What Is The Best Laptop Backpack and Messenger Bag 2017

Best Laptop Backpack for College Students

My search for the perfect laptop carrying bag began with laptop backpacks for college students. Why, because college students use them a lot. They need sturdy, roomy bags to carry a variety of gear. Here are some of the best backpacks for college students that I discovered. They also make great daily backpacks for anyone.

Backpacks for College Students Under $70

SwissGear has a large line of popular backpacks. Most of them are very similar except for tiny details as to color, location of the pockets, etc. This brand has several good choices at reasonable prices.

SwissGear Scansmart 1900 Laptop Backpack

Swiss Gear 1900 Laptop Backpack

FEATURES

The Swiss Gear 1900 is a great choice for college students who also use their backpack to travel by plane. It has a special compartment for the computer which opens and lays flat for easy scanning by TSA airport personnel. You can access the laptop easily from the side of the bag. The backpack is made to fit laptops up to 17 inches.

An almost identical style is the SwissGear 1923. The major difference between the 1900 and 1923 is that the 1900 has pockets for the laptop and a tablet. The 1923 does not.; instead, there is a full-width pocket that could hold a small, thin notebook or something similar instead of a tablet. The SwissGear 1900 is my overall choice for the perfect laptop backpack because of its functionality, quality and versatility. It’s actually a good choice for anyone who wants to use a backpack to carrying a laptop.

 DIMENSIONS: 8.5 x 18.5 x 13.5 inches

ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

The inside main compartment is so roomy that it can hold more than one book and several notebooks all at one time in addition to the laptop and tablet. The compartments are very well organized for access. There is an accordion file holder for papers, several internal accessory pockets for smaller electronic items. The external area has a water bottle holder, a padded media pocket with a headphone cord port as well as other features that make it a very good choice.

PADDING AND COMFORT

The back portion that lies against your back is cushioned with foam which makes it very comfortable. The laptop compartment is also cushioned with foam for protection. The shoulder straps are wide and are padded so as to distribute the weight of the bag evenly across the shoulders.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

SwissGear backpacks are very popular for good reason. The company is known for its quality engineering and they are makers of the well-known “Swiss knife.” This quality reputation extends to its backpacks. There are thousands of 4 out of 5 star ratings of this laptop backpack online at Amazon.

PROS

  • Laptop easily removable from side
  • Lies flat and can be scanned directly by TSA without removing
  • Lots of room and compartments for typical college gear
  • Roomy enough to make an excellent weekend trip bag
  • Large, strong zipper pulls
  • Durable, excellent quality, lasts a long time
  • Excellent price for quality and features

CONS

  • With such spacious, organized areas, it’s easy to overstuff the backpack and it could become quite heavy.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The SwissGear 1900 Scansmart Laptop backpack should be a prime consideration for anyone needing a spacious laptop backpack. It’s an especially good choice for students and travelers.

Backpack Laptops Over $70

OGIO Regenade RSS Laptop Backpack

OGIO RSS Renegade Laptop Backpack Tablet

FEATURES

The Renegade RSS is a good choice when you are looking for extra protection of your laptop while in a backpack. The company is big on damage protection. The bag has a unique suspension system that cradles the laptop if it’s dropped. The separate compartments for iPads, tablets and mouse or camera are also protected with firm foam padding. However, its extreme protection features does not extend to impact if coming from the side. A small pocket for a cellphone is located right on the strap front, but its size is skeptical for anything other than a very small phone. This backpack is designed to fit laptops that are 15 inches or less.

DIMENSIONS:  10.5 x 19.5 x 14 inches

ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

This backpack has a lot of pockets and compartments sized to fit specific items like sunglasses and your laptop’s mouse. They are all cushioned, too. The main, interior section isn’t perhaps as large as the SwissGear, but with so many custom pockets, this isn’t a problem. It does have ample room for books and notebooks. Its emphasis is more on electronic gadgets rather than large objects with the exception of the laptop and tablet.

PADDING AND COMFORT

In addition to all of the padding for the computer accessories, the straps are ergonomically designed and very comfortable. They, too, are padded.

WATERPROOF

The backpack is waterproof to small amounts of water. It is not waterproof to the extent that it can be experience heavy downpours of rain for an extended period.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

The Renegade gets 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 500 reviewers on Amazon. Reviews on other websites are positive as well.

PROS

  • An extensive amount of padding
  • Great protection against damage if laptop is dropped
  • Excellent quality
  • Lot of pockets tailored to fit specific electronic gear

CONS

  • Only fits devices up to 15 inches.
  • Protection from side impact not as good as from the bottom
  • Pocket in strap is too small for most cellphones

SUMMARY

This is a very good laptop backpack if you are big on protection and routinely carry a lot of gadgets. Although it is very well organized for these things, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for books. If you orten carry 2 or more heavy college textbooks in your backpack, the SwissGear 1900 is a better choice.

