Best 2012 Back To School Backpacks

See our updated article for 2013 – The 20 Best Back To School Backpacks for 2013

It may seem like summer just started, but Back To School is already in full swing. With kids heading back between the middle of August and the beginning of September, parents everywhere are searching now for school supplies and deals. If you’re one of those parents and you’re still looking for a great backpack, help is here. Today we’re running through the best 2012 Back to School backpacks which include bags that have been top sellers year after year and bags that have received top ratings from our customers. Whether you’re looking for something basic or full of features, you’re sure to find the perfect pack in this list or in our school backpacks category on

JanSport SuperBreak JanSport SuperBreak: The SuperBreak is JanSport’s #1 selling backpack and with good reason. This basic pack is ideal for students of all ages and offers maximum versatility with its large main compartment and front utility pocket with organizer. This pack is especially known for the numerous colors it comes in every year. From basic black to bold solid red to lively patterns like Blinded Blue Hippy Skip (featured here), there’s a SuperBreak to suit every taste. This pack can also double as a day hiking pack, overnight bag, or even a carry on which makes it a true all-around everyday bag. See All Colors and learn more about this backpack.
The North Face Borealis The North Face Borealis: A perennial favorite, the Borealis is one of The North Face’s best selling laptop packs perfect for high school and college students. It was just updated this fall with a new design that includes an enhanced external look and feel plus a second integrated sleeve to accommodate a tablet. A large main compartment has a variable sized laptop sleeve, organization, and even a hydration port (should you want to use the pack for hydration purposes on the weekends). A secondary compartment feature organization and a front stash pocket keeps your essentials handy. Mesh side water bottle pockets will help you keep hydration handy while a stowable hipbelt, padded Airmesh back panel, and FlexVent injection-molded shoulder straps help support the load and keep you comfortable. There’s also a women’s specific version available (The North Face Women’s Borealis).
DAKINE Campus Pack LG DAKINE Campus Pack LG: DAKINE is not only a huge name in sports (especially winter sports), but is also one of the leading Back To School backpack brands out there. With a huge selection of packs for both men and women, their packs continue to be popular particularly among college students. The Campus Pack is a feature-rich pack which has everything you would want in a school backpack and more. It includes a padded sleeve that fits most 15″ laptops (although be sure to use our Laptop Bag Finder to make sure your specific device fits). Other features include an insulated cooler pocket, organizer pocket, fleece lined sunglass pocket, mesh side pockets, and a roomy compartment for all your books, binders, etc.
JanSport Big Student Pack JanSport Big Student Pack: Another best-seller from JanSport, the Big Student is just as the name suggests – big. It’s perfect for students who have to carry heavy loads. Two large main compartments offer versatile storage while a front gear pocket with audio electronics organizer keeps essentials handy. A cell phone pocket located on the top of the front side keeps your phone within reach and a stash pocket on the lower front side offers additional storage for small items. A fully padded back panel offers cushioning comfort making it easier to haul across campus. See all colors of the Big Student Pack and learn more.
High Sierra Access High Sierra Access: High Sierra is a brand well-known in the backpack space for their high quality bags designed for school, hiking, and more. The Access is a school backpack that packs in the features. A large main compartment has plenty of room for your books and notebooks. The padded interior laptop sleeve has a unique easy back access zipper that gives you access to your computer without having the open the main compartment. A hidden side water bottle pocket keeps hydration handy while a daisy chain allows you to attach additional accessories to the front of the pack. An organizer with zippered mesh pocket includes pen and card slots and a CD pocket with headphone port gives you an easy way to listen to your favorite tunes while walking to class. Finally, this pack includes features like a sternum strap and vented back panel that help you balance the load and keep cool.
The North Face Heckler The North Face Heckler: The Heckler is a versatile laptop backpack perfect for high school and college students. A large main compartment includes a padded laptop sleeve while the front panel compartment features organization and a front stash pocket. Mesh side water bottle pockets keep water handy while padded shoulder straps and back panel keep you comfortable. This pack can also double as a day hiking pack thanks to the hydration port.
DAKINE Academy DAKINE Academy: Nothing says school like a bag named “Academy”. This backpack, part of the DAKINE Women’s bag collection, is smaller than some of the huge packs we’ve featured above, yet it still has room for your books and a laptop (fits most 14″ laptops). An organizer pocket keeps small items handy while the insulated cooler pocket can help keep snacks cool. There’s also a sunglass pocket that’s plush lined to help prevent your lenses from scratching. The Academy is perfect for students who want a stylish bag, but don’t need an oversized pack for heavy loads.
adidas Hunter Pack adidas Hunter Pack: The Hunter Pack is perfect for tech-savvy students who want to carry their laptop, iPod, phone, and books all in one bag. There are two main compartments, a laptop sleeve for up to 15.4″ screen computers, a tricot-lined Media Safe pocket, and organization. Side water bottle pockets keep hydration within reach while LoadSpring shoulder straps and a padded back panel keep you comfortable.
JanSport Driver 8 JanSport Driver 8: Why carry when you can roll? The Driver 8 is JanSport’s best-selling wheeled backpack perfect for heavy loads you don’t want to carry on your back and shoulders. However, the bag does include tuck-away shoulder straps should you want to carry it as a backpack. 2 large main compartments offer storage for a variety of items including books, notebooks, and binders. A front gear pocket with organizer keeps your essentials handy while the side water bottle pocket ensures easy access to hydration. The single bar handle extends 22″ and inline skate wheels ensure stable, controlled motion.
High Sierra Chaser High Sierra Chaser: The Chaser is another versatile wheeled backpack perfect for wheeling around loads you don’t want to stress your back and shoulders with. Again, this pack includes tuck away shoulder straps should you want to carry it like a traditional backpack. A large main compartment can hold books, supplies, and even clothes which is ideal for students carrying gym clothes around with them. Corner guards and rub rails help protect the bag when you’re on the move while reflective accents provide night security. An open side pocket is ideal for a water bottle or other gear.
Written by Shari Mathias


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