Five on Friday: Backpacks


by Jacob Gordon

It seems as soon as the 4th of July has passed, all large department stores shift their attention towards their back to school sales. Personally, I like to hold on to summer for a few more weeks; however, once we’ve shifted into August, it’s time to come to terms with the stone cold fact: school will soon be back in session.

And school is exactly where this week’s Five on Friday draws its inspiration. That’s right, we’re talking backpacks! Because there are such a wide array of packs, I thought it might be easier to separate this Five on Friday into categories of types of backpack users: kids, high schoolers, college students, bike commuters, and tech lovers. Of course, I’ll still provide some recommendations for packs that are ideal for these different kinds of students, but don’t hesitate to check out our entire line of backpacks.

Now, if you’re looking for a more cost-friendly pack, Appalachian Outdoors is holding a contest to win a free Jansport pack. You have until August 18 to enter, so get to it!

And now, without further ado, let’s get on with this week’s Five on Friday!


1. BackPacks for Elementary Students


Your young student will probably want a backpack with his or her favorite cartoon character on it, but we’ve all be there. Those packs are designed to last one school year, at most. If it doesn’t break on your student before the year’s end, your child is likely to be into a whole new craze which would require a new pack. However, The North Face Happy Camper Backpack is geared to provide your child with the space and features he or she needs for school, while ensuring the pack will be around for years. The large compartment has a mesh zippered pocket, offering some organizational flexibility. The Happy Camper is made from super durable polyester that takes the abuse of buses, lockers, and cubbies with ease. And hey, you can always get folders, notebooks, and a lunch box with that cartoon character on it, and then everyone’s happy!



2. Backpacks for High School Students
While the aesthetic interests between younger kids and teens may shift away from cartoons towards a more classic look, the need for durable bags is always present. Jansport backpacks are without a doubt a classic name in the backpack industry, especially in the schoolyard and they’re known for making bags that last. The Right Pack backpack from Jansport offers a classic combo of colored cordura fabric for the main body paired with a suede leather bottom. The large main compartment has space for plenty of books, and there’s even an internal laptop sleeve that holds most 15” laptops.


If your student has a heavier workload, you might want to think about the Jansport Big Student Backpack instead. With two large compartments, the Big Student holds just about all of your student’s books, notebooks, binders, and folders. The fully padded back panel adds some support and comfort to your teen when they’re hauling the majority of their locker on their shoulders.



3. Backpacks for College Students

College students need packs that can carry a sizable load, but are durable enough to take the abuse of a commute 5 days a week. The North Face may be best known for their adventuring apparel, but they have a great line of The North Face Backpacks as well. The most popular pack might be their Borealis Pack, which comes in both men’s- and women’s-specific styles. Both feature a nice large compartment with an internal laptop sleeve, that allows for the easy transporting of a laptop or tablet to take notes during a lecture and two side pockets for a water bottle or umbrella. The removable sternum strap on the Borealis pack lets for better load distribution for when the pack is loaded with books, binders, and a computer. Of course, the Borealis makes for a great day pack when you’re out and about as well; it’s even compatible with hydration bladders.


The North Face Backpacks  The North Face Backpacks


4. Backpacks for Bike Commuting Students

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

No matter what level of education you’re in, if biking to school or class is a daily occurrence, you might want to think about specific packs engineered for bike commuters. And when you think of bike commuting bags, one name instantly comes to mind: Timbuk2. They’re entire philosophy is geared towards making the bike commute as easy as possible. Depending on personal preference, you may want to either go with the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger bag or the Timbuk2 Phoenix Cycling backpack.


The Classic Messenger is made from super durable Cordura Nylon and has a waterproof liner to keep the elements at bay. There’s plenty of space for just about everything, including a dedicated laptop sleeve. The Napoleon pocket allows for access to smaller items without ever evening opening the bag. Unlike your standard, run-of-the-mill messenger bag, Timbuk2 gives their Classic Messenger the double loop CAM buckle, which makes taking off the bag super easy without messing up the length of the strap.

If standard backpacks are more what you’re looking for, check out the Phoenix Cycling backpack. The Phoenix expands from 26L to 35L on those busier days, allowing for everything — literally, everything — to fit in the bag for a busy day of learning. Much like the Classic Messenger, the Phoenix Cycling backpack wards off the wet elements, so you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting soggy.

5. Backpacks for Tech Loving Students


Just because a bag may have a dedicated laptop sleeve, it doesn’t remove the need for finding an outlet. Instead, look towards The North Face’s Surge II Charged backpack. This 32L capacity backpack fits most 17” laptops, so if a larger laptop is begin taken to class, this is the bag to do it. But it’s the Joey™ T1 power supply that’s the real draw of the Surge II Charged, offering a smartphone or tablet two-and-a-half full battery charges throughout the day. So whether you’re responding to emails or making some changes on your cloud-saved document (or just playing the newest app), staying connected all day long has never been easier. When not in class, the Surge II is perfect for long layovers at the airport.

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