15 Things To Lookout For When Purchasing A New Backpack

Finding the perfect backpack can be hard with so many unique backpacks. It makes it even harder when each backpack comes with different features. That’s why CollegeTechBits has done the research and has found 15 things that you should look out for when purchasing a new backpack.

What makes a backpack great for college? We recommend looking for something comfortable, light, and efficient in the way it stores your items. With so many different brands and price points, even finding backpacks that fall into those 3 categories can be frustrating. Thanks to CollegeTechBits we have created a list of things to look out for when buying a new backpack below.

1. Laptop Sleeve

We put this one first on our list because of how many college students now carry laptops around campus. You want a backpack the can protect and secure your laptop. Look for a backpack that has a laptop sleeve that is wide enough to hold your laptop. Most laptops are around 15 inches but be sure to check your own laptop size before purchasing a backpack. The last thing you want is a backpack that can’t hold your laptop which would make your arms very sore.

2. Weight

Weight is a common thing students think about with backpacks because of all the heavy textbooks they are lugging around. It’s best to pick a backpack that adds the least amount of weight to your back. You do have to be careful that you don’t sacrifice too much weight because that leads to less durable backpacks that tear easier.

A good rule to thumb to follow is the textbook check. Place a large textbook in your backpack and see if the corners of the textbook poke through the mesh. If the corners show through, then the backpack is too thin and you should get a different one.

3. Straps

Finding the ideal straps is very hard a really depends on your size. We recommend getting straps with padding as this reduces the stress on your shoulders and makes the backpack more bearable. You do sacrifice a little weight with this approach but we feel it is worth it. There are also different types of straps like the classic double strap on each shoulder and for the most part, should be what you look out for. If your a big fan of shoulder bags, make sure you get a bag that has good padding.

4. Size

Backpack size should also be considered when purchasing a new backpack. The size of your backpack comes down to the items you’re going to carry in it. Most backpacks are sized between 21 to 30 liters big, making them big enough to hold most things without being too large. We recommend that you look for a backpack-sized that big unless you absolutely need more space. Keeping your backpack size down will result in less weight and a more pleasant experience.

5. Comfort

Making sure your backpack comfortable is a must. Knowing that you’ll be using your backpack every day for extended periods of time, finding something that is cozy is key. Padding will be your friend providing you comfort. When looking at padding make sure that the material is breathable. This will help reduce heat around the contact areas resulting in you sweating less. Look for padding on the shoulders and back for the most comfort.

6. Support

Backpacks that don’t have much support will often slip off your shoulders or result in back problems. Finding a backpack that fully supports you will fix any problems with discomfort. A good thing to look out for is how wide the straps are on your backpack. Having thinner shoulder straps will have less weight distribution and result in more pressure on your shoulders. This often makes people lean forward resulting in bad posture which can strain your back.

Weight distribution can also be a problem with the support of the backpack. If the weight is not evenly distributed through the backpack users will have to balance the weight on their back. This causes uneven pressure on the shoulders making it very uncomfortable.

7. Features

Backpacks have lots of pockets and zippers on them to store your valuables. Sometimes those pockets can become obnoxious when you can’t find your chapstick. We recommend getting just enough pockets for storage without being overkill. Other cool features include a built-in cooler, headphone port, and even a USB hub to charge your phone. It comes down to what you’ll actually need and use. The more features you get the more expensive the backpack becomes.

8. Organization

Being able to organize your things is very important and will make your schoolwork a lot easier. Having a backpack that has organizational elements built-in will help. Some of these could be a file system to hold your notes and papers. A pencil holder is also very nice resulting in fewer broken lead pieces in the bottom of your backpack. A place to put a water bottle is also a great addition and most students will find a use for it.

9. Apperance

No one wants an ugly backpack that looks big and clunky. You want your backpack to express who you are and what you do. If you’re an engineering student you want to make sure your backpack looks professional and has the space to take on any math problem. Others will enjoy a backpack that matches their outfit and will grab the attention of someone special.

10. Durablity

Getting a backpack that is durable will save you a lot of money in the long run. Most people only purchase one backpack for their college career and so should you. Having a backpack that can take some abuse being tossed around and being crammed with your textbooks is great. Finding a backpack that is durable will provide you with a product that will last the test of time.

11. Machine Washable

It’s a hard truth that most people don’t admit to is how dirty their backpacks are. Getting a backpack that is machine washable will let you toss it in the washing machine with no problem. Other people who aren’t graced with that benefit will find themselves clothing wiping their backpacks to remove the dirt and grime. Buying a backpack that is machine washable will save you a lot of time cleaning your backpack and make your life a lot easier.

12. Warranty

Popular backpacking companies will offer you a warranty when buying their products. Having the reassurance that if something goes wrong with your backpack that it will be fixed or replace is very nice. I remember when my Jansport backpack’s zipper broke and I sent it in for free and a week later it came back fixed! Purchasing a backpack that has a warranty is great and should be a priority for any student looking for a new backpack.

13. WaterProof

Some backpacks are made of materials that are waterproof or water-resistant. This can be very important for any student who walks through the rain a lot to campus. Knowing that your textbooks aren’t getting soaked in the rain is a good feeling. Look out for waterproof backpacks if you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall.

14. Carry Capacity

Most backpacks have a weight limit before they begin to tear. This can be a good indicator of how durable the material of the backpack is. If you want to lug around a bunch of rocks make sure your backpack is rated to do so. Ignoring the weight limit can lead to a broken backpack that won’t be covered by the company warranty. Be mindful of what the weight limit is on your backpack.

15. You

The last and final thing you should know before you buy a backpack is you. What we mean by this is you need to be mindful of what is important to you. If your looking for something to carry your laptop then a shoulder bag will serve that purpose a lot more than a bulky backpack. It really comes down to what you want and what you’re looking for.


Finding the perfect backpack is very important for the busy college student. Having something that is comfortable, durable, and looks good while carrying your things is important. Most of all understanding what you need a backpack for will help you find the optimal backpack for you. Hopefully, our 15 things helped spark some ideas and things to look out for.


I'm a college student just like you. I want to know what the best tech is so I can be successful at college.

Recent Posts