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Best College Backpack 2021 • 7 College Backpacks Reviews

College backpacks are versatile ways to carry your college items. We have researched for best college backpacks from customer reviews and expert tests.

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What is a College Backpack?

These are easy to carry backpacks that are strapped on the back. They come in a variety of designs, shapes, colours and carrying capacities. There are also multi-use college backpacks for your short errands and travels.

How do College Backpacks Work?

How does a college backpack work in a review and comparison?College backpacks are cloth sacks that you secure with straps over your shoulders hence, the name.

This allows you to carry lots of items with relative ease when compared to other types of college backpacks.

Depending on the design and use, you can carry everything from water to blankets up to over 10 kilograms. There are also bigger ones as described in the review below.

Backpack Advantages and Applications

College backpacks are best known for a number of benefits as shown below.

Ease of Storage

Advantages from a college backpack review comparisonWith college backpacks, you can store your items with ease especially when you are travelling. They can fit in storage compartments of buses and car bonnets as well as the overhead storage. You are sure that your items are safe throughout your entire trip.

Organising Your Items

College backpacks allow you to organize your items in such a way that you can retrieve each of them with ease.

Ease of Carrying Items

Reviewers agree that carrying items on the back is the best and easiest way to move around with items while walking. You will experience minimal fatigue and you free your hands to do other things on the way.


College backpacks ensure that items are kept safe from impact, dust and water as you move around. Then, there are college backpacks specifically made to carry certain items and protect them from elements of weather such as rain.

College backpacks can be used for a number of activities. You can use college backpacks to carry your books to school, carry camping items to your campsite, carry water and other items when cycling or carry personal items in your next trip. They are the best mode of carrying items compared to boxes and traveller college backpacks.

What are the Common Types of College Backpacks?

What types of college backpacks are there in a comparison review? College backpacks come in a variety of designs and styles. Below are common college backpacks based on customer feedback and reviews.

Basic Daypack

These are standard college backpacks with a few features. Most such college backpacks have a front loading compartment, a front pocket and straps. They can carry a modest number of books, but the sizes vary. These are basic pupil college backpacks for carrying books. These have good reviews from minimalist style lovers.


Unlike the standard college backpacks, rucksacks have a flat to cover the main compartment. Items are loaded from the top of the bag. This opening is closed by a number of options, including the use of a drawstring, magnetic stops or even a strap. Rucksacks can handle anything between 15 and 30 litres. They also come with various pockets with some having a compartment for the laptop.

College backpacks types in a review and in comparisonAnti-theft Backpack

Anti-theft college backpacks are your standard backpacks only that they have additional anti-theft measures. Most of them have zippers and zipper pullers hidden from view to make opening hard. Others have anti-cut fabric, compression straps and locks on zipper pullers. The high-end versions have RFID pockets to prevent electronic theft.

Duffel Backpacks

These are your standard duffel college backpacks but now with straps to allow you to carry them at your back. Given their size, these college backpacks best carried at the back compared to using handles.

These college backpacks come in handy when you have items that require space such as gym outfit or camping items. They come with capacities up to 120 litres, making them some of the best available.

Tote Backpack

From customer reviews, these college backpacks are designed like your classic totes but have shoulder straps. They are loaded from the top with a zipper closure and have several internal and external pockets. Most of the tote college backpacks can carry handles in order to shoulder straps. They have a capacity of anything between 15 and 30 litres.

Laptop Backpacks

These are the most popular college backpacks that are specifically meant for the laptops. They come with several main compartments, water bottle pockets and even removable sleeves.

The college backpacks come in a variety of sizes with capacities of between 20 and 50 litres. These are the most common college backpacks with college students and for which you will find may customer reviews.

Drawstring backpacks

These are the smallest college backpacks that you can have. The closure drawstrings are usually the straps. With a capacity of just above 10 litres, you can only use one to carry a few of your gym gear.

