We gather a great list of the Best Smart Backpacks for Work, Travel, and Play. With nearly everything getting a “smart” upgrade over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before it happened with backpacks, and now we have smart backpacks.
Unsurprisingly, professionals have begun ditching their briefcases for smart backpacks. Not only are they more convenient, but they also include a bevy of modern features, such as built-in portable power packs to charge mobile devices and laptops on the go.
The laptop backpack market alone is on track to exceed $2 billion in revenue by this year.
Fashion may also be at play. Many high-end luggage brands have launched backpack lines to meet the growing demand for stylish bags, many of which blend nicely with business attire. Today, backpacks look ultra-modern and are the standard carry-on for traveling, at least for most people.
Perhaps, the evolution of the average backpack has been a long time coming.
What Are Smart Backpacks?
Smart backpacks, also sometimes called tech backpacks, are often traditional in design, so at a glance, they might look like any old backpack. The “smart” moniker comes into play because they often incorporate more modern, tech-oriented features and functions.
One bag, for example, might include a power adapter to charge your devices anywhere, any time. Another might include solar panels to both replenish and power mobile devices and more. Some smart backpacks have speakers to blast your favorite tunes. They’re explicitly designed to offer modern lifestyle and entertainment features, but that’s just a start.
Smart backpack manufacturers have only scratched the surface in terms of what they can include in their products. Over time, more and more innovative features have been added.
Why Would You Need a Smart Backpack?
Typically, a standard backpack might include all the items you’ll need for your day or trip. The same is true of smart backpacks, except for one thing, they often include additional hardware or features — to make your experience better — built-in. In other words, there’s a lot less for you to pack.
As with any backpack, there are many different kinds of smart backpacks. Some are meant for travel, others are meant for active lifestyles or the gym, and even more, still are meant for professionals who work in an office or commercial setting. For the most part, having a smart backpack will offer you convenience and peace of mind.
Because there are different types, and because they usually have varied features depending on the manufacturer, we wanted to highlight some of the best. We put together a list of all the smart backpacks, each of which complements a particular activity. We have smart backpacks for travel, anti-theft backpacks, and even packs built just for laptops.
Keep reading to see what we put together!
Why should you trust Ideaing?
Since 2013, the Ideaing team has been working tirelessly to provide actionable, reliable content for everyone. Every one of our team members has an extensive background in technology and has held a range of titles, from electrical engineers to product managers at Fortune 500 companies.
We pride ourselves in providing genuinely objective insight into our experience with all forms of technology, which is shown through our high-quality reviews and recommendations. The expert panel of product reviewers spend hundreds of hours, some even thousands, researching, analyzing, and testing products.
For this feature, we’ve spent countless hours researching more than 45 of the top smart backpacks on the market. Here are the top picks:
The Best Smart Backpacks for 2021
Based on our research, here are the best Smart Backpacks you can buy for 2021.
1. Kopack – Best for Anti Theft
This anti-theft pack is perfect for keeping your belongings safe throughout the day, especially if you work out of coffee shops (we love coffee too) and public spaces. Given how we use laptops and computers today, it’s devastating when one goes missing or when someone steals one.
That’s precisely why the Kopack is an excellent companion for coffee shop adventures and beyond. The professional aesthetics mean it’s suitable for both casual and formal use, while the built-in smart features add plenty of conveniences. It has a detachable USB cable and an external USB charging port for mobile devices, for example. The tear and water-resistant fabric material prevent damage to contents stored inside. Padded straps add comfort while it’s worn, especially when it’s full. Moreover, there is a plethora of organizers built-in to keep gear stored, tabulated, and easily accessible.
Why You Should Get It
This backpack is ideal for entrepreneurs, professionals, and remote workers that move from place to place with their daily gear and need suitable protection. When it comes to safe and smart backpacks, this is one of the best because it is simple, stylish, and reliable.
- USB port with charging cable
- Anti-theft laptop compartment
- Tear and water-resistant material
- Water-resistant is not the same as waterproof
2. Matein Smart Backpack – Best Versatile
A versatile smart backpack and laptop bag
Because packs come in all shapes and sizes, most people end up with several bags, each one meant for a different purpose. It is so much easier and more convenient when you can roll a lot of those same bags into one. If that sounds familiar to you, Matein’s travel-friendly and smart backpack might be precisely what you need. It’s packed to the brim with features, pun intended, that will not only make your day a whole lot easier but also keep your gear safe.
