Are you looking for the best laptop backpack for travel? In this post, we cover the best travel backpack on the market with laptop-friendly features and discuss what to look for in a backpack.
Heading off on a new adventure somewhere in the world? Such an exciting feeling, right? You’ve got your bags packed and you’re ready to perhaps see the famous mountains of Patagonia, or soak up the sun in the Caribbean, or any other of the world’s many destinations.
But you get to the airport and they politely tell you that your laptop backpack is too big for a carry-on, or half-way through your trip, your laptop gets damaged because the bag was not properly padded or weather resistant. What a letdown for your trip! Well, we’re here to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!
We’ve compiled a detailed list of the most important features to look for in your hunt for the perfect travel laptop backpack – including size, function, and protection. We’ll then wade into the list of potential packs with these tips in our back pocket and sift out the top 10 laptop travel backpacks on the market for you to choose from. From there, a seamless travel experience with your laptop is yours for the taking!
What to look for in a laptop backpack?
Sizing and TSA Compliance
For those of you who fly almost as often as the pilots themselves, it can be such a drag to continually remove your laptop from its bag for screening. Thankfully, the TSA is continually producing a series of manufacturing guidelines that can allow backpacks to be TSA compliant and meet all the sizing criteria for carry-on luggage. Meaning you can potentially leave your laptop in the bag for the entire screen process! Pretty convenient, eh? The bags are furthermore guaranteed to meet the sizing requirements so you won’t have to deal with last-minute checked baggage and fees.
We recommend keeping an eye out for bags that meet these criteria during your search. But be forewarned; even though many types of bags are TSA compliant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the TSA personnel are obligated to let your computer stay in the bag. Depending on the circumstances, you may still be asked to remove it for inspection.
Padded Laptop Sleeve
Scratched, dented, or scuffed laptops make for a sad memory on your trip! So hedge the odds in your favor and opt for a laptop travel backpack that features a dedicated, padded sleeve for your laptop. This will prevent the laptop from rubbing shoulders with all the other items in the pack and offer it an additional level of protection from rough handling or inadvertent drops.
All of the backpacks on this list have a laptop sleeve. However, it is a feature that is not hard to come to find in backpacks these days even many of the large travel backpacks we recommend have a dedicated sleeve. For this list, we’re sticking to carry-on size backpacks that contain a laptop compartment.
As many of us world travelers know, we often don’t have the luxury of rain delays or rescheduling. We’ve got things to do and places to see, and this show is getting on the road regardless of a little rain! But even though we may have to power through the elements, it doesn’t mean that your expensive laptop needs to as well. We, therefore, recommend paying special attention to laptop bags that feature at least some level of weather protection.
This may take the form of included rain covers for those damp days, or perhaps chemically treated materials that are inherently water resistant or proof. For our part, we prefer the convenience of pre-treated waterproof bags that avoid the hassle of fumbling with a rain cover in inclement weather!
Please remember to focus on comfort just as much as utility as you search for your perfect backpack! All the features and conveniences in the world will come to naught if you end up with a painful knot in your shoulder every time you tote your backpack around for more than an hour.
We recommend paying close attention to the shoulder and back padding material, adjustability, and air flow technologies to help prevent a sweaty back. Remember, when you’re working your way through a new city, you may be wearing your backpack for hours and hours as you check out the sights and find your hotel, so comfort is pivotal!
Now that we’ve covered the essential buying considerations for the ideal travel laptop backpack, let’s put the knowledge to use and dive into our list of the top 10 bags currently on the market!
