Busy people with busy lifestyles and careers often have many things to juggle at once. All those electronics, cables and other random work stuff shouldn’t be one of them. When a briefcase just won’t do, get a backpack.
Work backpacks have become big business in the last few years as the demand for them from those with long commutes by foot or by bike have grown. Not only do they meet that demand but they have also become somewhat in style as well. No need to look sloppy while being efficient, right?
There are many brands and style of work related backpacks, but I have narrowed things down to what I consider to be the top 5 work backpacks on the market at the moment.
Best Business Backpacks: Know What You Need
Before you can pick out the perfect backpack, however, you need to consider what you will be using it for.
- Do you need a backpack that is able to hold something simple like maybe just a laptop, or do you need something a little more rugged for your morning bike commute to work?
- Do you mind if it’s a little bulky or should it be sleek and slim?
- Does it need to have tons of pockets?
Once you have an idea of what you need from a work backpack, this article may serve you better and save you a ton of time searching for a good pack that meets all of your needs.
Tumi Alpha Bravo Knox – $365.00
The Alpha Bravo Knox from Tumi might be out of the price range for anyone looking for a simple backpack. is a versatile, roomy backpack for those who are looking for a more casual design. This backpack really raises the bar for its competitors with its sophisticated design.
This pack sports 4 interior pockets, plus one for your iPad, 2 business card slots and a large laptop compartment. On the outside, you find leather accents on the top carry handle, side zipped pockets and a quick access back pocket with a hidden magnetic strip. With all of this space, the Alpha Bravo Knox backpack is certainly up to the task of keeping you organized and ready for work. Oh and did I mention how stylish this thing is?
Seriously, if making a statement is a concern, worry not. With this backpack you will probably be able to turn more than a few heads. This is a backpack for the discerning, fashionable person.
This is the only backpack on our list that is made from Ballistic Nylon. What this means is that this thing can take more than just the normal wear and tear. This material makes the Alpha Bravo Knox one of the best choices for anyone who does a lot of traveling or has a long commute to work.
- 16.9″ x 5.9″
- Storage for up to a 15″ laptop
- iPad pocket
- 2 business card slots
- 2 media pockets
- 1 open pocket
- 1 zip pocket
- Exterior side zipped pockets
- Stylish design
Incase Icon – $169.95
The Icon from Incase is a dream for anyone who values a more rigid backpack with wide, comfortable shoulder straps. This pack has foam padding lined throughout to keep all of your tech and other valuables safe. All that extra padding adds alot of stability and shock absorption making this pack a great choice for anyone who needs to carry around a lot of tech with them to work.
Usually, more padding equals more weight. Not so with this pack, it’s stays just about as light regardless of whether it is full of stuff or completely empty. This is thanks to the durable 840D nylon that it is made from.
I will warn you however, if you are not a fan of zippers, you may want to look elsewhere. If you are a lover of zippers, however, you need look no further. The Incase Icon backpack has a lot of zippers.
But zippers aren’t the only things that come stocked so plentiful on the Icon. It also has numerous pockets to hold anything you need for your day; laptops, phones, all of your cables and even smaller pockets for things like pencils. You may have to spend a little time messing around with this backpack in order to discover all of its pockets though as it does have a few rather well hidden pockets for smaller items.
Overall, the Incase Icon backpack is an ideal choice for someone who needs a solid pack for toting around their laptop and other work essentials but don’t really need much else. One thing to be aware of is that this backpack is designed almost exclusively for carrying around your electronics.
- 19″ x 13″ x 9″
- Storage for up to a 15″ MacBook Pro or iPad
- Solid, sturdy design
- Multiple pockets
- Sufficient padding for all your devices
- Wide shoulder straps
Osprey Flapjack – $88.00
The Osprey Flapjack is a bike couriers best friend. This backpack was designed specifically for the person who needs to be on the move constantly, and it certainly shows. The Flapjack is capable of handling just about anything you can throw at it with relative ease. On top of that, it is water resistant and holds up very well in rainy weather if you’re ever caught out in a storm.
One really neat feature that I personally love best about the Osprey Flapjack is that the main compartment is not secured by a zipper and opens up fairly wide. The top simply folds over the front of the backpack and is secured by a latch. This design makes it super simple to pop the latch and in
To top off all of this awesomeness, the Osprey Flapjack also comes with a reflective trim. That alone is a nice addition to any backpack and should appeal to anyone who has a nighttime bike commute to work.
