Best Backpacks for College Review

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Last Updated: October 14, 2021

A backpack is one of the most indispensable tools needed by a college student. College life is not easy, so it’s very important to have a reliable backpack to journey throughout college life.

You should be fully prepared to tackle the challenges and make the most out of your college days. It includes attending classes regularly, managing finances, and mapping out your educational path. But, it also includes gathering your essentials in suitable manner.

A backpack is what you need to help you organize your notebooks, iPad or laptop, and other necessary items in one place. The best college backpacks are spacious and comfortable enough to let your carry a water bottle and a laptop.

Apart from style, capacity and comfort are crucial factors. Keeping that in mind, we have selected the best 11 college backpacks that function to fulfill your college requirements.

The products reviewed below are selected based on their functionality, capacity, comfort, and adjustability. Ditch your old drawstring bag and look for something functional.

11 Best College Backpacks Reviewed

1. Vancropak Travel Laptop Backpack

With a multi-purpose bag, you can keep as many essentials and use it for various activities. Vancropak backpack is one such versatile bag that can keep your things safe in one place.

It comes with ample storage and numerous pockets to let you keep your items in an organized manner.

It comes with a padded laptop compartment that can easily accommodate 13.3, 14.3, and 15.6 inches of laptop. Besides, you will find about 10 independent pockets to store small and large items. There is one large pocket with multiple hidden pockets to keep delicate items.

The built-in USB charger port located outside and a built-in charging cable lets you charge your phone or laptop inside.

If you love to listen to music while walking, the bag includes an earphone hole. It gives you the convenience of walking hands-free and also to enjoy the music on your journey.

Made with durable and water-resistant Oxford Cloth, it is designed to have a long-lasting service life. Also, the shoulder straps are comfortable and made with breathable mesh and a sponge to prevent stress on your shoulders.

Lastly, the shoulder straps come with a pocket design to keep your transportation cards, pendants, or other small items.

PROS
  • USB charging port and built in charging cable
  • Wide padded shoulder straps
  • Water resistant
  • Multi-functional and versatile
  • Multiple large and small pockets
  • Anti-theft zipper pocket
CONS
  • Can get dirty easily
  • Limited colors to choose from

 

2. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

When you have to carry a laptop with you to college, you need to look for ways to protect your gear. You will be spending significant time traveling, so you do not want to put your expensive laptop at any risk.

The Matein Travel Laptop backpack is a great product made for everyday use. It comes with one separate compartment to keep your 15.6 inch laptop.

You can keep your other electronic and daily necessities in another spacious compartment. In the front compartment, you will find many pockets to keep smaller items organized and easily accessible.

It is sturdy and comfortable due to the airflow back design. The padding is thick yet ventilated to offer the optimum back support.

The adjustable and breathable shoulder straps relieve shoulder stress and you can use the padded top handle if you want to carry it in your hands. There is a luggage strap that you can attach to your suitcase for easy carrying.

The anti-theft pocket is hidden on the back where you can keep your valuable items safe and always protected.

Made with durable and water-resistant polyester fabric, it comes with metal zippers for long life span. The bag is ideal for airplane travel, and it can be a smart gift for your friends and family.

PROS
  • Built-in USB charger
  • A hidden anti-theft compartment on the back
  • Spacious
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
CONS
  • Lacks padding at the bottom

 

3. The North Face Recon School Backpack

An all-rounder backpack provides you with all the functionalities and that you can take on hikes, trips, work, and college.

The North Face Recon School Laptop Backpack is an all-rounder, both accommodating and comfortable.

It comes with two spacious compartments to store everything that you would need in a day. You can even keep your jacket in while going for a trek.

The 30L capacity backpack comes with an upgraded version to let you keep your stuff organized all the time. It has a stretch front stash pocket and a protective and dedicated laptop compartment.

Equipped with a FlexVent suspension system, it boasts a flexible yoke that offers a ventilated and comfortable support. It is made from a breathable lumbar panel, custom injection-molded shoulder straps, and a padded mesh back panel.

You will find two extended pockets to keep your water bottles and a front compartment with additional fleece-lined pockets.

The top handle gives you the convenience of carrying the bag while traveling or commuting. The sternum strap and the whistle buckles provide additional safety and support. It has reflective details, making it a unique backpack in the market.

PROS
  • Dedicated and sufficiently padded laptop sleeve
  • Large main compartment with multiple pockets
  • Zippered external pockets for easy access
  • Comfortable to carry with top handle
CONS
  • Molded back panel results in stiffness initiall

 

4. Mancro Laptop College Backpack

This is a stylish backpack for students and it is also popular with teachers. The Mancro is what you need to go to college with comfort and style.

It has a maximum capacity of 40L, various pockets to store large and small items, and a built-in external charger. Overall, the bag is well-designed to suit your daily needs.

It is a perfect size and capacity to keep your 14-15.6 inches laptop safe. Also, there are main pockets where you can keep your clothes, books, binders, chargers, and iPad.

On the inside, you can keep your phone and wallet in separate pockets. If you frequently need keys or IDs, you can keep them in the slanted front pockets. And there are two side pockets to keep a compact umbrella or water bottles.

