best backpacks for college

Top Best Backpacks for College – 6 Durable & Stylish Picks

In the quest for the best backpacks for college, students everywhere seek options that don’t just endure the rigors of daily use but also resonate with their personal style ethos.

Embarking on the collegiate journey demands resilience and flair, especially when selecting the right gear to power through the semester. A sturdy companion that can store all campus backpack essentials while exuding style is not just a want but a necessity.

Whether it’s classic silhouettes or modern designs, the market has answered with an array of stylish college backpacks that meet the mark.

Durability is not taken lightly either, as these durable student backpacks are built to protect those invaluable laptops and hefty textbooks while maintaining a semblance of the wearer’s uniqueness.

Key Takeaways

  • The best backpacks for college should be a blend of functionality and personal fashion.
  • A reliable backpack is a student’s essential companion for academic and extracurricular activities.
  • Laptop protection, internal organization, and comfortable wear are crucial features.
  • The best college backpacks offer durability to withstand daily campus life rigors.
  • Prospective students should consider multi-functional backpacks that serve various activities and needs.
  • Aesthetic versatility matters for a backdrop that complements diverse environments, from classrooms to professional settings.

Essential Features for College Backpacks

Embarking on your college journey? A trustworthy backpack is your daily partner; choosing the right one is critical. The best backpacks for college are evolving beyond basic functionality.

Today’s students demand college backpack must-haves that cater to carrying academic loads and protecting tech gear with features like laptop protection and waterproof materials. However, comfort is also non-negotiable. Thus, an ergonomic backpack design is a key element to look for.

  • Laptop Protection: Given the digital nature of education today, your laptop is an extension of you. A padded compartment to keep it safe from knocks and falls is essential. Backpacks designed to secure and cushion your computer are pivotal as you navigate campus.
  • Waterproof Materials: College life doesn’t stop for bad weather. Waterproof or water-resistant materials protect your notes, books, and electronic devices from rain showers, accidental spills, or puddle splashes.
  • Ergonomic Design: Carrying a full day’s worth of books, laptops, and supplies means you need a backpack to minimize strain on your back and shoulders. Look for padded straps, a supportive back panel, and a balanced weight distribution for optimal comfort.

Considering these attributes, your chosen backpack should be a reliable sidekick on your collegiate quest.

Whether darting to the library, attending a seminar, or hitting the gym after class, your backpack should efficiently serve many roles.

It’s not just about getting a bag that holds your stuff – it’s about picking a companion that compliments your dynamic college lifestyle and persona.

What are the Best Backpacks for College? Our Top Picks

Balancing functionality and style is essential as you gear up for the academic year. We’ve handpicked a collection of backpacks that cater to the practicalities of college life and align with different style preferences.

Whether it’s the Fjallraven stylish backpack known for its distinct appearance or the Topo classic look for those who appreciate timeless design, our list includes options to suit every student’s needs.

Best Backpacks for College: Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack

Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack, best backpacks for college

Price: $120 on Amazon

Rating: 4.5 Stars on Amazon

The Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack is a stylish and functional backpack designed to cater to the needs of modern students, professionals, and travelers. Its iconic Scandinavian design and durable construction have become famous for those seeking a reliable and fashionable way to carry their essentials.


  1. Timeless Design: The Kanken Laptop Backpack features the classic Fjallraven design, known for its simple and minimalist aesthetic that never goes out of style.
  2. Durable Materials: Made from Vinylon F fabric, this backpack is water-resistant and built to withstand the rigors of daily use, ensuring your belongings stay dry and protected.
  3. Padded Laptop Compartment: The dedicated laptop compartment can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches, providing secure and padded storage for your tech devices.
  4. Spacious Main Compartment: Despite its compact size, the main compartment is surprisingly roomy, offering ample space for books, notebooks, and other essentials.
  5. Multiple Pockets: The front zippered and two side pockets provide additional storage options for smaller items like pens, keys, and water bottles.
  6. Comfortable to Carry: The padded shoulder straps are adjustable, making it comfortable to wear for extended periods, and the top handles allow for easy carrying when needed.
  7. Eco-Friendly: Fjallraven is committed to sustainability, and the Vinylon F material used in the backpack is durable and environmentally friendly.


