Backpacks are useful for all sorts of activities and adventures. Whether you intend hiking the globe carrying all your worldly goods upon your back, or if you simply want to carry your laptop to and from college, you’ll need a pack that is both comfortable, practical, and great value for money. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors with a whole host of different features and the purpose of this website is to help you find your ideal backpack among the millions that are available.
A Selection of the Best Bags…
High Sierra Access Backpack
This is a nice looking backpack that is available in many different colors to suit your taste and fashion. Inside the pack it has multiple pockets, including a laptop pocket that would easily hold a 17″ laptop. In addition to being able to hold a laptop, a media pocket is included that can hold different sizes of iPad/tablets, cell phones and MP3 players. It has adjustable and ergonomic straps, with an ‘airflow’ back panel and an optional waste belt that can be tucked away. It also features a beverage pocket for carrying your favorite drink (Gatorade or even a Bud 😉 ), and a rain cover that can be used to keep everything nice and dry when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- Internal capacity: 2,743 cubic inches (approx. 45 litres)
- Comfortably fits a 17″ laptop
- Has an additional media pocket for other gadgets such as iPads or phones.
- Incorporates a hidden waterproof raincover that can be used in bad weather
- Ergonomic and adjustable suspension and straps for comfort
- Current Rating on Amazon: 4.4 out of 5 with 1500 reviews.
- Current Price: $42.99
SwissGear SA1923 ScanSmart Backpack
Although this SwissGear backpack is only available in black, it is nevertheless quite a smart model that has lots of pockets and features to make it a very useful bag, especially for carrying your books and papers to or from college or work. It is one of the better models, having padded straps and an airflow vented back system to make it comfortable to wear. It has also been designed with convenience in mind, having multiple handy pockets and an easy-access laptop compartment. Large capacity pockets also allow bulky items such as big binders and folders to be carried with ease. Unlike the High Sierra model reviewed above, this particular one can fit a laptop of up to 15″ screen size.
Reviewers comment on it having lots of room inside, and overall this is top rated backpack that is affordable and has lots of functionality, capability and has been designed with practicality and comfort in mind.
- Has a convenient and easy access laptop compartment (up to 15″ in size).
- The main pocket allows you to carry multiple binders or folders.
- Contoured and comfortable shoulder straps.
- Sunglasses holder elastic tab on the shoulder strap.
- Current rating on Amazon: 4.5 out of 5 with 1588 reviews.
- Current price: $49.99
Osprey Talon 22 Litre Backpack
Again this is a good-looking backpack that is available in a range of cool colors. It is 22 litre in capacity, and could happily be used as an everyday college bag or for the occasional day hike or bike commute. It has a nice design and clean lines that give an outdoor type of feel, with highly padded shoulder straps, and a padded waistbelt. To add to the comfort of this Osprey pack, it also has an AirScape suspension system with a ventilated back panel. It has one main compartment and one additional compartment, and smaller items can be stored within the strech-woven front pocket.
If you intend using this backpack for hiking, then the external pocket for your hydration reservoir would come in very useful. It allows you to put your CamelBak type of reservoir into the pouch, and clip the water tube ready for easy access. It is quite lightweight, weighing in at just over a pound. Reviewers report that it is made of a nice material and has the feel that it is very well made. The LidLock attachment will also allow you to keep your bike helmet secure on the outside if you intend using the backpack for mountain biking or commuting to work or school.
- Roomy interior compartment for all your stuff
- Weighs in at around 1lb 12oz
- Exterior pouch for hydration reservoir / CamelBak
- LidLock helmet attachment on the top
- Stretchable front-pocket
- Ergnomic and very comfortable shoulder straps and waist belts
- Current rating on Amazon: 4.6 out of 5
- Current price: $67.97 – $120
A Selection of Laptop Bags For up to 17″ Laptops
You might need to take your laptop to and from work, school or college, and having it on your back makes life much easier, and they are more functional than one of the carry-handle briefcase type bags. Nowadays there are quite a few to choose from that incorporate lots of different features. Some have water bottle holders, multi-zipped pockets, phone holders and more. They are typically ergonomically designed and have padded straps so you can carry your laptop in comfort. Here are a range of backpacks that fit within this category, make sure you choose one that it suited to your screen size of laptop. We have a separate article on this site about laptop bags for women if that’s the type you’re after.
