Choosing the best laptop backpack for your unique needs requires a bit of forethought into what you will be using the backpack for, other than, of course, holding a laptop. If you are a frequent traveler, for instance, you’ll want to think about comfort, security, and durability. If you use your bag to bring your laptop to work and it will be client-facing, you’ll want something stylish and professional-looking. If you’re a student, chances are you want something with plenty of compartments to store various other electronics, notebooks, and school supplies. Clearly, there’s a lot to think about – so let’s dive deeper into what makes a great laptop backpack.
First and foremost, a good laptop backpack must fit comfortably and have padding. The best laptop backpacks will have padded, contoured straps and a padded back portion that will protect your back from the contents inside the bag. With this being said, thick, abundant padding isn’t always desirable since it can be bulky and take away from the sleek aesthetic of a higher-end backpack. Thinner, firm padding can provide the desired protection and keep the backpack looking slim. This type of padding can be found in WaterField's lineup of backpacks: from our simple, everyday backpacks like the Essential laptop backpack, to our most robust business travel backpacks like the Pro Executive Laptop Backpack, firm but supple padding is used to make the carrying experience as comfortable as possible.
In addition to the padding, the way a backpack juggles the weight of accessories and, most notably, a heavy laptop will determine how comfortable it is to wear. In order to maximize comfort, WaterField designs laptop backpacks use integrated padded laptop compartments constructed of dense foam padding and soft felt. These compartments are sewn into the structure of the bag so they help the bags keep their shape, but won't sag under the weight of a laptop or create any carrying discomfort.
While some use backpacks as simple daily bags, others use them as business and travel bags. Due to this, a good laptop backpack should have lockable zippers, or zippers that can be secured by a small TSA approved padlock. The type of zipper lock or locking mechanism can differ from brand to brand, but WaterField Designs employs the use of hollowed out zippers. Our zippers are have full-metal zipper pulls that have a hollow center allowing for a padlock to be passed through them in order to secure the bag's contents.
Another feature that benefits travelers is the incorporation of concealable straps. Shoulder straps can sometimes get in the way in crowded or tight spaces like during the process of boarding an airplane, or they can get snagged on carousels, turnstiles, and automated gates. Having shoulder straps that can tuck away or be concealed can really make traveling less cumbersome.
The next consideration to make when looking for a good laptop backpack would be the composition of the bag’s organizational compartments. This step is subjective since each person has different packing needs, but a good laptop backpack should provide you with several options when it comes to storing your gear. Keep in mind that a backpack that can store large amounts of gear but has suboptimal organizational structure may negatively impact the carrying comfort of the bag due to unevenly distributed weight inside the bag.
It’s a good idea to first figure out what your personal carrying needs are since those needs will heavily influence the size and volume of your bag.
An often overlooked but extremely important factor in finding the best laptop backpack for you is the quality of the bag’s hardware. Great laptop backpacks will be made with premium hardware that allow the bag to stand the test of time. For instance, a bag’s zippers go through a lot of wear and tear and tend to fail before most other components. If a bag is outfitted with quality zippers, they’ll last longer and keep the bag functional for longer periods of time. In addition to this, a great backpack will use stronger metal componentry for hooks, D-rings, zipper pulls, etc… so that they last longer and hold up to more use.
Finally, a good laptop backpack for you should match your style. This is another very subjective step in the backpack finding process but may be the most important step of the process. A good looking bag will depend on your personal taste as well as the context in which you’ll be using your bag (formal, informal, business setting, casual setting, etc…) so it is a good idea to figure out which settings you’ll be using your bag most of the time.