Shopping

The 11 Best Commuter Backpacks For A Safe, Stylish, & Stress-Free Trip

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Bustle/Amazon

No matter where you’re headed and how much you’re bringing, the best commuter backpacks provide ample storage with dedicated laptop sleeves, water bottle pouches, and easily accessible pockets for your keys or wallet. And, with added security features like water-resistant fabric, built-in combination locks, or concealed anti-theft pockets, you can rest assured that your valuables will stay safe while you’re on the go.

As you shop for a reliable work backpack, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Size/storage: First and foremost, make sure your backpack is sized to fit your laptop. Then you can consider special storage features, like hidden anti-theft pockets (ideal if you take public transportation to work), or a designated water bottle or umbrella pouch.
  • Design features: Along those lines, consider how your backpack’s special design can make your particular commute easier. Do you often fly for work? Consider a backpack that can lay flat to speed up your TSA security check, or something with a luggage strap. If you’re constantly on your phone for calls or listening to Spotify while you head to work, get a backpack with a USB cord hookup. And if you bring your lunch or snack with you, pick up a backpack with a built-in lunch bag, or at least something that’s big enough to accommodate a separate one.
  • Material: If you live in an area with unpredictable weather and bike or walk to work, you’ll definitely need a water-resistant backpack. Most commonly, you’ll find them made from a tightly woven material (like polyester or nylon), which is impervious to lighter rain showers but may not stand up to full submersion. Or, you can opt for a stylish, faux leather option with a water-repellant coating for a minimal amount of weather protection.
  • Comfort: Features like breathable backs that wick away sweat; padded straps; and an extra strap that clips across your waist or chest all ensure comfortable wear, especially for those who carry heavy loads or have long biking or walking commutes.

To make your search a little easier, all of the picks below are water-resistant with a cushioned laptop pocket and an abundance of storage space.

Ready to shop? Ahead, you’ll find 11 of the best commuter backpacks you can get on Amazon, from utilitarian options to chic, convertible totes you can bring along with you to happy hour.

1

One Of The Best-Rated Commuter Backpacks On Amazon

Boasting an impressive 4.8-star average across more than 41,000 ratings, this best-selling backpack is undoubtedly one of the most popular of its kind. As far as features go, it has practically everything you could need in a commuter backpack, like ample storage (including a padded laptop sleeve), a USB charger hookup, two mesh water bottle/umbrella pouches, a hidden pickpocket-proof pocket, and a back luggage strap for hooking onto your suitcase. Plus, it’s made from a durable, water-repellant polyester that’ll keep your belongings safe through most weather conditions.

Promising review: “I purchased one of these for myself over a year ago and love it so much that I just purchased a second bag, for my son. I use it daily for work because it holds everything I need and keeps me organized. There are plenty of pockets but not so many that you end up forgetting where you put things. [...] After a year of almost daily use, it shows zero signs of wear and tear. I can’t tell my bag apart from the brand new one that just arrived for my son. Great product!!”

  • Available sizes: 2 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches and up to 17 inches)
  • Available colors: 10

2

This Wildly Popular Commuter Backpack With Extra Security Features

Prioritize peace of mind with this secure backpack, fit with a built-in combination lock to keep your devices safe. It’s also constructed with plenty of pocket space, including an RFID-blocking slot, water bottle pouches, an interior key fob, and a padded laptop sleeve. The polyester exterior is water-resistant and has a back luggage strap, as well as reflective panels to keep you safe when commuting after dark (but note that this feature is only available on the larger version).

Promising review: “I use this bag for my daily commute. I usually carry my lunch, a bottle of water, some extra clothes (beanie/scarf in winter, light rain coat rest of year), and my iPad. It’s tough, can be locked and is water resistant. I’ve been using it for a couple of months and it’s great. I really like the low profile which makes it better for commuting on the train/metro. Highly recommend.”

  • Available sizes: 2 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches and up to 17.3 inches)
  • Available colors: 6

3

A TSA-Friendly Commuter Backpack That Can Fold Down Flat

Originally designed to be used as a personal item when traveling, this commuter backpack is seriously roomy. It has enough storage space to accommodate clothing, shoes, books, and other travel necessities in addition to a laptop (which has a dedicated, padded sleeve). Another interesting feature? This backpack has the ability to open completely flat to speed up your TSA security check. Other details include a luggage strap, water bottle pouches, a USB charging port, and a shockproof polyester construction, while a comfortable, cushioned back facilitates airflow.

