK is great for drummers who need to travel with their laptops or trigger pads and drumsticks. If you need to be carry other drum equipment like your personal drum pedals, snare drums or cymbals, the next bag will be more suitable.
Removable Stick Bag
The main selling point of the VICPACK is its removable stick bag.
All you need to do is to unzip it from the main backpack, and you can use it as a stick bag during your drum practice or gig. It holds up to 12 sticks, which is sufficient for most drummers.
With a simple zipper attachment, you can dismount the stick bag quickly and easily. Perfect for sessions where you’d only require your sticks.
Okay, “good size” might be an understatement, it’s huge. And that’s a dream come true for most drummers or musicians who like to be able to fit most of your stuff into your bag.
Afterall, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to packing for a gig.
The only downside of its size is that it is possible to fit so many things inside and overload the bag, which can become uncomfortable to haul around for long periods.
Try to fight the urge to pack your entire library of accessories with you when you’re using the VICPACK.
Here’s a video review:
The VICPACK’s sturdy and durable zippers really stood out.
With a backpack this size, you’d definitely hope your backpack will remain secure and that none of your contents fall out. The zippers were steadfast, even with a fully loaded bag.
What Others Say
Most users loved the size of the VICPACK which gives them the option to pack their drumming essentials with them, on the go. It is noted that the backpack may be too big for smaller sized folks.
Owners of the VICPACK didn’t seem to agree on the quality of the bag straps. Most found it comfortable and functional, some felt that the straps felt thin and were not sure if it is durable, especially with a fully loaded bag.
On the flip side, a couple of users have mentioned that the material of the VICPACK feels cheap and were worried that it will not last.
However, none of their worries have come to fruition, many of these VICPACK owners were pleasantly surprised at how durable the bag was.
If you need to carry a little more than just your drumsticks and sample pad, you might want to take a look at this:
Protection Racket TZ3016 Snare & Pedal Case
You’ll want to read this section carefully as this backpack might not be for you.
In fact, Protection Racket’s TZ3016 is designed specifically for professional drummers or working drummers who need to safely transport their own drum kits.
We were pretty amazed when we discover Protection Racket during the research. They seem to be a respected brand in the drum case scene, endorsed by a wide range of professional drummers.
On top of the TZ3016 backpack, they offer a range of drum bags that will protect your kit while you travel.
Protection Racket is a company that started off making surfboard bags. Today, they seem to specialize in making durable instrument bags that last. And the TZ3016 looks like it can continue to fulfill their promise.
With ample space to fit a snare drum (14″ x 6.5″) and a separate compartment for a pedal, the TZ3016 allows you to keep your gear safe during transportation.
The thoughtful design of the TZ3016 features a propile lined interior, this material is a non abrasive fleece that helps to protect your drum and preserve its tonal stability. You don’t have to worry about your snare drum getting scratched during transportation!
The backpack is padded with foam as well, this helps to protect your gear during your travels too. That said, at full load this bag might be a tad too heavy for long distance walking.
Overall, this bag is perfect for drummers who need to transport key drum gear like snare drums, cymbals, pedals, etc. Drummers who travel with their electronic sample pads will also find this bag handy.
On the flip side, it might not be suitable for drummers who want a musician backpack that doubles up as a general purpose backpack.
Here’s a video review of the backpack:
Well Padded Bag
Padded with ‘Propadd P2’ foam, the Protection Racket TZ3016 provides greater support while remaining light.
Fleece Lined Interior
The Propile interior helps to prevent scratches on your snare drum or cymbals during transport. On top of that the Propile also helps to keep your drum gear clean.
Separate Pedal Compartment
The greatest fear of any drummer travelling with their pedals and drums is damage taken by their gear.
With a dedicated compartment for the drum pedal, you can be assured that your pedal remains safe during your journey.
On top of that, you don’t have to worry about the pedal hitting or scratching your snare drum or cymbals as well.
Useful Font Pockets
The TZ3016 comes with useful front pockets for smaller accessories like your drum key, metronome, etc.
Protection Racket provides a 12 month warranty that will cover any manufacturer defects.
On their website, they have a lifetime warranty offering that covers “any items that are defective in materials or workmanship such as defective zip pullers, sliders and seams and includes any moving parts such as wheels, handles, buckles that have failed in normal working use“.
Do note that it doesn’t cover any damage from wear and tear, theft or damage due to transit.
What Others Say
Owners of the TZ3016 agree that it is well built and definitely feels durable. They tend to love the design of the bag which gives them various packing options when prepping for a gig.
The downside to TZ3016’s size is that it can get pretty heavy which can lead to shoulder and lower back aches after prolong use.
A suggestion is to have a hip strap which helps to transfer some of the weight to the hip.
If you need a bag that is slightly smaller, how about:
Thule Covert DSLR Rolltop Backpack
Thule makes some pretty slick looking bags, I mean have you seen them!?
