Law school is no easy ride. There’s heaps of reading to do, you’ll spend endless nights studying, and the library will probably become your second home. There is one thing you can do to make your life a little easier though – get yourself organized.
With all the reading you’ll have to do, you’re bound to be carrying around a hefty amount of books most of the time. Plus, you’ll need a laptop for all those online submissions. And you’ll probably end up drinking an excessive amount of caffeine, so if you don’t want to spend a fortune at coffee shops it’s a good idea to have a thermos with you at all times – oh, and snacks too for those late library sessions.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it is – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. We’ve hand-selected the best backpacks for law school so that you can make sure you have exactly what you need on campus. These bags are packed full of compartments and they won’t buckle under pressure – now you just have to make sure that you don’t either!
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Best Of The Best
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The first item to make it onto our hit list is the TIMBUK2 Parkside Backpack. This backpack has a stylish design and is available in a range of color schemes, but that’s not the only reason we love it so much.
With a 25L capacity, the main compartment isn’t the largest on our list but it does have more than enough space for some books, extra layers, and snacks, plus there’s an internal slip pocket that fits up to 15-inch laptops. On top of that, there’s a bunch of pockets to keep things organized – a large front zip pocket that can be readily accessed, a smaller front zip pocket for things you don’t want to lose, plus an internal organizer for all your stationery.
Extra touches include an attachment loop for bicycle lights and an external stretch pocket for water bottles (although there’s just one on the right-hand side, which might awkward for you lefties), and there’s even a bottle opener attached to the should strap so you’ll always be ready to party when you’ve finished studying for the week!
It’s reasonably priced too, and although it’s built with sturdy materials (such as YKK zippers) it comes with a lifetime repair service for that added peace of mind – winning!
The Carhartt Legacy Deluxe is yet another stylish backpack that’s perfect for any aspiring lawyers. The synthetic material used for the construction of the bag not only gives it an authentic feel, but it ‘s also super durable and provides resistance to abrasions and water, oh, and the base is reinforced too.
In front of the 17-inch laptop sleeve, there are not one but two large compartments, one of which has an organizer section, so that you can separate your files from your lunch. There’s a small zippered compartment on the very top that’s perfect for stashing your sunglasses thanks to the soft tricot lining. Just watch out, because some people have struggled to fit their 17-inch laptops into the sleeve, despite the advertisement.
On the front of the bag, there are two decent-sized zippered pockets, and we really like the fact that there are dual side zippered pockets. These are great for holding bottles and won’t let them fall out (as occasionally happen with mesh holders). A minor complaint, however, it that the pockets only have one zipper, which means you have to open them all the way to access stored items.
Overall, this is one of the best-looking bags on the market, and it’s packed full of pockets and compartments too. It’s not the cheapest model out there, but it certainly is tempting…
If you’re worried about security, then the Jumo Anti-Theft Backpack will be right up your street. It has a sneaky zippered pocket hidden at the back that even the most experienced pick-pocket will struggle to find.
We’re also surprised at the number of compartments and extra features it has, given its reasonable price. For instance, this is the first backpack we’ve looked at so far with an integrated USB port that lets you hook up your power bank (not included) on the inside with your devices – perfect if you need some juice while you’re on the move.
As well as a spacious main compartment, this backpack has two front zipper pockets, two side pockets, and an internal organizer with pen holders and a key clip. It has a sleeve for laptops up to 15 inches plus an additional sleeve that fits devices or tablets up to 13 inches – great for any tech whizzes. One thing we’d like to see that’s missing from this bag is a dedicated water bottle holder, but we guess you can’t have everything.
Constructed of durable polyester, this bag can handle a bit of rain (although it won’t protect you from a monsoon), and we love that there’s a strap that lets you attach this pack to the handle on your wheelable luggage. This, combined with a zipper than unzips entirely on the main compartment, makes this a great option for anyone whos’ studying might involve overnight trips.
Sadly, it’s only available in grey and black so it’s not the jazziest bag out there, but it’s well suited for professional trips. The shoulder straps could do with a little more padding too but, on the whole this is an excellent bag for anyone that wants to look professional and be well-organized while they travel.
The Tocode Backpack is great for anyone that needs to carry around their electronics plus a load of other gear thanks to its 35L capacity.
It’s also super comfy thanks to the thick padding on the shoulder straps, and we love that there’s a chest strap too to spread the weight of your load evenly over your back. The padding has been overlaid with mesh too, allowing for great ventilation (which you’ll need if you’re filling a 35L bag!).
As well as an integrated USB port and wire, it also has tonnes of compartments and pockets. The main compartment has a laptop sleep while the front two compartments have a smaller sleeve for tablets or other devices plus numerous sections for pens, notebooks, and other items. One slight criticism is that there’s only one zipper on the front compartments, so you have to unzip one side entirely for access. On the front itself, there are two more zippered pockets, plus there are two mesh water bottle holders on the side.
All the buckles might not look super cool but they help to compress the bag, reducing the overall bulk, which is great if you have to hop on the subway after class.
And finally, here’s one for all the ladies out there, the North Face Women’s Recon Backpack. Not that the other bags we’ve looked at aren’t suitable for women, in fact most are advertised as unisex, but there’s something nice about having a bag designed with a feminine shape in mind.
This is available in up to 45 colors, and all of them look great – you’ll be hard-pushed to pick your favorite! The 15-inch laptop sleeve has some serious padding, and there’s still room for textbooks in the main compartment. The front compartment has an organization section as well as a tablet sleeve, slots for pens, and zip pockets.
On the exterior, there are two side mesh water bottle holders, plus a small fleece-lined zip pocket and a large mesh pocket on the front. There’s a handle on the top for ease of hauling your bag around, and we love the waist and sternum straps that keep your pack close to your back to prevent back problems – but if the waistbelt is too much, simply remove it!
