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The 15 Best Travel Briefcases for Men & Women [2023]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

772 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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A briefcase offers a practical and stylish way to carry your laptop, files, notebooks, and other essentials with you on your daily commute. Some are spacious enough to carry extra items you might need for a night or 2 away, while others are lightweight and versatile enough to be used on a daily basis.

Available in a wide range of styles, colors, and designs, finding the right briefcase to suit your needs doesn’t have to feel like a chore.

Things To Consider With Briefcases

Before you buy your next briefcase, consider the following:

Size and Capacity

Travel Briefcase
A travel briefcase may be used for school, college, or work. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

If you are planning on using your briefcase for school, college, or work, you will need to be able to fit your laptop, work files, textbooks, and other must-have work essentials in with ease.

Depending on the size of your laptop, the padded compartment will need to be able to accommodate it, so be sure to carefully read the description before you buy. You should also be sure that it can fit full-size folders or documents if you intend to use it while working.

Hot Tip: Some briefcases offer the ability to expand a few extra inches, giving you extra interior space to store your files or fit a change of clothing in.

Use

Travel Briefcase Compartments
Look for a briefcase that offers expandable compartments or extra space. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

If your briefcase is simply for carrying your laptop to work and back, it just needs to offer excellent protection and space for a few extra essentials.

However, if you are headed away on a business trip or need to carry your gym gear, lunch bag, and other day-to-day items, look for a briefcase that offers expandable compartments or extra space to ensure that you don’t need to carry extra bags with you.

Size and Capacity

Briefcases often feature a structured design, which can make them heavier than a comparable tote or duffel bag. While this won’t be so noticeable while the bag is empty, briefcases can feel quite heavy when fully loaded.

Material and Durability

Travel briefcase material
Briefcases are usually made from heavy-duty material. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Briefcases are usually made from heavy-duty material as they are designed to offer increased protection. Polyester, canvas, leather, and vegan leather (PU) are all popular choices, and all have their own distinct advantages.

Suppose you are doing a lot of traveling with your briefcase. In that case, you may want to look for materials that offer some resistance to water and always check that the hardware and zippers are high-quality to ensure that they stay stronger for longer.

Comfort

While your working life may be stressful, there is no reason that your briefcase should put any additional stress on your body. On the contrary, ergonomic shoulder straps can help distribute your belongings’ weight, and wheeled briefcases can make light work of longer journeys.

Also, consider how you access your belongings. For example, front flap pockets make it easy to grab your passport, cell phone, and other essentials in a hurry, and wide-mouth zippers ensure that you can easily slip your laptop and files in without a fight.

Wheels vs. No Wheels

Travel Briefcase Wheels
Some briefcases come with wheels and a telescoping handle. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Some briefcases come with wheels and a telescoping handle, making it easy to pull your belongings along beside you.

These types of suitcases are great if you need to carry lots of files and documents with you and can also be used as a carry-on when flying.

Bottom Line: Wheeled briefcases can be super useful and will make it much more comfortable to carry lots of gear, but they are generally larger and heavier than a regular briefcase, so only buy one if you need the extra capacity.

The 8 Best Briefcases for Men

1. Water-resistant Briefcase for Your Daily Commute

Ytonet 17 inch Laptop Bag

This smart-looking laptop briefcase is made from high-quality, water-resistant polyester and is perfect for business trips.

Offering plenty of multi-functional compartments, it comes with 2 front zipper pockets, a main compartment that can comfortably house most 15.6-inch laptops, a file compartment, and a back zipper pocket to keep your valuables safe.

Offering a super-useful expansion zipper, this roomy laptop briefcase can also be used to store clothes and other essentials for overnight stays. With a padded shoulder strap, grab handles, and a back panel that can be looped over the handle of your suitcase, this is the perfect choice for frequent flyers.

