If you’re a teacher, then you already know back-to-school shopping isn’t just for the students. As autumn approaches, classroom educators will be loading up on school supplies, too: pencils, pens, highlighters in every color, notebooks, planners, binders, and more. But if there’s anything more important than a teacher’s tools (other than their lesson plans), it’s the bags for teachers tasked with transporting them all from home to school and back again, in an organized fashion.
When shopping for your next (or first!) teacher bag, there are a few things to consider. First, your precious cargo: What and how much are you packing (possibly stuffing) into your carry-on, on a daily basis? Next, your organization preferences. Do you require a ton of pockets, or are open-concept bags designed without compartments more your style? Lastly, you want your bag to be as stylish as it is fashionable, so be on the lookout for bags that speak to your personal aesthetic.
From vibrant color palettes to funky patterns, vintage-worn leather, to sleek totes, there’s a bag that meets every educator’s specifications. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve rounded up some of the best bags for teachers on the market below.
1. Day Owl The Backpack
Day Owl ensures using its backpacks will be “the best way to carry your day,” and we love that for educators who find themselves literally toting everything they need from the first to the last bell in their teacher bag. The Backpack boasts a minimalist design, but just because you don’t see its external pockets off the bat doesn’t mean they aren’t there: Exterior storage includes a spill-resistant bottle pocket, a flat front pocket, a padded laptop pocket, and even a floating top pocket for smaller essentials like your car keys or wallet. Interior storage includes sleeve pockets for organization (think smaller notebooks, planners, packs of pens, etc.), with plenty of room for makeup bags or cord parcels, and even a change of clothes if you’re headed to the gym after class.
2. The Brevitē Backpack
If you’re in the market for a basic backpack that gets the job done in style, consider The Brevitē Backpack. Like Day Owl, Brevitē sticks to minimalist, unisex designs and monochrome color palettes. Its over-the-shoulder backpack is described as an “everyday laptop backpack,” but rest assured it can fit much more than your technological devices. With a hidden pocket for valuables and the main compartment roomy enough for a change of clothes in addition to a 16-inch laptop, notebooks, and pens, it’s an especially great accessory for teachers who find themselves constantly on the go, on and off-campus.
3. Gigi New York Hunter Tote
The age-old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true when talking about the Hunter Tote from Gigi New York. This gorgeous tote bag comes in five colors (with the yellow, orange, and hydrangea hues being particularly eye-popping), but there’s more to the accessory than a stylish aesthetic. The unlined tote is spacious (18.5 inches wide and 7 inches deep), with plenty of room for all your day-to-day essentials. Though designed without pockets, your purchase includes a matching, detachable zipper pouch to hold the essentials or pose as a posh pencil case. Above all else, Gigi New York’s tote is both highly durable, with long-lasting endurance, and highly versatile. In other words, with proper care, you’ll get as much wear during the week as you will off the clock on the weekend.
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4. Callaghan Canvas Backpack
BEST FOR FIELD TRIPS
On the days you’re teaching outside the classroom, this bag from Callaghan has your back. Made from water-resistant materials (ideal for unpredictable weather forecasts), this canvas-lined backpack is one o the smaller options on this list, but its size doesn’t reflect its storage capabilities. It features a main pocket with one interior zipper pocket, as well as two interior slot pockets, assuring all of your on-the-go essentials have a place.Buy: Callaghan Canvas Backpack $24.98
5. MONSTINA Laptop Tote Bag
BEST FOR ORGANIZATION
Toting electronics (be it a laptop, iPad, smartphone, or a combination of devices) from home to the classroom is part of the job these days, and a low battery can really put a damper on a lesson (or throw you for a loop if your digital calendar is your lifeline). Luckily the MONSTINA Laptop Tote wasn’t just built to house your devices; it also features a built-in USB interface, so you can keep a power bank inside the bag and plugin whenever you need a quick charge. The bag is also jam-packed with storage: It has a whopping 15 interior pockets to keep any and every daily necessity orderly. And on top of its functionality, this teacher bag is equally as chic and made from water-proofed, high-grade nylon and leather.Buy: MONSTINA Laptop Tote Bag $28.99
6. Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Backpack
BEST FOR PACKING LIGHT
We had a feeling Herschel Supply Co.’s Pop Quiz Backpack would be a fit for this roundup the second we read its name, and we were right. The extra-large bag measures 17.5 inches high, 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep, and not only does it have a ton of storage space, but it also has a padded and fleece-lined 15-inch laptop sleeve, a front pocket with internal organizers, a key clip, plus a top-zip pocket for easy access to your keys, wallet, phone, etc. The bag also comes in a variety of fun colors, like apple red with saddle brown details and woodland camo.
7. Timbuk2 The Closer Case Water Resistant Messenger Bag
BEST MESSENGER BAG
For some reason, this writer associates “teacher bag” with “messenger bag,” especially if that said teacher is teaching at the collegiate level. Timbuk2’s messenger bag is a modernized style of what is typically thought of like a hipster accessory. Highlighted features include an interior padded compartment that can fit up to 15-inch laptops and opens at the rear to ensure easy access anywhere, anytime; a side pocket for a water bottle; and additional pockets for streamlined organization.
8. ECR4Kids Universal Rolling Cart Organizer Bag Set
BEST FOR FLOATING TEACHERS
If you’re constantly moving from room to room, a bag with wheels might be the best way to go. The universal rolling cart from ECR4KIDS is a makeshift teachers’ bag that you can customize based on your needs. The cart comes with a saddlebag-style canvas cover that has over 30 (yes, 30) compartments and pockets complete with zipper or hook-and-loop closures. It also features an adjustable handle that extends to 23 inches high and locks into three positions, and the entire contraption folds down to 3 inches flat for easy transport to and from school.Buy: ECR4Kids Universal Rolling Cart Organizer Bag Set $69.99
9. Crest Design Nylon Laptop Shoulder Bag
BEST SHOULDER BAG
As far as this writer’s concerned, this bag is the quintessential teacher’s bag, and for under $50. The vintage-wash, water-repellent nylon design comes in six colors and a vibrant floral pattern, is lined with polyester and features a full-zip closure over the main compartment. It may not have 30 different compartments like the ECR4KIDS cart, but it does have plenty of storage in the form of zip-and-slip pockets around the exterior and interior. It also features an adjustable, detachable shoulder strap and dual carry handles, offering various carrying options to meet every circumstantial preference.Buy: Crest Design Nylon Laptop Shoulder Bag $42.97