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Best Backpacks Under $50: Quality with Affordability

If you’re in need of a new backpack but aren’t looking to spend a fortune, you’ll be pleased to know there are dozens of options available to you that come in at under $50. Whether you are looking for a bag for school, leisure or work, you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs and style requirements. A backpack is so handy for almost every part of daily life and can be used on active adventures and days out, or for carrying your laptop and electronics to and from work each day. Just because you aren’t willing to splurge hundreds of dollars on a fancy new bag, doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on having a backpack with all the functions and features you need.

Types of Backpacks

You would be forgiven for thinking that all backpacks are the same, just with different colors and pocket sizes. However, backpacks actually come designed for a wide variety of uses and needs. A basic daypack has a very standard design, and they are all about the same size with the same features. A rucksack on the other hand has a flap on the top, which pulls over the main compartment once sealed. There are specific bags designed to carry laptops and electronic items, and if you are carrying expensive equipment such as cameras, you may want to consider an anti-theft backpack. Finally, for active individuals, you’ll find hydration backpacks with water dispensers built in, as well as bags designed especially for hiking or biking.

Things to Look for in the best backpacks under $50

It can be easy to think that all backpacks are the same, but you’ll find a wide variety of brands and designs available to you. Whether you are looking for a regular backpack, a laptop backpack or a designated travel backpack, you’ll want to find a bag that’s comfortable to carry and is of a high-quality. Listed below are some of the most important checkpoints to tick off when you are comparing different backpack options.

Materials

Even if you are purchasing a backpack under $50 in price, you’ll still want it to last for a good year or so of regular use. Your new bag should be made from durable material, and the heavy-duty models are usually made from nylon or polyester material. Canvas and leather are other great choices for bags, but leather in particular can increase the price. Pay close attention to the backpack’s stitching, as this is one of the most common reasons for having to replace an old bag. Weak stitching, especially around the shoulder straps, can be particularly troublesome, as this is where the bag takes the brunt of the weight. Look for a bag with double stitching, but at the same time, try and avoid overloading the backpack with more items than necessary.

Good storage compartments

A backpack is essentially being purchased for storage, so you’ll want to find one with the best selection of pockets and a bag that has a large capacity. The main compartment should be spacious enough to hold a 15-inch laptop, or any other large items you may need to carry around on a daily basis. Different backpack designs are designed to fit various items, depending on their intended use. Ideally, you’ll want a backpack with a good size front pocket for easy access to any things you need throughout the day, as well as side pockets to hold items such as water bottles or an umbrella. Most packs have a capacity of about 20-40 liters, and the choice is completely up to you how much storage space you’ll need for your personal belongings.

Comfort

If you are taking your new daypack out for a hiking trip or for a long day of work meetings, you’ll want to ensure it’s comfortable to wear all day long on your back. Just because you want to buy a backpack for under 50 dollars, doesn’t mean you should compromise on your health and comfort. Ensure the bag features adjustable shoulder straps, as these will fit the bag perfectly to your height and size. If you are planning to hike or backpack with the bag, find one with a sternum strap or hip strap for additional support and to reduce the pressure on your back if you are carrying a heavy load. Many bags nowadays have a padded back or shoulder straps, which helps to reduce rubbing after a long day of walking.

Size

Part of finding a comfortable bag is ensuring it’s the right size for your height and shape. No one wants an ill-fitting bag to carry around with them everywhere, as it will be neither comfortable nor stylish. You’ll find different bags available for men and women, as these will vary in torso length. Some bags also come in different sizes to fit different heights. A backpack with an adjustable hip belt will help to accommodate your body and hip size best, as this is where most of the backpack’s weight should sit.

Style

Choosing a style of backpack, just like buying a messenger bag or any other type of bag, is completely up to you and your personal preference and needs. Some people love a basic, plain bag, whereas others want something colorful and exciting. You’ll want to consider the needs and occasions you’ll use this bag for before making your purchase, as a bag for leisure use won’t require the same professional look as one for work. If you are planning to use this as a laptop bag for work occasions, try to find one that has a neutral color and a plain design, which will make a good first impression at work engagements.

Top 15 Best Backpacks under $50

1. JanSport Big Student Backpack

As far as laptop backpacks for students go, this is one of the best backpack designs available, and is both stylish and functional. JanSport are renowned for their travel and laptop backpacks, and this bag features a simple design that’s ideal for everyday use.

Materials & Design

This backpack is made from tear resistant and durable material and comes in a wide variety of colors to fit individual styles and tastes. While backpacks under 50 dollars don’t come with a lifetime warranty usually, JanSport puts you in good hands thanks to their over 50 years of industry experience. This bag offers all the pockets one could need to store all your things for everyday life. There is a 15″ laptop sleeve as well as a water bottle holder on the side.

