Under $50 - Best Cheap Backpacks For School

Looking for an inexpensive but durable backpack for school? Here we list our favorite backpacks for high school and college under $50.

We focused including only bags with the best style, quality and student-loving features such as roomy main compartments for textbooks, organizers for accessories, and laptop compartments.


Our Picks: Best Cheap Backpacks for School

The perfect school backpack is a mix of the following elements:

  • Roomy main compartment for large bulky textbooks

  • Extra pockets for organizing things like pens and calculators 

  • Stylish and comfortable design

Add on a tight budget and now you are tasked with finding a backpack that is inexpensive without being so cheaply made it falls apart after one semester. Luckily, with extensive research we have found a few backpacks that tick all the boxes. Here are our picks.

High Sierra Access school backpack - Top pick for best cheap backpacks for school

High Sierra Access Backpack

The High Sierra Access backpack has proven itself to be a workhorse for long days on campus where dropping off items in lockers or your car isn’t an option. This backpack was made for carrying heavy loads such as books, binders and tech thanks to its multiple large compartments and thoughtfully placed pockets and organizers.

Who is this backpack for?

The High Sierra Access backpack is perfect for high school or college students who need a large and comfortable backpack for lugging around heavy books and gear all day. 

Why we recommend it: 

  • Large main compartment for text books and binders

  • Tons of organizers and pockets

  • Separate laptop compartment and tablet pocket

  • Suspension system and mesh back panel allow for comfortable carry under heavy loads.

AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack - XL Backpacks for college

AmazonBasics Laptop Backpack

The AmazonBasics laptop backpack is easily one of the best “cheap” school backpacks for high school and college students thanks to it’s multiple large compartments to fit books and notebooks as well as numerous smaller compartments for everything from laptop to 17-inches to phone chargers and personal items.

Who’s this backpack for?

The AmazonBasics laptop backpack is great for students on a budget who need a cheap backpack for school with enough compartments, pockets and organizers for busy days on campus. 

Why we recommend it:

  • Multiple large compartments to keep books, binders and notebooks organized

  • Padded laptop pocket

  • Tons of smaller pockets and organizers for pens, calculators and other school supplies.

  • Good quality for the price


Jansport Big Student Backpack

The Jansport Big Student backpack is easily one of our favorite backpacks for school under $50. It’s affordable but not poorly made. It’s large enough for multiple classes worth of books and notebooks but not too large to be uncomfortable. We also love that this bag comes in dozens of different colors to match your personal style.

Who is this backpack for?

The Jansport Big Student backpack is a good pick for anyone who needs a reliable backpack with multiple compartments for daily organization and carry. Features like the ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps and a fully padded back also gives the Jansport Big Student a big advantage over other similarly priced backpacks when it comes to all-day comfort when fully loaded.

Why we recommend it:

  • Tough 600D polyester construction backpack by a Jansport Lifetime Warranty

  • Multiple large compartments and pockets makes organization a breeze

  • Side water bottle pocket

  • Ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps for a more comfortable fit

Kroser laptop backpack for school

Kroser Laptop Backpack

At under $40, Kroser does a great job including features usually reserved for more expensive backpacks. We like the Kroser laptop backpack as a cheap school backpack because of its large main compartment for books and front organizer panel for smaller items like pens and accessories. Add in style choices such as a minimalist body, faux-leather zipper pulls and hidden water bottle pockets and you have a versatile backpack that can be used on campus and off.

Who is this backpack for?

The Kroser laptop backpack is for any student who wants to upgrade from your typical Jansport-style student book bag to something more mature. Features such as a separate padded laptop compartment and USB charging port make this backpack perfect for tech-heavy students who carry laptops, phones and tablets on campus. 

Why we recommend it:

  • Stylish design and mature faux-leather detailing is great for college

  • Includes a USB charging port for phones/gadgets

  • Separate padded laptop compartment

JanSport Superbreak - best cheap backpack for school

JanSport Superbreak Backpack

Featuring a classic silhouette, the JanSport SuperBreak is student favorite thanks to its roomy main compartment and ultralight design. The Superbreak is available in more than 30 different colors so you are sure to find one that matches your style. The best part? You can usually find the JanSport Superbreak for under $30. Talk about a steal. 

Who is this backpack for?

The Jansport Superbreak is ideal for students who want a simple and lightweight school backpack for lugging around text books and notebooks. When it comes to quality, JanSport does an excellent job offering a cheap backpack for school that doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in one semester making the Superbreak perfect for anyone on a tight budget.

Why we recommend it:

  • Classic book bag design that never goes out of style

  • Available in dozens of colors, prints and patterns

  • Lightweight materials paired with a padded back and shoulder straps means the Superbreak is comfortable even when loaded full.

Vaschy backpack for school - inexpensive backpack for school

Vaschy Lightweight Backpack

The Lightweight backpack is the Vaschy’s take on the classic book bag design but with some extra features that makes it ideal for busy students. Unlike similar backpacks, Vaschy includes a side pocket for easy storage of water bottles. The backpack also features a laptop sleeve for easy laptop carry and a roomy main compartment that is large enough to fit large textbooks and binders.

Who is this backpack for?

At 20 liter capacity, the Vaschy Lightweight backpack is great for anyone who wants a smaller backpack that can still fit large textbooks and binders in the main compartment.

Why we recommend it:

  • Classic design that never goes out of style

  • Includes side pockets for water bottles

  • Available in almost a dozen different colors

  • Incredibly affordable - You can usually grab a Vaschy Lightweight backpack for around $20.

Matein Laptop Backpack - Best Selling cheap backpack for school

Matein Laptop Backpack

The Matein Laptop Backpack is an inexpensive bag that seems to get a lot right. Loaded with its own laptop compartment, phone pockets and a USB charging port, the Matein Laptop Backpack is a great choice for anyone who is serious about safely carrying tech on campus. While a large main compartment and plenty of organizer pockets easily makes the Matein Laptop Backpack one of the best school backpacks under $50.

Who is this backpack for?

The Matein Laptop Backpack is ideal for students who need a versatile backpack for school and travel. A dedicated laptop compartment, USB charging port and numerous small pockets makes the Matein Laptop Backpack perfect for anyone who carry a lot of tech. 

Why we recommend it:

  • Roomy: can hold a laptop up to 15.6 inches and includes a spacious main compartment for large books.

  • USB charging port allows you to charge your phone while on the move

  • Available in multiple different colors

AmazonBasics Campus backpack

AmazonBasics Campus Backpack

The AmazonBasics Campus backpack was made just for school carry and it definitely shows. The backpack has everything you could need in a high school or college backpack; multiple large compartments for books, multiple small pockets and organizers, and it even features a special insulated cooler pocket for your lunch. Consider that you can grab your own AmazonBasics Campus backpack for under $35 and it becomes clear why we rank this bag as one of the best affordable school backpacks you can buy today.

Who is this backpack for?

The AmazonBasics Campus backpack is recommend for students who need a reliable backpack for college or high school. Extra features like the insulated cooler pocket and front organizer panel makes the AmazonBasics Campus backpack one of the better options when looking for a cheap backpack for school.

Why we recommend it:

  • Made of water resistant 600D polyester

  • Large main compartment has tons of storage room for large text books and binders

  • Full of campus-ready pockets - Fleece lined sunglasses pocket, side water bottle pockets, padded laptop pocket

  • Available in 3 different colors; black, gray and blue