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8 of the best laptop backpacks for everyone

8 of the best laptop backpacks for everyone

We have tracked down the best laptop backpacks from top brands like Osprey, North Face, Wenger, and Herschel.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

It might not sound like a daunting task, but finding the right laptop backpack can be a really tough process.

There are loads of different factors to consider, like exactly what you’ll be using it for, the size of the laptop sleeve, how functional or comfortable it is, what materials will best suit your needs, and how much stuff you’ll be able to cram inside. That’s not forgetting the price, because most people aren’t willing to drop more than £100 on a backpack – but if you want one that’s robust and big on features, you might need to invest a little extra. 

Selecting a backpack is also a really personal task — it depends entirely on your lifestyle and day-to-day requirements. There is a lot to think about. Almost as much as when choosing the laptop itself.

What size of laptop backpack should you get?

If only it was as easy as simply picking a backpack that fits your laptop. As for overall size, think about how you most commonly use your backpack. If you use it while commuting, you might want a slimmer size for saving space on busy trains or buses – or maybe you need it to fit comfortably in the office or at home (which could even mean under the desk). Conversely, maybe you double-up and take your everyday laptop backpack on hiking or weekend excursions, in which case you may want a bigger bag for packing in extra belongings and accessories. Look out for the bag’s capacity in litres. A smaller bag is around 15 litres and larger capacities are somewhere around the 30 litre mark.

It’s not just about the general size of the bag, but the size of the specifications within it. For instance, different laptop bags are built to fit different laptop sizes – from 13 to 17-inches (and beyond). But the size of the laptop sleeve (that’s the compartment intended for your laptop) will vary from brand to brand. To make sure your laptop fits, look at the manufacturer’s specific measurements. The size of other compartments will also be a factor. Do you also need to carry a tablet and documents? Or bundles of leads and charging devices? Or space for spare clothes?

What are the most important features in a laptop backpack?

A laptop sleeve is your base requirement, of course. As opposed to a general bag compartment that will hold your laptop but won’t keep it secure, which means your laptop will be banging about.

Commuters or frequent fliers can look for backpacks which have a USB port, which eliminates the issue of needing to find a seat next to a power point. They should also seek out secure locking functions. Hikers may want features such as handy water bottle pockets, extra padding on the straps, or an attachment for a torch. Easy-to-reach front pockets for holding your phone or other necessary items are useful too. 

Also consider what other activities you might do with your backpack. If you’re a photographer, you may want space and extra cushioning for your camera. If you’re dedicated to fitness, look for a compartment dedicated to holding your gym gear or trainers. Whatever you need, there’s almost certainly a bag built especially for you.

Materials are also a factor when choosing a backpack. Leather and canvas backpacks will be sturdy and attractive, but will pick up wear and tear faster than synthetic options. Manmade materials such as nylon will be hard-wearing and more durable. For something seriously water resistant, look out for tarpaulin polyester, or PVC. 

What style of laptop backpack should you buy?

The backpack is not the only option, of course. There are also tote, messenger, duffel, and briefcase-style bags available. But if it’s a backpack that you’re after – and the backpack is the best all-rounder – there are still style variations to consider:

Technology — these are well suited to anyone whose job or day-to-day includes carrying lots of gadgets, devices, leads, and accessories; typically featuring lots of compartments for good organisation. 

Vintage or classic —  these bags will look like an upgrade of your school bag and will accompany timeless, no-frills fashion. See brands such a Herschel, Janspory, or Fjallraven.

Sports — these bags will likely come from the well-known sports brands – such as Nike or outdoors brands like Osprey and North Face – and will accommodate gym gear, or have features suitable for active and outdoors lifestyles. 

Business — these bags will include a high-end style, such as laptop bags made by Samsonite, or a business casual style that will look good with a suit but shrug off the formality. Look out for brands such as Bellroy or Lily & Drew. 

What is the best backpack for your laptop?

Whether you’re looking for a basic option for the commute or a heavy-duty backpack with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got the best bags to fit your needs. We have lined up a selection of the very best laptop backpacks from all the biggest brands.

