Considering what you’ll carry as part of your EDC complement, it is easy to examine the problem in a vacuum, devoid of any context.
Wouldn’t it be nice to carry all of the tools, weapons and other assorted gear you need with you, day in, and day out without any care or worry paid to the actual business of life, whatever life looks like for you?
Jobs. School. Parental responsibilities. All of these things and more besides make up the majority of our waking hours. All of these things require supplies and tools of their own.
Carrying all of that necessary gear plus the just in case survival or contingency items we should have honest, or would like to have on us, sees us walking around like junk sale traps and that draws attention that you really want to avoid.
The solution, for many, is to seamlessly integrate your EDC load-carrying solution with the luggage and other items you need to get through your day-to-day life. In one form or another, that means you are likely toting a laptop.
If that describes you, we are here in the nick of time with our picks for the best laptop bags you can get that will also handily haul your other EDC survival gear.
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Life Requires More than Survival Gear
I don’t know about you, but it seems like the more rounds I make in the “prepper sphere” the more advice I see that has come out of the echo chamber.
Prepping has become a lifestyle choice, almost a stylistic option instead of a practical, holistic approach to managing risk and minimizing the chances of a negative outcome.
Like, what do people do when they aren’t being “ready”? Half of the advice that I see prescribed can only be achieved, much less sustained by a very, ah, particular lifestyle.
As it turns out, you cannot generally do most jobs, complete most training or get through most schools carrying nothing but survival supplies intended to get you through a severe accident, terrorist attack or surprise ninja assault on campus.
You won’t need your tourniquets, knives, pistols, additional ammunition, maps, compasses and other frontier gear to do any of those things unless it’s in the job description.
Ask yourself, is the point of prepping to live a different way or to help you live the way that you want to live? If you are like me, it is definitively the latter.
I don’t want to be some paranoid weirdo hauling around bags full of gear in public and the laughing stock of my peers and neighbors. I want to blend in, seamlessly, like a needle and a giant stack of needles.
To do that, I need to synchronize my load-carrying options with the requirements of my daily existence.
Laptop Bags Might be the Ultimate “No Profile” EDC Bag
Enter the laptop bag. I have been around the block when it comes to low-profile readiness in a civilian environment, and I have determined that, for quite a few folks, a carefully chosen laptop bag might just be the best possible EDC bag across the greatest possible number of settings.
Hear me out. If you are an office professional who commutes via mass transit in any big city, chances are you will carry a laptop, or related supplies, to and from your office.
Boom, a smartly chosen office environment appropriate laptop bag will not draw a second look from anybody you pass.
Similarly, a high-powered executive heading for the boardroom could do well with a sharp leather briefcase with or without a shoulder strap.
Even if that environment is not your own, a laptop bag could still be tops for your purposes. A big, prestigious college campus situated in a small, sleepy town will be positively swarming with personal luggage of all kinds, including inexpensive, utilitarian laptop bags.
Even the rough and tumble, hard-working types on job sites all around the country, architects, foremen, inspectors and more all utilize computers increasingly across many sectors, and that means they need something to carry it in. Bam, laptop bag.
Another thing to consider, even if you don’t need a laptop bag, even if you don’t carry a laptop at all, if you move through, live in or work in one of these sectors where people who do require laptops are common you can be comfortable knowing that your laptop bag will be a little more than an invisible satchel full of emergency gear that will not draw any extra attention so long as it is stylistically appropriate to how you are dressed.
You might say that the laptop bag is the stealth bomber of EDC luggage.
The Best Laptop Bags for EDC
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1. NICGID 14.1” Laptop Backpack Crossbody Messenger Bag
A smart looking, clean and low-profile sling bag, this laptop hauling sling bag easily Bridges the gap between traditional backpack and handy messenger bag while keeping your office and EDC supplies close at hand and readily accessible.
Just as at home in a school setting as most casual office environments, this is a great piece of do everything luggage for the average prepper.
Organization and compartments are abundant within and without, and you can easily access your laptop independently once the main compartment is opened.
Even better, this pack facilitates the use of all of your personal electronics through the use of dedicated USB routing plugs built in.
Easily carried all day in comfort thanks to generous padding, and able to stand up to modest inclement weather thanks to capable waterproofing this might be the best budget conscious commuter bag on our list. Get it here.
2. Vertx Dead Letter Sling 14.1″
Vertx is well known and highly regarded for making extraordinarily tough, intelligently designed luggage for tactical professionals, those operating both in overt and low-profile capacities.
The Dead Letter sling is no different, and is a multi-purpose messenger bag that is easily set up as a sling bag, backpack or handheld laptop case.
