If you’ve recently started commuting to the office again, you know how important it is to have a great laptop backpack to bring with you. While, yes, a regular cotton tote bag would probably cut it, there’s nothing worse than losing your keys, wallet, or your daily planner at the very bottom of your bag. Not to mention, having a secure, zipped-up spot for your laptop or work phone is a game-changer. So Marie Claire chatted with the experts—a.k.a. women who love having a laptop bag for work and know a thing or two about what to look for—about the very best work backpacks for women that can carry your laptop.
A step up from even the very best work bag, the laptop backpacks on this list make light work of carrying all of your essentials—be it a bevy of charging cables, a water bottle, or a change of gym clothes. And while all of the backpacks on this list are designed with function in mind, many of them are just plain stylish, too. Some are souped-up leather totes with a sleek, on-trend look, while others are made from water-resistant nylon or canvas. Ahead, we asked Cuyana co-founder Shilpa Shah and Bellroy's Co-Founder and COO Lina Calabria for their picks, in addition to rounding up a few of the laptop backpacks that keep the team at Marie Claire going from brands like Calpak, Longchamp, Herschel, and more.
- Most Affordable Laptop Backpack: Paravel Fold-Up Backpack
- Most Splurge-Worthy Laptop Backpack: Senreve Maestra Bag
- Best Editor-Approved Laptop Backpack: Longchamp Le Pliage Club Nylon Backpack
- Best Laptop Backpack for Travel: Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack
- Best All-Around Laptop Backpack: Bellroy Tokyo Totepack
Deals on Laptop Backpacks
AWAY The Front Pocket Backpack,
$195 $156 at AWAY
This sleek backpack (available in three colors and one limited-edition floral print!) is currently on sale for just over $150 right now. It's made from a water-resistant nylon fabric, comes in tons of colors, contains three main compartments, and can hold up to a 15" computer.
How We Chose the Best Laptop Backpacks
There are plenty of laptop backpacks to choose from, and it’s our job to discern which are truly the cream of the crop. To that end, there are a few key factors that all of the laptop backpacks on this list share:
- Pockets for organizing: If you’re on the hunt for a laptop backpack, it’s most likely because you’re sick of digging your belongings out of the bottomless pit that is your tote. All of the laptop backpacks on this list have several interior and exterior pockets; the majority of them have a dedicated sleeve for your laptop; and some come in several sizes to fit differently-sized laptops and other tech. As Shah says: "When shopping for a laptop backpack, organization is key."
- Versatile: You likely want a laptop backpack that can take you from your office to happy hour to a date without looking out of place. All of these laptop bags come in neutral colorways and are sleek by design, so even the most practical bag in your collection looks tailor-made to your personal aesthetic. Some of the bags here also are convertible and can be worn as a tote bag or a crossbody bag, while others fold up into your carry-on suitcase for easy travel.
- Comfort: Odds are, you’re going to be carrying this backpack for hours on end. The backpacks on this list have thick, sturdy shoulder straps and are designed with weight distribution in mind so your back and shoulders won’t ache. Some also have padding along the backside of the actual bag (and on the straps!) to keep you comfortable even as your belongings move around.
- High-quality materials: We want you to love the laptop backpack you choose for years to come. With that in mind, we only selected backpacks that are made from materials that are built to last like leather, neoprene, canvas, or nylon.
The Best Laptop Backpacks
Best Laptop Backpack That Comes in Two Sizes
Shah says that Cuyana’s Leather Backpack has been her “go-to for years." Available in two sizes—13 and 16 inches, respectively—this work bag comes with a laptop sleeve built-in alongside a larger slip pocket on the inside. “This bag was truly designed with comfort in mind, with wider back straps and adjustable notches to help you carry your necessities with ease,” she says. You can shop it in multiple colors if this clay color is too hard for you to keep clean.
Pros: Comes in several colors; Comes in two sizes (13" and 16"); Fits a 16" laptop; Sustainably-made; Has a dedicated laptop sleeve inside; Has two interior pockets.
Cons: Costs over $200.
Customer Review: None available.
Best Roomy Laptop Backpack
If you’re after a roomy bag with lots of compartments that isn't bulky, look no further than this one from sustainable fashion brand Everlane. Not only does this style have a super spacious interior, but the exterior of this well-reviewed bag offers two sizable front zip pockets that you can tuck several items in for easy access. It comes in several wearable colors like black, this sleek grayish white, and a fresh minty green. And get this: it has two compartments for water bottles.
Pros: Holds a 15" laptop; Costs less than $200; Has two water bottle containers; An interior zip pocket for security; Several exterior pockets for easy access
Cons: The water bottle pocket is designed for slim bottles.
