14 Best Laptop Backpacks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Best For Women

The Kinmac looks bohemian but is packed with plenty of  organized compartments and USB charging capabilities.

Best Laptop Protection

The Pelican is crushproof, waterproof and comes with an adjustable pressure valve. It is an absolute fortress.

In a world more and more dominated by technology, people are bringing their computerized devices—smartphone, tablet, laptop—along for almost all activities. So, naturally, companies are designing backpacks to accommodate this need.

It’s getting to the point that a laptop sleeve is a very common feature, even in backpack types that traditionally wouldn’t have had one. However, not all backpacks (and not all laptop backpacks) are created equal. This article offers basic advice and an extensive list of laptop backpack reviews.

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Model

Maximum Laptop Size

Anti-Theft Feature

Check Price

SWISSGEAR 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack |...

SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack

17 Inches

No

Kinmac New Bohemian Waterproof Laptop...

Kinmac Bohemian Water Resistant Laptop Backpack

15.6 Inches

No

Pelican U100 Elite Backpack With Laptop...

Pelican U100 Elite Backpack With Laptop Storage

17 Inches (15 Inches For Non-Apple)

No

Herschel Retreat Backpack, Black, Classic...

Herschel Retreat Backpack

15 Inches

No

eBags Pro Slim Laptop Backpack (Heathered...

EBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

17 Inches

Yes—Zippers Can Be Combination Locked

YOREPEK Backpacks for Men,Extra Large Travel...

Yorepek Travel Laptop Backpack

17 Inches

No

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack, Water...

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

15.6 Inches

Yes—Rear Pocket, Lockable Zippers

TIMBUK2 Spire Laptop Backpack, New Black

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

15 Inches

No

Incase Icon Pack, Red, One Size

Incase ICON Pack

17 Inches

No

Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch...

Case Logic SLRC-206 Camera & Laptop Backpack

16 Inches (17-Inch MacBook)

No

OGIO Renegade RSS Laptop Back Pack

OGIO Renegade RSS Backpack

15 Inches

No

BTOOP Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port...

BTOOP Travel Backpack

17.3 Inches

Yes—Laptop Entrance Is Behind Straps

The North Face Big Shot Red/Asphalt Unisex 17...

The North Face Big Shot Red/Asphalt

17 Inches

No

Laptop Backpack, Business Water Resistant...

Mancro Laptop Backpack

15.6 Inches

Yes—Included Combination Lock

Benefits of a Laptop Specific Backpack

Even if you don’t see yourself as a techie, you probably have a laptop or tablet that’s playing an increasingly important role in your life.

When you bought it, you invested money, and took time figuring it out and personalizing it to fit your needs and preferences—you want to keep it protected, but you would also like to keep it easy to access as much as possible. A good laptop backpack makes this possible:

  • Padding, water resistance, suspension, and antitheft features keep your laptop and other devices protected
  • Compartmentalization and organization is designed to make devices conveniently accessible
  • Other features, such as a headphone port or external USB port, make the backpack a personal tech hub, in and of itself.
  • Backpack comfort features ensure that hauling devices doesn’t mean discomfort during long journeys

best laptop backpack

5 Questions Before Buying a Laptop Backpack

1. What’s the main purpose?

A laptop backpack is, first and foremost, supposed to have a dedicated space for a laptop. Most often this is a padded laptop sleeve, usually with a retaining strap to hold the laptop in place.

2. Which size laptop do you have?

Laptops are generally identified for sizing purposes by the length of their longest diagonal. However, you have to consider whether your laptop is thick or thin—this can make a substantial difference in what size laptop sleeves will accommodate your laptop.

3. How much protection do you need?

Ultimately, this depends on where and how you plan to use your computer. If you know there could be sudden bad weather, waterproofing (or at least water resistance) is important.

If you’re going into unknown public places wearing the backpack, antitheft mechanisms are similarly important. If you know you may not always be perfectly gentle with the backpack, then suspension and padding of the laptop compartment is ideal.

4. What else do you need to carry?

Often people who want to carry a computer with them also want to carry a tablet or smartphone(s), too. Therefore, it’s ideal for the laptop backpack to have protective features for these, as well.

Some people may intend to bring clothing, paperwork, or school books, along with their devices. Different sizes and designs may fit these differing needs.

