Breaking down the five most common backpack brands you’ve seen around campus

Herschel backpacks are among the most popular on the University of Maryland's campus. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons).

Though it’s been a staple of your daily education routine since kindergarten, backpacks are often overlooked as an accessory. They hold your books, computers, water bottle, dig into your shoulders on a hot day and play host to buttons that promote causes you’re passionate about.

The fall semester is a month underway, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for which packs students are sporting, and asked a few people to tell me about them. I narrowed the list down to the top ones. So here they are, in no particular order: the five most popular backpack brands you’ve seen around campus.

Herschel Supply Co.

It’s all about simplicity for the Canadian-based Herschel. While not a very flashy bag, you’d recognize one by the square white patch on the bottom right, with “Herschel” written on it in cursive.

They’re fashionable and come in a variety of colors, one of the most popular being the black canvas bag with a brown leather band across the bottom. This is the color that junior government and politics and statistics major Aaron Nesbitt chose. He considers himself quite loyal to the company, despite the fact that the zipper on his bag broke.

“I have a carry-on suitcase and a fanny pack from [Herschel] too,” Nesbitt said. “I like my backpack because it’s really durable on the outside and has a super cushioned laptop sleeve.”

JanSport

Considering it’s been around since 1967, JanSport must be doing something right. The name is synonymous with backpacks themselves, and they’re definitely the leading backpack brand to be name-dropped in rap songs. Most of the bags are pretty simple — one color, two or three pockets and the JanSport tag across the midsection.

Storage space is a huge plus with this one. I used to bring my red JanSport to basketball games and it somehow had room for my shoes and a ball. That ever-expanding nature is something junior journalism major Kate DeBlasis really likes about her button-decorated backpack.

“I tend to overpack my bag some days,” DeBlasis said. “But if I ever do need to bring a bunch of stuff with me, there’s plenty of room.”

DeBlasis did admit that sometimes the lack of internal organization and absence of a water bottle holder does bother her, but overall, she’s content with the purchase.

Fjällräven

Fjällräven (pronounced like this) is a Swedish outdoors company that makes men’s and women’s clothing, but is probably best known in the U.S. for its popular backpack, the Kånken. You’re likely familiar with the Kånken from the red “arctic fox” logo, or from seeing it on shelves at Urban Outfitters.

It’s a small bag, possibly designed more for fashion than function. However, it is made of durable materials that Fjällräven sources in a sustainable way. Senior elementary education major Jordan Cummins said she loves her backpack.

“It’s so comfy and the perfect size for like a day trip to D.C.,” Cummins said. “It’s cute, but serves the purpose of a backpack still.”

Under Armour

If your backpack brand loyalty runs parallel to your loyalty to the University of Maryland, the Under Armour backpack might be a good fit. Of course, you can grab a UA backpack in any color — but the bright red ones are surely the most popular ones on our campus.

Senior government and politics major Melody Meyers got her name-embroidered backpack through marching band, and she’s fairly pleased with it.

“I like that it is lightweight and has breathable straps,” Meyers said. “But it doesn’t have another pocket that I could put folders in. There’s only a big one for my laptop.”

The North Face

To round out the list we have the outdoor recreation gear company, The North Face. Most of the backpack styles have similar features: water bottle holders, ventilated shoulder straps and cinch cords. They are the perfect example of a brand whose price is worth paying for the quality of the items.

Alex Bergman, a senior operations management and business analytics major, can attest to this. She’s had her black North Face backpack for nearly all of high school and college.

“[I got it] sophomore year of high school and I knew that my specific North Face backpack would last many, many years,” Bergman said. “Lot of pockets, really reliable.”

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