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The Best Backpack

Last updated on September 13, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Backpacks and dug through the reviews from 93 of the most popular review sites including Best Backpack Lab, Idea Hacks, Tigernu, Unwired Buyer, Best Seekers, Laptop Magazine and more. The result is a ranking of the best Backpacks.

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DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Backpacks

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

SwissGear

1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

Plenty of RoomA multi-functional backpack with plenty of room for everything you need.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Travel Gear Zone, Trek Bible, Best Backpack Lab, Our Great Products, Idea Hacks, 5 Product Reviews and 6 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" These are popular Swiss Gear backpacks because it is durable and looks great. And it also appeals to different people beacause of the storage and functionality of the backpack."
Cons
"There is one small critique a few users of the SwissGear Travel Gear Scansmart Backpack 1900 have. The zipper durability on a few of the color styles seems to not work as well as others. Whether they stop lining up..."

Modoker

Vintage Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

Heavy-Duty PackA handy backpack with a gorgeous vintage design.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Laptop Magazine, The Spruce, The Gadget Nerds and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The bag's fabric is a smart look of denim and brown leather accents, and it mixes practical features (roomy interior pockets, dedicated laptop pouch, exterior slots for beverages and umbrellas) with comfortable add-ons like honey-comb cushions on the straps and..."
Cons
"Although the side pockets are a good size, being elasticated would make them even more useful."
  The Best Value

Mancro

Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

Comfortable BackpackA comfortable backpack with a built-in combo lock.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Expert World Travel, Top Ten Review Pro, Lifewire, Buy The Best 10, 5 Product Reviews, Top Expert Reviews and 11 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" It is perfect for anyone taking short trips to work in a coffee shop, or heading to school, or maybe just wanting to charge on the go on the train/biking to work."
Cons
"Exterior water bottle pocket doesn’t fit larger bottles. Doesn’t accommodate odd-shaped items well."

KOPACK

Lightweight Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

Lightweight BackpackA lightweight pack with 10 pockets to store all your gear.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, Best Brand Reviews, Top Review Pro, The Top Pro, Hiking Reviewed, Make Tech Easier and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Despite its slim design, the bag works as a super organizer. It comes with 17 different storage spaces and compartments. An external USB charging port is built into the bag. Hidden laptop compartment offers extra security."
Cons
"Although said to be water repellant, the material may allow in some water if exposed to the wet environment for long."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the backpacks available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

93

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Best Backpack Lab, Idea Hacks, Tigernu, Unwired Buyer, Best Seekers.

64,386

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Backpacks and also dug through the reviews from 93 of the most popular review sites including Best Backpack Lab, Idea Hacks, Tigernu, Unwired Buyer, Best Seekers, Laptop Magazine and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Backpacks.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Our Expert Score
9.4
12 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
8,283 user reviews
Our Take

The multiple storage compartments within the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack make it super versatile. Not only are there spacious sections for your laptop or tablet, but the bag also features pockets for your water bottle, notepad and pencils. The weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester fabric means you can use this backpack for everything from traveling back and forth to campus to hiking up a mountain.

