If you’re looking to get yourself a backpack for college, then you’re in the right place. Getting the right college backpack is not a decision that you’ll want to take lightly. You’re going to be lugging it around for the majority of the year, so it’s worth getting something that’s durable and will last a good while.
Not all college backpacks are made equal, and there’s various different things that you’ll need to consider before you make your purchase. Some backpacks might be too big for you, or perhaps you’ll find that you’re better off getting yourself a different type of bag altogether. Whether this is the case or not, we’ll give you the complete guide on what option may suit you best.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the top options that are currently available on the backpack market. From there, we can see which backpack will be best for your needs.
Top College Backpacks
Herschel Supply Heritage
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One of my favorite backpacks around is the Herschel Supply Heritage. If you want something that looks good and is also practical, then it’s worth looking at the Heritage as one of the best college backpacks available.
You can get the Herschel Heritage is a wide variety of colors – it’s up to you to try and find one that suits you the best. It’s likely that you’ll be able to find a nice color that will suit you.
Although you’ll want to be aware that the laptop sleeve pocket in this one is only designed for 13 inch laptops. Any bigger than that and you will have to put it in with the rest of your stuff too.
In fact, this is the only downside that I have found with this particular backpack – it’s really small. If you find yourself carrying lots of stuff around – tons of books and gym equipment – then you should probably look at getting a larger backpack to meet your needs.
The Signature Herschel brand is coveted throughout the country now. This is a super impressive feat for a small Canadian brand that’s less than ten years old – these levels of prestigiousness usually takes decades to build up. They’re headquartered in Canada but have branches all throughout North America and internationally.
With a small single front pocket that’s ideal for small stuff like your pens, this classic college backpack is the ideal choice if you’re looking for something to get you through the year.
JanSport Right Pack
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The majority of students have laptops, so it only makes sense that you buy a college backpack specifically made for that type of this. Fortunately, this something that you get with the Jansport Right Pack.
Although it has one very large main component package, it also has a separate laptop sleeve too. This easily enables you to keep your stuff separate and organise yourself. As well a separate laptop sleeve, you’ll also have a separate front utility pocket that’s great for keeping your stationery and things you don’t want to mix with the rest of your stuff.
The straight cut padded shoulder straps are better suited to those who prefer to two strap – this is all down to personal preference. Not everyone will want this, so it’s down to you to decide what type of backpack it is that you want.
If you want a good blend of durability and fashion, then Jansport is one of the better options for you to go for. Their products are extremely well made and you’ll still be fashionable, too.
NorthFace Wise Guy
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NorthFace is one of those brands that’s catapulted to the mainstream in the last 10 years – you’ll see it everywhere nowadays. And there’s a good reason for that. They make extremely good quality clothes and travel stuff, so it’s worth looking at their range if you want something that will last you a good while.
The Wise Guy is a good blend of practicality and style, which can be a difficult blend sometimes. You can get it in a ton of different colors, but I specifically like the Mountain Blue.
One reason that I like this backpack as an option that is particularly big. This means that you will undoubtedly have room for all of your stuff. If you have a bigger sized laptop – meaning more than 15 inches – then it’s a good idea to opt for a larger backpack of this volume. Even though it can carry alot, the backpack itself is neatly organised into different compartments which will easily allow you to separate them from each other.
If comfort is a big deal for you, then opting for something from NorthFace is likely to be a good idea. Their panels are made from quality polyester, so you don’t have to worry about it weighing down heavily on your back.
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Although Vaschy might not be as prestigious as some other brands, this backpack is definitely up there with the others in terms of quality. It’s made of polyester, which helps to ensure that it’s waterproof as well as lightweight.
One thing that this backpack has that the majority of other backpacks do not is that it has water bottle compartments on both sides. This is extremely handy if you want to keep your water bottles separate from your schoolwork. Have you ever had a water bottle open accidentally in your bag and ruin all of your stuff? Well if you haven’t then you don’t want to experience it!
This one is more suited for people looking for something that is small and compact. If you don’t have a lot of stuff to take with you every day, then it’s worth opting for something smaller that won’t weigh you down every day. Although it’s small, it can still fit a laptop and a good amount of other stuff too.
It’s available in tons of different colors, so you have a wide variety of different ones to pick from. Personally I like the plain grey backpack the most, but of course this is down to your own personal opinion.
Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack
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If you are looking for a specifically high quality backpack, then you may want to consider Fjallraven. Anything from the Scandinavian brand is guaranteed to be top quality, but I specifically like the Kanken Classic Backpack.
Fjallraven are a 50 year old brand now, and they specialise primarily in clothing and more so, backpacks. That makes them one of the better brands to choose – if a company specialises in one thing, then you know that they know their stuff about what it takes to make it high quality.
Although the backpack itself is portable, it’s made from some of the best travelling and weatherproof material that you’ll find. It’s called Vinylon F – specifically made by Fjallraven to deal with the harshest of weathers. Not only this, but it’s also extremely easy to wipe any stains that you might get on it too.
With a 16 litre size, this makes it ideal for any 15 inch macbooks or laptops of a similar size. You should have more than enough room in this one if you’re looking to get your macbook and other college things in there.
Although this backpack does run at a more expensive price than some of our other competitors, it’s worth every penny in our eyes. One of the best high quality backpacks around that you don’t need to worry about getting damaged at much – it’ll be sure to last you a long while.
Although these are all decent backpacks too, they narrowly missed out on the top backpack list. There are a mixture of different brands here, so you’re sure to find something that will suit your tastes.
Herschel Supply Settlement
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You’ll notice several Herschel Backpacks around for a good reason – they’re a fashionable brand and their backpacks are of a decent quality. The Settlement is a good example of what a simple backpack should be. Easy to use, plain design and compact enough that it won’t weigh you down every day.
It has a separate laptop sleeve like most Herschels, as well as a media pocket which enables you to thread your headphones through and listen to them.
Like most Herschels, they’re more designed for fashion than usability. This means that if you’re the type to be carrying 10 books to your lecture, then you might want to opt for something a little bigger. Although it’s a 17 liter backpack, it doesn’t really feel that large.
If you’re after a classic backpack – a single front pocket backpack with metal zippers is a good sign of a classic – then the Settlement is a good choice.
Amazon Basics Backpack
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Gone are the days where it’s embarrassing to wear cheap budget clothes anymore. If anything, now people are more commended for being shrewd and looking for a bargain! And if you want value for money, then Amazon Basics brand is a great place to start.
What is particularly good about the Amazon Basics is that is has several different compartments to store all of your stuff. If you have a wide variety of different things, then this backpack has 8 different compartments where you can store your stuff.
It’s also suitable for laptops up to 15 inches, which is an increase on some smaller sized backpacks. This would be more suited for someone looking for a simple backpack that’s going to do everything you ask of it – and more.
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And at the other end of the spectrum from the Basics brand, you have NorthFace. If you want really good quality items that are going to last, then it’s worth going for an Outdoors brand like NorthFace.
The Jester backpack specifically is a good choice if you prefer comfort – it has a heavily padded back panel which will help the feel of the backpack when you’re carrying it around school. It will help to stop books prodding you in the back whilst you’re walking, which is a definite problem with cheaper backpacks.
If you want a larger backpack, then this may be a top choice for you. It’s massive 29 liter size mean that it’s more than capable of carrying an abundance of stuff – including an additional laptop sleeve to separate your valuables from other stuff.
This really is an outdoors backpack that you can use for a variety of different things. Whether it’s going to college or you want to go out walking for the day, then it’s worth going for a backpack that can do everything like the Jester.
WinBlo Laptop Backpack
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If you only want something lightweight to get your books and pens to and from college, then you won’t need a massive 30 liter backpack. You’ll be more than happy with a small laptop backpack that can fit whatever you need into it – this can fit anything like an iPad or a small jacket, but will struggle if you’re considering taking bigger stuff to college every day.
For it’s size though, it’s particularly spacious and you can get a good amount of stuff in here. There’s a ton of different colors that you can find it in, so it’s worth opting for something that you like.
Overall, it missed out on being in the top 5 mainly because it’s not really a ‘top quality’ backpack. If you want something cheap and lightweight to fit your budget, then you can opt for a backpack like this one. But if you need something to last, then you’re likely better off looking elsewhere.
JanSport Big Student
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Ah, no Jansport again – a brand that you can be sure aren’t going to let you down with their products@ If you want a nice looking backpack that’s made specifically for students, then this may be a great option for you.
This is essentially the classic Jansport backpack, except they’ve updated it a little for students. That means that they’ve added a ton of extra pockets for all of your pens, as well as the traditional laptop sleeve. You’ll notice far more space in the Big Student than other Jansport backpack, primarily because they’ve designed it so that you’ve got enough room for your books.
It also has two additional water bottle packs that mean you can bring drinks with you from hope without having to purchase them at your like expensive college!
Unlike Herschel which is only ten years old, Jansport are experienced in the backpack industry. With over 50 years of experience you can be sure that you’re getting a good quality backpack for your cash.
