Best Laptop Backpacks
Are you a digital nomad, bike commuter, or do you enjoy bringing your laptop to your favorite local cafe to sip on an Americano and scroll through Facebook?
If so, you will need to ensure that your beloved computer is protected on the way to any location. A great way to keep your Mac Book Pro safe while you move from point A to point B is a laptop backpack. Having a place to store your laptop is a fantastic way to keep your hands free, while still having everything you need right with you.
With free hands, you can hold a coffee, message on your phone, or steer your bike, and all the while, your device will be stored securely, so no damage is caused.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10.5 hrs of research
It includes a detachable carabiner to keep your keys safe
The zippers and straps have been run through vigorous tests to ensure maximum performance
Has a water-resistant nylon construction
Top 10 Picks
1. Asus Republic of Gamers
It includes a detachable carabiner to keep your keys safe
The zippers and straps have been run through vigorous tests to ensure maximum performance
Has a water-resistant nylon construction
While great for taller people, the frame can make it uncomfortable for shorter people
ASUS is one of the leading manufacturers in terms of gaming accessories. It just so happens that their gaming backpack, the Nomad V2, is the best. Do not worry, even though it is designed with a PC gamer in mind, any laptop owner can enjoy the luxuries that ASUS provides.Read more
The internal suspension system can allow the interior of the pack to hold laptops and notebooks up to 17-inches. Past the main compartment for your laptop, several pockets in the interior can provide an excellent location for accessories such as cables, keyboards, and mouses. Also, there is a dedicated hanging hook for gaming headsets.
The shell of this pack has been coated with a water-resistant repellant to keep your contents dry and safe from nasty weather. Also, the 1680D ballistic nylon creates a durable exterior.
Thanks to the shoulder padding on the straps, you can carry this pack in comfort. However, to prevent overheating, the back padding is ventilated and designed to keep you fresh.
While there are no additional color selections for you, the lone black and red color is masterfully designed and visually appealing.
PC gamers will take a great appreciation for this backpack, but non-gamers can enjoy it just as much. Its spacious main compartment, excellent organizable pockets, and water-resistant shell ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
2. Thule Subterra
Full-zipper for easy access
SafeEdge laptop protection
15" laptop sleeve and 10" tablet sleeve
No reflective features
Minimal color options
Mesh pocket is not very durable
The Subterra from Thule is a protective and organized bag with two electronics sleeves. The Nylon material makes the backpack water-resistant and durable. We love the style and versatility but would have loved to see more color options and reflectivity included.Read more
The overall capacity of the Subterra is 25 liters. The laptop sleeve features SafeEdge construction and provides great bumper protection, 15” at maximum. You can access your laptop through the top or side zipper. There is also a second sleeve, for electronics up to 10” that has a soft lining to avoid scratches. There are many pockets on this backpack that are ideal for headphones, cellphones, sunglasses, and gloves. A molded insert is included to create a safe pocket for delicate items, such as your sunglasses. The backpack itself weighs just over two pounds.
The Nylon material that this is made from provides you with decent water resistance. One reviewer claimed that when riding in the rain, for an extended period of time, the top flap seemed to absorb the water, keeping the contents of the bag dry. One gripe that a few users have had with the durability of the backpack is the mesh water bottle pocket is quite thin and easy to rip. However, it has been noted that Thule has great customer service. The Subterra comes with a 25-year warranty.
While you may not be able to see it in the photos, the straps and back panel are both well-cushioned. Even when this is packed full, reviewers say that it is still comfortable. There are no specific built-in breathability features, but it hasn’t seemed to be an issue.
The Subterra is a commuter-style backpack. One of our favorite features of the bag is the duffle-style zipper that allows you to fully open the main compartment. This makes it easy to find a specific item quickly, as well as pack and unpack the bag. There are daisy chains on the outside that allow you to attach lights or extra gear easily. Unfortunately, the color options are minimal and there is no integrated reflectiveness.
