10 Best Backpacks for College Students with Laptops in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: January 7, 2021)

Going to college is a big step for most students, it is an opportunity for some to take on some more responsibilities, do new stuff, and take charge of your own life. College isn’t just fun and games, and of course, there are some difficult choices will have to be taken during your college experience starting with your backpack option. And since most college students are carrying laptops nowadays, this is one item that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Note that your backpack needs to survive the early morning walks around the campus and late-night library study sessions. It has to be sturdy enough to be pulled out of the door every morning and big enough not to pop open every time you attempt to open it with documents, books, and your laptop. When it comes to buying one of the best backpacks for college students with laptops, there are practically hundreds of options including waterproof backpacks and it is definitely a smart decision to pick the one that best suits your needs.

In a Hurry? The test winners after 10 hrs of research

AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack - Fits Up To 15 Inch Laptops

AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – Fits Up To 15 Inch Laptops – Best Value

Why is it better?

  • Lots of pockets for misc storage
  • The padding on the back feels very comfortable
  • Doesn’t puff out when full
  • Has a small pocket in the front for your phone, headphones, and/or sunglasses

STM Banks Backpack for Laptop

STM Banks Backpack for Laptop – Premium Pick

Why is it better?

  • Slims down nicely when not full
  • Can take a lot of impact while protecting your electronics
  • The shoulder straps are decently wide and padded, so are comfortable
  • Has a lot of pockets

Best Backpacks for College Students with Laptops – Overview

Whether you’re only starting a college or going back to school for another year, you’ll want a practical as well as a durable college backpack with a laptop sleeve. One that’s also able to keep your laptop securely. This will need to match all your college textbooks and provide your laptop and other gadgets with protected storage. Don’t forget to check our gender-specific college backpacks for guys and college backpacks for girls as well. We know there’s a lot of options out there, but we’ve rounded out the 10 of the best backpacks for college students with laptops.

Backpacks for College Students with Laptops Reviews

1. SWISSGEAR Getaway Weekend Hybrid Laptop Backpack

SWISSGEAR Getaway Weekend Hybrid Laptop Backpack

The SWISSGEAR Getaway Weekend Hybrid Laptop Backpack has a cutting-edge design that provides the usefulness of a split-case luggage with the portability of a backpack. Its large main compartment features a mesh pocket and slip pockets for shoes and clothes while a dedicated laptop compartment lets you reach for your device without rummaging through the main compartment.

A multi-pocketed interior has a large packing pocket on one side and slip pockets on the other to house outfits, shoes, and travel essentials. Quickly reach for accessories tucked away inside exterior organizer pockets while using the versatility of top and side handles to tote it as a briefcase. Whether on a staycation or headed cross country, utilize its padded shoulder straps and signature Airflow back panel for lasting comfort. Our guide to the best SwissGear backpacks offers more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric
  • Ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps
  • Top fleece-lined quick access pocket
  • Side elastic water bottle pocket
  • Durable top and side handles for easy lifting

Specifications:

  • Brand: SwissGear
  • Capacity: 24.6L
  • Dimensions: 18.5″ H x 12″ W x 3″ D
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs
Pros
  • The side compression straps are great for holding down a jacket
  • There are several zippered compartments on the outside of the bag for stashing small items
  • Zippers all work smoothly
  • The laptop compartment is well protected
Cons
  • No sternum strap

2. AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – Fits Up To 15 Inch Laptops – Best Value

AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack - Fits Up To 15 Inch Laptops

The AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – Fits Up To 15 Inch Laptops has multiple expansive interior compartments to hold books, folders, accessories, and other items. In addition, the quick access “speed pocket” provides a secure place for your cell phone, boarding pass, or other small items. On the outside of the bag, meshed pouches can store your water bottle.

When you travel with your computer, there is no need to bring an additional bag or sleeve. The padded interior features a separate interior space that is able to hold up to 15-inch laptops and netbooks. The AmazonBasics laptop backpack also has a smaller pouch for tablets. The backpack”s adjustable, heavily padded, shoulder straps make the backpack comfortable to wear even when loaded with all your gear.

