We all know the classic Swiss Army Knife – the iconic red multitool that MacGyver fans grew up in their back pockets. But we also all know the classic red and white Swiss Cross logo that today adorns everything from watches to laptop sleeves, courtesy of SWISSGEAR – a name synonymous with both style and function.
SWISSGEAR is one of two brands to rock that iconic logo, actually – just as there were originally two makers of the original Swiss Army Knife. These were Wenger, founded in 1893 in the French-speaking Canton of Jura – and the legendary Victorinox, founded in 1884 in the German-speaking canton of Schwyz. Wenger was known as the maker of the “Genuine Swiss Army Knife,” while the more well-known Victorinox billed itself as the “Original Swiss Army Knife.”
A quick history lessons tells us that the Swiss Army split the contract for Swiss Army Knife manufacturing between these two legendary knifemakers in the early 1900’s – and both thus laid equal and worthy claim to the SAK trademark and logo.
(Fun fact: the term “Swiss Army Knife” was an American invention during WWII. Legend says that it was simply a lot easier to pronounce than the German “Offiziersmesser.”)
Over time, both brands began creating other product lines, timepieces and travel gear included. SWISSGEAR as we know it was launched by Wenger, before the brand was acquired by its larger competitor Victorinox in 2005 – consolidating all SWISSGEAR items and Swiss Army Knives under one “roof.”
That’s a long history less, but it’s one worth telling – when you buy a SWISSGEAR, you’re buying a quality backpack manufactured with the tradition of Swiss craftmanship and utility. And that’s reason enough for us.
Here are the 7 Best SWISSGEAR Backpacks out there for 2019 – for work, play and travel.
Best SWISSGEAR Backpacks 2019
Best All-Rounder: SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack
For general everyday utility and travel-friendliness, look no further than this reliable, affordable laptop backpack that just oozes SWISSGEAR style. Built from Made with durable, weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester, it’s durable for everyday use and traveling, with a rubberized grab handle, contoured, padded shoulder straps, and plenty of storage for daily life on the go.
The main selling point, however, is the TSA-friendly ScanSmart technology; a lay-flat, padded 17” laptop compartment that allows you to leave your laptop in the bag when going through the security checkpoint, protecting it from bumps, nicks and scratches.
Simple yet functional. Rugged yet stylish. And totally affordable. There’s nothing to complain about with this backpack.
Best for Carry-on Travel: Swissgear 5337 Hybrid Laptop Backpack
Designed to combine the versatility of a backpack with the best of carry-on luggage, the 5337 Hybrid has a sleeker, more streamlined shape than your typical backpack…but still packs an ample of storage for clothes and shoes in the lay-flat main compartment. The dividers and pockets inside resemble your typical suitcase, and the frame and shape are designed to let you stack the bag on top of your rolling luggage. A padded 15” laptop sleeve, contoured and padded arm straps and Airflow back panel complete the deal.
SWISSGEAR 5358 USB Charging Backpack
Twice the price of our all-around top pick, the SWISSGEAR 1900, the 5358 USB ScanSmart better have some real hefty features if it plans to be so expensive. And it does; in addition to 31 liters of ample storage, an abrasion-resistant polyester build, those ergonomically-contoured, padded shoulder straps we’ve come to know and love, and a 17” padded ScanSmart laptop sleeve for breezing through the airport…it also rocks a built-in USB power port on the left shoulder strap. So you can keep your phones, cameras and devices all charged up and ready to go anytime and anywhere.
The battery pack isn’t included, but if you do a hefty bit of traveling and constantly find your devices need topping off on the regular…this is the backpack you’re looking for.
SWISSGEAR 5313 Laptop Day Pack
Looking for the essentials and nothing but the essentials? You’re in for a treat with the SwissGear 5313 Day Pack. This heather gray piece from SWISSGEAR’s Getaway Collection ditches the fancy features in favor of streamlined design and light weight. No fancy laptop sleeves or charging ports here; just 21 liters of storage, a host of pockets for organizing, padded shoulder straps, and a 13” laptop sleeve. For those who travel light throughout the day and want a backpack that’s just as light (clocking in at only 1.1 lbs a piece). It’s also the cheapest option on the list, so an excellent choice for those on a budget.
SWISSGEAR SA8733 Messenger Bag
A backpack can be too much for the business traveler. That’s why SwissGear also makes some super-sleek, TSA-friendly messenger bags for keeping your laptop and the rest of your daily essentials safe and secure in all manner of travel situations. Made from their same durable, abrasion-resistant fabric, it packs all the essential storage – pens, wallet, charger, etc – as well as a 15” padded laptop sleeve into a streamlined, exceedingly-simple messenger bag profile.
And yes, the laptop sleeve is entirely TSA-friendly; just unzip it and lay it flat, and your laptop can go through security without being removed and suffering scratches or dents in the process. A sturdy grab handle and padded shoulder sleeve make carrying it your way…a breeze.
SWISSGEAR Getaway Folding Garment Duffel/Weekender
Anyone who has ever had to travel with a suit in tow knows how difficult and cumbersome it can be. That’s where folding garment bags, like SWISSGEAR’s heather gray Getaway offering, come in. Closely resembling your classic Weekender duffel, this bag unzips and deconstructs to reveal a hanging garment bag large enough for your best suit and dress shirts (or any other clothes you prefer to keep wrinkle-free). Fold it back up and you’ve still got 45 liters of storage for everything else you need to bring on that weekend (or week-long) trip, including a fresh pair of shoes.
On the outside, this is just as much a comfortable, travel-ready bag as any other. Wrapped leather grab handles up top, padded shoulder strap for easy flinging over your shoulder, and trolley strap for throwing it over your telescoping luggage handles.
Get this bad boy and you’ll be looking fresh and classy in some wrinkle-free clothing wherever your travels take you.
SWISSGEAR 2703 LAPTOP BACKPACK – NAVY
For the city slicker, the 2703 Laptop Backpack is the perfect balance of function and city style. The two buckles unclip to allow the top lid to flip up, giving you unfettered access to the 27 liters of storage inside. There’s plenty of organizational sleeves and dividers, as well as a front pocket, tablet pocket and 15” laptop pocket. The exterior rocks some serious storage, as well; there are two water bottle pockets accompanied by a zippered side pocket for access to the laptop sleeve. And there’s a convenient top pocket on the lid for stashing your sunglasses or anything else you want to keep handy.
Light at 1.7 pounds, the 2703 is the perfect daily commuter or daypack for carrying a laptop and navigating all the obstacles the city has to offer.