What We Like

  • This briefcase looks much more expensive than it is

What We Don’t Like

  • 17-inch devices can be a squeeze if they are thick

2. Nylon Briefcase From a Reputable Luggage Brand

Check on Macy's

Samsonite Classic Multi Gusset Toploader Briefcase

This smart-looking briefcase from Samsonite is packed full of useful compartments, and the sleek good looks make it a practical choice for stylish commuters.

Made from durable ballistic nylon, it comes with a padded laptop compartment that is suitable for devices measuring up to 15.6 inches, and the gusset feature opens wide to hold your files and folders.

With additional compartments for your laptop peripherals and zippered mesh pockets to hold your pens and other accessories, it offers all the space you need to work on the move.

With a padded shoulder strap, wrapped grab handle, and a trolley sleeve, it is easy to carry, and the front zipper pocket offers easy access to your passport and other essentials in transit.

What We Like

  • Designed to fit everything you need

What We Don’t Like

  • The shoulder strap is surprisingly narrow

3. Big Size Briefcase With Carrying Options

CoolBELL Convertible Backpack Messenger Bag

This versatile travel bag is plenty big enough to hold your 17.3-inch laptop, and the spacious design still offers room for extra clothing.

Offering 3 different ways to carry your gear, the straps can be used as a backpack, a messenger bag, or a shoulder bag, and with 4 outside pockets, you can easily organize your essentials.

Made from high-quality materials, it comes with a padded laptop compartment and extra pockets for your files and peripherals, and the ergonomic design ensures that it remains lightweight and easy to carry, even when full.

What We Like

  • This is a versatile briefcase with lots of pockets

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t feel particularly durable

4. Expandable Briefcase for Large Laptops

KROSER Premium Laptop Bag

Made from environmentally-friendly canvas poly fabric, this is a durable and water-repellent laptop bag that looks smart and performs brilliantly.

With a roomy laptop compartment that can house up to a 17.3 laptop, you can take your work with you, and the expandable capacity offers extra space for files, folders, or even a change of clothes.

The easy-to-reach zippered front pocket lets you access your most important documents easily, and the adjustable carry handle, sturdy PU handles, and luggage strap on the back ensure a comfortable carry, even when full.

What We Like

  • This bag fits everything you need and even more.

What We Don’t Like

  • It could do with more padding

5. Briefcase on Wheels for Frequent Flyers

Check on Walmart

Alpine Swiss Rolling 17″ Laptop Briefcase

This awesome rolling briefcase measures 19 x 14 x 9 inches, making it just right to use as a TSA-approved carry-on, and will the ability to hold a 17-inch laptop, it is a great choice for regular business users.

Organized and secured, the main section comes with various compartments for all of your essentials, and the zipper closure has secure dual combination locks that can be set individually to keep your belongings well-protected.

With side pockets that are spacious enough for legal files and the ability to expand up to 2 inches, you will have all the space you need for your important work documents. This briefcase also features a telescopic handle, 4 in-line skate wheels, and a detachable carry handle to make light work of longer commutes.

What We Like

  • This is a really durable briefcase

What We Don’t Like

  • The wheels seem a little small for the size of the case

6. The Best-designed Briefcase for Stylish Commuters

Kenneth Cole Reaction Keystone 17″ Laptop Business Portfolio

Offering designer good looks and a practical interior, this awesome briefcase from Kenneth Cole is made from durable 1680D ballistic polyester and has a fully-lined interior.

The front compartments offer easy access to your passport, cell phone, and other essentials, and on the inside, the main compartment is designed with a checkpoint-friendly/EZ-scan feature that lets you keep it safely tucked away while going through airport security.

The dual top handles and padded shoulder strap ensure that it is always easy to carry, and the rear exterior trolley strap allows you to slip the briefcase over the handle of your spinner suitcase to create the perfect travel system for business trips and longer stays away.

What We Like

  • Genuinely has enough room for your 17.3-inch laptop plus files and accessories

What We Don’t Like

  • The shoulder strap feels surprisingly flimsy

7. Upscale Leather Briefcase for the Discerning Traveler

Samsonite Leather Expandable Briefcase

This finely-crafted briefcase is made from smooth and supple genuine leather, and the spacious design is an awesome choice for everyday use.

