The best school bags to grab now

Claire Robinson

Allow me to speak this into existence for you: You will never buy another Jansport again.

If you’ve come across this article, you’re likely involved in the collegiate lifestyle in some way- be it student teaching, professing, administering, catering to college student’s appetites, managing the Red Storm volleyball team, or learning as an undergraduate student, among other statuses one gains at a university.

St. John’s University in Queens is fraught with commuters; according to the College Board statistics, this campus houses only 29% of its total undergraduate students.

Some students come as far as the Bronx or the Far Rockaways. Some teachers travel as far as the edge of Jersey, or further- they fly in from Maryland, just to be here at SJU. You feel sometimes that being a student, teacher, or university worker is an often thankless and dogged job.

You need someone to lean on. Someone that has your back, when you’re alone on the F train. Someone strong enough to carry your burdens to and from. A long term relationship. I won’t promise you a new significant other, but I will say this. You deserve a good bag.

I challenge you to abandon your tattered Jansport from Target. I understand you’ve worn it for a year and it’s “not totally ripped yet.” Let me persuade you to recycle that old thing at the textile company and invest in a new, fashionable, sophisticated, and durable bag for school.

Here is my short list of bags that will not only change the way you move between classes, but upgrade your look too.

  1. Any leather backpack.

Children have worn leather backpacks to school as early as the 1950s, according to Lauren Leibowitz of the Huffington Post. Back then, these bags were simple two-strapped, rectangular bags with a flap that folded over the opening. Leather backpacks reached a peak in trendiness in the 1990s, when grunge-meets-girly was the street style for young adult women. However, men should fear not, because leather bags are typically gender neutral. Some examples are Cher and Dionne from the movie Clueless. Presently, 90s vintage is the enduring mainstream trend, and everything old is new again. tells us, “Even items that endure daily use can last decades, and even over a hundred years.” If God allows you to see another century, then I hope you have a strong leather bag by your side. But for now, at least, you can put those heavy Anatomy textbooks in one that you’ve found on from anywhere between $15-$200. You might also find a fake one at your local Target store for around $30. The more expensive the bag, the more authentic it is likely to be. You are better off purchasing a real leather bag because it will last longer, but the faux-leather from Target is not so awful. It is up to you to decide how much you’d like to invest in a bag.

     2. Longchamp Paris Bag

The Longchamp Paris brand sells both men’s and women’s bags of excellent quality. For women, I recommend either a large tote bag or a backpack from the Le Pliage collection. Product descriptions from this line tell us that Le Pliage bags are made of “ultra lightweight nylon”, “sturdy”, and can uniquely “fold down into notebook size” when empty. A friend of mine once praised the bag saying, “I took it to NYC when it was raining cats and dogs, and it didn’t take long to dry out, nor was it damaged.” Totaling at $125, this bag is a worthwhile investment. Unfortunately for men, the prices for Longchamp’s men’s styled bags are through the roof. Starting at about $475.00, the bags are of superb quality and fashion, but are unreasonable for a college student’s budget.


Everybody knows Northface as the brand that makes those warm and fuzzy winter jackets. The company is notorious for excellent sports and outdoor gear.  Northface often has backpack sales online and in stores that I think you should check out. Their main focus is capacity, as they want consumers to have as much space possible for the best quality and price possible. Like leather bags, Northface backpacks are typically gender neutral, and can be worn fashionably by anyone. The brand’s latest promotion is a Women’s Surge Transit Backpack, which has a whopping 35-liter capacity. Ranging from $45.00-$245.00, Northface bags are best suited for athletes, commuters, or those on campus who just have a big load to carry. My favorite part about Northface bags is that by buying a lower priced bag, you hardly compromise quality of product. Maybe you lose a few compartments here and there, but in the long run, it’s still a great buy. However, these are the least fashionable on my list of school bags. One might argue that since athleisure wear is contemporary, the “fashion” value of a Northface bag is not problematic.

     4. MochiThings Backpacks

Many are unaware of the, which specializes in “making school cool again”. The online company sells a plethora of common office items, like planners, sticky-notes, and bookends, and miscellaneous other items, like first-aid kits, travel accessories, and wallets. MochiThings offers a wide variety of bags, including messenger bags, jumbo shoulder bags and leather backpacks. They cost anywhere between $30.00-$150.00. The website primarily shows young women for their bag campaigns, but many of these bags don’t look gender specific. MochiThings bags are affordable, easy to carry, and strong. I think that if you look at, you might like more than just their bags.

     5. Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley is a preppy line of women’s wear. This niche target audience may spark interest in only a small percentage of St. John’s University’s community, but an important percentage nonetheless. The colorful, quilted Vera Bradley backpacks roundup at about $110.00. Vera Bradley, too, has added variety to the brand recently by adding leather backpacks to the product mix. When a woman wears Vera Bradley, it says a lot about her fun, preppy lifestyle. It’s also a status symbol of affluence. Vera Bradley bags will last a long time with proper care. They are machine washable, and should be line dried.
These five kinds of school bags so that you can come and go from St. John’s knowing that your textbooks won’t tear up the bottom of your bag. In addition to accenting your outfit, your school bag ought to protect the most important things: your school work. The coolest bag to grab right now is the practical bag. What’s the use in buying new backpack year after year, when you can purchase one that will last you many years? Fast fashion will fade away, but good quality gear will reign supreme.