The Best Commuter Backpacks for Everyday Use

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Last Updated: October 29, 2021

Whether you are going to work, school, or camping, you need a backpack that can carry your essentials safely. There are different types of backpacks in the market, manufactured specifically for various needs and situations. One of them is the commuter backpack.

Commuter backpacks are designed specifically to keep your valuables safe so you can carry your stuff throughout the day and night. They provide ample storage with laptop sleeves and water bottle pouches. Their pockets are designed to be easily accessible, so you don’t have to struggle every time to find something. They also have multiple security features like anti-theft pockets and combination locks, keeping your essentials safe.

Since there are lots of backpacks in the market with different qualities and features, how would you know which one is the best for you?

We have compiled a list of some of the best commuter backpacks that offer amazing comfort and protection.

Best Commuter Backpack – Top 10 Picks Review

1. Della Gao Travel Laptop Backpack

Looking for a durable backpack with lots of storage space and pockets? This tear and water-resistant backpack by Della Gao is the best choice for you. It has 20 independent pockets with spacious multi compartments and hidden pockets that will organize your essentials easily. The padded laptop sleeve is spacious enough to accommodate laptop sizes up to 17 inches big.

This business and travel backpack is made from high-quality polyester fabric, shockproof with high-density nylon lining, which makes it a reliable heavy-duty backpack. It is tough as well as extremely comfortable to carry. The soft padded shoulder straps and the meshed back panel provides ventilation, and your shoulders will not feel the weight of all the stuff in your backpack. It also protects the stuff with its theft-proof combination locks and metal zippers, so you can rest assured.

The best feature is that it has a built-in USB charging port inside and outside so you can charge your phone while walking and traveling anywhere. The front also has a night light-reflective, keeping you safe at night time. This backpack is extremely comfortable, durable and could be the best gift for anyone.

PROS
  • Anti-theft protection
  • Ventilated and soft padded back panels
  • Padded sleeve fits 17.3 inches laptop
  • Built-in USB port and night reflective light
  • Lots of pockets and compartments
CONS
  • No hip belt or sternum strap
  • Compartments for small stuff could be more organized

 

2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Manhattan Commuter Backpack

This backpack by the brand Kenneth Cole is one of their best sellers. It is sleek and stylish with a lightweight polyester exterior and is tear-resistant. Designed specifically as a travel-friendly backpack that complies with TSA guidelines, you don’t have to remove your laptop at every checkpoint. The padded laptop sleeve is perfect for 16 inches laptops and tablets.

The compartments are extremely spacious and can easily store your valuable at easy access. The mesh zipper pockets are ideal for your small items and the special RFID pockets are designed to keep your important stuff safe. This backpack has ventilated, padded, and soft mesh back panels and shoulder straps so you can comfortably carry it to your destinations.

PROS
CONS
  • The zippers are not lockable
  • Ventilation of the back panel could be better

 

3. Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Commuter Backpack

The amazing and unique bag by Thule has a roll-top closure that is held in place by plastic buckles, providing anti-theft protection. The backpack has waterproof main compartment which will protect your valuables during rain.

The best thing is that it is designed with organized and spacious compartments. It comes with a removable panel for a laptop and tablet. You can always remove the sleeve-like compartment whenever you need more space. It has more organized zippered pockets and panels on the front with space for small essentials along with two side pockets and a key clip.

The most interesting feature is the helmet attachment system which allows you to securely hold your helmet. If you are a cyclist looking for an easy-to-carry and tough backpack, with its reflective surface design, the helmet holding system, the U-lock and light, this simply is the safest and most convenient bag for cyclists.

PROS
  • 360 reflective surface
  • Grab and go strap for quick carrying
  • High visibility rain cover with reflective screen print included
  • Protective roll-top closure on the main compartment
  • Removable laptop and tablet sleeve
CONS
  • Ventilation of the back panel could be better
  • A bit expensive

 

4. The North Face Jester Backpack

The great school and commuter backpack North Face is ideal for travel. It is designed and manufactured with FlexVent technology that makes it extremely flexible. It is also endorsed and approved by the American Chiropractic Association. This flexible backpack has a spacious main compartment which has a padded laptop sleeve inside.

The main compartment might not have organized small compartments, but it is spacious enough to fit your essentials like textbooks, clothes, etc. The front compartment has organized small slip pockets with a large zippered pocket that can store all your small essentials. The stretchable side meshed pockets hold your water bottle.

The 360 reflective shoulder strap enhances your security particularly getting you noticed more easily by other road users. This bag is sturdy, cozy and relatively comfortable to carry.

