Introduction to T3's best backpacks and laptop bags
Here at T3 we have scoured the vast reaches of tech-luggage-obscurity to find the best backpacks and laptop bags. Whether you're looking for svelte, business style messengers, high-end designer backpacks or rugged, water-resistant rucksacks, we've got you covered.
Both laptops and tablets are getting slimmer and lighter, so they're important investments that you need to protect. And while a sleeve or cover can be handy at times, nothing screams full-on protection quite like a backpack or laptop bag.
You also need a means of carting around all your chargers, batteries, cameras, e-readers, selfie sticks, and copies of T3 magazine etc. Hence you need a protective bag. Q.E.D.
From stylish to monstrously rugged, these are the bags of gold.
Manfrotto D1 backpack for DJI Phantom
If you like to carry all of your tech around on your back like a little futuristic turtle, this backpack is for you. There's space for a laptop, tablet, camera gear, and DJI drone. There's probably even space for a VR headset. It's modular, with interchangeable dividers, features a water repellant coating, and has a fold out rain protector.
If you don't carry a drone everywhere, maybe you don't even own a drone? We'd suggest you go for the new Off Road Stunt backpack, which is more lightweight and durable.
TBD | Manfrotto
This bag is ideal for security conscious commuters. It looks like a stylish bag for your laptop and other valuables, but any pick-pocketers would be deterred by the zip-system, which is located on the rear (against your back), rather than the front of the 'pack. The R10 has 10-litres of storage, and enough space for a 15-inch laptop.
£79 | Riut
STM Velocity Prime
The lightweight Velocity Prime backpack contains plenty of space for organisation. The contoured zip allows easy access to all your tech, and there's even a handy quick access pocket. The Prime comes complete with STM's SlingTech System, which cradles your laptop/tablet and protects it from drops.
£65 | Amazon
Currently my favourite backpack, this Swedish outdoorsy firm was born from the idea of creating more a comfortable 'carrying systems'.
The Kanken, specifically, was created in 1978 to help prevent back problems among school children. This modern (yet still classic) backpack is stylish and practical, with space for a 13-inch Macbook (or smaller).
The water-repellent body is built to last, and a carry handle wins points for simplicity and versatility.
Overboard Pro-Light Waterproof
If you happen to commute on a boat, or stand up paddle board, this 'pack from Overboard is perfect for you. It's IP66 rated, meaning it is waterproof, snow proof, dirt proof and sand proof.
This 12-litre daypack is compact and lightweight, but still includes plenty of space for tech you'd rather not get wet.
It's a seamless electronically-welded design, with a simple sealing system making it fully submersible. It also has plenty of useful features, such as a whistle buckle, buoyant straps, and quick-release elastic webbing.
Lat_56 BC_01 Briefcase
It may not be the MOST attractive bag, but if you're after the ultimate protection for your laptop - look no further.
Made from military-spec EVA foam the BC_01 can hold a 13-inch laptop with enough expandable space for documents and overnight clothing.
There's plenty of interior pockets, helping you stay organised, and the company boasts it'll handle "anything from an acid rain downtown downpour to a tropical typhoon".
Lat_56 is based in Scotland, and the bag comes with a five-year lifetime guarantee, so you can expect top quality craftsmanship.
Nike Kobe Mamba XI
Perfect if you constantly find yourself in the gym, this 'pack from Nike includes a 'wet' and 'dry' compartment to keep sweaty clothes away from you precious tech (and dry clothes). It opens like a duffel bag for easy access, and has a shoe compartment capable of fitting up to size 15 sneaks. We're also really fond of the all-black patterned design.
Topo x Woolrich Rover Pack
Handmade in the States, this packs screams quality. The top flap is adorned with Woolrich wool, adding a premium and durable finish, while the main section is a sturdy Cordura fabric. There's a padded area inside for your 13-inch laptop and a bevy of other zipped pockets to keep trinkets safe. Comfort is impressive too - the straps are padded, adjustable and don't dig into your back. It's simple, very durable and packs a lot of space into a small size.
around £120 | Topo
Louis Vuitton V Line Pulse
Designed for "the active man" this lightweight and ultra-mobile backpack is perfect for the more discerning buyer. Made from water-repellant calfskin leather, it also boasts multiple pockets to organise your busy life. Finished with the traditional Gaston V and quick release metal buckle.
£1,870 | Louis Vuitton
Manhattan Portage x Alpha Industries
Manhattan Portage and Alpha Industries have teamed up to launch their first ever collaboration which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original M-65 Field Coat. Made from the same material as the legendary coat, and taking design queues from famous military garments these retro inspired bags are perfect for protecting your tech.
The tropical Jungle Rucksack pays homage to the classic military issued backpack used during the Vietnam War and the tactical MOLLE design is the military’s 21st century version of the Vietnam-era technology known as ALICE (All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment).
