Best back-to-school laptop backpacks

Now that school's around the corner, we run down eight of the best laptop-toting over-the-shoulder campus bags we've seen, from affordable to deluxe.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We're not going to lie. The backpack is a tough look to pull off, especially if you're a both-straps-on type. Anytime we see an adult wandering the streets or coffee shops of Manhattan looking like a harried high schooler, we cringe a little bit. That said, the one place you can get away with it is when you're actually in school--hence our perfectly timed collection of back-to-school laptop backpacks .

We may mock the backpack a bit, but despite years of bag evolution, they're still the best way to carry a laptop, books, and other assorted gear around campus. Finding a good bag is requires a complex balance of needs: style helps, but more importantly a backpack should have ample padding, some weatherproofing or ruggedness, and plenty of pockets for books, gear, and maybe a change of clothing on weekend trips.

Submitted (and modeled) for your approval, we've collected the best laptop-friendly backpacks, each with one or more unique features worth noting. Some are affordable; some are immense and customizable; others are knife-proof. Read our impressions in the gallery below and check out how they look slung over a shoulder.

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About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired,, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

Dan Ackerman

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal. See full bio


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