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The Best School Backpacks

🕚 Updated August 2023

A backpack is a necessity for the school year. It's the easiest way to transport all your supplies and lunch to and from school. We've gathered some great options that'll serve you well.

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  Top Choice Classic Design Most Stylish Best for Athletes Best for Little Kids
Travel Laptop Backpack
SuperBreak One Backpack
Vintage Laptop Backpack
Under Armour
unisex-adult Hustle 5.0 Backpack
Kids Prints 2-in-1 Backpack & Insulated Lunch Bag
Our SummaryThis casual backpack has a large capacity, laptop sleeve, and convenient charging port.A simple and convenient backpack with spacious storage in the main compartment and front utility pocket with a built-in organizer.This chic backpack is a great option for those after a pretty and practical backpack.This backpack is water-resistant and ready for your next adventure.This adorable pick is perfect for your little one and comes with a matching lunch bag.
Pros✓ Large capacity
✓ Laptop compartment
✓ Waterproof
✓ External USB for charging
✓ Headphone jack
✓ Secured by password
✓ Spacious
✓ Front utility pocket
✓ Built-in organizer
✓ Offered in many color choices
✓ Vintage-inspired
✓ Lightweight
✓ Scratch- and water-resistant
✓ Adjustable shoulder straps
✓ Multiple compartments and pockets
✓ Laptop sleeve and USB charging cord port
✓ Tough and durable
✓ Water-resistant
✓ Laptop sleeve
✓ Great for heavier loads
✓ Adorable colors and patterns
✓ Built-in pockets for pens and pencils
✓ Roomy
✓ Comes with matching lunch bag
✓ Water-resistant
Cons✗ Must purchase a power bank to use charging feature✗ Zipper may get caught on outer flap✗ Only charges if you purchase a power bank✗ May have zipper issues✗ May be too small for older kids
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How Did We Research?

21 Models Evaluated

6 Hours Researched

51 Reviews Analyzed

The Best School Backpacks

Little girl walking with a dark-blue school backpack.

Buying Guide for School Backpacks

Rear view of a bunch of high school students walking down the hallway with backpacks.

Why buy a backpack?

Backpacks are super convenient bags for all. With their efficient organization features, backpacks ensure that all your belongings are neatly arranged, easily accessible, and super portable. They distribute weight evenly across your shoulders and back, reducing strain during commutes, travels, or walks. They’re ideal for carrying laptops and books for work or school but are also great for outdoor adventures and traveling.

What should you look for in a backpack?

  • Size: Evaluate what items you intend to transport regularly and whether the backpack’s capacity aligns with your needs. This consideration becomes even more critical if you plan to use the backpack for travel, as it should comfortably accommodate your essentials. Look for extra storage compartments and pockets, which can be highly beneficial for organizing accessories like pens, pencils, a water bottle, and even electronic gadgets. Some backpacks even come with dedicated laptop sleeves and USB charging ports for extra convenience.
  • Adjustability: Adjustability plays a pivotal role in ensuring comfort during extended wear. Check if the backpack’s straps can be tightened or loosened to achieve a snug fit on your or your child’s shoulders. Proper adjustability helps distribute the weight evenly, minimizing strain and discomfort.
  • Material: If you have young children prone to spills or messes, opting for a backpack that is easy to clean becomes practical. Some backpacks are even machine washable, making maintenance a breeze. Conversely, if you live in a region with frequent rain or inclement weather, a waterproof backpack could be a game-changer, keeping your belongings dry and protected.

What other factors should you consider in a school backpack?

Many backpacks come with built-in sleeves to keep laptops or tablets safe. Some even include cords to charge your gear, which is also handy if you decide to travel with your backpack. Certain bags have ergonomic features like padding and mesh built-in to make traveling a breeze. If you plan to walk or ride a bike with your backpack on, consider one with reflective stripes for safety purposes.

Our Picks for the Best School Backpacks

Top Choice

Tzowla Travel Laptop Backpack

This casual backpack has a large capacity, laptop sleeve, and a convenient charging port.

Pros: This large backpack has many convenient features, including a separate laptop compartment that holds laptops up to 15.6 inches. It has spacious compartments with pockets for great organization. This backpack has an external USB port with a built-in charging cable that conveniently charges your cellphone when you connect it to a power bank. The headphone port outside gives easy access to earphone usage as well. Additionally, the backpack has a fixed password lock to secure your items. 

Cons: The power bank for charging must be purchased separately. This can be a significant cost increase and is a consideration when it comes to budget. In addition, some found this to be top-heavy and uncomfortable.