Max Laptop Screen Size (inches)
Price New ($)
Average Amazon Rating (out of 5)
|Targus||Drifter II (TSB239US)||17||66||4.3|
|Belkin||Slim 15" Notebook||15||72||4.2|
Some of the Best Hiking Backpacks
Backpacks for hiking come in a range of sizes, with their carrying capacity generally measured in litres. This is just a very general guide, but for a day or single night trip you might want a 20L to 50L pack, a 50-60L one for weekend trips (such as this Teton Hiker pack), and an 80L or larger pack if you intend going away for longer periods of time. It’s all personal preference though, the dedicated ultralight crew would get away with carrying much less, however if you like your creature comforts when you’re hiking then definitely opt for a bigger one. There are many guides out there that help you choose which size of backpack is the best for you, if you Google “REI Choosing Backpack” then it will pop up a good guide. If you’re after some information on the different variations and the history of backpacks, then check this out.
You can get hiking packs quite cheaply nowadays, however the compromise is usually that they weigh more than the more expensive ones. The larger ones can sometimes have internal frames that give the packs rigidity and also make them easier to carry on your back. Other features are also worth looking out for, such as ports and holes for your hydration bladders (eg: CamelBak), ergonomic straps and supports, and a water-resistant or ideally water-proof covering. Here are a selection of some of the best hiking backpacks available from Amazon. These are all top rated models that are available at quite reasonable a price:
Internal Capacity (litres)
Price New ($)
Average Amazon Rating (out of 5)
|Teton Sports||Scout 3400||55||66||4.5|
|High Sierra||Tech Series Titan 55||55||99||4.5|
|Teton Sports||Summit 1500 Ultralight||25||62||4.3|
|Teton Sports||Oasis 1100 Hydration||18||42||4.6|
The lists above give a short selection of all of the backpacks possibly available. There are hundreds if not thousands that you could choose from. Please browse our articles, reviews and categories for information on some of the best cool backpacks and information on hiking, backpacking and adventure in general! Get inspired!
Review of the Teton Scout 3400 Backpack
The Scout 3400 Backpack is a great internal framed pack that is ideal for carrying by those going for a bit of light to medium backpacking. In terms of capacity it has an internal volume of 3400 cubic inches or 55 litres. This is more than enough for a short to medium trip, as you can see from our backpacking guide. It is available in two colors, one is ‘hunter green’ and is ideal if you are looking for a pack that blends into the surroundings and doesn’t stand out too much. On the other hand if you like bright colors then the ‘Mecca Orange’ pack looks fantastic and has a very modern feel about it. The design of this one also has quite an uncluttered look about it. Some of the other hiking packs seem to be covered in bits and straps, whereas this is still a really functional pack, but has a lot cleaner looking design about it.
There are plenty of zippered pockets to store all of your gear separately, and you’ll be able to put things in certain areas depending on when you’ll need them. For example you might want to put your exterior clothing (eg: hats, gloves) or other things that you’ll need to hand in one of the side pockets that are easy to access. In terms of the main compartment, a “first in, last out” philosophy is what you should be aiming for – by packing your sleeping bag in first at the bottom, followed by a tent and other things.
The aluminum supports are contoured to sit cleanly against your back and together with the meshed back panel provide a really comfortable wear. Padding shoulder straps, adjustable waist belts and lumbar padding also add to the comfort levels. Some useful additions also include a pouch where you can hold a hydration pack. This Teton backpack has great reviews on Amazon (currently 4.5 out of 5) and is also on offer for a fantastic $62.
High Sierra Tech Series Titan 55
This 55 litre backpack from High Sierra has pockets, pouches and compartments for pretty much anything you might want to carry on a backpacking trip or for a weekend in the mountains. As with the Teton rucksack above, the Titan features an internal frame to support and provide rigidity to the pack. The shape of the frame, especially when combined with the various straps and harnesses that have been designed with comfort in mind, also help to maximize breathability and comfort when on the trail. The back of the pack has high density foam inserted to provide a cushion between the bag and your back, and unique ‘Airflow’ channels also help to keep you cool.
