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Best Laptop Backpack: 10 Great Options You Definitely Need to Consider

Best Laptop Backpacks
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

You always want to have your laptop with you in case you need it, especially if you’re in need of a way to contact people that aren’t with you on your trip. A phone call can be too long and it’s generally just easier to send a message. But carrying your laptop when you’re in areas that aren’t the safest or easiest to climb is definitely not an easy feat.

Finding the best laptop backpack is going to help you, but you’re not looking for just any backpack. You need something rugged and secure that you can take hiking or mountain climbing, or anywhere else you want to go, all the time.

Our Top Picks

ProductWeightDimensionsBest usePrice
The North Face Recon Backpack2.2 lbs14.17 x 9.45 x 17.72 inchesShort trips, inexpensive bag, basic bag neededCheck price on Amazon
The North Face Surge II Backpack3.35 lbs19.75 x 13.75 x 8.5 inchesModerate trips, organization needed, smaller laptopCheck price on Amazon
Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack2 lbs19.75 x 13.75 x 8.5 inchesModerate weight, wet conditions, balanced fitCheck price on Amazon
Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack1.5 lbs19 x 13 x 7 inchesShort length trips, lightweight, more strenuous tripCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Arbor Pack1.3 lbs11 x 6 x 18 inchesLightweight, short trips, variety of activitiesCheck price on Amazon
Timbuk2 Command Laptop Backpack2.4 lbs5.5 x 18.9 x 13 inchesTraveling anywhere, easy to get through airportsCheck price on Amazon
Everki Atlas Laptop Backpack3.8 lbs13.4 x 9.1 x 18.2 inchesTrips through the airport, 17.3 inches or smaller laptopCheck price on Amazon
Kenneth Cole Reaction Back-Stage Access4 lbs6.5 x 16.3 x 12.5 inchesTraveling through airports, moderate amount of stuff, good weather conditionsCheck price on Amazon
SwissGear 1753 Scansmart Laptop Backpack3.3 lbs18 x 13 x 8.5 inchesShort trips, variety of stuffCheck price on Amazon
Ogio Renegade RSS Laptop/Tablet Backpack3.6 lbs10.5 x 19.5 x 14 inchesTravel through airports, shorter tripsCheck price on Amazon

How To Choose The Best Laptop Backpack

There are actually several different things you want to look at when you’re thinking about getting a laptop backpack that’s going to keep your laptop safe in more strenuous conditions.

Choose The Best Laptop Backpack

If you’re just going back and forth to work or school just about anything will do, but if you’re going outdoors then you’re going to need something that’s a whole lot stronger and ready for a little more difficult conditions. After all, you definitely don’t want something to happen to your computer.

Laptop Size

The first thing you want to think about is the size of your laptop. You want a bag that is easily going to fit your computer without having to stretch it – this is going to compromise the durability of the bag. If you stretch it to fit a larger laptop it could break while you’re traveling and then you have even more problems.

You also don’t want something that is too large for your laptop because you’ll end up with the computer moving and sliding around too much which can also cause damage including scratches.

Closure Type

Look at how the bag closes or seals. Some backpacks don’t have a sturdy seal and may only have a way to tighten the top with a drawstring and cover it with a flap. Others have zippers to keep your stuff protected.

Closure type of laptop bags

Not to mention the zippers will be different types and styles that may have a cover to keep them from getting wet or allowing leaks or they may be entirely visible. You want to think about just how important a specific closure is to you and whether it’s going to protect your stuff.

Security

Speaking of protecting your stuff, it’s important to know how protected everything is if you’re going to take it with you somewhere that you really don’t have a locker or a safe.

You might want to make sure you can put a lock on the backpack to make it more difficult to get into or you may want to check for specific features that make it more secure and less likely for people to get information through it like RFID makes it difficult to get information from a credit card.

Durability

Of course, if you’re going anywhere that’s less than ideal conditions with your laptop you want to make sure the bag you put it in is entirely durable. After all, you definitely don’t want the weather to beat away at your bag and ruin your laptop.

Durability of laptop bags

You want something that can withstand bad weather conditions and also something that is going to hold up against being set on rocky or rough terrain or even being dropped a short distance. Remember it’s a laptop inside so you don’t want to drop it much anyway, but if it happens once you don’t want to have a broken laptop.

Weight

If you’re traveling, whether hiking, biking, rock climbing or anything else, you don’t want something too heavy to weigh you down. That means you want to make sure the backpack you choose is going to balance all of the other features along with weight.

