Emigre Backpack Review

The Emigre Backpack is sleek, professional-looking, and has simple yet effective organization to ensure your gear makes it to your destination in one piece.

Our Verdict

7.1 /10
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  • Sleek-looking exterior
  • Materials are durable and sustainable
  • Hardware functions properly


  • The harness system won’t be capable enough for longer journeys
  • Not much secondary organization
  • Laptop compartment can be challenging to access

Technical Details

92 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 134/145 Airlines

43 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.4 lb (1.1 kg)

  • Dimensions

    16.5 in x 12 in x 4.5 in (41.9 x 30.5 x 11.4 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    ROBIC®, Recycled Nylon, Leather, YKK Zippers, Meets bluesign® CRITERIA

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    Return & Refund Policy

Full Review

The Emigre Backpack has a sleek, business-professional look we’re here for. After all, Emigre is French for emigrate (or emigrated). However, we’re curious how this polished, professional bag performs while traveling the world as a digital nomad. Let’s dive in!

External Components

The primary material used on the daypack’s exterior is Robic nylon, made from 100% recycled fabric. In addition to offering durable, water-resistant materials, it’s bluesign® certified, which means it’s more sustainable. Who doesn’t dig that?

Emigre Backpack Back Outdoor
Emigre Backpack | We dig the look of this pack.

The zippers are from YKK and look as good as they work. If you aren’t familiar, YKK is one of the best brands on the market for durable, long-lasting zippers, so you can count on these to last a while.

The zippers have metal pulls, which look sleek, though they can sometimes be a little loud and are slippery when they get wet. They’re still functional, but it might take a little longer to close them than usual, which can be detrimental to the gear you’ve got stowed inside if it’s raining hard. In all other situations, there are no issues to report.

We’ve got hardware from Duraflex, which is excellent to see. This brand is up there with YKK as one of our favorites, at least at the time of writing.

Emigre Backpack Full
Emigre Backpack | In the studio, you can see how sleek the materials are.

We have handles on the top and side of the pack, which are handy for travel and everyday use. You’ll always have a handle to grab when stowing and removing your pack from the overhead bin, and you can get on and off public transit in a breeze with the durable-feeling handles. This is helped by the fact that you can stow the shoulder straps away, but we’ll get to that later.

There’s an Emigre logo on the top right of the pack’s front face, which is just as sleek as the rest. It isn’t in your face or noticeable if you aren’t on top of the pack. That way, when you walk into a big business meeting, nobody will be too distracted by your backpack to hear your pitch, whether on the 100th floor or in the neighborhood coffee shop.

Emigre Backpack Brand
Emigre Backpack | The logo is minimalistic.

Apart from that, this pack doesn’t have much going on regarding external features. Due to this lack of extras, it looks and feels minimalistic. Some, though, might feel like there’s wasted space. However, you’ve got to admit, it looks rad.

Fit Notes

Emigre Backpack Side By Side
Left: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm) | Right: Kristyne Defever, Height: 5’5” (165 cm), Torso: 17” (43 cm)

These are some of the most minimalistic shoulder straps we’ve come across on a travel daypack. With that information alone, you might think they’re uncomfortable, but you’d be wrong. They’re well padded, shaped like a straight line, and lack aeration or mesh for breathability. On a hot day, they do get a bit sweaty; however, they’re still pretty comfortable. Some larger body sizes may find that they dig in slightly, but the experience is generally good.

On the bottom, there’s a clip to unlatch the shoulder straps. There’s a zipper on the back panel where you can stow the straps when you’re not using them, which is helpful on the airplane, in the hotel room, and for general storage to keep the straps out of the way of your organization. You can stow items inside this pocket when wearing the pack; however, there isn’t much padding here, so it can negatively affect comfort.

Emigre Backpack Harness System
Emigre Backpack | The harness system is minimalistic.

The back panel is basic but comfortable. It has little padding and no aeration, which, again, can get hot, but the materials are thick, which adds comfort. The fabric holds its shape well, so you aren’t likely to get poked by whatever you’ve got stowed in the main compartment.

Inside The Pack

We’ve got just one secondary compartment to work with. You access it from the front of the pack through a vertical opening, with all of the organization vertically oriented.

Emigre Backpack In Use
Emigre Backpack | There are two compartments to work with.

Upon entry, you’ll find two pockets facing the opening. Both have a fuzzy liner, which is ideal for electronic devices. There are two elastic straps for pens or other skinny items, too, so this is an excellent place to access things you want to use during the day, flight, or commute. This pocket is easily accessible by slinging the pack over one shoulder. It doesn’t take up the whole front face of the pack, which feels like wasted space. However, it is pretty large as it is.

The main compartment has thoughtful organization built into the design. On the lid side, we’ve got an admin panel with a large zippered compartment on the top, taking up the whole front face of the pack. You can stow larger items here, but smaller things might get lost.

Emigre Backpack Stuffed
Emigre Backpack | You can fit a lot of gear in here.

Below that, there’s a smaller zippered compartment, which is a good size for a book. The backpack comes with a limited edition moleskin notebook with art from UK-based artist R. Fresson. How fun!

Next, we’ve got an even smaller zippered compartment. It’s the perfect size for cash and cards, which is handy. You can keep your wallet in your pocket, but you don’t have to use it for everything in case it gets lost or stolen. You can keep the essential things here, away from the outside world.

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got four elastic pen slots. Two are larger for bigger items like a stylus, and two are smaller for a standard pen or pencil. If you don’t want to use them, they stay out of the way, which we dig.

Emigre Backpack Organization
Emigre Backpack | The admin panel.

On the bottom of the bag, there’s a water bottle pocket on one side. It has an elastic topper with an adjuster to cinch down on the bottle. Getting used to stowing a travel water bottle inside your pack isn’t easy, but it’s a handy feature to have. You can use this to store other items if you don’t want to risk your bottle leaking onto the contents of the interior.

On the backside, there’s a laptop sleeve to stow your computer. It has good padding, so you don’t need a separate case. There’s also an additional spot for a tablet or notebook, which is handy. The larger compartment can handle up to a 16-inch computer. When loading and unloading it, sometimes your laptop will rub against the zipper or be challenging to maneuver because of a lip on the top of the pack. It’s doable but feels more complicated than it needs to be.

Emigre Backpack Side Handle
Emigre Backpack | Ready to hit the road!

Overall, we dig using this pack, at least from the perspective of functionality and looks. However, it doesn’t have some of the features we’re used to seeing from a backpack meant for travel. That said, this is one of the sleekest backpacks we’ve come across, and that matters!

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The look is sleek and subdued
  • Materials feel incredibly durable for their weight
  • We’re curious how the shoulder straps will hold up
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The exterior is one of the sleekest we’ve seen, with durable materials, too
  • Its internal organization is easy to use and doesn’t get in your way
  • The harness system is comfortable but might not work for some travelers
By Eric Hergenreder
Created October 18, 2023 • Updated October 18, 2023
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