This school year has been a mixed-bag, so to speak, with some kids remote learning only and others going to schools for in-person experiences full or part time. Whether classes are in person, remote, or some combination of the two, backpacks are handy to have even just to move books and supplies to different rooms in the same house.If you’re looking for a cheap backpack, you’ll find many choices. The backpack universe includes packs for hiking, biking, commuting, and more. For this overview of the current best cheap backpack deals, we focused mainly on backpacks appropriate to take to school — assuming going to to school becomes a thing for most kids in 2021.
Today’s Best Cheap Backpack Deals
- Kenneth Cole Reaction Travel Business Backpack — $94, was $130
- Finelaer Brown Leather Backpack — $254, was $275
- TUMI 12-Inch Computer Bag For Women — $259, was $325
- Columbia Men's Backpacks — Up to 25% Off
- Dakine Men's Backpacks — Up to 40% off
How To Choose A Backpack
Backpack capacity is best determined by the size of the person who will be wearing it, but there are variation based on personal preference and habits. A middle school student who likes to carry their all books to and from school every day will need a larger backpack than a student who rarely brings books home. Student athletes may want a gigantic bag to carry sports clothing and gear, though in that case a second bag is often an option. One factor regarding size is specific to electronics, considered separately just below.
Laptop And Electronics Readiness
Computers, Chromebooks, tablets, and other electronics are expensive. Even though most devices can take moderately rough handling, the best solution when choosing a backpack is to pick one with a padded protected area that fits the device. Most laptops will fit in a sleeve designed for the most common 15.6-inch display size, but a few are larger, so be sure to account for screen size (measured diagonally). Because some students carry more than one device, there are also backpacks with multiple protected sections. Two additional handy electronics-focused features to look for are an opening for a USB charging port and an easily-accessed zippered compartment for adapters, cables, mice, and other small accessories.
Backpacks are constructed of a variety of materials, including nylon, polyester, canvas, cotton fabric, leather, and more. If you’re choosing a backpack for a student, keep in mind the material will need to withstand rough treatment and often be put or stored in areas where they will pick up dirt.
Backpacks often have a variety of handles and extra straps, but padded shoulder straps that don’t dig in when the backpack is loaded with books can add a lot to its comfort.
None of the cheap backpacks below are waterproof, but some are constructed of water-resistant material. If anyone will be wearing or carrying the pack in the rain, at least minimal water resistance is a good thing.
Style is another personal preference consideration, but try not to sacrifice function and comfort just because a student wants a backpack with a particular figure, logo, or stylistic feature.
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