There is something for everyone in this list. We recommend taking your time, considering everything in this roundup, and then picking a favourite. We’re confident that there is something for you.

These are the best laptop backpacks for 2021.

Many compartments and pockets • Comfortable to carry • Spacious

Phone pocket is pretty small

This Wenger laptop backpack has pretty much everything you could ask for in a laptop bag, making it a good choice for nearly any situation.

Wenger Carbon Laptop Backpack

Super spacious, stylish, and comfortable with plenty of compartments for organisation.

  • Features:
    Shock absorbing shoulder straps, reinforced grab handle, air-flow back padding, quick-access front pocket, side mesh pockets, computer pocket and three main compartments, limited lifetime warranty
  • Laptop size capacity:
Wenger has got you covered with the Carbon Laptop Backpack. Regardless of your intended use — whether it’s for work, business trips, school, or travel — this model has got the goods that make it work in nearly any situation. Its a big backpack designed for a big load. 
It has an impressive 30 litre capacity and its main compartment will comfortably hold a laptop of up to 17 inches. The other pockets make it easy to stay organised: the front pocket is made for your phone, cables, charger, business cards, and smaller items, and the larger compartments (there are four in total) to hold your books, clothes, notebooks, and whatever else you may need to carry with you. 
Shoulder straps are shock absorbing to keep you comfortable, and it has mesh side pockets for easy access to a water bottle or anything else you want to put your hands on quickly and easily. Air-flow back padding keeps you cool and the reinforced grab handle will slip over the handle of wheeled luggage to make things easier if you’re travelling with multiple bags. Wenger is pretty well-known for making quality products that last, but if you’d like to see some firsthand accounts, definitely check out the reviews.

Roomy enough for full-size laptop plus gear • Contrasting colour compartments for easy organising • Easy-access foldout design • Comfortable

Straps may loosen with weight • Pricey

It’s hard to find a laptop backpack fit for gaming gear, and even harder to find one with as many added features as the Titan.

Everki Titan Backpack

The Everki Titan backpack is top-notch for organisation and easy access, and especially useful for gamers with large laptops.

  • Features:
    Extra large laptop sleeve, 180-degree foldout design, water resistant weather cover, media player compartment, five-point balance strap system, security strap to keep your device in place, soft felt lining inside tablet sleeve
  • Laptop size capacity:
Gamers rejoice. For every minor to large inconvenience you have faced when it comes to finding the perfect backpack to transport your precious gaming goods, the Everki Titan is the answer. Seriously though.
Unlike most of the backpacks on our list (and most laptop backpacks in general) that typically fit laptops up to 17 inches, the Titan has a dedicated ultra-soft padded laptop compartment that’ll hold full-sized laptops up to 18.4 inches. You’ll also have room to pack all of your necessary accessories (headset, power block, mouse, etc.). One of the most impressive things about the Titan is how it caters to its owner in terms of convenience. 
The 180-degree foldout design makes all of the bag’s contents easily accessible, while making it totally checkpoint friendly. The multiple compartments and pockets on the inside are contrasting colours, making it super simple to stay organised and know exactly where to grab when you need something. It comes with a media player outlet to avoid the annoyance of wires tangling around your backpack straps, and utilises a five-point balance strap system, which features pillow-soft straps adjustable at the shoulders, two quick-slide straps at the bottom, and one across the chest. This comfort-conscious system is designed to balance the weight on your body, reduce strain, and provide you with maximum comfort and breathability. To top it all off the Titan is water resistant, so your precious cargo will be safe even in bad weather. 

Extremely durable • Spacious • Extra padding for comfort

Some report that the straps are stiff

If you know you’re going to be packing heavy, you need a bag that can keep up.

The North Face Borealis Backpack

Great for heavy-duty use, whether you’re planning a rugged excursion or just lugging around textbooks and a laptop.

