So you’re starting to think about what backpack to rock at your new college hitting year 2017. Not only do you want your backpack to be able to accommodate your treasured laptop and a few of your study books but you also want to look stylish too.

Even though these days you can fit over a million pages on an Amazon Kindle – colleges seem to be lacking behind which means that you spend the majority of your college day carrying around over 600 pages of clunky text books. The Backpack Guys feel your pain and have spent the last few semesters testing the strengths and durability of a handful of backpacks aiming to find the ultimate best backpacks for college.

After researching which bags where most suitable for everyday life as an average student; taking into account the abnormal use of electronic devices, books and stationary we were able to handpick 5 backpacks that we’d consider to be the best for a student starting college in 2016.

  1. Bolang Water Resistant Nylon College Backpack

Best Backpacks For College

The first on our list is the Bolang Water Resistant Nylon Backpack, this bag really does have its reasons as being top of the list. When you’re looking for a durable bag that will withstand constant days of college battering and keep your valuables dry while waiting at the bus stop in the rain then choosing Bolang would be the best decision you have ever made. It’s made with high grade waterproof, lightweight durable nylon with a very strong inner lining. Its simple smart design and various color options make it a finishing touch to any summery outfit.

The bag features a number of different compartments including a separate padded section for your laptop or tablet (up to 16”) to ensure safe and secure transport. You’ll find a side compartment each side that will each ideally hold a drinks bottle while the main section of the bag opens out into 3 rows of compartments to allow a huge space to fit your text books and lunch. The front section of the backpack offers a relatively large, easily accessible compartment with separate pen and stationary holders.

Summary : This bag is the Backpack Guys choice for the best college backpack of 2016. It lasted the longest out of the bags, was able to carry more and it was the personal favourite in looks. While it’s waterproof benefit was just the icing on the cake! This would be the best 50 bucks you’ll spend this year.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Made with top quality durable nylon
  • Waterproof
  • A lot of room in a bag that seems small on your back
  • Stylish and available in unique smart colors
  • Waterproof feature may not withstand extreme heavy rain

 

 

  1. EcoCity Classical College School Laptop Backpack

EcoCity Classical College School Laptop Backpack

EcoCity’s Classical Backpack is on the list for you fashion fanatics out there, being available in a wide range of styles and colors and made using high-grade durable nylon cloth it makes it our perfect choice for a smart yet long lasting rucksack. The design features sections of PU leather around the bottom of the bag for added durability and also on the zips for ease when opening. The added PU leather diamond design on the front also gives that touch of class giving it a trendy fashionable look which most of the other bags tend to lack. This bag really does suit near enough any outfit you wear – considering you stay away from your Borat styled mankini.

The bag features a padded insert for added protection to your valuables, perfect for fragile items such as a laptop or tablet. The straps on the bag are very strong allowing you to carry around your items without the need to constantly rearrange the bag to suit your aching back.

The bag looks small but don’t be fooled by its capacity – once opened you are able to fit in a 14” laptop, 4 chuncky textbooks and a Backpack Guy’s lunch with plenty of room to buy something from the store on the way to college. The front pocket compartment was best used as a ‘quick snack’ compartment for when we was on the move. I would however say if you have a laptop bigger than 15” you may be better choosing a bigger bag from the list.

Although originally thinking this bag could survive the rafts of college life it wasn’t long until the wear and tear became apparent, but what do you expect for the price you pay? We were satisfied it made its money back that’s for sure!

Summary : If you’re looking for a stylish bag that looks good with most outfits, small on the outside but very roomy on the inside and is very sturdy then the Classic College Backpack from EcoCity is for you.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Made using high durable nylon
  • Very fashionable
  • Spacious
  • Doesn’t hold a laptop bigger than 15”
  • Could do with more pockets
  • Colour was slightly different than the photo

 

  1. BluBoon Vintage Canvas Backpack

With retro being pretty much modern day 2016 fashion we felt that it was important to showcase a backpack to match the trends (who doesn’t like a bit of retro?). The BluBoon Vintage Canvas Backpack offers a stylish yet nifty backpack with some very useful compartments.

