The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

How We Tested Laptop Backpacks

Friday August 30, 2019

To test laptop backpacks, we did what most people would — we put our laptops in them and took them everywhere! For us, this meant walks to the coffee shop, biking to work, and short jaunts to the local hot springs. In this review, we consider six important metrics to rate each contender.

Taking a hike on the island of Kauai while visiting Hawaii. We didn't just stick to the city to fully test our laptop backpacks.
Taking a hike on the island of Kauai while visiting Hawaii. We didn't just stick to the city to fully test our laptop backpacks.

Laptop Protection


We enumerated and evaluated all laptop protection components while putting each through the test. We took these backpacks and threw them around to see which provided the best protection, and which didn't.

Comfort


Using testers of different sizes and genders, we provide some feedback on the fit and comfort of these packs. We also considered features such as the type and amount of padding, breathability, strap thickness and location, and the use of a sternum or hip strap.

Storage


Here we look at the practicality of the storage space and enumerate the number of pockets, compartments, and the relative volume each pack can hold. We also look at the versatility of the storage. To do this, we stuffed each contender to the max to see how much it could hold and how well it performed loaded up and loaded down.

Ease of Use


Here we look at the features that make a laptop backpack either or easy or difficult to use. For example, we consider if the laptop easily comes out when loaded down or if the storage can be accessed effectively.

Water Resistance


In this test, we took each pack out whenever it rained to see how the exterior construction worked to protect from rain. We also subjected each to a shower test where the bag was put under the shower for several minutes to mimic a rainstorm.

Style


As a subjective metric, we look at current fashion trends and provide stylish recommendations for each pack. Also, we consider the color options available for both men and women.

The Explorer didn't take home any awards but it had a clever function for attaching a skateboard  or electric skateboard in our case  to the back of the pack.
The Explorer didn't take home any awards but it had a clever function for attaching a skateboard, or electric skateboard in our case, to the back of the pack.