  • Features:
    FlexVent suspension system, injection-molded straps, padded mesh back panel, protective laptop compartment, extra padded tablet sleeve, pendolier, secure-zip pockets, two extended mesh water bottle pockets, external fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses/keys etc., removable waist belt, front elastic bungee system for external storage, reflective bike-light loop
  • Laptop size capacity:
It should come as no surprise that The North Face ranks high on our list. Known for designing gear aimed at athletes and outdoor adventurers, The North Face creates products to withstand somewhat extreme conditions. The same standards apply to their Borealis Backpack.
Pretty much everything on this backpack is heavily padded. It features custom injection-molded shoulder straps and a super padded mesh back panel, so even if you pack this thing to the max, it should still feel comfortable on your back and be able to get you through the day without feeling the pain. The laptop compartment is also super protective, so there’s no need to worry about your laptop getting all banged and damaged. The top handle is also padded for a comfortable grip, and it comes complete with a sternum strap and removable waist belt if you need them. 
Apart from the comfort perks, the Borealis also has multiple compartments and stretch mesh pockets for bottles of water. Whether you’re trekking through the mountains with heavy gear or walking across campus with a bunch of textbooks, the Borealis is designed to handle it all while providing you maximum comfort.

Simple yet functionable • Reliable brand • Quality manufacturing • Lifetime warranty

Some colour options may appear different than in photos (if the Amazon comments are anything to go by)

Jansport is, and probably always will be, a top player in the back-to-school game.

Jansport Cool Student Backpack

The Cool Student Backpack by Jansport is a classic, safe bet for anyone headed back to school.

  • Features:
    Made of polyester with synthetic leather trim, web haul handle, side water bottle pocket, laptop sleeve, pleated front stash pocket, ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps
  • Laptop size capacity:
If you’ve ever shopped for a backpack for back-to-school season, the classic navy and maroon coloured Jansport logo should be familiar. Jansport has seemingly been around forever, remaining a reliable and trusted brand in the world of school supplies. Therefore, it’s definitely appropriate they have a backpack dedicated to students that earns a spot on our list. 
The Cool Student Backpack gives you all the basic necessities you’ll need for the semester. It has two deep sleeves, one for a laptop and the other for textbooks and notebooks, as well as a front stash pocket for smaller items like pens, pencils, and other supplies. It also has a side water bottle pocket that’s just the right size to keep your water bottle from slipping out. The manufacturing quality on the Jansport is definitely good — so good that Jansport offers a lifetime warranty on this backpack, so there’s literally no need to worry about this thing lasting you through the school year or beyond. 
And since every student is unique and has their own personal taste, the Cool Student comes in 15 different colours and patterns. 

Cool • Simple design • Durable • Lightweight • Spacious • Comfortable

Only three compartments (including laptop sleeve) • No water bottle holder

If you’re not someone who needs a bunch of random pockets or special features, the Herschel Casual is a classic, smart choice and a staple as far as backpacks go

Herschel Casual Rucksack

Herschel is all about quality, so if you don’t mind a simplistic design, the Herschel Supply Co. Casual Rucksack is definitely a great choice.

  • Features:
    One main large compartment, 15-inch laptop sleeve, front zip compartment with key clip, internal media pocket with headphone port
  • Laptop size capacity:
Chances are you’re probably familiar with (or have at least seen) Herschel Backpacks, since they’re pretty much everywhere right now. Herschel is a Canadian-based company on a mission to “create a timeless product with a fine regard for detail.” That mission pretty much sums up one of their most popular models, the Casual Backpack
The Casual is a classic, simple design that meets all the basic functions of a good laptop backpack. That being said, if you’re looking for a more “tech” focused backpack with lots of extra bells and whistles (i.e multiple pockets, compartments, straps, etc.) the Casual probably isn’t for you. However, what it lacks in the frills department, it makes up for as a quality, durable product that’s designed to get the job done and last you a long time. Plenty of reviews mention how spacious and comfortable it is for its size. Also worthy of noting: it looks pretty great. It’s sleek, simple, comes in a whopping 28 colours and patterns, and generally looks a lot more “adult” compared to your typically bulky, primary school backpack.
The Casual features one large main compartment with a 15-inch laptop sleeve, and one single front pocket with a key clip. Nothing confusing here, people. Again, just enough to get the job done. It also features an internal media pocket with a headphone port, so you can feed your headphone wires right through. 