What other experts liked
These are popular Swiss Gear backpacks because it is durable and looks great. And it also appeals to different people beacause of the storage and functionality of the backpack.
- Travel Gear Zone
From our point of view, it’s just right. With that, the organizational ability of this backpack is excellent. The SwissGear Travel Gear Scansmart Backpack 1900 is renowned for being a great backpack for school, work, or travel while staying...
- Trek Bible
August 31, 2018 | Full review
The shoulder straps are padded, adjustable and feature in-built suspension to help keep heavy loads off your shoulders and back.
- Best Backpack Lab
It is made of polyester fabric, which is strong, durable, and breathable. In addition, it has a water bottle pocket making it convenient and efficient.
- Our Great Products
July 8, 2019 | Full review
There are more than 7 pockets to store personal items, and they are all protected with durable zippers. These backpacks were truly created to pass the test of time.
- Idea Hacks
It includes a large front U-zip pocket that opens up for quick access to personal stuff. SwissGear Laptop Backpack has two, breathable, side compartments for an umbrella or a water bottle.
- 5 Product Reviews
July 31, 2019 | Full review
SwissGear 1900 Travel Laptops provide you with exactly this. They look great and are also very useful. Plus, it can carry up to laptops that fall under 17-inches. As a matter of fact, the ScanSmart technology ensures that you...
- The Top Pro
This awesome laptop backpack is very highly recommended due to its great quality and features. The bag has a good number of compartments. Moreover, it has a detachable key ring in the outermost pocket, which some people look for....
- Best Brand Reviews
You will find the long-lasting weatherproof 1200D ballistic polyester handy, especially if you are economic-minded. This is because it enables the laptop backpack to stand up to harsh outdoor conditions and heavy use, thereby, lasting longer. Ideally, the manufacturer of...
- Ah Joo
The bag features something called ScanSmart lay-flat technology. In essence, this design feature allows quick access to the laptop, which will always come in handy on airports. Also, the laptop will be seen on the TSA scan, which also helps...
- IDKMen
June 5, 2018 | Full review
For travelers with a lot of small items, the Scansmart 1900 might be a better backpack, because it’s designed not to be filled anywhere near capacity.
- foXnoMad
July 19, 2018 | Full review
When I read this, I was truly amazed and was impressed that the fabric of Swissgear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack was supposedly able to withstand the water that sat on it for about 30minutes.
- Real Backpacks
April 1, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
There is one small critique a few users of the SwissGear Travel Gear Scansmart Backpack 1900 have. The zipper durability on a few of the color styles seems to not work as well as others. Whether they stop lining up...
- Trek Bible
August 31, 2018 | Full review
However, some customers have experienced ripped zippers, splitting seams and issues with water damage.
- Best Backpack Lab
Unfortunately this backpack can get very heavy if it is packed to its fullest capacity. If stuffed to full capacity, this backpack will not fit under the seat in an airplane.
- Idea Hacks
Zippers could be better
- Ah Joo
The only downsides I noticed are the zippers. They are a bit too clunky, and often very stubborn (hard to switch).
- IDKMen
June 5, 2018 | Full review
Then, there’s the biggest complaint I have about the 1900: the thick dividers between the laptop compartment, tablet compartment, and main compartments. Those dividers take up space, again, which is fine if you’re not going to really fill the main...
- foXnoMad
July 19, 2018 | Full review
The downside to this is that the pockets of the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack might actually be too much for some people.
- Real Backpacks
April 1, 2019 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Mancro Laptop Backpack

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
17 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
6,348 user reviews
Our Take

Comfort is king with the Mancro Laptop Backpack's eco-friendly nylon fabric and padded shoulder straps. Travelers will love the built-in combination lock that provides an added layer of security, as well as the roominess of the backpack. It can fit a 15.6-inch laptop and boasts a USB charger on the outside. It also has a charging cable on the inside for keeping you connected while away from home.

