The 8 Best Backpacks to Buy in 2018

Tote your gear with style and ease

Tourist with backpack walking on Regent Street in London, UK
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Herschel Supply Co.'s Pop Quiz Backpack

    This classic backpack from Herschel Supply Co. built a solid reputation that backs up its good looks. There’s a lot to love about Herschel backpacks. These quality-made bags combine the classic, timeless look with modern practicality. The internal mesh organizer, key clip, and padded laptop sleeve provide the organization inside. And the extra cushion on the Pop Quiz backpack keeps your equipment protected when toting your computer across town. This medium-sized option works perfect for a kid's school backpack, but doesn't have the space for extended overnight trips. Offered in an abundance of color combinations, some that include a faux-leather bottom (which looks great, but may peel over time), this durable backpack is perfect for anyone needing grab-and-go style.

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: AmazonBasics Classic Backpack

    The AmazonBasics Classic Backpack proves that a back-to-school pack doesn’t have to cost a bundle. This budget-friendly option boasts three zippered compartments (including the main center section of the bag) and two side pockets with Velcro closures. For extra comfort, this version offers a padded back panel and generously padded shoulder straps. Purchasers had minimal expectations for this economical bag but were pleasantly surprised by both its capacity and its durability to withstand conditions. Yes, you may be able to find a cheaper backpack still, but you'll be giving up both space and quality materials. This classic backpack is easy on the wallet, competes with some of the biggest brand names, and holds up to any task asked of it. 

  • 03 of 08

    Best Purse Hybrid: Michael Kors Rhea Zip Backpack

    Michael Kors Rhea Zip Backpack
    Courtesy of Macy's

    If you want the hands-free functionality of a backpack, combined with the stylish good looks of a designer handbag, go with the Michael Kors Rhea Zip Backpack. This medium-sized backpack is just shy of 12-inches tall and perfectly proportioned for most women. Made from genuine leather and available in two shades—pink or classic black—this luxury tote looks like a high-end purse but has the comfort of a thoughtfully designed pack. Two front zippered compartments and a main zippered center pocket keep all your essentials organized and ready to go. And the adjustable straps allow it to fit any torso length. This Michael Kors luxury leather backpack makes a stylish work bag  (but don’t expect your laptop to squeeze inside) or weekend shopping bag.

  • 04 of 08

    Best Basic: FJÄLLRÄVEN 'Kånken' Water Resistant Backpack

    Courtesy of Nordstrom

    This iconic Scandinavian backpack has been making its rounds in the fashionable set since the 1960s. Its basic design accommodates everything you need to carry — books, lunch or travel supplies all in its slim profile.  You can choose from dozens of colors to find the right match for you.

    For those who need to carry a laptop, this bag will fit most 13" models with its boxy construction. It also has a handle on the top of the pack so you can carry it like a briefcase when you want to give your shoulders a break. Plus, it's water resistant which will keep all your goods secure and dry if a rainstorm appears out of nowhere. 

    If you are looking for a simple design that makes a style impact this is the backpack for you. They have a few different models to suit all of your needs. 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Laptop Backpack: Kopack's Slim Laptop Backpack

    Kopack's Slim Laptop Backpack tops the charts for toting technology safely. This laptop backpack is thoughtfully designed with the commuter in mind. The water-resistant exterior protects the contents inside and the USB charging cable adds easy access to power outlets. It features two separate main compartments—one that sits against your back for a laptop, and the other for on-the-go accessories. This computer-minded backpack will fit a laptop up to 15.6 inches in size, which is adequate enough to fit most traditional laptop computers. What sets Kopack's laptop backpack apart from competitors is its four-tooth zipper that resists punctures and can be locked for extra security. Purchasers also enjoy the slimmer profile of this pack over other heavy-duty laptop backpacks. But don’t feel like you have to compromise on storage to get it. Many people use Kopack's Slim Laptop Backpack to carry multiple laptops, chargers, external hard drives, and more.

  • 06 of 08

    Best for Men: CoolBELL Convertible Backpack

    It's a backpack. No, it's a briefcase. Wait, it's both! Men will appreciate the versatility of the CoolBELL Convertible Backpack. This simple, yet sophisticated backpack can transition from a hands-free pack, to a briefcase, and back in no time. This bag is perfect for the guy that wants to switch from "work-mode" to "go-mode" or for bicycle commuters who don't like squirrelly messenger bags. It's also popular with men in the construction trade, as it functions as a field bag for keeping equipment and technology clean and protected. But be careful of the weight of your load. While the majority of users are happy with this convertible backpack, a few noted trouble with the straps tearing off, due to overloading. If you’re looking for a man's backpack that is practical and also masculine, it’s hard to beat CoolBELL's two-in-one design.

  • 07 of 08

    Best for Toddlers: Skip Hop Zoo Kids Backpack

    For a kid-friendly backpack that houses the essentials in a fun design, the Zoo Kids Backpack is a runaway winner. This compact kid’s backpack comes in more than twenty-four designs, each featuring a cute animal face. It's small enough for pint-sized people, but also fits a surprising number of items, too. Little ones can easily open the backpack’s oversized zipper pulls and the mesh side pocket can hold a water bottle or a sippy cup for easy access. It's also lined with an easy-to-clean phthalate-free interior. Pack it for daycare with a change of clothes, small toys, a snack, and diapers. But don't expect to squeeze in a standard-sized notebook. Because of its shape and small size, Skip Hop's backpack is great for toddler-aged kids, but not well suited for school-age children.

  • 08 of 08

    Best for Travel: eBags' TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

    The Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Backpack suits any weekend adventure or trans-continental trip. This backpack is thoughtfully designed with the traveler in mind and has plenty of options to make both packing and carrying stress-free. Inside the pack are foldout dividers in the main compartment to organize your goods. A large mesh pocket on the top of the backpack adds more space for packing and compressing. And the expandable zipper and compression straps allow you to add 10 percent more space to the bag, while still keeping the profile slim and compact. On route to your destination, you’ll appreciate the padded straps and additional waist belt that make this backpack comfy on your back. But if you decide to carry it duffel-bag style instead, just stow the straps behind the zippered panel and clip on the shoulder strap. Purchasers claim this is the only travel bag you’ll ever need.