Best College Backpacks

It’s almost time to head back to college. Whether you’re a parent looking to buy a backpack for your loved one to keep all of those expensive books in, or a college student looking for one that can hold a 30 rack, you’ve come to right place. We took a look at the best college backpacks and compiled a list of reviews that include the best brands and what to look for.


Backpack Materials & Considerations

There are many different types of backpacks. Leather backpacks look stylish, but they can wear out much quicker than those made of canvas or mesh. As a college student, you should look for a backpack that fits your lifestyle. College athletes should look for a lightweight and durable backpack. Computer majors need a backpack with storage for accessories and padding to protect the electronics. These days, you would be hard-pressed to find a college student that doesn’t have a laptop. Make sure that the bag you select is big enough to fit and protect the laptop – not every backpack can fit a 17” screen laptop. Although you might assume that more storage space is better, that isn’t always the case. College students want to look good in front of their peers, so a backpack that is too large could be embarrassing.


Swiss Gear Backpacks

swiss gear backpack

Featured on Amazon’s “college checklist” with over 700 five star reviews, the Swiss Gear Travel Gear ScanSmart 1900 could be the best backpack for college. For the college athlete, this bag is specially designed to keep your back cool and it even has a water bottle pocket. The “ScanSmart” feature (and the backpack’s namesake) allows you to open the back in half for quicker security checks. If you’re travelling to college from a distance or frequenting summer concerts, this can save considerable time and frustration in the security line. If you are travelling, read our guide about how to choose a travel backpack. Other features include padded pockets to protect your electronics, a removable key fob for scanning into the dorms, and dividers for pens, pencils, or other school supplies. There is a limited lifetime warranty included with the backpack.


Jansport Backpacks

jansport backpack

JanSport arguably makes the best backpack for college: The Right Pack. The company’s lifetime warranty is second to none. I have personally sent in a backpack that was starting to rip after years of heavy use. The company replaced the backpack with no questions asked. Another benefit that sets Jansport apart is that you can customize the size and color of your bag. Jansport backpacks come in many varieties, but more and more of those options will go out of stock as we draw closer to the school year. The pack boasts a spacious 1900 cubic inches and several pockets for accessories like a graphing calculator or charger cable. You can comfortably fit a 17.5” laptop inside. The bag is also built to carry 3-5 heavy textbooks, and with the padded straps you won’t feel the weight of them cutting into your shoulders. The nylon construction is water resistant, though it is not waterproof.


Best Backpacks For Laptops

amazon backpack

A number one best seller, the Amazon Basics Laptop Backpack is a cheap backpack for college students at the price of $30. The backpack is designed specifically to hold laptops up to 17”, with extra padding for protection and side pockets for chargers or accessories. The shoulder straps are padded to make carrying even the heaviest laptops easy on your body. Dual mesh pockets are flexible for carrying different sized water bottles. Although it will fit a 17” laptop, 17.3” are more commonly sold and they are a struggle to fit into the bag. And, you’re not getting any style points for this one.


Cool Backpacks For Men

cool backpack

Social life is a huge part of college. Apart from your smartphone, your backpack is something that is going to be with you 24/7. The Btmall Canvas Leather Rucksack  is a cool backpack for men. One of the few backpacks to pull it off, the Btmall is fashionable and manly at the same time. With a special pocket for your laptop, this is an excellent bookbag for college. It has a quick access pocket on the outside for sunglasses or iPhones storage. The elegant leather straps looks expensive, but it comes in at the very affordable price of only $38.99.


Cute Backpacks For Women

Cute Backpack

This is a cute backpack for college students by Shengxilu. Although it is labelled as unisex, I couldn’t see a guy wearing this. The chic design and leather straps remind you of a day at the beach. There isn’t much room for books, but you could certainly fit a 13”-15” laptop in the main compartment and your accessories in the side pockets.


Mesh Backpacks

mesh pack

If you like to frequent the gym, concerts, or the beach consider buying a mesh backpack. Mesh backpacks are especially helpful if you have a bicycle to get around the campus. The JanSport Mesh Backpack is one of the best backpacks for college. The backpack has a large, main mesh pocket with ample storage that can fit 3 large textbooks with ample additional space for notebooks, binders and your lunch. The mesh bag is also equipped with a canvas pocket on the inside where you can hide your keys or cell phone without them poking you. There is a smaller, mesh pocket on the front as well. JanSport’s warranty is the best in class. If the pack breaks, they will replace it under the lifetime warranty. Lightweight construction makes this mesh pack highly portable and perfect for activities. The ventilation will prevent your back from sweating. For the outdoor enthusiast, it dries quickly and allows sand to easily pass through. However, there are a few drawbacks to mesh backpacks. Theft is always a risk on college campuses, and the number one rule of preventing it is keeping your valuables “out of sight, out of mind”. Not that you should be leaving any backpack unattended, but a mesh backpack with a shiny new laptop inside may be too good of an opportunity for a broke college student to pass up stealing.


Do you have a backpack that should be on our list of best college backpacks? Tweet @drluggage and let us know!


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