October 7, 2021

7 Best Budget Backpacks

October 7, 2021

7 Best Budget Backpacks

Are you searching for the best budget backpacks? Are you looking for an excellent pack for your outdoor trips without spending too big? If that's the case, this guide is ideally suited for you. 

Backpacks are now a staple gear for many people. Even if you aren't into outdoor adventures, these packs can still help you carry your stuff during your commutes. But for enthusiasts, a high-quality backpack can make a difference in their excursions. It can load their essentials to ensure their comfort and safety. 

Fortunately, being frugal should not hinder you from having a nice backpack. In fact, I've listed some of the top-rated but affordable packs that you can get today. Check them out now!

7 Best Budget Backpacks

 CapacityFit
The North Face Jester Daypack 28 litersMen’s
Osprey Daylite Pack 13 litersUnisex
Under Armour UA Storm Hustle 3.0 Backpack 30 litersUnisex
High Sierra Swerve Backpack 36.5 litersUnisex
REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack25 liters Women’s
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Pack 20 litersUnisex
Fjallraven Raven 20L Pack 20 litersUnisex

1. The North Face Jester Daypack

PRODUCT LINK

Surprisingly, The North Face Jester Daypack offers exceptional quality despite having an entry-level price. It has an impeccable construction that enables item organization and protection. It comes with a large primary compartment that can hold your essential gear in place. It also has a 15-inch laptop sleeve on its compartment to secure devices against impacts and falls. The FlexVent suspension system of this pack enables its users to carry it as conveniently as possible. The bag's back has a breathable lumbar panel. Such a design promotes air circulation for all-day ventilation. 

The pack comes with multiple pockets on its exterior. Its front compartment has an internal organization and padded tablet sleeve; it also includes a pendolier with added secure-zip pockets. There are two mesh water bottle pockets integrated into the Jester Daypack so that you will have sufficient hydration during your trip. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 28 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 3 pockets
  • Frame type - Framed
  • Laptop sleeve - Yes
  • Backpack material - Recycled polyester
  • Dimensions - 19.75 inches x 13.25 inches x 7.5 inches
  • Weight - 28.9 ounces
  • Fit - Men’s

2. Osprey Daylite Pack

PRODUCT LINK

Take the Osprey Daylite Pack on your daily trips and commutes. It is a recommended gear for urban tours, day hikes, and anything in between. Its construction is simple but has an effective mechanism to ensure the comfort and protection of your gear. The backpack is constructed from rugged GRS-certified nylon and other recycled fabrics. It has been treated with a PFC-free durable water repellent coating to perform under light rain and snow. 

The bag features the patented AirScape back panel with foam ridges and meshes cover. This innovative design improves the pack's comfort and stability whenever you are carrying it. The said technology draws the weight near your back without causing inconveniences. Furthermore, the Osprey Daylite is highly breathable so that you'll have no problems lifting it all day long. The bag has an adjustable sternum strap and removable hip belt; these features let you customize the pack based on your fit and preferences. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 13 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 3 pockets
  • Frame type - Frameless
  • Laptop sleeve - None
  • Backpack material - Recycled PET packcloth
  • Dimensions - 17 inches x 10.25 inches x 8 inches
  • Weight - 17 ounces
  • Fit - Unisex

3. Under Armour UA Storm Hustle 3.0 Backpack 

PRODUCT LINK

The Under Armour UA Storm Hustle 3.0 is a water-repellent backpack. Designed for daily commutes and short day hikes, this pack offers both durability and breathability on its performance. The UA Storm technology integrated into the bag lets it resist the penetration of water, moisture, and other elements. Its pockets are reinforced to ensure that the weather won't compromise your belongings. 

