What’s the best backpack for carrying lots of books?

If you’re a student taking a lot of classes, you know what that means — lots of heavy books.

It’s not unusual for university students to carry around 3 or 4 giant books at once.

For that kind of weight, you need a backpack that’s both durable enough to withstand a heavy load and that’s designed to distribute the weight evenly over your back so that you don’t strain your back.

You need something that has high capacity and is made from high quality materials.

Finding the best backpack for lots of books

Does such a backpack exist?


In fact, I have reviewed four of the best choices for quality, highly rated, load-carrying backpacks.

Let’s jump right in and explore some of your options:

The Best Backpack for carrying lots of books: The Ogio Stratagem

OGIO 411067 Stratagem, Computer Laptop/MacBook Pro Backpack, Black

The Ogio Stratagem was made for people who need some serious carrying capacity.

This backpack does it all.

If you’re carrying a ton of books, there’s a good chance you’ll be carrying around a laptop, too. The large inner compartment and the padded laptop pocket make this a versatile choice for anyone carrying around books.


  • Made for comfort straps
  • Fits five to six average size books
  • Pack size: 19.5 x 10.5 x 15 inches


  • Can fit under the seat of a plane with a reasonable amount inside
  • Fit five to six average size textbooks
  • Pockets are well organized, you can always find one


  • Older design
  • Only available in black

The bottom line:

This backpack is suited to anyone who needs to carry a lot of weight. For both students and travelers, this backpack will be able to fit all your necessities.

Click here to check out the best price for this bag over on Amazon.

Most durable backpack: Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical

Direct Action Dust MK II Tactical Backpack Black 20 Liter Capacity

Sounds super serious, right?

That’s because the Direct Action Dragon Egg Tactical was designed for the military, so you can bet it will handle a large load of books.

And before you bail on this one thinking it will only come in camouflage, don’t worry, they have many color options. It’s also surprisingly lightweight, versatile, and abrasion-resistant.

Look out because this one is made with 100% Cordura 500D.


  • Pockets equipped with elastic for expansion
  • Patented vent system for cooling comfort
  • Low profile design
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 10.2 x 16.5 inches ; 2.8 pounds


  • Solid water bottle holder
  • Designed to be snag-free
  • Can accommodate a water bladder


  • Smaller size

The bottom line:

Bag addicts rave about this one. You might get stopped by a backpack nerd and be asked “Hey, where did you get that?” Reviewers gush that it’s the best pack they have ever owned.

I should tell you there were several complaints on Amazon about it being a little bit small. But those complaints seemed to be tied up with wanting a big, hiking-style pack. I think it would be fine for everyday books and stuff.

You can read more about this great bag over on Amazon.

Most versatile backpack: High Sierra “Endeavor” TSA Elite

High Sierra TSA Elite Laptop Backpack, Black, One Size

I would not mind having a backpack with a water-resistant bottom. Would you?

Well, the Endeavor from High Sierra has just that.

It also has a key fob and straps that are easy on the shoulders. Even better, it has a TSA-compliant technology sleeve which will make traveling easier.

The “Endeavor” gets compared to more expensive packs with remarks on how well it matches up.


  • Deluxe airflow for coolness
  • 1680 Poly/PU
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 9.2 x 13 inches


  • Holds even bulky laptops
  • Can handle a heavy book load
  • You get your money’s worth


  • Not particularly stylish

The bottom line:

This bag has some weakness in the zipper department, but is an efficient campus companion.

This is a good bag to bring with you on a deep woods camping trip, on an international study trip, or just to the library to get some homework done.

Have a look at it on Amazon and pick one up for yourself.

For the traveler with lots of books: eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Carry-On Travel Backpack - Fits 19 Inch Laptop - (Sage Green)

eBags is a company that gets a lot of positive feedback for the Mother Lode Weekender Convertible.

You’d be hard pressed to find many negative reviews.

It seems this is the kind of pack that makes others jealous. It travels well, too. Just as useful in a busy airport as it is during a day full of classes.


  • Patented Laptop Sling
  • Main compartment stats: 21.5″ H x 5.5″ D x 13 to 14 W
  • Front compartment is 21.5″ H x 3 to 5 D x 13 to 14 W


  • Can carry a huge number of books
  • Solid history of high ratings among buyers
  • Durable


  • Sternum strap can be easy to lose
  • The pack can wear on your shoulders after four or five hours
  • Some issues with the waist strap


This makes a good daily backpack that will handle all your books. It can even get bigger as it has zipper expansion that provides 10% more room if needed.

It’s no-nonsense and unassuming yet manages to still be detail-oriented.

Want to see more? Click here to get more info and buy one over on Amazon.

What's the best backpack to carry lots of books in?

The Verdict

It’s good that you’re taking a hard look at the right pack for your books. This backpack is going to be your buddy at school or work for the foreseeable future.

I hope this post helps you make the right choice.

Really, though, any one of these four is a good decision. It’s all about what’s right for you. So go ahead and make that backpack purchase and enjoy the coming years with your new friend.

For those headed to law school (which often requires lots of heavy books!), or grad school, I’ve got posts specifically for each of those. Check them out!

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