Backpack Laptops Under $50

High Sierra Access Backpack

High Sierra Access Backpack 17 inches

FEATURES

The High Sierra Access is what I would call a starter backpack. It’s fine if you aren’t worried about a backpack that will last for many years. Its price is certainly an advantage. The backpack is large and roomy, fitting laptops up to 17 inches. It has sections for a laptop and a tablet with plenty of room to spare for textbooks and notebooks. While it doesn’t have as many pockets and compartments as the above laptop backpacks, it does have a few tailored to hold general media gear like a media pocket with headphone port. The media port can also hold the latest size cellphones and music players. It serves well as a general backpack for everyday use and travel.

DIMENSIONS:    20 x 15 x 9.5 inches

ORGANIZATION AND COMPARMENTS

There are compartments inside and outside of the bag to store school related items as well as digital items. There is one large interior pocket and five of various sizes outside the backpack.

PADDING AND COMFORT

Padding is good for the computer and tablet as well as good padding on the back which prevents the bag from being uncomfortable if it rubs against your back. The shoulder straps are easily adjustable.

WATERPROOF

High Sierra Access Backpack Waterproof Cover

This backpack is unique in that it comes with its own waterproof cover that can be stashed away in its own compartment when not in use. So the bag is actually waterproof.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

The High Sierra Access gets a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 1500 people on Amazon. It’s highly desirable because of its low cost and ample space for laptops up to 17 inches.


PROS

  • Very roomy inside
  • Fits a 17 inch computer easily
  • Easy access to laptop inside
  • Bonus waterproof cover
  • Inexpensive

CONS

  • Limited number of inside pockets



FINAL THOUGHTS

The High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack is certainly a good choice when price is a factor. It serves its purpose of holding a laptop and textbooks well. There are not many extra compartments so organizing your gear is not its primary strength. It serves well as an everyday backpack.

MESSENGER BAGS FOR LAPTOPS

Although not backpacks for your laptop, Messenger bags are still worn on the body allowing your hands to be free for other things. While wearing a messenger bag, the shoulders bear much of the bag’s weight, and in that sense, they are similar to backpacks. However they are worn mostly in the front of the body rather than the back.

Messenger Bags just under $100 and more

TIMBUK2 COMMAND LAPTOP MESSENGER BAG

Timbuk 2 Command Messenger Bag

FEATURES

The bag is available in many colors and made of a heavy nylon material which is pretty good at repelling stains and dirt. You can get it in small, medium and large with price set accordingly. There is a sleeve on the back that allows you to slip the bag onto luggage. The strap can be removed and there’s a tote handle on top which is convenient for hand carrying the bag. It has a water bottle on the side of the bag, too. There is also room for a tablet inside as well as a laptop.

DIMENSIONS

The medium size will fit a 15 inch laptop (ex: Macbook Air Pro) easily if it is not also inside a sleeve case. The medium size will also fit easily under an airplane seat.

  • Small size dimensions: 16.9 x 13.6 x 5.1
  • Medium size dimensions: 17.1 x 14.4 x 5.1
  • Large size dimensions: 18. X 15.4 x 5.9

ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

The bag has many pockets and does well for what it is supposed to: hold and organize a laptop and laptop accessories like power cord, charger and mouse with room to spare.

PADDING AND COMFORT

The inside pocket for laptops is padded for protection. However, some owners enclose their computers in a sleeve before placing in this pocket to ensure added protection.

WATERPROOF

The outside of the bag can get wet but there is an inner lining that effectively prevents the items inside from getting wet in moderate amounts of rain.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Ample pockets
  • Removable strap

CONS

  • Not totally waterproof

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

The messenger bag gets a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a great unisex bag. The style is classic and stylish for both men and women. The wide variety of colors to choose from is a plus. And the different sizes available means you can likely get one that fits your laptop perfectly. It’s sturdy and holds up well to repeated usage.

Samsonite Leather Flapover Laptop Messenger Bag

Samsonite Leather Flapover Laptop Messenger Bag

FEATURES

The Samsonite Flapover Laptop Messenger Bag is a treat. The bag is made of genuine cowhide leather. As such, it’s a bit heavier than the Timbuk2 above. It does expand a bit but not a whole lot. The room inside is allocated primarily for a laptop and will also hold the laptop, a book and perhaps a notebook all at the same time in addition to a few digital accessories like a mouse. There is a removable adjustable strap giving the bag the appearance of a regular briefcase. The bag fits up to a 15 inch laptop comfortably.