This lightweight pack includes a supple laptop sleeve that can hold up to 15-inch laptops. Its interior also provides decent item organization so that you won't lose your stuff. Meanwhile, the pack is equipped with adjustable HeatGear shoulder straps that balance breathability and comfort. The straps also stabilize the way you carry the bag so that it won't be too shaky every time you move. On its bottom, there's an abrasion-resistant panel that shields the pack from unwanted damages. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 30 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 3 pockets
  • Frame type - Framed
  • Laptop sleeve - Yes
  • Backpack material - Information unavailable
  • Dimensions - ‎20 inches x 14.5 inches x 2.5 inches
  • Weight - 21.6 ounces
  • Fit - Unisex

4. High Sierra Swerve Backpack

PRODUCT LINK

The High Sierra Swerve is Another price-friendly but an ergonomic backpack for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. It has a decent architecture, which primarily features maximized storage space and item organization. It comes with a spacious main compartment and a number of pockets where you can stow your gear securely. Its Cushion Zone laptop sleeve is large enough to cater to up to 17-inch laptops. There's also a Tech Spot sleeve where you can stash your tablet and smaller devices. 

With its suspension system, carrying the pack under a heavy load isn't that difficult. Specifically, the suspension system mitigates impact and improves the balanced weight transfer throughout your back. Its back panel is equipped with the moisture-wicking Vapel mesh and multiple air channels for optimal breathability. The High Sierra excels in keeping small items secure. It has a key fob, a lidded media pocket, a zippered mesh pocket, and pen pockets on its body.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 36.5 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 14 pockets
  • Frame type - Framed
  • Laptop sleeve - Yes
  • Backpack material - Polyester
  • Dimensions - ‎19 inches x 13 inches x 7.75 inches
  • Weight - 34.4 ounces
  • Fit - Unisex

5. REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

PRODUCT LINK

Light and comfortable on the back, the REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is designed for people on the move. It has an updated design, which features a fully recycled construction on its lining and body fabrics. Since this unit is a custom-fit for women, its architecture conforms to the female body. Proof of that is the contoured foam on its harness; the latter ensures that the pack offers a women-specific fit. Of course, it doesn't lack ergonomic features, such as an integrated rain cover that comes with its own pocket. 

The bag also has a U-shaped primary compartment with two zipper sliders. In this way, you can access your gear whenever you want. Both its straps and back are padded and meshed. As a result, carrying the backpack for extended periods isn't that difficult. Its internal HDPE frame provides the bag with a rigid structure. The frame also shields your back from the protruding gears. Meanwhile, its oxford nylon bottom protects the bag's fabric from abrasion. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 25 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 5 pockets
  • Frame type - Framed
  • Laptop sleeve - None
  • Backpack material - Recycled ripstop nylon
  • Dimensions - ‎19 inches x 13 inches x 7.5 inches
  • Weight - 31 ounces
  • Fit - Women's

6. Deuter Speed Lite 20 Pack

PRODUCT LINK

For short excursions in the wild, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Pack is an excellent companion. It works well in short runs, climbs, and alpine ascents. It features a padded back panel with breathable mesh lining so that you can carry it as comfortably as possible. Its patented Delrin U-frame integrates flexibility and weight support into its architecture. Meanwhile, the S-shaped shoulder harness of the bag has sufficient padding and soft edges. 

The Deuter Speed Lite 20 Pack has a removable single-webbing hip belt. If you want to save some weight, then you can simply detach this part. You can fasten its compression straps across its front for added stability in carrying heavy loads. The mesh side pockets are elastic enough to accommodate as much gear and items. Interestingly, it is hydration compatible, so it solves your need to quench your thirst. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 20 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 4 pockets
  • Frame type - Framed
  • Laptop sleeve - None
  • Backpack material - Dynajin nylon/closed-cell foam
  • Dimensions - 18 inches x 10 inches x 7 inches
  • Weight - 17 ounces
  • Fit - Unisex

7. Fjallraven Raven 20L Pack

PRODUCT LINK

Sometimes, you don't need a sophisticated pack to accomplish your errands and adventures. A functional but straightforward backpack like the Fjallraven Raven might be more than enough for you. This bag is a serious hard worker, though, as it is rugged enough to haul numerous essentials and gear. Tailored from G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, you can guarantee that the Raven can withstand constant use. Its padded shoulder straps and back panel allow you to carry it comfortably. 