Key Features:

  • Fits 15-inch laptops
  • Expansive interior storage holds books, files, and folders
  • Padded shoulder straps for additional comfort

Specifications:

  • Brand: AmazonBasics
  • Dimensions: 19.8″ H x 7.8″ W x 14.3″ D
  • Weight: 1.61 lbs
Pros
  • Lots of pockets for misc storage
  • The padding on the back feels very comfortable
  • Doesn’t puff out when full
  • Has a small pocket in the front for your phone, headphones, and/or sunglasses
Cons
  • There is only 1 big pocket

3. STM Banks Backpack for Laptop – Premium Pick

STM Banks Backpack for Laptop

A backpack that says whatever you do, own it. You need a place to pack and carry all your daily essentials – work stuff (papers and files), life stuff (jacket and lunch), plus stuff that straddles both (laptop, tablet, phone). This feature-filled STM Banks Backpack for Laptop is highlighted by STM’s proprietary technology, which guards your digital device by suspending it above the bottom of the bag, as laminated dual-density foam keeps it away from the impact zone.

Zippered side pockets offer quick access to your frequently used items; there’s even a fleece-lined internal sunglasses pocket (large enough to hold two). And our Stash offers the perfect solution for organizing your batteries, cables, pens, and whatnots. It’s a bag that’s chockfull of so much good stuff, yet its ergonomic curved fit keeps the pack secure and reduces load on your shoulders.

Key Features:

  • CableReady cable-routing system
  • SlingTech suspension
  • Stash for organizing small items
  • Ergonomic curved fit

Specifications:

  • Brand: STM
  • Capacity: 18L
  • Dimensions: 18.1″ H x 6.5″ W x 12.4″ D
  • Weight: 1.96 lbs
Pros
  • Slims down nicely when not full
  • Can take a lot of impact while protecting your electronics
  • The shoulder straps are decently wide and padded, so are comfortable
  • Has a lot of pockets
Cons
  • May not be ideal if you are carrying a lot of books

4. Thule TCBP-417 Crossover College Backpack

Thule TCBP-417 Crossover College Backpack

The Thule TCBP-417 Crossover College Backpack is designed for gear-heads who need dedicated electronics protection plus plenty of bulk storage and organization pockets for whatever the day might bring. The padded, zippered laptop compartment holds up to a 15″ MacBook Pro/PC and a tablet. The crushproof SafeZone compartment for sunglasses and fragile gear includes a dedicated phone pocket.

The SafeZone compartment can be locked or removed altogether for extra space. The Shove-it Pocket with compression straps provides additional external storage for a jacket or newspaper. Carrying comfort and breathability, thanks to perforated EVA shoulder straps with mesh covering and padded back panel with airflow channels. Lastly, the water-resistant fabrics and zippers combine to create a lightweight, protective bag.

Key Features:

  • Padded, zippered laptop compartment up to 15″
  • Crushproof SafeZone compartment for sunglasses
  • Shove-it Pocket with compression straps
  • Perforated EVA shoulder straps 

Specifications:

  • Brand: Thule
  • Capacity: 32L
  • Dimensions: 20.28″ H x 8.27″ W x 12.99″ D
  • Weight: 4.53 lbs
Pros
  • The organization inside works very well
  • The materials are with good quality
  • The zippers are smooth
  • Protects electronics like laptops, cellphones and also a good protecting pocket for sunglasses
Cons
  • Lack of sufficient padding for the area that rests against the back

5. The North Face Borealis College Backpack

The North Face Borealis College Backpack

The North Face Borealis College Backpack comes with easy-to-access pockets, an overhauled suspension system, and a front elastic bungee system. A roomy main compartment with a padded fleece-lined 15″ laptop sleeve protects your computer. The FlexVent suspension system features a flexible yoke built from custom injection-molded shoulder straps, a padded mesh back panel and a breathable lumbar panel for comfortable, ventilated support.

Two extended mesh water bottle pockets double as multi-use pockets. The front compartment has an extra padded tablet sleeve and zip pockets. An external fleece-lined pocket stores small items or electronics. For school, commuting or travel, this backpack has a top handle for easy grabbing and a removable waist belt for a custom fit. A sternum strap with whistle buckle adds extra support and safety. Reflective details help you stand out.

Key Features:

  • Front elastic bungee system
  • FlexVent suspension system
  • Two extended mesh water bottle pockets
  • Removable waist belt for a custom fit

Specifications:

  • Brand: The North Face
  • Capacity: 28L
  • Dimensions: 19.8″ H x 9.8″ W x 13.3″ D
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs
Pros
  • Comfortable to wear during normal activities
  • Sternum strap has a whistle for emergencies
  • Bag has a hip-strap to take off the weight from your shoulders/back
  • Thick padding on shoulder straps makes it so it doesn’t wear you out physically
Cons
  • Hip-strap has no padding – just nylon webbing

6. JanSport Hatchet College Backpack

JanSport Hatchet College Backpack

Bringing together outdoor influence with modern functionality, the JanSport Hatchet College Backpack features a versatile sleeve designed to fit a 15’’ laptop, deluxe organizer panel, tablet pocket, and water bottle pockets. With the Hatchet, you’re always ready for the adventures that lie right outside your front door.

