The Best School Backpacks, According to Students
It’s time to sharpen your pencils and pack your bags—the school year is here again
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
Summer is winding down and students are getting ready to head back to school. This week, we scanned Amazon’s bestseller list for the top school backpacks, then pulled the best, most authoritative reviews for each. Already have a backpack you love? Here are some other back-to-school essentials.
Top 5 School Backpacks to Crush It In Class
AmazonBasics Classic Backpack ($24)
“This is the best backpack ever. It’s very lightweight, it stores a lot, the laptop compartment fits my laptop perfectly, the side pockets fit my water bottle and an umbrella, and there are many pockets to keep yourself organized. It’s also very durable—I have used this backpack trekking to class in heavy rains without an umbrella and everything inside was still intact. Before buying this, my favorite backpack was an $80 option from a big brand, but now, that backpack is trash to me.”
JanSport Right Pack Laptop Backpack ($87)
“I bought this bag for my freshman year of college back in 2011. I should’ve graduated by now but that really isn’t relevant. I’ve beaten the shit out of this bag for almost five years now. The only thing that’s gone wrong is the little leather straps attached to the zippers. They came loose and fell off. However, I have never had a bag last more than a year of school and this one is still completely intact. No tears, no loose stitches, and no broken zippers. I don’t think I will ever get another bag ever again. If I do, though, it will definitely be one of these.”
Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Backpack ($51)
“This is a great roomy backpack with lots of separate compartments. My oldest son uses it for college and my junior high son has one as well. It’s comfortable to carry, and they never struggle to get all of their books and sports gear into it.”
Adidas Excel Backpack ($44)
“I love this backpack! It’s small yet deep enough to carry everything I need. I like the fact that it has two separate compartments. The main compartment has two separate partitions for a laptop and other small items like a tablet against your back while still having a space to store things. The smaller compartment has a holder for three pens plus a lanyard for your keys and a little mesh pocket for change or small items. It also has two mesh water-bottle holders. It’s a great backpack.”
The North Face Surge Backpack ($129)
“I have been on the hunt to find the perfect commuting backpack for forever. I need a commuting pack to fit my laptop, my breakfast, lunch, gym clothes, purse, and other knickknacks like deodorant, phone charger, and gym lock. Basically, I need it to fit a ton of stuff. This bag has been perfect. I do like all the cozy soft pockets for my glasses and other items. The laptop sleeve is protective, which is great. For the most part, I can stuff this bag completely full.”