Best laptop bags: Our favorites for commuting, traveling, and charging your devices
We found some of the best laptop bags for every situation, whether you're commuting everyday to work, traveling abroad, or want to charge your devices on the go.
- Best commuter bag: Booq Cobra Squeeze
- Best messenger bag: The Messenger by Pad and Quill
- Best charging backpack: North Face Resistor/Inductor
- Best-looking bag: M.R.K.T. Evan Backpack
- Best travel bag: Incase EO Travel Backpack
- Best under $70: Solo Pro 15.6" Backpack
Next to a laptop itself, a laptop bag is one of the most important purchases you can make. With so many laptop bags and backpacks to choose from, it would be an idle exercise to try to find the best laptop bag out there. Instead, we’d rather help you find the right laptop bag for any situation, like commuting everyday to work, traveling abroad, or charging your devices on the go.
To be considered in this review of laptop bags, each product had to have a designated laptop sleeve or compartment. These bags can all fit up to a 16-inch laptop, except where noted. Keep checking back as we review more laptop bags and backpacks and continually update this guide.
Best commuter bag: Booq Cobra Squeeze
Leave it to Booq to make a laptop backpack that’s both compact and spacious at the same time. The company’s Cobra Squeeze (MSRP $195, available on Amazon) is the VW Beetle of laptop backpacks, using a dome shape so you can stuff as much as possible without creating weird bumps or needing an oversized backpack. The Cobra Squeeze has a dedicated laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro or a 16-inch Lenovo Ultrabook. Then there’s a second sleeve for tablets. On either side of the backpack, you’ll find easy-to-reach zippers for storing your smartphone. These side pockets have extra padding to avoid scratches.
This backpack’s unique turtle-shell design also helps redistribute the weight so that your shoulders don’t feel worn out throughout the day. The shoulder straps are padded and curve inwards, which is very helpful, too. Furthermore, the Cobra Squeeze uses a water-repellant fabric in case of a rainy day, and the company has instituted a serial number tracking system to help recover lost Booq bags, making one a worthwhile investment.
Runner up: Donjon by Kastel Bags
If you're not the backpack type and prefer to use a messenger bag or a briefcase as your everyday bag, then Kastel's laptop bags might be of interest. The French company's Donjon combines the organizational aspect of a briefcase with the ease-of-use of a messenger bag. Donjon is available in two sizes, for 13-inch laptopns (MSRP $~120) and 15-inch laptops (MSRP ~$130). You can get it in blue denim, grey denim, and black vegan leather.
Donjon excelled at keeping everything organized – whether it was my MacBook, iPhone, iPad, an external battery, earphones, and even a spare Lightning cable. In this hybrid bag, everything has a place, so you know exactly where to reach to find your iPhone or your SD card. The main compartment has sleeve pockets that are perfectly-sized to hold your tech accessories. Most importantly, these pockets are made of neoprene to help keep them dry. The main compartment also has a secret aperture to the external side pocket so you can pass your laptop cable through it and charge your laptop without having to take your it out. Its these ingenious design tricks that makes Kastel's Donjon bags versatile and extremely functional.
Best messenger bag: The Messenger by Pad and Quill
This wax canvas and leather messenger bag by Pad & Quill (MSRP $395, available on Amazon) is made from high-quality materials, promising to be the only laptop bag you need and one that could last you a lifetime. Pad & Quill uses bridle leather so that it looks smooth and ages well. The bag is bound together by "parachute-grade" nylon stitching, so it's good to know you can use it to hold on to dear life if you ever fall off a building. It comes in three color variations: Whiskey Brown and Charcoal Grey, Chocolate Brown and Charcoal Grey, and Chocolate Brown and Olive Green.
Getting this brand-new messenger bag, you can feel just how sturdy it is. In fact, it will take a few weeks for you to get a more relaxed, "lived-in" fit from the tough leather. Which speaks to the high-quality of the materials that won't disintegrate overnight. The laptop compartment can fit a 15-inch computer, and there's an easy-access front pocket for storing your smartphone. Inside the main compartment, there is a pocket that's sized perfectly for a Moleskin notebook, which only complements the look that this bag is going for: Just rugged enough for the office. Design-wise, the only thing about this bag that may throw some people off is the bright orange interior lining. Pad & Quill claims it's to help you find your stuff, but it could be a jarring if you're not used to bold color patterns.
Runner up: Timbuk2 Proof
Timbuk2’s Proof Messenger Bag (MSRP $228, available on Amazon) is a nice-looking messenger bag with a separate sleeve that can fit a 15-inch laptop. In the main compartment, there’s plenty of room to stuff an external keyboard and a mouse, as well as an iPad mini and a textbook. The main adjustable strap seems a little short, however, and a taller person might want a longer strap so that the bag will rest lower on their body. For additional stabilization, the Proof Messenger Bag comes with an additional cross-body strap that you can wrap around your waist, perfect for biking across town. For every other situation, this strap is fully removable.