The USB port lets you charge your laptop or phone easily. Or, you can connect a power bank to the USB port to charge your device safely inside.

Another feature is the padded shoulder straps and a decent top handle for carrying. Apart from that, the bag is made from 900D waterproof, high-grade nylon. In addition to providing an exceptional appearance, the material is durable and long-lasting.

PROS
  • Water-resistant and durable nylon material
  • Built-in USB charger port
  • Store smaller items in the front pocket organizer
  • Padded laptop sleeve to accommodate 16 inches laptop easily
CONS
  • No mesh material of dedicated back padding

 

5. Under Armour Adult Recruit Backpack

Under Armour backpacks are designed for everyday use by people who commute or travel regularly. So, if you are a business person, or college student, Under Armor has something for everyone.

This one is equipped with UA storm technology that can deliver a high water-resistant and element-battling finish.

The bottom panel is abrasion-resistant, which provides excellent life span Apart from that, it can accommodate a 15 inch MacBook Pro with a soft-lined laptop sleeve. You can also fit similar size laptops in the compartment.

The pockets are water-repellent, which keeps your valuable items safe from any damage.

Made from durable polyester, you can easily wash the backpack in the washing machine. Apart from that, it is padded, adjustable with HeatGear shoulder straps.

PROS
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Material with highly water resistant finish
  • Machine washable
CONS
  • Limited space inside

 

6. Amazon Basics Laptop Computer Backpack

A backpack can be your perfect companion for travel and work when it has sufficient space and pockets to keep your items. Amazon Basics Laptop Computer Backpack can be that companion.

You can store whatever you want in the seven different and spacious pockets. The main compartments are divided into small pockets to accommodate small items.

The front compartment has a durable zipper with multiple pockets to store journals, phones, or pens. You can also store your tablet in the front compartment. Besides, you can keep your water bottles in the two side mesh pockets. The back padding makes the weight evenly distributed.

It is compact and convenient to carry around, measuring 13.9 X 7 X 19.29 inches and weighing 1.98 pounds.

It is a multi compartment backpack with plenty of pockets and padded sleeve for laptop. It comes with luxury of space and importantly can fit a 17 inch laptop. This is a feat some other items are not able to achieve.

PROS
  • Can accommodate a 17-inch laptop
  • Water-resistant polyester material
  • Seven compartments
CONS
  • Feels cheap
  • Some pockets are situated in odd places

 

7. Carhartt Legacy Standard Work Backpack

Whether it’s work or college you need a backpack which is versatile and adaptable to different kind of situations. In that case, Carhartt Legacy Standard work backpack is your ideal choice.

Made with rain defender, durable water repellent, and heavy-duty 1200D Polyester material for even better sturdiness.

With a Duravax abrasion-resistant and stable base, you can put the bag anywhere you want on any terrain and it will stand independently without any support.

It comes with a large compartment with a dedicated space for a tablet and a padded laptop sleeve to keep a 15-inch laptop. Plus, you can keep water bottles in the two side mesh pockets.

At the front, there are two zippered pockets to keep easily accessible items. It also comes with an organizational panel with smaller slash pockets, a key fob, and pen loops.

The padded shoulder straps and the padded back panel provide exceptional comfort and convenience.

PROS
  • Great laptop pocket fits 15.6 inch laptop
  • Durable & water repellent
  • Abrasion-resistant base
  • Air mesh back panel
CONS
  • The durability is questionable

 

8. Herschel Heritage Backpack

A backpack with fine design and detail is hard to find. That’s where Hershel Heritage comes with its classic designs and convenient storage options.

You cannot go wrong with this one when it comes to practicality and convenience. The size is suitable for daily commuters, and it lets you travel hands-free while protecting your essentials inside.

The backpack is ideal for someone who would require to carry a sweater, jacket, textbooks, and laptops to and from college. The internal sleeve can accommodate about 15-inch laptops safely.

The internal media pocket includes a headphone port that lets you listen to music while traveling. You can store smaller items in the front pocket that has a flap covering the zipper. So, no one else can open it to steal your belongings.

The top handle has faux leather covering, which allows for convenient handling and the bottom is also faux leather which helps reduce stains and dirt on the bag.

PROS
  • Inner media pocket with headphone port
  • Impressive diamond-shaped design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Pebbled leather zipper pulls
CONS
  • Lacks organizational features with few pockets

 

9. JanSport TDN7 Big Student Backpack

Leading a very demanding life would require you to carry all essentials with you without fail. The JanSport TDN7 Big Student backpack will enable you to carry your notebooks and textbooks conveniently and comfortably.

The 34L capacity enables you to carry heavy school items. The size is neither too small nor too large & it comes with two large and spacious compartments. You can keep a 15-inch laptop safely.

Apart from that, there are three additional pockets, a roomy front pocket with an organizational panel, and two slip pockets.

