Rucksacks, Satchels, Messenger & More

Whether you’re heading back to the office or preparing to head back to school, you’ll want a reliable laptop bag to not only carry your precious PC but other valuables. 

Cases for laptops come in all shapes, sizes and styles. It’s wise to pick something that doesn’t advertise the fact you’re carrying expensive gear around with you and we’ve picked a variety of designs at various budgets so there’s sure to be something that suits.

Choosing a bag isn’t just about budget though. It needs to offer space for everything else you need to carry around with you. And that will depend upon where you’re going.

Most of the options here are general purpose, which means they can be used to transport your stuff to and from work. But they can also come in handy when travelling, either on holiday or for business.

Need a laptop to put in your new bag? Take a look at the best laptops to buy as well as the best budget laptops.

Best laptop bags of 2021

Ogio Alpha Convoy 525r Backpack – Strong yet Lightweight

Ogio Alpha Convoy 525r Backpack

The Ogio Alpha Convoy 525r Backpack has a modern roll-top design (for adjustable storage), and a zipped back slip pocket to store a 15in or smaller laptop and tablet. It looks great, feels tough and strong yet lightweight, and is suitably padded for comfort and device protection.

It is made from recycled and discarded materials, which earns it extra points.

With the back-pocket, it’s easy to remove your devices at airport security, and quick to slip them back in the backpack when you’re through. We managed to pack for a two-night business trip with changes of clothes, wash bag, books and other necessities. That was a push, however, so we’d recommend this more for the daily commute or an overnight stay.

The main adjustable rolltop compartment has an impressive 28-litre capacity, which is enough for most daily packs, and will even accommodate a shopping trip. It’s narrower than a standard rucksack, so may baulk at bulky items, but overall we fell in love with this bag on looks and utility.

It features adjustable shoulder straps with sternum strap, plus side and bottom compression straps. There’s a zippered pocket on the front, and a handy key clip, plus an open stash pocket that feels safe enough to store items you need quick access to.

On the sides are two handy water bottle pockets. The bag also has a reflective trim for night-time safety. It’s available in either Black or Camo.

It’s possible to add and attach an optional compatible Mod Hard Case or Soft Pouch, for storing more valuables.

STM Banks – Lots of Space

STM Banks

STM Banks is the latest laptop bag from Australia-based STM, offering a decent 18L capacity without compromising on the slimline design. It comes in green, blue, brown or grey, while each features a pop of colour on the zips that help make it stand out from the crowd. There’s also breathable mesh fabric on the back, helping to avoid the awkward back sweat when carrying a rucksack. 

It’s designed to be an everyday bag as well as a laptop bag, with plenty of space for your laptop (up to 15in), charger, phone, lunch and even a jacket – believe me, I’ve tried. There are plenty of pockets of all shapes and sizes that’ll hold everything from sunglasses to phones to battery packs and more.

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That’s not to say that it has some impressive laptop-specific features including the company’s own Slingtech protection that suspends the laptop sleeve from the ground to protect it from drops, while also providing extra cushioning at the corners.

It also features the all-new CableReady routing system that allows you to store run cables through different sections of the bag, perfect for keeping your smartphone or laptop topped up while on the go. 

Our only criticism? While there is plenty of storage, we found that the openings were a little tight for our liking, making peering into the contents of the bag a slightly awkward process. It’s a similar story with the front pockets, meaning you’ll be relying more on your sense of touch than sight when fishing for your iPhone cable or headphones. 

Stubble & Co – Oh So Stylish

Stubble & Co The Backpack

We’ve no doubt that Stubble & Co is making some of the most stylish and well-made bags around. And we’ve included two here because they’re both so nice.

First up is ‘The Backpack’, which isn’t an overly complicated rucksack with more pockets than you can remember. Instead, it’s simple and effective with just a pocket on the front and a small one inside. You also get side pockets for items like a water bottle.

This updated model has a 21L main compartment and you can fit up to a 16in laptop in the protected section at the back. Furthermore, the material is now water-resistant premium Tekwax canvas (also found on the new The Weekender – a holdall with a laptop compartment). If you need a fully waterproof bag then look to The Roll Top.

Not only does The Backpack look great – available in All Black, Pirate and Olive  – the craftsmanship is exceptional. Magnets on the lid have been replaced with a more secure G clip.

The Commuter (pictured on the left, £115/US$163/AUD$206) is available in five colours. It’s a more traditional shape and has a slightly larger 22L capacity along with more sections – namely a dedicated laptop compartment with its own zip – and pockets if that’s more the kind of thing you need. 

These might not be the most ‘techy’ laptop bag around with USB ports and the like but it’s certainly the one to opt for when it comes to style and quality. We love the little details including a mountain range in the stitching and reliable YKK zips.

Omen Transceptor 17 Duffel Bag – Best for 17-inch Laptops

HP Omen Transceptor 17 Duffel Bag

The OMEN Transceptor 17 Duffel bag is a laptop bag/duffel hybrid, offering removable duffel straps and rucksack straps depending on how you want to use the bag.

The 32L capacity is certainly large enough to carry your gaming accessories and even a change of clothes, and you can store a 17.3in laptop (the only in our chart to accommodate large laptops) in a padded compartment. 

In fact, the Transceptor 17 Duffel takes compartments to a new level; there are dedicated compartments for your headphones, mouse, wallet and even your trainers. There’s also a USB port on the inside which you can hook up to a battery pack and charge your smartphone via the outside pocket, and for the security-conscious, there’s an RFID-blocking compartment for your wallet. 

