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18 Best Laptop Backpacks: How to Find the Right One For You

Best laptop backpacks
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Updated October 30, 2023

Whether you need to take a laptop to work or don’t want to be without it on vacation, the best way to keep it safe while comfortably carrying all of your essential gear is a quality backpack. A genuinely great laptop bag will have a dedicated pocket to cradle your computer in its own padded section, plus plenty of organization options and other attractive perks like an ergonomic design, durable construction, and an array of eye-catching colors to choose from. With so many laptop backpacks on the market—ranging from under $50 to well over $200—and a huge selection of brands, styles, and sizes out there, it’ll take a bit of shopping around to find exactly what you need.

There isn’t one perfect bag for everyone, but we’ve researched and tested an assortment of models to find the greatest laptop backpacks of 2023 for day trips, frequent travel, college students, and everything in between.

What to consider when buying a laptop backpack

Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all best laptop backpack, there are a few key questions to consider while shopping around to make sure that you buy the best one for your travel needs:

Is the backpack a good fit for my laptop?

The most important aspect of any laptop backpack is whether or not it will hold and protect your PC. Look for laptop backpacks with a spacious, well-padded pocket and a soft interior fabric to ensure that it will be protected from bumps, movement, and accidental drops.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s website to see the maximum laptop size the bag was designed for, since you don’t want one that will either barely fit or jostle around inside a huge pouch. Backpacks designed so that their laptop pouches don’t encroach on the main compartment are especially useful, as they allow you to easily pack more tech accessories and essential travel items. If you’re having a difficult time choosing between several backpacks that may comfortably fit your laptop, look out for models sporting additional pockets, mesh bags, and zippered compartments to store even more stuff.

Will the backpack be comfortable?

Since most people tend to keep a backpack for a long time, you’ll want to find one that will be comfortable while you’re waiting for your flight, or moving to and from the office. Laptop backpacks with breathable mesh cushions and straps, ergonomic “S”-shaped arm straps, and those available in multiple size options so you can select one that fits your body type, all indicate that the manufacturer designed them with your comfort in mind.

Was the backpack designed with organization in mind?

This is a trickier aspect to identify at a glance, but just because a laptop backpack has a lot of pockets, doesn’t mean that it will be simple to organize. A few hints that a backpack was made for orderly packing include the ability to unzip its exterior, so that its sides expand outward into a butterfly shape, letting you place items exactly where you want them; many conveniently placed compartments in multiple types for various fragile, small, and other item types; and a series of clearly marked components for shoes, dirty clothes, or a water bottle.

Is this backpack made to last?

Generally speaking, a great laptop backpack will give you many years of use, but some are certainly more durable than others. It’s important that you buy a backpack that was built to last not just because you want to get your money’s worth, but because it needs to protect your laptop when it counts. Some key signs of a truly rugged laptop bag include waterproof/resistant and tear-resistant materials, as well as heavy-duty zippers.

Does this backpack match my style?

Even when you finally discover the ultimate backpack that does everything you need it to do and beyond, it’s a good idea to hold off on buying just a little longer, to check whether it’s available in alternate colors and styles that fit your aesthetic. Many laptop backpacks are offered in a spectrum of vibrant hues, and some brands give customers the chance to customize their pack with their favorite color combination for that extra special touch. 

Our top laptop backpack picks

Best budget laptop backpack: Osprey Flare

Osprey Flare

Osprey demonstrates that you can absolutely find a quality bag without breaking the bank, with their all-around solid Flare laptop backpack. Best-suited for college and day trips, the Flare is a medium backpack sporting a sizable padded laptop compartment and a collection of smaller pockets, zippered components, and mesh bags to organize your essential tech. Its cooling, foam-cushioned back panel and lightweight design make for a comfortable backpack, and the Flare’s generous 27L of organized storage space shows that impressive models are out there for less than you’d expect.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyester

  • Dimensions: 18.9 inches (height) x 12.99 inches (width) x 9.45 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 27 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 16 inches

  • Weight: 1.704 pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    • Padded laptop sleeve
    • Many small, zippered compartments
  • Warranty: All Mighty Guarantee: “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge.”