Promising review: “I am a heavy traveler and commuter (travel from Austin to Chicago every week for work) and I really abuse a backpack (planes, trains, work, gym, hiking, etc). [...] This bag is MUCH better than any other bag I have tried. The key is the strong reinforcements and rivets that make the bag really solid - there seems to be no weak stitching areas that can eventually start to rip as with many bags. If you carry your ‘life’ in your backpack most of the time I couldn't recommend this bag any higher.”

  • Available sizes: 2 (compatible with laptops up to 17 inches and up to 18.4 inches)
  • Available colors: 4

4

This Stylish Commuter Backpack That Converts Into A Tote Bag

It’s hard to deny the allure of a two-in-one design, like this commuter backpack that converts into a tote bag: In addition to the adjustable backpack straps, there are two long top handles that can be carried on your shoulder or in your hand. It has several exterior pockets (including a hidden one in back), an interior padded laptop sleeve, side bottle pouches, and a USB charger hookup. Unlike a lot of tote bags, this one has a zipper on top and the nylon construction is fully water-resistant, so you’re not sacrificing functionality for aesthetics here.

Promising review: “I'm a teacher, I live in the city, and I commute on public transportation. I can't even explain how much I LOVE this bag. I needed a change from the bulky shoulder bag I've been carting around, and this bag delivered. [...] It's completely saved my shoulders from the undistributed weight of the shoulder bag that had me achy, but it's versatile and easy to transition to one shoulder so I have easy access to my bus pass or if I have to take it off my back due to crowded space.”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches)
  • Available colors: 3

5

This Ultra-Slim Laptop Backpack With An Expandable Design

Especially great for bikers or those who face crowded buses and trains on their daily commutes, this slim, water-resistant backpack is essentially a laptop case with straps — in fact, the shoulder straps can even be removed if you wanted to use it solely as a laptop case. When unzipped, its width expands from 1.6 to 5.9 inches (that’s 200%!), and reveals side water bottle pouches and a USB charging hookup. The interior is padded and lined with velvet to keep your devices cushioned, and the water-resistant polyester exterior has three handy pockets (two in front, one hidden at the back). There’s also a back strap that fits nicely over a suitcase handle.

Promising review: “This backpack is well worth the price. The design is extremely thoughtful. The versatility is awesome. I work at cafes pretty often and it's nice to have a bag just big enough for my laptop. On top of that, it's expandable- I just brought this bag to the beach and was able to fit a large blanket and 2 large water bottles in it. It's great!”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches)
  • Available colors: 9

6

A Heavy-Duty Commuter Backpack With So Many Cool Features

Made from a super-durable, water-repellant, ballistic fabric, this commuter backpack is guaranteed to keep your belongings secure. In addition to an unbelievable amount of interior and exterior pockets (including an RFID-blocking card slot, a padded laptop sleeve, and a back anti-theft pocket), it has a dedicated, hard-shell glasses pocket at the top, so you can rest assured your glasses or sunnies won’t break. It’s complete with side water bottle pouches, a USB charger hookup, a back luggage strap, and an adjustable strap that you can fasten around your chest, which will help redistribute weight and alleviate shoulder or back pain.

Promising review: “I don't even know why I'm bothering to write a review as it already has such a stellar rating but would just like to echo that. I have used this to commute 4 hours a day via a mix of walking and public transport and use this for EVERYTHING. [...] I'll be ordering my second soon and wouldn't think of buying any other - it just nails everything!”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptops up to 17.3 inches)
  • Available colors: 1

7

This Stylish, Lightweight Rucksack That’s Versatile Enough To Wear Beyond Work

Rucksacks are undeniably stylish, but this backpack is also super functional: The contrasting, faux-leather straps have snap closures and an interior drawstring top to keep your things secure, while a concealed anti-theft back pocket offers more protection. It’s finished with two water bottle pockets, a roomy front pouch, and comfortable, cushioned straps. The back panel is breathable, too — a great bonus for those who bike to work, or get sweaty on long summer commutes. And though it looks as chic as any canvas rucksack, it’s actually made of a durable, water-resistant polyester fabric.

