15 Best Backpacks For College Students, Recommended By An Experts – 2024

Durable and stylish bags to carry if you want to be that popular girl in your college!

Reviewed by Michelle Wagman, Fashion Stylist Michelle Wagman Michelle WagmanFashion Stylist facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English) Priyam Gupta MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant Srijani Roy Chowdhury MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Style & Image Consultant linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Last Updated on
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The college campus becomes a temporary home for some, while others commute for hours. The latter scenario becomes much easier if you have the best backpacks for college to organize your essentials. From your study materials and laptop to your lunch box, credit cards, and identity proofs, there is a lot of stuff you need to carry during your daily commutes. Therefore, a sturdy and spacious backpack becomes a necessity for every college-goer.

The high-quality backpacks in our list are designed to offer good resistance against wear and tear and feature comfortable straps that are padded. They are lightweight, making it easier to carry your belongings effortlessly. Also, these products have multiple compartments and side pockets to store the important documents at your arm’s reach. Swipe you to read more details.

Top Picks
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Best Overall:Matein Water Resistant College Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Comfortable:Tzowla Laptop Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best For Anti-Theft: LOVEVOOK Laptop Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Durable:Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack
Price on Amazon

Best With Numerous Pockets:The North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Affordable:Himawari Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Easy-To-Access:BAGSMART Laptop Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best To Carry Laptops:Vera Bradley Campus Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Tear-Resistant:Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Chelsea Backpack
Price on Amazon
Best Insulated-Base:Carhartt Backpack
Price on Amazon

15 Best Backpacks For College Students To Organize Their Needs – 2024

1. Best Overall:Matein Water Resistant College Backpack

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4.7

Matein’s stylish backpack for college has a laptop compartment and 2 more on the front for all your stationery. Thick padding with multi-panel ventilation gives you back support along with wide adjustable shoulder straps to reduce pressure. On the backside, you will find an anti-theft hidden pocket to store valuables. Made with water-resistant polyester, this is one of the popular college backpacks that’s also convenient for travel. You can fixate the bag on your luggage with the suitcase sleeve and the foam-padded top handle makes for easy carrying.

Item Weight: 1.56 pounds | Product Dimensions: 12 x 18 x 7.8 inches.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Separate 15-inch laptop compartment
  • Thick adjustable shoulder straps
  • Anti-theft hidden pocket
  • Suitcase sleeve
  • External USB charging port

Cons

  • The laptop compartment might not have padding on the bottom
protip_icon Quick Tip

Fill a tub with warm water and detergent or white vinegar. Scrub this backpack inside and out. Rinse and air dry.

2. Best Comfortable:Tzowla Laptop Backpack

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4.5

Tzowla brings to you what is perhaps the most comfortable backpack for college with a password lock and durable zippers made of high-quality materials, so all your valuables stay safe. A pocket just for your laptop is present, along with one on the front for your tablet and other essentials. Not only is the polyester bag water-resistant, it also has a protective ridge around the exterior to remain damage-free after bumps or falls. This college backpack for boys features a side pocket with a magnetic buckle that can be used as a water bottle holder. It remains completely secured. Reviewers love the product because it is one of the most sturdy backpacks for college, and is also resistant to creasing, tearing, and scratching.

Color: ‎A-black | Product Dimensions: ‎13.78 x 10.04 x 3.58 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.83 pounds

Pros

  • 360° protection
  • Padded interior
  • Water-resistant
  • Password lock with metal zippers
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Tear-resistant

Cons

  • Some may find it to be fairly small

Our Tester's Experience

"This backpack comes with password lock protection. It features multiple compartments for storing items easily. The shoulder straps are cushiony, and they allow easy air passage to prevent sweat buildup on my shoulders. I like that its material is water-resistant and does not show signs of wear and tear despite daily usage."


3. Best For Anti-Theft:LOVEVOOK Laptop Backpack

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4.6
LOVEVOOK Laptop Backpack Image: Lovevook

The LOVEVOOK Laptop Backpack offers a portable USB charging port to conveniently charge your phone’s battery in case of an emergency, without opening the backpack. The multi-compartment backpack consists of a main compartment, a horizontal zipper pocket, a big front separate compartment, and a small front compartment. A big handle and anti-theft pockets with fixed password locks allow you to travel to crowded places safely. The waterproof and tear-resistant backpack is made of high-quality nylon fabric and has adjustable padded shoulder straps, as indicated by multiple reviews.

