I used the same laptop bag for more than a decade. It held up well, but all good things must come to an end, so I recently found myself in the market for a replacement.
Looking for a new laptop bag was an education, to put it mildly. A lot has changed since I last shopped for one. Today’s laptop bags are far more sophisticated than those from decades past. Budget-conscious consumers seeking durable, feature-rich options aren’t likely to be disappointed.
Whether you’re looking for something strictly for the office or to accompany you on your travels, here are the top laptop bags worth checking out.
The Best Laptop Bags for Men
While the world is full of gender-neutral laptop bags, it’s still common to encounter designs ascribing to traditional notions of masculinity or femininity. The bags on this list aren’t necessarily for men only, but they’re widely regarded – if not outright marketed – as men’s bags.
1. Rains Waterproof Utility Tote Bag
The Rains Waterproof Utility Tote Bag lives up to its name. Properly stow your laptop in your Rains Waterproof Utility Tote, and it’s sure to stay dry thanks to the virtually impermeable polyurethane-polyester exterior. Add in its ergonomic prowess and a chic-yet-understated look, and you’ve got a bag worth investing in.
The adjustable drop strap (ranging from about 14 inches to about 25 inches) and two-way zip closure are extremely pragmatic, and the interior laptop sleeve is roomy enough for the typical 15-inch device. An exterior pocket makes organizing chargers, pens, and other small items a cinch. And the 1.5-pound empty weight is a relief for public transit commuters.
Despite everything working in its favor, the Rains Waterproof Utility Tote is moderately priced. Enjoy free shipping and returns when you buy through Nordstrom.
2. KNOMO Tournay Laptop Briefcase
The 15-inch KNOMO Tournay Laptop Briefcase is another reasonably priced, fashion-forward laptop carrier that fits in at the office, gym, corner coffee shop, and poolside lounge. The padded main compartment holds a 15-inch laptop with room to spare and easily expands to fit slim odds and ends. Four slip pockets, two card slots, a pen ring, and a key ring round out the Tournay’s above-average organizational amenities.
At just under 10 liters, the Tournay is not the laptop bag you’ll want for a weekend getaway. It might fit a lightweight gym outfit, but forget dinner wear. Still, as long as you have a suitable weekender bag as your carry-on, the Tournay works well as an airline personal item. The RFID-blocking pocket is a godsend for travelers, who are especially prone to high-tech thieves.
3. Herschel Supply Co. Sandford Messenger
The Herschel Supply Co. Sandford Messenger is part laptop bag, part messenger bag, and part cozy weekender bag. Its fleece-lined main compartment sleeve is roomy enough to hold and protect a 15″ laptop. The front pocket is great for small electronics and other valuables you’d prefer to keep your eyes on. Another internal pocket featuring a key clip is a lifesaver for absent-minded professionals.
At 17 liters, the Sandford Messenger won’t hold multiple changes of clothes, but it’s a decent overnight bag in a pinch. The clip-on shoulder strap comes in handy for those dashes through the terminal.
4. Leatherology Knox Slim Laptop Bag
Though it’s marketed to men, Leatherology Knox Slim Laptop Bag is distinctly gender-neutral. With soft lines and rich, full-grain leather, it also has a far more refined look than the price tag warrants. It’s not the most affordable laptop bag on the list, but it’s reasonably priced for a mostly leather product.
The Knox Slim’s interior laptop sleeve fits most 15-inch laptops, and a separate paper sleeve holds a sizeable sheaf. The front inset pocket keeps valuables safe and visible, while an adjustable padded shoulder strap provides on-the-go support. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better combination of style and practicality at this price point.
5. Herschel Supply Co. Trail Britannia Tech Messenger
The Herschel Supply Co. Trail Britannia Tech Messengers is a smart-looking laptop briefcase with comfortable dual carry handles and a removable padded shoulder strap. The concealed backpack straps work wonders during longer treks through crowded transit platforms and airport terminals. As long as the two-way waterproof zipper stays closed, the 1,500-mm water-resistant coating virtually eliminates the risk posed by stray downpours.
A 13-inch internal mesh support keeps your laptop separate from other contents, though it’s not appropriate for oversized devices. Use the smaller internal mesh organizers to keep items such as personal electronics separate and secure. The internal capacity tops out at nearly 20 liters, big enough for a change of clothes.
6. Wenger SwissGear The Insight Laptop Case
The awkwardly named Wenger SwissGear The Insight Laptop Case is a no-frills computer case that fits most 15.6-inch laptops and accessories with room to spare. At just a fraction of the cost of designer numbers from brands such as Herschel Supply Co., it’s an irresistible value for budget-conscious buyers.
