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11 best laptop bags for women, from waterproof backpacks to timeless totes

Back to commuting? These picks from M&S, Mango and more have plenty of room

Eva Waite-Taylor
Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:53
<p>We paid close attention to size, comfort and durability </p>

We paid close attention to size, comfort and durability

Just as many of us finally got used to working from home, office life has returned, albeit mostly in a more flexible way than before.

But, after nearly two years of replacing a long commute with a walk across the hall, chances are your work accessories have gathered dust at the back of your wardrobe and are in need of a refresh.

If you’re unsure where to start, it may help to look to the catwalks where capacious tote bags shone supreme for autumn/winter, with the likes of Gabriela Hearst, Fendi and Christian Dior putting a compelling case together for the “bigger is better” handbag.

Fashion trends aside, there are plenty of functional, yet stylish backpacks currently on the market that are equally as large and can comfortably hold everything from your laptop and book to your lunchbox and purse for your schlep across town.

Owing to the huge number on offer, we set ourselves the challenge of finding the best currently available. Whether you’re after a highly functional waterproof backpack or something that can take you from day to night, you’ve come to the right place.

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How we tested

When it came to our final collection of the best laptop bags, we looked for those that were functional as well as stylish. Similarly, we paid attention to the size and whether it could fit all the essentials, as well as how durable we thought it was. Finally, and arguably most importantly, we considered how comfortable it was to carry, because no one needs sore shoulders before they’ve even arrived at their desk.

The best laptop bags for women for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Everlane renew backpack: £71, Everlane.com
  • Best for large laptops – Kovered eden backpack: £49, Kovered.co.uk
  • Best high street pick – Mango pebbled shopper bag: £19.99, Mango.com
  • Best for work and adventures – Columbia unisex convey 25l rolltop daypack: £32.50, Columbiasportswear.co.uk
  • Best leather laptop bag – M&S leather backpack: £89, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best tote bag – Longchamp le pilage shoulder bag: £95, Longchamp.com
  • Best quilted backpack – John Lewis anyday quilted backpack: £49, Johnlewis.com
  • Best waterproof backpack – Rains rucksack: £65, Rains.com
  • Best faux leather tote – Kin triple compartment tote bag: £69, Johnlewis.com
  • Best backpack – Eastpak padded pak’r black: £45, Eastpak.com
  • Best large handbag – Charles & Keith Charlot tote bag: £89, Charleskeith.co.uk

Everlane renew backpack

Best: Waterproof backpack

  • Dimensions: H 44.45cm x D 18.41cm x L 30.48cm
  • Water resistant? Yes
  • Number of internal compartments: Two
  • Fastening: Magnet and zip closures
  • Rating: 10/10

The design of this laptop bag is everything you could want and more. There’s an exterior padded zip pocket at the back for storing your laptop – minimising the need of having a case and avoiding the possibility of any unwanted spillage wreaking havoc. As for the inside, there are two sizeable slip pockets and a slot for your water bottle (there’s also one on the exterior should you want to keep things separate). There’s also a zip-closure pocket on the front, which is ideal for keeping your wallet and keys as accessible as possible.

And if you don’t think all of that is reason enough to buy, it also has a water-resistant finish and is made from recycled fabric. Other benefits are that it’s comfortable to wear thanks to the padded straps and it can fit a 15in laptop with ease. Everlane really has not missed a trick here – although do factor that there will be international shipping costs from the US when you are budgeting.

Kovered eden vinyl backpack

Best: Large laptop bag

  • Dimensions: H 42cm x W 31cm x D 11cm
  • Water-resistant? Yes
  • Number of internal compartments: Two
  • Fastening: Zip closures
  • Rating: 9/10

Despite being functional, this is still stylish thanks to its slimline design. It features a large interior compartment that can easily fit a 17in laptop inside, as well as a zipped section for keeping things neatly stored.

On the front, you’ll find two further zippable compartments and two slots for storing your drinks – one for your reusable coffee cup, the other for your water bottle, for example.

Should you get caught in an inevitable British downpour, you won’t have to worry about your tech getting damaged as this backpack is waterproof. It’s an ideal work backpack, but could easily be taken out on a long hike or even be used as an overnight bag.

Mango pebbled shopper bag

Best: High street pick

  • Dimensions: H 31cm x W 50cm x D 12cm
  • Water-resistant? Yes
  • Number of internal pockets: None
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 8/10

High street brand Mango knows a thing or two about making high-low accessories, and we’re obsessed with this capacious handbag that really can hold it all. It’s the ideal day-to-night option – smart enough for the office but also perfect for post-work dinner and drinks, or even for use as a weekend shopper. While the black is timeless, we love the tan colour and think it looks far more expensive than the price tag would suggest. We’d go as far as to say this is a wardrobe staple.

Columbia unisex convey 25l rolltop daypack

Best: For work and adventures

  • Dimensions: H 40cm x W 33cm x D 16cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal compartments: Three
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 8/10

Columbia is known for its reliable outdoor wear, making this a versatile option for the office or the trail. Much like Everlane’s renew backpack (£71, Everlane.com), it has an externally accessed padded laptop sleeve, while the 25l capacity makes it capacious enough to hold all your essentials. The straps are comfortable for wearing over a long period of time and provide ample support, while the back is padded – ideal if you’re carrying a heavy load. The rolltop closure, meanwhile, provides a degree of weather resistance.