Benefiting from Vertx’s Tactigami pouch placement system, the interior is partially customizable to suit your needs.
Presenting a low profile outer appearance that would be at home in any suburban or urban environment while raising nary an eyebrow, this pack is nonetheless designed to support serious EDC equipment complements.
Ample interior storage and organization combined with a rapid access compartment designed to hold a pistol and reloads or other weapons means you’ll always have defensive options close at hand.
Good looking, durably made and intelligently designed, if we can take anything away from the Dead Letter sling it is that it only holds laptops that are somewhat on the smaller side.
A nominal 14 inch laptop should fit nicely, but you’ll have to cram a 15 inch laptop in. For those of you toting large and powerful portable computers, you might need to look at something else. Get it here.
3. BAGSMART 15.6” Inch Briefcase Lockable Office Bag
Sometimes all you need is a traditional laptop bag with a little bit of extra room. Enter the BAGSMART 15 and a half inch laptop briefcase.
This basic black nylon briefcase features expansive exterior pockets for all of your necessary gadgets as well as a voluminous interior compartment housing a densely padded and thoroughly protected laptop sleeve.
The entire arrangement is ideal for frequent flyers since it is TSA lockable and the electronics package can be lifted out rapidly from the main compartment to speed up your journey through a security inspection checkpoint.
A comfortable shoulder strap provides support and makes it easy to carry during your commute, be it by air or by foot.
Overall this is a compact option that maximizes storage for your office essentials while providing ample room for a few choice EDC necessities.
So long as you don’t want to festoon your laptop bag like the exterior of settlers wagons this should provide everything you need, and nothing you don’t, in a low profile format that will fade into the background no matter the environment. Get it here.
4. Emissary Laptop Messenger Bag 15.6”
Styled after the iconic canvas and leather briefcases of yesteryear, emissary’s laptop messenger bag is a throwback to a more debonair time well before plastic invaded every facet of our lives.
Sturdy waxed canvas construction provides strength and weather resistance while leather accents reinforce critical wear areas and class up this bag a notch or two. It is just as at home in a casual setting as a professional one.
Despite being an old-fashioned design, you’ll give up a very little in the way of performance. It turns out, the old timers knew a thing or two.
The main compartment features a divider with plenty of room for a 15 and a half inch laptop along with books, file folders and anything else you want to keep inside.
To exterior pockets hold smaller accessories or items that need to be kept at the ready.
Speaking of keeping things ready for quick access, this bag does not do much to facilitate a rapid draw from any compartment since the closures are typical strap and buckle arrangements found on bags of this kind all over the world.
There are no magnetic closures, fastex buckles, ITW buckles or any other quick draw trickery here. For hauling gear, this isn’t even an inconvenience and the simplicity is actually an advantage.
However, if you need split second access to a weapon of some kind, this might not be the bag for you. Get it here.
5. Polare Full Grain Leather 16.5” Laptop Bag Briefcase
For those with executive jobs or who just prefer the classiest option available, the Polare full grain leather 16 and 1/2 in laptop briefcase is sleek, classy and exudes taste for a very modest price tag.
Compared to other briefcases in its category, this laptop bag is designed to accommodate travelers and commuters, including both a comfortable, padded shoulder strap made out of matching leather as well as a suitcase strap on the back that makes bundling it with your other luggage a breeze when flying.
But this bag is more than just a pretty face. Featuring heavy-duty, high-performance YKK zippers and durable snapshackles and steel rings for the shoulder strap, you can depend on this briefcase to go the distance even when it is hauling more than papers for that big meeting.
An interior divider and sub compartments provide ample room for both a large laptop and other required gear, including whatever EDC items warrant inclusion.
A slim exterior admin pouch holds smaller items like pens, power Banks and more but is also just the ticket for slender items like flashlights, knives, sunglasses or even a slimline blowout kit.
This is one laptop bag that will only look better and better with age. Get it here.
6. Yamaz Laptop Business Briefcase 17.3”
For those with varying transportation needs, or those who simply cannot decide on what format of bag is best for their laptop hauling requirements, the Yamaz laptop business briefcase is a smart, handsome and thoroughly functional option.
Capable of multimode configuration, this bag can be carried as a backpack, a messenger bag or a handheld briefcase depending on the situation and it will look good at the entire time.
Made out of sturdy, water repelling canvas with bonded leather accents, this bag is equipped with multiple exterior pouches for all of your fast access or supplementary items and a roomy, multi-cell main compartment with plenty of padding for your precious laptop.
Speaking of laptops, this is one of the more generously proportioned bags on this list and is capable of carrying a 17-in laptop without breaking a sweat.
This is another bag that is cleverly styled so that it will look good in virtually any setting. Get it here.
