The summer break is over, and it’s already time for students to prepare their back to school essentials, pick up some stationery, sports kits, a power bank - and very likely buy a backpack to carry all of it in.
If you’re into big brand names and you’re on the hunt for a new backpack, then Nike has a wide range. Best known for its shoes and swoosh logo, its backpacks nonetheless are very good, available in plenty of colors and finishes, from messenger bags to more traditional options, and even first responder bags with multiple pockets for bulkier tools.
Football fans can also often find special editions of Nike’s poplar styles with their favorite team’s branding printed on them, and anyone looking for a clean, low-key design with small, subtle logos, the sports brand caters for you too.
There are a few things you’ll want to consider before picking up a Nike backpack - do you need a big laptop compartment, a water bottle holder, and how many pockets will you want within?
For a back to school backpack, you probably won’t want something leather, especially if you need it to be able to fend off the elements without being treated. Additionally, how lightweight do you want it to be? Do you walk a lot? If so, you might benefit from padded shoulder straps, or maybe even an across the chest strap. Additionally, if you suffer from sweaty-back-syndrome, as most people do, a bit of breathing space and padding on the back of the backpack should help.
We’ve picked five of the best Nike backpacks across a range of prices, covering multiple styles to save you the trouble, though we’ve steered away from sports team branded options to keep things simple.
These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.
Our selections, ranked from cheapest to most expensive, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability and unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.
Nike All-Access Soleday
Key features: 100% polyester, fits 15-inch laptops, Obsidian and Black color options | Dimensions: 33 x 45.5 x 18cm | Volume: 25L | Weight: 581g
If you don’t want to spend too much money on your backpack and want to buy one with subtle branding, rather than a big swoosh plastered across it, the Nike All-Access Soleday Backpack could be for you. It keeps your kit and stationery organized, and includes pockets on the left and right sides for small items. These side pockets will even fit a reusable water bottle provided the main compartment isn’t too full.
Reviewed well by pros and purchasers on sites like Amazon, the Soleday backpack has a dual-zip main compartment and a front zip pocket too, so you can keep keys, smaller items to hand.
Available in black, and weighing 581g, it’s relatively neutral and lightweight, while still packing a 25 liter capacity and can take laptops up to 15-inches, though don’t expect the laptop sleeve to be padded, so a bit of care is recommended when filling this bag up when you have a laptop in tow.
Nike Brasilia (Extra Large)
Key features: 100% polyester, 17-inch laptop sleeve, Flint Grey, Black, White colors | Dimensions: 48.5 x 33 x 18cm (H x W x D) | Volume: 33L | Weight: 680g
The biggest bag in our round-up and the one to go for if you have a large, 17-inch laptop, the Nike Brasilia Training Backpack (Extra Large) is a larger version of the Nike Brasilia, perfect for media students or creatives.
The Brasilia (Extra Large) features a durable design and a large main compartment with enough room for big ring binders and sports kit. The mesh side pockets have space for small bottles, while the front features two zip compartments - ideal for stationery or SD cards.
With padded, resizable shoulder straps, it’s as comfortable and versatile as it needs to be. The backpack’s top haul loop also provides an alternative carrying option for extra convenience, and it’s available in three colors: Flint Grey, Black and White. As for branding, it has a simple, clean, tasteful swoosh on the top half of its front.
Key features: 100% polyester, 15-inch laptop sleeve, Cargo Khaki or White colors | Dimensions: 51 x 33 x 18cm (H x W x D) | Volume: 24L | Weight: 544g
The standard Nike Brasilia is a sleek, two-tone bag that can take a 15-inch laptop while still looking streamlined. Perfect for style-conscious students who don’t want to take everything but the kitchen sink back to school with them, it isn’t huge, but it does include thoughtful compartments to keep your kit organized.
These compartments range from a front side coated zip pocket for shoe storage, a super-soft zip pocket on the front for headphones and electronics, and a plush-lined pocket for your phone. The laptop sleeve is also padded, giving your laptop a bit of extra protection, as too are the backpack’s straps for comfort.
The Nike Brasilia is available in Cargo Khaki and White and features a medium-sized Nike logo on the front.
Nike Vapor Energy 2.0
Key features: 70% nylon, 30% polyester, 15-inch laptop sleeve, Black | Dimensions: 47 x 33 x 15cm (H x W x D) | Volume: 20-30L | Weight: 430g
The Nike Vapor Energy 2.0 is the backpack to go for if you want minimum branding, maximum storage, back padding and weather resistance. Its messenger bag style top can be rolled up or down, depending on how full it is. This means that it can be relatively compacted when empty, or unfurled and tall when full.
The Vapor Energy’s finish is coarser than that of the Brasilia range, adding a durable feel and a rusticness that gives it an edge. When it comes to styling, its black color option and clean lines come together to create a backpack that’s clearly on the premium end of the satchel spectrum.
Whether you’re packing gym kit, stationery or course reading, the Vapor will also keep everything organized with its multiple zip pockets, separate shoe compartment, and its multitude of interior spaces for pens, passports and more. With a padded laptop pocket too, as with most backpacks in this list, it’s able to stow a laptop with a screen size of 15 inches or less.
Nike Departure Golf Backpack
Key features: 100% polyester, fits 15-inch laptop, Black | Dimensions: 48.5 x 33 x 18cm (H x W x D) | Volume: 29L | Weight: 907g
Don’t be fooled by its name; the Nike Departure is anything but a golfers-only choice; this backpack is loaded up with myriad features that would make any student in need of smart storage swoon. It looks clean, with its simple aesthetic and a subtle swoosh on the right of the bottom front pocket, and boy does this thing have a lot of pockets.
The main compartment provides ample room for books and binders. It also takes a 15-inch laptop - protected by a cushioned layer no less, and there are designated spots for stationery, phones and a tablet too. While it might not be the choice for single large items like bulky shoes, it’s an excellent option for smaller bits that need to be kept safe and secure.
The Departure also features a secret pocket at the very top of the bag, serious cushioning on the back and straps for comfort, and a haul loop at the top so you can carry it in one hand. The backpack’s polyester twill material is also durable, and with a weatherproofed bottom portion, it can deal with a splash or wet locker room without wrecking any of your tech inside.