- Buyer's Guide
6 Stylish and Budget-friendly Backpacks for Back to School
Heading back to school means it’s time to haul gear, from tech, papers and books, to lunch, an outer layer and your daily EDC essentials. These back-to-school backpacks not only handle the task of organizing your gear well, but help you carry in style too. And since school is often a time where spare funds are in short supply, these packs also give a nod to more budget-friendly price tags, while still ensuring the quality you want out of a reliable study buddy for years to come…
Keen for a clean, practical and versatile pack that works hard during the school week and is ready for weekend fun too? The 19L Conceal Backpack is well up to the job, blending a pared-back exterior with functional organization to keep school supplies tidy and easily accessible. You’ll find quick-access pockets for the likes of a phone and wallet, a padded 15″ laptop pocket, and additional options for EDC or other school essentials. Plus the pack also comes with a removable sling bag, a great compact option when you want to ditch the load and roam with a small setup. And if you’re looking for more volume with plenty of organization options, the Hillside Backpack (23L-26L) is a solid alternative.
With its streamlined silhouette and functional design, the Bellroy Studio Backpack is an effortless way to bring style and practicality to your school setup. The bag is designed to hold its shape and look good no matter how full or empty it is. And with its slick Fidlock magnetic opening, access is simple and fast. The pack features a padded 15″ laptop pocket to protect your tech, while the quick-access exterior pocket is a convenient place to stash smaller essentials at the ready. And with its water-resistant fabric and fold-over top, your gear will stay safe from the elements too.
Sleek, water-resistant and serving up plenty of pockets, the Osprey Transporter Flap Backpack is a trusty choice for keeping on top of your school carry. The comfy padded harness with its sternum strap and removable webbing waist belt supports and stabilizes the load on the go, whether on foot or two wheels. And you also benefit from a range of quick-access and interior pockets to neatly store your belongings, including a padded laptop and tablet sleeve and a scratch-free pocket for delicate items. Additionally, cyclists will appreciate the bike light attachment point as well.
The Metro Pack combines outdoor-inspired ruggedness with urban-friendly style and functionality. The weatherproof, durable pack is made in the USA using 600D Cordura and water-resistant zippers. The rolltop closure adjusts to changing loads, while dual side zippers provide easy access to essentials while out and about. The pack includes an interior 15″ laptop sleeve, as well as a padded back panel, sternum strap and removable waist belt for carry comfort.
The Urban Assault’s considered blend of durability, access, comfort and versatility makes it a great pick for users who want a daily school bag that can hit the hills during their downtime. Mystery Ranch’s epic 3-ZIP access lets you easily reach gear throughout the main compartment. Plus there’s a dedicated exterior-access 15″ laptop compartment to keep a laptop and tablet close at hand too. The side pockets are handy for a water bottle or compact umbrella, with a lid pocket at the ready too. Look inside and you’ll also find a mix of interior pockets to store smaller items. The pack’s tough 500D Cordura construction is backed by a lifetime warranty and its comfortable design shoulders the load for all-day carry comfort.
While the 1733 Bookbag is pricier than other options on this list, you’re getting great value for money with premium materials and durable, Chicago-made construction. The pack is lightweight, highly water resistant, and abrasion resistant; more than ready to tackle the daily school grind. It’s crafted with VX-21 X-Pac material, a tough 500D Cordura nylon base, and YKK AquaGuard zippers. The interior laptop sleeve is complemented by quick-access top and front pockets, keeping your essentials tidy without cluttering up the straightforward, flexible feel of the pack.