Top 10 Best Backpacks for Nursing School [REVIEWS & GUIDE] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Quick Overview

A sturdy, comfortable backpack with ample storage is a must for any medical student. Not only should it be able to carry your laptop and textbooks, but it should also offer ways of keeping your belongings organized and easy to access.

Thankfully there’s a ton of options available and some with features such as USB charging ports and anti-theft mechanisms.

Best Backpacks for Nursing School

And let’s not forget the issue of comfort. Commuting to and from nursing school with a heavy backpack means that the shoulder straps should be designed in a way that prevents back and neck pains.

There’s also the simple question of style. Again the wide range of backpacks suitable for nursing students covers a whole range of colors, materials, and detailing.

So how do you choose which is the best backpack for you?

I have put together this guide in order to explore the many products available, to bring you a definitive list of high-quality options.

The following backpacks have been selected based on storage ability, versatility, organizational design, and overall quality.

These are the results…

Our Top 10 Picks

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Backpacks for Nursing School: The Reviews

1. EDITORS CHOICE: Matein Travel Backpack with USB Charging Port

Travel Laptop Backpack,Business Anti Theft Slim Durable Laptops Backpack with USB Charging Port,Water Resistant College School Computer Bag for Women & Men Fits 15.6 Inch Laptop and Notebook - Grey

The number one backpack for nursing and medical students in 2021 is this excellent from Matein.

This hugely popular backpack balances styling, storage ability, organizational space, and price point, all in one high-quality, durable solution.

Okay, so that was quite a mouthful.

What I mean to say is that this ticks all the right boxes in being the backpack of choice for students.

Firstly, it is waterproof, meaning your laptop and textbooks will remain safe and dry even on those wet days you need to drag yourself to class.

The backpack can accommodate laptops up to 15.6” wide, (sorry 17” owners, you will need to look elsewhere); there’s also storage pockets for tablets and phones.

A front slanted pocket is great for providing fast and easy access to things such as your ID, wallet/purse, and keys.

There are also additional two side pockets for your water bottle and other items.

This is also a media-friendly backpack in terms of having a built-in USB charger, with a charging cable housed inside. Simply plug your device in on the inside of the backpack and know it is charging out of harm’s way. The external cable can then plug into the power source.

Locking ability is fully built into the backpack too, making this top-selling item anti-theft.

There are also durable metal zippers, an important design addition as owners of cheap backpacks can testify, it is always the zippers that malfunction first.

The two “S” curve padded shoulder straps help to keep the carrying experience as comfortable as possible. The backpack also offers additional back support, a must-have considering the inevitable heavy loads.

Essentially, the customer feedback on this backpack speaks for itself. With over 5.5 thousand reviews at the time of writing, a high proportion of which are incredibly positive, it really is the one to buy.

A top quality backpack for nursing and medical students that will not disappoint.

2. JanSport Big Student Classics Series Backpack

JanSport Big Student Classics Series Backpack - Blue Streak

JanSport is a well-known maker of quality rucksacks and have been kitting out school children, students and anyone else that needs a reliable carrier for years.

The Jansport Big Student backpack from their classic series is a great choice for nurses and medical students due to its ample storage.

Large enough to take your laptop alongside those large tome-like textbooks, the bag also has various compartments so that you keep everything organized too.

Jansport has opted for a multi-compartment design, which includes a front utility pocket, two zippered front stash pockets, and two large storage compartments for the books and laptop.

To keep you well hydrated through those long study days, there’s also a mesh side pocket for storing your water bottle.

Comfort is clearly important, especially if you are commuting any distance to get to class.

In order to ensure your load doesn’t cause back problems, the Big Student has a fully padded back panel and sports ergonomics-curve shoulder straps that wrap comfortably over your frame as you walk.

600 denier polyester is the material of choice here and that will always do a reliable job of keeping your belongings safe and dry. There’s also a wide range of colors to suit your specific style.

Overall, the JanSport Big Student Classic Series Daypack is a highly recommended solution for nursing students that need to carry all their necessities on a daily basis.

3. High Sierra Swerve, 17-inch Laptop Backpack

High Sierra Swerve Laptop Backpack, 17-inch Laptop Backpack for High School or College, Ideal Gaming Laptop Backpack

The High Sierra backpack is another great option designed for students (and gamers) across the board, and would therefore suit busy nursing and medical students that have to carry a laptop.

Not only does it contain lots of easily accessible storage space, but there are also several zippered organization pockets and being designed for laptop use, a padded sleeve for devices up to 17″ in size.

