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The 12 Best Mini Backpacks in 2023 [Stylish, Lightweight]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

789 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3222 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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On occasions when you need a hands-free storage compartment in a compact size, mini backpacks can offer the best of both worlds. These days, they are back in style, and you can find numerous brands producing them with different features.

From zipped pockets to internal compartments and waterproof materials, mini backpacks are perfect for everything from brunch to traveling.

We’ll also be discussing some of the main pointers to keep in mind when buying a mini backpack, so you can find the right one for you.

Things To Consider When Buying a Mini Backpack

Mini Backpack
Mini backpacks provide hands-free storage in a compact size. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Before you buy a mini backpack, there are several crucial things to consider. From the size to the number of storage compartments and outside pockets, mini backpacks have varying usability features.

The material also plays a factor, as you might benefit from waterproof or water-resistant options. You can also look for backpacks with padded belts or straps and a reinforced back to comfortably fit and protect the contents.

Here’s a detailed overview of the most important things to keep in mind when buying a mini backpack:

Zippers

Mini backpack zippers
Some backpacks have reinforced metal zippers. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Sometimes the simplest options are the best ones, especially when it comes to a compact backpack. In general, luxury materials are not required, so a simple plastic zipper is often the best choice. Some backpacks have reinforced metal zippers, but heavy-duty zippers can snag.

Outside Pockets

Mini backpack outside pockets
Zipped pockets are great for for small personal items. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Having a large inner compartment is one thing, but what about pockets? Every mini backpack worth its salt will have zipped pockets, which provide the best storage space for personal items such as sunglasses, phones, or earbuds.

If you are going to place something heavier into the inner compartment — like a tablet or even a pocketbook — you need to have additional side pockets. This way, your smaller items will be protected from tumbling around and possibly getting damaged.

Multiple Compartments

Mini backpack multiple compartments
Choose a mini backpack with multiple compartments. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Besides zipped pockets, another great way of preserving your items within a backpack is to find one with multiple compartments. A mini backpack with several inner compartments will allow for the separation of larger items and smaller items.

Bottom Line: Different compartments allow for proper organization, and some backpacks even have smaller zipped pockets inside. This will help protect fragile items from damage.

Compact Size

Mini backpack size
A mini backpack can be a stylish, lightweight accessory. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

What makes mini backpacks so great is that they are half the size of regular backpacks. They are a stylish, lightweight accessory that can replace your purse for storing your essentials.

The usual size of mini backpacks is in the range of 12 inches in length and 10 inches wide, but it greatly varies depending on the brand and the model.

The 12 Best Mini Backpacks

One of the best things about mini backpacks is that there’s a wide range of brands and materials to choose from. To help you narrow down your choice, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for mini backpacks.

Our list includes a little something to suit everyone’s preferences, so you’re bound to find something you like.

1. Sporty Mini Backpack for Women

Adidas Women’s Linear Mini Backpack Small Travel Bag

This quality mini backpack comes in 5 color variants, from pastel to black. It’s a solid choice in terms of comfort with a padded back and wide straps.

You also get reinforced shoulder straps and 1 large zipped pocket on the outside with a plastic zipper. It has premium branded webbing and is made of breathable materials for maximum comfort.

The small dimensions measure 10.5 inches in length and just 8.5 inches wide, which makes it one of the most compact options available. Inside, you get 1 large storage compartment and an additional pouch for smaller items. The most appealing color options are rose gold and jersey gray.

What We Like

  • Extremely compact option

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have side pockets

2. Ergonomic Mini Backpack for Travel

Fjallraven Kanken Mini Classic Backpack

Featuring an iconic utilitarian style loaded with practicality, the Fjallraven Kanken backpack comes from a heritage brand with a long history. It’s fully equipped for longer journeys with adjustable comfy shoulder straps and a unique ergonomic back design.

This mini backpack also provides plenty of storage space with 2 side pockets and 1 large zipped compartment on the front. It’s a 100% vinyl backpack made with the contours of the original Kanken backpack.

It even has top handles that you can use to carry it by hand. As you open it, you will see a large storage capacity suitable even for some tablets. With 7 liters of capacity and dimensions of 11.4 inches by 8 inches, it provides a roomy interior in a compact package.