Storing & Carrying

This iconic bag features S-curve straps which reduce pressure on your body and shoulders. The padded back of this laptop backpack makes it comfortable to wear, and if you need to use the carry handle when you’re in a rush, it won’t rub your hands during use.

Pros

  • Good size laptop sleeve makes this a great option for carrying school and work items
  • S-curve shoulder straps
  • Durable material and construction

Cons

  • Mesh water bottle holder is quite weak

 

 

2. Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Matein are renowned for producing high-quality bags, and this is one of their best designs which comes in at under 50 dollars. It’s stylish yet functional with a good amount of front and side pockets to carry all of your personal items. Each compartment has been well thought out to keep you organized on your travels and days at work.

Materials & Design

The polyester material this Matein bag is constructed from is both water resistant and long-lasting. With sturdy metal zippers, your personal things will be secure inside the front and side pockets. It features a separate laptop sleeve pocket and holds a laptop up to 15.6 inches in size, making it one of the best laptop backpack options for students and professionals. You’ll also appreciate the external USB charger and internal cable, so if you have a person who loves technology in your life, this would be a great gift for them.

Storing & Carrying

This laptop backpack will protect your back and shoulders thanks to the padded back design which offers good airflow. The adjustable shoulder straps are breathable, which helps to reduce stress on your body. If you are carrying valuable things such as a passport or money, use the hidden anti theft pocket which can be found on the back of the bag.

Pros

  • One of the best laptop and anti-theft backpacks
  • Padded back and adjustable shoulder straps
  • External USB charger included

Cons

  • Bottom of the bag lacks padding for leaving your things on the floor while at work or school

 

 

3. JanSport Big Campus Cheap Backpack

JanSport are renowned for their sporty and trendy backpacks that are ideal for everyday use. This is the perfect bag for school or college, and comes in a wide selection of different colors and designs. You’ll appreciate the spacious main compartment which is the best laptop storage option in this bag.

Materials & Design

Made from 100% polyester fabric, this is an extremely comfortable and sturdy backpack designed for everyday use. It has a 34 liter capacity and a dedicated laptop sleeve pocket. There are two large main compartments as well as a water bottle holder on the side. On the front is a unique zippered mesh pocket for keeping any small accessories you need easy access to.

Storing & Carrying

This is a really comfortable backpack under 50 dollars in price, which has S-curve straps for your shoulders. The back panel is completely padded, which makes walking around campus all day a breeze. If you have to use the small top handle, you’ll appreciate its comfortable webbed design.

Pros

  • Wide range of colors and designs available
  • Two large compartments
  • S-curve shoulder straps

Cons

  • Won’t protect your personal electronics and things stored inside the bag from water or rain

 

 

4. YOREPEK Backpack for Men

Available in two sizes and a wide range of colors, this TSA approved backpack under 50 dollars is ideal for travelers and business people. You’ll fit endless items in this massive bag, which features compression straps to keep your bag secure and comfortable to your body.

Materials & Design

This scansmart backpack is made from polyester, which is water and tear resistant. If you need a large laptop backpack, we’d recommend choosing the larger size option, which will carry a 17 inch screen device. It has twenty different compartment and pockets to choose from, so you’ll keep your belongings well organized. Choose from one of three larger compartment pockets for your files and laptop.

Storing & Carrying

The side compression straps will make your bag the perfect fit for your body, and the external USB port offers charging on the go. If you need to use the top handle in a rush, it’s comfortable for carrying over a long period of time. This backpack offers three-dimensional ventilation, so heat won’t be retained by the bag or near your back on a hot day.

Pros

  • Over twenty different compartments to choose from
  • External USB port
  • The larger bag can carry a 17 inch or larger laptop

Cons

  • Not as water resistant as the bag claims to be, so be careful with your electronics

 

 

5. REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack

If you are looking for a military-style backpack or a bag with a good capacity, this is an excellent choice from Reebow Gear. It’s an extremely durable backpack with multiple pockets for personal items and special features that make it ideal for trekking or short trips away. It’s available in tan or black and is best suited for active and outdoor adventures.

Materials & Design

This military-style backpack is made from durable and water resistant material and has a large capacity to carry everything you would need for a full day out. It has a polyester fabric lining and uses zipper closures to make sure all your personal things are secure inside. It’s a double-stitched bag that has strong zippers and cord pulls. The padded back and padded shoulder straps make it comfortable for wearing all day long.

