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10 of the Best Backpacks for College

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College Backpack Tips

College Backpack Tips

When it comes to the best backpacks for college, there’s one non-negotiable — durability. These packs are going to be put through the wringer and they need to be able to handle it.

Furthermore, comfortable carrying support and a secure laptop compartment are also important features to look out for.

Here are are five tips to consider when selecting your next college backpack.

  1. Durable Material. Ripstop fabrics are key here. They are woven together to help resist tearing and ripping. A reinforced base can also help to protect abrasion-prone areas of the backpack.
  2. Ergonomic Carrying Support. Ergonomic carrying features include a breathable back panel, padded and contoured shoulder straps, and adjustable sternum support.
  3. Padded Laptop Sleeve. For secure device storage, a padded laptop sleeve or fleece-lined laptop compartment is essential.  
  4. Side Water Bottle Pocket. Convenience is an important factor when it comes to the best college backpacks. Having an easily accessible side water bottle pocket makes life a little easier.
  5. Valuables Compartment. Having a dedicated compartment for valuable items like a phone or wallet is an important security feature.

Best College Backpack Brands

Best College Backpack Brands

The brands listed below are some of the best when it comes to reliable college storage. Notably, their backpacks are durably designed, spacious, and offer dedicated laptop storage and ergonomic carrying support.

Dakine – Sturdy unisex packs designed for hard-wearing use. Offer a range of laptop backpacks suitable for college use.

Fjällräven – Creators of the famous Kanken Backpack. Most Fjällräven packs are made of G-1000 material — an extremely durable outdoor fabric.

Herschel Supply Co. – Feature a range of vintage-styled backpacks with padded laptop storage. The Little America and Pop Quiz are two of their most popular packs.

JanSport – Famous for their school and college backpacks. Look out for the backpacks with suede bottom panels — like the Right Pack Backpack.

The North Face – Durably designed men’s and women’s backpacks with a range of external gear attachment options like bungee cord straps.

Best Women's College Backpacks
(Top 5)

Top 5 Women's College Backpacks

These standout women’s college backpacks offer hard-wearing usability, stylish looks, and secure laptop storage. Check out the breakdown below for our top five women’s college backpacks.

Top 5 Logo

5 Best Women's College Backpacks for 2021

NameInfoRating
Fjällräven Kanken No.2 Laptop BackpackPadded laptop compartment. Zippered utility pocket. Removable seat pad. Adjustable shoulder straps. Carry handle. Stylish leather details.9.3
The North Face Borealis BackpackMultiple spacious storage options. External bungee cord gear attachment. Breathable shoulder straps and back panel. Ergonomic spine channel.9.2
JanSport Big Student BackpackContoured shoulder straps. Interior laptop compartment. Water bottle pocket. Quick stash front pocket. Top haul handle. Large storage capacity.8.9
Nike Hayward Futura 2.0 BackpackMultiple styles available. Interior laptop sleeve. Woven exterior material. Padded, adjustable shoulder straps. Looped carry handle.8.8
Herschel Supply Co. Dawson BackpackMagnetic strap closure. Reinforced base. Lined laptop sleeve. Lightweight exterior. Multiple accessory pockets. Padded carrying support.8.6

1. Fjällräven Kanken No.2 Laptop Backpack

"Fjällräven's trendy Kanken No.2 Laptop Backpack is an evolution of the original Kanken Backpack. Importantly, the Kanken No.2 is suitable for adventures all year round and has a removable seat pad to take out when you need a break. Additionally, the Kanken No.2 is made of tough G-1000 material and features a chic exterior leather trim."

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Size: 16" H x 11" W x 6.5" D

Volume: 18 L

Carry Handle: Yes

Material: G-1000® HeavyDuty

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Fjallraven Kanken No. 2 Laptop 15" Backpack

$139.95  in stock
6 new from $139.94
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

2. The North Face Borealis Backpack

"The Borealis Backpack, from The North Face, delivers top-notch comfort and versatility. Importantly, the Borealis features a spacious main compartment, padded laptop sleeve, supportive shoulder straps, and a padded back panel. Moreover, the Borealis Backpack is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for stellar fit, comfort, and usability"

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Size: 19.5" H x 13.5" W x 8.5" D

Volume: 28 L

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Side Pockets: Two

Water-Resistant: Yes

The North Face Women’s Borealis Backpack

$149.90  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

3. JanSport Big Student Backpack

"Featuring two large main compartments for a laptop, books and more, the JanSport Big Student Backpack is one of the best college backpacks out there. Additional features of the JanSport Big Student include a padded back panel, straight-cut shoulder straps, quick stash front pocket, side water bottle storage, and a convenient top haul handle."

