Best Backpack for Medical School [Top 17 – 2022]

If you’re headed to medical school, congratulations! This is a huge step in your education and career journey. Now that you’ve been accepted, it’s time to prepare for school. Which is the best backpack for medical school? Here are 17 different options plus the features to look for.

What To Look For In A Medical Backpack

If you want your backpack to last you throughout medical school, there are a few things to consider. When you are shopping for your new high-quality backpack, think about these features. 


This may be one of the top features that will make or break your decision when purchasing a new backpack. It’s not just about having enough space, you also want the space to be used effectively.

This is where separate compartments come into play. You’ll want a mix of both large compartments and small pockets in your backpack. You can use these compartments by separating resources and supplies by class, or by type of resource. An example would be having all of your books in the large main compartment while having your notebooks in another compartment.

You’ll want a place to store small items you might need to access quickly.

As a med school student, you know how many resources and school supplies you have to take around from class to class. That’s why a well organized bag with plenty of space is a must for medical school.


The biggest difference between a high quality, perfect backpack, and a not so great one, is in the material. An important feature you’ll want to look for is if it is water resistant or not. If you want your backpack to last throughout medical school you want it made with durable material. Three of the material types to look for are Rip-Stop Nylon, Cordura, and Cotton Canvas.

  • Rip-Stop Nylon: This fabric has a lot of great benefits. It’s not only durable, but it’s also lightweight. Some other cool features are that it’s fire retardant and comes in a variety of thickness and different colors. 
  • Cordura: According to, the cordura fabric was first used for military purposes. After this material developed further and began to be dyed, other uses opened up. Now Cordura fabric is used for products like backpacks, jackets, shoes, etc.. Cordura is a great material for backpacks because it is both water resistant and a fire retardant, so it can withstand a lot of conditions and last a long time.
  • Cotton Canvas: Cotton Canvas is another durable fabric that can be found on backpacks used for a variety of reasons. From high school to traveling, and of course for a bag fit for a medical student, cotton canvas is a great material to use. 

Consider the fabric because your bag will be carrying heavy loads.


The size of your medical backpack can vary. You want to make sure it’s big enough to fit all your essentials as a med school student. However, since you will be having long days, you don’t want it to be more than you need or a bag that is too heavy. A lightweight bag is a good option to get you through medical school. 

Charger Option

As mentioned in the previous section, you can expect a long day or two, or many more. Having access to an outlet to charge your cell phone, or other devices, may not be always possible. It can be handy for your backpack to have an external usb port. This ensures that, no matter where you are during the day, you’ll have fully charged devices ready for you when you need them.

Laptop Sleeve

Laptops are an expensive investment for college, med school included. It’s important to keep it secured so that you can keep it running for as long as possible. That is why a laptop sleeve is essential when considering a good backpack. It’s best if it is a padded sleeve inside your medical school bag. This is also a great place to store your iPad if you have one of those as well.


Along with your laptop, I’m sure you’ll be carrying around other essentials that you would want to be safe in your bag. One way to do this is to make sure the bag you pick is made of high quality materials. This helps prevent easy access. Once you’re past that basic step you want to find bags that have features like lockable zippers. These are great ways to make sure your bag is a theft-proof bag.


The importance of this feature is all about your personal style. If style is important to you, this is a feature you’ll want to consider when deciding what backpack to purchase. You’ll want to consider color, functionality, and more. 

Also consider if you want a water bottle pocket. The answer is likely yes!

Comfort and Stability

Last, but not least, another important feature in a medical backpack is comfort. Without the right support backpacks can cause severe discomfort, and even posture problems. It’s vital that you choose a backpack that includes padded shoulder straps, as well as a padded back, to add comfort. Another must-have is a bag that is lightweight. You’ll be carrying a lot in your bag, don’t add unnecessary weight to your load. 

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17 of the Best Backpacks For Medical School

These are the backpacks that I would recommend based on the criteria above. Start here on your hunt for the best medical bag and save yourself the headache later.

The North Face Recon Backpack

This backpack has options for both men and women.

With many different color options, there is a Recon backpack to fit everyone’s personality.

This backpack values both comfort and functionality with features like a padded top handle, articulated shoulder straps, front compartment internal organization, two external water bottle pockets, and more.

Matein Slim Travel Backpack

This slim travel backpack can hold up to a 15.6 inch laptop!

It has a USB port so you’ll never run out of power no matter how long you have to spend in labs.

It has a hidden pocket to protect valuable items.

It also has padded shoulders to keep you comfortable as you lug around your medical textbooks.

