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Best Backpacks For School 2019

These stylish and cool backpacks will help keep your laptop, books, and other valuables safe

The backpack is here to stay so why not get yourself one of the best backpacks around? Sounds nice, sure, but that’s easier said than with so many different sizes, styles, features, and colours competing for your attention. To help you get a pack that’s right for you then, we’ve compiled a list of our top 15 for you to browse below. Whether you need a backpack for school, college, university or just general day-to-day, we think these are bound to tick at least some of your boxes.

To help you select the best backpack / rucksack for you, here’s a quick guide on what to consider when you’re buying one.

How To Buy The Best Backpack For You

Size – It’s super important to think about the capacity when choosing the best backpack for you. The backpacks in this list range between 15 – 33 litres, so consider what you need to carry around from day to day. Some have compression straps so it’s easier to size up if you’re stuck between two sizes.

Comfort – Each backpack essentially does the same job in the end; however, some are far more comfortable than others. Check to see if there is padding on the straps and back panel, this is going to feel much nicer when the bag is heavy.

Pockets – You can never have too many pockets. Pockets are a great way to organise items and prevent you losing them. It’s always handy to have external pockets that are quick to get to, and internal pockets which are more secure.

Laptop compartment – If you want to carry a laptop/ tablet in your backpack, its best to buy a bag which has a specific laptop compartment. This can be a fabric sleeve to prevent scratches or a padded sleeve for extra protection.

Design – There are so many different coloured rucksacks and prints, so make sure you pick something that is easily recognisable and that you’re going to like for a long period of time. Prints are super fun, but it’s easier to match a solid colour with clothing.

1) Converse – School XL Backpack

Price – £24.99

Gender – Unisex

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This backpack kills two birds with one stone, as it comes with a matching pencil case. It has made our list because it’s super functional as a school bag, but it also has a super simple and sleek design. The two-way main zipper provides access to the main compartment which contains a padded sleeve. This can be used for a laptop when needed and also doubles up as a slot for your paper and books – keeping them upright and organised.

For extra storage there is a useful pocket at the front with a zip. The extra pocket is great for stashing small items that you need access to, or snacks which are equally as important. There is also a stretch mesh pocket on the side, which is perfect for looking after your water bottle. This makes the bottle easily accessible and also prevents any leakages from ruining your work inside.

Comfort is essential when you’re wearing a pack to and from school for five days a week, something that Converse haven’t forgotten. When this backpack is fully loaded it remains comfortable due to the padded back panel and shoulder straps.

Pros:

  • Simple and sleek design
  • Large internal compartment
  • Padded back panel
  • Includes a matching pencil case

2) Dakine – Campus Mini 18 Litres Kids Backpack

Price – £34.99

Gender – Unisex (Kids)

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This is a mini version of the popular Campus backpack for kids, it has all the same features as its bigger brother but just scaled down. We have chosen the Campus Mini as one of our favourites as it has lots of storage, organisation compartments and even a cooler pocket.

The Campus mini’s small cooler pocket, positioned at the front of the pack, is great for storing fruit, drinks and other snacks. The small pocket also helps to separate your food away from your school books and prevent any leakages damaging your work. To keep all your pens and pencils in order there is also an organisation pocket. The main compartment here has lots of storage, plus a fabric sleeve to store a small tablet.

To keep your water bottle on-hand there are two stretch mesh pockets on either side, which also saves you room inside the pack. This also prevents your water bottle from coming into contact with your work, and damaging it. The Campus Mini has water resistant fabric which keeps the pack lightweight and protects the items inside when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Thanks to its reflective detailing, this backpack makes the wearer more visible when they’re walking to and from school. This, in turn, makes them safer when walking by busy roads on dark evenings.

Pros:

  • Kids specific fit
  • Cooler pocket
  • Reflective detailing

3) Fjallraven – Kanken Classic

Price – £74.95

Gender – Unisex

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If there is one backpack that could be deemed iconic within the world of school bags, it’s the Kanken. What started as a backpack in Sweden to improve back posture has quickly become a house hold name due to its comfort, simplistic design and durable fabric. The Kanken comes in a huge range of colours and prints. Fjallraven have also expanded the range to give you a wider choice of sizes. This one here is the Kanken Classic, which is the most popular size.

