Top 20 Best Backpacks for College 2017
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Top 20 Best Backpacks for College 2017

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A lot of factors go into finding the right backpack for college. The ideal candidate has a high storage capacity, good compartmentalization, and of course, style.

But with a large number of packs offering all of these features, it can be hard to pick your classroom companion.

That’s why we compiled our favorite backpack choices for handling massive amounts of books, electronic devices, and other supplies all into one list. All you have to do is decide which one best suits your specific needs.

Almost nothing makes it okay for someone to have to carry around 800 pages worth of textbook material, but these awesome backpacks make it a lot easier with comfortable straps and lumbar supporting features.

Read on below to discover our favorite picks. Maybe you’ll find your new back companion.


1. Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack

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Herschel Supply Co.’s Retreat backpack is as known for its reliability as it is for its distinct design. You will never have to worry about a caught zipper, as this pack uses stylish straps to secure a wide opening on the top.

This makes it easier to load your pack in a rush. The top flap closes with sturdy magnetic pin clips.

Inside, the pack is fully padded and fleece-lined in its characteristic pinstripe design.

This pack’s internal dimensions are 17 x 12 x 5.75 inches, making for a total 19.5L volume. The pack can expand to hold three large books and other smaller items.

Those who have an above average bookload may prefer Herschel’s larger Little America pack.

There is a laptop sleeve inside, but it does not offer enough extra padding to protect a laptop from drops, so be sure to grab a laptop sleeve.

The shoulder straps are contoured and padded with air mesh, making this pack nice and comfortable. This is the kind of bag that is a breeze to carry around all day.

It is one that can last against years of use/abuse as well.

Price: $79.99

Buy the Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Large opening makes it easy to pack and unpack
  • Compact and convenient style
  • No zippers means less frustration

Cons:

  • Laptop sleeve pocket needs more padding
  • External sleeve pocket too small
  • No side pockets

Find more Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack information and reviews here.



2. Element Men’s Jaywalker Backpack

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Element’s Jaywalker backpack is designed for traversing both ‘hoods and woods. It is made from a rugged polyester that stands up against heavy use, and its skateboard straps and reflective print make it great for a skate commute to and from class.

Even if you don’t skate to class, the straps can be useful for fastening down larger items that can’t fit in a backpack.

Its dimensions are 19.6 x 11.4 x 7.4 inches, making for a total volume of 19L. The large zip-fastened main compartment makes up most of this.

The bag also has side pockets, plus a laptop sleep for laptops up to 15 inches, which provides fairly decent padding for it.

It also has a drop sleeve for sunglasses, ensuring they won’t get scratched up against your school supplies.

Some might want more than just one main pocket to organize their supplies. However, this backpack is more geared towards being a mid-size travel companion to carry along the necessities.

Its padded straps and horizontal sternum clip help reduce stress on your shoulders. Don’t count on being able to carry this bag around by its top handle for long, as it is stiff and far less comfortable than the straps.

This is a bag you’re going to get used to wearing often.

Price: $55.00

Buy the Element Men’s Jaywalker Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Skateboard straps and reflective print
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Optional sternum strap reduces load stress

Cons:

  • Storage capacity could be larger
  • Low quality carry handle
  • Could use more pockets

Find more Element Men’s Jaywalker Backpack information and reviews here.



3. Oakley Kitchen Sink Backpack

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As its name suggests, Oakley’s Kitchen Sink backpack is for the student who brings everything with them.

With its dimensions of 20 x 14 x 8 and volume of 34L, you quite easily could fit a kitchen sink in it, but that would be a total waste of this brilliantly compartmentalized pack.

It has a side-access sleeve for up to 15-inch laptops, plenty of daisy chains, a front organizer panel, a mesh sunglasses pocket, a media pocket, a bottom shoe compartment, and side pockets galore.

This does make the pack extra bulky, but it can house pretty much everything you need for the day.

You can pack away your laptop, a full bibliography, a 1 gallon Camelbak, two footlong sandwiches, a head-to-toe change of clothes, and you’d still have room leftover.

The Kitchen Sink pack makes carrying heavy loads easy too, with a compression molded back panel and adjustable shoulder straps.

