Una sitting on the ground after hiking - Best Cheap Travel Backpacks

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What are the best cheap travel backpacks right now?

A decent backpack is that one piece of travel gear you 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), sometimes it just isn’t an option. And then there are times when you simply don’t need the best backpack. Yes, quality travel gear will enhance your travel experience. 

But even 30 – 50 bucks nowadays can get you an okay travel backpack that will last more than a couple of trips.

Scroll down a bit to find a decent and cheap travel bag for yourself.

Quick Answer: SwissGear 1900, MATEIN Travel Laptop Backpack or PUMA Men’s Contender.

Best Cheap Travel Backpacks

Here they are – 10 of the best cheap travel backpacks.

A few of them I have also mentioned in our buyers guide to the best carry on backpacks. Check it out to see what you can get if you decide to invest more into this. Some of these affordable backpacks have a laptop compartment. To read more about every one of these backpacks 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.

SwissGear 1900***A laptop backpack with a lot of pockets and padded back panel and shoulder straps37 liter
MATEIN Travel Laptop BackpackLaptop backpack featuring a luggage strap and built-in USB charger
PUMA Men’s Contender***Very cheap and basic backpack for different kind of use
Cabin Max MetzAn affordable travel backpack, which can fit really a lot44 liter
Samsonite Tectonic 2A sturdy backpack for travel and daily commute, that will last
KAKA BackpackA carry on size travel backpack with padded back and shoulder straps35 liter
Witzman MenA retro style canvas travel backpack for men
OutdoorMaster***A cheap and spacious hiking backpack for all kind of adventures50 liter
TETON Scout 3400A roomy internal frame hiking backpack for beginner hikers, both for men and women55 liter
ARMYCAMOUSAAn expandable backpack, that’s built to last40 liter
*** - our favorites

Best Cheap Backpacks for Travel: Reviews

1. SwissGear 1900

A cheap 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 — that’s a lot of organizational features.

Just check out its photos on Amazon or on the website of SwissGear.

The bag 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

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)

3. Samsonite Tectonic 2 Large Backpack

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

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 a very practical backpack.

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 at the same time 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)

4. KAKA Backpack

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 airlines.

Available in several 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)

5. 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)

Two hikers hiking in Nepal
Two hikers hiking in Nepal – Annapurna Circuit

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)

2. TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

A roomy internal frame hiking backpack for beginner hikers.

Suitable 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)

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 (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)

What’s your experience with good cheap backpacks? What’s the best cheap travel backpack you know? The best budget travel backpack you have tried?

Book Your Trip Like a PRO

1. Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights using Kiwi.com, Momondo.com. Or subscribe to Dollar Flight Club, if you don’t want to be searching for the flights yourself. Momondo usually is my first choice.

2. Book Your Accommodation

Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb. I use Booking and Agoda at least a dozen times a year, and Airbnb – when looking for a long-term stay. My best tip is to ALWAYS compare the price. Sometimes the same hotel is cheaper on Booking.com, other times – on Agoda. Always compare the price!

3. Buy Your Travel Insurance

World Nomads and SafetyWings are two companies I can recommend. World Nomads offers some extra benefits, that will be important for those doing some higher risk activities, while SafetyWings is significantly cheaper. SafetyWings is only $9.25 / week.