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10 of the Very Best Backpacks for College

The last thing you need when you’re hurrying to class is to have your backpack fail on you. The best backpacks for college have the durability to hold all of the books you need for class on any given day, yet still give you some flexibility to bring your supplies and computer along as well. You’ll even get to make a fashion statement with the best backpacks today. Let’s find you a better backpack today.

The Best Chart for College Backpacks 

College or university schedules can be very demanding. You’re moving through multiple buildings, in multiple environments, and you never know when someone might spill their energy drink on you in all that hustle and bustle. These are the best backpacks for college that get the job done.

PictureNameOur RatingPriceCapacity (Liters)
PictureNameOur RatingPriceCapacity (Liters)
Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack4.5
$$
25.0
Everest Vintage Backpack4.4
$
22.0
Brinch Multifunctional Backpack4.0
$$
18.0
Gootium 20228N Leisure Canvas Backpack4.4
$$
19.0
The North Face Surge Backpack4.7
$$$
32.0
Piel Leather Large Buckle-Flap Backpack, Black, One Size4.4
$$$$
21.0
Bluboon Vintage Leather Backpacks4.1
$$
22.0
Victoriatourist V6020 Expandable Backpack4.3
$
43.0
Bag Wizard Vintage Backpack4.8
$
23.0
JanSport Big Student Classics Daypack4.6
$$
37.0

How To Find the Best Backpack for College

Friends looking at a tablet computerThe right backpack is going to give you the freedom you need to plan your day effectively. Time is always at a premium when you’re in college and the last thing you need is a backpack that can stand up to the wear and tear of your schedule. That’s why finding a comfortable backpack that is highly durable should be your top priority. If the backpack hurts your back or doesn’t balance your weight well, you really could injure yourself. That’s why comfort is a top priority.

You might also consider these buying tips as you search for a better college backpack today.

  • Item protection. A college backpack doesn’t have to be waterproof, but it should be at least water-resistant so your books, papers, and electronics can be protected.
  • Material content. Did your parents always gush about how you had to have a leather backpack for good durability? New materials like rip-stop nylon and cordura are changing the industry. It’s a fraction of the cost of good leather and you’ll still be able to make a fashion statement.
  • Item organization. So sure – you plan to take all of your notes with your laptop in class. Then your battery goes out and you don’t have a close outlet. A backpack should have multiple compartments and organizational features so you can take everything you might need with you. 

Then there’s your budget. The price of the best backpacks for college is a reflection of these buying tips. Better materials are going to cost more. Better craftsmanship costs more as well. That’s why it is so important to shop for the specific features you need. 

Features the Best Backpack for College Should Have

Above anything else, a backpack for college should be made from at least a 500-denier nylon. Anything less than this will not have the durability needed for daily wear and tear. You could even find your textbooks are causing tears within the material of the backpack after a month or too.

We also like to see backpacks that are able to be self-supporting. By this, we mean that the backpack’s design is balanced enough that it can stand up on its own. When you’re in a rush, just grabbing the top of your pack to run out the door can be a great feature to have.

Some students might wish to consider purchasing a pack that contains reflective materials or allows them to be added to the design easily enough. This can help you be seen during the early morning or late evening hours when you need to travel to class.

Of course, the best backpack for college is going to have a spacious interior. It should also be padded if you want to carry a laptop with you. Consider a backpack with earth tones so you won’t have to keep washing your pack to keep it looking nice.

Finally, the best feature to find is one that involves the quality of the craftsmanship that went into the product. A lifetime guarantee will help you to protect your investment today. Make sure you save any receipts to make sure you can file a claim if it becomes necessary. 

What Are the Prices of Today’s Best College Backpacks? 

Cheap backpacks are everywhere today. If you search through a site like Amazon, you’ll find some reasonable selections that are under $30. The backpacks at the entry-level price point are designed to get you through a couple of semesters, but not usually more than that.

Mid-range backpacks tend to be priced under $100. These backpacks tend to have one or two high-quality features that can help get you through the day. Their sizing is standard, they may be able to safely carry a laptop, and they’ll give you some basic organization.

Anything over $100 is considered a premium college backpack. These are multi-year investments that pay for themselves over time and have high-quality craftsmanship but do require an initial investment that can be difficult for some students.

