What we bought: Engadget’s favorite backpacks

The majority of us at Engadget are no longer in school, but we still appreciate a quality backpack when we discover one. We may have abandoned textbooks some time ago, but we still have a lot of equipment to transport.

At a minimum, the majority of us must transport our laptops to and from meetings, while others must also transport camera and video equipment. Even though our current backpacks do not carry the same school supplies as you, we are confident that they can accommodate everything you need to succeed in your classes.

Timbuk2 Lane Commuter bag

What’s green, portable, and has a secret bag in the bottom that holds a waterproof sleeve, which I just found while writing this? Yes, it’s this Timbuk2 Lane Commuter bag, which I’ve had for 4 years but never really known, as far as I can tell. I bought it because it’s light, easy to carry, can be stretched to fit big things, has two water bottle holders on the outside (one for soup and one for more soup), and has a lot of pockets.

The Timbuk company has a good name for building high-quality things. I still use their messenger bag, which I got more than a decade ago, and this laptop bag is just as durable. Even though it has been through a few CESs, the Timbuk hasn’t shown much wear and tear. The color hasn’t changed much, and the straps haven’t torn. Even though the bag has been through a lot, my laptop is still in good shape. Even though my bag was pretty water-resistant before I found this sheath, it’s a nice extra layer of protection, and it also taught me how important it is to pay attention when opening new gear.

Baggallini Soho Backpack

I had a few backpacks before I got this Baggallini bag as a gift, and I can say that most of the ones I used before this one couldn’t compare to it. It’s hard to find bags that are both sturdy and stylish in a way that goes beyond just being useful. With its water-resistant nylon fabric and bigger “doctor bag” shape, the Soho Backpack is a good choice. I can fit a 13-inch laptop in the padded sleeve on the inside, and I like that the bag has a good number of pockets. Most of the time, I keep my phone and keys in the two front pockets, and almost every time I go out, a water bottle and an umbrella are in the two side pockets. I also like that it has a sleeve for the luggage handle, which lets me rest my back a little while flying.

Even though I’m glad I have this bag now for all kinds of trips, I often think about how useful it would have been when I was in college. Back then, I carried a lot of bags that were too small, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I have some back problems now. At least I won’t hurt myself any more if I carry this useful and kind of cool bag when I need to.

Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack

When it comes to bags, I’m kind of an easy mark. I’ve liked using Peak Design’s original Everyday Messenger for the past six years, but on longer trips, its size often felt a bit limiting. I got the Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack last year, and it’s probably the best backpack I’ve ever had. It was made with a lot of thought, just like the company’s other products. There are what seems to be an endless number of zippers, pockets, handles, and loops all over the bag, which makes it easy to organize your stuff or secure larger items like a tripod. You can even turn it into a bag by hiding the shoulder straps and hip belts behind cleverly placed flaps. Built-in compression snaps help it get smaller for carry-on duty. There are also separate padded bags for tablets and laptops up to 16 inches.

The only real problem is that it’s a bit big, so I sometimes feel like a turtle when I wear it. It’s a great backpack for a long weekend when you need to carry a lot of stuff and clothes. Unfortunately, Peak came out with a smaller 30L version not long after I bought this one. If I had to choose again, I probably would have gone with the smaller one.

Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack

I love my Dagne Dover Dakota bag for a lot of reasons, but the main one is that it has pockets. Several pockets. There is one big pocket on the front, three more on the other side of the front flap, two internal side pockets, two exterior side pockets, and two more pockets on the back. Oh, and there’s also a large, padded laptop compartment that’s big enough for my 13-inch MacBook Pro (the company says it should fit most 13-inch computers).

With all of these places, I can store a lot of things, like cables, extra batteries, accessories, a water bottle, and so much more. I really like the two on the back because they are easy to get to while I’m wearing the backpack. They are perfect for important things like my wallet, phone, and travel papers.

There is also a lot of space inside. I was able to fit a big DSLR camera and a big zoom lens in there. I can fit an extra change of clothes and a pair of shoes in it, which makes it a great gym bag. I also love it for trips. It can hold a lot of things but is still small enough to fit under the seat in front of me. In fact, the latest version of the Dakota has a sleeve that fits ideally over your luggage handle.

Also, this thing will last. Neoprene, a soft, light material that dries quickly if it gets wet, is used to make it. It also keeps heat in and absorbs shocks. I bought it in 2017, and after five years, it’s still in good shape. It’s not quite as clean as it was back then, but it works just as well. Even though it costs $185, it’s worth it for a bag that has lasted this long.

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