5. How much do you want to spend?

There are some laptop backpacks over $100 that offer great quality and have the appearance to match.

However, many of us want to get as much as we can for as little money as possible; fortunately, there are also many great laptop backpack with excellent protection and convenient designs that cost well under $100.


Bag designers have heard your cries, and they’ve created attractive, low-profile, highly functional bags for all of your freelance gear.

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Common Features of Quality Backpacks

Strong & Lightweight Material

Most quality backpacks are made of durable, abrasion-resistant fabrics that are water resistant (if not waterproof). The synthetic fabrics that compose the bodies of most modern backpacks have these traits while being surprisingly light and thin. Therefore, don’t assume that because a pack is light in weight or has thin fabric it’s fragile or easily penetrated.

Examples of great backpack fabrics are polyester, canvas, and nylon. Sometimes fabrics are described by a denier number (e.g. 600D). This number indicates, in effect, how densely threaded the fabric is; 600D (and higher) is a good number for a water- and abrasion-resistant backpack fabric.

Naturally, if you’re carrying a computer, protection and durability are a little more important than usual.

Sturdy Zippers & Straps

While zippers often take a backseat to fabric when backpacks are being assessed for durability and strength, they are, in fact, a naturally vulnerable area—water can leak through zippers, thieves can covertly unzip them or break them open, and the zippers can simply break with use, as well. YKK zippers are known as the strongest, most water-resistant zippers on the market.

Shoulder straps also need to be dependable—especially if you’re carrying something fragile and valuable such as a MacBook. Fortunately, most good backpacks have dependable straps; usually the bigger question is whether or not they fit comfortably.

Comfortable & Intelligent Design

A durable, protective structure is important, but most of us would also like a shape that easily fits the items we put in a backpack. Also, ideally, we want organizational features that keep items safe while also keeping them easily accessible when we want them.

In addition, we often want a backpack that sends a message with its appearance. Ironically, in the case of computer backpacks, the ideal is often to conceal, for security reasons, the fact that expensive devices might be inside.

There are great laptop backpacks that have functional doodads and little zippered pouches and pockets all over them; there are equally useful packs with almost completely smooth exteriors.

Multiple Compartments

In a laptop backpack, you need at least a main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. However, most laptop users also have tablets and/or smartphones; naturally, tech users might also need accessories (chargers, cables, memory devices, etc.). Therefore, it can be helpful for a laptop backpack to have well-designed pouches or compartments for these items.

You also have to consider other belongings that you want to carry at the same time you’re carrying your devices. You don’t have to make sacrifices in this area—there are good laptop backpacks that can keep your devices safe while also carrying clothing, cycling gear, sporting gear, or photography equipment.

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The bag you need depends on where you are going, how you are traveling, what you’ll be doing at your destination, and many other factors.


Roger Dooley - digital nomad @ neuromarketing.com

What to Look For In a Good Laptop Backpack

Laptop protection

The amount of structural protection your laptop backpack should have depends on how you plan to use the backpack. If you’re very careful with your backpack and do not go into unpredictable environments often, then a pack that simply fits the laptop but has no dedicated compartment or sleeve for it might be fine.

However, generally, you want a computer backpack to at least have a dedicated laptop sleeve—ideally, with padding and a retaining strap to hold the laptop in place. Some backpacks even suspend the laptop above the bottom to protect it from impact if the backpack is dropped abruptly.

Anti-theft security features

The ultimate anti-theft feature in the best secure laptop backpacks is a combination lock, which comes included with some backpacks.

However, the functionality of a combination lock depends on other features of the backpack: there must be double zippers that can be locked together; the zippers themselves must be durable; and the fabric of the pack must resist ripping or abrading.

Otherwise, a lock may not help much. One great feature that some laptop backpacks have is that the zipper to the computer compartment is behind the shoulder straps—this way, the user has easy access to the computer but a thief cannot slip the laptop out while the pack is being worn.

Keep in mind that if only one compartment of the backpack is anti-theft, you need to put not just your devices but all of your valuables in that part. Check out more information about secure backpacks at this link.

Waterproof or at least water resistant

Unless you have special waterproof electronics, it’s especially important to keep water away from your devices. That said, most people don’t need to put their laptop in a truly waterproof pack. Most good quality backpacks resist water to some extent.

