Have laptop, will travel. Although the world is now addicted to smartphones and, to a lesser extent, tablets, there is no beating a laptop for sheer productivity, especially when you're on the move. However, if you take a chunk of aluminium with you on your travels, you're going to have to protect it. What better way to carry your laptop and the various accessories that go with them than the best laptop bag available?
Perhaps you're attending business meetings, going to conferences, or simply crossing town or commuting with a laptop. Either way, you're going to want a bag that is comfortable, good looking, and protective. Maybe that means finding a smart-looking backpack, briefcase or a simple cover for your laptop, so we've included all of those designs here.
When choosing your case, you might like to consider the size of the laptop compartment itself, as well as any additional pockets that could house other hardware, including a trusty charger.
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Then there are the handles, which are a personal thing; some laptop bags have several. Last but not least, it’s best to choose a material that suits your lifestyle, whether that’s practical and rugged nylon, or luxurious leather. After all, a leather briefcase isn’t great when it's raining and you're on a bicycle.
Whatever your needs or budget, we’ve rounded up the best laptop bags to keep your laptops and tablets safe in style.
Laptops are expensive and their contents are precious, so if you carry yours on your back, you better trust the bag you put it in. Eastpak is a trusted brand when it comes to making tough and durable bags, and its Provider backpack contains a padded laptop compartment for a 15-inch machine, as well as plenty of space for the rest of your clutter. It also has side compression straps, two large zipped compartments, and a padded back panel and shoulder straps for a comfortable fit, which really matter if you frequently lug your laptop and a load of paperwork home every day. It’s great value and is built to last.
If you're after a slim, smart backpack for taking a laptop onto a plane, to a conference or to a business meeting, look no further. Antler’s Stirling laptop backpack has a capacity of 21 litres, mostly in a zipped middle compartment that's extremely well organised. There are interior file dividers for storing documents, a netting pocket, and even a small zipped and padded bag for keeping cables and clutter separate. Although there is another small zipped pocket on the front, the headliner is a rear-accessed (so safe) padded area for storing a 15.6-inch laptop and two smaller pockets for tablets. Surprisingly roomy despite the high levels organisation, and with comfortable straps, a high-quality grab handle and even a loop for attaching the bag to the telescopic handle off wheeled luggage, the Stirling backpack is a super-smart option for business travellers.
If you’ve got the kind of job or hobby that demands you take a decent camera as well as a laptop on trips, look no further. Most camera bags are bulky, but by stripping it back to the essentials the Lowepro ProTactic BP 350 AW II is a welcome exception. Weighing ust 2.12kg when empty, most of the bag is just one compartment – accessed from the back or sides, top and rear – with Velcro dividers to house cameras, lenses and/or other gadgets (in our test it was good for a DSLR camera with a 24-70mm lens). A separate zipped pocket on the inside of the bag’s main lid stores an 11-inch laptop. On the outside of the bag are two small side pockets, with modular add-ons including clip-on holders for a water bottle, lens or tripod.
If you love a bit of office romance and long for the days when workers carried elegant cases full of hand-written documents, Montblanc’s grained document case could make your dreams come true. Crafted from grained leather, it has two top carry handles with a removable shoulder strap and is finished with writing instrument pockets to the inner. This means it’s more suited to an office worker who likes to travel light, but you could squeeze an iPad or small MacBook inside. While you don’t get padding or roomy compartments, you may just gain a future heirloom.
Want Les Essentiels’ Kastrup backpack is ideal if you want something business-like but still favour a backpack. Designed for Mr Porter, contrasting textures of cotton-canvas and leather make the black bag interesting. There’s a dedicated sleeve for your laptop inside, plus multiple pockets for bits and pieces. Minimalist in design, it’s unlikely to go out of fashion anytime soon and thanks to its careful construction and use of quality material, it will see you through your next promotion and beyond. It’s not the cheapest, but will seem great value if you consider cost per wear.
This urban backpack is all about a laptop sleeve capable of holding a 15-inch Macbook Pro in a (slightly elevated) section that also houses a padded sleeve for a tablet and a zipped mesh pocket for cables and pens, but there are plenty of other reasons to love it. The tough fabric is one; as well as being waterproof and durable, it’s reasonably lightweight (the bag only weighs 1.09 kg when empty). Another is a crush-proof SafeZone pocket for storing sunglasses, and possibly a phone. In use, the 21-litre capacity Crossover has plenty of room inside and out, while an airflow channel keeps ‘sweaty back syndrome’ at bay.
