JanSport is one of those brands that everyone has heard of at some point. Maybe you've seen their packs on your colleagues at work or school classmates, but you're not so sure how good they are? Short answer, great!
Since they make several different types of backpacks, I've decided to divide the review into three sections - everyday/school backpacks, travel packs and sporty backpacks. Also, I've also compiled a list of some useful tips on how to figure out what type of backpack you need and what you should be looking for.
So, if you're dying to get a really good and really affordable backpack, you've found the perfect review. Scroll down to check out what the best JanSport backpacks are and to find out everything about them!
Best Packs For School & Everyday
School and everyday backpacks are usually much more basic than some other types of packs. They aren’t as packed with features, but they also are not nearly as expensive as say hiking backpacks.
Interestingly enough, JanSport mostly focuses on making backpacks for students. So if this is the type of pack you are looking for, get ready to compare a lot of options!
This is a pretty basic, affordable school pack. It is made of 600-denier polyester with faux leather accents, and it is available in a wide variety of colors and prints. The Austin pack has a capacity of 26 liters, which should be more than enough for your everyday items.
Its dimensions are 17.7" x 12.8" x 5.5". The numbers don’t mean a lot on their own, but you should compare the dimensions to a backpack you already own, or to the measurements of your own body. Just to be sure that the pack is going to fit you properly and that it’s not too large for your body. This is especially important for people who have a smaller body frame, and generally children and teenagers.
The Austin pack features a single main compartment where you keep your stuff. And a 15” laptop sleeve is conveniently located in that compartment. There are also three zippered pockets for any smaller items you would want to keep separate – cell phone, wallet and keys are the first that come to mind. Additionally, there is a side stretch pocket, which is perfect for carrying a water bottle or a tiny umbrella.
The Superbreak backpack is as basic as they come. And if that's exactly what you want, then great - you've found your perfect backpack! It has a single main compartment, and a large front pocket, and that's it. Oh and there is an organizer in the front pocket, so you will be able to organize at least some of your smaller items.
It has an overall capacity of 25 liters, which is more than enough for school, gym or your everyday necessities. And what is really great about this pack is that it is prices appropriately - it is the most affordable JanSport pack you can get. Additionally, you don't have to settle for a color you don't really like, because there are at least 30 different prints and colors to choose from.
The back panel of this pack is 2/3 padded, which is good. And it is made of polyester, so you now it will last you for years to come. The dimensions of the pack are 16.7" x 13" x 8.5" - it's larger than you think! But the best part about it is the weight - with only 12 ounces, you could carry this in your pocket if you want to.
And I have to add that this would be a great backpack to take on a vacation and use as an additional bag, because it is so lightweight and compact that you can carry it in pretty much any other bag.
This particular JanSport backpack feels like the love child of the Superbreaker and Austin. It's a pretty simple pack, but it has a few very useful features.
The first thing I noticed about the pack is that there is sooo much color variety. And I love that - it makes it much easier to actually bite the bullet and buy a pack when you can get it in a color that you adore. But apart from that, you can also see that the pack has suede leather accents which really make the color of the body pop. Oh and the body of the pack is made of 915 Denier Cordura, which is a very durable material. The fact that one lucky owner has used this pack for 16 years really vouches for its durability.
One thing to note is that you will have to be careful with the suede. Avoid getting it wet, and when you need to clean it use a damp cloth.
This pack has a capacity of 31 liters, which is larger than the previous two ones. It's the right choice for you if you tend to carry a lot of books to school, since it has so much space. The main compartment is roomy, and it is equipped with a 15" laptop sleeve. There are also two front external pockets, for any items you want to keep more handy.
One other thing to note is that the size of this pack makes it pretty versatile. With 18" x 13" x 8.5" dimensions, you could comfortably use it as a carry on, or as a gym bag. There is certainly enough room inside it.
Well JanSport were very clever when deciding to name this pack. Are you a cool student? Then get the Cool Student backpack and everyone will know that!
But jokes aside, this is probbaly my favorite backpack out of the bunch, since I've actually owned it for about 5 years. It accompanied me to class, gym and even inside trains - that's how versatile it is. What I especially love about the Cool Student pack is that it has several different compartments, which allows you to organize all of your items in no time. But the laptop sleeve inside the main compartment is definitely one of the features I used the most.
And that's one feature that makes it really versatile.The 34-liter capacity also really helps with the versatility. In addition to the two large, main compartments, there are also two small zippered front pockets, as well as a side mesh pocket for your water bottle.
This JanSport backpack is made of 600 Denier Polyester, with synthethic leather accents which are pretty easy to maintain. The dimensions of this pack are 17.5" x 13" x 10", and you can see that it is actually smaller than the Right Pack, even though it has a larger capacity. But that's because of all the different compartments. And at only 1 lb and 5 oz, this is one of the lightest JanSport packs you can get.