The Big College Backpack Buyer’s Guide

The best Buyer's guides from a college backpack review and comparison The 5 Typical Defects the Consumers Must Take Note When Purchasing College Backpacks


Durability is a vital especially if you have to handle heavy weights regularly. Otherwise, you are most likely to have the bag break up into pieces with a few loads. Check on the quality of the stitching around the straps, zippers and other areas that stretch when you load your bag. Start looking at brands with the best customers reviews on durability.


The choice of material affects the durability and the amount of weight that the backpack can handle. A material type such as cotton is cheap but may not handle lots of heavyweights.

While still looking at the choice material, consider one that is tested for water resistance especially if you plan to use it for hiking and other outdoor work. Look at reviews too for best material choices.


College Backpacks come with all types of straps. If you have to carry your bag every day, you need to look for one with padded straps, especially under the shoulder. Some of the best college backpacks are contoured to conform to the human back for increased comfort. In addition, for large capacity college backpacks, you need to get one with straps around the waist or a hip so that they do not pull you down while walking.

Some of the backpacks with highly-rated reviews have breathable material with padding at the back. This allows for air circulation, which in turn, prevents excessive sweating when walking with your bag for long distances.
All things worth knowing from a college backpack review

The organisation of the Pockets

Depending on what you will be carrying with your college backpacks, there are several pocket considerations you would make. For example, for a laptop bag, pick one with a sleeve that is highly padded to prevent the laptop from being damaged on impact. You can also pick a backpack with side netting to carry water bottles. The front compartments are best used for carrying pens and other small stuff.


There are several loading options available. You can go for the standard front loading or top loading. If you are carrying large items from time to time such as camping gear, your best bet is a top loading college backpacks so that you have enough room for your items.


The most common form of closure is a zip. However, zippers come in several sizes and quality levels. The best ones are metallic ones and the medium to large sizes. The small plastics ones may give you problems over time. In the same breath, the best college backpacks come with two zipper pullers for every zip line just in case one is damaged.

Other closure mechanisms include flaps, drawstring and magnetic contacts. The choice of each is dependent on the common items that you carry. Things like books and laptops are best carried in a zippered closure. Keep away from college backpacks where reviewers have complained of zippers.

Other Characteristics

College backpacks that are large also come with wheels and handles to enable you to pull them with ease down a street. Others come with extendable handles. You may also consider a framed bag as it retains its shape while still empty, making it easy to carry especially while walking long distances.

Check on the quality of the material used and the ergonomics of carrying the bag with the added features. There are a few such college backpacks in our review of the best backpacks below.

How Can You Test a Good Backpack?

The best way to perform an evaluation on a bag is to do a physical check. Start by looking at the material, the number of pockets, the closure mechanism and the reinforcement on the straps. You should also check for padding, breathability and the general design of the bag. Determine the priority areas to check, depending on the most common use of the bag.

There are other things that you might not know by simply checking the bag such as water-proof, RFID technology and the capacity. For these, consult the user’s manual for additional information.

Results from Customer Tests

Numerous products tests have been done on a variety of bag type and brands and the results combined to determine the best college backpacks in various conditions. Test results and customer reviews can help you make the best choice of college backpacks. Here are some of the tests and their results.

Consumer Reports on Backpack Tests

The college backpacks are compared here based on these review criteria Consumer reports performed various backpack product tests to determine various factors that include safety, quality, significance, comfort and water resistance. In addition, the college backpacks were exposed to various weather elements and forms of abuse to examine the rate of deterioration with regular use. The organisation took various bag samples and picked participants for the study. The results were then tabulated on a comparison table with similarities between various backpack types noted.

From the test results, it was found that such traits as chest straps and waist straps were some of the best weight carrying features as they allowed participants to carry large weights with relative ease. The survey also showed that such features as contoured shoulder straps, wide straps and back panel padding increased comfort to the user especially when using the bag for long distances.

It also did a practical test with various bag sizes and found that the ideal college backpack was the one that lay not more than two inches below the shoulder and less than two inches from the waistline as it did not seem to pull the user down. There was congruence with user reviews touching on these features.

