carry on with laptop compartment

Gone are the days when bringing your laptop meant wrapping it up in a tee-shirt or sweater to keep it safe.

Many bags now come with a padded laptop compartment.

These are often equipped with an external zipper too, so you don’t have to disturb the other contents of your bag when you pull out the laptop for security checks – or that bit of streaming while waiting for boarding.

Browse our top picks, or read the full buying guide.

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Carry-On Bag Buyers Guide

Type of Bag

If you are able to travel light, then using only a carry-on sized bag will save you time and hassle in airports, and will make the transition from home to hotel, and back, much easier. This is the cheaper option too, as many tickets now charge extra for checked baggage.

Backpacks are great for more casual needs, or for situations in which you will need to do a lot of walking over rough terrain – like cobblestones or gravel paths. The packs you’ll see here have TSA-friendly laptop compartments and won’t slow you down during security checks.

Laptop Size

When buying carry-on bags, make sure you know the dimensions of your laptop before you make a purchase. You don’t want to get it home just to find out that your laptop is a bit too long, or wide, or thick to fit into the compartment. Keep in mind you cables and accessories too, as these can take up significant space in a small bag.

Most bags featured here suit 15” laptops, and some work great for 17” too. It is fine to have a compartment that is larger than needed, as the laptop might shift slightly within it, but not enough to damage it in any way. So, if you have a 15.5” MacBook, go for a compartment suitable for a 17” – don’t try to stuff it into a 15” sleeve.

Bag Materials

If you want great durability and lasting good looks for your luggage, it’s important to choose the right materials. The right materials, however, depends on the type of bag.

Polycarbonate is the best choice for suitcases, as it is lightweight, but durable. It bends a little on impact, while still protecting what’s inside. It will keep items dry and protect them from all but the most violent of impacts.

Nylon is usually the best for softshell bags, as it is strong and repels water well – but this waterproofing aspect all depends on having the right coating. If the bag is too cheap, this might be where they cut corners. If you’re not sure, and want to avoid worrying about it, put your laptop in a plastic bag or use a waterproof cover for backpacks, just as added protection.

Carry-On vs Checked Luggage

Carry-on luggage is luggage that you are allowed to carry onto the plane yourself, and keep in the cabin with you. Checked baggage is that which you hand over to the airline to stow in the baggage compartments un the lower level of the plane. 

Measurements - Make Sure to Include the Handles

When looking at measurements for carry-on bags, keep in mind that measurements may not include things like wheels and handles. This makes the measurements seem smaller than they actually are and, if you’re too close to the line, your bag might not pass the criteria for carry-on bags. In that case, they may check it for you, whether you want them to or not. It’s best to know the airline’s limit, and then measure the bag for yourself.

Best Carry-On Bags with a Laptop Compartment 2022

Here we go over our top picks for carry-on bags with a laptop compartment by style and size:

Best Rolling Carry-On with a Laptop Compartment

voyager leather carry on bag with wheels in brown

Winner: Voyager Leather Carry-on with Wheels

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Hand luggage compliant.
  • 16 inch laptop sleeve.
  • Luggage tag included.
  • Two exterior pockets for easy-to-reach items.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Designer travel bag.
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Underseat Carry-On Bag with Laptop Pocket

City leather laptop messenger bag in brown

Winner: CITY Leather Laptop Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Fits up to a 15.6 inch laptop (also a 17 inch version here)
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Additional zipper pockets

Click here to check the price

Best Small 15-inch Laptop Carry-On Bag

essential modern briefcase laptop bag brown

Winner: Essential Modern Briefcase

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • 15.6 inch laptop zipper pocket
  • Large external pocket.
  • Two large zipped internal pockets
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in black, brown, or tan.

Click here to check the price

Best 17-inch Laptop Carry-On Bag

CITY large brown leather laptop briefcase

Winner: CITY Large Laptop Briefcase

Pros:

  • 17 inch laptop compartment.
  • Full grain leather.
  • Handmade in Florence, Italy.
  • Soft cotton lining.
  • Durable YKK brass zippers.
  • Spacious design, without being bulky.
  • Can be personalized.

The CITY large is available in black, brown, or tan leather.

Browse the CITY Large online here.

Best Laptop Tote Carry-On

elegance leather laptop tote bag brown

Winner: Elegance Tote Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Compartment for up to 14 inch laptop.
  • Spacious zipped main compartment
  • Can be personalized.
  • Available in brown, black, red, and tan.

Click here to check the price

Best Laptop Carry-On Backpack

Winner: 10X Leather Laptop Backpack

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated compartments, perfect for travel.
  • Can convert from backpack to shoulder bag for ease of access.
  • Top and side handles for when moving through airports.
  • Fits up to 15.6 inch laptop or tablet.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized
  • Available in brown, tan, black, or red leather.
  • Unisex.

Click here to check the price

Best Designer Laptop Weekender Carry-On

weekender leather travel bag in brown

Winner: Weekender Leather Travel Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • 16 inch internal padded laptop sleeve.
  • Internal zipped pocket for travel essentials like your passport.
  • Plenty of space for all your gear.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Perfect overnight bag.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Best Leather Laptop Garment Bag

grand leather garment travel bag in brown

Winner: Grand Leather Garment Bag

Pros:

  • Full grain leather
  • Dedicated garment carrier.
  • Carry a suit and shirt without creasing.
  • Large main compartment for other items.
  • 16 inch laptop compartment.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Durable cotton lining and YKK zippers.
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Can be personalized

Click here to check the price

Is a laptop bag a carry-on?

In most cases, an airline will allow a carry-on bag, plus one personal item. Personal items can include a laptop, briefcase, purse, or similar. If the plane is crowded, airlines will be stricter with what they will allow; if there is lots of room, they will let some items pass for personal items that they would otherwise deny.

Related:

Can I carry a laptop bag and a handbag on a plane at the same time?

You can usually carry an 18" x 14" x 8" personal item. These dimensions include all wheels and handles, etc. The idea is that it must fit under the seat. They list personal items as including handbags, purses, pocketbooks, backpacks, briefcases, laptops (with or without a bag).

Can I bring a laptop backpack on a plane?

It is always better to take your laptop into the cabin as a personal item, or in your carry-on bag. Checked baggage is often thrown around, knocked against other items, and is sometimes in danger of having items stolen from it. Stowing it in a laptop backpack is a great way to keep track of it and to keep it safe.

Related:

Where should my laptop charger go during a flight?

Don’t check your charger; keep it in a side pocket of your carry-on bag or backpack, so you can get to it quickly and easily if need be. Additional power, such as a backup laptop battery cell, might also be a good idea – especially on long flights. Even for layovers, you might not have access to an unused plug, so backup power might make the difference between streaming the latest program, or watching someone else read a magazine.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our article on the best carry-on bags with laptop compartments.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email Von Baer at info@vonbaer.com.

Browse related articles on travel here or our work pages here.

Author: Albert Varkki
Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you. Connect on Linkedin

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