  • Water-resistance: No

  • Water bottle holder: Yes, two of them

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fits larger laptops
  • Lightweight
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Available in four colors

Cons:

  • Not water/weather resistant
Best budget
FLARE 27 CAMPUS

Best value laptop backpack: Cotopaxi Tasra 16L Backpack Del Dia

Cotopaxi’s Tasra Backpacks already stand out from the competition because each bag is stitched together with a random collection of colors, so each one is completely unique., But Tasra also delivers for their value-packed laptop protection.. These water-resistant backpacks sport a padded 15” laptop sleeve and a surprising number of pockets and pouches, so packing all of your travel tech is a breeze. Some of a vibrant Tasra’s other key points include flexible straps to comfortably carry it like a briefcase, the handy ability to unzip the backpack in halves like a suitcase, and a large amount of storage space for its relatively low price.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Nylon

  • Dimensions: 17 inches (height) x 10.5 inches (width) x 5.5 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 16 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

  • Weight: 1.6 pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    • Padded laptop sleeve
    • Many pockets and straps
  • Warranty: “We will seek to repair damage caused by accidents or from normal wear and tear. If the damage is considered a manufacturing defect, we will, at our discretion, replace the item at no cost to you.”

  • Water-resistance: Yes

  • Water bottle holder: None 

Pros: 

  • Each backpack has a unique color scheme
  • Wide variety of organizational options via its zippered pockets
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

Cons: 

  • Buyers cannot customize a specific color combination
Best value
Cotopaxi Tasra 16L Backpack 2025 Nylon

Cotopaxi Tasra 16L Backpack 2025 Nylon

Best comfort laptop backpack: The North Face Surge Backpack

The North Face Surge Backpack

Spacious laptop backpacks are easy to find, but ones that place your personal comfort at the top of the list are worth going out of your way for. The North Face’s Surge features a cozy, ergonomic style built to support your shoulders and cushion your back, and a cool chemise fabric that feels nice against your skin. We were also impressed by its ability to easily stand upright, its array of organizational compartments, and durable, water-resistant design, as it feels like a particularly sturdy option when compared to many of the other models we tested.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Nylon

  • Dimensions: ' 20' inches (height) x 12 inches (width) x 7 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 31 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

  • Weight: 2.12 pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    • Padded laptop sleeve
    • Water-repellent material
    • Large storage capacity
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

  • Water-resistance: Yes

  • Water bottle holder: Two 

Pros: 

  • Ultra-comfortable design
  • Articulated shoulder straps
  • Soft chemise fabric
  • Many compartments
  • Plush handle
  • Offered in six styles

Cons: 

  • Not enough room for a laptop and tablet together
Best comfort
The North Face Surge Backpack, Men's, TNF Black/TNF Black

The North Face Surge Backpack, Men's, TNF Black/TNF Black

Best carry-all laptop backpack: PKG Aurora 36L Recycled Backpack  

PKG Aurora 36L Recycled Backpack

When you’re going on a longer trip, the ability to pack everything you need and a bit more is essential, so with a 36L capacity and a rugged exterior, the PKG Aurora is sure to get your gear from point A to B safely. Unlike many larger backpacks that tend to sacrifice comfort for storage space, the PKG Aurora is lightweight, features plush, breathable back padding, and its adjustable chest strap makes it easy to wear, no matter how tall or short the wearer is. Between its water-resistant design, huge storage space, and genuinely cozy fit, it’s a must-have for those cross-country journeys.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyester

  • Dimensions: 19.5 inches (height) x 14 inches (width) x 7 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 36 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 16 inches