Customer Review: "Very comfortable. Structured so it doesn’t like like a drawstring bag but not too structured as to be unforgiving for oblong objects like a keyboard. Lightweight with large capacity. Zippers are good quality and I love the khaki color. I love wearing it into work and feel polished but not too feminine. Love avoiding leather (real or vegan) when possible too. Also- pockets galore." — Everlane
The Best Everyday Laptop Backpack
If you're looking for an option that won't cost you a fortune, looks luxe, and works for everyday use, consider this 100% leather laptop backpack from fan-favorite brand Madewell. The buttery soft leather will wear with time, giving it the perfect lived-in feel. Plus, it’s packed with tiny design details that make it great for gifting (read: it’s monogrammable!). It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other laptop backpacks on this list, but it gets the job done.
Pros: Comes in two colors; Is monogrammable;
Cons: Costs over $200; Users say the zipper breaks easily.
Customer Review: "Love this bag! Would fit a 13-inch mac book pro with no problem. I have a 15-inch mac book that I can wedge in there but it's a tight squeeze. Hoping it will stretch out a bit over time to add a bit more flexibility. This is definitely the nicest backpack I've ever owned!" — Madewell
Best Laptop Backpack for the Minimalist
"The Tokyo Tote Compact is perfect for carrying a few things with really quick access in a tote format where you don’t have to compromise on organization," says Calabria about this sporty backpack. It’s available to shop in six shades including red, green, and black, and has plenty of design details that prove it's worth the price tag: padded shoulder straps, vertical front pockets for easy access to all of your essentials—plus, it's made from water-resistant nylon for all-season travel.
Pros: Has padded shoulder straps; Made from water-resistant nylon; Fits most 15" laptops; Backed by three-year warranty; Costs less than $200; Has interior pop-pockets for water bottle storage.
Cons: Some reviewers say the zippers are hard to open and close.
Customer Review: None available.
Best Laptop Backpack for Travel
"I own the medium Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene backpack in Dune, as well as the small and large limited edition Dusky Blue. I also own a large Indi Diaper Backpack in Storm Blue. I've built a collection of these Dagne Dover bags since 2019 because the neoprene is so light and soft. The main compartment is roomy enough for gym shoes and clothes, planner books, a makeup bag, as well as an exterior side pocket that can accommodate a thin water bottle (it's Larq compatible!). Also, the interior features a laptop sleeve with an elastic enclosure to keep your laptop or tablet in place—safe and separate from your other belongings. The adjustable straps are also made of neoprene so it's easy on the shoulders during your commute. The bags are water resistant, but not stain resistant. However I throw mine in the wash under delicates and lay flat to dry and it looks brand new again." — Tanya Benedicto Klich, Senior Editor
Pros: Costs under $200; Comes in multple colors; Has an interior laptop sleeve; Has adjustable shoulder straps; Is water-resistant; Machine-washable; Comes in three sizes; Top-rated; Fits over a suitcase handle.
Cons: Not stain resistant
Customer Review: "I use this backpack as my work bag. All the pockets help me keep my laptop, tablet and chargers, pens etc organized. The padded straps are comfortable and do not dig into my shoulders when the bag is full. It looks great and can be cleaned. I excited to use it as my carry on bag when I fly!" — Dagne Dover
Best Convertible Laptop Backpack
This stylish (and convertible!) option from Senreve works as a tote or a backpack thanks to its four-way wearability, and looks stylish every which way you wear it. The stain-resistant texture also means that it will be super durable for years of constant use. However, it only has one exterior pocket and one interior pocket, so it’s best if you’re someone who travels light or has all of their essentials at the office already.
Pros: Comes in several colors; Can be worn four ways; Water-resistant; The main pocket fits up to a 15" laptop; Has a dedicated laptop compartment; Has seven interior pockets; has one zippered pocket.
Cons: Costs more than $200; The dedicated laptop compartment only fits an 11" or 13" laptop.
Customer Review: "I bought the Maestra in Pine in the Mimosa leather. The bag is stunning, very well made. I wanted a computer bag for work that actually had a computer pocket. Most totes advertised as work bags are very thin and offer no protection for the laptop. I also wanted a backpack so this bag is perfect." — Senreve
Best Laptop Backpacks for Commuters
This plush, quilted nylon backpack from MZ Wallace is polished, sophisticated, and versatile for day or night use. The backpack has tons of smart features that make it well worth the investment: it comes with a removable pouch for smaller essentials and two interior cell phone pockets—one for your work phone and one for your personal—and has padded shoulder straps for all-day comfort. Plus, you can pick from either black or navy blue and it holds most 15” laptops inside.
