The 30 Best Backpacks for College Students in 2023

These backpacks are functional, stylish, and all under $100.

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This post will show you the best college backpacks and bags for 2023.

The best college backpacks for 2023

New backpack, new me. There’s nothing like a fresh new backpack to start off the school year, and with the back-to-school season here, now is the best time to upgrade your school bag!

Our backpacks go through a lot of wear and tear as we trek across campus semester after semester, so I’m willing to bet your backpack from last year is in need of a refresh.

And while it’s crucial to find a bag that’s going to hold all of your books, notebooks, laptop, and other daily necessities comfortably, your bag should also complement your style. You don’t want to get dressed in a cute outfit for class, only to have your backpack kill the vibe, ya know?

Finding the school bag best suited for your style and lifestyle can be a challenge, but I’ve scoured the web to find over 30 college bag options under $100 that are all equally as fashionable as they are functional.

Before we get to the bags though, let’s talk about the features which make a backpack ideal for college.

{RELATED POST: The Ultimate College Packing List with EVERYTHING You Need}

Tips for Picking the Perfect Backpack for College:

When it comes to picking a backpack for college, these are the features you should look for:

  • Durable fabric. The college lifestyle – which can involve walking across campus in varying weather conditions, going from class to class, long study sessions, etc.– can put wear and tear on your backpack. If you want your backpack to last you beyond a semester, be sure to choose a bag with durable exterior material.
  • Laptop or tablet protection. A backpack with a special laptop sleeve is going to help keep your tech better protected, which is an absolute must.
  • Water-resistant exterior. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll encounter some inclement weather when walking across campus as a college student (or accidental spills), so a material that will keep your papers, books, and electronics from getting wet is sure to come in clutch.
  • Convenient design. Backpacks with thoughtful compartments and pockets will help keep your belongings organized and you’ll be less likely to misplace things when everything has a dedicated spot.

Now that we’ve covered the key features that make a backpack ideal for college life, read on for the 30 best backpacks for college in 2023 that will make you excited to go to class! Plus, they are all under $100 each.

Best Backpacks for College:

Re-Kånken Water Resistant Backpack

You probably already know (and love) the Fjallraven Kanken backpack, but this semester, try giving it an upgrade with this eco-friendly and water-resistant version, which comes in nine bright colors.

This is one of the best college backpacks for inclement weather. You’ll be able to walk across campus in the rain without worrying that your notebooks or laptop are getting wet thanks to this backpack’s water-resistant material.

The innovative material is also made with polyester recycled from plastic bottles, so you can feel good about carrying this pack on your back.

JanSport Main Campus Backpack

You know a backpack is perfect for college when it’s named the “Main Campus” backpack! JanSport is a go-to backpack brand and their Main Campus model has all the features you’d want for a sturdy school bag.

With an extra-large capacity, water bottle pocket, and dedicated zipper laptop compartment, you’ll have no problem fitting all of your things. This pack also keeps comfort in mind with ergonomic S-Curve padded shoulder straps for a better fit.

Adidas Originals Puffer Backpack

Behold: a backpack that’s actually going to go with all of your outfits.

This light beige Adidas backpack is the perfect balance of sporty and sleek, and its neutral hue makes it ultra-versatile. Plus, its puffy design adds originality for a cute touch that’s anything but basic.

North Face Jester Backpack

Long days on campus are no match for this classic North Face backpack which comes in over 10 different colorways. It’s designed specifically for women using a special suspension system and is even certified by the American Chiropractic Association, with a flexible, breathable back panel and a balanced carry (so the pack won’t swing side to side as you walk).

This backpack features a padded laptop sleeve, two external water bottle pockets, and 360-degree reflectivity, which is especially important if you will be commuting or walking campus at night.

Lululemon Crew Backpack

The Lululemon belt bag you use on your Hot Girl Walks isn’t going to cut it when you’re going to class, so try Lululemon’s Crew backpack instead. It’s designed for on the move, with water-repellent fabric, a padded laptop pocket, and zippered compartments to keep your things organized.

While this gray subtle camo print is my personal fave, it’s also available in copper, beige, and classic black.

Corduroy Backpack

Try a backpack with textured fabric like corduroy for a cool, slightly retro vibe. This O’Neill cord backpack comes in two colors, both of which feature a contrast bottom and straps, plus a laptop compartment and rope details on the zippers for a nautical touch.

