The 13 Best Laptop Bags to Buy in 2018

Make sure your laptop is protected when carrying it around

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Incase Icon Pack

Incase Icon Pack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
5

Composed of 100 percent nylon, the one-size-fits-all Incase Icon Pack offers one interior zipper pocket and five exterior pockets. The sternum strap and padded shoulder straps help make the Icon comfortable to wear, even when it’s fully weighed down. When packed to the brim, the Icon still manages to look good. The bag’s frame holds steady no matter how much gear you’re carrying, something that could be a turnoff to some users who want a collapsed bag when not carrying everything. It’s a minor annoyance but a notable caveat for truly picky backpack aficionados. We also would have loved to see a water bottle compartment on the side. It’s an omission that is a little disappointing, but by no means a deal breaker.

Best 2-in-1: Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack

Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.9

When you first take a look at the Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack you’re going to ask yourself, “is it a backpack or a messenger bag?” In this case, the answer is both and that’s a very, very good thing. This don’t-call-it-a-messenger-bag briefcase doubles as a backpack converting in seconds with the addition of both a shoulder strap as well as dual straps for backpack-style. The slim profile hides all the unique functionality that takes this Solo bag from briefcase/messenger bag to backpack and back again in seconds without sacrificing space, style or cost.

Composed of polyester, the Solo bag won’t scream water resistant but doesn’t skimp on protection with a padded pocket offering 360-degrees of protection for a laptop up to 15.6”. A secondary compartment holds a tablet and it has front zipper pockets to hold your smartphone, chargers, smaller gadgets and frequently used accessories. There’s not a ton of additional storage space and that helps the Solo bag maintain its profile as a briefcase/backpack and not the other way around. Still, there’s no question that there’s more than enough storage here to get you through the day and even weekend trips.

Best Briefcase: Solo Pro

Solo Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.9

Sometimes simple just works better and that’s why our vote for the best travel laptop bag goes to the Solo Pro. The Solo Pro has a feature that we wish every laptop bag offered: a separate compartment that can lay flat, allowing easy access to your laptop while traveling. Unfortunately, the laptop still has to be taken out of the bag but the quick access and lay flat feature are a comfort you never knew you wanted until you have it. The ballistic polyester material isn’t as eye-catching as leather or as beautiful, but it’s durable and belies the price tag for overall quality. Rest assured that while the price tag might have you thinking this bag belongs in the budget category, it feels more premium than the price would suggest.

There are compartments for laptops beginning at 14.1” up to 17.3”. The “clamshell checkfast design” is the real claim to fame and Solo believes this bag will “allow you to pass through airport security faster." Your mileage may vary, but the idea that Solo has built a bag with the traveler in mind paired with the wallet-friendly price has us instantly adding this to our Amazon wishlist. There’s also a front zippered pocket and front zip-down organizer for additional storage. Solo didn’t make this bag as a “carry everything,” but there’s enough storage for a business trip with a charger, tablet, some notebooks, magazine and your phone. There’s also a rear, ride-along feature for easy connection to a suitcase for consolidated travel.

Best Commuter Bag: Osprey FlapJack

Osprey FlapJack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.3

With a modern look, water-resistant build and plenty of room for storage the Osprey FlapJack laptop backpack is a great option if you're a commuter. Ultimately, what sets the FlapJack apart from the crowd are the inclusion of reflective graphics and a blinker light attachment that come in handy when commuting in the evening. The front of the bag itself has small reflective squares that reflect brightly when a headlight is placed on them, but otherwise show as matte during the daytime.

Weighing just 2.01 pounds, the FlapJack is already lightweight and while it has plenty of storage, it never feels overwhelmingly heavy on your shoulders. The inside front pocket has some webbed pouches for storing smaller items such as laptop charger cords. The main section holds a laptop up to 15 inches with a protective shell of foam offering some of the best laptop protection against bumps or drops. Additional storage for a tablet and a host of zippered compartments on the front all make for a well-organized, commuter-friendly bag. Additionally, there’s a side water bottle pocket, as well as a lone zippered top pocket perfect for a smartphone. As an added bonus, the company offers a guarantee to repair any damage or defect free of charge for the life of the bag.

Best Backpack: eBags Backpack

eBags Backpack
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Attractive, comfortable and with a lifetime warranty, eBags laptop backpack is an excellent selection for a laptop carrying case that has plenty of bells and whistles. With a durable and tough twisted filament polyester exterior, plus DuPont Teflon fabric protection, the eBag offers a multitude of different compartments, including a crush-proof AC adapter garage and a zippered water bottle pocket. The padded laptop compartment can fit computers up to 15 inches in size with additional padding that can be removed to allow extra space to accommodate a 17-inch laptop if necessary. Also, a top-loaded tablet pocket with fleece-lining for automatic glass cleaning fits tablets up to 11.5 inches in height and 8.1 inches in width.

The inclusion of a top handle allows the eBag to easily convert from backpack to briefcase and back again just in case you want a more professional look every so often. Additionally, there’s a horizontal luggage pass-thru panel for easy hookup to a piece of luggage for easier transport in an airport. If you’re not using the eBag as a briefcase or connected to a suitcase and just as a regular backpack, the airmesh back panel offers exceptional support alongside padded straps and a removable shock-load sternum strap to help with added comfort in case of a heavy load.