Promising review: “This backpack is wonderful! It can fit everything. Has an awesome pocket for keys, waterbottle slots too. There are multiple pockets within the bag as well. I walk/run to work and this bag works so well. It keeps everything together is really comfortable. And when it rains it is super water resistant which is amazing!”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches)
  • Available colors: 12

8

A Genius Commuter Backpack With A Built-In Lunch Bag

Here’s another two-in-one backpack, but this one features a built-in, insulated lunch pack, which can expand to take up the bottom half of the backpack or collapse when not in use. This pack is big enough to fit the equivalent of 10 cans and will keep your meal cold or warm for 3 to 5 hours, but it won’t affect the temperature of the rest of your belongings as it’s surrounded by a thick foam cushion. This pick has lots of extra, equally brilliant features too, like a padded laptop sleeve, side beverage pockets, an anti-theft back pocket, and even a side tissue-dispensing pocket. Despite all those features, this roomy bag (made of a waterproof anti-tear fabric) is surprisingly lightweight.

Promising review: “I wanted something compact and light for my commute to and from work. This bag does the trick. I’m a nurse at a clinic that requires me to take my lunch. This bag is perfect! Keeps my food cool with a small ice pack while also holding all my paperwork and essentials! It’s the perfect bag.”

  • Available sizes: 2 (compatible with laptops up to 15.6 inches and up to 17 inches)
  • Available colors: 1

9

A Faux-Leather Commuter Backpack That Looks Way More Expensive Than It Is

Get the look of luxury at a fraction of the price with this faux-leather backpack. It has a padded laptop compartment with a zippered back entrance for extra convenience. When you unzip the top, it’ll stay open thanks to a sturdy wire frame — and when you close it, it’ll be doubly secure with the snap fastener looped around the top handles. Additionally, it’s finished with two side water bottle pouches and a front pocket. This isn’t the best option if you need something truly waterproof, but the faux-leather coating makes it somewhat water-repellant. One shopper even explained that they “have worn it in the rain and snow and have not had any water leak” into the bag and onto their laptop and notebooks.

Promising review: “I was desperate for a commuter bag on my way into Times Square every morning (location is relevant, because the bag needs to be able to take a BEATING on the subway and through the crowds and still look chic.) […] I've been using it everyday for six months. It's come with me on eight flights, two road trips, and countless trains and subway rides with no issues. I have enough space for all my junk, my lunch for the day, and usually space for a sweater or blazer.”

  • Available sizes: 2 (compatible with laptops up to 13 inches and up to 15 inches)
  • Available colors/styles: 13

10

This ‘90s-Throwback Laptop Backpack In A Bunch Of Fun Prints & Colors

Indulge in the ‘90s-throwback trend with this Jansport backpack, decked out in a retro tie-dye print (though it comes in lots of other fun patterns, as well as solids). Unlike the JanSport you may have worn in middle school, this version has a dedicated padded laptop sleeve, in addition to two more zippered compartments and three front pockets. The frontmost pocket has an interior key ring and pen slots for easy access, and the left side has a mesh water bottle pouch. It’s made from the brand’s signature 600 denier polyester, which is known for its water resistance and durability (though it’s not 100% waterproof), and ergonomic, S-shaped shoulder straps minimize back tension.

Promising review: “I love this backpack! I had the same brand years ago and at that time I used daily for work and it lasted many years. I was excited to find this backpack here. Roomy, sturdy, cushioned shoulder straps, lots of compartments. I use this for commuting and it is perfect.”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptop sizes up to 15 inches)
  • Available colors/prints: 17

11

This Chic Quilted Backpack That’s Surprisingly Spacious

This Kenneth Cole Reaction backpack is as chic as it is functional, featuring stylish chevron quilting and luxe golden hardware. It’s made from a water-resistant polyester twill with a tear-resistant lining in each pocket — of which there are plenty, including a padded laptop compartment, a cushioned tablet pocket, two side beverage pockets, and a front organizer pocket with separate slots for phones, pens, passports, and so on. Plus, it’s an excellent choice for use as a personal item while flying, as it has a built-in trolley strap in the back.

Promising review: “The bag looks kind of small, but surprisingly, you can fit a ton of stuff in it! I can fit my laptop, a notepad, my expandable file folder, two blender bottles, flats (shoes), umbrella, sunglasses/case, mouse, ruler, calculator, various pens/pencils, various charging cords for computer and phones, keys, work badge, and clutch (small purse) into this bag at once! […] I have a 10 min walk to work in the morning from the bus, and the bag feels good on my back.”

  • Available sizes: 1 (compatible with laptops up to 15 inches)
  • Available colors: 4