There’s an extra sleeve for the iPad too.

The side mesh pocket for drinks is all present and correct, and there’s also a top grab handle should you not want to haul the gear on your back all day.

Good organization is important for any student, and the design of the bag really does promote this.

With the various compartments, it is possible to have everything in order when you pack that morning and keep things accessible without throwing it all in disarray.

Essentially, quick and easy access is the key here.

Due to the extra weight of a large laptop and of course those textbooks, the shoulder straps have a built-in suspension system.

This provides better weight distribution while carrying the backpack.

There are also separate deep air channels to help airflow and reduce that horrible sweaty back syndrome you can get on hot days.

The wide variety of colors and designs help to satisfy the stylistic needs of most, making the High Sierra Swerve Backpack a great option for men and women at every stage of their medical studies.

4. BEST BUDGET: AmazonBasics 17″ Laptop Computer BackpackAmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack - Fits Up To 17 Inch Laptops

Amazon certainly knows what it is doing when it comes to creating, affordable, well-designed products.

(All that consumer data doesn’t go ignored of course).

By understanding what students need in a backpack Amazon has released a series of products that really do fit the bill; especially if you plan on carrying a large 17” laptop.

This computer backpack is essentially a no-frills affair. With lightweight materials and a clean black design, the priority here is easy to access storage space.

Much like the High Sierra, the bag comes equipped with several compartments. The main compartment features a padded laptop sleeve (for devices up to 17″ wide); there’s also a smaller sleeve for tablet owners

The all-important water bottle, the mesh side pocket is there. To ensure carrier comfort a good set of cushioned shoulder straps are also provided.

If you’re after an affordable backpack for nursing or medical school this is the one to buy.

5. Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Backpack

Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Backpack, Black (001)/Silver, One Size Fits All

For those that do not need the extended space in order to accommodate a 17” laptop, the Under Armor Hustle 3.0 may very well represent a good option.

With an internal laptop sleeve for 15″ laptops, this is ideal for notebook or MacBook owners.

There’s still ample storage space in the main compartment for those large medical student textbooks.

Another benefit of this slightly more premium backpack is the tough, water-resistant polyester material that it is made from.

Not that you should throw your backpack around, but this one will take the wear and tear of a busy student.

Beyond the main storage insert, there’s a secondary compartment that houses two pockets for the efficient organization of belongings.

A front compartment can be used for valuables such as phones, wallets, and house keys.

Once again a mesh side pocket will take care of your hydration needs.

The abrasion-resistant panel on the base of the bag is another factor that will ensure durability.

There’s also a handy, gusseted laundry pocket for clothing that may get damp or dirty during practical aspects of your studies.

Padded, adjustable, Heat Gear shoulder straps are a great addition that has been ergonomically designed to keep back and neck strain at bay.

A padded grip handle means you can also carry the backpack from its top.

Overall if you’re looking for an ultra-comfortable way of carrying your belongings to and from class, the Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Backpack could well be your answer.

6. PREMIUM PICK: SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack - Grey Heather

This premium option from SwissGear is a well-designed backpack with excellent storage space and some nice styling going on too.

In fact, it was very nearly my top pick, however, the slightly higher price point might not appeal to some; so instead, it has become my top-rated premium option.

So what’s so good about it?

Firstly, organizational ability is top-notch here. There’s a good-sized main compartment, laptop and tablet slots, and a mesh compartmentalizer for storing those smaller items in an easy to access manner.

Devices up to 17″ can be accommodated in the laptop sleeve, and in order to protect the tablet from vibrations or collisions, it is housed in a floating sleeve.

For quick and easy access to these important belongings, the backpack features a fully TSA friendly design.

Simply unzip the tech compartment while the bag is laid flat and you have complete, hassle-free access.

The bag also features a front carabiner for keys, zip pockets for wallet or glasses, and a side mesh pocket for water bottles.

The shoulder straps have built-in suspension for increased comfort. There’s also a padded top handle for alternative means of carrying.

Durable polyester fabric is the material of choice on the SwissGear Travel Gear; this will hold up to the demands of a busy medical student for several years.

A series of colors are available and overall it is hard to fault the careful design and build quality on this backpack.

A highly recommended option for student nurses that are able to stretch the budget.

7. Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack-Black, BIack/Tan Synthetic Leather

Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack-Black, BIack/Tan Synthetic Leather

Herschel produces some very nice backpacks with a priority towards a simple stylistic aesthetic that exudes understated quality.

