Keep Your Laptop Safe as You Travel in the Best Laptop Bag
From working professionals to college students, laptops have become an essential item for many people. Due to our increasing reliance on being “connected” at any given time, many people carry their laptop around with them almost everywhere they go. Since this technology can be expensive to replace, it’s important to have adequate protection for your laptop and other electronic devices.
No matter how careful you are, at some point the bag with your computer inside will end up banging too hard against a surface, fall to the ground, or otherwise risk damage to the contents inside. Because of this, the design of the laptop bag you choose is very important. Although the very best bags often tend to be expensive, there are budget-friendly options out there that will generally do a good enough job (but usually sacrificing somewhat on durability).
Regardless of style, certain selection criteria must apply to any reliable laptop bag. The best laptop bags in 2021 will have thick padding designed to protect your computer at all angles while keeping it snugly in place. There must also be plenty of space for additional items such as power cords, computer accessories, files and paperwork, as well as personal items such as a phone and/or wallet. A good laptop bag will also be durable and comfortable to wear, with adjustable straps and strong (preferably water-resistant) materials.
Targus Drifter II Laptop Bag
Case Logic Laptop Bag
Wenger IBEX Computer Backpack
Case Logic Value 17" Laptop Bag
Timbuk2 Commute Laptop Messenger Bag
Case Logic Carrying Case for 18" Notebook
AmazonBasics 15.6" Laptop and Tablet Bag
Dusky Leaf Compact Canvas Messenger Bag - Fits 13-inch Laptop Bag
Best Laptop Bag of 2021 Reviewed in Detail
The Targus Drifter II backpack can accommodate up to 17.3-inch laptops, while also being available in a slightly smaller size to accommodate laptops up to 16-inches in size. This utilitarian backpack is made of durable nylon materials with a water-resistant bottom panel and multiple zippered compartments for ample storage options.
The Drifter II has mesh panels on the back from breathability and the padded straps are designed to be shock-absorbing. This increases your comfort levels while carrying the backpack, helping to ensure the contents inside are jostled around as little as possible. Water bottle pockets are found on both sides of the backpack, while a secret compartment on the back can hide away items like a wallet or keys.
The Drifter II has a large interior capacity, being able to fit cords, supplies, and clothes as well as a laptop. For the utility it offers, the Targus Drifter II has a purchase price of well under $100 through most major online retailers.
This lightweight and practical backpack from Case Logic is able to hold a laptop of up to 16 inches in its dedicated, padded laptop compartment. Although the DLBP-116 is quite affordable, it still offers multiple organization options for storage and generous use of padding and soft materials to keep contents safe.
A zippered front pocket has an organizer for cords or other small items, while a small top pocket is lined with a felt-like material to keep sunglasses or the scratch-prone screen of a smartphone securely protected. Water bottle pockets can be found on either side of the bag, while a zippered safety pocket provides dedicated protection for sensitive items like a passport or tickets.
The PVC-free DLBP-116 is water-resistant, and features a mesh back panel to increase breathability, as well as adjustable shoulder straps with storage to keep excess strap out of the way. Overall, this backpack is an excellent basic and affordable option for keeping your laptop and other supplies safe.
Wenger has a long history of being one of the companies to manufacturer the popular Swiss Army Knife. Although they were acquired by Victorinox several years ago, they continue to make many high-quality products that provide utility and durability around the world.
The Ibex backpack offers three main compartments to keep the large volume of contents it can accommodate well organized. The dedicated, padded laptop pocket can hold up to a 17-inch laptop, while an organizer in the front pocket holds pens, accessories, and provides easy access to items such as a phone or wallet. It can easily hold books, supplies, clothes, and more, along with the laptop.
This durable backpack has good padding and high quality zippers, adjustable and shock-absorbing shoulder straps, and a strong main handle. The design of the back panel helps to increase breathability and keep your back cool. Although the Ibex is not a cheap, it offers great value for the price thanks to its design and excellent durability.
The Case Logic VNB-217 might be budget-friendly, but it manages to offer a deceptively large capacity and durable construction. This lightweight and slim backpack has a dedicated 3/4 zip compartment for a laptop up to 17-inches in size, while three other compartments organize files, books, wires, and any other supplies you might need.
Despite being lightweight, the VNB-217 feels strong and has adequate padding but the zippers do feel less heavy-duty than on more expensive luggage.
A zippered pocket provides quick access to miscellaneous items, while an organization panel keeps pens and pencils from getting lost at the bottom of the bag. A mesh pocket on the side holds a water bottle, making the VNB-217 overall very well designed in terms of making the best use of space possible.
Timbuk2 was founded by a former bike messenger, who designed a bag to meet his own needs of durability and utility. This San Francisco-based company creates the excellent Commute messenger bag, which offers a high-quality and utilitarian design. The Commute has been around for a while, with this latest version being TSA-friendly, with an external laptop compartment that unzips and lies flat for going through security.
The bag is available in different sizes with options for accommodating everything from a tablet to a 17-inch laptop. Individually padded compartments offer the best possible protection of your devices along with pockets for better organizing contents. This bag is suitable for daily use, as a photography bag, and even for short travel trips with a change of clothes and some supplies.
The front pocket is lined with faux fur to protect the screens of mobile devices and build quality overall is top-notch; extremely durable and lightweight along with a waterproof bottom and front flap. The strap is adjustable and padded, and can be removed to allow the bag to be used as a briefcase. The back panel is also ventilated for comfort. Although the Timbuk2 is not a cheap bag, its excellent design and durability make it a worthwhile investment.
Case Logic is a well-known name when it comes to offering good quality bags and cases for affordable prices. The PNC-218 fits up to an 18-inch laptop in a dedicated padded compartment and costs well under $50 at most online retailers. A PNC-216 (16-inch) model is also available for those who don't need quite as much space. This basic laptop case offers very good value for the money, with durable nylon material, adequate padding, and an airport-friendly design.
The PNC-218 can be attached to rolling luggage while an easy-to-reach pocket offers quick access to small items such as a passport, phone, or keys. The bag even offers a neoprene electronics pocket specifically for better protection of electronic gadgets, while having plenty of room inside for cords and other items such as books or folders. A lightweight and slim design, an adjustable shoulder strap and a sturdy, built-in handle make it easy to carry around.
The AmazonBasics line of products has earned itself a reputation for offering solid quality for a very low price. This Amazon-only laptop bag comes in several sizes, but this largest model can accommodate a laptop up to 15.6-inches in size. Beyond the dedicated padded area for the computer, this slim and compact laptop bag has storage for a mouse, power cords, pens, phone, and other supplies.
An expandable side pocket adds more storage options, while the zippers are robust and easy to grip. Although the padding of this bag could be thicker, it’s quite good for the price. The shoulder strap is padded and adjustable and while this bag is extremely basic, it does an excellent job of providing basic device protection and portability at a very budget-friendly price.
This rugged laptop bag is made from eco-friendly materials such as a natural cotton canvas for the exterior. The ECO Messenger from Mobile Edge can accommodate a laptop of up to 17.3-inches in its dedicated padded computer compartment, while being able to comfortable take not only the laptop, but its power supply and an assortment of pens, books, and other supplies. The rear pocket is full-sized and there are separate sections so contents like files and folders remain properly organized for easy access.
Unfortunately, there are no exterior pockets to provide access to small items without undoing the main buckles, but this bag is nonetheless extremely convenient. The bottom of the ECO Messenger is water resistant, while the strap is long enough to be comfortable for use by even people who are quite tall. Although this laptop bag is more casual in style than most, its utility, durability, and use of eco-friendly materials will appeal to many.