Color: ‎1 Grey | Product Dimensions: ‎11.81 x 7.48 x 16.14 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.7 pounds

Pros

  • USB charging port
  • Multicompartmental
  • Antitheft pockets
  • Fixed password lock
  • Waterproof
  • Tear-resistant
  • Padded shoulder straps

Cons

  • Poor zipper quality

Our Tester's Experience

"This backpack has a USB charging port that makes it a very convenient piece. It has multiple pockets that allow me to arrange my items. The zipper closures are sturdy and resistant to rusting. I like to carry my phone and other essentials in the back anti-theft pocket. The material is tear-resistant and waterproof."


protip_icon Pro Tip

Protect your laptop with laptop sleeves. Ensure it fits snugly for maximum protection. Use for added safety in a backpack or at home or work.

4. Best Durable:Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack

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4.5

One of the most trendy college backpacks for women, this one by Modoker is made of 600D nylon and features a polyester lining. Many reviews indicate that the vegan leather trimming detail adds flair to the overall look of this vintage backpack. With a total of 6 pockets, you can easily stash your laptop, books, stationery, bottles, and other valuables in this durable backpack. To reduce undue pressure on the back and shoulders, the adjustable well-padded shoulder straps are crafted with honeycomb cushioning. Easy to clean, this is one of the most durable college backpacks you can choose.

Item Weight: 1.4 pounds | Product Dimensions: 4.65 x 2.68 x 6.22 inches.

Pros

  • USB charging port
  • Cushioned and adjustable shoulder straps
  • Leather trimming
  • 6 pockets
  • Easy to clean
  • Soft inner lining

Cons

  • Some may find it slightly bulky

Our Tester's Experience

"I like that this bag has a stable base. It retains its structure despite regular use. The zippers work smoothly. The dedicated laptop sleeve is cushioned against impact. The bag is very spacious and can fit everything without getting bulky."


5. Best With Numerous Pockets:The North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack

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4.5
The North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack Image: The North Face

Protect your laptop daily in a single compartment of the North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack. It is designed with the FlexVent™ suspension system that offers a rounded back panel and comfortable shoulder straps, while the external bungee-compression system provides multiple pockets to organize your essentials conveniently. This everyday backpack is available in eight vibrant colors with a padded top grab handle, a sternum strap, and a removable waist belt to carry it anywhere.

Item Weight: 2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 12 x 19.5 inches.

Pros

  • Protective laptop compartment
  • Available in 8 colors
  • Multiple pockets
  • Water-resistant
  • Removable waist strap
  • Padded handle
  • Comfortable shoulder straps

Cons

  • Narrow bottom

Our Tester's Experience

"My shoulders do not feel strained when I wear this bag. It has padded shoulder straps that compress my shoulders and distribute pressure evenly. The top handle is sturdy and easy to grip. It also comes with a detachable waist strap. The zippers run smoothly and are resistant to damage."


6. Best Affordable:Himawari Backpack

Himawari carries some cute backpacks for college students that are made of water-resistant and scratch-resistant nylon. On the inside, you can stow away your laptop in the padded compartment and use the main pocket along with the 4 small and 2 side ones for other necessities. Reviewers on Amazon have noted that the double-stitched shoulder straps of this commuter backpack are well-made and reinforced with dual padding and are soft against your skin. Smooth and strong metal zippers, heavy-duty metal buckles, a sturdy top handle, and leather decorations make this the perfect college backpack.

Item Weight: 2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 12 x 19.5 inches.

Pros

  • Available in 37 color combinations
  • Water-resistant
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Shoulder straps with dual padding
  • Smooth metal zippers
  • Leather decorations

Cons

  • Outer pocket is not functional

7. Best Easy-To-Access:BAGSMART Laptop Backpack

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4.6
BAGSMART Womens Backpack Image: Bagsmart

The durable, quilted, and water-repellant material of the BAGSMART Laptop Backpack is ideal for professional work or weekend getaways. It features two-way zipper closures for easy access and multiple storage compartments with a secured anti-theft lock system. The comfortable backpack offers adjustable padded shoulder straps, five different bright shades, and a unique charge slot to put your phone on charge while traveling. According to reviews, this multipurpose backpack is lightweight and looks stylish in pictures while you are in college, office, or on vacation.

