- Buyer's Guide
The Best ‘Back to School’ Backpacks for Everyday Carry 2017
When you’re heading back to school, having a solid pack at your back can really help you succeed. Durable construction that can handle the daily grind, convenient access to supplies and tools, and a little urban style on the side all play their part in navigating a demanding back-to-school environment. And if your bag has the versatility to embrace settings and carry needs beyond school, even better. So to help you on your way, we’ve rounded up some of the best Back to School backpacks to help your studies thrive…
Functionality on a budget
Carry a diverse range of loads? The Harvest Label Trekker Flaptop Backpack can help you out with its expandable design that gives you more space when you need it, or cinches down when you don’t. Two front zipper pockets provide convenient storage for frequently used items, while an interior padded compartment safely stores up to a 15″ laptop. For added flexibility, a rear zipper enables easy access to the main compartment without having to undo the top.
Simple, tough and versatile, the Topo Designs Y-Pack can move from school to the streets or outdoor trails. Crafted with 1000D Cordura fabric, the bag features a drawstring closure and flap top, with handy storage in the flap for smaller essentials. Inside is a 15″ laptop sleeve, while externally you’ll find dual side pockets for a water bottle or other quick-access gear.
Slim and stylish, the M.R.K.T. Carter Mini Backpack is a compact companion for minimalist carry setups. The pack features a removable small sleeve compartment, along with a quick-access pocket on the back panel and a convenient top grab handle.
Fjällräven’s iconic Kånken gets an eco-friendly makeover with the special edition Re-Kånken backpack. The Re-Kånken is made with polyester from 11 recycled plastic bottles and a spin dye process that uses reduced amounts of water, energy and chemicals. The pack features a wide-opening main compartment, a removable seat pad, as well as two exterior side pockets and a front zippered pocket for stashing smaller EDC and study tools.
Looking for sleek, weatherproof protection for your gear? This pack delivers, offering around 10L of storage space in an attractive design that will keep the elements at bay. The pack has an interior sleeve for a 13″ laptop and a quick-access back pocket that’s handy for keys or your phone.
The clean silhouette of the Incase ICON Lite brings a touch of professional, urban-friendly aesthetics to your school carry. The 12L pack offers a faux fur padded sleeve for up to 15″ tech, and the main compartment is well shaped for carrying books, magazines and papers. Plus with quick-access pockets you can keep smaller items within easy reach.
Keeping things organized
With its wide opening the pinqponq Large Cubik Backpack provides ready access to items throughout the main compartment. Interior sleeves keep your laptop, tablet and papers tidy and easily accessible, with additional pockets ready to handle smaller items. An exterior base pocket is a handy place for storing cables and chargers, and the pack also salutes sustainability with fabric made from recycled PET bottles.
The Incase City Commuter Backpack offers a great combination of urban style and practical organization for your daily gear. The pack’s laptop compartment provides 360-degree padding for superior protection, while the quick-access front pocket includes a soft lining for smaller tech devices. Multiple pockets are available for organizing individual items, and the expandable back compartment comes in handy when you need to fit in a little extra.
The Arc’teryx Blade 20 can adapt to the school day, gym trips or overnight stays thanks to its clamshell design that offers separate storage for clothing and tech devices. The pack’s exterior front pocket includes a choice of inner pockets for organization, while the main compartment features dedicated storage for a laptop and tablet. There’s also a discreet back pocket that’s ideal for storing a passport, wallet or phone.
Fancy useful organization and a premium feel to your carry? The Lexdray Symmetry Vienna Pack is definitely one to check out. Tough and water resistant, the bag handles demanding use while keeping your gear tidy on the move. The main compartment opens wide for easy packing and access and offers designated storage for a laptop and tablet. One of the key features of the pack is its extensive range of pockets, from quick-access front pockets to back-entry pockets, ensuring plenty of options for storing smaller items.
Combining heritage aesthetics with durable construction, this small day pack is a versatile piece for school, EDC needs, and outdoor day trips. The pack is constructed with ballistic nylon and a water-repellent Rugged Twill base, and includes Bridle leather lash tabs for securing items externally. The bag shuts with a drawstring closure and features a removable inner wool pouch so you can conveniently transfer smaller items in and out of the pack.
