9 Awesome Hiking Backpacks With Laptop Compartment 
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.
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.
Our Top 3 Picks
Overall Rating: 5/5
Surprisingly affordable and with superb functionality, Redwing is a total hit, praised by thousands of hikers. This pack has a highly comfortable and adjustable suspension combined with smart pocketing system for strategic gear organization. Plus much more. Check it out!
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
One of Deuter's most popular models, you can easily bring your hiking to a new level thanks to this pack. It features the amazing ActiveFit shoulder harness that follows your body movement and a highly breathable ergonomic back panel. You will just love the lightweight, yet durable and capacious design.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Meet a best-selling hybrid backpack, excellent for both hiking and travel. Its dedicated laptop sleeve is well-padded, conveniently opens flat, and easily fits a 15.6" device. The panel loading makes packing and unpacking a breeze, while the DWR coating repels dirt and moisture. See it for yourself!
The choice was tough, but after a careful consideration and intensive research, (totaling 8 hours) 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.
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 backpack 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.
Best Hiking Backpacks With Laptop Compartment: Quick Overview
|Kelty Redwing||View On Amazon →|
|North Face Borealis||View On Amazon →|
|Rei Co-op Ruckpack||View Latest Price →|
|Deuter Trail||View Latest Price →|
|Patagonia Paxat||View Latest Price →|
|Oakley Kitchen Sink||View On Amazon →|
|Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault||View On Amazon →|
|Kathmandu Transfer||View On Amazon →|
|Osprey Nebula||View Latest Price →|
#1 North Face Borealis 28 L
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
What We Don't Like
#2 Rei Co-op Ruckpack 28 L
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 1.18 lbs. or 538 grams. Yep, that’s definitely puts the pack into the featherweight category. The pack is also quite rigid. It contains tough ripstop nylon made of recycled materials. Many buyers report that they use the pack in harsh conditions when backpacking or traveling and the pack holds up pretty well to harsh use.
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
What We Don't Like
#3 Deuter Trail 30 L
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
What We Don't Like
#4 Patagonia Paxat 32 L
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
What We Don't Like
#5 Kelty Redwing 50 L
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
What We Don't Like
#6 Oakley Kitchen Sink 34 L
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.
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
What We Don't Like
#7 Mystery Ranch 2 Day Assault 27 L
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
What We Don't Like
#8 Kathmandu Transfer 28 L
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
What We Don't Like
#9 Osprey Nebula 34 L
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
What We Don't Like
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are laptop hiking backpacks waterproof?
It depends. All packs on our list are water resistant and not waterproof. That means they resist moisture. We have an extensive list on the top waterproof hiking packs that you might want to consult too.
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?
Most probably yes. It will stick over a bit. To be on the safe side, consult the manufacturer.
What’s the most important thing to look for when choosing a hiking pack with an electronic sleeve?
The hiking features such as suspension, ventilation, and padding come first. Then it’s recommended to go for a rucksack with a padded laptop sleeve.
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!
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.