Every ounce is going to count when you find yourself traveling and having to carry absolutely everything that goes with you. You may not think it’s that important when you’re first packing up, but when it comes down to it you’re going to notice every extra item and every extra amount of weight, and that’s not going to be good while you’re out there.

Comfort

How comfortable the bag is will also be important. You want something that is going to be soft on your back and shoulders because you’re going to be carrying it for a while. You also want something that will keep you from getting too hot and sweating.

Comfort of laptop bags

Make sure the bag has some cushion and padding but definitely make sure it’s going to help you wick away any kind of moisture. You should also look at the way it fits over your shoulders and at your back because this is going to contribute to (or take away from) the comfort level of the bag.

Style

The style is going to consist of two things. First, you want to make sure your backpack is the style that you like. Does it have the right number and type of pockets? Does it fit you a certain way? Do you wear it a certain way? All of these things will be important to how well you like the bag. But the way it looks is going to be important too (just not as important as most of these other aspects). Make sure you like the bag because you’re going to be wearing it for quite a while.

Storage

How much is your bag actually going to carry? You don’t want a bag that is only going to carry your laptop and nothing else because it’s a waste. You want something with enough storage space that it will allow you to carry several things and especially since you’re traveling by foot and you want to maximize everything you take.

Storage

Make sure you have the right type of pockets for different things and that they’re going to be a good size for the things you need to take with you.

Versatility

If you decide not to take your laptop with you somewhere is your bag still going to be useful? You don’t really want to spend a lot of money on a backpack that is only useful for your laptop and nothing else.

If you don’t take the computer can you use it as a traditional bag? If you can’t then you’ve purchased a one use product that’s not really versatile. You also want to know if the backpack is going to be useful for other situations. Is it only good for taking out on the trails or is it also going to get your laptop through the airport easily?

Water Resistance

If you’re outdoors one of the most important things you need to think about is the weather. You want to make sure that your laptop is going to be protected from it and that’s why you need a backpack that has some type of weather proofing and water resistance.

Water resistant laptop bags

Your laptop is definitely not either of these things so it has to be protected as well as possible. Make sure that you’re thinking about that right from the start and long before you even narrow down the choices for your next backpack. You definitely don’t want anything to happen to your computer on the trails.

Protection

Finally, make sure that there’s adequate protection for your laptop. You may not really think about it but when you put your laptop in any kind of case it has a pad on it that protects it from anything that might get dropped on it or knocked into it.

The same is true of a laptop backpack. You want to make sure you have adequate padding on the front and back of the bag to make sure that you’re not going to damage your laptop just trying to set it down when you’re done walking for the night.

10 Best Backpacks To Consider For Your Laptop

Below you can read about the best backpacks we could find on the market. These fit the required settings and can easily become your favorite bag for the laptop when going outdoors.

The North Face Recon BackpackNorth Face Recon Backpack

Price: Approx. $74.23

Weight: 2.2 lbs

Dimensions: 14.17 x 9.45 x 17.72 inches

Specific features: FlexVent straps, PE foam shoulders, and back, hydration port

Best use: Short trips, inexpensive bag, basic bag needed

Description: Moderately priced, The North Face Recon Backpack is made with nylon so it’s waterproof for rougher conditions and it has a padded compartment to store your laptop or tablet. For comfort and support, there’s FlexVent injection-molded straps and Spine Channel and PE foam on the back of the bag.

There’s also a hydration port built in so you can set up your water system and it includes several additional pockets to carry other items. If it gets too heavy there’s also a hip belt and sternum strap to help out.

The backpack is a little on the slim side and this will be perfect for most women. Men might find it a little hard to get it fully around their larger waists, but the flexibility will make the backpack extremely comfortable.

PROS:

  • Stylish design and great durability
  • Includes an added hip belt for more support
  • Hydration port will ensure you stay fully hydrated
  • Includes multiple compartments

CONS:

  • Slim design might be uncomfortable for larger individuals

Related: The North Face Unisex Recon Backpack is a decent bag that you can buy for all your traveling needs. This 31-liter bag will ensure that you have no troubles when it comes to storage and it will keep all your belongings dry.

