As a college student, you’ll have a high opportunity for you to run to and from classes throughout the day. Therefore a decent college backpack is vital because your notebooks, pens, textbooks, and laptops have to be placed somewhere. Given that your high school backpack is due for upgrading, this back-to-school season is the time to invest in something more durable for college. If you’re looking for a backpack more gender-specific: we have one for prepared a guide for college backpacks for guys or girls.
The decision to go to college and pursue higher education is a fairly big deal for most people. And we don’t think anyone would disagree with the idea that it’s one heck of a commitment. The best thing you can do to make good on that promise is to get yourself fully prepared. That includes planning out an educational path, managing your finances, and actually regularly attending your classes. It also means getting the proper gear to get you through your school days. And if you’re also into fitness, we suggest taking a look at our selection of the best hydration running packs, best gym bags for men, and best gym bags for women.
In a Hurry? The test winners after 10 hrs of research
College backpacks are not a simple matter. Not only do you need them to store your books, your laptop, and the like, but you need them to do so efficiently, keeping your items packed and safe throughout the day. Who knows, you might need a waterproof backpack for college as well. Anything that isn’t weighing you down and damaging your back is safer. And if you are lugging around your laptop all the time, this guide on the best college backpacks for laptops might suit you better. But that doesn’t mean they also have to be purely functional. There is every kind of backpack nowadays for any type of student. Whether you’re full-time, part-time, or just taking a class here and there, heading to grad school, there’s a college backpack to help your learning endeavors.
The JanSport TDN7 Big Student Backpack has an old-school feel and a refreshingly simple design to keep you going. With two key compartments, this bookbag has plenty of space to differentiate the evolution theory from the textbooks on creationism. S-curved shoulder straps will not chaf your shoulder blades when you stroll across the grounds, and a completely padded back cover will secure your backbone.
In the top zippered accessory pocket store your pens, pencils, and gum for fast retrieval. The cell phone and calculator are handily stashed by the front pocket leaders, and a headphone port lets you relax while you book it from class to class. Our guide to the best JanSport backpacks offers more great products like this.
Two large main compartments
Ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps
Front utility pocket with organizer
Upper zippered accessory pocket
Lower front zippered stash pocket
Dimensions: 17.5″ H x 13″ W x 10″ D
Weight: 1.1 lbs
It has plenty of room
It is very lightweight
The fabric used is super sturdy
The mesh pockets is perfect for water bottles
The flaps have a really annoying tendency to get caught in the zipper
Incase Icon College Backpack includes the most storage compartments starting with a small zip-up pocket on top. It’s lined with soft material so you can drop your iPhone in (or AirPods and Apple Watch as pictured) safely. Icon has a medium-sized side pocket fit for tablets too. The larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro may be too tall for this pocket and be positioned inside the main compartment, but it’s perfectly sized for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro
While the tablet pocket runs along a third of the backpack, a notebook pocket lined with soft material unzips along the remaining two-thirds of the back. The first side pocket has a bright green lining and an opening the run a cable through even when the pocket is zipped up. This is ideal for stowing a small battery pack and running a USB cable through for charging your iPhone in your hand or pocket. The other side pocket is similarly sized and also zips closed but lacks the cable slot. Icon’s middle section is the largest and includes plenty of pockets, slots, and pouches.
Three large dedicated compartments
Compression molded back panel
Padded shoulder straps
Made with durable 840D ballistic nylon
Integrated cable port
Dimensions: 19″ H x 13″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 1.74 lbs
Stands up right even empty
Dedicated pockets for laptop and glasses/phone are fur lined
Even with the bag full, pockets are still very accessible and don’t encroach on each other
Aesthetics are clean and professional
Dedicated pockets for everything but a water bottle
The AmazonBasics College Backpack was designed to protect and hold your laptop while on the move. The backpack features multiple storage compartments and features for additional supplies and accessories. 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 17-inch laptops and notebook computers. The backpack also has a smaller pouch for tablets.
The AmazonBasics backpack’s adjustable, heavily padded, shoulder straps make the backpack comfortable to wear even when loaded with all your gear. A mesh compartment on the left strap provides a quick-access space for cell phones or other small items.
Large multi compartment design
Side mesh water bottle pockets
Padded shoulder straps
Mesh compartment on the left strap
Dimensions: 19″ H x 15″ W x 7″ D
Weight: 1.98 lbs
Water resistant against light rain
Lots of convenient pockets
Main pocket is roomy and spartan. No useless pockets in here, it’s meant entirely to store books, and it does that well
The eBags Slim College Backpack boasts supreme organization, unlike any other backpack you’ve ever seen. With a streamlined look and sophisticated design, this pack will take you everywhere you need to go from nine-to-nine, no pit-stops necessary. It has a pass-through sleeve secures bag to rolling luggage and top carry handles. It can fit up to a 17″ laptop as well.
