Best backpacks for students

Best backpack for students
(Image credit: @Omar Roque on Unsplash)

School time means stocking up on supplies, like pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, clothes, and of course, a stylin' backpack! A backpack might be the most important item on the list because it'll comfortably carry everything you need for a school day. Though backpacks are functional, they should be fashionable too. Our collection includes the most noteworthy options that offer roomy compartments and lots of pockets. 

Staff pick

Mancro anti-theft travel computer bag

(Image credit: Amazon)

Mancro anti-theft travel computer bag (opens in new tab)

Keep it safe

You're bound to end up carrying many valuable items in your backpack. This anti-theft travel bag from Mancro helps keep your items secure with the included lock.

Pros:

  • Several sizes available
  • Dedicated pocket for laptop
  • Lock for theft security included

Cons:

  • Not very durable

The Mancro anti-theft bag makes it possible to keep a portable charger, and there's a small pocket to run a cable, so you can keep your phone charged up. This alongside the dedicated laptop pocket and included lock makes this an excellent carrier for expensive electronics. Beyond campus usage, it's also a good solution for safe travel in crowded cities and airports. 

Best roomy

JanSport big student backpack

(Image credit: Amazon)

JanSport big student backpack (opens in new tab)

Anything and everything

If pockets are the name of the game, then the JanSport big student backpack is the one you should consider. 

Pros:

  • Plenty of compartments and pockets
  • Built-in organizer
  • Reasonable price

Cons:

  • Not as durable as more expensive brands

This bag includes two large main compartments, a utility pocket, a stash pocket, water bottle sleeves, and much more. The classic JanSport will be able to hold the kitchen sink and anything else you need. With plenty of pockets and a built-in organizer, you won't want for space. This one also comes in many styles and colors. 

Best basic

(Image credit: Amazon)

Herschel Heritage backpack (opens in new tab)

No-frills design

What if you don't need a bag that can carry everything you own? That's where the Herschel Heritage comes into play. 

Pros:

  • Dedicated laptop sleeve
  • Sleek, lightweight design
  • Several sizes available

Cons:

  • Not intended to carry heavy loads

The Herschel Heritage has a basic design that will carry only the essentials throughout your daily travels. Inside the main compartment is a laptop sleeve and enough room to throw some extras in, and there's a zippered pocket in the front for your smaller items. This bag is intended as a lightweight laptop bag, not necessarily to hold 50 pounds of books. Use the Herschel as your minimalist bag when you need something compact and lightweight. 

Best roller

High Sierra Powerglide backpack

(Image credit: Amazon)

High Sierra Powerglide backpack (opens in new tab)

Save your back

It can be really frustrating and painful to lug around a backpack all year long with little reprieve. The High Sierra Powerglide changes that with the built-in wheels.

Pros:

  • Wheels to relieve back stress
  • Holds large laptops
  • Durable wheels and handle

Cons:

  • It's expensive

With the support for 17-inch laptops and a myriad of pockets, the Powerglide will help you power through the year. Don't overload your back and shoulders; keep heavy laptops and books rolling along behind you. The all-terrain wheels will take you all over campus, and the long telescoping handle provides plenty of balance to keep the bag upright. 

Best tried-and-true

The North Face Recon laptop backpack

(Image credit: Amazon)

The North Face Recon laptop backpack (opens in new tab)

Always reliable

Head onto any campus, and chances are you'll see loads of The North Face bags everywhere. This is for good reason; The North Face is one of the most trusted and reputable brands, and the Recon is one of the company's best backpacks. 

Pros:

  • Certified comfort by the American Chiropractic Association
  • Dedicated compartments for water bottles, sunglasses, and laptops
  • Holds up to 30 pounds

Cons:

  • Won't stay upright when full

Don't worry about your shoulders or back getting worn out with the FlexVent molded shoulder straps on The North Face Recon backpack. Plus, there is a large mesh pocket for convenient storage and a large main compartment for your laptop and more. It holds up to 30 pounds and is a comfortable and safe option.

Best stylish

Timbuk2 Parkside backpack

(Image credit: Amazon)

Timbuk2 Parkside backpack (opens in new tab)

Just a design with a little flare

Timbuk2 has been around for quite some time, so it knows what it's doing. The Parkside backpack is one of the flagship offerings, with its ventilated back panel and extras such as a loop for attaching lights. 

Pros:

  • Good quality
  • Large design holds heavier loads
  • Made from recycled materials

Cons:

  • It's expensive

The Parkside is large enough to house a 15-inch laptop, along with providing many ways to organize your daily carry. There are ample pockets and compartments to stay organized, and the bag is made to support larger, heavier loads. The high-quality construction ensures a long life of heavy use; this bag isn't going to break on you anytime soon. 

Get ready for the school year

It can be tough gauging what backpack will be the best one to survive the school year with you. However, when it comes to something like the Mancro anti-theft travel computer bag (opens in new tab), it will handle just about anything. With multiple sizes and and a dedicated lock, you'll be able to fit everything you need in just one bag and keep it all safe to boot. 

If you are looking for a backpack that can keep up with large loads, then you'll want to take a look at the High Sierra Powerglide backpack (opens in new tab). This bag includes tough casters to keep the weight off your back and shoulders. There are many pockets and compartments, including one for up to a 17-inch laptop, a tablet compartment, and more pockets than you'll know what to do with.

Why trust us?

At TheRadar, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.

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