If you are a school goer or you go to work daily, then you definitely understand how essential a bag is. There is a wide range of bags to suit different people’s needs, whether students or professionals. Messenger bags and briefcases could be the to-go for options for professionals but too formal for casual commuters like students. Besides, most of these premium bags come with high price tags.
Backpacks are a cheaper option that can fit anywhere, be it in the office, in the trails when hiking, at school, or anywhere between. There are several best backpacks under $100 that can fit your taste and can help you carry all your requirements effortlessly. If you want to save some bucks while at the same time carry a stylish bag, then read on to get more insights.
10 Best Rated Backpacks Under $100 Reviews
Swiss Gear Laptop Backpack
Swiss Gear is a renown company for producing high- quality products, and the Swiss gear laptop backpack is no exception. This travel gear backpack is the best option, especially for air travel. It has a unique scan smart technology that protects your laptop. The technology also ensures that you can smoothly pass through TSA security, where you will not have to take out your laptop as the main compartment can completely open up.
The backpack has a perfect size to be used as a carry-on. It has a capacity of about 8 gallons and measures 18.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 9 inches with four unique pockets where you can put different things. The main compartment seamlessly opens up, enabling your laptop to lie flat and safe.
The bag is made of ballistic polyester fabric with a fully padded back that enables air ventilation to keep you comfortable. On matters of comfort, the bag has contoured shoulder straps that are very comfortable and additional side straps that are also adjustable.
The interior of this bag is well comparted for proper organization. Apart from the main laptop compartment, there is a front pocket that can safely store your valuables like keys, ID, and notepad. You also have an additional u-shaped pocket located at the front. This pocket is quite spacious and has two zippers, which promotes easy access. There is also a floating mesh sleeve in the inside.
- Durable quality as it has a tight lining and stitching.
- Stress- free travel through security passes, for instance, at the airport.
- It has a top handle that is well molded to offer a comfortable and tight grip.
- It comes in a wide variety of colors to choose from.
- Not suitable for carrying a lot of items.
Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera Backpack
The case logic SLRC- 206 camera/ laptop bag is specially made to carry an SLR camera that is fully attached to its accessories like the zoom lens, among other things. Its design is sure to protect your camera and laptop from any form of damage.
The case logic bag is made of nylon with its interior consisting of a memory foam that protects the delicate screen. It has a waterproof base that withstands even the harshest weather conditions. It’s EVA base also enables the backpack to stand without support on the ground or a flat surface.
The interior of this backpack consists of flexible walls coupled with removable shelves, which make its interior fully customizable. The pack has a hammock system that supports the SLR camera just above the bottom case, which gives maximum impact protection.
The SLRC-206 has a laptop compartment that fits a 16″ laptop or 16″ Mac book computers. The pack has four easy-to-access pockets where you can place small items like memory cards for easy access. The sides of this backpack have loop straps and strong hooks that can support a tripod stand. There is an additional innovative strap system that keeps messy and hanging straps at bay. You can easily carry your case logic backpack by its handle or the harness straps.
- Made of nylon material which is waterproof to keep your items dry.
- The EVA base allows the backpack to stand on its own.
- The flexible walls and shelves make it easy to customize its interior.
- It has comfortable straps together with a back padding for air circulation.
- The backpack has a hammock setup to suspend an SLRC camera.
- It is hard to lock the zippers of this bag together.
- It is a bit small for larger lenses and cameras.
- It comes in one color option of black and some little orange.
OUTJOY 17 In Laptop Backpack
The Outjoy travel bag is among the premium backpacks available on Amazon with various unique features like a USB port, which is uncommon in other bags. The exterior of this bag is made of waterproof Polyester fabric to keep everything dry. Additionally, it has a waterproof rain cover for maximum protection against water damage.
The interior of this premium college backpack is well cushioned with protective pads, which are also fixed with airbags. This feature makes it shockproof and, at the same time, protects your laptop from bumps, hits, and scratches. It also has a touch fastener, which enables you to fix your computer if a hitch occurs securely.
The Outjoy waterproof backpack has an external USB port, which is accompanied with an inbuilt charging cable. You can effortlessly connect your power bank for charging or charge your digital device at any time, anywhere, and in a fast way.
The shoulder straps and back panel are made of breathable pads that are comfortable and facilitates proper air ventilation to prevent your back from sweating. This comfortability gives you the best experience, even on long journeys. Its straps buckles are well crafted using sturdy metal, which assures you of no snap issues.