  • Weight: 2.73 pounds

  • Tech Accommodation

    • Padded, external zippered laptop pocket
  • Warranty: Full replacement, 10-year limited warranty from any manufacturer defects

  • Water-resistance: Yes

  • Water bottle holder: Two 

Pros: 

  • Huge capacity
  • Comfortable design
  • Large variety of compartments
  • Especially durable
  • Lightweight

Cons: 

  • Only available in black and dark gray
Best carry-all
PKG Aurora 36L Recycled Backpack

PKG Aurora 36L Recycled Backpack

Most stylish laptop backpack: Tucano Ring 15 Inch

Tucano Ring 15 Inch

Each of Tucano’s Ring backpacks includes an eye-catching surprise, as its interior color is the polar opposite of its exterior, a slick design choice that’s sure to turn heads at the airport or the office. The Ring’s well-cushioned shoulder straps, large, padded laptop compartment with room for an additional tablet, and featherweight construction show that its beauty isn’t skin deep, however. It’s worth noting, too, that Tucano’s is the only backpack to make our list that notes that it will easily fit a 16 inch MacBook Pro, making it a prime pick for traveling Apple fans.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Recycled plastic

  • Dimensions: 17.91 inches (height) x 11.22 inches (width) x” x 5.31 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: (Unlisted)

  • Maximum laptop size: 16 inches

  • Weight: 1.31 pounds.

  • Tech accommodation

    • Protective pockets for a laptop and tablet
  • Warranty: “Tucano warrants our products against defects in materials and workmanship for a period of two (2) years from the date of original purchase.”

  • Water-resistance: No

  • Water bottle holder: Two

Pros: 

  • Fits 15.6-inch laptops and 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • Rugged exterior
  • Plush shoulder and chest straps
  • Lightweight
  • Available in four colors

Cons: 

  • Not water-resistant
Most stylish
Tucano Ring 15 Inch

Tucano Ring 15 Inch

Best classic laptop backpack: JanSport Suede Campus

JanSport Suede Campus

There’s a good reason that JanSport has been going strong since 1967; they know how to make an all-around great backpack. Their rainbow of attractive color and design options will grab your attention, but once you’ve comfortably organized the interior of one with everything you need for school or work, you’ll understand the value of these timeless bags. At this price point, it’s impressive to find a backpack this cozy, rugged, and spacious, making JanSport a top pick for students who need a bookbag to easily last a few years.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyester, Suede trim

  • Dimensions: 17 inches (height) x 12.5 inches (width) x 7 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 32 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

  • Weight: 1 pound, 5.5 ounces

  • Tech accommodation:

    •  Padded laptop pocket with zipper closure
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

  • Water-resistance: No

  • Water bottle holder: Yes

Pros: 

  • Classic style
  • Large capacity
  • Rugged construction
  • Comfortable design
  • Affordable
  • Offered in a wide range of patterns and colors

Cons: 

  • Not machine washable
Best classic
SUEDE CAMPUS

Best backpack for smaller laptops: Patagonia Atom Tote Pack 20L

Whether you have a 13-inch laptop or need a smaller fit for your body type, it’s worth seeking out a little backpack that’s every bit as solid as pricier extra-large options. Patagonia’s Atom Tote Pack was specifically designed with a shorter 17-inch torso length to accommodate less tall wearers, while ensuring that its shoulder straps and mesh back cushioning are comfy. Perfect fit aside, its 20L capacity and convenient array of pockets makes it easy to travel with all of your essential laptop accessories, with room to spare.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Polyester
  • Dimensions: 16 inches (height) x 12 inches (width) x 5 inches (depth)
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Maximum laptop size: 13 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound, 7 ounces
  • Tech accommodation: Removable padded laptop sleeve with zippered closure for laptop accessories
  • Warranty: “Ironclad Guarantee: If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund. Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge.”
  • Water-resistance: Water repellent
  • Water bottle holder: Two

Pros:

