Welcome to woman&home’s online shopping guides, where we reveal where to buy the most popular and top-rated products. This guide is about backpacks for working women, but you may also be interested in our edits of timeless gold coin necklaces, how to stop your glasses fogging up when wearing a mask, and the best summer sandals under £50.
If you’re heading back to the office soon you might be in need of a stylish backpack to keep all your essentials safe, sound and most importantly organised. We've found the best backpacks for working women that make life so much easier.
While some women carry bulging oversized handbags, a backpack or rucksack is a perfect option for a work bag or for anyone who has a busy day to day life or kids. Umbrella - check, makeup case - check, laptop - check. All your essential items can add up to an incredible weight and we all know that carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder can be problematic for your posture, leading to back pain issues.
Leading British bag brand Aspinal of London analysed the handbags of over a thousand women in the UK, to find out what items they carry with them on a regular basis, how much they think those items equate to in weight, as well as asking if they suffer from back and shoulder pain. The results might surprise you…
- The average UK woman carries 17 items in her handbag
- The average weight of a handbag is equivalent to three bags of sugar!
- Brighton came out tops for the heaviest average bag, while Glasgow reported the highest percentage of women experiencing back pain.
Best backpacks for working women
We’ve scoured the internet to find you the best stylish rucksacks, all large enough for a laptop, some with added features such as built-in USB chargers, handy water bottle and card holders.
Here’s our pick of the best rucksacks...
Foldover backpack, £65, Kin at John Lewis & Partners
Woman&Home favourite Striking and spacious, this winning design neatly fits a 15inch laptop inside. Featuring an internal mobile phone pouch, slip and zip pockets it also has a hidden exterior side pocket, a cardholder on the back and a removable card wallet. With a useful top handle, available in 4 stylish shades, and a great price - we think this might just be the perfect commuter bag.
Cornflower Chelsea daypack, £72 (was £80), Antler
Woman&Home favourite Avoid the standard boring commuting colours with this streamlined backpack, which comes in seven stunning shades including mint and blush. With room for a slimline 13inch laptop, the bag has both front and back openings. Leading luggage brand Antler are well known for their clever internal pocket designs, so if you love being organised you’ll find this bag a dream. It’s also the perfect travel companion as it has a back sleeve feature that slots over a suitcase handle - plus you can get chic matching luggage.
Italian leather backpack, £595, Aspinal of London
Handcrafted from the finest Italian calf leather, this beautifully stylish bag is on the smaller side but fits an 11inch Mac book air. With an interior mobile phone pouch and two zipped pockets, you can easily organise your belongings. Protective feet keep that expensive base clean and the adjustable fabric straps make it ultra-comfortable with no shoulder dig. Highly recommended by our Fashion Editor who has owned an Aspinal rucksack for 10 years, packed it to the brim and it still looks and feels as good as new.
Large studio backpack, £99, Bellroy
The largest stylish rucksack we’ve found on the market (at a grand 48cm high), this design will fit up to a 15inch laptop in its padded internal pocket, along with your gym kit and other essentials. Available in 6 colours in a water-resistant fabric, the flap closure has a handy magnetic clasp for quick access. Featuring an outside zip pocket and two handy inside storage pouches. Made from sustainably produced woven materials and environmentally certified leather.
Portrait backpack in oxblood leather, £195, The Cambridge Satchel Company
Combining an old school satchel with a modern-day rucksack, these 100% leather quality backpacks are made for life. The design is simple so not loads of internal pockets but it fits a 13inch laptop nicely. These bags make a great gift as you can get them beautifully embossed with initials. One thing to bare in mind is that because of their quality leather these bags weigh 1kg without any contents, so not the best for those who really do love to pack the kitchen sink! Available in eight colours.
Organic cotton backpack, £135, Sandqvist at La Redoute
Sandqvist are one of the leading brands in backpack design. Their Swedish values - sustainability and care for the environment, high-quality designs and uncompromising functionality - mean that their bags really do stand the test of time. The organic cotton fades beautifully with wear, resulting in a truly unique and personal look for each bag. Fitting a 13inch laptop this bag doesn’t have tonnes of internal pockets but it’s functional and holds a good 14L capacity.
Large double zip backpack, £45, M&S
With compartments for all the essentials, ranging from a water bottle holder to interior card slots and key holders. This roomy bag includes a padded laptop pocket, tablet compartment and extra security pocket at the back for travel documents. Made from a water-resistant fabric, it’s as stylish as it is practical.
Anti-theft laptop bag (with USB port), £85, Samsonite at John Lewis & Partners
The most stylish antitheft backpack we’ve found features the main opening compartment only being accessible from the back. It has a hidden RFID pocket (to block your personal information from being stolen by an RFID reader) and a handy USB charging port. The large ergonomic design means it can carry larger laptops and its reflective details will keep you safe on your commute. Made from 100% recycled polyester this bag has its eco-credentials too.