9 Awesome Hiking Backpacks With Laptop Compartment [2020]

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Yes, we’ve heard that many times.

Nature is for disconnecting from the external world and leaving all electronic devices at home. Sometimes, though, the thing is that you need your personal computer right with you. Often that might be for pressing professional purposes or just pleasure.

Probably you want to watch a movie in your tent, skype with your friends or use an application to see an extended map of the area and better plan your itinerary.

That’s why we rigorously compiled this list of the best hiking backpacks with laptop compartment on the market. It took us a tremendous amount of time to research, test, and select only top-notch models that can comfortably and safely carry your device.

Honestly, the task was surprisingly difficult. As it turned out, it’s rather uncommon to find a pack that has all those trail-oriented features and at the same time to have a laptop sleeve. Most of the backpacks with a computer sleeve are strictly designed for travel (or school) and it could be a huge pain in the ass to hike with such a rucksack.

Buying a separate laptop sleeve to put in your existing pack is rather a workaround than a practical solution.

We solved these problems by diligently researching the market. We even consulted experts from REI and Backcountry to help us find the most appropriate backpacks for you. You’ll see we also picked some hydration ready packs. What makes them suitable is the dual-use hydration sleeve where you can store your laptop instead of a bladder.

Here are some key components of our in-depth selective process:

  • Reading tons of customer reviews
  • Judging how well the pack would carry a laptop device
  • Testing some of the backpacks on hiking trips
  • Analyzing value for money ratio
  • Looking at brand reputation
  • Meticulously examining crucial hiking-oriented features such as ventilation, padding, and suspension.

What follows is a comprehensive list of top-rated backpacks with which you can safely and comfortably transport a laptop. We also included a comparison table, pros and cons, and an informational buying guide.

Let’s dive right in.

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Best Hiking Backpacks With Laptop Compartment: Quick Overview

​Backpack

​Volume

Laptop Sleeve Size And Type

​Weight

​Price

28 L

15.6", padded

2 lbs / 0.9 kg

40 L

15.6", non-padded

4 lbs / 1.81 kg

30 L

15.6", light padding

2 lbs / 0.90 kg

32 L

15.6", padded

1.9 lbs / 0.86 kg

50 L

 15.6", padded

3 lbs / 1.36 kg

34 L

17", padded

3.9 lbs / 1.70 kg.

27 L

15.6", padded

3 lbs / 1.36 kg.

28 L

15.6", padded

3.30 lbs / 1.5 kg

34 L

17", padded

2.3 lbs / 1.04. kg

#1 North Face Borealis 28 L

north face borealis 28

Click image to see the pack On Amazon.

With an excellent built quality coming from an iconic brand, the Borealis has been one of North Face’s best-selling general utility backpacks for years. This upgraded model stuns with comfort and features an amazing FlexVent™ suspension, heavily ventilated backpanel with a central air channel, and highly padded shoulder straps with flex zones. On top of that, the Borealis is a sea of pockets and is certified for heavy loads carry without risk of injuries by the American Chiropractic Association

Suitable for weekend hikes and mountain strolling, the Borealis is a multipurpose backpack that’s also great for everyday use.

Unlike many other packs, the Borealis comes in plenty of colors to choose from, in case you have preferences. It also has a limited lifetime guarantee.

As for the most important part, it has a fully protected internal laptop sleeve with foam padding that’d fit a 15”6’ device. The pocket is in a dedicated compartment and has an internal divider.

That’s a men’s model but there’s one for the ladies too which is female specific and has great reviews. The only difference is that the volume is slightly smaller – 27 L.

One awesome thing is that the Borealis is lightweight – only 2 lbs/0.9 kg. That makes walking with it on your back easy and effortless.  Its dimensions make the pack perfectly appropriate as a carry on with no exceptions.

What We Like

  • Heavy-duty fabrics for worry-free, rugged use – various tests prove the pack is really durable. The materials are 600D polyester combined with 500 and 420 D cordura rip stop nylon. In addition, the YKK zippers are super strong and smooth, and the custom North Face duraflex buckles are hard to break. So you’ll enjoy your pack for a long time with no risk of tearing or abrasion. 
  • Premium adjustable harness with FlexVent™ suspension technology that puts the load close to the body and makes wearing bulky gear a breeze. Moreover, the backpanel has an injection-molded mesh pads that feel smooth on your back and prevent rubbing. There’s a vertical air flow channel that creates space for the heat and moisture to move away quickly. The harness also includes a removable hip belt and a chest strap with a safety whistle. 
  • Very comfy shoulder straps that are ventilated and thick padded with flex zones that alleviate tension from stress points. No strain when you carry the pack for a long time fully stuffed.
  • Abundant organization options and plenty of pockets – you can easily stow everything in the Borealis no matter where you’re going. Besides the laptop sleeve, you also have a protected tablet pocket in the main compartment. Next to it there’s an organizer compartment with smaller slots for documents, smartphone, and other items. A very practical feature is the small zippered pocket on the front of the pack where you can put glasses or any other objects that you need quick access to.
  • Huge water bottle pockets on both sides that have loops for tying and clipping gear on.