This main compartment has durable zippered access. It includes a padded sleeve that fits a 15-inch laptop or less. There is also a zippered pocket on the interior for added security. Meanwhile, the front compartment has mesh organizer pockets. It is equipped with a fleece-lined pocket where you can stash your sunglasses and mobile devices. And if these compartments are not enough, its two side pockets will let you store water bottles and other gear. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Capacity - 20 liters
  • Number of pockets - Main compartment + 3 pockets
  • Frame type - Frameless
  • Laptop sleeve - Available
  • Backpack material - Polyester/cotton
  • Dimensions - 18 inches x 10.8 inches x 7.8 inches
  • Weight - 23.6 ounces
  • Fit - Unisex

How To Choose The Best Budget Backpack

One primary consideration in this particular niche is the price. Since we are talking about budget backpacks, I've automatically removed all those over a hundred bucks options. Regardless of how good they are, they aren't suitable for everyone's financial capacity. 

Of course, that's nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, many manufacturers have tailored high-quality packs but would not require you to spend big on them. These affordable packs are already more than enough for simple applications--like daily commutes, business trips, and short hikes--for simple applications. 

But how should you choose a backpack? The following guidelines can help you. 

Fit

In choosing backpacks, it is important that you pay attention to their fit. Specifically, the bag should be matched to your hip circumference and the length of your torso. 

  • Torso length - Many packs out there are available in different sizes. They are the ones that can offer different torso lengths. Some models have torso sizes that vary by gender. It is recommended that the back has an adjustable suspension system. In this way, you can modify its fit and match your torso length. But at the same time, these harnesses can add weight to the bag. 
  • Waist size - A good backpack should support the load that it carries. Keep in mind that most of the weight is directed to the hip area. Hence, it is crucial that your backpack fits your waist size. Most backpack hip belts can accommodate a wide array of hip circumference. However, individuals who have narrow waists must look for adjustable hip belts. 
  • Women-specific fit - Generally, women have small frames. Therefore, they should look for a women-specific fit, which features short and narrow torso size. Furthermore, it is also noticeable that these packs have contoured shoulder straps and hip belts. Such a unique construction accommodates their breasts and hips. 

Type of Frame

  • Internal frame - Most of the backpacks today feature internal frames. They are commonly placed within the back panel, which enables them to provide the structure of the backpack. The purpose of these frames is to add stability to the bag, especially if you are carrying heavy loads. For hikers and climbers, such a feature is necessary. 
  • External frame - This particular design lets you see the very structure that supports the backpack. Most of the time, these external frames are crafted from aluminum. The material is lightweight but doesn't add bulk to the bag. Moreover, they provide added ventilation too. You should only choose this type of backpack if you are planning to carry irregular and heavy loads. 
  • Frameless - If you are a fan of ultralight hikes and commutes, then you should pick frameless backpacks. Since they don't have a frame, their weight is significantly lighter than their framed counterparts. However, keep in mind that they aren't suitable if you are hauling heavy loads. 

Breathability

A backpack should be breathable. After all, it is expected that you are going to wear this for a couple of hours. A meshed back panel is a sign that a backpack provides sufficient ventilation to combat sweat and moisture. An innovative version of this design is the "tension mesh suspension." The latter is often integrated on framed backpacks; it prevents the panel from rubbing against your back directly. Instead, your back would be placed against the breathable mesh. 

Number Of Pockets

The number of pockets varies depending on what kind of activities you plan to do with your pack. You may need more or fewer pockets depending on whether you want to store water bottles, food items, etc. A common example of these pockets is a stretchable side pocket where you can stash your water bottle. There are also top-lid pockets and hip-belt pockets that serve as storage space for smaller items like keys, wallets, cell phones, etc. 

Waterproofing

Most waterproof bags come with zippers that prevent rainwater from entering the interior of the bag. Some even offer additional features like reflective strips so that you will always know when someone is approaching you. In addition, some models include a hooded cover that protects your head from inclement weather conditions. 

In Summary

There's no doubt about it: choosing the best budget backpack isn't easy. It requires lots of research and testing before making any purchase decision. But once you've found one that suits your needs, you'll never regret having chosen it! 

If you don’t have time to narrow your choices, I suggest that you pick a price-friendly option from any of the packs that I’ve listed in this post. They have a durable construction, innovative ergonomics, and comfortable designs. 

That’s it for now. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below. 

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