How To Choose The Best Laptop Bag For You
We carry around more tech than ever these days. Phones in our pockets, smartwatches on our wrists and laptops in our bags. Knowing your most valuable devices are with you at all times, it’s worth considering what the best options are for carrying them comfortably, practically and safely. Unfortunately, there are so many different options out there that this task can be a tricky one. We’re here to help that search become a little bit easier. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best laptop bag for you, based on what you’re using it for, how much you’re carrying and any bonus features you might be needing. From laptop backpacks, briefcases, messengers and handbags, we uncover which is best for which situation.
The first step is asking yourself…
What am I using this laptop bag for?
Carrying your laptop, silly. Of course, that’s the smartass answer, but we’re wanting to be more helpful than that. Are you using it mostly to take to the office? Or using it to just cruise around the city? Are you taking it traveling? Do you need it to help you commute to work? Do you need fast access to your gear on the go? Knowing your own situation will help choose the style of bag that’s right for you. Here are a few scenarios to help.
If you’re using the laptop bag mostly in the office, you’ll want something to suit that environment. That might be using a briefcase-style laptop bag, or a more sophisticated looking backpack. Narrow your search down to these two options and you’ll be on your way to choosing the best laptop bag for your situation. After you’ve made that choice, it’s worth considering extra function like organization for your work tools such as a notebook, tablet and pens. We explore this in further detail below.
If you’re biking to work especially, you’ll want a laptop backpack or messenger bag that is comfortable on body and easy to carry. Same generally goes for those taking public transport, since you’re hopping off and on connections, needing to stay agile. Most of the time, you’d choose a backpack here, unless you need fast access to your things while you move. Then, a messenger is better. Always bear in mind that these options need to be functional for the commute, but still look at home in meetings and pitches. So, stick with classic styling over more sporty options.
If you’re traveling with your laptop bag, one key thing to consider is access. Plane travel requires a lot of taking devices in and out of bags at security checks. So, choose a bag that has a separate compartment just for your laptop, making it super easy to take in and out. Laptop backpacks are great for personal travel, while briefcases are great for maintaining a professional front on business trips.
Cruising In The City
Depending on your style, you might want to take a backpack around the city, or might want to go with a laptop bag that doubles as a handbag. If you’re worried about security, you might also want to consider a laptop bag with anti-theft features. More on this again below.
An All-Round Option
For something as an all-rounder laptop bag that you can take to the office, on trips, in the city or even hiking, it’s pretty hard to beat the good old backpack. Something with clean lines that fits in anywhere and a bit of extra space for clothes or add-ons is something to consider too. This gives us a great transition into the next set of considerations…
What are you carrying?
Your laptop is a given, but what else are you likely to take with you on a day-to-day basis that you’ll want to store in your bag? What you’re taking will impact two key things in choosing the best laptop bag for you – size and organization.
Obviously, the more you need with you, the bigger your bag needs to be. If you cycle to work and need a whole change of clothes, plus your work gear, then you’ll want something that’s around 25+ liters. If you like to go it light, then under 20 liters should work well. There are even super agile 12-liter laptop backpacks that still have compartments for an 11-inch Macbook Pro (or similar).
If you’re taking papers, pens, notebooks and cables, then pockets to sort your work tools into neat and accessible pockets is something you’ll want to consider in your laptop bag. Like to take a water bottle with you? Make sure your bag has a slip for one. Have a tablet you always take too? Look to see if there’s a soft-lined sleeve that will store that iPad without scratching it. Same goes for sunglasses or spectacles. In short, think about how this bag is going to make your life easier in terms of being able to find your important items and accessing them quickly.
Other features to look out for
There are a lot of features you generally look out for in any bag, such as comfortable, adjustable straps. There’s also quality construction, sturdy zippers, and back support to make carrying comfortable. However, there are also specific things you’ll want to consider when choosing the best laptop bag. They mostly revolve around protecting your device in some way. Here are four things you’ll want to think about.
Your laptop bag to last a long time. You want it to be able to protect against any knocks or scrapes that crop up during everyday use. Look out for good gauge Nylon on the outside, with a bonus of soft linings that will protect your device inside.
Padded Laptop Sleeves
Further protection for your laptop is always a bonus when looking at a laptop bag. Search for something with some padding in the dedicated laptop sleeve. There’s also a lot of bags that ensure their internal sleeves finish before the very bottom of the bag, meaning that when you set it down, your laptop isn’t the first thing to come in contact with the floor.
If you’re likely to end up getting caught out in the rain at some point (hello bike commuters) then having a backpack with some water-resistant properties is definitely a bonus. If the material of your bag isn’t waterproof, then a rain cover can be stored in a bag pocket for whipping out when the weather turns.
Travel can be stressful enough without further worry about your valuable tech getting stolen. Thankfully, there are a bunch of anti-theft laptop bag options out there to keep your laptop (and other gear) safe. Lockable zips, slash guards, and anchor straps to fix the bag to an immovable object are just three anti-theft security features worth looking out for in your laptop bag.
Hopefully, this guide has helped narrow the field on how to choose the best laptop bag for you. Remember, it’s about what you’re mostly using the bag for, thinking about what extra things you’re carrying, and any bonus protection features you want built into the bag. After that, it’s simply figuring out a style that suits your mojo. Going with something you’ll be happy to sling over your shoulder for a long time coming. And, in case you’d like a further nudge in the right direction, here are links to Pacsafe’s best-selling laptop bags – the Z400 Briefcase and the Vibe 28L Commuter Backpack.