What We Don't Like

  • Lack of padding (only nylon webbing) on the hip belt.
  • The materials don’t resist rain for more than 15-20 mins and the pack gets damp.

#2 Rei Co-op Ruckpack 40 L

rei co op ruckpack 40

Click to see at REI

Just look at the minimalistic design of this pack. It’s nearly crazy to believe that you can pack the entire world in it and wear it comfortably on your back. Expertly designed and offering a monstrous level of functionality, the Ruckpack has tons of useful features. The awesome part? You can hide away the entire harness system, thus making it a low-profile carry on pack whenever you need. Really, check this out!

The design of the pack makes it very comfortable regardless the purpose of your trip. No matter if you travel, hike or do both at once, the pack is able to adapt seamlessly. Often you need to take the train or a plane to reach a trail.

Sometimes your adventure might lead you to explore a beautiful mountain town where you need to pack the urban style. You can easily do that with Rei Co-op Ruckpack.

Now let’s get to the point - the pack is hydration ready. It has two sip hose ports on both sides and a bladder sleeve that lets you store your 15”6’ laptop. That sleeve is totally OK to secure an electronic device and you can clip it with a buckle. However, it’s not as padded as some might want. That’s why you can consider putting your laptop in a protected sleeve first if you worry too much.

Other than that, this is the men’s model. If you are a lady, feel free to check the women’s pack here. It’s also very good, and it has the same features and volume, just a different fit.

To continue further, the Ruckpack weighs 4 lbs or 1.81 kg. Yep, that’s not so light, but it’s understandable given the rigid structure of the spring steel frame and the sturdy materials – 210D ripstop nylon. It might be a bit heavy but that’s a trade-off for its enhanced durability.

Another small, yet important advantage about the Ruckpack is that it has lockable YKK zippers for maximum safety. You never know, so it’s best to lock your backpack whenever that’s possible.

Now let’s see what makes the pack stand out.

What We Like

  • Tuck-away harness for versatility – you can alter the profile by unvelcroing the pack from the bottom and zip all straps away. That’s very useful when you need to hide the straps in case you have to check your pack at the airport or you just don’t want to make use of all the belts in crowded areas. 
  • Highly efficient ventilation on the back panel and on the shoulder straps – that’s a must when you hike and you have it with this pack. There’s a heavy density foam on all stress points, including on the fully padded hip belt. That strap distributes the load very well on your hips, thus easing the pressure on your shoulders. What’s especially good is that it has an elastic keeper to prevent the end of the straps from hanging and flapping around at your sides. For further stability of the load, there’s a chest strap with an emergency whistle. 
  • Included rain cover to protect your belongings from rain – that comes in handy when you’re in the middle of nowhere and the sky opens up. It stores in a dedicated zippered pocket that’s large enough for you to put something else in there – clothes, flip-flops, etc.
  • Load lifters on the top of the shoulder straps that you can use to optimize the load and achieve a closer fit to your body. That’s done with a simple pull of the straps once the pack is on your back.
  • Top-notch packing abilities featuring multiple pockets and plenty of options for external storage. That includes, but it’s not limited to quick access top pocket, side zippered pocket with smaller internal pockets and a tablet sleeve. The dual side water bottle holders are quite roomy and allow you to put long items by securing them with the side compression straps. As for external storage, you have trekking loops on both sides, hidden by a flap daisy chains, two elastic loops on the shoulder straps that you can hang a carabiner, etc. Nothing to wish more when it comes to capacity organization –it’s all well thought out.

What We Don't Like

  • A bit heavy.
  • Laptop/water bladder sleeve too thin. You might consider putting your laptop in a separated padded sleeve first.

#3 Deuter Trail 30 L

deuter trail 30

Click image to see the pack at Amazon.

How about a lightweight backpack with an ActiveFit rotating shoulder harness that automatically adapts to your curves? And with a removable rain cover, too! On top of that, Deuter Trail has an insanely comfortable Aircontact backpanel technology that hugs your body and transfers the load evenly. Make no mistake – you can’t go wrong with one of Deuter’s hit models, packed with features that you’ll love. Let’s check it out!

Deuter Trail 30 is a unisex backpack suitable for day or overnight hikes. We picked this pack because it has some really awesome hiking features and at the same time it can carry a laptop with a decent level of comfort.

It has a hydration sleeve (up to 3L) that easily accommodates and protects a 15” laptop. The compartment is wide and has a buckle for further stabilizing the device.

Weighing only 2 lbs/0.90 kg the pack is highly functional and with a substantial amount of pockets.