One more thing to note is that the back panel is fully padded, and it will keep you comfortable and ensure that nothing is poking you in the back. As will the ergonomically shaped S-curved shoulder straps.
Best Packs For Travel
There are certain features that good travel backpacks must have. I’m mainly talking about multiple compartments and pockets, which will allow you to organize your items properly.Keep in mind that we will only check out smaller travel backpacks in this review. They are good enough for an overnight trip or a weekend getaway, but you can’t really use them if you’re planning a week-long trip. But if you were hoping to find something like that, I recommend you check out some other great travel backpacks – I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
The name of this pack alone suggests that it was built to have your back whenever you decide to wander away. And whether that's going to be for a couple of hours or a couple of days, the Wanderer is large enough for all your on-the-go necessities.
For one thing, the size of the pack is 18.7" x 12.5" x 6". Which means it is large enough that you can pack clothes for a few days inside it, but also small enough that you won't have any issues bringing it inside an airplane cabin. The capacity of this pack is 27 liters, and that is actually smaller than some of the previous packs we looked at. However, I prioritize organization over capacity with travel backpacks – what good is a 40-liter pack if you have to squeeze everything in the same compartment?
And at least you will have multiple different compartments, as well as dedicated sleeves for both your tablet and laptop. You will easily fit a 15" laptop inside the padded sleeve in the main compartment, and you won't have to worry about it at all during your trip. You also get two front zippered pockets for all your travel necessities - you want to have your ticket (or boarding pass) and passport handy and easily accessible at all times.
The Wanderer pack is made of Cordura with suede leather accents - just like the Right Pack. So, the same goes for the maintenance of the pack - try not to get it wet and clean it with a damp cloth.
If you tend to travel with a lot of tech, this is the perfect pack for you. Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to organize all the different cables and chargers - for your phone, laptop, DSLR, GoPro, drone and whatnot. That's exactly why you should get the Envoy - it has a dedicated compartment for pretty much everything.
There's the top loading 15" laptop compartment, as well as a dedicated, tricot lined tablet sleeve and a tiny little pocket for your smartphone (just above the JanSport logo). Additionally, that little pouch at the very bottom of the pack is actually a dedicated compartment for your chargers and cords - how thoughtful! And to fully ensure the safety of your electornics, there are two mesh pockets on the sides for your H2O.
The overall capacity of the pack is 33 liters, which includes all of the pockets I mentioned, as well as the two main packing compartments. And that is more than enough for a shorter trip.
If you're thinking of using this as a carry on, you'll love the dimensions - 19" x 13" x 8". Just the right size to be allowed inside an airplane cabin. In addition to that, the pack will feel comfortable on your back because it has a fully padded back panel, as well as a pair of S-curve shoulder straps.
The Envoy is made of 600 Denier Polyester - a highly durable and water-resistant material. That last part is pretty important, when you also consider that this was designed to safeguard all your precious electronics.
The Hatchet backpack is awesome if you're looking for a backpack that stand out a little bit. It has a pretty interesting design, but also a ton of useful features. One of those is a sternum strap - something that we haven't seen on any other JanSport pack so far. But which is very useful, especially on backpacks that have larger capacities.
This pack also features several pairs of compression straps, which I also really like. They will help keep all of your gear in place, which is particularly handy when you don't pack it to the brim, and there is space for your stuff to get jumbled around. Which won't happen with the Hatchet.
The dimensions of the pack are 18" x 12" x 8", and it has a capacity of 28 liters. So, it is just large enough that you can use it for a weekend getaway, but it is still small enough that you can use it as a carry on. In addition to that, the pack is equipped with a laptop sleeve in its main compartment, as well as an external, tricot lined tablet sleeve.
Apart from the main packing compartment, there are also two side stretch pockets on the pack, as well as two zippered external pockets. One of those also features a deluxe organizer panel inside, and it will make staying organized on your trips a piece of cake.
And in terms of your own carrying comfort, you are going to love the fully padded back panel and shoulder straps. It's a good thing that the Hatchet is made of durable 600 Denier Polyester, because that means that you will be able to use it for years to come.
Best Sporty Packs
Backpacks that are designed for sports and outdoor adventures in general usually have very different features than regular, everyday packs. Or even travel packs. Say goodbye to padded laptop sleeves, and say hello to hydration sleeves!
These backpacks are supposed to help you carry all your hiking or camping gear, and so we will be judging them a little bit differently. Because you are going to spend at least several hours engaging in some sort of physical activity with this on your back, and it needs to be comfortable - otherwise you are going to be sore. Which nobody wants.
*Keep in mind that we won't be looking at hydration backpacks that are traditionally used in mountaineering and biking. If you were hoping to find one of those, I recommend that you check out some CamelBak packs, as they are great for this purpose.