With the Pop Quiz backpack, the clean design with striped fabric liner makes for a very nice option for nursing students both male and female.

Storage space is good with the main compartment that also contains a fleece-lined sleeve for laptop devices up to 15” wide.

There’s also a well-designed media pocket that features a headphone port for your phone or (does anyone still own one?) mp3 player.

An external front pocket can be used for carrying additional accessories, as well as a small fleece-lined sunglasses compartment.

The heavy-duty bottom as found on most Herschel backpacks helps to keep things sturdy and well protected.

And being a prominent player in the backpack space a wide range of colors are available.

Overall the Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz is an excellent backpack for those looking for a high-quality, branded option.

8. BEST ANTITHEFT: Volher Anti Theft Durable Laptop Backpack

Laptop Backpack,Business Travel Anti Theft Slim Durable Laptops Backpack with USB Charging Port,Water Resistant College School Computer Bag for Women & Men Fits 15.6 Inch Laptop and Notebook - Grey

If you are a nurse or medical student and are looking for a secure backpack with anti-theft protection, my top rated recommendation would be this little number.

Featuring a hidden anti-theft pocket on the back of the bag, you can be more confident that your valuables are safe from wandering hands.

One would hope that you can trust your study partners, however, pick-pockets on public transport or just leaving your bag unattended for a short while could leave you open to thieves if you do not have a suitable backpack.

Storage is also good here with a device sleeve that can hold laptops up to 15. 6” wide.

There’s also the main compartment for your textbooks, tech accessories, and clothes – all the essentials a medical student needs to take to class basically.

There’s also a very useful USB port design with built-in charging cable meaning you can keep your phone or tablet operational throughout your working day.

This media pocket also has a headphone jack meaning you can listen to your music with your phone safely stored away.

Comfort is taken care of via an airflow back design with soft multi-panel ventilated padding. Those sweaty back t-shirts will be a thing of the past during those hotter study days.

Breathable shoulder straps with a fully adjustable design all help to reduce wearer fatigue, an important issue for students that need to carry heavy textbooks.

The backpack also has a durable design. Made from Water Resistant and Durable Polyester Fabric with metal zippers, this should definitely outlast your studies.

Essentially, if you’re a student that needs space, comfort and item security from your backpack, this is the option for you.

9. Adidas Prime Backpack

adidas Unisex Prime Backpack, White/Clear Mint/Black, ONE SIZE

Another fully branded backpack makes the list now.

For those into the Adidas name, their prime backpack is probably the best suited to the demands of the busy nurse and medical student.

There’s a lot of storage space on offer here, with 5 external zippered pockets alongside the usual, main internal compartment.

Textbooks and laptops up to 17″ wide will all fit comfortably within the bag, those extra pockets are great for organizing the rest of your belongings for easy access.

Fastening loops on the front of the backpack can also be used to strap additional items along for the day’s activities.

I think you’re starting to get the point; this is a backpack that can carry a lot of gear.

Well with all that weight, how are the comfort levels?

Thankfully, very good indeed (it wouldn’t form part of this top 10 list otherwise).

Load spring shock-absorbing technology and a padded air-mesh back paneling all help increase wearer comfort, even when at full load.

A water-resistant base ensures that items do not become damaged if the bag is placed on a wet floor.

With a ton of different color options available, the Adidas Prime IV Backpack offers everything a busy student with lots of essential belongings could need.

10. BEST WHEELED BACKPACK: High Sierra Unisex Powerglide Wheeled Laptop Backpack

High Sierra Unisex Powerglide Wheeled Laptop Backpack, 17-inch High School or College Laptop Backpack for Students, Wheeled Business Laptop Backpack for Professionals, Ideal Gaming Laptop Backpack

For some of us, carrying a large laptop, heavy textbooks weighing several kilos and all our other belongings required for a day of study can be a bit much.

If your shoulders are fed up with the strain, you might want to think about getting a backpack with built-in wheels.

If that’s the case, look no further than the High Sierra Unisex Powerglide Wheeled Laptop Backpack.

Yes, High Sierra has made my list once more; and deservedly so.

This excellent laptop backpack is ideal for medical students that need that extra help carrying items throughout the day.

Simply pull on the extended handle and turn your pack into a towable luggage item on wheels.

With that extra support comes more ample storage space too. 17” laptops can be comfortably accommodated, along with all the extra accessories you might need.