The ergonomic shoulder straps come with an “S” design, which helps lighten the load and pressure on your shoulders. Besides, the material is highly durable, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

PROS
  • Big capacity
  • Can house a laptop up to 17 inches
  • Ergonomic S-curve padded shoulder straps
  • Mesh side pocket
  • Can be dislodged easily
CONS
  • A little bit hard to wash
  • The flaps have a tendency to get caught in the zipper

 

10. Timbuk2 Parkside Laptop Backpack

For an inexpensive backpack, you get plenty of modern and sleek features in the Timbuk2 Parkside bag. The functionality is hard to miss and unparalleled with other backpacks in the same price range.

The size is perfect for high school and college-going students. Despite the small size, it is exceptionally spacious. The main compartment allows you to store even a pair of shoes conveniently.

You can keep the smaller items in the front zip pockets. The internal organizer is safe to store phones and pens. You can keep your jacket, laptop, and books in a larger compartment.

There is an on-strap bottle opener for quick refreshments and party tricks. Plus, the elasticized external side pocket keeps the water bottle and vista loop to attach bike lights.

PROS
  • On-strap bottle opener and Vista loop for attaching various items are included
  • Stylish with practical layout
  • Padded straps and back panel for ventilation
  • Multiple pockets to keep your items organized
CONS
  • Bottom has no structure

 

11. Fjallraven Foldsack No. 1 Backpack

Fjallraven is one of the well-reputable brands known for manufacturing premium quality backpacks with dual external buckles.

The uncluttered and simple design boasts functionality and is equipped with numerous features to keep items safe and secure. It comes with a fold-down design with a spacious main compartment to hold a 15-inch laptop.

Made with G-1000 heavy-duty fabric construction, the backpack is made to handle everyday use. You can attach the fold-down top with textile straps and metal buckles at the front. It will ensure durable and exceptional performance for years.

The bottom is sufficiently padded to stand independently and protect the laptop from any damage. Also, the external pocket comes with zip closure. Even if you fold down the top, you can easily access it.

The backpack comes equipped with supporting shoulder straps, a textile handle, and a padded back panel for comfortable carrying.

PROS
  • Foldable
  • Sleek appearance with roomy compartments
  • Customizable space with roll-tops
  • Dual external buckle closure for added security
CONS
  • Cannot stand up on its own when it is empty
  • No side pockets

 

Things to Consider Before Buying a College Backpack

A backpack can protect your gear while being the most convenient and practical choice for your safety and overall comfort. Therefore, you should only choose the best among the choices presented to you.

Here, we have discussed various categories and factors of choosing suitable college backpacks. It includes design, comfort, mobility, storage space, and durability.

All these elements can provide students with a comfortable and functional backpack to handle daily college routines.

Look for the Storage Capacity

You need enough space to carry your textbooks, laptop, and other daily essentials. Sometimes, it becomes overload, so you must choose the right size of the bag as per your needs.

Generally, backpacks are available in a wide range of sizes, such as:

  • Large Rucksacks: Weight capacity more than 50 liters
  • Multi-day Backpacks: Weight capacity between 30 to 50 liters
  • College or daily backpacks: Weight capacity between 10 to 30 liters
  • Small bags: Weight capacity between 6 to 10 Liters

It is a general break up of weight size; each company has its own capacity size set. However, college backpacks usually come between 6 to 25 liters of weight capacity.

Think About the Construction and Durability

To ensure the long-term quality, you should make sure that it is made from high-quality materials.

The material and fabric make up for durability, the sewing process, and the frame on which the backpack is built. Mostly, polyester and nylon the popular fabric types, but some are also made with cotton canvas, leather, and Condura.

While looking for durability, you should consider the five essential things:

  • Zipper durability
  • Strap quality
  • Weight capacity
  • Weather Resistance
  • Material and Fabric

Choosing the wrong product will end up compromising your carrying efficiency and comfort.

Adequate Organization is Crucial

The number of items you will need daily will help you determine the number of slots or compartments you need. However, some backpacks come with a proper organization system, such as mesh pockets, journal slots, textbook compartments, and laptop compartments.

If you want to carry fewer items, you can choose a product with 1 or 2 compartments. Apart from that, it depends on the daily college requirements, which one and how many compartments will suit you.

Padding and Straps for Comfort

The backpack should have comfortable and sufficiently padded straps and a back panel to ensure even weight distribution. It will also protect your back and shoulders from the ruggedness and weight of your textbooks.

The comfort features get divided into various parts: overall ventilation and padding system, its frame, and padding quality. So, make sure you check the following elements for optimum comfort:

  • Weight distribution
  • Frame
  • Strap contouring which includes sternum, waist, and shoulder straps
  • Padding
  • Alternative method for carrying such as handle

Conclusion

Nothing is challenging when you have the right sources and choices at your hand. Instead of surfing the internet and searching the market, you can take advantage of the best college backpacks reviewed in this article.

Among the eleven products, the one which seems the most suitable for college-goers is Vancropak Travel Laptop Backpack. This one comes with plenty of storage space and other interesting features to fulfill your daily commute and school requirements.

Besides, you are free to explore all the products as each one of them boasts functionality and durability with spacious, roomy compartments.