The Subterra is a great commuter pack that makes organizing and keeping your items safe easy. We do wish that there were more style options available, but the backpack looks sleek in black and goes with everything.
3. The North Face Pivoter
Has 2 padded electronics sleeves
Great for school, work, or hiking
Color options may be misleading
Doesn't sit up straight when you put it down
The Pivoter features a woman-specific harness but has a great style that could be used by either sex. The injection-molded straps and Flexvent back panel provide great comfort and breathability. With so many color options available, you are sure to find one that fits your personal style.Read more
The overall capacity of the Pivoter is 29 liters. There are three main pockets, one large, medium, and small. The largest pocket includes a padded laptop sleeve for computers up to 15”. The medium-sized front pocket has a tremendous built-in organization as well as an additional padded sleeve for smaller electronics, such as a kindle or tablet. The small compartment on the top-middle is great for quick-access items, such as your keys or wallet. There are two large mesh pockets, one on each side, that are great for water bottles or an umbrella. The backpack itself weighs just under two pounds.
There have been no durability concerns with this backpack. It has strong and reliable zippers and is made from 600D polyester. The side mesh pockets are very deep and made from a tightly woven mesh that is not likely to rip. To top it all off, The North Face offers a lifetime warranty with this backpack.
Whether it’s a hot day on campus or in the woods, you’ll feel comfortable with the Pivoter thanks to its excellent breathability. It features a Flexvent back panel that is uniquely shaped for ultimate breathability and comfort. The shoulder straps are injection-molded to make carrying a heavy load more comfortable, and there’s also a sternum strap to help even out the weight distribution. The shoulder harness has been specifically designed for a woman’s frame, but the look of this backpack is unisex. If you are a man with a smaller frame, this is also an excellent option for you.
As you can see, this is a very versatile backpack. It looks professional enough for school or work but also functions as a great hiking backpack. Depending on where you shop, the color options are different, but there are thirteen different colors available on Amazon.
If you are looking for one bag to bring with you on every commute and adventure, the Pivoter is a great companion. We love loads of color options, the organization, and the reflective detail to keep you safe at night.
4. Incase Range
The compartment for the laptop is padded with a plush fleece lining
For visibility at night, there are reflective details
Includes a U-lock pocket for securing your ride
The material is heavy
A lot of credit needs to go out to Incase as because of the impressive design, their Range Backpack is able to overcome its bulkiness issue. With minor features proving extra attention to detail, many should forgive the extra weight.Read more
To ensure a proper fit, do not attempt to pack laptops or notebooks that exceed 15-inches in length. A few centimeters off may be fine, but nothing substantial. Past a safe and secure location for your laptop, there is enough room in this bag (such as a side-access notebook compartment) to find a place for most of your essentials. As a bonus, there is also a U-lock utility pocket with an organizer.
Outside, the Range Backpack is crafted from a durable 1680D ballistic nylon with non-PVC 600d polyester. Inside, the notebook compartment is padded with a plush fleece lining.
When your body begins to perspire, your back will be able to breathe thanks to the air mesh padding. Plus, the shoulder straps are fully adjustable to accommodate different sizes.
No one will take an issue with the color selection chosen for this backpack, black, and lumen, but there are no further options.
The tradeoff to the rugged and fantastic shell is that the material integrated creates a heavy backpack. But, innovative features such as the U-lock and reflective details for visibility at night, provide a sense of uniqueness.
5. eBags Professional Slim
Has a sleek and professional appeal
Includes several different types and sizes of compartments
Is backed by a limited lifetime warranty
The mesh in the front is over-organized and does not fit anything substantial
With its professional appeal, this upcoming bag is ideal for those of you searching for a sense of sophistication. Of course, it helps that eBags truly understands what customers are looking for in backpacks that keep your computer safe.Read more
eBags claims that their Professional Slim will fit devices 12.25-inches in width and 17.5-inches in height. When the pad is removed, it can fit even larger. There are zippered compartments everywhere along the front for your laptops, tablets, water bottles, and other essentials. For those who need it, there is also a crush-proof AC adaptor garage.
