Need a backpack for high school? There are a lot of options out there, but not all of them are exactly great. Or even good – there are way too many cheap packs that will come apart at the seams in just a month, and nobody wants that.
If you want a high school backpack that can endure daily use with half a dozen books inside, you will find one in this detailed review. We found the ten best backpacks for high school – from those that are simple and classic to some really versatile bookbags that you could also use for travel.
At A Glance: Best Backpacks For High School
So, keep reading to see which of these secondary school backpacks is the perfect option for you from amongst the best school backpack brands out there.
Best Backpack Overall
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Best Big Backpack For School
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Most Popular Backpack For High School
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Best Affordable Option
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Most Stylish Option
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Coolest School Backpack
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Best backpack for high school boys
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The Borealis backpack is easily one of the best packs for high school you could get. It is made from sturdy and durable materials, it features thick padding and breathable mesh on the backpanel and there are plenty of different compartments and pockets for all your must-have items.
The main material of the backpack is cordura nylon. It has excellent water resistance without any extra coating, as well as great tear resistance. There’s no doubt that this backpack will be able to handle pounds upon pounds of heavy books, without coming loose at the stitches.
And it will be comfortable to wear, thanks to the heavy padding, adjustable padded shoulder straps, and breathable mesh all over the back. The mesh ensures that your back is able to breathe, which prevents sweating and ensures comfort in really hot weather.
In addition to that, this pack also features a sternum strap, which will make it just a bit more comfortable when at full capacity. There’s also a removable hip belt, which helps transfer the load of the pack onto your hips – a useful feature to have when the bag gets really heavy.
Thanks to the three spacious compartments, there’s more than enough space for your school necessities. There are padded sleeves for your laptop, tablet, and smartphone, as well as an organizer panel for all those smaller must-have items. And this high school pack also has a bungee cord at the front panel, which is great for holding your jacket or hoodie.
Overall, the Borealis is our top choice here because of its premium materials, comfortable padding, excellent ventilation, and an abundance of organizational features. But in case it’s just a bit out of your price range, there are loads of other great options below! Or, you can check out the other crowd favorite from them, the North Face Jester, which is also a great option.
JanSport backpacks are really popular among high schoolers. So much so that even the most popular teen shows and films will have kids wearing these packs almost exclusively. And that makes perfect sense, considering just how great their packs are.
In fact, the Big Student Jansport backpack is one of the best bags you can get if you have to carry a lot of stuff to school every day. It has multiple compartments and pockets, so there’s more than enough space for all your stuff, and it will be pretty easy to stay organized.
There are four compartments total – a laptop compartment in the back, two main compartments, and one smaller front compartment. In addition to that, this pack also has four external pockets; two are zippered and located on the front panel, while the other two are classic stretchy side pockets.
You can fit a standard 15.6” laptop in the dedicated compartment, which should be fine for most of you. In case you’re carrying around a 17” device, I suggest you check out my post on best backpacks for 17” laptops, for lots more ideas.
The Big Student backpack has a total capacity of 34 liters, which is really great. It’s almost the same capacity you have in an average carry-on suitcase – that should give you a good idea of how much stuff you can actually fit inside the bag.
And it is going to be really comfortable with the wear, with the thick padding in the backpanel and ergonomic shoulder straps. However, this JanSport pack doesn’t have any features that help transfer its load onto your hips. Those would have been pretty useful, considering just how heavy it could get.
There aren’t many trendy school backpacks that are popular with teens worldwide. In fact, the only one that comes to mind is Fjallraven’s Kanken backpack. It is indeed one the most popular teenage backpacks on the market because it is so fashionable!
Most think of it as one of those backpacks for high school girls, but it can certainly work for some boys as well. And if you want a backpack that will get you through high school, college and travel abroad, then this is the backpack to get.
The Kanken is an iconic backpack, famous for its timeless design. This backpack still has the same exterior as it did when it was first released, way back in the late 70s. It hasn’t gone out of fashion, and it probably never will – the Kanken is so iconic that I imagine we’ll all be wearing it 20 years from now. What’s even better is that it is popular with everyone, from elementary school kids to grown-ass adults who take it to the office.
One of the reasons why this is an amazing backpack is its durability. It is constructed from sturdy Vinylon F, which is a synthetic fabric developed by Fjallraven. The great thing about Vinylon F is that, when the fibers get damp, they swell up, which effectively keeps the water from penetrating the fabric. Basically, that means that the fabric has excellent water resistance even without any particular coating, and that’s pretty cool.
