Best Commuter Backpack in 2023

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Products Updated January 24, 2023
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To find the best commuter backpacks for business professionals and travelers, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your personal setup. We recommend that you favor commuter backpacks that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that offer some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in the rain. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the backpack you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your daily essentials will fit inside. When buying a commuter backpack, always look for a durable build, a light form factor, and plenty of room for all of your most-used items. Generally, invest in quality bags that will serve you for many years.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 is the best commuter backpack on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags on the market.

Top 10 Best Commuter Backpacks

 #1  SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Best everyday backpack, thanks to a generous size capacity that can easily accommodate a 17” laptop and a manufacturer that includes water-resistant and weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester.

  • Made with weather-resistant materials
  • Spacious, plenty of room for 17” laptop
  • Padded and ventilated back panel for comfort
  • Only a few colors available
  • On the heavier side, over 3lb

The SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 is the best laptop backpack, as the generous 31-liter max capacity can easily hold a 17-inch laptop and larger-than-average tablets, with plenty of room to spare. We appreciated that this backpack is made from water-resistant and weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester and that the back panel is both padded and ventilated for superior comfort during use. We also found the adjustable side compression straps to be a great feature for enhanced comfort.

Though the design is minimalist and attractive, there are only a few color options available, which may not suit the needs of all consumers. Additionally, this commuter backpack is on the heavier side, clocking in at well over three pounds. The best sling bag may be a more reliable option as a daily carry thanks to its lightweight polyester design.

 #2  Kenneth Cole Reaction Brooklyn Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic minimalist commuter backpack, with a suite of convenience-enhancing features, such as EZ-scan technology for simplifying air travel and an RFID-protected business organizer.

  • EZ-scan tech streamlines airplane boarding
  • RFID-protected business organizer
  • Padded and ventilated back panel for comfort
  • Only 3 colors available
  • Not the highest capacity backpack on market

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Brooklyn Commuter Backpack is filled with convenience-enhancing features, including EZ-scan technology that allows consumers to board an airplane without physically removing their laptops. This backpack also includes an RFID-protected business organizer, for security, and is made entirely from durable 1680D polyester fabric, which offers a fair bit of weather-resistance.

Though we certainly admired this backpack’s minimalist design, we must note it is only available in three colors, and each color is strikingly similar. Also, the maximum capacity here is decent and large enough to hold a 16-inch laptop, but it is not the largest backpack available for purchase. Consider the best laptop backpacks for college students, travelers, and business professionals that can easily hold 17-inch laptops.

 #3  Incase City Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality design with a robust feature set that includes a heavily padded interior for the protection of laptops and other delicate valuables and highly adjustable shoulder straps for a comfortable carry.

  • Heavily padded interior for gadgets
  • Adjustable shoulder straps with air mesh padding
  • Made with durable 270 x 500D blended weave polyester
  • Gorgeous aesthetics, but only 3 colors
  • Large size may not be good for shorter people

The Incase City Commuter Backpack is of exceptional quality, with a heavily padded interior that is the perfect place to stash laptops, tablets, and other delicate items. We appreciated how adjustable the shoulder straps are, suiting most body types, and the fact that they feature air mesh padding for superior comfort. We also liked that this commuter backpack has been manufactured using durable 270 X 500D blended weave polyester.

Though the minimalist aesthetic here is gorgeous, we must note that only three colors are available for purchase, so this may not fit the aesthetic needs of all consumers. Additionally, the padded interior makes this backpack balloon expand to a large size, which may not suit shorter people, though it is just two pounds. For people who’re into hiking, the best day hiking backpack is a definite must-have.

 #4  Thule Pack-n-Pedal Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Great option for those worried about rainfall during commutes, as this backpack features a waterproof main compartment and ships with a high-visibility rain cover, adding even more protection.

  • Includes helmet attachment for bikers
  • On lighter side, at just over 2lb
  • Increased visibility, thanks to 360-degree reflective screen print
  • Only 1 color available
  • Laptop compartment maxes out at 15”

The Thule Pack-n-Pedal is a best commuter backpack for waterproof needs. This backpack is made from waterproof and highly water-resistant fabrics and ships with a hidden high-visibility rain cover that includes a reflective screen print for increased bag protection. We appreciated the light form factor here, as it weighs just over two pounds and is easy to carry, and the integrated helmet attachment for cyclists.

Though the aesthetics here are minimalist and fine for most consumers, it is only available in a single color, which may not suit all tastes. Also, the integrated interior laptop compartment is on the smaller side and can only accommodate laptops up to 15-inches in width. In that case, you may also want to consider some of the best briefcases that can accommodate slightly wider screens.

 #5  The North Face Jester Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Available in over 30 unique and attractive color and design options, with a 15” shoulder drop that allows for use as a shoulder bag and a pair of mesh water bottle pockets.