Color: ‎Pink | Product Dimensions: ‎7.48 x 11.25 x 16.93 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.25 pounds

Pros

  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Two-way zipper closures
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Unique charge slots
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • None

8. Best To Carry Laptops:Vera Bradley Campus Backpack

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4.7
Vera Bradley Campus Backpack Image: Vera Bradley

The best backpack for college girls comes from Vera Bradley and it is made with lightweight quilted cotton, which is also durable. You can keep your electronics neatly stored in the mesh slip pockets of this eco-friendly backpack. With 2 zippered pockets and 2 side slip ones, you can also utilize a hidden back zipper pocket for your valuables. This college backpack for girls is the perfect size and it comes with an easy-access front pocket, adjustable straps, and a trolley sleeve for a hassle-free experience. Fashion stylist Michelle Wagman says, “A trolley sleeve is a feature on some bags and luggage that allows them to slide over a rolling suitcase or trolley handle. It supports carrying many bags and helps keep your luggage from falling over.” We think this is one of the best backpacks for college students with laptops.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 4 exterior pockets and 9 interior ones
  • Adjustable straps
  • Trolley sleeve
  • Available in 37 colors and printed designs

Cons

  • The shoulder pads might not be sufficiently padded

Our Tester's Experience

"I like that I can wash this bag in my machine. It is made of breathable cotton that feels soft against my back. It has two slip pockets inside where I store my notebooks. The ID card slot is very convenient. The bag itself is very lightweight, and the material never gets wrinkly."


9. Best Tear-Resistant:Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Chelsea Backpack

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4.6
Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Chelsea Backpack Image: Kenneth Cole Reaction

On your lookout for good backpacks for college, this bag’s exterior is made of a quilted polyester and twill blend. Not only is the surface water-resistant, the gold-plated sturdy zippers add a classy detail. The inner lining of a tear-resistant stripe polyester gives you comfort in this classy backpack for college. At the rear, you can find adjustable shoulder straps that take the pressure off your back and a trolley sleeve for hands-free carrying. Beverage pockets on the sides coupled with a top handle make Kenneth Cole’s product one of the best backpacks for college girls.

Item Weight: 2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 11 x 16 inches.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Tear-resistant inner lining
  • Gold-plated zippers
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Trolley sleeve
  • Padded pockets for devices

Cons

  • Might not hold shape when filled

Our Tester's Experience

"The gold-plated zippers of this bag look stunning. It has a water-resistant exterior that holds up well despite daily use. The adjustable straps allow me to customize their fit on my shoulders. I like that the bag features a trolley strap for easy transportation. Its solid black color makes it suitable for different purposes."


10. Best Insulated-Base:Carhartt Backpack

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4.6
Carhartt Backpack Image: Carhartt

Go on a hike or a picnic with the versatile Carhartt Backpack. It keeps up to 24 cans cold for over 8 hours with its completely insulated-base compartment. The backpack from the trusted brand is made of Rain Defender® durable water-repellent technology with 600 denier polyester to withstand sudden rainfall so that you can finish your activity without any worry. It has the perfect shape and comes with contour-fit shoulder straps, a large main compartment with mesh pockets, two exterior elastic mesh pockets, a front zippered pocket, and two additional front slash pockets to carry the essentials conveniently. This product also serves as an excellent hiking backpack.

Color: Grey | Outer Material: ‎Polyester | Number of Items: ‎1 | Product Dimensions: ‎8"D x 12.5"W x 17.75"H | Color: ‎Grey

Pros

  • Insulated-base compartment
  • Durable water-repellent technology
  • Contour fit shoulder
  • Mesh pockets
  • Available in 3 colors

Cons

  • Small in size

Our Tester's Experience

"This bag is made of a water-repellant material. The wide shoulder straps are adjustable. They sit nicely on my shoulder without slipping down my arms. The insulated base keeps my drinks cold for hours. The two mesh pockets at the sides are deep and ideal for holding my bottles."


