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The best laptop backpacks in 2021 - backpacks for college, work or travel

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best laptop backpack
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best laptop backpacks allow you to safely and easily carry your laptop with you, wherever you go. You might be commuting to work, or out for a bike ride; hiking through the countryside or wandering around the shops. Either way, there's a laptop backpack that's perfect for your needs. But with so many available, how do you find the right one for you?

There are lots of different types of laptop backpacks, small and large, including day packs for walkers, camera backpacks for carrying your photo gear, airplane-friendly backpacks, and more. In this article, we'll pick out the best laptop backpacks for the best student laptops, best laptops for photo editing and more.

These laptop backpacks vary in terms of things like size and weight, the number of pockets, and the materials used in their design. So we'll give you all the info you need to compare and contrast them. But whichever you choose, rest assured that these are all well-made, thoughtfully-designed, comfortable and durable laptop backpacks, which will keep your stuff safe as you go from A to B.

These backpacks are all available in a range of colors – and it is worth pointing out that some hues or patterns end up costing significantly more than others. But here is our rundown of the best – along with the best price deals currently available today.

Best laptop backpacks in 2021

(Image credit: JanSport)

1. JanSport Super Break Plus

The best laptop backpack for day-to-day use.

Specifications
Size: 42.5 x 33 x 21.6 cm (16.75 x 13 x 8.5 inches)
Weight: 300g (12oz)
Capacity: 25 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15in
Number of pockets: 2
Water bottle pocket: Yes
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight +Comfortable +Affordable 
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t fit large laptops

For casual day-to-day use, this is the best laptop backpack we know of. With a capacity of 25 litres, yet weighing just 300g, the JanSport Super Break Plus features one large main compartment, a front utility pocket with organiser, a water bottle pocket on the side, and an internal laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15 inch laptop. With its straight-cut padded shoulder straps, fully padded back panel and a web haul handle, this laptop backpack is very comfortable in use, and it comes with a lifelong warranty. A great choice for anyone who needs a laptop backpack day-in, day out.

(Image credit: Herschel)

2. Herschel Supply Company Casual Daypack Heritage

The best laptop backpack for college

Specifications
Size: 45.7 x 14 x 30.5cm (18 x 12.25 x 5.5in)
Weight: 520g
Capacity: 21.5 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15in
Number of pockets: 3
Water bottle pocket: No
Material: Canvas and polyester
Reasons to buy
+Good looks +Lightweight+Headphone jack 
Reasons to avoid
-Won’t fit large laptops

Students don’t want big, bulky backpacks: they want something that's lightweight and hits that sweet spot between casual and professional. This laptop backpack from Herschel ticks all these boxes, and more. With 21.5 litre capacity and one large compartment, it also includes a 15-inch laptop sleeve pocket, a front compartment for small items like pens and keys, and an internal media pocket with headphone port. Plus it’s available in a huge range of colors, letting you express your personal style on campus.

(Image credit: Lowepro)

3. Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II Modular Backpack

The best laptop backpack for photography shoots

Specifications
Size: 36 x 22 x 52 cm (14.17 x 8.66 x 20.47 inches)
Weight: 2.3kg (5.1lb)
Capacity: 25 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15 inches
Number of pockets: 6
Water bottle pocket: Yes
Material: Canvas
Reasons to buy
+Store your photo kit +Multiple access points +Weather-proof  
Reasons to avoid
-Specifically for photographers

Looking for a camera bag that you can also carry your laptop in? Then this stylish backpack offers everything you need. With a total volume of 25 litres, Lowepro’s modular canvas backpack can fit a range of photo equipment in the main compartment: it’d be large enough, for instance, for an SLR and a 24-70mm lens. What's more, you get handy dividers to organise everything efficiently, and four point access so you can grab your gear quickly when inspiration strikes. Along with all that, there’s a separate pocket (29 x 2 2 x 37 cm) that will fit a 15in laptop, and keep it nicely protected. Rugged, durable, flexible, comfortable and weather-resistant, this is the best camera bag and laptop backpack combo we know of today.

(Image credit: Rains)

4. Rains Backpack Mini

The best small laptop backpack.

Specifications
Size: 39 x 29 x 9cm (15.35 x 11.38 x 3.54 inches)
Weight: 699g (1.5 lbs)
Capacity: 10 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15in
Number of pockets: 2
Water bottle pocket: No
Material: Polyurethane and polyester
Reasons to buy
+Stylish+Light+Keeps things simple
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller capacity than others

If you don't want to carry a lot of stuff around with you – maybe just a laptop, a hoodie, and a book to read on the train – then you'll want a small and light laptop backpack that won't weigh you down. And we've got just the thing. This marvellously minimalist bag has an inside laptop pocket, a nicely sized main compartment and a hidden phone pocket on the backside. With magnetic closings, carabiner details and adjustable straps, it's both stylish and functional, not to mention lightweight and professional looking.

(Image credit: Incase)

5. Incase EO Travel Backpack

The best laptop backpack for global travel.

Specifications
Size: 54.61 x 38.1 x 12.7cm (21.5 x 15 x 5 inches)
Weight: 1.36kg (3lbs)
Capacity: 30L
Maximum laptop size: 17in
Number of pockets: 1
Water bottle pocket: No
Material: Ecoya
Reasons to buy
+Huge capacity +Cabin-friendly +Suitable for 17in laptops
Reasons to avoid
-No water bottle pocket

Okay, so most of us aren’t flying right now. But with an eye on the future, here’s a great combination of carry-on bag and laptop backpack. Perfect for the tech-savvy traveller, the Incase EO Travel Backpack includes a dedicated laptop compartment, lined with soft faux fur and an interior slip pocket to protect your devices. And unlike other laptop backpacks we’ve listed so far, it’s big enough for laptops up to 17in. 