Why You Should Get It
Matein’s travel 15.6″ laptop backpack has a spacious main compartment, with a variety of side pockets that can securely carry and organize your everyday supplies. It also comes with a luggage strap that attaches to any suitcase during travel. Carrying this bag is super comfortable as it has ventilated back padding, soft-padded shoulder straps, and a carrying handle. A built-in USB charging port can be used to power your mobile devices. There’s also an anti-theft back pocket to stow high-value items like a wallet, jewelry, or documents.
Matein’s travel backpack is truly a game-changer for convenient and safe travel.
- A smart backpack for everyone, perfect for academic, professional, travel, and even outdoor use
- Can be secured to luggage during travel
- The material is not knife-resistant
3. Yorepek XL – Best TSA-Friendly
This large-capacity smart backpack is TSA-friendly.
This Yorepek XL smart backpack has a large capacity compartment with a variety of pockets, but it’s also TSA-friendly, so you can pass through security checkpoints much faster. It folds freely, between 90 to 180-degrees offering a clear view of everything stored within without needing to empty it or make a huge mess. The unique folding design also makes it easier to access the contents when you’re on the move.
Why You Should Get It
The main compartment is divided into 3 spacious pockets, with up to 20 additional compartments to organize and secure items. It offers a level of practicality and convenience that’s hard to match. A built-in external USB port with a set-in charging cable allows you to charge mobile devices just about anywhere. A reinforced hole at the top allows you to feed a headphone cable through another similar form of wiring. The high-density nylon material is tear and water-resistant. A luggage sleeve on the back slides right over the top of a telescopic handle on your rolling luggage. Moreover, the back is intelligently designed to allow proper airflow, and it has padded shoulder straps.
- Spacious main compartment, divided into 3 sections, with a fold-out design for faster security pass-throughs
- Ergonomic design with proper rear airflow and soft, padded shoulder straps
- The straps aren’t as durable as the rest of the pack
4. Nomatic 30L Smart Backpack – Best Water Resistant
A sleek and stylish smart backpack with protective lining
While adventuring to new places, and visiting beautiful vistas, your heart may be stolen, but that doesn’t mean your valuables should be too. The NOMATIC Smart Backpack is a foolproof ally to protect your gear from pickpockets and thieves thanks to its anti-theft design. It has lockable zippers and a hidden rear pocket. You won’t have to worry during overcast or rainy days either, as it’s made of durable, water-resistant material, and even has protective lining for all exterior pockets and zippers.
Why You Should Get It
Your laptop, valuables, documents, and personal gear will be safe and sound inside this bad boy. The NOMATIC backpack’s pockets are exceptional because of their unique design, offering interchangeability and a secure fit. A cord pass-through allows you to run a charger or earphone cord from the inside. You can quickly mount the bag sleeve to your luggage, or convert it from a backpack style bag to a briefcase in seconds.
- Has lockable zippers and a hidden RFID-blocking pocket
- The frame is expandable with organized pockets for your gear
- The Kodra 500D Tarpaulin fabric is water-resistant
- Bulky when full
5. Sosoon Laptop Smart Backpack – Best Academic
Large enough to carry all your school or campus gear!
When school’s in, you’ll need an adaptable pack that can handle all your textbooks, electronics, and personal gear. Sosoon’s laptop backpack can certainly keep up with your busy schedule. The 15.6″ to 17″ smart pack is spacious, and it’s outfitted with many interior compartments. You can attach any power bank to the integrated USB port, and then plug your mobile devices into the outside connection. It unzips and folds in half, as well, so you can pass through security checkpoints much faster.
Why You Should Get It
Sosoon’s laptop backpack is tough thanks to 1680D double-pile polyester fabric that’s water and tear-resistant. A built-in anti-theft lock keeps your belongings are safe, and there’s a rear hidden pocket for added security. Sosoon offers lifetime support with the purchase of their products to sweeten the deal, ensuring that you’re always covered.
The shoulder straps are even functional with a dedicated card pocket, and sunglasses or pen hook. The underside of each strap is textured, with ergonomic massage mats to keep your shoulders feeling great, even with heavier loads. That alone, coupled with the spacious size and plethora of organization options, makes it an excellent school or college pack.
- Super comfortable to wear with breathable shoulder straps and textured massage mats
- A spacious pack with plenty of room for tech, books, valuables, and more
- Has a built-in USB port
- Only holds up in light to moderate rain
6. Nomatic Travel Bag – Best Capacity
For long days of traveling
If you have a lot to carry, this is the way to go. The NOMATIC 30L Travel Bag has enough room for the necessities and beyond, ensuring you have everything you need to enjoy your trip. This smart backpack is loaded with compartments and everything is enclosed in a waterproof shell.