  • Shorter torso length comfortably fits shorter wearers
  • Breathable mesh panels
  • Lightweight
  • Two exterior pockets
  • Available in five colors

Cons:

  • Too small for larger laptops
Best for 13-inch laptop
Patagonia Women's Atom Tote Pack 20L | Mother’s Day Gift

Patagonia Women's Atom Tote Pack 20L | Mother’s Day Gift

Most versatile laptop backpack: Urban Armor Gear Standard Issue 24-Liter Backpack

Urban Armor Gear Standard Issue 24-Liter Backpack

Sure, every backpack on this guide is at least fairly durable, but for anyone who needs a genuinely rock-solid model to shield their precious gadgets from the weather (or the grizzly bear hired to throw your bag onto the plane), UAG has you covered. The 24L capacity and premium foam back cushioning are excellent, while its tough clamshell exterior is surprisingly sturdy. The soft interior pockets, meanwhile, will gently cradle your sensitive electronics throughout your adventures. Most wouldn’t expect such a tough backpack to be so comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, but this rhino-tough beast of a bag is likely to surprise you.

Price: $119.95

Pros

  • Extreme durability
  • Rugged clamshell design
  • Stands upright
  • Large collection of pockets (including felt-lined pocket for fragile items)
  • Cozy EVA foam back padding
  • Cushioned handle

Cons

  • Only available in black midnight camo

Materials: (Unlisted)

Dimensions: 22 inches (height) x 13 inches (width) x 8 inches (depth)

Capacity: 24 liters

Maximum laptop size: 16 inches

Weight: 2.4 pounds

Tech accommodation

  • Padded laptop side-pocket 
  • Many compartments for accessories

Warranty: One (1) year from the original date of purchase of the product

Water-resistance: Weather resistant

Water bottle holder: Yes, inside zippered side pocket

Best for Durability
URBAN ARMOR GEAR UAG 24-Liter Backpack Lightweight Tough Weather Resistant Laptop Backpack, fits up to 16-inch, Standard Issue Black Midnight Camo

URBAN ARMOR GEAR UAG 24-Liter Backpack Lightweight Tough Weather Resistant Laptop Backpack, fits up to 16-inch, Standard Issue Black Midnight Camo

Best high-capacity laptop backpack: Nomatic TRAVEL BAG 40L

Nomatic TRAVEL BAG 40L

If money is no object and you’re a globetrotter in need of a premium laptop backpack with a gigantic capacity, this is easily your best bet. With its massive 40L capacity and an array of convenient storage compartments, you’ll have plenty of well-padded space to store your 16” laptop, shoes, clothes, water bottle, and a handy laundry bag to keep your dirty clothes separated from your fresh threads. Nomatic’s titanic backpack is also easily carried about like a duffle bag, sports a wide butterfly opening so you can cruise through security checkpoints, and an overall rugged design that was made to last.

Price: $289.99

Pros

  • Huge capacity
  • Large laptop pocket folds out for easy TSA checks
  • Convenient to carry like a duffle bag
  • Separate laundry bag
  • Extremely durable construction
  • Optimized for easy organization

Cons

  • This is a fairly pricey laptop backpack

Materials: Polyester, Nylon

Dimensions: 21 inches (height) x 14 inches (width) x 9 inches (depth)

Capacity: 40 liters

Maximum laptop size:16 inches

Weight: 3.42 pounds

Tech accommodation

  • Spacious padded laptop sleeve

Warranty: Manufacturer's Lifetime Warranty

Water-resistance: Yes

Water bottle holder: Yes

Best Premium Laptop Backpack
Nomatic TRAVEL BAG 40L

Nomatic TRAVEL BAG 40L

Best laptop backpack for business trips/travel: Samsonite Pro Standard Backpack

Samsonite Pro Standard Backpack

Samsonite wasn’t kidding around when they named this laptop backpack the “Pro,” as its wireless charging, RFID shielding, and convenient integrated USB port makes this the most advanced backpack for business professionals. In addition to catering to frequent travelers who need continuous access to their laptop, this bag includes a spacious pair of padded compartments to house a laptop and tablet, a handy butterfly-style opening to easily organize your gear and breeze through security, and best of all,t the flat tech compartments leave plenty of space to bring along your tech accessories and work clothes.