This backpack has smart pockets which have a well-organized layout. For instance, the front section is quite spacious with multiple pockets to store ID cards, passport, bank cards, and even a bunch of keys, among other little stuff. The middle section consists of two pockets where you can store books and clothes. The third compartment is roomy enough to carry a 17 inches laptop. It is this section that contains a charging port and protective padding.
- Assorted range of pockets to carry different items.
- It has a comfortable back and shoulder straps for comfortability.
- It is made of waterproof polyester material that keeps items dry in cases of water spills.
- It comes in a formal design, which is also stylish.
- The bag comes in a single color choice.
Speedo Large Teamster Backpack
Whether you’re participating in a triathlon, using the pool, or swimming in open waters, then you can never go wrong with this bag. The Teamster is both functional and fashionable. It is also spacious enough to carry everything you may need during your adventure.
Designed for athletes and competitive swimmers alike, this iconic piece features a shell that is resistant to abrasion and a bottom that repels water, which comes with a bleacher seat made of foam and can be easily removed. It has several pockets for organization, a laptop sleeve that can fit a 15 inches laptop, and a separable dirtbag. The dirtbag can be used to keep dirty and wet gear away from clean garments. It has durable zippers that meet at the center for the main compartment.
The Teamster has a classic shape from its high-quality materials. It also has front and side pockets to hold water bottles. The exterior material of the bottom of this backpack is water-resistant to keep your items dry, of course, apart from those used during swimming.
On its shoulder straps are Velcro straps that hold in place webbing loops and foam rollers for tag attachments of the bag. Apart from water bottle storage, the side pockets facilitate drainage, and this makes it suitable for small damp items. Its mesh makes this possible. The main compartment of the Speedo Teamster is easy to access and has no lining to allow customization.
- The weave mesh enables quick drying.
- Mesh compartment airs out wet garments in the shortest time possible.
- It has durable material made of polyester and nylon.
- It is available in a wide range of colors.
- The bag’s zipper is of poor quality and quickly gets off.
- The water bottle side pocket looks a little bigger for a standard bottle.
adidas Prime Backpack
The Adidas Prime is also among the spacious backpacks with multiple compartments. Each compartment has double dual zippers with holes at the top where you can use a tiny padlock for additional security. The compartments make it easy for you to organize your gadgets and accessories during your endeavors.
This bag features two different compartments for a tablet and a laptop, which makes it ideal for a traveler carrying multiple gadgets. The main laptop pocket can take up to 15.4 inches laptop size, accessorized with zippers for maximum security. It has wide, padded and adjustable shoulder straps for convenience and extra comfort.
It is made of 600 polyester fabric, which is of high quality and durable, lasting up to a decade or more depending on how you use it. This backpack comes in a turtle shape design with a reflectorized front with some extra detail. This front part could have different color variations like green, yellow, orange, and silver.
Apart from the fully padded laptop pocket that offers maximum protection for your laptop, the bag also has reflective side panels that keep you seen, whether at day or night. This is a significant unique feature for security, especially at night or when moving in low light conditions.
- The individual sleeves give additional protection to delicate gadgets in the bag.
- It has reflective panels that are perfect for security purposes in dark conditions.
- Front pockets are suitable for smaller items.
- Perfect- sized side pockets to hold water bottles.
- The ripstop fabric dries pretty fast and lasts longer.
- It comes in a wide range of color variations.
- It has a poor zipper quality, although it isn’t a matter of concern.
- It has a weaker base, which makes it hard to stand without support.
Dakine Mission Backpack
Dakine happens to be among the top manufacturers of backpacks. The Mission Backpack is among its best products that delivers comfort on your endeavors while you can carry your longboard along. It consists of 100% Polyester fabric, which is durable and isn’t easily torn, depending on how one cares for it.
The bag has a variety of compartments to store different items, both small and big. The compartments have different kinds of zippers that can be closed to protect the contents of each section. It also features removable shoulder straps that can be removed and fixed back to carry the bag around easily. The straps have extra padding for comfort, and they are keen to distribute weight on the back and shoulders.
The backside of the mission bag has an open compartment where you can effortlessly stash your jacket or your longboard as you move around alongside other items in the main compartments. Its material is water-resistant, so your things are sure to remain dry regardless of the weather conditions the outside.
It also has both sternum and waist straps that provide support, especially when carrying heavier loads. This is an added advantage when hiking, and you simply can’t afford to stop your journey even at the slightest cost.
