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Grab Bag: Top 20 Best Roll Top Backpacks for Modern Adventurers

Searching for a roll top backpack to take on your adventures? This is the page for you! We talk about what makes a roll up backpack so useful and stylish, and present our top 20 recommended brands.

Best Roll Top Backpack

There’s a resurgence of roll top backpacks growing in the adventure community. An increasing number of hikers, bikers, campers, commuters, and students are all toting around modern style rolltop bags instead of the alpine bag style wherein everything is closed with zippers, ties, or flaps.

The rolltop, conversely, does exactly what it says it will do, which is have a top that rolls down like a brown bag lunch sack instead of using another means of closure.

The reason people are reverting to this older, more simplistic style is due to the advantages they get with a roll top that isn’t there when you’ve got a whole galaxy of pockets, mesh webbing, drawstrings, and whatever the hell that weird little clasp with the compression hook is called.

Why Roll Top Backpacks Are Worthwhile?

A roll top backpack has several facets that alpine bags do not. These make the roll top a much easier, simpler storage solution than even a basic zippered bag that carried everyone’s Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox.

  • Fast, easy access to the huge main pocket.
  • Compacts to reduce unnecessary volume.
  • Works equally well when completely full or mostly empty for more utility in a greater number of situations.
  • Fewer zippers, pockets, and straps to worry about.
  • Produce less waste and typically cost less since they are simpler to produce.

20 of the Best Roll Top Backpacks

A roll top backpack makes good EDC bags because they’re not intended to be built for dire conditions and complex journeys. They’re satchels where you throw in all the junk you need, roll it down, strap it in, and walk on with your day.

If that kind of purity appeals to you, it’s time to get serious and snap up your new go-everywhere companion. Here are 20 of the best rolltop bags of 2022:

1. Rains Roll Top Backpack

Rains Roll Top BackpackShop Now

Ready to tackle whatever the weather throws at it is the Rains Roll Top Backpack. A staple for city commuters.

Rains characterized the bag’s look by using a roll-top opening, a tactile strap, and a signature carabiner.  A front zip pocket and a side access laptop pocket will keep your gadgets safe and secure. Rains didn’t skimp on style either; the signature PU fabric creates a flawless and seamless design. 

Bike commuters were especially thought about in the roll-top backpacks design stages. Rains included a front D-ring that is ideal for holding bike locks while you’re on the move. 

Seven stylish colors match perfectly to Rain’s waterproof jackets for those who enjoy a matching ensemble.

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2. Mismo Express Leather Backpack

Mismo Express Leather BackpackShop Now

Roll top backpacks like the Mismo Express Leather Backpack come at a price, but their quality and design make up for it. Mismo crafted their roll-top Express Leather Backpack out of vegetable-tanned leather for a soft and stylish finish. 

Big enough to fit a 13” laptop, the padded back compartment will keep your items safe and damage-free. Solid brass accessories, a fold-down leather strap, and an external zip pocket give the back character and dimension.

Whether you’re heading on a flight or to a coffee shop, you’ll be doing it in style with this backpack.

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3. Burton Tinder Pack

Burton Tinder Pack

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Acting as a three-fer, the Tinder is a drawstring bag that also rolls down and bears a belted flap over the top for increased waterproofing. It barely falls into the technical category of a rolltop, but the proper spirit is there. Loads of color options and styles make the 100% polyester body shine, with a no-nonsense look that is fashionably minimal at every turn.

4. Johnny Urban Roll Top

Johnny Urban Roll Top

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Ready to work as a carry-on should you require it, become a tote at a moment’s notice, or act as your daily laptop bag, there’s subtle padding throughout that doesn’t make itself known until you’ve been wearing it for hours without any discomfort. A phone pocket on the front is the sole functional adornment of this timeless piece. 

5. Unsettle’s The Commuter

Unsettle's The Commuter

Right in the name, if you’re a bike commuter in need of something that can shun rain and live on your back through thick and thin, wet and wearying, you’ll be quite happy with the 1000D ripstop nylon and YKK AquaGuard zippers. Should you need more organization than the single huge pocket and laptop sleeve provide, you can dump in the Unroll Tool Roll from Unsettle to round it out. 

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6. North St. Davis

North St. Davis

Portland-based North St. can’t afford to miss a step, lest they be washed away by the rains of Portland. Clearly a product of the Pacific Northwest, the Davis day pack is a 1000D cordura, #10 duck canvas-made, waterproof wonder that protects your clothes and gear well enough that full submergence rarely causes much dampness. Each zipper is similarly sealed so cutting through is the only way for water to seep in. As an added bonus, you can customize your bag with extra velcro pockets, a waist belt, or a laptop sleeve. 

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7. Timbuk2 x Apexer Tuck

Timbuk2 x Apexer Tuck

Timbuk2 has been the tip of the rolltop bag spear for longer than most people knew there was such a thing. They were the first to spit out nylon bags that had thermoplastic polyurethane lining, a change that has made waterproofing commonplace. Anything with their name on it is excellent, but toss in the street art good looks of Apexer Tuck and you’ve got a little more pomp to go with your circumstance. 

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8. Millican Smith’s The Roll

Millican Smith's The Roll

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Forget frivolity with The Roll. It’s here to do a job waterproofing your stuff, giving you lots of options for smart fit and wear, keeping you comfortable while you wear it, and never saying die. It ain’t got time to bleed, or to pretty itself up for you. 

