by Michael Crider on
Trying to find a way to introduce someone to the internet and the digital world when it’s foreign to them (and they don’t like computers) is tough. But you can make that task easier by picking the right hardware.
Your laptop works hard for you. Doesn’t it deserve a fancy place to rest in between your destinations? And more pertinently, don’t you deserve a fancy bag to show it off? Here’s our top picks.
We’ve chosen five bags that achieve specific goals: messenger and backpack designs for maximum utility and versatility, a briefcase for more button-down applications, a minimal bag for stylish but brief expeditions, and a tote for those who need something with class in both the workplace and social situations.
Timbuk2 used to hold the geeky crown for high-end messenger bags, but this Peak Design entry has performed a successful coup thanks to thoughtful features and a modern, high-end look. The Everyday Messenger’s biggest plus is its innovative ladder-style clasp for the main flap, allowing quick and secure closure at different pack levels. In addition to laptop sleeves in various sizes, the main interior pocket includes customizable velcro dividers, allowing the user to subdivide the space to secure larger or more fragile items in camera bag fashion.
The smaller organizer pockets include sleeves and holders for all manner of every day carry items, and a recent revision to the design adds a luggage pass-through for attachment to rolling luggage and better weatherproofing. The laptop sleeve is accessible without opening the main flap, and it’s sized for either 13-inch or 15-inch models in three different color choices.
This backpack looks unassuming on the outside, but crack it open and you’ll see it’s designed with an amazing amount of storage utility. The laptop compartment folds out 180 degrees for fast access at security checkpoints, and the main and secondary storage compartments are absolutely packed with organization options. A quick pocket for phones and a dedicated microfiber hard shell pocket for sunglasses keeps your most essential items secure but close at hand.
Reinforced corners, high-contrast lining (so you don’t lose your stuff in the deep pockets), and a luggage handle pass-through make the Versa ready for serious travel. This model is designed for laptops with screens up to 15 inches—if you need something bigger, check out the Everki Titan.
If your workplace requires something a little more professional than a messenger bag or backpack, this full grain leather bag will do nicely. It’s not exactly an old-fashioned briefcase, which is why it gets the nod here: the push-button release of the main flap and zippered external laptop compartment make access to the interior fast and practical.
Three main interior pockets keep papers and electronics organized, with full leather side pockets for your phone and other accessories. The contrasting stitching is a particularly fetching choice. The bag can be carried by hand for when you’re dressed up, with a snap-in shoulder strap for more comfortable use for extended periods. The design will accommodate laptops up to 16.5 inches.
For those who want a smaller bag without giving up practical features, the Cobra Squeeze is hard to beat. (Note to readers: this is a backpack. Please do not squeeze literal cobras.) The main compartment secures a 15-inch laptop and all the essentials that go along with it, with enough free space for a few extra items thanks to a stiffened curved exterior.
Side and interior pockets pull off a surprising amount of organization in a compact bag. A dedicated phone case on the top of the bag keeps it handy. The grey canvas exterior is trendy, but if you prefer something a little more toned down, there’s a more conventional nylon version called the Boa Squeeze.
If you need a laptop bag that doubles as an all-day purse, without screaming “I’m carrying valuable electronics in an easy-to-snatch package,” the Audrey Brera from Lodis fits the bill perfectly. This full leather bag features both carry handles and a removable, adjustable shoulder strap for plenty of options, with a deceptively capacious primary storage pocket hiding a padded laptop sleeve. In the organizational front pocket you’ll find dividers for all your smaller items, including an RFID-shielded spot dedicated to your wallet.
A nice bonus is the stiff bottom and metal feet that let the bag stand on its own. Cream, brown, and tan color choices allow for a natural blend with any outfit, but I’m partial to the more in-your-face red and black colors (with black and red accents, respectively).
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