Most notable here, outside of the fact that the laptop and tablet compartments are fully padded, is the pack itself is crafted from 840D and 900D twisted polyester.
Contoured straps and a vented air mesh back panel create a comfortable and suitable carrying experience. However, what is genuinely sensational about this backpack is that it quickly transforms into a briefcase with a luggage handle.
Three different color options are available for you to select from including heathered graphite, solid black, and brushed indigo.
As great as this is, it is not without its caveats. Thankfully, they are not too much of a deal-breaker but know that the zippers can catch from time to time, and the front-mesh portion of the pack does not fit items well. But, thanks to everything else, this is something you should be able to live with.
6. Incase Icon
Has a lot of space and compartments without feeling bulky
The shoulder straps are both adjustable and padded for comfort
Comes with five exterior pockets and one interior pocket
Because the color is the same on the exterior, the black selection can make life difficult
Incase makes their second appearance on this list and this time, it is their Icon Backpack. Holding up well to its name, the Icon is riddled with several storage compartments and an impressive, customizable fit.Read more
To get the Icon to shut fully, you will want to limit the size of your device to 15-inches. Anything beyond, and this pack may not be suitable. Outside of the main compartment, there are loads of additional pockets for accessories and valuables. This includes a hip-side power pocket with a cable port, a side-access iPad pocket, and a series of organizer pockets for small items.
Incase went with 840D nylon to construct their Icon Backpack, and it is a superb choice as it produces a very durable shell.
With the adjustable shoulder straps, which are built with an appropriate amount of padding, you are delivered ergonomic support and an optimal amount of comfort.
While the variety of color options is kept to a minimum here, there are at least a few different ones to select from. They are essential, but effective, and include black, gray, or red. Though, interestingly enough, the exterior and interior are the same color which can be problematic if you select the black version.
Granted, the Icon is not the most iconic selection in the world, but it does hold up to the competition reasonably impressively. The plethora of storage compartments is the critical design element and provides you with space for all your essentials (not just your laptop).
7. Herschel Retreat
Features a magnetic strap with metal pin clips for closure
The bottom has been reinforced for extra durability
Several color options are available
The lack of organization and storage compartments is irritating
Herschel Supply Co.’s Retreat Backpack has been heavily raved and acclaimed. While its placement on this list indicates it is highly deserving of its praise, the storage design is a bit frustrating. We’ll get into further detail, but just know that it could be a deal-breaker.Read more
As with most on this list, if your laptop is no bigger than 15.6-inches then you should be in the all-clear. It is not as if there is no room for your laptop and valuables, as there is. However, it is essentially an enormous opening with no rhyme or reason behind it. Basically, good luck organizing your belongings in here as there are little to no extra locations for items.
Herschel Supply Co. definitely hits it out of the ballpark with craftsmanship as they have reinforced the bottom for enhanced durability, lined the inside with coated cotton-polyester fabric and utilized magnetic straps to close the pack.
The straps themselves are polyurethane and they are contoured to match your shoulder’s frame to provide the most comfort possible.
If you are overly-picky when it comes to the visual appeal and color of a backpack, then you will appreciate the time taken by Herschel Supply Co. to provide several different color options. Some examples are black, caramel and leather, lichen, gray, navy, and wine.
Indeed, the storage design leaves a lot to be desired. But, if this does not happen to be a massive issue for you, then you can appreciate the greatness that is present here. However, if you are blinded by the caveat then you should probably pass.
8. Timbuk2 Authority
You can grab the handle for an easy carry
There are several color options
Features rear access to the laptop compartment
When sat down, it will not stay upright
The Authority is a versatile choice that has a timeless style. It could easily sneak into the office and also looks great for travel. If only we could solve the issue of the backpack not falling over when set down, this would almost be a perfect backpack.Read more
Again, this has a laptop maximum capacity limit of 15-inches. No doubt, you will not be disappointed in terms of storage. On the exterior, there are deep side pockets and quick access zippered pockets. Meanwhile, an organizer panel is integrated into the interior.
