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The 5 Best Ergonomic Laptop Bags for Commuters and Students

Three different styles of backpacks
Herschel/Matein/Peak Design

For anyone who’s headed back to the office or campus, having a solid backpack to carry your laptop and other gear is crucial. Here’s what you should take into consideration when shopping for a commuter bag for all your daily must-haves.

Whether you’re going back to full-time commuting, taking a hybrid office/work-from-home option, or headed back to school, there’s a good chance you’ll need to carry your laptop and other work and school gear back and forth every day. That can be a tall order, especially if you don’t have the right backpack to keep things organized and ensure your comfort. A few simple tips, though, can make backpack buying a breeze!

First of all, note that we’re using the term “backpack” and not messenger bag. Messenger bags and other one-shoulder options may look trendy or feel comfortable for a few minutes or a short journey, but they’re not really designed for sustained comfort. The one-strap pressure of a messenger bag results in uneven strain, unnecessary twisting, and possibly long-term pain.

Honed in on backpacks as the comfort-focused solution, here are few things that you might look for based on your needs:

  • Durable and/or waterproofed materials.
  • Strap design: curved straps (J or S shapes) are usually more comfortable than traditional straight loops.
  • Extra straps, like sternum straps, increase comfort when your pack is loaded up.
  • Multiple pockets of different sizes for better organization.

While we’ve considered all those things in the selection of our top picks for super comfortable laptop bags, you should keep them in mind, too, and adjust based on your needs. If you pack light but you pack a lot of little things, you might value a laptop backpack with more pockets (but not care about a sternum strap for support).

Best Overall: Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack

Two people wearing a dark gray/black backpack
Timbuk2

Everything you need (and then some!) is in 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: folders and other work items, an extra shirt or jacket, side pockets, and even a small organizer inside designed 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.

Most Affordable: Matein Laptop Backpack

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

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″ 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.

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
KROSER

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 from waterproof materials and 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″ 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.

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
Herschel

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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