The best laptop backpacks for commuting and travel from Mashable

This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

Backpacks are like life partners. We all need one to get through the day, but finding the right one isn’t easy. There are loads of different factors to consider (we’re talking about backpacks now) like exactly what you’ll be using it for, how functional or comfortable it is, what style suits you, and how much stuff you’ll be able to cram inside.

One thing’s for certain. You want something that can fit a laptop, because you almost certainly own a laptop. Because most people own a laptop these days — a means of taking your work, games, and pretty much your whole life on-the-go.

Selecting a backpack depends entirely on your lifestyle and day-to-day requirements. There is a lot to think about. Almost as much as when choosing the laptop itself. If you’re stuck at the selection phase, here are some helpful pointers.

How big is a laptop backpack?

If only it was as easy as simply picking a backpack that fits your laptop. As for overall size, think about how you most commonly use your backpack. If you use it while commuting, you might want a slimmer size for saving space on busy trains or buses — or maybe you need it to store away easily in the office or at home, or under the desk.

Conversely, maybe you double-up and take your everyday laptop backpack on hiking or weekend excursions, in which case you may want a bigger bag for packing in extra belongings and accessories. A smaller bag is around 15 litres and larger capacities are somewhere around the 30-litre mark.

What size laptops do laptop backpacks carry?

Different laptop bags are built to fit different laptop sizes, from 13 to 17-inches. But the size of the backpack’s laptop sleeve will vary from brand to brand. To make sure your laptop fits, look at the manufacturer’s specific measurements. The size of other compartments will also be a factor.

What are the most important features in a laptop backpack?

A laptop sleeve is your base requirement, of course. As opposed to a general bag compartment that will hold your laptop but won’t keep it secure, which means your laptop will be banging about. Commuters or frequent fliers can look for backpacks that have a USB port, which eliminates the issue of needing to find a seat next to a powerpoint. They should also seek out secure locking functions.

Hikers may want features such as handy water bottle pockets, extra padding on the straps, or an attachment for a torch. Easy-to-reach front pockets for holding your phone or other necessary items are useful too. If you’re dedicated to fitness, look for a compartment that’s similarly dedicated to holding your gym gear or trainers.

What style of laptop backpack should you buy?

The backpack is not the only option, of course. There are also tote, messenger, duffel, and briefcase-style bags available. But if it’s a backpack that you’re after — and the backpack is the best all-rounder — there are still style variations to consider:

Business — These bags will include a high-end style, such as laptop bags made by Samsonite, or a business casual style that will look good with a suit but shrug off the formality. Look out for brands such as Bellroy or Lily & Drew.

Classic — These bags will look like an upgrade on your school bag and will accompany timeless, no-frills fashion. See brands such as Herschel, Jansport, or Fjallraven.

Sports — These bags will likely come from well-known sports brands like Nike or outdoors brands like Osprey and North Face, and will accommodate gym gear, or offer features suitable for active and outdoors lifestyles.

Technology — These are well suited to anyone whose job or day-to-day activities includes carrying lots of gadgets, devices, leads, and accessories; typically featuring lots of compartments for good organisation.

Just something to think about as you begin your purchase process.

How much does a laptop backpack cost?

It’s one of the big questions. As ever, you get what you pay for. Most people aren’t willing to drop more than £100 on a backpack — but if you want one that’s robust and big on features, you might need to invest a little extra.

What is the best backpack for your laptop?

Whether you’re looking for a basic option for the commute or a heavy-duty backpack with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got the best bags to fit your needs. We have lined up a selection of the very best laptop backpacks from all the biggest brands. There is something for everyone in this list.

These are the best laptop backpacks for 2024.

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