The 8 Best Business Backpacks of 2020

Commute in style

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Whether you commute to work by foot, car, train, bus or bike, a backpack is a convenient, comfortable and very popular way to carry work essentials. With so many backpacks to choose from, it can be tough to find a functional one that meets your work requirements, but also suits your style and doesn’t make you look like you’re about to head out for a hike. Choosing the right one can help you stay organized, keep your gear and valuables safe and protected, and also complete that professional look that you’re going for. We’ve researched the options and have come up with the best backpacks for various work situations and budgets. Whatever your professional and personal needs, here’s a great start to finding the perfect work backpack.

Best for Security: Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack
 Courtesy of Amazon

If you travel a lot for work and are usually carrying electronics or other valuables, you might want to invest in a backpack with security features. The Pacsafe Metrosave Anti-Theft Backpack is lightweight and sleek, yet still sturdy and secure enough to keep all your belongings safe. The backpack’s fabric and straps are embedded with a flexible, stainless steel wire mesh that protects your gear from a quick slash-and-run theft. The Metrosafe also features security clips and smart zippers to protect against pickpockets and a Turn & Lock Security Hook that you can use to attach the bag to a fixture for added security. Available in black, dark tweed, khaki and sandstone, this durable backpack will give you plenty of years of good use.

Best Budget: Timbuk2 Parkside Laptop Backpack

The Timbuk2 Parkside is not super fancy and stylish, but it’s a comfortable, sturdy work backpack at a very affordable price. With a roomy main compartment, there’s plenty of space for your work essentials as well as extra clothes or shoes. The Parkside also features numerous compartments and pockets to store your phone, cards and keys, and the padded sleeve can accommodate a 15-inch laptop. The backpack’s straps do an excellent job of distributing the weight and the back venting also keeps you cool once your commute starts to get sweaty.

Best for Work and Gym: Aer Fit Pack 2 Backpack

Aer Fit Pack 2 Backpack
 Courtesy of Nordstrom

The Aer Fit Pack 2 is ideal for anyone who likes to hit the gym before or after work and hates schlepping two separate bags. Much more than a gym bag, this backpack’s sleek, streamlined design gives it a professional look for the office. Yet there’s still plenty of room for all your work and gym stuff. With a separate, ventilated compartment, you can keep your sweaty gym shoes and clothes away from your laptop. Even if you don’t hit the gym, this bag is great for commuters who like to store a pair of shoes in their bag and then change once they get to the office. The Aer Fit Pack 2 also has plenty of pockets and compartments for easy organization.

Best for Active Commuting: The North Face Surge Backpack

The North Face Surge Backpack
Courtesy of Nordstrom

If you need a bag that’s as tough as your commute, check out this super durable and sturdy North Face Surge Backpack. With a padded, lay-flat, TSA-approved laptop sleeve, it’s ideal for the frequent traveler or anyone who does a lot of walking with their work bag. It also features numerous external and internal zipped and open pockets, so there’s a place for all of your stuff. The padded straps and a padded mesh back panel allow you to commute in comfort, even if you’re biking to work. While it’s an ideal bag for commuting, the rugged and versatile Surge has loads of room and can also work as an overnight or weekender bag.

Best for Men: Carhartt Legacy Deluxe Work Backpack

With its durable, water-repellant material and abrasion-resistant base, this rugged backpack from Carhartt is perfect for men who need a sturdy yet comfortable work bag for back and forth between home, the office and job sites. It features a dedicated padded computer compartment that can hold a 15-inch laptop and also has a zippered organizational panel on the front, for easy access to your phone and wallet. Two additional side pockets are ideal for a water bottle or other quick access items and a soft, lined compartment can hold work glasses or other gear that needs protection. You can carry it comfortably for hours, thanks to the contour-fit shoulder straps and padded air mesh back panel. This heavy-duty yet affordable backpack comes in black or brown.

Best for Women: Tumi Women's Voyageur Calais Backpack Black

Tumi Women's Voyageur Calais Backpack Black
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Show off your style and excellent taste with this lightweight, sleek Tumi Voyageur Calais Backpack. This practical and versatile bag works for everyday commuting, but it also fits under an airplane seat, making it the perfect travel companion. It features comfy, padded shoulder straps and a leather top carry handle, which conveniently fits on the handle of a suitcase. With a padded laptop compartment, interior organization pockets, a zippered main compartment, and front and side U-zip pockets, there’s plenty of space to store all your stuff and stay organized in this fashionable backpack. Despite its roomy interior, the Voyageur Calais isn’t too bulky and fits in perfectly in a professional setting. Both the black and ocean blue color options feature rich leather accents and gold hardware that give the backpack a sophisticated, feminine look.

Best for City Commuting: Incase City Compact Backpack

City commuters often find themselves in packed trains or buses, with no room for a bulky backpack. Ideal for those crowded commutes, the Incase City Compact Backpack is sleek, streamlined and professional-looking, but still has plenty of space. With a faux-fur-lined laptop sleeve, three interior pockets and a zip front pocket, it gets the job done. The padded, adjustable shoulder straps are super comfortable, but you can also use the convenient top handle for carrying, especially when space gets tight.

Best Gender Neutral: Herschel Heritage Backpack

For a classic, functional and affordable work bag, you can’t go wrong with the Herschel Heritage Backpack. Lightweight yet durable, it comes in dozens of different colors and patterns, so men and women alike are sure to find one that suits their style and work environment. Inside the bag, you’ll find Herschel's signature striped fabric liner, and a 15-inch padded laptop sleeve as well as multiple compartments to stay organized. There’s even an internal media pocket with a headphone port, so you can keep your device safe while you listen to your tunes. You certainly can’t beat the price for a quality, roomy and versatile backpack.