15 Best Backpacks for High School: Reviews For Students
While different people have various preferences when it comes to backpacks, students in particular typically have a specific set of needs.
Lightweight, functionality, durability, and space are the most important qualities that are considered when someone is picking out a school pack.
In this review, different types and brands are looked at in detail so that you can figure out exactly what you're looking for in a pack and decide which product is the best option for you.
Backpacks for High School Compared
Kopack Anti-Theft Travel
Yes (17 Inch)
Yes (15.6 Inch)
Mancro High School
Yes (15.6 Inch)
Herschel Supply Co. Retreat
Yes (15.6 Inch)
Kaukko Laptop Outdoor
Yes (15 Inch)
Yes (13 Inch)
Vaschy Unisex Classic
Yes (14 Inch)
Vera Bradley Campus Tech
Yes (15 Inch)
The North Face Women’s Jester
Yes (15 Inch)
Under Armour Hustle 4.0
Yes (15 Inch)
High Sierra Swerve
Yes (17 Inch)
Adidas Stadium II
Scione Basketball Backpack
Yes (15.6 Inch)
Rockland Wheeled Backpack
What to look for in a good Backpack For High School
The very first thing a student has to consider before embarking on any search for the best backpack for high school is the purpose that you'll be using it for. You have to consider this carefully because this will ultimately affect the functionality of any backpack you eventually buy, and how much use you get out of it.
Furthermore, you have to decide on the type of backpack you'll need. Do you need a laptop backpack for class? Do you need a sports bag for after school activities? The best bags for high schoolers should be catered to the needs of each individual student.
Style & Design
Style is always an important factor when considering any backpack. This is especially true for students who will generally prioritise style over practicality if they have to choose. That means that the best backpacks for school are those that offer students everything they need on a practical level without compromising on style.
Try and go for something that's timelessly stylish rather than fashionable, so you won't feel like you need to go out and buy a new backpack next season. Think about what you'll be wearing for school and choose the style of your backpack accordingly.
This particular feature is important for high school and college students as, unlike some other people, they will pretty much always need a laptop with them.
If you fall into this category, you should be sure of the size of your laptop before you go out and buy a laptop. Students who don’t have a laptop, or don't necessarily need to carry it with them everyday, can also use the laptop compartment to store anything else they need safely.
One of the most important factors to look for in high school backpacks is safety. If you walk to school or ride your bike, you might want to buy a bag with reflective material.
You should also look for safety features such as a secure compartment for your phone, keys, and other valuables. The best backpacks for high school students will have these features built-in.
There are several advantages to multiple compartments. As a school student, you have a lot of items to carry and multiple compartments mean you can do this very easily.
Organizational pockets make it easy for you to find things quickly and help to distribute the load, thereby preventing strain and body aches. You should look for a backpack with pockets for pens, folders, and other school supplies.
This particular feature has to do with functionality and age. Buying a backpack that’s too big for yourself or for your child will hinder their comfort. Also, if a backpack is too large then it can easily be overstuffed, the weight of which can take its toll on the carrier's back and shoulders.
You should have a general idea of what size of will be most appropriate for your books, your laptop and whatever else you have to carry with you on a daily basis.
Waterproof or Water-Resistant
I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want your books or those of your child to get soaked in a downpour. A waterproof backpack will totally prevent water entry, even if the pack should be submerged while a water-resistant backpack will also prevent water entry if it rains, but won't stand up to submersion.
For most people's purposes, water-resistant should be more than enough.
Another important factor to consider when searching for good backpacks for high school is comfort. As a student, you may be carrying around a lot of books for most of the day. You should look for a bag that has padded shoulder straps, ventilation, and adjustment features.
The best backpacks for school will be comfortable enough to wear all day without straining your back, neck, or shoulders.
Price vs Quality
It's not uncommon for you to come across some really expensive backpacks when looking for a suitable one to purchase. On the other hand, you might find some really cheap ones out there.
It's important to remember that there's usually a close relationship between quality and price. You have to be careful, however, not to pay more than any backpack is worth in terms of quality. It's always great to look for backpacks that are usually more expensive that are on sale.