Marc Jacobs Quilted Backpack

Score this trendy Marc Jacobs backpack, which is available in three different colors, for 50% off!

The chic quilted design adds a fashionable look to this backpack, and the deep front zippered pocket is perfect for stashing your phone, pens, and pencils.

In addition to black, this backpack also comes in a dusty rose pink color.

Velour Laptop Backpack

Carry your laptop in style with this velour backpack with a padded pocket inside to hold (and protect) a 15″ laptop.

The backpack is made from velour-covered neoprene and features rose gold zipper pockets, making this bag stylish and unique. It also comes in pink velour if you prefer a bit of color.

Frayed Seam Tote Bag

Not a backpack fan? No worries! Opt for an oversized tote bag instead to carry your school essentials around.

This large cotton tote bag has frayed seams for a distressed effect and a convenient front pocket that’s perfect for easy access to your phone or keys.

It comes in five colors: green, pink, blue, orange, and black (shown above).

Convertible Backpack

With this convertible backpack, you’re practically getting two bags in one. It can be worn as a regular backpack, or folded into a crossbody bag!

Its rosy hue softens its rugged, utilitarian design for the ideal mix of aesthetics.

Soft Square Backpack

The soft, shiny exterior and gold metal zipper detailing on this functional square backpack gives it a luxe look.

This backpack has not one, but two side pockets, along with a laptop compartment, front zip pocket, and cell phone pocket (tbh the more pockets, the better!).

Whether you opt for olive green, purple, or black, this budget-friendly backpack is an amazing choice.

Quilted Backpack with USB Port

Quilted USB Backpack
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This sleek, quilted backpack comes in over 20 different colors and features an external USB port that you can use to charge your phone –– talk about functional!

There are so many features that make this backpack a winner. With four different size options (based on your laptop size), a separate, padded laptop compartment, water-resistant fabric, and an anti-theft back pocket, this bag has a solution for everything. You can also use it when traveling, since it has a handy luggage strap that you can slip over your suitcase’s handle.

Monogram Canvas Tote Bag

Did you know that you can get personalized pieces from Zara?

This spacious canvas tote bag from Zara looks high-end, but is surprisingly affordable, even when you opt to have it monogrammed!

It features a chic, classic design with faux leather shoulder straps and a separate interior zippered bag to stash your smaller items securely.

For an additional $2, you can have your initials stitched on in the font color of your choice to make this bag totally your own.

Waterproof Backpack

After having gotten caught in the rain more times than I would have liked, I’ve become a big fan of waterproof backpacks.

In addition to being waterproof, this stylish backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester with “I used to be a plastic bottle” embroidered on the front for a cute touch.

I love the gold hardware, internal tablet sleeve, and the fact that it is machine washable so you can keep it looking fresh all year round.

Pastel Backpack

Here’s another waterproof backpack option in sweet pastel shades, made with ultra-durable Korea Heavy Twill Crinkle Finish water repellent fabric.

It has real leather trimming with top carry handles and tons of interior compartments to help keep you super organized.

Neoprene Backpack

Why not try a neoprene backpack for a lightweight option?

This neoprene backpack has a stretchy, lightweight feel that will comfortably hold all of your necessities including your laptop with its padded laptop sleeve.

I love its chic terracotta hue; it also comes in hunter green, dusty lilac, black, and midnight blue.

Canvas Tote Bag

The academia aesthetic of this canvas tote bag is ideal for school, with its sturdy canvas material and Italian leather straps.

You can carry this tote two ways: over your shoulder with the two top handles, or as a crossbody bag with the detachable long strap. You can even customize the bag with a different bag strap (sold separately) for a unique look.

There’s also a handy exterior pocket that provides easy access to items like your phone, and an interior zip pocket to keep items like your wallet secure.

Adidas Trefoil 2.0 Backpack

This sustainably-sourced Adidas Originals backpack features the signature Adidas trefoil logo over a light blue ombre print for a subtly stylish look. There’s an earbud and charger pocket, along with an inner laptop sleeve and two side water bottle pockets.

Best of all, the interior lining is wipeable, so that you can easily spot-clean any stains you encounter with soap and water for it to look new again.

Retro Floral Print Backpack

How cute is the retro floral print design of this Roxy backpack? It’s totally going to make a statement with its bright, cheery pattern.

And while it looks sweet, it’s got a reinforced rubber bottom that’s going to protect it from scratches and three functional zip-up compartments.