- Several compartments for maximum organization of different items.
- It has Thick straps with enough padding to offer excellent support when carrying the backpack around.
- Durable material that lasts longer.
- Light to carry as the straps distribute weight equally on the back and shoulders.
- It can serve a variety of purposes, thus its name “mission.”
- Easy to wash.
- Not so spacious enough to carry more substantial items.
- Color choices could vary from those shown in the pictures.
- It has a small side pocket that doesn’t fit a water bottle.
JANSPORT Right Pack
The Jansport is one of the most practical daypacks with a timeless and classic design that suits both men, women, students, kids, teenagers, and ordinary travelers. This bag is versatile such that anyone can use this bag for any purposes all year round. It is a favorite companion to students as it features a spacious main compartment perfect for packing all essentials for school or any other getaway.
It has a perfect size- not too big or too small and can, therefore, correctly act as a carry-on. It has a wide opening which facilitates easy packing and unpacking of goods. Additionally, the front pocket has a superb interior organization, which makes it easy to locate your items.
Jansport is made of fade, waterproof and abrasion-free denier Polyester material, which is sturdy and won’t tear easily but with a smooth and soft surface. Moreover, it comes in an array of pattern styles and colors to suit your taste. Its semi-solid structure makes it stay upright even when there is nothing inside.
The bag is lightweight, weighing about 11 ounces and measuring 16.5 by 13 by 8.3 inches. This means it can carry a laptop or MacBook of about 15 inches, although it lacks a laptop sleeve, which could be essential in this era where almost everyone needs to carry a laptop around.
Unlike most backpacks, the Jansport lacks numerous compartments and a water bottle pocket, but this makes packing less a hassle as you can arrange your items in any manner that you please.
- Its simplicity and minimal design make it perfect for use at any time.
- It is made of durable material that lasts longer.
- Its material is easy to clean and wash.
- Weak zippers which tend to break down easily.
TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
The Teton sports adventurer backpack comes with tons of unique features that can’t be found in ordinary bags. It is a lightweight pack that is suitable for different hiking adventures. This is the perfect definition of a floating pack as it features a classic cover lid, several buckles in the front, and several straps in the back.
Under the top lid is a collar with several drawstring closures that enable the pack to have an extra volume whenever and wherever you need it. It also has a u-shaped zipper at the front, which is also an entry into the main compartment.
The backpack also features a separate pocket for the sleeping bag. It features a unique horseshoe zipper. There is a divider that separates the main compartment from the sleeping bag pocket, which has a non-snag zipper. With this zipper, you can freely expand the main compartment or rather keep it closed to store much smaller items.
This iconic backpack also has a hydration pack, containing water ports for water hose on both sides of the top. There’s a hydration pack pocket in the main compartment which has a complete Velcro hanger. The zippers of this pack are fixed with loops and big enough to handle even with gloves.
The Teton sports pack has a ripstop poncho that has a water-resistant coating about 2000mm long. This ripstop is spacious enough to cover you and your items. It also has various tie-off points that make it easy to turn it into a waterproof shelter when camping.
- It has a padded waistband that is thick and has a wishbone for comfortability.
- It has Well-padded shoulder straps for more comfortable carrying even when it is heavy.
- Breathable pads for air circulation.
- Webbing loops on the shoulder straps enable one to store a water hose.
- It has a short torso length for taller wearers slightly above 6 feet.
- The backpack is heavy for short, ordinary trips.
Mardingtop Molle Hiking Internal Frame Backpacks
The Mardingtop pack is made of waterproof polyester fiber featuring a military-style shape and construction. The polyester material makes this bag sturdy but light at the same time, which makes it easy to carry when hiking. Towards the top of this bag are two large side pockets adding up to 10 liters in capacity. These side pockets can be removed to make the pack more lighter for a tough journey.
Both chest and waist straps are breathable making it easy to carry and hold it in place. It has the YKK zippers, which are among the top-notch zippers in the market. The main compartment can easily be accessed using the front of the bottom zipper.
The Mardingtop can withstand a torrential downpour due to its waterproof construction and coating. You can couple it with the rain cover and go on any adventure you’ve ever wished for. The backpack has several molle loops and webbing for carrying items like sleeping bags, tents, and trekking poles. This gives you a perfect solution for your storage needs, even when camping out in the wild.