What We Like

  • Unique ergonomic design

What We Don’t Like

  • The simple look might not be to everyone’s taste

Hot Tip: If you need a bit more space, consider our detailed guide to the best travel backpacks for men and women.

3. Classic Travel Mini Backpack

Check on Walmart

Herschel Classic Backpack Black

If you want as much as 9 liters of capacity, Herschel’s classic backpack is a great choice. It’s a casual classic-looking mini backpack with a padded inside compartment, and it weighs only 0.02 pounds when empty.

It’s a perfect lightweight and compact option for shorter trips and can even be used as carry-on luggage. It has 1 large front zipped pocket on the outside and adjustable shoulder straps.

With a standard mini backpack shape, all the weight will be distributed at the reinforced bottom, leaving your shoulders free from too much pressure.

What We Like

  • Designer quality

What We Don’t Like

  • No separate inner compartments

4. Vegan Leather Mini Backpack

Barsine Small Backpack Vegan Leather Everyday Mini Bag

If you’re looking for a modern mini backpack that’s both practical and a stylish accessory, Barsine’s leather bag might just be the one for you. It’s a fully customizable option with a removable strap that converts it from a backpack into a shoulder bag.

The capacity of this backpack is impressive with all the outer pockets it includes. The large front pocket even includes a smaller diagonal zipped pocket integrated into the front of it. There are 2 pockets on the sides as well, along with the large inner compartment.

Finally, a hidden zipped back pocket completes the storage and provides a compartment for your most important items. Despite its variety of storage compartments, it’s a small-size bag at 11 inches in length and 9.8 inches in width.

What We Like

  • A large number of outside pockets

What We Don’t Like

  • Leather material might retain heat in the summertime

5. Small Polyester Backpack for Teens

LOOMILOO Durable Small Backpack For Women

One of the best mini backpacks for teens is this small polyester backpack featuring unique patterns. Teen girls will love it thanks to the engaging and fun designs that are not always found in a compact travel backpack.

On top of that, it’s quite useful with double-layered side pockets and a large zipped compartment on the front. The adjustable shoulder straps only make it more convenient and customizable. However, it only measures 8.2 inches by 4.7 inches, which makes it one of the smallest backpacks on this list.

What We Like

  • Compact and designed for teens

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t offer much storage capacity

6. Mini Backpack With PETA-approved Leather

IHAYNER Mini Backpack Purse For Girls

This is another great mini backpack for teen girls. It’s a unique blend of feminine design and a portable accessory for storing makeup, phones, or even larger items like tablets.

It’s a leather backpack with a fluffy pom-pom ball and a front pendant for customizable decoration. The adjustable shoulder straps are also beautifully designed.

That’s not all that this backpack has to offer. It’s also made with PETA-approved waterproof vegan leather and 3 outside pockets in addition to the large zipped compartment.

What We Like

  • The fluffy pom-pom addition

What We Don’t Like

  • Only comes in single-color designs

Hot Tip: Consider our picks for the best kids’ travel backpacks in our detailed guide.

7. Great Backpack Option for Kids

LEDAOU Mini Backpack Girls Cute Small Backpack Purse

If you are shopping for a compact backpack for your kids, this small shoulder pack for girls may just be the ultimate choice. It’s best suited to smaller children than to teens, given the dimensions and patterns.

It’s available in dual colors, sunflower patterns, and other color schemes to make it more appealing to children. The appeal isn’t only surface level, as it comes in 10-inch-by-10-inch dimensions and can fit an iPad of the same size.

It’s made from a durable nylon and polyester blend with multiple compartments. It has 1 smaller zipper pocket on the inside, a larger padded pocket for tablets, card pockets, and a large inner compartment. Because of this and the large outside zipped pocket, it easily fits a phone, charger, tablet, and bottle of water.

What We Like

  • 5 different internal compartments

What We Don’t Like

  • Some of the colorways are a bit out there

8. Unisex Mini Backpack for Travel Essentials

Carhartt Mini Backpack Everyday Essentials Daypack

One mini backpack that offers a great level of usability is Carhartt’s daypack, which features an elongated design. It’s a unique find among mini backpacks as it offers an innovative design with increased capacity in a seemingly neutral and casual pack.

It’s an 11.7-inch-long pack with a large storage compartment inside. On the front of this waterproof backpack, you will find a fleece-lined pocket for securing your valuables and sensitive items, while the interior features a zippered mesh pocket.