Read more reviews of the best laptop backpacks available to purchase online.

Best Durability: Thule Paramount 24L Daypack

Paramount 24L Daypack
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Thule's a name known for toughness and the Paramount 24L Daypack is no exception. Constructed out of a durable 420D nylon material with a water-resistant finish, the Thule adds extra durability with "Safe Edge" protection that helps avoid any damage to bag contents when dropped or bumped. Additionally, a welded bottom panel provides enhanced protection against elements such as rain or snow. A protective slip pocket with soft interior lining supports and protects a top or zipper-based side-loading laptop and tablet compartment. Up to a 13-inch laptop can fit comfortably in the sleeve that sits between the back plate and main storage space of the bag itself. Ultimately, the top-loading, which results from uncurling the roll-top, is a big-time saver and doesn't require going through the main cavity, so you'll have quick access to your laptop.

Beyond the ultra-protective laptop and tablet protective sleeve, the Thule offers a slew of small sleeves and pouches all totaling 24 liters of space. There are two mini zipped storage compartments, two sleeves, a zip pouch that's ideal for sunglasses and a front pocket that's perfect for storing cables and the rest of your day-to-day gadgets. Carrying all this might have you worried about your back but the good news is that the ergonomics of the Thule are excellent with a sculpted back panel and mesh shoulder straps that are both breathable and comfortable.

Runner-Up, Best Backpack: The North Face Surge

The North Face is a brand that already offers consumers ruggedness and style, but their Surge backpack gives you that and a full-featured pack option for your computer. The FlexVent, material-injected straps are breathable and extra comfy for long trips, and if you pair that with the 500D Cordura nylon matte ripstop, you have a safe and posture-friendly strap system for whatever you’re carrying.

But what about the laptop pocket? North Face is calling this a lie-flat, fleece-lined pocket that will softly protect your device and maintain TSA-friendly access. Add that to a smaller, front-oriented, also-fleece-lined compartment for smaller gadgets and you have a tech-friendly backpack for any adventure. But it’s the main compartment that gives you the best bang for your buck, as it offers a much higher capacity and heavy-duty lining that will keep gym shoes, daypack clothes, water bottles, books, and more separate from your precious tech.

Best Premium: Filson Twill Padded Computer Bag

For a design-forward, business-appropriate laptop case, the Filson computer bag is one heck of an eye-catcher. Filson boasts heavy-duty padding and high-quality materials to match the price. The bag is made with water-resistant, abrasion-resistant twill-cotton fabric, solid brass zippers, and tin cloth woven into the seams for added reinforcement. The adjustable shoulder strap is made with saddle-grade bridle leather, sourced and tanned right in the U.S. The strap is also removable, transforming the bag into a standard briefcase.

The interior offers plenty of storage space: four stow pockets, one zipper pocket, five interior utility pockets, three divided compartments, and one padded laptop compartment for a 15-inch computer. So whether you’re packing for a regular day at the office or for an overnight trip, the Filson provides ample room to fit all your essential belongings.

Best Style: Booq Cobra Squeeze

Booq Cobra Squeeze
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you're looking for something a bit more stylish, check out the Booq Cobra Squeeze and its uniquely “curved” look. The design itself does require a little tradeoff in terms of total storage and capacity, but it does offer with a water-resistance, extra durable YKK zippers, as well as a dedicated serial number for lost bag recovery. Made from1680 denier ballistic polymer and a herringbone nylon interior, the Squeeze only weighs 2.2 pounds and can handle laptops up to 15 inches.

The padded shoulder straps curve inward, which make them hug the shoulders as opposed to the more common straight up and down straps. The two side compartments are both large and include a pocket inside for additional storage separation, plus zippered compartments in the main section. The main compartment itself is part of the unusual and eye-catching design that features a laptop sleeve, two pockets and a pen slot.

Best for Photographers: Peak Design Everyday Backpack

This 20L backpack from Peak Design exemplifies everything the brand aims for: versatility, style, and general ease of use. And this is as much a camera backpack as it is a laptop backpack. There are two separate, side-accessed compartments that can accommodate inserts to keep your lenses and camera gear protected. Plus there's a 15-inch laptop sleeve in the back, so you can use it as a daily work bag even when you aren't out shooting.

The Everyday Backpack has a top-mounted slip pocket, a key tether, side-oriented water bottle and tripod slots, a ton of little odds-and-ends compartments, a truly innovative and patent-pending MagLatch system to quickly open the bag, and way, way more. It’s also made with Hypalon-reinforced and bar-tacked stress points and a cotton-twill interior for a longer-lasting, more durable build. In short: it maintains a ton of storage while still looking sleek. Choose from three different color options: gray, tan, and black.