15 Best Backpacks for School Reviewed
1. Kopack Anti-Theft Travel Backpack
Most Safe & Secure Backpack
This particular backpack has a lot of interesting features that might interest students. The Kopack is made from tear-resistant durable nylon material. It has padded shoulder straps and back padding that offers extra support to prevent you ending a long day at school with aches and pains.
The ergonomic design ensures that whatever load it carries is distributed evenly. All in all, the design of the pack is simple, practical and functional. We love the fact that the simple, sleek style of this pack means that it would work with pretty much any look.
It could even be used in place of a small sling bag should you need a slightly smarter pack for school. We particularly like the gray colour option, as gray is versatile will match pretty much anything, from casual clothes to school uniforms.
Additional features include a band for sunglasses and a hidden earphone hole. The size makes it perfect for middle school and high school students.
The backpack is anti-theft, lightweight, water-resistant and made from durable material. Another great safety feature are the two glow-in-the-dark strips on the back that will help keep you visible.
On the other hand, the Kopack is a multipurpose backpack. It isn't designed for a particular purpose and it's not suitable for a heavy load.
The Trekbible website recommends this bag too - stating 'its practical design, added safety measures, and built-in comfort' as key features.
2. Vancropak Student Backpack
Best For Laptops & Computers
This particular backpack is especially designed for school purposes. The pack is made from high-quality canvas, so it fashionable as well as durable.
The pack has six pockets and small organizers, which makes it suitable for students. It also has two side pockets to hold your water bottle or umbrella and a laptop compartment that can hold laptops up to 15.6 inches.
The canvas material has water-resistant properties which should be capable of keeping your devices dry and safe. The USB port is another extremely useful feature as it means you can keep your devices charged up with ease.
Furthermore, the ergonomic design and the adjustable and padded strap makes the backpack very comfortable to carry. The straps and the back of this backpack are especially designed to keep you cool.
The only con that this backpack has is that the headphone hole at the top allows water to go through and it's not suitable for carrying a heavy load.
3. Mancro High School Backpack
Best For Travel
This amazing backpack has features that make it stylish and ideal for travel as well as for school. It has an electromagnetically opaque shield that blocks signals from pickpockets and many other anti-theft features.
The backpack also has multiple compartments and plenty of pockets, three main pockets and ten inner pockets to be exact. There are also two mesh side pockets to keep you water bottle separate from your electronics. The laptop pocket can hold up to a 15.6 inch laptop.
The material used to make the backpack is water-resistant, durable, eco-friendly polyester fabric. These features make it suitable for travel, weekend trips, and especially school.
This backpack, however, is not great for carrying heavyweight items and although it is water resistant, it's not entirely waterproof.
The excellent news is that this bag comes with a lifetime warranty and there's a 24-hour customer service line should you have any problems with it.
The backpack is a really great option for college students, high school students, and teenage boys and girls.
4. Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack
Most Stylish For Students
This high quality and distinct-looking backpack is manufactured by Herschel Supply Company and they're well known for the finest quality bags and backpacks.
The pack has a padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve that can take laptops up to 15 inches in size. It has an adjustable drawstring closure, external storage sleeve, contoured shoulder straps, and a reinforced bottom. There are 16 different colour options available to you, so you can either go for a fun, bright colour or something more classic to match all your school outfits.
Additional features of this bag include magnetic strap closures with metal pin clips and an internal media pocket with a headphone port.
Although the retreat backpack is distinct in its style, with a large woven label on the front, and features, it has only one compartment as well as the laptop sleeve. It doesn’t have different sections and despite all the features it does have, it's not waterproof and it's only really suitable for high school and college students.
It comes with a limited lifetime warranty which covers 'common and everyday use for the duration of the original purchaser's lifetime beginning on the date of purchase from an authorized Herschel Supply retailer', so it's evident that Herschel has faith in their products.
5. Kaukko Laptop Outdoor Backpack
Best For Outdoors
This highly versatile backpack is suitable for students as well as for outdoor activities like hiking, school, sports, shopping, traveling, and camping.
Several features make this high school backpack suitable for many different activities. The contoured shoulder straps and air mesh padded back make it easier to carry than your average backpack. As well as being suitable for a lot of activities, it can be used to carry a laptop for school.
