Students carry a heavy burden. They need to move their books, their tech and their food from class to class. In many ways, it’s their most important organizational tool. However, not all backpacks are equal. The best bags have water-resistant builds, adjustable straps, a ventilated back and plenty of compartments.
But it can’t be ignored that your backpack is as much a fashion statement as it is practical. It should reflect the tastes and interests of the student. Whether they are athletic, fashionable or intellectual, there is a bag that matches their personality and their needs. If you’re looking for the best options on the market, we’ve got your back.
Basic black goes with everything, and this backpack holds almost anything. The dedicated laptop compartment of the Case Logic Prevalier holds a machine with up to a 17-inch display, plus there's a 10-inch tablet pocket. There's also space for water bottles, gym clothes, headphones, books and whatever else you need on campus.
Add a little color to your student's life with the High Sierra Tactic Backpack -- and not break the bank. It's available in blue, black, brown, gray, green, and pink, and comes with patterned panels. It can also store your 17-inch laptop and tablet. Plus, there are tons of other compartments for books, cords and more.
Aspiring astronauts and space nuts will love the Ogio International Apollo Pack. The white version is highly reminiscent of a space shuttle with its streamlined shape, and it holds a tablet and a 15-inch laptop. The roomy main compartment should store all the books a student needs to carry. White not your color? The Apollo also is available in brown and black.
Let your inner Captain America out to play (and send him to school) with this Think Geek backpack. It holds a laptop or tablet, as well as two cords and accessories in two smaller pockets. It may be plastic, but it's all the shield you'll need.
Oozing personality, the Hex Stinson Echo backpack combines a striped waxed canvas material with gray denim accents. Inside, the faux fur-lined laptop can hold a 13- to 15-inch laptop. The front pocket, with magnetic closure, is lined to protect a tablet. The Stinson Echo is also available in red/camo, denim/stripes, camo/olive, tan/herringbone and denim/dot designs.
The Timbuk2 Sunset backpack sports a 1920s-esque, retro style, thanks to its top, snapping straps. An internal slip pocket holds a 13-inch laptop. The side pockets offer magnetic closures, for quick grab-and-go access. The main compartment, while not enormous, is just right for a few books and files you'll need for your trip to the quad or library.
The Thule EnRoute Triumph 2 is the way to go for those who want a backpack that can do double-duty as a school bag and as hiking equipment. The laptop compartment fits a 14-inch PC, as well as a tablet. Airflow channels on the back, padded shoulder straps and a sternum strap will make trekking easier. And don't forget your water bottle.
The reflective zippers make the Triple Trek perfect for night owls who like to burn the midnight oil. It's designed to hold a 14-inch laptop and tablet, in addition to tons of other stuff. The fleece-lined compartments will keep your tech safe from scratches. The basic black bag also features adjustable straps, back support and a hidden pocket for securing your valuables.
Your gaming-obsessed academic will thank you for the Razer Tactical Gaming Backpack. It's built to safely carry a 17.3-inch laptop in a padded compartment, with a separate space for a tablet. It's made from the same ballistic nylon that is used to make flak jackets, and it’s water-resistant. The Razer comes with a lifetime warranty.
For power-hungry students, the STM Drifter Energy is the bag to get. The built-in Joey battery charger can power up phones, tablets, cameras, etc., and makes this backpack worth the investment. The temperature-sensing plug on the Joey even protects your phone and bag from overheating when plugged in. The padded laptop compartment is built for machines with screens between 13 and 16 inches, while the main pocket is perfect for books, shoes and whatever else you need throughout the day.