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The best back-to-school (or work! or gym!) essentials for a fresh start

These top-rated, editor-tested thermoses, food containers, lunch boxes and backpacks are here to get your life in gear.

Bentgo Lunch Bag
Fuel up on the best back-to-school essentials for studying, working, exercising, food prepping and so much more. (Photo: Bentgo)

There’s nothing like picking out a new lunch box and backpack to signify a new beginning, and who says kids are the only ones who could benefit from a fresh start? After all, back-to-school was a time to reevaluate your belongings, refamiliarize yourself with the latest offerings, and secure supplies aligned with your goals and needs.

Quick overview
  • Contigo Kids Water Bottle with Redesigned AUTOSPOUT Straw, 14oz., 2 Pack, Blueberry and Blue Raspberry & Blueberry and Blue Raspberry with Cosmos

    The best kids' thermos

  • S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottle - 25 Fl Oz - Blonde Wood - Triple-Layered Vacuum-Insulated Containers Keeps Drinks Cold for 48 Hours and Hot for 24 - BPA-Free - Perfect for the Go

    The best bottle-style thermos

  • Hydro Flask 24 oz Standard Mouth Flex Straw Cap Laguna

    The best thermos with straw

  • YETI Rambler 18 oz Bottle, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel with Chug Cap, Navy

    The best chug-cap thermos

  • Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid and Straw for Water, Iced Tea or Coffee, Smoothie and More, Pink Dusk, 40 oz

    The best tumbler-style thermos

  • Thermos 16-oz Stainless King Tumbler

    The best traditional thermos

  • Bentgo Bento-Style Kids' Lunch Box

    The best kids' lunch container

  • Bentgo® Classic - Adult Bento Box, All-in-One Stackable Lunch Box Container with 3 Compartments, Plastic Utensils, and Nylon Sealing Strap, BPA Free Food Container (Khaki Green)

    The best tiered lunch container

  • Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers

    The best plastic lunch container

  • STOJO Collapsible Bowl - Sage Green, 36oz - Reusable Silicone Bowl for Hot and Cold Food - Perfect for Travel, Meal Prep, To-Go Lunch, Camping & Hiking - Microwave & Dishwasher Safe

    The best silicone lunch container

  • Oxo Good Grips On-The-Go Salad Container

    The best salad lunch container

  • Ello Duraglass Glass Containers

    The best glass lunch container

  • FineDine Superior Glass Food Storage Container

    The best glass storage container

  • Bentgo® Kids Lunch Bag - Durable, Double-Insulated Lunch Bag for Kids 3+; Holds Lunch Box, Water Bottle, & Snacks; Easy-Clean Water-Resistant Fabric & Multiple Zippered Pockets (Mermaid)

    The best kids' lunch bag

  • iknoe Insulated Lunch Bag for Women, 9L Sturdy Wide-Open Foldable & Portable Lunch Tote with Interior Pockets, Water-resistant Thermal Lunch Cooler for Adults Picnic Beach (Yellow)

    The best lunch bag tote

  • Calpak Insulated Lunch Bag

    The best lunch satchel bag

  • Sunny Bird Insulated Roll-top Lunch Bag

    The best roll-top lunch bag

  • Yeti Daytrip Lunch Box

    The best luxury lunch box

  • Bentgo® Deluxe Lunch Bag - Durable and Insulated Lunch Tote with Zippered Outer Pocket, Internal Mesh Pocket, Padded & Adjustable Straps, & 2-Way Zippers - Fits Most Lunch Boxes (Sand)

    Best deluxe lunch bag

  • Carhartt Insulated 12 Can Two Compartment Lunch Cooler, Durable Fully-Insulated Lunch Box, Gray

    Best lunch bag cooler

  • Mackenzie Navy Dino Bones Glow-in-the-Dark Backpack (Large)