In fact, with a capacity of 2350 cubic inches, this is one of the largest bags in our top 10.

The CushionZone laptop compartment means that your tech remains safe and secure, while an additional media pocket enables you to plug your headphones into the built-in port and listen to music while on the fly.

In order to keep things organized, there’s a separate compartment with a zippered mesh pocket. There are also, pen pockets a key fob hook, and additional zippered side pockets.

The hideaway telescoping and locking handle is sturdy in design and will allow you to conveniently pull the backpack along by its wheels when those straps just don’t interest you anymore.

If you are looking for an easier way to transport your medical study aids and laptop, this is the backpack for you.

What to look for when buying a backpack for nursing/medical school

Nursing school backpack

Choosing the right backpack for your nursing/medical studies is important. In order to purchase the best one for your needs there’s a few factors to consider first.

This short guide will go through some of the most important ones, which will hopefully enable you to make an informed buying decision.

So if you’re ready, let’s get to it.

Comfort and stability

girl with backpack

I would argue that how comfortable the backpack is to carry is the most important issue when deciding on which one to buy.

This is all dependent on the design of the shoulder straps and how well the structure of the backpack alleviates undue strain on your back and neck.

As you will have seen from the reviews above, you can also buy backpacks with wheels. This design will ultimately rid all potential strain as you will be able to wheel the bag instead of carrying it.

That being said, for standard backpacks you should look out for models that have ergonomically designed straps that are also adjustable.

Breathable fabrics that help reduce sweating when carrying the backpack is also a plus.

Padding on the rear side of the backpack is another benefit as this will be more comfortable when carried on your back.

Storage size


Storage size is clearly another important factor that will help to narrow down your options.

For instance, if you own a laptop with a 17” screen, you will need to buy a backpack that can accommodate that size within its interior laptop sleeve.

Other backpack designs cater for 15.6” screens only.

If you own a tablet and wish to carry that too, a standalone sleeve for such tech will be beneficial.

The main compartment should be adequately sized in order to store your textbooks. If you have lots of fat tomes for your studies, you will need a larger bag with ample storage.

Extra compartments within the main bag or as additional zip pockets on the outside are useful too.

These will help you to organize your belongings better and can also store important items such as keys, purse/wallet, and phone.

It’s also possible to find bags that have waterproof pockets on the inside that can be used to store damp and dirty clothes – this type of storage can prove invaluable after training sessions in a busy hospital ward.

Extra Features

girl with folder

We have touched on features to an extent with descriptions of available storage options.

Beyond this, it is possible to find backpacks with media pockets that contain USB ports and headphone sockets for use with your smartphone.

There’s also anti-theft protection that enables you to lock sections of the bag, (or are designed to be out of reach from potential thieves).

Backpacks that enable fast access to your laptop and tablet are also useful, especially when traveling.

Tablet sleeves that are designed to “float” inside the lining will help protect your equipment from knocks and bumps.

And any design features that enable you to better organize your items is a major plus point.

You don’t want to arrive in class and then spend 10 minutes emptying all the contents of your backpack just to retrieve a pen from its very depths.

Build Quality

student carrying backpack

A backpack belonging to a medical/nursing student will take some abuse over its lifetime.

Study periods are long and hard, and in that time your bag will be dragged from place to place as you learn.

Because of this, you should aim to buy the best quality backpack you can in terms of its construction.

Durability and water-resistance are two issues you need to research. What material is the bag made from? Is it from a reputable brand with a good track record of producing hard-wearing bags and accessories?

The daily usage will certainly take its toll on any backpack, and if you do not want to be in a position of replacing your purchase within the first year, a robust product is a must.

A good warranty will also provide and peace of mind and is an indication that the manufacturer has faith in their own product too.



While the aesthetic of the backpack should not be a deal-breaker, choosing something that you like the look of is never a bad thing.

You will end up carrying this item on your back for several years to come, (well hopefully); buying a nurse’s backpack that exudes a little style and maybe indicate your own personal taste is definitely worthwhile.

These days doing this is not difficult as most available backpacks come in a range of colors and styling.

With a little searching and attention to the points we have raised in this guide, you will be able to find the right backpack for you.

About Hannah Drake

Hannah Drake, RN, CSP is a registered nurse and owner and founder of Nurse Focus. Her nursing career spans almost two decades, and in that time she has developed her skill base across a variety of settings, including med surg nursing, clinical informatics system administration and implementation, and healthcare community management. Contact Hannah.

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