Made with durable 600 denier polyester and sturdy bonded-leather trim, so you can wander on, free from worry. JanSport is with you for life. If this bag breaks, they’ll replace it or fix it. No questions asked. Because good stuff should last. You may also be interested in some of the best JanSport backpacks from our list, so check them out.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Dual side water bottle pockets
  • Fully padded shoulder straps and back panel
  • Internal zippered mesh pocket

Specifications:

  • Brand: JanSport
  • Capacity: 28L
  • Dimensions: 18″ H x 8″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs
Pros
  • There are many pockets so you can compartmentalize everything
  • The top flap zips around and folds up, which makes it easier to access your things as opposed to traditional bags
  • Bag has a hip-strap to take off the weight from your shoulders/back
  • The shoulder padding is super comfortable
Cons
  • It’s hard to open the top flap partially and take something out quickly

7. Carhartt Legacy Deluxe Work Backpack

Carhartt Legacy Deluxe Work Backpack

Meet the king of all work bags – the Carhartt Legacy Deluxe Work Backpack. This bag does it all, no questions asked. Built of heavy-duty polyester material with Rain Defender durable water repellent and Duravax abrasion-resistant base, there is a spot for everything.

The dedicated padded computer section stores up to a 17-inch laptop plus there are two additional large compartments perfect for files, equipment or a change of clothes. Protect safety glasses or sunglasses in the tricot-lined zippered pocket at the top. Front panel boasts 2 zippered pockets for organizing smaller items and zippered side pockets are ideal for a pair of work gloves or water bottles. Carhartt Legacy Deluxe Backpack has contour-fit shoulder straps and padded air mesh back panel for comfortable and ventilated wear. Be sure to also check out our list of work bags for men for more great items like this.

Key Features:

  • Dedicated padded computer compartment up to 17″
  • Made from rugged synthetic material
  • Soft, tricot-lined compartment to store safety glasses
  • Contour fit shoulder straps

Specifications:

  • Brand: Carhartt
  • Capacity: 28L
  • Dimensions: 17.5″ H x 15″ W x 12.5″ D
  • Weight: 2.38 lbs
Pros
  • Has a coating that stops the backpack from getting wet quickly
  • The two main compartments are doubled, only the two front and laptop slot are single zippers
  • Plenty of good organizational space
  • The sections open up completely, which is very helpful
Cons
  • There are no external lashing provisions, save for a couple loops sewn into the shoulder straps near the adjustment buckles

8. OUTJOY College Laptop Backpack

OUTJOY College Laptop Backpack

The OUTJOY College Laptop Backpack is made of premium waterproof polyester fabric materials, that could withstand outer various environmental factors. This backpack has an extra waterproof rain cover, is a helpful protector to safeguard your backpack and your values. Both of the backpack’s back panel and shoulder strap are using cushioned and breathable pads covered by mesh to make it more breathable and comfortable, easy to carry around.

With ventilating construction in the back panel, make comfortable features work to the fullest play. This pack also includes three dedicated main roomy spaces with well-made pockets fit and organize your daily items. With a humane design, like a detachable key chain, built-in elastic mesh side pocket for bottle, padded laptop sleeve.

Key Features:

  • Includes Rain Cover
  • USB charging port
  • Comfortable breathable back pads/shoulder straps
  • Dedicated Laptop Compartment

Specifications:

  • Brand: OUTJOY
  • Capacity: 28L
  • Dimensions: 19″ H x 12″ W x 9.8″ D
  • Weight: 2 lbs
Pros
  • The ykk zippers smoothly zip open and close
  • Tons of room and organized space
  • It has a lower strap system to buckle form the back to the front to help secure the backpack centered on your back
  • There is also dual upper straps that you can secure a beach towel, blankets, etc
Cons
  • Not a lot of color options

9. AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – Fits Up To 17 Inch Laptops

AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack - Fits Up To 17 Inch Laptops

The AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – Fits Up To 17 Inch Laptops has been designed to safeguard and protect your laptop while at college. The backpack contains several storage compartments, and additional supplies and accessories features. The padded interior has a separate compartment, which can accommodate up to 17-inch laptops and notebook computers.

