What Kind of Bags Do University Students Use? Find Out!!

Students are fond of asking the question, what kind of bags do university students use? If you’re one of them, count yourself lucky to have found this article.

As students, it is very important to ensure that your academic materials are top-notch, solid, and highly durable. Having a bag is one of the most important items to get as a student. – That is where most of your items can be found.

When it comes to living the best college or university life, one essential item that students shouldn’t joke about is a reliable bag. A good bag not only helps your fashion sense but also carries everything you’ll need as a student needs to navigate through your academic journey. – From textbooks and laptops to stationery and personal belongings, the right bag can make a significant difference in a student’s daily routine.

University students usually find it hard to choose the best bag for their school, but in this article, I will make everything easier for you.  I will list out the various types of bags that university students use, their features, and their suitability for different needs.

What Kind of Bags Do University Students Use

What Kind of Bags Do University Students Use?

University students often choose between;

1. Backpacks

2. Messager bags

3. Tote bags

We’ll be looking at each and every one of the above and we’ll also be listing some of the very best of them.

1. Backpacks

University students often rely on backpacks as their go-to choice for carrying their belongings. Backpacks offer a perfect blend of style, functionality, and comfort. These bags come in various sizes, designs, and materials to cater to different preferences.

From sleek and minimalist designs to bold and trendy patterns, there’s a backpack to suit every student’s individual style.

Features of Backpacks

Backpacks for university students usually come with the following features:

1. Spacious Compartments:

Backpacks offer multiple compartments to organize books, notebooks, and other essentials efficiently.

2. Laptop Sleeve:

Many backpacks have dedicated padded sleeves to protect laptops and tablets.

3. Adjustable Straps:

Adjustable straps provide comfort and convenience, allowing students to customize the fit according to their preferences.

4. Water Bottle Holders:

Most backpacks have side pockets or holders to keep water bottles easily accessible.

5. Durability:

University life can be demanding, so backpacks made of durable materials like nylon or polyester are preferred for their long-lasting quality.

Pros and Cons of Backpacks

Backpacks offer several advantages and a few limitations as well:


  • Even weight distribution: Backpacks evenly distribute the weight across the shoulders and back, reducing strain on the body.
  • Hands-free: Backpacks keep both hands free, allowing students to navigate campus easily.
  • Versatility: Backpacks can be used beyond university life, making them a practical long-term investment.


  • Limited Formality: Some occasions may require a more formal bag, and backpacks may not always be the most appropriate choice.
  • Bulkiness: When heavily packed, backpacks can become bulky and less comfortable to carry for extended periods.

Top 3 Best Backpacks for College Students

1. Ronyes Unisex College Bag Bookbag

While in school, I used this backpack when I was a freshman in high school and I’m going into my fourth year of college. This backpack is incredibly durable and never took any damage and I was actually rough with it.

I’ll advise you to be cautious walking in the rain because even though the top flap absorbs a lot of water, it’s technically not waterproof and anything at the very top of your bag may get wet.

Nothing was ever damaged, though. The straps are comfortable. Magnets last a long time and are easy to reattach with the belt buckles. Love it and will recommend it too!

Features of this Bag

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable vintage backpack
  • Made of durable 600D Nylon Fabric
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Anti-tear
  • Anti Water Splashing
  • Comes with padded and adjustable shoulder straps
  • The pocket for the 13/14/15/16″ laptop is padded, as well as the front flap and back.
  • Sturdy
  • Comes with an external USB with a built-in charging cable offers convenient charging.
  • Ideal gift for school, travel, hiking, everyday use, and outdoor activities.
  • Value for money

What I Love About this Bag

I love that this bag held my work laptop, tons of notebooks and headphones, and many pockets to put things into. Fits on planes, great for travel. Very durable material. This backpack is what the photos say it will be.

Possible Downsides

None. But I will say I received the wrong color. I received the red bag when I wanted a black. I’m not mad about it though the red looks great!

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


2. COTS Laptop Backpack for Work, Unisex Business Travel Backpack

This is one backpack I absolutely love! The backpack has several compartments which makes it ideal for college and travel. I bought this for work originally, but now am also using it as my carry-on backpack for flights and college runs. It’s one of the most functional backpacks I’ve owned and it looks really stylish also!