Pros: Fits most 15" laptops; Has a dedicated laptop compartment; Has padded straps; Has a removable pouch .
Cons: Costs over $200.
Customer Review: "If you’re debating on getting this backpack, the answer is YES! I use it for work -I put my laptop, lunch, and commuter shoes in it. If you really wanted to, you could probably fit more." — Nordstrom
Best Leather Laptop Backpack
"When I first touched this bag, I was shocked by how luxurious it felt. After years of toting my laptop and school things in a worn-out nylon bag, I never knew a backpack could be so nice, but this one is. Not only does it feel buttery smooth, but the inside is so roomy I can fit everything I could possibly need. I travel often, so the handy laptop compartment and cushiony shoulder straps are major wins, too. I know the price tag is a little steep, but considering how much use I get out of it and the fact that it's going to last for years and years, I think it's well worth it." — Brooke Knappenberger, Editorial Fellow
Pros: Comes in two colors; Has a dedicated laptop compartment; Has adjustable shoulder straps; Has an exterior pocket.
Cons: Costs over $500.
Customer Review: None available.
Best Discreet Laptop Backpack
If you need a no-fuss backpack that won't look super out-of-place at your next happy hour sesh with your colleagues, this one from Calpak is a must-buy. The simple square silhouette and black detailing makes it look so timeless.It comes in tons of colors like pale pink, lavender, and black. With a dedicated laptop zippered compartment at the back, it’s sleek in design and won’t weigh you down. Plus, it comes complete with several interior compartments to keep you organized while you’re on the go.
Pros: Costs under $200; Comes in several colors; Has a dedicated laptop sleeve; Has multiple interior pockets; Fits over a suitcase.
Cons: Heavier than similar backpacks at 3lbs; Some reviewers said it looked bulky.
Customer Review: "If anyone is wondering if you can fit a 16 inch MacBook Pro in here, yes you can! It doesn’t quite fit in the actual laptop sleeve but the pocket in the main compartment holds it perfectly. So many compliments on this backpack and it seems really high quality. The luggage sleeve thing makes it a great carry on item too. No regrets on the purchase. Please come out with more colors with silver/gunmetal hardware!!" — Calpak
The Best Laptop Backpack For All of Your Essentials
"This is my go-to backpack for extended trips or long subway rides where I can't be bothered to carry a regular bag. The interior laptop pocket is large enough to fit my 14-inch computer while also having a padded cushion that keeps my very expensive piece of tech safe. Mary Poppins and I have one thing and common, and that is carrying a bag that seems endless with the most random things in it. I usually carry a lot with me and this bag from Hershel is large enough to carry what I need with a chic exterior that doesn't clash with what I'm wearing—yes that's important." — Alexis Gaskin, Freelance Beauty Writer
Pros: Costs under $200; Fits up to a 15" laptop; Has padded shoulder straps; Has multiple interior pockets; Has a drawstring and leather straps closure; Top-Rated on Amazon.
Cons: Doesn't have a dedicated water bottle compartment; Not waterproof.
Customer Review: "I've had this backpack for a couple of years now. It's my personal item whenever I travel by plane and it fits so much! I've also used it for weekend trips. I really like the laptop sleeve as it protects my MacBook and I don't have to worry about it when I travel.The quality of the bag is really great, like I said I've had it for a couple years already but still looks good!" — Amazon
Best Laptop Backpack For Travel
This sleek laptop backpack from universally adored luggage brand AWAY was designed for hands-free travel. It's made from a water-resistant nylon fabric, comes in tons of colors, contains three main compartments, and can hold up to a 15" computer. If you have a suitcase from AWAY, this backpack comes with a trolley sleeve that attaches to all of the brand's wheeled options, so you can look totally uniform while in the airport. However, it doesn’t have a dedicated compartment for a water bottle.
Pros: Water-resistant; Costs less than $200; Comes in several colors; Has a dedicated laptop pocket; Can fit a 15" laptop; Can fit onto a suitcase; Has several interior pocket.
Cons: No dedicated water bottle pocket.
Customer Review: "Could not love this backpack more! I travel weekly and this backpack securely rides on top of my carry one. My laptop slides in and out of the back pocket. The big pocket can actually fit my smaller purse, plus all the things. The front pocket is great for your phone, earbuds etc. great for quick access. Couldn’t recommend this more." — AWAY
Best Nylon Laptop Backpack
"I'm a Le Pliage girl through and through, faithfully replacing mine every couple of years, but recently I've had my eye on the Le Pliage Club. The collector's version of Le Pliage—and I am nothing if not a Le Pliage collector—is the same size, but features a few updated details (colored buttons! Logo embroidery!). It'll fit a small 11-inch laptop." — Jenny Hollander, Director of Content Strategy
Pros: Costs under $200; Comes in several colors; Zip-top and latch-style closure; Can be folded up; Has water-resistant lining; Made from easy-to-clean nylon.