  1. Limited Organization: While the backpack offers a decent amount of space, it lacks internal pockets and dividers, making it less suitable for those requiring extensive organization for their belongings.
  2. Price: The Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack is priced at a premium compared to other laptop backpacks.
  3. Lack of Ventilation: The back panel does not feature significant ventilation, which can lead to sweating during hot weather or extended use.
  4. Limited Padding: While the laptop compartment is padded, the back panel and shoulder straps do not have extensive padding, which may impact comfort when carrying heavy loads.
  5. Minimal Exterior Security: The main compartment zipper can be easily accessed from the outside, which may pose a security risk in crowded areas.

In conclusion, the Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Backpack is a fashionable and durable choice for individuals seeking a blend of style and functionality in their daily carry.

Its timeless design and durable materials are its standout features, but it may not be ideal for those who require extensive organization or significant padding in their backpacks.

Ultimately, it’s a stylish option for those willing to invest in a high-quality backpack that can withstand daily use and occasional outdoor adventures.

Best Backpacks for College: Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Second Edition)

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Second Edition)

PRICE: $149 on Amazon

RATING: 4.6 Stars on Amazon

The Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Second Edition) is a stylish and versatile backpack designed to cater to the needs of modern urban dwellers and travelers. Known for its thoughtful design, high-quality materials, and attention to detail, this backpack seamlessly blends form and function to provide a premium carrying experience.


  1. Stylish Design: The Classic Backpack Plus boasts a sleek, minimalistic design that complements various outfits and settings.
  2. Ample Storage: With its well-thought-out compartments, you can easily organize your belongings, keeping your essentials accessible.
  3. Quality Craftsmanship: Bellroy is known for its high-quality materials and craftsmanship, ensuring the backpack’s longevity.
  4. Comfortable Carry: Padded straps and back panel provide comfort during long wear, while the adjustable sternum strap enhances stability.
  5. Water-Resistant: The water-resistant zippers and fabric protect against light rain, keeping your items dry.
  6. Sustainability: Bellroy’s commitment to sustainable materials and ethical production practices aligns with environmentally conscious consumers.


  1. Price: The Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Second Edition) is a premium product, and its price may be considered relatively high compared to other backpacks.
  2. Limited Color Options: While the backpack’s design is classic and elegant, it may not offer a wide variety of color choices for those seeking more vibrant options.
  3. Volume Limit: The 22-liter capacity may not be sufficient for those needing to carry large or bulky items regularly.
  4. Lack of External Water Bottle Pocket: Some users may miss an external water bottle pocket, making staying hydrated on the go less convenient.

In conclusion, the Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (Second Edition) is a well-crafted and stylish backpack suitable for urban professionals, travelers, and anyone needing a functional and aesthetically pleasing bag.

While it comes at a premium price point and has minor limitations, its quality, organization, and sustainable design make it a compelling choice for those looking for a versatile and dependable backpack.

Best Backpacks for College: The North Face Borealis Backpack

The North Face Borealis Backpack

PRICE: $98 on Amazon

RATING: 4.0 Stars on Amazon

The North Face Borealis Backpack is a versatile and popular backpack designed for outdoor enthusiasts, students, and urban commuters.

This backpack combines a sleek, modern design with durability and functionality, making it a go-to choice for those needing a reliable bag for daily use or outdoor adventures.


  1. Ample Storage: The Borealis backpack offers a spacious main compartment with a large capacity, providing ample room for your essentials, whether heading to class, work, or a day hike.
  2. Organizational Prowess: Multiple compartments, including a dedicated laptop sleeve and an organized front pocket, help you keep your gear neatly arranged and easily accessible.
  3. Comfortable to Wear: The FlexVent suspension system with a padded back panel and shoulder straps ensures comfort, even during long hours of wear. It also features a sternum strap with a whistle buckle for added stability.
  4. Durable Construction: Crafted from rugged materials, this backpack is built to withstand everyday wear and tear and the demands of outdoor adventures.
  5. Versatile Design: Whether you’re using it for school, work, travel, or outdoor activities, the Borealis’ versatile design and color options make it suitable for various occasions.
  6. Hydration Compatible: It has a hydration port and sleeve, making it convenient to carry a water reservoir and keep you hydrated on your hikes and outdoor excursions.
  7. Reflective Details: Safety-conscious design elements include reflective details that enhance visibility in low-light conditions, a valuable feature for cyclists and night-time adventurers.
  8. Lifetime Warranty: The North Face offers a lifetime warranty, reflecting the brand’s confidence in the durability and quality of its products.


