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Best school backpacks for 2019: great college backpacks to consider

best back to school backpacks

Getting the best backpack for school can lift some of the burden of a busy college or high school year. All of the semester’s books plus a laptop plus your everyday essentials, after all, is a heavy enough physical burden to bear. 

That's without accounting for the mental and emotional weight a heavy coursework and a reputation to upkeep can put on you.

Lucky for you, we happen to be experts in picking out the best of all sorts of tech products, as well as the best back to school backpacks to cart them around in. 

Taking into consideration things like durability, comfort, space and price, we scoured the market for the best back to school backpacks for you.

From designer names offering bargain deals to sensible, affordable picks all year round, these are the very best back to school backpacks we’ve found for 2019.

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.

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.

AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack

AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack

Gets the job done for cheap

Key Features: Fits 15-inch laptops; zippered Speed Pocket; organization panel | Dimensions: 14.3 x 7.8 x 19.8 inches (L x W x H) | Weight: 1.6 pounds

15-inch laptop sleeve
Super affordable
Quick-access speed pocket
Lacks premium look and feel

If you only have the budget for about 30 bucks (or around £18) to spend on a backpack that will get you through the year, then the AmazonBasics Laptop backpack is a terrific option for you. Most folks that just want a bag to hold their stuff, and this one does exactly that. Made and sold by Amazon through its Basics program, this all-black backpack has a laptop sleeve for machines up to 15 inches, and several types of pockets, for but a pittance compared to most.

JanSport Baughman Backpack

JanSport Baughman Backpack

The classic returns once more

Key Features: Fits 15-inch laptops; fleece lined media pocket; front flap with organizer; front zippered pocket with removable storage pouch | Dimensions: 17.5 x 12.6 x 5.7 inches (H x W x D) | Weight: 2.4 pounds

15-inch laptop sleeve
Removable storage pouch
Fine canvas look and feel
No weatherproofing

The tried and true JanSport is tough to go wrong with, especially the Baughman backpack. A full-canvas bag with nylon mesh inside including a 15-inch laptop sleeve, this pack also comes with a media pocket lined in fleece as well as a removable storage pouch. Of course, it also comes with those comfortable padded straps that the brand is famous for. Lastly, for the aesthetic inclined, it also comes in several different colors – from solid black to ones with patterns.

JanSport Big Student Backpack

JanSport Big Student Backpack

A classic made even bigger

Key Features: 2,100 cubic inch capacity; two main compartments; front pocket; upper zippered accessory pocket; lower front zippered stash pocket; web ergo handle with reinforced hold; ergonomic, S-curved shoulder straps | Dimensions: 17.5 x 13 x 10 inches (H x W x D) | Weight: 1.2 pounds

2,100 cubic inch capacity
Upper zippered accessory pocket
Ergonomic, S-curved shoulder straps
No weatherproofing

For those that like the look and feel of JanSport, but need even more storage for a particularly heavy semester, the brand’s Big Student Backpack is a shoo-in. With 2,100 cubic inches of carrying capacity, this backpack should hold everything you need and then some. Plus, ergonomic shoulder straps help prevent your load weighing too far down on you. As far as organizing all your stuff, this one’s got several sections, including 3 front pockets, one side pocket and the two main compartments.

Burton Tinder Pack

Burton Tinder Pack

Old-school look, modern niceties

Key Features: 25L main compartment with rucksack-style drawstring closure; pocket on top; padded 16.5 x 10 x 1.5-inch laptop compartment; ergonomic shoulder harness; backed by lifetime warranty | Dimensions: 6 x 38 x 58 inches (W x D x H) | Weight: 1.4 pounds

Fun, classic style
15-inch laptop sleeve
Lots of pockets
Can get pricier

Burton is one of those brands that has come in vogue in recent years, and for good reason. Its backpacks come in countless colors and fabric styles, even nylon so that water runs off it a bit easier. The Tinder-style pack has a 15-inch laptop sleeve, as well as ergonomic shoulder straps and a lifetime warranty should a piece go bad.

Herschel Little America Mid-Volume Backpack

Herschel Little America Mid-Volume Backpack

An ultimate premium school bag

Key Features: Fleece-lined, 13-inch laptop sleeve; magnetic strap closures with metal clips; front pocket with hidden zipper and key clip; media pocket with headphone port | Dimensions: 16 x 10.75 x 5 inches (H x W x D) | Weight: 1.9 pounds

13-inch laptop sleeve
Magnetic closures
Fantastic style
A bit small

Meet the ultimate backpack for your next school semester, marrying the worlds of form and function like few others can. The Little America comes in several colors and patterns, all mirroring that look and feel of a hiker’s pack. That feeling comes through even with the 13-inch laptop sleeve, magnetic closures and media pocket with headphone port.