best men's backpacks for work

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The 13 best men's backpacks for work

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An Australian study found that people who walk or bike short distances to work tend to be happier commuters than those who drive. But even if you live too far away to hoof it to your job, the best men’s backpacks for work just might help put you in a productive state of mind. With laptop sleeves sized for devices up to 17 inches, they come in a range of prices and styles, so you can find one that suits you and your budget best.

Beyond a laptop sleeve that fits your computer, the best backpack for work will have features that meet your particular needs, like locking zippers and hidden pockets that add an extra level of security, or a built-in tech organizer that wrangles cables and cords. Or, if you travel frequently for work, a backpack with a fold-out computer compartment that’s easy to load and unload will get you through security faster. You’ll also want to consider how much you tote to work each day. A slim, compact backpack may provide enough space for some people (and won’t get in the way if you’re taking public transportation), but if you like to exercise before or after work, a roomier option that can hold some extra gear will eliminate the need to bring a separate gym bag. Likewise, if you’re someone who brings lunch to work, a backpack-cooler combo is a convenient space-saving pick.

Last, since you’ll be carrying it on your back, consider aesthetics. Your backpack should make you feel comfortable and confident, so I’ve included a range of styles and colors that’ll help you dress for the job you want (so to speak). So if you’re in the market for the best office backpacks, chances are you’ll find one you love on the list below.

1. A basic backpack with sky-high ratings

Understated with a classic silhouette, this water-resistant backpack from Matein boasts an impressive 4.8-star overall rating after more than 43,000 reviews. It has plenty of clever storage, like a dedicated back compartment for laptops and tablets that unzips and folds out completely flat, making it easy to unload contents during airport travel. The backpack also has a hidden security pocket for valuables, a variety of zippered pouches for holding small accessories, and two mesh side pockets that can be used to hold umbrellas or water bottles. Plus, an external USB port allows for charging on the go via a power bank (not included). This backpack is available in 15.6- and 17-inch sizes, so be sure to pick the option that fits your laptop.

Helpful review: “It's a cool computer backpack. It's full of functions and big capacity. The space layout is also reasonable. The design of the shoulder strap is also very comfortable, so that the shoulder does not bear the full weight. It's also very cost-effective.”

  • Available colors: 10

2. This sleek option with an included charger

This sleek backpack has many of the same features as the previous pick but with a slightly upgraded style that includes a faux leather front panel and nylon sides. A rear access compartment has a protective laptop sleeve and straps for a tablet and other tech devices, which leaves plenty of space in the main compartment for bulky items, notebooks, and other essentials. The bag’s concealed double zipper is tamper-resistant, and a hidden pocket on the back can be used to hold valuables like a wallet or passport. Compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches, this backpack has a built-in USB port, so you can hook your phone up to the included charger while you’re on the go. Last but not least, it’s durable and water-resistant.

Helpful review: “Great, professional, stylish bag for commuting. Was looking for something functional but a bit more “grown up” and this bag ticked all the boxes [...] Charging capability has also been a nice bonus after some late work nights on my commute home.”

  • Available colors: 1

3. A budget-friendly backpack that does the job

You can get a lot of the same functionality as the above options with this simple and budget-friendly backpack. Though slightly bulkier, the backpack has three large zippered compartments, including one that’s dedicated to laptops up to 17 inches big, as well as multiple pockets and built-in loops for holding smaller accessories. The mesh pocket on the side is perfect for a water bottle or umbrella, and the USB-charging port keeps you powered up on the go (power bank not included). On top of that, the water-resistant design helps protect your stuff from any splashes.

Helpful review: “Bought initially as a laptop bag but I used it as my travel bag for short trips and the usb cord for the power source is really good for backup power.”

  • Available colors: 3

4. The travel-friendly backpack with a locking zipper

If security is your first concern when shopping for a work backpack, consider this pickpocket-proof option with a three-digit combination lock. Available in 15.6- and 17.3-inch sizes, it has a large compartment with a laptop sleeve, and a smaller front compartment with multiple small pockets that make it easy to organize accessories and essentials. It’s made from water-repellent fabric and features a port for easy charging of electronic devices (no power bank included).

Helpful review: “Has lots of storage and is very sturdy. The code lock at the top provides that extra security I want when traveling to and from work.”

  • Available colors: 6

5. This large-capacity backpack that fits so much stuff

This 50-liter backpack has four compartments for storing devices, work-related papers, and even a change of clothes. The back-zippered compartment features a padded sleeve for laptops up to 17 inches, and it folds out flat for easy airport security scanning. Plus, the sturdy gripping handle is reinforced, allowing you to lift the bag even when it’s fully loaded. In addition, the bag’s shoulder straps are cushioned, and the back panel has a special ergonomic design that makes the bag comfortable to wear even when it's at capacity. There’s an exterior pouch for a water bottle or umbrella, and the charging port lets you power up your phone (no power bank included). Although it’s not water-resistant, this is a great pick that’s perfect if you carry a lot with you each day, or take frequent overnight business trips.

Helpful review: “Exactly what I needed for my overnight work trips... holds my clothes, gear, and laptop with accessories.”

  • Available colors: 3

6. The slim backpack that won’t get in the way

Maybe you only carry a laptop and a few small items to work each day and want a low-profile option that holds just the essentials, in which case this slim backpack will be your best bet. It measures just 3 inches thick but is still large enough to hold laptops up to 15 inches in its soft flannel sleeve. It has six interior pockets for small belongings, as well as an anti-theft pocket that rests against your back — ideal for passports and other valuables. Made from durable ballistic nylon and microfiber faux leather, it’s completely waterproof, and the non-bulky design lends itself to crowded commuter train rides. The only drawback? There’s no charging port.