As for safety, the inspection found that adding reflective materials at the front of the bag increased visibility where users had their college backpacks on at night or early in the morning. In terms of resistance to rain, the experiment found that most college backpacks were not actually water-proof but water resistant.

This means that the bag could withstand light drizzles but not water spills and heavy rainfall. The best college backpacks were waterproof and not just water resistant. In the same line, it was found that zippers that did not have fabric flaps allowed water to seep into the backpacks. Therefore, if you are looking for a water-resistant backpack, keep an eye on the zipper flaps.

In terms of quality, the analysis found that college backpacks with sloppy stitching or loose threads were an indication of poor manufacturing. It was also found that exposed fabric edges could start flaying thereby, weakening the fabric structure of the bag in general. From the comparison table, it was found that nylon was the most common and best material used even by brands with good reviews followed by polyester and other blends.

Finally, upon inspection, it was found that college backpacks weighing above 15% of the body weight had a high chance of injuring the carrier especially the lower back and legs in contrast with a control group that kept with weight recommendations. Therefore, the organisation recommended lower weights in accordance with these health findings.

Zoe Eagle from Iowa State University

Significant advantages from a college backpack comparison review for customers Zoe Eagle taking a Master in Science at Iowa State University did a study where he experimented with some of the best bag designs with the aim of performing suitability tests in various environments. He then drew a comparison of usability features and load carrying designs for various travel and recreation backpacks.

From the samples taken, he found that over 90% of all the recreational backpacks had a front opening panel. He found the front opening panel to come in handy when loading items into the bag especially for books and other electronics. The ten best selling college backpacks were also found to be used for recreation purposes due availability of several features.

The practical test also showed congruence in the features that were used for comfort in various bag designs. Some of the best features included padded straps, padded back panel and moulded straps. From the reviews, Zoe found that most people liked simple college backpacks that were easy to load and remove with ease.

College backpacks weighing more than 15 kilograms were found to be best to carry when they had straps for the chest and waistline. In the same breath, ergonomically designed college backpacks made it easier to carry over long distances as they conformed to the body contours thereby, distributing the weight equally. In fact, ergonomics is one of the features that come up in customer reviews.

On the evaluation of comparison results of unisex with gender-specific backpacks, Zoe found that the gender-specific college backpacks resulted in higher satisfaction in a control group of unisex backpacks. The test winners of this analysis were college backpacks that had a variety of sizes and were also gender specific.

He also found several convenience features that made it easy to carry the bag, increased the bag’s capacity or made the bag look better. Such features included the presence of a removable daypack that increased the capacity of the bag, daisy strings that allowed the bag to carry loads on the outside, a duffel strap option that allowed users to carry the bag on one shoulder and handles that could be carried with hand.

Review of the 10 best Backpack brands

We did a survey of the best college backpacks in the market today. The evaluation considered customer reviews and test runs for various features at the market.

  • Yorepek
  • Patagonia Refugio
  • Mcgear
  • JanSport
  • Patagonia Chacabuco
  • The North Face
  • MIS
  • SwissGearSmartScan
  • High Sierra Jarvis
  • Burton Annex College

Yorepek Backpack Company

This backpack brand is best known for combining a large capacity with a compact design thereby, allowing you to store in an unbelievable number of items while the luggage still looks small. Most of its backpacks have four large interior compartments with a sleeve that can fit a 16-inch laptop and secure it in position. The bagsare waterproof which comes in handy during the wet seasons. They also come with anti-theft lockable zips along with a removable key ring for the laptop compartment.

The bags allow you to charge your electronic devices on the go with the external USB port that gets energy from the sun. These bagsare ergonomically designed with a breathable material that had undergone various practical tests and given some of the best product test results in air circulation.

Patagonia Refugio

This college backpack brand comes with several 28-litre storage capacity bags that are large enough to carry items for a day on campus. The bags have raving reviews for their durable and water resistant outer covers and a heavily padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to 15.6-inch laptop. There are also small pockets for tablets and other small devices. The sleeve is raised so that you do not bump the laptop on the ground when you set the bag on the ground. The bags have good reviews with some being test winners in some studies with good scores on durability tests and anti-tear examinations when exposed to high tension activities.