- 19″ x 13″ x 9″
- Storage for up to a 15″ laptop or tablet
- Sleek design
- Reflective trim for increased nighttime visibility
- Full-length side zippered pocket
- Optimal back panel airflow
- Adjustable and removable 25mm hip belt
Booq Daypack – $70.96
Are you looking for something slim, stylish and capable to hold your most essentials items. Take a look at the Booq Daypack then.
This backpack was designed with the sole intention of making carrying your MacBook and a few other essentials, a breeze. And it does not disappoint. The Daypack can fit either a 13″ or 15″ MacBook, up to a 16.4″ PC laptop as well as a few other smaller items such as your water bottle, a few books and your phone. Just right for everyday use.
The Booq Daypack is a lot less rigid than most of the other backpacks on this list. Because of this and it’s overall shape, it can sometimes seem a little droopy and doesn’t stand on it’s own very well.
What really sets the Booq Daypack apart is the inclusion of a serial number in the event your backpack gets lost. When you receive you Daypack, simply register your serial number with Terralinq, a service provided by Booq. If someone finds and reports the bag they found, along with the serial number and you will receive an email alert from Terralinq. This is a very handy service and is also provided by other brands as well, such as Tumi.
Overall, I would recommend this backpack to anyone who maybe only needs a few items for work but could do without all the extra pockets and zippers. Just throw your laptop in, pack a lunch next to it, zip up the top flap and you’re good to go for the day.
- 15″ x 11″ x 1.5″
- Storage for up to a 16.4″ laptop or tablet
- Lightweight and water-repellent Polyester material
- Individual serial number in case it gets lost or stolen
Kopack – $39.99
The Kopack is one of the most inexpensive anti-theft backpacks that you can find. But don’t let the price tag fool you, this is also probably one of the best entry-level anti-theft backpacks on the market.
This backpack comes with a stylish, comfortable, yet sturdy design. The Kopack contains soft, bubble foam padded layers for extra shock absorption and protection from accidental scratches and dings to your valuable electronics.
The opening on the backside of the Kopack makes passing through TSA / ScanSmart or other security inspections as easy as opening up the back to reveal your laptop, extremely simple.
The Kopack is a pickpockets nightmare and it is almost impossible to steal anything from this pack when it’s on your back. This is achieved by a very clever design. The zipper to the main storage compartment is on the back of the pack. This means the zipper rests closest to your back, making unzipping it and robbing you a daring attempt to say the least.
- 16.9″ x 12.2″ x 5.51″
- Storage for up to a two 15.6″ laptops
- Clever anti-theft design
- Made from an anti-scratch material
- Water repellent
- Padded shoulder straps
- TSA / Security inspection opening on the back
The North Face Borealis – $88.00
The North Face has been in the backpack and outdoor gear business for long enough now that it is almost hard to have a conversation about backpacks without their name coming up.
The North Face Borealis backpack is a beautiful piece of gear that is designed for securely carrying around your laptop while giving you the comfort of a new suspension system. It can fit up to a 15″ laptop in it’s fleece-lined and padded main compartment. Don’t worry though, it won’t leave your other valuable electronics out. In addition to the padded main laptop sleeve, the front compartment contains a tablet sleeve and pockets for a couple of pens, your smartphone and other small odds and ends.
All of this is finished with side pockets and a bungee cord in case you want to latch on any other gear to your backpack.
- 19.75″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″
- 15″ laptop sleeve
- Padded and fleece-lined tablet sleeve
- Two water bottle pockets
- Padded haul handle
- Removable waist belt
- Reflective strips for nighttime visibility
OGIO Renegade RSS – $149.99
Do you travel alot for work? Are you tough on your backpacks? If you answered yes to either one of those questions, you need to get your hands on the OGIO Renegade RSS backpack. This is the companies flagship backpack and I have to say, they nailed it!
This bag is designed to carry just about anything you need. Seriously, it even has a small pocket near the neoprene haul handle for things like your wallet, sunglasses or other small items. The main compartment can hold up to a 17″ laptop or a few binders and books. Foam panels line the main compartment to keep your electronics safe from rough handling while the backpanel uses a Hybrid Unibody to provide you maximum comfort. And we can’t forget about the tablet sleeve or the zippered stash pockets for your smaller trinkets.
This backpack has it all and is a must have.
- 19.5″ x 14″ x 10.5″
- Can hold a 17″ laptop
- Tablet sleeve
- Padded shoulder straps
- Numerous organization pockets
- Neoprene haul handle
- Hybrid Unibody Backpanel
So, previously on this list, I showed you the Tumi Alpha Bravo Knox. Well, say hello to its competition!
The Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack is one awesome eye-catching, attention grabbing adventurer styled backpack. If you want to give off that well-traveled vibe, this pack is right for you. It holds up to a 15″ laptop, an internal media pocket equipped with a headphone port and magnetic strap closures. It even has a front pocket that contains a rather nifty little hidden zipper and key clip.