With breathable mesh and multiple adjustment points in the straps, as well as the integrated sternum strap to disperse the weight, this backpack is comfortable enough for long journeys by planes, trains or bus. Plus it’s eco-friendly to boot, being made from Ecoya, a solution dyed yarn that uses 89 per cent less water than traditional yarn-dyeing methods.

(Image credit: Pacsafe)

6. Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450

The best laptop backpack for security features

Specifications
Size: 48.26 x 31.75 x 16.51cm (18.9 x 11.8 x 6.7 inches)
Weight: 853g (1.9lbs)
Maximum laptop size : 15in
Capacity: 25 litres
Number of pockets: 8
Water bottle pocket: Yes
Material: 210D Nylon FD hitra
Reasons to buy
+Cut-proof material +Lockable zippers +RFID blocking
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

Worried about the security of your devices? Then you’ll love the anti-theft design of the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450. It features lockable zippers made with cut-proof steel mesh, to prevent theft and pickpocketing, plus an RFID blocking pocket to keep your bank cards and IDs safe from cloning.

With a generous capacity of 25 litres, this laptop backpack boasts adjustable padded shoulder straps and carry handle and three lockable exterior pockets. There's also a padded and suspended interior notebook sleeve (which fits a 15 inch laptop), two side pockets for water bottles, two interior RFID-safe pockets, and a key/wallet clip. The YKK zippers comes with zipper pullers that can be attached to discreet security hooks, or placed under and through a secure tab to prevent pickpockets reaching into your bag. 

(Image credit: Fjällräven)

7. Fjällräven Räven 28

The best laptop backpack for walking

Specifications
Size: 28 x 31 x 46cm (11.02 x 12.2 x 18.11 inches)
Weight: 966g (2.13 lbs)
Capacity: 28 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15 inches
Number of pockets: 13
Water bottle pocket: Yes
Material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
Reasons to buy
+28L capacity+Cushioned & comfortable+Good selection of pockets
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

Whether you're wandering around a city on a business trip, or strolling through the woods on a summer's day, this laptop backpack from Fjällräven is just what you need for long walks. Offering 28 litres of strorage overall, you can store a 15-inch laptop in the protective, cushioned compartment at the back. There are also two open pockets on the side, each of which can take a 500ml water bottle, plus a zipped pocket at the front. Its padded shoulder straps make this backpack comfortable to wear for hours on end, and while it's spacious enough to carry everything you need, it's not so bulky that it'll weigh you down.

(Image credit: Redwing)

8. Kelty Redwing 50

The best laptop backpack for hiking and camping

Specifications
Size: 66 x 40 x 30cm (26 x 16 x 12 inches)
Weight: 1.66kg (3.6 lbs)
Capacity: 50 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15.6 inches
Number of pockets: 2
Water bottle pocket: No
Material: Polyester
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity+Robust construction+Padded laptop sleeve
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

When you're off hiking or camping, you want a robust and reliable backpack, and here's one with a dedicated, padded laptop compartment too. With a mammoth 50 litre capacity, there's plenty of room for all your hiking essentials, and the Light Beam single aluminum stay and Dynamic Airflow back panel keep your load stable and comfortable. An additional stash pocket on the front of the pack makes it easy to tuck away a jacket or hoodie, and inside there are some handy the organizers for maps, electronics, pens, and other bits and pieces. We particularly love the instruction booklet, which helps you make the most of all the straps and features.

(Image credit: JanSport)

9. Timbuk2 Convertible Tote Backpack

The best laptop backpack/tote bag hybrid

Specifications
Size: 43 x 11.99 x 37.01cm (14.6 in x 4.72in x 16.9in)
Weight: 748g (1.7lbs)
Capacity: 16 litres
Maximum laptop size : 15in
Number of pockets: 6
Water bottle pocket : No
Material: Sail cloth, leather, polyester, neoprene
Reasons to buy
+Stylish looks +Double as a tote bag 
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller capacity than others -No bottle holder

Not sure if you want a tote bag or a backpack? Why not have both! Using tuck-away straps, this can be transformed from a refined tote bag to a sporty backpack in one fell swoop. With a 16 litre capacity, the backpack is made with rugged 1000D Sail Cloth, providing both durability and stylish military looks. It features an interior padded sleeve, which fits up to a 15-inch laptop; expandable straps with double D-Ring; Neoprene internal organizational pockets with helpful stretch; and a Napoleon pocket, which is suitable for a phone and comes with a key keeper. 

(Image credit: Ogio)

10. Ogio Alpha Convoy 120

The best budget laptop backpack

Specifications
Size: 48.3 x 31.8 cm x 21.6cm (20 x 13 x 9 inches)
Weight: 0.36kg (12.8oz)
Capacity: 20 litres
Maximum laptop size: 15 inches
Number of pockets: 2
Water bottle pocket: No
Material: Recycled polyester
Reasons to buy
+Eco-friendly fabric+Durable construction+Low price
Reasons to avoid
-No bottle pocket

We're all worried about plastic pollution right now, so here's a practical way to do something about it, at a budget price, no less! This Ogio Alpha Convoy 120 is made from Cordura EcoMade, a durable and sustainable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and engineered for abrasion resistance and anti-tear strength. It comes with a waterproof zippered laptop pocket, which fits up to a 15-inch laptop, two front molle straps, a front valuables pocket, an internal key clip, and reflective zipper pulls. With a 20 litre capacity, reflective panelling to the front for safety and security, and comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps, this is excellent value.

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.