When it comes to charging your phone, tablet or laptop on the go — whether you’re traveling or just heading to the nearest coffee shop to get some work done — there’s portable power and then there’s portable power. Sure, you could bring a standard portable power bank with you, but then again that can be a bit of a hassle. Or, if you’re looking for something more convenient (and more powerful), you could look into getting a backpack with built in power and/or charging features (like those I’ve handily listed for you here).
Over the last few years I was a constant traveler and just as constant was my need for power while on the go: at the airport, in a cab or shuttle, at a meeting, in the hotel. Finding enough juice to power a trip can be a real struggle. If you’re like me, a trip might entail watching a movie, playing some games, reading, checking flight apps, making calls, typing, working on a presentation and taking lots of photos or videos. In other words: portable power is crucial.
And lately I’ve been feeling like the best portable power option is a bag with a built in battery. I’ve covered the best smart luggage already and I recently did an in-depth review of the new Bluesmart Black Edition smart carry-on suitcase and after today’s list that conviction is stronger than ever. A bag that can hold your gear and charge it too is the most convenient option. There’s less to “remember” and I like that: remembering to charge one thing before heading out is hassle enough.
So without further ado here’s my picks for the best backpacks with built-in power and/or charging. Which one would you choose? Let me know down in the comments!
So the brand new HP Powerup backpack is pretty great all around. It’s got a large battery (22,400 mAh) that can charge your phone up to 10 times, your tablet up to 3 times or your laptop fully (it’s unclear to me at this point whether it can be used to charge non-HP laptops). But this bag has some extra smarts beyond just integrated battery and cable management: it can proactively sense the temperature within the backpack and adjust accordingly. That, combined with the side vent, will prevent overheating issues. It’s great that the Powerup comes with 2 micro-USB cables for charging up your Android devices along with a laptop cable.
For all this backpack does, it also doesn’t look too shabby either. I like the gray color scheme (dark outside, lighter interior) combined with the stitched leather accents. I can also appreciate the tough exterior that’s made of heavy-duty canvas thats coated to resist wet weather (and if things get really crazy outside, you can throw on the included rain jacket).
Finally, this backpack is TSA-approved which might just make it one of the handiest carry-on bags out there for tech enthusiasts or business travelers (but make sure to check out our recent review of the new Bluesmart Black Edition too).
MOS products always amaze me. I’ve got the MOS desktop cable organizer sitting right here on my desk as I type and it has come in handy for years. So naturally I was stoked to find the MOS Pack while researching for this article. This tech backpack is different from the others here in that it doesn’t include a portable battery pack but it does charge all of your gadgets using the included MOS Reach cable. With this setup you can either 1.) charge all your gadgets (laptop, phone, tablet) at once while they are still inside the backpack or 2.) add a portable battery pack/charger of your choice (like the MOS Go) to the setup for on-the-go charging when you’re not near an outlet.
Aside from the charging capabilities, there’s a lot to like about this pack like the built-in pockets for items like your sunglasses or passport. There’s even an internal water bottle holder that one Amazon reviewer uses to bring their coffee with them on their commute.
To me, the looks of this bag are pretty cool and I do really like the color options: granite, onyx or slate. The durable anti-tear nylon body will also help protect the contents and there’s an optional rain cover should you ever need it.
AMPL Smart Bag
The AMPL is marketed as the world’s smartest backpack and I think that might just be true. At the time of writing this backpack is still in pre-order status, but I can’t wait for it to hit the market. Where to start… well it charges 3x faster than standard batteries, it’s got 6 USB ports, it’s capable of charging your laptop, it’s got a handy shoulder holder for your phone so it’s always within reach while charging and, oh ya, it has a companion app!
The app shoes you how much combined battery power is left in your rig (even broken down by internal battery, front battery, bottom battery and rear battery), shows which ports are charging (tablet pocket, for instance), monitors the internal temperature and is fully customizable.
Plus, all of this power is fully scalable: you can choose from 3 different portable power types to better suit your needs (Laptop Boost + AC Inverter, Laptop Boost or Tablet Boost).
Here’s a backpack that is slim and looks great and will ensure you can work (or game) for as long as you need to wherever you go.
Recommendations and Conclusion
- For Business: All of these bags can charge your gear, but the HP pack will fit in better in a business environment.
- Simplest: The MOS Pack does less — or can do more — it’s all up to you. Get charging-only or decide to add a battery.
- Smartest: With it’s own app, it’s hard to argue that any other pack does nearly as much as the AMPL; it’s a (stylish) tech nerd’s dream.
We’ve had smartphones for so long now that I’m surprised society lived this long without smart backpacks. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be using a “dumb” backpack any longer: it just doesn’t make sense when you can keep your stuff organized and powered all in one neat package.