nurse mates backpack review

Nurse Mates Ultimate Nursing Backpack Review

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

When it comes to finding a nursing backpack that is both functional and attractive, your options can feel pretty limited. We felt the same until we discovered the Nurse Mates Ultimate Backpack. Featuring an array of contemporary designs (grey camo, cheetah, tie-dye), this is a backpack that won’t have you looking like you are wearing a utilitarian backpack full of organized supplies (even though you are). 

nurse mates backpack review

Nurse Mates provided us with their backpack in grey camo and we decided to take it for a spin. Read on to see our thoughts on this backpack:

Nurse Mates Ultimate Back Pack Bag Nurse Mates Ultimate Back Pack Bag
$55.90

An essential backpack for nurses looking for exceptional organization and comfort. Use code TPN20 for 20% off your Nurse Mates order.

Pros:
  • Insulated pocket for keeping foods cold
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Several pockets with organizational sleeves
  • Two mesh side pockets
Cons:
  • A bit square
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About Nurse Mates

nurse mates website

As the name suggests, Nurse Mates specializes in functional workwear for healthcare workers. Their core products fall into the shoe, apparel, and accessories categories. If you’ve spent time on our best bags for nurses or best backpacks for nurses, you’re sure to have found a few Nurse Mates products featured. 

Where other brands consider nurse and healthcare shoes and clothing as an afterthought, Nurse Mates focuses exclusively on this often underserved community. 

Still a nursing student? Start Here.

Nurse Mates Ultimate Backpack Review

If you’re familiar with the cult favorite Nurse Mates Ultimate Bag, then you’ll discover that the majority of features of this bag have been implemented in the Nurse Mates Ultimate Nursing Backpack, with the exception of the additional insulated pocket for food storage (more on that later). This backpack has clearly been put in use by real nurses before rolling out sales to the public, as nearly every detail has been accounted for, including a section for badge reels, two (yes, I said two side mesh pockets), and more. 

Let’s get into all the bells and whistles of this backpack:

Organization

First and foremost, a nurse needs to keep her daily work needs organized in his or her bag in a way that is logical and practical. This bag has got you covered with endless pockets. Let’s talk about each pocket / storage compartment: 

Main storage compartment

First and foremost, we have the main storage component of the backpack where you’ll be able to store the bulk of your items including a change of clothes, a laptop or iPad, bag of toiletries, etc. 

This roomy interior features a large hinged mouth that opens pretty wide to provide access to all your items for easy retrieval. 

Within the main storage compartment is a padded sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. This helps keep your tech protected on your commute or simply in your standard day-to-day. 

Tool and File storage

nurse mates backpack

The next compartment we’re going to discuss is the second main pocket on the front of the backpack. This is where the real organization starts to kick in with this backpack. You have multiple storage compartments in here that can be used to store a stethoscope, scissors, pens, badge clips, note pads, and pens.

nurse mates backpack

The flap that folds out specifically has a file and document pocket that can be snapped in for security. 

This is probably the highlight of this backpack when it comes to fitting a nurse’s needs for her supplies that he or she is going to need daily. Rather than packing all of these items in a free-for-all in the main storage compartment of a Jansport, you can benefit from knowing exactly where the item is that you need without having to sort through blindly like a grab bag. 

Insulated front pocket

insulation pocket

This is my absolute favorite part of this backpack. I have typically only seen insulated pockets in backpacks for meal prep backpacks, so it’s nice to see that Nurse Mates has considered the idea that nurses want to have their hot foods hot / cold foods cold for lunch or dinner, too!

This pocket is pretty roomy and can fit a standard-sized glass tupperware, a fruit, and another small item such as a yogurt or fruit cup. 

If you are trying to fit multiple meals in here for a longer shift, however, you still may need to bring another insulated lunch bag (you can see our top picks for nurse lunch bags).  

Small front pocket 

small pocket

This color is Night Camo – which can only be found on the Nursemates.com

The smallest pocket is located in the front bottom of the bag and can fit small items such as hand creams, keys (it has its own utility clip that you can even use to secure the keys in there for security), etc. 

Side mesh pockets

mesh pockets

I love, love, LOVE side mesh pockets. Not all backpacks include this feature, which is absolutely baffling to me. The side pocket is the perfect storage for a water bottle, a small bag of snacks, or any other items that you want quick access to. 

Comfort and Extended Wear

The backpack fits extremely well on my back and seems to sit a bit high on the back. This is quite nice, as I have a smaller frame that always requires me to tighten the straps to the max to feel like I’m not weighing down my lower back. 