1900 Scansmart Laptop Backpack by Swissgear

The Swissgear 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack comes in a few different colors, but there isn’t a huge variety.

What it lacks in design variety it more than makes up for in other features. It fits up to a 17” laptop in a padded laptop compartment.

There is also a compartment for a tablet. With mesh, breathable fabric and shoulder pads, comfort is also a huge key in this backpack.

The Ridge Commuter

This is the perfect backpack for a busy medical student.

It’s weatherproof and even has external USB ports, and an integrated Power Bank holder.

This is helpful for charging your devices during the long days of medical school. It also comes in 3 colors!

Terra Thread Large Backpack

This is more than a stylish bag with lots of color options, it’s also a bag that does a lot of good.

Each bag sold donates 40 meals to children and families in need, saves 268 days of drinking water, and more!

It’s made with organic heavy-duty cotton canvas, so you know it will last you throughout medical school.

Terra Thread is also and ethical and sustainable brand that is carbon neutral so you can feel good about your purchase!

Yorepek Student Backpack

This extra-large backpack is water-resistant and comes with a USB charging port for added convenience on long days.

There are also multiple compartments, so that every item has a place in your bag. This saves you time digging through your bag to find a specific item. 

Knack Pack Series 2

While this backpack is marketed for travel, a lot of its features work well to help you navigate medical school as well.

From the hidden water bottle compartment to the lockable main compartment zippers, safety is a big feature of the Series 2.

Add in organizational compartments and comforting padding and you’ve got a great choice for a medical bag.

The North Face Surge

North Face makes another appearance on our list of best medical school bags.

This time with the Surge model. As far as features go, the two bags are mostly similar.

The design does vary as the Surge doesn’t have as many color options as the Recon does. What the Surge does offer is more room for organization, which is great for anyone attending medical school.

Osprey Nebula Backpack

The Nebula focuses on features that make your life easier and comfort that makes your load a little lighter.

This bag not only has a laptop sleeve, but also a document sleeve to keep all of your important things safe and unharmed. 

Doughnut Macaroon

With over 40 different color choices, it’s clear that this Macaroon bag is a style-focused design.

Just because the bag has a lot of cute options, doesn’t mean it sacrificed on features.

Other things to note about this backpack is that it’s water resistant, lightweight, and has a 14”laptop compartment.

Osprey Centauri

This is the second time Osprey has made the list, this time we are talking about the Centauri bag.

This bag is on the smaller side compared to the Nebula backpack. It’s ideal for someone who doesn’t need as much space and organization in their day-to-day life.

This bag puts a value on comfort by including features such as, an adjustable sternum strap, a breathable back panel and a soft harness in their design.

Proetrade Backpack

Durability is the focus of this backpack. It’s made with long-lasting materials that can withstand the elements. Your belongings are safe with this bag.

That’s not all the great features of this bag though.

You also have things like a USB port, night light reflective design, and multiple compartments for all your medical school needs.

Patagonia Refugio Backpack

These backpacks have two sizing options, 26L and 30L.

A cool fact about this line is that 87% of it uses recycled materials. They are also a fairtrade company.

When you buy this bag, know that you are making a difference in the world. The Refugio bags have a removable laptop sleeve. It will keep your 15” laptop safe when you need it. In times when you don’t need it you can remove the sleeve and have access to extra space.

Tocode Commute Y School Bag

If you are a fan of simple design with lots of organization, this is the backpack for you.

The multi-compartments are the star of the show in this bag, which includes three main pockets & 11 inner small pockets and two side pockets.

There is also the added bonus of having an anti-theft pocket hidden in the back of the backpack.

Flymei Laptop Backpack

This product isn’t just a backpack. It also includes a lunchbox and pencil case!

This allows for even more organization throughout your day as a busy medical student.

With a lightweight feel and cute design, it’s a great option for the fashionable, but also practical student.

Mancro College Backpack

The Mancro College Backpack prioritizes safety by including a lock, making this an anti-theft bag.

The size and design also makes it perfect for walking from class to class. It’s easy on your shoulders and also includes a USB charger. 

Mancro Commuter Bag

This bag is unique because it has seperate pockets for wt and dry items.

This is ideal if you are spending much of the day on-the-go and need to store anything from food to toiletries.

This bag also has a chic look and has a USB charger included.

In Summary: Best Backpack for Medical School

That concludes the list of best medical school backpacks. Now that you know more about what makes a high quality bag, you are ready to make your purchase. If you go with any of the bags I suggested for your medical school days, tell me which one you chose. 

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.