In addition, the bags come with a mesh on the shoulder straps and tow location on the back to enhance air circulation. The straps are also padded for added comfort with regular use. The college backpack brand is best used for carrying laptops and books.

Mcgear Transparent Backpacks

Most sports organisations have banned the entry of large standard college backpacks into sports stadiums in the wake of terrorism and favoured transparent ones instead after various trials. There is also a growing trend for transparent college backpacks that allow you to show off the contents to your college-mates, The McGear bags conform to the standard size requirements of entry to inter-university competitions.

Its transparent bag is made of durable, transparent PVC with a front zipper mesh pocket and two zipper pockets on the side. It also has a fabric haul loop and padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit your frame. These two have undergone test runs for quality. There are two compartments to help in organising your items for the ease of access.

JanSport Backpacks

JanSport makes compact college backpacks with the same size as the classic two-pouch college backpacks. However, the college bag has five interior and four interior ones. It has a capacity of 34 litres, a room large enough for carrying all your campus books and a laptop. In addition, the sides come with a retractable mesh pouch where you can store your water bottle during the hot summers.

In addition, the bag has an ergonomic design with adjustable straps, allowing it to fit your frame. The material used is tear resistant and rugged, which enhances its longevity. It is best used as a college bag and for your short trips out of school and home.

Patagonia Chacabuco

Patagonia backpacks have been tested on various environments and has come out as durable with little fading on repeated exposure to very hot temperatures. The manufacturer even offers to fix broken college backpacks to emphasize its best feature, which is durability.

The bags feature three main compartments with several other sleeves in each compartment. The front has a drawstring fastening to pull it together when there is some space left after loading your bag. There are also pouches on the side where you can fit in water bottles when going for some adventure outdoors. It is made with hiking in mind and has good reviews for such. Therefore, they can handle heavy books without a problem.

The North Face

This brand produces a number of renowned bag brands that have good reviews. They have both unisex and gender-based college backpacks. The college backpacks have a capacity of between 15 and 30 litres. College backpacks meant for women have a slimmer profile to fit the small body stature of many ladies.

The outer material is usually a water-resistant nylon coating to enable you to use it even in wet weather. The compartments are fleece-lined to absorb any shock from impact. Besides, the straps have undergone various suitability tests to create a moulded look that fits the shoulder bone perfectly. The back has breathable padding to prevent excessive sweating by allowing for air circulation. The brand is best known for availing various sizes of college backpacks with great reviews on its undeniable quality.

MIS Backpack company

MIS has created a simple college bag that is ready to go. Several trials have shown rugged qualities that allow it to be used outdoors in harsh weather conditions. MIS backpacksare made from military-grade tactical materials that are also weather resistant. They use a top-loading mechanism with a medium-sized front compartment. The top opening uses a zipper closure.

In addition, the straps come with PALS webbing and a zippered mesh at the main compartment. In addition, it has a padded internal pouch to fit a laptop up to 15-inch laptop. These bags come in jungle green and black, which are shades that can best handle dirt compared to lighter colours.

SwissGearSmartScan brand

The SwissGearSmartScan brand creates compact college backpacks but come with large storage space. The main model has two main exterior compartments and one small front compartment. It also has an interior organiser, which has several divider pockets to store all kinds of items, including cellphones tablets, pens and CDs. There is also a padded laptop sleeve that can fit laptops up to 17 inches. The sleeve has straps to attach to the side of the bag and prevent movement.

In addition, the bag has an airflow back system that enhances airflow through breathable padding for maximum comfort in long distances. The design allows for ease of loading when placing the bag on the side. Its straps are padded for extra comfort and a moulded top handle. It is best used as a laptop bag and for carrying travel items.

High Sierra Jarvis Backpacks

High Sierra makes polyester multi-compartment bags that are made of polyester outer and several multi-pocket organisers so that you can keep different items such as pens, CDs and other items in different pockets. Among the compartments is a dedicated laptop compartment with extra padding that is large enough to fit a 15.6-inch laptop.

