Skip to main content

Best backpacks for college 2022 — Nike, The North Face and more

Best backpacks for college
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best backpacks for college are light enough to carry all day, yet big enough to stash everything from your laptop to gym clothes. As students across the country enjoy their summer vacation, retailers are launching early back to school sales with discounts on all types of backpacks for college. Plus, with Prime Day around the corner, we're bound to see even more deals. 

Unlike children's backpacks, the best backpacks for college are made of sturdy material for durability. They should also have laptop sleeves to keep your notebook or tablet protected. Some of the best backpacks may even include multiple compartments designed specifically for certain devices. 

Best backpacks for college 

Under $50

Trail Maker Backpack: was $19 now $9 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Need a backpack for college, but don't want to invest too much? The Trail Maker Backpack is just what you're looking for. Priced at $10, it's inexpensive yet features everything you could want in a budget backpack like a roomy main compartment, double zippers, and an outer front pocket. 

Nike Youth Gymsack: was $23 now $20 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Small and light, the Nike Gymsack is ideal for those times you need to carry clothes or wide objects. There are no special compartments or zippers. Instead, the backpack features a drawcord for easy access to your items. 

Targus Octave Backpack: was $34 now $29 @ Best Buy (opens in new tab)
This Targus Octave backpack for 15.6" laptops is sturdy and offers everything you need. Features include padded shoulder straps, two mesh water bottle holders, and a front stash pocket. 

Women's Jester Backpack: was $68 now $40 @ Moosejaw (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)
This streamlined North Face Jester Women's backpack features a 28 liter capacity, a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, a front organization pocket, and mesh water bottle holders. 

$50 to $100

Adidas Utility Team Backpack: was $65 now $59 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
From game day to the classroom, the adidas Utility Team Backpack is perfect for students who practice sports. The large backpack provides tons of space for books, clothes, and more.

Amazon Basics Backpack: $61 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Amazon Basics Backpack is made of durable polyester and features an internal, zippered laptop sleeve. It also had padded shoulder straps, waist belt, and easy to access front/top pockets. It's one of the best backpacks for college you'll find at this price point. 

The North Face Jester Backpack: now $68 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The North Face Jester backpack is the ideal campus backpack. It has a 30 liter capacity, a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, and a front organization pocket with mesh water bottle holders. 

Pro Slim Laptop Backpack: was $99 now $69 @ eBags (opens in new tab)
For a limited time, eBags is taking a whopping 50% off the Pro Slim Laptop Backpack. The backpack offers excellent organization with a diagonal stash pocket inside the middle compartment, a padded laptop sleeve that fits up to a 17-inch laptop, and a front organizational panel with internal pockets. 

The North Face Pivoter Backpack: $78 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)
The 27-liter North Face Pivoter Backpack features a roomy main compartment with a padded laptop sleep. The front compartment has a padded tablet sleeve along with additional organizational pockets. It's available in various colors at Amazon.

The North Face Borealis Backpack: $98 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
(opens in new tab)
The classic 28-liter North Face Borealis backpack features an updated suspension system. There's also a padded main compartment, a tablet sleeve, and a dedicated 17-inch laptop sleeve to protect your gear. It's now 40% off. 

Lululemon Crew Backpack 22L: $98 @ Lululemon (opens in new tab)
Available in four colors, the Lululemon Crew Backpack 22L is as stylish as backpacks get. It's made with water-repellent fabric and has compartments for your laptop, workout gear, water bottle, and more. It's not cheap at $98, but it's one of the best backpacks for college we've seen. 

As deals editor at Tom’s Guide, Louis is constantly looking for ways to avoid paying full price for the latest gadgets. With over 10 years of deals-hunting experience, Louis price checks against multiple retailers and searches high and low for the best deals to bring readers. A born-and-bred New Yorker, Louis is also an avid swimmer and marathoner. His work has appeared on Gizmodo, CNET, and Time Out New York.