Updated June 2017
For our spring commuters, travelers, and tech-carrying friends, we updated this review to include two new award winners from Patagonia, a Top Pick for versatility, and Timbuk2, a great budget option. The Flapjack remains our Editors' Choice winner in 2017. For quick comparisons between products in key performance areas, check out the addition of charts in each test metric.
Best Overall Laptop Backpack
Comfy and spacious
Secure and reliable laptop protection
Can't sit upright on its own
The Osprey Flapjack
is the highest scoring product in our review, and although it faced fierce competition, it is the clear winner of our Editors' Choice Award. With an incredible amount of compartments, pockets, and even an external zippered side pocket, it's our favorite for both storage and versatility. This is a bag that can comfortably carry anything you need and is not limited to being an electronics carrier. We love its overall design, which provides a plethora of options for staying organized. It also has pockets for carrying more than one size of laptop and is one of the most water-resistant bags in our tests. If you want a great combination of laptop protection, comfort, organization, and great features, this is an excellent bag that will help you handle whatever gets thrown your way.
Read full review: Osprey Flapjack
Best Bang for the Buck
The North Face Borealis
The North Face Borealis
Plenty of room for storage
Might be larger than necessary
will only set you back $89, making it one of the least expensive bags in our review, and a fantastic overall value. We love this bag for its simple design and the ability to protect our laptop while keeping an outdoorsy feel. It is burly and durable. It also has a simple and sleek design, while still including necessary organizational features, such as an external water bottle pocket and organizational pockets on the inside and out. Large, versatile, with tons of features and pockets for organization of all of your various accessories, it is a fantastic pack for work, school or running errands. It's one of the highest-performing in every metric that we measured, as it can carry what you need wherever you would like to go; it will do a good job of protecting your laptop as you jaunt about your busy tasks in life. Perhaps the best feature that differentiates it from the rest is the ability to adjust for the load you are carrying, via the side adjustment straps.
Read full review: The North Face Borealis
Best Budget Buy
Keeps contents dry
Big main compartment
Lacks robust laptop protection
Only decent comfort
Below average organization
If a lightweight, stylish, top-loading bag that fits almost any budget sounds intriguing, then look no further. The Timbuk2 Rogue
was the second most affordable laptop backpack we tested retailing at $79 and took home one of our Best Buy Awards. One of its best features, besides its low price, is its unique and spacious style. With plenty of external attachment straps that easily clip a water bottle or a plethora of other accessories to and the messenger bag-like outer design, the Rogue will transport all your electronic needs and much more. One downfall is an unsubstantial mesh laptop sleeve that deserves a secondary measure of protection for your mini computer. Still, the mesh sleeve is secured with a strong velcro tab and does a great job of keeping laptops secured in place while commuting. The Rogue
fits into the category of a great backpack that also carries a laptop. With its unique military-esque top loading style and it's very affordable price point, the Rogue won't disappoint.
Read full review: Timbuk2 Rogue
Top Pick for Style
Comfy and durable
Lacks water bottle storage
We know you are crazy for the outdoors. And for those who want only the very best gear for their outdoor adventures, functionality should always be the first consideration. But let's be honest here, laptop backpacks are primarily for use in the city, for going to work or school, for our everyday lives, not our spectacular weekend adventures. And in the city, for most people anyway, style matters. That's why we gave the Burton Tinder
our Top Pick Award for Style. Designed to look like a bare-bones, old-school 80's rucksack, the Tinder is urban and hip in a way that these other bags only wish they could be. The Tinder looks great mostly because of all the stuff that it doesn't
have. While it underperforms in organizational ability and laptop protection, its single top-loading compartment with double drawstring closure will do one thing for you very well: hold lots of stuff. And if that's all you need and want to look good doing it, then give Burton a try.
Read full review: Burton Tinder
Top Pick for Versatility
Patagonia Black Hole 25
Easy to use straps
Comfy on your back
Resists all kinds of weather well
Not much laptop protection
When your work life and your play time frequently coincide, get your hands on the Patagonia Black Hole 25L
. It won our Top Pick Award for Versatility, being the right combination of trendy and functional and one of the most adaptable laptop backpacks in the review. With its superior water protection and sleek, streamlined design, it won't disappoint whether carrying your laptop to the office or holding your gym clothes for an after work hours gym session. The shoulder straps are comfortable in any scenario, and the sternum strap offers a little extra support when your cargo is a heavier than normal. The sleek single compartment design keeps things straightforward and easy to use. So if you are a laptop welding individual with a draw to the outdoors, the Patagonia Black Hole 25L is a worthy partner to have in your backpack arsenal.
Read full review: Patagonia Black Hole 25L