The best laptop backpacks offer up plenty of protection, extra features, and - best of all - loads of pockets. However, with so many materials, sizes, shapes, and ergonomic designs to contend with, it can be difficult to find the right laptop backpack for you. Rather than slinging your pricey machine into any old bag, though, picking up a reliable backpack for your gaming laptop is an essential buy if you're going to on the move regularly.
We'd recommend keeping an eye out for hardshell laptop backpacks, though softer materials with a solid internal protection system will also serve well as well. A solid, waterproof construction, reliable durability, and space to carry your gaming mouse and gaming headset are all well worth keeping an eye out for. We've rounded up all our favorite gadget holders right here, with plenty of recognisable brands and a range of styles.
Before you get started, it's worth double checking the size of your device. The best laptop backpacks cater to machines that are 14-inch, 15.6-inch, or 17.3-inch. That means there will usually be a separate pocket designed for machines of this size and making sure your laptop fits perfectly is going to be essential to keeping it safe.
The best laptop backpacks
Want a great all-rounder? This option from Matein isn't as showy or expensive as the competition, but considering how pricey laptop bags can be, that's a welcome feather in its cap. It's got storage for days, too - there's a ridiculous amount of pocket space on offer here.
For starters, three separate compartments allow you to keep all your gear organised. Laptops and tablets are stored in their own section at the back to protect them from whatever else you might be carrying, for example. What's more, these sections feature their own pouches for keeping accessories within easy reach. If you've ever hunted for pens or headphones that are rolling around somewhere at the bottom of your rucksack, that'll be good news.
This Matein backpack also has utility despite the lower price tag. Besides being water-resistant to keep your tech out of harm's way, it boasts a "hidden theft-proof pocket" and an external USB charging port on the side. In other words, it's a sensible choice no matter whether you're travelling to school or getting a boost of power while waiting at the airport.
The subtle design adds an element of safety as well; it doesn't scream "hey everyone, there's an expensive laptop in here." That makes this one of the best laptop backpacks if you're looking for an affordable, sturdy companion.
Those dreaded 'back to school' ads seem to get kicked out the door earlier each year, but an upside would be the sales that appear in their wake. And if you see this particular rucksack on offer, it's worth taking note.
The Herschel Heritage is arguably one of the best laptop backpacks for anyone heading to school, college, or university; besides being a slick-looking classic thanks to that synthetic leather diamond and trim, it's hard-wearing due to a canvas exterior. Even the zipper pulls go above and beyond thanks to a pebbled leather effect.
It doesn't disappoint when you open it up, either. That iconic striped lining is back with the Heritage, and there's plenty of room inside for everything you need. A pocket for 15-inch laptops will keep your precious tech safe, too.
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. Of course, you don't need the best Razer laptop to take advantage of their laptop backpacks. 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).
Besides being rather handsome, the Rogue has everything you could want from the best laptop backpack: 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 look "for an urban warrior", it's meant to have a tear-resistant exterior as well. Although we're not entirely sure what an 'urban warrior' is, it sounds cool. That makes this one perfect for everyday kicking about regardless of whether you're using it for uni, school, work, or travel.
If you'd prefer to avoid the bulk of a full gaming backpack, the ASUS ROG 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.
The Ranger is also packing the usual hardened front to help minimise damage from any knocks. That means you don't need to worry about it getting too battered if you have a habit of throwing your bags around. Similarly, much of its material is constructed from 1260D Gucci polyester that's water and scratch resistant.
When you add in detachable side pockets, the Ranger Messenger Bag is ideal for those who just want to get up and go.
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. This isn't just for Lenovo rigs either - if you've splashed out on an Alienware laptop, the hard-shell exterior and heavy durability will be put to particularly good use.
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'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.
Which backpacks are best for laptops?
The best laptop backpacks are reinforced, particularly around the bottom and corners, and will offer a separate pocket for your computer at the back. You don't want your rig to be bouncing around in the main pocket, especially if you're carrying chargers, adapters, mice, and keyboards around with you as well. To avoid scratches, aim for a separate pocket, separated from the main compartment with a soft but rigid wall.
You'll also want to make sure your laptop backpack has some hefty straps on it. If you're going to be carrying a larger 17.3-inch machine (even cheap Alienware laptops are considerably heavy), for example, you'll need those straps to be well cushioned and offer a sturdy base across the full width of your shoulders.
What should you keep in a laptop backpack?
There are a few things you can keep your laptop backpack stocked with to make sure your laptop is always ready to go. First up, chargers are essential, but adapters should be kept in a separate pocket to avoid any scratches or scuffs. After that, we'd recommend you keep some screen wipes or microfibre cloths to hand, as well as a mouse and a laptop lock.
Is your laptop safe in a backpack?
Even if you've splashed out on the best possible backpack for your laptop, it's still not going to be 100% safe. We'd recommend carrying a lock on your backpack itself, and picking up a laptop lock if you're going to be out and about with your machine.
When placing your laptop in your backpack, there are a number of things you can check to make sure no physical harm will come to it as well. Double check that there's nothing in between the keyboard and the display when you're closing the lid, and make sure your machine is fully shut down to ensure it doesn't heat up in your bag.
If you're after something even more portable, check out the best Nintendo Switch deals on offer right now. Or, for more gear to take on the road, take a look at the best gaming keyboards on the shelves. Of course, if you're still speccing out a setup, take a look at all the latest cheap gaming laptops - we're rounding up the best RTX 3050 laptop deals, RTX 3060 laptop deals and RTX 3070 laptops as well.