    The best kids' backpack

  • Herschel Heritage Backpack, Black, Classic 21.5L

    The best classic backpack

  • The North Face Vault Backpack

    The best sporty backpack

  • Everlane The ReNew Transit Backpack

    The best commuter backpack

  • Lululemon Everywhere Backpack

    The best everyday backpack

  • Monos Metro Backpack

    The best luxury backpack

  • Sharpie x Expo x Elmer's x Paper Mate School Supplies Kit, 38-Piece

  • BIC Wite-Out Brand EZ Correct Correction Tape, 4-Count

  • Catiga CD-2786 Solar-and Battery-Powered Desktop Calculator

  • Sopeiouo Scissors 8-Inch Scissors, 6-Pack

  • BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ball Point Pen, Black, 36-Pack

  • Texas Instruments TI-30XIIS Scientific Calculator

  • BIC Glide Retractable Ball Pens, 12-Pack

  • Scotch Magic Tape, 6-Pack

  • Amazon Basics 3-Ring, 1-Inch Binder, 4-Pack

  • Paper Mate Gel InkJoy Pens, 14-Count

  • Kuntine.B 4-Tier Mesh Desk Organizer

  • Inchor Cord Organizer

  • Simple Houseware 6-Tier Wall Mount Letter Tray Organizer

  • Wabhas Large Desk Calendar, April 2023 to September 2024

  • Supeasy 5-Tray Paper Organizer with Handle

See 36 more

Whether you’re shopping for children or returning to school — or the gym, or the office — or just upgrading your everyday (everyone deserves cold water, hot coffee and healthy, intact lunches!), you’ve come to the right place.

Read on for the best water and coffee thermoses (these straws won’t leak!), food containers (some collapsible and stackable!) and lunch boxes (and who couldn’t use a sleek, supportive backpack?) that will streamline your kitchen, secure your meals, safeguard your commute and set you up for success.

Contigo has gained — and maintained — a hearty following for offering playfully patterned, tumble-friendly water bottles that are all thrills, no spills. Backed by a near-perfect rating, the Contigo Aubrey Kids' Water Bottle boasts a secure silicone straw insert, a leak-proof lid and a handle for easy carrying (especially helpful for staying hydrated on school or family trips). Don't need a handle? The brand's tumblers are another top pick for bigger kids and casual sips.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$19 at Amazon

“Best water bottles ever,” gushed one reviewer. “... Easy to use, keeps the mouthpiece clean, and durable. Kids like to turn it around but it never leaks. I don’t think I can use any other water bottles anymore.”

“Toddler indestructible,” added another. “... This was our second of the mermaid print since my 19 month old loves this water bottle so much. She will now have one for preschool and one for home… “

The S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottle is an Amazon’s Choice item — and my personal fave — for its airtight cap (just be sure to screw it on tightly) and innovative design (triple-layered insulation keeps beverages cold or hot for hours at a time). The bottle is also condensation-proof for a sturdier grip. Scoop up the Wood or Granite finish to add a touch of nature to your stride.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$42 at Amazon

“Keeps liquids hot,” confirmed one reviewer. “Sometimes I forget to empty on Friday and leave coffee in there over the weekend. It’s still VERY warm Monday morning. I’ve never had an insulated bottle that does this well with hot liquids. … I’d give it 10 stars if I could.”

The “perfect shape and beautiful design,” for this five-star fan. “I just received my new water bottle and I absolutely LOVE IT!! It is just what I wanted and needed!!!!”

If you prefer a cap with a straw, the Hydro Flask Standard Flex Straw Bottle is a solid bet. The bottle is completely leak-proof when the straw is closed, and it features a special TempShield insulation for keeping beverages hot (up to 12 hours) or cold (up to 24 hours). There’s a handy flex strap too — especially useful for hydrating during active workouts and toting your morning brew.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$44 at Amazon

“Love this bottle!” exclaimed a verified shopper. “I have the wide mouth version and it’s heavy to carry around so I wanted something smaller. This bottle is perfect, keeps the water cool for a long time, and the spout makes it spill-proof. I love the color too!”