  1. Price: The Borealis backpack is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, which may not be budget-friendly for some consumers.
  2. Size: While its large capacity is an advantage, the size of the backpack may be too bulky for those who prefer a more compact and minimalist design.
  3. Limited External Pockets: Some users may find the lack of easily accessible external pockets a drawback, especially if they want quick access to specific items.
  4. Not Waterproof: While the backpack is water-resistant to some extent, it is not fully waterproof. It may not provide adequate protection for your belongings in heavy rain or wet conditions without an additional rain cover.
  5. Zippers: Some users have reported issues with zipper durability over time. Proper care and maintenance are essential to prevent any potential problems.

The North Face Borealis Backpack is a well-rounded choice for individuals seeking a versatile, durable backpack with ample storage and organizational features.

However, its price and size may not be suitable for everyone, and the absence of external pockets and limited weather resistance should be considered based on your specific needs and preferences.

Best Backpacks for College: Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac

Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac

PRICE: $170 on Aer’s website

RATING: 4.8 Stars on Aer’s website

The Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac is a versatile, stylish daypack for urban explorers, commuters, and travelers. It’s a sleek and functional backpack that seamlessly blends form and function, making it an excellent choice for those who value style and practicality.


  1. Durable X-Pac Material: The Day Pack 2 is constructed from X-Pac, a high-performance, waterproof fabric known for its exceptional durability and resistance to wear and tear. It can withstand the rigors of daily use and various weather conditions.
  2. Sleek and Minimalist Design: The Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac exudes a modern, stylish look with minimalist aesthetics and clean lines. It’s suitable for both professional and casual settings.
  3. Thoughtful Organization: The backpack features multiple compartments, including a spacious main compartment, a padded laptop sleeve (up to 15.6 inches), and various pockets for organizing your essentials, making it easy to keep your belongings tidy and accessible.
  4. Comfortable to Wear: Padded shoulder straps, a ventilated back panel, and a sternum strap ensure a comfortable fit, even during long commutes or travel. The backpack’s ergonomic design reduces strain on your shoulders and back.
  5. Water-Resistant Zippers: The YKK AquaGuard® zippers and water-resistant materials help dry your belongings in light rain or accidental spills.
  6. Versatile Use: Whether commuting to work, heading to the gym, or embarking on a weekend getaway, the Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac can adapt to your needs thanks to its versatile design and functional features.
  7. Quality Construction: Aer is known for its attention to detail and high-quality craftsmanship, ensuring that this backpack will last for years of use.


  1. Price: The Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac is a premium backpack, so it may be on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to similar daypacks.
  2. Limited Capacity: While the Day Pack 2 is well-suited for daily essentials and a 15.6-inch laptop, it may not provide enough space for bulkier items or extended travel needs.
  3. Heavier Than Some Alternatives: The backpack is heavier than some lightweight alternatives due to its durable materials. It might not be the best choice for those who prioritize minimizing weight.
  4. Lack of External Water Bottle Pocket: Some users prefer an external pocket for water bottles, which the Day Pack 2 X-Pac does not have. You would need to use an internal sleeve or compartment for this purpose.

In conclusion, the Aer Day Pack 2 X-Pac is a premium daypack that offers durability, style, and thoughtful organization for urban adventurers and commuters. While it comes with a higher price tag and some minor limitations in capacity and weight, its sleek design and functionality make it an attractive choice for those seeking a reliable and stylish daily companion.

Best Backpacks for College: PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack

PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack

PRICE: $154 on SSense’s website

RATING: No rating provided

The PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack is a stylish and functional accessory designed to meet the modern lifestyle needs of individuals who appreciate fashion and utility.

This backpack combines the signature design elements of Paul Smith with practical features to make it an attractive choice for daily use.


1. Fashion-Forward: The unique happy face design adds a touch of whimsy and style to your daily look, making it a conversation starter.

