Best College Backpacks

As a student, you’re going to need a good backpack that can carry all of your school supplies and be comfortable at the same time. We’ve put together some of the best backpacks for college students so you don’t have to do any research on your own!

What are the Best College Backpacks?

We could say that we traveled the world to find for you the Best College Backpacks and it’s partially true – we’ve been on the road since 2011 after all.

More importantly, we have done a very thorough research online and have gone through most of the available backpacks for college that you can buy today. We read the comments left by people who bought and used these college backpacks.

We also wrote a brief college backpacks Buying Guide and FAQ sections to address most questions you may have.

Without further ado, here’s the list of top 5 backpacks for college based on their pricing, specs and ratings by real users.

1. KROSER Business Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.8 Pounds (0.8 kg)
Size: 16.9 x 11.2 x 7.5 Inches (42.9 x 28.4 x 19.1 cm)
Material: Nylon
Wheels: No
Water Resistant: Yes
Waterproof: No

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This Kroser backpack is made from quality PU leather/nylon that is water repellent. It has multiple compartments and offers plenty of space for your laptop, tablet, books, and other essentials. The modern unisex design is perfect for business traveling, college students and outdoor activities in daily life. It has padded back panels and straps to provide maximum comfort. It also comes with a luggage strap, which allows the backpack to fit securely on suitcases. Finally, a built-in USB port and side pockets for your water bottle increase this business travel backpack’s convenience.

Pros

  • Reinforced edges and steel frame of the main compartment to keep the perfect shape of the bag,
  • Unique leather handles,
  • Stylish unisex design

2. North Face Recon Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 30 Liters
Size: 19.3 x 13 x 7 Inches (48.9 x 33 x 17.8 cm)
Material: 600D Polyester, 1680D Ballistic Nylon.

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I begin these reviews with the iconic Recon backpack. It is the best North Face backpack on my list, and it offers more space capacity and better organization for college, work, and hiking than the Jester and Borealis bags. It features a dedicated 15-inch laptop compartment at the back, which on the downside, does not have any padding to protect your machine. The main section has more space than the Jester backpack, with a deep and compact shape that helps distribute the weight evenly. Another feature I like on this backpack is the expandable stash front pocket, which I find more convenient to use than the bungee cord. It has daisy chains for added lash points, and for your small items, the backpack comes with a top half organization pocket. The back and shoulder support is top-notch with its FlexVent suspension system, which provides padded comfort when carrying the pack.

Pros

  • High-quality construction with durable fabric,
  • Generous capacity for multipurpose use,
  • Includes sternum and waist straps for support,
  • Available in a wide range of attractive colors,
  • Excellent weight distribution

Cons

  • No padding in the laptop compartment

3. Yalundisi Vintage Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.9 Pounds (0.9 kg)
Size: 17 x 11.6 x 6 Inches (43.2 x 29.5 x 15.2 cm)

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If you are not a fan of the ordinary backpack design, here is one for you that is fashionably attractive for college and high school students. The backpack’s style stands out with its uniquely designed front pockets for small items and elasticized side pockets for your water bottle and umbrella. The main compartment features a laptop pocket and an inner side pocket where you keep your power bank and phone. It features a USB and headphone jack combination that allows you to charge your phone or listen to music discreetly and conveniently. This lightweight backpack features a water-resistant polyester fabric construction with metal zippers, reinforced stress points, and adjustable shoulder straps for comfortable carrying. It offers generous space for your school books and laptop with a few overnight clothes.

Pros

  • Attractive and fashionable design,
  • Generous main compartment and external pockets,
  • Features a USB and headphone port,
  • Wide main compartment opening

Cons

  • It is not anti-theft designed,
  • Adaptor cords included are poor quality

4. North Face Jester Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 27.5 Liters
Weight: 1.6 Pounds (0.7 kg)
Size: 19.8 x 13.3 x 7.5 Inches (50.2 x 33.7 x 19.1 cm)
Material: 600D Polyester Emboss, 600D Polyester Print, 300D Heather Polyester

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The budget-priced Jester is a highly rated North Face backpack designed for college students. It features a compact design that gives it excellent weight distribution when you load it with your college books. The front pocket offers better organization, while the main compartment gives you 28L of space for books and binders and a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve. On the downside, it is oval-shaped with a narrow opening, which limits its capacity to carry large binders and hardcover books. The men’s version of this backpack features a 29L capacity. On the upside, the Jester college pack features a comfortably padded back and lumber panel to give you back support with flexible shoulder straps to help you carry it for long periods. The backpack uses 600D polyester construction, which gives it durability and maintains its bright colors.

Pros

  • Comfortable back and shoulder support,
  • Lightweight and versatile, Padded laptop sleeve protects laptop against impact, High-quality construction and design

Cons

  • Small capacity for large books,
  • Shallow front pocket

5. North Face Women’s Borealis Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Capacity: 28 Liters
Size: 19.8 x 13.3 x 9.8 Inches (50.2 x 33.7 x 24.8 cm)
Material: Polyester

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
European Union
Canada
Australia

The Women’s Borealis is one of the more popular women-specific backpacks made by North Face. It is similar in some ways to the Jester backpack that we looked at previously, and it is also perfect for college use. For example, they are both 28L capacity, and both are perfect for school and everyday carry. They both feature the FlexVent suspension system that includes padded back and lumber panels for back support and custom molded shoulder straps to fit women. They also both support 15-inch laptops and have an elastic bungee cord system for external storage. However, the Borealis is a premium backpack with higher quality construction with its nylon ripstop fabric and enhanced organization. It comes with a dedicated laptop compartment, which leaves the main section for books and clothes.