Check the price on Amazon

The North Face Surge II BackpackThe North Face Surge II Backpack

Price: Approx. $96

Weight: 3.35 lbs

Dimensions: 19.75 x 13.75 x 8.5 inches

Specific features: FlexVent straps, fleece lined sleeve & media panel, elastic webbing for cords

Best use: Moderate trips, organization needed, smaller laptop

Description: The North Face Surge II Backpack is definitely designed to be more comfortable. With a little higher price tag it’s definitely a more rugged looking bag, ready to stand up to a bit more than some others and built to help you organize all your belongings.

It has several different compartments that are designed to separate your stuff and has a fleece lined sleeve to put a tablet or small laptop into so it won’t get scratched while you go. Plus it’s stored in the front instead of the back for easier access to it.

The only downside to this backpack is the fact that it is a little stiff in the beginning. This means that you will need to break it in over time. This break in period might be excruciating, but the backpack will certainly resist most that life throws at it.

PROS:

  • Extremely rugged and durable
  • Stylish design
  • Includes multiple storage compartments
  • Available in multiple colors

CONS:

  • Quite expensive
  • Stiff design at first

Related: The North Face Unisex Surge Backpack is an alternative with wider straps that could make life a little more comfortable for you. This backpack will be ideal for both men and women and serve most backpacking purposes.

Check the price on Amazon

Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop BackpackTimbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack

Price: Approx. $79

Weight: 2 lbs

Dimensions: 19.75 x 13.75 x 8.5 inches

Specific features: Water resistant, holds up to 15 inches laptop, lifetime warranty

Best use: Moderate weight, wet conditions, balanced fit

Description: With the Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack you’re getting something that is a little different. It’s a square shape, which means it’s going to balance on your back a little differently, but that might be a good thing.

It also has clips to close and cover the main pockets with a flap over the top and several different pockets with zippers and elastic on the outside. At a moderate price and available in a range of colors, this bag is water resistant and holds up to 20 liters worth of items. Plus it has a custom fit design for all the straps to make it more comfortable to wear.

The backpack might be water resistant up to a certain extent, but we do not recommend soaking the bag or using it in heavy rain. Occasionally water does tend to get through and this could potentially damage some of your items. For the price, this bag will certainly give you great value for your money.

PROS:

  • Durable and water resistant
  • Huge main compartment
  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes a custom fit design

CONS:

  • Does leak water from time to time

Related: The Nite Ize S-Biner Dual Spring Gate Carabiners are ideal for carrying along additional items on your backpacking journey. These carabiners are also quite cheap and really durable. They also come in various sizes.

Check the price on Amazon

Osprey Packs Pixel DaypackOsprey Packs Pixel Daypack

Price: Approx. $140

Weight: 1.5 lbs

Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 7 inches

Specific features: Designed to fit the body, side pocket/access, lightweight

Best use: Short length trips, lightweight, more strenuous trip

Description: Priced a little bit higher at around $90, the Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack is designed in a unique way to fit the shape of your body. Wider at the top and narrowing towards the hips, this bag has side access to your laptop in a padded, fleece lined sleeve.

It’s available in several different colors and it’s made of canvas to be a little sturdier, while also being more lightweight than other options. It offers cord organizers, organizer pockets and it can hold up to 22 liters, definitely enough for an average trip, at least in your laptop bag.

The only big downside we could find with this bag was the lack of quality when it comes to the zipper. We recommend that you do not overstuff the bag as these zippers might be a little weary and come off their tracks.

PROS:

  • Decent sized design
  • Fitted to the average body shape
  • Wicks away moisture
  • Includes a great organizer

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Zippers lack durability

Related: The Osprey Hi-Visibility Raincover is designed from extremely durable materials and this rain cover will ensure that you are seen in the worst of weather conditions. The rain cover is also really affordable and durable.

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Arbor PackPatagonia Arbor Pack 26l

Price: $140 – $169.99

Weight: 1.3 lbs

Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 18 inches

Specific features: 100% recycled polyester, shoulder fitted straps, several color options

Best use: Lightweight, short trips, variety of activities

Description: Priced right around $90, the Patagonia Arbor Pack is able to carry a 15 inch laptop and a whole bunch more with its 26-liter capacity. Not only that but it has several accessory patches, allows you to carry just about anything you might need and has specially designed straps to fit your shoulders.

Designed with a flap and clasps to cover the openings for your belongings, it’s made entirely of recycled polyester to help the environment and keep out moisture. Designed for shorter trips, this bag is lightweight and durable at the same time.

This bag is not only designed for carrying your laptop and thanks to the large main compartment, you will have great versatility to work with. Using this bag for your work boots or school books will also work.

