Get Back-to-School Ready With These 25 Stylish Backpacks

The best backpacks for college and beyond.

college kids on campus - best college packpacks 2019

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

Dagne Dover backpack, best college backpacks
Dagne Dover

$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

addidas backpack - best college backpacks
Nordstrom Rack

$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

Fjallraven Kanken backpack, best college backpacks
Urban Outfitters

$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

black leather backpack, best college backpacks

$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

gray backpack, best college backpacks
Nordstrom Rack

$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

gray backpack with white label, best college backpacks

$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

faux leather backpack, best college backpacks

$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

Nike backpack, best college backpacks

$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

lesportsac cheetah print backpack - best college backpacks

$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

pink Puma backpack- best college backpacks

$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

north face backpack, best college backpacks
Urban Outfitters

$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

vera bradley purple paisley backpack, best college backpacks

$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

yellow HERSHEL backpack- best college backpacks
Urban Outfitters

$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


red Jansport backpack, best college backpacks
Nordstrom Rack


$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

faux leather backpack, best college backpacks

$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

red vans backpack- best college backpacks

$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

orange patagonia backpack, best college backpacks
Urban Outfitters

$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

brown leather tumi backpack, best college backpacks

$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

iridescent silver backpack, best college backpacks

$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

blue and gray jansport backpack, best college backpacks

$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

black backpack with silver studs, best college backpacks

$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

blue backpack with rainbow design, best college backpacks

$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

blue Tumi backpack, best college backpacks

$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

black Dakine backpack with white pattern, best college backpacks

$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

white backpack with flowers, best college backpacks

$48; buy now at

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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