It’s great for those who don’t like to compromise between comfort, storage options, and price. Extremely well engineered, the coating of this pack includes wear resistant combination of nylon (600D) and polyester. On all stress points, you have a 3D breathable soft mesh that’s highly effective when you hike extensively on hot days.

If you don’t need to bring your laptop, you can put a 2L water bladder in that pocket. There’s a conveniently placed hydration port on the back top of the pack. You can easily attach the bite valve on the loop on one of the shoulder straps.

Let’s outline just some of the best things about this pack:

What We Like

  • Delrin® U-shaped frame that’s lightweight and rigid – provides stability and bears heavy loads with ease. 
  • Anatomically designed and pivoting shoulder straps with cell foam padding – it allows the pack to move with your body as you walk to keep the comfort level up. The thick foam prevents rubbing and strain on prolonged treks. 
  • Superbly designed and breathable backpanel that’s fully padded and has a vertical ventilation channel that allows perfect air circulation. It really cools you down, keeping the sweat away.
  • Ability to fully customize the fit for an enhanced level of comfort – first off, there are load lifters on the shoulder straps that you can pull to better fit the pack. Second, you can adjust the height and the width of the chest and the hip belt for enhanced stability. The waist strap is incredibly padded and supportive and uses a pull forward system to make the pack a part of your body. In addition, there are two hip belt pockets that are large enough to fit an iPhone 7.
  • Multifunctional storage organization with a plethora of pockets and lashing points – you can access your gear via a large panel opening without having to dig deep in the pack from the main compartment. The top lid has a pocket with a key clip and what is very useful is the large zippered side pocket that you can use for storing clothes. Typical for a practical hiking pack, the Deuter Trail has trekking poles loops on the sides and lashing points on the shoulder straps for attaching carabiners. You can use the compression straps to better position the load or to stabilize bulky gear such as an axe.

What We Don't Like

  • Only one water bottle pocket on the left side.
  • It would be somewhat short for taller people.

#4 Patagonia Paxat 32 L

patagonia paxat 32 L

Click to see the pack at REI

Roomy and TSA-approved, the Paxat is one of Patagonia’s most versatile models. It features a heavily padded backpanel laptop sleeve (15’’) that conveniently zips open and lies flat. Plus, the rucksack has plenty of well-distributed pockets, heat-venting suspension, and it’s water repellent.  No matter if it’s for short mountain hikes or exploring the backcountry, you’d definitely want to check this pack.

Even though being Patagonia’s largest daypack, it’s arguably the lightest one – only 1.9 lbs or 0.86 kg. That’s awesome for a 32 L pack. Besides, the coating is pretty rigid – 630D nylon and 200D recycled polyester. The fabrics also contain durable water repellent finish, meaning that the pack will hold to a slight rain and moisture.

The internal electronics pocket is thick padded, roomy, and accommodates an up to 15.6” device. It provides easy access and it's also checkpoint-friendly.

The Paxat is a unisex model whose design makes it appropriate for 1-2 day hikes. It’s carry on compatible and the laptop pocket on the backpanel is checkpoint-friendly. That makes the pack very comfortable for travel too.

What We Like

  • Very practical laptop pocket that’s padded for extra security. It’s on the backpanel and it stays aside from everything else. It zips off and opens flat for easy access. It can accommodate a 15’’ laptop. Next to it, you’ll find a capacious pocket, which is convenient for storing chargers or anything you find useful. Sure enough, you can put a water bladder (up to 3L) in that pocket in case you don’t need your computer. There’s a port for a sip tube that you can hang onto one of the shoulder straps. 
  • Roomy main compartment for storing bulky items such as shoes, clothes or a large camera. 
  • Well-organized front zippered pocket with smaller slots including a reinforced tablet sleeve. You can use it for putting a Kindle, books, medical kit, and anything that will fit.
  • Easy and comfortable to carry thanks to the thick foam padding and efficient ventilation on shoulder straps and on the backpanel. For further stability and better fit, you can buckle up the sternum strap and tighten up the pack using the side compression straps.
  • Handy front ‘shove it’ pocket that’s stretchable – it’s perfect for stowing a jacket, bath suit, snacks or every item that you need quick access to. The sleeve is securable with a buckle.

What We Don't Like

  • No hip belt/might be uncomfortable wearing the pack stuffed on long hikes.
  • Side zippered pockets are short/consider bringing smaller water bottles.

#5 Kelty Redwing 50 L

kelty redwing 50

Click on image to see the pack at Amazon.

Should you need an all-round hiking pack that has EVERYTHING you might want for a 2-5-day adventure, then check out Redwing 50. Featuring a padded dual-use laptop sleeve, awesome suspension, and fantastic adjustability and organization, this pack has been deservedly labeled as one of the best in the industry. As for the price, well, see it for yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Kelty’s main goal has always been to manufacture outdoor products that are not only of high quality but also affordable. That’s what makes one of their most successful models a bestseller. The Redwing incorporates a staggering amount of organization options and a comfort that’s nearly impossible to beat for the price.

