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.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Dan Ackerman
Scott Stein
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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.

Best back-to-school laptop backpacks (photos)

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