The Best Backpacks for College Students

Sprint to your 8 a.m. class in style with our stylish backpack picks for every college student.

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August 04, 2022

Our Top College Backpack Picks

The fall semester is fast approaching and the window of time for college students to buy their school supplies narrows with each day. (No pressure or anything, right?) Textbooks and laptops are essential, but the first and, arguably, most critical item to cross off your back-to-school shopping list is none other than the backpack.

Whether prepping for freshman year or gearing up for another year in grad school, having a backpack that's equal parts supportive, secure and stylish will set the tone for success in your academic career. Investing in a bookbag that caters to your lifestyle offers other benefits, like side-stepping unnecessary back pain and avoiding the whole stranger-stole-my-laptop fiasco that happens far more often than any of us would like to believe.

Here's the good news: You have an endless array of backpacks to choose from to find the one that best suits your needs, and we're here to take the load off your shoulders and make this part of back-to-school shopping a breeze. Shop the best college backpacks for every price, lifestyle and weather (yup!) in the links below.

Are you looking for a college backpack with storage akin to Mary Poppins’ carpet bag? The XL Campus Backpack from Vera Bradley checks out. The roomy bag boasts a 30 L interior, offering a 15-inch laptop sleeve and multiple zip pockets. Other favorite features: A hidden back compartment for stowing your wallet and several exterior zip compartments provide easy-access storage for items like your phone or ear pods. Shop the recycled cotton backpack in five fresh hues, including navy, galaxy gray and mulled wine.

Buy It
$169

Less is, in fact, more with the eye-catching Melbourne backpack from Bellroy. The minimalist, fold-top backpack is made from water-resistant recycled fabric and sports a compact silhouette that makes navigating through crowded quads and internship offices a breeze. Each bag has the interior to hold a 15-inch laptop, three interior pockets, an A5 document slip pocket, plus an exterior bottle sleeve. The Melbourne comes with adjustable straps and padded back panels for unmatched comfort on the go. Snag the classic black hue pictured here or choose from four additional colors: navy, limestone, slate or lunar.

Buy It
$39.99

An ill-fitted bookbag loaded with your laptop and heavy textbooks can do a number on your back. Skip the aches and pains with the top-rated XRAY expandable roll-top backpack. The unique, expandable bag boasts an ergonomic design that evenly distributes weight across your body to reduce strain on your back and shoulders. Other features not to be overlooked include adjustable, padded shoulder straps, an integrated laptop sleeve and waterproof fabric inside and out. Bonus: The XRAY backpack comes in your choice of 10 stylish colorways, including dark olive, royal blue and slate.

Buy It
$128

You’re guaranteed to win Best Dressed on any campus with the chic Kaya Laptop Backpack from Calpak. The head-turning backpack combines form with function. Each bag boasts a sleek rectangular silhouette, contrast stitching and several interior pockets to store your must-haves. Our favorite part? The backpack comes with a secure back compartment for your laptop between classes. Snag the bag in navy, charcoal, black or mauve.

Buy It
$39.99 $30

Make it to class on time, rain or shine, with this affordable laptop backpack from Ronyes. The roomy bag offers ample space for your books, binders and laptop. The dapper backpack even comes with a built-in USB port to charge your tech on the go. Snag it in black, gray, blue, red and pink.

Buy It
$109.99

Enduring design and hardwearing materials come together to create the timeless Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack. Mountain adventures inspire the handsome silhouette and faux leather contrast buckles. Each bag is crafted to last using a strapping polyester-nylon fabric blend, comfortable contoured shoulder pads and multi-layered security.

Buy It
$249 $189.99

Understated and sophisticated, the Bedford Convertible Leather Backpack from Mark & Graham takes you from your college classroom to your corporate internship with ease. The elevated design is great for grad students on the go and can be worn in three different ways: a backpack, a shoulder bag or a handbag. Each bag features a buttery, black leather body, contrasting cognac shoulder straps, a luxe linen lining and an optional foil-debossed monogram.

Buy It
$98

The Luka Laptop Backpack from Calpak is heaven-sent for anyone who needs a little help in the organization department. Each Luka bag comes equipped with several exterior and interior pockets to store school supplies, plus a secret storage pocket for valuables on the go. Complement your classroom ‘fits with one of five fresh finishes: matte black, rose quartz, chocolate, iron or dove gray.

Buy It

The ReNew 15-Inch Transit Backpack is a must for out-of-state students who fly home for holidays and summer breaks. It comes with an exterior laptop pocket that makes pulling out your electronics for TSA a breeze. Even better? Each bag is made from 100-percent recycled polyester dyed with environmentally friendly dyes and finished with a water-resistant coating.

Buy It
$149 $109

Hope to invest in a backpack that aligns with your values and style? The Day Owl Backpack is here to deliver. Superior craftsmanship and refined details enhance the minimalist backpack silhouette, yielding a bag that’s equal parts elevated and effortless. Aesthetics aside, this backpack is designed with our future in mind; each bag is made from recycled canvas material and is circular. Return your bag to Day Owl after graduation and they promise to repurpose the materials to create something new so your bag doesn't end up in a landfill.

Buy It
$49.99 $46

The budget-friendly price tag is far from the only selling point for this backpack. The Matein bag comes ready to save the day with an external USB charging port and internal charging cable. Oh, and did we mention it has more than 42,000 five-star reviews on Amazon? Run, don’t walk: Order the navy hue pictured here, or snag one of the other six scholarly hues to suit your college style.

Buy It
$99.99 $70

Keep your expensive gadgets safe no matter where you are with the BOPAI Anti-Theft Backpack. The exterior is unassuming and unlikely to attract any sticky fingers that cross your path on campus — plus, the leather-like finish is undeniably chic. Each backpack comes with a concealed double zipper, external USB port, USB cable and an invisible card pocket built into the shoulder strap.

Buy It
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