Every girl needs a good backpack for school that helps keep her organized, is sturdy enough to hold heavy textbooks, plus a laptop and extras. Even though it is an everyday essential, there is no reason that it has to be ordinary. With endless options, it’s easy to find a bag (and even customize one) that matches her unique style and lets her pack more into her day 24/7.
We asked our Grown and Flown community for their recommendations of the most popular backpacks for teenage girls in high school and college. Continue reading below for our round-up.
Top backpacks for college and high school girls
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We’re big fans of the stylish and practical variety of Herschel’s backpacks. Their signature pack is Little America, with its iconic mountaineering style that has been made modern for everyday use. Classic features include the striped liner, a padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve, drawcord closure, and internal pockets. We also love that they offer a fully customizable option for her to mix and match colors and straps.
Whether she is only hitting the books (and maybe the trails or gym afterward), the orth Face Pivoter will have her covered. This latest version of this updated back-to-campus pack was designed with the help of students to give it a fresh aesthetic. Look for molded shoulder straps, a padded laptop sleeve, a huge main dedicated compartment that holds all the notebooks and binders needed for a day, plus two external pockets for water bottles.
You know they never wear out if your teen (or you!) has ever owned a JanSport backpack. They’ve been making their iconic bags since 1967 and the JanSport Right Backpack is the classic with its recognizable suede bottom. The model has improved over the decades and is now available in more than 20 attractive colors. The best part? The warranty. If her pack ever breaks you can return it to their Warranty center. If they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it. And, for that, they get an A+ for customer service.
For girls who know and love Lulu Lemon apparel, there is good news: they make bags and they are just as stylish. Their aptly named Everyday Backpack is perfect for life on the go, from the gym to the classroom and everywhere in between. With plenty of pockets, including an exterior one for a 16″ laptop, and inside ones for the rest, this is a smart-looking bag that comes in a handful of sleek colors.
L.L. Bean backpacks are known for being versatile, ultratough, perfect for school but also great for the outdoors and travel. The Super Deluxe Backpack has earned hundreds of 5-star customer reviews, and with, plenty of room, this is the ideal size for high school and college girls who need just a little more space and are in the market for a larger backpack. All of the bags are made with adjustable straps and weatherproof nylon. Rain or shine, this is a can’t miss.
Patagonia is known for giving back to the planet and for its high-quality gear. And their backpacks are no exception. The Chacabuco is fit specifically for women and is a perfect fit for the girl who is on the go, whether on campus or in the great outdoors. There is a roomy main compartment as well as a laptop compartment, plus, an easy access stash compartment for sunglasses or headphones. Two bonus side pockets and an elastic cord for a sweatshirt or yoga mat make this an all-around workhorse.
The classic Kanken Backpack becomes a computer bag with the 15″ Laptop Backpack. Padded pockets will keep computers protected and the padded shoulder straps and top handle make this a convenient carry-all. With 17 eye-catching colors to choose from, this is an unmistakable brand with a one-of-a-kind look thanks to its distinct boxy style and reflective logo patch.
If you are looking for a sporty, affordable bag, the Amazon Basics Backpack will carry her load and is anything but basic. This stylish go-to features a main pocket with a soft-lined laptop sleeve, a small padded pocket for school essentials, as well as a small front pocket to keep items separated. There are eight eye-popping colors to choose from, all made from 100% polyester, with a tough, abrasion-resistant bottom.
Count on Nike to up the backpack game and live up to its brand reputation with the One Lux. With specialized pouches for laptops, workout gear, and other essentials, there is plenty of room. Plus, the sleek, water-repellent design expands to carry more and boasts travel-friendly details like an over-the-handle sleeve that attaches to rolling luggage and the dedicated compartment for ID cards and passports.
We’re including the Squad Backpack from Adidas on our cute school supplies list. The light blue version caught our eye along with these unique features: the bags are made from 100% recycled polyester, are wipeable for easy spot cleaning, and come with a removable pencil case, and lifetime warranty. These extra details give it extra points on our list of teen girl backpacks.
11. Vera Bradley
Vera Bradley’s motto is to make being busy beautiful and their backpacks live up. We especially love the XL Campus. We’re partial to the performance twill which is water repellant and available in a few patterns that make for a cheerful floral backpack. Besides the basics, we appreciate these extras: a pass-through sleeve that makes it easy to attach to a roller suitcase, a large slip pocket (perfect for a tablet) as well as a front pocket with dedicated compartments for pens and an ID.
Vans has been making their sneakers and trendy products since 1966. They’ve expanded their surf and skate gear to include backpacks and the In Session covers all of the critical functions that we would expect. Our favorite features: the same checked pattern found on their iconic sneakers is also found on the inside liner and the understated Vans logo on the outside compartment makes this bag a subtle advertisement for the brand.
The Renew 15 Inch Transit has a sleek, minimalist vibe that looks cool even in the hot, early campus days of August. With covered zippers, subtle colors, and all of the necessary compartments, the sophisticated styling makes this an upgrade from any bag that she might have carried in middle school.
Backpacks aren’t just for hauling books. Enter the City Pack Mini from Kipling. This lightweight bag (less than a pound) is perfect for life outside of the classroom when she just needs to tote a handful of essentials.
Browsing Society6 makes for happy shopping. With hundreds of patterns to choose from, each bag features a unique design made by their artist community in the United States and from around the world. Every adjustable strap backpack is made from a durable canvas-like fabric and comes with two pockets.
16. State Bags
The Kane Double Pocket Large is simple, cool, with all of the features she will need and nothing extra. With 6 muted colors to choose from and water-resistant fabric, this is an elegant bag that makes a fashionable statement. Plus, we LOVE the philanthropic mission of State bags which you can learn more about here.
17. Dagne Dover
The Neoprene may be on the smaller side but it packs a big punch with its water-resistant fabric and modern design. Ideal for balancing what she needs to carry for classes and fun (hence the large main compartment and a separate pouch for workout gear), this bag gets rave reviews (more than 1,500 of them).
We love Himawari and we’re not the only ones. Many of the color combinations of the College Vintage Travel Bag for Women are sold out, but they are so cute that it’s worth the hunt. Made from high-quality, scratch-resistant nylon, these backpacks have four inside small pockets (including 2 zippered ones) and a padded sleeve. They are practical, adorable, and affordable.
Your girl can gear up for adventures of all kinds with the aptly named Gear Up from Pottery Barn. Honoring the company’s commitment to sustainability, the bag is made from 100% recycled water-resistant polyester. These good-for-the-planet, good-looking packs have unique features like a cell phone holder and two D-rings in the front and back to hold a water bottle or keys. There are almost a dozen patterns to choose from in the XL size, including this amazing glow-in-the-dark Harry Potter pack, which is one of the roomier bags we’ve seen. Plus, monogramming!
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