Price: $219.99

Pros

  • Optimized to accommodate a laptop and its accessories while traveling
  • Huge capacity
  • Large collection of compartments
  • Smart sleeve fits over wheeled luggage handle for convenient mobility

Cons

  • Only available in black

Materials: Nylon

Dimensions: 17.5 inches (height) × 13 inches (width) × 7 inches (depth)

Capacity: (Not listed)

Maximum laptop size: 15.6 inches

Weight: 3.09 pounds

Tech accommodation

  • Large padded laptop pocket
  • RFID shielding
  • USB port to charge without removing laptop
  • Tablet sleeve
  • Power bank pocket

Warranty: Limited Global Warranty

Water-resistance: No

Water bottle holder: Yes

Best for Business Trips
Samsonite Pro Backpack, Black, One Size

Samsonite Pro Backpack, Black, One Size

Best slim laptop backpack: Pacsafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack

Pacsafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack

While most slimmer backpacks generally feature less storage and aren’t quite as durable as their bigger counterparts, Pacsafe’s Vibe bucks that trend. Its slender and featherweight design hides a remarkable collection of anti-theft features, including interconnecting zipper pulls to discourage pickpockets, extremely tough cut-resistant materials, and a reinforced security clip that allows wearers to bolt it in place like a bike lock. With 20L of storage space for a 13” laptop and plenty of room to spare, the Vibe is easily the most secure slim backpack available.

Price: $139.95

Pros

  • Innovative anti-theft design to protect your laptop
  • Extremely durable
  • Array of pockets and compartments
  • Made of recycled materials

Cons

  • Not for larger laptops

Materials: Polyester

Dimensions: 18.1 inches (height) x 10.6 inches (width) x 7.1 inches (depth)

Capacity: 20 liters

Maximum laptop size: 13 inches

Weight: 1.8 pounds

Tech accommodation

  • Well-padded, RFID-blocking laptop pocket
  • Lockable zippers
  • Locking security strap so you can anchor the backpack like a bike lock

Warranty: Limited 5-year warranty on backpacks

Water-resistance: Water-repelling

Water bottle holder: Yes, but it doubles as the laptop sleeve

Best Featherweight Design
Pacsafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack

Pacsafe Vibe 20L Anti-Theft Backpack

Best basic laptop backpack: Carhartt 27L Single-Compartment Backpack

Carhartt 27L Single-Compartment Backpack

The Carhartt 27L Single-Compartment Backpack isn’t flashy, but beneath its simple exterior is the most durable bag you can get in its budget-friendly price range. It has ample room for both a 15” laptop and a tablet, with plenty of space for tech accessories, and unlike many other bags, it actively protects gear from moisture as water effortlessly beads up and slides off this bag like rain off a duck’s back. This particularly tough bag includes many smaller compartments for easy organization, while the mesh padding running along the straps and back cushions make it comfortable to wear while avoiding skin contact with its admittedly rough-to-the-touch rainproof materials. Carhartt’s lightweight laptop backpack is a resilient top pick for high-tech travelers who need the peace of mind that a weather-resistant bag brings.

Price: $89.99

Pros

  • Comfortable, S-shaped sleeves and back padding
  • Rugged, water-repelling exterior
  • Spacious interior
  • Available in 3 colors

Cons

  • Rugged, functional style makes it less versatile from a wardrobe perspective 

Materials: Polyester

Dimensions: 18 inches (height) X 12 inches (width) x 9.5 inches (depth)

Capacity: 27 liters

Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Tech accommodation

  • Padded compartments for both a laptop and tablet

Warranty: “If one of our products should fail to meet your expectations, we’ll work to make it right through repair, replacement, or credit.”

