A cool pack for every back

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      With the new school year just around the corner, kids and adults alike will be hunting for a new way to carry their books—not to mention their iPads, iPhones, and other digital devices. Gone are the days of neutral-coloured, utilitarian bags—today’s most popular brands combine functionality and fashion to create backpacks that make a statement of their own.

      A style for every occasion

      Vancouver-based Herschel Supply has reimagined its line of designs and added a number of new styles in classic colours and trendy patterns for its fall collection. In addition to the Classic backpack, new canvas bags include the city-friendly Dawson, an elegant canvas backpack featuring two front pockets and leather straps with magnetic closures ($64.99 to $119.99), as well as the Hanson, a plain, lightweight drawstring bag ($54.99). 

      The Hanson’s compact and refined style means there’s more room to stand out in other ways; that’s why we love the Scattered Black with white polka dots. For those who want something that can double as a hiking backpack, the Crown offers a refined silhouette and a larger carrying capacity, with space for a 15-inch laptop ($59.99).

      Rounded at the edges, it looks much more practical than Herschel’s classic bags. The charcoal crosshatch pattern is subtle enough to rock while walking trails but would also appeal to the urban college student. Herschel backpacks can be found at various retailers, including Hudson’s Bay (various locations) and Urban Outfitters (various locations).

      Sized to fit your lifestyle

      Fjällräven rocks burnt orange.

      Fjällräven’s iconic Kånken backpack comes in a size for every need, with capacities as small as seven litres and as large as 20 ($69.99 to $139.99). The Swedish brand (147 West Broadway) has added a number of new solid colours to its fall line, such as air blue, green mint, and autumn leaf.

      The original Kånken has enough room to comfortably fit books and your lunch, and it’s now available in dual colour combinations like burnt orange and deep red (about $75). Kånken laptop backpacks come in three sizes—13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch—and feature a padded pocket and shoulder straps for all-day carrying ($100 to $120).

      The Kånken No. 2 is an updated version of the original, complete with double-waxed material and leather detailing ($139.99). The rich colours are perfectly suited to fall and will work well as a stylish addition to any autumn outfit.

      Bags against bullying

      TOMS packs prints.

      The company that got its start by donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold is at it again, but with backpacks. Every bag purchased from TOMS’ new StandUp youth backpack collection will support training for school staff and crisis counsellors to help prevent and respond to bullying.

      Available at Journeys (Richmond Centre, Metrotown, and Guildford Town Centre), the polyester backpacks come in six different colours and prints, and feature a roll-over top with a quilted buckle, a front zip pocket, and a padded laptop compartment ($60). We love the rich teal and bright pinks and purples of the Tribal print.

      Crafty creations

      B.B. Gun goes old-school.

      Handmade in Strathcona, B.B. Gun Leather’s (1133 Keefer Street) backpacks are built to last. B.B. Gun’s full-size backpack ($349.99) is available in black and natural tan, and it’s made to go from the motorcycle to the office to the street. Rectangular and featuring old-school buckles, this might be the kind of bag your granddad used to tote to school.

      At 15 inches tall, it’s sure to fit most of your books. The slim backpack, slightly shorter at 13 inches tall, is also available in black and natural tan ($299.99). While the bags might not have many pockets, their vegetable-tanned Italian leather and handmade construction will make them lifelong staples of your bag collection.