The Synapse 19 is a more traditional backpack done very, very well: The materials used by the Seattle-based Tom Bihn include nylon ripstop for fabric lining and exterior components, closed-cell foam for support, and an option for 400d – 1000d denier Cordua. The result is a water-resistant backpack with not only a compartment for notebooks or laptops (including a removable pouch), but also room for cameras, flashlights, sunglasses, first aid kits, and a little of everything else. The Synapse has a dedicated focus on internal pouches and compartments so that the outside remains free of mesh bags and confusing straps, creating a clean, stylish pack suitable for outdoor use in all types of weather. Laptop pouches can be customized according to size, and if you find the 19 too small, you can try the Synapse 25 instead!
Not only is Arc’teryx considered to be one of the most premiere outdoor brands of all time in most circles, but it’s also oft considered one of the most expensive. The high price tag associated with the Granville Backpack is warranted, though, considering the taped seams and weather-resistant construction. The 20L pack also features a zippered back panel for quickly accessing your laptop or tablet from the padded 15-inch sleeve, as well as a reflective logo for increased viability, a key clip, and a convenient pocket for securing smaller items. The peppering of the color choices — Bengal Copper, Black, Marine, and Biome — make it even more accessible, whether you want to go with something subtle or a bit more flashy.
Colorado-based Topo Designs prides itself on manufacturing packs that are as suitable for hiking in the hills as your daily commute to the office. The Kleteersack 15L is a prime example of why that’s the case, providing a healthy 15 liters of space within a classic design built for the traveler on the go. The compact hauler utilizes 1000d Cordura for durability and protection from the elements, along with a coated pack cloth to create an inner compartment that’s completely lined.
The natural leather lash tabs also render the pack ideal for stowing a bike light or other equipment, while side pockets and padded sleeves provide extra space for stowing a water bottle, hydration bladder, or even a 15-inch laptop. The resounding color options are just a plus. It’s worth noting that it’s easy to find this model for prices lower than the $170 MSRP.
In recent year’s, Osprey’s name has become as synonymous with outdoor packs as Tide is with detergent — and rightly so. However, the aptly-titled Cyber Port was designed more so for the tech aficionado than the one heading into the back-country on a seven-day trek. Available in a bevy of attractive colors that tie retro style with modern sensibility, the panel-style daypack features a melange of storage compartments, each of which is intended for a different purpose. A padded sleeve provides adequate space for 15-inch laptops, while the main compartment houses important documents and a front pocket supplies a scratch-resistant space for your shades. Best of all, a zippered sleeve located in the front panel allows you to use utilize your tablet without ever taking it out of the pack. And did we mention the lifetime guarantee?
Photography and travel
While the Lowepro is a camera bag at its core, it has a great laptop compartment and enough features to warrant a look even if you don’t have a digital camera. The main compartment is broken up by a series of padded dividers, so you can have individual storage for all of your lenses and equipment, or whatever random stuff you’re carrying around with you.
There are three access panels, one on each side so you can pull the bag under your arm, and one on top for larger items. The back is covered in attachment straps for all manner of extra packs, tripod mounts, and easy access storage. The ProTactic comes in two sizes, both capable of holding one or two DSLR bodies, plenty of lenses, and your laptop.
If you’re looking for class and a laptop bag that’s meant for traveling, the (vegan) leather-adorned DonJon is right up your alley. Although it features a traditional laptop compartment — one technically designed for MacBooks — it also comes with numerous pockets for housing phones, cables, chargers, notebooks, and an array of other pint-sized devices.
This makes it well-suited for a variety of situations, from a cross-country train ride to a busy weekend in the city. The removable shoulder strap also provides plenty of options for carrying the bag, and the price here is lower than expected given the quality of design and space you get in return.
Timbuk2 is a mainstay when it comes to messenger bags, or at least it has been since the San Francisco-based company first entered the foray in the early ’90s. The Command Messenger is one of the most generic, sure, but it’s also a brilliant ode to simplicity. A host of external pockets provide ample room for your power chords and gear, while a Tricot-lined pocket protects your sunglasses and smartphone from unwanted scratches.
Additional touches, such as the durable aluminum hardware and the TSA-compliant sleeve, add to the appeal, the latter of which allows you to check through airport security without having to remove your devices. Said feature — and the equipped Vista loops — make the Command worth more than just a cursory glance. Prices for this older model tend to be more affordable, but if you can’t find it look for newer versions of the Command bag.
The market for vertical laptop sleeves seems scarce, but Cocoon builds a solid neoprene one with a padded handle and form-fitting construction. The slender sleeve uses premium quality lycra fabric and provides lightweight protection and accommodation for laptops up to 13 inches without tacking on excess and surely unwanted bulk.
The bundled Grid-It system is also an interesting method of organization that firmly holds your belongings in place using rubberized woven elastic bands and versatile construction. Though customization and features are limited beyond that, it’s available in three colors (racing red, gun gray, and black), so toss it in a backpack or suitcase for a bit of added protection on the move.
If you want a tough backpack that can hold a little bit of everything, including your DSLR camera (plus extra lens) and 15-inch laptop, this highly versatile Kelly Moore pack could be your ideal companion. It comes with everything from a removable padded basket to a credit card organization. The leather flap is secured with brass hardware and magnetic locks for basic protection.