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The Best ‘Back to School’ Backpacks for Everyday Carry 2018

by , September 4, 2018

When it’s time to get back to school, a good backpack is an important addition to your campus carry. A good backpack will help distribute the load well, ideal for heavier items such as books and laptops. Plus it’ll offer the space you need for extra items such as lunch, an outer layer and other larger items you may need to occasionally carry. And with sufficient organization it will ensure any smaller items you’re carrying won’t be lost in the recesses of your bag. Add in a versatile design that lets you get more out of your gear, hopping between campus and the weekend, and you’re good to go.

So what are the best ‘back to school’ backpacks? We’ve put the hard graft in on your behalf, selecting the best options for your everyday carry…

Timbuk2 Tuck Pack (US$79)

Timbuk2 Tuck Pack

Don’t have a lot of cash to spare? No problem. You can still pick up a quality pack at a budget-friendly price. Timbuk2’s Tuck Pack features a choice of internal and external pockets, a side-access laptop compartment, and adjustable volume with a rolltop opening. Backed by a lifetime guarantee, this is a nifty school buddy that can handle a variety of additional carry needs too.

Incase ICON Dot Backpack (US$79.95)

Incase Icon Dot Backpack

The Incase ICON Dot delivers sleek style and functionality without breaking the bank. An interior faux fur lined pocket fits up to a 13″ laptop, with quick-access storage for smaller gear. The lightweight, compact design is great for smaller loads and won’t weigh you down during a busy day.

Harvest Label Rolltop Backpack Plus (US$84.95)

Harvest Label Rolltop Backpack Plus

Eye-catching, affordable and adaptable, the Harvest Label Rolltop Backpack Plus works well for school days and weekend use alike. The pack provides handy front and side pockets, a padded laptop sleeve for up to a 13″ device, and further interior pockets for smaller items. In addition to the rolltop opening, the pack can also be accessed through a rear zippered opening for ease of use.

Fjällräven Greenland Top (US$94.98)

Fjällräven Greenland Top

The Fjällräven Greenland Top brings outdoor functionality to the campus, with urban-friendly style and reliable durability. Crafted with G-1000 Heavy Duty Eco fabric, this tough and water-resistant pack handles school carry and day hikes equally well. An interior sleeve with a padded base fits up to a 15″ laptop. Side, front and lid pockets take care of smaller items, keeping them secure but within easy reach.

United by Blue 30L Base Backpack (US$108)

United by Blue 30L Base Backpack

The 30L Base Backpack is a great option if you like plenty of organization and a nod to heritage styling. The padded interior sleeve fits a 15″ laptop, while front, side and lid pockets provide useful storage for frequently used items. It’s also water repellent and for each pack a pound of trash is removed from waterways, so you’re helping the planet too.

Chrome Industries Urban Ex Rolltop 18L Backpack (US$120)

Chrome Industries Urban Ex Rolltop 18L Backpack

The 100% waterproof Chrome Industries Urban Ex Rolltop 18L Backpack keeps your gear protected in trusty rugged style. The pack features Knurled Welded™ construction and a rolltop design to adapt to various loads. Available in a choice of color options, the pack offers a weatherproof quick-access pocket, a padded tablet sleeve, and reflective webbing to secure additional gear.

Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck (US$130)

Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck

Mystery Ranch brings military design inspiration to urban carry with the Rip Ruck. Designed with a rip-zip opening for quick access to the main compartment, the pack also offers front pockets for small essentials and a separate 15″ laptop compartment. Made with durable 500D Cordura and a comfy suspension, this tough pack embraces hauling school gear just as well as supplies for downtime adventures.

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault (US$139)

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault

Another rugged option that brings military functionality to the urban jungle, the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault combines clean style with durable 500D Cordura construction. The 3-ZIP closure lets you easily retrieve items throughout the pack, with interior sleeves for a laptop and tablet. Two interior mesh pockets and an exterior lid pocket provide convenient stashing spots for smaller items. And the comfortable, hard-wearing design works well in outdoor settings when it’s time to swap class corridors for wilderness trails.

pinqponq Large Cubik Backpack (US$149.95)

pinqponq Large Cubik Backpack

A savvy option if easy access is a priority, the pinqponq Large Cubik Backpack offers a wide-opening main compartment with multiple pockets to organize tech, documents, small EDC and tools. The pack features padded laptop and tablet sleeves, along with quick-access exterior pockets. Made with bluesign® 100% PET recycled fabric, it’s a solid eco-conscious choice too.