Best for Travelers: Incase EO Travel Backpack

Stylish, water-resistant, and carry-on-friendly, the Incase EO Travel Backpack is the gold standard for laptop owners on the go. It has a separate sleeve that can fit up to a 17-inch laptop for easy access during TSA screening or the middle of the flight. To help you stay organized at all stages of your travels, an inside slip pocket protects your tablet while additional pockets store chargers and cables, and side compression straps keep contents secure and stabilized. The main compartment can expand by 35 percent to accommodate your needs on longer trips, and the clamshell design allows it to open completely flat for easy packing. The shoulder straps are padded, the back features a breathable mesh, and a front sternum strap adds additional comfort. The slim design makes it easy to navigate crowds — it can even double as a gym bag when you’re stationed at home.

Runner-Up, Best Briefcase: Mancro 17-Inch Laptop Briefcase

The utilitarian design of Mancro's briefcase won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s a reliable product that’ll stand up to the daily grind of your office commute — and at a shockingly reduced price. The bag is made with a splash-proof, lightweight nylon fabric, and has a soft leather handle and a comfortable shoulder strap for easy portability. Inside, you’ll find plenty of storage space including more than ten functional compartments and a padded laptop compartment capable of housing a 17-inch laptop. The bag also features an expandable zipper which can add an extra 1.2 inches of room to the bottom layer if you're carrying more than usual. If your job or lifestyle involves a decent amount of commuting or traveling with all your stuff in tow, the Mancro briefcase makes for a reliable companion.

Best for Simplicity: OneOdio 17.3-Inch Briefcase Messenger 

The OneOdio was designed with comfort and the security of your valuable electronics in mind. The exterior is made with splash-proof canvas fabric, and is lined with a neoprene foam padding for reinforced shock-absorption. The shoulder strap also introduces soft padding, and the bag’s handle is made with a comfortable leather material. The laptop compartment fits just about any model up to 17-inches wide, and the two zippered pockets on the front and back offer extra space for your charger, electronic accessories, documents, and work supplies. The OneOdio works well for students and young professionals, offering decent storage space, laptop protection, and light-weight portability at a reasonable price.

See more reviews of our favorite messenger bags available for purchase.​

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 79 hours testing four of the most popular laptop bags on the market. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these laptop bags and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Laptop Bag

Style - Do you want a backpack, over-the-shoulder bag, or briefcase? It’s entirely a matter of personal preference, though backpacks are better if you commute by bike while a briefcase lends to a more professional look.

Durability - Most laptop bags have added padding for extra protection. Of course, the padding adds to the bulkiness of the bag, which can be a drawback if you’re looking for something easy to carry. Some models have removable padding to accommodate larger computers, too.

Material - While some people might prefer polymer, it doesn’t fare so well in a rainstorm. Nylon is often a bit better, but to ensure your precious laptop doesn’t get drenched, look for a bag with a water-resistant coating.

Pockets - Some bags have pockets dedicated just to chargers, cables, and water bottles. Although they are convenient, they add a bit of bulk. If you want a more streamlined style, opt for a something simpler.

Test Results: Incase Icon Pack (Best Overall)

5

What We Like

  • Incredibly comfortable

  • Stylish design

  • Tons of storage space

What We Don’t Like

  • Easy to misplace things with abundance of pockets

  • Not collapsible for storage

Looking for the perfect combo of comfort and sophisticated design? This is the laptop bag for you. One of our reviewers said the padding in this bag was so good it felt like he wasn’t even wearing a backpack — even with a 15-inch MacBook inside — and that it was also “very stylish.” One tester noted feeling like “someone, somewhere, took the time out to design and produce this bag,” adding that he’d received compliments on it from coworkers and strangers alike.

Test Results: Solo Laptop Hybrid Briefcase Backpack (Best 2-in-1)

4.9

What We Like

  • Adjustable straps offer multiple ways to carry

  • Lightweight

  • Solid capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Least comfortable in backpack configuration

  • Material lacks durability

Versatility was a big draw for our testers with this lightweight laptop bag — specifically, the ability to stow away the straps when you’re not using them. “Other bags are only bookbags, over-the-shoulder, or handheld laptop bags. This is all three and the straps are not in the way or bulky when you stow them away,” one of our reviewers noted. Though one tester felt that the bag’s material might not be very durable, they did note that it was fairly waterproof.

Test Results: Solo Pro (Best Briefcase)

4.9

What We Like

  • High-quality design

  • Comfortable to carry

  • Stylish

What We Don’t Like

  • Not a lot of storage

  • Poor in inclement weather

One of our reviewers raved about the “chic” yet “professional-looking” design of this laptop bag. Other pluses? Our testers described it as useful and easy to carry, with one observing how comfortably it held his belongings in transit. Overall, our reviewers found the quality of this laptop bag to be “well above average.”

Test Results: Osprey FlapJack (Best Commuter Bag)

4.3

What We Like

  • Lightweight

  • Waterproof

  • Sturdy and durable material

What We Don’t Like

  • Buckles make it hard to open on the go

  • Lacks aesthetic design

Our testers liked that this laptop bag was sturdy yet light, and also waterproof. “It feels it's lighter [than other bags] with the same amount of weight,” said one of our reviewers — which might very well make it a great commuting bag, if you’re bringing other items (like lunch) along. Unfortunately, one of our testers found the front clasp was difficult to open with one hand.