Alternatives to the traditional backpack

Over-the-shoulder, two-strap backpacks can become burdensome for students over the course of the school year. Here are seven practical and stylish alternatives that can be used instead.

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Alternatives to the traditional backpack
Betty Bow Holdall Bag in Red, $60

This darling hold-all bag can function as a school bag or can accompany a stylish outfit in or outside of the classroom. It easily fits a laptop and a binder as well as any extra materials without being so large that it dwarfs the student. It even comes with a cross-body strap so you can switch up the way you carry it if one way becomes uncomfortable.

Source: Topshop
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
UA Compel Sling 2.0 Backpack, $55

This one-strap adjustable backpack comes in a range of neutral colors and combines athletic qualities with practicality. The sole strap allows whatever weight is in the bag to be evenly distributed along the center of the back. The largest item it can hold is a 15-inch laptop, meaning it’s less likely to become overly heavy.

Source: Under Armour
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
Abingdon Messenger Bag, $118

This messenger is perfect for slinging on and carrying supplies. It has an adjustable strap and handle, so you can choose to carry it by hand or cross-body style. Its magnetic snap buckles allow for easy access to and security for school materials.

Source: J. Crew
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
Leather Handle Boat and Tote in Dark Green, $55

This tough, versatile canvas tote can handle carrying pretty much anything needed for classes. Its double-layer base provides durability, and the simple palette and leather handles are stylish and classic.

Source: L.L. Bean
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
Everest Sling Bag in Turquoise, $18

This simple, lightweight sling bag is perfect for throwing on and going to multiple classes in a row. The Velcro strap makes it easy to take on or off, and multiple pockets provide storage for smaller items so they don’t get lost.

Source: Walmart
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
Medium Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag in Limestone Dip, $99

This refined messenger bag features a padded shoulder strap for extra comfort, and it’s also removable if the student needs to switch up how he or she carries the bag. There are multiple pockets to organize virtually any items needed for class, and its durable materials and balanced design ensure it won’t fall apart.

Source: L.L. Bean
Alternatives to the traditional backpack
J World Thomas Laptop Messenger Bag in Navy/Red, $20

This messenger bag has multiple pockets to ensure school materials stay balanced and organized throughout the day. It also has a lightly padded strap and flap and buckle closures, making it comfortable and easily accessible.

Source: Target

As kids progress through school, backpacks become a fixture in everyday life, and over time they can become a literal pain in the back. Taking on more extracurricular activities and classes—and the modern student is taking on more than ever—means there are even more school supplies they need to haul around. Before the new year begins, consider getting your child one of these alternatives that will allow students to switch up how they carry their school supplies.

(Back to School Guide)