Helpful review: “I commute by train to and from work and the low profile of the bag means I don’t have to remove it on crowded trains! That said, there is so much room in this bag with the perfect number and placement of pockets, and genuinely quality construction.”

  • Available colors: 1

7. A stylish backpack with faux leather details

Boasting a 4.7-star overall rating after more than 10,000 reviews, this KROSER backpack is a highly rated pick that scores style points. Made from water-repellent fabric, it comes in three classic colors — charcoal, navy, and light gray — and features faux leather details that give it a timeless aesthetic. The three-compartment backpack features a laptop sleeve for devices up to 17.3 inches, along with a variety of interior and exterior pockets that are perfect for stashing small accessories. And the integrated USB port lets you charge up on the go (no power bank included).

Helpful review: “My laptop fits in here perfectly. I have a zbook 17.3” laptop. There is room for my large charging cord as well as other essentials. The design is modern and it is comfortable to wear.”

  • Available colors: 3

8. This timeless backpack with a vintage-inspired look

Don’t let the vintage style of this backpack fool you — it has plenty of storage features that can keep up with the 21st century, like a laptop sleeve for devices up to 15.6 inches and a charging port for juicing up on the road (power bank not included). Made from 600-denier polyester, it’s ultra-durable and water-resistant, and between the main compartment and four additional pockets, there’s ample space for essentials. This is a great option for anyone who wants something that’s a little dressed up, without trying too hard.

Helpful review: “I use this backpack daily for work and I absolutely love it. Not only is it stylish but it [does] it job well. I’ve gotten caught in the rain a couple of times. No water water damage to my laptop.”

  • Available colors: 5

9. The premium backpack that’s worth the price

Although it’s on the pricier side, reviewers have written that this commuter backpack is worth the cost, thanks to the premium materials and excellent workmanship. The backpack has a separate, rear-entry laptop pocket that fits devices up to 17 inches, and the two other compartments plus multiple pockets help you organize all your work essentials. A side pouch lets you store a water bottle or umbrella, and the water-resistant bottom protects contents from splashes while you bike or walk. There’s no built-in charging port, and some reviewers have reported that this option is on the smaller side, so it’s best if you’re not carrying a big load to and from work every day.

Helpful review: “Its a very professional backpack with premium feeling materials and not too large to make it look like its a bulging ruck sack. [...] Overall I would give this bag a 9.0/10 and would definitely recommend to another person who wants a slim and sleek backpack to carry his laptop, some notebooks and folders to and from work.”

  • Available colors: 4

10. A backpack with a built-in tech organizer

If you’re someone who travels with a lot of cords or small accessories (and has a tendency to misplace them), you’ll appreciate this backpack’s built-in tech organizer. The two-compartment backpack has a laptop sleeve for devices up to 15.6 inches, and a smaller front pocket that’s sized to fit a 10-inch tablet. It’s made with water-resistant fabric, and the slim, compact design means it’s non-bulky for commuting on subways and metros, but there’s no charging port.

Helpful review: “Best organizer ever for a computer bag no more clutter or searching for cords or anything everything has it's place.”

  • Available colors: 1

11. A laptop backpack that doubles as a gym bag

If you’d rather not carry a second bag when you have plans to hit the gym, check out the Adult Hustle backpack from Under Armour. It has a lined sleeve for 15-inch laptops in the main compartment, as well as a separate zippered compartment for workout clothes and sneakers. There are also a variety of smaller pockets for organizing essentials (including two water bottle pockets), but there’s no charging port. The sporty, water-resistant bag comes comes in a variety of colors, whether you want to make a neutral or bold statement.

Helpful review: “Currently using it as my work/gym bag! I’m able to for my laptop in the laptop sleeve and can squish my sneakers in the bottom compartment [...] I can put my gym clothes in the bag and use the side pocket for my water bottle.”

  • Available colors: 43

12. A backpack-lunch box combo with insulation

If you want a low-key way to bring your lunch to work, this backpack-lunchbox combo has you covered. Included with the backpack is a removable insulated lunch box that fits into a lower compartment, which helps keep your other belongings free of moisture and food odors. Made from water-resistant Oxford cloth, the backpack has three other compartments — including one that’s designed to fit laptops up to 17 inches — and there’s a mesh pocket for a water bottle or umbrella, and a charging port to keep devices powered up (power bank not included).

Helpful review: “This bag is perfect on the train to work every day. It eliminates the need for a bag and separate lunch bag. The lunch bag DOES come with it and keeps my lunch cold for 8 hours with an ice pack. There is still enough room for my book, umbrella, notebooks, pens, and more. It stays pretty slim even with all the stuff in it.”

  • Available colors: 1

13. A rucksack-style backpack that holds the essentials

This slim rucksack-style backpack from Bellroy is a great option if you’re just bringing a laptop and a few small items to work. The flexible, fold-down flap of the bag has a magnetized closure that keeps the bag securely shut and, when opened, provides a good view into the bag’s contents for quick grabbing of items. Inside, there’s a sleeve for laptops up to 16 inches, as well as several pockets for organizing essentials. A zippered pocket on the exterior of the bag has dedicated spots for a smartphone, keys, and writing utensils, but there’s no charging port and no mention of water resistance.

Helpful review: “This backpack is exactly what I was looking for: it's comfortable to wear and it holds my stuff, but it doesn't look like I stole it from one of my students. The laptop pocket fits my Macbook Air easily, and it has plenty of room for my lunch, a few books, and cell phone, wallet, and sundries.”

  • Available colors: 3

Studies referenced:

Ma, L. Ye, R. (2019, April). Does daily commuting behavior matter to employee productivity? Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966692318307269

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