Water-resistance: Water repellent

Water bottle holder: Two

Best for 15” Laptop and a Tablet
Carhartt 27L Single-Compartment Backpack

Carhartt 27L Single-Compartment Backpack

Best laptop backpack for daily commute: Topo Daypack Classic

Topo Daypack Classic

Between its sturdy fabrics and large capacity, the Daypack Classic is a budget-friendly, yet reliably functional laptop backpack, best suited for the average daily routine. Great for school, work, and even taking on a trip to the great outdoors, this model features a soft laptop sleeve, many easily accessible pockets, and is available in an array of attractive colors. If you’re searching for a laptop backpack that is as versatile as it is rugged, the Daypack Classic is a strong contender.

Price: $99

Pros

  • Rugged construction
  • Inexpensive
  • Nylon interior is easy to clean
  • Spacious interior
  • Offered in 10 color options

Cons

  • Not water-resistant

Materials: Nylon

Dimensions: 19 inches (height) x 11 inches (width) x 5 inches (depth)

Capacity: 21.6 liters

Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

Weight: 1 pound, 7.2 ounces

Tech accommodation:

  • Padded external laptop sleeve

Warranty: Reasonable lifetime warranty

Water-resistance: No

Water bottle holder: Two

Best for Daily Use
Topo Designs 22L Daypack Classic Sage/Pond Blue, One Size

Topo Designs 22L Daypack Classic Sage/Pond Blue, One Size

Best laptop backpack to splurge on: Knomo Novello Roll-Top Backpack

Knomo Novello Roll-Top Backpack

If you’re shopping around for an extravagant backpack, Novello’s Roll-Top is a chic model with a padded RFID-protecting laptop pocket, cozy, breathable padding for the upper and lower back, and a secure buckle to keep its water-resistant fabric flap in place. Some of this premier bag’s other standout features include a convenient trolley sleeve to wheel it around the airport over your luggage’s handle, a heavy-duty exterior with multiple zippered pockets for storing smaller items, and a roomy interior to comfortably store your travel essentials. The Roll-Top is a beautiful backpack to be sure, but it’s easily the least budget-friendly model on our list.

Price: $295

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Cushioned back padding
  • Comfortable straps
  • Extendable metal handle
  • Spacious
  • Protective laptop pocket
  • Stylish roll-top design

Cons

  • A particularly pricey model

Materials: Nylon

Dimensions: 16.33 inches (height) x 11.61 inches (width) x 4.72 inches (depth)

Capacity: (Unlisted)

Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

Weight: (Unlisted)

Tech accommodation

  • Spacious, padded RFID-shielded laptop pocket

Warranty: Two-year warranty

Water-resistance: Yes

Water bottle holder: No

RFID-protected Laptop Backpack
Knomo Novello Roll-Top Backpack

Knomo Novello Roll-Top Backpack

Best laptop backpack for students: Thule EnRoute

Thule EnRoute

With ample storage space in its padded pockets for both a laptop and tablet, a durable design, and an array of interior pockets, Thule’s EnRoute sports a versatile design that students can rely on. This laptop backpack also features plush fabric to protect sensitive electronics, a breathable mesh back cushion and straps for lasting comfort, and a large capacity to minimize trips to and from their locker between classes. High school and college students searching for a durable, yet affordable backpack to last more than a few years won’t be disappointed by the sleek and roomy EnRoute.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Nylon

  • Dimensions: 18.3 inches (height) x 11.8 inches (width) x 7.9 inches (depth) x

  • Capacity: 23 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

  • Weight: 1.59 pounds

  • Tech Accommodation

    • Well-protected laptop and tablet pockets
    • Stretchy companion mech pocket for tech accessories
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

