How to Find the Best Backpacks for Students

Last Updated Jul 27, 2020

Whether you're going to school yourself or you're sending your kids off, finding the right backpack can be hard work. It's tempting to simply find a cheap one at your nearest Walmart. However, although that may work for some people, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you want to find the best student backpack, you have to take into account your unique situation. To find the best backpack and get it for the best price, think about these factors when picking out a backpack.


Obviously, price is a major factor. Some people don't really have to pay attention to the price tag, but for most people, there's a budget for school supplies. Your maximum price will vary, however, and it may depend upon how much use you're planning to get out of that backpack. You may even have some wiggle room, which indicates that you'd be willing to spend a bit more on a backpack that's incredible in style or function.

Most people know of Walmart and similar department stores because of their great deals. It's true that these stores are often focused on price, but that doesn't mean it's a subpar choice. If you need something that can hold all your school supplies at the best price possible, department stores should be your first stop.


The durability you need from your backpack depends mostly upon how long you're expecting to use it and how much work it's going to be put through. If you or your child is rough on backpacks, for example, then you'll want something with a reputation for durability so the backpack has a fighting chance of making it through the school year. High school and college students may also want an especially durable backpack, so it's usable throughout multiple school years. A particularly strong backpack can even make the transition from high school into and through college.

For the most durable backpacks, you might want to try sports retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods. Although it might not be the first thing you think about when you consider where to buy backpacks, these places tend to carry backpacks specially created to hold up to extreme conditions. An actual camping backpack from Camping World can serve you well here; although they're not always the most fashionable items, they're very durable and highly versatile. You can use them to carry camping gear or textbooks, which means it can do double duty if you decide to head to the great outdoors during your downtime at school.


While some people are all about the way their backpack performs, other people just want one that looks good. Finding a middle ground between the two can be hard, but an important part of getting the right backpack is making sure you know how important style is on the spectrum. Make a note or talk to your kids, so you know whether a unique design should be at the top of your must-have list when looking at backpacks.

For someone who's incredibly interested in style, a backpack might not even be the right option. You may want to look for a bag instead, especially a bag that's large enough to carry multiple textbooks. A trendy tote from Aeropostale is a great way to carry around books and supplies without having to put on a backpack, and it can be the perfect way for fashion-forward college freshmen to cart their belongings to and from class. You can also get bags at family retailers such as Kohl's, so even if you decide on a bag instead of a backpack, check to see how upscale the bag should be.


None of the qualities of the backpack matter if it doesn't actually work, and that's why functionality should always be part of your decision. Make sure you read reviews for the backpack you're interested in. Does it zip up properly? Is it made well? Is it comfortable? Do people notice that working with the company is especially easy or difficult? These are all important questions to ask when you're choosing the perfect backpack.

If you're especially worried about functionality, you'll definitely want to give the backpack a look in person before buying it. If you absolutely have to buy online, make sure you do it weeks in advance, so you have time for an exchange or refund if necessary. Physical stores with strong e-commerce sites, such as Macy's, can be great for this. You can find the backpack or bag you're interested in online and then visit in person to check it out and make sure you love it.


Buying a backpack isn't as easy as you might initially think. There's a range of backpacks available out there. Companies that specialize in backpacks, such as JanSport, will usually have backpacks that are the best of the best, but you can expect them to be more expensive than ones you pick up off the rack at your local department store. Bargain prices might be available at Sam's Club, but they're not always as stylish or resilient. One thing's for sure: no matter what type of backpack you choose to get, you should be looking out for the best deals. With the right back to school discount, you can get all your supplies and feel good about how much you spent.

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