The pack’s best use says hiking, and it’s true. However, the multipurpose design and features allow for diverse activities. For instance, the fact that the hip belt is removable is great for short city strolling when you probably carry light loads and you don’t need that extra support. The front organization pocket is perfect for putting work supplies such as documents, small electronics, notebooks, etc.

You’ll easily fit a 15”6’ laptop in the protected internal sleeve where you can also put a 3L water bladder. Some hikers reported that they even fit an 18” HP notebook there even though such a size will stick over the top of the pocket. That sleeve is large and further protected by a velcro strap.

Pay attention that this is the men’s model. Ladies, feel free to check out the women’s pack HERE. It has similar features, just a smaller size of 40 L and a female-specific suspension.

The Redwing weighs 3 lbs or 1.36 kg which is not bad at all given the volume and the rugged materials. The fabrics are hard wearing – 420D polyester reinforced with 75x150D tasser coal.

Let’s check out some of the awesome things about this backpack.

What We Like

  • Very comfortable suspension system that allows you to make adjustments while you wear the pack. No need to worry about your torso or chest size – with the PerfectFIT™ technology you can achieve the best customized fit within seconds. It’s enough to simply tighten up the adjustment straps, the hip belt, and the load lifter straps right above the shoulders. 
  • Hybrid loading system – smartly designed, the pack allows you to access the main content via an U-shaped zipper on the top lid. Then, if you need to get to some deeply stashed items, you can unclip the compression straps and extend the opening all the way down the pack. That combination of top and panel (luggage style) loading makes it easy to access various stuff no matter where it is. 
  • Lots of organizational options including 6 sizeable exterior pockets and 4 compressions straps (2 at the top and bottom of each side). What’s especially cool is the front zippered organizer pocket that contains multiple smaller slots and the roomy stash pocket that’s securable with a hook. You can put a hoodie there, a jacket or even a stove without issues. The deep zippered pocket on the top lid allows for stowing a medical kit, a camera, or snacks.
  • Many external gear loops featuring a hide-away daisy chain on the front, large pass-through zippered pockets on both sides for securing trekking poles or tent poles, and dual loops at the bottom, perfect for an ice axe, a hatchet or a tripod.
  • Super well-ventilated and thick padded backpanel with hex mesh for maximum air circulation and moisture wicking. The removable waist strap is also snuggly padded and along with the adjustable sternum belt distribute the load evenly across your body so you can walk for hours without any issues. The anatomically designed shoulder straps also contain cell foam padding for great comfort on long treks.

What We Don't Like

  • No rain cover/the fabrics are water resistant, but you’ll have to purchase a rain fly to increase protection from heavy rain.
  • The hip belt is a bit difficult to remove. You’ll have to pull out the aluminum stay from the main compartment first.

#6 Oakley Kitchen Sink 34 L

oakley kitchen sink 34

Click image to see the pack at Amazon.

Wondering about that funny name? Well, this pack is heavy-duty and roomy enough to hold a kitchen sink! It has a waterproof shoe compartment and a well-padded laptop sleeve with dual access. It also has a weatherproof media pocket for your most valuable items. With tons of clever storage options, durable materials, and unique design, this is a dependable pack with thousands of excellent reviews.

We tested this backpack, and it turns out to be as sturdy as advertised. The fabrics are a blend of nylon and polyester with abrasion-resistant lining. The pack withstands some slight rain with ease.

 hiking with oakley kitchen sink backpack

The Kitchen Sink pack is crazy robust and super comfy.

It’s very well put together and with an ample capacity that can hold items for 2-3-day hike. The buckles and the hooks are extremely strong and the zippers have big pulls that are easy to slide. It’s a men’s model.

The internal laptop compartment is with an adequate cushioning that’s present also at the bottom of the sleeve. It protects an up to 17” device. It has a velcro fastener for further securing your device. What’s nice is that you have access to that pocket via a side zipper from the exterior of the pack. Cool!

The Kitchen Sink owes its original looks to the stylish black color. Furthermore, it has that futuristic (and protected) media pocket at the top, a metal handler, and three metal clip mounts where you can attach various items using carabiners.

The weight of the Oakley is around 3.9 lbs or 1.70 kg. That makes it lightweight given its robustness and the abundance of metal clips, buckles, and hooks. Now, let’s reveal the major pros and cons of this remarkable backpack.