This high school backpack has one spacious main compartment and a smaller front pocket. There is a removable foam sheet in the pack, which has two purposes; one is to protect your back from the contents of the main compartment, and the other is to be a seating pad in case you need one. Also, the sleeve that the foam sheet is stored in works perfectly as a laptop sleeve.
The shoulder straps are pretty standard – they are adjustable and very durable. You can also carry the backpack like a tote, thanks to the two grab handles. And that’s it – the Kanken doesn’t have 1001 different features. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and quality.
It’s tough to find a durable and affordable backpack – it is usually one or the other. And that is why I absolutely love High Sierra – they are a brand that is very popular among hikers and trekkers because they make awesome and affordable outdoor gear. So, when you are looking for strong backpacks for school, this should go on your list.
The same goes for their backpacks, and I was really happy to see that they have some really heavy-duty backpacks for high school as well! This one might be a bit of a men’s school backpack, but ultimately it is unisex.
The Loop backpack has a total of three compartments. There is one roomy main compartment for all the bulky stuff, a smaller front compartment that’s great for your tablet, and a compartment with an organizer panel that’s on the front panel.
In addition to that, the backpack also has two zippered pockets for those smaller items you want to keep separate. However, the backpack does not have a dedicated laptop compartment or sleeve.
One thing that’s great about this High Sierra high school backpack is that it is good for more than just school. It has several pairs of compression straps, as well as a carabiner attachment point, which makes it great for outdoor adventures as well. Whether you’re going hiking with your friends or on a field trip with the entire class – this is a great backpack for it all!
This high school backpack is available in a wide variety of different colors and prints, which is awesome. It’s going to be easy to find a unique option that will really show off your personal style, and it’s going to be highly unlikely that someone else will have the exact same backpack as you.
Another thing that’s great about this pack is that it has a really sturdy harness with ergonomic shoulder straps. These will keep you comfortable even when you’re wearing the pack for a few hours at a time, which is another reason why it’s a great versatile option.
Maybe you want something different – a unique backpack that looks different from those you see on everyone else. Something stylish and cool, which will make you stand out in high school crowds. Well, the Augur backpack is the perfect option for you then!
It has a design of a satchel rucksack, which looks really cool. But it’s not just about the design; this high school backpack actually has all of the features you could possibly need. It can fit 17” laptops, there’s thick padding in the back panel and shoulder straps, and it has an abundance of external pockets for all your smaller items.
One of those is a hidden back panel pocket, which is perfect for items you want to keep just a little bit more secure. In addition to that, this pack also has an external front pocket, as well as two zippered pockets on the sides.
But there is only one main compartment, so you won’t be able to keep all the bulkier items separate. It is a roomy compartment though, and there is plenty of space inside for your laptop, tablet, books, etc. There’s even a small zippered pocket inside, which is perfect for tiny items you want to have easily accessible.
In terms of carrying comfort, this stylish high school backpack for high school does not disappoint at all. It features really thick padding in both the back panel and the adjustable shoulder straps, which feel very comfortable against your body. However, there’s no proper ventilation on the backpack, so there might be some breathability issues during warmer weather.
Have you thought about getting a wheeled backpack? If you usually carry some really heavy items to school, a wheeled pack might just be the best option for you. You’d spend a lot less time with a heavy bag on your back, which means less shoulder and back pain. And if that sounds good to you, definitely think about getting the High Sierra Freewheel school backpack.
The Freewheel features a roomy main compartment, a smaller front compartment with an organizer, and an extra zippered pocket on the front panel. You can fit even 15.6” laptops inside the main compartment, so it’s a suitable backpack regardless of the size of your device. And there’s even an attachment clip on the front panel, for all those extra bulky items that can’t fit in the pack.
There’s also a water bottle pocket on the side, which is made from stretch mesh. And the telescopic handle has its own compartment, where you can store it when you’re not using it. The great thing about the handle is that it is height adjustable, so people of different heights can get it to fit them just right.
The back panel of the Chaser features thick padding and adjustable shoulder straps. Actually, the straps are covered with breathable mesh, so they will feel pretty comfortable when you have to wear it like a regular backpack.
The only downside here is that the rolling school pack doesn’t really have a cover for the wheels. So, if you actually wear it like a regular backpack, there’s not going to be any padding (or protection from dirt) between your back and the wheels.
Herschel is another brand of backpacks that is very popular with high school students. That’s mostly because of the stylish design – these cute backpacks for high school also look very cool, which is exactly why everyone loves them.
And they’re actually great packs as well. The Pop Quiz is one of their best backpacks for high school students because it is made from very durable materials, and has a pretty large capacity. It has one main compartment that is very roomy, and which features a padded laptop sleeve, as well as a smaller zippered pocket.