Apart from the two side pockets, there are numerous pockets above and on the side of the bag. You can adequately organize your snack, and small items like chargers and so on. It also comes in a variety of colors and patterns to match your taste and preference.
- Enough space and side pockets to stash in many items.
- The waist and chest straps are made of breathable materials.
- It is made of sturdy material that lasts longer.
- Waterproof to keep the items dry inside.
- High-quality zippers.
- When fully packed, this bag becomes heavy and hard to use as a carry bag.
- The waist strap is not comfortable enough for long trips.
Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack
The Gelindo tactical backpack is also making the top-notch that is affordable and has some of the top features. The bag comes in a camouflage design that also has the molle system. It is also aesthetically pleasing and can be matched with anything to match a variety of occasions. Coupled with a molle system, you can combine it with other equipment and accessory packs.
It has a capacity of 35 liters, making it ideal for a hiking expedition, survival backpack, hunting trip, and much more. In addition to the main compartment, there are zipper pockets that can serve you well in any outdoor adventures.
It has an insulation pocket that can hold a 2.5-liter water bladder, although it doesn’t come with the hydration bladder, so you have to get it separately. It has an extra-wide waist belt with two pockets where you can stash small items like keys, phones, and cards, and you can quickly get them when you want.
The chest straps are adjustable and can be shrunk, bound, or expanded for additional attachments when hiking. It also has external straps that you can compress or expand according to your load. The sternum strap also promotes stability.
Generally, the backpack is super reliable and durable with heavy fabric, safety reflectors on its shoulder straps, double stitching, and quality zippers. Its mesh padding at the shoulder straps and back area facilitates ventilation, which prevents sweating and makes it comfortable for use.
- Belt and molle straps that can be adjusted to your preference.
- It features a bladder compartment for water storage.
- It has thick padded straps for extra comfort.
- The quality of the material is not as top-notch as ripstop.
Why You Need a Backpack
- Easy to clean
A backpack is easier to wash compared to other travel bags. Most consist of materials that quickly dry up, which saves up on time and doesn’t ruin your next adventure.
- Light to carry around
Most people believe that a backpack is heavy on your back, which is stressful when traveling or hiking. The opposite of this is true. Contrary to what not people believe, a good backpack is easy to carry around as it perfectly balances the weight of your luggage on your back and shoulders. This makes you more flexible in your journey.
As a backpacker, however, you should always aim at carrying around less luggage on adventures so that you can explore more and have a lot of memories.
- Makes you responsible
Having all your luggage on your back keeps you alert and on the lookout to take care of your belongings. You can never lose sight of everything you carry, which in turn helps you avoid unnecessary loses and the costs of replacement.
- Easy to store anywhere
One of the most beautiful things about a backpack is that you can stuff it anywhere when traveling. You can push it under the seat in your car, or throw in on top of the vehicle when on your journey. This is unlike a suitcase which takes up a lot of space for storage. Additionally, you can use the bag as a surface to rest your legs.
- Value for your money
A good backpack is a sure investment that will save you money and serve you for some good time. A backpack is known to be tough and sturdier during travels in comparison to a suitcase. Most of the packs on Amazon also have more extended warranties. With proper care, a backpack can last up to 5 years.
A backpack is comfortable, easy to carry around, and less clumsy, which makes you feel adventurous. Nothing beats the joy of having an easy time when catching a flight or going somewhere in a hurry. A backpack is your companion in this as it always sits comfortably on your back.
- Suits all occasion
A backpack has no trolleys, which makes it suitable for any kind of weather terrain or climate. You can imagine how stressful it can be to walk in rugged terrain while pulling your suitcase. A backpack is tough and sturdy, which keeps your items intact in harsh conditions.
You also worry less about the bag getting spoilt in the course of your mission. Backpacks do not make noise and don’t easily get stuck in different places.
- Several compartments
We all know that a pack has quite many compartments compared to a suitcase or briefcase. With this, you are sure to organize your luggage in the pockets better. You can imagine how easy it will be for you to locate your items. Furthermore, everything is safe from damage as they’re well compressed in the compartments.
What Key Features to Look for When Buying a Backpack Under $100
Choosing the right backpack under $100 boils down to two things: what you plan on using it for and how long you intend to use it. Now that you have answered the crucial questions, here are the key features you need to consider.
One of the prominent and most essential features of any backpack is comfort. You don’t want to travel or take a hiking trip with a pack that’s hurting your back or your shoulders. You’d be surprised by the number of travelers or hikers complaining of shoulder pain due to a non-fitting strap. So test the padding first before buying it.
