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Best College Backpacks For Laptops & Books!

If you are starting to go to college this year, then we can help you choose the best college backpacks in the market for carrying your laptop, books and other required things for your classes. We ranked them based on many things, but mainly their space, comfort and value for money. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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5. AmazonBasics Backpack

Best Budget Option

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
70%
Value
70%

The college season is here and if you are one of the lucky ones to still be in college, you probably searching for last years backpack that you threw to the trash when you finished your finals. I think this is the perfect time to invest in a new backpack, hopefully, one that you won’t throw away. Amazon delivers some amazing products form its AmazonBasics line, and its laptop backpack is amazing in a very affordable price, while still delivering amazing comfort, function, durability, and a little style to go along with it. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at it.

The AmazonBasics Backpack boasts some good comfort levels, thanks to its padding on the back of the bag, however, there is not enough padding just half an inch of it, and when you consider that this is a large backpack that can take heavy loads, it can get uncomfortable after a while. However, if you keep your load light and simple you won’t have any problems, and for the college student, this will be the perfect backpack. It is worth noting that this is one of the most popular backpacks on Amazon and has over 4000 reviews from customers and has an average rating of 4 stars.

For the price and its intended purpose, the AmazonBasics Backpack has some good durability. It is the perfect tool for going to your classes and keeping your laptop in it because essentially this is a laptop backpack.

However, if you are a frequent traveller and want to use this for your travels, hikes, and camping, you might want to look elsewhere. While this backpack is not waterproofed, it held itself up perfectly under the rain, as it kept my laptop dry after being exposed for about 30 minutes in the rain. But then again if you live in a pretty rainy area, it would be wiser to invest in a fully waterproof backpack.

This backpack shines with its functionality and wide range of compartments. IT is equipped with a small sleeve in the front, and three larger sleeves for your books, notebooks, gym gear, and a laptop sleeve on the back that can accommodate laptops up to 17-inches. While thicker laptops at 17-inches may be a little too snug, I was impressed with its padding, and its size is perfect for fitting under the seat on a flight.

If you want a budget backpack that will hold itself excellently against the big boys, you can’t go wrong with the AmazonBasics Backpack.

4. Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack

Most Stylish

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
80%
Value
85%

If you consider yourself a fashionista or a style icon of your college campus, then I know that your every choice, be it your phone, laptop, and even backpack has to suit your style and look good. Well, Herschel through the years has delivered some great stylish options that don’t sacrifice durability and functionality, and their most notable model is the Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack. This backpack delivers an amazing unisex style that comes in a lot of paint jobs you can choose from, plenty of padding, water-resistant build material, and a laptop compartment. For the fashion guru, it doesn’t get any better than this.

The Canadian company Herschel is known for designing ultra-stylish backpacks that have a timeless look to them and the Retreat is the same, but while still offering functionality. It has the shape of a normal bucket backpack, with brown, light brown or black grain leather straps on the front that are decorative, but also serve the function to keep backpack tight.

On the front part you will spot a patch that has the Herschel logo and branding, and it is available in multiple paint jobs such as Black, Dark Green, Blue, Grey, Light Grey, Navy, Raven, Windsor Wine, and many more combinations, so you can get the one that suits your personality best.

It is worth noting that this backpack is extremely water-resistant, but not waterproof by any means. However, after testing it in the rain for a long time, I saw that it did a pretty good job at keeping my laptop dry, but it is not the best backpack for hiking and camping. It has plenty of padding on the back and on the straps making it pretty comfortable even at heavier loads, and it has a capacity of 19 litres, which is adequate for college students.

It has an external small sleeve, and inside the adjustable drawstring closure, you will notice that the inside of this backpack has a beautiful lining, and the laptop sleeve is fleece-lined as well to deliver perfect protection for your laptop if it isn’t bigger than 15-inches that is.

One of the best backpacks in the market, great style, functionality, and durability, at a competitive price.

3. Mancro Anti-Theft

Best Value

Our Ratings:

Durability
85%
Quality
85%
Value
95%

If you are a college student, most of the time you search for super cheap stuff, but I would suggest you to not opt for the most affordable item all the time, as it is better to search for the item that delivers the most value for its price. In this list, the Mancro Anti-Theft delivers just that, and it is essentially everything that you may need from a college backpack. It has plenty of compartments and sleeves inside, it can house large laptops up to 17-inches, and has nice anti-theft features as its name implies. It may not be the most versatile, but this backpack will be perfect for a college student.