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Size: 17.5" H x 13" W x 10" D

Volume: 34 L

Material: Polyester

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Side Pockets: Two

JanSport Big Student Backpack

$48.00  in stock
4 new from $48.00
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

4. Nike Hayward Futura 2.0 Backpack

"The eye-catching Hayward Futura 2.0 Backpack from Nike is a practical everyday pack. Key features include a large main storage compartment, multiple side pockets, top carry handle, and padded shoulder straps. Furthermore, the Hayward Futura 2.0 is made of tough polyester for long-lasting use."

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Size: 18" H x 15" W x 7" D

Material: 600D Polyester

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Shoulder Straps: Adjustable

Carry Handle: Yes

Nike Hayward Futura Backpack

$89.00  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

5. Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack

"The neat Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack is a great size and weight to handle the everyday essentials. Importantly, the minimalistic design of the Dawson ensures a barely there carrying feel. The Herschel Dawson Backpack is available in a collection of elegant designs. Make sure you buy the full-size version, not the XS."

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Size: 15.75" H x 11.25" W x 6" D

Volume: 20.5 L

Carry Handle: Yes

Material: Polyester

Exterior Pockets: Two

Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack

$129.99  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

Best Men's College Backpacks
(Top 5)

Top 5 Men's College Backpacks

These popular men’s college backpacks offer functional usability, ergonomic carrying support, and padded laptop storage. Check out the breakdown below for our top five men’s college backpacks.

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5 Best Men's College Backpacks for 2021

NameInfoRating
The North Face Surge BackpackExtra-large storage volume. Padded laptop sleeve. Fleece-lined media pocket. Side water bottle pockets. Breathable back panel. Padded shoulder straps.9.2
Herschel Supply Co. Little America BackpackTop-loading main compartment with drawstring closure. Lined laptop compartment. Front utility pocket with key clip. Ergonomic carrying support.9.1
JanSport Right Pack BackpackPremium Cordura material. Secure laptop storage. Easily accessible main compartment. Suede leather base. Padded back and shoulder support.9.1
Osprey Nebula DaypackWide-opening main compartment. Stretch mesh side pockets. Exterior compression straps. Sturdy carry handle. Ventilating back panel. Blinker light attachment.9.0
Dakine Campus BackpackInsulated cooler pocket. Padded laptop compartment. Fleece-lined sunglasses pocket. Contoured shoulder straps. Limited lifetime warranty.8.9

1. The North Face Surge Backpack

"With an impressive 33 L storage volume, the Surge Backpack, from The North Face, is an excellent college storage option. Importantly, the 15" laptop compartment unzips to lay flat for convenient, on-the-go access. Furthermore, the Surge Backpack is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for stellar fit, comfort and usability."

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Size: 20" H x 14" W x 8.5" D

Volume: 33 L

Warranty: Lifetime

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Side Pockets: Two

The North Face Surge Backpack

$128.95  in stock
2 new from $128.95
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

2. Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack

"The stylish Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack is a longtime college backpack best seller. Comfort and versatility are standouts on this classic backpack. Moreover, the Little America features a spacious interior, super comfy shoulder straps, and padded back support. "

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Size: 19.5" H x 11.25" W x 7" D

Volume: 25 L

Shoulder Straps: Contoured

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack

$109.99  in stock
2 new from $109.94
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

3. JanSport Right Pack Backpack

"The durable JanSport Right Pack Backpack is an excellent college backpack. Importantly, the Right Pack has a large main compartment for books and folders and is made of tough Cordura fabric. Additional features include a padded laptop sleeve, tricot-lined tablet pocket, suede leather base, and comfortable carrying support."

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Size: 18" H x 13" W x 8.5" D

Volume: 31 L

Material: Cordura

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Front Pockets: Two

JanSport Right Pack Backpack

$92.07  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

4. Osprey Nebula Daypack

"Transport your college gear with ease in this versatile pack from Osprey. The Osprey Nebula Daypack features a wide-opening main compartment, padded laptop and tablet sleeves, dual stretch side mesh pockets, and comfortable carrying support. Moreover, the Osprey Nebula has a pair of side compression straps for added security."

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Size: 19" H x 12" W x 11" D

Volume: 34 L

Material: Nylon Blend

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Side Pockets: Two

Osprey Nebula Backpack

$119.95  in stock
2 new from $119.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am

5. Dakine Campus Backpack

"Perfectly suited to handle books, binders, and a laptop, the Dakine Campus Backpack is a reliable college backpack. Notable features include a wide-opening main compartment and multiple interior pockets. Lastly, for those looking to transport their lunch, the Dakine Campus has an insulated cooler pocket."

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Size: 20.5" H x 13" W x 8" D

Volume: 33 L

Material: Polyester Plain Weave

Laptop Sleeve: Yes

Shoulder Straps: S-curved

Dakine Campus Backpack

$96.01  in stock
3 new from $83.38
Amazon.com
as of September 21, 2021 7:25 am
DISCUSSION

Let us know your which college backpack you’re considering in the comments below!

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