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Best High School & College Backpacks Reviewed in 2019

last updated May 12, 2019

Selecting a backpack for school or college can be harder than you think. With all of the options that are available on the market, it is way more complicated than it may sound. So we decided to research and find the best backpacks for school and college found on the internet. We broke it down based on their features, benefits, and the pros and cons of each backpack. We found the best backpacks so you can easily choose the one that is just right for you.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 28 hrs of research

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Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
95.7/100 our score
Capacity
96
Design
95
Value
96
Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
Why is it better?

Comes in a variety of fashion colors

Waterproof on the outside

Adjustable reinforced shoulder straps

Padded bottom and side panels for added protection

Machine washable

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
Test Winner: Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
Researched Sources
17
Researched Sources
Hours Researching
28
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Capacity Design Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.7
Capacity
96%
Design
95%
Value
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$29.89
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Capacity
93%
Design
92%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$51.89
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Capacity
91%
Design
90%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$21.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
Capacity
90%
Design
89%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$37.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Capacity
88%
Design
88%
Value
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$46.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Capacity
87%
Design
86%
Value
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$23.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
Capacity
85%
Design
84%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$54.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Capacity
82%
Design
80%
Value
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$29.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.7
Capacity
80%
Design
80%
Value
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$38.94
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Capacity
78%
Design
80%
Value
76%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$32.99
In depth review top 10
  • Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
  • BOLANG Water Resistant Travel
  • Vancropak Canvas USB Charging
  • High Sierra Loop
  • YOREPEK Extra Large
  • Modoker Vintage Laptop
  • Under Armour Hustle 3.0
  • AmazonBasics Laptop 17 inches
  • High Sierra Access
  • MarsBro Laptop Anti Theft
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best High School & College Backpacks

1. Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.7
Vaschy Unisex Classic Water Resistant
Capacity
96
Design
95
Value
96
best offer for today
$29.89

Comes in a variety of fashion colors

Waterproof on the outside

Adjustable reinforced shoulder straps

Padded bottom and side panels for added protection

Machine washable

Water resistant but water stains can remain on backpack after heavy rain.

Here is a backpack that has a classic clean, compact look to it on the outside. But don’t be fooled by the appearance, this one has plenty of practical and unique features.

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Capacity

Starting with its roomy center pocket, which has plenty of room to hold several books or even a 15 laptop easily. That is just the beginning though; there are three other smaller pockets within which are ideal for a calculator and other personal items. There are two different zipper pockets on the outside ideal for a smartphone and a wallet. The backpack is built to last and made from heavy-duty polyester which makes it built to last.

Design

This backpack provides ample amount of protection for all your high tech devices. The bag is water resistant on the outside to protect against the elements. There is plenty of padding in this bag as well, which means that any unforeseen accidents will keep the devices safe.

Value

Ideal for use in high school or college. Has a classic design that makes it an excellent choice for either gender, while providing colors for everyone’s taste.

2. BOLANG Water Resistant Travel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
BOLANG Water Resistant Travel
Capacity
93
Design
92
Value
94
best offer for today
$51.89

Water-resistant nylon outer shell

One year warranty

10 different colors to choose from

2 side pockets for water bottles or umbrella

Adjustable shoulder straps and top handle

Bolang has built a reputation on providing high-quality backpacks for school use and recreational purposes.

A lightweight but durable backpack that will take care of all college students needs for keeping stuff organized. It is made out of durable water resistant nylon on the exterior and has a sturdy polyester lining on the inside. Features of this bag include four different zip up compartments.

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Capacity

A lightweight but durable backpack that will take care of all college students needs for keeping stuff organized. It is made out of durable water resistant nylon on the exterior and has a sturdy polyester lining on the inside. Features of this bag include four different zip up compartments.

Design

That consists of the roomy center pocket which has plenty of room for all books, and notebook. There is an additional spacious slot inside this large pocket that is designed to store ad laptop computer or tablet computer safely and securely. Plus this bag has not just padded shoulder straps but a convenient top handle. This feature makes it possible for it to be used not only like a backpack but a tote back as well. Making it suitable not just for school but travel as well.

