Best Backpacks for College Students 2021 – Top College Backpacks

best backpacks for collegeSelecting the best backpacks for college students is one of the most overlooked steps in the process of getting ready for college, but it shouldn’t be.

You see:

As a student you rely on your backpacks more while in college, than at any other point in your academic career. So you should get something that is professional, cool, light weight, has more compartments (or pockets), functional and most importantly durable.

That’s why, when selecting a backpack for college, you must consider the design of the backpack, whether the backpack is for laptop as well as the weatherproofing qualities, and durability. Below is a list of the top best backpacks for college.

Table of Content:

  1. Best Backpacks for College Students Comparison Chart
  2. Factors to consider when purchasing a backpack for college.
  3. Advantages of buying a good backpack for college.
  4. Where to buy perfect college backpack
  5. Independent Detailed Review of Best Backpacks for College

Detailed Comparison Table of Top Best College Backpacks:

college backpacksUnder Armour UA Exeter1.2lbs$$$4.8 Available on amazon
top college backpackRidgemont Adidas2lbs$$$$4.8 Available on amazon
top college backpacksNorthface Jester0.9lbs$$$4.9 Available on amazon
top backpack for collegeJansport classic series1lbs$$4.5 Available on amazon
best college backpackHigh Sierra Loop1.7lbs$$4.8 Available on amazon
swiss gear best college backpackSwiss Gear2.6lbs$$$$4.9 Available on amazon
targus backpack reviewsTargus Drifter II Backpack2.8lbs$$$4.3Available on amazon
under armour college backpackUnder Armour Hustle II Backpack1.3lbs$$$$4.9 Available on amazon

Whether you have already started college or are getting ready to head off to school, you need a high-quality backpack to take with you. There are thousands of bags to choose from but the best college backpacks will be designed to last, be affordable, and help you stay organized. To make sure you pick the right backpack, you need to know what to look for and understand why it is worth buying a quality bag for college.

What should you consider when choosing the best backpack for college years:

To help narrow down your options for a college backpack, you should know which factors are the most important. Detailed video is included below this section.

1. Price

Money matters!! It matters even more for us as a college student especially if you are paying for it for yourself. Perhaps the first thing you will notice when looking at backpacks for college is their price. You should expect to pay up to $40 or $50 for a good bag that will last all four years of school. If you have a budget, you can find some high-quality options for under $30, but choices will be slightly limited.

When considering the price of your college backpack, think about the maximum amount that you can pay. Remember that paying for a higher-quality bag will most likely save you money in the future since you won’t have to replace the backpack until after you graduate, possibly not until after graduate school.

2. Organization

Next, it is time to consider the organization that the backpack offers, such as various compartments and pockets. You should always make sure to choose a bag that fits a laptop within a protective sleeve. The absolute best backpacks for college will actually have a designated laptop compartment with cushioning so you don’t even need a protective case.

Also, try to pick a college backpack with multiple small compartments or at least more than one area. This will let you keep snacks, a water bottle, pens and your calculator, and your textbooks all separate from each other.

3. Weight

Although it may seem odd, you should also think about how much the backpack you choose weighs. Some will weigh more than others, especially those with wheels or rigid frames. Consider how heavy a bag you are willing to use, keeping in mind that a rigid backpack can hold more weight, but will end up feeling heavier.

This can become a bigger problem especially when you are freshman or sophomore and are taking classes across different departments and have walk around the campus to attend these different classes in different buildings.

So when you are trying to look for the best backpack for your college consider the weight of the backpack as well as how your college is set up. Does it have multiple buildings and do you have to attend classes in multiple locations or just one building?

4. Durability

Going back to price, remember that it is worth it to pay slightly more for a durable backpack for college. This will save you money in the future since you won’t have to replace the backpack. Even just spending an extra $10 to $20 can make the difference between a bag that lasts throughout college and one that only lasts a year.

A $20 backpack may last for a year but a good one would last for full 4 years until you graduate which may cost $40. So it’s worth investing $40 one time than buying a new one every college year resulting in increased costs.

5. Backpack Straps and Support

best backpacks for college studentsFinally, take the time to look for a backpack with supportive or padded straps. You will be carrying heavy textbooks around and padded straps can make a significant difference in terms of comfort. They can make it easier on your shoulders and back or you can search for one of the rare backpacks with back padding.

Advantages of Choosing from the Best Backpacks for College

It is incredibly tempting to just buy the first reasonable backpack for college that you see, but you will notice the benefits if you take your time and work to select one of the best ones.

1. Quality Backpacks Only Need to be Purchased Once

When you choose from the best backpacks for college, you make life easier for yourself. That is because the best bags will have enough room to fit everything you need to take with you when you go to school. Whether you just need a few textbooks and notebooks or you have to take your computer, water bottle, laptop, tablet, sweater, and more with you, the best bags will fit everything.

If you choose a backpack that is too small or doesn’t have enough organization, you will probably find yourself carrying multiple bags at school every day. You may end up needing to take a messenger bag or cloth over-the-shoulder bag as well as your backpack to fit everything. Choosing a high-quality backpack, on the other hand, lets you carry everything in one convenient spot. Best of all, the backpack design will make carrying everything comfortable for your back.