The lightweight Vinylon F fabric is highly durable plus, it’s not damaged by water for those rainy days at the bus stop. A large zip along the top gives you access to the main compartment, making it easy to pack and unpack your gear. If you need extra storage there is also an external small pocket with a zipped closure – ideal for storing small items that you need quick access to.

One of our favourite features on the Classic Kanken is the removable padded seat in the back panel. Not only does this padding protect your back from the contents of the bag, it can also be taken out and used as a cushion when the user’s out on a school trip, having a picnic, or just taking a break somewhere. the shoulder straps on the Kanken are a narrow webbing strap. To increase the comfort, you can add padding to the straps.

Pros:

  • Lightweight yet highly durable fabric
  • Removable padded seat
  • Iconic Fjallraven logo patch on the front

4) Hype – Disco Leopard Backpack

Price – £22.99

Gender – Womens

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If you want a cool backpack with a fun and creative print, then look no further than the Hype Disco leopard. This pack comes in a wide choice of playful prints, but this one makes our list because of the decorative pom pom which can stay on the pack or be attached to a set of keys. Plus, this is the cheapest pack on our list.

The size of this bag is perfectly proportioned to carry A4 sized books / folders, alongside other essentials.  The main compartment is a simple singular drop and if you need extra space you also have the zipped external pocket. The external pocket is a great place to store the small items that wearer’s might need to quickly access (i.e. keys, phone, pens, pencils etc).

For all-day comfort the Disco Leopard has adjustable padded shoulder straps which sit over the shoulders and collar bone. Be different and daring with this funky leopard print number.

Pros:

  • Bright colours make it easy to recognise
  • Perfect size for A4 work
  • Comfortable padding throughout

5) Eastpak – Padded Pak’r Backpack

Price – £29.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Padded Pak’r backpack is the type of school bag you won’t need to replace anytime soon. That’s because Eastpak are so confident in the quality of the product, they actually provide a 30-year warranty with the bag.

The Padded Pak’r has all of the typical features you need from a casual school backpack. It has a large 24 litres capacity giving the wearer plenty of room for books and other essentials. For additional storage, there’s also a deep front pocket that has a secure zip closure. The long pull loops on the zips make it easy to open and close if you’re in a rush, or wearing gloves in winter.

This pack doesn’t just look great, its feel great when you’re wearing it. Thanks to the wide shoulder straps with thick padding, your bag will feel comfortable all day long. The kind of pack you won’t want to take off, it comes in various different shades.

Pros:

  • Large capacity in the main compartment
  • Simple design
  • Thick padding on the shoulder for increased comfort

6) Adidas – Originals Adicolor Backpack

Price – £25.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Adidas originals pack has a clean and simple look, with retro Adidas heritage style piping. This pack is one of our favourites because it can be used as an everyday bag.

It has zipped access to the main compartment, a compartment that’s large enough for all of your books, stationery and lunch. To help you organise your work, there is a fabric divider at the back which keeps paper separated and neat. If you wanted some extra space, there is an external pocket on the front which has lots of room for small items.

Flexible padding on the shoulder straps and back panel keep the backpack lightweight and comfortable. The padding gives you extra comfort for when you’re walking with a heavy load, and also protects your back from any hard and sharp items inside.

The front of the backpack features the easily recognisable Adidas Trifoil logo with the three stripes.

Pros:

  • Low price point
  • Classic and clean design
  • Solid colour makes it easy to pair with any outfit
  • Large main compartment for your book and stationery

7) Superdry – Hollow Montana Backpack

Price – £26.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Hollow Mantana backpack is perfectly sized to carry all your daily essentials and more. This pack has been picked to feature on our top 15 list as it has lots of extra storage space.

This pack has a large main compartment which is easy to access with a two-way main zipper, plus large zip pulls throughout the pack that make them easy to grab and use.

The Hollow Montana has a 21 litres capacity in the main compartment which is plenty of room for school essentials. The bag easily fits A4 sized paper, books and folders, and still has room for more. To save time being wasted on rummaging around the bottom of the bag, there is a short external pocket on the front for small items which’ll make them easier to find.  If the zipped pocket wasn’t enough, there are also an extra two side pockets with popper closures – ideal for storing keys and the like.

