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Backpack for school

  1. Sep 25, 2011 #1
    So my backpack from highschool is now finally mostly broken (surprised it lasted this long). So I need a replacement and I figured hey these guys are pretty heavy students, I bet they have some good recs.

    I need something that can carry about 3 medium sized text books, a binder and some notebooks and not feel bulky and stuffed. I rarely if ever carry my laptop but I'd like to be able to fit a 15" laptop in there.

    Something a bit durable though I only have about 2 years or so left ( assuming I dont go to grad school)

    Most of all, the important thing is price. I'm sure you guys know whats reasonable to a student, especially a non-working one.

    p.s. On a sidenote, if anyone has similar recommendations for some sort of toolbox, that would be great too. Something that can hold a few tools for an EE and most importantly, something that can store and organize a bunch of various components. Resistors, Caps, Transistors, ICs, etc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2011 #2


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    Step 1) Go to store
    Step 2) Look at backpacks
    Step 3) Profit
  4. Sep 25, 2011 #3
    Just go tell a store clerk of your requirements...
  5. Sep 25, 2011 #4
    Just pick up one of those 15 dollar jansport backpacks. No matter what you buy they are going to break, unless perhaps you grab a huge expensive hiking pack that costs as much as 10 cheap backpacks.
  6. Sep 25, 2011 #5
    Buy the ones where the bottom is hardleathered. They last for years.
  7. Sep 26, 2011 #6
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  8. Sep 26, 2011 #7
    I saw a guy today on campus pulling a laptop out of a swissarmy (aka swissgear) backpack, but they (like the oakleys) are a bit on the pricey side (~$100 US on amazon). I've used a NorthFace (standard packpack, not hiking) for ~10 years (that I got at an army surplus)... but after I gave that to one of our boys (who eventually destroyed the zip), I got a Jansport on sale.

    Regarding toolboxes, I have a few from Home Depot. Most recently I got one that has four translucent pull-out trays with attached lids (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...play?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053")... it's great for organizing small parts. I like Home Depot over Lowes because once a Lowes associate wanted to speak to my spouse (not me)... which is ridiculous if you know my spouse (who doesn't own any tools). I really like Ace better (or a locally owned store even better)... but in a pinch I'll go Home Depot.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  9. Sep 26, 2011 #8


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    @OP, have you checked out LL Bean backpacks? They guarantee their stuff, so even if you spend a bit more for their products, you can return them for refund/replacement if they fail.
  10. Sep 26, 2011 #9
    I currently have a swiss bag and they are great. Dunno where I got from because I know my mother wouldn't have bought anything that pricey all those years ago.

    Thanks for the Home depot recommendation as well. That looks pretty good, next time I pass by a home depot I might stop in and take a look. I prefer HD to lowes as well but I pass by lowes every single day of my life while home depot is a bit out of the way. Ace is pretty close as well but I haven't been inside there in a long time (in fact I have no idea if its even still there)
  11. Sep 26, 2011 #10
    I wouldn't recommend it since it is kind of weird but I bought a "lazynator" in junior high and it has lasted 10 years so far. It has a chair and the bottom is insulated like a cooler.
  12. Sep 26, 2011 #11
    I have been using a surf bag for around 7 years, although it is beginning to show signs or wear and tear. Wasn't really built for carrying books or such. I might soon get a new one myself.

    Just a good search on Amazon should help. Even if it is just for the reviews, you can start to find which brands will suit your needs better in general.
  13. Sep 26, 2011 #12
    Now they've become trendy nonsense, costing $25-40. There's never been a day in college or high school where I haven't seen people with (a usually black) one. As a simple Jansport backpack-wearer from K-12, I weep.
  14. Sep 26, 2011 #13
    I switched from my Jansport with cheapo, worn-out straps to my REI hiking backpack last year. It's held up a few years of hiking plus this last year of textbooks (and sometimes my laptop) and the straps still feel pretty good. Plus, it's at least a bit more water resistant (even if the tape on the zippers has come unstuck) which is good for the type of weather we have here.

    We were given tackleboxes full of basic EE stuff when I took a circuits course as an undergrad. Yes, literally a fishing tacklebox, and it worked great.
  15. Sep 26, 2011 #14
    I have an LL Bean backpack. They are extremely durable. Every other backpack I had in school only lasted a year, if that. The LLBean backpacks last for many years. (this is my second of their backpacks). The backpack is also very useful for traveling. The bag will take great weight in all seams. Even fully loaded with text books I can hang it by the little loop at the top without fear of it tearing. It's also comfortable to wear, and sleep on :p they only cost about 50 bucks, which does seem a lot for poor starving students but I cannot stress enough the lasting varied usage you can get from it.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  16. Sep 26, 2011 #15


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    I have a Wenger Swiss Gear (same as Swiss Army) Ibex backpack and can't say enough good things about it. It's their model for a 17" laptop, so you could step it down a little bit. It retails for $100, but regularly goes on sale. I got my for $50 and right now it's on newegg for $65.

    I think the 15" models can be found down around $50 all day long.

    To me it's worth every penny and I'd probably pay retail for it if I had to and not feel bad. It's extremely durable and has a lot of features that I haven't seen in most other bags (not saying they don't exist). It definitely allowed me to actually organize my stuff rather than just throw it in and go.

    I've had it a year now and it doesn't have any visible wear. I expect it to last my college career (2 more years), but if it doesn't I'll immediately pick up another one.
  17. Sep 27, 2011 #16
    I finally had to retire my rubber-soled Jansport backpack from my freshman year of high school last year (I'm almost 30yo). It's gotten me through a bunch of school and other things, but the main-pouch zipper finally broke (the little pouch zipper had been broke a few years). In going back to school - I picked up a new backpack from Scheels (sporting goods store) for ~$35 (on sale - reg $60) - Sears and Costco also carry the brand. It's formed more like a hiking backpack and is very comfortable to wear with 3 large textbooks, a few various size binders, a few smaller books (manuals, paperbacks), and my laptop. (High Sierra Access Daypack).

    Durability is something that I can't speak to as I've only had it a few months, but it passes the comfort and size test easilly.
  18. Sep 29, 2011 #17
    For 30 years, I've used Jansport for books, CamelBack for outdoor activites and hydration, Targus for my laptop, and BlackHawk for heavier (mainly diving) gear. Not all of them have been around that long, and I've used many others. These are simply the ones I've found that work well.

    This might be overkill: http://besthike.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/biggest-backpack-in-the-world/
  19. Sep 29, 2011 #18


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    If you had bought an LL Bean backpack, you could have gotten a free replacement as soon as the small pouch zipper broke. I'm not shilling and don't own their stock (if they are even public) but they have the most liberal return/customer satisfaction policies on the planet.
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