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Best Cheap Travel Backpacks 2018: Comparison Chart

In Backpacks by Kaspars MisinsLeave a Comment

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Adecent backpack is that one piece of travel gear you really can’t go on a trip without. While I would highly recommend you to invest in a quality backpack like Osprey Farpoint 40 (see it on Amazon) I know that sometimes it just isn’t an option. And then there are times when you simply don’t need the best backpack. That’s why I decided to make this guide to show you what are the best cheap travel backpacks available. To help you find a decent and cheap travel bag for yourself.

So you don’t need to give up that idea of traveling simply because it has become too expensive for you. I’ve been there and I know what it means. And from my personal experience I can tell you, that you don’t need the best travel gear to have the best memories. Yes, quality travel gear will enhance your travel experience. But you’ll get nowhere if you spend all of your money buying all that expensive stuff.

Enough about expensive stuff. If we look at what are the options, if we want to buy a cheap backpack for travel – choice isn’t that bad after all. Even 50 bucks nowadays can get you a reasonably good travel backpack, that will last more than a couple of trips. Scroll down a bit and check out for yourself!

Best Cheap Travel Backpacks

Here they are – 10 of the best cheap travel backpacks you get buy today. A few of them I have mentioned also in our guide to the best carry on backpacks. Check it out to see what you can get if you decide to invest more into this!

Every backpack that has a special laptop compartment I have marked as a Laptop Backpack.

To read more about every one of them scroll down a bit! Many of these travel backpacks are available in different colors. For more photos, latest price and user reviews check them out on Amazon – just click on the name or any image of the backpack! I have also included a link to Amazon under every review.

*** - our favorites
SwissGear 1900***37 literBlack, Black/Grey, Black/Blue, Grey, RedCarry on, Laptop Backpack Check the price!
Cabin Max Metz44 liter30+ ColorsCarry onCheck the price!
The North Face Vault28 liter10+ ColorsCarry on, Day Hikes, Everyday, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
Samsonite Tectonic 2 LargeBlack, Black/OrangeCarry on, Everyday, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
Sosoon Anti-Theft Travel Backpack30 liter & 45 literBlackCarry on, Everyday, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
KAKA Backpack for Laptops35 liter9 ColorsCarry on, Day Hikes, Everyday, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
Witzman Men Canvas Backpack 10+ ColorsCarry on, Everyday, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack***50 liter7 ColorsCarry on, Hiking, Laptop BackpackCheck the price!
TETON Sports Scout 340055 literHunter Green, Coyote Tan, Mecca OrangeHikingCheck the price!
ARMYCAMOUSA Tactical Backpack40 liter10+ ColorsCarry on, Everyday, HikingCheck the price!

Best Cheap Backpacks for Travel

1. SwissGear 1900

A great backpack for everyone traveling with a laptop. As well as for those, who like to keep things as organized as possible. One of my personal favorites among the best cheap travel backpacks.

Being 37 liters big the SwissGear 1900 is an average-sized backpack. Because of its design and features it will be a good fit both for traveling and everyday use. The backpack has a roomy main compartment, separate laptop and iPad compartment, organizational pocket in the front, two breathable side compartments for water bottles and several more compartments and pockets. A lot of organizational features. Just check out its photos on Amazon or on the website of SwissGear.

The SwissGear 1900 is made of durable and water resistant 1200D ballistic polyester. Back panel of the backpack features Airflow ventilation technology padding. While its shoulder straps aren’t as comfortable as you might expect from a more expensive backpack, but they are still ergonomically contoured and feature padding, that should be efficient also for everyday use.

Laptop compartment fits laptops up to 17”.

Dimensions: 18.5” x 13.5” x 9” (47 x 34 x 23 cm).

Size: 37 liter.

Weight: 3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg.

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

2. Cabin Max Metz

An affordable travel backpack, which will fit really a lot.

After all I have read about this bag, I’m sure hundreds if not thousands would call it the best cheap carry on backpack. Not only because it gives you a very good bang for your buck, but because of its size. This backpack is designed to fit the maximum allowed carry on size with most of the airlines globally. Which means while it’s a pretty big backpack – 44 liters to be exact – it can still be  taken on board as your hand luggage. But do check it with the airline before buying a ticket, because these rules differ from company to company.