7. Seibertron Pro-Multifunction Shoulder Messenger Bag Fit for 17.3″ Laptop
The perfect option for laptop carriers who don’t mind an overtly tactical appearance or who might need to expand their cargo capacity depending on requirements.
The Siebertron pro multifunction shoulder bag features a rigid main compartment, multiple, separate exterior pouches, broad rows of PALS webbing and a thoroughly padded laptop holder capable of holding the largest laptops.
Usable as a messenger bag with the included, detachable shoulder strap or as a hand-carried briefcase, this is an adaptable option for those who want to be ready for anything.
Exterior compartments allow you to hold additional workplace goodies that might be required or contingency gear like medical items, spare ammunition and other EDC centric stuff.
For frequent, mile-high travelers, an optional luggage strap allows you to securely bundle it to your suitcase or attach it to any other convenient hardpoint so it won’t get lost.
Rugged, tactical and expandable this is the bag of choice for the hardcore laptop user. Get it here.
8. CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag 17.3”
Another multimode option with dapper styling, CoolBELL’s convertible backpack messenger bag can carry your full-size laptop with lots of other goods besides, even a day’s worth of clothes in addition.
Packed with premium details, like high-quality zippers, leather zipper pulls, custom hardware and of course plenty of pouches this makes a great laptop bag for a jet setter and an urbanite prepper alike.
Probably the best feature of this bag aside from its durable construction and slick styling is its convertible modes of carry.
Switching from backpack to shoulder bag to briefcase in moments thanks to cleverly hidden strap storage this is a bag that you can work up or work down as the situation dictates and you’ll never regret leaving the shoulder strap behind when you need to go hands-free.
Although it appears elegant it should be noted that this is definitely a bag on the larger side, and might be a hindrance for those who are commuting and cramped quarters.
That being said, for carrying everything you need and then some and looking damn good while you are doing it, this bag can hardly be beaten. Get it here.
9. KROSER Premium Laptop Briefcase 17.3”
Another conservatively styled, traditional laptop bag, but one packing plenty of storage space in a slick, snag-free profile.
Weighing less than 3 lbs., this 18-in bag can nonetheless transport a full 17 inch laptop, extra large tablet or all-in-one portable and complete safety thanks to generous padding.
It would take quite an impact to damage any goods you were transporting safely inside.
Even better, internal and external storage pockets have RFID protection that will keep your passport, credit cards and most modern forms of ID safe against signal swiping criminals who are becoming increasingly common at airports and other transportation hubs.
Whether or not you are a frequent traveler, for the information security conscious prepper or someone who works in a sensitive setting, this bag might be the best on our list.
Despite a bevy of security features and ample storage, this bag doesn’t give up any convenience options.
A detachable, properly padded shoulder strap and a sturdy luggage strap make this bag easy to travel with on foot or by vehicle.
Really the only shortcoming we can identify with this one is that it only comes in black! Get it here.
10. DHK Vintage Handmade Leather Travel Briefcase 18”
We come to it at last; the most interesting if not the most practical laptop bag on this list, but regardless of your tastes I think we can all agree this is the one that Indiana Jones almost certainly would have carried.
The DHK vintage leather travel briefcase measures 18 in long and is capable of fitting a laptop measuring 17 and 1/2 in.
Storage options abound, with an extra large, padded laptop compartment, two smaller interior compartments and four smaller administrative pockets capable of holding everything from power supply goodies to phones, pens, notebooks and more.
The full-grain leather construction and heavy-duty canvas lining are all handcrafted and will only look better with age.
You won’t want for capacity with this bag, but as with others of this type there are no quick-release buckles of any kind.
Leather straps and traditional pinhole buckles means dexterity and attention is required to access the contents, so if you plan on using this bag for any gear that would require a lightning-quick draw, you might want to think twice.
For anything else, however, it is a handsome, rugged and eminently practical option. Get it here.
Gear Inclusions for Your EDC Laptop Bag
If you are like most folks who need to carry a laptop for work or play, chances are you have plenty of room left over and your laptop bag after including the laptop, its power brick and any other needed accessories.
Don’t let that extra space go to waste by including EDC gear that can be useful in any kind of emergency.
Some of my favorite picks are below:
1. Compass + Map of Area
This should be an automatic inclusion in any survival kit but is especially valuable for urban Preppers.
In an emergency, especially a catastrophic natural disaster, navigation may become anything but simple and quickly figuring out where you should go, which way you should head and your current facing is essential to extracting yourself from danger.
A city map, near region topographical map and a button compass will take up hardly any room or wait in your bag and will surely be a comfort if you need it.