“Makes drinking water more fun!” according to this enthusiast. “... It's not super big and bulky, so you feel like you are carrying around a weight all day, and it's easy to sip and not spill with the straw feature. The color is fun and bright and I have gotten so many compliments at the gym or on my morning walks. 10/10 recommendation …”

The Yeti Rambler is one of the most celebrated chug-cap thermoses out there, backed by over 19,000 perfect ratings. It's also among my packing staples for its shatter-resistant construction (complete with double-wall vacuum insulation), sturdy, leak-proof handle cap and ultra-sleek, stainless steel design. Looking to round out your collection? Scoop up one of the brand's special-edition shades, including Highlands Olive shown, for a limited time.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$30 at Amazon

A “great product,” reported this reviewer. “I had a Yeti bottle like this that I use for hunting, fishing, etc. I lost mine and got this. I like the new coffee sipping spout.”

“Easy to wash by hand or dishwasher,” confirmed a five-star fan. “Keeps my ice frozen till the end of the day. Bought as gifts for others as well.”

The Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState reins as a top tumbler contender, adored by over 12,000 Amazon reviewers — not to mention hordes of influencers — for its durable frame (complete with double-wall insulation), sustainable materials (made of 90% recycled stainless steel) and standout silhouette (available in a rainbow of shades). Complete with a comfort-grip handle, use it to transport liquids such as smoothies, iced lattes and more; a cup holder-friendly bottom and full-cover top (make sure you remove the straw) keep them away from your car floor.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$45 at Amazon

“Now, I get the hype,” wrote one reviewer. “... It keeps my drink cold all day, and overnight if need be. I love the padded handle. You wouldn’t think that would be a big deal, but trust me, it is…”

Added another believer: “I love the amount of water it can hold and how durable this is, and how great it is at keeping drinks cold. It's the ultimate water sipping contraption.”

If you’re looking for a more traditional thermos, look no further than this iconic style from — you guessed it — Thermos. The "Stainless King" has a dedicated following and over 6,000 positive reviews for its thermal technology (keeps liquids hot for up to seven hours or cold for up to 18) and standout stature (made of durable, stainless steel). Scoop it up in classic steel or various colors (did we mention it’s also sweat-proof?) to enhance your morning commute.

Dishwasher-safe | BPA-free

$21 at Amazon

"It's like magic," wrote one enamored reviewer. "It keeps my coffee ;scald your mouth hot' for a loooong time. Fits well in cup holders. Just remember to close it before throwing it into your satchel or briefcase..."

"My one and only," added this loyalist. "Been using this type of a coffee mug for about 11 years now. I will not change to another brand. It keeps my coffee hot for about 5-6 hours with it being in closed position. It is definitely leak proof (only when the lid is in a closed position). I’ve knocked it off the tabletop and my toolbox onto the concrete floor and it got a few dents on it and it still keeps my coffee hot like it did from day one."

Bentgo’s bento-style kids’ lunch containers are popular for their whimsical prints — from unicorns to dinosaurs — and a removable, five-compartment tray that allows you to portion and have fun with food. The containers also feature rubber-coated edges, making them more compatible with little hands. And with over 47,000 glowing reviews, you can rest assured they’re parent- and kid-approved. (The Bentgo Kids' Chill Lunch Box — available in a range of bold solids — also comes with a removable ice pack.)

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$28 at Amazon

This parent and teacher relies on them for their 1- and 3-year olds: “... I have been using these Bentgo lunch boxes for about two years, 4–5 days a week, and they are my go-to for any momma. For the last two years I’ve also worked in the 1st grade and continue to see these as the most commonly used lunch boxes— so if you’re concerned about portions, know that this will last you quite a while!”

“Easy to clean, leak-proof, durable and grips to the table well,” confirmed this five-star fan. “This is used solely for weekend day trips and it keeps the food temperature controlled.”

See also: Bentgo’s adult-friendly Bento-Style Box

For a more sophisticated — and stackable! — container, consider Bentgo’s All-in-One Stackable Bento Lunch Box. Backed by over 31,000 perfect ratings, it comes with two containers — one of them with dual compartments — and a set of utensils, along with a nylon seal strap for convenient and secure noshing on the go (I use and love the Khaki Green, shown, but there are seven other color combos).