Timbuk2 built this with premium in mind and the materials they utilized prove that. For a cleaner and more professional look, the fabric is coated with a matte finish, and the sternum straps conveniently tuck away.
The backstraps are not the issue here, as they are relatively comfortable, and the air mesh back panel provides the right amount of ventilation. No, the matter is that some may have a problem with is the contour of the back as it is incredibly straight and does not fit on your back all that great.
For your convenience, you can select between several different color designs such as fog, jet black, jet black static, moss, and surplus.
Again, comfort comes to the forefront. The straight back will either disappoint you or not be an issue at all. Either way, the storage compartments, and premium construction should void any doubts you have.
9. Solo Duane Hybrid
Comes with a 5-year warranty
Has enough compartments to store various accessories
It transforms from a briefcase into a backpack
The hooks that latch the shoulder straps are plastic
Overall, the zippers are not of the highest quality
What is so unique about the Solo Duane Hybrid Backpack, as its name eloquently indicates, it is a hybrid of a briefcase and a backpack. Thus, making it suitable for a number of different circumstances.Read more
The fully padded laptop compartment will fit laptops that are up to 15.6-inches in size. No matter if you use it as a briefcase or backpack, there are compartments everywhere. On the front, there is two quick-access pockets and a large pocket with an organizer section. Also, there is an internal iPad pocket.
The overall aesthetic of this backpack is sleek and appealing, mainly because of its polyester body.
Portability is where the money is because this has multiple functionalities. Like a briefcase, it has padded carry handled that have magnetic snaps. But, as a backpack, it features padded straps for enhanced comfort.
Nobody in their right mind will take an issue with the lone color option. Sure, you could argue there should be more of a variety, but it is hard to dispute the magnificence of the gray color design.
While not without its flaws, this hybrid briefcase/backpack is terrific when you covet both. In certain situations, a bag will be more ideal, and vice versa for a briefcase.
10. Under Armour Storm Hustle II
Variety of styles
Two side pockets
The front bottom pouch takes up a lot of room
This backpack comes in a variety of colors and is from a trusted brand that offers the security that you expect for your laptop. If you are a fan of the Under Armour brand and want the peace of mind that your laptop is safe while traveling, this is the backpack for you.Read more
The Storm Hustle II is built to carry your laptop up to 15" and also any other technological devices you may want to store on your travels. The backpack itself has a dimension of 19" x 13" x 5". This backpack also has several pockets: two on the outside and even two side pockets for your beverage bottles or similarly-sized items.
The Storm Hustle II is built by a trusted brand that is known for its quality. This backpack is built with security in mind and is also water-resistant to make sure that no water will leak through and damage your electronics.
While you can't tell by looking at it, this bag is quite comfortable. The adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps have just enough cushion to be comfortable without being too big.
This backpack comes in a variety of colors and styles. If you are interested in this backpack, than there is a style for you.
This option is from a great brand and is effective at keeping your electronics secure while providing lots of storage space for other items you have with you on the go. If you are looking for a dependable backpack that lets you stay organized, then this is a backpack to check out.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Above all else, this size of the laptop sleeve itself is the sole determining factor for most people. Why? Because, if your laptop does not fit inside of the intended compartment than it nullifies the design purpose of it. But, what do random measurements mean to you? If you see a manufacturer state that their laptop sleeve will hold laptops up to 15-inches in size, they are referring to the screen size.
To accurately measure your screen size, if you do not know it already, you must measure from one corner of the screen to the other (in a diagonal fashion). When doing so, ignore the bezel on the sides and only measure the actual LCD/LED screen itself. An easy way to do so, to ensure you do not scratch your screen, is to measure the entire screen (with the bezels).
