Whether for travel, college, professional use or the daily commute, it's a wise idea to seek out easy-to-carry, practical and stylish bags and backpacks that keeps your laptop protected. However, computers aren't cheap, and using any old bag or backpack leaves it at risk of knocks and scrapes, not to mention potential water damage from downpours.
That's why we've put together a guide to help you select a stylish, durable and waterproof laptop backpack to keep your electronics safe and sound. Best of all, we've compared bags from quality brands such as Eastpak, Fjällräven Känken and Samsonite to bring you the top 10 best from Amazon, eBay and John Lewis, including those with anti-theft security, water bottle holders, and options for men's and women's designs. We've got your back!
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Many of us in the UK suffer from back pain, and, although this is caused by a number of factors, the bag you carry does impact your long-term spinal health. Even if your laptop is lightweight, it's likely you're carrying other personal items, which can end up being heavier than you'd think.
Shoulder bags distribute weight only on one side of the body, causing our back muscles to compensate. This leads to bad posture, which can in turn result in neck and back issues. Backpacks, on the other hand, evenly distribute the weight of the bag across the shoulders, back and hips, reducing the overall stress on your back.
Firstly, make sure to measure your laptop, and compare it to the dimensions of the bag you're interested in. If the backpack is too small, your laptop simply won’t fit; equally, opt for one that’s too big and your laptop won't be snug and secure, leaving it susceptible to damage as you rush to work. This is why it's important to also check the level padding of the laptop sleeve.
When comparing sizes, you should also consider if there are any other items alongside your laptop you need to be able to fit in the bag. For example, if you're travelling and need to carry a lot with you, or you're a student with multiple textbooks and folders, look for a larger bag with a separate laptop pocket.
Are you a writer looking for a laptop to put into your new backpack?
Seeing as many of you will be looking for a backpack for work, school or travelling, you’ll likely be bringing along more than just your laptop. Bags that come with extra pockets and compartments allow you to organise, and quickly access other personal and practical items, such as your wallet, phone, pens, and lunch.
They also provide a bit of extra padding to protect your belongings from being damaged by or to, your laptop. The amount will vary from bag to bag, as well as the size and shape of each, so make sure to choose as many as you think you'll need – but we'd say the more the merrier!
Most of us will find ourselves carrying our smartphones about our person in some way or another, so having a USB port where you can conveniently attach a power bank to the inside of your bag is a great feature for keeping things organised and secure on the go.
By having a built-in port like this it alleviates the worry of forgetting your source of power on a table somewhere, as well as not having to carry the power bank in your hands while you are charging.
Keep cable clutter to a minimum with a pair of wireless earbuds.
Let’s face it, here in the UK, it rains a lot! You never know when you're going to get caught in a shower, and you're especially at risk if you tend to walk or cycle. Water damage can completely destroy your laptop, and many manufacturers won’t cover it under the warranty.
You'll find laptop backpacks in a number of different fabrics, but regardless of whether you go for faux-leather, polyester, or canvas, it's a sensible idea to look for those that are waterproof or water-resistant. Not only will this protect your laptop from the elements, but it can help to shield it from accidental spills when carrying a drinks bottle or food container in your bag.
If you're looking for some extra protection, take a look at our MacBook cases.
The average weight of a notebook laptop weighs around 2kg, so ideally you'll want to look for a backpack that isn't adding much more weight and pressure onto your body. If you find that you struggle with back pain, then we suggest looking for a backpack that weighs around 500 - 800g. Though if you have a considerably lighter MacBook Air, you can afford to go for the heavier 1kg options too.
In addition to keeping things light, we also recommend looking for backpacks with panels of padded, mesh for improved airflow as well as to prevent you from building up a sweat on those hotter days or when you're dashing across the city.
Maintain a good posture at your desk with a laptop stand for added height and reduced hunch!
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The Best All-Purpose Laptop Bag from the Cult Classic Brand Eastpak
CityLite Convertible Backpack
Switch From Backpack to Briefcase With Targus' Versatile Offering
Envy Urban Laptop Backpack
If You're a Frequent Flier, Take Advantage of HP's Purpose-Built Bag
Roll Top Laptop Backpack
An Expanding Backpack for When You Require Extra Space
An Understated, Sleek Option for the Style Conscious With RFID Signal Blocking
Känken Art Mini
The Iconic Känken Backpack for Adults and Kids, Built With Comfort and Back Support in Mind
Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
If Security Is a Priority, Look No Further Than Ambor's Anti-Theft Backpack
Zalia 2.0 Laptop Backpack
The Best Choice Laptop Bag for the Modern Businesswoman
Recycled Paper Backpack
An Eco-Friendly Backpack for the Eco-Conscious Carrier
Vintage Canvas Backpack
A Canvas and Faux Leather Backpack for the Casual Commuter
This laptop backpack from Eastpak is our number one choice for a practical, durable, all-purpose bag. Incredibly spacious, you’ll be able to fit everything you need, thanks to two main compartments (including a padded laptop sleeve) and a front pocket with separate organiser.
