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10 Best Backpacks For Under $40, Part 1

10 Best Backpacks For Under $40, Part 1
Buffy Naillon

In just a few short weeks, high school and college kids alike trade flip-flops and and shorts for school lunch boxes and backpacks. While what they carry inside their backpacks may differ by ages -- think number two pencils for junior high and high school kids, tablets for the college set -- the need for a sturdy backpack to carry is pretty universal.

That said, the need for a good pack shouldn't exceed the budget of the buyer. It should also fit its purpose, meaning that a backpack made for trekking the wild hills may not make the best choice as a school backpack (with some exceptions). The following 10 backpacks have been selected with the school kid in mind. They are designed to keep items like pencils and pens, computer cables, and water bottles stored neatly. Some also feature a special padded compartments inside to store a laptop. And finally, they are under $40.00, allowing you to stay on budget this fall.

Case Logic Prevailer Backpack

Recommended by Laptop Magazine, this backpack is a sturdy, no-fuss pack that gets the job done. It has compartment that holds laptops the measure up to 17 inches as well as a place to stow away a tablet if that's more your speed. It also features pockets for snacks, water bottles, headphones, and of course, books.

Price: $40.00 and some change.

Element's Jaywalker


This is a dual-purpose pack that breaks a few rules, meaning that if you just don't have it in your budget to buy one pack for hiking and camping and one pack for the hallowed halls of school, this is the pack to get. It measures 19.6 x 11.4 x 7.4 inches. A 15-inch laptop will fit inside, and it has some padding to protect said laptop. Although it has a drop sleeve for sunglasses, it doesn't have other divider pockets inside. Padded straps keep it riding comfortably on your shoulders, and the handle at the top allows for carrying off-shoulder.

Price: Starting at $35.00 and up, depending upon the backpack.

EcoCity’s Classic Vintage Backpack


Made from 80% washed denim, this pack feels a bit yesteryear, but is every bit as sturdy and useful as its denim makeup suggests. The adjustable shoulder padded ensure a proper fit while its 12.6 x 16.9 x 6.7-inch dimensions mean that it's big enough to carry the big daily load that burdens many a student these days. It has a laptop compartment that holds a 14-inch laptop plus a zipper pocket on the back. But the coolest feature of this pack might be the water bottle/ umbrella pouches on the inside.

Price: $29.00 and up.

INPLAY Unisex Classic Kids School Backpack


This backpack comes complete with adjustable padded straps and a zipper-front extra pouch plus two inner organizer pockets and penholder. It's a deep pack that's just the right size for carrying a multitude of books, a hat for a cold day, and a 12-inch laptop.

Price: $26.00 and some change.

M Landen®Unisex Canvas Backpack


For some students, school is the best kind of adventure and this cool backpack reflects that. Constructed from canvas and enhanced with leather straps and an abundance of pockets, this pack would be at home in the classroom as well as out exploring the highways and byways of the world. It measures 12.2 x 16.5 x 6.7-inches and comes in blue, black, green, brown, and beige. Two outside pockets hold water bottles or cell phones, while the zippered back pocket is perfect for pens, calculators, and other small-sized items. It's also one of the lower-priced bag, making it a fashionable option for the very price conscious.

Price: $22.00 and up.

BLUBOON(TM) Vintage Men Canvas Backpack


This is another stylish canvas bag that looks a bit like it belongs to another era and yet has some funky modern features like an audio pocket and a laptop sleeve. This rucksack-style pack is 11.02 x 16.5 x 6.3-inches and is made from canvas. Said from the audio pocket and laptop sleeve, it comes with three zippered outer pockets for cell phones, energy bars, and other items that students need to get through the day.

Price: $42.00 and some change.

Leaper Lightweight Canvas Backpack


This canvas backpack is definitely for the fashion conscious. Made from canvas and trimmed with a Southwest-style border, it is a high-volume, multi-functional pack. It is 12.4 x 18.9-inches. It fits a laptop of up to 14-inches. Adjustable, cushioned straps and permeability material make this a go-to pack for those who want style, comfort, and budget-friendly.

Price: $32.00 and up.

Everest Deluxe Wheeled Backpack


This is another multi-function pack for the person who can't afford to buy two. It has five exterior pockets plus two slip pockets, is made from polyester, and has zippered enclosures. It also features a carry handle as well as a pull-handle and wheels to make carting all your books and accessories across a big college campus a lot more comfortable. Best all, you won't break the bank with this one.

Price: $35.00 and some change.

J World New York Sunrise Rolling Backpack


J World offers another great wheeled backpack. It features a three-stage locking handle and push button for easy adjustment and noiseless wheels. An outer zippered pocket keeps pens, pencils, music, and other small items in order, while the outer water-bottle pocket encourages you to carry water and keep hydrated through the long days ahead. It measures 13 x 18-inches and features air mesh cushion-padded shoulder straps.

Price: $47.00 on sale, but could go up in the coming weeks.

Under Armour Hustle II Backpack


This pack is for the person that leans toward the bold and funky. Sure it comes in some "regular" colors like blue and green, but it also features some packs with pink and black or orange and blue patterns. Aside from its aesthetic features, three interior slip pockets plus five exterior pockets mean you'll always find a place to stow your items no matter how big or small they come. It measures 18 x 13 x 8-inches, making it perfect for books as well as a larger laptop. Hearty shoulder straps plus a carrying handle allow for versatility and comfort.

Price: $41.00 and some change.

When you're buying a backpack for school, it's best to keep all your needs in mind as you go scouting for your new backpack. Bells and whistles plus a low price may draw you to a particular backpack, but if the pack doesn't fit your needs or falls apart after only a few uses, then it's not the pack for you. Ultimately, it's best to approach your backpack shopping as you would any other bargain shopping that you do. Make a list of the must haves for your pack and then scout out the packs that have those features AND fits your budget.