If graduate school life could be reduced to a single word it would tiring. Regardless of what field you’re in, moving around on a daily basis is probably something you have to do. There you are, sitting in your home and then off you go to the classroom followed by the lecture theatre then the library then back to the classroom, and then maybe off to the lab.
And don’t even get us started on how hectic things become when you throw traveling for conferences into the mix!
Regardless, the bottom line is nobody wants to be carrying piles of books and their laptop in a flimsy backpack that is both uncomfortable on the shoulders and risks falling apart at any moment.
A good backpack goes a long way in both ensuring that your papers, books, and laptop are kept safely and also that your back’s health isn’t negatively impacted in the long run.
So, if you find yourself looking for the best backpack out there for graduate school, check out our list below.
Best Backpack for Grad School
TIMBUK2 Authority Laptop Backpack
A fine backpack for any use crafted from durable static 400D polyester, this ‘work pack’ is designed for the individual planning to live a life constantly on the move.
Whether it’s simply from your home to your college or even if you’re traveling across the country, the TIMBUK2 Authority will secure your laptop and other materials and providing protection against all hazards including adverse weather and accidental knocks. The real magic begins once you unzip the bag.
You’ll find more than enough space for 17-inch laptops and various compartments, each dedicated to holding books, stationaries, mobile devices, and folders among other things. TIMBUK2 after all is a brand loved worldwide due to its fine products! And if you’re looking for a backpack that can cater to your diverse color palette, look no further.
Coming in a range of unique colors including jet black static, moss, fog, and twilight, expressing your individuality is made easy here.
The North Face Recon Backpack
While you might be thinking North Face doesn’t make much sense for the average graduate student, hear us out for a second. The Recon Backpack if anything is known for one thing: durability.
Crafted out of the best nylon and coupled with its lifetime warranty, it’s no stretch to say that the Recon is built to last. It also happens to be built with adequate storage in mind, specifically 30 liters, that will carefully protect your laptop in its fleece-lined main compartment among other things.
It is also extremely comfortable to carry due to its FlexVent suspension system that takes advantage of its custom shoulder straps and mesh back panel that not only minimizes the stress on your shoulders but provides fantastic airflow all over your back (say goodbye to sweaty back days).
And lastly, with its reflective details, if you plan on walking or cycling home at night, you’ll be sure to be noticed by any passing vehicles!
Fjallraven, Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday
By far one of the most popular options among not just graduate students but the general public, the Kanken Classic provides a great backpack if you’re looking for something that balances style and function.
With the same, universally recognized design from 1978, you’ll find the Kanken Classic able to meet the needs of just about anyone. A quick look inside will reveal a spacious main compartment that’ll store any standard laptop along with other necessities while its front and two side pockets will provide space for anything else.
Now while it may look relatively flimsy compared to the Recon, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s Vinlyon F composition is both dirt and water-resistant and will ward off against the occasional fall, making the Kanken Classic ideal for not just indoor environments but the outdoors as well!
JanSport Big Student Backpack
Coming in more color schemes than the rainbow from plain old black to beet and even to Viking red, the JanSport Big Student Backpack offers a product that promises reliability and organization, making it one of the best products we’ve ever seen.
With its plain yet functional design, you’ll find 2 sizeable compartments along with a dedicated laptop sleeve and a utility pocket that’ll more than do for any graduate student, regardless of field.
It also comes with its iconic design as seen in its highly ergonomic S-curved shoulder straps that’ll take off the burden on your shoulders along with its web haul handle that makes carrying it around a breeze. The padded back panel will too, provide all the ventilation your back may need from the longest or shortest of commutes.
The best part? It comes with a lifelong warranty so if your backpack tears or is significantly damaged, you can be sure that they’ll replace it within a jiffy.
MATIEN Anti-Theft Travel Laptop Backpack
The unfortunate reality is that on campuses across the nation, theft is a rampant and pervasive problem. While there isn’t one solution that’ll completely ensure you are protected from theft, there are ways to minimize the likelihood of it happening to you.
One such way is getting a backpack like MATIEN’s Anti-Theft Backpack that is designed specifically to minimize the ills of theft. You’ll find that it comes with an anti-theft compartment that is hidden from view somewhere on the back pocket that is designed to store your most valuable belongings from wallets to electronics.
Move beyond this and you’ll also realize how solid the MATIEN is for the grad student – you’ll find a built-in external USB charger, a multi-panel back padding that allows for ventilation, adjustable shoulder straps, and a large packing compartment that’ll hold laptops up to 15.6-inches in size.
