9 Awesome Backpacks for Medical School (+ Reviews)

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Are you in already in medical school or enrolling soon? Whether you’re training to be a doctor, nurse, or technician, it’s important to have a quality backpack for medical school that not only supports your back but also carries all of your materials.

Related: 53 Current Medical School Scholarships

In this guide we’ll be reviewing some of the best backpacks for medical students based on what’s on the market currently + some features you should consider when buying.

In a hurry?  Here are our top 3:

Preview
Most Secure
XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...
Best Overall
The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...
Most Stylish
KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...
Model
XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...
The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...
KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...
Prime?
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Price
$95.00
$129.97
$39.99
Most Secure
Preview
XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...
Model
XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...
Prime?
Price
$95.00
Purchase
Best Overall
Preview
The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...
Model
The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...
Prime?
-
Price
$129.97
Purchase
Most Stylish
Preview
KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...
Model
KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...
Prime?
Price
$39.99
Purchase

Best Backpacks for Med School


Water-Resistant School Backpack by Vancropak

Backpack,Travel Laptop School Backpack with USB...

Overview

The Vancropak is a great all-around bag for both med school and college and is made of a high-quality and water-resistant canvas with a lining in the bag for extra durability.

It’s designed to be multi-functional and contains several pockets which allow you to store books, medical school laptops and study materials with ease.  There is even a USB port that easily allows you to charge your devices without opening the bag (requires battery pack).

When it comes to the construction, the canvas material ensures you will be coolers and drier longer than your med school counterparts while the wide shoulder straps will keep your back from crying uncle.

What We Like

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Lightweight
  • USB port for charging
  • Smooth zipper

What We Don’t Like

  • Smaller than average
  • Port requires portable charger

Best for: Day to day usage with minimal commute

Backpack,Travel Laptop School Backpack with USB...
  • External USB charging port: classic USB backpack...
  • Multifunctional structure: The student laptop Book...
  • Superior material: Water resistant canvas with...

1900 Scansmart Laptop Backpack by Swissgear

The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...

Overview

Made of sturdy/water-resistant polyester, this Scansmart Laptop Backpack is designed to withstand heavy-duty use and harsh conditions like heavy rains.

Complete with pockets galore, there is ample space to store both your laptop (with padded slot) and your odds and ends like water bottles, notebooks and easy access through the U-zip compartment.

Also, this one of the few med school backpacks that can accommodate a 17in screen, so if you’re rocking a larger-than-normal laptop this is the bag for you!  Plus, the laptop storage area opens quickly making it easy to navigate the TSA and noisy airport staff.

Comfort-wise this bag has a lot going for it – the padded back panel features airflow ventilation to keep you cool and dry while the contoured shoulder straps include side compression straps that are adjustable to boost the unit’s ergonomics.

What we like

  • Very durable backpack
  • Convenient cup holder
  • Very comfortable when using
  • Big main compartment

What we don’t like

  • Not as heavy-duty as the others
  • Zipper quality

Best for: Students who travel often or have a long commute

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack -...
  • Made with durable, weather-resistant 1200D...
  • ScanSmart lay-flat technology protects up to a...
  • Easy access laptop and iPad compartment separate...


Storm Hustle II Backpack by Under Armour

Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack, Black...

Overview

The Storm Hustle II is made up of about 80% Polyester and 20% Nylon which provides a good blend of durability and flexibility. The Under Armour backpack also includes a bottom panel that’s sturdy and abrasion-resistant for added support.

When it comes to storage the Hustle II is ahead of the pack – the front valuables pocket is water-resistant to help keep you valuables dry while the entire backpack includes a total 5 exterior pockets and 3 interior pockets.

In addition, this medical school backpack has a really nice laptop sleeve that is both padded and lined – when a laptop can cost as much as your tuition this is a great feature!

Finally, the HeatGear shoulder straps are totally adjustable and provide a comfortable fit that Under Armour has put a lot of research into.

What we like

  • Compact/comfortable
  • Good quality

What we don’t like

  • Basically a standard book bag
  • Not wide enough for some books/binders

Best for: Students who want a reliable, durable, and proven bag

Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack, Black...
  • UA Storm technology delivers an element battling,...
  • Tough, abrasion resistant bottom panel
  • Soft lined laptop sleeve—holds up to 15"...


