Nursing students and nurses fresh out of school know this all too well: a good backpack is one of the most essential items in any medical professional’s toolkit! Between heavy textbooks, personal equipment, an extra set of scrubs, your lunch – the material requirements of getting through an average day at school or the hospital can weigh on you! And having a sturdy, ergonomic bag that’s easy on your body can make all the difference. 

Why Every Nurse Needs a Good Backpack

Here’s a little refresher on relevant anatomy: your spinal column consists of 33 distinct bones known individually as “vertebra”. Between each vertebra is a soft pad made of collagen called a “disc”, which acts as a natural shock absorber, and keeps our backs flexible. Too much weight held on one side of the body can cause the spine to bend inappropriately, resulting in impacted discs, chronic pain, and other long-term injuries. Similarly, a low-quality backpack which doesn’t distribute weight correctly can force us to lean either too far forward or back while wearing our bags, and may cause pain and injury in the long run. 

To keep your spine in top condition and your back pain-free and flexible, nurses should invest in a high-quality backpack which is designed for comfort and optimum support. Have you given this lecture to a tote-fanatic before? As a nurse, you have special insight into the everyday activities which can either keep a body healthy, or hurting. For students, nurses, or anyone with a heavy load on their shoulders, a good backpack which distributes the weight of your belongings evenly across your shoulders is a must-have. 

Best Backpacks and Where to Find Them

Best Backpack for Nurses

  1. High Sierra Swerve Backpack – This multi-compartment, pocket-filled designed allows you to comfortably carry everything and the kitchen sink with you at school or to your place of work. The supportive straps are well-padded, and contoured so that when worn properly they distribute weight evenly across your shoulders. This backpack, rated 4.4 out of 5 stars, is available in 39 colors on for $53.99.

  2. Timbuk2 Uptown Laptop Travel-Friendly Backpack – This TSA compliant pack is perfect for travel nurses, and any medical professionals who spend a lot of time in airports. The main compartment is amended with a laptop-specific compartment which is perfect for safely storing a Macbook or iPad. Custom straps allow for a perfect fit, just for your back and shoulders. This backpack, rated 4.1 out of 5 stars, is available in 5 colors on for $65 – $119.

  3. The North Face Vault Backpack – This pack was designed for comfort on long hikes and backpacking trips, so imagine how it might feel on a daily commute! A large main compartment and injection-molded straps mean you can fill this bag to the brim with all your daily necessities, without hurting your body. This backpack is available in 15 colors on for $54.95 – $130.93.  

Best Rolling Backpack for Nurses

  1. The Kipling Alcatraz – This wheeled backpack gives you all the function while sacrificing none of the fashion. Made by a handbag designer, this attractive bag has a suitcase-style zipper function for easy packing, and comfortable built-in straps in case you need to pick it up. This backpack, rated 4.4 out of 5, is available in 28 colors on Amazon for $139.93.

  2. JanSport Driver 8 Core Series – Two main compartments and a plethora of smaller side pockets allows you to stay organized to and from your hospital or clinic. A retractable paddle-grab handle allows you to pull this favorite rolling pack when you need to give your shoulders a break. This backpack, rated 4.4 out of 5, is available in 19 colors on for $87.66.

  3. Tilami School and Travel – This backpack’s super power is its armored bottom – safely transport electronics, books, and ceramic tupperware without fear of damage from bumps in the road. Your superpower after rolling your heavy belongings to work every month will be a flexible and pain-free spine. This backpack is available in 38 colors on for $68.99.

Best Budget Backpack for Nurses

  1. Eastsport Tech Backpack – This economy backpack saves you a lot of neck pains (literally) as well as the cost of a new textbook or two. A large main compartment, padded laptop compartment, and easy-to-reach phone and ID pocket means everything is organized and where you need it to be, when you need it. This backpack, rated 4.4 out of 5, is available in 25 colors on for $21.65.

  2. AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack – An affordable and tech-oriented design makes this backpack ideal for nursing students on a tight budget. Padded pockets keep your gadgets safe on the go, and mesh water bottle pockets at the sides encourage you to stay hydrated – as everyone knows, water is life. This backpack, rated 4.3 out of 5, is available on for $33.49.

  3. MarsBro Laptop Backpack – 13 pockets distributed through 3 spacious compartments make this sleek pack surprisingly high-capacity. Durable, water-resistant fabric protects the contents of your bag, and a built-in power cable enables you (with the purchase of a power-pack!) to charge your electronics while on the go. This backpack, rated 4.3 out of 5, is available in 11 colors on for $32.99.

Final Thoughts: Best Backpacks for Nurses

Keeping in shape should be a top priority of every nurse – from new student, to experienced lead. One of the simplest and easiest ways to ensure your spine is in top condition is by treating yourself to a comfortable, durable, and high-quality backpack.