The Covert DSLR rolltop backpack looks amazing as well and it comes with an affordable price tag too.Perfect for the stylish musician or drummer who needs extra space for gear.
Now, as its name suggest, this bag was made for photographers who carry their DSLR around.
And that’s why it made it onto our list.
The Covert DSLR rollup backpack comes with standalone, removable camera compartment.
This was originally designed to hold a DSLR camera, but you could most definitely modify it to hold and store your delicate drum pedal. Drummers who use their own pedals at gigs will find this extremely handy.
For musicians who need to carry a portable amp, this compartment may be modified to hold your amp as well. Removable bag is 6′ (depth) x 10.5′ (height) x 9.5′ (width).
You’ll also find an (almost) hidden laptop and tablet compartment along the back to the bag. This fits a 15″ laptop, perfect for musicians who use their laptops for sample tracks.
On the front of the bag, you’ll find several small pockets that are suitable for storing any smaller accessories that you might need.
Best of all, it is a versatile backpack that looks great no matter where you go.
Alas, this backpack isn’t perfect.
It is heavy, even on its own it ways 4.97lb (2.25kg), and it just gets heavier as you load it.
The shoulder straps are not the most comfortable straps nor do they come with thicker paddings. Hence, it can get quite tiring if you’re planning to carry the bag for long periods of time.
If you’d like a quick tour of the bag as well as a balanced review of the Thule DSLR Backpack, watch this:
Removable SafeZone camera bag
Comes with a dual density padded bottom, this removable camera bag really helps to protect your gear.
It comes with dividers that can be customised to suit the various sizes of your gear.
- Drummers will find this compartment handy for carrying your single drum pedal.
- Musicians who use a portable amp may find this compartment useful for protecting your amp as well.
Before you purchase, you’ll need to check if your gear fits into the bag, its size is 6′ (depth) x 10.5′ (height) x 9.5′ (width).
This bag can be easily retrieved from the side, which makes for easy access to the contents you place in the removable bag.
Front organization pouches
As a musician, you’ll definitely need to carry some accessories or even a score book.
You’ll find the front pouches on the Thule Covert very useful for keeping your items organized.
There are 3 small pockets that are great for keys, guitar tuners and other small items.
On top of that, there are slip pockets for storing small notebooks or writing material.
Just take note that these pockets might be a little tight to get to, especially when the bag is on full load.
What Others Say
Averaging 4.5 stars over 119+ customer reviews, the Thule Covert backpack is definitely a popular bag. You can read all the review here.
Most users of the Thule Covert are hobbyist photographers.
They loved the backpack for its stylish design and functionality. Most, if not all users loved the size of the bag, as well as the many organizational pockets available.
Many have noted that the quality of the bag is great and that the zippers on the bag are durable for frequent use.
However, they agree that the bag requires additional waist support straps as it can get too heavy when fully loaded.
Best Backpack for DJs or Music Producers
DJs and EDM musicians will not be caught without their DJ controllers or electronic sample pads.
Although some of these equipment are portable, they can be bulky at times. We found the perfect backpack for you:
Rockville DJ RVBackpack Travel Backpack Bag
The RVBackpack is designed specifically for DJs or mobile music producers who need to carry their gear when they travel to gigs or production.
If you need to be travelling with your DJ controller, mixer, midi keyboard or even drum sample pads, this bag might be the perfect match for you. Drummers who have to carry their pedals may find this bag handy as well.
It is quite large with an interior dimension of about 18.5″W x 19″H x 11″D. It comes with padded interiors and back which provides another layer of protection to keep your gear safe.
This backpack comes with a range of pockets in the middle and front compartments. These are handy for neat organization and allow for easy access when you are setting up.
A nice detail to note is its orange interior which makes it easy for you to find those black cables that tend to get stuck in random pockets…
Rockville’s photos suggests that you could fit a smaller DJ controller in the middle compartment pocket. From their image, a Numark Party Mix DJ Controller (Dimensions: 12.8” W x 7.75” D x 2.0” H) can be stored in that pocket.
The greatest advantage of the Rockville DJ Backpack is its attractive and affordable price tag. Most musician backpacks come with a hefty price tag, but not Rockville’s, you’ll find its price fairly competitive even though it has obviously been thoughtfully designed for musicians like us.
You’ll have to take note that the bag itself is rather heavy at 6lb. Although it adds to the weight, I feel that its a fair weight given the amount of protective padding and the size of this bag.
As a bag for DJs or producers who need to carry their gear, this bag is sufficiently large.
There is a main compartment that allows you to fit a Mixer or DR controller. You can visit Rockville’s website for a list of DJ Mixers that can fit into the bag.
You can also fit a MIDI keyboard, sample trigger pad or your drum pedals in this backpack as well.
If you’re a drummer who uses a sample pad to trigger tracks, this backpack might be suitable for you as well.
You should be able to fit a 17″ laptop into this backpack.
