Choose the Perfect Backpack & Bag for Law School (to Carry Casebooks and Laptops)

Choose the Perfect Backpack & Bag for Law School (to Carry Casebooks and Laptops)

82 thoughts on “Choose the Perfect Backpack & Bag for Law School (to Carry Casebooks and Laptops)

  1. North face backbacks are also AMAZING. I've had mine for all of hs and undergrad and it's still going strong. Their pricy but so worth it.

  2. Great tips James! I love Swiss Gear! Currently, I have a basic camping bag pack for light book carrying days and I have a rolly bag with bag pack straps by Samsonite.

  3. I just ordered the Burton Kilo. Form and function for a low price? Heck yes.

    (It has a sternum strap and separate laptop and tablet sleeves, FYI to everyone.)

    Honestly, I don’t know why I thought my teeny tiny Adidas backpack that I use for day hikes would be fine. (Well, if case books didn’t exist, it would be fine.)

  4. This is sooooooooo helpful! Thank you so much. I was thinking of getting two leather bags from Coach, but I’m thinking that the document bag would be best for me—especially since I’ll be walking to and from law school.

  5. Also, I was thinking of getting a locker on campus. I believe they are $100 per semester or academic year. Do you recommend a locker?

  6. I just bought a new backpack for uni before this came out and I’ve made an error! I got a great bag that opens fully and has pockets for everything as well as a dedicated laptop pocket, but it’s really not designed for books, more just for documents. Larger case Books are too wide for the pockets. Fits my binders and smaller books though. Need to go shopping again I guess

  7. I use a Nike basketball backpack, they're bigger have plenty of pockets, and the air max shoulder straps are amazing. I'm never going back to traditional straps. Love the videos cheers.

  8. Another factor is commuting by bike. In that case, a traditional backpack of real quality with weather proofing is a must. Sitka is hard to beat, though admittedly not at all stylish.

  9. This is really interesting. Where I come from (the Czech Republic), the huge and heavy books that you claim law students in the U.S. have to carry around during the day cannot be taken out from the library and, therefore, can only be read in study halls. And if students have copies of the most important books, like the criminal code with case law, or "introduction to Roman Law", they are much smaller and often paperback.

  10. I live in and study law in Spain, where sidewalks are made from tiny, rectangular tiles, rather than big slabs of concrete. As a result, those rolling backpacks are incredibly uncomfortable to a self-conscious academic like myself. Try walking around making enough noise for everyone in a 200 meter radius to be able to hear. Oof…

  11. If you're small, or find the weight of the books difficult to manage, a rollie bag, or a waist band properly fitted will make the weight manageable. Consider getting an internal frame hiker backpack. They have them that are about the same size as the backpacks discussed here (these are actually day-bags, but try telling this to an 8th grader). If like the OGI backpack there isn't a waist band, you can buy one separately at REI and velcro attach it. Need it sewn? A custom leather worker can do this easily. The critical part of the belt is that it fits correctly on top of your hip bones, but to securely do this it has fit at your back. If you cinch it down tighter and tighter and it's still slipping? It's at the back. REI again is full of nice people who know how it should fit. Get some different color stuff sacks. Red is dongles and chargers, Green is snacks and meds, Baggies are okay, so long as there's only one of them. Get a bag with a light color on the inside, otherwise you will lose a lot of time not being able to find things. Already have a black interior? Get a can of white Krylon for plastic and spray the inside. It won't make it white, but it will lighten it up enough to make the bag work for you. If you have something black, like my SS coffee lid? Tie a bright ribbon to it.
    Rollies? The wheels always add about 5 pounds.
    If you're still not sure what to get. Get the $25-$30 backpack at Costco. Then start law school and look around, check out the bags of other people, maybe you want a $150 backpack. Maybe you keep the Costco bag, they hold up as well as any bag, including very expensive hiker kit. I once spent a lot of time and money getting a top backpack, it wasn't any better than the Costco, it did have more zippers, but they just made it harder to find things. Long distance hikers now mostly carry Z-Packs, and Hyperlite. These are essentially one big bag, two water bottle pockets on the outside, and a mesh pocket on the back. They carry their whole life for months. Lots of pockets and zippers are not your friend. One pocket for pens, highlighters and stuff, everything else in stuff sacks (I like the water proof ones that have the fold-tops, instead of the sweatpants gathered ones, you can see inside better.) ALL liquids outside in pockets. You may be the neatest most organized person on the planet, but if you have any water bottle or coffee mug that has anything but a screw top, it is going to leak. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not next year. The week before the bar exam? It will leak. The highest rated ones that get the five stars? They're great until they destroy your laptop.
    The rollie document bag? I've seen a lot of these in downtown L.A. outside the court buildings. Not a few of them have stacks of expandable folders precariously bungee corded on top, they get stuck in the cracks. Instead get a folding hand truck–larger wheels. You can add a box or milk crate with the big stuff, and put your backpack on top. Bigger wheels are better everywhere. Link follows. You can pile up a couple of office boxes on them. Another tip is use good parachute line to tie the boxes. Bungee, aka shock cord is too long or too short, but one short one can tighten up the string. (Tie a 'handle' just above the bottom and some nice person can now help you carry it up the stairs)

