- Buyer's Guide
The Best Laptop Backpacks for Professionals
Updated on 15 July 2018
More and more, the backpack is being chosen as the office bag of choice. It’s more comfortable when on the commute, is more versatile, and holds more gear. And nowadays, modern work spaces are becoming a little more casual and understanding when it comes to work attire. Sorry briefcases!
But still, in most cases, an office backpack needs a certain level of refinement. It’s important. It shows that you hold your company in high esteem. And that you understand the importance of looking good when clients might be lurking around the corner.
Moreover, a lot of us carry our work tools with us – our beloved (and expensive) tech. And it needs protection. Think suspended and padded sleeves that can ride bumps and accidental drops when you’re mid-commute.
So below we’ve selected the best backpacks that nail aesthetic and protection, and suit a range of shapes and budgets.
Incase ICON Lite Pack (US$ 99.95)
The ICON Lite Pack is a smart choice for tech-oriented users, with a sleek silhouette that can go from casual to formal without skipping a beat. A padded laptop sleeve with a faux fur lining keeps your tech protected on the go, while the main compartment is a good fit for rectangular shaped items such as documents, books, and folders. Plus there’s a handy quick-access top pocket with a faux fur lining for valuables and small devices.
The North Face Kabyte Backpack (US$ 108.95)
The North Face Kabyte Backpack finds a good balance between urban work and play. A dedicated laptop compartment with a convenient ejector tab makes accessing your gear quick and simple. You’ll also find a useful pocket in the main compartment for a tablet, with a handy ejector tab for fast access. A range of pockets keep smaller items tidy and within easy reach, while the comfortable suspension comes in handy for urban bike rides or day trips on your downtime.
Mammut Seon Courier Backpack (US$ 119.95)
Looking to find that work/life balance? The Mammut Seon Courier offers separate compartments to store work tools and items such as gym gear or sports equipment. No need to carry two bags if you want to squeeze in a quick gym session at lunch or hit the climbing wall after work. The main compartment features a rolltop closure, while the work compartment provides a padded laptop sleeve and space for documents.
Aer Day Pack (US$ 125)
A wonderful blend of minimalist form and everyday functionality, the Aer Day Pack combines a clean exterior with thoughtful interior organization for work and day-to-day items. Winner of our Best Work Backpack award, the water-resistant pack features a self-standing design for easy access and a padded pocket for a 15″ laptop.
Aer Fit Pack 2 (US$ 135)
The Aer Fit Pack 2 is another great option if you’re after a pack that can handle the office and the gym equally well. This refined update to a Carry Awards winner looks right at home in an office environment, with a dedicated compartment for a laptop, accessories and other work tools. A front-loading main compartment stores your gym gear, while a separate shoe compartment keeps shoes away from the rest of your gear.
Osprey Bitstream Backpack (US$ 140)
The Bitstream offers a host of work-friendly features including a front organizer panel for accessories and tools, a removable PowerHouse cord organizer, plus a padded laptop compartment with space for a tablet too. The main compartment’s wide-opening U-shaped zipper enables easy access, and the nylon twill exterior lends a touch of sophistication to your daily commute.
Incase City Commuter Backpack (US$ 159.95)
The City Commuter Backpack will appeal to those who favor plenty of organization options. Multiple compartments and pockets make it easy to store work and EDC items tidily and within convenient reach, including a 360-degree padded laptop compartment. As an added bonus, the back compartment is also expandable if you need a little extra space.
Alchemy Equipment 25 Litre Softshell Daypack (US$ 167.98)
Want a little added protection on the go? The 25 Litre Softshell Daypack helps protect your gear against bumps and scrapes with an EVA exoskeleton around the main compartment. The protective design is complemented by eye-catching aesthetics, quality materials, and useful organization including an interior 15″ laptop sleeve and exterior stretch pockets for water bottles and other frequently accessed items.
Arc’teryx Blade 20 Backpack (US$ 169)
Outdoor performance meets office functionality with the Blade 20, which deftly merges Arc’teryx’s technical design prowess with practical work features. A front organizer pocket keeps frequently used items within easy reach, while the clamshell main compartment provides space for tech and personal items. A dedicated padded laptop compartment and tablet sleeve keep tech safe, and the versatile design lends itself to both the daily commute and short work trips.
RYU Quick Pack 18L (US$ 170)
Pared back in form but packed with functional features, the water-resistant RYU Quick Pack 18L moves easily from the week day to the weekend. Its drop front opening lets you easily pack and retrieve items, while the molded shell helps retain the bag’s shape and provide protection for the contents. The pack features a 15″ laptop sleeve and offers great versatility to move from work to the gym and weekend travels.
Sandqvist Alva Backpack (US$ 209)
The Alva Backpack brings a sense of understated style to your work carry, with a pared-back silhouette and a handsome combination of cotton canvas and vegetable-tanned leather. An interior sleeve fits up to a 13″ laptop or tablet, with further pockets for storing smaller items.