Regular EDC backpacks usually come with dark interiors which can be difficult for musicians who need to set up in darker venues.
The Rockville DJ backpack features a bright orange interior which provides good color contrast for easy identification of small items like drum keys or cables.
Good amount of compartments
The second compartment comes with various compartments for neat organization and quick retrieval of your gear, it even comes with a dedicated pocket for your laptop stand.
These pockets are easy to reach with their velcro openings.
There are two compartments on the front of the backpack;
- Top compartment: designed specifically for headphones.
This ensures that you wouldn’t need an additional bag to keep your headphones, nor do you have to worry about damaging your headphones when you pack them with the rest of your gear.
- Bottom compartment: comes with more organizational pockets as well as band straps that can be used to hold items like microphones or voice recorders
The pockets in this compartment are smaller and are suitable for holding delicate cables, keys or even guitar picks.
Heavy duty zippers
The designers of the RVBackpack have done well in anticipating the amount of stress that will be on the zippers of this backpack, especially on a full load.
The zippers on the Rockville DJ backpack are large and sturdy which makes them durable for frequent usage as well as for holding your heavy backpack together.
You’ll find that the Rockville DJ backpack has a padded back support and shoulder straps which are great for comfort even when you’re carrying the bag for long periods.
The interior dividers are padded as well to provide additional protection for your gear.
Even the top handle is padded for easy usage.
Here’s a quick walk through of the Rockville DR RVBackpack:
What Others Say
Most users who purchased the RVBackpack are either musicians who perform or produces musics, or freelance DJs.
They agree that the backpack is of a good size that can hold most of their essentials. One of the user mentioned that he is able to fit a Behringer Xenyx X1222usb (dimension: 13.9″ W x 11.9″ D X 3.9″ H) along with several microphones and a 15″ laptop into this backpack.
Most users agree that the bag is sturdy and well build, they love the durable zippers on the backpack as well. You can read the reviews here.
The only low rating was a warning from a musician who was not able to fit his DJ controller into the bag, although he did went on to say that the bag is well built.
Do take note of the dimension of the RVBackpack before purchasing it.
Most Affordable Musician Backpack
If you’re not a professional musician or are a ‘starving artist’, you’ll want a budget musician backpack that is comfortable to carry around while being capable of protecting your gear, at the same time.
Here’s our favorite pick for a budget musician backpack:
First up, do take note that this isn’t a backpack designed specifically for musicians.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, this laptop bag is a great option. At less than $50 (accurate at the point of writing), this affordable backpack has checks the key requirements for a musician backpack.
Its back design provides ample padding for good back support and breath-ability which makes it comfortable to travel with. Its padded shoulder straps helps to reduce the onset of fatigue and aches on your shoulders as well.
The kopack deluxe comes with an anti-theft laptop compartment that is hidden below the shoulder strap, it can hold a 16″ laptop:
You’ll also find a smaller anti-theft pocket near the bottom of the bag. This compartment is perfect for storing valuable items when you are commuting on busy streets.
The bag is rather big and comes with a wide range of inner pockets at every compartment. As a musician or a drummer, you’ll definitely find these pockets very useful when packing for a gig. Cables and cords can also be packed neatly for easy retrieval.
It feels very well built and comes with dual layer zippers which will definitely last through frequent use. Kopack claims that their zippers are anti-stab.
Personally, I love the size as it allows me to pack more in, however the kopack deluxe might be a tad too large for smaller sized folks, or females in general. *update: the kopack deluxe comes in a smaller size that holds a 15″ laptop.
The empty bag weighs about 2.76lb (1.25kg), which is slightly on the heavy end of the scale for a laptop bag.
If you’re on a budget, the kopack deluxe is an affordable laptop back that you can definitely use as a musician or a drummer. Drumsticks can fit in this backpack, if placed in diagonally.
Anti-theft laptop compartment
This compartment is hidden under the shoulder straps which makes it difficult to retrieve while you are carrying the backpack, hence ‘anti-theft’.
It’s a great design for keeping your laptop or tablet safe, however this also means that you’ll not be able to retrieve those items quickly either.
Anti-theft back pocket
Located behind the lower back padding, this back pocket is very handy for storing valuables while you travel. It is quite small and is a good size for your passport or wallet.
Dual layer zippers
These zippers were designed to be anti-stab and more durable. However, some users have complained that the zippers don’t last.
Slick design with tear resistant nylon
The kopack deluxe features a clean and simple exterior design, made from tear resistant nylon. It looks great and is said to be anti-scratch as well.
If you need to travel in a city where showers or storms are frequent, this feature will interest you. The kopack deluxe is said to be water repellent (NOT waterproof), which means that the bag will keep your contents and valuables dry in light showers. Just don’t drop the bag into the river.
Good Size (for a laptop bag of its price)
This bag is huge which allows for ample storage space.
Good amount of inner pockets
Working musicians, especially drummers usually carry a bunch of accessories and cables with them.
