12 Best Backpacks for School in 2018

You probably have plenty of experience purchasing backpacks in your lifetime (we certainly do), but have you ever looked beyond the fact that it was on sale or a pretty color?

What about the small details, such as the durability, the quality of the hardware used and how resistant it is to water?

There are actually quite a few things to take into consideration as you shop for a product like this, which is why we’ve created the ultimate guide to the best backpacks for school for you.

Whether you’re off to college, heading to night school or purchasing something for the grandkids as they enter their first year of high school, we have a well-rounded selection of bags and plenty of useful shopping tips to help you understand how to choose a quality bag.

Head down and take a look!

Top 12 Backpacks for School Table

DesignNameMaterialFeaturesRating (1-5)
  1. SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900- eBags Exclusive1200D PolyesterAmple Storage

Laptop Sleeve

  2. eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack840D
900D Twisted Poly
Laptop Sleeve4.6
  3. Under Armour Storm Hustle II BackpackPolyester, NylonWater-resistant

Ample Storage

  4. Coolcy Hot Style Women Real Genuine Leather Backpack Fashion BagGenuine LeatherGreat for Tablets4.6
  5. JanSport Big Student Backpack600D PolyesterErgonomic S-Curve Shoulder Straps4.6
  6. Herschel Supply Co. Little America BackpackPolyesterLarge Main Compartment4.5
  7. Heavy Duty Clear Backpack See Through Daypack Student Transparent School BookbagPVCSee-Through

Ample Storage

  8. Polare Canvas Backpack Rucksack Hike Bag Messenger Bag Satchel FitCanvas Laptop Sleeve

Side Pockets

  9. Leaper Lightweight Canvas Laptop Backpack Cute School Bag Casual BookbagsCanvas Laptop Sleeve

Side Pockets

  10. High Sierra Powerglide Rolling Laptop Backpack600D PolyesterAmple Storage


  11. Zebella Men’s Unbalance Chest Pack Multipurpose Backpack Crossbody Shoulder Bag­Poly-urethane LeatherVarious Compart-ments

Adjustable Strap

  12. Olympia Gen-X 19 Inch Rolling Backpack420D
1680D Polyester
Ample Storage



Match the Bag to Your Needs

Trust us; there is a bag out there for everyone because everyone uses their bag in different ways!

Those of you who like to keep things organized will appreciate quite a few compartments, but those extra compartments can be annoying to those who don’t have many items to carry from class to class.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine which is the best school backpack for your needs.

  • Do You Need Room for Electronics? – So many of us rely on laptops and tablets these days in place of paper and pencils and many backpack manufacturers have caught on to this.

Quite a few models will have specially designed sleeves and pockets that will help protect these electronic devices, and if you’re in need of one, be sure you check to see if the laptop or tablet you have will fit in it. Not all bags are the same size.

  • Do You Want Wheels? – We know that wheeling a backpack around school or around campus can be loud and annoying to those around you, but those wheels are doing your back a huge favor!

Think about getting a wheeled backpack – especially if you want something that can double up as a carry on back if you’re a frequent flier – if you have quite a few heavy books to carry around in addition to a laptop.

Color and Material

Backpacks are a great way for us to make a fashion statement, but we do have a few practical suggestions when it comes to the color and the material of the bag:

  • Lighter Colors Show the Dirt – This is nothing new, but it is something to take into consideration if you don’t plan to wash your backpack on a regular basis.

Pastels, white, off-white and everything in between will show the dirt loudly can clearly, so if you’d like something a little more low maintenance, we suggest sticking with darker colors.

  • Bag Materials – The best backpacks for school are often made of Denier Polyester. It is quite strong and you’ll often see it rated with a number: 600D polyester is finer than 1200D polyester, and while both are strong, the 1200D polyester is definitely thicker and stronger.

Leather, canvas and duck canvas are also strong, sturdy materials used to make backpacks, but we would definitely avoid nylon since it can rip so easily.

Nylon bags are great for hiking, but they can’t handle the weight and sharp edges of your books. If you have a polyester/nylon mix, this is OK since the polyester will make up the majority of the bag.


There is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant, and it’s important that you remember this as you shop for one.

  • Water-Resistant – These bags can repel a small amount of water for short periods of time. If you or the backpack wearer is running from the school to the bus, they’re fine.

If you’re five minutes from home and it starts to rain, chances are you’ll make it home in time to prevent the water from soaking in.

Stay outside for extended periods of time (waiting 20 minutes for the bus to arrive in the snow, for example) and the water will leak in.

  • Waterproof – Waterproof backpacks are made from a variety of materials and by adding a coating of Teflon or Polyurethane to them, manufacturers are able to offer you products that will keep the water out completely.

There are different waterproof ratings, as well, that help you understand just how waterproof a backpack is:

    • 0-5,000 mm (safe in light rain/dry snow)
    • 6,000-10,000 mm (safe in light rain/wet snow)
    • 11,000-15,000 mm (safe in moderate rainy/ snowy weather)
    • 16,000-20,000 mm (safe in heavy rain/snow)
    • 20,000 mm + (safe in heavy rain/ snow, even if backpack is temporarily submerged water)

Now that you understand the difference between “water-resistant” and “waterproof,” be sure you know which your backpack is before you give it a negative review for “not being waterproof!”

Top 4 Best Backpacks for School Reviews

1. SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900

If you need a larger bag that offers you plenty of compartments to keep all of your items neatly organized and you want something that accommodates your laptop, the SwissGear ScanSmart 1900 is definitely an excellent choice.

Main Features

  • Laptop sleeve accommodates computers up to 17”
  • Travel friendly (can leave the laptop in the bag when being scanned at airport checkpoints)
  • Polyester is strong and durable
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Audio interface

This is a spacious, well-constructed bag that is perfect for the busy high schooler or college student. Available in four other colors.

2. eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

Those of you who prefer a more professional look might appreciate a bag like this one from eBags.

This is a rectangular-shaped laptop bag with clean lines and plenty of pockets to help you keep all of your electronics separate and organized. The shape actually helps you maximize the storage space since the corners are rigid and stand upright on their own.

Main Features

  • Laptop sleeve accommodates computers up to 17.5”
  • Laptop sleeve can be locked
  • Has top and side handles
  • Crush-proof AC-adapter garage
  • Numerous storage pockets

This bag is perfect for those of you who rely on your own personal computer during the school day.

3. Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack

Under Armour’s Storm Hustle II backpack is definitely meets the needs of most students out there.

It is spacious, comfortable to wear and comes in plenty of colors!

Main Features

  • 3 interior pockets and 5 exterior pockets
  • Abrasion-resistant bottom panel
  • Laptop sleeve accommodates computers up to 15”
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Laundry pocket
  • Water-resistant

This bag meets the needs of the average student. If you don’t have tons of books to carry around and you like having divided storage pockets, this would be a great match.

4. Coolcy Genuine Leather Fashion Backpack

Not all of you want or need a huge backpack, and we’re sure that some of the ladies out there reading would love to wear something like this class to class!

This is a genuine leather backpack designed for the minimalist. It will easily fit a tablet and/or books up to the A4 size.

Main Features

  • Numerous storage compartments
  • Made of quality genuine leather
  • Fashionable
  • Well-constructed

This isn’t the right option for everyone, but if you hate the huge backpacks that look like backpacks and you don’t need to carry a lot of stuff around with you, this could totally work.