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$13 at Amazon

A “great way to pack your lunch,” wrote one verified purchaser. “I actually bought this for my granddaughter who needed more than the child size. She is 9 years old and actually asked for it. It stacks for a total of two levels and it comes with a band that you slide around it to make sure it stays sealed. There is plenty of space, but it is compact. Love it; so does she.”

“Perfect for a high schooler,” added another. “Bought this for my niece for the upcoming school. She said she loves the size and compartments are a great size. She thinks the utensils are super cute.”

If you’re looking for a more conventional lunch container, these stackables from Rubbermaid’s Brilliance line are a clear choice, made of durable, stain-resistant materials and complete with an airtight lid for completely eliminating spills. And you’re already in good company, as they come highly recommended by over 65,000 reviewers who use them in and out of their homes (the brand also offers multi-compartment options and larger sets for food prep).

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$40 at Amazon

“A meal-prep must have,” according to one savvy shopper. “I don't think I've ever liked a storage container more. Totally worth the price. I meal prep my lunches for the week on Sunday and when I tell you that my sandwich, that I made on Sunday, is still fresh on Friday, I'm not kidding! My lettuce and other salad additions are still crisp and fresh. When they say airtight, they mean it.”

And they’re the best storage this reviewer has ever had: “The quality of the material is excellent and the lid seals nicely. Each container has a latch on both sides giving you the option of snapping them down completely (to store away in your refrigerator or pantry) or leaving them open to act as an air vent when you need them to throw in the microwave. I’ve had my original set for about a year now, and I’ve come back online to order a few more from Amazon.”

Stojo's reusable silicone bowls have been picking up steam on Amazon and social media (they also made Oprah’s Favorites list) for their chic aesthetic and compact design. Available in nine shades — from warm neutrals to cool blues — this 36-oz bowl is not only collapsible (especially great for leftovers) but stackable, making it a savior for small kitchens and office cubes.

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$25 at Amazon

“These bowls are great!” exclaimed one reviewer. “They are sturdy, not flimsy at all, are easy to clean, work well in the microwave, and are a larger size (36 oz.) compared to most silicone bowls on the market. I will be buying them in more colors!”

Added another: “I always try to have one in the car in case I eat out and have leftovers. It collapses flat so it takes very little space in my purse. It holds a good amount. It microwaves well and cleans easily. The top firmly attaches, so there is no spillage. So I bought three more. This is the perfect container.”

If you love your salads, you'll make good use out of this innovative container from Oxo, which features a large lettuce bowl on the bottom and a removable plate for storing protein — plus all of your favorite fixings — on top. A small, leak-proof ramekin is perfect for stashing dressings and other sauces, and an airtight lid with locking tabs keeps everything secure.

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$17 at Amazon

“The best out there,” gushed one of the bowl’s 5,000+ fans. “… I've had one for a few years and recently bought a second. Not because after two years there is a single problem with the first one, but because I like it so much that I wanted to have a second. The dressing container is enough to thoroughly drench your salad if you like. I'm particularly fond of the 'plate' that separates from the bowl (or salad) container.”

“Very versatile,” said another. “... These just seemed so versatile and made with quality and more of what I was looking for. They can go from the counter to the freezer. In fact, I fill the base with my homemade yogurt, set the plate on top, fill with fruit, cover with lid and latch. I then place it into the freezer the night before and it perfectly thaws out in time for my afternoon snack.”

For a glass option with optimal leak protection, consider this Duraglass set from Ello. Each container comes with an airtight lid — complete with locking wings — for helping to preserve food and keep it in place. Removable, colorful silicone sleeves offer an added layer of cushion and allow you to switch things up during the week (available in a range of palettes, as well as smaller sizes for sauces and snacks).

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$60 at Amazon

“Love these containers!” wrote one reviewer. “... The silicone keeps my hands from burning when I use the microwave and they are easy to clean; just pop them into the dishwasher.”