What We Like

  • Capacious shoe compartment at the bottom that’s waterproof and tear-resistant. You can also use it to store a sleeping bag, wet clothes or anything you’d like to be isolated. 
  • Useful media pocket at the top, that’s super hard-wearing – you can put sunglasses there, your wallet, headphones, a mouse, and anything that might require extra protection. It’s a quick-access pocket. 
  • Front zippered pocket with accessory organization – this one’s large and has smaller pouches inside. It would fit a tablet or a medical kit and you can put a phone, a torch, pencils, and other tools in those separate slots.
  • Excellent air circulation on the backpanel thanks to the well-thought out ventilation channels that don’t retain the heat. In addition, the S-curved shoulder straps are cushioned and adjustable. They have small meshed pouches where you can put stuff too. The padded hipbelt is super comfortable and with decent-sized pockets on each side. The great part is that it’s also easily removable when you go on lighter trips. Sure enough, there’s an adjustable chest strap as well for maximum stability.
  • Very big water bottle pockets on both sides that are zippered and with three small compression straps each. That’s quite convenient because it allows you to secure some bulky items on those pockets. Otherwise, you can fit big bottles in those zippered pockets and probably you’ll have room for something else.

What We Don't Like

  • Slightly heavy because of the hard wearing materials.
  • Front zippered pocket is difficult to access when the pack is fully loaded..
  • No aluminum sheet to keep the pack rigid and more stable, especially when not fully stuffed.

#7 Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault 27 L

mystery ranch 2 day assault backpack 34 l

Click on image to see the pack at Amazon.

It’s a daypack but boy, it’s built like a tank! Made with top-shelf materials and exquisite craftsmanship, Mystery Ranch has a military-inspired construction. Still, the design and features are suitable for everyday use and hiking. It has an adjustable harness, tons of MOLLE on the exterior, and more pockets than you probably expect. With this pack, you’re making a long-term investment in a product of highest quality. Check it out.

Consumers love it, we love it, and chances are you’ll love the Mystery Ranch too. Reportedly, this is the most durable daypack ever. Built with 500D Cordura, super strong YKK zippers, and remarkably good stitching, the rucksack is made to last.

It’s a unisex model that well adjusts to support various torso, chest, and waist sizes. You have the option to choose between two sizes – S/M and L/XL. The pack is sized despite its volume, but it easily can be used as a carry on. The weight is 3 lbs or 1.36 kg.

As for the internal laptop compartment – it’s floating, very well cushioned and you can comfortably and safely transport a 15” device in it. You can also access it via a large side zipper on the exterior.

Sure enough, you can use the compartment for a water reservoir. There’s a conveniently located tube hole on top of the pack.

Now let’s explore the key pros and cons of the celebrated Mystery Ranch.

What We Like

  • Instant easy access to the main compartment thanks to the signature 3-ZIP design. It allows you to rip off the opening with a simple pull. That’s great when you need to get to your gear fast. In addition, you can also use the central zipper to fully open the pack from top to bottom. 
  • Plenty of MOLLE webbing on the exterior that gives you the possibility to attach a crazy amount of gear on the exterior via carabiners. Very useful for bulky items such as shoes, trekking poles, a hatchet, etc. 
  • Easily adjustable harness featuring a removable hip belt, sternum strap, and load lifters. The shoulder straps are nicely padded and the cushioning on the backpanel is soft and comfy.
  • Meticulous pocketing system including internal mesh pockets with a zipper, 4 exterior pockets, and 2 zippered pockets on the top lid. There’s also a padded tablet sleeve in the roomy main compartment.
  • Super rigid and stable thanks to the plastic frame sheet and the dual compression straps that help stabilize the load for a better fit.

What We Don't Like

  • Side water bottle pockets are a bit loose.
  • Straps are too long and they hang.

#8 Kathmandu Transfer 28 L

kathmandu transfer 28 l

Click image to see the pack on Amazon.

Designed for travel, Kathmandu is also a fully featured hiking pack that you won’t want to replace once you try it. It comfortably stows a 15” laptop, and it has a customizable suspension that well hugs your back. The fantastic Air Pod System makes sure you always stay cool on extensive treks and the removable rain cover protects your gear from rain. That’s not all but this space’s limited so, please do check this pack and thank us later.

Yes, the Kathmandu is invented with travel in mind. An awesome carry on pack, it has all those unbelievably useful bells and whistles that make your life easier when travelling. Like, for instance, the top and side padded handles and the ingenious protected case on the top that acts as a removable cabin pod.

But what really made us fall in love with this buddy is the fact that it has another personality – one that loves adventure and could be your best friend on the trail. The suspension, the ventilation, the padding, and the well-organized capacity is what had won this pack a place on this list.

The laptop sleeve is foam padded and fits up to 15” devices. Even a 17” device notebook would fit even though it would slightly stick out.  It’s in a zippered pocket right next to the backpanel. The space is roomy, and the pocket is easily accessible from the side exterior of the backpack.

An interesting aspect about the Kathmandu is that part of the materials contain Repreve™ fabric that is made from 22 recycled bottles. So it’s an eco-friendly product created with the environment in mind. Other than that, the fabrics are robust and the main fabric is a high denier polyester.

The weight of the pack is only 1.5 kg or 3.30 lbs. It’s a unisex pack. Now let’s outline what we like and what we don’t like so much about the Kathmandu.