It also happens to be water resistant and made out of very durable polyester, so you don’t have to worry about thieves and the weather with the MATIETN.
EVERKI Business 120 Travel Friendly Laptop Backpack
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While the EVERKI Backpack sits as one of the most expensive on our list, you can be assured that with a backpack like this, quality is a given. The first thing you will notice once you open its 180-degree fold-out compartments, is a lot of space – specifically, 40 liters of space.
From its gigantic laptop compartment that’ll store even 18-inch devices, it also is neatly divided into several smaller compartments that’ll help you organize all your electronics, folders, books, and more.
It additionally comes with a felt-lined pocket designed to store tablets and smaller front compartments for cards, amenities, and stationaries. Ergonomics is a prime consideration here as seen through its 5-point strap balance system that is designed to distribute weight equally to minimize muscle strain along with its pillow-soft straps.
And of course, it comes too, with a padded back panel coupled with mesh padding that allows for maximum airflow.
Nike unisex-adult Nike Heritage Backpack
If you’re in the mood for something classy and fashionable, you need not look further than the Nike Heritage. It isn’t just a pretty looker though – with its pure polyester build and lining, this sporty bag will provide adequate protection and durability for the years of grad school to some through its plain yet effective design.
With 1 main slip pocket that’ll store your laptop and larger belongings along with 3 exterior pockets designed for smaller objects, for the average student, the Nike Heritage will be more than enough.
And if you’re looking to express some individualistic flair, you’ll be able to do so thanks to its various colors that include china rose, echo pink, and barely volt.
AmazonBasics Campus Laptop Backpack
For anyone not too interested in either fancy designs or household bag names, AmazonBasics offers a fantastic option for any grad student through their Campus Laptop Backpack.
Coming in three different color schemes and able to accommodate any 15-inch laptop, it is crafted out of 600D polyester that offers both adequate protection and water resistance that’ll keep your books and laptop dry.
It also is extremely soft to touch and comfortable to wear due to its adjustable and padded shoulder straps.
VSNOON Laptop Backpack 15.6 Inch
For those looking to break away far from the monotonous grey and black most backpacks come in, VSNOON’s Laptop Backpack offers you the opportunity to truly stand out. Lightweight and stylish, this daypack offers all you’ll need functionally too.
From its durable polyester build to generously large compartments that’ll store 15-inch laptops without a hitch, this backpack will make a great partner for any bold student out there.
Under Armour unisex-adult Hustle 3.0 Backpack
Much like the Nike, if you’re looking for something trendy, slick, yet simple, Under Armour has got you covered.
The Hustle 3.0 combines everything the standard grad student might need including a tough 100% polyester build, a soft-lined laptop sleeve, water-repellent pockets, and even HeatGear shoulder straps that are designed to maximize comfort for any user.
It even comes in a variegated range of colours that include desert sand, static blue, and grey so you’ll be sure that there’s a colour here for everyone!
A Buying Guide to Grad SChool Backpacks
Going hand in hand with the quality of the backpack and how long you can expect it to last, price is probably going to be the most important thing to consider. It’s a simple decision though.
You can either choose to spend a little less now in exchange for a backpack that won’t last a lifetime or decide to invest in a pricier product but receive something high-quality that’ll last for the ages. There’s no right answer to this dilemma, it just depends on what you’re looking for.
A backpack is useless if you end up not having enough space and have to resort to carrying additional, smaller bags. So, before you make any purchase, look to your needs and consider the size of your laptop and what you need to bring to college on a regular basis.
And once you’ve decided on what you think you might need; we suggest going for a bag that’s slightly larger than your estimate! This little trick will ensure that you’ll never need to worry about space.
Your shoulders will be bearing all the weight of your backpack, so you absolutely have to make sure you find something that feels comfortable for you. We suggest you look for anything that is adequately padded and isn’t too heavy.
This may not seem too important but in the years to come, your spine and shoulder health can be negatively impacted if you don’t take proper care of them!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
So, in the end, what backpack is best for Grad School?
The plain answer to this is it depends. Are you going to be traveling a lot? Perhaps you’re studying geology and plan to do fieldwork all year long so you might want something more durable.
And what if you’re just going to be in the library all day? Then maybe something lighter and more comfortable at the expense of protection may be a better option for you.
There truly is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. It really just depends on you and your own individual needs.
Should I get a water-resistant backpack?
We absolutely suggest you do! Regardless of whether you plan on spending the days indoors or outdoors, having some form of resistance against water is crucial.
It could be from rain or an unfortunate spillage that risks happening to anybody and the last thing you want is for your laptop and notes with all your precious work being ruined right?