Superdry bags don’t go unnoticed due to their bold branding and bright contrasting detail. The Hollow Montana has Superdry text printed all over it, with bright orange Superdry text on the zip pulls. Plus, a large rubberised strip in the middle with embossed Superdry text. This pack also increases your visibility on the road as it has reflective detailing around the zips, making your journey to and from school safer.

Pros: 

  • Large main compartment
  • Low price point
  • Extra external storage
  • Reflective detailing

So, school has finished and now you’re heading off to college or university. It’s a big change, and time to change up your backpack. The next eight backpacks have been carefully selected for their quality, size, storage options and laptop protection.

8) Patagonia – Arbor Classic 25 Litre Backpack

Price – £64.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Arbor Classic from Patagonia takes a retro style backpack and updates it by adding all the features that you need for carrying your books, laptop, and snacks whilst also providing protection for your valuables. Outside of term time, this is a great looking bag for everyday use. The Arbor made our list because it has lots of storage, it looks great, and it uses recycled materials.

The main compartment is easily accessed by unclipping two buckles at the front and pulling on the large drawcord. Inside you will find a spacious 25 litre compartment, with a padded slot to store and protect a 15” laptop. This is a key feature if you need to carry a laptop between classes or over to the library.

Not only does this bag protect your tech though, it also hides it. The Arbor has a hidden pocket under the lid which is a great place to store you phone out of sight. If you need to access some of your items quickly such as keys, there is a handy zipped pocket on the front.

The Arbor fabric protects your papers and books inside thanks to its water repellent finish. It’s not completely waterproof mind, but it does allow you to pop between buildings in the rain without worrying about your bag’s content getting wet.

We all know that once your bag is filled to the brim for a day out it can be quite heavy, which is why comfort is so important. The Arbor has a padded back panel which sits comfortably against your back and padded shoulder straps. The straps have been ergonomically shaped, giving them a curve which feels more comfortable when carrying heavy loads.

Pros: 

  • Environmentally friendly materials
  • Lots of padding to protect your technology
  • Retro style pack
  • Hidden pocket for extra security

If you want to learn more about Patagonia and the part that they are playing to reduce the speed of climate change, protecting land and species and improving the environmental responsibility, click here.

9) Dakine – Campus 33 Litres

Price – £41.99

Gender – Unisex

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If you want a pack that has all the storage needed for a full day out, then look no further. The Dakine Campus 33L is literally built for storing all your school gear and more, it’s in the name. The Campus made it into our list because it has lots of functional space without being bulky, and it sits at a good price point for a long-lasting product

When your studying all day or doing long stints in the library, you need to fuel yourself with food. Luckily Dakine have thought about this and added an insulated compartment at the front which helps to keep your drinks, food and snacks cool whilst you are on the move. This separate pocket also prevents any spillages from damaging your valuables. The second compartment is an organised person’s heaven, filled with lots of fabric slots and an extra zipped pocket. This allows you to separate all your small items, making them easier to find when they’re needed.

The large compartment at the back is where you can store all of your books and papers, and to protect your laptop there is a padded laptop sleeve. This padding allows you to put your bag down throughout the day without worrying about causing damaging. This sleeve is compatible with most standard 15” laptops. Stretch mesh pockets on either side for a water bottle helps to save room, and prevent any liquid coming in to contact with your technology.

Come rain or sun, hot weather or cold weather, you will need your pack on hand to do a job for you. While we’re on this, the Campus 33L has a special short top pocket with a fleece lining. This lining prevents scratches to your sunglasses, so you can rest assured that they have somewhere safe to be when you’re not wearing them. And if the sun isn’t shining, this pocket is also perfect for storing a mobile phone or other electronics.

This is the first pack in the list so far to feature an adjustable chest strap, this has been taken from hiking packs as it takes the pressure off of your shoulders when the bag is heavy. In the long run, it’s better for your back and will increase the comfort.

Pros:

  • Lots of storage options.
  • Cooler compartment.
  • Protective padding for a laptop

10) Eastpak – Floid Laptop Backpack

Price – £44.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Floid laptop backpack has a narrow and long fit in the body, and with a capacity of 16L it’s got one of the lowest capacities on this list. This means that it fits in all of your essentials, and doesn’t leave you with wasted space.  The Floid has been selected here as it packs lots of storage into a small pack and provides protection for your laptop in a secure compartment.