A pack with a host of handy features that also helps you do your bit for the environment? Meet the United By Blue 45L Range Daypack, which features a water-repellent finish, top and front openings to access gear easily, a 17″ padded laptop sleeve, plus a variety of pockets for keeping items tidy and accessible. In addition, United By Blue will also remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold.
Happy to roam between the city and the outdoors, the Topo Designs Rover Pack is made by hand in Colorado with a durable 1000D Cordura fabric base and a lightweight and water-resistant coated pack cloth upper. The front and top pockets are ideal for storing frequently used items, while the side pockets come in handy for a water bottle, small umbrella or other quick-access items. In addition, you’ll find a 15″ laptop sleeve inside for keeping your tech secure.
Topo Designs and Woolrich® teamed up to create this handsome and multifunctional pack that can hit the study halls during the week and the trails during the weekend. Crafted in the USA, the bag features a Woolrich® wool exterior and a leather base. Side pockets and a top pocket provide ready storage for quick-access items, and leather lash tabs serve as exterior attachment points for bulkier items.
Minimal and Sleek
Clean and compact, the Monolith Minimal 18L Backpack is a stylish option for minimalist carry setups. The pack is made with weather-resistant 500D Cordura Nylon 6.6 fabric and offers three front quick-access pockets. An interior sleeve fits up to a 15″ laptop and internal webbing provides options for attaching additional items.
The sleek and tough Aer Fit Pack 2 helps you cut down on carry by combining a gym bag and EDC bag in one. A front-access compartment provides storage for clothing, with separate storage for your shoes. A secondary compartment takes care of your tech, tools and small EDC and includes a padded laptop compartment.
The Mystery Ranch Urban Assault puts access front and center with its 3-ZIP design that offers access to gear throughout the main compartment. Comfortable and durable, the pack is made with 500D Cordura and provides a lid pocket for quick-access items. Inside are two interior pockets for keeping small items within easy reach and a laptop sleeve for up to 15″ tech.
Keen on fashion and function? The côte&ciel Isar Small Memory Tech Backpack offers both, combining a striking silhouette with a padded laptop sleeve, pockets for EDC and small tools, and a front compartment for extra items such as an outer layer and snacks.
The côte&ciel Rhine carries your school and EDC essentials in slim, chic and weatherproof style. The pack offers a range of pockets including front pockets for frequently accessed items, as well as a padded laptop pocket and space for books or papers in the main compartment.
Commuting by Bike
With its 100% waterproof construction, you can breathe a sigh of relief that your gear is protected against downpours in the Urban Ex Daypack. And with its wide-opening main compartment, quick-access pockets and reflective webbing, you can get to that gear in a jiffy when you need it. A padded sleeve fits up to 13″ tech, and the compact design moves easily through crowds when it’s time to swap the bike for crowded hallways.
With its welded waterproof main compartment and flexible capacity the Bravo 2.0 Backpack accommodates a variety of loads come rain or shine. The rolltop pack includes a quick-access laptop pocket and cross compression straps that can secure bulkier items such as a jacket externally. And with a lifetime guarantee, you don’t need to worry about getting active with this bag.
Timbuk’s Especial Medio Cycling Laptop Backpack glides easily from two wheels to the classroom, with a weatherproof build and useful organization to keep you moving smoothly throughout the day. The pack features a waterproof drop liner, reflective detailing, laptop sleeve, and a choice of quick-access pockets for a water bottle, U-lock, wallet, phone and more. For added functionality it also offers expandable storage for additional loads or bulky items such as a bike helmet. All wrapped up with a lifetime warranty.
The 20L Sanction Backpack is an accomplished combination of slick urban styling and tough functionality. Made in the USA, the weatherproof pack comes with a lifetime warranty so you can ride hard secure in the knowledge that this bag will keep up. Complementing its durable build are multiple pockets for keeping EDC, school supplies and bike tools tidy and within easy reach.