It also has horizontal sternum strap and a hip belt to evenly distribute the load.

Price: $149.95

Buy the Oakley Kitchen Sink Backpack here.

Pros:

  • 34L volume
  • Easily organized pockets
  • Highly durable

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Will be too large for many users
  • Bag can get incredibly heavy

Find more Oakley Kitchen Sink Backpack information and reviews here.



4. The North Face Jester Backpack

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The North Face Jester is a backpack that suites a wide variety of uses. It has a multitude of pockets and a simple, breathable design.

With dimensions of 22 x 15 x 5 inches and a volume of 26L, the Jester competes with other hybrid commute/hike packs, although it is best for light campus use.

This pack has a chest strap with a safety whistle buckle, but no condenser belts or waist belts, which means you can’t overpack it or else your shoulders will suffer.

But they probably won’t hate you, as the FlexVent injection-moulded shoulder straps are quite comfortable, even when using the padded laptop sleep to carry laptops up to 15 inches with no trouble.

The main compartment also has plenty of internal organization pockets, including a secure zippered pocket and a velcro pen pocket.

In addition to the large main pocket, this pack has a front pocket for sunglasses or small items, a front elastic bungee, and two side water bottle pockets.

The backpack as a whole is very well padded. The largest compartment has a heavy foam tube that absorbs shock when you set your pack on the ground. That helps this backpack to last through years of abuse.

Price: $53.17 and up

Buy The North Face Jester Backpack here.

Pros:

  • Holds both a laptop up to 15 inches
  • Two water bottle pockets plus front elastic bungee
  • Extra bottom padding protects delicate items inside

Cons:

  • Could hold a little more volume
  • No waist belt for larger loads
  • Needs to be more waterproof for serious hiking

Find more The North Face Jester Backpack information and reviews here.



5. Vaschy Classic Vintage Backpack

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Vaschy’s Classic Vintage Backpack offers a simplified and stylish storage option for someone with less extreme packing needs.

Its dimensions of 12.6 x 16.9 x 6.7 make it a manageable pack that you would have no trouble sliding under a lecture hall chair. However, it cannot carry nearly unlimited quantities of books like hiking-style backpacks usually can.

With a 22L volume, this bag can still carry plenty of textbooks, binders, and a laptop up to 14 inches in its laptop sleeve, but its ability to handle heavy items is limited.

In addition to the laptop sleeve, it also has two inner zipper pouches, one outer zipper pouch, a secret back zipper pocket for small electronics, two internal water bottle (or umbrella) holders.

Although the denim material doesn’t stand up against abuse as well as pure nylon backpacks, this pack has a suede bottom and quality leather logo and zipper pullers, making up points in style.

This isn’t the toughest backpack out there, but it is definitely one of the coolest.

Price: $28.89

Buy the Vaschy Classic Vintage Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Many compartments for organized storage
  • Classic vintage style
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Less durable material
  • Only holds laptops up to 14 inches
  • No built-in organizer

Find more EcoCity Classic Vintage Backpack information and reviews here.



6. Targus Drifter II Backpack

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Targus’ Drifter II Backpack is one of the most talked-about backpacks on Amazon, and for good reason too. The Drifter II is not the best looking backpack out there, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for in total functionality.

Its exterior dimensions of 14.6 x 20.1 x 7.9 provide plenty of room for packing in its two main compartments, one of which has a 17 inch laptop sleeve.

Note that there is also a slightly smaller version of this pack that supports up to 16-inch laptops.

In addition to a volume of over 30L, the Drifter II is organized by more zippered compartments than you can shake a stick at, as well as file storage, and two side water bottle pockets.

The bag’s shock-absorbing shoulder straps and thick back padding help ease the burden of a bag full of Poli-sci textbook. Plus they provide lumbar support.

Price: $59.99 (25 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Targus Drifter II Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Shock-absorbing straps and back padding provide maximum comfort
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • High storage volume

Cons:

  • Backpack depth not adjustable
  • Shoulder straps can be bulky
  • Zippers can be finicky

Find more Targus Drifter II Backpack information and reviews here.



7. AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack

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(Amazon)

When it comes to offering what you need at the right price, AmazonBasics products usually deliver. The AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack is no exception as a #1 Best Seller for laptop backpacks.

Its external dimensions of 15 x 7 x 19 inches allow this pack to hold up to a 17 inch laptop, something really seen in backpacks of this price.

You can fit a week’s worth of class materials in its 32L of storage volume. Additionally, you have organizational compartments for pens, keys, your cell phone, and even a smaller padded pocket for tablets.

These sub-compartments are practically distributed throughout the five main pockets of the pack, except for two water bottle pockets on the side.

The backpack is devoid of branding, and consequently, does not look particularly interesting. This is expected, considering this is clearly a functionality-first kind of pack.

It is comfortable to wear with padded straps, but its padding to protect the main pocket could be a little more robust. Again considering the fantastic price, your gear will be well-protected behind the otherwise sturdy material used.

Price: $29.99

Buy the AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Low price tag
  • Two water bottle pockets plus sub-compartment storage
  • High storage volume

Cons:

  • Boring design
  • Minimal fabric padding
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack information and reviews here.



8. SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart 1900

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SwissGear backpacks like the highly rated Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack warrant a comparison to the globally recognized Swiss Army knife. They fit an unreal amount of utility into a sleek, sizable package.

This durable travel pack works as well for international travel as it does for walking across campus, with a variety of useful features.

This pack has a mobile phone pocket, a sunglasses holder, a side water bottle pocket, an organizer pocket, abn accessory pocket, and a padded laptop sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches.

This bag can use its full 30L of storage when expanded to its max dimensions of 18.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches, or it can be cinched down with its condenser straps to support a smaller load.

Its back panel offers plenty of airflow, and its padded straps are nice, minus the lack of waist or sternum strap. The glasses holder on the strap is a nice touch, are is the headphone hole and media pouch for storing a phone or mp3 player.

The laptop compartment has a side entry for easy accessibility. It also has full-length zippers open the pockets almost to the bottom.

No corner of the bag shall go unchecked when you are looking for the granola bar that you are sure you packed this morning.

Price: $54.99

Buy the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart here.


Pros:

  • Large pockets with plenty of subcompartments
  • Condenser straps to resize pack as needed
  • Full-body zippers make any part of the bag accessible

Cons:

  • Easily confused with other SwissGear models
  • Needs more smaller pockets on the outside
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more SwissGear Travel Gear information and reviews here.



9. High Sierra Swerve Backpack

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(Amazon)

High Sierra’s Swerve Backpack is a versatile pick for any kind of class load, whether you’re packing some 600 page textbooks, a laptop up to 15 inches, a change of clothes to the gym, or all three and then some.

Condenser straps allow you to flatten out this high-volume 31L pack, but you will most likely be using it at full size, given its fully padded laptop compartment, tablet sleeve, multiple large compartments, shoulder strap media pocket, two water bottle pockets, and padded bottom panel.

Its dimensions of 19 x 13 x 7.75 inches are fairly average, but High Sierra backpacks do offer an above-average level of comfort with their S-shaped should straps and suspension system to manage larger loads.

Additional load-supporting straps are absent, but not particularly missed, as the padded back panel makes carrying this pack very manageable.

Coming home from late night classes feels safe, as the reflective piping increases visibility when walking alongside roads, and the shoulder strap pocket for a phone or mp3 player is a great addition.

The zippers are bulky, though sometimes a little finicky, and the material is built to last, making this an all-around solid pick.

Price: $34.99 and up

Buy the High Sierra Swerve Backpack here.


Pros:

  • 40 different designs to choose from
  • High storage volume
  • Ergonomically shaped shoulder straps

Cons:

  • Zippers can be finicky
  • Internal mesh can pill shirts and coats
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more High Sierra Swerve Backpack information and reviews here.



10. Outlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack

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Outlander’s Packable Travel Backpack can have limited applications in a school environment, but is honestly too cool to pass up mentioning.

The special thing about this backpack is that it is made from lightweight nylon material that allows it to be rolled up into its own pocket for easy storage.

