A new backpack is arguably the most important back-to-school purchase of all. Not only does it have to hold a day’s worth of supplies, snacks, and tech, but it should align with your personal style. The perfect backpack completes your outfit from the classrooms to the coffee shops, and does not leave you angrily shoving and/or searching for homework. We’ve put together eight backpacks with equal parts style and function, and not a single price tag above $80. Shop smart, and your backpack will carry you for years to come.
Classic Kånken by Fjallraven Kånken ($80)
The Kånken may have its ultra-mainstream moments (thinking of you, VSCO girls), but this clean-cut silhouette will never go out of style. While the roomy classic size offers 58 colors, from subtle neutrals to eye-grabbing brights, nothing gives “main character” energy quite like the primary yellow hue.
Waterproof MSN Bag by RAINS ($80)
This sleek monochrome bag is a wardrobe staple, with or without any school supplies inside. Not only does this backpack go with literally any outfit, but it’s waterproof — keeping your laptop safe from unexpected storms, sprinklers, and every coffee spill in between.
Drawstring Backpack by Baggu ($46)
The cow print trend shows no signs of slowing down. This adjustable drawstring bag comes loaded with storage compartments, ideal for squeezing in unexpected projects or gym gear (or takeout boxes). Best of all, each backpack is made from 65 percent recycled cotton.
American Apparel Denim Backpack ($37)
This American Apparel backpack ruled every school hallway of the 2010s, and for good reason — because what’s more versatile than denim? The classic backpack silhouette, in light-wash denim, turns a back-to-school basic into anything but.
Lefrik Classic Backpack ($60)
This Lefrik bag is so stylish, you’ll hardly remember it’s made of trash. Each backpack is made from recycled plastic water bottles, with a muted design that gives any outfit a subtle pop of color. The interior is equipped with plenty of storage pockets, including one for your laptop and one for your (hopefully reusable) water bottle.
Nike Heritage x Space Jam Backpack ($60)
Whether Michael Jordan or Lebron James comes to mind, Space Jam is a pop culture legacy worth wearing. This Nike collab backpack keeps the cartoon references low-key, making it a conversation starter that still blends into any ‘fit.
Padded Double Bag by Eastpak ($65)
With a rectangular shape and two front pockets, Eastpak’s classic silhouette definitely gives the most storage for your buck. Despite being roomy, the monochrome design and subtle logo keeps this backpack sleek and outfit-friendly.
City Backpack by Herschel ($60)
A hidden pocket and expandable sides give this buckled bag a surprising amount of storage, while its minimal design is ideal for transitioning between classes and internships.