Once opened this bag offers 3 smart divisions; one for your laptop, one for your books and lunch and a final one located near the top of your bag for small important possessions like your cell phone or keys. *This saved us a lot of time routing around the bottom of our bag each afternoon for our house keys*

The font of the back also offers similar functionality giving you two separate compartments to store easy to each items like your phone, pencil case or even a quick snack.

We found it rather annoying that the side pocket wasn’t large enough for a standard sized drinks bottle once done up – but we overcome this by leaving the button of the pocket undone, which wasn’t the best look but got the job done. I guess the way they done it ‘back in the day’ was to have a hipflask.

Summary : Overall we felt that this bag didn’t hold many ‘wow’ features unlike some of the alternative bags we have spoken about. However don’t rule this little beauty out completely, we’d feel this type of bag would suit the more laid back student without the need for many compartments that may just be attending college for a few lessons a day – maybe an art student?

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Stylish bag in a range of different colors
  • Very spacious to fit your possessions
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Lacks a large amount of compartments

 

  1. ibagbar Classic Canvas Backpack

Sometimes simple is good – and in this case it’s defiantly not bad. The ibagbar Classic Canvas Backpack is on the same scale as EcoCity backpack we have previously spoken about however was described by some as the mature version. This backs simplistic design and the four different color styles make it a very smart alternative that will match any type of outfit weather formal or casual.

The bag features a total of 6 different pockets. The first being the main compartment which is separated into two compartments, the first compartment is elasticated which makes it perfect to hold a laptop or tablet while the other compartments fills the rest of the bag and is ideal for storing your books and lunch. The two side pockets and front pocket are handy to store items you need to reach easily.

We tested the capacity of this little bag and it’s surprising what you can actually fit in there. If packed well you’ll be able to fit 2-3 items of clothing, a few text books, 15.6″ laptop, iPad, glasses, wallet, keys, earphone, power bank, camera and cell phone.

How durable was this bag you ask? Well funny you ask – considering the bag only costed us 15 bucks we was surprised to find it held all these items pretty comfortably. Not only that but on purchasing the bag we noticed that ibagbar offers a year’s warranty , stating that if there were any problems with the backpack they would solve them! You can’t get more durable than that.

Summary: If you feel the EcoCity backpack was too jazzy for you then this ibagbar bag is the perfect alternative. Featuring a small spacious compact bag that isn’t shy of carrying a good amount of possessions. This bag will go with formal wear for your presentation days as well as casual wear for your early morning lectures.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very lightweight and easy to carry
  • Hold a lot of stuff considering its size
  • Comes in basic colours to match any type of outfit
  • May lack the compartments needed for more techy students

 

  1. Wowlife Unisex Canvas College Backpack

The last bag on our list is the Wowlife Unisex Canvas College Backpack, we thought it was right to offer a bag that could be used by both male and females (ironically there are girls within the Backpack Guys team). Wowlife provides this bag in a selection of different colours ranging from blue to pink and brown. This was the only bag we used made specifically from high class canvas and we was impressed with its durability. The straps where a little uncomfortable when carrying a lot of stuff in the bag compared to some of the other bags we used with padded shoulder straps.

The bag was able to fit our 15 inch laptop nicely but if you had any bigger then I’d say to opt for a different bag. The main compartment features a draw string to tighten the top of the bag in order to keep your possessions safe and secure.

It’s no surprise that the reviews on this bag aren’t great – some claiming that it wasn’t big enough and others saying that the bag fell apart after a few months. We felt that the bag was the least durable amongst the 5 listed today hence why it comes in at number 5. However if you like canvas drawstring bags then durability is something you will need to face as the canvas material does tend to tear even on the higher priced backpacks.

Summary: This was a neat little bag and had to have a mention on our best college backpacks for 2016. However if you’re a student that tends to carry a lot of things and walk around the campus a lot then I wouldn’t recommend this bag simple because it’s lack of shoulder padding and canvas material.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Very lightweight
  • Good to hold a lot of items that doesn’t way too much (clothing and sandwiches)
  • Big enough to store a laptop and a few books and lunchbox
  • Doesn’t hold heavy items well
  • A lot of strain on your shoulders when carrying heavy items
  • Not very robust