The Mancro Anti-Theft takes the anti-theft claim very seriously because this backpack has a very simple and unassuming design that won’t attract any thieves. It has a nylon exterior material that makes it blend in and look like an old high-school sports backpack. On top of that this backpack comes in a wide range of colours, you can choose from, and it gets a great balance between storage, durability, and safety.

The Mancro Anti-Theft is also water-resistant, and thorough testing, I saw that after 30 minutes of heavy rain everything in the backpack was dry, and I wound out that this backpack dries pretty fast, which was a little surprising considering its price. Its top handle and straps are made from nylon unfortunately, while it is not the worst choice, most would prefer something better. It has no perforation in the back and the lack of thick padding, make this not the most comfortable option, however, this is not designed to be stuffed with a lot of loads.

This is not the best backpack for hiking as it features 10 compartments inside to house various objects, and I found a use for all of them. Its laptop sleeve is thickly padded and can house a laptop as large as 17-inches. It is the perfect backpack for commuters and college students, with its wide range of compartments and its external USB port make it very useful as well. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, the Mancro Anti-Theft is your perfect choice.

2. Timbuk2 Parkside

Most Versatile

Our Ratings:

Durability
95%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

Timbuk2 is a well-known brand when it comes to high-quality bags and luggage, as the San Francisco based company delivers excellent products for every purpose. It is Parkside model is one of the most versatile backpacks on the market, delivering plenty of versatility, style, functionality, and versatility for a very competitive price that is affordable for most buyers. If you want great quality and versatility from your college backpack it doesn’t get any better.

The Timbuk2 Parkside rocks a pretty interesting design, that is stylish and versatile, meaning that it can blend in with any style no problem, it will blend in with any attire, be it hiking or business. This excellent design comes in various paint jobs you can choose from such as Abbys, Black, Black with Red Devil details, Concrete, Forest, and Nautical, all of which look excellent but I would opt for the classic Black version for versatility.

On the front, you will spot two compartments secured with zippers and two large compartments up top, one of which is bucket styled, for carrying clothes and similar, and the other is thickly padded for laptops up to 15-inches in size.

The straps are extremely comfortable and are thickly padded, on top of that you can also locate a removable sternum strap and a custom bottle opener that is a nice party trick. On the back, you will spot an air mesh panel that delivers plenty of breathability and perforation, perfect for hot days and jogging sessions.

Speaking about sports, on the side you will spot a water bottle pocket that will house your refreshments while jogging or hiking. On the backpack, you will also locate a vista loop that is excellent for attaching bike lights when you are riding in the night, great for college campuses.

The main compartment of this backpack is good enough for your gym clothes and you can easily use this for your short term travels, as it can house plenty of clothes in it, and it can be put under the seat on your flight.

1. SwissGear 1900 Scansmart

Best Overall

Our Ratings:

Durability
100%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

If you want the absolute best backpack for your college life, and you want it to last you a lifetime, and protect your belongings at all costs, you may think that you are asking for the impossible. However, SwissGear and its 1900 Scansmart backpack deliver all those promises, plus it has plenty of TSA friendly features. It has plenty of compartments, for your electronics and clothes, and it is ultra-comfortable on top of all this, and you would suspect that this has a premium price, but you would be wrong again because this backpack is very affordable.

This backpack looks like a proper sports bag, however, it is very versatile and unassuming, with plenty of compartments all secured with double zippers. The backpack measures about 18.5×13.5×9-inches in total making it just the right size and it can fit right in under the seat in a flight. It also comes in a few available paint jobs you can choose from to suit your style, but this would not be the most fashion-conscious backpack on the market, as it was designed to be extra functional and practical.

This backpack is one of the most durable ones in the market since it is made with 1200D polyester material that is extremely dense and makes it waterproof. In fact, all SwissGear products boast excellent durability and you won’t be disappointed at any times.

For frequent travelers it has the ScanSmart lay-flat technology that allows for quick access to your laptop in airports and the laptop will be seen in the TSA scan, something that is a nightmare for travellers. On top of the laptop compartment, it has a tablet compartment, a front pocket that helps you organize notes and books, a U-shaped pocket and a zip-locked pouch.

In the sides, you have pouches for storing bottles or an umbrella. The shoulder pads are thickly padded and the back panel as plenty of padding and the Airflow technology, and besides this the weight distribution is perfect.

If you want a perfect backpack, look no further.

About the author

Kevin Mobley

Kevin Mobley

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