If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
Laptops were born to travel – portability is the whole point. A well-protected pack is a must when you’re carrying around something so valuable, whether it’s to work or around the world.
But even beyond that, a good backpack will have a designated place for all your things and help keep them organized. Some even also offer bonus options like a hidden pouch for valuables with an “invisible” zipper to prevent theft, or an attached lock to secure it to something while waiting for your flight.
Laptops, and even the bag alone, can literally weigh you down after schlepping it around all day. If your commute is short, a heavy laptop and backpack is manageable. But for long trips, it’s better to weigh your options and get something that’s a little lighter. Straps are another advantage of a traditional backpack, as some of the more modern “messenger” bags only have a shoulder strap, which can be extremely uncomfortable after a while – ergonomic, adjustable double straps are a lifesaver on long trips, especially if you’ve got pre-existing back and neck pain. Some also feature the option to slide it onto your luggage’s extendable handle, to totally take the weight off your back and keep things rolling.
A headphone opening can also keep your device safely stored inside while allowing you to still use your wired buds, or keep your phone charged from a spare battery while you’re using it for GPS or texting. If you’ll be using your bag as your main luggage for air travel, getting a security-approved pack can help you breeze through the checkpoint and get to your flight faster, and a bag that fully folds open to 180° saves the TSA time too.
These laptop bags are designed to handle travel, but haven’t forgotten about local life either, like commuting or trekking around campus. No matter where you’re going with your gear, it needs to hold up to the inevitable roughness of wear and tear. Things happen, and one unsecured strap can send it plummeting toward the ground with your laptop inside. The backpack’s material matters the most here, so make sure it’s thick enough to absorb some damage when it hits the pavement. Polyester fabric is suitable for light travel, but shockproof with nylon lining is a step up, and padded leather in a class by itself.
Finally, size matters. Take a look at the bag’s dimensions and be sure it’s going to fit your laptop before buying. Once it’s safely packed up, you’re ready to take your gear anywhere.
1. MateIn Travel Laptop Backpack
Whether travel, school or commuting, the Matein’s got a spot for a 15-inch laptop along with your tablet and phone too. Everything has a place in here, from pens and notebooks inside, to large water bottles in the convenient outer side pockets, and a few handy hidden compartments to throw off thieves.
A USB hole lets you charge up a device with your own power bank while you’re using it, and the water-resistant fabric protects your gear if you get caught in a downpour.
Padding is everywhere and straps are adjustable, making it comfortable to carry for long stretches, and adding some cushion between your laptop and the ground in case of an accident. The pack itself is also nicely lightweight, which is invaluable when you’re already weighed enough down with textbooks, school supplies and devices.
2. YorePek Laptop Travel Backpack
This black bag may look basic, but it’s what’s inside that counts – and you can fit quite a lot of stuff inside. The Yorepek is surprisingly roomy and stretchy, holding most 17-inch laptops with enough space to pack clothes, chargers, and all your other essentials. It’s TSA-friendly with easy-access pockets both front and side, while the fabric is resistant to tearing and light water exposure.
The airflow back design and breathable fabric helps keep things cool on long hikes, with the option to carry it by the strongly-stitched, steel-infused cable on top. The anti-theft zippers are lockable with a small padlock, and the headphone/USB hole allows you to securely stow your devices deep inside the pack, making them inaccessible to anyone but you.
3. Polare Cowhide Leather Multiple Laptop Backpack
Get ready to receive some compliments.
At just over four pounds, Polare’s handcrafted Italian leather pack is a bit heavier than the others, but the quality is obvious as soon as you get your hands (and eyes) on it.
Made from durable full-grain cowhide, the design is timeless and the stitching is durable, connected with strong metal zippers and loaded with layers of pockets. There’s enough space inside for a 16-inch laptop with room left over, and buckles on the bag’s compartments – with Velcro on the underside – keep it securely closed.
It’s not just eye-catching, but also ideal for both work and travel, and fits snugly under the seat in front of you for your next flight.
4. YOREPEK Extra Large Laptop Backpack
Another great option from Yorepek, this one’s similar but a bit bigger, with slightly more space to comfortably carry your 17-inch laptop (or larger) along with everything else.
You’ll still get the solid steel carry-cable on top, well-made double zippers, and an easy-access compartment to open it 180° and quickly grab your computer whenever you need it. All your items have their designated place in here, and with 20 organizer pockets all over, keeping things neat and hassle-free comes naturally.
It’s tough enough to handle travel, camping, and college life, but also clean and sleek looking to make a professional presentation in a business setting.