Sleek and fashionable • Spacious • Lots of pockets • Versatile

Not as durable as other models • Won’t fit laptops bigger than 14 inches

Though it’s not as durable as some of the more heavy duty backpacks, it’s still a smart and convenient design that will keep you organised and stylish.

Lily & Drew Daypack Backpack

The Lil & Drew Daypack provides you with all the necessary functions of a good laptop backpack without sacrificing style.

  • Features:
    Water-resistant polyester exterior, gold zipper detailing, adjustable padded shoulder straps, convenient trolley sleeve, padded foam back and bottom, two slip pockets for laptop/tablet, several smaller zippered pockets, two external side pockets
  • Laptop size capacity:
Backpacks are super convenient, but aren’t usually stylish — especially if they’re big enough to fit your laptop. Luckily, the Lily & Drew Daypack is a sleek option that will make you look more like a polished adult and less like a pupil heading to the bus stop. 
The Daypack has pockets galore, including two slip pockets and a sleeve for your tablet or laptop, a front zippered pocket, a “hidden” pocket on the back, and two side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella.The two different carry options make it extra versatile, allowing you to toss it on your back like a regular backpack with shoulder straps (when you want to have your hands free) or use the top handles to carry it like a briefcase. The shoulder straps are padded, just like the foam back and padded bottom, so you’ll stay comfortable and at ease knowing your electronic goods are still protected. The Daypack comes in lots of different colours so you can choose whichever works best with your style.

Safety features • USB port for charging on the go • Attaches to wheeled luggage

Less stylish than other bags • Not as durable • No power bank included

An affordable and practical backpack that suits all kids of travel – from your commute to long distance flights.

Wenig Anti-Theft Laptop

This thin, lightweight backpack comes complete with a theft-proof lock and USB charging cord, making it the perfect laptop backpack for commuters.

  • Features:
    Three main compartments, nine inner pockets, two side pockets, hidden back pocket, anti-theft lock, USB port, headphone port, water resistant
  • Laptop size capacity:
If your daily commute involves public transport or navigating the hustle and bustle of city life, you’ll know that it’s important to choose the right backpack – one that isn’t going to get in the way. You don’t want a bulky bag that will take up already-limited space. But it still needs to protect your laptop at all times. 
The Wenig Anti-Theft backpack is both slimline while packed with features and storage. It has three main compartments – including a laptop sleeve to fit a 14-15.6-inch laptop – plus 12 other pockets for stashing a tablet, notebook, chargers, leads, pens, and anything else you need with you. 
It comes with other commuter friendly features too. There’s a USB charging port, so there’s no need to stress over finding a seat next to an outlet or the fact that you forgot to charge your phone overnight, and headphone port. Plus, a fixed password anti-theft lock and hidden anti-theft pocket

Travel-friendly • Good for organisation • Spacious yet compact

A bit pricey • Might feel somewhat stiff with laptop packed

If you’re constantly doing short trips, the Osprey is worth the price tag.

Osprey Nebula Daypack

Compact and comfortable yet expandable, making it the perfect pack for a short trips or weekend getaways.

  • Features:
    Side stretch mesh pockets, front stretch pocket, blinder light attachment, padded, security-approved laptop and tablet sleeve, front panel stretch mesh pocket, padded harness with waist strap
  • Laptop size capacity:
If you find yourself constantly trekking from one end of the airport to another, whether it be for a business trip or a weekend excursion, the Osprey Nebula Daypack is a great choice. 
The bag features a sleeve for your laptop or tablet, several internal and external organisation pockets, a large main compartment, stretch front compartment, side mesh pockets, and a cozy padded harness to keep everything you need organised and accessible while taking the pressure off your shoulders. It even comes with a little blink light attachment to keep you safe if you’re traveling at night by foot or bike.
One of the things that reviewers seem to love most about the Osprey Nebula is the fact that it’s spacious enough to fit all of your necessities, yet compact enough to fit in any overhead bin and even under most aircraft seats (which is a big relief for those of us who get anxiety about being able to find room in the overhead bin when boarding a plane)..

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