You can add more water resistance by spraying them with silicone or another water repellent material; also, you can simply cover the pack with a water resistant cover during rain—many backpacks come with covers included.

There are backpacks that are designed to be waterproof; often these packs have a drawstring and flap closure on the main compartment—this structure keeps rain out more effectively than zippers normally do.

USB Charging Port

While not essential, a USB charging port on the backpack’s exterior (usually on the middle on one side) is a helpful feature for some users. Typically, the power source doesn’t come with the backpack, but almost always included is an attachment USB cable to connect the USB port to the inside power source.

This is a sensible feature for a tech backpack; people who want space for devices may also want on-the-go charging of those devices. Keep in mind that, if you want to charge all of your devices, you need to be sure to get a power source with enough charging capacity.

Padded & Ergonomic Straps

For short walks, you can tolerate an uncomfortable backpack, but on a longer or more difficult trip, it might create a fairly serious impediment. Most good backpacks have adjustable, padded shoulder straps. Many even have chest and/or hip straps that can be used to ensure a balanced carry of weight—generally these extra straps are good to use when carrying heavy loads.

Almost all have back padding that’s shaped to allow ventilation, so that your back doesn’t become itchy and sweaty. While carrying electronic devices isn’t like going on a camping expedition, it does add some weight, so comfort features matter. Note that many users find S-shaped shoulder straps more comfortable than J-shaped straps, so if you often find it difficult to get a comfortable fit, this is something to consider.


14 Best Laptop Backpacks for Every Individuals Needs

1. SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Travel
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Completely Separate Laptop Compartment
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$
  • Warranty = Yes—3-Year (Limited)

The SwissGear 1900 is the best computer backpack for business travel and, arguably, one of the best laptop and tablet backpacks. The laptop compartment is a completely separate, zippered compartment that folds all the way down to be TSA-friendly. Also TSA-friendly is the TabletSafe™ sleeve (for tablets) which zippers open opposite the laptop compartment.

The main compartment is spacious, while still allowing the pack to be a good size for carry-on; it has a smartphone-sized pocket at the top, so it’s easy to string connected cables through the headphone port.

Structurally, the pack is great for carrying relatively heavy or bulky loads: it has compression straps, a sturdy top handle, a soft back panel with a shape conducive to airflow, and adjustable shoulder straps.

Accessibility is a strength of this pack: it has a small top front compartment—intended for eyeglasses—and a front compartment with small organizational features. Unfortunately, some users complain that the zippers themselves or the surrounding fabric come apart after relatively little use. We found this wasn't the case as this bag is still going strong after years of travel but we recommend checking the company's warranty policy.

Read our extensive review of this backpack here.

Pros

  • TSA-friendly
  • Large side compartments
  • External attachment points
  • Headphone port
  • Excellent suspension and padding system

Cons

  • No substantial anti-theft elements
  • No luggage attachment strap
  • Does not fit some 17-inch laptops
  • Weakness in zippers and surrounding fabric

2. Kinmac Bohemian Water Resistant Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Women
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Thick Foam Padding
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15.6 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No
  • Price Guide = $$
  • Warranty = No

With its small-medium size and feminine style, the Kinmac Bohemian is one of the best backpacks for women. It comes in two sizes—one for 13-inch MacBooks and another for 15.6-inch.

Many users are impressed by how much they can get in the pack, considering the apparent size; users also find the compartmentalization to be appropriate for their needs: Overall, the design is refreshingly simple, but there are pouches for chargers, cables, and other accoutrements.

All users find that this pack is phenomenally comfortable: The shoulder straps have massaging bumps along the inside lining, and it turns out that this is no gimmick—even those with aches and injuries find the pack easy to wear. Oddly enough, there’s little padding or ventilation shaping on the back panel, but users do not seem to miss these features at all.

However, the lack of water resistance or anti-theft features makes this pack a poor choice for travellers or those with a serious outdoor commute—this is more of an everyday-carry laptop backpack.