The backpack also contains a smaller laptop bag. The adjustable, heavily padded, shoulder straps of the AmazonBasics backpack make the backpack wear comfortable even when filled with all your school supplies. A mesh pocket on the left-hand strap provides mobile phones with easy access space. Our handy guide to the best 17-inch laptop backpacks features more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Mesh water bottle pockets at side
  • Organizational compartments for pens, keys, and cell phone
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Dedicated laptop compartment

Specifications:

  • Brand: AmazonBasics
  • Dimensions: 19″ H x 7″ W x 15″ D
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs
Pros
  • A lot of storage options
  • Does not sag downwards like some other bags
  • Large laptop section fits multiple sizes of laptops comfortably
  • Water resistant against light rain
Cons
  • Water bottle pouches are small, and require some shoehorning

10. KROSER College Laptop Backpack

KROSER College Laptop Backpack

The KROSER College Laptop Backpack is made of good environment-friendly poly fabric with a new function of water-repellent, which is quite durable. Larger roomy compartments can provide separated space for computer, iPad, A4 files, wallet, clothes, power bank and more your items. Organizer dimensions fit up to 17.3-inch laptop.

The built-in USB PORT is convenient to charge your cell phone by the connected power bank. Ergonomics and adjustable padding shoulder straps and sturdy handles offer you comfort carrying for a long time. A well-knit luggage strap is quite convenient for you to fix the laptop bag on the trolley of your luggage, making your journey and traveling more convenient wherever you go.

Key Features:

  • Fits up to a 17″ laptop
  • Breathable mesh back and padded shoulder straps
  • One side of the shoulder strap with glasses hook
  • External USB port

Specifications:

  • Brand: KROSER
  • Dimensions: 18.5″ H x 7.8″ W x 13.3″ D
  • Weight: 2.64 lbs
Pros
  • Many pockets to keep organized and ease of access when on the run
  • Can hold a huge laptop fairly well
  • Pockets to hold 2 water bottles
  • Padded straps
Cons
  • Bag is top heavy

Buying Guide

Dedicated Laptop Compartment

Nowadays, most college work is done using a laptop, gone are the days of the pen and paper era. This is why finding a college backpack with a laptop sleeve is of utmost importance. Checking the padding and size of the compartment can also be helpful, certain laptop pockets can accommodate 17-inch laptops while others are built to carry smaller 13-inch MacBook Pros.

Anti Theft Features

Most new backpacks come with features that are anti-theft. Such as combination locks, double zippers, slash-proof, and codes to make getting inside impossible for anyone. It is very useful for students who work in public spaces regularly, particularly if they carry important devices inside their backpack like phones and laptops.

Materials

One of the most important features is the material, you don’t want to purchase a cheap bag today and have it replaced in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, you want a bag made of a sturdy nylon or polyester that will last through your college years or more without tearing apart. Nylon and polyester are the two most popular choices for companies as both are very durable and rugged.

Multiple Compartments

Most students would benefit from purchasing a multi-compartment backpack. That is because it makes it so easier to organize all of your things and if you need anything, you can easily find it. Most high-quality backpacks have a range of internal and external pockets that are suitable for college students in the class.

Shoulder Straps

Another strong feature to look out for is the shoulder straps; you can aim for a backpack with wide, comfortable straps so they won’t bite into your shoulders and cause back problems. This is especially important if you’re going to bring a lot of stuff in your bag, or if you’re going to travel long distances with the bag every day. And since you’ll be bringing a laptop, that itself adds roughly 2-4 lbs.

Frequently Ask Questions

Do college students need backpacks?

If you do not need to carry any kind of book and notebooks. You could probably get away with tote bags for girls or messenger bags for guys. Although if you carry a laptop with you, we definitely suggest getting a backpack to provide the needed protection and comfort when carrying them.

What is the best North Face backpack for college?

The North Face Borealis Men’s Backpack and The North Face Women’s Jester Backpack are our top picks for the best ones for college. Thick padding in the shoulder straps combined with the right amount of organization makes both of these an excellent choice. You can read more on our guide on the best North Face backpack for college, travel, and everyday carry.

Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best backpacks for college students with laptops as well as our guide on features to look for in a backpack for college students with laptops. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.