School might not be back in session yet, but you might already be planning your back-to-school outfits and at the top of your to-do list should be finding the best backpacks for school. After all, your designated tote/backpack/laptop bag will be your go-to accessory — the one thing you’ll be carrying day-in and day-out — so you want to make sure it vibes with your look and ticks off all the functionality boxes you need it to.
Sure, Amazon has plenty of no-frills, workhorse options to choose from; but if you are looking for something cute yet functional for roaming through school halls, that’s where we come in. We rounded up top-rated backpack designs that will fulfill all your middle, high school, and even college class needs while keeping your daily essentials secure and readily accessible.
Whether you are planning out all of your back-to-school supplies in advance to enjoy the summer or hoping to score a sweet early-bird Prime Day Deal, shop the best backpacks for school and college below.
Matein Water-Resistant Travel Backpack with USB
There’s so much to love about this found-on-Amazon backpack besides its cool camo print looks pretty cool and water-proofing that will probably outlast an unexpected downpour. We’re talking plenty of compartments for valuables and school essentials, including storage for a 13-, 14-, or 15-inch laptop, an external USB charging port (just be ready for all your friends to ask you to juice up their phones), and small inside pockets to keep your pens and bike keys from disappearing into a bottomless pit.
Jansport Right Pack
Some backpacks are meant to blend in, this flaming hot red one is not. It’s helpful, though, since no one will ever mistake theirs for yours. Finding it last-minute under a pile of clothes will be infinitely easier than a grey backpack masquerading as your carpet. Jansport’s Right Pack is more basic than some other designs on this list since it only has one main compartment with an internal sleeve for a 15-inch laptop. The padded shoulder straps are a plus if you find yourself carrying your weight in textbooks on the regular.
Fjällräven Kanken Laptop Backpack
You probably already know that the Fjällräven Kanken comes in a ton of colors and sizes, including a 17-inch laptop backpack in case you need the extra space. In addition to being a campus mainstay, it’s also a regular at airports and train stations. Its compact design makes it a convenient travel companion for any post-grad road trips you have planned. Oh, and you’ll be please to know it’s also on sale right now!
Madewell The (Re)Sourced Tote Bag
Madewell’s leather Transport Tote is a mainstay on graduation gift lists, but the brand actually just introduced this lightweight tote that should be up there too. There’s plenty of room to fit laptops, chargers, library books, and hey even two weeks’ worth of laundry. The non-rigid design means you can stuff it in your locker and the varied handles let you switch up carrying your tote in your hand or on your shoulder.
The North Face Jester Daypack
Don’t let this slim 28-liter daypack fool you, there’s plenty of storage space to house your lunch box, laptop, and books. The sturdy design is also more than capable of protecting your gear, whether you’re walking shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowded hallway or accidentally knock your bag off a chair. External mesh water bottle pockets provide easy access to beverages in between classes, and there’s even a sternum strap for added security and comfort!
Lululemon Everyday Backpack
The brand behind some of your (and Emma Chamberlain’s and Selena Gomez’s) favorite leggings also makes really good backpacks. This water-repellent backpack may be on the smaller side, but it is thoughtfully designed to let you fit more with less (hi, dual front pockets!), making it a winner for daily commuters. The best part? Not only does it slide perfectly underneath any kind of seat, but it also has a carry-on-compatible sleeve should you bring it along on a trip this summer.
Herschel Supply Settlement Backpack
Herschel backpacks are statement pieces that somehow always go well with whatever you’re wearing. The Settlement model is one of the brand’s most popular ones: It is made from a lightweight yet heavy-duty cotton canvas that can take on all kinds of scuffs and spills, with zipper pockets and a solid back panel so your bag doesn’t sag when it’s loaded to the brim. We’re into the versatility of this birch school backpack, but there are dozens of colors and patterns (and adorable sizes) that would look right at home whatever your personal style may be.
Dagne Dover Small Neoprene Backpack
There’s a reason why college students and recent grads gravitate towards Dagne Dover’s durable neoprene bags. They’re spill-proof, highly giftable, and professional-looking without being fussy. Did we mention they have a special side pocket for your phone and your phone only?
Everlane The Renew Transit Backpack
Embracing uniform dressing as you figure out your life post-college? You’ll want a classic backpack that doesn’t distract. This Everlane one is a bestseller for a reason: People love its timeless, minimalist design, which can hold a lot without looking bulky. Shoutout to the outer zip pockets which you’ll love for stashing small items (keys, wallet, wired headphones), as well as passports and tickets on an inaugural work trip.
Stoney Clover Lane Classic Backpack
Stoney Clover Lane’s candy-colored backpack fits right in with #ProductivityTok‘s penchant for cheerful school and desk supplies to stay on top of your class load. The pastel tie-dye alone will deliver you the energy boost you need to make through a full day of school — even if you spent the majority of the night before scrolling through your FYP.
Away The Front Pocket Backpack
The adventurer looking for a does-it-all bag will probably love this high-quality travel laptop backpack, complete with padded shoulder straps, a wraparound zip opening, and a breathable mesh back panel. There’s enough room for a 15-inch laptop to slide into its own zippered back compartment, and there’s a detachable key clip in the front pocket to hang your dorm room keys.
L.L.Bean Comfort Carry Laptop Pack
L.L.Bean’s ripstop-nylon laptop pack looks like it can weather just about anything — and that’s because it can. (The water repellent fabric is machine-washable, so do your worst.) Its 30-liter size is generously sized to fit textbooks, study notes, and gym clothes, with a padded laptop sleeve allowing you to pack your tech painlessly after class.
Paravel Mini Fold-Up Backpack
This may not be the college backpack you had in mind, but it’s so small and cute that we couldn’t let you venture into a new school year without sharing. It folds up into a tiny square so you can actually leave it in the car or in your gym locker — clutch for days when you need to bring PE clothes home but your main backpack is already bursting at the seams with stuff.
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