You’ll find the many inner pockets of the kopack deluxe useful when organizing your backpack.
Do take note that users who have maximized their inner pockets seem to find that the main compartment end up with too little space to hold much items.
You might also be interested to note that this model seems to also be sold under the ‘Tigernu’ brand.
What Others Say
Offering attractive features for an affordable price, it is no surprise that the kopack deluxe is a popular backpack.
At the point of writing, it has been recognized as “Amazon’s Choice” and managed to maintain a high 4.5 star average with over 378+ reviews.
You can read over 378+ customer reviews of the kopack deluxe backpack here.
This gives us a clear indication of how well received this backpack is, as well as the great quality and value it has provided to its users.
Most users loved the kopack deluxe’s size and compartments that allows them to carry their essentials while travelling. Many have commented that the backpack remains rather slim, even on a full load. They loved its clean, minimalist exterior design as well.
On the flip side, there have been complains about the poor manufacturing of the threading along the zippers, as well as zippers coming off or malfunctioning. These complains only make up about 4-5% of the reviews.
It seems as though there may be some quality control issues at hand.
Now, if compartments and pockets are not as high on your list, this is something to consider;
FE Active 30L Waterproof Dry Bag (Cloudbreak)
FE Active is an outdoor brand that manufactures items for outdoor activities. The Cloudbreak 30L Dry Bag is one of their many offerings. As its name suggests, it is a single compartment dry bag.
It was designed for the adventurous and outdoor folks, but works great as a backpack for urban users too, as long as you don’t mind the lack of compartments.
It made the list for 2 main reasons;
These reasons make it the perfect backpack for the easygoing musicians or drummers who doesn’t mind a simple, fuss free bag that protects their gear.
On top of that, it is fully waterproof (if closed properly), so you can be assured that your gear will stay dry even if you end up travelling through a storm. Perfect for keeping your scores or lighter electronic accessories safe from the rain.
On the flip side, this bag doesn’t come with many compartments, so you’ll have to pack your items into individual bags for better organization. It does have one small inner pocket that can be used to keep a drum key, guitar picks, or your passport.
All in all, this budget backpack is great for musicians who travel light and want maximal protection from wet weather or basic wear and tear.
According to FE Active, they have done two types of test on the FE Active Dry Bag;
- Submerge test; where they had submerged the bag underwater (5 feet) for 30 seconds
- Actual test; where they had put it out in a large surf and send the bag to shore
The FE Active 30L dry bag has passed both test when sealed and secured according to instructions.
Take a tour of the FE Active dry bag:
Built for the outdoor folks
The outdoor folks who hike, trek and explore nature would need a dry bag that is durable and tough. The FE Active Cloudbreak was designed for such activities, which suggests that it would be durable.
In fact, the backpack is made from marine grade PVC Tarpaulin, and has been weld stitched for maximal durability.
DO note that you should try not to overload the bag as that may lead to strain on the buckles and straps.
What Others Say
The FE Active dry bag is a popular outdoor dry bag backpack garnering an average of 4.5 stars over 139 customer reviews. You can read the review here.
In general, most users loved the FE Active backpack for its waterproof feature which not only comes in handy when exploring nature, but is also suitable for urban commute especially during the rainy season.
Owners of the backpack tend to agree that it is durable and remains fairly new even after being scratched or rubbed against rough surfaces.
One user had even used this backpack to store and carry her DSLR while climbing a river falls!
However, there have been a handful of users whose bag broke at the strap within a short period. FE Active seems to be actively contacting these users to rectify the issue.
Best Backpack for the Frequent Flyer
If you’re a recovering frequent flyer who needs to carry your gear with you, this backpack is definitely right up your alley.
SwissGear Travel Gear 5977 Scansmart
If you’re a touring musician who needs to be flying frequently, this backpack is a godsend. It is of a sufficient size to fit a 17″ laptop and other gear, while being able to be allowed onto most flights as a carry-on baggage.
If you have delicate gear that you wouldn’t want to risk checking in, you might want to check if this backpack suits you.
The 5977 comes with sufficient compartments that includes a mesh pocket (suitable for cables). These will allow you to organize your items neatly.
You’ll even find a pocket near the top that allows you to hold an iPod while running the cable out of the bag. This is definitely a welcomed feature for the travelling musician.
SwissGear is a company that has been manufacturing high quality luggage and backpacks for decades. There is no doubt about the quality of their products.
According to their website, their products are usually covered with a 3-10 years limited warranty, you can read more here. When purchasing the SwissGear backpack, do remember to check on the warranty that you are entitled to.
This is the main draw of the SwissGear 5977 Scansmart backpack.
It allows easy access to your laptop for during TSA scans at the airport.
“Carry on” friendly
At its size (17.5″ X 13.5″ X 8.5″), the SwissGear 5977 can be carried onto planes allowing you to carry your precious or delicate gear with you.
If if isn’t over packed, it should be able to fit under the seat in front of you as well.