What other experts liked
It is perfect for anyone taking short trips to work in a coffee shop, or heading to school, or maybe just wanting to charge on the go on the train/biking to work.
- Expert World Travel
July 10, 2019 | Full review
One of the best backpack for laptop, this water-resistant laptop backpack from Mancro is the best choice for many users. It has 3 main pockets, 9 smaller pockets on the inside, 2 sealed pockets on the sides, and a compartment can hold a laptop up to 17-inch size screen.
- Top Ten Review Pro
Mancro’s Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is comfortable, even when weighed down by all your belongings. Padded, nylon sternum straps extend out for any body size and never feel like the bag’s weight is pulling down on them.
- Lifewire
May 14, 2019 | Full review
The Mancro features a long-lasting, eco-friendly nylon fabric with double stitching on the edges to assure you of reliability.
- Buy The Best 10
This Laptop Backpack is comfortable and comes with multiple compartments that fit both my 14.1″ laptop and 10″ tablet pc. The straps are strong enough to hold up the weight of my books, laptops, stationeries and water bottle. I like the little front pocket because I use it to put...
- 5 Product Reviews
July 31, 2019 | Full review
This makes it easy for students to walk and charge at the same time.
- Top Expert Reviews
The included theft-proof combination lock ensures your things stay intact whereas the two “S” padded shoulder straps provide good support and comfort.
- The Z8
April 30, 2019 | Full review
Comes with many compartments and pockets for simple organizing. Includes a combination lock and metal zippers. A water repellent bag made with eco-friendly materials. Has plenty of space compared to similar models.
- BestReviews
The bag also has a suspension system in the ilk of the state-of-the-art for shoulder strapping and has a mesh back panel that won’t get drenched in sweat even after using it for hours.
- Review Unbox
And, it is so secured with its Lock & Durable Metal Zipper that is so awesome, and it is the most important factor that makes it become at top list of every user.
- Top 8 Review
The price is also reasonable, at under $50 for the bag. This is one of the biggest reasons we made it our top choice. It is especially good for women as it is less bulky than other bags. Even when full, it is easy to carry and the curved padded...
- Best Backpack Lab
The stitching is tight and orderly, nothing sticks out as being shabbily made, and the 900D nylon does a decent job of protecting your stuff from rain. We especially liked the small diagonal zippered pocket on the front. It gives you easy access to frequently used items while keeping them...
- 3DInsider
April 12, 2019 | Full review
For comfortable and evenly distributed weight, straps are ‘S’ shaped to improve reinforcement and carrying comfort.
- Do Best Products
For budget lovers – This backpack is priced at a lower end of anti theft backpacks. Spacious backpack to hold electronics and travel essentials.
- ToSomeplaceNew
March 1, 2019 | Full review
Can comfortably fit a 15″ laptop, water bottle, a course reader and a bunch of other little things (agenda, ipad, journal, pens and pencils, smartphone.) Really an awesome backpack that looks professional, clean and holds a LOT.
- Forever Summertime
April 5, 2018 | Full review
The combination lock on this backpack sets it apart from the others we review here, and it was the best option we found in a mid-range price to secure belongings.
- Backpack Reviews
The bag is also full of user-friendly features. The bag comes with anti-theft features like a built-in lock that you can configure to your own lock combination.
- DigiTravelist
June 15, 2019 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
No dedicated back padding/sweat wicking mesh material. No hip or chest straps to lighten the load. Straps are not well padded.
- Expert World Travel
July 10, 2019 | Full review
Exterior water bottle pocket doesn’t fit larger bottles. Doesn’t accommodate odd-shaped items well.
- Lifewire
May 14, 2019 | Full review
Many buyers had issues with the zippers breaking. Shoulder straps may be too wide for petite body types.
- BestReviews
A little heavy to carry around.
- Review Unbox
One thing to take note of is the lack of a dedicated laptop sleeve.
- Best Backpack Lab
Its shoulder straps are very thin and there’s no back padding whatsoever. This will do for carrying your laptop and books from class to class, but wearing the backpack for longer time periods may get uncomfortable.
- 3DInsider
April 12, 2019 | Full review
Vinyl inner pockets aren’t as durable as the pack’s exterior. No padding on the bottom of the laptop compartment. Combination locks won’t foil a dedicated thief. Zippers may stick.
- Backpack Reviews
There are two downfalls with this laptop backpack, though, and they are the absence of a padded bottom panel and the materials used are not waterproof.
- DigiTravelist
June 15, 2019 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 9.5
Reviews Included: 15

2. Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 6

3. Mancro Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 19

4. KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 11

5. VASCHY School Backpack, Unisex Classic

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 6

6. YOREPEK Travel Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 14

7. MATEIN Travel Laptop Backpack

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 15

8. Vancropak Backpack

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 8

9. Under Armour Hustle Backpack

Overall Score: 7.8
Reviews Included: 5

10. AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack

Overall Score: 7.5
Reviews Included: 10

Our Findings

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Best Overall

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack - Black (Accessory)