Featuring several padded tech pockets for all your devices and several internal and external pockets make this bag a dream come true. Plus, the vented airmesh back panel and contoured straps make for an incredible fit, absolutely ideal for a lengthy commute. This pack features a breathable, padded air-mesh back panel for comfort and a removable and adjustable sternum strap.
Fleece lined padded tablet sleeve
Breathable, padded air-mesh back panel for comfort
Diagonal stash pocket inside middle compartment
Pass-through sleeve secures bag to rolling luggage
Dimensions: 18″ H x 12.75″ W x 8.5″ D
Weight: 3.81 lbs
This one will stand up on its own rather than slump over when placed on the ground
When doing and undoing the zipper, it has a solid, deep sound that one can be assured will never tear or open accidentally as you walk down the street
The material feels robust and resistant to tears or scuffs
The laptop pocket comes with removable padding at the bottom to protect the bag from modest drops
Fjallraven – Kanken Classic College Backpack is the classic that will always be cool. It has the same classic Kanken design since 1978. Stash everyday essentials in the main zippered compartment, front zippered pocket, and two open side pockets. The material: Vinylon F. has a weird name but it’s dirt-resistant, water-resistant, and wipes clean.
Other features include a two-way zipper with rain flap for protection, ergonomic shoulder straps for the long haul, dual top snap handles for quick carry and a sitting pad for impromptu seating. For nighttime visibility, it also has a reflective logo for convenience.
Made of vinylon f material
Two-way zipper with rain flap
Ergonomic shoulder straps
Dual top snap handles
Dimensions: 14.9″ H x 10.6″ W x 5.1″ D
Weight: 0.7 lbs
The bag itself is big enough to fit most books
This bag can be used as a tote and as a backpack
The two pockets on the side are really nice too
Color is great and large variety for colors
The straps don’t have any pads so they tend to dig into your shoulders
A bestseller design, the SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA College Backpack continues to be chosen by road warriors time and time again! With a lay-flat TSA-approved tech compartment, protect your laptop and tablet inside designated mesh pockets. Stash supplies, and your shades inside organized exterior pockets while securing your smartphone and large gear inside a roomy main compartment. This highly functional pack also features a heavy-duty grab handle and ergonomic straps for on-the-go comfort.
Its contoured, padded shoulder straps feature a sunglasses loop and built-in suspension that provides stretch and shock absorbent. Side compression straps help to customize the fit of the pack while a signature Airflow panel cushions your back.
Made with durable, weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester
ScanSmart lay-flat technology
Easy access laptop and iPad compartment
Two, breathable, side compartments
Contoured shoulder straps
Dimensions: 18.5″ H x 13.5″ W x 9″ D
Weight: 3.35 lbs
It’s very sturdy, with great back padding and a deep air flow channel
The straps are comfortable when wearing the pack
All pockets have large capacity
The handle has a solid molded core, covered in the fabric and grip handle
It should come with a user guide to explain all of the features
With its signature suede leather bottom, the JANSPORT Right Pack is the iconic JanSport classic backpack. With an internal 15 inch laptop sleeve and front organizer pocket, the Right Pack by JanSport is sure to be the best backpack for wherever your day takes you. It’s the original classic, but sometimes pairing that with your outfits is all that is needed to complete a sophisticated style!
JanSport backpacks are made with durable fabric, zippers & straps, in colors & designs to reflect your style. They stand by their packs for a lifetime, so carry your JanSport on your adventures, knowing they’ll replace or repair any breaks. JanSport is about the discovery of fun, freedom & adventure. From your first school backpack & lunch bag to the messenger bag for your first interview, from running errands to chasing dreams, JanSport gear inspires your journey.
Front stash pocket
Front utility pocket with organizer
One large main compartment
Premium Cordura fabric with suede leather bottom
Straight-cut, padded shoulder straps
Dimensions: 18.6″ H x 14.5″ W x 2″ D
Weight: 1.32 lbs
Resistance to heavy things
A lot of compartments
It has a good shape and persist when you have lot of things inside
Very light weight when empty
The shoulder straps are not comfortable and they are a little short
The Mancro College Backpack is made of water-resistant durable polyester fabric for lasting durability. The black rugged handle and lined with steel cable provides strong and long-lasting performance with maximal weight. With built-in USB charger outside and built-in charging cable inside, offer you a more convenient way to charge your phone while walking.
The Headphone hole design gives you a shortcut without opening up the backpacks. A luggage strap allows backpack fit on luggage/suitcase, slide over the luggage upright handle tube for easier carrying. Ergonomic design for comfortable elastic pad provides relief when carrying heavy loads, less stress on your shoulder.