The back of the backpack is padded, so it can help ease any discomfort you may feel from items in your backpack trying to jab you in the back. 

straps

The straps, too, are padded, and have an ergonomic, curved design that curves to the body. I would say that, if you were trying to choose between the Nurse Mates Ultimate Nursing Bag or the Ultimate Nursing Backpack, that you would benefit greatly from the comfort of having this on your back rather than carrying it as a tote. 

Durability 

Overall, the construction of this bag seems very sturdy and the zippers and seams have a heavy duty feel to them. 

A few benefits of this backpack include: 

  • Water resistant
  • Stain resistant

Although it’s stain resistant, that doesn’t mean it’s spill proof! Cleaning is easy with this backpack and just requires a damp cloth to wipe it down. More on how to wash your backpack without a washing machine can be found here.

How big is this backpack? 

The official dimensions of the backpack are 12 inches x 9 inches x 16 inches. It takes up about the upper half of my back and definitely has a more square shape compared to most other backpacks that I own. 

I’d say this backpack is sizable enough to double as a weekend bag if you’re heading somewhere for a couple of days. You can also benefit from the insulated food compartment if you plan to go on a trip or fly with it as carry-on (unless you like paying $30 for a salad at the airport). 

What’s the return policy on the backpack? 

I can only really speak on behalf of the Nurse Mates website, which will accept returns within the first 30 days of purchase assuming the item is in its original, unworn condition. More on the return policy here. You can also buy these backpacks on Amazon, which defaults to whatever the seller’s return policy is. 

nurse mates align velocity

Add a pair of Nurse Mates Align Velocity Shoes (see our full review) to your order and receive 20% off with code: TPN20

1 Year Later – Update

ultimate nursing backpack review

I wore this backpack for 7 months – both to work and for small trips and I am a bit bummed out by the wear-and-tear.

The quality of the fabric has definitely held up and looks impeccable – it doesn’t stain or get dirty. I loved the functionality of the backpack – there were tons of organizational pockets and the insulated food storage section was a lifesaver for my snacks. The real issue here is the stitching. An entire strap is nearly going to fall off – as it has ripped at the seams. I ultimately had to throw the backpack out, because I did not want to risk it ripping while I’m on my way to/from work.

Alternatives to the Nurse Mates Ultimate Backpack

If you came to the end of this review and felt pretty ‘meh’ about this backpack, then here are a few other alternatives that I’d recommend depending on what you’re looking for: 

High Sierra Powerglide Wheeled Backpack

For nurses who are looking for a highly organized backpack with wheels, this is your best bet. The High Sierra Powerglide backpack also makes for easy carry-on luggage and includes a laptop compartment that keeps your tech safe. 

It still has straps so that it can be worn as a typical backpack when it’s not convenient to wheel around. 

Our Top Pick
High Sierra Powerglide Pro Wheeled Backpack High Sierra Powerglide Pro Wheeled Backpack
$132.99 $94.99
A dependable and durable rolling backpack that has ample organization and a padded laptop sleeve
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/28/2024 12:53 am GMT

Under Armour Adult Hustle 5 Backpack

I wanted to include this backpack as an alternative to the Nurse Mates backpack for those who may still be looking for a conventional, sporty backpack that can still function for storage of nurse items. Perhaps you are still a student in school and prefer a sporty look or also want the option of a more casual backpack for non-work events, then this could be a great alternative. 

This backpack includes a soft-lined laptop sleeve (not padded, so please keep that in mind), and heat gear straps that keep you cool and help to wick sweat. 

Under Armour unisex-adult Hustle 5.0 Backpack , Black (002)/Black , One Size Fits All Under Armour unisex-adult Hustle 5.0 Backpack , Black (002)/Black , One Size Fits All
$55.00 $47.47

A sporty backpack that features a laptop sleeve and breathable straps for staying cool when on-the-go!

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03/31/2024 01:14 am GMT

The Bottomline on the Nurse Mates Ultimate Backpack Review

I think this is a phenomenal backpack that is super utilitarian without compromising on its appearance. Here are a few key takeaways about this backpack:

  • Tons of individual storage and pockets for small items
  • Main storage compartment is easy to access
  • Insulated pocket makes packing cold foods easy
  • Mesh side pockets on both sides
Nurse Mates Ultimate Back Pack Bag Nurse Mates Ultimate Back Pack Bag
$55.90

An essential backpack for nurses looking for exceptional organization and comfort. Use code TPN20 for 20% off your Nurse Mates order.

Pros:
  • Insulated pocket for keeping foods cold
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Several pockets with organizational sleeves
  • Two mesh side pockets
Cons:
  • A bit square
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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