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The 25 Best Backpacks for College Students in 2023

By Martha Young


Updated on

Best Backpacks for College
Herschel Supply Co.

College is a significant, exciting and probably terrifying step in everyone’s life. This path comes with hard choices and mistakes, but also with numerous parties and wasted nights. However, it also comes with great responsibility, as it opens the door to your future career. All of these things come with no warning. The least amount you can do is to prepare yourself for some exhausting days. That, of course, involves finding mental stability and strength, creating goals, and gathering the best supplies to make your college life easier.

Think about that one piece of gear that you’re about to carry every day for the following years. No, it is not smartphone, even though we all have it with us! We are talking about your backpack here. It seems so basic, but actually a good rucksack is essential for a great student. 

Undoubtedly, you want to be stylish and look cool while walking on campus, but the exterior design should be your last criteria when you’re choosing your new backpack.

college backpacks
The Friendly Swede

You should focus more on its capacity, compartmentation and the comfort your new backpack will offer. You should also be able to carry your books and school supplies, your laptop and other essentials. We’re pretty sure you don’t want to walk around campus with your arms full of notebooks, while your back hurts from the uncomfortable fabric of your backpack and the weight on your shoulders.

When it comes to college backpacks, you should look for high-quality materials that are hard to tear. Unlike in high school, this backpack is going to be with you every step of the way. They’re not too expensive, but money for another backpack probably won’t come easy when you’re a student, so you should pick wisely.

The best thing is that there are so many models on the market right now, for all budgets and tastes! Companies that make backpacks came up with so many innovative ideas, trying to adapt to every need a student has. Therefore, the job of choosing one backpack from thousands of designs can become pretty overwhelming. Stop stressing out!

We have selected the 25 best backpacks for college, with awesome looks, the best materials and probably the most interesting features for any student. All you have to do now is to ask yourselves what you want your backpack to focus on, and you will absolutely find the ideal one for you down below. Here we go..

Matein – Travel Laptop Backpack


Don’t let the word “travel” trick you here. It is not too bulky, and as a student, you need as much space as you can get. This cool backpack model comes with a separate laptop compartment and a few other pockets for books and daily necessities. Despite its size, the backpack is comfortable and offers full back support, with adjustable straps that help you create balance on your shoulders.

As we heard of campus dangers, we decided to start this list with a bag that features a hidden anti-theft pouch to protect your most valuable items. It is made to last, being water-resistant and durable. The most distinguishing feature remains the built-in USB port that will help you to charge your phone on the go. The only downside of this design is that it does not have a battery, just a USB cable.

Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Laptop Backpack


Herschel became a brand that’s very popular amongst teenagers and college students due to its minimalistic designs and utility. While it has only two pockets, a big and a small one, this backpack has enough space for a laptop, some books and other objects for daily use.

The front pouch also has compartments making it easier for students to keep themselves organized. The backpack offers comfort, durability and the guarantee of a healthy back. Judging by the reviews, people who bought this backpack seem to be pleased with the compact design that does not feel huge on the shoulders.

Incase Icon Backpack


This backpack gains your attention through its stylish look, but its chic design is not everything it has to offer. Inside, it has multiple compartments that will help you organize things better. Right at the top, it has a small quick-access pocket in which you can fit essentials.

This feature helps you save time when you’re searching for some change, your glasses or your ID. The backpack does not miss the laptop compartment either and the big plus of this model is the material its made of, namely 840D nylon, which makes it more resistant than others. Incase also designed the posterior side for ease and full back support.

Olarhike Laptop Backpack


Besides looking great, this backpack can hold a laptop up to 15.6 inches, your school supplies and your essentials. The supplementary front and side pockets offer quick access to your most-used objects or your water bottle. For stability, this college backpack comes with an “S” shaped adjustable straps and sternum belts.

Olarhike used water-proof materials to ensure that your belongings remain dry on the rainiest days. Just like the first model on our list, this one comes with a USB Charging Port as well. However, this design has a more friendly cost, being generally priced under $20.

JanSport Right Pack College Backpack


This design of this backpack suits both people who love colorful things and those who enjoy a more classic look. It has a laptop pocket that you can use for other purposes, too and a smaller front opening, organized in multiple compartments. Costumers also love JanSport’s backpacks for their lather bottom that offers endurance.

We know that leaving your backpack in different locations can deteriorate it, but this design will not tear easily. This design is excellent not only for its comfortable straps and high capacity but also for expressing your personality. The color you choose to wear can say many things about you.

The North Face Borealis Backpack


This model is a life saver for people who need a whole lot of space. It has a capacity of 28 litres, with quick-access pockets and a special section for your laptop. Up front, the backpack has an elastic bungee system. The North Face also designed the bag to be very comfortable and they even came up with a version appropriate for women’s body.