20+ large multi-compartment and pockets design
Thick breathable airflow mesh padding
Usb charging port
Headphone hole design
Back side luggage strap
Dimensions: 20″ H x 15.7″ W x 11.8″ D
Weight: 2 lbs
The material is heavy duty without being too heavy
It is well padded, has lockable zippers on both large compartments
It has a sturdy strap for attaching to the handle of luggage
The side pockets for drinks and snacks are out of the way but easy to get to
The outer large pocket could use a paper sleeve to help keep things seperated
Wherever you go, the Under Armour Storm Recruit College Backpack is going with you. Since it’s on your back every day, it needs to be comfortable, super durable, and have enough space to carry all of your stuff. With padded shoulder straps, tough materials, and pockets on pockets—this thing checks off everything you need from a backpack. UA Storm technology delivers an element-battling, highly water-resistant finish
Tough, abrasion-resistant bottom panel. The soft-lined laptop sleeve holds up to 15” MacBook Pro or similarly sized laptop. Water-repellent front valuables pocket to keep your stuff safe. other features include an adjustable, padded, HeatGear shoulder straps for total comfort, 2 side water bottle pockets and a comfortable top grab handle.
Tough, abrasion-resistant bottom panel
Soft-lined laptop sleeve—holds up to 15” MacBook Pro or similarly sized laptop
Water-repellent front valuables pocket to keep your stuff safe
Adjustable, padded, HeatGear shoulder straps for total comfort
2 side water bottle pockets
Brand: Under Armour
Dimensions: 19″ H x 13″ W x 10″ D
Weight: 1.45 lbs
The backpack is well made and is made of polyester
The shoulder straps are extra comfortable and help with back support
The bottom of the backpack has a panel that is abrasion resistant
It is waterproof
It lacks a zippered pocket inside the bag for money or other small important items
The Targus Drifter II College Backpack is designed to fit laptops with up to 17; screens. This backpack features two large compartments for storage including a padded laptop compartment that keeps the device secure and separate from other items carried in the case. The extremely thick padding on the back panel includes a large hidden zippered compartment and is strategically placed to provide lumbar support for your back. The heavily padded shoulder straps provide comfort for travel and include a removable mobile phone pocket as well as an elastic loop specifically designed to hold sunglasses on the shoulder strap.
The main front compartment includes pockets for business cards, a mesh accessory pocket, and key clip. A convenient soft, lined pocket is scratch-resistant to store fragile accessories such as glasses, and more. To keep files in order, the interior divider provides a safe place to store documents. Focusing on durability, the Drifter backpack features a weather-resistant bottom, thick industrial zipper pulls and a sturdy molded plastic handle supported by metal grommets and cabling. The Drifter Backpack offers a rugged case full of storage options and protective compartments for important devices.
Padded, contoured shoulder straps
Soft-lined pocket on top for sunglasses
Hidden zippered pocket on the back
Rugged carry handle
2 water bottle pockets
Dimensions: 20.1″ H x 14.6″ W x 7.9″ D
Weight: 2.8 lbs
Tons of usable space
Comfortable to carry. Good straps
Lots of padding for the laptop and back
Holds a 24 ounce water bottle on the side easily
The pocket between the main compartment and the front pen pocket is fairly worthless since it directly competes for the space used by the main compartment
Bags must be sturdy and durable, especially college backpacks. You shouldn’t get it if it’s not strong. This is the principal rule here. Something that has ordinary construction should never be bought. The material should be made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon or similar. These are the most sturdy ones that can be used to build those bags.
Whatever the outer world holds, your bag should be packed. At this point, the smooth structure of the bag and the protection against the weather are critical. It should not be quickly penetrated by raindrops and moisture. Otherwise, it’ll compromise your precious belongings.
The bag should be able to optimize the weight you carry, provided that you have to carry heavy objects. It is here that the ergonomic concepts come in. The bag’s comfort can rely on through its straps. They will clearly be padded and meshed. They won’t cause pain to your shoulders in this way. Apart from being ventilated, the back panel should be padded too. That in effect will make things more comfortable for you.
There must be several pockets, bags, and compartments in the backpack. These are among the reasons you first need a professional backpack. We allow you to bring as many of the essentials as you can without making things too messy. The more compartments available, the more the bag is functional.
Not all bags are created equal, you might think that skimping on a few dollars for a less durable bag is a better option. But to be honest is it much better to pay for a premium to have a bag that will last you through months or possibly years of use. Especially in college where you would be carrying your backpack everyday.
The Herschel Pop Quiz Classic Backpack is the best for college and universities. The sleek design of this bag gives you that college look plus plenty of organization for all your daily carry. Read more about Herschel backpacks here and why they are great not only for school but also for travel.
While there is no wrong answer, this will vary greatly on how many items you are planning to carry. Will you be carrying books? Makeup items? Learning aids like calculators? Once you’ve figured out how many items you’ll be bringing to school, you’ll know what type of bag you need to get.
We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best college backpacks as well as our guide on features to look for in a college backpack. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.