Best Smart Backpacks

We love a good backpack - something you can slip all your stuff into without having to worry about getting anything dented up or scratched with enough space for a day's worth of useful equipment. A smart backpack brings this and more - it could have a USB port on the outside so you can charge your phone on the go, a lock to keep your stuff safe, or a super clever way to keep it closed.

We've gone over nearly 40 smart backpacks and had a chat with some outdoorsy types, college students, frequent flyers, and business commuters to see what kind of features they'd be looking at in a smart backpack. There were lots of common threads, like portable charging, loads of room, and water-resistant materials, but some noted stuff like TSA compliance, anti-theft locks, and affordability. With all these things in mind, we'd recommend the Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack as the best overall smart back. With its roomy interior, comfortable straps, and high-tech features, it's a TSA-compliant backpack that won't cost the earth.

Are you a student looking for a new school backpack? Check out some of the best back-to-school backpacks for something that will last you the whole school year.

Best Overall: Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack

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Yorepek Landscape

Yorepek Landscape (Image credit: Amazon)

Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack

Flat pack

Reasons to buy

+
Large capacity
+
TSA-friendly
+
Charging port
+
Water-resistant
+
Adjustable side straps

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't include a battery
-
No locks

The Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack has an impressive amount of storage space inside - it'll easily take a full 17-inch laptop as well as a weekend's worth of clothing for a sudden trip. The side pockets have plenty of room for water bottles and the like, and there are dedicated spots for smaller items like keys, phones, and headphones.

Its biggest feature in our eyes is that it's especially TSA-compliant. It unzips a full 180 degrees around the edge, so when it goes through a scanner it is easier to see the contents and scan. For frequent flyers, its a game changer.

There's a full-sized USB port on the side for easy cellphone charging access, but you'll have to bring your own portable battery bank for it to be of any use. The straps are wide and comfortable, and you can adjust them all so that it fits perfectly all day long.

Runner-Up: Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

Mancro Smart Backpack

Mancro Smart Backpack (Image credit: Amazon)

Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

Safe pack

Reasons to buy

+
External USB charging port
+
Lots of storage space
+
Combination zipper lock
+
Water-resistant and eco-friendly material

Reasons to avoid

-
Not designed for larger electronic devices
-
Doesn't self-charge
-
No water bottle pockets

This Mancro Anti-Theft backpack has a massive three-pocket compartment with room enough for a laptop or tablet that is up to 15.5 inches in size. The very biggest of laptops won't fit, unfortunately, but at least it keeps the backpack good and compact. There's a heavy zipper across the top that you can lock with the built-in combination lock, keeping your valuables safe and sound within its water-resistant material.

There's an external USB charging socket, although you'll have to supply your own battery to keep your phone topped up on the go. There are a full 11 other pockets on the pack, however, so there are all kinds of nooks and crannies to store your stuff. Don't want anyone getting at your lunch? This is the bag to get.

Best for Students: Sosoon Large Compartment College Bag

Sosoon Landscape

Sosoon Landscape (Image credit: Amazon)

Sosoon Large Compartment College Bag

Classroom pack

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of room
+
Hidden pocket
+
Reinforced shoulder straps
+
Lifetime warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery pack not included
-
Larger than a standard student backpack

The Sosoon Large Compartment backpack can hold boatloads of stuff, including 17-inch laptops, tablets, and tonnes of textbooks, notebooks, and schoolwork. There's even a dedicated pocket into which you can slip pens, calculators, and phones, along with a handy key hook. 

The straps are fully adjustable and reinforced to give you extra strength and make the bag more comfortable and last a good long time. if it doesn't last you that long? There's a nice lifetime warranty to keep you confident in your backpack.

On the underside of the backpack, the part that sits against your back, there's an anti-theft compartment to keep valuables in so that your stuff doesn't get stolen. There's a USB port on the side of the bag too, although you'll have to bring your own battery because this one doesn't come with one.

Best Highend: Korin HiPack

Korin Landscape

Korin Landscape (Image credit: Amazon)

Korin HiPack

Posh pack

Reasons to buy

+
Anti-theft lock
+
Charging port
+
RFID protection
+
Slash-resistant fabric

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit pricey
-
Difficult to fill
-
Hard shell design

This backpack is a hardshell design that comes at a slightly higher price. For the money, though you'll get some cool features - there's a weight reduction system on board that will distribute weight evenly across your back keeping you comfortable while you're wearing the bag. It has loads of storage, and can hold up to a 15-inch laptop - and it's even TSA-compliant to boot.

As with the other packs on the list, this one has a USB charger on the outside of the bag - although as with the other as well, you'll have to bring your own battery if you want it to be of any use. That hard outer may also make it hard to slip under an airline seat too, so it's worth bearing that in mind if you want to take it tens of thousands of feet in the air.

Shouldering the weight

Our favorite on the list is the Yoreteck Extra Large Travel smart backpack - we love its massive cargo area, the USB port, and the TS compliance that makes it so easy to breeze through airport checkpoints. That doesn't mean you should ignore the other options - they are still solid options on their own with anti-theft compartments, locking zips, and hidden pockets.

A smart backpack is more useful than a regular backpack for a number of reasons and makes traveling easier with ways to charge your devices on the go. They hold loads of items and organize them in a clear way, and most have smaller compartments to keep things hidden from prying eyes.

As we've said so many times on this list, you should grab one of the best portable batteries for iPhone to use the USB ports on the side and make these bags truly smart.

Tammy Rogers
Buying Guides and Deals Writer

As the Buying Guides and Deals writer for iMore, Tammy puts over a decade of experience in finding the best prices of Apple products to work, helping you save money on the equipment that you want. An audiophile at heart, she loves all things audio and visual, but you’ll also find her drooling over the latest Macs and MacBooks. With a Masters in screenwriting, Tammy likes to spend her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays or driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.