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Another simple backpack that can undoubtedly get the job done, Matein aren’t a household name. But, this doesn’t mean to say that you should ignore this backpack. If anything, you may want to take greater notice – unknown brands sometimes offer you a great bargain!
It’s ideally a laptop backpack, but with more than enough room for your other stuff too. Although it’s a particularly slim backpack, this doesn’t mean that there’s not enough room in there for all your belongings. In fact, there should easily be enough room in this backpack to fit everything that you’ll take to college on a daily basis.
What might make this backpack a dealbreaker for you is that it’s actually a USB backpack. If you’re always running out of battery on your phone, you can carry this backpack with you and always have a way to recharge your phone when it’s running low. Of course, this backpack doesn’t actually recharge your phone itself and you’ll have to get yourself a power bank.
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Although a lot of NorthFace backpacks like the Recon weren’t really designed for going to college with – they’re really more suited to trekking mountains – this doesn’t mean that they don’t transition into being used for college too.
The good thing about opting for an outdoors brand is that you can be 100% sure that your backpack isn’t going to fail you in harsh whether. If you opt for a cheaper or more fashionable backpack brand, then you might have to sacrifice the endurance and weatherproof nature of your backpack. This isn’t a problem if you’re living in a sunny country, but if you’re somewhere that’s cold and wet most of the year then this is something to consider.
Another good thing about going for a brand like NorthFace is that you can be sure that you’re always going to have enough room for all of your stuff. If you go for something smaller, you may not have the room for that big folder – you’ll never have that problem with the 30 liter Recon.
High Sierra Backpack
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If you’re after something simple and easy, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than this High Sierra backpack.
Although the quality in this backpack is lacking a little if you compare it to the other backpacks here, this doesn’t mean to say that you should just pass this backpack by. It has all the things that the more expensive backpacks have – drinks compartment, compression straps and easily organisable compartments for all of your different stuff.
As well as this, the Sierra has a separate TechSpot sleeve that’s specifically designed to keep your iPad or other tablet. It has a specific shoulder strap suspension system that works amazingly if you’re going to be carrying a lot of heavy stuff around. It’s an ideal size for a college student, and you should be able to easily fit it under your desk.
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You’ve likely seen the SuperBreak before – it’s one of the Jansport flagship models that’s sold millions of items worldwide. If you’re trying to save on cash, then if you shop around you can often find this model available on sale at great prices.
One of the good things about the Superbreak is that it’s available in a ton of different colors. You’re super likely to be able to find a color that will suit you – there’s everything from plain black to ‘galaxy’, their unique astrology inspired design.
It’s designed as an every use backpack, meaning that whilst it’s ideal for college students you can also use it for a multitude of other stuff too.
Overall, it’s a really great choice if you’re looking for a backpack that you can just throw over your shoulder and go. Whilst it isn’t large in size and doesn’t have a ton of different compartments that you can use, the Superbreak is a super-safe option.
Modoker Vintage Backpack
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If you want a more vintage look without having to pay really high prices, then it’s worth looking at the Modoker Vintage backpack as one of your choices. It’s really cheap for a backpack, and it isn’t low quality and shoddy which you might expect with backpacks of this price.
There’s nothing about the Modoker that makes it particularly unique – but it does have pretty much everything that you could ask it to. With 6 compartments for all the different stuff that you might need to carry around with you, the Modoker is pretty much the stereotypical college backpack.
One thing that may be of concern to you is that the Modoker isn’t the most waterproof option around. If you’re in a super rainy part of the country, then you may be better off looking at another backpack that’s more designed for wetter climes.
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Again, Gearonic might not be a brand that you’ve heard of, but this backpack is particularly attractive. If you like a retro look, then it could be worth considering this backpack as your choice of the top college backpack.
It’s very durable due to the material that it’s made from. The high quality nylon fabric that it’s made from should be able to hold up in harsh weathers, as well as be resistant to any stains or scratches that you might experience. If you’re worried about your backpack breaking within a short time of purchase, then going for this type of material is a good idea – it has a good track record of staying in top condition over time.
Whether you’re using this backpack only for college or you’re going to need it for other things too, it’s a good idea to opt for this one if you want a high quality backpack to last.
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Following the pattern of backpacks that are more designed for travelling than college, SwissGear generally make some awesome outdoors stuff that also works well as a schoolbag.
One issue that you’ll have with the majority of college backpacks is that they only fit laptops up to 13 inches or 15 inches. This is great if you’ve got a Mac, but what about if you’ve got a larger laptop that you need to carry around with you? Well, you’ll obviously need something a little bigger – and the Swissgear might be exactly what you need.