A comfortable backpack has a padded and adjustable hip belt. Since you will be carrying lots of weight, the majority of that will be pushed down to your hip. A padded and adjustable belt will make the weight more comfortable to carry around. You will adjust to the right length. That will help distribute the length more evenly for comfortable support and prevent you from too much straining. The shoulder straps should also be well padded to lessen the pressure put on your shoulders. Look for a backpack made of the same materials because they are more likely to last. Also, ensure the pads are thick enough.
Buying the right size is always confusing for those who have no experience in buying a backpack. Again this boils down to what you will be using it for and how long the trip (if that’s the intended use) will last. If you plan to go for a short trip, then a smaller backpack will be enough. But, if you intend to stay longer, then you will need a bigger one.
The recommended size for a short trip is between 40 to 60 liters. For a journey that is a week-long, the bag should be between 50l to 75l. If you plan on staying for more than a week, then the recommended size is between 60l to 85l. You should know no size is better than the other. The critical consideration is the proportionality of your bag to your body.
If it’s too big, the bag won’t balance well on your body. You also don’t want a container that is small and not enough for your stuff. You will know you have found the right bag if you get a bag that fits all your stuff and feels comfortable.
The design of the backpack says a lot about its comfort. For instance, a bag that has a lumbar shape means it can efficiently distribute weight evenly hence providing support. The natural arch means you get to carry your bag without pain. The lumbar shape creates a space between you and the bag allowing for a natural flow of air hence cooling you.
- Water Resistance
A lot of retailers advise going for a water-resistant material when shopping for a backpack. This is crucial, especially when you plan on going for a hiking trip. Please don’t go for the material that stays wet for long because it might get mucky. Ensure the material is thick and also lightweight, like treated nylon fiber. Even though you won’t be traveling on torrential downpour, your backpack should be able to withstand a little drizzle.
- Lockable Zippers
When shopping for a backpack, go for the bag that has two zippers. This will help you lock them together for extra security. If you can’t find the one with two zippers, choose a Pacsafe bag. This bag comes with a metal mesh that can be locked. The mesh is wrapped around your bag and tied to a nearby object.
- Multiple compartments
When shopping for the right backpack, go for the one with multiple compartments. This will give you numerous rooms to store your stuff and also makes it easy to locate the things you need. For instance, you can store your flip flops on one side and your toiletries on the other. So when you need one, you just reach out and take it.
- Front Loading
Most backpacks have a front loading. Front-loading means you can easily reach your stuff by opening the face of the bag from the side. The top-loading means you can only reach your things by opening the top of the bag, which is usually not convenient.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which of the backpacks mentioned above can be carried on a flight? Most of them look bulky when stuffed with items.
All of the above backpacks meet the standard requirement for luggage that can be taken inside the plane, but you should not fully stuff it. A much filled up pack would most likely look too large for an airplane carry-on bag.
- How important is the water-resistance factor in some of the packs. I can see not all of them are waterproof.
In almost every part of the world the weather is unpredictable. Your backpack contains valuables like passport, bank cards, wallet, money and other essential documents that can be spoilt by water. You probably want to keep them safe and dry in case this happens.
- What happens if my backpack’s shoulder straps wear out?
Unfortunately, it is quite hard to replace only a shoulder strap unless you go straight to the manufacturer of the individual backpack. Most backpacks come with a warranty, but it doesn’t cover all the defaults on your pack.
- What is the average weight that one can carry in a backpack?
When loading your backpack, keep in mind that it should weigh about 20% or less of your weight(body). For instance, if you weigh 90kg, your pack should not be more than 18kg. For a long day hiking, maintain your pack’s weight to less than 10% of your weight.
- How will I know that my backpack is heavy for me?
A heavy backpack is not suitable for you as it can make you develop back, shoulder and neck pains. You know your pack is heavy for you if you feel some discomfort when carrying it, it is hard to wear and remove it, straps leave marks on the shoulders and when you notice a change on your body posture when wearing it.
Most, if not all, of us, have used several types of bags in our lifetime. We often change bags frequently when we need a bag to cater to some specific needs. Investing in a stylish and durable backpack that can serve your everyday use can immensely reduce the costs associated with replacing your pack after a short while.
A good bag also cuts down the hassle and time of having to choose a pack perfect for the day’s activities. With the above insights, you can select one of the best backpacks under $100 that suits your needs.