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May 16, 2018

The best smart backpacks

by John_A

Backpacks aren’t just sacks of canvas with straps on them anymore. These days, the world is full of smart, high-tech backpacks and laptop bags capable of doing modern tasks like playing music, streaming videos, charging your phone, creating light, and even evading airport security. It is the 21st Century, after all.

Whether you want a backpack you can use to commute to work, take weekend trips, or trek through nature, you can find one that does more than just hold your laptop or your lunch. Take a look at the best smart backpacks out there featuring a laundry list of innovative technology.

ECEEN Hydration Pack

A solar-powered hiking pack that charges your phone ($59)

Never go on a long hike again where your phone dies before you’ve reached the summit. This awesome solar-powered backpack from ECEEN has a built-in solar panel that’s woven into the main fabric, offering a way to charge your phone, tablet, or e-reader, among many other electronic devices. If you’re camping, you’ll be able to juice up your Kindle before bed and if you’re day hiking, you can maintain enough power to snap as many photos of Mother Nature with your smartphone without risk of running it to zero percent.

The integrated hydration pack holds up to 1.8 liters of water and the bag itself also has an 8-liter compartment to stash clothes, food, books, or other accessories. Given that it provides both water and solar power, the pack is also a great addition to a bug-out bag or survival kit.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

eBags Weekender

A carry-on that lets you travel without removing your laptop ($189)

If you travel frequently and hate the hassle of taking your laptop out when you go through security, this TSA-friendly smart backpack with its own dedicated laptop compartment is exactly what you need. Just let security know it’s in there and they’ll scan the device from inside your bag. The TSA Checkpoint compartment has a lockable zipper and five fully padded sides.

Additionally, the backpack comes with a quick-charging power bank (aka the Lifeboat) that you can use to charge your phone while you’re on the plane. Do keep in mind that the main compartment doesn’t have much space, so this carry-on bag is best for short weekend trips.

Buy it now from:

Amazon eBags

Trakk SHELL

A weatherproof trekking pack with a built-in Bluetooth speaker ($199)

Play music while trekking through the woods or sitting around the campground with this rugged and durable Bluetooth speaker backpack. Its tough-as-nails speaker portion is waterproof, shock-proof, and dust-proof with an IPX5 rating that lets you hike in the rain all day or even briefly drop it in water without ruining the sound. It features a powerful 20-watt output capable of playing for 12 hours, along with a subwoofer that utilizes max-bass technology.

Trakk outfit the SHELL with lightning-fast Bluetooth which boasts Advanced Connectivity Technology, meaning you can pair it up to 65 feet away. In addition to the built-in speaker, this weather-proof pack also has an internal USB power bank with a 5200 mAh battery that provides two full charges for any of your devices.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Newegg

Co-Alition Colfax

A commuter pack with a hard drive you can stream videos from ($199)

Instead of charging your computer to take music, videos, or other media with you on the go, this backpack acts as a wireless mobile hard drive itself. You can use it to view and upload files or have it double as an external backup drive, storing big files in your backpack to free up space on your phone and other devices.

The Colfax also has Co-Alition’s Pass-Thru technology which lets you charge both the pack’s power supply and your device at the same time using a single wall outlet. Best of all, you can route your cords through the ports to any pocket in the bag, making it customizable and convenient.

Buy it now from:

Coalition

Trendsetter

A roll-top with a smart LED light and USB port  ($189)

Not only does this innovative backpack have an integrated USB port to charge your electronics, it also has a smart LED light you can control remotely via a smartphone. The multi-purpose, triangle-shaped light has a Bluetooth-enabled bulb with changing LED colors to match your mood or style. It also makes for a great reflective device if you’re cycling at night or even walking around your neighborhood. Trendsetter’s clever design, which can be converted from a backpack to a duffle bag, also boasts a solid anti-theft system with hidden pockets and zero-exposed zippers.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

This Is Ground Venture 2

A laptop pack with an integrated Wifi hotspot ($925)

While it’s not the cheapest on the list, this laptop pack from This Is Ground is easily one of the best. This high-tech option is constructed with a built-in WiFi hotspot, meaning you can stay connected anywhere you go. Be it working on the train, connecting during a flight, or plugging in at a coffee shop, no matter where you go, you’ll have a high-speed connection directly from your pack.

The Venture 2 also features a special pocket for the company’s Tile Slim which tracks the bag so you won’t have to worry about anyone sneaking off with it without noticing. It’s made from sophisticated vegetable tanned Italian leather and showcases a chic aesthetic along with its innovative high-tech features.

Buy it now from:

This Is Ground

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Cool camping gadgets for every outdoor adventure
  • From weird to practical, 18 small travel essentials you’ll actually want to pack
  • 7 of the best Kindle Paperwhite cases for easy reading on the go
  • The best USB-C cables to keep your gadgets powered
  • The beginner’s guide to backpacking


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