Value

Created to provide comfort and to promote good posture. It is ergonomically designed not to cause stress on the back. Takes concerns regarding health issues with weighted backpacks into consideration, working to eliminate those problems. Bolang has built a reputation for providing high-quality backpacks for school use and recreational purposes.

3. Vancropak Canvas USB Charging

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Vancropak Canvas USB Charging
Capacity
91
Design
90
Value
92
best offer for today
$21.99

Built-in USB charger

Available in black, grey and pink

Wide padded adjustable shoulder straps

Waterproof enough to tolerate bad weather conditions

The zipper on the main compartment a bit hard to open and close

Fashionable and durable a backpack that is loaded with several convenient features for the busy high school and college student to appreciate. The bag is made out of rugged canvas material that is created to repel water on the outside.

Read more

Capacity

There is also plenty of compartments to help provide plenty of organization for all items. That would include a sizeable spacious center zip up pocket. In this compartment, there is plenty of room for all school material and of course a laptop computer. It also has an extra padded bottom and sides to add protection to high tech devices while on the go.

Design

With the help of an electrical outlet, the USB charger can give someone their charging station. Now not to worry about the battery going on the cell phone while on the go. Just plug in the port to an outlet and let the bag charge the device. Convenient while on the go and not able to find an actual charging station when needed.

Value

For those busy students who want to be able to carry all the necessary stuff needed along with being able to have all items organized and accessible.

4. High Sierra Loop

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
High Sierra Loop
Capacity
90
Design
89
Value
90
best offer for today
$37.99

Durable backpack constructed from polyester

Multiple compartments and pockets

Features compression straps to keep everything in place

Special pocket for smart devices

Keeps supply neat and organized

If the main compartment is overfilled, it is hard to put more stuff in the additional pockets

Side pockets are smaller than normal

Designed with the versatility of a hiking backpack, but great for the daily grind of a student. It features multiple compartments that keep all of your student supplies organized and easy to get to. On the side, there are compression straps that can be adjusted to help keep everything in the bag secure during the course of the long day of a student.

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Capacity

The bottom has a webbing system that is also adjustable and is ideal for securing items that don’t fit inside the bag. It also features an area for storage for tablets, laptops, and all the personal smart gear. The area where you keep your smart gear is a dedicated spot that features TechSpot technology which has been designed specifically to keep your devices safe and secure. This backpack will get you through the day and keep you well-organized with all the pockets and compartments.

Design

This is a great backpack for a student who has a long day and needs lots of storage. The compartments are great for keeping everything that they need at their reach and organized. With pockets on the side, in the backpack, and even the special compartment for smart devices, it will help keep anyone organized.

Value

The design of this bag is simple and has lots of compartments. It is made out of a polyester material that is super-durable. The special pocket for smart devices is great and keeps them easy to access and safe.

5. YOREPEK Extra Large

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
YOREPEK Extra Large
Capacity
88
Design
88
Value
88
best offer for today
$46.99

USB charging port

Water resistant and tear resistant

20+ compartment for optimal organization

Separate laptop compartment

Comfortable padded shouldn’t straps and durable top handle

Stitching on shoulder straps can start to come undone

Made to take a college student through all aspect of their lives. The backpack has an incredible amount of room to provide optimal organization. It has enough room for course material including textbooks, notebooks, cellphone and of course a laptop computer.

Read more

Capacity

The bag is water resistant polyester on the outside and lined with quality nylon fabric on the inside. There are three outside zipper pockets and two side slots. But these are just the beginning of the compartments found in this bag. Inside of each zippered compartment is several pockets and slots to keep every needed item in its proper place.

Design

Good enough for school use, but large enough for other purposes as well. In fact, this bag is designed to meet the requirements for carrying on for airplane travel. So, can go from the schoolroom to the weekend getaway. A bag that has multiple uses to meets any need a student may have for it.

Value

A backpack ideal for high school and college students, along with being great for those in the business world as well. It makes an exceptional transitional bag for a college graduate entering the work field.