Given its lightweight build and 30L volume, you might end up using this pack every day, but between semesters or when you’re traveling home for breaks, it can be handy to have a backpack that stows away easily.

Because of its ability to shrink down significantly, it does not have any special padding for laptops, though it could still store one easily in its main pocket.

It does have deep water bottle pockets, plus two front zipper pockets for smaller items. Shoulder padding is still sufficient, but will obviously lack any supplemental support because of its lightweight nature.

Nonetheless, a light and easy to use bag is just what some people need.

Price: $19.99

Buy the Outlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Lightweight and fully packable for travel
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High storage volume

Cons:

  • Zippers can be finicky
  • No laptop sleeve
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more Outlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack information and reviews here.



11. Fjällräven Kånken Laptop Backpack

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(Amazon)

The Fjällräven Kånken Laptop Backpack has the same functional Swedish design as when it was first introduced in 1978.

This timeless pack has been modernized with a padded laptop sleeve, and the pack comes in three different sizes for the perfect fit.

The pack has a 13-inch (13L), 15-inch (15L), and 17-inch (20L) version, though there is certainly nothing wrong with going up a size for more storage space.

The backpack comes in a variety of different colors as well, and some have reflective strips for added visibility (even though this would be a nice feature on all of their packs).

They are all made from high durable Vinylon F material, which is resistant to water and abrasion.

The material gets softer with age and more durable as you wash it, since this tightens the material’s fibers. So be sure to wash it once if you don’t want a super stiff pack.

Even if you don’t soften it up, the pack still has good padding on the back and shoulder straps. The pack is designed to sit high up on your back, but it is lacking in any hip belt or sternum strap for support.

The pack has a basic three pocket configuration, and its boxy shape helps you really load the main pocket full.

The other pockets aren’t nearly as big as the spacious main one, but they do help organize your smaller items without over-compartmentalizing.

All in all, there are larger packs out there if you are just looking for sheer storage space, but the Kånken Laptop Backpack is a stylish and durable mid-size option that will serve as a long-lasting investment.

Price: $77.48

Buy the Fjällräven Kånken Laptop Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of different colors and sizes to fit any laptop size
  • Durable material cleans easily
  • Stores a lot without being bulky

Cons:

  • Not all packs have reflective strips
  • Material feels overly stiff before it is washed
  • Total volume could be larger

Find more Fjallraven Kånken Laptop Backpack information and reviews here.



12. Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack

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(Amazon)

In addition to making durable water-resistant clothing, Under Armour also makes water-resistant backpacks, and the Storm Hustle II is one of their most popular designs.

This backpack gets its name from the multi-layered water-resistant material, which keeps your goods dry whether they are in one of the two spacious main pockets, or one of the two slip pockets for smaller items.

The total volume of the pack is 30L, not counting the two side water bottle pockets, or the extra storage potential of the side straps from which you can clip water bottles and keys.

The main pocket has a laptop sleep that will fit most 15-inch laptops. There is also a deep pocket on the bottom of the bag that is a great place to stow shoes or a sweatshirt.

One considerable downside to this otherwise durable pack is that it lacks a padded or otherwise reinforced bottom panel. You have to be a little more gentle when plopping it on the ground.

The adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps are quite comfortable, and don’t necessarily beckon the need for extra support, but those who need a sternum strap will need to look on further.

You also have to be okay with some hefty UA branding, but aside from those issues, the Storm Hustle II is a winner, especially if you live in a rainy climate like I do.

Price: $41.98 and up

Buy the Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Tough water-resistant material
  • High storage volume
  • Two water bottle pockets

Cons:

  • Bottom panel could be stronger
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support
  • Heavily branded

Find more Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack information and reviews here.



13. JanSport Big Student Classics Backpack

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(Amazon)

When you think of school backpacks, JanSport is a name that immediately comes to mind, as you’ve likely owned one of their packs at one point before.

Their most common backpack model is just a little small for the increased bookload of college use, but JanSport also makes this Big backpack with a massive 34L storage volume.

The Big Student Classics pack has two almost equally-sized main pockets, plus a smaller front pocket with an organizer for school supplies and portable devices.

