Best Laptop Bags for Back to School iMore 2020

Summer is never quite long enough; before you know it, it's time to get ready to head back to school. Whether you're a kid, a teen, a college student, or a graduate student, there is something about a new backpack that brings on the back-to-school excitement. If you're carrying a laptop to school, you'll need a bag with a padded compartment to keep it safe as well as room for your other essentials. Any of the backpacks on this list will fit that requirement. Find something for everyone on this list.

Popular brand: JanSport Big Student Laptop Backpack

Staff Favorite

The laptop compartment of this popular brand holds up to a 15-inch laptop. I've purchased several JanSport backpacks over the years; it's a great basic bag for school kids, teens, and adults. I love that they offer so many fun colors and patterns at reasonable prices.

Ergonomic choice: Bellroy Classic Backpack

This slim 17-liter canvas backpack can hold any laptop up to 15 inches in its padded laptop compartment. It's my daily driver for when I need to bring 13-inch Macbook and not too much else. The padded straps make it very comfortable to wear. The main compartment holds plenty of personal items, plus it has a couple of small zippered compartments for smaller things. There are six color choices.

Converts to tote: Solo Parker Hybrid Tote

This fashionable bag is a hybrid between a backpack and a tote bag. It has a fully padded compartment that holds up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, plus lots of interior compartments and feet on the bottom for extra protection. This is my daughter's bag for graduate school since she will want something more professional-looking when she does her clinical work.

$70 at Solo

Bigger bag for women: Osprey Packs Nova Women's Laptop Backpack

Don't ask me why Osprey needs to make division by gender, but the women's version of this large bag is slightly smaller than the men's. As a medium-sized woman, this 32-liter backpack is perfect for my frame and is about as big as I could wear comfortably. The many compartments carry up to a 17-inch laptop and tons more.

From $90 at Amazon

Bigger bag for men: Osprey Packs Nebula Men's Laptop Backpack

The men's version of the Nova, called the Nebula, is slightly larger than the women's version at 34 liters. With so many large pockets, including a laptop compartment that fits a 17-inch laptop, you'll be able to carry all of your necessities and then some.

From $90 at Amazon

Full-featured bargain: MATEIN Laptop Backpack

Carry any laptop up to 15 inches in this fully featured bargain bag. It has lots of pockets and an external USB port you can connect to your power bank (not included.) Choose from seven different colors and patterns.

Wheeled design: High Sierra Wheeled Laptop Backpack

High Sierra is another backpack brand I've bought for my own children on several occasions, and we've always been happy with them. This version has wheels, so you don't always have to carry your laptop and other essentials on your back.

Slim, functional bargain: Mancro Laptop Backpack

With tons of features, this slim and highly functional backpack is sure to please. It comes with a combination lock, charging cable, and many compartments, including a padded laptop compartment that holds any laptop up to 17 inches. Choose from seven different colors and patterns.

Luxurious style: Waterfield Sutter Slim Laptop Backpack

For a professional, business, or graduate school student, this would be a fantastic laptop bag. It's crafted locally in San Fransisco from ballistic nylon or waxed canvas with full-grain leather accents. It's slim, and yet it will hold up to a 15-inch laptop in its padded compartment. This classy bag will take you from student to professional.

$229 at Waterfield

Quality and features: OGIO PACE 20 Backpack

This well-constructed bag is comfortably padded for your comfort. The laptop and tablet compartments are both well-padded and situated away from the very bottom of the bag for extra protection. There are lots of pockets inside and out, including two water bottle holders. A luggage slide on the back means you can slip the back onto a carry-on suitcase handle when traveling.

Trendy and colorful: Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack

Don't ask me to pronounce it, but I see this brand sold in all the cool stores. It holds up to a 15-inch laptop in its dedicated compartment, plus it has a main compartment and three other pockets. A huge part of its appeal is the tons of gorgeous colors you can choose from.

Purse combo: S-ZONE Leather Backpack Purse

This pretty bag is a cross between a backpack and a purse, and it comes in five colors. Smaller than a typical laptop bag, it can fit up to a 14-inch laptop and a few essentials.

$65 at Amazon

Vintage style: Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack

This modern, functional back has a fun retro look. Its padded laptop compartment holds up to a 15-inch laptop. It has an external USB charging port and built-in charging cable, so you can charge your smartphone on the go.

From $22 at Amazon

Which one should you choose?

If you just need a simple laptop backpack for any student heading back to school, the JanSport Big Student Laptop Backpack is an easy pick. It covers all the basics with a padded laptop compartment large enough for a 15-inch laptop. There are plenty of color and pattern options, so even the choosiest student will find one to love. The quality is good, and the price is right.

However, if you're looking for something a bit more sophisticated and upscale, you can't beat the Waterfield Sutter Slim Laptop Backpack. It will hold both your 15-inch Macbook Pro and your 12.9 iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio in two separate padded compartments, plus your other tech gear. This is an investment piece that will take you past your school years and into the professional world.

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