The backpack is made from high-quality polyester, water-resistant material, and available in a huge range of colours for you to choose from. High-quality nylon lining makes the backpack soft, comfortable and suitable for both men and women. The backpack also comes with a 6-month warranty.
The only problem with this particular is that it wasn't created for a single purpose but for a wide range of activities, so it's versatile but not designed exclusively with one type of user in mind. But if you're the type that likes to have one backpack that you take everywhere with you, then it might be perfect for you.
Just bear in mind that the backpack also has only one compartment, which some students might find insufficient.
6. Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack
Most Popular Backpack
This classic backpack was officially launched back in 1978, and it became really popular shortly afterwards. The simple and functional design remains the same today as it was in 1978, and is something that will never go out of fashion.
Made from a material called Vinylon F, the pack is dirt-resistant, water-resistant and very easy to clean, which makes it perfect for students who's bags can tend to get very dirty very quickly, and often get caught out in the rain. There's also a two-way zipper with rain flap for protection.
The backpack's design is intended to help prevent back pain. In fact, that was the original purpose it was designed for when it was first sold for Swedish school children back in the 70s. As well as its ergonomic shoulder straps, it has dual top snap handles so you can carry it around by hand.
The backpack has one main compartment, a front zippered pocket, and two open side pockets; all these features make the pack perfect for middle and high school students.
The only cons that this backpack has are that it isn’t totally waterproof and being a classic backpack, it is fairly expensive. If you, however, go for this backpack, you can be sure it will serve you for a long time.
7. Vaschy Unisex Classic Backpack
Best Lightweight Backpack
This lightweight backpack has a very simple design and sufficient space which make it suitable to use as a school backpack. The polyester material helps to keep the pack shrink resistant and it comes in a fantastic range of colours, which means that everyone will be able to find the perfect pack for them.
The backpack comes with padded pockets suitable for 14-inch laptops, three small interior pockets, and two zipper pockets, so you can keep your things nice and organised.
The padded and adjustable shoulder straps provide users with carry-comfort, even when weighed down with a laptop and books. Furthermore, the pack is coated with a light substance that means it is nicely water resistant, protecting your electronics.
The Vaschy unisex backpack is perfect for school students, because of the ample space, the water resistance, and the carry comfort.
Although the backpack is suitable for school, it is however not designed for long journeys and it may not be suitable for school trips, so if you want something all-purpose then you might want to look elsewhere.
8. JanSport Superbreak Backpack
Most Trusted Brand
This roomy backpack has a 25-litre capacity, which is more than enough space for school kids to carry their textbooks, calculators, paperbacks and many more things besides. The large main compartment and front pocket make it easy to keep all your things organized.
The fact that it's lightweight makes it perfect for kids who like to carry all their school items around, and there's very little risk of shoulder strain or back pain (as long as you don't overload it) because it comes with a padded back panel and straight-cut padded shoulder straps.
You can be sure this backpack will serve your children for a very long time to come as it's very durable and offers a lifetime warranty. It might even last them beyond their high school days!
The brand is one that can be trusted, JanSport having been a name to be reckoned with in the world of backpacks since 1967. As well as being a classic, this pack secure, comfortable to carry, durable and offers ample space.
Despite all these interesting features, however, the backpack doesn’t have separate sections inside the main compartment, which might be a problem for anyone who likes to know exactly what's where all all times.
9. Vera Bradley Campus Tech Backpack
Best For High School Girls
This is indeed one for the ladies. This stylish backpack is known for its vibrancy and colorful patterns. There are 21 different backpack patterns to choose from, so you're not short of options!
It features two front zip pockets, two side pockets, three slip pockets, four pen pockets and many more, so you can't complain that it's not organized enough! It also, of course, has a zippered laptop pocket.
The main compartment has two slip pockets to hold small notebooks and a space for full-size notebooks and textbooks. The pack also features a zippered compartment for a laptop or tablet.
If you're a frequent traveller, you'll love the fact that this bag has a trolley sleeve so you can easily slip it over a telescopic handle.
Music lovers will adore the fact that this bag has a headphone port meaning you can keep your devices safe and stored away whilst still listening to your favourite tunes.