One downside is that this pack does not have a padded laptop sleeve, which means if you carry a laptop around, you will need a separate protective sleeve to keep it safe.

This does create more space for large books though, which is likely going to make up the bulk of your load.

This backpack has ergonomic S-shaped straps that contour to shape of your upper torso, which helps a lot for dispersing the pack’s weight.

The pack has a single mesh water bottle holder, and the material comes in a variety of different colors. It is lightweight and fairly sturdy. However, the bottom panel could use some extra reinforcement.

If you’ve had a JanSport before, you know that the zippers can sometimes get stuck in nearby material, which is still a problem for this larger pack. Granted, it’s a hiccup worth overlooking.

Small flaws aside, this backpack is a classic for a reason. Its time-tested design holds up to the rigorous use of higher education, and it looks absolutely awesome while doing so.

Price: $2 6.97and up

Buy the JanSport Big Student Classics Backpack here.


Pros:

  • High storage volume
  • Ergonomic S-shaped backpack straps
  • Front organizer pocket

Cons:

  • No padded laptop sleeve
  • Zippers can be finicky
  • Bottom panel could be stronger

Find more JanSport Big Student Classics Backpack information and reviews here.



14. Everest Stylish Laptop Backpack

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(Amazon)

Everest’s so-called Stylish Laptop Backpack (also known as the R5045LT) is a modest and professional backpack that offers solid storage at a great price.

At a storage volume of 21.6L, this is far from the largest backpack of the lot. But it is still large enough to hold the necessities.

The interior lining of this pack is a bright blue, which makes it much easier to find small items lost at the bottom of your pack.

The main pocket has plenty of room for textbooks, and a padded laptop sleeve will keep laptops up to 17 inches safe. Its middle pocket is slim yet very deep, and serves multiple purposes. Its front compartment has a handy internal organizer.

My favorite part about this backpack is easily its two large water bottle pockets, though. I have never seen deeper, more spacious water bottle pockets, and they can actually fit my favorite oversized 1L Nalgene water bottle.

The fully padded back panel and mesh shoulder straps make this backpack comfortable to wear. It doesn’t have any extra support besides that, but this backpack isn’t the kind that you would want to stuff with a back-breaking load anyway.

The zippers are stiff when you first use them, but they do wear in over time. For an inexpensive, sleek, and effective backpack, the Everest Stylish Laptop Backpack is a great choice.

Price: $18.47

Buy the Everest Stylish Laptop Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Two deep water bottle pockets
  • Internal organizer in front pocket
  • Large padded laptop sleeve with bright interior lining

Cons:

  • Stiff zippers need to wear in
  • Total volume could be larger
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more Everest Stylish Laptop Backpack information and reviews here.



15. Kaka Backpack for 17-Inch Laptops

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Despite its unfortunate name, the Kaka backpack is a no-nonsense budget bag that offers many high quality features at a value price.

This backpack has a fantastic 35L capacity, and the necessary dimensions to hold most 17-inch laptops in its padded laptop compartments.

The main compartment zips all the way downn, so you can easily stuff the bag up. The Kaka backpack also has two smaller half-zip compartments, one of which has an organizer for smaller items. There is a water bottle pocket on each side too, which I always appreciate.

You can pack this bag quite full thanks to the sternum strap and decent shoulder straps, both of which help distribute weight across your back and shoulders. The pack’s tough terylene material holds up against heavy use too.

Keep in mind that this material is not very rigid, so the backpack folds up easily when empty. This can be used to your advantage, thanks to some straps that adjust the depth of the main compartment to a smaller load.

But while on the topic of storage space, it can be hard to retrieve small things from the main two pockets, as they are overly deep.

Thankfully, the wide tooth zipper is very smooth, making it less of a hassle when you do have to zip your pack down to retrieve something.

This backpack is truly loaded in features, and for under $30, all you have to worry about is that truly unforgettably awkward name.

Price: $33.99

Buy the Kaka Backpack for 17-Inch Laptops here.