Storing & Carrying

The bag’s dimensions are 13 x 20 x 11 inches, and it has a 40 liter capacity, which is enough room to carry anything you might need on an active day out. To allow you to carry additional belongings, this backpack has a molle system, which allows you to attach extra gear onto it. It has plenty of pockets and compartments to carry everything you could need, and the main compartments are extremely spacious. It’s great for hiking or camping as it has space for a hydration bladder to fit inside, although that’s not included with the bag.

Pros

  • A large bag that’s ideal for a short camping trip or long days out
  • 40 liter capacity
  • Double-stitched with strong zippers
  • Durable and water-resistant material

Cons

  • Design is not particularly versatile for work or professional use
  • May be too big for everyday use
  • Would be very large on petite females

 

 

6. MANCIO Slim Affordable Laptop Backpack

Without spending more than 50 dollars, you can get a fashionable laptop backpack thanks to this bag from Mancio. With a fun range of colors and a trendy design, this bag has multiple different compartment options for all the items you need to carry to work or school.

Materials & Design

The nylon Oxford material this bag is made from gives it its unique appearance which is wear and tear resistant. It has a large capacity and spacious design with five main compartment options to choose from. You can fit a laptop up to 15.6 inches in size, as well as a tablet and phone in this backpack under 50 dollars in price. There is a side pocket on each side of the bag for easy access to a bottle or umbrella.

Storing & Carrying

As well as looking great, this laptop backpack is also extremely comfortable to use. Even with all of your daily items inside, it’s one of the best backpack options for comfort even when worn daily. The adjustable shoulder straps ensure the bag fits perfectly to your body, so your shoulders and back won’t ache after a day of use.

Pros

  • Fashionable and unique design at a low price point
  • Trendy laptop backpack for school or work
  • Five main compartment options to choose from

Cons

  • Doesn’t stand upright by itself
  • With a laptop and bulky folders inside, you won’t have much room for anything else

 

 

7. High Sierra Loop Cheap Backpack

One of the most versatile bag options available, this bag from High Sierra offers multiple pockets and compartments. For your tablet or iPad, you can use the dedicated tablet sleeve, which will keep it safe and sound on your journey. There are plenty of straps throughout the design to keep your bag safe and secure, and this pack is durable and hardwearing for daily use.

Materials & Design

This High Sierra pack is made from 1680 denier ballistic nylon, which is incredibly durable and long-lasting. You’ll be able to choose from an extensive range of colors for this bag, so it’s great for men, women and children. There are multiple compartments to choose from, including pockets and organizational tools to keep your phone and other valuables safe.

Storing & Carrying

One of the best additions to this pack’s design is the monster hook and additional straps throughout. These allow you to secure extra gear if you are on an extended day out. There are side compression straps and a padded back panel, keeping you and your belongings safe and comfortable. The shoulder straps can easily be adjusted to match your height.

Pros

  • Wide range of colors to choose from
  • Designated tablet pocket
  • Monster hook for attaching extra gear

Cons

  • Weak sewing and seams often reported
  • Quite a narrow bag design

 

 

8. Volher Laptop Backpack Under $50

This anti theft backpack is the ideal piece of luggage to take to work each day or use on trips abroad. Available in black, grey, rose red or blue, it’s a professional bag that will make a good first impression. It has plenty of space to store all your electronics, including a laptop compartment and phone storage.

Materials & Design

Made from polyester, this bag from Volher is durable and water resistant. You’ll find durable zippers on all the compartments and pockets that won’t break after a couple of uses. There are multiple different front and side pockets, helping you to arrive at work organized and ready to go for the day. This is one of the best backpacks under 50 dollars, thanks to the built in USB charger port. You’ll be able to charge your phone on the go and also enjoy music hands-free thanks to the headphone jack.

Storing & Carrying

The bag is built to carry one laptop in the separate laptop compartment, which can hold up to a 15.6 inch laptop. You can easily attach this bag to your suitcase when walking through the airport with a luggage strap. The anti theft pocket at the back will keep your passport and valuables safe when traveling. It’s one of the most comfortable budget-friendly backpacks, thanks to the back and shoulders which are breathable and encourage good airflow. If you need to quickly take a break from carrying it on your back, you’ll appreciate the padded handle on the top of the bag.

Pros

  • Comfortably fits a 15.6 inch laptop
  • Anti theft back pocket
  • Professional design

Cons

  • The USB charger is very slow to charge devices

 

 

9. Outlander Ultra Lightweight Affordable Backpack

This is one of the lowest-priced options on the market and is the best backpack you can find for under $15. It’s the ideal size for use as a daypack and comes in a wide selection of colors for men, women and children. It’s lightweight for carrying and has a 33 liter capacity, making it one of the top picks for everyday use.