The backpack is made from cotton material. It's light to carry, and it comes with adjustable straps. The interesting features, however, come at a fairly expensive price and it doesn't claim to be either waterproof or water resistant, so you might have a problem if you get caught out in the rain.
10. The North Face Women’s Jester
Best For Women
This is one of the most popular backpacks among students on campus due to its durability and female-oriented design. It comes with women-specific straps that are flexible, so they conform to a wide range of women’s body types. There are 26 different attractive designs to chose from.
If you're a fan of the great outdoors, you'll be more than familiar with The North Face brand, which is known for making fantastic quality products, and this backpack is no different.
The large main compartment is perfect for books and binders; it also has a padded laptop sleeve. The front compartment comes with an internal organization and an extra padded tablet sleeve. Your extra school items can be kept in the additional secure zip pockets.
Your carry comfort is further assured by the padded mesh back panel and the breathable lumbar panel which will keep you cool. It also features a sternum strap with whistle buckle and a comfortable padded top handle.
There's a large reflective patch on the back to help keep you safe at night.
Even though this backpack isn't water-proof or water resistant, it's still a very good one for high schoolers.
11. Under Armour Hustle 4.0
Best For Sports
The Under Armour Hustle 4.0 backpack is a very versatile backpack that can be used for a variety of activities; school included. The backpack comes with a capacity of around 26 litres, a laptop compartment, and plenty of pockets. For students looking for comfortable backpacks, this one is perfect.
It comes in a great selection of 43 colours and patterns which means that everyone will be able to find the perfect pack for them, whatever their style.
It has adjustable shoulder straps, and it fits students if all ages. Made from polyester/nylon, the backpack is coated with a highly water-resistant material so you can be sure your books and laptop will remain safe even when you get caught in a downpour on your way to class.
Positive things about this backpack include; water resistance, abrasion resistant bottom panel, adjustable straps, and the unique laundry pocket.
On the other hand, the backpack is not specifically designed for the purpose. It's a multipurpose backpack and some students might find some features unnecessary.
12. High Sierra Swerve
Best For 17-Inch Laptops
If you will be carrying your 17-inch laptop around at school, you should look into this backpack as it's designed to take weight without straining your shoulders.
It has multiple compartments including a zippered mesh pocket, pen pockets, a lidded media pocket and a key fob hook that will help you keep your things organized. It has a padded laptop sleeve, a CushionZone sleeve, that will help protect your laptop and multiple pockets for you to keep all other things you might need in school with you in at all times.
If you have a slightly larger laptop then this backpack might be great for you, as it can accommodate up to a 17-inch laptop, whereas a lot of the other ones we've looked at here can only hold laptops of up to 15.6 inches.
There's also a TechSpot sleeve where you can safely store your tablet at the same time as your laptop.
There are fewer colour options for this backpack than a lot of the others on this list, but there's still a selection of five fantastic colours that you're sure to love.
The suspension system of the padded back panel and adjustable straps make it comfortable to carry a lot of things without feeling any pain, always provided that you don't overload it too much.
The zippers have been occasionally reported to develop issues, but apart from that the ample space, abrasion resistance, and comfortable fabric make it more than suitable for high school students.
13. Adidas Stadium II
Best For Soccer Players
In a world where sportswear and sports backpacks have become fashionable, it has become the norm to adapt sports backpack for other uses. If you play high school soccer and looking for a sports backpack to serve you in school, the Adidas Stadium II might interest you.
The backpack is big enough to fit everything you might need in the gym and even in class. The bottom of the backpack is made with hydroshield water-resistant, ripstop material, to keep your things safe on the field or in the gym and even on the way to class.
If you play on the soccer team, there's a zippered ball pocket that can hold a size 5 soccer ball. If you'd rather, you can also store a ball in the outside mesh pocket. The two side water bottle pockets are also great for keeping everything separate.
The adjustable shoulder straps and back panel are padded to offer comfort and to keep you nice and cool. The pack has a water-resistant base and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Although this isn't really designed with devices in mind, there is a padded media pocket.
The backpack, however, was specifically built with athletes in mind and some students might not be really comfortable carrying it to class with them as the style is very sporty.
