My 9 Favorite Backpacks $40 & Under

When the 1990s come back into style, full-swing… is that going to include the return of those mini-backpacks? Remember those? The straps were like 3x longer than they really needed to be, so the backpack (which is about half the size of my purse) kind of bounced off of your butt and lower back as you walked. I’m pretty sure that’s why everyone wanted one. Draw attention to the butt as much as possible.

I never liked those, personally, but I never left the house without my basic, black canvas Jansport backpack ($58). To me, those are the truly the perfect backpack for people who are going back to school, or back to… anywhere, pretty much. They were basic, but rugged and strong, so all of your books wouldn’t rip the seams and explode everywhere. (This really happens, trust me.) They weren’t the cutest backpacks, but they held all my stuff and went with everything thanks to their minimalist design.

sneakers backpack graffiti wall shoes

The love of a good backpack never dies, and I’m noticing that my friends are starting to rekindle their relationships with backpacks lately, too. For work, for school, for the gym – even for girls’ night out! Think of how many of your friends’ jackets and scarves you could fit in a backpack…

But a Jansport isn’t going to cut it at da club. So brands and designers from fancy to frugal are releasing some more sophisticated, sassy backpacks for back to school or otherwise. They are made from faux leather, faux suede, canvas, and cotton, so there’s a style for everyone.

Here are 9 of my favorite budget-friendly backpacks from around the web!

Budget Backpacks Back to School 2016

…Okay, you caught me. That pizza backpack is barely in the “budget-friendly backpack” zone. Admittedly, I included it for selfish reasons, namely my borderline-perverse relationship with pizza. These pizzas are heart-shaped, though! I mean, come on!

The rest seem to share a lot of design elements – most noticeably, the “rucksack” style. A flap over the top conceals a drawstring closure, similar to a bucket-style bag. This rucksack style has far more storage, however, thanks to the extra pockets and pouches.

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Some of these backpacks have taken a more modern spin on an old design by cleaning up the lines and going super-minimalistic. The zippers around the top open up to reveal a structured and spacious interior. Perfect for those who might have limited classes in one day, or a locker to change out books when necessary.

Backpack-related Promotions

Do you have a favorite backpack memory? What was your go-to style?

First photo is jansport + palladium, copyright Tina Floersch, published in its unaltered state and protected by the Creative Commons License

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.