Top 5 Minimalist Backpacks under $100 in 2019


Modern Minimalistic Backpacks

In the modern age we really are spoiled with choice when it comes to the type of bag we want to use; duffel bags, messenger, handbags just to name a few. And then there’s the humble backpack. Probably the type of bag that carried you throughout primary and high school. Although the backpack might be considered exclusively for school age children, this is a serious misdemeanor. The backpack has a sturdy following in the commuter and traveller community for a reason. It is entirely possible to find one that beautifully combines minimalist aestheticism and functionality in a way that perfectly suits your needs and lifestyle. Did I mention the sexiest thing about them? They're ergonomically designed to provide the best support for everyday use. Intended to evenly distribute weight across your shoulders and hips for easy hands-free carry throughout the whole day.
And nowadays we are bombarded with so many materialistic messages that it’s hard to keep up. We need a bag to take us to work, a bag for university, one for gym, another for hikes and not to mention the carry on when we go on trips! It’s all too much, unnecessary and wasteful. That’s where the benefits of having a minimalist backpack comes in handy.  These types of backpacks combine sleek minimal design, innovative storage and multifunctionality. Now you can declutter your space and spend less money. It’s a win-win.

But where to begin? That’s where this guide comes into play. Brought to you by Minimal By Design, I’ll be honest we may be a teeny bit biased but we’re only listing these because we believe they are the best value for money. So, without further ado here is the Top 5 minimalist backpacks in 2019 we think you should consider having in your life. Each one has different qualities so you can find the one that perfectly suits your lifestyle.   

  1. The Urban Commuter Backpack ($85)

The Urban Commuter Backpack


The Urban Commuter Backpack

Whether you’re on your way to work or your next overseas trip The Urban Commuter keeps up. Suitable for most, fits laptops up to 15.6” with the snug sleeve compartment and is luggage compatible with the draw case band which slips easily onto the extended handle of a standard luggage. There is a generous amount of compartments which are securely fastened with zippers. And when the ample storage isn’t doing it for you, just adjust the roll top to suit your needs.

A must-have feature and an incredibly overlooked aspect of backpacks is damn. good. cushioning. It makes all the difference between feeling secure and prepared to feeling like you’re lugging your entire wardrobe around.  So, what I love about this is the padded straps, cushioned back and the breathable mesh so I don’t end up with a sweat batch all over my back. What? Too much information?

You don’t need me to highlight the obvious yet here I am. It has a beautifully sleek design, and doesn’t the metallic black sheen just sort of give you a futuristic sci-fi space ship vibe? No? Just keep those kinds of thoughts to myself? Well alrighty then. Of course, waterproof as you would expect. 

Although the Urban Commuter sits at the higher end price-wise coming in at $85USD, the flexible extendable storage and durable premium design makes it a strong contender and suitable choice for most commuters.

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2. The Voyager's Rolltop ($65)

 The Voyager's Rolltop

The Voyager’s Rolltop has a uniquely designed wrap-around style which is deceptively simple and sleek. Designed in Germany, the Voyager cleverly conceals its numerous compartments. There’s actually three pockets outside, can you spot them? Hint: there’s the front pocket, the side pocket (for quick access to a water bottle) and a zipped phone/wallet/card compartment on the side. Wait, was that a hint or the answer? Moving on! The interior consists of a spacious 15.6” laptop compartment, a tablet sleeve and an inner zipped sleeve.     

The Voyager also dons a trendy rolltop design. When open the top is wide so you can get a clear vertical view of the contents. A typical design flaw with standard rolltop backpacks however is the lack of secure attachment/flimsy stick mechanism. With the Voyager, it is securely attached with quality buckles. And, if you like the rolltop look but prefer the quick access of a zip well no need to fret. You can have both. Oh, didn’t I mention this bag has two opening styles? Zip open from the back and you get up to a 90-degree open view access to your contents.

If you know me, then you know great padding is already a must. So of course, generous padded straps, a cushioned back and breathable mesh material. Waterproof, as expected. What you may not expect is that the Voyager is sturdy and genuinely well-built. Left to stand on its own, it will hold its shape. So, whether its chilling beside you on the floor or on your chiselled back, it’ll always look 10/10.

The Voyager is luggage-compatible with the draw case band, which I must note is brilliantly hidden into the aesthetic design and by no means ever gets in the way. See the grey strip that intersects the black cushioning on the back? Yeah that’s the band. So sexy.

The Voyager’s Rolltop is a pretty ideal minimalist’s backpack with the clever design and multifunctionality. Attractive, sturdy and spacious, this backpack is perfect for most occasions. Work, weekend trips, overseas travel or even hikes just to name a few.

