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Best backpacks for school in 2022

A school backpack in a field
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Finding the best backpacks for school is a serious mission for many parents and students, so get ahead of the game and make your pick now to avoid last-minute stress. Right now is the ideal time to buy as back to school sales are starting across retailers.

A good backpack can safeguard your laptop, textbooks, smartphone, and just about anything you place inside it. It should also be rugged enough to withstand extreme weather and everyday wear and tear that is bound to happen between classes.

The best school backpacks can also have a life outside of the classroom, and be used on day trips, outdoor excursions or even for travel. So whether you're heading back to school in the next few weeks, or just need an all-purpose backpack, here are our picks for the best packs for school.

Back to school and school backpacks 

It might seem too early to be worrying about school backpacks but summer isn't over yet, and the school bell will be ringing before you know it. It's best to get the essential gear and supplies sorted sooner rather than later. So be sure to check out our ultimate back to school guide for everything you could need. 

Best backpacks for school 

Best backpacks for school — under $30

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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. 

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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. 

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Marvel Avengers Backpack: was $24 now $22 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Rep Earth's Mightiest Heroes with this Marvel Avengers backpack. Any comic book loving kid will wear this one with pride, and it comes with a detachable lunch box and a padded shoulder strap for comfortable carrying.  

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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. 

Best backpacks for school — $30 to $60

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Nike Brasilia Backpack: was $45 now $33 @ Nike (opens in new tab)
This medium-sized backpack is perfect for schools with a sizeable main compartment and a suitable understated design. It's also got a front pocket and two mesh pouches on either side for storing water bottles or other essentials that need to be easy accessible. 

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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. 

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adidas Utility Team Backpack: was $57 now $50 @ 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.

Best backpacks for school — $60+

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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. 

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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. 

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Travelon Signature Slim Backpack: $75 @ Kohl's (opens in new tab)
If you're after a backpack that is a heavy on the style, then this Travelon Signature Slim Backpack could be the perfect pick. It doesn't favour looks over function either with two interior zippered wall pockets, a main compartment that can easily fit a tablet or slim laptop and a slash pocket that offers quick access. 

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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.

Rory Mellon
Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.