The back panel, as well as the straps, are padded for extra comfort with the back panel having a meshwork to enhance air circulation and prevent excessive sweating. The bags also have a front attachment clip and a daisy chain where you can attach additional items. The reflective accents on the front are additional safety features, especially in the dark. It has great reviews for both quality and capacity.

Burton Annex College Backpacks

This brand has performed suitability tests for their college backpacks in a variety of settings, including out in the wild and school varieties. Their bags combine the rugged features of durability and safety. It also has wide compartments and a top loading feature to allow you to carry large items such as blankets and camping mats on your adventure trips.

There is a dedicated laptop compartment that is heavily padded to absorb impact. This compartment can be accessed from the outside. The straps are strengthened and adjustable. It also has shoulder strap load lifters for the ease of carrying heavy loads. You can use the space created by adjustable webbing to carry a yoga mat or jacket. The next best use according to reviews is hiking.


Interesting facts and guide

The History of College Backpacks

All facts from a college backpack reviewThe history of backpacks goes as far as 1870 where travellers created bindles using canvas and stick carried the weight on a shoulder using the stick. Later on, the military made a metal sheet knapsack for carrying items to missions. By 1882, there was a backpack that was secured by straps and a third strap onto the head.

In the Early 1900s, backpacks were made of birch bark and wooden frames. They were soft and easily carried on long trips. During the world wars, the military improved the backpacks with strappings to the upper and lower back to enable personnel to carry heavier loads.

By 1922, there was a hiking backpack that was made with a rigid frame and seal skin. It became popular with hikers around the world. The first zippered bag was made in 1938 to solve the problem of sliding rucksacks. It was a nylon bag. Kids started going to school with backpacks after the Second World War as there were more materials to make these college backpacks. The college backpacks were also lightweight and very functional.

Cotton backpacks started to circulate in 1950 with the military creating stronger college backpacks for use in Vietnam way in 1960. Later on, transparent college backpacks came into being. By the 1980s, there were several bag companies selling college backpacks meant to carry heavy books. Hydration packs came in the early 1990s. There have been great strides in developing college backpacks by infusing new anti-theft technologies and smart technologies such as USB charging.

10 Tips for Care and Maintenance of College Backpacks

Even the best college backpack will deteriorate fast with improper care. Caring for your bag ensures that it serves you well for long.

Here are some easy care tips:

Tip 1

Tip 1

Pick a Suitable Bag

Suitability tests have shown that different college backpacks are optimised for different activities. Also, the college backpacks should be suited to the physical attribute of your body and the outdoor activities you take part in. If you plan to use the college backpack for other outdoor activities, consider them too in your selection. With the right bag, it will be easy to take care of the bag and avoid damaging it. Use reviews to check the best bag for your use.

Tip 2

Tip 2

Always Pack the Bag Right

Always maximise the space in your bag without overloading the bag or causing the seams to rip apart. Make use of dividers and compartments to organise your items in the best ways possible. Put the items where they are meant to be placed. For example, straps your laptop onto its specific sleeve and your stationery in the right small bag. Reviewers have noted that doing so enhances the safety of your electronics.

Tip 3

Tip 3

Treat your Bag Right

If your bag is not meant for use in wet weather, please keep it covered in the rain. Even if it is water resistant, avoid keeping it in heavy rain. In case it gets wet, or if there is a spill, clean it and have it dried as soon as possible. Waterproofing sprays may not work in heavy rainfall. Even college backpacks with the most convincing reviews on waterproof capabilities may deteriorate in heavy rainfall.

Tip 4

Tip 4

Clean the Bag from Time to Time

Cleaning your college backpack is one of the best ways to keep it in good shape. Always avoid stain removers and harsh soaps as they will damage the fabric of your bag. When cleaning the bag, start by removing the solid particles and wash with mild soap and warm water. Consider cleaning at least once every season.

