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Swap Your Briefcase for One of These Professional Backpacks

Swap Your Briefcase for One of These Professional Backpacks

It’s not just a way to carry your stuff. It can get you noticed at the office
I had an important meeting scheduled in NYC, with one of the Men’s Health cover guys. We were thinking of working on a project together, so I had to convey a certain kind of trustworthiness, as in “I’m a creative guy, but I’m not so creative that I’ll f-up this deal.”

I had to convey: “I’m creative and professional.”
So I needed to dress the part. (For more than 2,000 tips on how to live a healthier, happier, successful life, check out The Better Man Project.)

Because this project hasn’t exactly been green lighted yet, I can’t mention which cover guy I met with. And also—well—maybe this big-deal guy wouldn’t want to be randomly called out for coveting another guy’s . . . backpack.
What had I done right? I listened to my guide, MH Fashion and Grooming Director Brian Boyé. He has rules for looking cool and never blowing a big meeting:

No carabiners. You’re traversing Grand Central, not Grand Teton. So keep it simple and efficient.

  • No bright colors, prints, or patterns.
  • Skip extra straps, unnecessary buckles.

So where does that leave us, on the plus side?

Choose a canvas or leather shell, for a polished but no-fuss façade.Select a model with just a few exterior pockets, for a clean, sophisticated feel.


Brian had specific bags to recommend, as well. All felt cool on my back, were strong enough to stand up to years of schlepping, and were light-years ahead of the crappy nylon backpack I’d been using.

Here they are in career-development order.

THE INTERNherschel

Hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

The Herschel Supply Heritage Backpack is made of hard-wearing cotton canvas, it has a cool lining to protect your stuff, and the leather-reinforced base that will scuff beautifully as you scrap at the bottom of the career ladder.


My devotion to backpacks was typically for use on the trail. The Silas Backpack from Will Leather Goods helped me carry that spirit of adventure onto my daily commute.

Will is based in Eugene, and there’s something very “Old Oregon Trail” about this piece, with its rough-grain leather and plaid interior.



Now, back to my encounter with the MH cover guy, who shall remain nameless.

This is one very cool guy, and I stood for a while in the offices of his very cool agent, awaiting his very cool arrival.


And for those who’ve arrived, or hope to soon, it’s worth it, with fine-grain leather, zippers that glide with ease, and intelligent (not gratuitous) storage space.

For those reasons, plus generally looking fine, it was the initial focus of conversation between me and the cover guy. You might even say it upstaged me, initially. But if first impressions are everything, as the research suggests, the Tumi gave me instant cred.

I followed with some actual credentials of my own, but how nice that my backpack did some of the advance work for me.

The lesson here: If you buy the right backpack, sometimes it will carry you.

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