They say good things come in small packages, and when it comes to mini backpacks, we couldn’t agree more. When you only have a few small staples to bring to work or while running errands, these pint-sized backpacks make for a super convenient—and chic!—way to transport your belongings. Unlike a purse or tote, a mini backpack distributes weight evenly across your shoulders and back, which can ultimately help to ward off chronic pain and injury. Plus, there’s something to be said for how adorable they are in comparison to their clunkier counterparts. We did our research to uncover a slew of highly-quality options that, aside from being cute, promise to make your life easier, facilitate travel and keep your belongings safe and sound.
While the perfect mini backpack for you will come down to personal taste in many cases, there are a few elements worth looking out for across the board, including secure compartments. Outside pouches are great for accessing essentials you use often, such as water bottles, but make sure they’re elasticized or have pull-cinch closure, so they don’t fall out. Interior pouches and slits, meanwhile, work wonders for organizing clutter. Those with snap closures or pull-cinches are handy for grabbing things quickly; however, a turnlock closure will be more secure. You should also check out a mini backpack’s dimensions prior to picking one up to see if they’re able to accommodate the items you plan to carry and consider the materials they’re made of.
Materials to Look for in a Mini Backpack
Mini backpacks come in a wide variety of materials, so you’ll want to determine which one works for your lifestyle.
Nylon: This is one of the most popular mini backpack materials since it’s incredibly durable, resistant to mold and abrasions, and, when tightly woven, may even play a role in warding off insects.
Polyester and polypropylene: These materials are both incredibly lightweight, durable and known to dry quickly.
Canvas: Canvas, which is derived from either cotton or linen, is experiencing a major resurgence thanks to its ability to stand up to wear and tear without looking worn. It can also repel water when blended with other materials.
Leather: This is a sophisticated mini backpack choice that will only look better as the years go by. The supple material will end up molding to your body for the perfect fit. Keep in mind, though, it might not be practical if you have a hectic, active lifestyle, since leather isn’t waterproof and can be heavier than other synthetic materials.
Polyurethane: This vegan alternative to leather offers up the same luxe look. It’s more affordable and more sustainable, as it requires fewer resources to make, but won’t last nearly as long.
Ready to find your perfect mini backpack? Read on to find the best options around.
1. Nevenka Mini Backpack
Best overall mini backpack
These mini bags come in 12 gorgeous color options. They can fit up to a 12-inch laptop or a 20-ounce water bottle.
WHAT WE LIKE: If you love the look of leather but not the price tag, consider this chic little number that’s made of high-quality faux leather. While it won’t last as long as the real deal, it has some waterproof properties that can help to keep your possessions in tip-top shape. The shoulder strap can be freely adjusted according to your height, and the zipper closure allows you to carry all your daily essentials while simultaneously keeping them protected.
3. Bag Wizard Mini Backpack
Best quilted mini backpack
This stylish option is made from artificial leather, which boasts a similarly luxurious feel without the weight or price tag and has an anti-theft back pocket for flat valuables and a side slit for quick access to your belongings. It also features adjustable straps.
WHAT WE LIKE: The quilted front compartment of this style is not only timeless, evoking designer retro accessories (Chanel anyone?), it’s also plenty on-trend. The interior compartment includes both zippered and slit pockets to organize your belongings, and gold hardware throughout gives it a dash of glam. As a pro tip, you can make it your own by hanging charms and chains off the zippers.
2. Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack
Best water-resistant mini backpack
This deceivingly roomy Fjallraven mini backpack is made with the brand’s proprietary Vinylon F fabric, a water-resistant and wear-proof synthetic fiber that swells when it becomes damp to stand up to the elements.
WHAT WE LIKE: You can open up the main zipper of this pack to reveal its contents in their entirety, eliminating the need to fish around endlessly for your belongings. It features an exterior zip pouch and interior slit pocket to clear up clutter, and a reflective logo to keep you visible (and safer!) during nighttime jaunts. Thanks to its convertible straps, you can carry it over your shoulder or by the top handle. The best part? The cushioned lining, which can be removed to use as a seat pad for impromptu lounging, protects your back from any jagged contents within.