Recon Backpack by The North Face

The North Face Women's Recon Laptop Backpack 15...

Overview  

The Recon Backpack is made of durable 210D Cordura nylon and includes mini-ripstops to help prevent tears in the material when cruising through campus.

The fit is specifically designed for women with a FlexVent suspension system and shoulder straps that are injection-molded. The shoulder straps include attachment points that are shaped for a woman’s torso ensuring a correct fit every use.

In addition, there is also a padded mesh back panel that includes a spine channel shaped for ergonomic fit as well as a lumbar panel to provide high-end support/ventilation.

The Recon has ample storage as well with a padded laptop sleeve and a front stash pocket with stretch side panels. This provides extra volume so you can store more items for your day at medical school.

Finally, the tablet sleeve (yes, it has a tablet sleeve!) found in the front compartment is fleece-lined for protection.

Another major feature of this med bag is its sub-$100 price range which means you get a ton of awesome features for less than a lot of other bags on this list.

What we like

  • Very roomy/comfortable
  • Sturdy bag
  • Big enough for laptop & tablet
  • Affordable

What we don’t like

  • Thin fabric
  • Uncomfortable to carry by hand
  • Very basic design

Best for: Students who use their bag outside of class for hiking & exploring

 

Related: A Day in the Life of a Medical Student

Slim Travel Backpack by MATEIN

Travel Laptop Backpack, Business Anti Theft Slim...

Overview  

The Travel Backpack is a great option for a med school student looking for something durable, theft-proof and water-resistant.

This bag is made of durable/water-resistant polyester which helps keep your stuff dry while also remaining lightweight and comfortable. In addition, the shoulder straps include an anti-sweat feature so you can stay as comfy as possible when carrying the bag throughout the day.

The Slim Travel Backpack maintains a slim style while also featuring large compartments for storing big items including laptop and books as well as smaller inside pockets with velcro straps for personal items.

This is one med school backpack that also has a focus on security with a high-end combination lock with lockable zipper in order to protect your valuables while in class or when traveling.

The USB charging port lets you charge your devices outside the bag while the built-in charging cable inside the backpack lets you hook up your phone/tablet when walking. Keep in mind the charging port requires a battery pack in order to function.

In addition to being one of the most affordable bags on this list, buyers also report great customer service should you need it.  If you’re on a tight budget due to school costs, then this is arguably one of the best options.

What we like

  • Slim design
  • Good day backpack
  • USB charging

What we don’t like

  • Cheap zipper
  • Thin material

Best for: Students looking for an affordable yet feature-rich bag

Sale
Travel Laptop Backpack, Business Anti Theft Slim...
  • LOTS OF STORAGE SPACE&POCKETS: One separate laptop...
  • COMFY&STURDY: Comfortable airflow back design with...
  • FUNCTIONAL&SAFE: A luggage strap allows backpack...


Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack by XD Design

XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...

Overview  

This XD Design backpack is designed as an anti-theft backpack with one of the major features being a cut-proof design.  The good news is that while this will definitely deter thieves from stealing your med school computer and books, it does not impact the usage for you, the student.

The backpack includes other safety features like secret pockets and hidden zippers which might seem like overkill but could be worth it if you live in a dangerous city.

One more cool safety feature is the illuminating safety strips. This makes it easier to keep track of your backpack at nighttime and also keeps you visible to passing vehicles.

The backpack’s durability is boosted with the shock-proof storage design which helps to keep everything upright and in place when being stored or tossed around. This is a critical factor since backpacks take a lot of abuse in and around campus.

Finally, this backpack is made of water-resistant fabric which is definitely a plus if you live in the NW or simply want to safeguard against sudden downpours.

And, like many of the other packs on this list, it has a built-in USB charging port which makes it easier to juice up your mobile device including smartphones and tablets.

What we like

  • Good for crowded cities
  • Compact but good quality
  • Water-resistant

What we don’t like

  • Some features are overkill
  • Small storage space

Best for: Students that often carry expensive books and gear

XD Design Bobby Original Anti-Theft Laptop USB...
  • Bobby Anti-Theft backpack features cut-proof...
  • Integrated USB Charging port
  • Shockproof storage Design


Large College Daypack by KAUKKO

KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...