11. Best Spacious:MAXTOP Laptop Backpack

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4.5

The MAXTOP Laptop Backpack has plenty of space for college students and working professionals. This minimalist backpack features a USB charging port, a padded laptop compartment wherein you can carry a 16-inch laptop, a roomy compartment, and 10 pockets with an anti-theft lock system. The ergonomic back support system offers s-shaped soft padding to release stress from your shoulders and neck. The lightweight, sturdy material is long-lasting, so you can travel anywhere conveniently and comfortably.

Color: ‎Black | Product Dimensions: ‎5.9 x 11.8 x 16.9 inches | Item Weight: ‎15.8 ounces

Pros

  • Padded laptop compartment
  • 10 pockets
  • Ergonomic
  • S-shaped soft padding
  • Lightweight
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • USB charging port
  • Waterproof
  • Anti-theft lock syste

Cons

  • Small water sleeve

Our Tester's Experience

"I love this bag as it never gets bulky. It can accommodate my books, laptop, and all my college essentials. It has multiple pockets, allowing me to organize my items easily. The two side pockets are sturdy and deep. It also features a USB charging port that comes in very handy."


12. Best Fashionable:BROMEN Leather Backpack

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4.5

BROMEN’s fashionable backpacks for college are made of high-quality vegan leather with coffee lining. This leather backpack features a padded laptop pocket and 2 slip pockets that give you ample storage capacity. Streamlined stitching keeps all the seams in place throughout usage and the accessories are made of gold alloy with an anti-corrosive finish. Available in 4 solid colors, BROMEN’s girls backpacks for college will earn you lots of compliments.

Item Weight: 2.7 pounds | Product Dimensions: 11.02 x 4.72 x 15.75 inches.

Pros

  • Made with vegan leather
  • Padded laptop pocket
  • Streamlined stitching
  • Available in 4 colors
  • Waterproof
  • Anti-corrosive metal details

Cons

  • Some might find the straps to be thin

Our Tester's Experience

"I love how spacious this bag is. It has a cushioned laptop sleeve. The zipper is sturdy and works smoothly. The plain brown straps look elegant. They do not strain my shoulders or cause me to sweat. The side pocket is deep enough for my 2-litre bottle."


13. Best Lightweight:Lenovo Laptop Backpack

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4.5

The Lenovo Laptop Backpack is designed to carry any laptop securely and conveniently to your college or office. The stylish and modern design is made of water-repellent polyester fabric and has a padded interior to keep your essentials safe and secure. The quilted back panel makes the bag lightweight. Many reviewers agree that the fully adjustable shoulder straps make it the best travel companion.

Item Weight: 13.6 ounces | Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 13.3 x 17.9 inches.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Polyester fabric
  • Waterproof
  • Stylish
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Padded interior

Cons

  • No bottle sleeve

Our Tester's Experience

"The quick-access pocket at the front is the best thing about this bag. The bag has a padded interior that keeps my items protected against impact. The wide shoulder straps feel soft on my shoulders. They are adjustable, so I can customize their fit on my back. I like that it does not ever get bulky."


14. Best Ergonomic Design: Seoul Laptop Backpack

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4.7
Seoul Laptop Backpack Image: Kipling

The waterproof Kipling Seoul Laptop Backpack offers one main laptop compartment and four zipped pockets for college students to carry their essentials conveniently in a segregated manner. The main features include adjustable shoulder straps, an ergonomic design, a bottle holder, and a handy top handle. This lightweight backpack is available in 9 stylish, trendy colors to grab the crowd’s attention wherever you go.

Item Weight: 1.36 pounds | Product Dimensions: 8 x 13.75 x 17.25 inches.

Pros

  • Laptop-dedicated compartment
  • Adjustable straps
  • Ergonomic design
  • 9 trending colors
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Not suitable for big-sized bottles

Our Tester's Experience

"This backpack is very spacious. It has multiple zipper pockets where I can arrange my items easily. The zippers run smoothly at all times. I like that it has a protective laptop sleeve that protects my laptop from impact."


15. Best Design With Suede Leather Bottom:JanSport Right Pack

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4.6
JanSport Right Pack Image: Jansport

One of the best JanSport backpacks for college, the Right Pack is made of cordura and features a suede leather bottom to keep all your belongings well-protected. If you’ve been wondering ‘what is the best backpack?’, rest assured because JanSport is a leading manufacturer. With a large compartment, you also get a padded laptop sleeve and a front utility pocket for everyday essentials. The straight-cut padded straps and web haul handle make carriage super easy wherever you may be headed.