  • Water-resistance: No

  • Water bottle holder: Yes

Pros

  • Rugged construction
  • Affordable
  • Spacious interior
  • Optimized for easy organization
  • Breathable back padding and comfortable sternum strap
  • Available in 3 colors

Cons

  • Not offered in larger sizes
Best for Students
Thule Enroute 23-Liter Backpack in Mallard Green at Nordstrom

Thule Enroute 23-Liter Backpack in Mallard Green at Nordstrom

Best laptop backpack for organization: Timbuk2 Custom Division Laptop Backpack  

Timbuk2 Custom Division Laptop Backpack

If you have to reorganize multiple times per trip, or consistently dig out items from the bottom of poorly placed pockets, it’s worth upgrading to a backpack optimized for organization, like the extremely customizable Division from Timbuk2. The Division’s brilliantly designed plush, padded rear-access sleeve not only effectively protects your laptop, but its flat position provides a surprising amount of extra storage space for your other travel gear. Its internal organizer makes sorting smaller tech and retrieving your mouse, stylus, or earbuds a far easier task. On top of the Division being a prime pick for arranging your essentials, the range of material and color customization options offered is particularly impressive as well.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Canvas, Reflective, Rain-Resistant, or Tailored Fabric (your choice)

  • Dimensions: 17.3 inches (height) x 11 inches (width) x 5.12 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 22 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 15 inches

  • Weight: 2.1pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    Plush protective laptop pocket

  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty

  • Water-resistance: No, unless you select the rain-resistant materials

  • Water bottle holder: Yes

Pros

  • Spacious rear laptop sleeve does not take up space from the main backpack section
  • Wide variety of exterior and interior pockets for travel items of all sizes
  • Breathable cozy back panel
  • Buyers can fully customize their pack’s colors and materials

Cons

  • Not the best design for big and tall backpackers
Best laptop backpack for organization
Timbuk2 Custom Division Laptop Backpack

Timbuk2 Custom Division Laptop Backpack

Laptop backpack under $50: Targus 16 Groove Laptop Backpack

Targus 16 Groove Laptop Backpack

Although many of the impressive backpacks that made our list are fairly pricey, the Targus Groove shows that there are some truly great deals out there. For just under $50, the Groove sports a lightweight and water-resistant design with a substantial capacity, optimized for organizing all of your mobile tech. This cushioned backpack and its variety of pockets easily stores a 16” laptop and mobile devices, and even features a tiny porthole for listening to the music player in your bag via wired headphones. Sure, it’s not the most attractive backpack on the market, but good luck finding anything more durable and practical for under 50 bucks.

Specifications:

  • Materials: Nylon

  • Dimensions: 18 inches (height) x 15 inches (width)" x 7 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: 26 liters

  • Maximum laptop size: 16 inches

  • Weight: 1.58 pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    • Shock-absorbing, foam-padded laptop pocket
    • Array of pockets for small tech items
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

  • Water-resistance: Waterproof PVC bottom

  • Water bottle holder: Yes

Pros

  • Especially affordable
  • Premium laptop protection
  • Many padded compartments for storing laptop accessories
  • Waterproof PVC underside

Cons:

  • Only available in black
Best Laptop backpack under $50
Targus 16 Groove Laptop Backpack

Targus 16 Groove Laptop Backpack

Best laptop backpack for gaming laptops: Razer Concourse Pro Backpack 17.3

Razer Concourse Pro Backpack 17.3

Gaming laptops are simply a different breed—they tend to be built bulkier and heavier to house a bigger fan, battery, and a wider display, but the average backpack isn’t designed to accommodate these hulking PCs. Razer’s Concourse Pro caters to PC gamers with its extra-large padded compartment to store 18-inch laptops and a plush interior to keep pricey gaming accessories supported and safe throughout the journey. We were especially fond of this backpack’s plush, cushioned back and matching straps to keep us comfortable as we carried around a pack full of gaming tech.