14. Scione Basketball Backpack
Best For Basketball Players
This is one of the most efficient multipurpose backpacks suitable for school and sports. Scione is a water-resistant basketball backpack that comes with a USB charging port and a headphone port.
It's an excellent canvas backpack, and the bottom zipper has a basketball net that can be used whenever it's needed, so it's another great one for sports-lovers. It also comes with a built-in charging cable that gives you the opportunity to easily charge your devices whenever you're on the move.
Furthermore, the backpack has a laptop compartment which can hold a laptop of up to 15.6 inches and many other pockets in which you can store small items and keep everything nicely organized.
The curved padded shoulder straps, the good permeability, and the heat dissipation system ensure absolute comfort. Your books and laptop are protected from getting wet by the waterproof material used to make the backpack, so you don't need to worry about being caught out in the rain.
It comes in four colours, black and grey, which are very stylish and smart.
Although it can be used for school purposes, this backpack was not specifically designed for school purposes.
This backpack comes with a 100% guarantee.
15. Rockland Wheeled Backpack
Best Rolling Backpack
If you're looking for a backpack to take the weight off your shoulders, literally, you should take a closer look at this backpack. This is the only rolling backpack on our list, as they aren't popular with everyone, but they're a great option for some students that have to carry heavy loads.
Made from high quality and durable nylon, this rolling backpack has smooth rolling inline wheels.
It comes with a large capacity that will accommodate your books, clothes, magazines and more. Although it's a rolling backpack, it comes with tucked away shoulder straps that you can use if you choose not to roll it, which won't be the most practical thing sometimes.
The bottom is covered with an anti-scratch panel and the trolley is made from strong polished metal. The backpack comes in over 17 colors. The wheels might produce an uncomfortable sound when rolling, but they shouldn't be too loud.
We wish this wheeled backpack came with a laptop sleeve, but for a rolling backpack, we thought this was the best bet. You can also take it to the airport on your next trip.
Common Features Of Good Backpacks For High School
If you're truly interested in getting a quality backpack, one of the first things you have to consider is the material the backpack is made from.
Materials like nylon and canvas are durable but they can be expensive at times, however, if you ignore the price, you can be sure of getting a quality return.
For a backpack to qualify as a good quality one, the shoulder straps should be wide enough and padded.
If shoulder straps aren't wide enough or if they're not padded, they cut into the skin and cause pain. For students who would be carrying a lot of books, the shoulder straps should be comfortable and adjustable.
There are several things that come together to
The quality of the backpack will depend on how these various features are fused together to achieve utmost functionality for whatever purpose the backpack is being designed for.
As much as practicality is the most important thing, style is also a priority, as a backpack plays a part in your school look. Therefore, if we're determining the quality of backpack we can't ignore the originality and relevance of the style.
You might prefer a sleek, elegant design and a neutral colour that goes with everything, or you might want a fun color and print that expresses your personality.
Whether you prefer the 'less is more' approach or want to make a statement, there are backpacks reviewed below that will suit all tastes.
If you choose to invest in a quality backpack, then you want to make sure that the backpack you buy will last you for a long time.
Quality backpacks should usually have a good warranty because the manufacturers have confidence in their products. If anything happens to the pack, they will promptly replace it.
As a customer, make sure you read the warranty information before buying any backpack to see what it covers and what it doesn't.
Different Types Of School Backpacks
Everyday Carry (EDC)
The idea behind these backpacks is that people are able to carry essential items that they use all the time and access them easily.
That being said, any EDC backpack must be versatile in its functionality and that's why many students go for them.
There are several items students normally need to carry with them at all times and the EDC concept makes it easy for them to do so.
In recent times, laptop bags have become popular among students, especially in high school. Many students have started taking notes on their computers instead of pen and paper because it's faster.
It's quite easy to keep things organized in a laptop backpack as the compartments and subsections help to keep everything in its place, such as charging cables, mice, and Bluetooth devices.
Students have a lot of things to carry and using a backpack that helps to compartmentalize everything in a straightforward manner is very appealing.
Although theft isn't a problem in the majority of school environments, one can never be too careful.
