Students headed back to school not only want a bag that can handle their laptops, textbooks, accessories, and other everyday carry items, but also something that is going to make a statement about their fashion sense. Whether you're looking to spend big or small, we've rounded up the best bags for heading back to another semester in style.
Amazon's own Campus laptop backpack can handle most laptops up to 15 inches in its padded pocket, and there's plenty of room for books and gear. In total, there's 33 liters of volume spread out over multiple zippered pockets, and there's even an insulated holder for lunch. You get a one-year warranty for this polyester bag that's made to resist extreme weather and daily use.
Expandable hand-stitched bag
The WaterField Tech Rolltop backpack comes at a premium price, but it's hand-stitched in San Francisco for a premium quality that won't let you down. It has two water bottle holders on the outside, and the rolltop design means it can expand to accommodate textbooks or shrink down to carry a 13- or 15-inch laptop. Choose from ballistic nylon or waxed canvas to suit your style.
Herschel's Little America can fit in just about any place or any era, especially because it's available in 37 different styles. A padded sleeve holds most 15-inch laptops, and the main pocket has lots of room for extra books and accessories. It all closes up with a drawstring pull and further secured with a large flap that's held down with magnetic clasps. A limited lifetime warranty sweetens the deal.
For the techies out there
This backpack fits up to a 17-inch laptop and also has a separate zippered pouch for a tablet, plus there's a solid compartment on the bottom to keep a battery pack or headphones safe. Another pocket on the front is absolutely loaded with pockets and sleeves for your accessories, and you can rest assured there's room for your textbooks. If you carry a lot of tech on a daily basis, this is a prime backpack.
Versatile and roomy
If you want a ton of space, the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is a king among bags. It's technically aimed at photographers, but thanks to removable separators it can be set up to hold your books and accessories with ease. It's made to a premium standard, it has a padded pocket for up to a 15-inch laptop, and it resists extreme weather if you happen to get caught out in the rain.
The Booq Boa Squeeze looks a lot smaller than it really is thanks to contoured sides, but it will hold up to a 15-inch laptop as well as some accessories and books. It's made of ballistic nylon for durability and some weather resistance, and it's covered inside and out with zippered pockets and sleeves for easy organization. If you like to travel light, this is a great pick.
For travel and school
If you're looking for something that's ideal for school days and some traveling, check out the Timbuk2 Command messenger. You can get it in three different sizes (up to a 17-inch laptop pocket) and a bunch of different styles, and it's built to a quality standard that will last even in the face of daily use. Organize your gear with plenty of pockets, including an external water bottle holder.
This beautiful backpack comes in 10 different colors and is built to withstand daily use and abuse. You get 28 liters of total storage spread out across two main zippered pockets, a padded sleeve for up to a 15-inch laptop, and side pockets for a phone or water bottle. If you like to keep things simple on the outside, this should be an ideal bag.
These high-quality bags are made in Seattle from ballistic nylon and come with a lifetime guarantee, perfect for anyone who's hard on their gear. It's essentially a soft-side briefcase you can sling over your shoulder, complete with optional laptop holder for devices up to 13-inches in size. You might not get as much storage space as other options, but it's a great option if you like to travel light between lectures.
If we're making some suggestions
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All of these bags collected here will help you get your gear to and from school, and they'll all look great slung over a shoulder. If we're making some suggestions, however, we can't help but recommend checking out the affordable and durable AmazonBasics Campus backpack (opens in new tab). It was basically designed from the start for school use, with 33 liters of storage spread out over multiple zippered pockets. Most 15-inch laptops can slide into the padded sleeve, and there's plenty of room for books, accessories, and even a water bottle. The best part? It's far cheaper than any of the other options.
If you have some extra room in your budget, we also love the WaterField Tech Rolltop backpack. It's in ideal purchase (including a lifetime warranty) if you want something that's going to last through college and beyond, and it has the expandable space to hold a ton of gear and books or to be an easy carry when traveling light. Choose from ballistic nylon and waxed canvas material, and choose a size; the large options expands up to 24 liters, and holds up to a 15-inch laptop. Whether you're headed to a lecture, headed to a coffee shop, or headed out on a hike, this bag is going to be a favorite.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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