Specifiactions:

  • Materials: Polyester

  • Dimensions: 20.86 inches (height) x 12.2 inches (width) x 7.08 inches (depth)

  • Capacity: (Not listed)

  • Maximum laptop size: 18 inches

  • Weight: 2.62 pounds

  • Tech accommodation

    • Extra-large, plush laptop pocket
    • Many pockets
    • Soft lining to shield smaller and more fragile tech
  • Warranty: One (1) Year Warranty

  • Water-resistance: No

  • Water bottle holder: Yes

Pros

  • Optimized for safely carrying extra-large and heavier gaming laptops
  • Soft interior and many compartments to cradle fragile electronics
  • Rugged, tear-resistant underside
  • Breathable mesh back cushioning

Cons

  • Water resistance would have been appreciated
Best for Gaming Laptops
Razer Concourse Pro Backpack 17.3

Razer Concourse Pro Backpack 17.3

How we tested and selected the best laptop backpacks 

To prepare for this guide, we personally used these backpacks, and a further collection that didn’t quite live up to our expectations, as often as possible in our daily lives. Whether we took a day trip across town or a cross-country trek, we carried around a backpack loaded with a laptop and personal belongings to see how they felt, how easy they were to organize, and how they held up over time. Only a few stood out as our favorites, and out of those, each model that made our list excelled in a specific area, such as affordability, style, or versatility, but our top laptop bags also met and exceeded the following criteria: 

Laptop-friendly design: We only tested backpacks designed with designated laptop pockets. Those with plush compartments, room for laptop accessories, and a layer of water resistance quickly rose to the top of the list.

Durability: If we’re going to trust a backpack to carry not only our laptops, but our other important tech, it has to be built to last. After being thrown into cars, dropped (by accident,) and hauled about on our daily adventures, we can vouch for these rock-solid travel backpacks.

Comfort: We would never recommend a backpack that gave us neck or back strain, and although some were far cozier to wear for long periods of time than others, these all passed our comfort test.

Organizability: The best backpacks were designed to tidily organize your stuff in a collection of pouches, zippered pockets, and mesh sacks. A quality laptop section is an absolute must, but backpacks with accessible storage for a water bottle, clothes, extra electronics, and everything else stood out from the competition.

Customizability and personality: There are countless backpacks on the market, but those available in a rainbow of cool colors and highly customizable designs will make it that much easier to identify your unique laptop backpack on a crowded airport security conveyor belt.

Affordability: All of the laptop backpacks we selected are sold from below $50 to nearly $300, but not only is it easy to find a bag to perfectly suit your travel needs for well under that top price point, diligent shoppers can find a few good picks for surprisingly cheap.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Who makes the best laptop backpacks?

Every brand on our list makes top-quality laptop backpacks, each with their own specialty. For example:

  • Thule and JanSport have a reputation for making quality laptop backpacks for students. Samsonite and Nomatic are premium selections for frequent travelers. Cotopaxi and Tucano are known for their vibrant and stylish backpack designs.

What should I look for in a tech backpack?

Frequent travelers who rely on their laptop backpacks for work or entertainment should look out for these handy features:

  • A wireless charging pocket to hold an external battery, so you can continue using your laptop as it charges during lengthy flights and road trips.
  • A USB port so you can charge your laptop while it’s safely stored inside your backpack.
  • A cable management pocket designed to conveniently carry your laptop’s charging cables and power brick.
  • And most importantly, a well-padded laptop RFID-protected pocket, to shield your device from everyday bumps and drops.

What is better for a laptop, a bag or backpack?

Both laptop bags and backpacks have their pros and cons. A backpack is the superior option for traveling with a laptop with a lot of other tech, and for those who appreciate the convenience of carrying their gear on their back.

Conversely, if you are traveling with just your computer and minimal extras, a hardshell laptop bag will likely be the lighter and slimmer option.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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