Materials & Design

This backpack from Outlander is made from water-resistant nylon fabric that is highly durable and long-lasting. The stress points, such as the carry handle, are reinforced, meaning that although it’s a low-priced bag, it will last for a long time. The shoulder strap design curves to fit your body perfectly. This bag has enough room to fit all of your belongings and has two main pockets, as well as pockets one can fit their smaller belongings and water bottles into.

Storing & Carrying

This bag can easily be adjusted to accommodate a customer of any size and height. The best thing about this bag is that it can be folded down when not in use. It folds into a zippered pocket that could fit anywhere, so it’s ideal for traveling. You’ll also appreciate the included carabiner clip, which you can attach extra gear or bottles to for your day out.

Pros

  • A collapsable backpack that folds down with ease
  • One of the cheapest options on the market
  • Available in a wide range of colors

Cons

  • Very thin fabric
  • Not the best choice if you are looking to carry heavy belongings

 

 

10. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

If you enjoy days out hiking or cycling, this is the ideal backpack for you. Available in five different colors and coming in well under $50, this is one of the best backpacks for keen adventurers who want to keep hydrated on the go. You’ll no longer have to worry about carrying around chunky water bottles, as this bag includes a 2 liter hydration pack.

Materials & Design

The shell of this bag is made from honeycomb ripstop, which is 600D PU. You’ll find five different colors to choose from, varying between bold colors to more neutral shades. The unique feature of this backpack is definitely the 2-liter bladder which will keep you hydrated on a busy day out. The bag also features a rain cover which is integrated into the design and will keep your belongings safe and sound even during a heavy rainstorm.

Storing & Carrying

TETON’s backpack features compression straps, which allow you to tighten the pack down so when you are cycling or hiking, it won’t bounce up and down on your back. The straps are adjustable to fit men and women, and thanks to the mesh covering and the foam stabilizer, you’ll feel comfy all day long. The bag has an 18 liter capacity as well as two smaller pockets on the front for easy access.

Pros

  • Water bladder with a 2-liter capacity included with your purchase
  • Compression straps keep the bag tight to your body during active adventures
  • Made from ripstop material

Cons

  • Not the widest of bags, so not the best laptop backpack option
  • Not many hooks or straps to attach additional gear

 

 

11. FENGDONG 40L Waterproof Lightweight Backpack

This is a versatile backpack which is ideal for traveling and everyday use. Available in a wide variety of colors for men and women, this bag has a 40 liter capacity and thanks to the mesh shoulder straps, you’ll walk around in comfort all day long. It’s well within the under $50 price range, and is water resistant and features many different pockets to hold all the things you could need for a day out.

Materials & Design

This FENGDONG backpack is made from tear and water-resistant polyester fabric and uses a nylon fabric lining. It uses bar tacking at all its stress points to make sure it’s a long-lasting purchase. It features one main compartment and then a smaller front pocket. There are two side pockets to hold a water bottle or umbrella as needed. With a capacity of 40 liters, you’ll have plenty of room to look after all of your things for travel and days out.

Storing & Carrying

You’ll feel comfortable all day long thanks to the padded shoulder straps which are ventilated with hiking and sports in mind. Even when your bag is bulging full, and it’s the middle of summer, you will still feel comfortable and cool. One of the best things about this backpack is that it’s foldable, and goes down into a pocket for easy storage. Weighing just 1.9 pounds, it’s one of the most lightweight options on the market.

Pros

  • Lightweight at just 1.9 pounds
  • Folds into its own pocket for easy storage
  • Made from water resistant and durable polyester fabric

Cons

  • Pockets are not as large as they look in real life
  • If you decide to use this as a laptop backpack, there won’t be room for much else as there’s no dedicated laptop sleeve

 

 

12. Targus Legend IQ Backpack

This is a functional backpack which offers good organization and plenty of space to carry up to a 16 inch laptop. It’s ideal for professionals and students, and is great for traveling as the bag can easily attach to your luggage for moving through the airport with ease.

Materials & Design

Designed from a durable and hardwearing material, this backpack from Targus has multiple pockets to carry all of your electronics and a 16 inch laptop. You’ll arrive at work or school well organized thanks to the separate laptop pocket and tablet pocket, as well as a media pocket which contains a headphone jack and built-in cord. If you are going on a trip, you can use the trolley strap to easily attach this bag to your main suitcase. This backpack is made to stand upright, which is an unusual addition to a high quality yet low cost bag.

