Whether you commute to work, go to school, university or consider yourself a digital nomad who loves to travel, one of the most important things is finding a convenient, stylish and reliable way to carry your tech around with you on your back.
We've rounded up some of the best backpacks designed to carry your laptop, camera and/or tablet as well as any other devices, stationery, or even clothes, you might want to have with you on a journey.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
- Measurements: 46 x 30 x 17cm or 51 x 33 x 20cm
- Capacity: 20 litre or 30 litre
- Weight: 1.35kg or 1.542kg
- Max Laptop size: 15-inch screen/40 x 27 x 4cm
Peak Design's approach to bags is a little different to everyone else's. The company designs bags to be easy to get into, easy to expand and that make it easier to organise all your different devices. Whether you carry a camera, Mavic Pro drone or just a laptop, you can choose an Everyday bag to work for you.
There are several styles of Everyday bag, each fantastic. There's the small Sling which hold a 13-inch laptop and a compact systems camera, or the Messenger which can fit virtually anything in it.
Our choice is the Everyday Backpack, which comes in 20 or 30 litre capacities, and can fit more than you'd expect inside it. The so-called FlexFold dividers help to separate your camera or drone, keeping them organised and protected. What's more, there are built-in side panel pockets to protect batteries, cards, hard drives and battery packs as well as your usual laptop and tablet/document sleeves. The big pockets on the outside are big enough to fit tripods or water bottles into.
All this is protected from the outside by a 500D weatherproof Kodra shell and high-density padding, with the metal fixtures built from a strong anodised aluminium.
In short, whether you're a photographer, student or office worker, this backpack can work for your individual needs and it will last through the rainy season.
Buy direct from Riut
- Measurements: 50cm x 35cm x 16cm
- Weight: 1.23kg
- Capacity: 20L
- Maximum laptop size: 15-inch screen/38cm x 26cm x 3cm
Riut is a company started in the UK with the sole aim of reducing theft. Its backpacks are built for "high security", and to achieve this, the designer turned traditional backpack design on its head, almost literally.
The RiutBag opens from the back, which means no one standing behind you can get access to the zippers while you're wearing it. It's a 20L commuter backpack with enough space for your laptop (up to 15-inches), and has two bottle holders recessed into the body of the bag.
It's got quite a stylish minimalist all-black finish, with the outer made from a waterproof and anti-abrasive 1000D nylon shell, so it's built to last as well. And none of it is made from animals or using animal by-products. It's vegan.
Inside are a handful of pockets for holding your daily bits and bobs. What's more, you get what Riut calls a D-pocket on the back that gives you easy storage for your smartphone and/or passport which rests against your back when worn, giving no-one else access to your valuables but keeping them in easy reach.
- Measurements: 62 x 33 x 15.5 cm
- Capacity: 27.5 litre
- Weight: 1kg
- Max Laptop size: 15-inch screen/27 x 29cm
The Cromwell is slightly different to most tech backpacks in that it has a roll-top rather than zip. That means it can be completely sealed against the weather and is less susceptible to pickpockets as they cannot easily slip their hands inside.
It's available in grey or blue and made from polyurethane-backed welded nylon in order to offer as much water resistance as possible. The rear is cushioned for comfort when worn and the straps are equally padded. At just 1kg, it's particularly light for the capacity. And at around £90, it shouldn't break the bank either.
You can fit up to a 15-inch laptop in its padded interior section, and there is an additional waterproof pocket on the front for additional, smaller items you need to grab more quickly.
Knomo offers a proprietary system, Knomo ID, that enables users to register their bags in case they go missing. If someone finds it, the owner can be easily traced through the registration system.
The North Face Borealis Classic
- Measurements: 34.2 x 26.6cm
- Capacity: 29 litres
- Weight: 1.16kg
- Max Laptop size: 13-inch screened laptops/tablets
- Price: £90
The North Face has built its brand on a reputation for durable outdoor clothing and equipment, but its everyday backpack, the Borealis Classic, has been a tried and tested option for us here at Pocket-lint for some years. For its sub-£100 price point, it's an easy recommendation.
First, the padding on the back and on the straps means it's a really comfortable backpack that's easy to wear. It doesn't cause friction on your shoulders or overly strain your neck.
Second, there's space for a lot of stuff inside. There are individual little slots for pens and pencils, smartphones and other little daily carry items in the front comparment, with a section at the back for carrying your laptop or iPad.
Third, there's a camo option, in addition to all the other colours that definitely aren't just plain black or grey. There are bright blue, kaki, mint green, dark green and dark blue versions as well as the usual light grey and dark grey colour-ways.
It's made from nylon, polyester print and ballistic nylon in various portions, has a hydration port, water bottle holders and reflective light loop to make you visible at night time.
Did we mention, it also comes in a camo option?
Waterfield Designs Tech Rolltop Backpack
Buy direct from SFBags.com
Waterfield Designs makes some of our favourite bags out there. The San Francisco based bag company has an ethos of using authentic materials like waxed canvas, ballistic nylon and leather, and they're all on show in the Tech Rolltop Backpack.
On the rear, there's a really well padded laptop compartment with a zip all down the side for easy access when you need to get your laptop out. The rolltop is fastened really securely and easily using a clip featuring a really innovative magnet feature. It snaps together automatically, but then won't simply pull apart, you need to slide it the right way to get access.
Zippered pockets on the bottom are weather resistant and have a key fob attachment. There are dual water bottle pockets, plus lots of padding on the back and on the straps designed to wick away any moisture (read sweat).
Even the internal lining is thoughtfully designed, using the gold water-resistant liner which not only adds to its durability, but also makes it easier to find things inside thanks to being reflective.
For its approach to design and practicality alone, the Tech Rolltop backpack from Waterfield Designs is one of our favourite ever bags. It comes in two sizes, with three different colour finishes: brown or blue waxed canvas, or black ballistic nylon.
Herschel Pop Quiz
- Measurements: 44.5 x 29.9 x 15.2cm
- Capacity: 22 litre
- Weight: 0.87kg
- Max Laptop size: 15-inch screen/37 x 27.5 x 3cm
If the overly tech-focussed approach to bags is too much for you, and you just want something well made and trendy that will still carry your laptop and other devices, Pop Quiz is ideal. Herschel is a brand synonymous with fashionable, durable bags, and this one is a prime example. It's available in no less than 34 different colour/design options, from plain to patterned and everything in between.
The laptop sleeve inside is padded, felt-lined and will fit up to 15-inch laptops, while the front pocket has its own internal organizers and a key clip. There's even an internal media pocket with a headphone port, and a fleece-lined sunglasses compartment. The zipper is also waterproof. As a bonus, it also happens to be one of the lightest bags on our list, and has an impressive 22 litre capacity.
STM Myth Backpack 18L
- Measurements: 45.0 x D 29.0 x W 15.0 cm
- Capacity: 18 litre
- Weight: 1.0kg
- Max laptop size: 15-inch screen
STM makes great bags that aren't hideously expensive, and the Myth builds further on that reputation by offering a nice look and practical features for everyone. First off, there's a laptop protection feature called SlingTech, which adds extra padding and gapless corners in the laptop compartment to ensure that the laptop is protected even in the areas that it would typically be bumped on a daily basis.
Hidden away inside the bag are various compartments and pockets on the front. Most notable, there's a channel for cables to let you charge you phone via your own battery pack without anyone being able to see it. You even get a fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses. Plus, there's a pocket specially designed for AirPods.
On the back, STM added a pass-through so you can slip it over the handle of your suitcase while traveling. You also get generous padding with good lumbar support and a channel for air movement.
Add some water repellant coating to it, and you have a bag that's lightweight, small, protective and durable. It looks particularly good in the Windsor Wine colour variant too.
Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW
- Measurements: 48.7 x 29.3 x 20.8 cm
- Weight: 1.87kg
- Max Laptop size: 15-inch/25 x 1.5 x 40 cm
- Price: £239
Okay so this one is definitely more aimed at photographers and videographers than your average student. The key component is a removable central structure that can be divided into sections using removable "shelves" (for want of a better word).
These shelves use a velcro-like grip to hold on to the internal frame, so can be taken out or moved around to better suit your needs and devices. That means whether you're needing to carry around a camera, a drone, both or handheld gimbals, you can divide everything up the way you want. And if you'd like to use it as a conventional bag, you can just remove the internal QuickShelf system and have a large empty cavity instead.
The exterior is coated in a durable and water resistant high-grade nylon, but also comes with an additional covering you can attach around it when it's particularly wet.
As you'd expect, there's also a laptop compartment, and it's large enough to hold a 15-inch laptop. It even ships with a separate gear box designed to carry all the extra cables, batteries and accessories you might be carrying around.
Booq Pack Pro
- Measurements: 45.7 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm
- Capacity: 20 litre
- Weight: 1.8kg
- Max laptop size: 16.4-inch screen/39.4 x 26.9 x 3.8cm
- Price: £260
When it comes to padding and build, few manufacturers match Booq's quality. The latest backpack, named the Pack Pro, can fit laptops up to 16.4-inches inside the generously padded laptop compartment. This itself is protected by a water-resistant zipper, and the whole bag made from a durable ballistic nylon, then covered in a waterproof coating.
While it's not the lightest bag on the list, the Pack Pro is supremely comfortable to carry around thanks to the very well padded shoulder straps and chunky, breathable back padding.
As well as the laptop compartment, there's a hidden soft-lined sleeve to keep your iPad hidden away, and a large compartment at the front protected by the semi-rigid outer cover. Inside this main compartment are three large, waterproof pockets for various accessories as well as sleeves and sections for other peripherals. Perhaps more important is that it opens wide, making it easy to get to everything inside.
In total there are eight different pockets and compartments as well as the two expanding side pockets for carrying water bottles. It's intelligently designed, durable, and - if it's anything like the Booq Boa we've used up to now - it'll last a very long time.
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
- Measurements (compressed): 51cm x 28.5cm x 14cm
- Measurements (normal): 51cm x 28.5cm x 16.5cm
- Measurements (expanded): 51cm x 28.5cm x 19cm
- Capacity: 30L min., 35L normal, 45L max
- Weight: 1.8kg
- Max laptop size: 16.4-inch screen/40.6cm x 28cm x 2.5cm
If you're after after a backpack that's versatile and fits just within most airlines' allowances for cabin luggage, Peak Design's second option on this list is definitely worth a look. In its fully expanded form, it's a little big for every day carrying around, but the beauty of it is that it can collapse.
Specially placed pop fasteners mean you can make it smaller, taking it down from 45L to 35L, making it much easier to be carrying around with you.
Like the Everyday version, there are tonnes of pockets, compartments and brilliant organisation. You can tuck the straps away inside a magnetically-sealed panel on the back, using a handle instead, or use the built-in waist support for more support.
The entire bag is made from a recycled nylon 400D shell that's also weatherproof, thanks to sealed zippers. It's genuinely brilliant, with spaced for your gadgets and the main compartment has enough space to store your overnight clothes and shower bag.
Marry those features with the abundance of external clip-on points and expandable side pockets for water bottles of any size (or compact tripods) and you have one of the most versatile options out there.
It's not the most comfortable bag we've ever worn, but for travelling, it's been fantastic.