M&S leather backpack

Best: Leather laptop bag

  • Dimensions: H 18cm x W 34cm x L 44cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal pockets: None
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 7/10

The sleek leather design of this bag means it’s ideal for work as well as play. It is arguably less practical than the others in this round-up, but if you want something chic and stylish, it is the answer. It can hold a 13in laptop along with a lunchbox and water bottle, so it’s still a great choice if you have a smaller screen. As there’s no internal compartment with this one, we found the front pocket particularly handy when it came to keeping our keys and phone separate from other belongings.

Longchamp le pliage shoulder bag

Best: Timeless tote bag

  • Dimensions: H 30cm x W 31cm x D 19cm
  • Water-resistant? Yes
  • Number of internal compartments: One
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 8/10

The Longchamp le pliage shopper is a classic, and for good reason. It has smart leather shoulder straps and a deceptively, Mary Poppins-esque main compartment that can easily hold everything from your laptop and lunchbox to a book and water bottle. While it’s an expensive purchase, we’ve had this trusty tote for more than 6 years and it is still going strong. It’s a bag we’ll reach for time and again, making it an investment. What’s more, it folds down to a small rectangle shape, should you want to take it on holiday (it makes a great beach bag too).

John Lewis anyday quilted backpack

Best: Quilted backpack

  • Dimensions: H 40cm x W 33cm x D 16cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal compartments: Two
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 7.5/10

If you thought the quilted trend was exclusively for jackets (a la The Frankie Shop), then think again. We saw padded sandals gain a foothold during the summer months and now bags are taking centre stage.

This backpack is the perfect way to subtly tap into the trend. It has an internal, padded sleeve that can hold a 15in laptop, with plenty of room in the main compartment for your work essentials. But we were most impressed by the fact it comes with an additional black storage bag for keeping things dry. There are also two bottle holders on the exterior – one for your coffee cup and another for your water bottle, perhaps. A great, stylish choice.

Rains rucksack

Best: Waterproof backpack

  • Dimensions: H 42cm x W 29.5cm x D 11cm
  • Water-resistant? Yes
  • Number of internal compartments: One
  • Fastening: Buckle
  • Rating: 8/10

Rains is known for its functional wet-weather outerwear, so this backpack is one to know if you’re looking for a waterproof laptop bag (this is the UK, after all). The adjustable straps are comfortable for long periods of time, and its sizeable enough to carry all the essentials, with an internal sleeve for a 15in or 13in laptop. There’s a number of colours to choose from too, from black and dark green to taupe and shiny black. A great all-rounder.

Kin triple compartment bag

Best: Faux leather tote

  • Dimensions: H40 x W33 x D16cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal compartments: Four
  • Fastening: None
  • Rating: 7/10

With the autumn/winter catwalks dictating that we should “go big or go home” when it comes to our accessories, this large and practical handbag is bang on trend. It has three separate compartments, as well as a small zippable pocket for storing valuables, making it practical as well as stylish. Our only gripe is the fact the handle is quite short, so it can be difficult to get over the shoulder. But, once it’s there, it’s not going anywhere. Should you want to veer away from black, as smart as it is, you’ll be glad to know this one is also available in camel.

Eastpak padded pak’r black

Best: Black backpack

  • Dimensions: H 40cm x W 30cm x D18cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal compartments: One
  • Fastening: Zip closure
  • Rating: 8/10

While not as chic as some of the others in this round-up, for a plain and simple backpack, you can’t go wrong with this design from Eastpak. The first thing you’ll notice is just how light it is, so there’s no unnecessary weight before you’ve started piling in your heavy load. There’s plenty of space for books and folders, as well as your laptop, making it a great choice for students who are lugging lots to and from the library.

Charles & Keith Charlot tote bag

Best: Large tote bag

  • Dimensions: H 37cm x W 37cm x D 15cm
  • Water-resistant? No
  • Number of internal compartments: Two
  • Fastening: Magnetic popper
  • Rating: 6.5/10

If you want to tap into the large tote bag trend, then we’d recommend this one, because it certainly is capacious. While it’s not the most comfortable laptop bag in this round-up, it does have a handy adjustable (and detachable) strap that makes it a great crossbody, hands-free accessory. It can easily store a 15in laptop, as well as an iPad mini, lunchbox and water bottle. And it has a zip-fastened internal pocket, so your phone won’t get lost. If the cream colour isn’t for you, it’s also available in olive and black – both of which are equally chic.

The verdict: Laptop bags for women

From day to night accessories, to those that you can take from the office to the trail, there’s plenty to choose from within this round-up. But, the one we’ve reached for the most is Everlane’s renew backpack: it’s sizeable but not overly bulky and has the perfect streamlined design. It’s a staple we’ll continue to use for years to come.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on women’s handbags and other accessories offers, try the links below:

Looking to enjoy a sumptuous sleep? Read our review of the best women’s silk pyjamas

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