If you’re heading back to school this fall, now is the time to buy a new laptop bag. When you’re shopping for a laptop bag for a student, you should look for a bag that is durable, comfortable, and provides ample storage. Bonus features to look for include some form of weather-proofing (ideal for keeping your gear dry as you walk to class), as well as padded compartments to provide additional protection. If you’re in the market for a new laptop bag, read on to see five of our favorite models for 2015.
1. OGIO Commuter Pack
OGIO’s Commuter pack is a nice option for students who often bike to campus. The backpack design keeps the weight of your pack centered on your back, rather than pulling down on one shoulder like with a messenger bag. OGIO provided a sample of this laptop backpack so we could go hands on.
The bag is made from weather-resistant fabric, with an abrasion-resistant base that you will definitely appreciate if you ever need to put your bag down on wet ground. The bag is very deep, though it is not particularly wide. The dimensions of the bag are 19.5 inches x 12.5 inches x 5 inches, with the laptop pocket measuring 14.5 inches x 10 inches x 1 inch.
Unlike some other laptop backpacks we’ve seen, the Commuter pack has a roll-top cover for even better peace of mind. There are designated pockets for smartphones, an iPad and an iPad mini.
If you’re looking for a laptop backpack that has some weather-proofing and a really cool look, this is a great bag for hauling around your laptop and homework. If you want a laptop bag that’s a little less blocky-looking, try OGIO’s Ascent backpack, which has a cool “Tech Vault” compartment on top. That hard-shelled compartment is a nice place to stash your phone or sunglasses.
2. Moshi Urbana Mini
Moshi’s new Urbana Mini bag is ideal for students who carry very small laptops, or often just bring an iPad to class. We previously featured the regular size Urbana bag from Moshi in our roundup of the best laptop bags. Moshi provided us with a sample of this brand-new bag so we could go hands-on.
The Urbana Mini looks a lot like the regular Urbana bag, but it’s definitely more of a purse than a bag. The Urbana Mini has a dedicated padded pocket that can fit a tablet or laptop up to 12 inches, so the MacBook Air or new 12-inch MacBook will fit. You can also use this bag to tote your iPad. The shoulder strap is removable, with the entire exterior of the bag getting a water-repellent treatment to keep your gear protected. There are three zippered compartments for stashing your homework, gadgets, and other essentials. The Urbana Mini’s dimensions are 12.4 inches x 8.7 inches x 3.7 inches (31.5 x 22 x 9.5 cm).
There are perhaps only two things that people might dislike about this bag. The Urbana Mini is only available in two colors, at least as of this writing. One major design change from the Urbana to the Urbana Mini is the loss of the “ViscoStrap” technology used to make the shoulder strap on the regular Urbana’s bag. If you loved the original Urbana’s super-comfy strap, you might miss that feature on the Mini. That being said, the Urbana Mini is such a petite bag to begin with, it’s unlikely to cause any serious shoulder strain.
All in all, this new Moshi bag is the perfect choice for students who want an ultra-compact bag. There are lots of thoughtful design choices, from the textured grip on the small zippers to the interior bag color, which makes it easy to find your gadgets.
3. Case Logic Protective Sleeve
If the high cost of tuition and textbooks has you scrimping and saving, you’ll probably appreciate a less-expensive laptop bag. This low-cost bag from Case Logic fits most 13-inch to 15-inch laptops. It’s essentially a protective sleeve with a shoulder strap. For some people, this minimalist approach is ideal. For those who need a laptop bag that can also handle piles of books and notebooks, however, a larger bag may better suit their needs.
Inner straps keep things neat and tidy, while a molded hard shell with EVA foam offers solid impact protection. Interior airflow channels prevent overheating for those who like to work with the laptop still in the case. When working in the case, you’ll find that your workspace is elevated, which may be more ergonomic for some students.
Price: $28.04 (49 percent off MSRP)
4. Vaultz Locking Laptop Case
Working on your thesis, or just want to channel your inner James Bond? This cool laptop case from Vaultz protects your laptop, your academic work, and anything else you need to keep under wraps. A combination lock provides one layer of protection, while steel corners and aluminum trim help to protect the laptop inside from drops and impacts. There’s also a side grommet, which is compatible with any standard laptop security cable. This is a great laptop for advanced students, as well as students who anticipate entering job fields like business or IT.
Price: $63.11 (10 percent off MSRP)
5. Snugg Crossbody Shoulder Messenger Bag
This bag fits laptops up to 15.6 inches, though a 17-inch laptop bag is also available. Snugg’s laptop bag lineup is a nice option for students seeking colorful bags. In addition to more staid color options like black and brown, you can also get these bags in bright blue or deep red. There are four external pockets for storage, along with six internal pockets for staying organized. This bag is covered by a 12-month warranty. While it looks like leather, it’s actually made from polyurethane, which makes this bag a good option for vegans (or anyone who just wants to avoid the high cost of genuine leather).
Looking for a bag that’s more suited to the great outdoors? Check out our guide to the best small hiking backpacks.
Price: $69.99 (50 percent off MSRP)