The backpack fits my 56oz Yeti water bottle easily, my laptop, accessories, blanket, umbrella, and more. I’m really happy with the value and so is my boyfriend, as he’s stolen this twice now to use for travel. Will be purchasing another.

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My Ratings for this Bag:

Durability: 10/10
Style: 10/10
Functionality: 10/10
Value for Money: 10/10

Overall: 10/10 – Highly recommended for its exceptional durability and stylish design.

Features of this Backpack

  • Large Capacity – External dimensions(H*L*W): 16 x 11.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Lightweight
  • Has lots Of Storage Space
  • Durable Material
  • High-quality tear and water & stain resistant, ultra-durable, high-quality patented Filmpor fabric
  • Heavy-duty metal zippers
  • Enhanced by bar-tacks at major stress points provide long-lasting durability against daily activities
  • Airflow Back Design
  • Versatility Backpack
  • Value for money

What I Love About this Bag

I love this book bag. I can carry my heavy-ass laptop and everything else I need. it’d also be easy to clean.

Possible Downsides

None. I absolutely adore this backpack! It’s not too big and bulky (which was important to me) but it holds everything I need very efficiently and in an easily accessible way.

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


3. VASCHY Backpack for Men and Women

I get so many compliments on this backpack! The backpack is cute, easy to load up, and fits my laptop. I used this backpack for over six(6) semesters and a half in college, and it has held up very nicely!

I don’t have any issues with this backpack. No loose stitching, no holes, no bad wear patterns and there is virtually no graphite/ink staining on the inside which I was worried about as it is a light cream color.

The front of this backpack also has a large area where I can put pins on where the backings are protected from getting knocked off when I put things into my backpack. The wallet/phone pocket is also very handy and is reachable when you are wearing the bag. This backpack is superb!!

Features of this Backpack

  • Large capacity – 29x40x16cm/11.5×15.7×6.3
  • Cotton lining
  • Zipper closure
  • Vintage design
  • High quality
  • Water-resistant
  • Soft and durable Vinylon fabric.
  • Has a hand toting and adjustable backpack straps that make it easy and comfortable to carry.
  • Easy to organize
  • Comes with a secured back pocket
  • Comes with adjustable air mesh padded Reinforced Strap
  • Super comfortable breathable back panels
  • Comfortable
  • Value for money

What I Love About this Bag

I expected it to be lower quality but it works great. I take it everywhere.

Possible Downsides

None. I expected it to be lower quality but it works great. I take it everywhere

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


2. Messenger Bags: Stylish and Functional

University students looking for a more stylish alternative to backpacks often opt for messenger bags. These bags are known for their sleek and professional appearance, making them suitable for both academic and professional settings.

Features of Messenger Bags

Messenger bags typically offer the following features:

1. Crossbody Strap:

Messenger bags have a long crossbody strap that can be worn diagonally across the chest, ensuring weight distribution.

2. Laptop Compartment:

Most messenger bags come with a padded compartment to secure laptops and other electronic devices.

3. Easy Accessibility:

These bags often have quick-access pockets, allowing students to retrieve items without fully opening the bag.

4. Style Variety:

Messenger bags come in various materials like leather, canvas, or nylon, providing options for different styles and preferences.

Pros and Cons of Messenger Bags

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of messenger bags before making a choice:


  • Professional Appearance: Messenger bags add a touch of sophistication and professionalism to a student’s overall look.
  • Easy Access: The design of messenger bags allows students to quickly access their belongings without removing the bag.
  • Versatility: These bags can be used beyond the university setting, making them suitable for internships, job interviews, and other professional events.


  • Uneven Weight Distribution: Messenger bags are carried on one side of the body, potentially causing strain or discomfort over time.
  • Limited Storage Space: Compared to backpacks, messenger bags may have limited space for carrying bulkier items.

Best Messenger Bags for College Students

1. Kattee Military Messenger Bag Canvas Leather

This bag was a very pleasant surprise. It has a huge capacity for storage and is very strongly built. I got it for my son who works in the IT industry. This bag carries everything he would need for his job. He has more than enough space for a laptop, tablet, chargers, power bank, cables, tools, attachments, stationary and other paraphernalia.

The leather is “full grain” which is very tough. The zippers, stitching, clasps, and lining all appear to be heavy-duty.

Do you get all this for no more than the price of a pair of leather shoes? This bag is Amazing indeed!

