The 9 Best Backpacks for College in 2018

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If you’re a college student, you know the importance of a good college bag. Being an item that you carry with you on a daily basis makes choosing a good backpack really important. Given how often you use this thing, choosing the right one can make a huge impact on your day-to-day life. Not only will the right backpack keep your belongings safe, it’ll also keep you safe and help you avoid some serious health complications. With the large weight of books and gadgets that are carried in those bags, the wrong one can cause some serious back problems, especially with prolonged use. Putting such strain on your back the wrong way is something that you definitely don’t want to do.

With so many different college backpacks available on the market, making the right choice can be really challenging, unless you know what to look for. Before we have a look at the best college backpacks available on the market, we’ll explain the key factors that you should consider before you make that purchase decision. You might also be interested in our articles about the best tactical backpacks and the best electric pencil sharpeners.

1. What will you be carrying in your bag? Size matters!

This is the first question that you need to answer before you choose a college backpack. As the daily carrying needs of students differ, so does the bag sizes. When it comes to your college backpack size needs, you’re the only one who can make that decision. Asides from textbooks, the type of supplies that has to be carried around on a daily basis differ depending on the major. Some majors can get away with carrying a laptop and a couple of textbooks and others might require carrying loads of stuff. Before you choose a college backpack, make sure you’re choosing one that your stuff will actually fit in.

2. Does your bag have a dedicated laptop compartment?

Let’s face it, every college student uses a laptop these days. The question whether you use a laptop or not is kind of meaningless now. Having a dedicated laptop compartment in the bag that you’re buying is definitely a useful feature. However, not having a dedicated laptop compartment isn’t something that should be stopping you from buying a laptop bag that you like. You can easily get a standalone laptop sleeve and use it with any bag that you like. Whether you prefer a dedicated compartment is a matter of personal preference. If you use a laptop on a daily basis and are considering buying a bag without a dedicated compartment you should factor in the price of a dedicated sleeve in your budget.

Another thing you should keep in mind when you’re considering a bag with a dedicated laptop compartment is the size of your laptop. Having a dedicated compartment doesn’t mean it can accommodate any laptop size. Make sure that your laptop will fit before you buy such a bag otherwise, the compartment will be of very little use.

3. Material and durability. Will it endure your use?

College backpacks come in different materials. The right material for you depends on your use. As a general rule, synthetic materials with a dense weave are far more durable than organic materials like cotton. As synthetic fibers can be resistant to cuts and water, they’re far more likely to last longer and endure a harsh treatment. Asides from being “generally durable”, higher levels of water and cut resistance should be sought after if you know you’ll need it. This usually means having to pay more for your college backpack but considering the added durability that you’ll get on a such a heavily-used item, it’s definitely worth it. Now that you’re familiar with the key things to look for in a new college backpack, it’s time to have a look at some of the best available options on the market.

1. JanSport Big Student Backpack

This is another great college backpack from JanSport. If you’d love to have a JanSport backpack but didn’t quite like the previous model, this one will definitely appeal to you. What this backpack has in common with the previous model is the well-known quality JanSport products. However, in terms of the exterior design as well as the interior division of the compartments, it’s totally different.

The first thing you’ll notice about this backpack is that the signature suede leather is not there. This can’t be taken as a downside of the bag as it’s simple is a matter of personal preference.  If you think JanSport bags look better without the suede leather, this model will definitely appeal to you.

This bag is called the “Big” Student Backpack for a reason. This 17-inch backpack has a very spacious interior that is divided into two separate main compartments. Despite the fact that this bag has a main compartment that’s divided into two separate areas, it doesn’t have a dedicated laptop compartment. This is definitely a downside of this college backpack however, a simple laptop sleeve can easily fix this problem.

Another addition that we like about this model is the two bottle pockets on the sides. If you need to walk for long distances on campus, you already know how helpful these bottle pockets can be. If you’re looking for a spacious and well-divided JanSport backpack, the Big Student is definitely for you.

Product highlights:

  • Spacious interior
  • Well-divided
  • Bottle pockets
  • Durable material

2. Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack With USB Charging Port

If you’re looking for a college backpack that’ll fit all of your items while being super-stylish at the same time, this one is definitely worth checking out. With its highly-durable nylon material and trendy leather touches, this is a durable college backpack that has you covered in terms of looks. Asides from the cool design and durability, this backpack has a ton of features that make it an excellent choice for day-t0-day use.

With a 30L capacity and a dedicated laptop compartment that fits a laptop as big as 15 inches, your stuff can easily fit in this spacious bag. To make carrying such load as comfortable as possible, this bag has a comfortable honeycomb cushion and adjustable straps that allow for an even weight distribution.

Another great feature that makes this college backpack really stand out is the dedicated USB charging port. All you have to do is place your power bank in the dedicated compartment and you can charge your phone on the phone. As the phone is charged outside the bag, you can easily access it anytime which makes the whole process very comfortable.