Cons: Doesn't fit laptops bigger than 11".
Customer Review: "This is a fantastic bag to carry a lot of things. It is very comfortable to wear on your back. I love the color. It is part of Le Pliage range so it folds down and can be easily packed in a suitcase. There is only one side pocket inside, so can be a little difficult to keep things organized, but overall it is a great bag." — Neiman Marcus
Best Affordable Laptop Backpack
Made from 15 recycled plastic water bottles, this backpack from travel brand Paravel can be folded flat and zipped into a small pouch when it’s not in use, making it great if you’re someone who travels frequently. I would also recommend keeping it in your work bag if you’re the kind of person who hits the gym after or before a day in the office. That said, when it’s go-time, the backpack easily expands, and it’ll hold your must-have items and up to a 15-inch laptop. Plus, you can personalize it with your monogram for a custom look.
Pros: Sustainably-made; Costs less than $200; Comes in several colors; Folds up to fit into your other bag; Lightweight; Fits up to a 15" laptop; Can fit a change of clothes.
Cons: Doesn't keep its shape.
Customer Review: "I ordered this lightweight backpack in the color black. It is excellent quality. I couldn’t believe that a roomy backpack could zip up very easily into a pouch! It is very roomy with several zip up compartments for extra storage. It looks very nice. I am going to Europe and was searching for a lightweight backpack. This is perfect!" — Paravel
Best Slim Laptop Backpack
If you're someone who likes to keep things close to your chest—or your back—then this Nylon Travel Backpack from luxury travel brand Tumi should be your go-to. Available in four colors, it’s made from a lightweight material and measures only 4.5 inches in depth. It has one larger pocket in the back plus a smaller one in the front for easy access, and it has a trolley sleeve at the back to fit over the handle of your carry-on.
Pros: Slim design; Comes in several colors; Lightweight; Has interior and exterior pockets; Has a sleeve to fit over a suitcase handle.
Cons: Some reviewers said it was not big enough to use as a carry-on or a weekender bag.
Customer Review: “This is such an elegant solution to hands-free travel. Lightweight, streamlined, and convenient. Far from a being a bulky backpack, this is body-hugging but comfortably holds a sweater or light jacket, water bottle, lunch, and personal items. I love mine!” — Nordstrom
Best Designer Laptop Backpack
This nylon laptop backpack from Kate Spade New York only comes in one color, but don't let that stop you from investing in it. The low-profile design is timeless, and it’s made from a 100 percent recycled nylon shell as well as a 100 percent polyester nylon interior. The padded dedicated laptop sleeve on the inside will keep your computer safe, and the three other interior zip-top pockets will make sure that you stay as organized as possible when you’re on the go.
Pros: Lightweight; Has a dedicated laptop compartment; Fits up to 15" laptop; Has three interior pockets.
Cons: Only comes in one color.
Customer Review: None available.
Tote Bag v. Work Backpack
While some prefer to carry a laptop tote bag, having a laptop backpack means that your commute will be hands-free, not to mention the security of zippers, the usefulness of pockets, and, oftentimes, more space for your belongings. However, the best laptop backpack "is the one that helps you both at work but also at the activities you do on either side of your work day, including your commute," says Calabria. "Right now I’m using a work backpack because I want to have my hands free on my way in."
Still, the key to real versatility is having a few on hand that you can use as your needs evolve and change. "I like to have different work bag options and then I choose the bag that suits what I need to get done on the day," Calabria says. "By using a couple of pouches, switching bags on a day-to-day basis can become pretty quick and easy."
Meet The Experts
Shilpa was drawn to Cuyana for the opportunity to enhance women’s lives by creating high quality products that were produced responsibly, priced accessibly, and that carried a story and a soul that could be delivered through human connection.
Beginning her career in Interaction Design, Shilpa has over 20 years of designing customer experiences, designing web and mobile interfaces for Fortune 500 companies such as Disney and AT&T. Before starting Cuyana, Shilpa added business expertise to her design and technical background by completing her MBA at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Today Shilpa leads the company as its CXO, the Chief Experience Officer, crafting a branded omni-channel journey across digital and physical touchpoints.
Lina Calabria, Co-Founder and COO of Bellroy, is an engineer and business leader with a focus on shared learning and development, considering alternative perspectives, and applying care and attention to all facets of the company. Throughout Bellroy’s growth, Lina has also served as CFO and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. Prior to Bellroy, Lina worked as a management consultant with clients such as Australia Post, Royal Mail, and Pfizer
Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.
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