Why You Should Get It
With the NOMATIC 30L Travel Bag you can pack everything in one bag, and go. It even has a dedicated shoe compartment, which is ventilated to keep them dry and prevent nasty odors from spreading to the rest of your gear, or clothes. It can be worn like a conventional backpack or carried like a duffle bag, thanks to the adaptable straps. If you need a larger size pack, you can always choose the 40L model. Additional features include an RFID-blocking pocket, a cord pass-through, a laptop or tablet sleeve, detachable waist straps, and much more.
- Super large capacity to hold everything you need for a long trip
- Convertible straps from backpack to duffel carry
- Dedicated shoe compartment with proper ventilation
- No built-in USB port
7. Modoker Vintage Smart Backpack – Best Style
A vintage look, but a smart bag with modern conveniences.
Designed for casual use, the Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack features a vintage look and modern amenities. It has plenty of space to stow the essentials — like your laptop and textbooks. It also has an external USB port and charging cable, making it easy for you to charge your gadgets on the go. The fabric material is scratch and tear-resistant, so it should hold up fine during your daily commute.
Why You Should Get It
This little guy is cozy, thanks to well-padded shoulder straps that won’t cause discomfort even after a full day’s use. Moreover, the straps are long and adjustable, perfect for multiple carrying positions. There’s even an adjustable stomach strap at the bottom to offset some of the weight to the rest of your body, giving your back a little break.
A bottle pocket on the side can hold beverages or small items that you want quick access to, like sunglasses. Sturdy and attractive leather belts secure the top flap, offering function and thematics. The nylon material is scratch, tear, and water-resistant, albeit for light moisture and rain exposure.
- A stylish, vintage design with several color options
- Extra material to cover main zippers
- Has 7 total compartments with proper organization
- No hole for headphone cables
8. Voltaic Systems Solar Backpack – Best for Techies
The Voltaic Systems Solar Backpack can power laptops and phones.
Why You Should Get It
This backpack comes with everything you need built right in. Many cheap solar chargers would still require you to buy a power bank separately but not with the Voltaic Systems Solar Backpack. The built-in 24,000mAh battery can charge a normal laptop completely and can easily charge your smartphone or tablet several times over.
This backpack has USB, USB Type C and Hi-Voltage Laptop Outputs so you are sure to be able to charge almost anything. Are you worried about what would happen if you get onto a plan with this packback? No worries there, because it’s FAA Compliant (Carry-On Luggage Only).
Thanks to the great clamshell design, this bag can carry 25L of storage for all your smart gear. This has a separate laptop/tablet sleeve fits up to a 15″ laptop.
- A built-in solar-panel recharges the power bank and mobile devices
- Carry 25L of storage – phones, clothing, laptops, and more
- Also includes an integrated laptop/tablet sleeve that fits up to a 15″ laptop
- The price – not everyone’s going to want to spend $250 for a backpack
9. Himawari Smart Laptop Backpack – Best for Women
A stylish backpack that’s decent enough for work
This pack is what happens when fashion, comfort, and volume collide. You’ll find it hard to say ‘no, thanks’ to the Himawari Travel Backpack, which has a roomy interior, padded straps, and comes in a massive selection of aesthetically pleasing designs. Seriously, there are over 30 different styles to choose from!
Why You Should Get It
Cool mamas, fashion-forward professionals, and stylish young women will love the Himawari Travel Backpack. It offers both a spacious pack in a durable, carry-all form without sacrificing a fashionable aura. The straps are padded, perfect for a long day of use. Plus, despite the backpack’s roomy interior, the Himawari Travel Backpack is incredibly lightweight.
The material is scratch and water-resistant, with a plethora of pockets to stow gear. There are 2 large, front-zipper pockets, 2 small interior pockets, and 2 side pockets. A laptop sleeve can hold up to 14″ computers, and there’s a separate tablet sleeve, too. It works excellent as a diaper bag, go-bag, day-bag, travel pack, student bag, and to be honest, this list could go on forever.
- Lightweight, spacious backpack with a dedicated sleeve for laptops, and another for tablets
- Made with highly resistant materials
- The padded straps will not dig into your shoulders
- The metal buckle can feel awkward
10. Oscuart Anti-Theft Smart Back – Best Overall
A functional backpack that’s worth your money
The Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack has one of the most unique designs overall since the main compartment’s zipper is tucked away at the back of the pack. The fabric material is extra-strong, offering scratch, tear, and cut-resistance. Tough yet breathable EVA material is located on the back of the bag to keep it upright, but also to allow your back from getting all sweaty and uncomfortable.
Why You Should Get It
Even though the design is unorthodox, the bag still looks fantastic, especially thanks to the dark, front panel. It comes in several colors from a navy blue to an all-black design, offering plenty of personalization. A built-in USB port can be connected to a power pack to charge mobile devices and electronics on-the-go. There’s a dedicated sleeve to hold up to 15.6″ laptops, and the velvet material works alongside an elastic band to provide proper shock protection.