Bellroy Shift Backpack (US$ 220)
Chic aesthetics meet performance-minded functionality with Bellroy’s Shift Backpack. Designed to move easily between changing needs and settings, the backpack looks stylish in work environments but takes active use in its stride too. It’s made with durable and water-resistant Venture-weave fabric and features integrated lumbar support, one-handed opening and closing, and an adjustable volume. Inside you’ll find padded storage for up to a 15″ laptop, with easily accessible pockets for work tools and EDC items.
Alchemy Equipment AEL002 30L Daypack (US$ 239.95)
The Alchemy Equipment AEL002 thoughtfully combines technical performance with urban-friendly aesthetics, making this an adaptable pack for city and outdoor use. Quality materials and durable weather-resistant construction ensures this pack can tackle rainy commutes and weekend day hikes equally well, all while looking good. A dedicated 15″ laptop compartment keeps tech protected and easily accessible, and a wide-opening main compartment makes for easy packing and retrieval of gear.
côte&ciel Isar (from US$ 279)
A lot of work packs make you choose between fashion and function. But the côte&ciel Isar lets you enjoy both. The striking draping form will have the fashion savvy nodding in appreciation, while useful features such as separate front and back compartments keep tech devices, documents, and personal items in order. Along with a choice of sizes (S, M, L), this Carry Award winner comes in a wide range of color and fabric options to suit personal tastes, such as coated canvas, Grid-Tech, Eco Yarn, and furrowed nylon.
côte&ciel Meuse Twin Touch (US$ 285)
The côte&ciel Meuse delivers a more subtle style than the Isar, while still retaining a fashionable edge with attractive soft draping. A range of interior pockets provide storage for a 15″ laptop, accessories and documents, while an exterior pocket accommodates smaller tech items, EDC or work tools.
Bellroy Duo Totepack (US$ 289)
The Bellroy Duo Totepack elegantly combines a variety of features to help you carry easier. A choice of backpack or tote mode lets you adapt to work environments or the commute home, while the water-resistant and durable construction will stand up to the elements and demanding use. The bag features a central padded 15″ laptop compartment, along with pockets for your smaller items. And if you need extra space, the bag conveniently expands to suit larger loads.
Trakke Bannoch Backpack (~US$ 343)
The striking Bannoch Backpack is handmade with a handsome Salt & Pepper fabric, crafted with a combination of cotton and stinging nettles. The eye-catching aesthetics are well matched with a useful range of exterior and interior pockets to keep quick-access essentials, documents, a 15″ laptop, EDC items and more neat and within easy reach. All in a design that can embrace the office and the outdoors equally well.
Carl Friedrik C3–1 Backpack (US$ 344)
With its elegant style and premium materials, the C3-1 Backpack is a classy piece that looks suave with a suit but adapts to informal settings equally well. This backpack is made to last, with meticulous construction, durable Italian nylon canvas and vegetable-tanned leather. A separate laptop pocket stores your tech, while a trolley strap allows you to secure it to your luggage for easy portability on work trips.
Brooks England Pickwick Small Leather Backpack (US$ 360)
The Pickwick Small Leather Backpack exudes laidback urban charm, drawing the eye with Italian craftsmanship and beautiful, soft leather. This is a smart option for those seeking a compact pack that will carry the essentials in style. A quick-access exterior pocket keeps items such as a phone and wallet within reach, with further pockets inside the main compartment for additional organization.
Tumi Harrison Webster Backpack (US$ 454.20)
The sophisticated, timeless style of the Tumi Harrison Webster Backpack brings undeniable refinement to your daily carry. But its attractive styling is also well complemented by quality construction and a functional design that keeps your EDC and work tools organized and at the ready. A choice of quick-access and interior pockets keep smaller items tidy, with a dedicated 15″ laptop compartment keeping tech safe on the go. In addition, a handy luggage passthrough sleeve makes it easy to secure this classy backpack to a luggage handle.
Troubadour Fabric + Leather Ziptop Rucksack (US$ 595)
From the boardroom to the airport lounge, this chic piece brings a touch of luxury to your work carry. Keeping things clean and professional, the bag features an angled opening and two-way zipper for easy access to the main compartment. Quick-access pockets provide handy storage for smaller and frequently used items, and the lifetime guarantee gives peace of mind on the durability front. Understated and refined, the Troubadour Fabric + Leather Ziptop Rucksack doesn’t need to shout to make a statement.
Arc’teryx Nomin 2.0 (US$ 800)
The updated Arc’teryx Nomin is undeniably pricey, but equally undeniable is the technical expertise in its design and construction. The pack offers an excellent balance of light weight and durability, in a super clean design that blends easily into a variety of casual and formal environments alike. The highly weatherproof pack suits a minimalist packing approach, with just enough organization to keep the essentials in order while retaining its appealingly non-cluttered feel.