The Best Laptop Backpacks

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The researchBest laptop backpack for tech organization: Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack DeluxeBest retro-inspired commuter laptop backpack: Topo Rover PackBest laptop backpack for travel: Fjällräven Räven 28 BackpackBest small, stylish laptop backpack: Rains Backpack MiniBest gym laptop backpack: Lo & Sons The HakubaBest laptop backpack for carrying anything and everything: Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L Best laptop backpack for biking: Chrome Urban Ex Rolltop 28L BackpackHow we picked and testedOther good laptop backpacksThe competition

Best laptop backpack for tech organization: Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe

Photo: Sarah KobosOur pick

Who it’s for: This is a great bag that has a lot of space if you intend to carry around a ton of tech and your main concern is keeping it all organized and safe. Plus, its looks suit an office setting well.

Why it’s great: The Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe holds and organizes an impressive amount of gear without bulging or coming across as aggressively techy-looking. It has a tough polyester exterior that guards against bumps and bruises as you lug it to and from the office, and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty against defects. Even more important, it’s comfortable to sling over your shoulder.

For two weeks, I carried a 13-inch MacBook Pro and its charger, an iPad, a planner, a notepad, a keyboard, a Nintendo Switch Lite (and charger), various cables, two power banks, a Skooba Design Cable Stable DLX full of other small appliances, my keys, and a travel mug inside the Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe. (I know. That’s a lot of technology for one bag.)

Even with all of that stuffed inside, the bag was comfortable and easy to lug around. Because of quarantine orders throughout 2020, I couldn’t travel far, but I did spend hours wearing the backpack while walking around my neighborhood to get a sense of how it distributed weight.

The Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack was comfortable to wear and easy to transport, even when it’s filled with tech for your work day. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Thanks to the bag’s robust padded straps and back panel, my walks were always pleasant. The pack’s fit was stable and comfortable thanks to a removable sternum strap that connected its two shoulder straps, as well as an air-mesh ventilated back panel that helped minimize back sweat.

The Timbuk2 Authority Deluxe’s huge number of pockets and compartments let me slot everything I wanted to carry into specific places so items were easy to find. The back compartment is suitable for a memo pad or a laptop up to 17 inches, as is the main pocket in the bag’s central compartment. The front compartment has an assortment of storage options: a large zipper pouch, two open pockets, and two pen slots. I found the two separate exterior zipper pockets on the front useful for smaller things that I wanted to grab regularly, such as my external battery pack and an SD card. There’s also a luggage pass-through on the back that attaches to the handle of a carry-on, which is a nice touch.

Timbuk2 also sells the simpler Authority Laptop Backpack, which is a good, similarly sized bag but doesn’t offer the Deluxe version’s extra-comfortable padded straps and padded back panel. It’s also shorter and wider by around a half-inch.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Although the Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe can comfortably hold a wide variety of tech gear, it doesn’t have quite the capacity of other bags in this category, such as the eBags Pro Slim Laptop Backpack.

Dimensions: 18.9 by 11.8 by lima.1 inchesWeight: dua.6 poundsWater-bottle holders: oneWarranty: lifetime against defects in material and workmanshipMaximum laptop size: 17 inchesColors: navy blue, black, dark gray, gray, tan

Best retro-inspired commuter laptop backpack: Topo Rover Pack

Photo: Michael MurtaughOur pick

Topo Rover PackA flashy commuter bag This striking bag’s pocket design allows you to separate your work essentials from the books and beverages you use during your commute. Buying Options*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.

Who it’s for: The Rover Pack will suit you if you’re a practical city commuter who appreciates a mountain aesthetic.

Why it’s great: The Topo Rover Pack combines a campground aesthetic (in colors ranging from flashy to subdued) with a practical design that is perfect for subway commutes. Its main pocket is a large bucket that can easily expand to fit a wide variety of stuff—notebooks, chargers, books, lunch containers, headphones—and has a divider for your laptop. For security, the Rover Pack cinches closed, with a buckle-down flap to keep the top fully covered. During testing, the bag’s outside zippered pockets were big enough to fit a portable charger, a snack, some cables, and a Kindle. The bag also has two expandable side pockets perfectly sized for a Zojirushi travel mug and a Hydro Flask water bottle.

The pack is extremely light, and its shoulder straps are cushy and padded, so it will remain supremely comfortable even after you’ve filled it with all of your work essentials. And its fabric is water resistant, so if you get caught in a drizzle, you can rest assured that your gear will stay dry. Wirecutter editor Thorin Klosowski has had his Topo Rover Pack for eight years and says it’s still in excellent shape and looks new despite heavy use.

The playful, campground aesthetic of the Rover Pack is divisive—but undeniably fun. Plus, Topo has an all-black option for grumps like this guide’s writer. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The pockets on the front of the Topo Rover Pack are a little small. Ideally, a backpack’s outside pocket should be large enough to accommodate a small book so that you don’t have to unbuckle, uncinch, and rummage through the interior just to access something to read during your commute. But if you use a Kindle or prefer zoning out to a podcast, that won’t be a duduk perkara.

Although our tester—and some of our colleagues—loved the bright, bold color options of the Topo Rover Pack (we originally tested it in navy and red), the colors may be a little too loud for everyone’s tastes. The Rover Pack does come in a few more subtle colors if you’re more demure in your fashion choices.

Dimensions: 18 by 12 by 3 inchesWeight: 1.6 poundsWater-bottle holders: twoWarranty: lifetime against defects in materials and workmanshipMaximum laptop size: 15 inchesColors: olive/navy, forest/kelly, natural/black, navy/red, navy, turquoise/clay, ballistic black, royal/black, silver/charcoal

Best laptop backpack for travel: Fjällräven Räven 28 Backpack

Photo: Michael MurtaughOur pick

Who it’s for: This bag has enough space for an overnight business trip and enough organization that you can grab things quickly in a TSA line, plus a structure and style that will still look good when you show up at the office after taking the red-eye.

Why it’s great: The Fjällräven Räven 28 Backpack is durable, water resistant, and equipped with a plethora of pockets, but most important, it’s comfortable to wear for a long day of traveling. Its internals are conveniently organized, and it includes a pair of external water-bottle pockets that can double as holsters for travel documents such as a boarding pass or a customs form. And even though it can fit neatly underneath your seat while you’re traveling, it’s big enough for a 15-inch laptop, business gear, a change of clothes, and a pair of slim shoes.

“In our tests we easily zipped a laptop in and out of the bag while in a TSA line, saving precious seconds and avoiding glares from fellow travelers,” Wirecutter senior staff writer Joel Santo Domingo wrote in a previous version of this guide. “The laptop compartment has a spacious open area and a second pocket for organizing documents, tucking in a binder, or holding a tablet for in-flight entertainment.”

The Fjällräven Räven 28 is large enough to stash a change of clothes for a quick trip out of town. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

The zippered middle pocket is roomy enough for a change of clothes, shoes, and a toiletry kit, which means you don’t have to push those items out of the way to get to your laptop. The other organized pockets on the front of the bag allow you easy access to pens, business cards, adapters, and cables, which would otherwise roll around in the main compartment.

The Räven 28 is made of a durable poly-cotton blend, and it offers decent water resistance. If you need more protection, you can have the bag waxed like a storm coat.

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