9. YNOT Tuck and Roll

via purecycles.com

Should the company’s clear love of puns cause them to lose your business? Not when they can still design a compact cycling bag with 1000D cordura that slips on and snaps up this quickly. A real grab-and-go bag, this can truly roll deep. 

10. Mission Workshop The Monty

Mission Workshop The Monty

Over at Mission they seem to be in the business of manufacturing miracles. All their bags are good, but The Monty is a new animal rarely seen in the wild. It’s a rolltop messenger bag that slings to the side rather than staying strapped on like a papoose. Flap it down or roll it up, it’s 1000D nylon with its Milspec webbing for added expansion.

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11. North St. Flanders

North St. Flanders

One of the few affordable rolltop bags that comes with compression straps for real expansion, Flanders has all the same 1000D goodness and customization as the Davis, but is also cut into a smooth, hourglass shape that adds in space but also contours to your frame for a kinder fit that eliminates many aches and pains from extended carry, particularly over rough terrain.

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12. Brooks England Pickwick Patchwork

Brooks England Pickwick Patchwork

All urban all the time, the Pickwick Patchwork bag is a fantastic choice for your next rorlltop backpack. It comes with a 15-inch padd laptop sleeve, wide pockets for easy access, and a streamlined look that is pure Londoner chic. Fully water resistant and made to last, it is not a bag you buy on a whim and expect to replace every few months. 

Offering expandable storage space and easy to adjust shoulder straps, you’re looking at a rolltop that is practical and comfortable as well as being ultra-stylish.

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13. Frost River Arrowhead Rolltop

Frost River Arrowhead Rolltop

Waxed canvas that comes equipped with a lifetime guarantee, the buckles are burly brass which patinas over time adding a sense of age and wisdom to this Buy It For Life bag built for adventure. 

With one internal and two external zippered pockets, and available in a 13 and 15inch sizing, the Arrowhead Rolltop is a reliable bag with the endurance to stand the test of time.

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14. Whipping Post’s The Roll Top

Whipping Post's The Roll Top

Stepping away from the worlds of ripstop nylon and canvas, here’s a leather rolltop that’s vegetable-tanned leather through and through, with canvas adjustable shoulder straps for enhanced comfort. It’s exactly what it looks like, though we suggest seeing and handling it in person to truly appreciate what fine workmanship this bag has. 

15. Chrome Motor Barrage

Chrome Motor Barrage

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Faced with those who claim rolltop bags don’t belong on motorcycles, nor can you add tactical elements to a bag of this kind, Chrome says merely asks “What’s next?” after proving them wrong in a single move. The original Barrage bag was good for hikers, but this cranks up the toughness and adds in a mountain of tiny features that you don’t notice you need, until you’re grateful they’re there. 

16. Mission Workshop Vandal

Mission Workshop Vandal

Starting at a scant 25 liters then climbing up to 65 once you expand it all the way, converting it to an alpine-style pack, the Vandal is a big bag that’s often more space than you’ll need. You can pack to the gills with extra pockets and tool rolls, or just try to shove your mattress in it. Comes in your choice of 1000D Nylon or HT500 fabric. 

17. Outlier NextHigh Rolltop

Outlier NextHigh Rolltop

The follow up bag to the successful UltraHigh, the NextHigh rolltop is a festival of modern textile technology. With a 20 liter capacity with a triple roll and 28 liters when fully unrolled, it offers plenty of space in a lightweight bag. Made from an Armodon self-reinforcing propylene frame sheet with cast aluminum Duraflex ladder locks, it is a bag that needs to be admired. 

This is a perfect multifunctional bag that’s great for everything from quick hikes, to long road trips, or even relaxing beach days with family and friends.

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18. Tumi Alpha Bravo Ally

Tumi Alpha Bravo Ally

With a padded mesh back panel and a padded space for a 15-inch laptop screen, the Ally is already a bag many will fall in love with. Then, when you factor in all the additional features, this bag soon becomes an absolute must-have. 

Inside it features four media open pockets, a zip pocket, two card pockets, and a pen holder – because you always need a pen. Externally it has adjustable shoulder straps and handy grab handles for extra carrying options. It also boasts two zip pockets on the front and a hidden pocket on the back with a magnetic closing system. 

If you’re looking for a rolltop backpack, this is one of the very best. 

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19. Mifland Rucksack

Mifland Rucksack

+Supple leather that’s stylish and smooth, it feels as good as it looks, it looks good with everything, and it’s probably going to outlive you and look better doing it. This laptop looks great and does exactly what you need it to do. It might lack the frills of some other bags, but when you boil it down, what more do you really need. 

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20. Filson Dry Roll-Top

Filson Dry Roll-Top

Constructed from 840D nylon, this back is water proof and wear resistant. Designed to handle heavy usage day in and day out, it offers everything you could want in a backpack. Complete with adjustable shoulder straps and with zippered pockets inside and out, this 28L bag really does have it all. 

A breaktahble back panel makes for easier carrying and helps reduce that irritating back sweat when out on long hikes. 

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Final Thoughts on the Best Roll Top Backpack

Did you find your next roll top backpack in your list? We hope so. Whether you’re a fan of the outdoors, a semi-professional wild man like Ray Mears, or simply find yourself with a lot of stuff to carry, a roll top backpack is exactly what you need. 

Do you already have a bag that you rely on day to day? Let us know in the comments. Perhaps you haven’t ever thought of investing in a roll top backpack, but now realize just how handy it could be. Again, let us know what option you go for, and if you are happy with the investment.