PROS
  • Shoulder straps are padded with soft material to ensure no discomfort
  • The Velcro and pen pockets help you organize the interior
  • Lightweight
  • Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association
CONS
  • Some of the colors are actually brighter than in the images
  • With rough handling, the bag can quickly wear out

 

5. Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

The amazing Daylight Plus backpack by Osprey is made up of 210D nylon, which is extremely durable and water-resistant. This backpack is incredibly lightweight and features lots of compartments that offer great organization of your stuff while commuting.

It has a roomy main compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. The front panel has organized compartments and shove-it pockets that are great for stashing small items.

The best feature is that it has an external hydration sleeve just behind the back panel, which is compatible with the Hydraulics LT reservoirs.

It comes with both sternum and hip belts. The back panel and shoulder straps are well-padded and ventilated, which makes it very comfortable and breathable. It is a great traveling backpack, and you can also attach it with other hiking/travel backpacks by Osprey.

It is comfortable in nature, durable in design and appealing to the eye. The guarantee for repairing any damage or a full replacement of the bag is a show of commitment by the manufacturer to guarantee your total satisfaction.

PROS
  • Mesh-covered foam back panel provides comfort and ventilation
  • Can attach to a variety of other compatible Osprey packs
  • Durable and lightweight
  • External hydration sleeve
  • Sternum and hip belts
CONS
  • Side pockets are not deep and stretchable enough to accommodate big bottles
  • The hip belt is too thin

 

6. Samsonite Kombi Business Backpack

If you are looking for a professional-looking backpack for work and travel, then this one by Samsonite is a great choice. The beautiful and stylish bag is made up of rugged ballistic nylon, which is both water and oil-resistant and has leather details on it. The compartments are extremely roomy and organized with a padded laptop sleeve that fits a 14-inch laptop. The main compartment is spacious enough to store textbooks, clothes, and all other stuff.

The other compartments include multiple pockets for organization. It has smart sleeve that slides over upright luggage handles to provide great mobility. The fleece-lined pockets protect your phone and other stuff from scratches, so you can rest assured that your valuables are safe. The top handle and shoulder straps are well padded.

PROS
  • Portable and compact enough to be used as a carry-on
  • Oil and water-resistant material
  • Well organized compartments
  • Padded top handle and shoulder straps
  • Trolley sleeve for carrying on luggage handles
CONS
  • Might feel heavy even when it’s empty

 

7. Timbuk2 Division Laptop Backpack

Whether you are looking for a carry-on for your travel or just a backpack for your commuting, the Division backpack by Timbuk2 is a great choice. This backpack is versatile and spacious with expandable capacity. The main compartment can fit all your commuting essentials easily. It also has an organization panel having lots of slip and zip pockets, but this panel is located in the main compartment, which doesn’t organize well.

The laptop compartment is present at the back and is well padded, ideal for a 15-inch laptop. The front panel also has a compartment that can be used to stash away small and important things at easy reach. The single meshed pocket at the side is helpful for holding your water bottle. It also has removable sternum straps, and the back panel is padded, allowing you to comfortably carry this great commuting backpack anywhere.

If you need space, comfort and flexibility, then this is the bag you should get.

PROS
  • Rear access to laptop pocket keeps your device protected
  • Stretchable neoprene side pocket
  • Removable sternum strap
  • Expandable capacity
CONS
  • The ventilation of the back panel is not good enough
  • Not TSA-friendly

 

8. Ridge The Commuter Backpack

The sleek and beautiful commuter backpack by Ridge is ideal for traveling and work. If you are looking for a weatherproof backpack for your everyday commute, then this backpack is one of the best of its kind. It is roomy with plenty of compartments.

The best feature is that it has extra accessories like a luggage strap, water bottle holder, and power bank pocket. The power back pocket also has an external USB port so you can easily charge your gadgets on your way.

The laptop compartment consists of a shock-resistant and padded holder that will keep your laptop protected all the way. This backpack has an anti-theft design which includes a hidden RFID pocket with durable zippers, so you can keep your important valuables safe.

PROS
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Waterproof
  • Ant-theft design with hidden RFID pocket
  • Power back pocket with external USB port
  • Extremely spacious with lots of compartments
  • Easy access pockets
CONS
  • The padding on the back panel is not great
  • A bit expensive

 

9. Incase City Commuter Backpack

The minimalistic and sleek commuter backpack by Incase is a great choice for both travel and business. It has a modern exterior which gives it a professional look. The main compartment is extremely spacious with a padded laptop sleeve that fits a 15″ MacBook Pro, but it is not compatible with other 15.6” laptops. It also has an expandable capacity, making it easy for you to use it as a carry-on too.