Pros

  • Secure laptop section
  • Suede leather bottom
  • Straight-cut padded straps
  • Web haul handle
  • Available in 15 colors

Cons

  •  May not fit large files
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the best backpacks for college, let’s learn how you can pick the best one out for yourself.

How To Choose A Backpack For College

  •  Fabric

Bags made of synthetic fibers like polyester are not only sturdy and durable but also water-resistant. While this means they aren’t entirely waterproof, they will keep your belongings protected if you happen to be caught in a slight drizzle. Sustainable materials like cotton are also pretty strong and lightweight but might not repel moisture. When shopping for backpacks, choose polyester and other synthetic materials as they will withstand the elements.

  •  Compartments

Ensure that the back contains multiple compartments and pockets. You will do well with a separate laptop sleeve that is padded and can be fastened with a Velcro strap. Check for backpacks with built-in organizers for convenient storage. Additional mesh and slip pockets for phones, wallets, and chargers are also ideal. If you like to carry your beverages with you, look for elastic mesh side pockets on the outside that can also be used for umbrellas. Sometimes, a few pockets can look functional but might be decorative. If you need more room, look for options that don’t have this feature.

  •  Zippers

Good quality zippers hold the bag in place and look for sturdy metal ones with an anti-corrosive finish. Double zippers are your best friend because not only do they offer more security, but you always have a backup in case one happens to break.

  •  Straps

No matter how heavy your backpack is, quality straps can help reduce the pressure on your shoulders and back. Look for padded straps that feel soft against your skin. Airflow design on the back of the backpack can also remove tension in your back. Ensure that the straps are also adjustable so you can customize how high or low the bag sits on your back.

The Bottom Line

One of the best ways to celebrate going back to school is to get yourself a quality backpack. This process might be a tad bit tricky, as you might want to be fashionable, but you also have to assess its sturdiness. Finding a bag that meets all these requirements might take a while. Our list of the 15 best-selling backpacks for college combines style with practicality to bring you some top-notch picks. You can choose from a plethora of designs, colors, and sizes to accompany you into the new semester. If you want a backpack with anti-theft pockets and various compartments, choose the Matein Water Resistant College Backpack. Or try the Tzowla Laptop Backpack, for being highly durable and waterproof. You can also try the LOVEVOOK Laptop Backpack that comes with a USB port to charge your phone on the go. It’s always a great idea to consult a fashion stylist for their creative expertise and suggestions regarding the type and material of bag that will work best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do college students need backpacks?

Yes, a college-going student should have a backpack to carry and organize their books, laptops, or other study materials. These bags are comfortable, durable, and easy to carry for longer hours.

Are backpacks worth it?

Yes, backpacks are worth it.
•  They help you carry several things at once and make a secure place for all your belongings.
•  They keep your things organized and closer to you at all times.
•  They are lightweight and fit your body comfortably.
•  They are durable. So you don’t have to worry about repurchasing for a long time.
•  Finally, they keep you hands-free.

Are North Face backpacks waterproof?

No, north face backpacks are not waterproof. But they provide a certain level of water resistance.

How big should my college backpack be?

The average size of a backpack is 20-30 liters.

Are Kankens still cool?

Yes, the Kankens backpacks are still trending. They have become a more popular choice among many students as the brand has come up with more stylish designs.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Our author, Priyam Gupta, is a fashion enthusiast who has considered the necessary parameters before curating this list of the best backpacks for college students. The products in the list offer great space to organize study materials needed and some are water and tear resistant. Not only are these backpacks great fits for students who carry laptops and other necessities, but they also have strong lock features to protect your belongings from theft.

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Michelle Wagman
Michelle WagmanFashion Stylist
Michelle Wagman is a fashion industry entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience as a designer’s agent. She is also the editor-in-chief of FashionEdits, a fashion and lifestyle blog. She graduated from FIT with a degree in fashion merchandising and has worked with notable designers on 7th Avenue in NYC.

Read full bio of Michelle Wagman