6. Modoker Vintage Laptop

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.3
Modoker Vintage Laptop
Capacity
87
Design
86
Value
86
best offer for today
$23.99

Wide adjustable padded shoulder straps

Built-in USB charger

2 side pockets for water bottles or umbrella

Attractive and practical front leather buckles for added security

Available only in gray and black

A unique looking backpack for high school and college students who want to set themselves apart from the crowd. Made out of durable nylon fabric which is water resistant and will resist easy tearing, it is built to last.

Read more

Capacity

There are more than enough zipper compartments that not only create an attractive overall look but provide plenty of room. In front of the bag is a standard zipper compartment, roomy enough for a pocketbook, wallet, and keys. The center pocket is spacious enough for books a laptop computer. But these are just a few of the numerous pockets and compartments found in this backpack. In fact, there are six total zipper compartments in all.

Design

Since 1993 Modoker has worked on supplying fashionable and functional backpacks. This one is a prime example of the quality that they have put forth in their brand.

Value

A wonderful gift for a grad student who is entering high school or college. A bag they will no doubt use throughout their years of higher learning. They will no doubt love the convenience and organization of the bag. The USB charging feature will no doubt be a hit as well.

7. Under Armour Hustle 3.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.3
Under Armour Hustle 3.0
Capacity
85
Design
84
Value
84
best offer for today
$54.99

Everyday backpack designed to withstand the elements

Constructed from durable materials

Features two side pockets

Padded shoulder straps for a comfortable ride

Laptop sleeve lined with soft material for extra protection

Material does not repel stains

Large compartment is lost space when the laptop is placed in the sleeve

Wherever you need to go in the course of the day, this backpack is able to go with you. It has been designed to be a backpack that is worn every day and that is comfortable when you are wearing it. Not only is it comfortable to wear, but it has all the space you need to carry all the items that are needed for class.

Read more

Capacity

The shoulder straps feature a padded material that keeps the pressure off the shoulders. The materials used in the construction of the backpack are super-durable, and the extra pockets on the side are great for carrying a drink or slipping your extra snacks in so they are easy to get to. Along with the pockets on the side, the bag also has a laptop sleeve that has been lined with soft material to protect it as you carry it day to day. When you have a tough day, the last thing you need is a backpack that doesn’t have the space you need or be able to stand up to the elements. This has everything you need and more.

Design

The material that this backpack has been constructed from is super-durable and is also resistant to the elements. Everything from rain to snow, the water-resistant materials really stand up to the test. The bottom of the bag also features a durable material that makes it even more sturdy with heavy loads.

Value

Carrying a backpack every day can be hard on your shoulders. This backpack features padded shoulder straps that provide the best ride possible. Having to carry tons of items for every class during the day is hard enough. Take some of the stress off the shoulders and experience less pressure with this backpack.

8. AmazonBasics Laptop 17 inches

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
AmazonBasics Laptop 17 inches
Capacity
82
Design
80
Value
81
best offer for today
$29.99

Multiple compartments to carry all necessary items to class

Durable zipper closures

Two-side mesh water bottle holders

Adjustable padded shoulder straps

Not advertised as waterproof Only comes in basic black color

A backpack for high school or college use needs to have room to accommodate a laptop computer. That is why this bag stands out it was created just for that specific purpose. Pack full of features to help keep anyone organized throughout their busy day.

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Capacity

It features several different types of compartments. That includes pockets for things such as pens, calculator, and cellphone. In the center of the bag are not one but two large roomy compartments. One of which is great for books and notebooks. The second compartment which is made with extra padding is for a laptop as big as 17 inches. The extra padding provides extra shock absorption to keep the computer safe from any sudden jolts.

Design

Designed with technology in mind. While using it, there is extra added confidence that all high tech devices will have the protection they need while in transit. Ideal for school or travel, anywhere a person will want to take a laptop or tablet computer along.

Value

Affordable yet built to last. Has all the features a student in higher education would be looking for in a backpack.