Pros

  • Many attractive colors and designs
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Fits a variety of sizes well
  • Relevant but simple compartmentalization

Cons

  • Not weather-protective
  • Not for large laptops

3. Pelican U100 Elite Backpack with Laptop Storage

Best Laptop Bag For Men
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Crushproof Case
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches (15 Inches For Non-Apple)
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = Yes—For Case; Water Resistant Fabric
  • Price Guide = $$$$$
  • Warranty = Yes—Lifetime For Case, 1-Year For Fabric

The Pelican U100 Elite is among the best laptop backpacks for men, and it’s the best laptop backpack for work in the military: it promises absolute protection for devices. The laptop compartment is crushproof and almost completely waterproof; it’s guaranteed to keep out water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. The other sections of the pack are effectively water resistant.

Unfortunately, these features make the pack relatively heavy, so this backpack is probably not appropriate for most women or youths. Note that this pack’s maximum laptop size is 17 inches in MacBooks but 15 inches in other laptops—ultimately, whether you can fit a laptop (or a laptop and a tablet) in the case depends on the thickness of the devices.

While many users find this pack excellent for air travel, there are some possible problems: it’s barely small enough to fit under many plane seats (but could potentially be carry-on in the overhead compartment). It’s not TSA-friendly or antitheft.

Pros

  • Laptop case is completely waterproof
  • Laptop case will not collapse
  • Excellent quality materials and build
  • Holds up in military situations
  • Very well-cushioned back panel

Cons

  • Cannot hold large non-Mac laptops
  • No substantial antitheft features
  • Not TSA-friendly
  • Relatively heavy

4. Herschel Retreat Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For College
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padding & Fleece Lining
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No
  • Price Guide = $$$
  • Warranty = Yes—Lifetime (Limited)

The Herschel Retreat is one of the best tech backpacks for a college student. Unlike most laptop backpacks, this one has a drawstring opening with a stylish top flap that snaps closed over the opening. Despite the old-fashioned aesthetic, there’s an internal media pocket to hold a device in place so that earphone cables can be strung through the headphone port and there’s a laptop sleeve.

The pack might be a bit small or under-compartmentalized for high school students, but for many college and graduate students, this pack is sufficient. Since college students often make periodic airplane trips, the fact that this backpack could easily double as a personal carry-on bag is a plus.

Renowned Tech website, itechcode agrees and has included this bag in their top backpack list for bloggers. They love that is on the budget end of the spectrum yet still looks fantastic and takes care of your computer.

Unfortunately, college students might need to be careful about walking outside in the rain with this backpack; it’s not so water resistant. Also, although the drawstring and flap would be difficult to open covertly, there really is no antitheft device (or place for such a device) on this backpack; therefore, it’s not ideal for unpredictable public environments.

Read more about the entire Herschel bag range here.

Pros

  • Plenty of color pattern options
  • Headphone port
  • Warranty and customer service
  • Fits under airplane seats easily
  • Comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Small-medium volume capacity
  • Not many organizational features
  • Not so resistant to water
  • No side pockets

5. eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Work Professionals
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Surround Padding, Foam Pillow
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = Yes—Zippers Can Be Combination Locked
  • Waterproof = No – Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$$
  • Warranty = No

The eBags Professional is outwardly minimalistic and inwardly well-compartmentalized—the best business laptop backpack. At the bottom of the pack, there’s a compartment for the included hard case intended for an AC adapter (but it can also fit small cameras and other devices you wish to protect).

You can remove this case and use the space to add to the main compartment, as well. Another nice touch for professionals is the zip-open mesh water bottle pocket on one side.

In general, this bag avoids having a lot of outward features—it does not look a student’s pack or camping backpack. Another little feature that makes this the best laptop backpack for professionals is the L-pattern zipper opening on the main compartment—it doesn’t open in a U-pattern, making the pack unlikely to tediously flop open.

Furthermore, the bright orange interior lining makes items visible. Also, there’s a luggage sleeve—arguably, this pack is one of the best business travel backpacks, too.

Pros

  • Comfortable to carry
  • AC adapter compartment
  • Good size for carry-on
  • Separate fleece-lined tablet sleeve
  • Can hold a large laptop

Cons

  • Sometimes does not stand on its own
  • Tablet sleeve may not fit large tablets
  • Side pocket is relatively small
  • Relatively heavy

6. Yorepek Travel Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For 17-Inch Laptop
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padding, Containing Strap
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No – Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$
  • Warranty = Yes—1 Year (Limited)

This Yorepek backpack is one of the best backpacks for a 17-inch laptop. It has medium-large 45L capacity, so it can carry more than most laptop backpacks. However, if you want the smallest pack you can get that holds a 17-inch laptop, this is not for you, of course.

