Books, notepads, laptops, textbooks, etcetera and etcetera.
The amount of gear you have to haul around as a college student can be daunting. You need your computer, your smartphone, your chargers, your books, pens, paper, binders, highlighters – the list goes on.
Staying organized as a full-time student is a must. And having a bag that is easily accessible and comfortable is a bonus.
With all the bag options available, how do you choose what would work best for a busy day of rushing from class to class? There are dozens of brands and hundreds of bags to choose from – the decision can be overwhelming.
To help weed through the jungle of choices, we’ve researched three different types of bags which are commonly used on today’s college campus – backpacks, messenger bags, and cross-body bags.
Backpacks: A Classic College Students Can’t Go Wrong With
Backpacks are the staple of thousands of college students across the country.
The familiarity and ease of use that the backpack offers make it the go-to bag for a vast majority of students. With the roomy interior, diversity of compartment options and the convenience of simply slipping the two straps over your shoulders, it is often a no-brainer when shopping for the perfect bag.
The most popular choices often come with a spacious main compartment, ideal for toting multiple books, notepads, and even your afternoon snack. A water-bottle pouch is also a common feature, allowing you to stay hydrated throughout your busy day.
A downside of the average backpack is how heavy they tend to be.
Given their storage capacity, the tendency is to overload a backpack with too many items, which renders it very unwieldy. With large main compartments, it is very easy as well to get disorganized with a backpack.
Backpacks often do not offer great protection for your more valuable gear – it is easy for your laptop or smartphone to get dents and dings when tossed in with the rest of your school supplies.
To help you find the best backpack for you, we’ve provided resources that will help guide you and answer some of your questions about backpacks:
Messenger Bag: For the ‘Business Professional’ Crowd
If staying organized and protecting your expensive electronics is your main focus, a messenger bag may be the best option for you.
While offering less storage capacity, the messenger bag has surged in popularity in recent years.
The messenger bag is smaller than a backpack and designed to be carried on your shoulder, which can reduce the back strain that often accompanies the two-strap design of a backpack. Messenger bags offer a variety of style options as well, from a canvas utilitarian aesthetic to sleek upscale leather.
The most appealing perk of a messenger bag is the focus on transporting your laptop, tablet or smartphone securely. Most offer a padded laptop sleeve and various compartments to keep your devices safe and organized.
While you might not be able to carry as many items in your messenger bag, the items you do carry in them will always be shielded from wear and tear. Trying to lug around a lot of items in a messenger bag can be daunting, as they are designed to be carried on the shoulder – too many hours carrying a ton of books and devices can result in a lot of shoulder fatigue.
- Read our buying guide for messenger bags
Crossbody Messenger Bag: Bring a Casual Bag
If a backpack doesn’t appeal to you and a hands-free option is your cup of team, you might consider a cross-body messenger bag to stow your gear.
A cross-body tends to be the best of both worlds.
Most of them are medium sized bags, perfect for a textbook or two, your laptop and your smaller essentials. The straps are often padded and are designed to be slung across the chest for maximum comfort and portability. Like a traditional messenger bag, the cross-body is usually equipped with a laptop sleeve, inner compartments, and a closure flap to keep your belongings safe and sound.
These bags are usually lighter and easy to carry, which is a great option if you like to ride a bicycle or skateboard between classes. The smaller size does limit the number of items you can carry, which makes it less feasible if you have multiple classes for which you need a lot of supplies. The straps are generally adjustable, however, they aren’t always adaptable to every body type.
- See our crossbody style messenger bags
Why You Should Invest in a QUALITY College Bag
All three bags do a great job of getting all the things you need for your college classes from point A to point B.
A backpack lets you carry a large number of items, a messenger bag does a formidable job of protecting your devices, and a cross-body is the most comfortable option for your long walks between classes.
Depending on what feature is most important to you, one of these three options will fulfill your needs.