I mean, this thing has room for pretty much everything you could need it too – it even has a special umbrella compartment for when you want to keep your wet umbrella away from the rest of your stuff. This umbrella compartment also doubles up as a water bottle holder too.
If you’re someone who’s super organised and wants to keep everything separate from each other, then it’s definitely worth looking at a backpack like this one from SwissGear.
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If a genuine outdoors backpack isn’t enough for you, then it might even be worth opting for a military backpack! This is more suited to the genuine military enthusiast who also wants a backpack they can use for the outdoors.
If you’re often out trekking, then it can pay to get a backpack that you can use for a multitude of different things. This particular rucksack isn’t like every other rucksack that you’re going to find out there – you can easily fit a lot of gear inside here. There’s a ton of different pockets for you to use, which makes it ideal for those who are looking for a backpack that can do everything.
Overall although this WolfWarriorX isn’t your stereotypical college backpack, it’s a good option if you want a backpack that can pretty much do everything. There aren’t an abundance of different options available, so it’s important you find something that suits your needs perfectly.
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Following the trend of larger backpacks becoming more popular – of course, practicality is becoming increasingly popular too – this Yorepek backpack can be used for a variety of things too.
It has a super large capacity, which you may not think that you’ll need – but it might surprise you the amount of stuff you need to carry around for college. If you’re carrying a ton of stuff around – including a ton of big, heavy gym gear – then it can make sense to go for a bigger gym bag than what you think you might have needed.
If you need a large backpack for college, then it’s worth looking at a Yorepek to try and fit all of your stuff inside. It’s a good combination of comfort and size, which makes it one of the most desirable all rounder backpacks that you’ll find.
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If you need something that’s extremely durable and will last you a while, then it could be worth considering this Kaka backpack too. Though it’s not quite as big as some of the other backpacks listed, it definitely works as a comfortable, sturdy to wear backpack that you can use for a variety of different things.
It has a sturdy handle at the top of the backpack, which is helpful if you’re going to be using your backpack for a variety of different things – especially loading up your backpack with all of your belongings. It’s extremely well made, though it doesn’t have some of the better things that more expensive Kaka bags have (like secret compartments).
Overall, this isn’t the best Kaka bag around but it’s definitely available at a really great price.
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Back to your more stereotypical college backpacks, this Vancropack would suit someone looking for something that you can just throw over your shoulder and go. Although it isn’t top top quality, it will undoubtedly get the job done if you’re looking for a backpack for school or college.
It’s available in six different colors, which will be ideal for those who don’t want to just stick with your typical grey or black backpack. Although the materials used to make this one are relatively cheap, it’s still a good quality backpack that’s water resistant and won’t tear easily.
One thing to bear in mind with this college backpack is that it’s more suitable for those who are looking for something small and easy to use. If you need a big college backpack, then this is undoubtedly not the right choice for you.
What you should look for in a backpack
Most backpacks that you’ll find will be between 14-25 liter. This is a dramatic difference, so it pays to know how much stuff you’re going to be carrying with you on a daily basis. There are a few backpacks that I’ve listed that are over 25 liters, and they generally tend to be outdoors brands like NorthFace. This is mainly because outdoor backpacks like this need more space to fit all of your things – people trekking outdoors will need to fit their sleeping bags and the likes into their backpacks too.
Hopefully price point isn’t too much of an issue for you, but if it is then it’s worth opting for a budget friendly option. Generally you won’t find a decent quality backpack for less than $20-30, and you’ll need to increase the budget dramatically to get something of really high quality. You don’t have to go for one of the big brands to get a top backpack – there’s enough bargains around to be had too.
Gone are the days where a one strap backpack is dominating the colleges – twenty years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who put both straps over their shoulders! Nowadays, college students prefer to opt for a much more practical approach with a two strap backpack. This is likely because of fashion, but also because one strap backpacks can cause lasting back pain.
The material that you backpack is made of is also an important factor. If you need something that’s lightweight, then you might want to go for something like polyester – it can hold a lot of weight without you having to worry about the material breaking easily.
You’ll also need to consider the amount of pockets that you need your backpack to have. If you’re in college a lot and you have a ton of stuff, then more pockets might be beneficial for you. If not, then having a ton of pockets might actually be a bit annoying – forgetting where you’ve put stuff gets tiring quickly!
Overall, these are some of the best backpacks that are currently available on the market. There are an abundance of others to pick from, but these particular ones present great value for what you’re paying. If you want to up the budget then you can find other brands available, but you aren’t necessarily going to get a higher quality backpack if you’re paying hundreds of dollars.
Overall, any of these backpacks would be ideal for getting you through the college year – all you need to do is decide on which one suits you best!