List Price: $59.99 USD
New From: $59.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $59.99 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The multiple storage compartments within the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack make it super versatile. Not only are there spacious sections for your laptop or tablet, but the bag also features pockets for your water bottle, notepad and pencils. The weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester fabric means you can use this backpack for everything from traveling back and forth to campus to hiking up a mountain.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Mancro Laptop Backpack

What We Liked: Comfort is king with the Mancro Laptop Backpack’s eco-friendly nylon fabric and padded shoulder straps. Travelers will love the built-in combination lock that provides an added layer of security, as well as the roominess of the backpack. It can fit a 15.6-inch laptop and boasts a USB charger on the outside. It also has a charging cable on the inside for keeping you connected while away from home.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack

What We Liked: Designed with students in mind, the Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack features a vintage look with modern conveniences. In addition to plenty of space for your laptop and textbooks, the backpack comes outfitted with an external USB charging port and charging cable. The backpack is also scratch and tear-resistant, so it can handle your daily commute without any problems.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack

Also Great

KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack USB Port 15.6 Inch Business Slim Commute Travel Bag (Paperback)


List Price: $40.99 USD
New From: $32.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $32.99 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The KOPACK Lightweight Laptop Backpack is perfect for both short and long commutes. It has a slim design that makes transport easy. But it also has over 10 pockets for storing everything from a laptop to school books to a packed meal. The anti-puncture material and lockable zipper deter theft, while the external USB port with cable keeps you connected while on the go.

Our Expert Consultant

Kate Desmond 
Parenting Pro and Safe-Sleep Expert

Kate Desmond is a writer and infant safe-sleep expert. She has spent the last eight years working as the marketing director for Charlie’s Kids Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to educate families about SIDS and safe sleep. In that role, she travels around the country learning and educating caregivers and providers on the latest and greatest safe-sleep information to prevent infant death.

As mom to two elementary-aged daughters, she spends hours researching the best and safest products for her own kids. She is quick to get in the weeds with other mamas, and uses humor to cope with parenting woes from potty-training to teaching kids to read. She writes about the ups and downs of parenting on her blog, KateDesmond.com.

Our Backpack Buying Guide

While bookbag, knapsack, rucksack and haversack are all names for a bag that can be carried on your back, backpack is the most commonly used term. These handy tools provide campers and hikers with a convenient way to carry their gear and schoolgoers a way to transport all of their books and school supplies. Parents also look to backpacks for easier lugging of all the gear needed for raising a child, from diapers to breast pumps.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

If you are in the market for a backpack, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before choosing the one that best meets your needs.

“A good pack has the right number of compartments,” Kate Desmond, our in-house parenting expert and working mom of two, says. “Too many and things can get lost, too few and things can become unorganized.”

Look over the size and number of compartments within the pack. Do you need to fit a laptop, cell phone, multiple textbooks or an extra set of clothes? Perhaps you’d also like a side pocket for a water bottle or a front pouch to hold your pens and pencils.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“Make sure you have a place to store your phone and wallet and make sure that place is easily accessible,” Desmond advises. “Another feature that earns bonus points with me is the full zipper section for laptops, making TSA a breeze. A zipper compartment for tiny, important things and a side water bottle or sippy cup holder are also absolute musts.”

Check the bookbag’s shoulder straps to make sure they are both padded and adjustable. You don’t want the bag to be loose or the items within it will shift as you walk. You also don’t want it to be so snug that you can’t get it on and off.

“Make sure the backpack you choose is nicely padded in all the right places,” Desmond says, adding that “too-thin straps can leave a mark on aching shoulders.”

Review the material. If you plan to be out and about in harsh weather conditions, a weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester is a good choice. A 600D nylon fabric works fine for everyday use, as it is splash-resistant (although not completely waterproof) and not easily scratched or torn.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Locate the bookbag’s dimensions. This will give you a better idea as to what size laptop will fit in the pack. Some bags can only handle smaller laptops, while others are able to accommodate laptops up to 17 inches. And don’t forget to pay attention to weight.