  • 15” shoulder drop
  • 2 mesh water bottle pockets
  • Breathable lumbar panel for comfort
  • Laptop compartment maxes out at 15”
  • Not too much water-resistance

The North Face Jester Commuter Backpack is a great choice for consumers who value personal aesthetics above all else, as this model is available in over 30 color and design choices, each of them unique and gorgeous. We appreciated the 15-inch shoulder drop included with this backpack, as it allows a variety of carrying options, and the pair of mesh water bottle pockets, which can also hold a number of other items when necessary. The breathable lumbar panel and mesh back panel also does a great job at offering a comfortable carry during use.

Though this backpack is relatively roomy, with a 28-liter maximum capacity, the integrated laptop compartment can only accommodate screens up to 15-inches wide. Additionally, the fabric is somewhat water-resistant, but the same cannot be said for the inseams and the zippers, so we’d advise caution around water. The best dry bag that is highly water-resistant may be just what you need for water-related activities.

 #6  Burton Tinder Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Light and compact design, weighing just over 1 pound, with availability in 8 color and design options and featuring gorgeous brushed faux suede detailing running throughout.

  • Available in 8 cool colors
  • Waist and sternum straps for secure use
  • Gorgeous brushed faux suede detailing
  • Cannot fit 17” laptops
  • Sides are water-resistant, but top is not

The Burton Tinder Commuter Backpack is a great choice for consumers who don’t want to be bogged down during long workdays, as this bag is exceptionally light, weighing just over one pound. It is not just the light weight that makes this one of the best backpacks for work, as this bag also includes waist and sternum straps, offering increased security during use. We also appreciated the gorgeous brushed faux suede detailing running throughout the fact that this backpack is available in eight unique and cool colors and designs.

Due to the nature of the design, the top flap does not offer much water-resistance, despite the sides being great at resisting liquids. Also, the integrated internal laptop compartment can only accommodate screens up to 16-inches wide, which may not suit all consumers. For consumers looking to have a good day on the beach, we recommend the best beach bag that’s extremely stylish with an aesthetically pleasing form factor.

 #7  Matein Travel Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed to resist theft and increase personal security, with an integrated luggage strap and a hidden compartment for the storage of valuables, in addition to being available in a multitude of attractive colors.

  • Multi-panel ventilated padding
  • Integrated USB charging port
  • Available in 8 attractive designs
  • No dedicated shoe compartment
  • No sternum or hip strap

The Matein Travel Commuter Backpack is a great choice for consumers who worry about their valuables being stolen as they commute to and from work, as this bag features a hidden compartment for said valuables and a luggage strap for affixing to larger and harder-to-steal items of luggage. We admired the multi-panel ventilated padding running throughout, for increased comfort during use, and the integrated USB charging port, which makes it easy to juice up your gadgets while out and about.

Though there is a large laptop compartment here that can accommodate most screen sizes, there is no dedicated shoe compartment, which may not suit all consumers. Additionally, this backpack lacks a sternum or hip strap, for an increased fit. Compare this with the best travel backpack for men and women that meets most size requirements for modern airlines. On that note, if you are a traveller looking for an attractive and lightweight bag for your everyday use, go for the best crossbody bags.

 #8  Kopack Slim Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Designed for maximum comfort during use, with soft oxford fabric running throughout and shoulder straps outfitted with high-elasticity sponge padding.

  • Water-resistant and tear-resistant
  • Lockable zipper to deter theft
  • Detachable USB charging port
  • Slim design built for feminine frames
  • Not much reinforcement for protection

The Kopack Slim Commuter Backpack is the perfect choice for consumers who place a value on comfort during use, as this bag features soft oxford fabric running throughout and a pair of shoulder straps that have been treated with high-elasticity sponge padding. We appreciated the water-resistant and tear-resistant exterior and the lockable zipper, to deter theft and other crimes. We also liked the detachable USB charging port, which allows users to connect their own power bank for juice on-the-go.

Though the slim design is attractive, we must note that it has been built for feminine frames, so men may want to shop elsewhere. Also, this backpack does not feature too much reinforcement for the protection of the interior, which may be an issue for some consumers. This is particularly important in the best kids’ backpacks that have a secure inner pocket, to protect laptops, tablets, and other necessary gadgets.

 #9  Tzowla Travel Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-friendly bag with a bevy of advanced features, including an ultra-light form factor, weighing less than 2lb, and featuring a pair of handy USB charging ports for keeping phones juiced up.

  • Light form factor, under 2lb
  • Pair of handy USB charging ports
  • Anti-theft password lock
  • Only holds laptops up to 15.6”
  • Water-resistance is minimal

The Tzowla Travel Commuter Backpack ships at a value-conscious price while offering a seriously beefy feature set that is more in line with expensive competitors. This backpack boasts a durable design, made from high-grade polyester, and a light form factor, weighing just under two pounds. We appreciated the integrated USB charging ports, which connect to a third-party power bank, and the anti-theft password lock.

Though this is a fairly large backpack that can hold a lot of gadgets and personal necessities, the integrated laptop compartment can only accommodate screens up to 15.6-inches wide. Additionally, the water-resistance here is minimal, so we’d advise caution in the rain or around large bodies of water. The wet-dry bag for parents would be a perfect consideration, especially if you’re on the road with infants.

 #10  Modoker Vintage Commuter Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly backpack with plenty of high-end features, such as being manufactured from tear-resistant polyester fabric and offering a gorgeous retro design aesthetic.