Snap-lights, also known as chemlights or light sticks, are ingenious personal illumination devices that rely on a chemical reaction between two harmless, non-toxic chemicals that luminous brightly in various colors once combined.
Simply bend the housing of the light, shake and enjoy 8 to 12 hours of useful light, ideal for completely safe near area lighting or marking your location.
This could be just the thing to signal to rescuers if you are trapped in a high-rise or in an underground area. This can also save the day if you are dealing with a potentially explosive atmospheric hazard.
First-aid kit. You don’t need me to tell you how many different ways there are to get hurt in an emergency.
Bus, plain and train crashes, muggings, terrorist attacks and good, old-fashioned accidents could all require the attention of a medical kid.
Your first aid kit should be equipped to handle common boo-boos of all kinds as well as some traumatic injury.
Include a variety of medications as well as a tourniquet, at the minimum. Make sure you get training so you know how to use all this stuff!
The knife is one of the most quintessential tools known to mankind and useful for an endless list of chores and even as a vicious self-defense weapon. You should never, ever leave home without one and I prefer to keep it on my body.
That being said, if one is good, two is better and you can definitely justify keeping a backup knife, even if it is a smaller, utilitarian one, inside your laptop bag at all times.
A multi-tool is another excellent inclusion into any EDC kit, and especially well suited for inclusion in your laptop bag since it will get weight and bulk off of your belt and out of your pockets.
With a variety of useful attachments such as various drivers, pliers, wire cutters, saws and more you’ll be ready for 101 repair jobs and other chores.
Pick whichever one you like the best, and don’t discount a classic like a well-equipped Swiss army knife.
Any prepper worth their salt loves cordage, and although sturdy cordage is most commonly associated with wilderness survival scenarios it is equally useful in urban scenarios so long as you know what you are doing.
Able to fashion or jury rig various useful implements, help secure doors and countless other purposes, you should always have a small length of this stuff with you.
You might consider tying it into a bundle or even crafting it into a decorative fob or other implement to help disguise it and save even more space.
7. Duct Tape
Duct tape is another incredibly useful item to include in any survival kit. You have heard all of the jokes and seen all of the memes by now, I am sure, but the only reason duct tape is so easy to make jokes about is because it has earned the reputation.
For quick improvisations, fast, in the field repairs and all sorts of other ingenious tasks, duct tape is tops.
However, a full roll of duct tape is both bulky and surprisingly weighty, and you can reduce the impact of both by tearing off a long length and wrapping around your flashlight, water bottle or some other item for convenience storage.
8. Tactical Pen
You should always have a pen handy. For jotting down award-winning thoughts and discoveries to be or quickly recording vital information so you don’t forget it, you’ll need a writing implement. But your pain can be so much more if it is a tactical pen.
Designed and manufactured to afford the user a secure grip and a durable, unyielding striking surface, tactical pens can be used as a force multiplier and a physical altercation or even brought to bear as an implement to enhance the effectiveness of small joint locks and pressure point manipulation.
This is another tool that you should never, ever leave home without. More than almost anything else you’ll carry, you’ll have calls to use your flashlight during some critical situation.
Articles could, and have, been written about all the selection criteria attendant to selecting a good general purpose flashlight for EDC carry, but the most important factors that you need to worry about are simply that it be compact, bright and long-lasting.
10. Batteries/Power Bank
It is hard to get by today without some sort of electronic gear. The very laptop you are carrying in your bag, your smartphone, flashlights and so much more.
All of these electronic gadgets require electricity, and typically in the form of disposable batteries or supplied from an onboard rechargeable battery.
You needn’t plan on doing without them entirely in the middle of an emergency, but you must plan on supplying them with the required power. Carry additional batteries or a pre-charged power bank as appropriate.
Toss a bandana into your laptop bag. This humble piece of cloth can serve as a head covering, a sweatband, a napkin, an improvised bandage, a pre-filter for water and even as emergency TP should you need it.
There is no end to what bandanas can do for you and they barely weigh anything so make sure you always have one with you.
The ability to make fire on demand is crucial in a variety of survival situations. For signaling help, staying warm at night, providing light and every once in a while even as a distraction to get out of a sticky situation, fire can get it done.
Flint, steel and other primitive fire-starting methods are all right and you should definitely know how to employ them, but nothing beats the sure reliability and convenience of clicking a lighter. Toss a Bic or two into your bag and you’ll be ready to light it up when you need to.
Carrying a laptop needn’t be a chore, and you don’t need to sacrifice your EDC gear just because you are hauling stuff for the office or jobsite.
A quality, properly-chosen laptop bag can be a convenient and low-profile way to keep all of the stuff you need close at hand.
Peruse the list above and you’ll be sure to find a laptop bag that will be perfect for your needs!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.