If you like your clothes simple and minimalistic, this may be the laptop bag for you. Knomo’s Princeton Briefcase is subtly stylish, with a slim profile (29 x 41 x 7.5cm) while being super practical, It’s made from durable twill polyester with faux-leather trim and a soft protective lining to carefully shield your laptop from shocks, bumps and scratches.
Besides a padded section to house any laptop up to 15.6 inches, the bag also has a full-length exterior pocket for quick access to notes or necessary bits and pieces such as your keys and phone. The shoulder strap can easily be adjusted to ensure you get the best possible fit and the top handles are made of leather for strength – after all, your laptop is precious. It’s great value and comes with a two year guarantee, but it does weigh 1kg.
If you fancy yourself as more of an Indiana Jones than a Don Draper at work, you might want to consider a camel twill briefcase. A little structured but a lot stylish, the Filson bag is crafted in Seattle from ‘rugged twill’ that’s resistant to water and wear. It’s also trimmed with resilient bridle leather for a touch of luxury. The spacious interior is fitted with three handy compartments and precisely sized to meet airline carry-on requirements, while there’s two top handles and a detachable shoulder strap so you can use it how you like. It’s not for everyone, but someone who appreciates craftsmanship and something a little bit different will love this bag.
CityLite shoulder bag is slim and lightweight, featuring a spacious main compartment with room for additional notebooks or paperwork, and a front accessory pocket to save you fumbling for a pen or mouse during a meeting. It’s got soft feel handles and a padded shoulder strap or comfort, which isn’t bad for its diminutive price tag. The only drawback is that it doesn’t look very fashionable. But if you’re after a simple bag that looks business-like without making a big investment, this case is a winner.
The Knomo Reykjavik tote backpack is stylish while providing plenty of storage space for your portable devices. Crafted from lightweight, splash-resistant polyester and hard-wearing leather trim for protection and strength, it’s built to last. There’s a padded section to protect any laptop up to 15 inches, as well as a main compartment with a contrasting lining and two mesh pockets for wires and small accessories. If that’s not enough space to stash USB pens (and emergency snacks) there are also two pockets with zip fastenings, although these may be handier for keeping your smartphone, cards, headphones and house keys safe. The Keykjavik has a unique myKnomo 'if lost' ID number that can be registered with the company and will help reunite you with your bag if lost, although of course your computer may be too big a lure for most thieves.
Some designer bags are only cool for one season, but Paul Smith’s signature stripes are a classic. This briefcase is trimmed with slim rainbow bands along the top handles, adding plenty of personality to an otherwise plain leather briefcase, while remaining subtle and professional looking. It’s a clever way of getting around a strict dress code. Of course, designer labels don’t come cheap, but as it’s made from durable textured leather it will wear incredibly well, while its padded internal sleeve will keep your laptop in top condition. The bag has two top handles, a two zip fastening as well as lots of zipped pockets for all your work must-haves.
If clothes maketh the man, you better make sure you have a nice laptop bag. This Saffiano leather briefcase will certainly impress if you flash it at your next meeting. Crafted in Italy from high quality leather, it's designed in a streamlined, understated profile and is simply detailed with the house's logo plaque. There are card slots and a zipped pocket to help keep your belongings organised. There’s no dedicated pocket for you laptop itself, but the structured bag will hold it well and it gives you some extra versatility. The only real drawback is the price, as this briefcase is quite a big investment.
Faguo Fratelli Computer Bag is for cool customers. With top carry handles and a detachable shoulder strap you’ll always find a comfortable way to carry your laptop, while two YKK nylon zip closure main compartments with a twill cotton lining, one of which contains a padded pocket for a 15-inch laptop, will help you stay organised. The bag itself is distinctive in its navy/marsala colour combination and as it’s exclusive to John Lewis, you probably won’t see too many around. It’s not the cheapest option, but it is stylish with good attention to detail including with leather detailing and a stitch-embossed brand label. The coconut button on it symbolises the fact that the brand plants a tree for every product it makes, so you can pat yourself on the back for your choice too.
Kenzo is one of those cool labels that’s super covetable. This canvas tiger laptop pouch keeps things simple. It has a zip closure but no handle, so would work best if you drive to meetings or plan on stashing your laptop in a larger backpack or bag. But if it’s fashionable cache you’re after, this case should do the trick. It boasts the iconic Kenzo tiger embroidered on the front and its logo on the back, so if you pop it on a desk, it’s sure to be a talking point.