Laptops are made for life on the go, but you don’t want to carry yours around under your arm everywhere you go. The best way to transport your laptop is by going back to school, so to speak. A backpack lets you keep your computer with you at all times. Just sling the straps over your shoulder and go.
Of course, not all laptops are created equal. A standard backpack might be able to handle books and folders, but you aren’t going to want to have your laptop jostling around inside a bag that isn’t built for it. Laptop backpacks provide a protected slot for your computer to ensure that it is safe and sound when you reach your destination. Laptop backpacks often have handy extras for your computer, too: a space for your power supply, a backup battery bank, waterproof protection. All of these features make a backpack ideal for your laptop.
Then there are the more traditional backpack features — because it’s not just about your laptop’s comfort, it’s about your’s as well. You need a backpack that fits is comfortable to carry around all day, and won’t leave your shoulder strained once you take it off. Your backpack needs storage for everything you need to take with you, and it needs style to boot.
It sounds like a lot of boxes to check, but don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of the best laptop backpacks that meet all the criteria and then some. These are the best laptop backpacks available.
Best overall backpack
Size: 11.4″ x 18.1″ | Fits laptops up to: 17″ | Weight: 2.4lbs | Volume: 28L
The best backpack for laptops has to meet a lot of requirements. It needs to be functional, fashionable, and safe. It needs lots of space for your computer and everything else while not being too heavy or bulky to make the journey with you anywhere you may need to go. It needs to be worth the price without breaking the bank. The Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe meets or exceeds all of these requirements, and then some.
Let’s start with the laptop component since that is the most important element of any laptop backpack. The Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe has a padded laptop sleeve that holds any laptop up to 17 inches, making it great for those who travel light or carry a laptop with a little bit more size and computing power. It is accessible from the inside or outside, meaning you can snag your laptop on the go without the need to open up the full bag. Plus, it’s water-resistant, so your laptop will be safe from the elements.
As for your other essentials, you should have no trouble fitting them into this bag. A large main compartment fits books and other must-haves. There’s a dedicated stretch sleeve that holds a water bottle. Interior pockets let you store and hide just about anything you need to have on you while on the go.
What helps to put the Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe over the top is its functionality for travel. Heavily padded, it’s easy to carry with you anywhere, even if it’s going to be on your back for hours at a time. If you’re traveling by plane, a luggage pass-through makes it a breeze to attach this bag to your wheeled luggage quickly. It’s never going to be in your way and will always be accessible when you need it. That’s about as much as you can ask for from your laptop backpack.
- Great size without being bulky
- Holds laptops of all sizes
- Padded for ultimate comfort
- Luggage pass-through for frequent travelers
- Lacking color/style options
Best laptop backpack to make an impression
Size: 11″ x 17″ | Fits laptops up to: 15″ | Weight: 1.418 lb | Volume: 20L
If you’re going to have a bag on your back all day, you’re going to want it to look good. Backpacks aren’t just about lugging around your stuff; they are a fashion accessory. And if you value a bag that compliments your look, then you’ll want to check out the Topo Rover Pack.
The Topo Rover Pack is the classic backpack design that made the company famous, and there’s a reason for that. It’s slick as can be with its timeless daypack design, and it comes in a wide variety of vibrant, eye-catching colors that make it stand out or can be paired with your favorite fits while on the road.
You know the old saying about how fashion is pain? Well, you can throw that idea out the window when it comes to this laptop backpack because it’s lightweight despite its size. It can hold laptops up to 15 inches, with room in its spacious main compartment to carry your other essentials, as well.
This bag is also flexible when it comes to access. The flap top sports dual side-release buckle closures to keep your goods secure, and a drawstring cinch closure lets you have easy access while on the go. Strap it on your back or grab it with the top carry handle. No matter how you take it with you, it’ll keep your essentials secure and will look good doing it.
- Stylish design
- Expandable pockets
- Flap top and drawstring closures
- On the smaller side
- Could use more padding
Best for doing way more than just getting the job done
Size: 15.75″ x 21.5″ | Fits laptops up to: 15″ | Weight: 3.64lb | Volume: 40L
The Amazon Basics line has its name for a reason. These products are about as basic as can be, and the Amazon Basics Backpack is no exception. Here’s the thing, though: “basic” is not an insult or a detriment. Sometimes keeping it simple works, and the Amazon Basics Backpack just works for what you need it to do.
If you’re looking for a laptop backpack without any frills, this is the one for you. The Amazon Basics Backpack is about as simple a bag as you could imagine, coming in just three colors and a very straightforward style. But if you just need a bag that can get the job done, stick your laptop of up to 15″ right in the zippered sleeve and be on your way.
This bag does have some nice surprises. It’s quite spacious, with a huge main compartment and mesh separators that let you store your essentials in handy and easy to reach but organized spaces. It can also expand thanks to a full-expansion zipper that provides an additional 10% of space. This space is necessary for travelers trying to cram as much as possible into a carry-on bag.
That said, the bag is a bit on the bulky side, and it is not the most comfortable option of the bunch if you’re going to be walking around all day with it. You’re also likely to find the options for customization lacking. It is only available in a few colors, and it’s a pretty boring looking bag. But if those aren’t your top priorities, then don’t worry about it. The Amazon Basics Backpack can get you from point A to point B with your essentials intact just as good as any alternative.
