A backpacking backpack for laptops?
October 10, 2013 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I want the benefits of a backpacking backpack with the benefits of a laptop backpack. Shoulder and waist straps, tall and able to fit lots of stuff, but with a laptop sleeve or something that would make it easy to take my laptop out and put it back in. Does this exist?

In my early twenties I acquired a Lowe Alpine Crag Attack while I was in Budapest. Over the seven years since, it has been a great many places and has been both comfortable to carry and amazingly good at fitting a very large amount of stuff. But now I am older and have to work. So I have to carry my stupid Macbook pro much of the time. And it doesn't work very well in my Crag Attack. To go through security I have to take my laptop sleeve out of it, which is usually wedged behind other stuff. It is not fun and I am tired of it.
posted by melissam to Shopping (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Almost all modern backpacking backpacks are going to have a sleeve for a hydration bladder that will fit up to 15" laptops, although it might be a squeeze. I have a Gregory Baltoro 75 that can hold a laptop. If that's too big their 65 has the same sleeve.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:47 PM on October 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

YES! I just bought one before I went to Kenya. I mean it's not massive, but I used it very heavily, I'm not sure if it's an aussie company or not: Mont Transit. What I like about it is that it's made by a real backpack company that understands real backpack stuff. It's not full of superfluous straps and shit to make it look serious, it's built like a brick shithouse, and the laptop section is completely separate from the main section, and padded. I wubs it.
posted by smoke at 6:53 PM on October 10, 2013

This Minaal ProTravel bag currently running on Kickstarter fits your description, dependent upon your budget and what else you are looking for in a bag.
posted by signondiego at 6:55 PM on October 10, 2013

While I don't have a perfect answer to your question, I do have something that might help you adapt a regular hiking pack to better suit your needs. When I'm in the field with my laptop I pack it in this laptop dry bag. It provides a lot of protection and has a handy handle that makes it easier to get it in and out of the bag. Highly recommended.
posted by Scientist at 7:55 PM on October 10, 2013

I have a North Face Recon - daypack with hydration pocket which doubles as a laptop sleeve. It has a hipbelt and chest yoke, comes in men's and women's configurations. Best daypack I've ever owned and I just pretty much lived out of it on a one month artist-in-residence at a national monument. Not a full backpacking pack - and the pack I use for that - an Osprey Kestrel - would work far less well with a laptop.
posted by leslies at 8:41 PM on October 10, 2013

If you're actually backpacking, buy a travel pack that has a detachable day bag. It's very convenient for laptops because you can stow the big bag on a bus in a third world country if you need to and hold the laptop in the bag on your lap.
posted by empath at 9:02 PM on October 10, 2013

I have used a WWII Musette bag attached to the back of my ALICE pack, and have the back flap of the ALICE pack cover the musette bag. Worked pretty well in a pinch, and both can be had for under $35 each on ebay.
posted by chambers at 10:01 PM on October 10, 2013

This isn't a full frame backpacking backpack, but I quite like my Osprey FlapJack with laptop sleeve. Perfectly fits my macbook pro. Hip and chest straps. Great for a weekend away, or daily commuting. Fits under airplane seats. At first I thought I wouldn't like the flap, but it helps it shed water, and you can fit a yoga mat/small sleep roll under if if you need to. Tightening down the flap also helps compress contents like clothing. The only downside to the flap is that it needs to open all the way to get your laptop out at security.

I actually have the "flap jill" which is a bit narrower for the female types. They also come in XL sizes in both the Jill and Jack, if you'd like more cargo space.
posted by fontophilic at 5:55 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a Lowepro backpack that has a nice laptop area with padding, as well as lots of room and pockets in the rest of the backpack. It is meant for carrying my DSLR, which is why I bought it, but on trips where I don't need lots of camera gear I can take out the velcro dividers and put lots of clothes or other stuff in there. It cost about $150. Try your nearest camera store, they usually have lots of selection and different types of backpacks that carry laptops. Even if they are meant for camera gear, you can usually take out the extra dividers.
posted by photoexplorer at 8:58 AM on October 11, 2013

Are you going to be truly backpacking - like hiking and camping and stuff - or just using it for travel? Are you going to be checking it or carrying it on (you mention carrying on your current backpack - how do get such a large bag on the plane?)?

For a carryon travel pack, this Timbuk2 backpack is pretty nice, and has the waist straps too, but it's a little smaller (about 2/3 size) than your current one.
posted by bluefly at 9:53 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Final update from the OP:
Two years later I got the Betabrand Cornucopia bag, which has a laptop sleeve, the same capacity as my backpacking backpack, is waterproof and has multiple compartments. I've taken it on two trips and it has worked out great. Only downside is no waist strap.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:55 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

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