The adjustable webbing shoulder straps and haul handle make it easy to carry, adding to the practicality of this bag.

What We Like

  • Mini backpack with a focus on capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Comes only in solid colors

9. High-capacity Sporty Daypack

Check on Walmart

Nike Brasilia “Just Do It” Mini Backpack

One of the best unisex mini backpacks for kids is Nike’s Brasilia daypack. It’s a standard compact backpack with 10-inch-by-8-inch dimensions that’s a perfect fit for children. It has a large zipped compartment suitable even for sports gear.

In addition, the outside zipped pocket can fit some essentials, and the padded shoulder straps make it durable and comfortable. This backpack is made from woven polyester, and the material blend along with capacity ensures that you can carry heavier items.

What We Like

  • Heavy-duty compact backpack

What We Don’t Like

  • Only comes in a black

10. Compact Nylon Backpack With Multiple Pockets

KAIERWOKE Small Nylon Backpack Mini Casual Lightweight Daypack

This casual mini backpack is perfect for your everyday essentials and even for travel with 3 inner pockets and 5 outer pockets. It’s made from environmentally friendly waterproof nylon fabric and has a wider base for accommodating more items.

The external zipped pocket is capable of supporting book-size items. The inner storage includes 1 large compartment, a zipped pocket, a phone pocket, and an ID or wallet pocket. The outside includes side pockets for maximum practicality and a double-slider zipper on the main compartment.

A sturdy top handle makes it easier for hand carrying, while padded shoulder straps provide a comfortable fit. This backpack is one of the best options out there due to reinforced stitching and a wide base that’s capable of supporting heavy loads.

What We Like

  • Plentiful pockets and reinforced stitching

What We Don’t Like

  • It might be a bit larger than standard mini backpacks

11. Handmade Cotton Backpack

Core Hemp Mini Backpack

Looking for something more unique in a mini backpack? Perhaps the Core Hemp handmade backpack is the best choice for you. It’s a vegan boho bag that’s handmade out of 100% Nepalese organic cotton with maximum attention to detail.

It has adjustable straps, 1 outside zipped pocket, and a large inner storage compartment. Other than that, it’s extremely lightweight, so you can use it both for travel and for everyday occasions. The size measures 11 inches in length and 10 inches wide, so it can also fit quite a few items.

What We Like

  • Handmade from organic cotton

What We Don’t Like

  • It isn’t suitable for heavy loads

12. Durable Backpack For Everyday Use

Check on Walmart

Dickies Mini Backpack One Size Black

This Dickies mini backpack is the perfect option for those looking for extra room, as it features a 10-liter capacity in the inside compartment. It also comes with an external zipped pocket and adjustable shoulder straps for a customizable fit.

The reinforced padded interior makes this backpack a perfect option for carrying a small laptop or other fragile items. In addition, the top-loading compartment is spacious enough to fit larger items.

It’s a universal pack that’s perfect for anything from traveling to running errands.

What We Like

  • Large top-loading compartment

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have any side pockets or external water pockets

Final Thoughts

Overall, our list of the best mini backpacks should serve you well by providing you with a variety of options with unique features. You can find everything from large-capacity bags like the Dickies backpack to handmade lightweight cotton packs like the Core Hemp option.

It all comes down to personal preference, and our guide will make the search for your perfect mini backpack painless.

Frequently Asked Questions

How small are mini backpacks when compared to regular travel backpacks?

Mini backpacks are usually half the size of a regular backpack, but the size can vary drastically among different backpacks. It usually ranges from 9 x 5 inches to larger 12 x 10-inch backpacks.

Are mini backpacks useful for travel?

Mini backpacks are useful for traveling as they can fit quite a few items in their inner compartments and outside zipped pockets. Depending on the exact choice, their capacity ranges from 5 liters to 15 liters. They can replace a purse, leaving your hands free, or serve as carry-on luggage.

Are mini backpacks durable?

You will usually find mini backpacks made of durable fabric blends that can last for a couple of years at least. The durability greatly depends on the type of load you are carrying.

How do you wear a mini backpack?

You can wear a mini backpack just as you would a regular backpack. They mostly come with adjustable shoulder straps, and some can even be converted into single-shoulder purses with removable straps for women. Finally, you can use the top handle to carry a mini backpack by hand.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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