Designed with contoured shoulder straps made with mesh fabric, most people will find the SwissGear 5977 an ease to carry while travelling, even on a full load.
Despite being allowed onboard a plane as a hand carry baggage, you’d be mistaken if you assumed that this backpack would be too small.
On top of being able to fit a 17″ laptop to the back compartment of this backpack, you’ll also find that the middle compartment has sufficient space to store a tablet and several books.
If you don’t carry books, you’ll definitely be glad to note that this space can fit a small DJ controller or a drum practice pad.
The middle compartment also includes several pockets which include a media pocket to store your iPod or Phone and a mesh pocket that is great for cables or your passport.
On the front, you’ll find another compartment with several pockets near the bottom of the bag. These pockets are suitable for smaller items like your writing material, drum tuner or even your spare guitar strings.
Drummers will find these pockets handy for storing your drum key or Allen keys.
What Others Say
The SwissGear 5977 is a popular backpack rated with 4.5 stars by over 279 customers. You can read their reviews here.
Everyone agrees that the SwissGear is priced competitively and love the value and quality that the backpack provides. Users also agree that it is fairly large and provides sufficient compartments for neat storage of their items.
However, there have been complains about the quality of the zippers and the stitching of the zippers. A handful of users commented that their backpack didn’t last over a week as the zippers came off.
Another common complain about the 5977 is its weight, at 2.75lb when empty, this might be an issue if you are planning to fully pack the backpack with heavier items.
You might need to plan your packing list to ensure that the bag will not be rejected as a hand carry baggage.
Best Backpack to make a statement with
If you’d to flaunt your style and share your values with the world, this backpack is the one for you.
Patagonia Black Hole Backpack (25L)
Patagonia is known for being environmentally friendly and aims to deliver sustainable products. If that’s a cause that you support, this bag might interest you.
The Patagonia Black Hole backpack is a versatile backpack that works great as both a travel pack and an everyday carry bag. On top of that, it comes in a clean, slick design that most musicians would rock.
And oh, if black isn’t your color, the Patagonia Black Hole is available in a series of different colors. Click here to browse the color options
It is water repellent which will be handy if you’re travelling or commuting during the rainy or even snowing seasons.
On the front, you’ll find two easy access compartments for holding items like your iPod, snacks or headphones.
Like its exterior design, the interior of the Patagonia Black Hole is relatively minimalist too. There is only one big main compartment in the Black Hole backpack where you’ll find some organizational pockets along the sides. These are good for holding writing material or small music/drum accessories.
There are laptop and tablet sleeves in the main compartment as well. You should be able to fit a 15″ laptop into the bag, as well as your drumsticks.
In the main area, you should also be able to fit a small sample pad or a single drum pedal.
The bag is relatively small compared to some of the other specialized musician backpack. With that said, it is pretty light weight and durable which makes it perfect as a travelling backpack. As a plus, if you’re a female or are smaller in size, this bag would fit perfectly.
All in all, if you’re a musician who doesn’t need to carry bulky gear in your backpack and believe in doing your part to protect the environment, this is a great option for you.
Important point to note: apparently the bag is cheaper when you purchase it directly from Patagonia’s website.
Durable Polyester Ripstop
Ripstop is a special reinforced fabric that is manufactured in a way that makes it tear and rip resistant.
The Patagonia Black Hole is made from this material which helps to increase its durability and ruggedness.
You shouldn’t be surprised that this bag can keep up with your daily high paced life.
If you travel or commute in areas where rain (or snow) is unpredictable and frequent, this bag will give you a peace of mind.
The front of the bag features a weather resistant Thermoplastic Polyurethane film laminate that is coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish.
It isn’t waterproof but will keep your items dry in light rain.
bluesign certified fabric
As part of its fight for sustainability, the fabric on the Patagonia Black Hole has been bluesign certified.
This means that the production process of the fabric is safe for the environment, for the workers and safe for the end users. This also suggests that the material used are of high quality.
If you cycle, the Patagonia Black Hole comes with latch straps on the front of the bag where you can clip on a reflector.
Here’s a walkthrough of the Patagonia Black Hole Backpack:
Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee
As part of their effort for improving sustainability and reducing consumerism, most of Patagonia’s products are covered by their Ironclad Guarantee that allows you to return, exchange or even get a refund on the Patagonia product you bought.
They entertain exchanges for the wrong fit or color, and even give you the option to return a purchase that you change your mind on. Repairs may be chargeable. You can read more about it here.
The Ironclad Guarantee really provides a peace of mind, especially if you’re a serious buyer who wants a no frills product that delivers on its promises.
What Others Say
The Patagonia Black Hole backpack has garnered an average of 5 stars from 28 customer reviews. Click here to read them.
All the reviews were singing praises of the backpack. Everyone liked the functionality and simplicity of the bag which comes with ample storage space to boot. They loved its design as well.
I’d definitely agree that the Patagonia Black Hole’s design is slick.
