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College Backpacks & Bags

How To Choose A College Backpack

Your backpack is the one thing that stays with you almost all the time during college. The perfect pack feels good when you carry it, has easy access to essentials and makes room for everything you need during the day. You want it to be crafted of fabrics, colors and patterns that complement your favorite in-class looks, too. All in all, your college backpack does some heavy lifting, so it's worth it to choose one you'll love all year long.

Light and Strong

The first question you should ask yourself is, "Will this carry everything I need?" To get through a long day of classes, study sessions and meetings with friends or profs, your backpack needs to be both light and strong. If it isn't, you'll quickly find yourself dragging along a purse or gripping books in your arms. Don't worry about rips or tears; skip the drama and find a backpack that is crafted to last:

  • High-denier weaves for sturdy fabric
  • Water-resistant construction
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Leather or vegan leather trim
  • Zipper or clasps that close firmly
  • High-quality padding that stays put

These features help ensure that your backpack lasts. It can be fun to buy a couple of different packs before the semester begins or throughout the year for mixing and matching with outfits or to keep a crisp look at all times. Whatever you choose, however, should be designed to be with you for awhile.

Fitted to You

The comfort of your backpack is vital. Well-made backpacks allow you to carry weight in a balanced manner so that you don't yank muscles on one side or tax your spinal alignment. Whenever you carry a decent amount of weight around, all your joints help. That means even though you wear it on your back, your backpack can impact the alignment of your knees, hips and ankles, too.

 

Look for backpacks with easily adjustable shoulder straps. The shoulder straps should be padded for a sturdy cushiness that feels durable and comfortable when you wear your backpack. If you need to adjust your shoulder straps throughout the day, that should be easy, too. A simple tug on the straps should make your bag ride higher on your back. A quick finagling to run the strap backward through the strap buckles should loosen the straps. Once you've adjusted the pack where you want it, it should stay firmly in place until you adjust it again.

Pockets, Pockets, Pockets

How many pockets you need is up to you. Most college students like a few interior pockets, plus an exterior pocket. In the interior pockets, you can put items you need to grab quickly, but not necessarily frequently. Inside pockets might feature tiny, semi-circular pockets that hold pens, pencils and a stylus in place, so you don't have to dig for them when class begins. A zipper pocket is a great place to keep your wallet or keys secure, although some backpacks come with a key holder, too.

The exterior pocket is usually a simple square pocket that features either a zipper close or a flap close. If you need fast access, the kind with just a zipper is for you. If you need a little more security, the flap takes a little longer to open, but is better for preventing spills or pickpocketing. Some backpacks feature a zipper open but have a fabric tuck over the zipper--a simple way to split the difference if you're undecided.

 

Essential Space

Your final backpack check is to make sure it has space for everything you care about. If you can't get through the day without a laptop, select a backpack that has a padded laptop sleeve or divider. If you carry a laptop and a tablet, make sure the interior is roomy enough to fit both--an easy feat in today's tech-first world.

If you're a hydration junkie--and we all should be, especially when chugging through classes--an exterior water-bottle holder might be for you. That way, you can keep your water separate from the rest of your backpack's contents and forgo worrying about spills on any books or devices.

Whatever you need, walk yourself through your day while you select your backpack. That way, you know you're making an awesome choice to carry you through the school year or longer.

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