(Pocket-lint) – A backpack is one of life’s most unequivocally useful items, whether you’re commuting to work, go to school, university or consider yourself a digital nomad who loves to travel (as difficult as some of those things are to imagine right now). Finding aÍ›Í
convenient, stylish and reliable way to carry your tech around with you on your back can be a real challenge.
That’s why 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 that you might want to have with you on a journey.
Our guide to the best tech-carrying backpacks to buy today
Peak Design Everyday Backpack (V2)
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 – now on to its second generation – with the 30 litre one being the most spacious, 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.
The North Face Borealis Classic
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 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 compartment, 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 Mezzo Laptop Backpack
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 new Mezzo Laptop Backpack.
First off, it’s beautiful to look at – we’ve been using the waxed canvas and chocolate leather version, although black ballistic nylon is available too with black or chocolate leather accents. It’s got a main compartment fastened by sturdy zip, hiding a main storage area with two beautifully padded slots that are perfect for laptops and tablets.
The front pouch has a smart 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. It hides multiple pouches and pockets for quick access, while there’s also a really useful mini zipped pouch at the top of the main bag.
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 a 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 Mezzo backpack from Waterfield Designs is one of our favourite ever bags, one that we think we’ll be using for literally years to come.
Lowepro Freeline BP 350 AW
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.
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. 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.
STM Myth Backpack 18L
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.
Herschel Pop Quiz
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.
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
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.
Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.