From around £114 | Manhatten Portage
PKG AW15 Collection
If you're an 'Urban Commuter' these 'sacks from PKG are for you. They give protection and security, with everything waterproofed, lightweighter and versatile. PKG was sounded in Canada, with to goal to combine simplicity, versatiliity, and functionality into something that's inherently fashionable. We'd say they've done a good job.
There are two new ranges this season, Black and Tan, and Ascot. The designs are inspired by chinos and vintage neckwear (respectively), encapsulating the everyday gentleman.
From £98 | PKG
Evernote Abrasus Triangle Commuter
Tired of those regular shaped, rectangular backpacks? Want something designed partly by a Japanese start-up teaming with a PC software producer? Slip on this triangular, ‘stand-up’ bag and gaze upon the contents from a birds eye view.
This is actually one of the most practical bags we've used in a long time, removing that annoyance we have with many bags whereby all your gear falls to the bottom and ends up in a mess. Things are done differently here by having a sturdy, rigid bottom, so items can stand up and a selection of pockets too to store your iPad, phone and so on in. A see-through zipped pocket on the front adds more storage, while a padded laptop section protects your computer.
It's well made and everything from the zippers to the strap feels durable, this is a bag that'll last you a long time.
£125 | Evernote
Constructed from a durable fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, this backpack can fit in a 17-inch MacBook Pro, so you know there’s going to be lots of space. We’re big fans of the rolled top design and the industrial finish, which complete a very swish looking pack. A padded tablet pocket is included, as is a discrete vertical zippered section for documents you want to keep from prying eyes.
Claiming to be the ‘ultimate men’s camera bag’, the Pompidoo Amsterdam has lofty expectations, but it definitely impresses in plenty of areas. For one, the XRD Extreme Impact Protection fabric adds a lot of durability, without sacrificing style and there’s enough space to keep your DSLR with attached lens, along with two extra lenses and a tablet. The exterior is constructed from genuine distressed leather, while the zippers are all made from nickel.
£267 | Pompidoo
Incase EO Hardshell Roller
Built to protect your tech on those journeys when a backpack just won't do. The front is covered in a polycarbonate hardshell, protecting your laptop which sits below in a specially designed compartment that is easily accessible. There's a main compartment that should fit enough gear for a three-day trip and it's expandable by 35% too, stretching the space even further. Inside you'll find a thick padded laptop sleeve and array of pockets for all your accessories. Everything feels like it's been finished with a premium touch, even the wheels roll with a definite smoothness.
Cocoon 13-inch Brief Case
If the inside of your bag often ends up turning into a jumbled mess, then Cocoon’s nifty organisation system GRID-IT could end up being a life saver. Nestled inside this slick look graphite grey briefcase, GRID-IT is a panel covered in straps, simply slot in anything from your phone, to your charger and everything in between and it’ll be kept safely stowed. There’s also a separate lined compartment for your 13-inch laptop, another for a 10-inch tablet and accessories pocket on the front. Ballistic water-resistant nylon protects the exterior, while wooden zippers add a classy finishing touch.
Penfield Kitchener Backpack
The Kitchener backpack is constructed from durable Nylon canvas and features a large main compartment and all-important laptop section. There's a drawstring closure and storm flap opening cover, as well as additional storage (for all your cables and chargers) in the three easy access front utility pockets. The padded shoulder straps ensure weight is evenly distributed, so you should be able to wear the Kitchener comfortably with heavier loads.
£80 | Penfield
Booq Boa Flow
Aimed at professionals who have to constantly carry around a load of ever changing kit, the Boa Flow has enough space for a full size laptop, a pair of over-ear headphones, DSLR camera and a host of cables and accessories. Each pocket is padded, so your gear is protected and the exterior can be wrapped in an included water-resistant and reflective cover, adding further durability. The last thing you want to happen when you’re packing all this kit is to accidentally leave it in a bar, so Booq has fitted each bag with a Terralinq serial number, helping you track down your gear if it goes walkabout.
Thule Stravan Backpack
Offering plenty of protection for your kit, the Thule Stravan boasts room for a 15-inch laptop and tablet, both of which are housed from the elements under a storm flap. We’re big fans of the main compartment, which fully zips open and makes packing/unpacking much quicker.
Paul Smith Cycling Jerseys Print Backpack
Paul Smith 'Cycling Jerseys' print backpack features a classic design and black leather trims with adjustable shoulder straps, gold Paul Smith signature embossed hardware and a mesh back. Internally the backpack features a zip fastening compartment and a padded slip pocket designed to fit the 13-inch MacBook. Finished with a Paul Smith signature tab, a black Paul Smith dust bag is included, because you know it's posh if your bag has it's own bag.