What We Like

  • Very practical cabin pod on the top lid that’s removable – it’s a hard-covered case that you can unzip from the top lid. The case itself has a zipper and its own small pockets. It’s very convenient for storing small valuable items – a phone, documents, earplugs, cables, etc. Of course, if you don’t need it you can leave it at home and use the empty space to store something else in that space. 
  • Flawless suspension and ventilation that makes a difference when you walk – the padded backpanel uses the APS (Air Pod System) that has a vertical air circulation channel and embossed lining. On top of that there’s a suspended mesh that stimulates heat evaporation. The adjustable shoulder straps are well-cushioned and ergonomic. A cool feature is the removable hip belt that you can tuck away when you don’t need it. It’s a solidly padded strap that well hugs your lumbar. The sternum strap is another hiking attribute that you can use to achieve a better comfort when you walk. 
  • Integrated and removable rain cover that’s stored in a bottom reinforced pocket. It’s easily deployable when you need quick and solid protection folded around your pack.
  • Capacious top loading main compartment with a large opening and decent organization that allows you to store bulky items such as boots or jacket. There’s a padded tablet sleeve (tech geeks, rejoice!) and a zippered meshed pocket as well. There’s a very nice secret pocket on the exterior side of the pack for storing documents or a wallet.
  • Solar ready – the Kathmandu is compatible with Goal Zero solar panels. There’s a power pocket designed just for this. Also, you can attach such a panel via the lashing points on the exterior of the pack. Sure enough, you can use those loops to secure other gear, such as trekking poles or anything else with the help of carabiners.

What We Don't Like

  • Side water bottle pouch is tight, especially when the pack is full.
  • Zippers are difficult to slide.

#9 Osprey Nebula 34 L

osprey nebula 34

Click on image to see the pack on Amazon.

Lightweight and functional the Nebula is a greatly designed EDC backpack with trail-worthy features. It has the AirScape™ backpanel, well thought out suspension, and enough amount of pockets for a versatile organization. The laptop compartment is top-notch and the overall quality can be described with a single word – Osprey. This pack really rocks!

Backed with Osprey’s Almighty Guarantee, the Nebula impresses with unblemished workmanship. As usual, the fabrics here are made to last. The main material is 630D nylon and when you hold it, you’ll see the pack feels sturdy.

The laptop sleeve is in the main compartment and it’s TSA-compliant. When opened, it falls flat making it checkpoint-friendly. The pocket accommodates a 17” device and it’s padded. For extra protection, it has a velcro strap. What’s nice is that the sleeve doesn’t continue all the way down to the bottom so you won’t damage your computer when putting the pack on the ground.

The Nebula weighs only 2.3 lbs or 1.04 kg. This is awesome for its volume. The backpack is great for everyday use and for weekend hikes in the mountains or in the backcountry. This is the re-designed for 2019 men’s model. Osprey Nova is the pack with a women specific fit, so ladies feel free to check it out.

Now, let’s explain some of the cool pros of the Nebula.

What We Like

  • Very efficient ventilation on the backpanel thanks to Osprey’s innovative AirScape™ technology. It features mesh with high quality foam. The suspension system is designed to keep the weight close to the body while providing full airflow, thus keeping you cool on prolonged hikes. Works as advertised! 
  • Hydration-compatible – you’ll easily fit a 3L water reservoir in the laptop/tablet sleeve. Under the grab handle there’s a hole for a hydration port. You can attach the tube on one of the loops on the shoulder straps. 
  • Adjustable and comfortable harness featuring S-curved padded shoulder straps and slidable sternum strap. The waist strap is also adjustable and the good part is that it’s removable. You also got upper and lower side compression straps for further stability of the load. What’s very practical is you can tuck away the upper straps if you don’t use them.
  • Document sleeve with internal slots for organizing various items. You can put pens there, a phone or a knife. It has a key clip too.
  • Practical pocket organization including 6 exterior pockets and multiple internal compartments. There are 3 zippered admin sections on the front of the Nebula – the laptop and tablet compartment, the document sleeve and the main compartment that’s roomy. What stands out is the large mesh shove it pocket on the front where you can anything from wet clothes to sneakers and the heat embossed scratch resistant pocket that’s deep enough for storing shades, a hammock, etc. The side water bottle pockets are capacious enough and stretchable.

What We Don't Like

  • Shoulder straps are thin.
  • You have to unbuckle the upper compression straps every time you need to access the main compartment.

Our Top Pick

our top pick backpack

The choice was tough, but after a careful consideration we proudly announce that our winner this time is undoubtedly #5 Kelty Redwing 50 L. Do you want to know why?

It’s simple. It’s just the best hiking pack on our list that has a dedicated space for a laptop. A classic in the Kelty line up, the Redwing has phenomenal trail-oriented features that make it crazy comfortable for outdoor adventures. At the same time the pack offers a safe and reliable storage for an up to 15.6” electronic device. The padded compartment has a velcro strap for further protection.

