Top 12 Laptop Bags for Mobile Pros

We asked a group of frequent business travelers for recommendations on the best laptop bags and came up with this collection of unique bags, ranging in price from just $60 all the way up to $666.

laptop bags for mobile pros
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Many mobile professionals are passionate about their laptop bags, as you'll see in this slideshow. One source said his bag looks "damn sexy, and that makes me feel good walking into meetings with big-time execs." Another said his bag is made from "recycled bike tires, which I dig."

As a follow up to our 2013 slideshow, "The 12 Best Laptop Bags for Mobile Professionals," we asked frequent business travelers to tell us about their favorite notebook-computer bags. The result is a collection of messengers, backpacks, folios and purses — even a gym bag — that range from $60 to $666. (Note: We sought bag recommendations only from people with no financial affiliations with bag makers or sellers. Bags are shown in alphabetical order.)

Acme Made Sleeve Plus
Credit: Acme Made
Acme Made Sleeve Plus
MSRP: $60

"The Acme Made Sleeve Plus holds my essentials (MacBook Air, a sketchpad and a pen) and is minimalistic. Other bags I've seen are too big and bulky for me. On the last GOAP (Geeks on a Plane) trip I went on, I substituted my Acme bag with a Voltaic bag because it had a solar charger, which I needed while traveling through Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian tech hubs. I knew charging my devices could be a problem and the solar bag really helped out. One of the other VCs on the trip liked my Voltaic bag so much he got one for himself." — Jason Schultz, entrepreneur, investor and venture capitalist

Alchemy Goods Mercer Laptop Bag
Credit: Alchemy Goods
Alchemy Goods Mercer Laptop Bag
MSRP: $168

The Alchemy Goods Mercer Laptop Bag is "made from recycled bike tires, which I dig. Most importantly, it's proven very durable, as I carry it daily with my MacBook Pro. It easily holds a Kindle and iPod and various HDMI adapters. But this model is just big enough for the laptop, those items and not much else. If I were on a plane more often, I'd think about a larger messenger bag from Alchemy Goods, so I could stuff in my big headphones and a digital SLR camera." — Josh Oakhurst, chief strategic officer, Skookum Digital Works

Kate Spade Grove Court Thea Black Handbag
Credit: Kate Spade
Kate Spade Grove Court Thea Black Handbag
$259 on sale; MSRP $448

"For two years, I'd been looking for a purse that could comfortably hold a laptop. Kate Spade's Thea bag is great because it looks like a purse but is also big enough to hold my MacBook Pro (and my iPad, too). I hate having to use a laptop bag. They tend to be too masculine, and then I have to carry the laptop bag and a purse. The Kate Spade bag needs a zippered closure on top. I would also like a padded laptop pocket built in — but that's a lot to ask. And since my company's logo is a red briefcase, I wish there were a really high quality bag in red!" —  Robbie Kellman Baxter, president, Peninsula Strategies

Lo & Sons O.G. Overnight & Gym Bag
Credit: Lo & Sons
Lo & Sons O.G. Overnight & Gym Bag
MSRP: $295

The O.G. is "a great all-around work bag when you travel with a ton of gear. It looks sharp, not like a typical laptop bag. It's hard to find a practical bag that looks cool and can take a beating. This is the bag! I especially love the shoe pocket on the bottom of the bag and the ability to slide it over the handles of my carry-on roller bag. I've bought a ton of different laptop bags over the years, trying to find one that really worked for me with my heavy travel schedule. The bag can be a bit too large for regular day-to-day work but is unbeatable when traveling." — Heather Holmes, training and physician relationship manager, Medtronic

M0851 Functional Bag
Credit: m0851
M0851 Functional Bag
MSRP: $510

"I love m0851. They offer an array of unisex products, and my husband and I own multiple bags. The Functional Bag is a slightly updated version of the bag I use to transport my MacBook Pro around town, for national travel, and even globally. It's my favorite because it's 1) very light; 2) durable; 3) unobtrusive (I hate bags that shout "look at me"); 4) flexible (it should work with both dressy and casual clothes); 5) stylish (i.e., it doesn't look like a laptop bag); 6) simple (tassels, shiny things and other overly feminine details are not for me); and 7) protective of my laptop. Downside: It's sometimes a little small for my purposes." — Ellen Jovin, co-founder and principal, Syntaxis

The North Face Surge II Backpack
Credit: The North Face
The North Face Surge II Backpack
MSRP: $125