The laptop sleeve is lined with fleece, which protects your laptop from any scuffs and scratches. And it can fit 15” devices, which should be fine for the majority of people.
In addition to that, the Pop Quiz backpack features thick padding in the back panel and breathable mesh on the shoulder straps. It’s a comfortable backpack to wear, which is another reason why this is one of the best packs for school.
The main compartment also features a headphone port, which lets you listen to music without taking your phone out of the pack. On top of that, there’s also a fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses, as well as a small organizer with a key clip in the front pocket.
This high school backpack is available in a wide variety of different colors and prints, so there are more than enough options for everyone. You can easily get a backpack that no one else has, and that’s pretty cool – you’re wearing one of the most popular backpacks among students, but it’s unique in a way.
The Sosoon backpack is an excellent option if you want an affordable backpack for high school. It’s under $25, which is a really great price point for a backpack with so many features. It is made from water repellent polyester, so it will do a great job at protecting your gear in different weather conditions.
It has thick padding in the backpanel, ad well as massage mats on the shoulder straps, which make it extra comfortable to wear. Additionally, the entire backpanel and harness are covered with breathable mesh, for premium ventilation during hot days.
There are also some convenient features on the backside of the pack, such as a hook for sunglasses, a luggage strap, and two secure pockets.
This backpack has three large compartments, as well as several smaller zippered pockets. The main compartment of the pack is very roomy, with more than enough space for all your books and notebooks. The front compartment is the smallest of all three, as it is designed to hold all your accessories.
It has an organizer panel inside, which features multiple slip pockets, pen slots, a key clip, and a few zippered pockets as well.
The laptop compartment can fit all devices, including some really bulky 17” laptops. On top of that, it features anti-theft closure, with a hook that allows you to secure the zipper. This is a great feature for all of you who spend a lot of time on public transport, as it guarantees no one will be able to tamper with the contents of your pack.
Plus, the laptop compartment is TSA friendly, which makes the Sosoon backpack an excellent option for travel as well.
If you’re primarily looking for a cool and sporty backpack, then the adidas Prime is one of the best I have seen. It is simple but functional with loads of interior space and a protected pocket for a 16 inch laptop.
The main compartment of this pack is pretty roomy, especially considering the overall backpack size. And there is another roomy pocket in front of that for folders or books too. And then, it has two front smaller pockets, which are great for keeping the electronics and media stuff organized. So, when it comes to space for everyday school gear, it is perfect hands down.
Adidas have also made it waterproof which many reviewers have said works well in the rain. Keeping books, papers and expensive laptops safe even in a downpour.
And the best part, for someone like me who carries loads of gear, is the spring shoulder straps. They help take the load off while you are walking home with all your books, which is something I am sure every student will appreciate.
If you want a simple backpack for high school, the Puma Contender is a great option. It is made entirely from polyester, and it has good water resistance. But it is not fully waterproof, so it’s not going to keep your belongings totally safe if you get caught in a heavy downpour.
The Contender backpack has a very comfortable backpanel, which features thick padding and breathable mesh. The harness is the same, and the shoulder straps are adjustable for premium carrying comfort.
This is a great sporty backpack, especially for those of you that prefer to ride your bike to school. The pack features an LED light attachment point, which will help you stay visible when you’re riding around in the dark.
It has one main compartment that is roomy enough for a couple of books and notebooks. But it does not have a dedicated laptop compartment or a lot of internal pockets. It does have a thin laptop sleeve though, but I would advise you to put your device in your own sleeve first, just to make sure that there’s enough impact resistance.
There is an organizer panel with several slip pockets in the front compartment, so you will be able to keep the smaller items organized. In addition to that, this pack also features stretchy side pockets, as well as a zippered pocket on the top.
Overall, the Puma backpack is a very basic option, and it’s great for people who don’t actually need (or want) a backpack with 15 different compartments and pockets. If you want something simple, sturdy, and affordable, then this is one of the best high school packs for you.
|Name||Material||Dimensions (inches)||Capacity (Liters)||Price Range|
|North Face Borealis||210D Cordura Nylon||19.75 x 13.25 x 9.75||28||$$|
|JanSport Big Student||Polyester||17.5 x 13 x 10||34||$$|
|Fjallraven Kanken||Vinylon F||14.9 x 10.6 x 5.1||16||$$|
|High Sierra Loop||600D Ripstop Polyester||19 x 8.5 x 13.5||33||$$|
|Augur Canvas Vintage||Canvas||18.1 x 12.6 x 7.8||36||$$|
|High Sierra Freewheel||Polyester||13.5 x 8 x 20.5||34.5||$$|
|Herschel Pop Quiz Classic||Polyester||17.5 x 11.75 x 6||22||$$|
|Sosoon 17-Inch Laptop Backpack||1680D Double-Pile Polyester||12.4 x 7.5 x 19||32||$$|
|adidas Prime School Backpack||Polyester||12.5 x 11 x 20.25||40||$$|
|Puma Men's Contender||Polyester||18.3 x 12.9 x 2.2||19||$$|
So, are you looking for a big school backpack are a small/medium one?