Sale
Kelty Redwing 50 L
  • Redwing is a tried & true trail value for all day hikes or a quick overnight, a true multipurpose pack from international travel to a day on the trail
  • Perfect Fit Suspension supplies you w/ customized comfort without the hassle, accurate on body adjustments w/ 3 simple steps for pack fitting success
  • Features: Top Loading,Zippered side pockets, front pocket w/ organization, Stretch front pouch, Hydration Compatible
  • Suspension Features: Perfect Fit Suspension, HDPE frame sheet, Hex Mesh back panel, ventilating back , Sternum strap, Load lifter strap
  • Dimensions: Size (L x W x D) 26 x 16 x 12 in, Weight 3 lbs 11 oz, Volume 50 L, Torso Size 15.5 - 21 in

What’s really convenient is that he backpack comes with an instructions manual in the shipping package. That will definitely help you to understand how to achieve the best fit by adjusting all the straps. Plus, there’s information about the warranty.

Often regarded as a backpack that everyone should own, the Redwing is a bestseller with tons of positive reviews from happy hikers. Last but not least, the price of the pack is much lower when stacked up to its competitors.

Bottom line is this should definitely be a backpack on your radar.

Let’s move on to a very important section.

How To Choose The Best Hiking Pack With A Laptop Sleeve For You

First, let’s talk strictly about hiking backpacks and forget about the laptop compartment.

Don’t Overlook The Trail-Worthy Features

Truth is, it’s difficult to find a backpack with a dedicated laptop pocket that has all the necessary hiking features. Unknowingly why, it’s just rare to spot such a pack on the market. Like already mentioned, most of the laptop packs are just that – laptop packs. And it’s hard to hike with a laptop pack.

That’s because most of the laptop packs are designed either for urban use or for travel. Therefore, in most cases they lack a well-ventilated backpanel, adequate anti-gravity suspension system, and quality padding on the harness. Without all that, walking on any trail for more than 3-4 hours becomes a tough task. Moreover, you can hurt your body.

hiking backpack with a laptop sleeve

Here’s why a number one priority for you should be to look for a backpack that has these trail-oriented features before everything else. Without any of them, your comfort would be disturbed, no matter how skilled you are or that you’re in a great physical shape. And yes, that’s more important than having a perfect laptop sleeve.

Of course, the volume and the storage organization play a big role too. To choose the right size and type, you need to think and decide the kind of trips you will take your backpack on. Are you going mostly on light day hikes?

If that’s the case, you should consider a daypack that’s up to 35 L. Like, for instance, #1 North Face Borealis 28 or # 7 Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault 27. And you can even go without that sophisticated backpanel ventilation or a hip belt. A truly great backpack such as #4 Patagonia Paxat 32 doesn’t have a waist strap, but it’s still very comfortable for what it is made for – day hikes.

For good weight distribution, it’s always advisable to have either a waist strap or a sternum belt or both. However, when you day hike, supposedly you’re not wearing heavy loads, so it’s totally fine for your backpack to have only one belt.

Things are a bit different when you need a backpack for overnight hikes or extended mountain trips. Then you have to choose a volume that’s over 35 L. Depending on your body size and frame, a good limit is 65 L.

Keep in mind that an apt rule of thumb is to make sure the load of your backpack is not more than 20 percent of your body weight.

Besides the volume, when you extensively hike on more steep and technical terrains you should have enough padding, impeccable ventilation, and top-notch suspension that distributes the load evenly across your body. Such backpacks are, for instance, #5 Kelty Redwing 50 and #2 Rei Co-op Ruckpack 40.

As for the torso length-don’t worry. Most of the packs nowadays are largely adjustable to fit different sizes. All the backpacks on our list are too.

Here’s a very nice infographic, courtesy of REI that demonstrates not only how to choose your pack, but how to adjust it to obtain an ultimate fit.

how to fit a backpack infographic

Courtesy of REI.

Now let’s see about the laptop sleeve.

The Laptop Sleeve – What You Need To Know

Let’s start with the padding and a key question.

The Padding – Is It A Buying Factor?

These days most of the packs are hydration-ready. For many hiking backpacks, the computer sleeve is a dual-use pocket that also serves for storing a water bladder. Sometimes it’s padded, while in others, it’s not.

Now, it’s always best to aim for a padded sleeve. That’s understandable – you want your precious electronic device to have that cushioning for extra protection. It’s like an anti-shock system.  However, for a great number of packs that are also suitable for hiking, the sleeve doesn’t have a foam padding.

One of the reasons is that the manufacturer didn’t design it with the purpose of being a computer sleeve. It’s there to be a water reservoir compartment. Is that risky for your expensive laptop? It depends.

