Do You Need A Backpack For College? (13 Quick Answers For Students!)

This is the most comprehensive online guide for male and female freshman and senior college students who are interested in learning everything about the right backpacks for college.

In this detailed guide, you’ll learn everything ranging from the best backpacks to use in college to why you need a backpack as a college student.

(Including lots of answered questions that hasn’t been answered on any website before.)

Let’s dive right in.

1. Do I need a backpack for college?

Yes, you need a backpack for college.

As a college student, if you have to carry your textbooks, notebooks, laptop, your sweater, and snacks, then a backpack is an essential part of your day-to-day dress code on campus.

2. What size backpack do I need for college?

Depending on what exactly you would need to carry on campus as a student, there are various backpack sizes to choose from.

However, here is the average backpack size for college students:

A backpack size of 25 – 32 liters is the ideal backpack size for any college student as you would want a backpack that is big enough to contain your textbook, notes, and laptop on campus.

3. What are the best backpacks for college students?

While there are numerous backpacks with unique features to choose from out there, as a college student you could get lost trying to pick the most ideal backpack for your college needs.

Here is a list of the best backpacks for every college student:

1. High Sierra Chaser Wheeled Backpack

Best budget wheel backpack for college

The High Sierra Chaser Wheeled Backpack is a multi-compartment wheel backpack with tuckaway straps and a padded grab handle for easy use.


  • Reduces back and arm pain considerably
  • Easy to carry
  • Lightweight
  • High quality
  • Stylish


  • Not enough compartments
  • Difficult to pack
  • Bad zippers

Buy from Amazon

2. FE Active CloudBreak Backpack

Best budget waterproof backpack for college students

The FE Active CloudBreak Backpack is made with marine-grade 5mm eco-friendly vinyl/tarpaulin, and is big enough to accommodate all the needs of a college student and more without having your notes wet even during the rain.


  • Large storage space 
  • Waterproof stylish design
  • Increased back support
  • Comfortable to wear


  • None

Buy from Amazon

3. Mancro Laptop Backpack

Best budget backpack with charger

The Mancro Laptop Backpack contains an external USB with a built-in charging cable for charging on the go, different compartments for every purpose, and has water-resistant polyester fabric to prevent your gadgets and materials, including your notes from getting wet.


  • Multiple compartments
  • USB charging feature
  • Sleek looking
  • Sturdy build
  • Comes with a lock


  • Bad zipper
  • Bo dedicated back padding
  • No dedicated laptop sleeve
  • No padded bottom panel

Buy from Amazon

4. Starter Backpack

Best budget backpack with laptop sleeve

The Starter Backpack has a well thought out interior and exterior design, containing different compartments, including a laptop sleeve for carrying any item to school easily.


  • Very spacious
  • Good build, and has quality material
  • Well though design
  • Lots of pockets


  • Not water resistant
  • Lower pocket beyond the reach

Buy from Amazon

5. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Best overall budget backpack for college

The Matein Travel Laptop Backpack comes with a separate laptop compartment, a large main compartment, external USB charging port, luggage strap, and antitheft zipper back pocket, and padding on the back, shoulder strap, and grab handle.


  • Lightweight 
  • Plenty of pocket space
  • Water resistant
  • USB charging port
  • Comfortable to carry


  • Straps not very secure
  • Bad zipper
  • No padding at the bottom

Buy from Amazon

6. What are some backpack options for girls in college?

For a female student in college, there are a variety of cute female bags to choose from that are suitable for your college needs.

Here is a list of cute backpacks for female college students:

5. What kind of backpacks do college students use?

For a college student, the needs of a backpack are different from a person that uses backpacks for hiking or other random purposes like travelling.

Therefore, an important feature that your backpack has to have for college as a student is the presence of a padded laptop compartment.

You also want to make sure your backpack is comfortable and easy to carry as youll be doing a lot of moving around between classes and hallways in college.

6. Should I get a backpack or tote bag for college?

A backpack is the most preferable option for college students.

While a tote bag is easier to sling over a shoulder, and can carry few notes as well as a laptop on campus, off campus, and even on weekends, it could cause a strain on the one shoulder where it is slinged over unlike a backpack, and isn’t as spacious or durable enough to handle all your college needs like a backpack can.

7. Do I need a backpack on the first day of college?

Yes, you will need a backpack on your first day of college.

On your first day of college, you will be required to carry along textbooks referred to in your course syllabus for specific classes, notebooks, some decent pens and pencils, your laptop, and a folder. A decent backpack would be necessary to be able to hold all these items.

8. What can I use instead of a backpack?

Even though a regular backpack is the most recommended carrier for college students, there are other alternative carrier options that would work just fine if you do not have so many items to carry.

Here are some of the other alternatives to a regular backpack:

  • Side bags
  • Tote bags
  • Messenger bags
  • Laptop sleeves
  • Laptop bags
  • Duffel bags
  • Saddleback bags
  • Shoulder bags

9. How do I choose the right backpack for college?

While there are lots of backpacks to choose from as a college student, you want to be able to make sure you are choosing the right backpack for your needs.

Here are certain things to consider before choosing a backpack as a student in college:

  • Your backpack purpose
  • Price range
  • The backpack size
  • The backpack looks
  • Weight of the backpack
  • Quality of the material used
  • The feel and comfortability of the backpack
  • Features present in the backpack

10. How often do college students use backpacks?

According to a Boston University study, over 79 million students in the united states use backpacks.

Some university students also claim that over 95% of students in their college use backpack, and the remaining 5% are girls who use bigger purses.

11. Does it hurt to wear a backpack?

According to a research carried out by Boston University, about 85% of college students report backpack related pain and discomfort in their shoulders, lower back, upper-middle back, and neck.

12. Do college students use rolling backpacks?

Yes, college students use rolling backpacks.

College students who have heavier than usual course loads, or those who just want to avoid backpack related pain and discomfort prefer to opt for rolling backpacks as compared to carrying regular backpacks.

13. Do I need a new backpack every year?

No, you do not need to get a new backpack every year as a college student. 

Most backpacks, unlike boots, are very durable and are built to last a very long time; Some, the entire duration of your 4-years in college, without being replaced.