What Do Our Reviews Have To Say? 

Herschel Supply Company

This is the slim profile backpack that you’re going to love when you’re in a hurry to class. A top handle allows you to quickly grab this pack and go. The magnetic closure is solid and keeps your items secure. Leather strap accents make for a nice fashionable touch. The exterior shell is high-quality polyester that isn’t going to tear on you and the small exterior pocket is nice for a phone, keys, or some spare change.

This backpack offers you a refined look, a sturdy carrying experience, and it can work with you to get through some of the longest or most intense study courses you have on your schedule.

A 15-inch laptop is a bit of a tight fit, but you’ll be able to make it work. If you’re traveling home from school this pack qualifies with most airlines as a free carry-on item. You can fit about 5 textbooks, a notebook, and a small laptop together and still feel comfortable with the strap placement. You’ll look great, your stuff will be safe, and you don’t have to carry multiple bags. This is definitely a college backpack that deserves a second look.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Everest Vintage Backpack

The problem with many of the best backpacks for college is that they add a lot of bulk. This pack, although priced at an entry-level point, can give you a slimmer profile that still lets you carry everything you need for class. The synthetic lining isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be, but that would push the price point upwards for this pack. The design is simple and works with most of your campus ensembles while you save some cash to spend in case the campus cafeteria bombs on their lunch menu so you don’t go hungry.

The zipper closures are standard on this backpack, with the main compartment having a two-way zipper. The front compartment is also zippered to store your valuables. A strong grasp handle is positioned by the cushioned shoulder straps, giving you multiple carry options. The back is also padded, which lends to some back sweat on a warm day, but the pack itself is quite light. Don’t expect a lot of heavy lifting with this pack, but it will help you get through your day.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Brinch Laptop Backpack

The roominess of the interior this backpack provides is the one feature that really stands out. The laptop compartment is integrated into the interior, giving you a safe way to carry up to a 17-inch computer with ease. Combined with the comfortable and supportive strap design and multi-panel backing, you’ll be comfortable carrying this backpack to classes all year long.

The fabric exterior shell also adds to the durability of this back, as does the structured body of the pack. It’s built for heavy duty work but doesn’t carry a hefty price for this feature, which is nice. At the end of the day, you can transition from school to fun easily enough with this pack as well. You can take it to school all day or to the coffee shop down the street and everyone is going to think this is a neat backpack.

If you need something strong and affordable, then you’ve got to consider this option as one of the best backpacks for college.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Gootium Leisure Pack

Made from a durable 16-ounce canvas material, this slim pack is able to carry more than you might think. You can fit a 15-inch laptop in there pretty easily, yet the simplicity of the design and the quality of the craftsmanship will still support some extra weight. Make use of the exterior pockets to help carry the other items that you’ll need during the day. This may be the best backpack for college that supports a comfortable, casual lifestyle look.

Inside you’ll actually find three separate pouches, giving you an easy place to store a phone and your keys. The straps are made from cotton webbing that is comfortable though it can make your shoulders and back feel a bit sweaty from time to time. The drawstring closure on the top of the pack is a fun variation, though not necessarily the most secure, but at the end of the day this backpack gets the job done.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

The North Face

This is one tough backpack. It’s also from a proven brand. When you make the investment into this backpack, you’ll have something that will work for any major and potentially be with you throughout the remainder of your student experience. We love the fact that the pockets are lined with fleece so your most sensitive items, like your sunglasses or your smartphone, won’t get scratched as you go about your day.

The laptop pocket is designed to carry a 15-inch computer, but with a little modification, you can make some 17-inch models work as well. The sleeves are deep, yet secure enough that you can carry an iPad without concern as well. It’s a little smaller than some of the other models of this brand; so taller students might feel a little uncomfortable wearing this pack. Other than that, we feel like this is a pretty solid investment to make.

Will you take it out into the backcountry with you over spring break? Maybe not. Will you take it to class with you every day and not need to worry about it falling apart on you? Absolutely.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Piel Leather Large Buckle Backpack

If you want to have a highly water-resistant backpack that will still look great and be easy to maintain, then the 100% leather exterior shell on this beautiful pack is a solid option to consider. Full-grain leather was used to create this shell, giving you a soft and comfortable wear while protecting your tablets and other electronics. The interior is made from 100% nylon – it would be nice to have some padding in there, so be careful when carrying a tablet or smartphone.