Then, measure the small portions of each of the corner (only the bezel) and then subtract that total from the overall total. If your laptop measures 15-inches, then you should be good to get a backpack that fits up to 15-inches. Of course, manufacturers may only provide length and width dimensions and if so, close your laptop and correctly measure its width and length.
Additionally, the main design function of one of these backpacks is to properly and safely carry your laptop. If they stopped with this, they would perform exactly what they were designed to do. But, as Bluetooth technology has proven, it is more convenient when one product can perform multiple functionalities and not just one.
With laptop backpacks, this is in reference to the additional storage compartments that they provide for you. Depending on how many valuables and accessories you plan on carrying, you may want more or less than the average person.
What you need to do is analyze what types of storage compartments there are and where they are located. For example, are there extra pockets in the interior for a proper organization? Or, if you simply prefer traveling with hydration, is there an exterior pocket that can be utilized as a hydration bladder? As a point of reference, the more integrations of pockets the more organized you will be able to keep your content. One last note, also understand if the pockets have zippers are not as you may want your items to be as secure as possible.
No matter what consumer product you stumble upon, the craftsmanship will be outstanding. It is a design element that should always be at the forefront of your mind as longevity in anything is not only practical but often, mandatory. For these backpacks, focus most of your attention on a few critical areas of craftsmanship.
Firstly, is the shell or exterior of the pack. Look and analyze what type of fabric is utilized to construct the box. For example, a fabric such as ballistic nylon (which made more than a few appearances) is fantastic as it is designed for maximum durability and resistance to abrasions.
Secondly, for nasty weather conditions, it is a huge bonus when the manufacturer coats their backpack with a water-resistant repellent to withstand rainy conditions.
Remember, water-resistant is not waterproof, and anytime you see something that is water-resistant, it may not withstand raging downpours. Lastly, and this should not ever be an issue, is the padding integrated into the laptop compartment. After all, a bag loses its usefulness if you risk the safety of your laptop every time you place it inside.
When analyzing comfort, which is a huge design factor especially if you intend on carrying the backpack over long hauls, there are a few main areas to prioritize: ventilation, padding and the shape of the back. On any given day, you never know what the weather may be. Clearly, in the summer and winter, you can have a pretty good idea, but we digress. On warmer days, you will appreciate if your backpack has air mesh ventilation on the back as this will allow your back to breathe.
But, arguably, the amount of padding and shape of the back are even more important to ensure a comfortable experience. Shoulder straps do not need to feel like clouds, as they still need to be forceful enough to hold, but they should at least not be digging into your skin. This is enhanced when you travel long distances, as your shoulders will be able to tell if there is not enough padding. As far as the shape goes, if it is a straight angle it may not contour to your back properly and cause extreme discomfort.
Okay, so is this that important? Compared to the previous design factors, probably not. But, the overall aesthetic and color design can be important for some people. Is there anything wrong with craving a backpack that embraces your style?
Of course, if you do some critical thinking, color can come into play in different factors. How about the fact that darker colors absorb sunlight? On hot days, do you want a scorching hot black backpack that may even compromise your laptop (as they are not meant to withstand blistering heat)? Overall, however, this is all about personal preference, so have some fun with this one.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While that teal may catch your eye, you may want to think about how and where you'll be using the bag. If it is for work, walking into the office with a subtle gray or black may be more appropriate. On the other hand, if you will be using it for travel, a bright color is a great idea. If you are dead tired when you get off the plane, you'll definitely see it and remember to grab it. Additionally, many pieces of travel luggage look similar, it's good to stand out in the hustle and bustle of the airport.
Will you also be transporting other electronics in the same bag? Is there a separate compartment for your kindle or will it fit safely in the same sleeve? If you plan to carry multiple devices, you'll need to keep that in mind when shopping.
Okay, so you have found the ALMOST perfect one but it's lacking organization. What can you do? We have a great hack. Packing cubes. Packing cubes are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes and can help you to organize any bag.