£275 | Paul Smith
Knomo has kitted this canvas coated, laptop loving school boy style pack out with a unique ID number, designed to reconnect you with your lost luggage if you ever happen to leave it in a lifeless European airport. How kind.
Although it's not properly waterproof, the Knomo keeps your laptop safe in deluges of sub-Biblical level. However, it is quite heavy and hot and not really possible to clean, so you will eventually end up with sweat tidal marks if you use it while doing anything strenuous, such as cycling to work.
These handmade bags are made to order, with a selection of trims and colours available. But it’s the great fit and well thought out inside compartments that make this such a great choice. A plush pocket keeps your laptop protected, two separate pouches are perfect for accessories and the ballistic material used the in construction keeps everything safe.
$319 | SF Bags
Despite being named after one of the wankiest places in London, this ballistic nylon backpack is chunky and tough enough to keep your tech sleeping softly inside on a mountain climb while still ensuring you look dapper for a lunchtime meeting.
Ally Capellino Wiggo
Crafted to perch on your favourite two-wheeled cycle, the Wiggo can house a 17-inch laptop in a padded pocket, secure keys in a zipped pouch and keep everything fully working after a British storm thanks to the waterproofed coating.
£185 | Ally Capellino
North Face Surge II Charged
This backpack features the usual high-tech marketing blurb common with tough bags, like sweat reducing panels and a high grade nylon coating. Yet it’s the battery pack, concealed inside, that caught our eye, as it can charge your phone twice over.
Herschel Supply Pop Quiz
This rucksack from American brand Herschel comes in a variety of swish colours and with a whole host of useful features to boot. With space for up to a 15 inch MacBook, along with an iPad, both of which have separate fleece-lined pockets, this is perfect for hauling round your Apple gear. There’s plenty of internal space for accessories, and even a special pocket just for your Ray-Bans.
Superdry Classic Tarpaulin
This PVC-coated messenger bag is clearly aimed at the fashion conscious masses, yet it still offers enough goodies to make it a worthwhile purchase for anyone. The exterior is strong and waterproof to protect your tech from even the worst the British summer has to offer and on the inside there’s a medley of pouches and pockets for a vast array of chargers and cables. Most importantly though, the large emblazoned letters will assure everyone you are indeed wearing Superdry.
be.ez LE Reporter
This reporter style bag from quirky label be.ez seems to have the unique ability of the TARDIS when it comes to fitting in useful pockets. There are zipped pockets on the front, a dedicated elasticised compartment for your 15-inch MacBook, plus many more slip pockets and even a zipped pouch on the back for documents you need to keep close at hand. It’ll also stand a torrential downpour thanks to a PVC coating.
In dark navy blue (also available in pastel pink), this lo-fi rucksack definitely gives off a naval vibe. It has minimal but carefully considered details, and it's a perfect size to fit a small laptop or tablet. It's made from cotton canvas and is finished with white adjustable webbing straps with a useful hook and zippered pocket at the front.
£75 | YMC
Transit Backpack 350AW
If you’re a keen photographer then you’ll know Lowepro are highly respected in the camera bag market. So this Transit bag will offer great protection for your DSLR and its many lenses, as well as providing a dedicated padded compartment to keep your laptop scratch free. It's true innovation, however, is the side opening pocket which allows quick access to your tech when time is short.
Marshall Bergman Corbin
If wearing a rucksack reminds you too much of your school days, this cross body bag could seem much more grown-up. It’s a bit small, so can only take an 11-inch laptop or a tablet, yet there’s a bit of leftover space for stuff you’d rather keep out of your pockets. Dedicated pen holders, slip pockets and an interesting key chain could also prove useful.
Knomo's Bude is deceptively roomy, even though its footprint it pretty small. The bag is separated into two sections, a back space with a padded laptop and tablet pocket, while the front part can hold plenty of cables, plus books and such like. Both are protected by sturdy zips and the straps are notably comfy to wear for extended periods of time. There's a front pocket too, closed by a buckle, that's great for keys and change.
£119 | Knomo
Karrimor Panther 65
The rucksack from Karrimor would be perfect if you're planning a high-tech backing trip across Europe. The Panther 65 Rucksack features the SA1 size adjust back system with, 'direct link' technology to customise the back length and ensure optimum load transfer to the hip belt so it won't ruin your posture. A large main compartment with a zip out divider to a base compartment will keep everything nicely segregated.
Osprey Nebula 34 Backpack
Perhaps the ultimate city rucksack from the experts at Osprey, the Nebula is tardis-like in use, expanding from a slim line rucksack to an enormous 34 litres for those load-carrying days. A specially airport-security approved laptop sleeve keeps your machine safely cocooned while stored but allows super-fast access when needed. Compression straps keep everything together, and external mesh pockets are ideal for rapid newspaper stashage. There’s even an attachment point for an LED bike light. A commuter’s dream.