The handcrafted nature of this bag is what really makes it stand out. You won’t feel like this bag is going to fall apart on you, even if you’re carrying a full load of textbooks. The bag improves with age as well as the leather becomes more flexible but make sure to run in some of your preferred oil to keep the leather conditioned. Some might call this more of a rucksack than a college backpack, but we’d call it the closest thing to perfection that we’ve seen in awhile.

If you want a backpack that can last beyond your expected graduation, then this is the best college backpack for you.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Bluboon Vintage Leather Backpack

This is the best college backpack for you if classes are just one part of your day. You can go hiking with this pack thanks to its large capacity and canvas exterior shell, yet carry heavy textbooks thanks to the high-quality stitching in the cotton materials and leather accents. The interior is designed to hold a laptop, has a smartphone pocket as well, plus there are places to securely carry a tablet and your identification or keys without damaging your equipment.

From a fashion standpoint, we love the traditional flair that this backpack is able to provide. It also offers a bit of rustic charm, plus you receive the classy adornments that help to make this pack feel like it is a one-of-a-kind product.

This backpack is lighter than some of the others in this category, but that’s because it has a less overall interior capacity. It will only carry a 14-inch laptop, for example, and the padding on the shoulder straps can sometimes make the weight be a bit out of balance. The snaps can be problematic, so take care in opening them so they don’t rip out – always use two hands. Do that and you’ll have a backpack that will do an awesome job for you.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Victoria Tourist

This is the backpack that shows you that there is more to it than your first impression may have let on. The front mesh pocket that clips onto this pack, for example, is flexible enough to carry a basketball, yet strong enough to carry a couple of extra textbooks. There’s room for your water bottle on the side, plus the 1200-d nylon is going to stand up to virtually any wear and tear you’ll put this backpack through.

When compared to some of the other best backpacks for college, we found that this pack could carry up to 30% more than others of a similar size simply because of the improved design. Two zippered front pockets let you secure items and it’s water-resistant enough that if you get caught in a spring rain, your stuff isn’t going to get wet. We’d like there to be some padding on the bottom of the pack, but that’s really our only complaint.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

Bag Wizard Vintage Backpack

This is the epitome of a modern, affordable, yet still highly functional college backpack. The 900-d polyester is designed to look like Oxford canvas, giving the backpack a two-tone look that is very appealing. It’s strong enough to be used for a day hike or other outdoor use, so there won’t be any issues carrying your books to class. The full height front pocket has two additional interior pockets for easy organization, yet the laptop section in the main compartment offers strike protection in case you accidentally drop your bag.

If you don’t want a lot of bulk, but need a lot of utility functions in your backpack, then this could be the best one for you. It’s sporty but still sharp. It’s durable but still affordable. You can look chic, but still carry everything you need for classes on any given day. The straps are nice and soft and the outer materials will keep your stuff protected. That’s why this backpack earns our recommendation today.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

JanSport Big Student Backpack

This is your classic black backpack that gives you the classic college experience. There isn’t a lot of fuss with this pack, but with a 37L interior, you’ve got plenty of space for what you need to take along. It’s a solid performer that will stand up to a reasonable level of daily wear and tear, yet still work for travel, adventure, and maybe even a hike or two. The ergonomics of the design even help to give this backpack an added level of comfort.

The front zippered pockets give you the classic experience as well, allowing the chance to store some things without the need to enter the main compartment. We love the simplicity of the audio electronics organizer so that all of your class essentials can be kept within easy reach. The lifetime warranty against defects and craftsmanship is nice to have as well and it can even work as a carry-on. The back panel is padded, but that can lead to some warmth on your back if you have a period of extended wear.

All in all, this backpack offers a lot of value for the price. It is definitely worth your consideration today as the best backpack for college.

Click here to look at prices on Amazon and find the best deal.

When you’re shopping for the best college backpack that’s available today, it is vitally important that you know what your lifestyle needs before you get started. When you can match a backpack’s features to your specific needs, then you’ll be able to save a few bucks on your purchase. Consider these options, go through the public reviews carefully, and when combined with the information here, you’ll be able to find the best backpack for college today.

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