Storing & Carrying

This bag may look quite functional, but it’s extremely comfortable to carry. Even with all of your personal items inside, you’ll find it feels lightweight and comfy for long days on the go. If you need to use the carry handle, it is soft-touch, so won’t cause rubbing on your hands. The back panel is padded, which helps to provide good airflow in warm weather conditions.

Pros

  • Separate pockets for your laptop and tablet
  • Media pocket with headphone jack and built-in cord
  • Extremely durable and hardwearing bag

Cons

  • Stitching is weaker than some more expensive options
  • The material feels quite cheap

 

13. Sunhiker Small Cycling Backpack

If you are looking at the best backpacks under 50 dollars for active adventures, this is perfect for all your hiking and cycling trips. Thanks to the small backpack and compartment size, it’s the ideal weight and size for carrying your essential items for a day out, without adding too much weight to your back. The adjustable sternum strap means your bag will be secure regardless of how bumpy the route is you are taking.

Materials & Design

This small pack is made from nylon, which is both lightweight and water and scratch resistant. It’s the ideal pack for long-term, daily use, and will be both comfortable and long-lasting. The compartment is still quite small for the main compartment, but you’ll easily be able to fit water, snacks, your phone and any other essentials for a day out. It’s designed with activities in mind, so it is best for sports and active pursuits. The dimensions of the bag are 15.8 x 9.4 x 5.9 inches, and it weighs 12.3 oz. The capacity of this pack is about 20-25 liters, which is a good size to fit all the things you need while cycling or hiking.

Storing & Carrying

Designed with sport in mind, this small pack offers breathable shoulder straps, which won’t put additional pressure on your shoulders or back. When opening and closing the pack, you’ll appreciate the smooth zips and the strong front buckle. Compression straps are present on the pack, to help keep your bottle and other items secure when on the move. Unfortunately, the bag is not really big enough for a combination lock, but it’s the type of pack you’ll wear all day anyway as it’s so lightweight.

Pros

  • Wide range of colors
  • The ideal pack for cycling and hiking trips, and can carry essentials such as your phone and water
  • Sternum strap offers additional support and relieves pressure on your shoulder and back

Cons

  • Very small pack which is only suitable for active adventures and short days out
  • Straps on the pack can be quite short and restrictive for taller individuals

 

 

14. Rickyh style School Backpack

Available in an extensive range of colors, this backpack under 50 dollars offers the ideal storage solution for everyday school and college items. With a spacious compartment that is 25 liters in size, it’s the ideal versatile addition to your bag collection.

Materials & Design

Made from nylon, this bag comes in a wide range of fun designs and colors for all ages. Your items and personal things will be secure, thanks to the anti-scratch quality of the material. It uses zipper closures and also features a laptop sleeve as well as multiple smaller pockets and compartments to organize any things you need for school and travel.

Storing & Carrying

This is a good lightweight bag which is ideal for everyday use and is designed with padded straps for easy carrying for teens and adults. It has an ergonomic design, so uses its space and capacity wisely to organize your belongings well. It is a reasonably secure bag, however, unfortunately, there is no space to add a combination lock or anything to secure your belongings.

Pros

  • Good laptop backpack for students
  • Multiple different compartments and pockets
  • A fun range of colors and designs to choose from

Cons

  • Cheap zippers were used to make this laptop backpack
  • Only fabric on the bottom of the bag, so doesn’t protect your personal items particularly well

 

15. CoolBELL Backpack Casual Daypack

If you are looking for a new laptop backpack for the upcoming school or college year, this is a fun and fashionable choice for teens and adults alike. It’s an extremely lightweight bag, so even when holding a heavy laptop, it won’t put too much pressure on your shoulders and back. It’s designed with a 15.6 inch laptop compartment, so it is ideal for everyday use for work or school.

Materials & Design

This bag from CoolBELL is made from extremely lightweight nylon fabric and weighs just 1 lb in total. Inside you’ll find a nylon lining, protecting the bag and the things you are carrying inside of it. It has one large main compartment, as well as a smaller pocket on the front of the bag. You’ll also find two side pockets, ideal for your water bottle.

Storing & Carrying

This bag has a good capacity, and its dimensions are 17.5 x 11.8 x 5.5 inches. As well as being one of the best laptop backpacks, it will easily carry other clothes and books that you need to take with you. It has strong shoulder straps thanks to the good stitching techniques used, meaning it will have a long life. Another unique feature of this bag is the USB port, which allows you to charge your phone or electronic device on the go.

Pros

  • USB port for charging on the go
  • Good size laptop compartment which holds up to a 15.6 inch laptop
  • Available in a wide range of colors for men and women

Cons

  • Minimal pockets in comparison to some other bags
  • Zippers are not particularly strong or hardwearing

 

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