Bottom Line: This high-quality polyester and water-resistant backpack is a great choice that supports charging your technology while on the go.


Classic Design

JanSport SuperBreak One Backpack

A simple and convenient backpack with spacious storage in the main compartment and a front utility pocket.

Pros: You can’t go wrong with a JanSport backpack. It has a lot of spacious storage in the main compartment and a front utility pocket for smaller items like pencils. It is made of 100% polyester, is super lightweight, and has a 15-inch shoulder drop that can be adjusted. It’s available in a plethora of colors and patterns, so there’s sure to be one for everyone.

Cons: The zipper can occasionally catch on the lining.

Bottom Line: The JanSport brand is a durable, reliable backpack that most families go to when they want to start their children’s school year on a good note.


Most Stylish

Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack

This chic backpack is a great option for those after a pretty and practical backpack.

Pros: Combining vintage charm with modern durability, this backpack boasts a lightweight design that’s scratch-resistant , water-resistant, and tear-proof, ensuring it withstands the test of time. Despite its robust build, this backpack remains comfortable with adjustable shoulder straps. It offers ample storage with multiple compartments, including a main pocket, a laptop sleeve, two concealed pockets tailor-made for a power bank, and a USB charging cord. Moreover, its exterior is equipped with two convenient side pockets and two front zipper pockets, providing you with versatile storage options for your daily essentials.

Cons: The USB port is a bit difficult and awkward to reach.

Bottom Line: This fashionable and functional backpack is a solid option for middle and high schoolers who have a lot to pack in and need the extra features.


Best for Athletes

Under Armour unisex-adult Hustle 5.0 Backpack

This backpack is water-resistant and ready for your next adventure.

Pros: Crafted from 100% polyester with a tough and abrasion-resistant bottom panel, this backpack is built to last. The UA Storm technology ensures a highly water-resistant finish, keeping your belongings safe even in unpredictable weather. Its adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps and breathable air-mesh padded back panel ensure optimal comfort during extended wear. The soft-lined laptop sleeve speaks to its tech-friendly design. Moreover, the water-repellent front valuables pocket, large gusseted front laundry/shoe pocket, and two side water bottle pockets showcase its thoughtful organization, especially for athletes needing to pack a change of clothes and shoes along with their books.

Cons: The color may differ from the pictures, which can be disappointing. In addition, some found the side mesh pockets to be flimsy and stated that they ripped with normal use. The straps may not be comfortable for taller people.

Bottom Line: This backpack is versatile for use at home, at school, at sports practice, or on and off the trail. It’ll last for years of tough use.


Best for Little Kids

Bentgo® Kids 2-in-1 Backpack & Insulated Lunch Bag

This adorable pick is perfect for your little one and comes with a matching lunch bag.

Pros: This two-in-one backpack is a fantastic choice for kiddos. Combining a spacious school backpack with the added convenience of an insulated lunch bag, it caters to the needs of kids 5 and up. It’s crafted from premium, non-toxic fabric, and it boasts a water-resistant exterior that’s both durable and easy to clean, making it ideal for active young explorers. The roomy compartments ensure that tablets, laptops, notebooks, and other essentials can be effortlessly organized. Built-in pockets for pens and pencils add an extra layer of organization. The innovative design extends to include a bottom compartment that unveils a double-insulated lunch bag section. This specialized space accommodates a Bentgo Lunch Box, Bentgo Snack Container, and even Bentgo Buddies ice packs, maintaining the perfect temperature for your child’s meals. Emphasizing comfort, the backpack boasts padded back and shoulder straps that provide cushioning for all-day wear. A durable top handle allows easy hanging in closets or cubbies, and the kid-friendly rubber zipper pulls make access hassle-free.

Cons: It’s worth considering that the dimensions of this backpack might be on the smaller side for older kids. A notable observation from users has been that the backpack’s dimensions could potentially pose a challenge when it comes to accommodating regular-sized folders. These folders, which are commonly used in school settings, might prove to be too large to fit seamlessly within this backpack’s confines.

Bottom Line: This two-in-one backpack marries innovation with practicality, offering ample storage, durability, and style. It’s a versatile choice that caters to the demands of modern life while adding a touch of fun and coordination to your child’s daily routine.

Final Thoughts

A staple in school supplies, backpacks are the easiest way to lug around your textbooks, laptops, notebooks, pencils, lunch, and assignments. These options will make the school year go much smoother.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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