  12. What do you think about transferring to a better law school after the first year? How dramatic is the difference between a top law school and a middle of the road one in terms of first job, starting salary, and if/how competence in a given area of the law can ever potentially offset theses differences? Thank you!

  13. Over the last 2 weeks this literally became my favorite channel and I'm not even in law school. Wish these videos were out there when I was a law student lol

  14. Might I recommend The Bag of Holding from Think Geek – while I'm not a law school student (maybe some day I can go back) – I use this exclusively for work where I transport various different legal texts (from the Code of Federal Regulations Title 19 to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, to Trade manuels and data information, etc.)… It's a great bag that is made of canvas so it's not cheap plastic and will not break on you – and it's got lots of sub pockets for all your legal text books – my only gripe is that after 2 years the magnetic snaps on the front flap broke off (but it's still totally useable)… you can find it at –> I am not paid or sponsored by ThinkGeek – I just love their stuff…

  15. Leather bags are just too heavy! I have a leather purse that I ADORE, but even I must admit that it can be quite heavy. And when you're carrying heavy things, you don't want a bag that's heavy too!

  16. I’ve watched a lot your videos and they are all very insightful. Thanks a lot, I look forward to what you have in the works.

  17. What the hell… why are casebooks not offered in digital form?
    Also, Samsonite backpacks… I had mine for over 10 years through high school and my entire post-secondary career. When it finally broke on a trip, I just sent it back to Samsonite, and they fixed it under warranty. I don't have any reason to use it anymore, but it's still kicking. On top of that, they are great for business trips. TSA friendly, packable, and has straps for it to slide through luggage handles.

  18. You're videos make me feel more positive about law school for some reason. Maybe not this particular video, but all together I'm really looking forward to it! (Law Student UK)

  19. Objection: your contradiction : P
    Block quote from the comments at video urDWY5TXFa0 "6 Best Free Resources in Law School" [
    Oo Patterson
    5 months ago
    How about what type of bag or rolling tote to use as a lawyer?

    5 months ago
    I don't use rollie bags in court because I have self respect.

  20. Huh. I didn't realise backpacks were so important in law school. I also didn't realise backpacks were unfashionable. I think they're pretty cool. They're so useful.

  21. As someone who has compulsively used messenger bags, I have to say that the standard backpack is pretty much definitively better in the long-term for your back. After about 8 years of wearing larger/more heavy duty messenger bags on the same shoulder, the cumulative weight of the bags exerted upon my shoulder eventually pushed part of my spinal column out of place and gave me scoliosis. Fortunately, it was relatively mild, so there was no permanent damage, but it still gave me fairly significant back pain for a few weeks (since the spinal column was compressing on the surrounding muscle), and I had to undergo physiotherapy to force the spinal column back into position.

    Nowadays, I take much more care to always use the strap diagonally to help distribute the weight of the bag across the body, as well as trying to keep the weight to a minimum, as carrying bags exceeding 10kg's starts to give me pain within a week. That being said, I still use messenger bags, as I still prefer their look and feel; it's just nice just being able to swing a shoulder forward and access the contents of the bag. However, I am a lot more careful with my usage of them nowadays, and I would recommend that any prospective law students do the same, lest you do any permanent damage to yourself.

  22. A suggestion for your series. Something about dual-degree programs. I've seen many law schools where one can get both a J.D. and a degree in another graduate/professional field. J.D./M.B.A. or M.P.A is common, as is J.D./M.L.S. I've also seen J.D./D.Psy., J.D./M.S.W., and even J.D. /M.Div. You might want to discuss these joint-programs—should you do one? What is the best combination? What sort of careers can particular combinations do for you?