Aside from having big main and laptop compartments, it has relatively large front pockets with sub-pouches for everything. It even has two side pockets on each side—one that’s a mesh pouch and one that’s a zipper-opened pocket.

The laptop compartment has sleeves for more than one device and can be opened all the way flat so that TSA can scan everything without removal. The main compartment has a well-placed smartphone pocket to use with the headphone port.

There’s no theft protection per se, but this pack does have double zippers, so one could lock the zippers together. It also has appropriate comfort features for a backpack of this size: ventilating pads on back panel and adjustable shoulder straps.

Pros

  • TSA-friendly
  • External USB port
  • Headphone port
  • Relatively large volume capacity
  • Well-compartmentalized

Cons

  • No real antitheft mechanisms
  • Not for those who want a small backpack

7. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For 15 Inch Laptop
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padded Sleeve With Containing Strap
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15.6 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = Yes—Rear Pocket, Lockable Zippers
  • Waterproof = No – Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $
  • Warranty = No

This Matein laptop backpack is tremendously versatile: its size and design is suitable for males and females of all ages and sizes—students, professionals, commuters, travellers, etc. It’s medium-sized, but it offers multiple pockets for tablets and smartphones, in addition to the specialized laptop compartment.

Many users appreciate that the side mesh pockets are of sufficient size to hold large water bottles. This pack has padding on the back panel, shoulder straps, and even the top handle, so it’s altogether comfortable to use. In addition, it has a luggage sleeve and is a nice size to fit under an airplane seat.

If you need antitheft mechanisms, the pack has lockable zippers and there’s a small pocket in the back panel—a thief cannot reach this while you’re wearing the backpack. Somehow this backpack manages to be one of the best 15.6-inch laptop backpacks, along with being comfortable, stylish, and spacious enough for light travel or school.

Pros

  • External USB port
  • Fits a lot for a medium backpack
  • Carrying options for multiple devices
  • Fits under airplane seats
  • Very comfortable to wear and carry

Cons

  • No headphone port

8. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Best Waterproof Laptop Backpack
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padded Sleeve, Waterproofing
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = Yes
  • Price Guide = $$$
  • Warranty = Yes—Lifetime (Limited)

The Timbuk2 Spire is a versatile waterproof laptop backpack: it has both laptop and tablet sleeves and is medium in size. Aside from waterproof fabric and seams, it’s the roll-down closure that really makes the main compartment almost airtight.

An interesting feature is that there are two ways to get to your laptop—you can open the flap, or you can open the zipper at the far back. While not technically anti-theft, this build could make difficulty for a thief without creating tedium for the user.

If you’re an Apple product fan, this bag is for you—it’s designed for Apple products; however, it can certainly work for other brands, too—just be careful about sizing. This pack has MOLLE-like fabric attachment areas and a Velcro strap for a U-lock—arguably, this backpack has the features to be one of the best cycling laptop backpacks you can buy.

For similar reasons, it would be a great choice for hikers who want to bring a MacBook and iPad along, as well. Timbuk2 is an excellent brand and has a wide range of backpacks. Learn more about their products here.

Pros

  • Strapping to hold U-lock
  • Separate sleeves for tablet and laptop
  • Lifetime limited warranty
  • Good size for carry-on
  • Plenty of extra attachment sites

Cons

  • Unusually tall and narrow shape
  • Side pouch is too large for some containers
  • Some find shoulder straps feel tight

9. Incase ICON Pack

Best Slim Laptop Bag
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padded Sleeve, Separate Compartment
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$$$
  • Warranty = Yes—1 Year (Limited)

The Incase ICON offers many of same features as other packs on this list but without as much width making it stick out. It has a minimalist, gender neutral appearance. Even as a slim backpack, the ICON has the basic tech backpack features and then some: it has slots to fit a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone, plus plenty of small pouches for tech accessories and other small belongings. A nice feature is the small zippered pocket at the top of the pack—a convenient location for a smartphone.

