There’s a backpack for everything these days. Whether you just need something simple for school, something weatherproofed for camping, or even something secure for your small dog, there’s always an option to fit your budget. But how do you know what you should be paying?
A backpack will cost anywhere between $20 and a few hundred dollars, depending on the type you need. Everyday school and workout backpacks shouldn’t cost more than about $40, but hiking and work backpacks can go as high as $80. Military bags are the most expensive and range up to $500.
Below you’ll find the average costs of a few different styles of backpacks to help you get a handle on how much you should be spending:
|Backpack Type||Average Cost||Approximate Price Range|
|Workout||$20||$8 – $40|
|School||$30||$20 – $40|
|Hiking||$40||$20 – $60|
|Work||$45||$20 – $80|
|Military-Grade||$100||$30 – $500|
The rest of this article will walk you through several different styles of backpacks with numerous examples from Amazon. It will also go through all the pros and cons of each backpack listed.
What To Look For in a Backpack
The cost of your backpack will boil down to your intended use. For example, there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a military-grade backpack just to ride the bus to work.
However, if you are riding the bus to work, security and weatherproofing could be deciding factors.
A few key things to consider include:
- Overall size and capacity
- Comfort fit and straps
- Extra pockets for storage
- Hidden pockets for security
- Extra straps for camping equipment
Once you know what you’ll be using your backpack for, you can try to set out a budget.
Workout Backpacks Cost $8-$40
Workout backpacks will cost at least $8 to $40, on average. They are usually designed to fit into a locker or sit comfortably on your back while working out and should include a slot for your water bottle. If you choose one with a drawstring, you’ll find it much cheaper.
In many cases, drawstring bags on Amazon now come equipped with pockets and mesh water bottle holders, making them a great option for something simple and inexpensive.
To get a better sense of what kind of backpack will work for you, here are some backpacks made for working out, listed by price from low to high.
Keep in mind that these are by no means the only backpacks out there for each category listed! This guide is simply meant to give you a good sense of how much each kind of backpack might cost you.
The HOLYLUCK drawstring backpack is the most affordable one on this list.
Despite its modest appearance, it’s made out of durable polyester material that can easily be cleaned, and the drawcord closures are easy to close and thick.
It also comes with a front pocket and zipper.
This isn’t a flashy bag with a pretty design but instead comes only in a dark gray color, making it easy to personalize with a decal or artwork.
For a small bag to hold you or your kids’ things while you’re at the gym or playing outside, this is a great option.
- Extremely affordable
- Front pocket
- Small and compact to fit in a locker
- Can be customized with decals
- Only one style option in dark gray
- Won’t be able to hold an excessive amount of gear
The Sackpack is a drawstring bag as well, but unlike the HOLYLUCK, it has dozens of cool designs, which might appeal to your teenager.
Drawstring bags are great for working out, especially for high-traffic areas like gyms; their disadvantage is that they have no real structure, and you might need to dig for your stuff.
This bag has multiple pockets to combat that. Not only does this bag come with a front pocket and zipper, but it has mesh pockets for water bottles on either side.
- Different styles/colors
- Front pocket
- Mesh water bottle holders
- Able to fit into most places
- Small, won’t hold much gear
- Not as functional as other workout backpacks
The Adult Hustle backpack comes in tons of cool styles and designs, making it perfect for the trendy teenage athlete.
It comes with a laptop sleeve built-in, which will hold a laptop-sized up to 15” (38.1 cm), and the thick shoulder straps will ensure that you aren’t uncomfortable with the weight on your back. Plus, the polyester material is extremely waterproof.
This is one of the pricier workout backpacks you will see. Still, you get what you pay for, and if you find yourself frequently wishing that your bag was a little sturdier than a drawstring, you may want this backpack.
- Not a drawstring, but a backpack with straps and zipped compartments
- Laptop sleeve
- Comes in multiple designs
- Waterproof and durable
- Will fit a lot of items
- Costs more than other workout bags
- Might have trouble fitting into a locker or overhead compartment
School Backpacks Cost $20 – $40
For kiddos who are headed back to school, you don’t have to break the bank on a backpack – even if your student wants a bag with plenty of pockets and zippers.
School backpacks are usually inexpensive and cost $20 to $40. If you have a young child, you might want to prioritize a fun-looking, cheaper backpack over one with many pockets and functions. On the other hand, high school students might want a bigger, more expensive option with more compartments.
This satchel backpack is relatively inexpensive and ideal for young kids with its collection of fun geometric patterns.
This has a polyester lining that’s both water and wear-proof, preventing tears and scratches from bumping into things during elementary school.
It also has two front pockets and two separate compartments in the body, perfect for your extremely organized student.
The Bansusu exclusively comes in light pinks and purples, so if you have a kid who doesn’t want a feminine backpack, you may want to avoid this one.
