Although the backpack is the traditional bag for school, there are other options. While elementary and high school students may prefer or need to use a backpack, college students and adult students can often get away with carrying a different style bag. The tote bag is one style to consider if you want a durable, lightweight bag with a spacious interior compartment.
Tote bags come in two basic styles — open-top and zippered. If you’re not sure which you prefer, it may help to review the advantages of each style.
Although you might immediately think a zippered style is better than the open-top, don’t decide quickly. Zippered totes keep your belongings from falling out and provide more discretion, but open-top totes allow quicker, easier access to your items. An open-top tote is a good choice if you’re headed to a lecture where quiet is appreciated, as you can reach in your bag without having to unzip it. Although the sound of a zipper isn’t that loud, it can be noticeable in a quiet classroom.
Both the zippered and open-top totes have an exterior pocket and multiple interior pockets. Use these pockets for small items or those you want to keep easily accessible. There’s also a key ring, so you can attach your keys instead of tossing them in your bag. This saves valuable time because you don’t have to rummage through your tote to find them. Some hand sanitizers come on key rings that you can also clip onto your bag.
Tote bags come in just as many styles as backpacks. You can find one that complements your school wardrobe, whether it’s comprised of women’s jeans and tees or dressier apparel. There are tote bags in many colors, so you’ll likely find your school’s signature color in the selection. You’ll find solid, natural tote bags with colored trim and those with a striped pattern.
Cotton canvas is often used for tote bags because it’s stylish and durable. Canvas tote bags can accommodate books without ripping or tearing, and some have water-resistant bottoms so they won't leak in moisture. In addition, they’re equipped with sturdy handles for easy carrying, and there are even lightweight crossbody canvas totes that you can strap on for hands-free carrying without excess weight.
Most tote bags can be personalized with a monogram to add a personal touch. This is a good option if you’re carrying your tote to school, as it’s less likely to be confused with another bag or stolen if it’s monogrammed with your name or initials.
Monogrammed totes make great gifts for graduations and other occasions, and they can also serve as beach bags. Fill them with beach towels, sunscreen, and other sunny-day essentials for weekend fun, then pack them with books and homework on Monday morning. The versatility of tote bags is perhaps the best reason to have at least one in your accessory collection.
It’s easy to pack a tote bag for school, whether a student or a teacher. The main compartment can be used for books and notebooks, while the smaller compartments can hold keys, your cellphone, cards, chargers, and other must-haves. Pack your pencils and pens in a pencil case to keep them from rolling around in your bag, and if you’re packing your lunch, choose an insulated lunch bag in a color that complements your tote for a well-coordinated style. There are also lunchboxes that fit easily into most totes.
Another item you’ll want to carry in your tote bag is a water bottle. There are reusable tumblers that keep your beverage warm or cool, and they come in a variety of designs to match your bag. A reusable water bottle is an eco-friendly way to stay hydrated, and carrying one with you all day encourages you to drink more.
In addition to backpacks and tote bags, there are a few other bag styles to consider for school. One option is the laptop bag, which comes in backpack and briefcase styles. These bags have padded compartments for safely carrying your laptop, and some are equipped with padded pockets for phones and tablets, too. They have comfort features like adjustable straps, along with smaller zippered compartments for staying organized.
If you don’t have a lot of books to carry, consider a quilted crossbody bag or a larger quilted messenger bag. A messenger bag is a good option if you’re heading to the gym after work, as there’s plenty of room for a change of clothing. Tuck a pair of workout leggings and sweatshirt into your bag, and you’ll be ready for a sweat session after leaving the office.
As you can see, there are many options when choosing a bag for school. Try different backpacks, totes, and tech bags to find your favorite.