The 12 best laptop bags for mobile professionals

We're all carrying too much stuff. These bags will keep your laptop, tablet and smartphone in easy reach. Plus, they look cool.

The 12 best laptop bags for mobile professionals

We're all toting a lot more stuff than we used to carry: Laptops. Smartphones. Tablets. Ereaders. Big headphones. Chargers.

Fortunately, luggage and bag-makers feel our pain. Here are 12 laptop bags, suitcases, sling bags and backpacks that go a step beyond the boring, each offering a little something different. Some bags featured will also accommodate tablets or are designed just for tablets.

James A. Martin is CIO.com’s mobile apps blogger and a former travel writer. Follow him on Twitter. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Briggs & Riley TORQ Line
Briggs & Riley TORQ line

Briggs & Riley can always be counted on for quality bags backed by a lifetime guarantee. The company introduced its first hard-shell luggage line, TORQ, in 2013. The international carry-on model ($479) is the first hard-shell bag to feature a front pocket, according to Briggs & Riley. The pocket is padded, lockable and large enough to hold a full-sized tablet or laptop (up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro). Comes in ruby, cobalt and graphite. [ Find it on Amazon ]

Tumi TICON Line
Tumi TICON Line

Oh, what a complicated world in which we live. ID and credit cards sometimes have radio frequency chips that contain your unencrypted information. Thieves can use radio frequencies to grab that sensitive info without your knowledge. Enter Tumi (and several other bag makers) to the rescue. The company's TICON line features Tumi ID Lock, which reportedly protects credit cards and passports from identity theft via radio frequency. The TICON line with Tumi ID Lock includes the sporty ballistic-nylon sling backpack ($275) that can hold a tablet. [ Find it on Amazon ]

Related: 3 Ways to Justify an iPad mini Purchase

Genius Packer
Genius Packer

The wheeled carry-on Genius Packer ($198) was built for travel geeks, with a compartment for practically everything. I love the innovative "laundry chute," which separates, compresses and stores dirties, plus the pockets for socks and underwear, as well as the strap that secures your coat to the top of the four-wheeled bag and the pop-out toiletries kit. An optional battery pack ($28) recharges a smartphone or other small electronics within the bag, and an optional speaker ($28) provides up to six hours of music. There's even a slot for an optional, ultra compact umbrella ($18). At 22 inches, though, this innovative wheeled bag may not meet every airline's carry-on size restrictions.

The Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur

This is another cool bag from the savvy folks behind the Genius Packer. Many of us carry a tablet and a laptop these days, and the Entrepreneur ($78) shoulder bag accommodates both with separate compartments. Like the Genius Packer, you’ve got slots for the optional battery pack and speaker (both $28) and umbrella ($18), too.

Powerbag Bags
Powerbag Bags

Mixing convenience with cool, Powerbag makes an attractive line of backpacks, messenger bags and wheeled briefcases with integrated batteries for recharging up to four smartphones and other small portable electronics. You can recharge your bag's battery without removing it from the bag. LED lights on the bag's exterior show you when your bag is turned "on" and ready to charge. Prices start at $140.

Chrome Soma
Chrome Soma

Chrome is the current too-cool-for-school bag maker among urban hipsters. Where else will you get a laptop bag with a shoulder strap buckle that also serves as a built-in bottle opener? Chrome offers multiple style choices for laptop toters. One of the more unusual is the Soma ($120), which the company says was originally designed as a DJ bag. It features an integrated, padded sleeve that can hold up to a 15.4-inch screen laptop. You can also customize some Chrome bags.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star
Tom Bihn Tri-Star

Tom Bihn has a cult reputation among savvy business travelers, and the Tri-Star ($280) is one of the Seattle-based company's classics. Constructed of ballistic nylon, the bag has three roomy interior compartments. The middle is ideal for storing a laptop, tablet and other gear, with ample space for clothes in the other two compartments. The exterior features plenty of zippered pockets. The bag can also be carried as a backpack. On a three-week trek through the U.K., this was one of only two bags I took, and it served me well. Available in multiple colors.

Waterfield Designs SleeveCase, Piggyback Pouch and Strap
Waterfield Designs SleeveCase, Piggyback Pouch and Strap

San Francisco-based Waterfield Designs has a bag, sleeve or case for practically every device. My favorite: The highly customizable SleeveCase for Macs and PCs. The SleeveCase ($49) can be used as a laptop sleeve and slipped into a larger bag. It can be transformed into its own bag, too, with optional accessories such as a Velcro flap for extra protection ($15 extra); a shoulder strap ($12 to $22); and a Piggyback pouch ($25 to $27) that's handy for storing keys and other small items.

Review: Custom "SleeveCases" offer stylish protection for all your gadgets

Timbuk2 Bags
Timbuk2 Bags

San Francisco's Timbuk2 has a variety of informal gadget bags. The beauty here is you can customize the heck out of most models, such as the Laptop Messenger, which starts at $149. After choosing a size (small, medium or large), you can pick colors and fabrics for the bag's left, center, and right panels and the interior lining, among other options. The company currently offers a "limited edition" set of bags designed for Apple products, including the Launchpad MacBook Messenger Bag ($99), which features padded sleeves for both a 15-inch MacBook and an iPad.

Victorinox Flex Pack
Victorinox Flex Pack

Traveling on vacation with an iPad mini or similarly sized tablet? Consider the Victorinox Flex Pack ($68). I love its versatility; it can be worn as a backpack during the day or as an across-the-shoulder bag at night. The main compartment is surprisingly roomy, though it lacks extra padding for electronics. There's an exterior water bottle pocket as well as a second, smaller compartment that's convenient for storing a wallet or smartphone. Straps are reinforced with "slash-proof" wire, too.

More From Victorinox: The digital Swiss Army Knife every techie should own

eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible
eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible

Luggage retailer eBags sells its own brand of products at affordable prices. This weekender bag features an unusual laptop "sling," which adjusts to fit different laptop sizes and secures them with a strap in a back foam-protected compartment. It's super affordable, at $81.59, and it comes in multiple colors.

Mobile Edge ScanFast Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase 2.0
Mobile Edge ScanFast Checkpoint Friendly Briefcase 2.0

For the environmentally aware, this briefcase ($100) is made using Dupont Sorona materials derived from corn, which the company says requires 30 percent less energy to manufacture and cuts greenhouse emissions by 63 percent. The bag fits laptops up to a 17-inch MacBook and is designed to help you zip through airport checkpoints without having to remove your laptop. The design is also available as a messenger bag or backpack, both also $100.