  • Gorgeous retro design
  • External USB charging port
  • Made with tear-resistant polyester fabric
  • Cannot fit laptops over 15.6”
  • Only slightly water-resistant

The Modoker Vintage Commuter Backpack comes in at a budget-conscious price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, including a manufacturing process that included tear-resistant and scratch-resistant polyester fabric. We liked the gorgeous retro design here, which is available in three colors, and the fact that this backpack boasts an external USB charging port, for charging up your gadgets on-the-go. We also appreciated the padded shoulder straps, adding to the comfort level.

Though this backpack boasts a 25-liter maximum capacity, which isn’t too bad, the integrated internal laptop compartment cannot handle screens larger than 15.6-inches wide. Also, this backpack only offers minimal water-resistance, so we’d take care to avoid getting caught outside in the rain. Consider one of the best bags instead that offer durability and water resistance. On another note, if you are looking for a bag to stash your laptop, books, and a water bottle, check the best college backpacks.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide array of popular commuter backpacks, ensuring that they were great for commuting to and from a worksite. To that end, we liked backpacks with plenty of room for daily essentials, with bonus points awarded to models that featured integrated laptop compartments.

As for durability, we admired backpacks made from high-grade materials, such as polyester, twill, and nylon, that offer some degree of tear-resistance and slash-resistance. Some commuter backpacks also boast a good amount of water-resistance, thanks to securely woven linings and waterproof zippers.

We liked commuter backpacks with security-enhancing features, such as lockable closures and RFID-blocking compartments, the latter helping to avoid identity theft and other cyber crimes. We appreciated backpacks with additional features, such as integrated USB chargers, laptop chargers, and ultra-padded shoulder straps. Finally, we took a good look at the aesthetics of each particular backpack, ensuring they were gorgeous and striking, with bonus points awarded to those available in multiple colors and designs.

Best Commuter Backpacks Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

You are going to want to take a look at the durability rating of any commuter backpack you are thinking of purchasing before you hustle out and buy one. Be sure to buy a backpack that is made with high-grade materials, such as nylon and polyester, which have the added benefit of being tear-resistant and slash-resistant. You will also want to make sure the backpack boasts some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught out in the rain during your morning commute.

Maximum Capacity and Compartments
If you tend to carry a multitude of personal items and gadgets to and from work, you are going to want to ensure that your chosen backpack offers a generous maximum capacity. Look for backpacks with a maximum capacity of at least 25 liters. You’ll also want to take a look at the model’s integrated laptop compartment, ensuring that they can fit your work laptop. If your laptop is 15.6-inches wide or smaller you should have no problem with any available commuter backpack, you may run into issues, however, if you have something bigger than a 15 inch laptop. Be sure to read the dimensions to ensure the laptop pocket is large enough for your needs.

Additional Features
In addition to offering durability and plenty of room for daily essentials, modern commuter backpacks tend to offer all manner of bonus features. Look for backpacks with anti-theft measures, such as lockable zippers, and those with RFID-blocking compartments to protect from identity theft. You may also want to consider a backpack that features USB charging ports, for keeping your gadgets filled with juice during travel.

Commuter Backpacks FAQs

What is the best commuter backpack?

The best commuter backpack is one with a simple design that is durably made, water-resistant, and boasts enough room for all of your daily needs and essentials. Look for backpacks with large and padded laptop sleeves and those with additional features, such as USB charging ports, waist straps, U locks, room for pairs of shoes, chest straps, mesh pockets, zipped pockets, abrasion resistant exteriors, quick access compartments, and more.

What are the best quality backpacks?

The best quality travel backpacks are models that prioritize comfort while out on the city streets, size, and durability. Look for a backpack made from ultra-durable materials, such as high-end polyester, and those with generous maximum capacities. High-quality commuter bags also boast large front pockets, large outer laptop pockets, laptop sleeves, shoe compartments, and zippered pockets running throughout. Some also feature waist straps for comfort, drawstring closures, extra space shoe pockets, leather accents, phone pockets, cotton canvas pockets for snacks, heavy duty adjustable straps, padded mesh closures, tablet pockets or tablet sleeves, padded straps, carry handles, access zippers, waist belts, reflective details, wide straps and more features to simplify a daily commute.

What is the most comfortable backpack?

The most comfortable backpack, or travel bag, is one with a smooth and soft exterior, often made from a high-grade blended fabric. You’ll also want to be sure that the shoulder straps are padded and that the rear of the backpack boasts additional padding and ventilation. A padded laptop sleeve is also a must, for keeping the laptop pocket secure. Adjustable backpack straps can also help with comfort, as can waist straps.

What is the most popular backpack?

The most popular backpacks tend to be large enough to house big laptops and related gadgets, while remaining durable and aesthetically pleasing. These popular backpacks are also often water-resistant, for the purposes of protecting your stuff, and boast large front compartments and side pockets for easy access to 13-inch laptops, 15-inch laptops, shoes, and related gadgets. Modern backpacks also typically include waist straps for security and additional comfort.
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