Timbuk2’s Proof bag is made of waxed canvas to protect your belongings from the rain. It also has sturdy zipper and genuine leather trim that are promised to last a very long time. Because of all the premium materials used, the Proof Messenger Bag is a little pricey, but Timbuk2 has a reputation for making quality products, and the company offers a lifetime warranty, so the higher price tag is worth it.
Best charging backpack: North Face Resistor/Inductor
One of the most obvious cases when you'll need your backpack to recharge all your devices is when you're in the outdoors, so it makes sense for North Face to have made our favorite charging backpack. The 31-liter Inductor Charged Backpack (MSRP $229, available on Amazon) and the 36-liter Resistor Charged Backpack (MSRP $249, available on Amazon) come with a Joey T55 removable, water-resistant battery that will recharge your iPhone 3.5 times without overheating.
Even though North Face Charged collection is perfect for the outdoors, the Inductor and Resistor backpacks are surprisingly versatile. They have a secure padded sleeve for your 17-inch laptop, that can be open to lay completely flat to pass through airport security. The front of the backpack has a D-shaped zippered compartment so that you can reach the battery, as well as your iPad and iPhone in their own fleece-lined pockets. Carrying lots of devices can be a burden, literally, so North Face has also incorporate a state-of-the-art suspension system for the shoulder straps, and a mesh back panel so you won't get sweaty even after hours of hiking, or running down the block to try to catch your bus.
Runner up: STM Drifter Energy
STM’s Drifter Energy backpack (MSRP $240, available on Amazon) has been recently upgraded to include a Joey rechargeable energy pack, so that you can have your very own charging station wherever you go. The Drifter Energy’s 3500mAh battery was able to recharge an iPhone 6s twice before being completely drained. Best of all, the iPhone can stay securely stored inside the backpack while charging. The main compartment has straps and pouches to organize your cords so they don’t get tangled up while traveling, and the battery comes equipped with temperature sensing to prevent it from overheating.
This backpack was designed for keeping your electronic gadgets charged, but also protected. The laptop sleeve, which can fit up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, is padded and attached to the back of the bag, as opposed to the bottom. That way, your laptop will remain suspended above the floor when you set your bag down. You can store your phone and camera on the top fleece-lined pocket to prevent scratches, or bumping around with the other stuff in the main compartment.
Best-looking bag: M.R.K.T. Evan Backpack
If you want to make an impression, wearing this stylish backpack is a good way to start. The Evan Backpack (MSRP $125, available on Amazon) is the product of Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger or M.R.K.T., a Los Angeles-based company that was started by a Harvard architect. So, inspired by architectural concepts, this backpack is surprisingly spacious and sturdy, with a felt interior that makes it water repellant. Its unique look literally stopped strangers in their tracks, so be prepared for people asking you where you got it.
Evan never lost its curved-rectangular shape, even after we tossed it around a few times, stomped on it, and stuffed it to the max. In fact, the Evan Backpack may seem too precious to carry any substantial load, but it was able to accommodate a 15-inch MacBook Pro, two textbooks, a hardcover novel, a water bottle, and an iPad mini to boot. The backpack zipped up perfectly, and it retained its cool-looking shape throughout the day even with all that gear stuffed inside.
Runner up: Spiegel's Klasden 3 Backpack
Spigen is known for its minimalist design, and its Klasden 3 Backpack (MSRP $100, available on Amazon) could be the culmination of that. This backpack is lightweight and there are no pockets galore, keeping it sleek and simple, while still being able to fit a lot of stuff inside – including a 15-inch laptop. You can get the Klasden 3 in black from Spigen's website and the grey version is available on Amazon for $80.
The way the Klasden 3 is structured makes it look like each pocket is a different compartment, and the mesh on the sides (though purely cosmetic) resembles grills of some sort. Overall, this backpack looks like it could be part of a spacesuit. My favorite part are the two zippered pockets on either side, just big enough to hold my iPhone 6s, my keys, and some credit cards. These tiny pockets are down by the end of the straps, so I can easily reach them and zip them open without taking the backpack off. Plus, the laptop sleeve is lined with fake fur on the inside, and there are elastic bands to hold the straps in place once you tighten them. It's those little details that make this backpack a design win.
Best travel bag: Incase EO Travel Backpack
Incase is known for making stylish, top-notch accessories, so it’s no surprise that their travel backpack is the reigning champion in this category. The EO Travel Backpack (MSRP $179.95, available on on Amazon) stores up to a 17-inch MacBook Pro in a separate sleeve so you can get to it quickly without having to shuffle all your other stuff around. And boy, can it fit lot of stuff, as the main compartment expands by 35 percent when you release the compression straps on the side.
The EO Travel Backpack has a clamshell design so you can open it completely and lay it down flat, so you can easily pack all your things before a big trip. The shoulders straps are padded to soften the weight, and the back is made of breathable mesh so your back won’t get quite so sweaty during long travels. The backpack is also made of water-resistant fabric in case you travel to a stormy destination. And, of course, it’s allowed as a carry-on luggage.
Runner up: Just Porter Sable Rucksack Backpack
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