It’s also worth mentioning that this bag has a dedicated water bottle pocket, which makes it easy to carry one with you wherever you go. Not only is this a useful on hot days, it can also help you save some of those unnecessary soda purchases.

Product highlights:

  • Cool design
  • USB charging port
  • 15-inch laptop compartment
  • Bottle pocket

Best Waterproof Backpack For College

3. Mancro’s Anti-Theft, Water-Resistant College Backpack

This is a college backpack that is designed for protecting your valuables in mind. If protecting your electronics and other valuables is your top priority, this backpack won’t let you down. Despite its relatively slim look, the dedicated laptop compartment in this backpack can accommodate a laptop that’s as big as 17 inches. Whatever the size of your laptop, this backpack can easily handle the biggest models that are currently available on the market. What’s even more great about is that it does that with an overall compact size.

Being 900D water repellent is another factor that makes this backpack a good choice for your precious belongings. Thanks to its water-repellent fabric, water damage is something that you won’t have to worry about with another traditional fabric backpack. The anti-theft lock that comes with this backpack adds another layer of protection. With that lock in place, you won’t have to worry about something being taken out of your backpack without you noticing it.

To make this backpack even more campus life-friendly, it has a built-in USB charging cable. Instead of being stuck next to a power outlet to charge your phone or having to place both your phone and your power bank in your backpack, this feature allows you to conveniently charge your phone on the go while having access to it at all times.

Product highlights:

  • Water resistant
  • Anti-theft lock
  • Built-in USB charging cable
  • 17-inch laptop compartment

Best Laptop Backpack For College

4. Matein Anti-Theft, Water-Resistant College Backpack

If you’re looking for another great anti-theft backpack with more storage options at the expense of accommodating a smaller laptop, this one is definitely worth checking out. The first thing that you’ll notice about this backpack is its catchy grey and blue color variants. Despite the elegant look of this college backpack, it’s as elegant as it gets. The first thing that makes this backpack really durable is its water-proof synthetic material. In addition to protecting your valuables from water damage, this synthetic material is really easy to clean. Given the fact that this is something that you carry around all the time and gets exposed to the elements, this is a really helpful feature.

One thing that we particularly liked about this college backpack is how it’s divided on the inside. With dedicated pockets for pens, phone, laptop and even a key fob hook, searching for your keys that can’t seem to be found while you’re freezing to death is something that you won’t have to go through again. This backpack even has an elasticized bottle pocket. Whatever you need to carry around, this college backpack has got you covered.

Another convenient feature that this backpack is the anti-theft external pocket, which can be very helpful for placing something valuable that you need to reach for quite often, like your cellphone or wallet. To make the experience complete, this college backpack also has a built-in USB cable for conveniently charging on the go. The only downside of this college backpack compared to the previous model is that it doesn’t come with a lock. However, since you can easily purchase one separately, we thought this was rather negligible compared to the added perks.

Product highlights:

  • Water-resistant
  • Nice color variants
  • Anti-theft pocket
  • Built-in USB cable
  • 15.6 inch dedicated laptop compartment

5. SOCKO Convertible College Backpack

When you’re looking for a new bag, you often have to choose between two main categories: backpacks and messenger bags. Thanks to this convertible backpack, this is a choice that you won’t have to make. Thanks to its brilliant convertible design, you can use this bag either as a backpack or as a messenger bag depending on your preference.

There is no denying that backpacks and messenger bags each have their own advantages. Thanks to this brilliant design, you get the best of both worlds. The well-thought design of this bag’s zippers makes it look good as a backpack and as a messenger bag as well. When you convert it, it doesn’t look like a backpack that’s being used as a messenger bag, which is a very nice aesthetic feature.

Another thing that makes this college backpack standout is the pockets it has. These are simply some of the best pockets that we’ve seen on any backpack. With a dedicated pocket for everything, you can easily reach everything that you put in the bag. From your cell phone and wallet to your laptop and tablet, this college backpack has a place for everything.

Despite the fact that you won’t have to choose between messenger bags and backpacks when you’re buying this convertible bag, we can’t say the same thing for colors. With so many different color combinations to choose from, this model has something for everyone.

Product highlights:

  • Can be used as a backpack and a messenger bag
  • Great design
  • Many pockets
  • A wide array of color choices

6. Wowbox 15.6-inch laptop canvas backpack

This backpack is the kind of item that gives the impression of being really expensive while it’s actually very affordable. The reason for this is probably the smart blend of high-end synthetic fabric and leather, which gives this college backpack a kind of vintage look. In terms of design and aesthetic quality, this backpack definitely nails it.

As for storage, this backpack can really fir so many things. This backpack’s interior is really spacious so you won’t have any problems fitting all of your stuff in it. With a dedicated laptop compartment that can accommodate laptops as large as 15.6 inches, most laptops will fit in this bag. Seriously, how often do you see a 17-inch laptop? If you have a laptop that’s bigger than 15.6 inches, you’ll need to consider another backpack.

