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The 5 Best Ergonomic Laptop Backpacks for Commuters and Students

Three different styles of backpacks
Herschel/Matein/Peak Design

Most of us take our laptops with us daily, whether we’re headed to the office, class, or to the coffee shop to work on that screenplay. It’s important to protect your investment in a sturdy, yet easy-to-carry, laptop backpack. Here’s what to look for in a good laptop pack, along with five of our favorites.

What to Look for in a Laptop Backpack

Finding the perfect laptop backpack can be a tall order, especially if you carry other gear around with you daily, as well. However, a few simple tips can make this process a breeze!

We’re featuring backpacks because, unlike messenger bags and other options, they’re designed for sustained comfort. Like everything, though, not all laptop backpacks are made equal. Here are a few things you’ll want to look for to find the perfect backpack for you:

  • Durable and/or waterproof materials: It needs to be able to withstand the elements and properly protect your laptop, especially if you live in a seasonal climate.
  • Comfortable strap design: Curved (J- or S-shaped) straps are usually more comfortable than traditional straight loops.
  • Includes extra straps: Additional options, like sternum straps, can vastly improve your comfort when your pack is fully loaded.
  • Multiple pockets: The more different-sized pockets it has, the easier it’ll be to keep your smaller items secure and organized.

We’ve considered all of the above when selecting our five favorites below, however, you might want to adjust some of those based on your needs and preferences. For example, if you pack light but carry a lot of smaller items, you might prefer a value backpack with more pockets and not need a sternum strap at all.

Best Overall: Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack

Two people wearing a dark gray/black backpack

Everything you need (and then some) is the Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack. First, the laptop compartment itself: a well-padded interior pocket fits most 15-inch to 17-inch laptops, and it has a back access design for improved security.

Plus, there’s a large main compartment that can store a surprising amount of other items, including folders, or an extra shirt or jacket. It has side pockets and there’s even a small organizer inside to keep your writing utensils and other small items from rolling around or getting lost in the bottom!

Ergonomically, it’s a backpack designed for comfort and durability, even when lugging several items around. Bottom compression straps and a removable sternum strap offer more customizability and support as needed, while a wide, ergonomically-curved strap design distributes the weight evenly.

The back is even made from ventilated air mesh, providing padded comfort while encouraging airflow and ensuring you make it from the subway to work without a sweaty back.

Best Strap Design: Peak Design Everyday Backpack

A woman with a gray backpack; close up of a navy blue backpack
Peak Design

Comfort is the name of the game with the Peak Design Everyday Backpack! Multiple straps and a unique design make it particularly comfortable to carry, allowing for even weight distribution, plenty of support, and straps with comfy but not bulky padding.

The J-curved, padded straps help to settle the backpack and its weight correctly on your back and shoulders, while a removable sternum strap adds extra options to customize your fit.

The backpack is no slouch in the storage department either! Most 15-inch laptops can fit comfortably into the protected laptop sleeve. For the rest of your must-carry stuff, the backpack comes with internal dividers to help you stay organized, as well as a couple of optional straps to carry items on the exterior when needed.

Best Strap Design

Most Affordable: Matein Laptop Backpack

A taupe backpack on top of a suitcase; a woman in a purple hoodie carrying a gray backpack

If you’re looking for a multipurpose backpack that can carry plenty of gear while keeping you comfortable, the Matein Laptop Backpack is a great option that your wallet will love just as much as you do.

The straps are wide, well-padded, and customizable, the back is padded and ventilated for comfort and cooling, and even the top handle is padded for comfort.

Inside, there’s a laptop compartment for up to a 15-inch laptop, plus spacious other compartments for clothes, accessories, and more. Plus, there’s even a built-in USB port and charger section, both inside and outside the bag.

Most Affordable

Best for Larger Laptops: KROSER Laptop Backpack

A man wearing a navy blue backpack; a woman sitting on a couch with a blue backpack next to her

With three different neutral shades to choose from, the KROSER Laptop Backpack is a great middle-ground between bulky industrial-looking backpacks and frilly, aesthetic-first ones. It’s a polished and simple bag, made of waterproof materials.

It’s also ergonomically designed with a padded back, two mid-set padded back straps, and a sturdy luggage/carrying strap on top.

The inside includes multiple-sized pockets, and it’s a super-sized backpack for sure: it fits up to a 17-inch laptop, plus several pockets for folders, a tablet, supplies, and other items you might need when commuting, especially if you’re a hybrid worker taking work back and forth frequently.

Best for Larger Laptops

Most Stylish: Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack

Close up of a black backpack with leather straps; a man standing on a box and wearing the backpack

Just because a backpack is for work doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish, too! The Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack is a sturdy, spacious, and comfortable backpack that also has a beautiful, timeless design.

A padded, fleece-lined sleeve can fit and protect laptops up to 15-inch models, while an internal small pocket is perfect for keeping your phone safe and secure. Several pockets and compartments allow for individual organization and avoid the problem of small items falling to the bottom of one large bag.

The design of the backpack is comfortable and classic. Padded straps offer comfort and even weight distribution, while mesh panels in the back give your back breathing room. The sleek silhouette and slim, contrasting straps with buckles—in several different color options, no less—give you plenty of options for picking the backpack that not only feels good but looks good.

A sturdy, reliable backpack is just one of several ways to make the commute less frustrating! Whether you’re just commuting a few days per week or headed back in full-time, a good backpack will keep your gear (and your back!) safe.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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