Need a backpack for medical school? Then you’re definitely in the right place! This detailed review features eight awesome backpacks for medical school and so much more.
Whether you’re prioritizing capacity, comfort, or price point, we’ve got a backpack for you. The review features a mix of large-capacity backpacks for books, modern laptop backpacks, and some really versatile options that are great for everyday life.
Read on to see the best backpacks for medical school and find the one that’s just right for you!
Best Laptop Backpack
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Most Versatile Backpack
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Best Budget Backpack
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Safest Laptop Backpack
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If you mostly want a laptop backpack and you’re not worried about fitting too many books in it, the Timbuk2 Authority backpack is easily the best option. It’s designed to fit most 15” to 17” laptops, so your device should easily fit in the bag. There are also internal organizer pockets for charging bricks, cables, power banks, and other small items.
The Authority backpack has two main compartments – one features an extra laptop sleeve, and the other one an organizer panel. The bag also has other smaller compartments, but it’s worth noting that they are all quite slim. This backpack is not made to carry books, so just keep that in mind.
You also get a water bottle pocket on this bag, but there’s just one. The back panel is padded with lots of air channels for good ventilation. Additionally, the Authority backpack has a convenient sternum strap but no hip belt.
And that’s fine – it’s a slim bag that’s not designed for very heavy loads, so it doesn’t need a hip belt to make you comfortable. Other features of the backpack included compression straps at the bottom of the front panel and a padded grab handle.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Timbuk2 offers a lifetime warranty on their bags. All their products are made from high-quality materials (hence the high price points), and the brand stands behind every single item they make.
If you want an extremely versatile backpack, Osprey Nebula is easily the best option for you. It’s a beast of a backpack with a total capacity of 34 liters, so it can easily fit everything you will need for med school.
The bag has a very spacious main compartment, a dedicated laptop compartment with an extra tablet sleeve, and a front compartment with an organizer panel. There are also lots of smaller pockets on the backpack, for all those items you always want easily accessible.
The back panel is heavily padded, ventilated, and very comfortable. The same goes for the shoulder straps, and with the addition of a hip belt and a sternum strap, you won’t ever feel the load of this backpack on your shoulders.
Also, the pack is made from water-resistant nylon and it’s great at protecting your belongings from the elements. This backpack can work for school, hiking, travel, and even every day. It is a very big backpack though, so keep that in mind. Luckily, there are compression straps on the sides that you can use to cinch it in, which will help with stability when the bag is not full.
It is a pricey backpack, but it’s worth it. Osprey covers their bags with an extensive warranty, so it will be easy to replace any broken parts or even the entire bag. But I doubt it will come to that- Osprey bags are made with high-quality materials and they are built to last.
High Sierra backpacks are great for medical students because they’re spacious, affordable, and comfortable to wear. The Swerve backpack is all of the above, plus it has excellent organizational features. It has two large main compartments, a dedicated laptop compartment that is padded throughout, and an organizer panel in the front compartment.
This pack also features stretchy side pockets, an additional zippered pocket in the front, and adjustable side compression straps. The zippered pocket has a USB port that lets you charge your devices on the go, which can be helpful on long days in class.
The back panel and shoulder straps are both heavily padded and covered with breathable mesh. However, the bag doesn’t have a sternum strap or a hip belt, so it won’t be too comfortable if you fill it up with heavy books. The Swerve backpack does feature a suspension system that helps with carrying heavier loads, but it’s not quite as efficient as a plain hip belt.
But it’s an affordable backpack at least. The High Sierra Swerve laptop backpack retails for around $50, which is a great deal for most students. If you’re not going to fill this up with some extremely heavy books, it’s certainly worth trying it out.
The SwissGear backpack is a great option that works for school and travel. It has a dedicated laptop compartment that can fit 15” devices. This compartment is TSA friendly, it features a storage pocket for a power pack and an extra sleeve for your tablet.
The main compartment of the bag is very spacious, so you’ll be able to fit plenty of books in this bag. This compartment also features several smaller pockets for easy organization of your other necessities. In addition to that, there’s also a front compartment with an organizer panel, a collapsible shoe pocket on one side, and a stretchy water bottle pocket on the other side.
The bag also features a crush-proof hidden phone pocket, an insulated pocket for snacks, and a USB charging port. It has a heavily padded back panel with airflow channels and breathable mesh for excellent ventilation, as well as adjustable and comfortable shoulder straps. A sternum strap is included, but a hip belt is not.