- Extremely affordable, without sacrificing room
- Plenty of pockets and zippers
- Pretty geometric styles
- May not last as long as JanSport or Adidas
- Style may not appeal to older kids
The classic JanSport backpack is cool no matter what year it is, whether you’re going to college or kindergarten. It comes in dark, solid colors like maroon and navy and rose and space patterns for a more expressive kiddo.
The single front pocket and one main compartment is a definite disadvantage of the JanSport since it will likely get cluttered much more quickly than a pack with many organizational pockets.
However, it does have a side water bottle pocket and comfy straps.
- Classic style, multiple colors, and designs
- Sturdy material
- Front pocket with zipper
- Water bottle pocket
- Only one front compartment
- Not as many designs as other backpacks on this list
This backpack has three exterior compartments, so your student will be able to separate different folders, notebooks, and binders. It also has two water bottle pockets on either side.
This backpack is perhaps slightly more expensive than a JanSport or another brand and it also has fewer style options.
However, made of 100% polyester, this backpack will probably last you a long time.
- Multiple compartments for great organization
- Two water bottle pockets
- Made to last, with 100% polyester
- Few styles
- Costlier than other school backpacks
Hiking Backpacks Cost $20 – $60
If you’re a casual hiker and mainly take beginners’ trails, you may not need a hiking backpack. However, if you find yourself on day-long hiking adventures every summer, a hiking backpack will probably make your life much easier.
Hiking backpacks cost anywhere from $20 to $60, depending on what kinds of hikes you’re drawn to. Hiking can be dangerous, so you may want to invest in a backpack with more room for gear and supplies. But don’t go for something big and expensive if you don’t need it.
This is a fantastic casual hiking backpack.
It has a waterproof wet pocket inside its main compartment, which is great for electronics or to store wet clothing.
The outside of the bag is made of water and tear-resistant nylon and weighs less than a pound when empty. It also has several pockets, allowing you to organize all your snacks, tools, and hiking extras.
- Waterproof wet pocket
- One of the most cost-effective hiking backpacks
- Comes in bright colors and patterns to keep you from losing it in the wilderness
- Extremely lightweight
- Might not carry everything you need if you’re a multi-day camper
- Made of a light, thin material, so limited padding
This pack from High Sierra won’t set you back much and has five different compartments to organize all your hiking gear in.
If you’re traveling with your family and need to keep different people’s stuff separated, this might be the bag for you.
This backpack comes in tons of different colors and designs, making it just as popular as a backpack for school for outdoor activities!
Keep in mind that this is designed to be taken through narrow trails and low branches, making it narrower than most school backpacks are meant to be. It might not fit binders and textbooks.
- Five separate compartments
- Large, structured bag
- Many designs and colors
- Can be used as a school backpack as well
- May not work for adults
- Can be too narrow if used as a school bag
The Osprey is one of the more expensive hiking backpacks on this list, and for good reason. This backpack comes with several different pockets and still manages to be streamlined and small, and virtually impossible to overload.
There is a main compartment, several front pockets, and two side mesh pockets. It also comes with an interior sleeve that can fit a tablet.
It can also fit one of several Osprey accessories, including the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir from Amazon.com for internal hydration. However, you don’t need the hydraulics reservoir to get a lot of use from this backpack.
- High-quality, well-structured backpack
- Sleeve for tablet or hydraulics reservoir
- Multiple pockets
- Straps are narrower than other hiking backpacks, which can be uncomfortable
Work Backpacks Cost $20 – $80
Maybe you’re a working person who needs a great backpack that you can take into meetings or on airplanes and still look professional. A JanSport may suit you just fine, but if you need something more, these work backpacks are for you.
Work backpacks can cost as low as $25 for something simple with a few extra pockets. However, for something more professional-looking, there are options as high as $75. Your choice will depend on how you need to look and whether or not you will need to travel with it.
This sleek and simple monochrome backpack is spacious without being massive and can hold a 15.6” (39.62 cm) laptop in its padded laptop sleeve, all for a relatively low price.
It has a front compartment with several pockets and a hook for your car keys, along with a luggage strap, which will allow it to easily slide onto a rolling suitcase.
Like many other work backpacks, the Matein comes with a built-in USB charger. As long as the backpack is charged up, you can charge your phone or tablet on the go!
- Roomy, but compact enough to fit in an overhead bin
- Multiple compartments
- Luggage strap
- Built-in USB charger
- Only comes in a few color options
- Fits a 15.6” (39.62 cm) laptop, which might be too small for some
- Compartments themselves are smaller, so they won’t fit any bulky items
The KROSER only costs a bit more than the Martein backpack but you get a bit more bang for your buck.
The padded laptop sleeve will fit a 17.3” (43.94 cm) laptop; it comes with a charging port as well, and even has a headphone system so you can plug into your music while you’re charging.
