Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as obsessive (in the best way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And whilst we’ve covered back-to-school essentials before, including the best water bottles and the best pens, here we’ve rounded up the best backpacks, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall backpack
With 82 percent of reviews awarding it a full five stars, this backpack from Eastpak was the top-rated option. Reviewers especially liked how versatile the backpack was, thanks to its 15-plus-inch size, water-repellent material, and multiple pockets. Twelve reviewers say that the bag is an ideal size for daily use, able to fit a laptop, books, and brollies (and even a meal deal, according to one keen reviewer). Another reviewer remarked on the amazing quality of the bag — he found that despite having been frequently flung around, the bag was not only dirt-repellent (cutting down on laundry), but scratch-repellent, too.
Customers were also fans of the various patterns available to buy, such as one lady who purchased two extra options — a tropical pattern and a plain black — after receiving copious compliments on her vibrant yellow backpack. As for durability, several customers reported that their bag had lasted well over five years, with one customer claiming that his was still going strong after 15 years of usage. Another customer concluded that the bag was simply indestructible.
Best-rated less-expensive backpack
This backpack from Puma is less than half the price of the best-rated overall option. With three separate compartments — the largest big enough to fit school books and the smallest ideal for storing a bag for life — the bag helps keep items organised. It also has an outer mesh pocket, which, according to five reviewers, is perfectly water-bottle-size. As well as for school, reviewers identified the bag as ideal for the gym, cycling, or even just nipping to the shops.
Best-rated backpack for secondary-school students
This simple backpack from Vaschy comes highly recommended; almost 80 percent of its reviews are five stars. Eighteen reviews call the bag the perfect size, with one customer defining the metric as being suited to store an A4 folder and a lunch bag. The material of the backpack is waterproof, which means no more soggy homework, according to one reviewer. Overall, most reviewers hinted toward the bag being more suitable for younger students, with 21 specifically calling the backpack a “book bag” in their reviews. It’s worth mentioning that two reviews remarked that the bag wasn’t equipped for handling heavier items such as laptops.
Best-rated backpack for university students
This Jansport backpack has an average rating of 4.7 stars — and over 80 percent of its reviews are five stars. One reviewer said that he wouldn’t ever consider buying a different backpack — after lasting for the entirety of high school (an impressive seven years), he’d stuck with the Jansport for university. The bag has 16 styles to choose from, making it an ideal option for those wanting a bag to suit their taste. Additionally, the ergonomic design of the Jansport straps makes lugging heavy books and a laptop less of a (literal) pain, according to 23 reviewers.
Best-rated status backpack
Of the 10,000 reviews written about this backpack, 80 percent are five stars. Whilst Kanken’s bags are available in various sizes, this standard 16-litre option has proven particularly popular. One reviewer found the bag could comfortably store a purse, phone, laptop, lunch bag, and various miscellaneous items (see: a Chilly’s water bottle). Several others also called the backpack a perfect size for everyday use, and were fans of the versatility that the tote-bag handles provided. When not in use, the bag flattens easily so it can be stored away without fuss, according to 17 reviews. Although on the (much) pricier end of our roundup, six reviewers said that the bag was undoubtedly worth the money, and four said that they wish they’d simply bitten the bullet and bought one years ago.
Best-rated stylish backpack
This stylish backpack with a leatherlike finish has a stellar 4.4-star average rating from 4,899 reviews. One customer found the bag to be far more durable than initially thought; she reported no wear and tear after a year of steady usage. Twenty customers were pleased with the size of the bag, including one new mother who wielded it as a stylish nappy bag.
Best-rated hiking backpack
Whilst we’ve written about expert- recommended hiking backpacks before, this Trespass backpack was the top-rated by reviewers. With a 30-litre capacity, durable material, and various pockets and pouches, the bag is suitable for hiking, camping, and even the daily commute to work, according to one reviewer. Over 200 reviews remarked on the amazing value for the money of the bag, with one reviewer saying it performs just as well as bags double the price. Vigorous zippers do beware, however, as various reviewers mention that the zip on the front pocket has a tendency to jam.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.