The Best Laptop Bags for Travel and Work

In the era of digital nomads and hybrid working, the importance of a good laptop bag is no longer to be taken for granted.  

Finding a bag that fits all your essentials, but is still lightweight and comfortable, can be tricky. As a freelance writer, I’ve worked on-the-go for many years, and I have to say that it’s only been in recent years that laptop bags have come up to scratch. For a while, I had to make do with ill-fitting bags that weren’t designed for carrying laptops or other devices.

In the last few years though, that has changed for good. There are now lots of excellent laptop bags on the market, in all kinds of designs to meet all kinds of needs. So, here’s the laptop bags you should be looking at, for the ultimate mix of functionality and comfort, without compromising on style. 

What we considered

Material

Quality materials should be first on the list of essentials. You need a bag that can withstand the elements and stand the test of time. It should also offer good padding to protect your tech from the knocks and bumps of the daily grind or when you’re on the road. It should also be robust enough to stand up to abrasions, rips, and tears.

Bag capacity

Laptops are getting smaller, for sure. But you’ll need a bag large enough to comfortably fit all of your essential devices. For those looking for a day-to-day laptop bag, small and compact is ideal. Others will definitely need something a little more expansive, especially if you’re working away or working on the go. There are now lots of quality laptop bags that can accommodate clothing and other luggage, as well as your devices. 

Bag features

A great laptop bag is one that gets all the details right. Pocket placement, loops, padding, zips, internal storage – these are all important features that make or break a bag. Trust me – get the right bag, and these ingenious little features will be the things that seal the deal!  

Bag fit

A bag can be stylish, functional, and have perfect pocket placement, but if it doesn’t feel right on your shoulders and against your back, it’s all for nothing. This is what separates good laptop bags from great laptop bags. Padded straps that instantly make the bag lighter, ergonomic back padding to shape into your back, and plenty of adjustability all add up to a perfect fit.

Price

Laptop bags come in a range of budgets, typically from as little as $30 all the way up to $200. So, before you start your search, understand what it is you’re looking for and set your upper limit. 

The best laptop bags for women: work and travel

When it comes to laptop bags designed particularly for women, there are plenty of great options out there. The best laptop bags for women find that perfect blend of style, functionality, and slimline size:

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Nova Mid Volume Backpack

Minimalist design, maximum comfort, and great adaptability – this bag is equally at home in the office as it is on the road. Shoulder strapping is next-level – this is one of the comfiest bags on the budget laptop bag market, and there’s plenty of room for all your essentials.

Dagne Dover Daily Tote

With its classic design and over-the-shoulder simplicity, this bag is perfect for day-to-day use. It’s packed full of features, with a large central compartment, padded tablet sleeve, ID compartment, pen/lip gloss loops, and a neoprene bottle holder. It’s also lightweight and made from a quality, durable materials.

The best laptop bags for men: work and travel

Guys are spoilt for choice when it comes to good laptop bags. Let’s take a look at some of the best on the market:

Swissgear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

The perfect laptop bag for those on the road, this rugged backpack is made from durable ballistic polyester fabric, meaning no rips, tears or abrasions. There’s a ton of space, with lots of smartly-placed pockets and oversized zippers, and airflow ventilation to the back. The ‘ScanSmart’ lay-flat design helps you to get through airport security quickly by enabling laptop-in-case scanning through TSA X-ray machines. Comfort comes courtesy of padded shoulder straps and adjustable compression straps, making this bag a joy to carry. 

Timbuk2 – The Authority Pack

Another classically designed backpack, this one has a main compartment that can hold a 17-inch laptop, as well as lots of well-designed sides and inner pockets. Strong materials mean this backpack will last you a long time, while the air-mesh back panel keeps things comfortable. Sturdy, well-padded, and surprisingly compact, it’s the perfect all-rounder for guys who work on the go.  

Best waterproof laptop bags

If you’re working out in the elements, or you’ll be traveling long distances for your work, a waterproof bag is a must. You’ll be carrying a lot of expensive equipment that contains all your work, so there’s no room for mediocrity. Here’s our favourite waterproof laptop bags on the market:

A-LAB Model A Backpack

Made from incredibly durable 500D tarpaulin material with a phthalate-free PVC coating, there’s no chance your equipment is getting wet in this bad boy. A removable neoprene sleeve acts as extra insurance for your laptop, while a water-resistant exterior compartment is ideal for quick access.

The Friendly Swede Graneberg Backpack

More suited to urban use, this is perfect for inner-city digital nomads in rainy climates. A stylish white design, excellent waterproof materials, splash-proof outer pockets, and comfortable fit make it a very good laptop backpack. It is pretty compact, though, with a built-in pocket that only fits 13″ laptops. 

Most fashionable laptop bags

Functionality is great, but some of us are all about style. If looking good is high up your list of priorities, there are lots of elegant bags to choose from. Here are the most fashionable laptop bags that, while being stylish, don’t skimp on functionality, fit or durable materials:

Herschel City Backpack Mid-Volume 14.0L

Slimline design meets minimalist styling; this is a great bag for fashion-conscious digital nomads. The magnetic strip closure is a nice touch, as is the hidden inner pocket. Classy construction from durable materials makes it excellent for daily-use, although it’s not suitable for longer travels.

Kånken Water Resistant Backpack

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Another stylish, minimalist laptop bag, this one is also weather-resistant and comes in a choice of 20 different shades. Hard-wearing vinylon fabric, a large main compartment, and smaller front pocket are in keeping with the minimalist design, while simple shoulder straps and handles, as well as a removable seat cushion, keep things comfortable.

Best leather laptop bag

For some, it has to be leather. Well-suited to urban digital nomads who want that classic blend of style and functionality, these are the best leather laptop bags on the market:

Samsonite Laptop Case

Renowned bag-makers Samsonite brings their classic, vintage style to the modern age with this excellent laptop case made from high-quality Colombian leather. Antique brass buckles and the flap-over design add to the elegance, while the pocket placement is spot on a great bag for a great price.  

Kenneth Cole Reaction Colombian Leather Laptop Bag

Another excellent laptop bag made from Colombian leather, this bag is the business. With a choice of black, brown, or cognac colouring, this bag is made to turn heads. It’s well-padded and large enough to carry a 15.6-inch laptop, with excellent padding, top handles, and a removable shoulder strap for comfort and functionality.

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