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What is the best business travel backpack? A simple search on Amazon reveals there are no shortage of backpacks for business travelers, however what really is the best business travel backpack? What are the features and capabilities important to business travelers? And what options do travelers have these days?
These are great questions – and exactly what we hope to clear up in this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday. In this post we examine what makes a good business travel backpack, share a few exciting backpack options and identify what we believe is the very best of the best backpacks for business travelers.
Be sure to check out our entire Travel Tip Tuesday Series here!
Why should business travelers use a backpack?
I think it’s best we start here. Why should business travelers even use a backpack in the first place?
If you’ve been following our business travel advice and tips that we regularly share here at the CBoardingGroup you know that we are big fans of business travelers using backpacks instead of more traditional briefcases or rolling attaches.
The principle reason behind this is mobility and ease of transport. A backpack can be slung over a shoulder allowing your sturdy back to bear the heavy lifting instead of a single arm. This becomes important if you regularly travel for work. Long treks through the airport can start to wear down your arms. Why not let your back do the work.
Moreover, a backpack provides the greatest mobility advantage to business travelers. If you’ve ever tried to wheel a suitcase (or attache) through a busy city you know it’s just about impossible. Plus trying to carry it down a stairway to a subway entrance…? No thanks.
A backpack is the best possible option for business travelers and if you pick the right one you may even be able to use it as your primary packing device (in lieu of a suitcase) for short business trips. If you can pick the best business travel backpack – it can change your work trips forever.
What do business travelers need in a backpack?
So, what do business travelers really need in a backpack? There is some debate about this – understandably. After all, people have different tastes and preferences. That said, there are a few common elements that the best business travel backpacks need to have:
- Durability. A business travel backpack is going to take a beating. Every week (multiple times!) it’s getting tossed into an overhead bin or in the back of a rental car or up onto a TSA X-Ray belt. The best business travel backpack needs to last. Things to look for here (besides reviews, of course) is the durability of material. Heavy nylon and leather tend to last a little longer than other materials. Zipper quality is important too. The best business travel backpacks may even have warranties that allow you to replace the backpack if/when it’s damaged.
- Adequate Storage. At the end of day the backpack needs to hold stuff! When finding the best business travel backpack for your needs consider the various storage compartments. Too many pockets and you will find yourself hunting for where you put things. Too few and you will find a big clump of wires. The best business travel backpack will strike a happy medium here.
- Pro tip: consider where you might attach your portable travel water bottle too. Nowadays this is important!
- Comfort. Does the laptop fit right on your body? Does it ride low? Maybe too high? Too tight under your arms? Does it chafe? Are the straps adjustable?
- Laptop Storage. The best business travel backpack needs to have a spot to store a laptop AND it needs to be stored safely. Bonus points if the laptop storage compartment is easy to to access (meaning you are not fumbling around through other items to get to the backpack).
Additionally, there are a few nice to haves when it comes to picking the best business travel backpack:
- Charging Options / Storage. Earlier in our Travel Tip Tuesday series we instructed our readers to “Always Be Charging.” Nowadays we are tethered to our devices and when traveling it’s so important to keep your devices powered. Moreover, finding free plugs at the airport or other places may be difficult. The smart travelers bring portable power chargers (like the Anker PowerCore 20100) with them. And some of the better business travel backpacks have started to build this capability into the design of the backpack thereby allowing for simpler device charging.
You can read our product review of the Anker PowerCore 20100 here.
- “Sway Bar” (aka chest/sternum strip). This feature helps distribute the load off your shoulders and back to your chest making the load all around a little easier. It can be a real game changer if you are carrying a particularly heavy load for a long distance. But, it’s not a “must have” feature for business backpack.
It’s also worth noting there’s a few features that are not really that important anymore:
- Music device storage and headphone cord access. For the most part we’ve moved to using wireless ear buds or headphones and we don’t have iPods anymore. Instead we connect via bluetooth to our phone. Many business travel backpacks have this feature. It doesn’t hurt anything TO have them, but I wouldn’t make a purchasing decision because a backpack DIDN’T have them. Feel me?
- More than one “large” storage compartment. For a time multiple large storage compartments were a thing (and honestly these are still a feature in many backpacks). For a business traveler though, this really isn’t that critical. A single large compartment will likely suffice.
What is the best business travel backpack?
Given what we’ve learned thus far, what is the best business travel backpack? We’ve collected a few of the best business travel backpacks on the market today, below:
Ogio Metro Backpack
In our humble opinion, the Ogio Metro Backpack is the best overall business travel backpack on the market today. It checks all of the boxes that a quality business travel backpack should check.
It features a back panel laptop storage facility (padded) and a generous main storage compartment. It’s adjustable straps fit a multitude of body types and it’s incredibly durable.
Lastly, the Ogio Metro is very affordable for the value you get. Click here to see the current Amazon.com price.
You can read our product review here.
In close second is the Knack Bag, which we reviewed here. This bag rises to the top in a crowded field of One-Bag-Lifers (e.g. the Onli Travel Bag, to name another). While imperfect, it is both eye catching and surprisingly functional.
I now use this bag as my daily travel backpack and many times it is the only bag I take with me on a business trip.
Check out our full review of version 1.0 here. They recently released the Knack Bag 2.0 (pictured above) and it addresses a few of the nits we’ve found.
SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart
The SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Backpack consistently ranks high on business travel backpack lists and for good reasons: it’s a quality backpack that meets most (if not all) business traveler needs.
This well made backpack features ballistic polyester that lasts pretty much forever. In addition to the traditional features like adequate storage and quality zippers, this business travel backpack features something unique: easy access for TSA screening. Instead of having to remove your laptop you just unzip the backpack and lay it flat. Simple.
Of course…you could just get TSA Precheck…but whatever. 🙂
Samsonite Novex Business Travel Backpack
Long time luggage maker Samsonite joins the list with their Novex Business Travel Backpack – a sturdy and functional addition to the list.
The Novex features several cool items, including a smart sleeve that allows you to more easily place (and secure) your laptop on top of your rolling luggage. It also includes a TSA friendly laptop storage compartment and sturdy, durable zippers and material. This laptop is a favorite of many business travelers!
We’re done…until next Travel Tip Tuesday…
So there you have it! We’ve given you everything you need to know to go out and find the best business travel backpack you can. Armed with this information we expect nothing less than total success!
Don’t forget to follow us on social media including: Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard and Instagram. Be sure to check out some of our other great travel related content including the following articles:
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