If you’re wearing only your laptop, a snack, and a light jacket in your backpack, then your laptop wouldn’t be so well protected. But if you have a sustainable amount of other gear, including many clothes, that could serve as an extra layer that could safeguard your device from potential damage. 

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you’ll go for a padded or a non-padded sleeve. Our advice is first to judge if the backpack has those crucial hiking features that you need on the trail. 

Remember that you can compensate the lack of padding on the laptop sleeve but you can’t compensate the fact that the pack is not the right volume or with poor ventilation system.

So what you do if you find your dream pack but you’re worried that you’ll have to put your laptop in a non-padded pocket? You have two choices:

  • You can use some clothes to wrap your computer and create cushioning.

  • Consider buying a separate padded computer sleeve.

In brief, the padding shouldn’t have to be a decisive factor for your choice.

Sure enough, there are plenty of backpacks that have a dedicated compartment for your electronic device. And if it’s a pack from a quality brand, then the laptop sleeve is padded. A fine example is #1 North Face Borealis 28 L or #5 Kelty Redwing 50.

The Size

Regarding the size of the electronics pocket, it’s important to mention that often, you’ll be able to fit a larger laptop in a seemingly smaller compartment. For example, if the space is advertised to fit a 15.6” notebook, probably you can still find a way to stow your 17” laptop. It will stick over a bit, but it will still work.

couple with a laptop in the woods

That’s because in many cases, the measurement is made prioritizing the height. However, our advice is to always consult the respective manufacturer to obtain information whether it’s possible to fit a larger laptop in a space that’s slightly smaller. Sometimes that won’t be possible, so generally it’s better not to risk it.

Before jumping to the FAQ section, you should also know that it’s recommended (but not mandatory) to look for backpacks whose laptop pocket doesn’t reach the bottom of the backpack. In that way, you won’t risk damaging your device when you put the pack on the ground.

FAQ

F​​​​​aq

Are laptop hiking backpacks waterproof?

The pack that I like doesn’t have a dedicated laptop sleeve. Is it possible (and safe) to put my laptop in a hydration bladder compartment?

Can I fit my 17” laptop in a space that’s for 15.6” device?

What’s the most important thing to look for when choosing a hiking pack with an electronic sleeve?

Conclusion

I hope this exhaustive list and the information we included in the buying guide will help you to pick the most appropriate backpack with a laptop sleeve for you. Tech geeks are often also hikers and hikers are tech geeks who sometimes need their notebook in nature.

We wanted to collide both worlds and satisfy their respective demands. We’ll appreciate if you give us a share if you like the result! As always, shoot your questions and comments in the section below! We are here to help! Happy trails!

me

​Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

  • February 4, 2020
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
Janicke - February 4, 2020

Thank you for this awesome list. I am going to walk the Camino de Santiago this year and are looking for a good backpack. Since I am going to be walking for 35 days I have to have a backpack with a laptop compartment. This list will help me decide which backpack I am gonna buy. I am saving this page to later and sending it to my walking buddy.

Reply
    Asen - February 4, 2020

    Hey Janicke,

    It seems you’re planning an exciting adventure. I really hope you’ll be able to pick a suitable pack that will hold well your items and laptop. Good luck!

    Reply
Randi - February 4, 2020

THANK YOU! I have been so frustrated lately because I have not been able to find a good outdoor backpack to tote around my laptop too! You solved my problem!

Reply
    Asen - February 4, 2020

    Hey Randi,

    Glad to help! Happy trails! 🙂

    Reply
Molly - February 4, 2020

I love the new set up of the review, totally easy to read and find which product will be best for me.
After last time you gave me the suggestion for the Osprey for women I knew that your info on the safety of a laptop in a bag would be great!
Still loving the Osprey brand on this article too.
A little bias now I guess.
Molly

Reply
    Asen - February 4, 2020

    Hey Molly!

    Thanks for reading! I am happy that you like the lay out and everything. I am also a big Osprey fan and I love their packs mostly because of the unmatched ventilation technology.

    Reply
S - February 24, 2020

Wow, wow, wow – this is the most comprehensive post I have ever seen – not only for Backpacks with a laptop sleeve but for backpacks in general. Your exhaustive research – provided everything I needed to own before making that “buy” decision. Your suggestions and FAQ’s are right on the spot as well as a guide on how to find and fit a backpack. Great post – looking forward to reading more.

Reply
    Asen - February 24, 2020

    Hey there,

    Thanks, I hope it’s helpful and you’ll be able to find a good laptop backpack for hiking.

    Reply
Manuela - February 25, 2020

This is an amazingly, comprehensive post. It definitely provides everything you need to know. Also, I love the set up of the reviews of each backpack. It’s easy to navigate and read and find the right backpack that would be best. Great, great job! I will definitely get back to this.

Reply
    Asen - February 25, 2020

    Hi Manuela,

    I am happy that you like the article with its layout. Thanks.

    Reply

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