Vegan Leather Tote Bag

A cognac-colored vegan leather tote bag will look ultra sleek while still being functional thanks to its large size.

It comes with a bonus interior zippered mini bag and long shoulder straps, plus a detachable strap that allows you to wear this bag across your body. Gold hardware add to the luxe vibe of this chic tote.

Pura Vida Patchwork Backpack

This is one of the best college backpacks if you love color and prints, or if you rock the coconut girl aesthetic. The bright, abstract tie-dye print on this backpack will make you feel like it’s summer all year long.

The Pura Vida logo patch adds a beachy feel, and the side water bottle holder will encourage you to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Commuter Backpack

This classy, streamlined backpack is super functional, whether you are a student or heading to a job.

Aptly named the “Commuter Backpack,” you can commute easily with this college backpack thanks to features like its durable, water-repellent material, tote bag straps, and trolley sleeve, which can be placed over a suitcase handle if you’re traveling.

This backpack also boasts a padded laptop pocket, elastic side pocket, and a front pocket with heavy-duty zippers.

Leopard Print Backpack

Spice up your school bag by opting for a bold leopard print.

This leopard print backpack is going to make a statement and add a stylish pop of print to your outfits. And if leopard isn’t your thing, it also comes in several other cute prints.

Beyond the backpack’s stylish exterior, it is ultra-functional with a ton of pockets, a padded laptop sleeve, and is made with durable recycled polyester.

Adidas Rifta Backpack

Ngl, Adidas is killing it with their backpack selection this year. I’m obsessed with the sleek, low-profile design of the Adidas Rifta backpack, which almost looks like faux leather and is the perfect neutral beige tone (it comes in black, as well).

This backpack’s streamlined design makes it super versatile, striking the ultimate balance between “practical and premium.” It’s also made in part from recycled content generated from production waste, as another bonus.

Vans Basecamp Backpack

Go for a utilitarian vibe with the Vans Basecamp backpack with a cinch closure (plus buckles) for quick, easy access to your belongings.

Like the others on this list, this backpack has an internal laptop sleeve to keep yours secure, plus a water bottle pocket so that you can keep hydrated throughout the day.

Quilted Backpack

You simply can’t go wrong with a plain black backpack, especially when it features a chic, quilted design. While colorful and printed packs make a statement, a black backpack is going to show less wear and tear and is versatile enough to go with just about any outfit you wear.

(If you do prefer a cute print, this backpack also comes in camo, marble, and star prints, as well).

The quilted design gives this backpack a timeless look, and in addition to its many zippered pockets, it has an interior pocket with a magnetic snap closure.

Under Armour Hustle 4.0 Backpack

Take on the school year with Under Armour’s Hustle 4.0 backpack, which has an athletic-inspired design, is water-repellent, and has a “tough as nails” abrasion-resistant bottom panel.

This backpack for college also features extra-comfy shoulder straps, a soft-lined laptop sleeve, and a large, gusseted front compartment that you can store shoes or laundry in at the bottom of the bag, which is awesome if you’re headed to sports practice or the gym after class.

City Mid Volume Backpack

A vintage-inspired knapsack will make you feel put-together when attending class or hitting the library.

The magnetic strap flap closure is a cute alternative to a zipper, and the light pink color is neutral enough to match a wide range of outfits.

Luka Laptop Backpack

While this backpack for college may appear simple at first, you’ll discover that it’s not as basic as it looks.

Loaded with exterior and interior pockets, this backpack will help you stay super organized. With compartments for shoes and laptops up to 17″, you can use this backpack beyond the classroom – it’s perfect for travel since it has a luggage sleeve, too.

The cool matte colorways this backpack comes in are also scratch-resistant, making this a durable design.

Canvas Floral Print Backpack

A canvas backpack is going to be a lightweight option, but that doesn’t mean it’s not durable. This backpack is made from a sturdy cotton canvas material with an adorable floral print (there’s a denim option, as well).

With one main compartment, a padded laptop sleeve, and a zipper front pocket, it offers an uncomplicated design that is still functional.

Adidas National Backpack

Adidas National Backpack

For a sporty vibe, try this Adidas logo backpack with two side mesh pockets, padded laptop sleeve, and multiple electronics compartments.

With the classic three-stripe design on the front, this backpack has an athletic appeal, while its mint green coloring keeps it looking fresh.

What do you think of my best college backpacks & bags roundup?

Would you wear these styles? Which bag is your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know!

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