Long ago, men in gray flannel suits all got on the same train at the same time, carrying identical briefcases and umbrellas, and all left for home at precisely 5 pm. But how, when, and where we work are all rapidly changing. My backpack sits by my desk at home and on my back during bike rides, gets shoved under plane seats and dropped on the occasionally sticky floors of coffee shops. Sometimes I take it on family vacations or when I swing by the gym on the way home.
For months, I’ve been switching between different (but usually black) laptop backpacks as I attend work conferences, e-scooter to my favorite coffee shop, or take my kids to school. Whether your gig is at a full-on office tower with an open floor plan, a foosball table, and dogs sleeping on the floor or just a coffee shop down the street, we have a fit and functional backpack for you. Everyone has personal preferences, but a few features I look for include a suspended, padded laptop sleeve; durable fabrics and water-resistant zippers; and versatile storage options.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Backpacks for College if you’re looking for something a little more casual (and cheaper), as well as the Best Messenger Bags guides.
Updated for February 2020: We removed several selections and added others, like the Tom Bihn Synik 22.