According to this thankful customer, they could even improve your relationship: “[My wife] was ready to leave me… I got her these [ for her birthday]. She loved them so much she said she was willing to commit to being married 22 more years because of them. She said specifically the turquoise and pink ones put me over the finish line. … They are perfect.”

Consider this top-rated set from FineDine a grand finale to our container list, featuring 12 durable glass containers of varying shapes and sizes — each with an airtight rubber ring and leak-proof locking lid. Back by over 33,000 reviewers (read: prep warriors), the set is also available in five different lid-lock colors for getting the shade just right.

Dishwasher-safe | Microwave-safe | BPA-free

$36 at Amazon

“Great containers!” raved one reviewer. “So many different shapes and sizes. You can freeze leftovers and they can go right from the freezer to the oven or microwave. (Not the lids, as they are plastic.) So happy with my purchase! Brochure with them states all company information and you are told to contact them about any damage upon arrival. Great company, great product!”

“Perfect sizes for retiree living — single or married empty nesters,” advised another, “No more zip lock plastic bags to toss into landfill. Picture online is exact. In the future I will purchase another set. They stack and/or fit into the larger containers. TLC packaging from the manufacturer/distributor was again packaged by Amazon preventing damage to the product. Delivery was on schedule, as usual.”

Bentgo's colorful carriers serve to reinforce that the brand has kids' lunches in the bag. They're big enough to fit Bentgo's matching bento containers — with enough room and a zippered pouch inside for extras — and double-insulated and water-resistant, so food stays fresh and dry. A drawstring-style thermos pouch keeps drinks snug, while an adjustable strap and padded handle make for more comfortable school bus rides (ideal for children 3 and up).

$23 at Amazon

“Durable, practical and fun,” confirmed one of the brand’s 13,000 five-star fans. “I’m so pleased with how well this bag has held up, and my daughter hasn’t grown weary of the design, which says a lot about how fun it is for her to look at!”

“Seriously the best lunch box”, seconded this reviewer. “I am writing this review after a year of use by my kindergartner and am very impressed. It held up incredibly well and looks like new after a quick scrub with warm soapy water. We paired it with the Bentgo Chill for holding her food and loved that as well!”

For office-friendly patterns, we can’t get enough of this lunch bag from Iknoe, which is lightweight, water-resistant and pops in graphic and novelty prints. I personally own the one shown and rely on it for everyday lunches, beach trips and light grocery runs. But you don’t have to take it from me: It has over 2,600 perfect ratings from reviewers who love it for its simple, spacious construction (it’s also just fun!).

$12 at Amazon

It's "the perfect fit” for this proud owner. “It fits several containers without feeling like I’m hauling luggage to work every day. After a year of use, it is still in pretty good shape…”

“Great bag for the price!” wrote another in reference to the budget find. “... I am pleasantly surprised by the quality construction! The Velcro seal at the top is STRONG… “

This lunch bag from Calpak is another one of my go-tos for a covert lunch bag with serious curb appeal. The lightweight pouch, which doubles as a chic purse, comes in a wide assortment of solids and patterns, is made with an insulated, water-resistant liner, and is surrounded by exterior compartments for keeping drinks and essentials in tow. I can also attest to the convenience of the drawstring top and handles when on the go.

$42 at Calpak

“Best lunch bag ever!!!” declared one reviewer. “I just purchased my second one in less than a year. My first one is still going strong but I wanted to be able to change them out. I’m in love with these lunch bags. I won’t buy anything else now! They keep my lunch insulated and look great.”

“It is the cutest lunch bag I've ever had,” gushed another. “Holds a lot and I haven't had any issues so far.”

Prefer a more rugged look? This lunch bag from Sunny Bird ($25) — complete with three layers of thermal insulation — comes highly recommended for its durable, spill-resistant fabric and classic, roll-top style. A buckled strap serves as additional lunch security, while a top handle and detachable strap allow you to customize your wear (available in 12 shade combos).