The Floid backpack works well with most 15” laptop. There is a padded sleeve within the main compartment, which is padded on both sides and fastens down with a strap. This keeps your laptop in place and protected even if your bag falls over. Plus, the addition of side compression straps stabilises the bag and prevents the gear from moving around. Finally, to keep your laptop as safe as possible there’s mesh side pockets to store your water. This prevents any leakages from coming into contact with your valuables, and makes it easy to rehydrate when you’re on the go,

Considering the Floid is narrow, it manages to contain lots of additional storage. On the front you have a horizontal short pocket which stores small items. There is a large panel pocket at the front which has zipped access from either side, making it quick and easy to get to the items. There is even a hidden pocket on the outside of the back panel. This one’s extra secure as it lays against your back, making it the perfect place for bankcards and ID.

For a comfortable fit, the Floid has an adjustable chest straps which takes the pressure off of your shoulders. The padded back panel, meanwhile, protects you from any hard or sharp content from jabbing at you from inside the bag. The straps have been ergonomically shaped to create an S curve that sits more comfortable across the chest.

Pros: 

  • Lots of storage, including a hidden pocket
  • Secure padded sleeve for a laptop
  • Slim and sleek fit

11) Douchebags – The Scholar Backpack

Price – £89.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Scholar backpack by Douchebag is a compact bag that is designed to carry all of your essentials to the campus. It also works as a skate backpack or a gym bag. We have chosen to feature The Scholar in our list because we love the simple no frills design, and its durable water-resistant fabric.

With a capacity of 15 litres, it’s a low volume pack that works really well as a study pack (it fits A4 sized books and paper work easily). The lower volume means that your gear isn’t rattling around in unused space and if you do want to carry some extra items, there are two hooks a and loop adjustment straps at the front (ideal for carrying a skateboard, yoga mat or waterproof jacket).

The main compartment has lots of room, but most importantly it contains a sleeve for a laptop. The sleeve keeps the laptop in place and prevents it from getting scratched. The sleeve is compatible with tablets or laptops up to 15”. Aside from the main compartment there are two extra pockets externally which are easy to access. One vertical pocket on the front and a short pocket on the top, these are great for small items like phones, keys and bank cards.

No one likes standing around in the rain and getting wet, but at least with the Scholar you know that you have extra protection for your valuables. The TPE + Polyester fabric is highly water resistant and encourages water to bead off. This coating also makes the bag easy to wipe down if it gets dirty. With a high denier its face fabric is highly durable and abrasion resistant.

The construction of the pack has been carefully thought-out to give you maximum comfort. Douchebag have used an EVA back panel; this panel is tough to prevent you feeling any of the bags content. Although its tough, it feels comfortable against your back. The flexible and adjustable shoulder straps have been ergonomically shaped to make a curve, this sits more comfortably over your shoulders and across your chest.

Pros: 

  • Sleek and clean design
  • Multi-functional day backpack
  • Tough and water-resistant fabric
  • Skateboard carry

12) Carhartt – Kickflip Backpack

Price – £55.99

Gender – Unisex

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This is a pack that will take you from studying indoors to the skate park.  With a 24.8 litres capacity, it’s a great size for carrying all your essentials and more for a day of working and relaxing. We have chosen the Carhartt Kickflip backpack to feature on this list as it’s extremely versatile, works for all day to day uses and comes in plenty of different colours.

The fabric on this pack is robust and abrasion resistant, making it ideal for using as a crossover bag between studying and skating. One of the most obvious features is the double buckle strap which holds a skateboard in place. These straps however can be used to hold additional items if you’re going on a walk. Plus, the Kickflip has bungee webbing on the front which is great for stashing an extra layer of wet gear that you don’t want to place inside the pack.

The face fabric has a water repellent coating to encourage beading, this keeps the pack lightweight and adds protection for your items. The mesh pocket on the side makes it easy to grab your drink, and stops leaks from coming into contact with your work and valuables.

The Kickflip backpack has a padded back panel which prevents you feeling any hard or sharp contents inside. The back panel is flexible due to the deep grooves, for increased comfort, that work with the natural movement of your back. The shoulder straps also have flexible padding for increasedcomfort. The adjustable webbing chest strap also gives you extra support and takes the pressure off of your shoulders.