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3. The Alison Backpack ($68.99)

 The Alison Backpack

We haven’t forgotten about you, Mums (and Dads) of the world! The Alison Backpack has been handpicked just for you. Beautifully designed and with the ergonomic sensibility of a backpack, no one could guess just how thoughtfully The Alison has been crafted to tend to every mummy’s need. Stroller compatible (of course!) so you can always attach directly onto the baby carriage and give yourself a much-deserved break.

In the front is a concealed bottle bag, which securely carries two bottles and is wrapped in tinfoil insulation to keep it at the perfect temperature all day long. Along the sides is a bottle sleeve and a tissue compartment, specially designed for immediate use in sticky situations.  

In the main compartment is a zipper sleeve and two more insulated pockets. And, accessible from the back is a zipped bottom compartment which keeps nappies and clothes neatly separated and easy to access. When you’re in a situation when nappies or spare clothes are needed, time is of the essence.      

The Alison has soft, padded straps, a cushioned back and breathable fabric. It is water-resistant and tough, so it’ll get through all the shit you put it through. No pun intended.

With the Alison Backpack, acing the mummy part just got a little easier, which in my books makes it a worthwhile investment.


4. The Modern Academic Backpack ($75)

The Modern Academic Backpack

The Modern Academic Backpack

Simply looking at The Modern Academic makes me feel like laying on freshly groomed summer grass while jotting in my bullet journal (after I get one of course) all the ways to get my life together. Basically, be 110% more productive in life really. If you love a touch of elegance but don’t want to compromise on functionality then the Modern Academic is the one you’re looking for.

The classy strap at the front isn’t just there for the looks. It is adjustable so you can alter the storage to suit your needs. The buckle though is a ruse, because even though buckles are very aesthetically pleasing, they’re not particularly functional when you just want to quickly get inside your bag. Don’t hurt me, that’s just my opinion. Instead, there’s a magnetic latch for easy access. When open the top widens to give you a full view of the contents within. 

The side pockets (there’s two) are adjustable as well. Keep them buttoned so the pockets hug tightly to the body or loosened to fill with bottles and such. On the front is a hidden zipped pocket. Hint: the zipper is behind the black strip. Wait, that’s not how hints work? Well there’s also a hidden pocket on the back perfect for devices 13” and smaller. I’ll let you try and spot that one. 

A feature we love (and when I say we I mean me but what difference does that make?) is… wait for it, luggage compatibility! What can I say I love me a backpack I can take anywhere. Are you disappointed? Were you expecting me to mention padded straps, cushioned back and breathable fabric again? It’s sort of a given at this point but yes, yes this baby is easy to carry.   

The inside is spacious, with a laptop sleeve that fits devices up to 15.6” and two inner pockets. It is also lined with a charming striped pattern. The exterior is woven from a beautiful oxford fabric which is pleasantly durable, waterproof and tough. In summation, the Academic is beautiful inside and out. Damn, I think this backpack is beating me in life.    

If you like a bit of class, and a backpack that’s more than it looks then the Academic is probably for you. Take it wherever you want. Work, school, overseas trips, the Academic is suitable for all these occasions.


5. The Primus Anti-theft Travel Backpack ($57)

The Primus Anti-theft Travel Backpack

If your work or passion depends on lugging around lots of expensive devices, then The Primus Anti-theft Travel Backpack is probably what you’ve been looking for. The standout feature of this backpack is irrefutably the inbuilt TSA approved lock system. Simply set your passcode and rest easy. The pockets have also been thoughtfully designed and placed to keep thieving hands away from your valuables. Where even are they? Well, there is a zipped pocket tucked securely in the back for your own exclusive access.

On the handles are quick access compartments. There’s a deep pocketed sleeve for your travel card/credit card and another for your sunglasses. And, when you need to charge, the Primus, uniquely, has an in-built USB charging port which allows you to charge on the go without having to keep your bag open and vulnerable. Power bank not included unfortunately.

The Primus Anti-Theft backpack is compatible with standard luggage, making it a breeze for travelling.

The inside is quite spacious, with a laptop sleeve that can fit devices up to 15.6”. Also has a tablet sleeve and an inner sleeve. Another interesting feature is that the bag opens up to 180 degrees for easy access to all your goodies. If you’ve been keeping up with me this entire time I think you know what I’m going to mention next. Yup, there’s padded straps, a cushioned back and breathable mesh material. What can I say? if it isn’t comfortable it isn’t on this list.

Built from a premium water-resistant material, it is sturdy and tough enough to keep your valuables safe from impact-related harm.  

The Primus Anti-Theft Travel Backpack is a pretty solid backpack that can transition smoothly from school or work-use to weekend adventures and even overseas vacations. Great for anyone whose got valuables they need to keep safe.