The Borealis has a front organization compartment with a padded tablet sleeve and a zipped pocket. It also features a fleece-lined pocket for small items and two expandable water bottle side pouches. The backpack is durable with excellent ergonomics and weight distribution for a daypack.

Pros

  • High-quality fabric construction,
  • Excellent impact protection for your laptop,
  • Ergonomic fit for women, Features a dedicated laptop compartment

Cons

  • Small capacity for large books,
  • Uncomfortable waist belt

Verdict

TLDR: Quick summary of our findings as to what can be considered the best college backpacks is below:

Overall best college backpack out there: KROSER Business Backpack

Premium Pick if money is not much of an issue: North Face Recon Backpack

Budget Choice – there’s no shame in spending prudently: Yalundisi Vintage Backpack

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying College Backpacks

What To Look For In A College Backpack

Backpacks are an essential part of gearing up for your school. Ideally, you would want something that carries all the essentials while still being light and comfortable to carry. Here’s a checklist of things to look out for:

Size – How big is the colleage backpack? It needs to fit all your stuff without a lot of extra space. If it’s too big, you’re just carrying empty space.

Comfort – How comfortable will the backpack feel? The padded shoulder straps and back are a crucial feature for comfort as well as load-bearing ability.

Weight – The lighter, the better – remember that sore shoulders means you aren’t likely to enjoy your school walk as much.

Compartments – Depending on how you like to organize your stuff, compartments inside are a key feature of backpacks. Make sure to get one that has the number and size of compartments suitable for your needs.

Material – Is it tough enough for school use? How waterproof is it? Can it take a bit of rain?

Price – Just remember to get the best value for your money.

Additional features – A lot of backpacks come with additional pockets and pouches built into them. If you’re looking for one, make sure to look them up.

Rucksack vs internal frame – In recent years, rucksacks have lost favor to a more modern style of backpack called the internal frame. If you are looking for something basic and lightweight, an internal frame would be a good choice but if you need extra carrying capacity, consider getting a rucksack instead.

Waterproof features – If you’re planning on going out in all kinds of weather, look for a waterproof backpack. These days, most backpacks come with at least some built-in waterproofing but if your current one doesn’t have it, make sure to get one that does.

Laptop Compartment And Pockets

Most collage backpacks have a designated separate space for laptops and tablets. This special compartment is located close to the back and is well-padded, providing increased protection.

In addition to a compartment that is specifically designed to carry a laptop, sleeves are often included for your devices. They allow you to carry your laptop without sacrificing on space. In order to protect from scratching and other types of damage, most sleeves have a part which is made of neoprene or another type of foam. The inside of the sleeve is lined with shock-absorbing material as well, providing a layer of protection.

For those who carry a lot of accessories or other items with their laptop, additional internal pockets can be found. These are often meant for storing power cables as well as key accessories. However, they might also be used to carry a water bottle or a pair of headphones.

Finally, there are laptop backpacks which come with special outer pockets which are specifically designed to allow you to access your device more easily while on the go. Most airport security checks require you to take out your laptop, hence the easy access is very useful for frequent travelers.

How To Choose The Right Style Of A Backpack

Backpack styles have changed over the years but these days, most backpacks are either horizontal or vertical.

Horizontal – Most backpacks nowadays fall into this category. These packs have the main compartment on the bottom and then a smaller top pocket with shoulder straps for anyone who wants to use it as a briefcase. Some horizontal backpacks also have side pockets on both sides to hold water bottles or other small items.

Vertical – The vertical backpack styles are designed with the main compartment on top and then smaller front pockets that can either be zippered or open. This type of backpack is more common among hikers and is especially popular because it allows the wearer to carry water bottles on the outside of the bag.

Backpack Care Tips

If you want to get the most out of your backpack, you should take good care of it. The following are some tips for keeping your pack in tip-top shape:

Don’t hang it from a tree branch – Never hang your backpack on a tree branch just so that it can dry off faster. Doing so can cause the straps to wear out faster and damage any electronic devices in your pack especially if it’s raining.

Cleaning is a breeze – Using mild soap and water will remove most grime from the inside of a backpack. If you do get something on your backpack, be sure to rub it with a dry cloth and warm water as rubbing it with a wet cloth can cause mildew to grow.

Store in cool, dry place – Storing your backpack in a dry basement or attic is ideal for keeping it in good shape over the long term. You should also put your backpack away when you’re done using it so that dirt and grime don’t have a chance to stick.

Fold it neatly – Storing your backpack in its pouch and folding it neatly is another great way to keep it looking good. If you don’t have a pouch, be sure to store it in a closet where the edges of the backpack are protected by other items.

Wash your backpack – Hand-washing your backpack once a month is a good way to remove any water or dirt that may have accumulated on it. You should also consider washing it more often if you’re getting ready for an excursion.

Wipe the inside – Wiping the interior of the main compartment is a great way to clean out your backpack and get rid of dust or grime. Make sure that you wipe the interior from top to bottom so that no dirt can fall into the bottom of the pack.

Get rid of mold – If you’re seeing black spots on your backpack, then it’s likely that mildew has started to grow. To get rid of this problem, make sure that you wipe it down with a vinegar and water solution followed by a rinse in warm water. You should also place your backpack outside to dry off before using it again.

Questions and Answers About College Backpacks

How to choose the right size of my new school backpack?

There are four main sizes when choosing a school backpack: X Small (8 inches), Small (10 inches), Medium (12 inches) and Large(14 inches). If you have a lot of books and notebooks, don’t forget to choose a large sized school backpack. If you don’t have many textbooks at school, consider buying a medium sized school backpack.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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