PROS:

  • Large simplistic design
  • Water resistant
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Includes multiple accessory patches

CONS:

  • Extremely expensive

Related: The Patagonia Refugio Pack – 28L is a little larger and will allow you to carry a bigger laptop. This bag has more storage space and should be ideal for those who like backpacking. The durability might be the only issue here.

Check the price on Amazon

Timbuk2 Command Laptop BackpackTimbuk2 Command Laptop TSA-Friendly Backpack

Price: Approx. $129

Weight: 2.4 lbs

Dimensions: 5.5 x 18.9 x 13 inches

Specific features: TSA friendly, air mesh back panel, stylish

Best use: Traveling anywhere, easy to get through airports

Description: If you’re looking for a backpack that’s stylish and is going to give you plenty of versatility then you want the Timbuk2 Command Laptop Backpack. Completely TSA friendly, you’ll be able to take this one with you to the airport and easily get through, plus you can take it with you when hiking or backpacking or wherever you want to go.

It has a padded front pocket for your tablet or a smaller laptop and also has pockets for everything from your sunglasses to your phone or even books. Hold up to 30 liters all with a moderate amount of weight and a little higher price tag.

Even though the bag is extremely lightweight, the shoulder straps are still a little mediocre and they might sometimes cause some abrasions if you are not careful. The bag will also be perfect for reducing weight when traveling abroad.

PROS:

  • Good durability
  • Very lightweight
  • Great for traveling abroad
  • Large design of 30 liters

CONS:

  • The straps are not as good as they could be

Related: The AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case for Small Electronics and Accessories is a great traveling bag if you need to move through airports. This bag is very large but still lightweight. Using these two bags together should give you all the needed storage space.

Check the price on Amazon

B01EI4HXM6Everki Atlas Laptop Backpack

Price: Approx. $162

Weight: 3.8 lbs

Dimensions: 13.4 x 9.1 x 18.2 inches

Specific features: Fold-flat laptop section, small to moderate size laptop

Best use: Trips through the airport, 17.3 inches or smaller laptop

Description: Able to hold a laptop of nearly any size, the Everki Atlas Laptop Backpack is more expensive at around $150, but it does have a whole lot of features. Designed as a checkpoint friendly bag, it has several compartments to keep your things organized and a 5 point strap system to keep it comfortably on your back.

Plus you can easily slide a trolley handle through it. The laptop pocket even opens up flat to make it easy to get your computer in and out and offers large zippers, lumbar support, and a nice looking style as well. It’s also a moderate weight and a good size to carry several things with you.

The bag is very large and includes a 30-day full refund warranty if you are not happy with the quality. If you love traveling, this bag should be perfect. The only problem we have is the fact that it might be a little too bulky and in the way if used as hand luggage.

PROS:

  • Large design
  • Includes a trolley handle for better use
  • Decent weight
  • Includes a 30-day warranty

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • A little too bulky

Related: If you’re looking for something a little bigger or a little smaller you can find it from Everki. The Everki Titan Laptop Backpack holds large laptops, up to 18.4 inches for a similar price, while the Everki Flight Laptop Backpack holds up to a 16 inches for around $100 and the Everki Versa Premium Backpack holds up to 14.1 inches for around $175.

Check the price on Amazon

Kenneth Cole Reaction Back-Stage AccessKenneth Cole Reaction Back-Stage Access

Price: Approx. $83

Weight: 4 lbs

Dimensions: 6.5 x 16.3 x 12.5 inches

Specific features: Full grain cowhide leather, comfortable straps, several pockets

Best use: Traveling through airports, moderate amount of stuff, good weather conditions

Description: If you want something sleek and stylish to take with you then you definitely want the Kenneth Cole Reaction Back-Stage Access. It’s available in black or brown leather and offers a great look and style at around $100. It allows you to carry up to a 16 inches laptop and has several zippers to carry anything you might need.

Not only that but it’s made of cowhide leather and lined on the inside. It’s a messenger bag style with a square form, but it’s durable because of the leather and even though it’s a little heavy, it still holds everything you’re going to need easily.

Even though the outside of this bag is extremely durable and functional, the bag might be a little weak when it comes to protecting your laptop against other harder items that you might have placed on the inside. We recommend not placing the laptop with things that could damage it.

PROS:

  • Great durability
  • Stylish design
  • Large storage compartments
  • Reasonably priced

CONS:

  • No inner pads for the laptops
  • A little heavy

Related: Competing with this bag is quite hard, but the MUZOR Oxford Computer Tablet Rucksack is a great alternative. This bag will allow you to carry a 14-inch laptop with ease and also keep everything dry inside.