9. High Sierra Access

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.7
High Sierra Access
Capacity
80
Design
80
Value
79
best offer for today
$38.94

Adjustable padded S straps with suspension system feature

Separate tablet computer pocket

Tuck-away rain cover and waist belt

Padded back panel with Airflow technology

CD pocket with headphone port

The main zipper can get stuck on occasion due to frequent use

For anyone who is concerned about their laptop stored in their backpack, this one by High Sierra is the ideal choice. It is made to protect that laptop, with plenty of padding from top to bottom.

Read more

Capacity

That is just the beginning though, it not only has a waterproof exterior but comes with an extra added rain tarp that can be worn around the bag in bad weather, and can be folded back up for convenient storage. The bag also has plenty of room for the laptop computer, of course, school books, pocketbook or wallet, water bottles and more.

Design

Another feature whereas some backpacks accommodate either a laptop or a tablet computer this one will accommodate both and has designated compartments for each. A bag that takes technology seriously. Not only accommodating the laptop comfortably but other hi-tech devices as well. Keeps them organized and protected. That would include scratches and unexpected accidents such as being dropped.

Value

Excellent bag for students who require laptops, and a whole lot of books for class. Helps support the back and take the weight off of it while hauling a big load.

10. MarsBro Laptop Anti Theft

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
MarsBro Laptop Anti Theft
Capacity
78
Design
80
Value
76
best offer for today
$32.99

Waterproof and stain resistant

S-curve adjustable padded shoulder straps

Comes in 9 different colors in which to choose from

Anti-theft zipper pocket

The backpack is a bit shinier than some may desire when it first arrives

For those looking for a backpack that has a classic clean look this one from MarsBro is ideal. Not only is it made out of beautiful yet durable polyester on the outside, but the outer shell is made to repel liquid and be waterproof.

Read more

Capacity

There are also three main zipper compartments including the main zipper compartment that is equipped to fit a laptop computer of up to 15 inches. But this is just the beginning there are actually up to 20 pockets within the bag to hold everything that is needed. One other great feature is that there is an actual USB charger on the outside of the backpack.

Design

A backpack that takes security seriously. Protects high tech devices by repelling all liquid, and having more than enough padding. The bag protects valuables by having a secret security pocket to store important stuff and provides a piece of mind and organization at the same time.

Value

The design is basic enough to fit into any institution of higher learning. Just fashionable enough to make a statement all its own.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Capacity

Backpacks make it possible to keep all of our items close to us. We can keep our smartphones, our tablets or laptops close by at all times. We can also keep whatever money we need in the backpack as well along with any types of identification required. With a backpack, all this stuff is held securely with us, not in a locker where we may wonder if it is still safe and that someone hasn’t managed to break in. So, a backpack will keep everything close at hand and secure at all times.

Design

Backpacks for higher levels of education need to accommodate the growing technological age. These days students are expected to carry laptops or tablets to class especially in college. So, the backpack needs to have room for these to fit and not be obstructed by any other items. Another great feature of several backpacks on our list is a USB-charging option.

Value

At first, the task of searching for a backpack can seem like a challenge, but after reviewing the best backpacks on our top 10 list and all the details about each one, it will no longer seem overwhelming. This list will allow you to select the backpack that best fits your needs, without it being such a chore. With tons of backpacks all over the web, finding one that fits your needs may be confusing. We have included summaries with details for each backpack which makes it easy to review the backpacks on our list and make a decision on what best suits your needs and lifestyle.

A backpack is a personal item and everyone has their own preferences and requirements. Choosing a backpack depends on your needs are and what features will make your life easier. We researched, reviewed, and read about more backpacks than we realized possible to come up with this compiled list of nothing but the best. The top runners-up are listed and reviewed. Selecting the best backpack for your needs should be easy.

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Capacity
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#2
Design
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#3
Value
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Parents, Did you Know?

An essential element of any backpack, we want one that is made to last. When its bought for either high school or college, we want to be able to get through the entire four years with this one backpack. So, having one that is built to last not just on the outside but also on the inside is essential. We want one in which the lining won’t start to tear, or the zippers start to break. After all, there will be enough to handle in both high school and college but a backpack falling apart shouldn’t have to be one of them.

Parents, Did you Know?

Backpacks aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some students may require more room than others in their backpacks and may want more compartments to place things for more organization. Whatever the needs may be, the backpack should be convenient for its owner to be able to navigate through school using it.

