Being able to stash your laptop in one of the best laptop backpacks and sling it over your shoulder is surely the whole point of having a laptop in the first place, right? Seamlessly transitioning from doing important work in the to important social media in the nearest coffee shop is the dream. And regardless of whether you’re packing one of the best gaming laptops, a svelte and professional Ultrabook, or a cheap and cheerful Chromebook that does all you need at a quarter of the price, a decent bag is an essential buy.
Things to look out for include size (can you squeeze in a 15-inch laptop or a 17-inch monster inside, or are you limited to a 13-inch model), pockets for additional items, and good old-fashioned functionality. Can you keep your phone in it? Is there a flap to pass your headphone cord through, or do you need to invest in some of the best Bluetooth headphones? It's worth considering these things before investing in one of the best laptop backpacks.
Elsewhere: what’s it made of? Being caught in the rain can be a fun experience during a warm summer shower, but it can have a calamitous effect on any electronics you’re carrying. Waterproof materials or fold-out rain covers will go a long way toward mitigating this. On a similar note, does it have good padding to keep your laptop safe? And is it hard-wearing? Your bag's probably going to endure some punishment, so tearing or wearing down easily isn't ideal (particularly when one of the best laptop backpacks can cost upwards of $100 / £100).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how's its storage space and security? While it's always handy to have separate pockets for accessories like the best wireless gaming mouse, it's also much appreciated if there's a way of keeping your device locked away from prying eyes and idle hands. These are all aspects we kept in mind when hunting down recommendations.
There are plenty of recognisable brands in our list of the best laptop backpacks, including all the usual computer manufacturers you’d expect. Some are hard, others soft, but what they all have in common is that they are designed specifically for carrying your portable computer safely and comfortably.
Got any suggestions? Make sure you let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to the best headphones for when you're playing on the move, and visit the back to school sales for more offers.
Best laptop backpacks
Razer is as close as you can get to a household name when it comes to gaming tech, and they have a range of bags to go with that hard-earned reputation. One of their most recent efforts is the Rogue, a backpack that comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs (there are models for carrying 13", 15", and 17" laptops). It has everything you could want from a laptop bag; scratch-resistant padding, water resistance to keep your gear safe from the elements, a relatively affordable price, and plenty of space for all your kit. Basically, it strikes a good middle-ground between features and cost. Because of a "minimalist design… for an urban warrior", it's meant to have a tear-resistant exterior as well. Win win, right?
The Dell Pursuit isn't as showy or expensive as its competition, but (considering how pricey laptop bags can be) that's a very welcome feather in its cap. This rucksack still has plenty of utility despite a lower price-tag, too. As well as being water-resistant, it's lined with a tough EVA exterior shell and features foam padding inside to keep your tech out of harm's way. In addition, there are plenty of pouches inside to separate out your gear, bottle pouches on the outer sides, a V-shaped air channel on the mesh back to keep you cool, reflective accents for nighttime travel, and an added rain cover in case you're stuck in a downpour. In other words, it's the sensible choice. What's more, its subtle design adds to the safety element - it doesn't scream "there's an expensive laptop in here". It's an affordable, sturdy all-rounder.
The main thing you need a gaming laptop bag to do is protect your tech. And while all of the entries on this list feature padding or EVA shells in one form or another, none can match the hardy Lenovo Y Armored Backpack for sheer, stubborn survivability. It's built to last; this bag boasts a weatherproof exoskeleton, and the gray matte finish makes for a hard-wearing exterior. What's more, the rear inside pocket features padding that's basically soft red bubble-wrap. A "compression-molded back panel providing airflow ventilation" only makes this package more appealing, as do three distinct sections filled with pouches.
If you'd prefer to avoid the bulk of a full gaming backpack, ASUS ROG's Ranger Messenger Bag might be up your street. Lightweight and relatively inconspicuous, this satchel won't weigh you down or attract as much attention as some of the alternatives in this guide. It's also packing the usual hardened front to help minimise damage from any knocks, and much of its material is constructed from 1260D Gucci polyester that's water and scratch resistant. When you throw in detachable side pockets, the Ranger Messenger Bag is ideal for those who just want to get up and go.
If you're in it for the long haul and/or prefer being prepared for every possible eventuality (up to and including zombie apocalypse), the Targus SteelSeries Sniper bag will be your jam. A hefty 26L monster with pockets for days, it's got enough room to store everything you need other than the proverbial kitchen sink. Seriously, you can fit all sorts in here; whether it's keyboards, controllers, hard drives, and mice to go with your laptop, this backpack has you covered. And while the usual ventilated back padding and strap padding are greatly appreciated in making travel more comfortable, the real bonus would be a hidden "ultra valuables" pocket squirreled away inside and out of sight.
Although it's more expensive than other bags on our list, this sturdy offering from ASUS ROG makes up for it with cool features we haven't seen anywhere else; namely, it splits in two like a damn Transformer (with one section for iPads and tablets) so you can shed any excess weight. It's a clever, practical solution that gives this bag much more utility. Happily, the heavy outer shell is also pretty hard-wearing - it's not going to let you down upon impact. Yes, it looks a bit like you're wearing a suitcase, but that's the price of keeping your precious cargo secure.
Complete your setup
Looking to upgrade your gaming setup? You're in the right place. Regardless of whether you're looking to get a new rig or a monitor for home, we've got you covered in our guides listed below.