In addition to the main load compartment, which has a drawstring closure and top cover, it has a handy front-load sleeping bag compartment. This is so useful as it means you don’t have to empty your pack to get at your sleeping bag as you can get easy access from the front. It features mesh webbing for carrying those small bits and pieces, and has straps to secure your ice axes or poles. If you like to hike listening to your favorite tunes then you will find the media pouch attached to the shoulder strap quite useful indeed.
Depending on the conditions you’ll be encountering, the fold away rain cover may also prove invaluable to prevent all of your gear from getting a soaking. High Sierra are well known for developing high quality bags at affordable prices, and are highly regarded as one of the best backpack manufacturers. This particular one is quite cool thanks to its sheer versatility, and the amount of thought and design that has gone into creating the vast array of storage areas and pockets.
The bag can be purchased from the ‘outdoor gear / camping & hiking’ section of Amazon, and has received excellent reviews from many customers that have purchased this through Amazon. In fact it has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5, and can be bought for around $100. Now that’s definitely a lot of bag for your money!
The Targus Drifter II Backpack is a Great Laptop Bag
If you’re the owner of a 17″ laptop then it can sometimes be tricky to find a bag that will comfortably fit and protect your prized possession. The Targus Drifter II has been designed to offer plenty of room for these large laptops, and of course will also safely house smaller models as well. As with most Targus products, the build quality is excellent and you can tell just from the visual appearance that this backpack is definitely built to last. It has been built with a strong and durable nylon material that will offer potentially years of use taking your goods to or from college, school or work. Here are a selection of other bags that would also make great choices as college backpacks.
Inside the bag are multiple zippered compartments to hold all of your folders, books and papers. You can stay refreshed with the two handy side water bottle pouches. If gadgets are your thing then you won’t be disappointed either, as this bag allows you to pack every gizmo and gadget you would expect for today’s digital lifestyle. The different compartments can easily store anything from a digital camera, MP3 player, or your tablet. Due to the high Targus build quality you can rest assured that your gadgets will stay well protected.
One of the major features that you would want from an everyday backpack is for it to be completely comfortable and ergonomic. Thankfully the designers have put a lot of effort into ensuring this is the case. As with many of the bags designed for backpacking, this laptop bag has highly durable and highly adjustable shoulder straps. There are also large ventilation areas on the back to make sure you stay cool and as sweat-free as possible!
The Targus Drifter II backpack is available from Amazon, and is one of their most popular bags available. Out of a massive 737 reviews, it has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. The bag is currently being sold for $58, which is very reasonable for such a high quality backpack. Obviously it’s not the cheapest, and rightly so, as the construction, design and comfort is much more advanced than some of the simpler models out there. At the end of the day the old saying’s true ‘you get what you pay for’. Despite its great construction, it is still lighter than quite a few of the heavier bags on the market.
One last thing to mention about this bag is that there is a secret hidden zipper pocket on the back so that you can keep your keys or wallet hidden out of view, in a place that’s quite hidden away so thieves are unlikely to find it.
The Kids Skip Hop Zoo Backpack Range
If ever a backpack could be classified as ‘cool’ then the Kids Skip Hop Zoo range would definitely fit into that category. They have a range of extremely fun and kid-friendly designs available that your preschooler would absolutely love to own and wear. From owls to dogs, to ladybugs and bees, there are fifteen different animal, bird and insect designs, all in bright attractive colors.
These backpacks would suit boys or girls, as a variety of colors and animals are available. The bags can be bought from Amazon for the bargain price of just $17.49, and they are probably one of the most popular kids bags on the market. At Amazon they have received a huge 1257 reviews, giving it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The bag has an interior pouch that is insulated so your child can store his lunch or snacks, and a mesh pocket to hold their drink. With kids you know that things are going to need a good cleaning every now and then, and the easy-clean lining makes this an easy chore. The straps are quite padded and are more than adequate for the size of the pack.
It is on the small side, and so is perfectly suited to preschool age children. Kids at school might want to look for a larger backpack, as this one doesn’t have space for a full-size folder. For the bits and pieces that preschoolers carry however it would still make a perfect bag. Probably one of the best aspects of this bag is its cool looks! The range is absolutely adorable and one review even describes her little girl as being “over the moon” when she received this.
With any bag you want it to last a long time, and despite its sub $20 pricetag, many reviewers describe the bag as being durable and well-made. Another article we have written also contains a selection of the best kids backpacks, so why not have a look at that if this Skip Hop bag appeals to you.