Best commuter backpacks to buy in 2023


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Mar 03, 2024

Best commuter backpacks to buy in 2023

Let's face it: commuters go through a lot. We've all been caught in the rain, or shown up just in time, only to realise we've forgotten our laptops. Oh, the dread. A good quality backpack can solve

Let's face it: commuters go through a lot. We've all been caught in the rain, or shown up just in time, only to realise we've forgotten our laptops. Oh, the dread.

A good quality backpack can solve many of our commuting problems. Whether you're a cyclist, car-driver or train-catcher, it can offer compartments to keep your things organised and even waterproofing to keep your essentials dry.

Below, we run through our picks of the best backpacks for commuters on the market right now, plus a few tell-tale tips to look out for.

The size of a commuter backpack depends on what you need to carry with you on your daily commute.

Generally, a good size for a commuter backpack is around 20 to 30 litres. This size is large enough to hold your laptop, books, lunch, and other daily essentials, while still being compact enough to carry comfortably on your back.

However, some commuters prefer a more minimalist approach, with a backpack that is smaller and less bulky. Just ensure you do some research into which size is right for you.

Look for a backpack that has a padded compartment specifically designed to hold and protect your laptop. This compartment should be thickly padded on all sides to absorb shock and prevent your laptop from getting damaged.

If the bag is made from durable, water resistant material, that could also go a long way to protecting your laptop, should you get caught in the rain.

The compartment needs to be the right size for the laptop, and is likely to feature a maximum capacity, so be sure to check it’s the right size for you.

Nordace's Siena backpack features a square silhouette, which they claim ensures that the backpack always keeps its shape. It has a 19-litre storage capacity, with storage compartments for organisation.

The laptop sleeve is padded, with enough width to accommodate laptops of up to 15.6 inches. For smaller valuables, there is also an anti-theft pocket on the underside of the back, designed to keep your wallet, passport, or other necessities safe.

Nordace has also fitted a USB charging port, which they claim allows commuters to connect their devices to an internal power bank.

There are some other smaller details too, such as a luggage strap for strapping the backpack to a wheeled suitcase. For accessories, there is a water bottle holder and a fleece-lined pocket designed to protect your glasses.

Designed for cyclists and harsh conditions, this backpack from Stubble & Co comes with several features that may be useful for commuters. The laptop sleeve is built into the back with a separate compartment for easy access, so you shouldn't need to open the bag and fumble through your other items. It can hold laptops of up to 16 inches.

There's also a vertical YKK zip pocket on the front for valuables, plus a water bottle holder and pockets for a bike lock. The roll-top design, fastened by a G-Hook, aims to provide waterproofing, and the zips are also stated to be water-resistant.

If you're considering cycling to work, there's also a reflective print on the base of the bag for a bit of added visibility. It's available to be purchased in both 14L and 20L capacities.

Giants of the climbing and outdoor apparel world, The North Face's commuter backpack also features a roll-top opening, which they state makes it easy to compress with the two side straps to fit all your items, as well as providing some extra security.

There are zip-front pockets for smaller items, plus mesh webbing across the front for bike locks or other necessities. North Face has also fitted internal mesh pockets for organisation, with a laptop pocket able to accommodate a laptop of up to 15 inches.

The logo printed on the front is reflective for visibility, and there's an expandable water bottle pocket to keep you hydrated. At maximum capacity, the bag has a volume of 23 litres.

Bange's Smart Backpack is designed with commuters in mind, able to fit a laptop of up to 15.6 inches, with a laptop sleeve to keep it securely in place. There are compartments for storing notebooks or files, as well as a multi-functional front pocket, which is stated to be designed to fit smaller items, such as an umbrella or a thin pair of shoes.

There's also an anti-theft pocket with a zip, designed to be a good place to put a wallet, card, or ID. The zip is a double YKK, which Bange claim to be durable and high quality.

It also features a USB charging port, which feeds into an internal power supply, allowing commuters to charge their devices while on the go (although you will need to purchase a power supply separately).

If you're looking for something a little smaller, this backpack from Rains holds a nimble 13 litres. Its more minimalist design might make it a good fit for smarter office wear, with a simple carabiner closure system to keep the main compartment shut.

Rains claims the material is water-resistant, made from a PU fabric that aims to provide added durability. For storage, there is a laptop sleeve for laptops of up to 15 inches, internal and external zip pockets, and a concealed external phone pocket.

This premium backpack from STM Bags seems to have been designed for over packers. It is stated to feature a whopping 28L capacity, with the main compartment divided into three compartments for organisation.

Built with cyclist commuters in mind, the bag withholds a padded 15-inch laptop compartment, which STM states features impact prevention, isolating the laptop to keep it safe.

There are also 13 other multifunctional pockets for your various items, aiming to divide up everything from your sunglasses to your AirPods (yes, there is a pocket specifically in the shape of an Airpod case).

The bag is designed to be durable and waterproof, with TPU-coated webbing handles, and a water-repellent coating applied to the fabric. At 1.2kg, it might be a little on the bulkier side, but if you're looking for maximum capacity and organisation, you may have met your match.

Top image credit: Ross Sneddon / Unsplash

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