Best laptop bags: Our favorites for commuting, traveling, and … – Macworld

Next to a laptop itself, a laptop bag is one of the most important purchases you can make. With so many laptop bags and backpacks to choose from, it would be an idle exercise to try to find the best laptop bag out there. Instead, we’d rather help you find the right laptop bag for any situation, like commuting everyday to work, traveling abroad, or charging your devices on the go.

To be considered in this review of laptop bags, each product had to have a designated laptop sleeve or compartment. These bags can all fit up to a 16-inch laptop, except where noted. Keep checking back as we review more laptop bags and backpacks and continually update this guide.

Best commuter bag: Booq Cobra Squeeze

Leave it to Booq to make a laptop backpack that’s both compact and spacious at the same time. The company’s Cobra Squeeze (MSRP $195, available on Amazon) is the VW Beetle of laptop backpacks, using a dome shape so you can stuff as much as possible without creating weird bumps or needing an oversized backpack. The Cobra Squeeze has a dedicated laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro or a 16-inch Lenovo Ultrabook. Then there’s a second sleeve for tablets. On either side of the backpack, you’ll find easy-to-reach zippers for storing your smartphone. These side pockets have extra padding to avoid scratches.

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This backpack’s unique turtle-shell design also helps redistribute the weight so that your shoulders don’t feel worn out throughout the day. The shoulder straps are padded and curve inwards, which is very helpful, too. Furthermore, the Cobra Squeeze uses a water-repellant fabric in case of a rainy day, and the company has instituted a serial number tracking system to help recover lost Booq bags, making one a worthwhile investment.

Best messenger bag: Timbuk2 Proof

Timbuk2’s Proof Messenger Bag (MSRP $228, available on Amazon) is a nice-looking messenger bag with a separate sleeve that can fit a 15-inch laptop. In the main compartment, there’s plenty of room to stuff an external keyboard and a mouse, as well as an iPad mini and a textbook. The main adjustable strap seems a little short, however, and a taller person might want a longer strap so that the bag will rest lower on their body. For additional stabilization, the Proof Messenger Bag comes with an additional cross-body strap that you can wrap around your waist, perfect for biking across town. For every other situation, this strap is fully removable.

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Timbuk2’s Proof bag is made of waxed canvas to protect your belongings from the rain. It also has sturdy zipper and genuine leather trim that are promised to last a very long time. Because of all the premium materials used, the Proof Messenger Bag is a little pricey, but Timbuk2 has a reputation for making quality products, and the company offers a lifetime warranty, so the higher price tag is worth it.

Best charging backpack: STM Drifter Energy

STM’s Drifter Energy backpack (MSRP $240, available on Amazon) has been recently upgraded to include a Joey rechargeable energy pack, so that you can have your very own charging station wherever you go. The Drifter Energy’s 3500mAh battery was able to recharge an iPhone 6s twice before being completely drained. Best of all, the iPhone can stay securely stored inside the backpack while charging. The main compartment has straps and pouches to organize your cords so they don’t get tangled up while traveling, and the battery comes equipped with temperature sensing to prevent it from overheating.

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This backpack was designed for keeping your electronic gadgets charged, but also protected. The laptop sleeve, which can fit up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro, is padded and attached to the back of the bag, as opposed to the bottom. That way, your laptop will remain suspended above the floor when you set your bag down. You can store your phone and camera on the top fleece-lined pocket to prevent scratches, or bumping around with the other stuff in the main compartment.

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