The Six Best Laptop Bags For Back To School

Mini backpacks may be trendy right now, but they're not necessarily the most practical choice for a back-to-school bag. Particularly because of the pandemic and remote learning, laptops are becoming more and more necessary for students in high school and college (via The Washington Post). Having a way to safely carry around expensive computer equipment is a must. A school bag is also something that gets basically daily use and has to withstand all kinds of conditions — being shoved in lockers, opened and closed multiple times a day, and filled with books, notebooks, perhaps even a lunch bag and water bottle on top of a laptop. You want something that lasts, and for those in high school and college who've stopped growing, buying a good backpack or other laptop bag now means you could have something that's used for years.

These bags all have a dedicated section for a laptop in them, and — bonus — all of the brands give back to the community and the world in their own way.

A backpack with a professional look

The Atlas Backpack by Parker Clay — 18"H x 12"W x 6"D and available in three different colors — does the work of a backpack, but it has a sleek, professional look since it's made of high quality, ethically sourced leather. It's got a separate zippered section in the back that will fit up to a 15" laptop, and the front section has additional smaller pockets inside; the zippered pocket outside is great for a phone or pens and pencils, via Forbes.

Parker Clay's Atlas Backpack may be on the pricier side: It retails for $398, but it's guaranteed for a lifetime. If it happens to fail you, you can get it repaired or replaced for free. All of the products at Parker Clay are made in Ethiopia, and the company is dedicated to empowering their employees and providing them not just with a good job but with educational opportunities. And Parker Clay has been recognized as a 2021 and 2022 Best for the World Community B Corp List, which recognizes companies who help give back to their communities.

A sleek and stylish messenger bag

Nisolo's Loreto Messenger Bag — 11.5" H x 16.75" W x 3.25" L and available in leather or waxed canvas — has got plenty of storage for back-to-school needs. Along with the interior padded laptop section, it has a dedicated spot for a water bottle along with other organizational pockets and an exterior pocket, via GQ.

Nisolo started by releasing handcrafted leather shoes, and it's expanded into other products, including bags — the focus for the Nashville-based brand is on fair trade and giving artisans a fair wage for the work that they do, per Medium. Nisolo product labels don't just tell you what the items are made of, but they also reveal what the impact of making that item has on the workers and the planet (via Glossy). 

CEO Patrick Woodyard explained why that label was so important: "The reality is that most consumers have almost no recognition, no knowledge of what happens to their product before it arrives at their doors."

A spacious and comfy classic backpack

Heading to class often means carrying not just a laptop, but plenty of books, too. The Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack — 19.25" H x 11.25" W x 7"D — is perfect for that. The 25-liter backpack is the brand's signature bag, and it comes in 31 different colors. It's modeled after a mountaineering bag and has a padded back so it's comfortable to wear for a long time, and it's got a fleece lined and padded laptop section that fits up to a 15" laptop, via Business Insider.

Herschel Supply Co. helps out the community in a number of ways; for starters, they have provided bags to school kids and healthcare workers across the country. They've dedicated themselves to using recycled fabrics to make as many of their bags as they can by 2024. And there's the Herschel Supply Bank of Creativity, which helped emerging Brooklyn artists advance in their careers by providing mentors and materials, via The Drum.

These bags are made from recycled plastic

Another roomy bag is the United By Blue Deadstock 25L Convertible Carryall — 15.5" H x 13.25" W x 5.25" D. It's made from deadstock, which is leftover fabric that can't be used for its original purpose. Even better than that, it's deadstock from (R)evolution fabric that's made from plastic waste. The padded laptop section fits up to a 15" laptop, and what's particularly cool about it is that you can wear it as a backpack or you can remove the backpack straps and carry it as tote. For a more classic backpack look and also in their (R)evolution Collection that uses recycled plastic, they have the 25L Transit Pack, which can fit up to a 17" laptop, per The Hollywood Reporter.

With every purchase from United By Blue, a pound of trash is removed from waterways, via Green Matters. Brian Linton, the founder and CEO of United By Blue, talked to The Good Trade about the company's cleanups, which happen across the country. "Rather than simply writing a check, facilitating and encouraging customers to participate in cleanups allows them to see in a very tangible way how their purchase impacts ocean conservation efforts," Linton said.

A bag you can try for 100 days and only keep if you love it

Away Travel may be known for their suitcases, but they also have backpacks that are perfect for both travel and for school. The Front Pocket Backpack — 15.3" H x 11.8" W x 5.9" D and available in three colors — has padded straps and a breathable back panel. The 15" padded laptop pocket has a locking zipper for extra security, and the main compartment opens wide to make it easy to get to your stuff. They also have a 100-day trial, so you can see how the bag works for you. If it doesn't work out, you can return it and get all your money back.

The company has partnered with Global Glimpse to provide travel and leadership opportunities for high school students, and they've established a Passport Scholarship Fund to cover the cost of getting a passport, per PRNewsWire. They've also partnered with Together We Rise, which helps kids in foster care, and the brand worked with Peace Direct, an international charity committed to supporting local people working for peace in war-torn areas.