  23. I am not even in what you know as law school but study German Tax Law as advanced training for my job, but this topic applies to us as well, since our law books are insanely heavy!
    I have been using what we call a "pilot suit case", that you can also roll on wheels, which was designed for business environments, pretty simular to your document bags. But even though it's high quality, the handles start falling apart from too much use and I hate using them on wet/dirty grounds and when I have to walk a lot of stairs.

  24. Quick question – Do they no longer have waist straps on high-end college backpacks? You mentioned a chest strap and that is a good idea (save your shoulders and back!) but I remember in college I had a traditional backpack with a waist strap. It wasn't the most fashion forward thing to wear, but it transferred weight to your hips and waist instead of your shoulders – which really helped. (And yes, for short trips you could just have the bag on your shoulders.) Great vids by the way!

  25. For really durable bags, 5.11 has a lot of good options if you want a bag that's just a complete tank. They're generally pretty spacious and have a lot of pockets, especially the backpacks, and they're built to last. I personally use one of their messenger bags, but they also have more standard backpacks, and chest-strap backpacks (one strap across the chest). They're also very easy to waterproof, if you want to really protect your stuff.

  26. I have used the same backpack for 3 years and it is still in great shape. This thing has enough space and pockets. It's obvious that it's meant for other things but it works for me.


  27. Timbuk2 make great backpacks too. My son destroyed two bags before I ponied up and got him the Timbuk Q Laptop Backpack. Been going 4 years and counting

  28. For leather messenger bags, try camel leather. I've had mine for years and they're still going strong.

  29. Used a messenger bag throughout law school! 😀 Started with a backpack for a couple of days, but its too dorky. 😀

  30. If you want a cute and durable leather purse or tote for law school go to Joy Susan. Their products are fake vegan leather, look and feel like real leather and yet are strong as shit. I don't work for them, I'm just a fan

  31. YouTube keeps suggesting these videos to me, I keep watching them, I'm not even a subscriber or going to school especially not law school.

  32. I guess it depends. I still have a leather pack made from WW2. Straps will never break! Old school is still the best school and they just don't make em' like they use to.

  33. can't people move to a paperless option for casebooks? seems cruel to force students to carry around such a burden especially when hardly used

  34. I'm actually in trade school learning fashion design. But I have to bring all my sewing equipment every day plus my laptop and fabric. For this a rolling bag is best. They make really professional looking rolling briefcases. The one I use is actually designed to be a tool bag and is sold at Home Depot. I feel much less foolish than I would with an actual backpack

  35. I’ve been using a rolling backspace since 8th grade and I INSIST they ARE cool. They’re the coolest. (also my Vera Bradley rolling backpack has lasted YEARS and is incredibly fashionable 😂).

  36. I use two bags i like to use interchangeably, depending what i feel like, I use a Fast Pack EDC by Triple Aught Design, its very rugged and durable and takes a lot of abuse, fits all the books i need and protects my laptop very well, and i have a few pouches attached to MOLLE webbing, and a removable waist belt that i love, it takes all the weight off my shoulders, and added bonus hydration bladder that i love using, not to mention the compliments i get on it around campus. and also have a Arcteryx LEAF Courier Bag, its a messenger style bag, fits everything i need, all my books and laptop, lot of room for 4 water bottles i drink from throughout the day, and I mean big bottles that's used for backpacking, 36 oz, from what I know, i don't think this bag is available for the general public

  37. I’m former Military and carried ALL my four case books, binders, paperback LAC, and computer in my old Army ruck sack, which is designed for a week of living in the field. I did it for exercise climbing stairs in the L. School between class, and got a lot of stares as well, from students wondering how/ why am I carrying all that. I’m 6’5”/240, so I may be more adept to this than say a smaller frame person, but worked for me!

  38. One video its use an ipad to replace your case books, now it's get a bag sturdy enough to carry your case books..Which is it, buddy?!

  39. Objection! Did you not say in another video, about hindsight being 20/20, that we could virtually replace our casebooks with the laptop; with cases being public domain and all, on sites like etc?

  40. I’m in the AVL industry and SwissGear works fantastically.

    My dad used his for several years for stuff like carrying guns to the range or going on day trips and that same bag has been used my me for about 6 months (including all of my books for school, laptop, and some simple tools).

    Not the same thing as Law School, but a lot of the basics (books and tech) work well for me.

  41. All of this is from a mans perspective. A chest strap? Uh… no. Can we get a more inclusive vid next time?

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