Depending on the amount of stuff you have to carry to school every day, you should get a backpack that’s perfectly appropriate for your needs. If you usually just carry your laptop, a tablet, and maybe a notebook, then you’re okay with getting a backpack with a smaller capacity. They are lighter, more comfortable to wear, and usually a lot more affordable.
Just make sure that you’re getting a backpack that can fit your laptop! The majority of packs for high school featured here can easily fit 15.6” devices. Some will struggle to fit anything larger than 13”, while others are suitable even for the bulkiest 17” laptops. You can find this info in the review text, so just make sure to check if a particular backpack is compatible with your device.
But, if you’re one of those people who have to lug around about 15 lbs of books every day, then you need a really roomy bookbag for school, preferably with several spacious compartments.
And I have plenty of such options for you – big backpacks were my go-to when I was in school, so I have plenty of experience with choosing a really good one. And everything is important, from the quality of the fabric (you don’t want those seams coming apart!) to the number of external pockets.
Backpacks for school need to be exceptionally durable because they are pretty much tortured on a daily basis. Especially if you have to carry lots of books and notebooks – if you’re lucky enough that you need just a laptop and a couple of other things, you will be fine with pretty much any out-of-the-packs featured in this review.
But if you are always carrying heavy books, then you need something very durable. You should look for tough materials – nylon, reinforced polyester, and canvas are the best options that exist. These materials won’t get torn easily, and they won’t come apart at the seams after just a couple of uses.
This does happen with some really cheap backpacks, but I didn’t include any of those in this review. I’ve only featured excellent and durable backpacks that can handle being tortured on a daily basis. But, some materials are more durable than others, which is why it is crucial to pay attention to this stuff.
Most of the backpacks featured in this review are pretty affordable, but some are pricey. So, you should look for a backpack that’s within your price range.
Obviously, high schoolers can rarely afford to spend a lot of money on a backpack – I certainly couldn’t, especially without hitting the parent ATM. But I did beg and beg and beg until I finally got my folks to get me a really good backpack in my second year of high school. And you know what? It got me through the rest of high school and even college!
That’s why it’s worth it to spend a little more on a backpack for high school. You need something that is really high quality, and that will be able to handle the weight of heavy books and a laptop. Really cheap backpacks can be great short-term options, but you will probably have to replace them in a few months.
That’s because they are made from cheap fabrics, which can’t withstand the weight of heavy books, notebooks, and electronic devices that you end up carrying in your backpack every day.
On the other hand, if you don’t actually carry a lot of heavy items in your bag on a daily basis, you can get away with a more affordable backpack. Just don’t overuse it – don’t put too many heavy items in it, and don’t overpack it so much that you can’t get it too close. Otherwise, it will start coming apart at the seams faster than you can say backpack.
Having a hard time choosing just one of these awesome high school backpacks? That’s fine – go with one of our top three choices for the best experience!
If you want something classic and timeless, you can’t go wrong with the Fjallraven Kanken. This has been the go-to backpack for high school students for decades, and there’s no indication that anything is about to change.
It is made from very durable materials, it’s roomy enough for your laptop, books, and notebooks, and it is super stylish. This is a backpack that will get you through the rest of high school, college and which you’ll then start using for travel – that’s how sturdy it is.
For those of you that are always carrying a tonne of items in their bags, the Big Student backpack by Jansport is the best choice. It is a very spacious backpack, with multiple compartments, lots of pockets, and a total capacity of 34 liters. This big backpack features really thick padding on the back panel and harness, as well as ergonomic shoulder straps for ultimate carrying comfort.
The best backpack overall is definitely the Borealis by TNF. It is made from very durable materials, and it will easily survive several years of high school. Its back panel and harness feature thick padding and breathable mesh, so you will always be comfy when you’re wearing the backpack. The Borealis has a dedicated laptop compartment, as well as two other main compartments for easy organization of all your school necessities.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices and all the different color options of the packs featured in this review. And check out our related posts, for more ideas on great backpacks for high school!