The Cabin Max Metz is made of water resistant 600D nylon (not waterproof, though). Its back and shoulder straps are padded, however it clearly isn’t a bag you will be carrying around for days on end. It will not be the most comfortable backpack, if you plan to do so. It’s a panel-loading backpack, meaning you can open it just like a suitcase. Great, huh! It’s a feature we see in more and more travel backpacks lately.

Available in more than 20 different colors.

Dimensions: 22” x 16” x 8” (55 x 40 x 20 cm).

Size: 44 liter

Weight: 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

3. The North Face Vault Backpack

A sporty looking backpack for traveling, everyday use, commuting and day hikes. The North Face Vault is the lightest travel backpack mentioned in this article.

It’s a pretty small backpack, that is more suitable for minimalist travelers or as a second piece of luggage. Because of its size – 28 liter – it can be taken as a carry on luggage with most of the airlines globally, including most of the low-costers.

The backpack is made of several different fabrics – 600D polyester, 1200D polyester, 450D x 300D heather polyester, 600D geo emboss polyester. It’s neither water resistant nor waterproof. There is one main compartment, featuring a floating padded 15” laptop sleeve, and another smaller compartment in the front of the backpack. The latter features a zippered pocket, velcro pocket and pen pockets. On the front of the bag there is a reflective bike-light loop.

On the sides it has 2 mesh water bottle pockets. Top haul handle is padded. And the back panel is padded, too, and has a spine channel for extra comfort. Sternum strap features a whistle buckle.

Backpack is available in several bright colors. Note that price differs depending from the color.

Dimensions: 19 .3” x 12.25” x 7.5” (49 x 31 x 19 cm).

Size: 28 liter.

Weight: 1 lb 15.39 oz (890 g).

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

4. Samsonite Tectonic 2 Large Backpack

A sturdy backpack for travel, complete with laptop compartment and tablet pocket.

The Samsonite Tectonic 2 is one of the best examples showing that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean ugly. It’s a quality backpack, that both looks good and is practical.

The bag is made of poly ballistic fabric with diamond ripstop accents. It has one big main compartment and a separate laptop compartment on the back of the bag, that is padded and will accommodate most 17″ laptops. The bag features a top quick access pocket for small things like sunglasses or headphones. There are 2 side pockets for water bottles and another pocket in the front of the bag. Its top carry handle is padded, the same as are its shoulder straps.

It’s a relatively heavy backpack for its size of between 30 – 30 liter. But it’s a backpack that will last.

There are 2 color choices.

Dimensions: 18″ x 13.3″ x 8.6″ (45.7 x 33.8 x 21.8 cm).

Weight: 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg).

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

5. Sosoon Anti-Theft Travel Business Backpack

An anti-theft travel backpack with USB charging port. Suitable for traveling, business travel, commute and short day hikes.

A power bank/battery pack isn’t included, though. See our guide to the best power banks to find a battery for your needs. Either you need it only to charge your phone a couple of times, or you need a power bank that’s powerful enough to charge your laptop as well. There are a lot of options nowadays.

The bag is made of tear-resistant and anti-scratch 1680D polyester. It features one main compartment and several smaller and bigger pockets and compartments, including a dedicated laptop compartment with padded laptop sleeve, side pocket for water bottle and a hidden back pocket. What makes this bag safer is its special design hidden zippers and invisible pockets (when you don’t know what to look for).

It comes in 2 sizes. One big enough to accommodate 15.6” laptops, another – 17”. The latter is the one I would recommend you if you want it to be your main travel backpack as well. Simply because it’s bigger, while still small enough to be used as a carry on.

If your laptop is smaller than 15.6” it might be necessary to use an extra sleeve to prevent it from moving around.

Dimensions: 21” x 15” x 7.9” (53.3 x 38 x 20.1 cm)

Size: 30 – 45 liter

Weight: 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

6. KAKA Backpack for Laptops

An average-sized travel backpack for a bargain.

The bag has one main compartment, another smaller compartment in the front and several more pockets and organizational features. There is a special laptop pocket in the main compartment, large enough to accommodate a 15.6” laptop. It’s a sturdy build backpack with a lot of straps and attachment points. The KAKA backpack is made of water resistant 100% Oxford fabric. Its back and shoulder straps are padded. And, yes, it’s also one of the cheapest travel backpacks out there.

