2017 Guide & Ranking: Carry the Essentials with These Top Backpacks

When going on a trip one of the first things you do is grab your bag and start filling it with the essentials.

Many times your carry on bags end up being backpacks, a reliable bag that can fit everything you need while on your journey. You could also have a backpack for everyday use whether it is for school or work.

Once you determine you need a new backpack there are so many cheap backpacks to choose from.

You need to determine what you plan on using the backpack for travel, school, or work. You should also consider what type of storage you’re looking to have in your backpack.

Red Award Emblem for Best Backpacks

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Backpacks

Big backpacks for school are essential if you have a big workload and need to keep your materials with you for extended periods of time.

Some of the best backpacks have optimum storage with various pockets and pouches to help you store everything you need. These top backpacks should also allow for durability, you want to purchase a backpack that will last you for years to come.

When you are looking into good backpacks, you likely have questions, including:

  • Where can you find cheap backpacks for school?
  • What should you look for in backpack manufacturers?
  • What are the most popular backpacks?
  • How much can you read into backpack reviews?

Throughout this 2017 guide, we will answer the questions you have surrounding backpacks. We will explain what to look for in backpack manufacturers and what features most good backpacks have. Finally, we will provide a detailed review of the six top backpacks.

By the end of this article, you will have a much better idea of what the top backpacks are for you.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of Top 6 Best Personalized Backpacks

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the nicest backpacks below to go directly to the detailed review section for that backpack manufacturer):

Top 6 Best Backpacks | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Backpacks

Best Feature

Weight (ounces)

5.11 Tactical Rush12Fleece-lined eyewear pocket


Herschel Supply Co. Little AmericaFront storage pocket with hidden zipper and key clip


Jansport Right PackStylish suede leather bottom


Patagonia IronwoodTop-mounted reinforced haul handle


Swissgear 6752 ScansmartTSA lay-flat design


Under Armour Storm Hustle IISecure waterproof valuables pocket in front


Table: Top 6 Best Cheap Backpacks | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Detailed Overview: What to Look for in Top Backpacks

When you are looking for big backpacks for school there are many things to take into consideration. You should do your research to ensure that you pick one of the nicest backpacks that fits your style and personality.

A smart way to be sure that you are choosing a quality backpack is by looking at backpack reviews from fellow customers about the pros and cons of your potential purchase.

boy with a backpacks

Image Source: Pexels

When you are looking for the most popular backpacks, it is important to consider the following:


When purchasing a backpack you should look for a backpack that fits your needs. If you are a student you may be looking to save money where you can, meaning you are looking for a cheap, dependable bag to get you through the next four years. If you are an avid backpacker looking to spend a lot of time traveling or hiking you may want to make an investment in a backpack that will last you years to come. The following reviews contain backpacks that range from just over forty dollars to just under one hundred dollars.


Looking for backpacks with opportunity for personalization is an added bonus. If you’re buying a popular backpack brand you may want to look for personalized backpacks from that particular manufacturer. Personalized backpacks will allow you to stand out from the crowd, whether it is unique colors or add on features.


It is imperative that you purchase a backpack with the number of compartments necessary for your specific preference. If you’re going to be frequently traveling with your backpack you may wish to have a bag with small pockets that are easily accessible to you when on the go that can house your wallet, phone, keys, or ID.

As a student or business traveler you may be interested in hard or soft sleeves to fit your laptop and protect it while traveling.


A great way to judge the size of the backpack you are looking for is to lay out the everyday items you plan on carrying to better visualize the sheer volume necessary to house them. If you plan on only carrying books and other school supplies with your bag you can usually buy the standard size backpack. If you plan on having a bag for multi-use you need to consider the other items you may find yourself storing.


You want to make sure that the bag you are purchasing is worthwhile and will last you for years to come whether you’re a student or hiker. Look for backpacks with added bells and whistles. Some of these things may include water resistance, pockets for hydration packs, or external tool loops or carabiners.

These are all things to consider when you are looking to determine the best backpacks you should contemplate purchasing. Take a look at your budget as well as the items you plan on housing in your backpack when you’re browsing our list. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and pick a unique pattern to help you stick out from the crowd!

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Cheap Backpacks

Below, please find the detailed review of each cheap backpacks for school option on our list of good backpacks. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these personalized backpacks to score so high in our selection ranking.

5.11 Tactical Rush12 Backpack Review

The 5.11 Tactical Rush12 backpack is one of the best backpacks for camping and hiking. The 5.11 Tactical Rush12 is one of the nicest backpacks for water resistance, with mesh pockets for maximum drainage. This backpack has sixteen compartments with various uses for optimal organization.

Keep hydrated easily with the sixty ounce hydration pocket that allows you to stay active for long periods of time. The fleece-lined eyewear pocket allows you to safely store sunglasses within easy reach.

It also offers several different straps for ultimate comfort and stability. The Rush12 even boasts pull tabs and zippers that are “glove friendly,” meaning you can stay bundled up while rummaging through your pack.

Bottom Line

The 5.11 Tactical Rush12 backpack is a great day or night pack for outdoor activities. Although it is not one of the best big backpacks for school it does offer reinforced seams and zippers for extra security.