Features of this Bag

  • Canvas
  • Imported
  • Strong
  • Durable – Made of thick high-density canvas and real cow leather will last years of unquestionable reliability
  • Vintage-style messenger bag
  • Can be used to carry an up-to-13.3/15.6-inch laptop conveniently
  • Secure design with magnetic fasteners outside and zippers closure inside, maximum security for valuables is guaranteed.
  • Great for work, travel, and camping & as carry-on luggage, for both men & women
  • Comes with a 1-Year Warranty
  • Super Quality
  • Value for money

What I love about this Bag

I love this bag because it was exactly what I was looking for. Large enough for a laptop and some books and the zipper is sturdy.

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Possible Downsides

None so far. I got the first one in 2018 a few months of using it, some of the stitching has been coming apart. The clasps on the strap don’t hold very well, so I had to contact the manufacturers immediately and they changed it. It’s over 2 years now and the bag has been good!

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


2. OIWAS Messenger Bag

I got this bag for my daughter and she absolutely loves this bag so much that it feels like a steal for the price I got it. She is a long-time Timbuk2 messenger bag user but from the look of things and how this bag has lasted with her, the functionality far exceeds our expectations.

She loves the color and, in fact, has purchased the same bag for three of her friends and loved ones. All feedback is the same- this bag is awesome!

Features of this Bag

  • Messenger bag for women/men
  • Size is 13.8″ L * 5.7″ W * 11.8″ H.
  • Weight: 1.3 lb.
  • Material: water-resistant polyester.
  • Capacity: 15 L.
  • It’s a unisex canvas shoulder bag ideal for work, short traveling, and daily use.
  • Large capacity-  Large enough to hold a 15.6-inch laptop, books, clothes, and other daily necessities. The inside bag has two elastic pockets on the side that can be used to place your umbrella and water bottle.
  • Anti-theif and safety
  • Comes with a soft padded shoulder strap
  • With a top handle take care of your carry comfortably.
  • Come with a reflective strip to make you safe at night.
  • Multi-functional – Perfect for business, work, and travel.

What I like about this Bag

I like that it’s so versatile you can use it not just to hold your laptop which I do to go to the library but I also carry books in it and clothes if I just need a few things it is very useful and I highly recommend it the purple color is beautiful.

Possible Downsides

None so far. Haven’t used it for too long. But so far, it’s been good.

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


3. Tote Bags: Fashionable and Practical

Another popular choice among university students is the tote bag. Tote bags are known for their simplicity, spaciousness, and fashion-forward designs. They are versatile and can be used for both academic and personal purposes.

Features of Tote Bags

Tote bags come with the following features:

  1. Large Open Compartment: Tote bags have a single large compartment that provides ample space for books, notebooks, and other essentials.
  2. Dual Handles: The bag’s dual handles make it easy to carry on the shoulder or by hand.
  3. Style Variety: Tote bags are available in various materials, colors, and patterns, allowing students to showcase their personal style.
  4. Lightweight: Tote bags are generally lightweight, making them convenient for everyday use.

Pros and Cons of Tote Bags

Before choosing a tote bag, it’s important to consider the pros and cons:


  • Style Statement: Tote bags offer a wide range of fashionable designs, allowing students to express their personal style.
  • Easy Organization: With a single large compartment, students can quickly organize and access their belongings.
  • Versatility: Tote bags can be used for various purposes beyond carrying books, making them a versatile choice.


  • Limited Security: Tote bags often lack zippers or closures, making them more vulnerable to theft or loss.
  • The strain on Shoulders: Carrying heavy loads in tote bags can strain the shoulders, especially if the handles are thin or non-padded.

Best Tote Bags for College Students

1. Vera Bradley Recycled Lighten Up Reactive Tote Bag

I used to work in a city and like a large bag for commuting. My last bag wasn’t cutting it so I went with this after lots of research and reading a ton of reviews.

This bag definitely lived up to my expectations. It holds everything I need, and as others have mentioned, there is even a place for an umbrella which is so helpful.

The zipper on this bag works perfectly fine, making it easy for me to grab my work ID when I get to my office and college. I also have gotten so many compliments on the design too.