$25 at Amazon

"Nice quality!" confirms one five-star fan. "... It held all my food containers and water bottles well and the material feels sturdy. I also love that I can wear it as a cross bag because I have a lot to carry and walk a lot."

The perfect size for this reviewer: "I LOVED this lunch bag. Old-school style with the 'old brown paper bag' design, but I appreciate the fact it’s insulated and the material is more durable in person than what it looks like."

For a more structured, sportier lunch box, consider the Daytrip Lunch Box from Yeti. It's backed by a high approval rating — and over 3,000 glowing reviews — for its thermal-locking, leak-proofing capabilities (meaning your food will stay put and surrounding items will be protected). And while on the pricier side, the sturdy, water-resistant exterior is designed to endure (complete with three handles; available in 13 shades).

$80 at Amazon

It’s the best lunch box this reviewer has ever had. “... Even in my hot car in the summer, with just a few ice packs it stays cool for the whole day. Easy to clean and spacious.”

“Well-constructed and quality,” according to another one of the lunch box’s 3,000-plus fans. “The Yeti lunch box has exceeded my expectations. The stitching, material and the insulation keeps my food cold for hours! I foresee this item lasting me a lifetime.”

If you prefer a larger lunch bag, this domed carrier has you covered. Equipped with leak-proof thermal insulation, it has a spacious bottom section for packing a hearty helping and a bonus top area for sides or additional snacks. A front zipper pouch adds to the storage, while an adjustable crossbody strap makes commuting a breeze (the brand also offers a multi-meal bag for bigger appetites and group lunches).

$23 at Amazon

And more than 6,000 customers agree: “These are just PERFECT! I’ve noticed from a while back that traditional lunch boxes were not fitting everything I wanted for my kids to have at lunchtime, plus snacks. They’re growing just like their appetite! These are AWESOME!,” wrote one reviewer.

“Perfect! … I use it with the salad box, and there’s plenty of room to add a drink and other snacks if needed. It’s become my everyday go-to bag!” exclaimed another five-star fan.

For a roomier — and more rustic — option, consider this insulated, dual-compartment lunch bag cooler from Carhartt, endorsed by over 34,000 perfect ratings for its convenience and durability. It's big enough to fit six cans (or a lot of food) on the bottom, with space for an additional six cans (or even more food) up top. And the exterior is sturdy, too, made of water-repellent fabric for keeping your bounty safe during inclement weather, active outings and rough commutes. (See also: Carhartt's Two-Compartment Cooler Backpack for bigger hauls.)

$50 at Amazon

An “excellent product,” according to this satisfied customer. “I carefully reviewed all the reviews on Amazon for lunch boxes. Most had issues with the zippers … I then ordered the Carhartt. This one was perfect. Very well made. Perfect size. Very good zipper. Keeps your lunch cold all day and has a nice top compartment that goes in the rounded part of the unit.”

“This thing is made to last!,” confirmed another. “The mid-size I got is perfect for my lunch, even on twelve hour shifts where I have more than a single meal. The large, bottom compartment is perfect for Tupperware full of left-overs, or bags of snacks and sandwiches. The top compartment is also a good size for multiple cans/bottles, or lunch-size bags of chips, etc.”

There are a variety of brands that specialize in kids’ backpacks — and make them well — but Pottery Barn Kids’ are some of the most thoughtful we’ve seen. Made of recycled materials, the Mackenzie collection features a spacious interior with built-in compartments, an exterior pouch, and two drink holders, as well as adjustable straps along the front and back.

$65 at Pottery Barn Kids

You can choose from several different sizes and a range of exclusive patterns, from nature scenes to superhero themes. I'm personally partial to the dinosaur version (above) — a common choice among family members and friends — which is not only adorable but glows in the dark for added visibility (like the rest of the bags in the collection, it can also be customized for a personal touch).

