Looking for the best travel backpacks under $100? This list of the best carry-on backpacks will help you find the best travel backpack for you!
Dodging airline baggage fees has become a science.
People try different packing techniques, shave down toothbrushes to save space, and some (like Rolf Potts) travel worldwide with nothing but what they can carry in their pockets.
While you don’t have to go that extreme, having a solid travel bag is one of the first steps toward beginning your travels. But no one wants to spend half their trip savings on a pack that costs hundreds of dollars.
After all, the trip is the entire point!
So, with that said, I’ve compiled a list of the best travel backpacks under $100. That way, you can save money and have fun on your trip.
So, let’s get into them.
Note: There are affiliate links included in this post. I am not paid to promote products or experiences, but I receive a small commission if you buy. All money goes back into making the website better. So, if you choose to support The Travel Runner, thank you.❤️.
Best travel backpacks under $100
1. North Face Jester Backpack
Weekend warriors and light packers, this is the bag for you.
At 27.5 liters, it’s sure to fit any baggage bins at the airport in a small profile. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave everything at home. It still has a decent amount of space and is expandable with North Face’s Flex Vent technology.
But that’s not all. You get some adjustable straps that are comfortable to wear for long periods, a padded laptop sleeve that holds up to a 15″ laptop, a padded back panel, and it’s stylish. While it was meant to be a school backpack, travelers don’t let categories stop them from optimizing their packing.
And the North Face Jester Backpack is a quality backpack for under $100 in a carry-on size.
👉 Buy the North Face Jester on Amazon.
2. Matein Travel Laptop Pack
I recently picked this pack up, and I was very impressed by this carry on backpack’s quality and functionality.
This backpack has a large main compartment, multiple storage areas, a laptop compartment, adjustable shoulder straps, and much more. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a long-term traveler, this pack is ready to be your daily pack.
And that’s because this backpack has plenty of space. This lightweight pack has more compartments and pockets than a jetliner.
The backpack includes three zippered compartments — a back, middle, and front compartment that zips open like a suitcase — and a water bottle holder, you have enough room for your laptop, clothes, and any smaller accessories.
And there will be more room to spare! A small front pocket and others dot the pack so you can stash things everywhere. Did I mention the bag also comes with a section for your shoes? Awesome, right?
Plus, it’s the best carry on backpack size, so no worries about going over baggage limits.
Last, it’s reasonably water-resistant, so you can rest easy knowing your pack is safe in a rainstorm. You can watch those drops hit and fall right off your pack.
At sub $50, this is one of the best backpacks you’ll find, especially the best budget backpack.
👉 Buy the Matein Travel Laptop Pack on Amazon.
3. Herschel Little America Backpack
I love the Herschel backpacks for their simple and stylish look in a backpacking pack.
And the Little America pack is no different. Its simple design, practical use, and great price make it perfect if you want to travel light.
Plus, if you’re looking for a backpack with durability, this is it. This pack takes a harder beating than a strong pair of hiking shoes. And it’s also spacious enough for you to fit everything you need. Laptops, books, clothes, and other accessories all fit easily in the top-loading main compartment.
Last, not only will you walk around in style but also in comfort. The padded shoulder straps help ease the load on your shoulders so you can focus more on your trip and less on your pack.
One thing you’ll notice about this pack is it doesn’t have any zippers, compression straps, hip belts or waist belts, or sternum straps. This backpack keeps things simple and easy for you, so you don’t have to worry about all the bells and whistles.
And that makes it the perfect lightweight travel pack for beginners.
Overall, the Little America backpack is a good choice if you want a bag with style and practicality.
👉 Buy the Herschel Little America Backpack on Amazon.
4. tomtoc 40L Travel Pack
This backpack not only works amazingly, but it also looks excellent.
But that doesn’t mean it lacks in function. In fact, it packs plenty of it into its small 40L frame.
First, a large main compartment is spacious enough to store your clothes for a four-day trip or longer. Pack your shirts, pants, toiletries, shoes, and anything else you need for your trip. And it has multiple carry options to change it up.