Pros:

  • Large and smooth zippers
  • Two water bottle pockets plus hanging clips
  • High storage volume

Cons:

  • Pockets are too deep
  • Not water-resistant
  • Shoulder straps could use more padding

Find more Kaka Backpack for 17-Inch Laptops information and reviews here.



16. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack

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(Amazon)

The OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack is an inexpensive hiking bag that is lightweight and versatile enough to be used for camping out in the wild or on the top floor of the library.

This pack has a massive 50L volume. It has waterproof cover to give it merit as a serious camping companion. It even has a laptop sleeve for a 15-inch laptop.

It has an adjustable waist and chest strap to offset heavy backpacking supplies, but also a pocket with a tech and school supply organizer.

Some of its best features help in both situations, like the incredibly thick back cushions, or the two water bottle pockets.

The backpack has a spacious main pocket, a secondary pocket, plus a slip pocket on the outside of the pack. Its lightweight and durable material is also a nice touch.

The back cushioning is nice, but the shoulder straps could stand to be a little more padded. Still, they work.

For such a low price, this bag offers more than you could ask for. It delivers storage, utility, and durability in a package that none other does.

Price: $36.99

Buy the OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Waterproof backpack cover
  • Massive storage volume
  • Adjustable chest and waist strap

Cons:

  • Zippers can snag easily
  • Straps could be more padded

Find more OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack information and reviews here.



17. eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

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(Amazon)

If you want to escape the bright neon colors and superfluous doodads of camping packs, the eBag slim backpack is a piece of luggage that offers a more professional and refined style.

The eBag backpack is made from a fairly heavy material, making it a little heftier than it needs to be, but also giving it a nice rigidity. The backpack straps feel comfortable, and the bag has a sternum strap for added support.

When it is preferred, you can tuck one backpack strap away and use this bag more like a briefcase.

The main pocket makes up the bulk of this bag’s 21.6L volume, and has a brightly colored lining to help you find objects at the very bottom.

It houses both a laptop sleeve and a tablet sleeve. Each one is well padded, and very spacious. The bag also has a “2D” secondary pocket with room for documents, and a Napoleon pocket with an organizer.

Beneath this main compartment is a removable hardshell pouch for carrying sunglasses or other delicate goods. The slim bag even has a zip-out water bottle holder that is there when you need it.

The eBags slim backpack is a versatile dress code pack that checks all the boxes for a great bag without packing any any bungee cords, exterior mesh pockets, carabiner clips, or other outdoorsman bling.

If you don’t mind the higher price tag, this school bag can transition into your office space companion for years to come.

Price: $99.99

Buy the eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Slim, professional design
  • Secondary document pocket and hardshell pouch
  • Well-padded laptop and tablet sleeves

Cons:

  • Bag material is heavy
  • Total volume could be larger
  • High price tag

Find more eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack information and reviews here.



18. EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack

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(Amazon)

Though the EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack looks more like a storybook rucksack you would take on a train ride across Europe to visit your Nana, it is actually a handy and viable college backpack.

This beautiful bag has a somewhat unique layout, which centers around a top-loading main compartment that has a drawstring and flap instead of a zipper.

The bag has a decent 19L volume, which is enough to store several text books, plus a laptop into its padded sleeve. Unfortunately, the laptop sleeve only holds up to 13-inch laptops, so it is better suited for a tablet or Chromebook.

So far, we have reviewed backpacks with twice the storage space as this one, but it will still do if you have a relatively small class load.

In terms of other compartments, this bag also has a small front pocket and a convenient hanging pouch in the main pocket to organize smaller items.

This pack has two side pockets, but they certainly aren’t for water bottles, as a proper-sized water bottle wouldn’t easily fit into either one.

Its large, plush shoulder straps are very comfortable, despite not having any added support for larger loads. The zippers are quite tough, and hold up well against heavy use.

Ultimately, this bag’s biggest shortcoming is its size, but it if you don’t need to carry many books day to day, this is a stylish and affordable backpack that delivers simple and effective storage.

Price: $29.99 (50 percent off MSRP)

Buy the EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Large opening makes it easy to pack and unpack
  • Compact and durable
  • Easy to access organizer pouch

Cons:

  • No proper water bottle holder
  • Total volume could be larger
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack information and reviews here.



