I just did the math: Over the course of the past 12 years, I've tested 67 different backpacks! This year with the help of local students, teachers, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, two doctors, a nurse and three interns in college - we have a winner.
Before we get to the best backpack we tested for back to school, the big question is what sets a good backpack apart from a bad backpack?
While any backpack can look fashionable the best backpacks have special attention paid to the straps and weight distribution.
Click the play button to see our favorite backpack in action.
Many of the top-rated backpacks including our favorite listed below incorporate a better weight distribution system. The average weight of a physics textbook is 5 pounds. Imagine several textbooks and a laptop.
The best backpacks also have as much exterior consideration poured into the interior. Last year I put light bulbs and wine glasses into a backpack compartment designed to protect an iPad or laptop. I dropped a wood brick on the backpack and the wine glasses and light bulbs survived.
In other tests, we dropped 25 pound weights from a ladder in to the backpack of someone under 105 pounds of weight. The top performing High Sierra backpacks provided the least amount of jolt. (Swiss Gear backpacks also performed really well).
Good backpacks generally have a lifetime or limited lifetime warranty. The bad ones and knock-offs rarely make it through one semester.
From the well-being of your back to that same level of protection for the content inside the backpack, of all the backpacks on sale today, here is our no. 1 pick:
63% Off High Sierra Access Backpacks + Limited Lifetime Warranty + Free Shipping
- High Sierra is made by Samsonite and backed by a limited lifetime warranty
- Fully padded laptop sleeve fits most laptops / tablets up to 17"
- 93% positive review ratings following purchases
- Adjustable side compression straps protect shoulders
- Adjustable sternum strap helps distribute weight
- Deluxe AIRFLOW back panel protects tech / contents
- Mesh padded grab handle with rip resistant materials
- Tuck away rain cover
- Pocket organizers with key fob
- Mesh beverage pocket / water bottle carriers
- Special shoulder straps with suspension system
- Multiple zippers and compartments
- Great for commutes and an ideal briefcase alternate
- Ideal for college, middle school and students of all ages
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