Being 35 liters big it will perfectly fit as a carry on luggage with most of the airlines.

Available in 9 colors.

Dimensions: 22.4” x 11.8” x 5.9” (57 x 30 x 15 cm)

Size: 35 liter

Weight: 2 lbs (0.91 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

7. Witzman Men Retro Travel Rucksack

A retro style canvas travel backpack for men.

The Witzman backpack is made of high quality cotton canvas and PU. It’s a versatile bag that can be carried as a backpack, duffel bag and messenger bag. The bag has 4 zippered front pockets and one side pocket for water bottle or umbrella. Its main compartment features a special padded pocket for your laptop (12″- 15.6″). If your laptop or tablet is smaller you may need to use an extra sleeve to prevent it from moving around.

There is a 47” long removable shoulder strap, that you’ll find inside the main compartment. Use it to turn your backpack into a messenger bag. In that case backpack’s shoulder straps can be hidden in a special secret pocket on the back of the bag.

Comes in 2 sizes. And it’s available in several colors.

Dimensions (big): 23” x 12.5” x 9.5” (58.4 x 31.7 x 24 cm)

Weight (big): 3.4 lbs (1.54 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!


Two hikers in the forest - Best Cheap Hiking Backpacks - Best Cheap Travel Backpacks

Best Cheap Hiking Backpacks

1. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L

A spacious hiking backpack that doesn’t cost an arm and leg. One of the best cheap hiking backpacks out there.

In fact this OutdoorMaster hiking backpack is even cheaper than some of backpack rain covers. And this backpack comes with a waterproof rain cover, which you can hide in a dedicated pocket. Cool, isn’t it?

Being 50 liter big it’s a roomy pack, that will easily hold all of your gear if you are going on a hike like Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp, where you don’t need to be self supported. In other words, when you don’t need to carry a tent and food, but only clothes and I would also advice to take a warm sleeping bag. At the same time this bag features several attachment points like all the best hiking backpacks, and you can go on more serious hikes as well.

The bag has one main compartment with a padded pocket with velcro closure for your laptop (up to 15.6”) and few several smaller pockets, including 2 mesh pockets on the sides of the pack.

If you don’t pack it too full, you’ll have no problems bringing it on board as a carry on luggage.

Available in several different colors.

Dimensions: 22.8” x 14” x 8.6” (57.9 x 35.6 x 21.8 cm)

Size: 50 liter

Weight: 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

2. TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

A roomy internal frame hiking backpack for beginner hikers, both for men and women.

If we compare it to the rest of hiking backpacks you see in this article the TETON Sports Scout 3400 has one main advantage, its internal frame. It’s a feature that makes a load feel lighter and you accordingly less tired. But that isn’t all. Its padding is better, too. And the hip belt is way better for longer hikes, too.

The TETON Sports Scout 3400 is made of 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas shell. It’s not waterproof, but it comes with a rain cover, that can be hidden in a dedicated pocket. The backpack features a large sleeping bag compartment, one big main compartment and several smaller ones. It’s a rather heavy backpack – 4.5 lbs (2 kg).

Available in 3 colors.

Dimensions: 30″ x 17″ x 12″ (76.2 x 43.2 x 30.5 cm)

Size: 55 liter

Weight: 4.5 lbs (2 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!

3. ARMYCAMOUSA Expandable Tactical Backpack

An expandable backpack, that’s built to last.


The backpack is made of 600-denier polyester with vinyl backing. The main compartment of the backpack can be expanded from 5” to 10”, giving you an option to “switch” from a medium-sized carry on backpack (~39 liter) to a rather big tactical backpack (~64 liter). Traveling only with a carry on? Don’t pack it completely and you’ll be fine. It’s very cool to have such a choice. And to have this roomy backpack that doesn’t look huge at all.

There are 2 more, smaller compartments. One of them has several mesh pockets. The bag features a simple hip belt.

Available in different colors and styles, including few camouflage styles.

Dimensions (fully expanded): 20.5 ” x 15” 12.75 ” (52 x 38.1 x 32.4 cm)

Size: 40 liter

Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg)

Click Here for the Latest Price, More Photos and User Reviews on Amazon!


Kaspars Misins

Author: Kaspars Misins

Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.

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