We've rounded up the bags we rely on to go from home to work to the gym to dinner, including the best laptop backpack.
If you’ve ever lugged a laptop, your lunch, a water bottle, gym clothes, and whatever else you carry around every day to the office, you know the importance of a good work bag. It needs to be durable—so it can carry everything you need for work, plus those must-haves you’ll want once the workday ends and you’re hitting the gym, meeting friends, or running to pick up the kids—as well as polished and professional. (The very best work bags for women can hold an extra pair of comfy shoes, too.) So here it is: our list of the work bags we use to get through the day and our evenings, too.
Best Deal: Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote & Wristlet
I’ve been using this Nordstrom knock-off of the popular Everlane Market Tote for at least two years, and it’s still holding strong. I love that the straps are supportive enough to carry my laptop and whatever else I’m toting around for the day. Since it’s pretty inexpensive and not real leather, I don’t freak when something spills on it, which makes it a great everyday bag. — Nora Horvath, Assistant Editor
To buy: $49; nordstrom.com.
Best Bag with a Charitable Cause: State Bags Lorimer
Since I live in a city, I never go home in the middle of the day, so I need a roomy work bag that gives me hands-free capability and holds everything I need from work to the gym. Plus, with every purchase, the brand donates a bag to a local child in need. — Tamara Kraus, Associate Editor
To buy: $90; statebags.com.
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Best Splurge: Moore & Giles Welden Tote in Virginia Natural
This is my latest tote bag for work, and I’m so psyched about it. Purse + laptop + magazines + a few groceries = a heavy load! But this roomy satchel does the trick without feeling too bulky. Plus, three internal pockets and reinforced handles make this pretty piece a worthy investment. While it’s definitely a splurge, it is a workhorse that will last me for years to come. — Stephanie Sisco, Home Editor
To buy: $435; mooreandgiles.com.
Best All-Purpose Tote: Madewell The Medium Transport Tote in True Black
I realized recently that I had more or less stopped carrying a purse and had switched to tote bags, because it was easier to grab what I needed out of them (especially when I was out and about with Baby). But I didn’t feel all that professional showing up to work with a New Yorker tote instead of a grownup-looking bag—so I bought this perfect leather tote from Madewell and have been thrilled with it. It’s got all the grab-and-go I need, plus a little zip pocket I keep my headphones in (less tangling!) and a front pocket where I keep my work badge so I never have to go fishing for it. — Anna Maltby, Deputy Editor
To buy: $158; madewell.com.
Best Laptop Backpack: Knomo Beauchamp Laptop Backpack
Best Work to Weekend Tote: Timbuk2 Work Tote
I’ve been searching for a work bag that could carry my laptop and planner, my lunch, an extra pair of shoes, and whatever else I might need for the day ever since I moved to the city. This one holds all that, plus it has a side pocket for a passport and it’s structured enough to hold its shape on the rare days when I’m not carrying 20 pounds of stuff. Best of all, its textured leather works in the office or at brunch on the weekend, and it’s covered by a lifetime warranty. — Lauren Phillips, Associate Digital Editor
To buy: $199; timbuk2.com.
Most Durable Work Backpack: Samsonite UBX Commuter Backpack
I love this backpack because it’s filled with zippered pockets and compartments which help keep me organized. It’s especially great for those days when I need to transport a ton of things (laptop, change of shoes, gym clothes, etc.) and a work tote just won’t suffice. The straps and handle are well-padded, and I love how durable the fabric and zippers are. There’s even a strap across the back for carrying the backpack on your luggage handle. — Brandi Broxson, Senior Editor
To buy: $59; amazon.com.