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Best backpacks for university students in the 23/24 year

Feb 29, 2024Feb 29, 2024

Freshers style? It’s in the bag

eptember is almost here, which means Freshers Week is nearly upon us.

Preparing for university life is a feat in itself. Ensuring that your bedding, stationery, tech and homeware essentials are packed up and ready to go is an immense task. Not to mention, new students across the globe have to make the call as to which clothes come with them to and which stay at home. It’s a cut-throat business.

Perhaps even more important than curating a wardrobe that spans club-night fits to hangover slouchies is finding a strong and sturdy bag for everyday use. For trekking to lectures and seminars on a daily basis, you’ll need a backpack to store the key items. These include laptops, textbooks, water bottles, key cards and more.

Unlike school, university allows you to experiment with style and this stretches to the accessories department. From high street to high fashion, brands across the board are investing time and money into cutting-edge backpack designs which are perfect for Freshers kickstarting their university experience.

Of course, if you already own a backpack that will last the next three-to-four years, then the sustainable option is to reuse that one. However, the last thing you want is for your backpack to give way when rushing across campus, so a new sturdier holdall may be necessary.

So without further ado, sit back and scroll on to browse the best backpacks for university. After all, a new life chapter calls for a new bag.

See below

Topping our list is Marc Jacobs’ logo-patch backpack. The ultimate cool-girl staple, the designer piece features top zip fastenings, a large main compartment to fit a laptop, a single top handle and adjustable shoulder straps wrapped up in a sleek, biker babe design.

A beautifully designed bag for a great price, Matt and Nat’s matcha-hued backpack is a refined option for fresh-faced students. Complete with a smooth top zipper closure, adjustable webbed straps and a front zipped pocket, the backpack can easily house a 13-inch laptop. The bag’s interior linings are crafted from 100 per cent recycled water bottles, adding a mindful touch.

Cult label Ganni does so much more than just pretty frocks. The brand’s recycled backpack is firmly on our wishlist and comes in two covetable shades of khaki and plum. Featuring adjustable shoulder straps, a top handle and front buckle fastenings, this eye-catching piece serves as a fun and seasonless staple. Front pockets and a foldover top culminate in a utilitarian-chic aesthetic.

A futuristic take on the classic rucksack, Arket’s multidimensional offering can be used as a tote, shoulder bag or backpack. The metallic nylon piece features shoulder straps that can be zipped away to form a hook-over shopper, a front and inner pocket and enough space to store a 15-inch laptop. Simply zip shut and sling on when heading out of the house.

Nothing says Nineties nostalgia like denim. Acne Studios’ faded denim backpack is an oh-so tempting choice. Showcasing suede-trimmed detailing, tan-toned extras and a bronzed buckle fastening, this smaller piece is ideal for those solely carrying a tablet or notebook.

Street style meets luxury in Stella McCartney’s logo backpack design for Adidas. A sporty black sling-on number reminiscent of Prada’s iconic drawstring silhouette, this piece is a subtle yet stylish choice for those with a penchant for hype items.

It further features a technical blend fabrication in a ripstop weave, adjustable twin shoulder straps, and a top handle with the brand’s logo. You will also find front and side zip pockets and a large compartment created from 100 per cent recycled nylon.

Checkerboard is having a moment, meaning this on-trend rucksack from Vans is a surefire hit. The playful print serves up Sixties mania with its earthy youthquake colourway. Featuring an interior laptop sleeve, a side water bottle pocket and padded shoulder straps, this Vans statement piece is the grooviest going.

Another alternative for Y2K aficionados, GAP’s denim backpack is an affordable piece packed with history. The high street brand has had the mother of all comebacks and has become ubiquitous across Depop and Vinted in the past year or so. Note that this is a smaller rucksack suitable for carrying mini laptops, iPads, notebooks and gym kits.

Minimalists will fall for Lululemon’s neutral backpack. The brand places comfort at the centre of all its designs, therefore it comes as no surprise that the Everywhere backpack, which offers a roomy main compartment, a frontal pocket and an interior laptop pocket, is a secure, subtle option.

Rains has curated a collection of bags to last the years. The brand marries sleek style with utilitarian design, which is demonstrated in the label’s ever-popular backpack.

A waterproof item perfect for students heading up north for a drizzly autumn, the streamlined backpack further showcases a large flap, a central strap and an internal laptop pocket. Other extras take the form of a spacious main compartment and a concealed pocket on the back.

When in doubt, look to Herschel. The iconic backpack brand is never short of easy-to-wear bags for men and women. This failsafe backpack is available in a variety of shades and has a lightweight ripstop material, adjustable webbed straps and pockets aplenty.

It’s rare on a university campus not to spot Dickies everywhere you look. The It-boy brand is always a winner, and this Lisbon backpack is built to withstand wear and tear. Made from a durable cotton twill, it also features a handy laptop sleeve, a water bottle pocket and a versatile sand hue.

Yet another must-have piece, Ralph Lauren’s distinctive backpack is perfect for picky sons, brothers and boyfriends. The preppy holdall is crafted from lightweight cotton and showcases leather zips, an interior laptop sleeve, the brand’s Americana logo and a useful front pocket for keys, phones and AirPods.

Telfar burst onto the fashion scene a few years ago and has since collaborated with brands such as Ugg. The label’s latest alliance is with Eastpak, the beloved backpack brand. Together, Eastpak x Telfar released the large shopper shoulder back which doubles up as a nifty backpack.

It has a unisex olive hue, a wipe-clean surface and adjustable straps. Plus, the side pockets, padded laptop pocket and removable shoulder-to-backpack straps aid with the all-around functionality of the chameleon carry-all.

For those with cash to splash, Paul Smith’s avant-garden nylon backpack would look great with an arts degree. Made from nylon twill, the striking bag has a design that is inspired by vintage tent fabrics. Aesthetics aside, it also features a top flat, a drawstring silhouette and clashing stripes that seamlessly contrast with a zesty lime green interior.

Quilting is always a win in our eyes. AllSaints’ gender-neutral quilted backpack not only looks great but also guarantees maximum comfort for the wearer. It is made with a super secure two-way zip, zipped pockets and a spacious design which can easily fit a large laptop.

Fallen prey to Gorpcore? We don’t blame you. The outdoorsy trend has clutched the fashion world, with brands such as The North Face soaring in popularity. This high visibility backpack is ideal for those cycling to university thanks to its bold hue, plus it has an array of useful assets. These include adjustable straps, a top handle, a snug padded back, an interior laptop sleeve and a nifty roll top.

What should you look for when buying a backpack for university?Space: Comfort: Style: