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Best tech backpack for Work (and Life) - WIRED

Best tech backpack: for Work (and Life) – WIRED

Our favorite way to carry and protect a laptop and other important items on a daily commute is to wear a backpack. A backpack is more comfortable to carry than a tote bag or messenger bag, holds more than a briefcase, and looks better than a rolling bag. Since 2015, we’ve looked into hundreds of backpacks and put more than 75 of them through their paces on buses, trains, cars, bikes, and planes. We’ve found that these laptop backpacks are the best ones for people who commute.

Best tech backpack for Work (and Life) - WIRED
Best tech backpack: for Work (and Life) – WIRED

Who it’s for: The Apex Backpack is a great choice if you work in a more formal setting and prefer a backpack to a briefcase. It’s smart enough for the boardroom, but it looks and feels even better after work.

What makes it great: The Troubadour Apex Backpack is stylish, comfortable, and well-organized. It’s the most stylish of our picks, with a tailored, softly geometric shape and a refined vegan leather trim. The Apex Backpack has a soft, ventilated back panel and memory-foam shoulder straps, which is unusual for a backpack that looks so elegant and non-technical. The interior has a lot of pockets and sleeves to help you pack better.

We were immediately impressed by how well this bag was made and how well it was made. It is made of thick recycled polyester canvas that is waterproof and has a texture that is a little like tweed. The zipper pulls are made of vegan leather, the zippers are smooth and light, and they are set in a waterproof tape to keep the weather out even more. A well-made luggage pass-through sleeve does a great job of keeping the bag stable on a suitcase. When you carry heavy loads, the padding feels soft and luxurious against your back and shoulders.

The inside of the Apex Backpack is well-organized, which makes it easier to pack smart. It has a large main compartment that can hold bigger things. It also has an organizer panel with several slip pockets, zip pouches, and pen holders. The special pocket for a 16-inch laptop is well-padded and has an extra sleeve for a tablet. On the outside, there is a deep front zip pocket and two large water bottle holders that are easy to get to.

The Apex Backpack has some flaws, but they aren’t deal-breakers. The bag’s tailored shape looks great when it’s about half full, but it looks less polished when there’s not enough (or too much) in it. The water bottle pockets on this Troubadour pack aren’t as deep as those on our top picks from Aer and July. I was able to fit my tall 24-ounce Takeya bottle in them, but they didn’t feel as safe as the pockets on those packs.

Who it’s for: The Transit Backpack is perfect for people who want a stylish, modern bag to carry medium-sized loads. It can be worn anywhere, from a business casual office to a weekend trip.

What makes it great: The ReNew Transit Backpack from Everlane is a stylish, full-featured bag that looks great and works well. Also, it’s a great deal: The $95 price tag on the stylish pack made several friends and coworkers say, “Wait, what?!” Even though this Everlane backpack doesn’t feel as tough as our picks from Timbuk2 and Aer or as luxurious as the Troubadour and July bags, it’s a well-made backpack that should hold up well over time. It has a strong, water-resistant exterior, and the all-metal hardware looks and feels sturdy.

The Transit Backpack has a clean look and a slightly slouchy shape, so it looks good both at the office and when you’re out and about. The outside is made of recycled polyester and comes in a range of subtle colors, from army green to lighter shades of ecru and sky blue. The Transit Backpack is comfortable to carry medium-sized loads because it is light and has softly curved, padded straps. The straps are also easy to adjust to get the perfect fit.

Best tech backpack for Work (and Life) - WIRED
Best tech backpack: for Work (and Life) – WIRED

We like that this Everlane backpack has a lot of places to put things. A large zippered compartment on the front makes it easy to get to your keys, transit pass, and other things you need for your commute. A 24-ounce water bottle fits easily in the side pocket. It has two slip pockets inside the main compartment that can hold notebooks, folders, or a tablet, as well as a pocket for a water bottle. The fold-over top has another large zip pocket and an invisible magnetic closure, which all of our testers liked and which is helpful if you have trouble using your hands. A zipper on the side of the bag opens to a separate, padded compartment that can fit computers up to 15 inches.

Flaws, but not major ones: Because of how the side-zip laptop compartment is made, you have to slide your computer in and out at an angle. All of our other picks have top-zip laptop compartments that are easier to get to. The lightly padded shoulder straps are fine for carrying medium-sized loads, but they are not as comfortable or good at distributing weight as the straps on our top picks from Timbuk2 and Aer. This Everlane backpack is the only one we recommend that doesn’t come with a warranty. We’ll see how it holds up over time, and if it doesn’t, we’ll make changes to this guide.

Who it’s for: The Authority Deluxe is a great backpack that will last you a long time if you carry a lot of techs and your main concern is keeping it all organized and safe. Plus, it has a lot of features that make it easy on your body and makes it more comfortable to carry.

What makes it great: The Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe has a slim, commuter-friendly design, but it can hold and organize a lot of gear. Its tough recycled-nylon exterior protects against bumps and bruises, and its thick padding and waterproof boot (the bottom part of the bag) give you extra peace of mind when you’re carrying valuable tech. The fact that it’s comfortable to wear is even more important.

Even though it seems small, this Timbuk2 pack has a 28-liter capacity and can hold a lot more than the Aer and Herschel bags we looked at. During our testing of 2020, we carried a 13-inch MacBook Pro and its charger, an iPad, a planner, a notepad, a keyboard, a Nintendo Switch Lite (and its charger), various cables, two power banks, a Skooba Design Cable Stable DLX full of other small appliances, keys, and a travel mug, with room to spare.


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