On top of that, the users also noted the durability of the backpack’s material and zippers too.
Oh on a side note, if you enjoy hiking, this backpack serves as a great hiking backpack as well.
Other Backpacks to consider
If none of the backpacks above caught your eyes, here are a couple more than made it into our list:
Pelican ProGear S100 Sport Elite
Pelican manufactures high quality, durable and trustworthy bags, cases and backpacks.
The Pelican S100 is designed to protect your laptop and gear, it features a watertight, crushproof case that can hold a 15 inch laptop. The main compartment is a 25L bag that can hold quite a bit of things.
It allows you to bring your workstation with you, on the go. Your laptop can be retrieved easily with the buckle lock of the crushproof case.
The back support lumbar pads keeps the hard laptop case away from your back and allows for maximal comfort when carrying the fully loaded backpack.
The downside to the Pelican S100 is its weight. At 7.14lb, it is a tad too heavy, even when it is empty.
Hence, it isn’t the best option to go with if you foresee the need to walk a long distance or stand for prolong periods with this backpack on your back. It’ll wear you out.
Guys, the Pelican S100 wasn’t design to be used as an everyday carry (EDC) bag, it doesn’t make sense in terms of its price or its weight. Just don’t.
It makes a good musician backpack for its protection features, however if you need to commute with it every day, you’ll definitely feel it in your shoulders and back.
Here’s a good video introduction to the Pelican S100 Backpack:
Watertight, Crushproof Case for laptop
The crushproof, watertight case is definitely the selling point of this backpack, it is basically a Pelican hardcase attached to the backpack.
It allows you to protect your laptop from damage during travel, I would believe that I would continue to enjoy a peace of mind even if I had to check this backpack in.
The interior dimension of this case is 15.15″ (L) x 10.40″ (W) x 1.00″ (D) (38.5 x 26.4 x 2.5 cm), do check if this size suits your laptop if you’re considering this backpack.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to use the case to store your drum sample pad or DJ controller, remember to check the size as well!
The downside to this case is that it’ll inadvertently add to the weight of the bag.
This laptop hardcase has been designed for frequently flyers as well. It can be opened easily from the top which makes it TSA friendly, plus it comes with a pressure valve that helps to regulate the pressure within the case as you fly. This will protect the laptop from changing pressures.
Additional Backpack compartments provides additional space
When you travel, you’ll often carry more than just your laptop.
The lower front compartment of the S100 is large enough for a tablet or an iPad Mini and it comes with a hard cover that provides additional protection. The top front compartment is a smaller pocket where you can throw smaller items in, it would be a perfect place to keep your ipod while you listen to music on the go.
If you don’t travel with a tablet, you’ll also find this space suitable for smaller electronic gear like your metronome or tuner.
The middle compartment is where you can store additional gear or your clothes.
Lumbar back support pads
The hardcase is located closest to your back and the lumbar back support pads are a nice touch to the Pelican S100 design.
It creates a small gap between your spine and the hardcase that will prevent your back from being in contact with the solid case. The pads are also nicely cushioned for a comfortable carrying experience.
Gaps between the support pads serve as ventilation zones that helps prevent those hot sweaty, uncomfortable back experiences while you carry this bag.
Padded Shoulder Straps with chest clip and removable hip belt
The shoulder straps on the S100 are sufficiently wide and padded for a comfortable experience.
You’ll also find a chest clip and a removable hip belt that helps to distribute the weight of the backpack, should you need to fill it up with gear.
What Others Say
The Pelican S100 has garnered an average of 3.2 stars over 109+ customer reviews which you can read here.
Most users love the bag for its crushproof laptop case, they are confident that their laptop will definitely survive even if the bag doesn’t.
Users also loved the Pelican S100 for its overall durability.
An exception to the quality of the Pelican S100 is at its shoulder loops that holds the hardcase to the shoulder straps. This area seems to be the Achilles heel of this backpack, although users have mentioned that if you are willing to overlook this weakness by doing some DIY fix, it remains a fairly rugged backpack.
Another common complain is that the Pelican S100 backpack is too heavy for long distance walking or cycling.
Despite these complains, users are agree that the backpack itself is fairly durable.
Now, if you think a crushproof case for your laptop is an overkill, the next backpack may be more suitable for you;
Pelican Mobile Protect Weatherproof Backpack (MPB25)
The Pelican MPB25 is Pelican’s answer to durable everyday carry bags.
It is lightweight, comes with rubber coated zippers that help to keep water out and is coated with a water repellent coating. These provides good wet weather protection for our precious music gear. The best part, it comes with lifetime guarantee.
These are the main reason this backpack made it into the list.
The Pelican MPB25 has a simple design without too many pockets.
It comes with a dedicated laptop pocket at the back of the backpack which fits a 15″ laptop. This laptop pocket is padded.
The main compartment is rather spacious which can hold a small DJ controller or drum trigger pad. You might want to have an additional bag for these delicate gear as the bag doesn’t come with thick padding.