The Borealis Backpack comes in various colors, fitting everyone’s preferences. However, if you are a fan of more stylish and elegant backpacks, this is not the one, as all variants come with the bungee cords in the front, making it look like a nice hiking backpack. It’s good for that as well, just in case you want to have an outdoor adventure over the weekend.

Day Owl Backpack


This backpack has multiple qualities, especially for those who want to live a sustainable life. This is the right choice for you. While it looks trendy and small, with its circular design, the interior of this backpack is surprisingly spacious and can hold your laptop, a few books and other belongings.

One of the unusual things about this brand is that you can send the backpack back for repairs to make it last for as long as possible. Day Owl cares a lot about the environment, and they believe in reconditioning old things to be reused. Therefore, if you want an eco-friendly backpack that will suit most of your outfits while carrying all of your necessities, this model might be your best friend throughout college.

Bradley Mountain Day Pack


This backpack is perfect for minimalists. If you love a simple design without too many pockets and zippers, then this is just what the doctor ordered. It has a flip-top compartment and one zippered pouch. The brand that makes it pays great attention to details, using durable and premium materials for all of its products.

The exterior is made out of heavy waxed canvas with premium oiled leather straps. For students who appreciate quality and beautiful styles, this backpack is the perfect one.

Timbuk2 Spire Laptop Backpack


If you go to school in a rainy city, this backpack should be one of your first options. Tumbuk2 used waterproof materials and canvas fabrics for this bag, wishing to create a backpack for those who go through wet days often. It has a laptop compartment and a zip pocket that can hold your phone, wallet, or other small, significant belongings.

On the inside, there are multiple storage spaces for pens and other school supplies. The main compartment can carry your books, an extra jacket or other essentials. It has an incognito back zip access and a secure pocket for valuable things. For more comfort, the straps are adjustable, and it comes with a sternum strap suitable for travelling.

Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack


If you are passionate about sports and want to have academic success and a fit body, this backpack is the best choice for you. It has enough room for your laptop, but it also comes with an expandable pocket that could hold your gym clothes.

The fabric is water-repellent, and it comes in different colors. The minimalist design of this backpack makes it fit well both in class and at the gym. The designers of this bag surely knew how much time-consuming college is and came up with a model that will help you save time.

GoRuck GR1 Backpack


This backpack is something special. Soldiers in the Special Forces tested it and were extremely happy with this model. However, it does not only suit soldiers but also students.

It is one of the safest backpacks you can buy right now and has enough space for a laptop and books. Inside, it has an interesting storage system, with multiple compartments for all your essentials, and since it’s so well made you can even take it on a hike.

Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack


We love this gorgeous design from Dagne Dover because it is sporty but also fashionable. You can carry sports clothes and school supplies in this backpack without any issue. This model is also available in multiple colours and sizes and has various pockets to organize things better. For comfort and better back support, the designers made the straps adjustable.

The bag also has the signature feature of Dagne Dover’s backpacks and bags – the key leash. The superior material its made of, premium neoprene, makes the backpack water-resistant, hand washable, and one of the most durable on the market. It comes in a miniature version too, for those moments when you want to go out with your friends or simply don’t have too many things to carry around.

Everlane Modern Snap Backpack


Another minimalist design, this time from Everlane, this backpack easily suits all the needs a student has. The backpack fits your laptop, notebooks and other school supplies. It has an exterior side pocket for your water bottle, making it safer for your inside belongings. It has a decent capacity of about 19 litres, being able to fit most of your essentials for a long day.

Its water-resistant cotton twill exterior will help you keep it for the longest time. Looking super chic, the design has leather detailing that will probably make you stand out of the crowd. You can also take this back pack on your trips or even at the gym.

Herschel Heritage Backpack


If you love having a light backpack that does not look bulky, this Herschel pack is the right choice for you. The simple design, the majority with only two colors, is perfect for casual and professional looks. It has two main pockets, with the one in the front being designed for easy access to your most used things. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.

For those who love colorful looks, they even have rainbow designs. The backpack also includes a headphone port, and the big compartment will perfectly fit your laptop and books. People who left a review for this Herschel backpack love how comfortable and trendy it is.

Vessel Skyline Backpack


This design of this backpack is the sleekest we have ever found. With a faux leather exterior, the Vessel Skyline backpack has a water-resistant material that will protect your belongings on rainy days. It has an almost science-fiction look due to its all-black model, with subtle details.