Pros: 

  • Skate carry
  • Bungee cord webbing to stash items
  • Medium sized bag
  • Lightweight fabric

13) Herschel Supply Co – Dawson Laptop Backpack

Price – £55.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Dawson laptop backpack is a great bag to carry your study essentials whilst still looking stylish on campus. We have chosen the Dawson backpack to feature on our top 15 list as it has a retro outdoor look that we dig.

The leather straps on the front give this bag an authentic outdoor backpack look. However, we all know that buckles can be very fiddly especially in the winter when you have gloves on so that’s why it’s good they actually fasten down with a quick and easy-to-use metal popper. This feature will save you time and hassle, leaving you to focus on the important stuff.

The main compartment is easily accessed by flipping up the top lid and pulling on the drawcord. This design means that the top of the bag opens up fully to create a large drop. For when you’re carrying a laptop / tablet to and from the library or lectures, there is a separate laptop compartment in the back which is suitable for a 13” laptop. The striped fabric sleeve prevents your laptop from being scratched.

With a 20.5 litre capacity and a drop main compartment, there is lots of room in this bag. If you have small items that you want to keep separate, there are two external pockets on the front. As we’ve mentioned a few times in this guide already, these external pockets are always handy for items such as your phone and keys as it means you don’t have to go rummaging through the bottom of the bag to find stuff. If you want your small valuable items to be more hidden though, there is also a short-zipped pocket inside the bag that’s more secure.

If you are looking for comfort from your backpack, then the Dawson has plenty. Thanks to the heavy padding on the shoulder straps and back panel, the Dawson feels super comfortable even when loaded to full capacity.

Pros:

  • Lots of extra storage
  • Separate laptop compartment
  • Retro outdoor inspired design
  • Hidden zipped pocket

14) Oakley – Street Organising Backpack

Price – £54.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Oakley Street Organising backpack works great as a study backpack and also works as a commuting backpack.  The Street made it into our top 15 as it’s so multi-functional that it has a long lifespan and doesn’t get old.

The two-way main zip goes low on the pack allowing you a better view and easier access to the items inside. If you’re carrying a laptop on your commute to the library or to work, this bag stores your laptop with lots of protection thanks to a thick padded sleeve. The padded sleeve has double slots, a large one for a laptop and a shorter one for a phone / tablet. The main compartment has a large capacity of 22 litres which easily fits in all your tech, paper work, and lunch.

To help you organise your items there are plenty of storage options on the outside. You have two large zipped side pockets, a large zipped pocket on the front, which is easy to stash items into, plus a hidden vertical zipped pocket on the front which tucks under a fabric flap. This design means that all of your items will have a specific place, making them that much easier to find.

Although all this extra storage is great, if you fill them all up you may end up with a heavy backpack. Fortunately, the Street is equipped with padded shoulder straps and back panel to increase your comfort whilst an adjustable webbing chest strap helps to reduce the pressure on your shoulders and make the load feel lighter.

The Street backpack comes in camo print and plain black.

Pros: 

  • Thick padding to protect your laptop
  • Lots of external storage
  • Chest strap
  • Highly durable face fabric

15) Sandqvist – Ivan Backpack

Price – £107.99

Gender – Unisex

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The Ivan is the priciest backpack on our list, but we believe that it’s worth it due to its good quality fabric and eco-friendly nature.

The Ivan backpack from the outside looks very simple and plain, which it is. This has its benefits though. The flat face on the bag, for example, encourages water to bead off rather than build-up.

The main compartment is accessed by unclipping the main buckle and lifting the protective lid (pull on the drawcord to open up the top). The main compartment is a drop style which contains a laptop / tablet sleeve suited to a 13” laptop. Your laptop will be easy to reach thanks to a side zipper.

The face fabric on this bag is what sets it apart from the others. It uses super tough Cordura which is a ripstop fabric. This material is highly abrasion resistant meaning you can use it for outdoor activities and withstand a battering. The material has been made with 43% recycled ripstop on the face fabric, while the lining inside is 100% recycled polyester.

Pros:

  • Eco friendly materials
  • Simple clean design
  • Laptop compartment with a side zip access
  • Highly durable

With the start of school just around the corner it’s never too late to start looking for your next backpack. This list here has only covered our 15 favourite back to school packs but there are so, so, many more to choose from. Take a look at Surfdome’s full selection over on the Surfdome website now. You can use the filters on there to narrow down your search, and help you find your perfect backpack.

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