Plus, there are smaller pockets for organizing other items like your phone, wallet, and passport. Organization is made easy with this pack. Whether you need a mesh water bottle pocket or somewhere to store your valuables, you’ll have plenty of room.
Last, the best part is its durability because the backpack is made of durable, water-resistant, and lightweight nylon. So whether you’re looking for a hiking backpack that will take a beating in the mountains or want something to protect your items from rain, tomtoc has your back.
If you want the best overall backpack for under $100, the tomtoc travel bag makes the perfect companion.
👉 Buy the tomtoc 40L Travel Pack on Amazon.
5. Osprey Hikelite 26
Osprey is practically the face of travel backpacks.
And that’s why you’ll rarely find one of their backpacks for less than $100. But that’s different with the HikeLite 26, which is great if you’re looking for something to double as a travel, hiking, and camping pack.
While Osprey built this pack for the trails, it can handle a little bit of travel, especially if you love the outdoors. With a 26-liter capacity, you have just enough room to pack some clothes and other essentials you need. Plus, there are smaller pockets for storing other valuables.
What’s best about this pack, though, is its lightweight build. The backpack’s materials make it super light on your back, and you’ll barely feel like you have a pack on your back as you’re wandering the streets or trails of your destination.
Overall, this solid backpack features some excellent specs. But, some other options are better for travel at a lower price.
So keep that in mind.
👉 Buy the Osprey HikeLite 26 on Amazon.
Other top travel gear to check out
Backpacks are just one of the things that make your travel life easy.
As travel has become more popular, products have popped up left and right to meet our needs.
And here are a few of the best travel items to invest in.
Want organization and to save space?
Then packing cubes are an absolute must. Since I started using these five years ago, I can’t imagine traveling without them. And that’s the reason travelers worldwide use them.
With simple organization and compression to help fit everything into your best value travel backpack. So, I STRONGLY recommend getting a set of packing cubes.
Here are some of the top options I’ve used:
Not all shoes are packed equally.
And if you like to work out while you travel, getting a pair of lightweight shoes to pack is crucial.
Luckily, I’ve got an entire post dedicated to the best packable shoes for your next trip.
But, some top options to choose are:
A travel towel is a must if you’re staying in hostels, Airbnb, or other services where you may need access to basic amenities.
Whether you lay it down as a base layer on your bed, use it to clean up small messes, or use a daily bath towel, these things can come in handy.
Some of my top recommendations are:
Like the travel towel, having a nice travel blanket is a luxury on the road.
As you take a long bus ride across the country, there’s nothing like having that lightweight blanket to help you keep warm and comfortable.
Here are some of the top blankets I like:
Tips for buying a travel backpack
We covered the best backpacks, and there are some solid options.
But what should you remember when buying your travel backpack?
For that, here are a few tips:
- Figure out your needs. Think about what you’ll use it for. Hiking? Sightseeing? Just to travel? Knowing what you need will help you narrow down your options.
- Find your ideal size. Are you a light or heavy packer? Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes, so determine what you need to take and find a pack that will fit it all.
- Look for durable packs. You’ll have this pack for a long time, and you’ll be spending a lot of time together. So, get something that will last and is built with solid materials.
- Make sure it’s comfortable. You’ll spend a lot of time with this pack. So find a comfortable carry on pack that’s easy to carry. Otherwise, your sore back will let you know it’s not happy.
- Think about the organization. Some people are neat freaks, and others just throw everything in and let it sit. Figure out which one you are and buy a pack accordingly.
- Find style. Style is optional because it’s a backpack. But who doesn’t like a little style in their items? So, find the one you want and stick with it.
There are many things to consider when choosing your pack.
But, if you follow these six tips, you’ll have a pack you will love for years.
What do you think is the best carry-on backpack?
Choosing a new bag is always a tough decision.
There are budget packs for every use, and they often look similar.
But, with this list, you’ll be able to narrow down your picks for the best budget backpack.
So, let me know what you think. What is your choice for the best backpack? Let me know in the comments!