Best Smart Backpacks iMore 2020
We sifted through a list of nearly 40 smart backpacks and chatted with a few outdoor enthusiasts, college students, frequent flyers, and business commuters to learn what they need and want in a travel pack. In addition to the obvious - portable charging, lots of room, and water-resistant material - several also mentioned TSA compliance, anti-theft locks, comfort, and affordability. Based on feedback, user reviews, and our own experience, we recommend the Yorepek Extra Large Travel Backpack as the best, high quality, roomy, comfortable and high-tech smart backpack available. It's TSA compliant and won't cost you an arm and a leg.
- Best Overall: Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack
- Runner-Up: Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
- Best Value: Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack
- Best for Business: MATEIN Business Travel Backpack
- Best for Students: Sosoon Large Compartment College Bag
- Best Highend: Korin ClickPack Pro
Best Overall: Yoreteck Extra Large Travel Backpack
The Yorepek Extra Large Travel Backpack has an impressive amount of storage space. It easily holds 17-inch laptops plus several articles of clothing and travel accessories. The deep side pockets give you more space for smaller items or a water bottle, plus it has designated spots for keys, cellphones, and headphones. And the adjustable side straps ensure this smart backpack isn't too bulky or tight depending on what you are carrying.
The TSA-friendly design lets you unzip and open this smart backpack 180 degrees, so it lays flat while it goes through security, making it easier to see and scan. It has an external USB charging port; however, you will need to purchase a separate battery pack to use it for charging your devices. This backpack also doesn't have any locks to secure your valuables.
- Large capacity
- Charging port
- Adjustable side straps
- Doesn't include a battery
- No locks
This backpack lays flat, so you can quickly get through checkpoints. It has dedicated pockets for gadgets and a USB charging port.
Runner-Up: Mancro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack
The Macro Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack has a large three-pocket compartment with 11 smaller pockets to keep valuables in, including two side pockets that fasten securely shut. A single, heavy-duty zipper keeps the main compartment shut, and you can further secure this pack with the included combination zipper lock. The bag itself is made from a water-resistant and eco-friendly nylon material that comes in eight different colors.
This smart backpack has an external USB charging port for charging up your phone or other devices and an internal charging cord to repower the charger itself. However, you will need to purchase a charging battery separately for this feature to work. The bag is big enough to hold laptops and tablets that are 15.5-inches or smaller, which is suitable for most laptops. But that means larger laptops won't fit very well.
- External USB charging port
- Lots of storage space
- Combination zipper lock
- Water-resistant and eco-friendly material
- Not designed for larger electronic devices
- Doesn't self-charge
- No water bottle pockets
This backpack is made of water-resistant fabric, has an external charging port, 11 small pockets, plus a combination zipper lock.
Best Value: Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack
This retro-looking backpack is a bit more budget-friendly compared to other smart packs. It has a decent amount of room inside to carry a tablet, laptop, textbooks, or a change of clothing. It has six compartments, including a side packet deep and wide enough to hold a water bottle.
The external charging port is located on the side of this smart backpack, right above one of the side pockets so you can slip your electronic device in the pocket for a hands-free charge. The charging cable inside is used to power your device from an outlet through the USB port, or you can connect it to a battery pack and have the power to charge your devices while walking. You will need to purchase a battery pack separately, though, since this backpack doesn't include one.
- Six compartments
- Cool vintage look
- USB charging port
- Battery pack not included
- No anti-theft locks
This smart backpack is affordable but still has a lot of room to fit most laptops, textbooks, and a couple of changes of clothes.
Best for Business: MATEIN Business Travel Backpack
The MATEIN Business Travel Backpack has a sleek and fashionable design that looks smart on top of being very functional. It holds electronic devices, including laptops that are over 15.5-inches, and has several deep pockets with room for clothing, shoes, books, and other large items. Several more pockets are just the right size for smaller items like keys, cellphones, and calculators. There is a hidden pocket in the back of the pack the can't be seen while you're wearing it, which is perfect for storing valuable items.
Though the pockets are deep, it does restrict the size of the laptops and devices you carry. 17-inch or larger electronics don't fit in the MATEIN Business Travel Backpack. This smart backpack does have an external charging port, but you will need to purchase a charging battery if you want to use it away from an electrical outlet.
- Sleek design
- Charging port
- Suitcase strap
- Vented padding
- Limited device size
- Battery sold separately
Best for Business
This sleek bag has lots of storage and compartments, a charging port, a strap to attach to luggage, and a hidden pocket.
Best for Students: Sosoon Large Compartment College Bag
The TSA-friendly Sosoon Large Compartment backpack holds lots of stuff, including 17-inch laptops, tablets, and a ton of textbooks. There is a small compartment with pockets just the right size to hold pens, calculators, and cellphones, plus a key fob hook. The shoulder straps and handle are reinforced to give extra strength and last a long time. But if you do experience any issues, this backpack comes with a lifetime warranty.
Against your back is a hidden anti-theft pouch that is perfect for carrying valuables without being seen. And there is a USB charging port so you can power up your cellphone while walking. You will need to buy a battery pack since this backpack doesn't come with one.
- Lots of room
- Hidden pocket
- Reinforced shoulder straps
- Lifetime warranty
- Battery pack not included
- Larger than a standard student backpack
Best for Students
This smart backpack is huge, with smaller pockets perfect for toting pens, calculators, and your cellphone around.
Best Highend: Korin ClickPack Pro
The Korin ClickPack Pro is a high-quality smart backpack that uses a weight reduction system to evenly distribute the weight across your whole back and shoulders to reduce strain and pain. It has five storage compartments with a couple big enough to fit a 15.6-inch laptop. The fabric is made from a slash-resistant material, and there is a removable bag inside that is made from RFID protected material. On top of all that, it also has a lock that is TSA compliant.
There is a USB charging port located on the inside of this backpack. However, you will need to purchase a battery pack if you want to charge your phone while walking. The outer part of this backpack is a hard-shell material. It's harder to squish under some airplane seats and a bit more challenging to pack things in or quickly pull items out.
- Anti-theft lock
- Charging port
- RFID protection
- Slash-resistant fabric
- A bit pricey
- Difficult to fill
- Hard shell design
There are five storage compartments in this smart RFID-enabled backpack. It's big enough to fit laptops just over 15.5-inches.
Pack it up
We chose the Yorepek Extra Large Travel smart backpack because of the amount of stuff it holds, the USB charging port, and how easy it is to get through TSA checkpoints. It is also durable and looks fantastic. But, we can't dismiss the other products on this list, which offer such functionality as anti-theft features, combination zipper locks, and hidden pockets.
Smart backpacks are convenient, especially for traveling, because they give you a way to charge your devices and hold a lot of items, so you don't have to pack as much into a checked bag. Most of them have lots of smaller compartments too, which is handy for being able to locate items quickly.
While all the backpacks we looked at come with a USB charging port, and a charging cable to either connect to a portable charger or plug into an outlet, none of them come with the charger or battery pack. For this feature to work, you will need to purchase a portable charger or battery pack separately. Most hold enough power for several charges.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Nicole Johnston is a staff writer for iMore. She has a keen eye for pinpointing good solutions that comes from over 12 years of research and writing experience in both the public and private sector, including six years testing and reviewing consumer products
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