Tip 5

Tip 5

Avoid Exerting Force on Zippers When Closing

This is a follow up on the point of not overloading your college backpack to avoid damaging it. Avoid exerting a force on the zippers to keep everything in the bag. If anything is caught in the zipper line, remove it slowly before attempting to close the zipper again. The best way to care for the zipper is to always load the right amount of items.

Tip 6

Tip 6

Handle the Backpack Right

Use all the accessories on your bag in ways that they are meant to be used. For example, never lift the bag with the shoulder straps. Instead, use the centre loop to lift the bag from a surface. Additionally, carry the bag using both straps especially when heavy to avoid over-stressing one of the straps. According to reviews, college backpacks with moulded handles are best placed to handle heavy weights.

Tip 7

Tip 7

Clean and Lubricate the Zippers

Grit and debris are the main causes of damage on a zipper, especially during summer. Use a damp cloth to wipe away all the dirt in your zipper line. After cleaning the zipper, apply some lubricant to allow it to run smoothly. Clean the zippers every time you use the bag in a dusty environment.

Tip 8

Tip 8

Always Keep the Buckles Closed

Buckles are usually made of plastic. You can easily break them by knocking them against surfaces such as car doors, against the table when putting the bag down or getting them trapped on the conveyor belt. To avoid this, always close them whenever you are using the bag.

Tip 9

Tip 9

Read Cleaning Directions on the Backpack

Always read the care and maintenance instructions on the bag. They are the best ways that you can take care of your page. Take note of all the cautions and don’ts listed on the instruction page.

Tip 10

Tip 10

Make Repairs in Good Time

Do not wait until the bag has become unusable to make the necessary repairs. Take it for repairs as soon as you see some damage. Common problems include zipper problems, tears at the strap attachments or tears from being pocked on the outside.


What is the best size of a college backpack?

Ordering a favorable college backpack review winner in an Online-shopSeveral reviews have shown the best size to be the one that does not extend beyond the lower back. In accordance with expert advice, the bag should also fit between your two shoulder bones. This is why it is important to pick a bag that conforms to your stature.

Can you use a brush to clean the bag?

No. Scrubbing the surface of the bag damages the fabric and may remove the waterproof coating in water-resistant college backpacks. The best way to clean the bag is to wipe the bag clean using warm water and mild soap. You can also vacuum the inside.

Which is the best way to pack the backpack?

According to backpack expert reviews, always make use of specific sleeves and compartments to store electronics. Also, things that you will need in the course of the day should be at the top. Avoid folding books or placing them with the opening side facing down.

Can waterproofing spray make the bag waterproof?

Waterproofing sprays are only effective for a short time and in light drizzles. You are best advised to keep college backpacks that are not waterproof out of the rain to avoid damaging them.

What is the use of RFID protection?

RFID protection prevents electronic devices from reading data from your debit or credit cards when you pass close to them. In essence, it helps prevent electronic theft of financial information and personal data.

Do you go for the standard front loading or the top loading college backpacks?

It all depends on the size of the items you intend to carry with the bag and your personal preference.

Large items such as camping blankets are best carried with a top loading bag as it has large space. The front-loading bag is best for organising books and electronics.

My bag’s zippers keep on getting stuck. How do I deal with the problem?

Consider cleaning and lubricating the zippers regularly. Just use some warm water with a cloth to remove all grit and debris. Use the standard lubricating oil to lubricate the line.

As a lady, do I go for a unisex college bag or the one meant for women?

It depends on your body size and structure. College backpacks made for women are made with the smaller frames and back curvature of female bodies.

However, there are unisex college backpacks that show similarity with gender-specific ones and may fit your body size.

The best adviser from a college backpack reviewWhat actions can void my college backpack’s warranty?

Every bag comes with a list of instructions that you should follow and things that you should not do to the bag. Follow these instructions to the letter to avoid voiding your warranty. In addition, take reasonable care of your bag as explained above.

What areas should I check to determine if my bag is durable?

Durability is usually as a result of several features and factors. Check reviews for information on the materials that are used to make the outer, reinforcements at the stitching at the attachment at straps and the kind of zippers that you have.

Links and sources:

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Best Backpack for College

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