- Affordable price
- Space expander
- Lots of pockets
- Lacking in design options
Best for everything plus your laptop
Size: 20″ x 11″ | Fits laptops up to: 15″ | Weight: 1.48lb | Volume: 25L
Let’s be real: we all have a lot of stuff. Some of it may be more essential than others, but it’s nice to be able to carry it with you for when we need it. After all, you never know when something might come in handy. The good news is that with the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L, there is no reason to make the tough judgment call on what has to be left behind. Take it all with you.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L is the amount of space that it provides. Without getting bulky or burdensome, it offers lots of room to store everything that you could imagine needing at any given moment. That includes your laptop, which fits comfortably in a padded sleeve designed to fit machines up to 15″.
As for all your other stuff, well, there’s still plenty of room to spare. Toss your favorite books, a lunch, or other essentials into the main compartment, which closes with a drawcord and seals with a large flap. Take your essentials and keep them stashed in the bottom with a zippered pocket that is barely visible unless you’re looking for it. That makes it a great spot for your phone, wallet, passport, or other items that you wouldn’t want anyone to rummage through.
This bag is also designed for comfort with an ergonomic build and straps that help distribute weight evenly. Color choices are limited, and other bags are likely better equipped for planes or trains, but this is a great option for commuters and hikers.
- Lots of space
- Hidden compartments for essentials
- Ergonomic design
- Lacking style options
- Better for commuters than frequent flyers
Best backpack for keeping you charged on the go
Size: 18.5″ x 11.6″ | Fits laptops up to: 17″ | Weight: 4lb | Volume:18L
Most backpacks just let you take what you need while you’re on the go. The Solgaard Lifepack Solar 2.0 actually helps you stay on the go without needing to slow down. There is no need to slow down or search for an elusive wall outlet or even return home to recharge. This backpack is its own power source, and you can tap into it without stopping your trip in its tracks.
The biggest selling point of the Solgaard Lifepack Solar 2.0 is the built-in, removable solar-powered battery that comes with the bag. Without any need for intervention on your part, the solar panel charges a battery bank that you can connect to via a USB port any time you need it. About an hour of sunlight should generate enough power to charge your phone by 25% — enough to keep you moving.
As for your laptop, it’ll be safe inside this bag. The Solgaard Lifepack Solar 2.0 has a drop-proof laptop sleeve that can survive the bumps in the road that you’re sure to hit, as well as any rough handling that happens along the way. An additional compartment is great for bringing along other items, though you’ll find the space is lacking compared to some alternatives.
This backpack is not a great option for folks that like to take their whole life with them. It is smaller, with extra space taken up by the solar panel and battery bank. That also adds some extra weight so that this bag will be heavier than your average option, as well. But if having your phone and other electronics charged at all times is more important to you than carrying an extra pair of shoes, then this backpack is for you.
- Built in solar-powered battery bank
- Anti-theft features
- Heavier than your average backpack
Best for city commuters who keep things simple.
Size: 15.7″ x 11.4″ | Fits laptops up to: 13″ | Weight: 2.09lb | Volume: 8.5L
Travel goes easier when you cut down to the essentials. Whether you’re making the commute from home to the office or you’re taking a cross-country trip that you just want to make as light as possible, Rains Backpack Mini lets you cut back on the excess and keep things simple while still protecting your laptop and other essentials.
The Rains Backpack Mini manages to make something as functional as a laptop backpack that looks like a fashion accessory. It has a sleek design that belongs on a runway and offers plenty of variety in terms of color choices that you should have no problem finding one that fits your style.
Make no mistake; this bag is small. It can only fit laptops that are 13″, and there is not a lot of room for much else, save for small accessories that you’ll want to have with you. Thanks to the waterproof build, it will all remain protected, so you won’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain. But you also just won’t have much on you to worry about, either. This is a bag made for those trying to keep things as streamlined as possible.
- Sleek design
- Waterproof build
- Great for commuters
- It can’t carry much
- More fashion than function
Which laptop backpack is right for you?
The best laptop backpack for you is going to depend on what your average travel plans look like. If you’re taking your laptop with you on a daily commute but don’t need much more than that with you, a simple bag like the Rains Backpack Mini or Topo Rover Pack will do the trick.
Something with a little more volume might do the trick for those who plan to be traveling with their laptop and other gear. The Amazon Basics Backpack is a great choice for those who travel by plane. Likewise, the Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe offers a great luggage pass-through for frequent travelers, though it is functional enough to serve commuters and hikers, too.
If you’re planning to be outdoors or on trails a lot, try a bag like the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L. The Solgaard Lifepack Solar 2.0 is also a great choice for students and hikers because of the solar charger that lets you stay connected even if you’re away from an outlet for an extended period.
What is a laptop backpack?
A laptop backpack is a backpack with a dedicated slot for your laptop. While you can likely fit your laptop in most bags, it’s better to have a backpack that is specifically designed for it.
These bags typically offer a sleeve or slot for your laptop that offers extra protection against drops and often is water-resistant.
Are laptops safe in backpacks?
Unless you get a laptop backpack, you should not put your laptop in a backpack and assume that it will be safe. Bumpy commutes, wear and tear, and the force of having it pressed against your back can do damage to a laptop if it is not protected.
Laptop backpacks offer protection against this and are safe for laptops.
What is the difference between a laptop backpack and a laptop bag?
Laptop bags or messenger bags typically only have one strap that goes over your shoulder. While this can be convenient for some settings, it can also be bad for your posture and muscles because the weight of your laptop is not evenly distributed.
It is also typically looser than a laptop backpack, which can put your laptop at more risk.
Are there alternatives worth considering?
There are many great laptop backpacks out there, and we have just scratched the surface with this list. Consider what type of backpack you might need and how you’d like to use it.
Some great alternatives include: