When you find the right backpack, you’ll bring it everywhere. But whether you use it for class, travel, or commuting, you’ll likely pack your laptop along with you.
That’s why the ideal backpack for any use should have a well-padded laptop compartment, on top of a durable build and high storage capacity. So which pack reigns supreme for laptop users?
The answer depends on what size laptop you need to pack, as well as what kind of items you carry on a regular basis. With this criteria in mind, we’ve selected a list of ten of the best laptop backpacks across all different shapes and sizes.
Whether you need a fully loading camping pack or a glorified laptop bag, read on below to check out our favorite picks.
1. Targus Drifter II Backpack
The Drifter II Backpack is a versatile bag that offers an impressive 30L volume across two main compartments and several zippered side compartments. The largest compartment features a well-padded laptop sleeve that can hold a laptop up to 17 inches in size.
The other portions of the bag are equally sturdy, right down to the two side water bottle pockets. The Drifter II has exterior dimensions of 14.6 x 20.1 x 7.9 inches, which does make it a little on the bulkier side.
The bag’s shock-absorbing shoulder straps and thick padding on the back help ease the burden of a full load, though their cumbrous style contributes to an overall spartan design.
It might not be the best looking or most compact bag around, but it offers utility no matter how you use it, and plenty of storage for the price.
- Shock-absorbing straps and back padding provide maximum comfort
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- High storage volume
- Backpack depth not adjustable
- Shoulder straps are bulky
- Zippers can be finicky
2. Timbuk2 Rogue Laptop Backpack
The Rogue Laptop Backpack from Timbuk2 is an elegant one compartment bag that acts a reprieve from overly complicated routines, especially for those who live or commute in the city.
The Rogue bag keeps all of your necessities on one 25L water resistant compartment, accessible by a top flap that makes it easier to load your pack in a rush.
Your laptop is kept safe within your mess of books, snacks, and other gear via a raised and padded stretch pocket, which can fit a 15-inch laptop at most. A small exterior zip pocket, a water bottle pocket, and several rows of daisy chain webbing help you keep other key items separated.
The back panel is well ventilated, though its shoulder straps aren’t particularly well-padded. Still, a removable sternum strap helps offset some of the load, and with a backpack of this size, you won’t be carrying around burdensome loads anyway.
Price: $63.99 (19 percent off MSRP)
- Large opening makes it easy to pack and unpack
- Durable water resistant exterior
- Daisy chain webbing to attach quick-access items
- Minimal compartmentalization
- Shoulder straps aren’t well padded
- Cosmetic top straps get in the way of zipper pocket
3. Booq Boa Squeeze
The Boa Squeeze’s unique turtle shell design might be off-putting at first, but this bag is thoughtfully designed by manufacturer Booq to help distribute the weight of your bag load better than your average backpack.
Its main compartment has a tiered internal organizer that helps your store more stuff without needing more room. The total volume of the Boa Squeeze is pretty modest, but it works fine as a daypack.
One such organizational element is a laptop pocket that is padded with soft herringbone lining and is sized for devices up to 15 inches in size. Items that don’t have a perfect place in the main compartment can fit into one of this bag’s two side pockets, which sit where a water bottle pocket would usually go.
The one downside of this design is that the snaky Boa Squeeze won’t stand up on its own, instead rolling onto its face most of the time. And while we’re nitpicking, the zippers are somewhat stiff until you wear them in a bit.
But the Boa Squeeze has enough strong points to ignore these gripes. One of the nicest additions is its ergonomic shoulder straps, which contour to all body types. They are amply padded, and don’t cut into your neck even if you have wide shoulders.
Combine this with the fact that all of your heaviest stuff is no longer sitting at the bottom of your bag, and you have a compact and durable bag that is easy to wear for hours on end.
- Unique turtle shell design evenly distributes weight
- Ergonomically contoured shoulder straps
- Ample compartmentalization with soft herringbone material
- Backpack does not stand easily on its own
- Zippers are stiff until worn in
- 20L volume could be larger
4. Fjallraven Kånken Laptop Backpack
The Fjallraven Kånken Laptop Backpack still has the same functional Swedish design as when it was first introduced in 1978. This timeless pack has been modernized with a padded laptop sleeve, and it comes in three different sizes for the perfect fit.
The pack has a version for 13-inch (13L), 15-inch (15L), and 17-inch (20L) laptops, though there is certainly nothing wrong with going up a size for more storage space.
The backpack’s Vinylon F material comes in a variety of different colors, some of which have reflective strips for added visibility when commuting. The material resists water and abrasion, and actually gets both tougher and softer once it is washed.
Even if you don’t soften it up in the wash, the pack still has good padding on the back and shoulder straps. The Kånken is designed to sit high up on your back, but it is lacking in any hip belt or sternum strap for support.
The pack has a basic three pocket configuration, and its boxy shape helps you really load the main pocket full.
The other pockets aren’t nearly as big as the spacious main one, but they do help organize your smaller items without over-compartmentalizing.
All in all, there are larger packs out there if you are just looking for sheer storage space, but the Kånken Laptop Backpack is a stylish and durable mid-size option for someone who wants a long-lasting investment.
Price: $76.19 and up
- Comes in a variety of different colors and sizes to fit any laptop size
- Durable material cleans easily
- Stores a lot without being bulky
- Not all packs have reflective strips
- Material feels overly stiff before it is washed
- 20L volume could be larger
5. Thule Crossover Backpack
The Crossover Backpack from Thule is a sturdy pack with a massive storage capacity that bridges the gap between a commuter pack and a camping bag. It offers loads of versatility, with a pocket for anything you might need to store.
The main compartment makes up most of the bag’s carrying capacity, and handle bulky items with ease. At its crown, the Crossover has a crush-proof compartment for sunglasses and other delicate items. It has deep water bottle pockets on both sides.
A separate front pouch is connected via compression straps, creating not only a place to hold small trinkets, but also a shove-it pocket which you can use to tuck away items for quick access. One downside of this is that this pocket will sag when packed, even if you compress it all the way.
Closest to the Crossover’s ventilated back plate is a dedicated laptop compartment which elevates and stores laptops up to 17 inches in size. It also has a tablet sleeve and access to a bottom pocket to store accessories.
This pack has decently padded shoulder straps (plus an optional sternum strap), but they are overly stiff at first, and simply don’t match the quality of the rest of the bag.
That said, the Thule Crossover is one of the most best bags out there for the organization nut who wants a pocket for everything.
- Unique compartments for any need
- Massive 32L storage volume
- Shove-it pocket with compression straps
- Shoulder straps are overly stiff
- Shove-it pocket impacts rigidity of bag
6. SwissGear ScanSmart 1908
SwissGear backpacks like the highly rated Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack warrant a comparison to the renown Swiss Army knife. They fit an unreal amount of utility into a sleek, sizable package.
This TSA-friendly pack is designed with convenience and security in mind, featuring a special compartment for your laptop which unzips flat and allows you to keep your laptop in the sleeve as you send it through an airport luggage scanner.
It also has a padded strap to accommodate laptops up to 17 inches in size, basically anything but monster gaming laptops. It dimensions are 18 x 13 x 9 inches, but it flattens out decently when lightly packed.
Across its three other compartments, pack also has a mobile phone pocket, sunglasses holder, side water bottle pocket, organizer pocket, and an accessory pocket.
Its back offers plenty of airflow, and its padded straps are nice, minus the lack of waist or sternum strap. The glasses holder on the strap is a nice touch, as is the headphone hole and media pouch for storing a phone or mp3 player.
Price: $49.99 (7 percent off MSRP)
- Large pockets with plenty of subcompartments
- Well-padded shoulder straps
- Laptop sleeve with full-body zippers
- Needs more smaller pockets on the outside
- Lacking sternum strap or other added support
7. Incase Icon Pack
Though Incase is best known for making protective cases for laptops and tablets, it has also had some highly successful forays into the backpack world, namely the beloved Icon Pack.
This boxy backpack doesn’t offer much in the way of looks, but provides ample storage and comfort for wearers of all sizes. This bag has three main compartments, the first of which is a dedicated laptop compartment, with a raised faux-fur-lined laptop sleeve for 15-inch laptops.
The second compartment accounts for most of the pack’s roughly 30L of storage volume, but because of the compartment’s depth and black material, it can be easy to lose things at the bottom.
The organizational compartment at the front of the pack does not have this same issue, thanks to an array of smaller pockets to store small items like keys or pens. This bag does not have any water bottle pockets, but instead has two mini pockets in their place.
It’s shoulder straps are wide and comfortable, and the bag doesn’t slouch even when empty. As long as you don’t mind its incredibly plain design, this bag is a great choice that is both spacious and compact.
Price: $143.06 (28 percent off MSRP)
- Spacious main compartment
- Faux-fur-lined laptop compartment is well-padded
- Rigid and sturdy design
- No water bottle pocket
- Black interior makes small items hard to find
- Boring design
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8. eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack
If you want to escape the bright neon colors and superfluous doodads of camping packs, the eBag slim backpack is a piece of luggage that offers a more professional and refined style.
The eBag backpack is made from a fairly heavy material, making it a little heftier than it needs to be but also giving it a nice rigidity. The backpack straps feel comfortable, and they have a sternum strap for added support.
If you want to use this backpack more like a laptop bag, you can simply tuck one backpack strap away, and use this bag horizontally like a briefcase.
The main pocket makes up the bulk of this bag’s 21.6L volume, and has a brightly colored lining to help you find objects at the very bottom.
It houses both a laptop sleeve and a tablet sleeve. Each one is well padded, and very spacious. The bag also has a “2D” secondary pocket with room for documents, and a Napoleon pocket with an organizer.
Beneath this main compartment is a removable hardshell pouch for carrying sunglasses or other delicate goods. The slim bag even has a zip-out water bottle holder that is there when you need it.
The eBags slim backpack is a versatile dress code pack that checks all the boxes for a great bag without packing any any bungee cords, exterior mesh pockets, carabiner clips, or other outdoorsman bling.
Price: $83.99 (58 percent off MSRP)
- Slim, professional design
- Secondary document pocket and hardshell pouch
- Well-padded laptop and tablet sleeves
- Bag material is heavy
- Total volume could be larger
- High price tag
9. Tylt Energi Backpack + Battery
The Tylt Energi Backpack is a bag that offers both ample storage and USB power for three of your portable devices thanks to its smart compartmentalization and an included rechargeable battery.
Its included 10400mAh battery has three USB ports, and stores enough power to keep several devices fully charged throughout the day. The battery has its own built-in sleeve in the bag’s fly-through friendly laptop compartment, with internal cable management to keep things tidy.
Inside this same compartment is a spacious pocket for laptops up to 15 inches in size, although they unfortunately cannot be charged with the power bank.
The bag has several other compartments of varying size, contributing to a total storage volume of about 24L. There is one fold-out water bottle pocket, which tucks away when not in use.
The bag’s shoulder straps are wide and comfortable. They are complemented by a well ventilated back plate, which has a built-in trolley sleeve to attach to rolling luggage with ease.
Overall, the bag is rigid enough to stand up on its own, but some of its seams are less likely to hold over time according to reviewers. Ultimately, if you need more out of either the bag or the battery, you are better off buying these two elements separately.
However, for the price, the Tylt Energi Backpack does a great job of providing power and storage to a traveler in need.
Price: $99.89 (41 percent off MSRP)
- Included 10400mAh portable battery to recharge devices
- Wide straps and well padded back plate
- TSA-friendly design
- Material could be more durable
- Portable battery does not charge laptops
10. AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack
When it comes to offering what you need at the right price, AmazonBasics products usually deliver. The AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack is no exception as a #1 Best Seller for laptop backpacks.
Its external dimensions of 15 x 7 x 19 inches allow this pack to hold up to a 17 inch laptop, something really seen in backpacks of this price.
You can fit a week’s worth of class materials in its 32L of storage volume. Additionally, you have organizational compartments for pens, keys, your cell phone, and even a smaller padded pocket for tablets.
These sub-compartments are practically distributed throughout the five main pockets of the pack, except for two water bottle pockets on the side.
The backpack is devoid of branding, and consequently, does not look particularly interesting. This is expected, considering this is clearly a functionality-first kind of pack.
It is comfortable to wear with padded straps, but its padding to protect the main pocket could be a little more robust. Again considering the fantastic price, your gear will be well-protected behind the otherwise sturdy material used.
- Low price tag
- Two water bottle pockets plus sub-compartment storage
- High storage volume
- Generic design
- Minimal fabric padding
- Lacking sternum strap or other added support