Seeking non-clunky backpack for clunky laptop
May 18, 2016 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I need a basic backpack for my work laptop. I'd like one that's as unobtrusive and non-dorky as possible.

It's a relatively non-fancy PC laptop. Very rough dimensions are 14" x 10" x 1.25", and it weighs about 5 pounds. I carry it in the big puffy generic messenger-style bag that they gave me, but my commute involves about a mile of walking, and it's just enough to wonk up my back a little bit.

Here's what I'm looking for:

- Reasonably stylish. Or, at least, not unstylish. I don't care for the rugged puffy strappy look.
- Low-profile. People wearing huge backpacks on crowded trains is a major pet peeve of mine, and I'd rather not add to the problem.
- Not leather. I prefer canvas to nylon, but that's not a requirement.
- I do not need fancy features or extra pockets for all my tactical carries. This will just be for my laptop.
- Padded shoulders would probably be a good idea.
- A padded interior would also be a good idea, though not essential since I could get a sleeve.
- No preferred color; I am open to bright stuff and twee prints but am just as fine with basic black.
- Budget: I'd prefer to spend under $50 (which I guess is my arbitrary price point for things I'm not excited about buying), though I expect most quality bags to be pricier. I'm unlikely to go over $75 unless it's something I love.
- Yes it has to be a backpack.

Most of the bags I've found via Google/previous questions/the usual bag-shopping sites are too bulky and backpacky for my taste. This one from Herschel is a contender, but may not be wide enough. I like the style and color of this one, but it's a little too short. This Victorinox bag is a good size and I like the style okay, but I don't love it.

Thanks once again for helping me find things, Mefites!
posted by Metroid Baby to Shopping (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Fjällräven Kånken 15" laptop model fits your criteria, though it might be too pricey. I've been using one for a while now and I love it for commuting; it's also great for plane journeys.
posted by neushoorn at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

You want an Everlane backpack. I have the Modern Snap and am very happy with it but I think any of the styles except the Mini would meet your requirements.
posted by telegraph at 9:40 AM on May 18, 2016

This by Rock.holick has been the best backpack among the literally dozens I've tried. It's simple, low-profile, comfortable padded straps, padded interior laptop compartment, comes in a range of colors, slim, durable... and less than $30!!

I like too that it has no visible branding, and isn't too outdoorsy or too tacticool -- to me the style reads as urban, understated, and kind of Muji-esque. Highly recommend.
posted by argonauta at 9:58 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sumdex makes some decent options. I have the Nicole and I love the low profile. It's not a roomy as a big bookbag of course, but if I use a slim tupperware, I can easily fit my lunch and a book too.
posted by veery at 10:14 AM on May 18, 2016

I just got a great Osprey Ozone daypack on closeout from REI. It's super lightweight, which is nice, and includes a good padded compartment for the laptop plus enough space for incidentals.

It easily holds my MacBook Pro, adapter, notebook, a magazine or two and a book, a pen case, my camera and a spare lens and flash, and a rain shell, all without being awkward or heavy. I used it on Saturday spectating at an Ironman and got absolutely soaked in the rain, and my stuff inside was still basically dry, so that's a bonus.

I paid about $50 for mine, but that was half price. They still have them, but the hypersale mine was on is over, so it's $73. That's still 25% off, though I realize it's on the high end of your range.

Direct link is here. Also, it's a crazy green color, but if you're like me that's a feature.
posted by uberchet at 10:17 AM on May 18, 2016

I like everything about my Osprey Flapjack. Lightweight, carries a large laptop, very balanced and really comfortable. Looks fine for business meetings, too. About $60 now for color black.
posted by artdrectr at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2016

I started using this backpack from Amazon for work-related travel and it's been great. It looks more professional than a student or hiking backpack but is super comfortable. It does have a few additional pockets, but it is still overall smaller than most laptop bags.
posted by tryniti at 11:46 AM on May 18, 2016

I got this Novara (REI store brand) Dutchtown Bike Pack early this year on a clearance sale. I think they've probably discontinued it altogether by now, although Chrome might have a similar thing. If you can find something along these lines in your price range, I definitely recommend the design. Roll-top is easy to deal with and somewhat flexible about how much stuff is in there; it's pretty much waterproof; it holds enough that I've taken a couple of week-long trips with it as primary luggage, but it compresses down fairly slim. Not perfect, but pretty good.
posted by brennen at 1:19 PM on May 18, 2016

I recently bought This Swiza bag (view details on their site) and really like it, but storage options were important to me and this bag delivers without extra bulk. Fab also regularly has 15% discounts which came in handy. My runner up was a much simpler BulletProof bag, but it was too simple for what I wanted.
posted by homesickness at 1:26 PM on May 18, 2016

Thanks for the recommendations! I ended up finding this Poler backpack that I really like. It's on the big side, but I like the look and it's way cheaper than I was expecting to pay. I'll update to let you know if it works out.

I like the look of the BulletProof bag and would have ordered that if I hadn't come across the Poler bag first.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:21 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dang missed your comment above about having purchased something already, but came to say: You want my new laptop backpack. $49.99 at Target, I freakin LOVE this thing.
posted by deliciae at 7:12 PM on May 18, 2016

I'm with telegraph re: the Everlane backpack, this one in particular:

I own this one and it's great for laptops, tablets etc.
posted by james33 at 4:25 AM on May 19, 2016

« Older Should I stay and help or should I go?   |   This really is a lot of filo dough ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.