Comparison of the Best Laptop Travel Backpacks
|Laptop Backpack||Dimensions||Rating||Average Price|
|SwissGear 1900 Scansmart||18.5" x 13.5" x 9"||4.5*||$75|
|Burton Day Hiker||19" x 12" x 7||4.5*||$75|
|Mancro Weather Resistant Pack||20" x 12.2" x 5.7"||4.3*||$30|
|Timbuk2 Uptown||11.2" x 19.5" x 6.5"||4*||$75|
|Incase EO||18.5" x 12" x 6.3"||4.5*||$180|
|Osprey Nebula||20" x 13" x 12"||4.7*||$120|
|Thule Paramount||20.1" x 12.2" x 10.6"||4*||$150|
|Oakley Kitchen Sink Pack||8" x 14" x 20"||4.5*||$135|
|Vaschy Leather Travel Backpack||13.4" x 5.5" x 16.5"||4.5*||$45|
|Herschel Heritage Backpack||18" x 12.2" x 5.5"||4.5*||$50|
|eBags Professional Weekender||21" x 14" x 8"||4*||$170|
Best Laptop Travel Backpacks
SwissGear 1900 Scansmart
SwissGear has been a household name in the world of backpacks for as long as many of us can remember. From the fancy backpacks that a few lucky kids had in high school to some of the best backpacks for travel, the SwissGear reputation is well deserved, and this particular pack is no exception!
The weather-resistant polyester material is tough as nails and sure to hold up to even the harsh abuse that travel inevitably brings. What’s more, the dedicated laptop sleeve unzips from the main pack body for easy TSA screening and is large enough to fit everything up to a 17” computer! And let’s be honest, if your computer is bigger than that you’re leaving the world of laptops for the desktop realm.
The SwissGear pack is reliable, durable, and a tried and true favorite for computer travelers around the world. We highly recommend it for your next travel laptop backpack. But if you’re in the market for little more style, then swivel your eye over to Mancro or Timbuk2
Burton Day Hiker
I love multi-functional products so the Burton Day Hiker is a slam dunk for me. We’re big into snowboarding so I needed a pack to wear while on the slopes, but I can’t carry a dedicated bag while traveling.
The Day Hiker serves as a bag perfect for the slopes with a carrying strap for a snowboard, but it also has features like a laptop sleeve, multiple pockets, a roomy interior, and water bottle holders. It was designed by Burton to serve as a slope to the street backpack that way you can use the pack year round.
Mancro Weather Resistant Pack
Mancro has taken the durability and versatility that we look for in ideal travel backpacks and woven them into a stylish presentation that is suitable for high-end business travel or an overseas adventure. But don’t be fooled, the sleek design hides many different pockets and organizing tools, in addition to a dedicated laptop sleeve, to make organizing all your gear a breeze.
Furthermore, the nylon material is reliably water repellent and will keep all your gear nice and dry on those rainy days that always seem to appear when we’re traveling. As an added bonus for keeping your gear safe while traveling, this bag includes a mini combination lock and durable metal zippers to help keep your valuables secure while on the road.
Yet another contender for stylish yet functional travel laptop backpacks is the Timbuk2 Uptown. While Timbuk2 has made a name for themselves in allowing almost complete customization of their bags, the off-the-shelf Uptown features a very sleek appearance that is loaded with features that secure its place on our top backpacks list.
The laptop specific sleeve is heavily padded and easily unzips to lay flat and roll right through TSA screenings. The rest of the pack’s pockets have organization and compartmentalization in mind; you’re provided with spots for chargers, phones, glasses, passports, and any other gear you’d like to carry with you. All of this is encased in durable and weather resistant nylon to keep the rain out.
Please note that this particular bag is on the smaller side and only fits 15” laptops and smaller. If you would prefer a larger bag, we firmly believe that the Incase EO may be for you.
The Incase EO gives the avid traveler a refreshing blend of style and durability mixed together in a pack that can also be expanded to fit those larger items or more gear for extended trips. As we should all expect by now, this pack features a padded laptop sleeve that can fit anything up to a 17″ computer. The rest of the bag features internal pockets for gear organization and a main compartment that can expand up to 35% to accommodate even more gear if the need arises.
The pack material is universally weather resistant, while the primary panel itself (which will take the brunt of any ill weather) is triple coated to ensure optimal rain protection. All of these features are blended into a very appealing and sleek design that make this backpack the perfect companion for almost any occasion.
When it comes to making packs that last, you can be sure that Osprey has learned a thing or two from designing heavy-duty backcountry packs for the last 40 or so years. This knowledge has certainly been applied to the Nebula to produce a rugged, outdoor-themed pack that can also be used for convenient and reliable laptop travel.