19. High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack

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(Amazon)

Though they are often written off as being for kids, rolling backpacks can be handy when you are suffering from an injury or just excessive laziness.

The High Sierra Freewheel is a stylish and spacious backpack that can be worn on your back or rolled at your side. It has smooth-rolling wheels and a beefy telescoping handle that folds away and zips out of sight with ease.

The Freewheel has bumpers stitched into its corners, plus a reinforced bottom for rough handling. The bag material is nice, and the tuck-away should straps are well padded to offset the extra discomfort you will experience from the frame for the wheels.

The storage volume is quite good, but High Sierra doesn’t offer any figures for cross comparison. It can certainly be loaded full enough to justify using the rolling feature, as large backpack loads can put unnecessary stress on your spinal column.

It has about as much space as their highly-rated Swerve bag, minus the extra space needed for the wheels and telescoping handle. Its main compartment has a laptop sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches in screen size, and plenty of space for books and binders.

Its two front compartments are smaller half-zip pockets for more important trinkets. One has an organizer for smaller objects. This pack has one water bottle pocket on the right side.

One of the things that I like best about this bag is that it doesn’t look like a typical rolling backpack. If you didn’t see the wheels underneath, it would look totally normal with its duralite material and average size. A nice bonus is that it has reflective accents for night time visibility.

Price: $55.33 and up

Buy the High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Smooth rolling wheels and telescoping handle
  • Rigid reinforced design protects contents
  • Deep and spacious main compartment

Cons:

  • Heavier and bulkier than non-rolling backpacks
  • Zippers can be finicky
  • Only one water bottle pocket

Find more High Sierra Freewheel Wheeled Backpack information and reviews here.



20. Speedo Large Teamster Backpack

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(Amazon)

You might know them for their — ahem — aerodynamic swimwear, but Speedo actually makes everything an intrepid athlete might need, including a heavy-duty gym backpack.

The Large Teamster Backpack has a tough exterior shell with a water-resistant bottom that makes it perfect for rainy weather or the locker room, and a great arrangement of pockets for storage.

This water resistant bottom padding is even removable, and can double as a stadium seat cushion when needed.

True to its title, this pack has a 35L volume, with a handy top-load main compartment. This main pocket has a laptop sleeve that could easily handle most 17-inch laptops, plus a removable “dirt bag” for dirty or wet gym clothes to keep them separate from your electronics.

The other pockets are much smaller, and only offer room for small trinkets The backpack has two tall water bottle pockets for storing bottles, which is always a huge plus for me.

The backpack straps are adequately cushioned, as is the back of the pack. But there are no additional support features for those who need them.

Just because it is built for swimmers doesn’t mean the Speedo Large Teamster Backpack won’t be perfect for you too. It is still a well-priced and good-looking pack that is thoroughly waterproofed.

You will get plenty of use out of that, even if you never take it to the pool.

Price: $47.64 and up

Buy the Speedo Large Teamster Backpack here.


Pros:

  • Large opening makes it easy to pack and unpack
  • Tough and water resistant exterior
  • Included stadium seat allows you to sit comfortably anywhere

Cons:

  • Could use larger secondary pockets
  • Lacking sternum strap or other added support

Find more Speedo Large Teamster Backpack information and reviews here.



Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
25 Comments

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25 Comments

Tim

hi Dan, I strongly believe that the bags listed above are high quality packs and good brands. All bags needs care but when roughly handled definitely will lead to wear and tear soonest. The bags are quality bags especially going through the customer reviews you see this proofs.

Dan

This list lost all its credibility on the first post. Herschel is definitely trendy, but they need to pull their shit together. I’ve gone through three bags already and all the straps and buttons have fallen off after a couple months. Theres little to no compartments, so no matter how nicely you place it in there, by mid day its a mess. I love the style, but based on utility and reliability it’s one of the worst bags I’ve owned, and considering the price you pay, you should get quality instead of cheap plastic clips and straps.

Kim Wright

So three bags with a high price tag which you slag of highly – perhaps more money than sense!!! Are you going to buy a fourth!!

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