However, the ICON isn’t ideal for activities that demand high carrying volume. As such, this pack generally would not make a good replacement for a suitcase, nor would it make a good camping pack or high school backpack.

It would make a good carry-on or commuting bag, as it’s certainly small enough to fit under a seat—it fits on airlines where other packs are a tight squeeze. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any antitheft features, so it may be safer to use for everyday carry or professional use in safe locations.

Pros

  • Fits easily under airplane seats
  • Mature-looking design
  • Well-placed pockets and pouches
  • Tends to stand upright on its own

Cons

  • Side pockets only hold small bottles
  • No anti-theft features
  • Some find chest strap just gets in the way

10. Case Logic SLRC-206 Camera & Laptop Backpack

Best Camera & Laptop Bag
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Water Resistance, Padding, Rigidity
  • Maximum Computer Size = 16 Inches (17-Inch MacBook)
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = Yes—At The Base, But Water Resistant Otherwise
  • Price Guide = $$$$
  • Warranty = Yes—25 Year (Limited)

The Case Logic SLRC-206 has a rigid waterproof bottom that will keep out water even if the backpack somehow ends up in a puddle, and it has a unique suspension system to cushion a camera from impact when the pack is set down. There’s also foam padding on the interior in vulnerable areas.

This pack is large enough to carry a large laptop, an SLR camera, and a drone (the size of a DJI Mavic Pro). Like other camera bags, there’s a top zippered opening for quick access to the SLR camera, and foam and Velcro dividing pieces to customize the camera space for your needs.

On one side, there’s a zippered side pocket with pouches for an iPhone and a compact camera. The other side has a set of straps to hold a tripod or similar piece of equipment too long to fit in the backpack itself. This pack has a ventilating and padding back panel and soft adjustable shoulder straps; these comfort features are all the more important for a camera pack, which is inevitably heavier than most similarly sized backpacks.

Pros

  • Rigid, stands upright on its own
  • Brightly colored interior for visibility
  • Interior protection from scratch and impact
  • Plenty of small pouches for accessories
  • Warranty

Cons

  • Camera hole is tight for some lenses
  • Hard to avoid having wasted space at bottom of camera compartment

11. OGIO Renegade RSS Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Commuting
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padded Sleeve, RSS System
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$$
  • Warranty = Yes—Lifetime (Limited)

The OGIO Renegade RSS has everything the modern commuter could want. It has a padded laptop compartment with a Reactive Suspension System (RSS) to protect a laptop from impact. It also has a padded tablet sleeve, a padded compartment for a small device such as a mouse, and a smartphone pouch conveniently located near the top of the pack.

In addition, there are many more pouches and pockets for other personal items, including four zippered side pockets—potentially for water bottles and/or other small belongings, a protective hard pocket for sunglasses at the pack’s top, and a small zippered pouch in one of the shoulder straps.

The overall appearance is clean enough to be professional but casual enough to be a golf or gym backpack. It could even make a great school backpack for college or graduate students. The volume capacity is lacking and price is excessive for many high school students.

One drawback is that this backpack doesn’t have any antitheft features, so you either need to keep your eyes on it or only use it in predictably safe environments. We especially recommend this bag for anyone who rides a motorcycle to work.

Pros

  • Luggage sleeve
  • A compartment or pocket for everything
  • Comfortable back panel and straps
  • Good size for carry-on
  • Durable, protective structure

Cons

  • Relatively heavy
  • No antitheft features
  • Not many organizational features in front pouch
  • Thin laptops may slide around too much in laptop compartment

12. BTOOP Travel Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Gym Junkies
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Special Compartment
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17.3 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = Yes—Laptop Entrance Is Behind Straps
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$
  • Warranty = No

This BTOOP backpack has a build uniquely good for gym use—it’s one of the best backpacks for laptop and clothes. There’s even a specialized breathable shoe compartment at the bottom of the backpack.

While not an anti-theft pack specifically, this backpack’s laptop compartment zipper is behind the shoulder straps, so no one can slip your laptop out while you’re wearing the backpack, and it’s possible to lock the zippers. Furthermore, there’s a secret pouch in the back panel.

Other features that exercisers will appreciate are the ample-sized mesh side pocket, the two small pockets in the shoulder straps, and the external USB port—you barely have to do anything to grab your water bottle, pull out a card, or charge your phone.