The North Face Surge Backpack (the latest model is the Surge II) is "my favorite laptop bag because it's light (3.1 lbs.) and is really well padded. Even if I have to carry it on my back, it's not a burden. Plus, it has a lot of useful internal and external pockets. The bag can hold two laptops and their associated cabling, fits well underneath airplane seats, has a lifetime warranty, is comfortable to wear (and doesn't wrinkle my clothes), and it's inexpensive. I've had mine for years and it's still like brand-new." — Thomas Quinlan, U.K.-based senior sales engineer

Paul Smith City Webbing Leather Business Folio
Credit: Paul Smith
Paul Smith City Webbing Leather Business Folio
MSRP: roughly $666

"The Paul Smith Leather Business Folio is my all-time favorite laptop bag. It looks damn sexy, and that makes me feel good walking into meetings with big-time execs. It has plush purple lining that treats my 15-inch MacBook Pro right. And as a bonus, it matches my cigar smoking jacket. (Yes, I actually have one). It also survived five different continents and over 400,000 miles of travel. My iPhone and Kindle go with me, along with an extra Mophie battery charger and all the annoying charging cables. It all fits perfectly, along with my travel wallet and business cards. Downsides: It gets dirty easily, and I wish it were easier to clean." — Andrew Lau, ecommerce architect, Elastic Path Software

Timbuk2 Command Laptop TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag
Credit: Timbuk2
Timbuk2 Command Laptop TSA-Friendly Messenger Bag
MSRP: $139

Author's note: I needed a new laptop messenger bag. So I made a wish list of features and showed it to a sales person at Timbuk2's San Francisco store. My list included: affordable price; protected pockets for laptop and tablet; external water bottle pocket; TSA-friendly; a compartment to store a clean shirt; roomy interior; the ability to easily slip the bag onto a wheeled bag's handle; and easy access to at least one external pocket. This Timbuk2 bag met these requirements and more. It comes in small, medium and large sizes, and in various colors. (I bought the small black model.) It's not the most gorgeous or professional-looking bag, but it's ideal for casual use.

Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag
Credit: Timbuk2
Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag
MSRP: $199
"I constantly carry my laptop on the go, either in my car, on my Vespa scooter or bicycle. I've tried various laptop bags, but the Timbuk2 Especial Cycling Messenger Bag is my favorite. It meets my most important needs: It protects my laptop from drops and the elements and offers storage space and durability. I carry a 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro, and this bag is ideal for it. I also carry a Galaxy SIII and lots of computer components. They fit with room to spare. Also, the padded strap and back make it super comfortable to carry. And the extra-padded laptop compartment has saved my MacBook Pro from falls and drops." — Jeff Kear, owner, Planning Pod
Tom Bihn Cadet
Credit: Tom Bihn
Tom Bihn Cadet
MSRP: $175

"I'm on the road at least every eight weeks and like to travel light. I prefer the Tom Bihn Cadet minimalist laptop bag. I have a 15-inch MacBook Pro, so I have one of their larger bags. The bag makes zipping through airport security a breeze. It opens quickly and your laptop is easily accessible. I wear it messenger-style. It's a well-constructed bag that's made in the U.S.A. for travelers who don't like bulk but want to look stylish. The exterior side pockets are great for holding my passport or other small papers. The downside is that you only have three color options, and they're all dark." — Matthew Bishop, chief API architect, Elastic Path Software

Tumi Lucca City Tote
Credit: Tumi
Tumi Lucca City Tote
MSRP: $495

Tumi's Lucca City Tote is "petite. It carries my MacBook Air, my iPad and iPhone, chargers for the computer and cables for the devices, plus a few files, if I feel the need to carry paper. The size forces me to keep it light. The handles aren't too long so it's comfortable to carry or to put on top of a roll-aboard suitcase. The laptop sleeve is removable for more space. There are multiple zipper compartments, making it easy to keep organized and find my smaller items like lip gloss, USB fob and projection cables." — Joelle Kaufman, head of marketing and partnerships, BloomReach

Wenger Synergy Backpack
Credit: Wenger
Wenger Synergy Backpack
MSRP: $90

"After years carrying a Targus briefcase/laptop bag, I switched to the Wenger Synergy backpack and never looked back. (Pun intended). I appreciate the bag's padded and secure laptop storage; it's perfect for my 15-inch MacBook Pro. Because I'm on the move, I routinely carry a lot of stuff, including an iPad, client folders, power supplies, food and office supplies. The bag's zippered compartments let me separate and store business essentials without feeling cluttered. I especially like the smaller internal mesh compartments that let me put cables and cords into pockets that are easily identifiable and accessible. Carrying all this stuff makes me appreciate the padded straps." — David C. Smith, managing partner, Valens Point LLC