These bags have
Rolling Or Wheeled
Widely known for their versatility,
For students who are really into fashion, these backpacks might not be the best choice but in the long run, using one of these could help prevent neck pain, muscle strain, and back pain.
It's not easy to pinpoint why hiking backpacks have become widely used by students and people from all walks of life, for all kinds of purposes. This could be as a result of how comfortable and practical they are.
Hiking backpacks are specially designed to keep the user comfortable. And with most hiking backpack manufacturers producing more and more adaptable bags, their use among students has increased. Students use them for school as well as for hiking, adventures, and excursions.
Sports - Basketball/Soccer
Sports backpacks provide a convenient way to carry your sports gear. In the same way, they can be used to carry books and school items conveniently.
Sportswear and sports backpacks have become fashionable in modern times among students who express their love for famous brands by using their products.
A teenager’s bag should be roomy enough to carry books and electronics, and still be comfortable to carry. Constant use requires that these backpacks have sturdy, durable designs and materials.
Best Brands for Girls and Boys
Only a few of the backpacks reviewed are not suitable for guys. Although there are very few backpacks in the market that are made for boys only, a large percentage of backpacks produced these days are unisex, and boys don’t really have a problem getting a backpack that will serve whatever purpose they need a backpack for.
It might a little bit hard to find backpacks that are made specifically for girls, but most backpacks are unisex. Female backpacks are, however, great, because they're designed to fit women’s bodies perfectly. The North Face women’s jester and the Vera Bradley campus tech are the only gender-specific models we've reviewed here.
quality backpack for Different Age school Kids
One should be practical when picking backpacks for elementary school kids. Typically, children carry a lot of things in their backpacks, so when picking one for them, you should look for padded shoulder straps and a back panel to protect them from back and shoulder strain.
You should also look for ample space to carry books and other school items, zippers that run smoothly, water-resistant backpacks and durable backpacks to ensure that you get good value for your money.
Just like with any other backpack user, comfort is one of the most important things to look at when buying backpacks for middle school students. Wide and padded shoulder straps are important to ensure comfort, the durability of material should be checked, and space should be considered as well.
If your child will need to carry a laptop, you know you need to look for a pack with space for one. Ultimately, you should never ignore style.
For high school students, they need backpacks that will be suitable for activities that go beyond the classroom. High school students need stylish and sporty backpacks, and features like laptop sleeves for their laptops, stretch pockets, water-proof materials and of course padded shoulder straps and a back panel.
Some features like padded shoulder straps and water resistance are necessary for all students while some, like laptop sleeves and the number of compartments, are dependent on what you tend to take with you on a daily basis.
College, law, medical, and grad students, all need to be really sure of what they will need to carry before buying any backpack.
Apart from specific features, there are some general features they should look out for; durability, water resistance, comfort, number of compartments and many more.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is a rolling backpack and should I consider one for school?
A rolling backpack is a backpack fitted with wheels and a handle and can be wheeled around instead of carrying on the shoulder.
Rolling backpacks can carry much heavier weight than normal backpacks and they help eliminate the risk of developing back or shoulder problems. Definitely consider one if you have back problems or use very heavy text books.
How big does a student backpack need to be in liters?
The size of a student backpack should be dependent on what that student has to carry, but a backpack of 24L+ should be sufficient.
How should a school backpack fit me?
School backpacks should not drop, you should adjust the straps to make it comfortable and
Are canvas backpacks a good idea for high school?
Canvas backpacks are good because they are really durable although they can be heavy in weight. I would recommend them for older students. You can find the perfect canvas backpack based on our reviews.
What is the price range of a good quality school backpack?
Good quality backpacks have different prices, depending on the brand and model. Typically the prices fall between $35 and $90.
Where is a good place to buy cheap backpacks?
You can get cheap backpacks on Amazon. With fast shipping and a plethora of styles we believe this is the best place to shop online.
It's very important to be specific about your needs when looking for a backpack to buy for educational purposes; this will prevent you from wasting time and valuable resources.
There are some general features that define a quality school backpack; some of these include durability, water resistance, comfort, style, breathability and many more.
Whatever your preferences are, some of the backpacks covered in this review should be adequate.