This backpack can be worn more like a traditional gym bag (hanging on one shoulder), since it comes with an add-on shoulder strap. The pack can also be carried like a duffel, since there are a total of 4 handles along the body.

With its spacious clothing compartments and luggage sleeve, this backpack could also be an excellent travel backpack. It’s also one of relatively few backpacks for 17.3-inch laptops.

Pros

  • External USB port
  • Special shoe compartment
  • Luggage sleeve
  • Comes with add-on shoulder strap
  • Ventilating back panel

Cons

  • Might be a bit bulky for professional use
  • No specialized sleeves for tablets or phones

13. The North Face Unisex Big Shot

Best Laptop Bag For Back Pain
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Fleece-Lined Sleeve
  • Maximum Computer Size = 17 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = No
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $$$$
  • Warranty = Yes—Lifetime (Limited)

The North Face Unisex Big Shot is the best backpack for back pain sufferers. Many backpacks have cushioning and ventilation shaping on the back panel and suspension system, but this backpack is above average in this area: the bottom back panel is slanted in such a way as to shift weight towards the body, making the weight easier to carry.

The Big Shot is also highly versatile—it has a good build for commuting, hiking, biking, or going to the gym; it has a simple, understated, and mature look that could work in casual professional settings, too.

However, this is probably not the best backpack for professionals: it doesn’t have conveniently placed pockets for devices and it has no antitheft features. However, the simplicity might be ideal for some, since it allows more flexibility in the size and shape of carried belongings.

The built-in whistle on the chest strap and the hydration compartment are features that suggest hiking pack. However, the size also makes this a generally great backpack for laptops up to 17.5 inches. We have reviewed more North Face bags here.

Pros

  • Safety whistle on chest strap
  • Hydration sleeve and hose accommodation
  • Weight distribution system in back panel
  • Good quality and warranty
  • Good size for carry-on

Cons

  • Not many organizational features
  • Not robustly weatherproof

14. Mancro Laptop Backpack

Best Laptop Bag For Under $50
  • Laptop Protection = Yes—Padded Sleeve, Containing Strap
  • Maximum Computer Size = 15.6 Inches
  • Anti-Theft Feature = Yes—Included Combination Lock
  • Waterproof = No - Water Resistant
  • Price Guide = $
  • Warranty = No

This Mancro backpack is well under $50, but its features, quality, and appearance would suggest a more expensive product. The combination-locked main compartment has a padded laptop compartment, a tablet-sized sleeve and space for more belongings.

By hooking a power bank in the main compartment up to the built-in USB port, you can charge your devices without opening the pack. The front pocket has a small sleeve and slots for smartphones and pens. The side pouches can be opened for bottles or closed to keep small belongings inside.

Compression straps can be used to balance the load, hold items in the side pouches, or as attachment sites. Another great thing about this backpack is that users report that it’s so effectively water resistant as to be nearly waterproof.

The Mancro would make a great school backpack, but it may not offer the carrying space that some middle or high school students require. It is also featured in our budget backpack list.

However, college and graduate students are likely to find it perfect, as are professionals. Its tech-friendly build, clean appearance, and small-medium size could also make it a great carry-on pack or everyday-carry bag.

Pros

  • External USB port
  • Nice color selection
  • Closable side pouches
  • Almost waterproof
  • Fits under airplane seat

Cons

  • Small-medium volume capacity
  • No headphone port
  • Not much bottom padding for laptop

Considerations for Frequent Travelers

As a traveller, you have to strike a balance when choosing a travel backpack: you need enough space for your devices and other belongings, but at the same time, the pack needs to be small enough to fit with you on public transportation.

Good backpacks for business travellers are designed to keep certain items within quick reach to maximize efficiency, but non-business travellers will definitely appreciate this trait, too. If your travels involve long walks, the comfort of the backpack will come into play, too; you might want to consider whether a rolling backpack would be easier to handle.

Aside from these basic considerations, there are considerations specific to certain kinds of travel. Air travel especially creates many problems, but fortunately there are backpacks that solve them: an TSA-approved laptop backpack can be opened flat so that the TSA can scan electronic devices without going through other belongings; anti-theft features mean that you can wear your backpack in a public area (such as an airport) without later finding your devices, valuables, or personal documents gone.