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If you’re looking for something to use on your daily commute and on trips, the Transceptor 17 Duffel is a great option.

Moshi Muto – Compact, secure & stylish

Moshi Muto Convertible Backpack

The Moshi Muto is a wonderfully stylish and functional bag for 11in to 13in laptops. As a three-way convertible bag, you can use it as a backpack, a crossbody sling, or briefcase.

It’s well made and designed with both anti-theft and RFID protection. It’s also comfortable to wear with padded straps.

Clipping in the staps to use the Muto as a backpack was pretty obvious, slightly less obvious was understanding how to re-orienting the straps to use the bag as a sling. Hint: you’ll need to connect one of the straps diagonally and tuck the other one away under the flap on the back.

If you’re using the bag as a briefcase, you’ll need to tuck both straps away under the back flap. A brief instruction note would have been useful – but that’s about the only criticism I have towards the Muto.

I really liked the clean minimalist design. It’s a great choice for the office or a wander around the city. You can keep all your essentials in one place with peace of mind. There’s also a pocket for your water bottle.

RiutBag+ Easy-Clean 15in Laptop Backpack

I’ll be honest: the Riutbag+ is chunky. When it arrived, it looked closer in size to a hiking bag than a city bag, but then this is also what makes it versatile for travel. It’s secure too, with all the zips against your back.

Aside from ample room for your 15in laptop, there’s also plenty of space for stuffing in clothes, toiletries, and other belongings. You’ll definitely like this bag if you like pockets.

The Riutbag was built for the pandemic. The founder of Riut, Sarah Giblin, created this bag with doctors and healthcare workers in mind. The PVC exterior is smooth enough to clean with a disinfectant wipe making it suitable for going in and out of hospitals, and there are also dedicated straps to attach your hand sanitizer and face mask. This easy-to-clean feature makes it all the more suited for international travel too.

Given it’s made of PVC, it does look very plastic, which may put some off. However, if you care more about utility than design, you can’t really go wrong with the Riutbag+.

It’s available for £129 (around US$£182.33) directly from Riut. Shipping is free with code SHIPFREE (applies to orders above £100).

Targus CityGear – Best for Commuters

Targus CityGear

Available in 14in or 17.3in, Targus’ CityGear II backpack is cleverly designed to accommodate and protect all the gadgets a modern traveler needs to carry.

We tried out the smallest version, which is ideal for a 14in laptop or smaller. This has its own dedicated rear zipped section. In front is a larger section which has a soft lined pocket for a tablet, plus space for other stuff – you’ll just about fit in a pair of shoes. 

Organiser pockets are everywhere in the front section, so you’ll find a suitable one for whatever you need to store including headphones, keys, cables and more.

On the front is a handy sunglasses pocket (which is also a good size for a smartphone) and there’s a mesh pocket for a water bottle on the side.

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There’s plenty of back padding, but the straps are fairly thinly padded. Overall construction quality, including the zips, is excellent, and it’s good value at this price.

Hex Alliance – Slim and Well-constructed

Hex Alliance Backpack

A lot of laptop backpacks tend to be bulky affairs – the necessary result of adding extra compartments, pockets, padding, zips, and more. If you’re looking something a little slimmer, you might want to consider the Hex Alliance range.

There’s only one main compartment, though it contains a couple of smaller external pouches for pens and accessories, along with a space for laptops – up to 15in screens. This laptop pouch is both padded and fleece-lined, so your laptop can recline in luxury. The same treatment is given to the front pouch, which is big enough to fit a small tablet or eReader.

The whole thing is water-resistant, and construction quality is among the best we’ve seen. Our only hesitation is the slightly rigid strap padding, which means this is a bit less comfortable than some of the bags here – not a problem for the commute, but bear it in mind if you expect to be carrying a lot of heavy gear around all day.

We’ve tested out the ‘Grid’ version (pictured), but Hex offers it in a few different colours and finishes

Mission Workshop Khyte – Best Design

Mission Workshop Khyte

If it’s a premium all-weather messenger bag that fits a 15in laptop you’re after then look no further. The Khyte messenger by Mission Workshop is a masterpiece of modern design that comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Built with cyclists in mind but suitable for anyone, we fell in love with the austere, practicality of the Khyte. Your laptop goes in a weatherproof zipped pocket against your body while the flap opens to reveal a compressible 24L main compartment. The bag’s clever magnetic buckles are fast-release and once you use them, you’ll never go back.

It’s the quality of build and attention to detail that win out here, from the design that suspends your laptop off the bottom of the bag to avoid drop damage to the soft lined outer zip pocket for your phone, the Khyte is an expensive laptop bag that does that rare thing of completely justifying its high price.

There’s even an optional gear pouch cleverly slides on and off of the well-stitched rails on the bag for those days you need to lug round even more tech.

They’re expensive as they’re made in small batches in San Francisco so you’re likely not to see too many of these about. Welcome to the club. The Mission Workshop ships worldwide.

Speck Ruck Backpack

Speck is best known for its range of phone and tablet cases, but The Ruck is for your laptop.

Available in grey or khaki it has a capacity of 28 litres and should hold most 15-inch laptops in its dedicated padded section, found within the main compartment.

A second, zipped compartment contains separate padding for a tablet, along with an assortment of other smaller pockets and pouches for organising your gear. This pouch is designed to only open halfway down, which might sound annoying but is actually very convenient, as it stops…

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