The TSA compliant laptop sleeve is padded to offer optimal protection and an additional tablet sleeve is also included for those extra devices you may be inclined to travel with. The bag itself features several internal pockets for your gear organization, while the outer material is durable and weather repellent, making it the ideal travel pack for either a plane or a trail. What’s more, this bag is subject to Osprey’s famous warranty that provides for any gear repair at any time, definitely a plus if you’re traveling the world on a regular basis!
Another strong contender in the field of durability is the Thule Paramount backpack. Like Osprey, Thule focuses particularly on products for intense adventure and backcountry use. This backpack is designed to travel just as much as you do, and keep your laptop secure and safe for the entire trip.
The padded laptop sleeve includes Thule’s SafeEdge Corner Protection that beefs up the padding around the edges and corners of your device, where damage is most likely to occur. The treated nylon material contributes its own level of protection by keeping the water at bay, and the additional valuables and tablet pockets also feature added padding.
We are also big fans of the distinctive roll-top design of this bag that allows easy access to your gear, along with the handy side zipper for easy and direct access to your laptop when needed.
Oakley doesn’t only deliver exceptional sunglasses, they also produce excellent backpacks! One such pack is their Kitchen Sink design that is crafted to allow you to take absolutely everything you could possibly need for your trip, and also meet the carry-on requirements – but only just.
The Kitchen Sink is absolutely bursting with pockets and attachment points for you to stuff, store, hook, and clip about every piece of equipment you’ll need for your traveling adventure. It, of course, also includes a padded laptop sleeve with side zipper access for your convenience, as you will need to remove it for airport checks.
The adjustable shoulder straps also allow you to optimize the comfort and be ready to take this powerhouse of a backpack anywhere you need to! If you’re thinking the Kitchen Sink may just be a little too big for your needs, check out its smaller cousin, the aptly named Bathroom Sink.
Vaschy Leather Travel Backpack
This backpack by Vaschy tastefully blends canvas and leather to create an eye-catching but functional pack that is travel perfect for almost any occasion. The main compartment – which includes an integrated laptop sleeve – has ample space for plenty of your travel essentials, with two interior pockets, and includes both a zipper and leather flap for closing.
While not quite the lifetime warranty that Osprey provides, Vaschy does back up their gear with a one-year warranty to help give you a little piece of mind as you begin your travels. One final aspect to consider for this particular pack is the size. It’s not quite as large as many of the other packs on our list, so it’s ideally suited for the small sidekick role where you can take it everywhere, fit it anywhere, but just be aware that it won’t hold as much as the Kitchen Sink above.
Herschel Heritage Backpack
If the concept of a smaller sidekick laptop travel backpack appeals to you, along with a healthy appreciation for simple retro design, then Herschel may have the perfect pack for you. The Heritage Backpack keeps it just about as simple as it can get, with a straightforward 15” laptop sleeve nestled into the main compartment and a smaller zip pocket on the rear.
The very functional nature of the bag, however, is counterbalanced by the multitude of snappy coloring and design schemes that Herschel offers; all of which radiate a laid back and retro vibe that makes this pack an ideal travel companion for almost any occasion!
eBags Professional Weekender
To round off our list, we have the Professional Weekender that lives up to its name very nicely. This larger bag can easily carry just about everything you’ll need for a quick weekend jaunt in its plethora of strategically placed pockets. Firstly, the TSA friendly laptop sleeve can hold a whopping 18” laptop, which gives you a hint at the bag’s cavernous interior!
In addition to the primary compartment for the laptop, including an additional tablet sleeve, the Professional Weekender also includes a secondary compartment for the clothing you’ll need on your adventure. Add to this all the exterior pockets, the ability to use it as a backpack or briefcase, and an eBags lifetime warranty, and you have the perfect laptop travel bag!
There you go, folks! We started by covering all the essential information for you to consider when searching for the ultimate travel laptop backpack, from sizing to weather protection. We then made your search much easier by presenting our top 10 picks for the best travel laptop packs on the market. So go ahead, pick your bag and start packing for your trip!
- Best Travel Backpacks For Europe • Our Top Picks to Save Your Back 2019
- Ten Best Travel Umbrellas • Stay Dry on the Road
- A Step by Step Guide on How to Travel the World
- Sustainable Travel is More Than Being Green • How To Travel Sustainably
Last Updated on