Also, there may be some fear that the pack will be dropped or accidentally handled roughly. Here, good padding, suspension, and containment of the laptop (and tablet, too) is important; even if electronics are safe inside a pack, they can potentially rub or whack into each other if they’re not contained and isolated properly.


Considerations for Daily Commuters

Commuters often need very versatile computer backpacks. Some commuters are strictly professional and need a backpack that can fit their needs while looking very mature and formal for the office. Usually, good professional backpacks are minimalistic and slim (not shaped like a turtle shell, as many school backpacks are).

However, some commuters also want their work backpack to serve as a gym bag, too, so they need a backpack that keeps their technology separate from their tennis shoes and other clothes. Amazingly, there are great laptop backpacks for professionals that can do all of this.

Of course, not all commuters are driving or taking public transportation. Some walk or cycle to work. Such commuters need waterproofing features more than most.

Cyclists might appreciate attachment points for a U-lock on the exterior of their pack, and walkers definitely appreciate a long-wear comfortable fit. Both could potentially benefit from reflective material, especially if the commute is particularly early or late.


Considerations for College Students

College students have a lot of the same needs as high school students, but generally, college backpacks don’t need to have as much carrying volume; also, college students usually prefer a more mature, stylish look.

A good college laptop backpack is one that has some volume to carry a few textbooks and/or binders and notebooks, in addition to a padded laptop sleeve. College students will definitely appreciate more tech-friendly features: college life can be hectic, so an external USB port in the backpack is a great way to add simplicity—you’re less likely to end up frantically searching for a power source at an inopportune moment.

A backpack with a headphone port is a blessing for the college student who uses on-the-go music to energize him/her throughout the day.


Size Matters!

Note that laptop sizes are normally designated by the longest diagonal measurement. (A 17-inch laptop is not 17 inches long—it is 17 inches from one corner to the other.) From there, you also have consider the thickness of your laptop. Apple products (MacBooks) tend to be thinner.

Gaming laptops of any brand tend to be bigger in all dimensions than their non-gaming counterparts. (Gamers also have to be sure they have space for auxiliary gear, such as headsets.)The good news is that many sites offer reviews where users indicate whether the sleeve tends to run large or small.

Most laptop backpacks are designed to fit larger laptops—usually 15- or 17-inch; this is generally okay for keeping smaller sizes, such as 14- or 13-inch laptops, as long as there’s enough padding or strapping to keep the device in place.

Sometimes a small laptop can fit into a tablet sleeve, and it’s not uncommon to be able to put both a laptop and a tablet in the laptop sleeve together.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a 100% waterproof bag?

No, generally water resistance is enough, and fortunately, most high quality backpacks have this trait.

My laptop bag can get heavy. Is an ergonomic backpack a good idea?

Yes. If you find that you feel discomfort while you’re wearing your backpack, seeking an ergonomic or better-fitting option is what to do. If nothing else, take time to be sure you have adjusted the shoulder straps of your backpack for the most comfortable fit possible—sometimes this solves the problem.

What does TSA-approved mean & how does it work?

TSA-approved backpacks can zipper all the way open in a way that isolates the laptop compartment so that the scanner can see the laptop without any further tampering with the backpack and its other contents.

Some backpacks conveniently have a tablet compartment that’s opposite the laptop compartment so that when the pack is zippered all the way open, the tablet is isolated before the scanner, too. Note that TSA-friendly devices can be opened like normal backpacks, too; the open-flat position is just a convenient added feature.

What is the price range from cheap to expensive computer backpacks?

There’s a wide range—you can get a great computer backpack costing anywhere from $25 to $170. Generally, more expensive packs are more likely to come with a good warranty and good customer service.

Where can I find discounted bags online?

Amazon often has the best discounts on these backpacks, but Best Buy and Lenovo offer some good deals, as well.


Conclusion

Now you can even find large hiking backpacks with laptop sleeves and/or well-designed slots for tablets and smartphones. Computer backpacks are not just for techies; there’s a good computer backpack for every person.

No matter your age, profession, school level, mode of transportation, or hobby—you can find a tech backpack that fits your needs.


  • Updated September 12, 2020
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