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Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack Review

Herschel Supply Co. Little America Backpack is a classic style with a mountaineering silhouette. These backpacks also come in a mid-volume size which is perfect for everyday use. The Little America backpacks are some of the best personalized backpacks offering over twenty-five patterns and colors to choose from.

This backpack is one of the most popular backpacks for students and bike messengers due to its classic design. The Little America has a two-fold system for closing, magnetic buttoning and then an adjustable drawstring. This pack also has a fleece-lined laptop sleep that fits laptops up to 15 inches in size.

Herschel Supply Company’s Little America backpack is perfect for students on the go with the inclusion of a media pocket with headphone port. It also provides high comfort for those heavy textbooks with contoured shoulder straps and air mesh back padding.

Bottom Line

The Little America backpack by Herschel Supply Company is great for a school bag or everyday use. However, backpack reviews reveal that this backpack is not water resistant so you should refrain from using this bag for extensive outdoor travel.

Jansport Right Pack Backpack Review

The Jansport Right Pack Backpack is one of the best cheap backpacks on the market today. Its classic backpack design is highly appealing, especially for students. As a consumer you even have the option of increasing the durability of this pack by choosing a right pack with the reinforced leather bottom.

The Jansport Right Pack lives up to its name and has been one of the top backpacks for students for years. This pack also contains a fifteen inch internal laptop sleeve. It also has a front utility pocket with an organizer for smaller items including pens and highlighters.

The Right Pack is another one of the great personalized backpacks on the market today, offering up to twenty different colors. It is also a highly affordable backpack starting at $60. These backpacks also come with a lifetime warranty.

Bottom Line

The Jansport Right Pack Backpack is one of the best backpacks available today. This backpack is ideal for frugal students looking for a good backpack. This backpack is not ideal for extensive outdoor use and has few compartments.

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Patagonia Ironwood Backpack Review

Patagonia Ironwood Backpack  is one of the best cheap backpacks available today. The Ironwood backpack has a generously sized main compartment to hold everything you need. It also has a zippered exterior “stash pocket,” for smaller items you need to reach with ease such as your wallet, phone or keys.

The Patagonia Ironwood backpack boasts “human curve,” shoulder straps that are extremely comfortable for carrying support. As one of the top backpacks it also has a padded laptop sleeve which offers protection to your laptop of up to 15 inches.

Patagonia made this backpack eco-friendly making the Ironwood out of 100% recycled polyester. This polyester is then given a durable water repellant fabric finish that repels the elements that decreases dry times.

Bottom Line

The Patagonia Ironwood Backpack is a simple design and one of the great cheap backpacks for school starting at $41. The breathability and durability of this backpack also makes it great for light camping or hiking as well, despite its limited number of compartments.

Swissgear 6752 Scansmart Backpack Review

One of the best backpacks on the market right now is the Swissgear 6752 Scansmart Backpack. The top feature of this backpack is its Scansmart TSA lay-flat design that allowing laptop-in-case scanning through TSA X-ray machines. This feature makes travel easier and saves time!

This pack also offers a highly protective laptop-only compartment that fits laptops up to fifteen inches. Another feature for the tech savvy consumer is the floating “tabletsafe,” tablet pocket for more electronics protection. The Swissgear 6752 also has a crush resistant top accessory pocket that’s fleece-lined and perfect for your eyewear or mobile phone.

The Swissgear 6752 has three large compartments with zippers as well as interior zip mesh pockets and gusseted sleeves that allow for great organization. This pack also has a padded airflow back panel for ventilation and support.

Bottom Line

The Swissgear 6752 Scansmart is one of the highest quality personalized backpacks available today. This backpack is perfect for students looking to stay organized. It is also great for frequent business travel as well.

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Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack Review

The Under Armour Storm Hustle II Backpack is one of the top backpacks you should consider when in the market for a new backpack.

This sporty backpack has a polyester and nylon outer shell that is extremely water resistant. It also has an abrasion resistant bottom panel that holds tough against wear and tear.

Although this backpack is tough on the outside, the inside contains a soft lined laptop sleeve for laptops up to fifteen inches. The Storm Hustle II also has a large gusseted front laundry pocket as well as a water repellent front pocket to keep your valuables safe.

Bottom Line

The Under Armour Storm Hustle II is one of the great cheap backpacks that we recommend for students as well as the avid camper. The durability of this backpack is great for camping, although the lack of major storage means you should only take it on shorter trips.

Conclusion – Top 6 Best Cheap Backpacks

When you are looking for the best backpacks there are many options out there.

It is quite easy to become overwhelmed with all of the different choices that are put in front of you. With cheap backpacks, personalized backpacks and sports geared backpacks, the search process becomes very inundated.

boy looking at road with cheap backpacks

Image Source: Pixabay

Chances are that you have an idea of what you are looking for, but with so many options you might not even know what brand to start with when looking, let alone what the best backpacks offered by a specific brand are.

Before you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed during your search for the top backpacks, just take a moment to think. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are you willing to pay more for personalized backpacks?
  • Are you only going to consider cheap backpacks?
  • What is your budget for what you consider to be the top backpacks?
  • How many and what kinds of pockets are you looking for?

These are all important things to consider when you are looking for the top backpacks. It doesn’t matter if you have a lofty budget or are simply looking for cheap backpacks, it is always a good thing to have an idea of what you are looking for before you go into the search process.

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