The front compartment is as much spacious as the main compartment. It has an organizer panel that offers amazing organization while still having room for storing extra stuff. It also has two pockets. One is small, which is lined with fleece, ideal for protecting your phone, sunglasses, etc. The other one has a hidden zipper, so you can keep your important valuables there.

This great backpack also has a sternum strap, and the back panel is extremely comfortable with lots of padding and mesh.

PROS
  • Thickly padded shoulder straps
  • 360-degree padded laptop compartment
  • Expandable back compartment for additional storage space
  • A comfortable and breathable back panel
CONS
  • Doesn’t have any side pockets for water bottles
  • It cannot fit laptops larger than a 15″

 

10. AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack

If you are looking for a low-budget, good-quality commuter backpack, then this one by AmazonBasics will do the trick. It is an extremely large multi-compartment backpack that provides enough space for you to organize your important essentials at easy access. The padded sleeves for your laptop and tablet are designed to fit a 17-inch laptop, but just keep in mind that not all of them really fit in there as some laptops have different designs.

It has two more pockets on the front panel, along with meshed side pockets that have compression straps to keep your bottle safe. It also has small compartments and a key clip that offers great space to fit your small essentials. The padded back panels and shoulder straps offer great ventilation, giving you a well-protected and comfortable experience.

Another little zippered pocket below the grab handle is ideal to fit your sunglasses or phone, so you don’t have to rummage through other stuff to find them.

PROS
  • 2 meshed side pockets for water bottles
  • Shoulder strap pouch
  • Lots of pockets and compartments
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Zippers are not lockable
  • Lining not of great quality

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a commuter backpack?

Backpack carries all our important essentials with us safely and comfortably. So you should keep some things in mind before buying one for yourself.

  • If you carry a laptop daily on your commutes, then a backpack with a good laptop compartment and having other small compartments for its accessories is the best choice.
  • It is important to keep in mind is the way you commute. If you reach your destination every day on a bike, then you should look for a durable and lightweight backpack with firm sternum and hip belts. If you take the subway or just walk to your destination, then one that has an anti-theft design with combination locks would be ideal.
  • If you are someone who carries the backpack all day on their shoulders, then you need to look for products that are lightweight and comfortable, with ventilated and padded back panels. Lightweight backpacks are necessary so your shoulders don’t feel the weight of all the stuff in the bag.
  • If you are a frequent traveler, then you should go for a TSA-friendly backpack.

What is the most durable material for a backpack?

Typically, backpacks are made from canvas, cotton, or nylon. But backpacks that are made up of nylon and polyester are more durable, stronger, and lighter than cotton or leather backpacks. Nylon and polyester both are wrinkle and stain-resistant. Both can be easily cleaned and washed. They are soft and shiny and can be very lightweight. Polyester backpacks can hold the colors and don’t fade away when exposed to UV rays. Nylon backpacks are water-resistant as nylon has a water-repellent coating.

If you are looking for a backpack that can endure the weather, is lightweight, durable, and soft, then backpacks made up of nylon and polyester are the best choice.

How do I pack a commuter backpack?

Packing a backpack doesn’t require any rules and regulations. You just have to organize and manage the things well, so you don’t have to be messy while rummaging through your stuff. Surely no one likes their things coming out of the bags every time they open it. So here are some tips that can help you in packing your commuter backpack.

  • If you are carrying your shoes, always put them on the bottom or at the sides of the laptop compartment, so they don’t take up much space. If you are carrying them to work, make sure to put a plastic bag in the shoes so you can put your sweaty socks in there.
  • If you are packing your jacket, fold it well. The same applies to other clothes – put the pants or bottoms on the shirt and roll the sleeves over the bottoms, and put them flat in the backpack. You can also use clear packing tubes for your clothes.
  • Don’t put any extra stuff in the laptop sleeve except for the laptop or tablet.
  • Make use of the small compartments and put all the important documents in one place. If your backpack has a hidden pocket, then put them in there.

Conclusion

Commuter backpacks are extremely important for our everyday carry needs. Going to work or traveling to another place, we carry a lot of things and sometimes bringing multiple bags for different things is not the answer. Commuter backpacks make it easy with their creative design. They carry a load of all the essentials we might need every day. They have multiple compartments that can organize your essentials throughout, at easy access. They are comfortable to use as the weight is evenly distributed on your shoulders.

These backpacks also provide safety and security for your valuables as they are waterproof and flexible. So you don’t have to worry about carrying your things in different bags every other day. With these bags, we are able to organize the stuff with our own ease. Whether we are carrying it to travel or work, these backpacks will always be our best help.

To help you decide which one is the best for you, we have created a list of some of the best commuter backpacks in the market right now. Before deciding on one, make sure the backpack offers great durability and comfort so you can freely use it without any discomfort.