With a padded laptop compartment that can comfortably house up to a 15.6-inch laptop computer, it also offers a variety of compartments and pockets for keeping your files and accessories well-organized.

The comfortable carry handles are sturdy enough to support the weight of the bag, even when full, and with an expandable compartment, you can even squeeze in a few extras for overnight stays.

This bag also features a SmartPocket design that can be slipped over the handle of your spinner suitcase for more convenient transportation.

What We Like

  • It really has been built to last

What We Don’t Like

  • The shiny surface makes it look more like faux leather

8. Carry-on Briefcase Bag With a Built-in USB

Matein Rolling Laptop Bag

This awesome rolling briefcase comes with a USB interface and built-in cable that allows you to charge your devices (using your own choice of power bank).

With a spacious front zippered pocket, you can enjoy easy access to your most used documents and essentials while you travel, and the spacious main compartment is large enough to carry your clothes, shoes, and other much-needed items.

With a padded compartment that will keep your 15.6-inch laptop well-protected and a zippered accordion-style file holder, this case offers all the space you need for business trips and overnight stays.

With 4 in-line skate wheels and a retractable handle, this bag is easy to pull along behind you, and the compact 17.7 x 9.5 x 13.7-inch dimensions make it carry-on-compatible for most airlines.

What We Like

  • Practical and super spacious

What We Don’t Like

  • The laptop compartment is towards the front of the bag, meaning it can tip over

The 7 Best Briefcases for Women

1. The Best Eco-leather Ladies Briefcase

Easegave Laptop Bag for Women

Available in a choice of 10 stunning colors, this beautiful Suffiano eco-leather briefcase offers plenty of space for all of your daily business essentials.

With a dedicated and well-padded compartment to hold your 15.6-inch laptop, it also features further structured interior compartments, as well as 2 slip pockets and a zip-fastening pocket for smaller items.

Understated and incredibly chic, this laptop briefcase also comes with a turn-lock flap closure to keep your belongings secure, and with a lined interior and adjustable strap, it offers a stylish way to carry your work around with you.

What We Like

  • This briefcase bag looks and feels gorgeous

What We Don’t Like

  • The strap isn’t particularly strong

2. Great-looking Briefcase for Fashion-conscious Travelers

ECOSUSI Women’s Briefcase

Made from smooth and luxurious vegan leather, this gorgeous women’s briefcase looks pretty as a picture. With elegant, vintage styling, it comes in a selection of colorways, and the spacious interior offers all the space you need for your day-to-day essentials.

On the inside, it has room to carry a laptop measuring up to 15.6 inches, and the additional zipper pockets are perfect for keeping your wallet, cell phone, and other items safe on the move.

The adjustable strap makes it easy to sling the briefcase over your shoulder, and the unusual cut-out design with an oversize bow and magnetic closure makes this an excellent choice for fashionable commuters and students.

What We Like

  • Extremely high quality for the price

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not big enough for large folders

3. Functional Women’s Briefcase on Wheels

Check on Dell

Solo New York Bryant Rolling Bag with Wheels

Versatile enough to be used for work, school, or even nights away, this rolling briefcase bag is spacious enough to carry plenty of your business essentials.

Made from high-quality materials, it comes with a fully-padded 17.3-inch laptop compartment and features a zip-down organizer section and file dividers to ensure that you stay well-organized.

With a push-button telescoping handle and 4 smooth-rolling wheels, you can pull your belongings along behind you, making light work of long journeys and business trips away.

What We Like

  • Plenty of storage space and padded protection

What We Don’t Like

  • A 17-inch laptop is a bit of a squeeze

4. Super Water-resistant Ladies Briefcase

Bagsmart 17.3 Inch Laptop Bag

Offering excellent value for money, this versatile and practical women’s briefcase bag comes in a selection of fashionable colors.

Made from durable and water-resistant polyester fabric, it comes complete with metal hooks and zippers, and the well-thought-out design offers plenty of space for your laptop, files, pens, and other essentials.