With its simple design, it isn’t surprising to find that the main compartment only comes with a pocket for a tablet or iPad.
You’ll find a quick access compartment at the front of the bag which is handy for storing snacks or smaller music accessories.
Overall, the MPB25 is a simple, no frills backpack that can be easily converted into a musician backpack.
If you’re a drummer as well, you’ll be glad to know that your drumsticks would be able to fit diagonally into the main compartment of this backpack.
This is a great video coverage of the Pelican MBP25:
The MPB25 is coated with durable water repellent (1000D). Along with its rubber coated zipper pulls, you get a water repellent backpack that will help keep your items dry in light rain.
Do note that there are differences between being water repellent and water proof, we cover more on this in the section below.
Leaving the bag in heavy rain for more than 10 minutes will definitely lead to the build up of water in this bag.
Durable Zippers (YKK)
YKK are a well known zipper brand, trusted for its quality and durability. You can be sure that the zippers on this Pelican backpack will last.
Pelican’s Mobile Protect Backpack series is covered under their lifetime guarantee that will cover repairs.
Do note that they do not accept bags that were modified or repaired by third party vendors, so read about their lifetime guarantee before you buy.
There are essential pockets within the main compartment that will hold tablets and cables. A musician will definitely find them useful.
On top of that, you’ll find an easy access front pocket for storage of frequently used accessories.
There are side pockets on this back for the storage of water bottles or umbrella.
Loop and Lock Zipper system
These are found on the laptop and media pockets and were designed to make it difficult for pickpockets to reach your valuables.
On the flipside, they might be a pain when you need to retrieve your items fast.
Padded Shoulder Straps and Hip Buckle
The shoulder straps and hip buckle really help with weight distribution and do increase the comfort level of carrying the bag, especially when it is fully loaded.
What Others Say
Users loved that the MPB25 is lightweight and is water repellent. They appreciate the durability of the backpack as well as the comfortable shoulder straps.
Of course, everyone loves the lifetime warranty that provides a peace of mind that Pelican is willing to support them.
The only major complain was its size. The MPB series offers backpacks of various sizes, you can browse them here.
Thule Strävan Backpack
The Thule Strävan Backpack caught my eye because of its size and weight. It fits well on my small frame (i’m about 5ft5) and allows me to store and carry my essential drumming equipment.
If you’re a musician who doesn’t need to carry your personal amp, mixer, trigger pad, or other bulky gear, this bag is a great option.
It has a dedicated standalone laptop compartment that fits a 15″ laptop, so you are still able to bring your laptop with you. And oh, your drumsticks should be able to fit diagonally into the main compartment of this backpack.
The top front compartment aka SafeZone compartment is a hard case storage pocket, perfect for slipping in set of headphones or electronics like a metronome, tuner or iPod. The hard case really comes in handy to protect these electronics. I would urge you to place only one delicate item inside so that they don’t end up knocking into each other while you travel.
The compartment below it is of a good size, it has a mesh pocket and other organizational pockets inside. These are perfect for storing delicate cables and smaller items. You’ll also find a quick access zip on the front where you can store frequently used items or gear.
The main compartment opens up fully which is pretty rare in backpacks. If you need to travel with a smaller mixer, midi controller, trigger pad, or anything bulky really (max size of 12″ x 17.7″x 12.4″), this huge opening allows for easy packing of these bulky items. This opening is also handy if you’re packing your clothes for your travels.
The Thule Strävan Backpack features durable YKK zippers as well a water resistant (500D) coating.
The design of the Thule Strävan Backpack is simple, with an expandable base. This helps to keep the bag tight and compact when it is not full.
On the marketing material, the Thule Strävan Backpack is a 22L backpack. It’s a great size for smaller drummers.
But don’t dismiss this backpack because it really provides sufficient space, especially if you do not need to travel with bulky music gear like a mixer or your cymbals.
Here’s a video that shows you the real capacity of the bag:
Dedicated Laptop Compartment with SafeEdge construction
You can be ensure that your laptop is safe in the dedicated compartment that comes with extra padding.
The location of this compartment also allows for easy retrieval of your laptop, on the go.
This hard surface, crushproof compartment was originally designed for users to store their sunglasses or phone. If you’re a musician carrying delicate small equipment, the crushproof compartment will definitely be handy.
If you commute by public transport during peak hours, you can store your headphones or other small equipment here to keep it safe from being crushed while you maneuver the crowd.
The Thule Strävan Backpack features water resistant YKK zippers that are known for their quality and durability.
The backpack itself is made from durable water resistant nylon backed with a layer Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPE).
This means that the backpack is water resistant and will help to keep your items dry in light showers or snow.
Shoulder Straps and Hip Belt
The shoulder straps on the Thule Strävan contains a thin layer of padding that makes it comfortable to carry without being noticeable.
The bag comes with a hip belt should you need additional support when the bag is fully loaded.