2. Quality Materials: Craftsmanship and materials ensure the backpack’s durability and reliability over time.

3. Practical Storage: Numerous compartments and pockets help you stay organized, with a dedicated laptop sleeve for added convenience.

4. Comfortable Wear: Padded straps and a cushioned back panel enhance comfort during extended use.

5. Versatile: Suitable for various settings, from professional to casual, making it a versatile choice for different lifestyles.


1. Price: The PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack is considered a premium product and may be less budget-friendly than other backpack options.

2. Limited Color Options: While the gray color with the happy face design is distinctive, it may not appeal to individuals seeking more traditional or neutral color choices.

3. Size: Some users may find the backpack’s size limiting for carrying more oversized items or extended trips.

4. Limited Water Resistance: Although the backpack is made from durable materials, it may not be fully waterproof, so extra caution is needed in wet conditions.

In conclusion, the PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack is a fashionable and functional accessory that caters to those who appreciate style without compromising practicality.

Its distinctive design, quality construction, and versatile use make it a compelling choice for individuals looking to make a statement with their backpacks while enjoying practical features.

However, potential buyers should consider their budget, specific needs, and preferences for color and size before making a purchase.

Quantifying luxury and functionality, the PS by Paul Smith Gray Happy Face Backpack introduces a refined, Paul Smith designer college bag for the fashion-forward student. It’s more than carry gear—it’s a fashion statement.

Best Backpacks for College: Topo Designs Daypack Classic

Topo Designs Daypack Classic

PRICE: $128 on Amazon

RATING: 5.0 on Amazon

The Topo Designs Daypack Classic Backpack is a versatile and stylish backpack designed to meet the needs of urban commuters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Its rugged durability, functional design, and retro-inspired aesthetics make it an ideal choice for those seeking a reliable everyday carry solution.


  1. Durability: Made from high-quality materials, the Daypack is built to last and withstand harsh conditions.
  2. Timeless Aesthetics: Its classic design appeals to many users and complements various styles.
  3. Comfortable Carry: Padded straps and a cushioned back panel enhance comfort during extended wear.
  4. Versatile Use: Suitable for daily commuting, weekend getaways, and light outdoor activities, making it a versatile choice.
  5. Laptop Protection: The padded laptop sleeve offers protection for your valuable electronics.
  6. Water-Resistant Liner: The water-resistant pack cloth liner helps protect your belongings in wet conditions.


  1. Limited Organizational Pockets: While the main compartment is spacious, some users may prefer more internal organization options for smaller items.
  2. Price: The Daypack is moderately priced, which may be considered a con for budget-conscious shoppers.
  3. Minimalist Design: Some users may find the lack of additional features or bells and whistles a drawback if they require more specialized compartments or features.

In summary, the Topo Designs Daypack Classic Backpack offers a durable and versatile solution for those needing a reliable everyday carry bag with timeless aesthetics. While it may lack some advanced organizational features, its durability, comfort, and stylish design make it a popular choice for various lifestyles and activities.

Conclusion: Navigating the Best Backpacks for College Selection

With the myriad of options explored, it’s clear that the best college backpack selection is both an intelligent backpack investment and a pivotal component of reliable college gear.

Those seeking a versatile campus backpack have many choices, each with unique perks to cater to individual preferences.

The inherent resilience, innovative design, and multi-functional aspects in each of our spotlighted backpacks are integral for accommodating contemporary students’ ambitious, multi-dimensional lives.

Understanding the significance of this decision, it remains undeniable that a college backpack serves as more than just a container for your essentials—it’s a mobile base for your academic and extracurricular endeavors.

The highlighted backpacks offer protection, form, and intuitive design. Whether the priority lies in weatherproofing, aesthetic minimalism, or unrivaled organizational systems, this curation empowers you to make an informed choice that resonates with your personal narrative and supports your academic pursuits.

In conclusion, choosing your college backpack should be an exercise in identifying a companion that will stand steadfast alongside you throughout your educational voyage.

The potential for longevity, adaptability, and style alignment makes each option within this list not just a purchase but a partnership.

As you progress through your college years and beyond, the proper selection from this distinguished lineup will undoubtedly become an indispensable ally in your journey to success, just as we here at Amstatz will be an ally.

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