8 Incredible Features Top Grads Look for in a Backpack! #6 Will Surprise You!

At Brightworks Energy Inc., we understand that the bag that students carry to class every day is an important consideration when selecting gear for school. You're likely to be covering a lot of distance and with a slew of heavy books – especially in college/university. The right bag will keep your gear — and you — safe and organized along the way.

Finding the right back isn’t all about the stuff you're carrying. It’s about the space, the weight, the material, durability, your health and the size. When purchasing a bag for school, this is one area to invest in when it comes to school. You don’t want to have a sore back, broken straps or a broken zipper when your dorm or class is a 30 minute plus walk away from one another!

What Exactly Do You Need to Carry in Order to Select the Right Backpack for You?

Before you can pick a bag, Brightworks Energy recommends that you know what you're hauling around, how often and how far. Check out your book list: Is it mostly textbooks, or small paperbacks? How many of them will you have to carry every day and how far is the journey?

Bag size is measured by the volume of what it can carry, typically in cubic inches or liters. Though this can be an easy way to compare one bag's size to the other, it's tough to convert your textbooks into cubic liters. Instead, look for measurements to decide what will fit where (or better yet, take some books to the store with you to see what'll fit).

When considering weight, remember that you shouldn't be carrying around more than 10% to 15% of your body weight. So if you estimate your books weigh more than that, either figure out what you can skip carrying or consider a wheeled bag.

Be sure to remember that some fields of study require supplies beyond textbooks, such as art students (who may need to carry paper, canvases, or other supplies) or lab workers (who may need to lug equipment from different research facilities). Whatever extras you'll need to lug, keep them in mind when considering the size of your bag.

Which Bag is the Right Size for You?

It's not just about finding a bag that will fit all your stuff; you want a bag that will fit you, too.

When it comes to backpacks, finding the right size bag is all about your torso length. Brightworks Energy recommends that you don't want one that falls below your hips, where a waistband (on larger packs) is designed to help distribute the weight. If you find a bag that has options for men and women, be aware that women's bags are often slightly smaller to accommodate their typically smaller frames. Taller individuals will want men's packs, while the more petite is likely to appreciate women's packs.

Now let’s get to the good stuff!!!


1. Pockets and Compartments
Pockets and compartments was the number one thing that grads looked for in a bag. It kept their items organized and easy to access. You don't want a bag with a single cavernous compartment. If you're carrying a laptop, you should look for a bag with a laptop compartment (or carry your laptop in a padded sleeve). Laptop bags will list the size of laptop they carry, so be sure you get the right size.

2. Durability
You want something sturdy enough to last for years. Look for good stitching, with handles and straps that are well-anchored to the main bag. Heavier cloth or even rubber on the bottom of the bag can help it stand up to being dropped or scraped over the ground when you set it down. And even if you don't plan on being out in the rain, water-resistant materials (with a flap of fabric over the zippers), will help keep your gear safe and dry in any conditions.

3. Weight
A bag made out of bulky materials will be heavy before you even start packing it. You'll want something that's both light and strong, which usually means synthetic fabrics.

4. Material
While a visual examination can give you an idea of how sturdy a fabric is, what you want to look for is the denier. That's a measure of the density of the fibers used to make the fabric, with a higher number indicating a more durable weave.

Non-synthetic materials include cotton (or cotton canvas) and leather. Cotton is lightweight and low-cost, but doesn't wear very well with no resistance to water, scuffs, or tears. Leather, on the other hand, is heavy and expensive. It can wear well, but requires some care to stay in top shape — if you're likely to abuse a bag, leather probably isn't the best choice. It's also one of the bulkier options, and it can lead to a bag that will weigh you down.

For synthetic materials, Nylon is the most common. It's lightweight and typically treated to be water resistant. Cordura and ballistic nylon are both heavier, more durable variations of nylon, with ballistic being the heaviest. Dyneema is an especially tough fabric, but it's also pricey: you're only likely to find it in high-end bags. Polyester is the budget option for synthetic fabrics; it's cheaper than nylon, but it's also less durable.

5. Straps and Padding
No matter what kind of bag you're carrying, you want broad straps with a good amount of padding to distribute the weight load. A padded back can help a heavy load feel a little lighter, and vents along the back (most common on backpacks) can help pull heat away from your body when you're lugging the bag around for hours.

A waist or sternum strap for backpacks is important if you're carrying a heavy load. Look for similar straps for balance and weight distribution on messenger bags, too. All straps should be easy to reach and adjust for the perfect fit, while staying securely in place once you have them just right. A handle on the top of the bag so you can easily grab it is also a good idea.

6. Tech Features
A bag with the latest tech features provides convenience for any student, allowing the student the ability to be connected no matter on and off campus and charging while on the go. Brightworks Energy offers a wide range of backpack and messenger bag options that are lightweight, durable, flexible and with solar charging capabilities. We also offer a wide range of external battery packs that can be added to any backpack to charge your devices on the go. 

Shop Brightworks Energy Backpack and Messenger Bag Collection
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7. Reflective Materials
If you're going to be walking or biking at night, especially near roadways, look for a bag with reflective materials or straps. If it doesn't come with these things, look to add your own reflectors so you can be easily seen in the dark.

8. Warranty
It's important to check out how the company will back their bag if something goes wrong. Some bags even come with a lifetime warranty, which can make them a great buy.