DIMENSIONS:  12 x 16.5 inches


ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

The Samsonite Flapover messenger bag is organized well but it has very few compartments. It’s basically a main compartment divided into two portions.

PADDING AND COMFORT

The strap is padded and is made so that the padding material helps to keep the bag from falling off the shoulder. It cushions the bag well.

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Genuine Leather
  • Comfortable strap that does not slide off shoulder
  • Professional and Stylish Look
  • Can be used as briefcase as well

CONS

  • Does not have a luggage sleeve to slide over luggage handle

WATERPROOF

Leather repels water well so your laptop will stay dry using this bag.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

The bag gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating with over 1700 positive reviews online at Amazon.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a great bag when you want to go for a polished, stylish look. Genuine leather bags last a long time and even when they become worn they can still have a distinguished, professional look. So if style is what you are after, this makes a good choice. Price is very reasonable online for what you get.

Messenger Bags Under $75

LifeWit Leather Vintage Canvas Messenger Laptop Bag

LifeWit Leather Canvas Laptop Messenger Bag

FEATURES

The LifeWit Leather Vintage Canvas Messenger Laptop Bag is also quite stylish as leather tends to be. Women should appreciate the bag’s professional yet stylish look. It’s made of two materials—canvas and leather which gives it a classic look. Men will like its classic and non-stuffy design. It does a good job of protecting laptops by using foam padding in the bottom portion of the bag as well as the compartment for the computer. It will hold computers up to a size 15.6 inches. There is a carrying handle in addition to an adjustable strap which can be removed. The strap is wide but is not padded.

DIMENSIONS: 

The messenger bag is:   15.74 x 11.81 x 3.93 inches

ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

There is an ample number of separated compartments in the bag to make it a good choice for school or business. In addition to several small pockets on the inside that will organize your digital and school supplies, there is a wide pocket on the outside for more items.

PADDING AND COMFORT

Padding is very good for protecting your electronics. The extra padding on the bottom of the bag is a big plus to protect the laptop from accidental drops. The strap is not padded but is comfortable and adjustable.

PROS

  • Extra padding on bottom
  • Ample compartments
  • Good organization
  • Water resistant

CONS

  • Strap is not padded

WATERPROOF

Leather is water repellent and the canvas material is heavy enough to prevent water from getting to and damaging laptops.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

For its moderate price, this messenger bag packs a lot of features. It gets 4.5 out of 5 stars online with over 300 reviews.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Materials are made of good quality and the bag is very durable. The hardware that affixes to small area is designed with the highest quality as well. In some cases, small details as ineffective and easily broken hardware can ruin a bag’s appeal. These features and the price make it a good choice for men and women.

Snugg Crossbody PU Leather Laptop Messenger Bag

Snugg PU leather Messenger Laptop Bag 17 inches

FEATURES

Although it isn’t made of genuine leather, this Snugg PU Leather Laptop Messenger Bag is well equipped. It has a good number of compartments and pockets inside and out for a laptop and its essentials. It’s one of the few messenger bags that hold 17 inch laptops. Black is the most popular color chosen but it is available in other colors as well. However, the bag won't hold more than one large textbook along with the laptop. It comes with a 12 month warranty which is unusual and a definite plus. The company that makes this bag is very responsive to customers if there are any problems with it.

DIMENSIONS:  3.15 x 16.93 x 11.81 inches


ORGANIZATION AND COMPARTMENTS

The bag has six interior compartments and 4 exterior pockets offering plenty of room to organize your laptop’s digital gear as well as books and notebooks. A cellphone will fit in one of the many inside or outside pockets. There is one pocket on the outside which looks like it was designed to hold a cellphone but it is extremely small to accommodate today’s larger size smartphones.

PADDING AND COMFORT

The laptop compartment has ample padding although it isn’t as thick as some found on more expensive bags. The strap has padding only on the top portion; the rest of the strap is made of cloth.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Roomy Interior
  • Several compartments for incidentals
  • Excellent customer service by company

CONS

  • Latches for opening bag need two hands to unhinge
  • No luggage sleeve on back to hook over luggage
  • Strap is not fully padded

WATERPROOF

The bag is made of a faux leather and will keep all of your items dry.

RATINGS AND REVIEWS

There are over 700 reviews online with a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The quality of the bag is acceptable and any issues with quality are dealt with courteously by the company. It’s a stylish bag with a classic look. It could be used by either men or women. The price is well below what many bags of this type cost. It’s a good value for price.

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