The padded laptop compartment can comfortably house devices measuring up to 17 inches, and the expansion zipper offers extra inches for clothing, files, textbooks, and so much more.

With an ergonomic shoulder strap, this bag is comfortable to carry, even when full, and the back slip pocket slides over the handle of your spinner suitcase for increased convenience on longer journeys.

What We Like

  • It will let your larger laptop slip in and out easy

What We Don’t Like

  • It can feel quite heavy when fully loaded

5. Practical PU Leather Ladies Briefcase

LOVEVOOK Laptop Bag for Women

Fashionable and full of character, this gorgeous satchel-style bag comes with a padded computer compartment that fits devices measuring up to 15.6 inches.

With lots of lovely interior pockets, this is a practical bag for everyday use, and the 2 large pockets on the front make for easy access to your most essential items.

Made from high-quality PU leather, it has a distinctive design and gorgeous hardware, and the zippered back pocket offers a safe place to quickly access your valuables.

With a sturdy carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap, this briefcase provides a stylish and practical way to haul your work, school, or college essentials with you, everywhere you go.

What We Like

  • It will easily fit your laptop and peripherals

What We Don’t Like

  • More for fashion than it is for durability

6. The Best Vintage Ladies Briefcase

CLUCI Women Oil Wax Leather Briefcase

Available in a selection of stylish colorways, this upscale briefcase is made from soft, 2-toned cowhide leather. It has a super-stylish look with a durable fabric lining and high-quality hardware.

The large capacity interior has a padded laptop compartment for 15.6-inch devices, and the further inner pockets, card and pen slots, front magnetic pocket, and hidden back pocket offer plenty of space for all of your school or workplace essentials.

With an external U-shaped zipper, you can easily access your items, and the adjustable handle and attach-a-bag strap make it easy to carry or attach to your suitcase for increased convenience.

What We Like

  • It feels soft and supple

What We Don’t Like

  • The design makes it feel quite heavy

7. Roller Briefcase for Ladies on the Move

Kensington Contour Balance Notebook

This incredible carry-on bag comes with super smooth, inline skate wheels that make it easy to maneuver.

With the look and feel of a regular tote bag, it hides a multitude of clever design features, and the laptop compartment with built-in drop protection ensures that your 15.4-inch laptop will remain well-protected in transit.

The ergonomic design hugs the body and shifts the center of gravity for a more comfortable carry, and being 25% lighter than traditional rollers, you won’t need to worry about lifting it into the overhead compartment. With an organizer front pocket and additional zipper pockets, it offers all the storage space you need for business trips and busy days.

What We Like

  • The super-smooth wheels

What We Don’t Like

  • The grab handles can get in the way of accessing the compartments

Final Thoughts

From colorful cases to luxury wheeled options, there are a ton of great briefcases to suit every kind of traveler. With padded laptop compartments, organizer pockets, expandable zippers, and lots of useful extra storage, a modern-day briefcase offers so much more than just a portable file holder.

With options to suit school kids, college students, and business users alike, and available in a wealth of styles for every budget, a laptop briefcase is an investment in your day-to-day success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a suitcase and a briefcase?

Business professionals typically use a briefcase to hold documents, whereas a suitcase is larger and used to hold clothes and toiletries.

Are briefcases bad for your back?

Briefcases could be bad for your back, but only if they are too heavy. Briefcases are usually carried in one hand or over your shoulder using a strap, which means that the weight is not evenly distributed. If your briefcase is lightweight and not full, you should be able to carry it without any back issues.

Do people still use hard briefcases?

The use of hard briefcases has been on a hard decline over the last couple of decades as they have fallen out of fashion. However, soft briefcases are still widely used and both a practical and stylish option for business professionals.

Can you put a laptop in a briefcase?

A lot of modern-day briefcases will have a dedicated laptop compartment. Most will comfortably fit a 15-inch laptop, but some have been designed to accommodate a 17-inch laptop.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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