4. Aotian Mini Backpack
Best black mini backpack
This backpack features a classic nylon shell. It also has a large main compartment with two zippered storage areas and two side pockets.
WHAT WE LIKE: In addition to the exterior fabric, which is lightweight and durable enough to withstand outdoor activities, such as hiking or cycling, its interior lining is made of waterproof polyester to prevent any spills from seeping through. There’s also organizational elements galore, including two side pockets for your water bottle or umbrella, two exterior pockets at the front for belongings you want easy-access to and a zippered pocket at the back that will be perfect for keeping items like an iPad or Kindle.
5. Flower Mini Backpack
Best floral mini backpack
You’ll love the cute floral print of this pack, which is hand-knit from a thickened polyester fabric that’s intended to withstand heavy weight.
WHAT WE LIKE: For a true hands-free experience, this design features a hole in the back that’s designed for you to slip your earbuds or headphones through while keeping your phone or music player safe and sound inside the bag. There are two side-slip pocket compartments for essentials and a front-zippered pouch to boot. While we’re partial to the floral print, 20 other eye-catching patterns (think doughnuts, flamingos and emojis) are available, too, making this mini backpack as much of a way to transport your things as it is an opportunity to express yourself.
6. The Madewell Lorimer Mini Backpack
Best mini leather backpack
Each Lorimer mini backpack is made of vegetable-tanned genuine Italian leather, so no two items will look or feel exactly the same.
WHAT WE LIKE: Backpacks are notoriously tough to wear to work (unless you’re trying to look like a grade school student, that is). Madewell’s mini take on its Lorimer backpack makes it easy to step up your style game, however, boasting a sleek, rounded silhouette with tasteful, decorative hand-wrapped tassels at the zippers. Adding to its classy vibe is the option to personalize it with up to three monogrammed letters with your choice of color and size.
7. Adidas Linear Mini Backpack
Best mini sports backpack
This sporty Adidas mini backpack is small; yet mighty. Its main compartment can fit up to two water bottles for high-intensity workouts along with other small essentials in its mesh-slip interior pocket.
WHAT WE LIKE: It has adjustable shoulder straps for comfort and a quilted, padded panel that adds a layer of cushioning against your back for extra comfort. We also appreciate the quick and easy access to main necessities like your phone, keys and wallet, courtesy of the zippered front pocket.
8. Lewerei Clear Mini Backpack
Best clear mini backpack
Certain festivals and sporting events have security policies in place requiring 12 inch by 6 inch transparent bags, and this polyvinyl chloride plastic option is your ticket to a good time.
WHAT WE LIKE: This mini backpack will allow you to quickly find your belongings (and get through security). Not only does it fit stadium regulations, it’s weatherproof and cold-resistant, too. It has a mesh side water bottle compartment and a roomy front pocket, while reinforced stitching prevents tearing and ripping. The padded adjustable straps, meanwhile, protect your back and shoulders while providing a snugger fit.
9. Everlane The Mini Backpack
Best nylon mini backpack
Everything but the zippers and trim of this piece are made from 100 percent recycled lightweight nylon and polyester, so you can feel as good as you look wearing it.
WHAT WE LIKE: Thanks to its compact design and tea-inspired colorways of black and earl grey, this is the perfect travel, work, school or festival companion. It includes an interior water bottle holder, a convenient front pocket, a top handle and adjustable straps. Each zipper is also thoughtfully topped with a strip of fabric so that you can more easily grab onto it.
10. Tzowla Mini Laptop Backpack
Best mini laptop backpack
While most mini backpacks won’t be able to house your laptops, this one’s got room for up to a 13.3-inch Notebook despite its smaller size.
WHAT WE LIKE: There’s lots to love about this mini backpack. Made of a durable and waterproof polyester fabric, it has reinforced edges with a steel frame for the main compartment to keep your technology safe. You can wear it as a traditional backpack via the adjustable straps or carry it by the handles like a tote.
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