If you’re seeking a grown-up backpack solution, Herschel’s Heritage Backpack could be just what you need. The straightforward study staple has enough room for school books — or depending on how you plan to use it, sufficient work and travel supplies — complete with an interior slip pocket and a pouch along the front for easy access to essentials. The adjustable straps along the back are padded for extra comfort, and there’s a handle on top for quick grabs and door hooks (see also: the brand’s colorful backpacks and lunch boxes for kids and teens).

$60 at Amazon

“Simply the best backpack ever!,” exclaimed this reviewer. “... I don't even know where to start! I bought the Heritage one back in early December and have been using quite a lot for travel and school. This thing is a-ma-zing! I am able to put my 15" laptop in there just fine and I can carry a TON of stuff… “

“Nice, stylish backpack,” confirmed another. “I purchased this backpack mainly to take to work to carry books, tablet, water bottle, pens, etc. My usage has been fairly light on the backpack so far since I only carry a few things in it usually but I have really liked this backpack so far.”

For a sportier aesthetic, you can’t go wrong with this water-resistant backpack from The North Face, beloved by students, athletes, travelers and commuters — and over 2,400 Amazon reviewers — for its sleek silhouette, comfy straps, laptop sleeve and versatility. Two water bottle pockets are great for longer treks, while a ventilated back panel allows for added breathability. (See also: The North Face ‘Jester’ for a top-rated bungee design.)

$94 at Amazon

"Literally amazing!" wrote another enthusiast. "I love this backpack and I know it’s gonna last me a while. I recommend this backpack to everyone!"

This buyer relies on the bag for their everyday: "Great backpack. It fits everything I need for daily outings — perfect for a smaller laptop."

The ReNew Transit Backpack is a hard-working yet streamlined design that straddles the line between casual and refined. It's made of 100% recycled polyester with a water-resistant finish and boasts a magnetic closure, interior laptop sleeve, several exterior compartments, and a water bottle holder for keeping you organized and hydrated while in route (available in five shades).

$95 at Everlane

“Love everything about this backpack!” commented one satisfied customer. “Nicely padded adjustable for that adjustable fit. The pass-through strap for attaching to luggage is really helpful. All pockets are roomy and the laptop pocket is very nice for a magazine or book.”

.“I am the pickiest person ever and have bought and sent back many travel bags, but this one I kept!” added another. Classy and functional and it held my rain jacket, down coat, binoculars, hardback book and snacks, etc, and still looked stylish. Easy to clean, and easy to get to all the pockets, though I kept forgetting what I put in each pocket. And extremely easy to put on and off my back. Very glad I found this!”

For a sportier look, you can’t go wrong with Lululemon’s Everywhere Backpack, which has become one of my personal go-tos for the office, workouts and well beyond. It’s made of durable, water-repellent fabric, and includes an interior padded pocket (confirming it fits a 16" laptop) and two water bottle pockets for staying hydrated on the move. (The brand also offers a water-repellent shoulder bag for toting larger tech and workout gear.)

$78 at Lululemon

“BEST backpack for kids and adults!” said one reviewer on the brand’s website. “... It's the perfect size and not cheap-looking. It's very sleek! ... Lots of room and another exterior pocket. You won't regret this purchase! I will be getting one for my younger daughter as well!”

“Super comfortable and silky,” echoed another. “My other backpack hurt my back a lot but this one does not hurt at all!”

In the market to splurge? The Monos Metro Backpack could prove just the ticket. It comes in five water-resistant, vegan leather finishes (that's Ivory, above) — along with four nylon options ($200) — and features a snap-closure handle and suitcase sleeve for added traveling convenience. A 15” laptop compartment ensures your computer stays safe, while the removable front pouch keeps essentials close (I've also been known to rely on it as a chic and convenient dopp kit).

$220 at Monos

“Amazing functionality,” commented one reviewer on the brand’s website. “This backpack is beautiful, first and foremost. Second, it's incredibly functional. I like how it opens like a clamshell (no more digging for things at the bottom of your bag) and all of the compartments make organizing really efficient.”

“Seriously stunning!” added another. “The quality is outstanding. … I have only traveled once so far but I was able to have everything I needed organized. I love the fact the folio can detach for ease …”

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