Other Factors to Consider

Waterproof

An essential element that high school and college students could look for in a backpack is whether it is waterproof or at least water-resistant. Not only would having one that is waterproof to protect the items inside in bad weather but there is the added advantage of providing constant protection to devices. After all, each of us at one time or another have accidentally dropped fluid of some kind or even got caught in automatic sprinklers. Imagine the damage that could be done to our high-tech devices if it isn’t waterproof.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can the same backpack used in high school be used in college?
a:

It may seem like an excellent economical thing to do but as a grade school backpack doesn’t really work for high school a backpack designed for high school may not work for college. Sometimes, a more rigorous course load will require different things for those classes, such as a laptop or tablet computer. Another factor is the older a student becomes, the more personal items he or she might need to carry such as a driver’s license and other forms of ID, or car, dorm room or apartment keys. One way around this would be to buy a backpack in high school that is designed for college-age students. Some may seem a bit roomy at the moment, but no doubt the student will start to utilize it more as time goes on.

q: When did students start using backpacks more commonly?
a:

It was around the early ’80s that backpacks started to be used more in schools as a way for kids to carry necessary materials such as school books. Before this kids would use things such a book bags because lugging around books in their arms along with a notebook and pencil box was quite challenging to do. When kids entered high school and college, they were supplied with lockers to help keep track of these things. But even at this age, students found that they still preferred the convenience of using a backpack instead because it helps them carry all their necessary materials from class to class.

q: What about clear backpacks and the new mandatory rule by some high schools about these?
a:

Some grade schools and high schools have gone to the clear backpack since they feel these are more secure and prevent concealed weapons from being brought to campus. But take a look at our list, no clear backpacks on it for three reasons. First of all, although they are waterproof, they aren’t too durable and are generally one specific style, which means individual needs haven’t been taken into consideration. Second, there is no real proof that this solves the problem of violence in schools as some experts are quick to point out. Third, students feel that these are an invasion of privacy more than something to keep them safe and some have even filed grievances against being made to use clear backpacks. However, if it is the school policy, it is necessary to follow it, since all schools have their rules from dress codes to backpacks.

q: Do backpacks cause back and other health problems in the body?
a:

There have been reports of backpacks causing back pain and back problems. There have also been reports of shoulder problems and neck pain. All of this is understandable because a student is carrying their lives on their shoulders and their backs. However, some backpacks that we featured on this list have considered this issue and have outfitted the backpack with padded shoulder straps and have designed the backpack to better distribute the weight of the contents. In addition, to avoid back issues resulting from heavy backpacks, it is important to wear the backpack properly. Consult the product information on the manufacturer’s website to see how to adjust the straps properly for comfortable wear.

q: How can the heavy backpack problem be avoided?
a:

The first thing to remember that a backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10 percent of the student’s body weight. Second, only have the necessary items needed at any particular time inside the bag. That is where a locker could come in handy–remove the books that aren’t needed and store in the locker while adding the books from the locker that you do need. Third and most important, always clean out the backpack every month of unnecessary stuff that is no longer needed.

q: Is it true some colleges won’t allow backpacks in classrooms?
a:

Unfortunately, this is true, some universities do have this rule. They feel that it is fine to bring one to campus but leave it in your locker or your car. For the most part, the rule is as popular with college students as the clear backpack has been with high school students. The concern here for college students is that they would have to lug all necessary materials for each class including their laptops in their arms and if one class is right after the other there may not be enough time to head back to the locker or your car. So, they would have to take materials for more than one class, carrying it all in their arms without the help of a backpack. A good argument but again rules are rules. The best course of action and it’s one to follow with any school is to know the university’s policy before entering as a student.

Sources

  1. Harvard, Bad backs and backpacks, Medical Journal
  2. Elizabeth King , A Brief History of the Modern Backpack, Online article
  3. Admin, Clear Backpacks Debate, Online Article
  4. MyCollegeGuide.org, Choosing The Right Backpack, Informative Article
  5. Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN, Inside students' heavy backpacks, why it's too much and how to help, News Article