A reflective front stripe makes you visible even on dark streets at night. Side pockets, including one for water bottles, offer an easily accessible outer storage space. There’s even a luggage strap incorporated into the back, which slides over the top of telescopic luggage handles.
- Multi-functional compartments with anti-theft feature
- Superior Waterproof Materials are used in the bag’s simple design
- Comfortable shoulder strap and back materials
- Others find the bag space tight for wide stuff
— Smart Backpack Buyers Guide & FAQ —
What To Look For When Buying a Smart Backpack
Since your bag will be the exclusive carrier of valuables and necessities, you’ll want to choose carefully. Anti-theft might be a concern in urban areas, but a decent bag should also be durable, resistant to the elements, and comfortable to wear. But above all, the price must justify the feature set.
To be extra safe, use our buying guide. It explores all the important things you’ll need to know when buying a smart backpack.
Design – While some might like an elaborately-styled bag, there are also minimalists who like to keep things simple and sleek. Today, most backpacks have neutral aesthetics perfect for use during school, office, travel or leisurely getaways.
Comfort – Like clothing, you’ll be wearing your backpack nearly the entire time you’re using it. That’s why the best backpacks offer padded shoulder straps, a comfortable backing, and breathable fabric materials that won’t make you sweat profusely.
Capacity – Some bags are small, and others are big, with varying loads capacities and compartments for belongings. You’ll need to choose a bag that matches what you plan to bring or rather one that matches your intended usage or activity. If you’re hiking, you’ll want food, outdoor supplies, survival gear, and much more. If you’re visiting the office, you might want a laptop sleeve, room for snacks and lunch, and maybe a change of gym clothes.
Materials – Your smart backpack needs to be durable, so it won’t buckle or tear under pressure, but also suitably lightweight. A backpack made out of Kevlar, for instance, is going to be heavier. While you may not necessarily need something bulletproof — or maybe you do — there are cut and knife-resistant packs made with lighter materials. Choose wisely.
Water-Resistance – From rain to splashes from a water fountain or even drink spills, you’ll want a material that has some water-resistance. A resistant material also keeps the items contained within the bag safe and dry.
Smart Backpack FAQs
Finding the perfect smart backpack to match your needs and intentions can be quite the chore. These questions, and answers, can make the whole process a little easier.
Q: Can smart backpacks be used as an anti-theft bag?
A: It depends on the bag, as the build materials play a big role in offering anti-theft protection. Something like standard cotton fabric, for instance, is going to be a lot easier to cut through or tear than say, hardened nylon or polyester.
Most of the bags, regardless of material, do include a hidden pocket or RFID-resistant compartment, that’s difficult to access and safe from blades.
Example: The Oscaurt Anti-theft Travel Backpack’s main pocket zippers are fully hidden, and there’s a secret pocket in the rear with a fine twill polyester cloth cover that protects it from cuts.
Q: How much can smart backpacks carry?
A: To be perfectly honest, the average smart backpack holds as much as a regular pack. Often, they offer plenty of space to carry a few books, a laptop, and some valuables.
Total capacity depends on the design and material, of course. Some materials are tougher and can hold a lot more without ripping or tearing. The initial capacity is 20L but the range extends to 24L, 30L, or even 40L for some packs. Most backpacks will fit under airplane seats or between your legs during a commute, so they’re perfect carry-on bags.
Q: Do all smart backpacks have room for a laptop?
A: Most do, but not all. The ones that do usually have exclusive padded pockets or compartments meant for laptops or tablets. Pay attention to the compatible size listings, as some bags are meant for smaller and thinner laptops, and don’t have enough room for larger computers.
Q: What is a ‘modular’ or ‘convertible’ smart backpack?
A: Some backpacks have a rather innovative and intelligent design that allows them to convert between various forms, primarily to accommodate different uses.
For example, the Nomatic Travel Bag easily converts from a backpack to a carry-style duffel bag. The versatile strap system is what allows the bag to be transformable. Not all bags support such a thing, but if it’s something that interests you, be sure to make the feature a priority.
These days, we hardly leave home without some piece of tech or mobile device. Smart backpacks help bridge the gap between mobility and more stationary requirements, like needing access to an outlet to recharge devices. A smart backpack with a charger or power adapter offers quick-charge support at any time.
With the right smart backpacks in your arsenal, it doesn’t matter where you are, you can stay connected at all times. Of course, that all depends on the smart features available to you, so it’s imperative that you choose the right pack.