That’s not to say The Insight is a throwaway. Its reinforced carry handle and tear-resistant shoulder straps can stand up to plenty of abuse. This isn’t the bag that served me so well over the years, but it reminds me of it.
7. Alpine Swiss Cortland Laptop Bag Organizer Briefcase
The Alpine Swiss Cortland 15.6″ Laptop Bag Organizer Briefcase is a moderately priced, no-nonsense laptop bag that weighs less than 2.5 pounds empty. It also boasts a one-year manufacturer’s warranty against defects, which isn’t a given at this price point.
Use the detachable shoulder strap for easier carrying or to hook your Cortland bag to your roller bag. In addition to a luxuriously padded laptop sleeve, the main compartment has a roomy tablet pouch and two panel pockets for smaller items. The front pocket is ideal for slim stuff such as credit cards and IDs. The bottom rubber grip/case protector provides uncommon durability.
8. Filson Rugged Twill Original Briefcase
Filson’s Rugged Twill Original Briefcase is one of the pricier models on this list, but its “industrial-strength” twill fabric is worth the sticker price. With a durable zipper and secure storm flap, this wear- and water-resistant laptop bag is ideal for all weather. For minimalist packers, it may work for overnight excursions too.
The roomy frame features four stow pockets, two interior dividers, two utility pockets, one patch pocket good for coins and cards, and an interior slotted pocket. The 46-inch bridle leather strap enhances portability and wears well in a crossbody configuration.
9. Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag
Dagne Dover’s Ryan Laptop Bag isn’t the biggest bag on this list. A 13-inch laptop is about all you’ll fit in the main compartment, and the depth is a mere 2.25 inches. But its effortless style and ergonomic design, complete with a comfy drop handle and adjustable crossbody strap, justify the reasonable sticker price. Breathable air mesh makes the Ryan a decent gym bag if you can fit your entire workout outfit in it.
10. Peak Design Everyday Messenger
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger is one stylish bag, despite the pedestrian name. Its effortlessly practical dividers resemble origami paper art, the super-simple closure is practically airtight, and the internal seatbelt strap adjusts to whatever you need to stow inside. Plus, the exterior is waterproof – a must for transit commuters and travelers alike. Choose from 13-inch and 15-inch sizes.
11. Kroser Laptop Bag Briefcase (17.1″)
The Kroser 17.1″ Laptop Bag Briefcase is one of the most budget-friendly bags on this list. It’s so budget-friendly that Kroser sells through intermediaries such as eBay and Amazon rather than fulfilling its own orders. But it boasts many of the same features as bags retailing for several times more: water-repellent fabric, multiple internal organization compartments, internal foam padding, an adjustable shoulder strap, and a luggage belt that secures easily to a roller bag. It’s also decidedly gender-neutral. As long as you don’t expect your Kroser to last decades, it’s a worthy value pick.
12. Mobile Edge ECO Laptop Messenger
Not much pricier than the bargain-basement Kroser, the Mobile Edge ECO Laptop Messenger is an impressive value. Its all-natural canvas exterior isn’t the most water-resistant casing, but it’s easy on the planet, which eco-friendly consumers will appreciate. Inside are a padded computer compartment with removable ID holder and custom fasteners for smaller items. Padding lines the adjustable shoulder strap, carry handles, and back panel, delivering comfort in any configuration. And the full-size back pocket and front workstation pocket keep smaller items accessible.
13. AmazonBasics 15.6″ Laptop Bag
When all you need is a laptop carrier and nothing more, make it the AmazonBasics 15.6″ Laptop Bag. At just over 2 inches deep on the inside and with limited breathability, this bag won’t cut it as a hybrid weekender or an office-to-gym bag. But the internal storage pockets are roomy enough for small electronics and accessories, and the adjustable shoulder strap works just as well as more expensive bags’. For a reasonable premium, you can bundle your AmazonBasics laptop bag purchase with an AmazonBasics wireless mouse and receiver set.
Choosing a laptop bag isn’t rocket science, but it’s not a decision you should make lightly, either. My trusty laptop bag lasted as long as it did precisely because I spent some time comparing available options. In the end, I selected a bag I knew would serve me well – and it did, for far longer than I expected.
As you evaluate your laptop bag options, avoid jumping on the first deal you find. Price isn’t the only metric that matters. If you’d like your bag to last well into the next decade, as mine did, it’s worth taking your time.
What’s your favorite laptop bag? What do you like about it?