I am a big fan of versatile products. A laptop sleeve that you can also carry around like a bag? Yes please! And that's why I really like this backpack - it is primarily a sporty backpack, with tons of features for your outdoor gear. But, with a padded hydration sleeve that also doubles as a laptop sleeve and a capacity of 39 liters, this could also easily be your new favorite travel pack.
Odyssey's dimensions are 20" x 14" x 12" - it is definitely the largest pack we've checked out so far. Which also means that it might be too tall or too bulky for some of you, especially if you are on the shorter side, so definitely try to measure out your own body to see how it would fit you.
Apart from that versatile internal sleeve, this JanSport pack also has two spacious main compartments, a utility pocket with organizer, a lined tabled sleeve and a quick access loft pocket. There are also two side water bottle pockets, in case you decide to ditch a 3-liter hydration pack.
In terms of other gear attachment points, there is daisy chain webbing on the front of the pack. This allows you to attach pretty much anything you want to the exterior of the Odyssey, as long as you use a carabiner. And you also get ice-axe loops that will come in handy in the winter months.
Since this pack has a pretty large capacity, it is going to be pretty heavy when you pack it fully. But it does have a sternum strap, as well as a tuckaway hipbelt, which will do a great job at distributing the weight of the pack evenly across your torso. And the fully padded back panel and S-curve shoulder straps will help keep you comfortable even after hours of hiking.
JanSport Agave Backpack
The Agave is a rare JanSport backpack that is available in both a men's and a women's version. The main difference between the two is in the shape of the shoulder straps - the women's version features AirCore shoulder straps, which are slightly shoulder than the straps on the men's version. But when it comes to all the important features, the two versions of the Agave are exactly the same.
They both have an expandable main compartment and an overall capacity of 32 liters. And they are even the exact same size - 19" x 13.5" x 10".
In terms of your comfort, you should know that the back panel is also completely padded, and not just the shoulder straps. Additionally, the pack is equipped with a sternum strap and hipbelt, which will help distribute its weight evenly across your torso, for maximum carrying comfort. And since it has a pretty large capacity, you are definitely going to need those.
As for the distribution of that capacity, I already mentioned an expandable main compartment. Apart from that, there is also an additional main compartment, a front utility pocket with an organizer panel, two stretch side pockets, a tablet sleeve, a quick access loft pocket and a padded internal sleeve for either your laptop or a 3L hydration pack. Overall, this is a great hiking backpack, especially when you consider the price and the actual value for money you get.
The Tilden pack is another great option. And you should know that you can currently get it only on Amazon, since JanSport does not carry it on their website any longer.
For one thing, the pack is made from both polyester and nylon, for reinforced sturdiness and durability. The combination of those two materials also makes it waterproof, which means that you can go hiking in the rain and not have to worry about your items getting wet. And just like the previous two hiking backpacks, the Tilden also has a padded sleeve that you can use either for your 15” laptop, or a 3L hydration pack.
The backpack has two spacious main compartments, and several internal and external pockets. Also, there are two stretch mesh pockets on the sides, which are ideal for your water bottles.
One thing to note is that there is no exact information on the capacity of the pack. But, considering that its dimensions are 11.5” x 20” x 13.5”, I think that it’s reasonable to guess that it has a capacity of some 35 liters, give or a take a couple liters. But there is one downside - the Tilden unfortunately doesn't have a hipbelt or a sternum strap, which means that it will not be that comfortable to carry on your back for hours.
The best thing about the Tilden is affordability – do you believe me that you can get it in a blue color for less than $30? If not, feel free to go check it out on Amazon for yourself.
Which JanSport Backpacks Are The Best Choice For You?
I've shown you a lot of options so far. And, while all of the packs above are a good choice - after all, they are all the best that JanSport has to offer - there are a few that stand out because of their designs.
The first pack that I'm absolutely in love with is the Cool Student Backpack. But it's one of my all-time favorite backpacks, so I'm not 100% objective when it comes to it. However, there is a good reason for that - it's survived 5 years of classes with me, which included overstuffing it with books, hoodies and sneakers. Because sometimes you don't have time to stop by your apartment after class to pick up your gym clothes. But even if I couldn't personally vouch for it, what's not to love? It has a 34-liter capacity, two large main compartments and a ton of smaller pockets that will help you organize everything down to the last detail. And not to mention how comfortable the fully padded back panel and shoulder straps are!
- THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN BACKPACKS - Every JanSport comes with a lifetime warranty. Carry your JanSport with confidence, knowing we'll replace or repair any breaks
- THE ICONIC DESIGN – The Cool Student Backpack has our signature leather bottom, ergonomically constructed with S-curve shoulder straps, padded back panel & a web haul handle
- RELIABLE BACKPACK - JanSport backpacks are made with durable fabric, zippers & straps in colors & designs to reflect your style & needs
- ORGANIZATION MADE EASY – Simple & convenient design, 2 spacious compartments, 15" laptop sleeve, front utility pocket with an organizer and a side water bottle pocket
- AMERICAN TRADITION IN BACKPACKS – Generations have grown up & come to rely on this trusted brand. Over 50 years of schools, work, & adventure
If you’re more interested in a travel backpack, then I have to recommend the Envoy pack. I was simply blown away by how functional the backpack is, especially because I usually have a hard time finding a proper spot for all the different chargers and cables that I bring on my trips. As if multiple pockets for your tech accessories weren’t enough, you also get two spacious main compartments for all your clothes and other belongings. Plus, the entire back panel and the shoulder straps are fully padded, which means that you’ll stay comfortable throughout your journey.
- Made in part with recycled materials
- Dedicated top-loading 15" laptop compartment, cord storage pocket and phone pocket
- Fully padded back panel, tricot lined table sleeve and front accessory pockets
- Ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps and web haul handle
- Deluxe organizer and dual side water bottle pockets
On the other hand, if you are in need of a new sporty backpack for hiking, camping or any similar outdoor activity, then the Odyssey is probably the best choice for you. It is one of the best JanSport backpacks in this entire review, with a fully padded back panel and contoured shoulder straps. And it has a pretty large capacity, along with various attachment points for all your gear, so you will definitely be able to pack everything you need inside it. Additionally, the Odyssey is also equipped with a hipbelt and a sternum strap that will help keep you comfortable and pain-free even after hours of hiking around.
- THE ODYSSEY BACKPACK: Wherever you're headed, the Odyssey JanSport helps you stay hydrated or connected with a 15" padded sleeve that can hold your laptop or 3L hydration system. The hip belt and sternum strap offer stability and comfort on longer treks.
- HIT THE TRAIL OR THE BOOKS: From hiking to class to the morning commute, JanSport outdoor backpacks are ready for anything. Whether you're looking for a padded waist band, comfortable shoulder straps, or compression straps, there's a JanSport for you.
- JANSPORT BACKPACKS: JanSport backpacks are made with durable fabric, zippers & straps, in colors & designs to reflect your style. We stand by our packs for a lifetime, so carry your JanSport on your adventures, knowing we'll replace or repair any breaks.
- WE'RE ABOUT THE JOURNEY: JanSport is about the discovery of fun, freedom & adventure. From your first school backpack & lunch bag to the messenger bag for your first interview, from running errands to chasing dreams, JanSport gear inspires your journey.
- WE'RE THE ORIGINAL: JanSport began making backpacks in 1967. From lunch bags to fanny packs to laptop bags, JanSport gear is durable and functional. You'll love our simple designs if you've used packs by Nike, Adidas, Herschel, Kippling, & Fjallraven.
Those are my top choices for you - one for each purpose. Of course, you can easily get any one of these ten backpacks and you won't regret it, since these are the best of the best. Anyway, head over to Amazon and check out their prices, since that is usually the turning point for most people. Happy shopping everyone. :>
How To Choose The Right Backpack?
Choosing the right backpack for your needs is hard, especially if it’s your first time doing it and you’re not even sure what features you want. But don’t worry, I’m here to help. And while I am certainly no expert on backpacks, I have purchased enough of them in my lifetime to know exactly what you need to look for in one.
What Are You Going To Use It For?
This is the first thing that you need to figure out. Because different types of backpacks are equipped with different features. Are you looking for a basic, school backpack? Or maybe one that you can carry around when you travel?
We’ll check out three different types of packs in this review – everyday and school packs, travel packs and a few sporty packs. And the first step to picking out the right backpack for you is knowing which category to check out.
Make A Checklist
Is there a reason why you’re looking for a new backpack? Maybe you’re tired of carrying your laptop in your messenger bag to school everyday, since it doesn’t even have a proper sleeve?
Whatever the reason might be, you should write it down. If there are certain features that you are not willing to compromise on, put them all on the checklist. That way, when you find the pack that is equipped with all of them, you’ll know that you’ve found the right one.
Watch Out For The Specs
This is something many people tend to overlook. And I strongly recommend that you don’t do that, if you don’t want a nasty surprise when the pack arrives to your front door.
These are the top specs that you need to be aware of:
- Size and capacity of the pack
- Size of the laptop sleeve (if there is one)
- The material it’s made of
Why is the material important? Because different materials have different properties. For example, you would not want to bring a cotton canvas backpack on an outdoor adventure – they usually aren’t waterproof and they will get dirty way too quickly. Instead, look for a nylon or a polyester pack – these materials are much more resilient, and the obvious choice for sporty activities.
With That In Mind…
…you should have an idea of what the right backpack for you looks like. So, if you have a type of backpack in mind, feel free to skip to that category with the quick navigation above. And if you’re just browsing your options, we can check out all the best JanSport backpacks together!