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (US$179)

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus

Bellroy’s Classic Backpack Plus combines simple, timeless style with versatile practicality. A piece you can use for school, the gym, EDC and travels, it provides a dedicated laptop compartment and quick-access pockets for smaller essentials. The durable, water-resistant build and comfortable suspension will also see you right wherever the day or night leads.

DSPTCH Daypack (US$180)

DSPTCH Daypack

Practical organization, a durable build and everyday functionality enables this daypack to embrace the school grind with ease. The designated laptop compartment fits up to a 15″ device, while quick-access storage and interior organization keeps the rest of your gear in order too. Made in the USA with water-repellent 1680D ballistic nylon, the pack comes with a lifetime guarantee for added value.



The highly adaptable WANDRD PRVKE is designed for life on the go. Three access points including a rolltop closure, clamshell opening, and side access keeps all your gear within easy reach. The durable and weather-resistant pack is backed by WANDRD’s lifetime “Wander More, Worry Less” guarantee, so you don’t need to worry about putting it through its paces. The rolltop enables the pack to expand from 21L to 25L, with multiple pockets and attachment points to keep gear tidy. Plus there’s also a lay-flat laptop sleeve which helps you breeze through airport security if you want to swap the school haul for sightseeing supplies.

Topo Designs Cordura Klettersack (US$189)

Topo Designs Cordura Klettersack

Topo Designs merge urban and outdoor readiness with their durable and versatile Klettersack. Available in a choice of colorways, this version ups the urban style with a sleek combination of black 1000D Cordura® and black leather detailing. Inside you’ll find a 15″ laptop sleeve, while an exterior flap pocket and side pockets keep frequently used items handy. And if you need to secure additional items, the exterior leather lash tabs are ready to lend a helping hand.

Trakke Assynt 17 (US$225.20)

Trakke Assynt 17

Want a handsome pack that offers impeccable handmade craftsmanship, premium waxed canvas and a design that moves easily between city and outdoor use? Meet the Trakke Assynt 17. Inspired by vintage mountaineering gear, the pack tackles urban streets and outdoor settings equally well. Highly weatherproof, durable and adaptable, it includes a 15″ laptop pocket and quick-access lid pocket.

Côte&Ciel Isar Large Eco Yarn Backpack (US$259)

Côte&Ciel Isar Large Eco Yarn Backpack

Parisian chic with everyday functionality? No problem for the Isar Large Backpack. A smart option for style-savvy users, the pack merges an elegant draping construction with a versatile design made with sustainably produced fabric. The pack’s padded laptop pocket fits up to 17″ devices, while the front compartment accommodates a variety of contents to adapt to changing needs.

Côte&Ciel Isar Medium Eco Yarn Backpack (US$325)

Côte&Ciel Isar Medium Eco Yarn Backpack

Fashion-forward aesthetics meet practical design with the Côte&Ciel Isar Medium Eco Yarn Backpack. Made with silver Eco Yarn and featuring front slogan detailing, the pack offers a choice of two compartments for organization. The back compartment fits up to a 15″ laptop in a padded pocket, while the front compartment includes compression straps and a valuables pocket.

GORUCK GR1 21L (US$395)


Sure, it’s expensive. But the GR1 is built to last a lifetime and offers excellent versatility. You can reach for the GORUCK GR1 during the school day, outdoor hikes, weekend getaways, gym trips and more. The flat opening provides easy access to your gear, while the separate laptop compartment offers trusty protection for your tech. The weather-resistant USA-made pack is backed by GORUCK’s Scars Lifetime Guarantee. And with a choice of interior and exterior pockets and MOLLE webbing, you can tailor your organization to suit a range of setups.


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