The large opening will effortlessly fit your laptop, notebooks and other school essentials, while the front pocket will hold the things you access most often, such as your wallet, sunglasses or chopstick. It also comes in dark blue, if black is not your favorite color for a backpack.

Vera Bradley Signature Cotton Campus Backpack


Vera Bradley’s signature backpack comes in more than 35 fun patterns to suit all personalities, and it’s specially designed for college students. It has a laptop pouch and a hidden pocket placed in the back for valuable items such as your phone, money or your ID. It also has three pen holders. Additionally, it has no natural wool fibre, being perfect for animal lovers.

The material is 100% cotton, which makes it soft to the touch, and offers an adorable look. However, cotton is not waterproof and it can get heavy when it is soaked, allowing your belongings to get wet.

The Friendly Swede Waterproof Backpack


While it has an unusual design, the strange details on this backpack make it look super cool for college students. But the main reason to buy it is probably its capacity to keep your essentials dry, due to the waterproof material and the roll-top of the main compartment. This backpack from The Friendly Swede is available in black and white.

The external pockets are also water-resistant and are safe for your phone or other significant objects you do not want to get wet. Another big advantage is the fact that it is light. The company that makes this bag avoided adding any unnecessary details that would burden you.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Women’s Chelsea Backpack


If you prefer a feminine backpack with enough space for all of your essentials, this one might be the right choice for you. While it is smaller than most of our picks, the backpack will still hold your laptop and other school supplies. It is suitable for people who love organized spaces, because it has interior pockets for pens, your phone and tablet.

Kenneth Cole wished for it to be a multipurpose backpack. Therefore, they came up with a model that can easily fit under your plane seat while still being spacious and perfect for all sort of outfits.

Himawari School Backpack


The most outstanding feature of this backpack is its design that will undoubtedly help you stand out from the crowd. It is available in 17 colours and patterns, making it perfect for all kind of personalities.

The material is water-resistant and it also has a USB charging port for people who always need to charge their phone on the go.

Most Dapper Monos Metro Backpack


If you don’t like carrying a bunch of useless stuff with you, this smaller bag from Monos is ideal for your daily use. It can still fit your laptop, a few books and some of your essentials.

The design is beautiful and it comes in a variety of colours. One thing is for sure: your back will be happy to carry fewer pounds, as you cannot fit too many things in this backpack.

Fjallraven Recycled Kanken Backpack


If you love the environment and want to contribute to saving the planet, this option will make you the happiest! This design is made entirely from recycled water bottles. It is coloured in a way that saves the planet, too.

There is enough space for all of your belongings, even though it doesn’t come with as many compartments as other backpacks in this list.

Herschel Little America Mid-Volume Backpack


If you care about expressing your personality through your clothes and accessories, this cool backpack will become your best companion. It comes in over 20 color combinations and has buckled top straps and front pockets to offer the rucksack look people seem to love.

Reviewers also seem to appreciate the padded straps that give so much comfort to your back and shoulders.

Mokuyobi Flyer Backpack


If you want to turn a few heads on campus, this backpack will undoubtedly help you with that. Looking colorful and bold, this pack offers a great balance between form and function. The pockets you see here are not only for design but also to hold your multiple belongings.

We know you often run out of time, so there is always a good idea to have extra clothes, some make-up or perfume and a few other items with you. This backpack is spacious enough to carry everything you need for a spontaneous day. However, the material might get wet quickly if the rain catches you on campus.

Under Armour UA Clear Backpack


This choice might be pretty risky, but it also shows how transparent you are as a person. While it has been popularized by festivals and concerts, this clear backpack from Under Armour can also be a bold accessory in your college life that will help you bring a fun twist into the monotonous days.

This transparent pack also has enough room to hold your laptop and a few books. But be careful what you put in it because everyone will be able to see it and don’t forget it anywhere.

Herschel Dawson Backpack


Last but not least, we have another backpack for Herschel. It’s no secret why they are so popular right now.  This backpack differs from others belonging to the same brand through its separate front pockets.

The main compartment has a capacity of 20.5 litres and can hold laptop and notebooks effortlessly. This pocket also has a drawstring closure with foam padding for extra protection.


best backpacks

Being a student is already hard enough. Try not to make it harder by choosing the wrong backpack. A good backpack for college goes beyond trendy looks or having enough space for your things. It also contributes to your health, and a low-quality pack could deform your spine and put you in tremendous pain.

Be kind with yourself and choose one of the best backpacks for college students. You will definitely thank yourself (and us) in a few years!

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About Martha Young

Martha has been writing about all things fashion and beauty for as long as she can remember. She's turned this passion into a profession, working as a freelance writer for four years now, and adding a personal touch to her work with the unique insights gained from her vast travel experiences. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

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