It is a little on the pricey side, and it weighs slightly more than expected, but North Face are a reputable brand and this really is one well-made bag that you can use for the outdoors as well as on campus.
The SwissGear 1900 Backpack is a heavy duty, spacious backpack with loads of extra features, yet we were pleasantly surprised to see that it doesn’t come with a ridiculous price tag.
Constructed of 1200D ballistic polyester, this bag can handle some bumps and scrapes and it’s water-resistant too. With a spacious main compartment containing a sleeve for a 17-inch laptop, plus a front compartment with a tablet sleeve and general organization section, there’s no excuse for misplacing things.
There are also zippered pockets on the front for things you might want to grab quickly, and there’s even a carabiner included so you can clip on extra gear. As well as dual zippered side pockets, there are also dual mesh water bottle holders, plus the compression straps can be used to hold larger bottles in place. One minor complaint is that the zippers can get stuck sometimes, so make sure you lubricate them every now and then.
A super cool feature of this bag is its ScanSmart lay-flat technology, which means if you lay your bag flat you don’t need to remove your laptop for TSA scans. If you’re after a solid backpack with tonnes of sections and some nice perks, then this is the one for you!
Tip: Swissgear also has the 1923 which we have compared here.
Like the SwissGear backpack, the TUMI Alpha 3 is a super durable bag constructed of ballistic nylon, making it abrasion- and water-resistant. Although it’s considerably more expensive than the backpack by SwissGear, it does offer more extra features, so it’s up to you to decide if they’re worth it.
On the exterior, there’s a large zippered pocket plus two smaller ones, and there’s a zippered side pocket one side and a water bottle holder on the other. On the interior, there’s a main compartment with a laptop sleeve plus a secondary compartment with another sleeve and an organizer section featuring slots for cards, pens, and more. It also comes with an optional 3-pocket file organizer, which is a great way to keep your seminar notes in order.
There’s a carry handle on the top and we love that there’s also an extendable handle so you can convert this backpack into a wheelable suitcase if you need to. This does add to the overall weight, but it’s a super handy feature if you want a break from carrying everything on your back.
It certainly isn’t a cheap option but, in this case, you really do get what you pay for with TUMI.
The Matein Backpack is a great budget option for keeping yourself organized. It has plenty of internal and external pockets, plus side spaces for your water bottles. It’s water-resistant too, so don’t worry if you get caught in a downpour, you’ve got time to run for cover. This is thanks to the polyester fabric, which is also eco-friendly.
Another cool thing about this bag is that you can unfold the laptop compartment entirely, placing your laptop flat, in order to get through TSA checks. It also has a USB port, an anti-theft pocket, and a luggage strap – features we certainly didn’t expect to see in this price range.
It isn’t available in many colors, but we do like the overall appearance and, at this price, it’s an absolute steal.
The Targus Drifter II is one of the best-padded backpacks currently on the market, which makes it a great way to protect your laptop while you move around campus. It also protects your back by providing great lumbar support… but don’t let the padding fool you, the outside of this bag is super tough thanks to the reinforced, waterproof base, solid handle and tough zipper pulls.
As well as a main compartment and laptop sleeve, there’s also a secondary compartment plus two large pockets on the front, (one with an organization section), a small front zip pocket, side zippered pockets, and two water bottle pockets. Oh, and there’s also a decent-sized anti-theft pocket on the back. It also features a document divider, which might be great for some people, but unfortunately, it’s not removable.
We do wish it had a chest strap, given its 34L capacity, but at least it’s padded and has great ventilation. If you want something durable, protective, and comfortable, then this is the way to go.
So, as we’ve seen, there’s a range of features that can make a backpack great for law school. It’s easy to get distracted by the extra perks that some backpacks offer and, although these can be fun, it’s important to remember the most important aspects when you’re shopping around: size, organization, and appearance.
All of the backpacks mentioned here have enough space for a laptop, books, and plenty of other items. Although large bags can seem a little daunting, if you end up choosing one that’s too small, you’ll end up carrying side bags with you too, which will be a real pain. If you’re worried about your back, be sure to look for a bag with a sternum strap or hip belt, and heavy padding can alleviate back stress too.
Organization is a key characteristic of any aspiring lawyer, so of course your bag should reflect this. Multiple compartments are great, as are lots of pockets, and organizer sections are a massive bonus too. If you have a bag with plenty of these, you can be sure to always have what you need to hand.
You never know who you’ll bump into around campus, and making a good first impression goes a long way. We’d recommend a bag that looks smart and professional in case you meet any future employers – plus, that way you can use it for any summer internships too.
Okay, you’ve seen our selection of the best backpacks for law school around, but which ones are our favorites?
Of top pick if you’re on a budget has to be the Tocode Backpack. Despite a surprisingly small price tag, this bag has all the trimmings – a chest strap great ventilation, and a USB port.
It fits large laptops, has a smaller sleeve for tablets, and has heaps of other pockets. Oh, and it comes with a 1-year warranty too so you can be sure to get your money’s worth.
Our best all-round backpack for law school is the Carhartt Legacy Deluxe. Despite its casual appearance, this bag is one tough cookie thanks to the reinforced base and weather-resistant external material.
This bag can be used for outdoor adventures and city missions as well as on campus, and it’s this versatility that makes it such a great allrounder.
But what’s our absolute favorite? It’s the Matein Backpack! We think this bag is a bit of an unsung hero that deserves its time in the limelight. It’s very affordable, it’s eco-friendly, and it can even pass TSA checks, not to mention all the pockets and compartments.
Plus, it has a USB port, an anti-theft pocket, and a luggage strap… maybe they got the price wrong on this one and you should get it while you can!