SwissGear backpacks are known for their excellent durability. This bag is made from polyester ripstop and it has good water resistance. The side compression straps help keep everything in place, and they’re even more useful when the bag is half/empty. Also, the grab handle is reinforced with wire, for improved durability.
The North Face Borealis is one of the most popular backpacks ever made. It is very tough and durable, comfortable to wear, and has a large capacity with multiple pockets and compartments for easy organization. In other words, it’s one of the best backpacks for medical school you can buy.
This is a medium-sized bag, so it’s best for all of you who don’t have to carry a dozen different books to class every day. It has a 28-liter capacity divided across three large compartments and several smaller pockets. The laptop compartment is in the back and it can easily fit any 15” device. The main compartment is roomy and designed to fit books and binders, while the front compartment features an organization panel and a tablet sleeve.
Other pockets of the bag are stretchy water bottle pockets and a fleece-lined pocket for smartphones. On top of all that, the Borealis backpack also features bungee cords on the front panel, which let you stash bulkier items like hoodies and jackets.
The back panel is heavily padded, ergonomic, and covered with breathable mesh for ultimate carrying comfort. This bag also features a sternum strap and a hip belt, for excellent load distribution and pain-free life. And if you’re still not convinced, you can get it in 25+ different colors!
Students are usually on a tighter budget and if that’s the case with you, consider getting the Amazon Basics computer backpack. It’s the best bag under $50 and it’s surprisingly well made for such an affordable pack.
The backpack has two large compartments – one is best for books and binders, and the other one has a padded sleeve for your laptop. The best thing about this backpack is that it can fit even bulky 17” devices, so most laptops will fit inside.
There are also two smaller pockets on the front of the bag, and they’re best for organizing all the small stuff. The lower pocket features a mini organization panel inside with a key clip and open pockets. The bag also features side water bottle pockets, a scratch-free zippered pocket for phone and sunglasses, and compression straps on the sides.
The back panel is heavily padded, covered with breathable mesh, and features channels for airflow. However, this back doesn’t have a sternum strap or a hip belt, so it’s probably not the best option if you’re going to be carrying some really heavy books in it.
But, if you mostly rely on your laptop, you should definitely consider getting this bag. It’s great value for money, it’s surprisingly durable for such an affordable bag, and it’s comfortable enough if you’re not filling it with massive books.
If you’re into minimalist design and anti-theft bags, consider getting the XD Design Bobby backpack. It’s the original anti-theft backpack that has inspired countless copies. The bag features just one main compartment with a hidden zipper and a total capacity of 13 liters. This is a small backpack and it’s best for medical students who rely on their laptops for the most part.
The main compartment is divided and it has multiple pockets for easier organization. The laptop sleeve can hold standard 15.6” devices, plus there’s an additional tablet sleeve for 9.7” devices. You also get lots of smaller pockets inside the main compartment so you can organize all those tiny items. And you might even fit a book or two inside, but not much else.
The back panel is padded and ventilated for premium carrying comfort. The bag doesn’t have a sternum strap or a hip belt, but it doesn’t really need those because of the 13-liter capacity.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that this backpack features a USB port for charging on the go, as well as a hidden pocket in the back panel. There’s also a luggage strap in the back, in case you ever want to use the pack as a carry-on.
If you’re a medical student looking for a laptop backpack that will guarantee the safety of your device, this is easily the best option out there. But if you also want to have books and notebooks in your bag, you’ll need to look for something more spacious.
JanSport makes great backpacks for students and their Big Student pack is certainly one of the best options. It is a large capacity bag with multiple spacious compartments, pockets for easy organization, and a 15” padded laptop compartment.
The bag has two main compartments that are large enough to hold books, as well as a smaller front compartment with a utility organizer. Also, it’s worth noting that the laptop compartment is separate from the other two main compartments. This pack also features a stretchy mesh pocket on the side for water bottles.
The back panel is heavily padded, but it is not covered with breathable mesh. It’s the same with shoulder straps – they feature an ergonomic S-curve, but they lack any ventilation. The pack will be somewhat comfortable to wear, but it’s not the best option if you’re going to spend hours wearing it every day.
It doesn’t have a hip belt or a sternum strap, and that’s the biggest downside. There’s nothing to transfer the load away from your shoulders and that’s an issue, considering that the bag was made for bulky and heavy books.
On the other hand, it’s certainly good value for money. This pack is quite affordable and it’s a great deal for the amount of stuff you can fit inside it.