When it comes to pockets though, there is not much of it. Asides from the main storage space and the dedicated laptop compartment, this backpack has 3 external pockets and two bottle pockets. For most people, this is more than enough. However, if you’re the kind of person who loves having so many pockets in their backpack, this one just isn’t it.

The only thing that we thought was a downside of this college backpack was the fact that it didn’t have a built-in USB cable. To be clear, a built-in USB cable is by no means an industry standard. However, having so many new bags with this built-in cable makes us kind of miss it on this model. If you’re not a fan of the built-in USB cable thing, there isn’t much to worry about when you’re buying this model. Another great thing about this backpack is the available color variety. Despite having many different colors, they all share the same “high-end” feel of the bag. Overall, this is a fashionable backpack that is an incredible value for money.

Product highlights:

  • Great design
  • Large color variety
  • Spacious interior
  • 15.6-inch laptop compartment
  • Excellent value for money

7. ZUMIT Slim College Backpack

Sometimes, all you need from a backpack is to safely hold your laptop and a relatively small amount of items. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t walk around carrying a ton of stuff, this is a backpack that you’ll definitely love. The first thing that you’ll notice about this college backpack is its compact size and extremely lightweight. Add to that a very minimalist-looking exterior and you’ll have the perfect backpack for someone who values simplicity.

On the inside, this college backpack has a well-paced laptop compartment that can accommodate a laptop as large as 15 inches. Considering the quality of the laptop compartment and the fact that 15 inch is pretty much the common laptop size, this bag has everything you need to safely and conveniently carry your laptop around campus.

To make sure your belongings are well-protected, this backpack is made of a water-repellent synthetic fiber. Being water-resistant means that splashing water isn’t something that you should worry about. If you study somewhere with frequent rain, a water-repellent backpack is simply life-saving.

We believe it would have been really awesome if this backpack had a built-in USB cable. This feature doesn’t really require that much space so it could have easily been added. Other than that,  this college backpack is the perfect choice for students who don’t walk around with a ton of stuff.

Product highlights:

  • Water repellent fabric
  • Minimalist design
  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • 15-inch laptop compartment

8. Under Armour UA Hustle 3.0 Backpack

Under Armour is a brand that needs no introduction. The UA Hustle 3.0 is a great Under Armour product that allows you to get the awesome quality of this well-known brand without having to break the bank. Thanks to the synthetic fabric that ’s made of 77% Polyester and 23% Nylon, this backpack is very easy to clean. When compared to other organic fabrics like cotton, this is a very maintenance-friendly choice.

The spacious interior of the UA Hustle 3.0 can fit many things and has a dedicated laptop compartment that can fit a laptop as big as 13 inches. Now, this is something that we consider as a serious downside of this bag for a simple reason: most people use laptops that are larger than 13 inches. In fact, this is the only downside of this awesome Under Armour backpack. If you use a laptop that’s 13 inches or smaller, you should definitely consider this bag.

In addition to the spacious interior, this backpack has a large front pocket that can be used for keeping things like a wallet or sunglasses. It also has a well-placed pocket under the bag, which has a double function. When you’re not using that pocket, it creates an additional space inside the bag. If you’re hitting the gym, you can use this pocket to keep your shoes or dirty laundry. This makes this bag super-valuable as it has a double function. If you’re looking to get a top-quality backpack with an exceptional value for money, the UA Hustle 3.0 is definitely worth checking out.

Product highlights:

  • 13-inch laptop compartment
  • Can be used as a gym bag
  • Spacious interior
  • Easy to clean

9. JanSport Right Pack Laptop Backpack

It’s really hard to talk about backpacks without mentioning JanSport, which is hands down one of the best backpack manufacturers in the world. Despite the fact that this brand has so many models, this is one of most popular, and for good reasons. In terms of the build quality and the overall design, it’s everything you’d typically expect from a JanSport bag. The durable, synthetic fabric that’s used in this bag makes it really durable and capable of lasting for a very long time. The signature suede leather of JanSport bags is also used in this backpack.

The interior of this college backpack is really spacious. In addition to having room for all of your belongings, it has a dedicated laptop compartment that can accommodate laptops as large as 15 inches, which makes it suitable for the vast majority of laptops.

The only thing we didn’t like about this backpack is that it has a single large main compartment. Some people might like that as it could easily accommodate larger items but we believe dividing this interior space into two separate compartments would have been better.

This backpack also doesn’t have a built-in USB cable or a dedicated bottle pocket, which is kind of disappointing for people who care about these features. Other than that, this is a very solid college backpack choice that you definitely won’t regret.

Product highlights:

  • Spacious interior
  • Amazing build quality
  • 15-inch laptop compartment
  • Large main compartment