Other Factors to Consider
We have already dedicated a lot of time and attention to the overall capacity of each bag, but what about the size? When discussing the size as a whole, we are referring to how well the bag itself will fit into your lifestyle or its intended use. If you plan to use it for travel, would you prefer it to fit under the seat in front you or do you feel okay having it in the overhead compartment?
If you will be traveling by bike, does it fit in your bike basket? Some people prefer a small option that only fits the essentials, while others prefer a multi-use option. Whichever decision you make, and if it's from this list you know it will be a good one, think about how you will be most likely to use it and exactly how it will fit into your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do these bags hold up in the rain?
Water and electronics have never mixed and they never will. There is a high probability that inside your backpack, alongside your expensive laptop, you will also store charging cables and AC adaptors. But, if it begins it rain outside, should you start to be concerned? It was addressed earlier but it deserves to be brought up again, the key is to know if it is water-resistant, waterproof or neither.
If a manufacturer treats the bag with a water-resistant repellent, then it will repel a moderate amount of water. But, this does not mean it is designed to withstand heavy downpours and rainfall (as that is only if it is waterproof). However, some fabrics and materials are naturally resistant to water and will hold up well to it. Though, without full-on waterproofness, you should not trust the bag to keep your contents dry in torrential downpours.
q: How can I protect my laptop from water or snacks spilling inside my backpack?
Let’s say that you want to include a bottle of water and some trail mix in your backpack. To ensure that neither of these additions causes any harm to your laptop, you most definitely want to screw your water bottle lid on very tight and make sure your snack is in a secure container that cannot be opened. Often, you can get screw-on lid containers for snacks, too.
Furthermore, it is suggested that you place your water or snacks at the bottom of your bag, so if there is any spillage it doesn’t flow all the way through and cause more damage. The moisture will only be at the bottom of the bag and not all throughout.
q: How do I choose a backpack for work or travel?
Firstly, if you are heading on a trip somewhere, and you wish to get one to protect your computer for the journey, it’s important to note that travel usually brings a lot of movement. You may be changing plains and buses, which means your bag will end up in various storage spots and in between different things like other luggage.
Basically, there will be a lot of movement in travel, so you want to make sure your bag is ready for the travel by being padded and durable. You may also want a backpack that has a lot of different storage places, so if you need something in a pinch, it’s easy to get at.
If you are using this for work, your laptop still needs to be well protected, but your primary concern will be that you can also fit important items needed for the day ahead of you, such as a portfolio, pens, cell phone, and important documents. Again, you may want one that has great storage spaces and is well organized, but also, you will need a backpack that most likely looks clean and professional. Whereas a travel laptop backpack doesn’t really need to look professional but needs to be durable.
q: How do you hand wash this product?
Honestly, there is not much difference in handwashing a laptop backpack as opposed to a traditional backpack. For the process, you should have what you need already in your household. To start, find an area that is large enough for your backpack (a large sink, bathtub, etc.). Whatever you find, fill it with lukewarm water. This is important as if the water is too hot, the colors on the backpack could begin to bleed out.
After which, add a small dosage of soap (ensuring that it does not have detergent in it as that can compromise the material). Now, all you need to do is take a soft cloth or a brush and begin to scrub the bag ridding it of all the dirt. To rinse it, simply drain the soapy water and refill your area with clean water. That is it, and for the drying process, just ensure that you let it naturally dry keeping it away from direct heating sources.
q: When dropped, is a laptop safe in your backpack?
For the most part, laptop-protective backpacks are not designed like smartphone cases. Whereas these types of cases are designed with shock absorption technology and are literally designed to withstand drops of significant distances, laptop-protective backpacks are not. So, it is not wise to be careless when you are using it.
However, what happens if your backpack merely slips from your grasp and lands on the ground? In this scenario, assuming it is not a far drop, your backpack should remain safe as long as there is enough padding that supports it.
Hence, this is where the padding in the laptop compartment comes into play. The more padding there is and the thicker it happens to be, the greater the chance that your laptop has of withstanding a moderately-short drop while encased in the backpack.
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