In addition, the KROSER has pockets with RFID Identity Protection technology.
RFID stands for radio-frequency identification, and it’s used to identify and track anything with an RFID sensor chip inside it. That can include ID cards and credit cards. RFID skimmers, according to NPR, can, in some cases, scan sensitive information through your wallet.
RFID protection will keep your information safe. Just be sure to tuck your wallet into the pocket with RFID protection, and you’re good to go. This is especially helpful when traveling and in close quarters.
- Will fit a 17.3” (43.94 cm) laptop
- RFID ID Protection pockets
- USB charger and headphone system
- Might be too big for your needs
- Lots of features that some people may not care about
As the name would suggest, this backpack is more expensive than the others.
Carhartt is a great high-quality pack that will fit everything you need. This computer sleeve will fit a laptop of up to 17” (43.18 cm), and it also has a zippered pocket on the front with organizational mesh inside.
Carhartt backpacks are extremely rugged and will outlast many other brands. If you ever end up hiking and this is the only bag you have, you’ll probably find that it holds up to wear and tear surprisingly well.
- High-quality backpack that will last a lifetime
- Fits a 17” (43.18 cm) computer
- Front pocket with organizer
- Much pricier than other bags
- No features like built-in chargers or RFID protection
Military-Grade Backpacks Cost $30 – $500
They may be called military-grade, but these backpacks will work well for work and school alike. They are very well made with durable materials and typically have plenty of storage compartments and sturdy straps, making them great for hiking too.
Military-grade backpacks will cost the most on average, between $30 and $500, but you can also find these highly functional bags at a reasonable price. It all depends on how much you want out of your pack.
For a backpack that isn’t quite war-ready but still resembles a military-style backpack, the Ninja Daypack comes with MOLLE, or Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, webbing on the outside. This sturdy structure lets you clip on a variety of attachments.
It has a main compartment, a front zipper pocket, and a side pouch for water bottles.
However, if you’re looking for a backpack to simulate a battle scenario, you may want a more functional backpack.
- 24.2 L (1476.78 cu in) capacity
- Cost-effective without sacrificing the military-style
- Several compartments
- MOLLE webbing
- Smaller than a military rucksack
- May end up upgrading later on
This tactical backpack can be expanded with a side zipper and has a massive maximum capacity of 64 Liters (3905 cubic inches).
You can also adjust it based on your needs. So, whether you’re going on a week-long camping trip or just a day trip through a local park, this backpack will do the trick.
There are four large compartments and a mesh pocket on the side. It’s also made of 600D, waterproof polyester material. For a military-grade backpack that will work for all scenarios, the WolfWarriorX backpack is for you.
- Expandable by a side zipper
- 64 L (3905 cu in) capacity
- Made of 600D polyester
- Four huge compartments
- Still cost-effective for a military-grade pack
- Won’t fit in as much gear as a real rucksack
- Material is not as strong as some of the other backpacks
For a pack that looks and works like a military backpack and is just as high quality as a real military backpack, the RUSH72 is a great choice. With a 55 L (3356.31 cu in) capacity, MOLLE meshing, and two main pockets with dual zippers, this looks like a real army pack.
It’s made of 1000D nylon and will survive scrapes and falls that other military-style backpacks won’t.
This backpack might cost more than many people are willing to shell out. However, for an authentic military-style backpack, it might be just what you’re looking for.
- 55 L (3356.31 cu in) capacity
- MOLLE webbing
- Made of 1000D nylon, making it extremely durable
- Camo design makes it look authentic
- More expensive than many other backpacks
- Not as big as many other packs
Maybe you are training for the military or frequently go on multi-day hunting trips and want a backpack that will fit plenty of supplies.
This pack is meant to keep everything you need for a long journey outdoors and even support some heavy tools if you need them. It comes in several colors and even has a pull-out rain cover.
The pack itself weighs ten pounds, meaning that it can easily fatigue the wearer if they’re not used to carting around so much weight.
It’s also more costly than any other backpack on this list by far. For the rugged adventurer, though, this pack may be a worthwhile investment.
- The most authentic military backpack on this list
- Pull-out rain cover, scabbard, and plenty of other compartments
- Will fit everything you need for a long backpacking journey
- Made of durable 500D nylon
- Expensive, even for a backpack
- Danger of weighing down the wearer
If you’re looking for a new backpack, you’ll find a variety of options in all styles and sizes. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might pay as little as $10 or even as much as $500.
However, in most cases, a decent backpack will only cost you $30 to $40.
If you want a hiking or military-grade backpack, you’ll have to consider how much wear-and-tear you’ll be putting on the bag and how much equipment you’ll need to carry. You should also expect to pay a little more.
For more, don’t miss The 3 Best Backpacks for an Emergency Kit | Fit Any Budget.
Hey, I’m Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!