Perhaps the biggest difference between the needs of an elementary or high school student and the needs of a college student is the necessity of electronics (though this is changing, as more technology is being used in elementary and high school classrooms as well). For that reason, a backpack with a laptop sleeve is an absolute must. Any laptop represents a considerable investment, and damaged laptops result in not only financial loss but also the loss of study notes, term papers and more. For that reason, finding a backpack with a padded compartment to keep laptops safe should be considered the top priority.
Yes, college students still use backpacks. Other features that were once commonplace in college campuses, from projectors to PCs, have gone the way of the dodo, but backpacks remain the most convenient and accessible way to transport books, laptops and tablets from classroom to classroom.
The most important items in college backpacks will be the tools used in classroom learning. First and foremost are the books assigned for the class. Second are the tools used to take notes during lectures and discussions. Today, laptops and tablets are most commonly used for this purpose, and as such, chargers should be packed for both. But just in case all batteries fail—and a reachable outlet isn't in sight—we still recommend packing along some good old-fashioned pens and papers as an analog back up.
Many of the features important to college backpacks are shared with high school and elementary school backpacks. For durability, you'll want to look for a tough cotton canvas or a polyester fabric with a higher denier count, which indicates the thickness of the fibers used to make the fabric. For greater comfort, look for foam padding at the back panel and under the shoulder straps. Lastly, foam padded laptop and tablet sleeves will keep pricey electronics secure.
Our ClassMate® XL's TechPack features a foam padded compartment for holding laptops or tablets, and its made from 600-denier polyester to keep it going from semester to semester. Its greater volume also makes it easier to carry snacks, changes of clothes, and other extras needed for students that find themselves commuting into class from off-campus.
Students looking for a more traditional vibe can look to our handled canvas backpack, which matches a classic Lands' End design with hard wearing cotton canvas and a padded laptop sleeve.
Monograms, as ever, are a matter of personal taste. It shouldn't surprise you that we're all for them. But aside from the classic appeal they bring, personalized backpacks can also make it easier to reunite owners with them if lost or missing—a big deal if said backpack happens to be holding a laptop or tablet.