life·6 min read

Traveling on a Budget? These 10 Backpacks Won't Break the Bank

One Women with a Beis Backpack and another with a Baboon backpakc
Design: theSkimm | Photos: Beis, Baboon to the Moon
May 12, 2022

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A good backpack is a travel essential. Long weekend away? There’s a backpack for that. Hiking through the Catskills? There’s a backpack for that too. A quick flight to Miami? Now there’s definitely a backpack for that. Whether you like to travel light, or need something sturdy to accompany your carry-on, there are plenty of backpack styles to choose from. And if you need help trying to decide, we’ve got you covered there too.


The suitcase that's not a suitcase…

Hate lugging around a bulky suitcase? This is the perfect backpack for you. It has a clamshell opening — meaning it opens up like a book — which allows for easy packing and unpacking. This design is also surprisingly light for its durability. And it also comes with a padded laptop and tablet sleeves for those of you who can’t leave home without your electronics. ($200, REI)

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A backpack for the daytripper…  

If you know you're going to be on your feet all day, there’s no better choice than the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack. This backpack has thousands of rave reviews on Amazon and is universally liked. It fits everything you’d need in a day and has tons of compartments to keep you organized. Despite it being light enough for all-day use, it can fit a heavy load. ($69.95+, Amazon)

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A backpack for the weekend jetsetter…

Going on a quick trip for a long weekend? Consider a backpack like this one that’s easy to carry and easy to pack. It’s got a classic design on the outside balanced by an innovative clamshell design when you open it up. Not only can it fit all the things you need for an overnight trip, but its everyday look also makes it great for carrying to the office or the gym. ($78, Beis)

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A spacious and stylish travel bag that fits everything you need… 

If you like a little glam but don’t want to sacrifice functionality you have to get this gorgeous backpack. It comes with four main compartments — plus one for a laptop — so you don’t have to worry about running out of room. And did we mention that it’s gorgeous? We know we did, but we can’t understate its chevron detailing and its gold zippers. ($55.50+, Amazon)

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A functional backpack that doubles as a charger… 

Everything about this backpack screams functionality. It has a wide opening, which makes packing and unpacking super easy. Plus it has tons of compartments that will stop you from having to dig around for the lip balm you packed. But this bag’s claim to fame is its built-in USB charging port. So if your phone dies and you’re out and about, this backpack will come in clutch. ($37.99+, Amazon)

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A bag for traveling with a little one… 

Try this diaper bag that's way more than a diaper bag. You’re gonna love the changing pad that it comes with and the clips that let you attach it to your stroller. And if you’re not a parent, this backpack still holds up. Its neoprene material is super comfy and can hold a lot, whether it’s a baby bottle or a cell phone. ($200, Dagne Dover)

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A cozy and stylish backpack… 

Covered in that same cozy material as the diaper bag, this bag is known for its comfort. Instead of feeling stiff like other backpacks, this material is soft, squishy, and fits super snug on your back. But that’s not all. It comes with an interior pocket for your water bottle and an extra mini detachable pouch you can use as a makeup bag or for your toiletries. Seriously, the makers of this backpack thought of everything — it even comes with a shoe bag to separate your shoes. ($200, Nordstrom)

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A waterproof pack that’s perfect for a hike…

Planning on going on an adventure in rugged terrain? Check this backpack out.  Not only is it comfy to wear but it’s also practical and can carry 30L worth of stuff – perfect for a day hike. It comes with a hip belt, a walking pole attachment, and a safety whistle. You know, in case you need to ward off any bears. ($150, Osprey)

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The backpack that’s small but mighty…

If you don’t want to feel like you’re lugging the world on your shoulders, you may want to try Away’s sleek and stylish Everywhere Zip. It can hold all your essentials, from toiletries to a change of clothes but it’s never bulky. It’s specially designed for the traveler that doesn’t need too much to get by… or is planning on bringing a large suitcase along for the ride. And if you’re one of the latter, here’s a roundup of suitcases that’ll make your travels a whole lot easier. ($175, Away)

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A travel bag that does it all…

A duffle, backpack or a crossbody, this bag is the queen of versatility. Its largest model can hold up to five days of stuff and still count as a carry-on. And it comes in a mini if you want something small and sweet. Seriously, this bag is perfect. A ring for your keys? Check. A lockable zipper closure? Check. Alpine-grade universal, double stitching for extra durability? Check and double-check. ($159, Baboon to the Moon)

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