Features of this Bag

  • 100% Recycled Polyester (RPET)
  • Imported
  • Polyester lining
  • Zipper closure
  • 21″ shoulder drop
  • Machine Wash
  • Recycled lightened up
  • Water-repellent fabric
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Soft to the touch
  • Hands-free commute – With a 10-inch strap drop & an additional 40-inch removable, adjustable strap, throw it on your shoulder or wear it as a crossbody, either way, you are hands-free to put all your attention on the adventure at hand – zip to close & keep your most important items securely protected so you can focus on conquering the day
  • Comes with three (3) interior slip pockets & 1 zip pocket, keep your daily commute thoroughly organized with style all over – toss in your lipstick & laptop & keep your protein bars separate from your pens
  • Comes with the following exterior features 1 zip pocket, 2 slip pockets, & 1 set of elastic straps – ideal for holding your yoga mat
  • Stylish
  • Sized right
  • Super Quality
  • Value for money
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What I love about this Bag

I love this lightweight and colorful Very Bradley bag. It has room for all my stuff and has a crossbody strap!

Possible Downsides

None. I don’t buy a lot of Vera Bradley, but this bag seemed perfect.

Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


2. TOPDesign Utility Water Resistant Tote Bag

This is another lovely tote bag given to me as a gift. The bag has lots of pockets. It also has room for everything I need and keeps it easily within reach.

The fabric is nice too.- Well-made. I bought the blue bandana pattern and the print is very pretty. I liked this bag so well that I also bought the butterfly print for my mom.

Features of this Bag

  • Polyester Fabric
  • Size: 14.5″ x 10.75″ x 6.5″
  • Weighs 12oz,
  • Lightweight
  • Made of high-strength outdoor polyester fabric with classic printing
  • Washable
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Durable.
  • Multi-Purpose
  • Comes with 8 exterior & 5 interior pockets, which can accommodate many scattered items
  • Comes with a double lining and it is able to be upright, with bottom cushioning. 
  • Can carry a 13″ laptop, stethoscopes, books, folders, and laundry to meet your maximum needs.
  • The bag is perfect for professional women, teachers, accountants, nurses, and students. It is a perfect purchase for yourself or as a gift.
  • Value for money

What I love about this Bag

I love that this tote helps me keep everything organized with all the inside pockets. I’ve used it for a couple of months and it has been holding up great! I took my wallet and essentials out of my purse and use the tote instead, fit my “brown bag” size lunch bag in it, water bottle, umbrella, and coffee cup without a problem.

With everything I carry around daily, this tote still has room and pockets available for extra things!

Possible Downsides


Where to Buy From

The best place to buy this bike is from Amazon. They’ve got this bike at the best price. They’ve also got a wonderful customer and delivery services.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are backpacks or messenger bags better for university students?

The choice between backpacks and messenger bags depends on personal preferences and specific needs. Backpacks are generally more spacious and distribute weight evenly, making them suitable for carrying heavy loads. Messenger bags offer a sleeker appearance and are ideal for students who prefer a more professional look.

Can tote bags accommodate laptops?

While some tote bags come with dedicated laptop sleeves or compartments, not all tote bags are designed to accommodate laptops. It’s important to check the bag’s specifications or look for laptop-friendly tote bags if carrying a laptop is a requirement.

Can I use a backpack for formal occasions?

While backpacks are versatile and practical for everyday use, they may not be the best choice for formal occasions. In such cases, opting for a messenger bag or a more formal briefcase would be a better choice.

What materials are best for bags used by university students?

Bags made of durable materials like nylon, polyester, or leather are preferred by university students due to their ability to withstand the demands of daily use. These materials offer longevity and ensure that the bags can withstand the weight of books and other essentials.

Can tote bags be washed?

Whether a tote bag is washable or not depends on the material it is made of. Canvas or cotton tote bags are generally machine-washable, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Tote bags made of leather or other delicate materials may require specialized cleaning methods.

Are there any eco-friendly bag options for university students?

Yes, many eco-friendly bag options are available for university students. These bags are typically made from sustainable materials such as recycled fabrics or organic cotton. Choosing eco-friendly bags can contribute to reducing environmental impact.


As a university student, choosing the right and perfect bag is an important decision. Backpacks, messenger bags, and tote bags are among the popular choices, students pick from, each of them offers its own set of advantages and considerations.

Your choice depends on your personal style, comfort, and the specific needs of the student. By considering the above-listed bags, and looking at the features, pros, and downsides of each type of bag, you can find the perfect bag that combines functionality, style, and durability to accompany them on their academic journey.

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