2. No Replacement Necessary

As mentioned earlier, the best backpacks are highly durable. This is one of the biggest advantages you will notice by choosing to do your research and invest in a good bag. You will only have to invest in a backpack for college one time, even if you go to graduate school. If you choose to save money and buy a cheap bag, you will probably spend more overall as the daily wear and tear will break the bag within a year or less.

3. Make A Style Statement with a Branded Backpack

When you pick the best backpacks for college, you will also be able to make a fashion statement or choose one that matches your style using a branded backpack. High-quality backpacks come in a range of styles, colors, and patterns so you can pick the right one for your personality.

Where to buy the best college backpack

Look At Online Reviews

Now that you know why you should work to get one of the best college backpacks and what features to look for, it is time to figure out how to find them. You should always look at online reviews. These will give you an idea of how long the backpack lasts and how much it actually fits inside.

Be sure to look for reviews where people say what they put in their backpacks or find photos that show everything they can hold. This will let you know if it is large enough and has enough compartments for your needs. If you can’t find detailed reviews for a particular backpack size, consider taking a quick trip to your local store. See what you can fit inside bags of a given size or design, then go home and look online.

Shop Online for Variety

Even if you think you found the perfect backpack for college in your local store, consider going online before making your purchase. The internet has an incredible variety of options available. This means that you may find the same style backpack you fell in love with but in a pattern you like more. Don’t forget to comparison shop online to find the best price and shipping. Simply make sure that the backpack will arrive in time; don’t pick cheaper shipping if you have to wait months for the backpack.

By following this advice, you should have no problem finding the perfect backpack for college that will last you throughout your undergraduate years and well into graduate school.

Independent Reviews of Best Backpacks for College Students:

5. High Sierra Loop Backpack

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This functional, rugged backpack from High Sierra has enough storage space to fit up to an 18-inch laptop, along with a student’s textbooks and other materials. The exterior of this backpack features a water-resistant and waterproof, layered material that is designed to reduce the likelihood of ripping and protect your coursework from the elements. The padded shoulder straps make this bag exceptionally comfortable for walks across campus, and the integrated grab handle is perfectly positioned to provide a secure handle without ripping under heavy loads.

The integrated organizer and mp3 pocket with headphone port provides a great way to keep materials organized, while allowing students to listen to music and keep their electronics dry. This backpack is also on our list of best waterproof backpack for college. Because of the combination of form and function in this design, we’ve placed this backpack firmly on our list of best backpacks for college students.

4. JanSport Big Student Classics Series Daypack


top backpacks for college


This extra large backpack is perfect for students that spend their entire day away from their dorm room and that is the reason it’s one of the best backpacks for college students. With over 2,000 cubic inches of space, and organizing pockets for keeping everything within reach, JanSport provides an excellent backpack for any college student. JanSport’s lifetime warranty has given them a loyal customer base since their launch more than 30 years ago.


3. The North Face Unisex Jester Backpack – The Best North Face Backpack for college

good backpacks for collegeBuy Now

The Jester Backpack from The North Face wins a position in our list of top backpacks for college students because of its lightweight design, and functional features. The form fitting design provides this backpack with a style that looks more adventurous than most backpacks; the outer shell is water resistant, and features multiple places for carabineers to hook on and provide support for extra items. The padded shoulder straps are comfortable with even the heaviest of loads during long walks between classes.

The North Face has a solid history of developing outdoor equipment and apparel, and this backpack should be near the top of every college student’s back to school shopping list and we have therefore included it in our best backpacks for college students. Therefore, this particular backpack is also the winner of the best north face backpack for college.


2. The Most durable backpack for college winner – Adidas Ridgemont Backpack

best rated backpacks for college


The Ridgemont backpack from Adidas is a backpack that makes a statement with an orange logo and trim, set against a camouflage pattern. The interior of the backpack is divided into two compartments, with a padded laptop sleeve, which will support laptops with up to a 15.4-inch screen. The patented LoadSpring shoulder strap system provides a comfortable fit, even with heavy loads. The rugged style, with functional design and a comfortable fit puts this backpack near the top of our list of the best backpacks for college students.

1. Under Armour UA Exeter Storm Backpack – The best backpack for college

best backpacks for college


Under Armour’s selection of backpacks offer a more gym-friendly approach that gives them a unique fit on our list of top backpacks for college students. The UA Exeter Storm edition gives students a backpack that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop with a padded interior sleeve, and a separate compartment that’s perfect for a change of clothes while at the gym. Many students use this backpack as a second backpack that’s always loaded with a fresh set of clothes, and can accommodate a laptop if a student wants to combine a trip to the library, with a trip to the gym in order to save time during a busy weekday full of classes and is therefore one of our best backpacks for college.

The Bottom Line

This list of the top backpacks for college students is a great starting point. The list includes backpacks from perennial favorites, like JanSport, as well as more rugged designs from The North Face. For students looking for a great combination between work and play, UnderArmour provides an excellent selection. The best backpacks for college will depend on what a student’s individual needs are. This list of top college backpacks for college is designed to be flexible, while taking an honest look at what capabilities a backpack needs in order to survive the rough and tumble college environment.

Facts about Backpacks:

College Advice ~ Picking a Backpack


One of the most important things to own as a college student is your backpack. You carry a lot more weight around with you then you did in high school. In this video I tell you what to look for when p…

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