Check the price on Amazon

SwissGear 1753 Scansmart Laptop Backpack
Swiss Gear Lightweight Scansmart Laptop Backpack

Price: Approx. $59.99

Weight: 3.3 lbs

Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 8.5 inches

Specific features: Plenty of pockets, specialty pockets, moderate price, cooling system

Best use: Short trips, variety of stuff

Description: SwissGear is definitely known for high-quality products that are durable and long-lasting and the SwissGear 1753 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack is no exception. Priced reasonably around $50, this backpack has padded straps and back for comfort as well as an airflow back system to keep you cool on longer trips.

It has plenty of pockets to organize your stuff and it’s made entirely of polyester so it’s waterproof. At a moderate weight, it’s easy to see why it’s a great choice for those traveling just about anywhere.

While this bag is stylish and large, it does have some issues in terms of durability and this is even more apparent when it comes to the seams and the zippers. Over time these will start to wear, especially if they are constantly put under wear and tear.

PROS:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Moderate weight
  • Large space inside
  • Waterproof design

CONS:

  • Lacks some durability

Related: The GOUXIANG Water Resistant Computer Bag is not as durable, but it still gives you great versatility. This bag will allow you to carry along your laptop and even your gym clothing, hitting two birds with one stone.

Check the price on Amazon

Ogio Renegade RSS Laptop/Tablet BackpackOgio Renegade Rss

Price: Approx. $129

Weight: 3.6 lbs

Dimensions: 10.5 x 19.5 x 14 inches

Specific features: Carries tablet and laptop, Tech Vault pocket, Hybrid Unibody Backpanel

Best use: Travel through airports, shorter trips

Description: Stylish and comfortable to carry, the Ogio Renegade RSS Laptop/Tablet Backpack has several pockets to carry everything you need and can carry up to a 17-inch laptop and a tablet or e-reader. Not only that but it has a Tech Vault pocket to keep anything protected from damage.

Made with fabric and nylon it is somewhat waterproof and priced right around $100. With shock absorption shoulder straps and plenty of organization options, it’s definitely going to be a great choice, especially with the moderate weight.

The larger the laptop, the bulkier the bag will seem. Thinner laptops should easily fit inside this backpack, but once you start adding those larger ones, the backpack might not seem so small and effective anymore.

PROS:

  • Stylish and durable
  • Fully waterproof
  • Includes shock absorbing straps
  • Moderate weight

CONS:

  • A little expensive
  • Designed for smaller items

Related: The Targus Drifter II Backpack is much similar to the Ogio. It is also quite spacious and very durable and you will easily fit a 17-inch laptop inside. This backpack is considered to be a good cheaper alternative.

Check the price on Amazon

Don’t Settle For Just Any Laptop Backpack

The key is to make sure that you’re considering everything that’s most important to you. There’s no reason to settle for a backpack that doesn’t have all of the features that you want because there are so many out there.

best laptop bags

The best laptop backpacks are going to have several different qualities, and they’re also going to be the ones that you pick out. So tell us, what’s the most important thing to you when you’re choosing a laptop backpack? Is it durability? Security? Comfort? Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Make sure to let us know.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Andrew Richardson

    I wanted a backpack with a place for my iPad and one large compartment for my laptop (the Timbuk2 Rogue laptop backpack). Also it is almost waterproof as the flap on top keeps out the rain and snow. I use it for everything, work, travel, and fun. It’s also very durable – I used it every day for three years.

  • Daniel Carraway

    I’m picky with laptop backpacks since my computer has lots of data that I want to protect AND it is expensive. I sometimes can’t understand users who opt for cheap backpacks that put their laptops at risk for damage. Quality and a reputable brand spells the difference so make sure you choose the right one.

  • Alex Lauther

    I was given an H.A.L. laptop backpack as a graduation present 8 years ago and used it at work for 3 years. I used it a lot for travel and still looked great. I can even throw in additional things aside from my laptop. I remember that during college, my classmates were all fascinated by the fact that all my drawing materials (I am an engineering student back then) fitted well inside. And oh, now the backpack is already being used by my son. There is no single frayed thread after all these years.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Maybe it’s time to buy your son the newer set of laptop backpacks for his needs. After all, there are a lot more gadgets and things that need to fit inside the bag. I would recommend the North Face Recon Backpack, which is quite affordable.

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