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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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Our Picks For The Top Backpacks

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best Overall

SwissGear

1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

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

  Also Consider

Modoker

Vintage Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

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

  Best Value

Mancro

Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

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

  Also Great

KOPACK

Lightweight Laptop Backpack

Overall Take

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

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost 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.

64,386

User Opinions Analyzed

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

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.


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.

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: Out of 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

Simplemost 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.