“If a backpack is too heavy without anything in it, imagine the weight when it is full!” Desmond says.

Check for any safety features. This is especially important if you do a great deal of traveling with your trusty pack. If the bag has a lockable zipper, review the product tag to see if the lock comes with the bag, or whether you are required to purchase it separately. It’s also important that the bag has an anti-puncture feature so that a knife or pair of scissors can’t be used to open the pack.

Search for any extras that make the pack more desirable. For example, if you visit the library often and need to charge your devices, you’ll want a bag with a USB charger and built-in charging cable.

Finally, choose a backpack that fits your sense of style. If you have an old soul, choose a vintage pattern. If you have a bubbly personality, you may be more suited to a multi-colored bag. There are plenty of colors and styles to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that matches your charm.

DWYM Fun Fact

  • When the ’50s rolled around, hikers were still stuck using military bags to carry their gear, snacks and water bottles. In 1952, inventor Dick Kelty decided to do something about the bulkiness of the military bag and designed what we know today as a backpack. This handy product was made with straps for more evenly distributing the weight of the items in the backpack and outer zippers for quickly packing and retrieving items as needed. The design was also altered over time to feature more lightweight materials that were still strong enough to hold a heavy load.
  • You may be surprised to discover that there are actually quite a number of accessories on the market that can be used in conjunction with your average backpack. You could purchase a rain cover that keeps the backpack and its contents dry while you trek through the Amazon rain forest or an external add-on pocket to hold your cell phone or snack bar in place.
  • Children aren’t left out of the fun either. There are pins and patches that one can buy to add a little bling to the bag, as well as clips that hang from the bag that feature popular cartoon and superhero characters.

The Backpack Tips and Advice

  • Some backpack models come with the option of a three or four-year protection plan. If you prefer to stick with one pack for the long haul and aren’t prone to upgrading yearly, this may be something you want to consider purchasing.
  • The American Chiropractic Association reports that 60% of children who carry a heavy backpack end up with back pain. As a result, the organization recommends that kids stick to wearing backpacks that contain no more than 5 to 10% of their body weight.
  • Carrying weighty backpacks isn’t just dangerous for children. Adults can suffer injuries as well. Researchers at Tel Aviv University found muscle and nerve damage are also possible, so it is especially important to monitor how much you’re carrying in your bookbag at any given time.
  • Always check the product label to see if the backpack is machine washable. Many are not and you don’t want to risk ruining the fabric and durability of the bag.
  • If the pack isn’t machine washable, you’ll need to clean it carefully by hand. Use a soft-bristled brush to dislodge any dirt or mud that may be dried on the bag. Toothbrushes work great for cleaning the zippers and hard-to-reach areas. Should there be loose sand and dirt, you can quickly clean that with the attachment on your vacuum. Next, wet a sponge with luke-warm water (use a mild dish soap if needed) and wipe down the surface of the bag. Move on to the zipper and inner compartments before finishing with the shoulder pads and straps. You may need to carefully scrub any spots that have stains. Hang dry the bookbag in a location that does not receive sunlight. Sunlight can cause the color of your pack to fade.
  • Backpacks have plenty of alternative uses. In addition to travel and commutes to school, you can use a bookbag as a purse or diaper bag for your baby. They also work well to carry your beach supplies or a picnic lunch at the park. You can even keep emergency supplies in them to prepare for a hurricane or other significant weather event.
  • When comparing backpack prices, you’ll need to take the product’s features into consideration. A bookbag with extra compartments, USB ports and anti-theft locks are going to cost a little more than packs that are more basic. The type of fabric used can also drive up the cost. For example, fabric that is tear-resistant and waterproof is more expensive than your traditional backpack material.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in gardening. She enjoys spending time learning about the latest gadgets that make designing, planting and maintaining a garden a breeze. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared in sites like GardenGuides and eHow Garden.