Overview  

This College Daypack by KAUKKO is constructed of durable 6000 polyester fabric which makes it one of the most resilient on the list.  The material makes the backpack soft/comfortable while also making it water resistant – very much a double threat when it comes to medical school backpacks.

This backpack is a multi-purpose bag that can be used for several applications and is perfect for class as well as:

  • Business
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Shopping
  • Traveling

Another plus of this backpack is the storage capacity – it can handle a 15in laptop and still have plenty of room for your books + valuables.

In addition, the front pockets include a hidden key clip and zipper which help keep you most prized possessions safe and secure.

The shoulder straps are made of padded material with air mesh in order to ensure comfort + lightweight.  There’s also a drawstring closure that’s adjustable at the main compartment.

This book bag also comes with a 6-month warranty. You can also return the bag within 30 days and exchange it within 60 days.

Finally, the backpack is in the under-$40 price range. It provides a quality unit without taking out another student loan.

What we like

  • Good value
  • Practical for school/hiking
  • Canvas looks/feels sturdy
  • Good side pockets

What we don’t like

  • Material has a bit of an odor
  • Magnets in the closures are temperamental

Best for: Students that want a fashionable and practical bag

KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack Travel Hiking...
  • POLYESTER Imported HIGH QUALITY & DURABLE...
  • LARGE CAPACITY & STUFF ARRANGED TIDILY. The...
  • NEW FEATURES. Adjustable Drawstring closure at...


The Authority Pack by Timbuk2

Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack, Moss, One Size

Overview  

The Timbuk2 is a highly-rated backpack that’s ideal for medical school students not only when they are in classes but also through their residency and eventual careers.  It’s that good.

Made of 600D melange polyester, the Authority pack has a laptop pocket with rear access as well as an internal organizer. While the laptop space can hold a 17in screen, this smaller space is perfect for storing smaller items like phones, pens, etc. There’s even a pocket for storing keys!

Another key feature of this backpack is its stretch pocket that’s perfect for a bottle or umbrella that you want to keep easily accessible.

Finally, we’re big fans of bottom compression straps which make it easier to carry bulky items like coats/jackets or securing items by cinching – pretty uncommon for bags like this and make it really versatile compared to the competition.

What we like

  • Very versatile bag
  • Very durable bag
  • High level of detail
  • Great quality

What we don’t like

  • Bad pocket layout
  • Short straps
  • High price

Best for: Students that want the best quality and a reputable brand

Sale
Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack, Moss, One Size
  • A supremely organized Monster of a work pack
  • Rear access to laptop pocket keeps your device...
  • Internal organizer for pens, phones, and other...

Travel School Bag by OEDCVS

QEDCVS Laptop Daypack Backpack Men Sport Bag Man's...

Overview

Here’s one more option if you’re looking for a backpack for med school. It’s made from durable polyester and torn-nylon fabric and boasts a scratch-resistant shell with strong suspension system.

One of the main benefits is its large capacity with a wide range of compartments including main, front pockets, and some smaller side mesh pockets.

The backpack’s ergonomics are a huge plus as they include padded/adjustable shoulder straps as well as foam lumbar pad, lower back support, and molded channel.

The Travel School Bag is one of the more comfortable med school backpacks on this list and perfect for long days in and around the classroom.

What we like

  • Durable material
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Large capacity

What we don’t like

  • Medium quality
  • Unknown brand
  • Not very heavy duty

Best for: Students who want a bag they can throw around without much worry

QEDCVS Laptop Daypack Backpack Men Sport Bag Man's...
  • Large Capacity: Two Zipper Front Pockets, Water...
  • Product Material: Made Of - Polyester, Torn Nylon...
  • Durable: Made From - Tear Waterproof Materials For...


Buying Tips for Medical School Backpacks

If you’re in the market for med school backpacks, it’s important to know which features to consider. Here are some of the most critical ones:

 

Compartments/Pockets

When picking a backpack, you should consider the size, number, and types of compartments and ensure that they’re large enough to store your big items like textbooks and laptop. Those compartments, in particular, should be sturdy to withstand day to day use as well as padded to protect your devices from damage.

