Get Back-to-School Ready With These 25 Stylish Backpacks
The best backpacks for college and beyond.
Whether you’re just starting elementary school or are finishing up a graduate degree, a good backpack is essential. But shopping for the perfect college backpack—one that holds your laptop, textbooks, and maybe even a change of clothes for that work study job—is a different animal than shopping for one that has to transport little more than stickers and stuffed animals. The good news? Finding the perfect vessel to carry your gear across campus is one of the easier items on your back-to-school shopping list. Whether you’re looking for something with that stylish flair that will get you noticed on the quad or need a rugged bag that will last you long after your collegiate days have come and gone, read on to discover the best college backpacks for any price range and style. And for more college-ready gear, check out these 30 Things You Should Always Keep in Your College Dorm Room.
Best Life’s editors have scoured the internet to bring you the best products out there, and we’re hoping you’ll love them as much as we do. Full disclosure: we may earn a commission for anything you purchase through links on this page, but that doesn’t mean you’ll pay more for them (we’d never do that to you!). Pricing and availability are accurate as of the piece’s initial publication date, but it’s the internet and we can’t guarantee that these sweet, sweet deals will last forever, so scoop them up before someone else does!
This classic blue neoprene backpack
$135; buy now at Dagne Dover
Looking for a stylish backpack that’ll still look great long after you’ve completed your last final? This neoprene backpack is practically immune from snags on desk chairs, while its streamlined design allows you to fit everything from books to gym clothes inside. And for those who hate seeing someone else wearing the same style as them, it also happens to come in several colors and sizes.
This sporty Adidas bag
$45; buy now at Nordstrom Rack
Three large compartments make this durable backpack perfect for loading up with everything from books to sports gear for after-class practice. And to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day, you can stash one of these cute water bottles in the side mesh pockets.
This trendy green backpack with top handles
$80; buy now at Urban Outfitters
The classic rectangular Fjallraven Kanken bag will always be effortlessly cool. Not only does it have a spacious interior and come in a wide variety of trendy colors, it’s also got a set of top handles to carry it with when you’re not toting around textbooks.
This stylish faux leather bag
$48; buy now at Topshop
Love the look of leather, but don’t feel like spending the high prices associated with the real deal? You can’t go wrong with this stylish faux-leather backpack, which has lots of large pockets roomy enough to fit all your school day needs.
This streamlined school bag
$50; buy now at Nordstrom Rack
This sleek backpack comes with padded straps and a compartment designated for laptops, meaning you can safely store everything you’ll need for a big day on campus.
This perfect laptop-toting bag
$60; buy now at Shopbop
Thirteen-inch laptops will feel right at home in this medium-sized backpack’s special slip pocket, while a brightly-patterned interior makes it easy to see everything inside.
This vintage-inspired faux leather bag
$57; buy now at ASOS
Rugged, yet refined, and effortlessly cool, this faux leather bag is an elevated twist on a traditional backpack.
This black and turquoise Nike knapsack
$40; buy now at Zappos
This spacious bag is perfect for anyone who loves Nike’s iconic gear, but doesn’t want to pay big bucks for it. Plus, it comes with a removable accessory pouch to contain all those small items that might otherwise get lost.
This cheetah-print backpack
$84; buy now at Bloomingdale’s
If you’re no shrinking violet—and you want a bag that says as much—this cheetah-print bag is for you. It even has a black interior, making it particularly useful for folks who find themselves frequently battling ink stains from misplaced pen caps.
This pretty in pink book bag
$40; buy now at Shopbop
This Puma backpack doubles as the perfect gym bag and features a spot for your laptop as well as a large zippered compartment for everything else your professors expect you to tote around.
This rugged North Face book bag
$109; buy now at Urban Outfitters
You can’t go wrong with a durable North Face backpack. This one just so happens to be waterproof too, ensuring that all those pricey textbooks and electronics will stay dry in the event of a downpour between classes.
This pretty paisley-patterned backpack
$104; buy now at Zappos
Lightweight and lovely, this paisley-printed Vera Bradley bag is a standout addition to any back-to-school arsenal.
This minimalist yellow backpack
$60; buy now at Urban Outfitters
The Hershel brand may be known for its classic style, but this retro gold color will have you standing out in a sea of black bags on campus.
This classic JanSport backpack
$79$55; buy now at Nordstrom Rack
Nostalgic for your grade school JanSport? Go retro with this more mature style from the iconic backpack brand, which features old-school fabric zipper pulls and leather accents.
This elegant faux leather backpack-slash-purse
$88; buy now at Anthropologie
Carry all your class needs in this on-trend, ultra chic backpack that doubles as a tote. Even though its outer material looks just like the real deal, it’s actually crafted from PETA-certified faux leather. And for more arm candy, check out these 27 Gorgeous Luxury Beach Bags You Can Use All Year.
This skater-chic Vans bag
$33; buy now at Zappos
Not in the mood to carry something overly flashy? This Vans bag has a pop of color sure to get you noticed, but eschews the bells and whistles.
This autumnal orange Patagonia bag
$99; buy now at Urban Outfitters
Got class at 10 and a hike planned at noon? This rugged Patagonia bag has a zippered pocket beneath its buckled flap and even has its own built-in padded laptop sleeve that protects most 15-inch models.
This tough-looking leather bag
$650; buy now at Bloomingdale’s
Who says that backpacks can’t be as cool as any briefcase or purse? While this backpack is certainly an investment, it’s one that will last you decades without ever going out of style.
This eye-catching iridescent bag
$48; buy now at ASOS
There are those who want their backpacks to do little more than carry books and be generally unobtrusive—and this definitely isn’t the bag for them. The iridescent finish on this trendy backpack is sure to get you noticed anywhere on campus.
This tech-friendly backpack
$50; buy now at JanSport
You don’t have to worry about your expensive gear getting jostled in a crowded classroom when you’re wearing this tech-friendly bag. This sleek-looking backpack has protective pockets for both a laptop and a tablet, so you’ll know all your important gadgets are safely stowed. It even has a lifetime warranty, meaning that if you somehow manage to damage it, you can get it fixed or replaced for free.
This stylish studded number
$498$249; buy now at DKNY
Make a statement with this studded leather backpack that will serve as a stylish accessory long after your college years have come and gone.
This rainbow backpack
$70; buy now at Shopbop
Want to infuse a little color into the world? Go for it—after all, this fun book bag is too cute to pass up.
This bold blue bag
$375$299; buy now at Bloomingdale’s
Want a bag that will work during your collegiate years and beyond? This Tumi backpack exudes professionalism and comes in several chic patterns and shades—it can even be monogrammed!
This stylish black and white book bag
$70; buy now at Zappos
Breathable mesh straps and a durable polyester material make this backpack a pleasure to carry, even when the temperature heats up. Better yet, this one comes in a variety of jazzy prints to suit any style. And for more summer essentials, check out these 30 Genius Cooling Products to Beat the Summer Heat.
This fun floral number
$48; buy now at ban.do
Pretty roses make this backpack a stunner, but there’s no deciding between form and function here. It also features a space for your laptop, plus several zippered compartments for those in-between class snacks. And for more essential accessories, check out these 30 Stylish Summer Hats Under $30.
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