You must pick a backpack that is just the right size for you. It should fit everything you need for classes, so at the very least you need a padded laptop compartment and a spacious compartment for books.
All the packs included in this review have padded laptop compartments but they differ in size. Make sure you get a backpack that has a laptop sleeve big enough for your advice, otherwise it won’t work.
Other compartments are also important. Look for smaller pockets, organizers, outer pockets, and hidden compartments for your most valuable items. A backpack should let you find a dedicated spot for every item so that you don’t have to rummage through the bag when you need to get just one thing.
A good backpack won’t let you do that – instead, it will allow you to organize everything, so you know exactly where your things are.
Backpacks for medical school come in many different sizes. The bigger (30L+) bags are great for all of you who must carry a lot of books in the bag, while smaller packs work best for people who mostly rely on their laptops.
It’s also important to figure out if you want any other uses for the backpack. If you would like to use it for travel in addition to school, make sure you get a carry-on-sized backpack. Smaller bags are great as everyday packs, while the largest bags with the most compartments generally work well for hikes.
The durability of a backpack is one of its most important features. Nobody wants to buy a flimsy backpack that will apart after just a few months. That’s why you should look for backpacks that are made from polyester or nylon – the two most durable materials used to make backpacks.
Nylon is generally more durable than polyester and it features better water resistance without any additional treatment. However, nylon is also the more expensive material, so those backpacks are generally pricier than polyester bags. Polyester has most of the same features as nylon and it’s cheaper to source, so it’s often used in the more affordable bags.
If you’re looking to buy a smaller laptop backpack, you don’t need to worry about durability too much. Instead, worry about water resistance – the bag should shield your electronics from the rain, so you want a bag with some water resistance at the very least.
On the other hand, if you want a bag for books, look for something that’s made with more durable materials. Heavy books will wear out your backpack quicker, so nylon is the more suitable option in that scenario. And don’t forget about water resistance – it’s just as important for books as it is for laptops.
It’s not impossible to live a pain-free life even if you’re walking around with 20lbs+ of books in your backpack every day. You just need to get yourself a bag with a very comfortable back panel. Look for something that has lots of padding, airflow channels, lumbar support, and that’s covered with breathable mesh.
Shoulder straps should also be padded and covered with breathable mesh, for the most comfortable experience. If you’re going to get a bigger bag, make sure that it has a sternum strap, at the very least.
If you’re lugging around heavy books in your bag every day, you will need a sternum strap and a hip belt to stay comfortable. The hip belt transfers the bag load from your torso to your hips, so you don’t actually feel how heavy the bag is. It keeps you comfortable even after you’ve spent hours walking around with a heavy bag, and it lets you lead a pain-free life.
A sternum strap will help somewhat, but it’s not as efficient as a hip belt at transferring the backpack load. It’s worth noting that it’s possible to make your own hip belt and add it to a backpack, so consider doing that if you fall in love with a bag that doesn’t have this convenient feature.
Still not sure which of these backpacks you should pick up? Go with one of our top three picks depending on what you’re prioritizing in a bag, and I promise you won’t have any regrets!
If you want a versatile backpack that’s great for medical school but also everything else, go with the Osprey Nebula. It’s an incredibly versatile backpack that will work for hikes, travel, everyday carry, and most importantly, school! The bag features multiple compartments, an organizer panel, hidden pockets, and an incredibly comfortable back panel.
It is a big bag, but the sternum strap and hip belt will transfer the load onto your hips, so you won’t be in pain even if you fill it with heavy books!
The Timbuk2 Authority bag is the best backpack for medical students who mostly rely on their laptops. It’s a lightweight backpack with a padded laptop compartment, a comfortable back system, and a few extra pockets for all your necessities.
The main compartment is spacious, but it’s not very wide so it’s not a good option for carrying books. It’s a pricey bag but it’s backed with a lifetime warranty, so it’s certainly worth it!
In case you are on a tighter budget and want a bag that just works for most things, pick up the High Sierra Swerve. It’s an affordable backpack with a large capacity, comfortable back system, and excellent organizational features.
The laptop compartment can hold most 17” devices, there’s a key clip in the front compartment, and the suspension system is designed for heavier loads. You don’t get a hip belt or a sternum strap on the bag, but it’s still the best value for money out of the bunch.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices and all the color options of the backpacks for medical school featured in this review. If you want to check out even more options, you’ll find lots of great bags in our related posts!
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