Given that even tiny bees have high-tech backpacks these days, it’s no surprise that human backpacks have gotten more advanced as well. Often equipped with features like charging ports or airport-friendly designs, modern backpacks have all the bells and whistles you could want. At a minimum, the best smart backpacks are capable of charging your electronic devices on the go — and some boast extra features such as anti-theft pockets or special tech sleeves to hold your iPads or laptops.
When you’re deciding which pack is best for you, consider the following qualities:
- Durability: In addition to smart features, a well-made backpack should be made out of tough, scratch-resistant fabric with sturdy zippers that offer security and don’t snag easily. It’s also helpful to have good stitching (and bonus points if it’s water-resistant, too).
- Comfort: If the backpack is uncomfortable, you’ll never want to wear it — so make look for features like padded straps, air vents, cooling panels, or weight-displacing designs. These elements will help keep you cool and comfortable while you’re navigating with your backpack.
- Storage: Think about your personal storage preferences in terms of how many compartments you like and which types are most important. High-quality backpacks often showcase customized pockets for things like water bottles, digital cameras, card readers, or even a pair of extra shoes.
Below is a list of the best smart backpacks on Amazon — scroll down to find the one that works best for your tech needs.
1. The best overall
Dimensions: 18 by 11.5 by 7 inches
Weight: 0.65 pound
Laptop sleeve: 15 inches
The lowdown: If you’re looking for backpacks with cool features, this lightweight option is chock-full of them. In addition to the strong zippers and a heavy-duty grab handle, the durable bag is designed with a built-in USB port that lets you juice up your devices while you’re on the move (just note that you have to buy a battery pack separately). It’s also equipped with a TSA-friendly 15-inch laptop compartment that zips all the way open to lay flat so you can pass your bag through security without having to take your devices out of it (though, protocol may vary by airport). At just over half a pound, it’s the lightest choice on this list which makes it ultra-comfortable — and it also has padded shoulder straps and a ventilated back panel. Lastly, it has tons of pockets and compartments, including a collapsible shoe pouch that can also hold laundry or a camera.
One reviewer wrote: “Very well-made, rugged design, easy to pull zippers for tons of storage and endless pockets. The charging set up, by adding a charge pack, is a great design! The ease of going through TSA is my favorite feature!!”
2. The best budget option
Dimensions: 18 by 12 by 7.8 inches
Weight: 1.56 pounds
Laptop sleeve: 15.6 inches
The lowdown: With a whopping 40,000-plus reviews, this smart backpack with a charger is one of the most popular choices on Amazon. The USB port features an integrated charging cable so you don’t have to remember the cord (although, like the previous selection, you’ll need your own power bank to use this feature). It has sturdy polyester fabric that’s water-resistant, along with robust metal zippers. The airflow panel on the back helps prevent you from sweating excessively under the straps, and there is comfortable, well-ventilated padding. In addition to the many pouches and compartments — pen sleeve, key fob hook, front side pocket, rear padded pocket — this backpack also showcases a hidden anti-theft pouch for extra security. At 1.56 pounds, it’s the second most lightweight backpack on this list.
One reviewer wrote: “I am in love with this backpack! I purchased it for commuting to work with my laptop and iPad, and I also teach college classes part time so this is very helpful for carrying everything while walking across campus. I’ve got this baby loaded up with my laptop, iPad, multiple charging cords, power bank, water bottle, 2 Rocketbooks, and accessories, and there is still plenty of room for more. I love the charger option on the side.”
3. The best for work
Dimensions: 17.7 by 11.4 by 5.9 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds
Laptop sleeve: 15 inches
The lowdown: Designed with a built-in cable system for charging devices — along with dedicated AirPod and earbud compartments — this is one of the best backpacks for work, especially for people who commute. On top of the convenient tech features, it has durable, water-repellent fabric that’s coated with tough thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and reverse coil zippers to keep it well-sealed. Compartment-wise, it has two fleece-lined pouches — one for your laptop and one for your sunglasses, as well as a special pocket for your power bank. The air channels on the back provide extra breathability and comfort, and the unique harness helps to distribute weight more evenly. (Just note that reviewers say this feature makes the backpack slightly stiff at first so you’ll need some time to break it in).
One reviewer wrote “I love the back support that this backpack has. I purchased several backpacks from different brands and this bag was perfect. It's a little stiff at first but definitely softens with use. I leave the side pockets open all the time because I always have coffee and water so I have no issue with those zippers. Overall, this is a high quality, comfortable, and great looking bag.”
4. The best for travel
Dimensions: 17.4 by 12.4 by 6.3 inches
Weight: 2.86 pounds
Laptop sleeve: 15.6 inches
The lowdown: This TSA-friendly option, which has a zipper that opens 180 degrees for a smoother trip through airport security, is an excellent smart travel backpack. On top of that, it has a strap you can use to slide it over the handle of your roller luggage, and a hidden anti-theft pocket to stash your passport or wallet. The charging port has a built-in cable and there’s a soft flannel laptop compartment to protect your computer. This backpack has rugged construction with water-resistant microfiber leather and ballistic nylon, and the inside is built with breathable high-density sponge for extra comfort. It is the heaviest option on this list, but at 2.86 pounds, it’s still pretty lightweight.
One reviewer wrote: “This bag is perfect for travel because you can remove all your electronics quickly when going through security for checking. After two weeks of use, I find it very comfortable in carrying it to work. I would high(ly) recommend this product.”