It is also good to note that the padding on the back provides some support but can get pretty hot if you’re walking around for long periods under the sun.
What Others Say
The Thule Strävan Backpack has an average of 4.5 stars over 69+ reviews. Click here to rad the reviews from real customers.
Most users agree that the build quality is great and that the Strävan is durable. Many loved its design and the nylon material that it is made from.
Although majority of Strävan users love the YKK zippers and have no issues with them, there have been a handful who’ve had zippers that didn’t seem to last.
Some also found the laptop compartment lacking in the protection department as the bottom padding does not seem to cover the entire base of this compartment.
All in all, most users enjoyed using the Thule Strävan for its light weight and compact design which surprisingly was able to offered more space than expected.
6 Things to consider when choosing the right backpack as a musician
These are what you’d want in a backpack as a musician, don’t miss out on any of these!
I know, it’s always a struggle for musicians to strike a good balance between selecting a bag that is large enough for their gear while being small enough to be carried around easily.
When shopping for a backpack as a musician, you have to first consider the gear that you intend to carry.
I mean there are specialized backpacks for electronic keyboards, cajons, DJ mixing consoles and more.
Even if you’re smart enough to decide against carrying those bulky, heavy musical instruments on your back while you travel, there are tons of backpacks that suit your needs.
Always start with the end in mind.
Make sure you have a gauge of what you’d be carrying in your backpack before you shop for any. This way, you’d have an idea of the size range that you should be looking at.
If you’re a female musician looking for a backpack for your gear, you might also want to check if the size of the backpack suits you. Many of the musician backpacks designed for larger instruments and gears may be too large for us.
Find one that can hold your gear while being comfortable to carry and manageable over longer distance for ease of use and safety.
Even if you don’t plan to carry a ton of music gear, durability should be high on your list of considerations.
You’d want a backpack that will last, even with frequent rough handling.
Make sure to look out for backpacks with durable zippers and material.
Sidenote on Zippers: In the backpack industry, YKK zippers are known for their durability, hence backpacks featuring zippers from this company are often more trustworthy.
You will also want to take note of any promise of warranty.
For example, Osprey’s all mighty lifetime warranty or GORUCK’s Scars lifetime guarantee that allows you to send your backpack for repair without any questions asked.
3) Padded Shoulder Straps
This is something I’d personally look for when choosing a backpack, for any purpose.
As a musician who might need to carry heavy loads at times, having padded shoulder straps will reduce the onset of shoulder aches.
This will come in especially useful if you are required to walk for longer distances or stand for prolonged periods with your backpack.
Take care of yourself, choose a comfortable backpack.
4) Weight of (empty) backpack
Let’s face it, most of us would tend to add more gear to our backpacks over time.
Hence, it would make sense to to look for the lightest backpack out there, on top of being durable of course.
Wouldn’t make sense to have an empty backpack that weighs a ton before you even load it up.
Now, this depends on how ‘OCD’ you are.
If you’re a neat freak who can’t rest unless your backpack is well organized, done to having the right cable in the right pocket, you’d be better off looking for a backpack with more compartments.
You’ll want to inspect the interior of backpacks to understand if the compartments provided are suitable for your gear.
Extra points for padded compartments or coloured interior that provides a better contrast against all those black cables.
Again, this depends on how much emphasis you place on your image.
If you believe that your backpack tells the world about your style, the design of the backpack will manner to you.
In such cases, it is always better to try on the backpack at a local retailer. Some bags may look nice in photos or on models, but look weird on you because of your height.
Oh, and one more important thing to note while you’re shopping for a suitable backpack:
Water Resistant vs Water Repellent vs Waterproof
As you go about researching on the different backpacks for musicians, you’ll definitely come across these product descriptions.
What’s the difference between ‘water resistant’, ‘water repellent’ and ‘waterproof’ backpacks?
Well, these are different levels of protection against the entry of water.
Water Resistant bags provides the lowest level of protection.
It simply means that the backpack provides a barrier that keeps your items dry in a short light shower.
Water will eventually seep in, if the bag is left to seat in the rain for prolong periods.
Water Repellent is the next level of protection.
There’s usually an additional layer of hydrophobic covering on the backpack. This layer helps to repel water.
However, there is a limit to the amount of water it can repel. If left under heavy rain, or soaked in water (i.e. dropped into a body of water), the pressure of the external water will eventually overcome the hydrophobic layer.
Waterproof bags have the highest level of protection against water.
This means that the material on the backpack will NOT let water in.
Do note that this often refer only to the material of the backpack. Water can still enter through openings or zippers. Unless otherwise stated.
Well, that is it!
I’ve given you 10 suitable backpacks for musicians that you could choose from. If you are in a hurry, there will definitely be one in this list that will suit your needs.
Of course, if you have the time, it’s always highly recommended that you do your own research. After all, you’re the one who will be using the bag, and you know your own needs 🙂