Small compartments like pockets are also important and the best bags on this list have multiple so that you can stash away your pens, snacks, notepads, and phone. A neoprene side pocket is also handy when it comes to water bottles or umbrellas.

 

Safety Features

We wouldn’t consider safety features ‘must-haves’ when it comes to med school bags, but they can definitely be beneficial depending on your situation.  A combination lock can add an extra layer of protection since and non-cuttable fabrics make it tougher for would-be thieves to just cut your backpack to access the contents. These features increase the bag’s cost a bit but can be worth it for peace of mind.

Illuminated strips are pretty standard and not only keep you visible at night but can also help you locate your bag in a crowd.

One other feature that might impact the safety of you gear are hidden compartments – if you have had small things like your wallet or keys stolen before you know how important it is to keep those hidden away.

 

Material

The amount of stuff you may carry for med school can be significant so it’s important to take note of the material of your bag.

Here are some of the main options you have:

Water-resistant Material: You won’t necessarily need a backpack that’s 100% waterproof, but it’s nice to have at least a bit of protection.  Some good options include polyester and nylon.

Rip-stop Nylon: This material can provide extra protection to make sure your backpack won’t fall part on the first day of med school and is both lightweight and waterproof.

Leather: This material wins style points if you’re looking for a look that combines a professional/student bag. One drawback of this option is the price tends to be significantly higher than standard backpacks.

Cordura: This nylon fabric designed by DuPont is “air-treated.” The main benefit of this material is it’s lightweight and abrasion-resistant and you’ll often find it on high-end backpacks.

Cotton Canvas: Canvas is a durable/heavy cotton material. Today’s cotton canvas materials combine natural/synthetic materials for higher strength and water-resistance. This material is strong yet affordable and is a great option for medical school students on a shoestring budget.

 

Carrying Method

How do you prefer to haul your backpack? You might want to carry it using one or two arm straps. Another popular option is to carry the bag by its (hopefully sturdy) handle. If you haul your stuff long distances, you should consider a med school backpack with wheels.

 

Warranty

Make sure to check if a particular med bag has a warranty and you familiarize yourself with the details – is it a limited or comprehensive warranty? Does it cover a full refund/replacement? How long is the warranty?

A backpack for medical school is another investment in your education so make sure to protect the investment with a good warranty.

 

Form vs. Function

Both are important as a medical student. In general, it’s more important to consider a backpack’s functionality. It should be sturdy, durable, and roomy.

Meanwhile, you also should pick a bag that isn’t an eye-sore for everyone who sees it. Make sure to pick a backpack with a color/style you won’t mind looking at on a daily basis.

 

Size

When picking a backpack make sure to consider the overall storage space. This should include the main compartments, pockets, etc.

Make sure to factor in which items you’ll need regularly. Will you have more space then you need? That’s ok, but you should avoid picking a bag that looks to be a tight fit or you might regret it.

 

Price/Value

The average yearly cost of med school is about $35,000 for in state institution.

On one hand, you might be tempted to skimp on a med school backpack due to other costs.  On the other hand, you should also be ready to invest some money in a quality product that will last.

When considering a bag’s price make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  Various factors affect the cost of a backpack:

  • Materials
  • Size
  • Compartments
  • Brand (big name vs. store)
  • Hand-assembled/mass produced

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of price ranges. A mid-range backpack will cost about $50-100, while high-end bags will cost hundreds of dollars or even $1000+.

A new backpack is just one of many expenses for med students so make sure to set a budget before you start shopping and try and stick to it.

There’s also an X-factor. Medical school is typically 4 years plus 3-7 years of residency. While you probably won’t need a $1500 leather bag, you also should select one that will likely last at least a year or two.

 

Comfort

When picking a med backpack, it should be comfortable to use daily. Make sure it’s sturdy and roomy yet not overly big/bulky.

You should also consider you’ll be carrying the bag around all day. So make sure the backpack is comfortable to carry around from class to class and other places you have to go as a nurse or doctor in training.

 

It’s Time To Dress The Part

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