laptop case

I travel a lot for work and pleasure, and I always have a laptop with me. Some of those places require a little more protection for the laptops. I have several backpacks with laptop sleeves and different ways to access them and their accessories. When your travels take you places where your carry-on or pack will be stuffed in tight spaces or thrown in with other luggage, you want to know your laptop is protected. The Aleon 17” Aluminum Backpack is one of those packs that provides both protection and security when traveling. Plus it looks cool.

Aleon Makes two sizes for their aluminum nylon hybrid backpacks; a 16” (11.7”x5.9”x15.8”) and a 17” (12.3”x7.3”x16.9”), both in three color options; Platinum/Silver, Onyx/Black and a Bronze (which I think looks more Olive Green). The 17” pack weighs 4.9 pounds empty and has a capacity of 22L. The exterior is a hard shell made of aluminum with a soft, padded back with shoulder straps. The dual zippered opening prevents anyone from accessing the pack while you are wearing it, providing the security you want in a laptop pack when on commuter trains or walking in other crowded places. The opening has the ability to unzip to 30° or the inside wings can be unzipped, and the pack can be opened to a full 180° for easy access. The website states that the 17″ pack can fit up to a 15″ laptop, but I have fit both my older, thicker 16″ laptop and newer, thinner 16″ laptops without any issues. 

Accordion opening with wings that can zip open for full access
Once the wings are opened the case can be opened to 90 or 180 degrees

The backpack comes with a built-in laptop sleeve and zippered pocket divider that accordions when the back is opened, a padded dual laptop/tablet sleeve that velcros to the inside, a padded divider with elastic loops and a frame reinforced packing cube with a zippered internal sleeve (not included with the 16” version).  There is an available photography insert with padded dividers for your camera and lenses. You could also use the space for a custom cut foam insert for drones or other audio/video equipment. These options allow for a customizable load configuration depending on your travel needs. 

Built in Laptop/Tablet sleeve with zipper pocket and organizer
L0 Frame reinforced packing cube and R) padded insert with large elastic loops

The size of either of the backpacks puts them into the carry-on size because they are too thick to be placed under the seats. Both packs do meet the smaller carry-on size restrictions (15.7”x9”x21.6”) for European or international flights. The back of the case has an over-the-handle strap for hands-free carrying on an upright suitcase built in between the padding and there is a top carry handle that lays flat when not in use. The back pad and shoulder straps are made with breathable padded mesh and has both a chest and waist strap to help balance the load and relieve pressure from the shoulders. 

L) Padded shoulder straps and over-the-handle strap and R) lay flat top carry handleThe frame reinforced packing cube has enough room for 2-4 days worth of light clothing. You could pair the pack with the lightweight travel clothing from Anatomie (see my review here) and add an extra pair of pants or skirt and jacket for business meetings. These two brands were made for the frequent business or professional traveler with their clean professional looks. If you need a checked bag that matches Aleon carries a full line of aluminum luggage with built-in TSA locks and quad roller wheels from 26” to 32”. 

I took this pack with me on several trips from overnighters to extended stays and found the design to be a good fit for protecting my laptop and still able to fit a few nights worth of clothing and toiletries. The backpack padding and shoulder straps were generally comfortable. There is lots of padding and the mesh does help with mitigating heat and sweat. When your laptop is in the built-in sleeve closest to your back the balance is good and weight stays on your shoulders. If you use the removable laptop sleeve that velcros to the front of the pack or add heavy camera equipment the weight shifts to your lower back. The padding mitigates any discomfort, but the pressure is still there. You need to be cognizant of how much space it takes up while moving in crowded places or small spaces, it sticks out about 8” and is obviously a hard surface compared to soft and slimmer backpacks. I always felt like my belongings were secure because of the aluminum shell and that the zippers were close to the back. My laptop and other electronic equipment were well protected in the interior padded sleeves and hard exterior shell. I would say my only negative would be the fact that the main zippers don’t have a way to lock them like other carry-on luggage. 

Aleon 17″ Aluminum Backpack in Bronze

Final Thoughts: This aluminum backpack is very stylish and functional. The design and inserts allow you to customize how you carry your laptop, camera or other electronic equipment along with a couple days worth of clothes. 

By the numbers:

Comfort – 4/5 The mesh padded back and shoulder straps mitigated the square shape of the pack and made carrying an aluminum box comfortable. The heavier loads can add some pressure to the lower back. 

Durability – 5/5 The pack is made of an aluminum shell with riveted construction and reinforced corners. The zippers, nylon padded back and shoulder straps are securely sewn. Even after lots of miles this backpack will hold up to the abuse of both flying and ground based travel.

Functionality – 4.5/5 This backpack comes with 3 removable inserts and an optional padded photography equipment insert that allows you to securely sort and store your gear and clothing. It meets the carry-on size requirements from international flights. Only downside is the size restricts you from storing it under the seat as a personal item while flying. 

Weight – 4/5 It comes in at 4.9 lbs and weighs significantly less than similar sized carry-on luggage with wheels. However, it weighs almost double most 20 -25L backpacks with laptop sleeves because of the hardshell construction. 

Value – 4.5/5 At $349 for the 17” backpack and $329 for the 16” version these are a bit more than other quality laptop backpacks, less so for other hardshell versions. The only other aluminum hardshell backpack I could find was from Tumi for $1695, and that is 4X as much as the Aleon version with similar features and quality.

Overall rating – 4.4/5 At a bit of a premium price for a laptop backpack you are getting a lot of style and functionality, plus protection for your laptop and other electronic or photography equipment.  Sometimes a piece of mind is worth a couple bucks.


I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Brook Bowen

Brook Bowen has more than 21 years as a federal law enforcement officer and has been instructing for the last 18 years. He has developed and delivered firearms and tactical courses to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, foreign law enforcement and military units. He has 13 years of combined operational experience serving in special operations units in both the military and federal law enforcement. Brook currently instructs federal law enforcement officers at a national training center in multiple disciplines. In addition, Brook owns Two Bravo Training Solutions, a firearms and tactics training and consulting company.

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