The ergonomic design prevents it from looking too bulky when full, and the quilted back panel and straps keep it comfy. This backpack easily fits up to 15-inch laptops, and even has scratch-resistant compartments for your iPad or tablet, too. A winner!
Should you be looking for a versatile backpack to protect your tech, check out the CityLite Convertible Backpack from Targus. Not only does this laptop backpack look great, but it also provides secret features including a hideaway bottle holder for easy storage.
Better yet, it's got detachable shoulder straps and a retractable handle for quick switch from backpack to briefcase. It's well accommodating as it carries and protects up to 15.6-inch laptops, with its multi-fit laptop cradle, additional file section and mesh pockets.
The HP Envy Urban laptop backpack is our top choice for frequent fliers. Expertly designed with travel in mind, this backpack is bursting with features for security and convenience. Simply flip down the back panel for easy access to your laptop and tablet when going through the airport scanner.
It also lets you charge your devices on the go, and has a range of purpose-built compartments to organise your gear, including a hard case for sunglasses. If you find yourself caught in an unexpected shower, fold out the integrated rain jacket to keep your electronics protected.
Ideal for those who'd like the option of some extra space when they need it, EverVanz Roll Top laptop backpack expands from 52 cm to 65 cm, with a full capacity of a whopping 26 litres! This versatile feature makes this backpack suitable for varied applications, be it school, work, hiking, shopping or a weekend away.
Available in 8 colourways to suit every taste, it's also suitable for motorbikers and cyclists – just use the chest strap to balance the weight of the bag when carrying multiple or heavy items to keep it stable and prevent back strain.
The idea that laptop backpacks look childish or geeky may have caused some of us to shy away from using one in the past. A chunky, schoolbag-style backpack can seriously ruin your look, especially if your job requires you to dress smartly.
So, if you’re in the market for a stylish, professional-looking bag perhaps give KNOMO’s Beauchamp backpack a go! Sleek and slim, this backpack comes fitted with internal organisation for all your essentials, including a RFID signal blocking pocket for your card and phone.
The iconic Fjällräven Känken Mini backpack has a fun design and added features to keep your laptop secure. A removable cushion pad prevents your laptop from jostling about and protects it from knocks or scratching.
Plus the straps are sewn in a reinforced ‘X’ position to keep the bag comfortable and supported on your back. Also, the long shoulder straps can be adjusted to fit both children and adults. A good option for fashionistas, this bag has a reflective logo patch for safety and visibility.
This backpack has an anti-theft function that keeps your laptop and other valuables safe. It includes a password lock that secures the double metal zippers, which prevents a thief from easily opening your backpack, so we recommend it for those who carry valuable items.
The body of the bag has 2 main outside zipper compartments, and 10+ independent organiser pockets to meet your various needs. Can’t be separated from your phone? Fear not, this backpack has an external USB port with built-in charging cable for use with portable power banks, so you no longer need to worry about getting disconnected!
The Samsonite Zalia laptop backpack is designed for the modern businesswoman. Although it's quite expensive, it has a lot of handy features which combine style and functionality including an internal clip for your keys, and a studded base to prevent the bag getting damp or scratched when placed on the floor.
A dedicated zip compartment efficiently stores your laptop and tablet ready for when you need them, with an elastic strap to keep everything safe and secure. Going on a business trip? No problem! The smart sleeve on the back allows you to attach the backpack to your pull-along luggage for effortless transportation.
At first glance a paper backpack may not seem the best choice for transporting your laptop, but don’t let appearances fool you! Crafted from recycled paper fibres, this backpack is waterproof and as strong and durable as a canvas bag!
If you’re looking for an ultra-lightweight backpack for work or school, the Myga Recycled Paper Backpack is perfect. It’ll fit your laptop and your daily essentials such as a phone, keys and wallet. However, there's little in the way of padding, so we recommend it for light use only.
This canvas and faux leather vintage-style backpack from G-FAVOR is ideal for use as a casual day bag, and is available in two different designs, both of which feature side pockets to store your water bottle or umbrella, and an internal zipper pocket for your valuables.
In terms of your laptop, inside the spacious main compartment there's a Velcro-sealed padded sleeve that’s large enough to fit models up to 15.6 inches. Although it's a durable backpack overall, you may find this one to be somewhat less hardwearing than the others on the list.
Written and researched by Wren Mann
No. 1: Eastpak｜Provider Backpack
No. 2: Targus ｜CityLite Convertible Backpack
No. 3: HP ｜Envy Urban Laptop Backpack
No. 4: EverVanz ｜Roll Top Laptop Backpack
No. 5: Knomo London｜The Beauchamp
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