To make things a bit more stylish (as if that was possible), this pack comes with signature striped fabric liner and a classic woven label right on the front. This back is a stylish adventurer’s dream come true.
- 19.5″ x 11.25″ x 7″
- Holds up to a 15″ laptop
- media pocket with headphone port
- Contoured shoulder straps
- Air mesh back padding
- Adjustable draw cord closure and magnetic straps
Timbuk2 Especial Tres Cycling Backpack – $209.00
You may be wondering why I have chosen to include a cycling backpack on this list. Well, the answer is simple… bike couriers. As a bike courier or messenger, you have a tough job battling traffic, getting to your destination on time and with everything in one piece.
This is where the Timbuk2 Especial Tres Cycling Backpack comes into play. This bad boy is a high volume, weatherproof roll-top style backpack. And trust me, this thing can carry alot. It has pockets for organizing your small stuff while still leaving tons of room for everything from helmets to bulky documents. If weather is a concern for you, worry no more because this pack is also waterproof and can keep your contents dry for several hours in the rain. It can even fit up to a 15″ laptop.
One feature I really liked about this backpack is that they added a vista loop for attaching blinking bike lights to the backpack. This, in addition to the reflective areas of the backpack, make this a great option for nighttime couriers.
- 13.8″ x 21.3″ x 9.4″
- Can hold up to a 15″ laptop
- Waterproof exterior
- Water resistant PU coated zippers
- Reflective hits
- Dual side stretch pockets
- Internal organization pockets
- Roll top and side access
Chrome Industries Bravo 2.0 Backpack – $200.00
Looking for something that is built around being as sleek and versatile as possible? Look no further than the Chrome Industries Bravo 2.0 Backpack.
This backpack is the most versatile on the list and chances are, it’s probably the most versatile backpack on the market right now. During the day it can hold your 15″ MacBook Pro and all of your folders under its waterproof roll top design. At night, it can transform easily into a grocery hauling machine when you need to go to the store. Oh, you need to move around some big boxes? No problem, just strap them under the cross straps, buckle them up and off you go.
This backpack can become your best friend in just about any situation. I highly recommend giving it a try if you need ultimate versatility.
- 13.5″ x 21″ x 6″
- Holds up to a 15″ MacBook Pro
- Made from abrasive resistant 1050d Nylon
- Rolltop, waterproof design
- Ergonomic shoulder strap
Material Is Important
Remember how I was saying that you should have a general idea of what it is that you require from your backpack so you can make the best choice?
Well, when it comes to backpacks, one of those important decisions should be made in regards to the material that it is made from. What is the point in buying a backpack that is cumbersome to wear or worse, one that makes it difficult to move around when it’s strapped to your back?
There are a few things to look for when making your decision that may make things a bit simpler.
First, look at what type of material the backpack is made of, overall. Is it made from leather, polyester, or a heavier duty material like ballistic nylon? This can be a huge game changer depending on what type of environments in which you will have it with you.
For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to take your brand new all leather backpack out with you on a rainy walk to work. But a well treated, ballistic nylon backpack would probably withstand that light drizzle a bit better. Ultimately, it all depends on how and where you will be using or carrying the backpack. Some people have much more active and hands on lifestyles and need durability, while others may only be going from the car to the office each day.
Choose a backpack that is made from a material that can keep up with your lifestyle, trust me, you will not regret it.
Our Final Review for the Best Business Backpacks
A few final thoughts before I leave you to make your decision…
Backpacks are important for a variety of reasons and situations and the choices are many. Ultimately you want to find something that not only holds everything you need for your day, but also feels good to wear and protects your gear.
Ideally, you will want something that is not too bulky built not to thin, allows you to move around freely and is easy to organize. I recommend trying to stay in the range of about 15′ tall and about 11-13″ wide. That should give you just enough room for your laptop and a few other essentials.
I also recommend that if you commute by foot or bike to work at nighttime, invest in a backpack that comes with reflective strips. This will increase your nighttime visibility, reducing the likelihood of an accident. Most backpacks on the market already come with this feature but double check to make sure before your purchase. As a bike rider myself, I can’t imagine my backpack not having a reflective trim at the very least.
In this article we have looked at our pick for the top 5 backpacks for work. Each of them provide something different than the next and at varying budgets. So, whether you are looking for something that makes a statement or something that is versatile, cheap or pricey, slim or bulky, you are sure to find it in one of these backpacks.
What type of backpack do you use on a daily basis for work? Let us know in the comments section!