Backpack Attack: 4 Bargain Bags You Won't Want to Miss

By Lou Carlozo, dealnews contributor

It's bag-to-school time — and that's no typo, deal lovers: Whether you're a college student who's backpacking it across campus or a laptop lover looking for a more stylish way to carry your beloved computer, the bag's the thing. Didn't Shakespeare say that? (If he didn't, he should have: What did the Bard carry all his folios around in, anyway?)

This week's deal spotlight focuses on backpacks and the like that will make hauling your gear a gas. It's all about bags, backpacks, and bargains; and with all the great finds our deal sleuths have tracked down, you're bound to find something that fits your budget and eye for style. Now, make like the deal newshound you are and bag one for yourself.

  1. The North Face Ridge Backpack
    Store: Moosejaw
    Price: $56.99 via coupon code "CJSALE" with free shipping
    Lowest By: $2

    Is It Worth It?: The North Face is synonymous with quality outdoor gear, and this daypack is ideal for those who want to stay light on their feet and do it in style. We're digging the little things this bag gets right, such as the long pull straps that make zipping a breeze. It also boasts a diagonal ski carry system and stash pockets for the straps, and it will fit most 15" laptops. And if you're part of the Moosejaw rewards system, you can earn 299 points for a bag that normally sells for $85. Make sure to use the coupon code "CJSALE" when ordering for a few extra dollars off.

  2. The North Face Mainframe Backpack
    Store: eBags
    Price: $79.99 plus free shipping
    Lowest By: $19

    Is It Worth It?: For those who want to graduate to the next level of North Face quality, the Mainframe offers a bit more than its little brother, the Ridge. This one will fit 17" laptops and comes with more than 1,400 cubic inches of carrying capacity. You can also choose from five very sporty color combos that include black, forest green, and black with orange trim and powder-blue accents. Extra padding on the bottom means protection for your back, and cushion for your valuables inside the pack.

  3. REI Flash 65 Backpack
    Store: REI-OUTLET
    Price: $124.99 plus free shipping
    Lowest By: $44 off

    Is It Worth It?: Don't let the size of this backpack fool you: It weighs a measly 2 lbs., making it a marvel of modern backpack engineering. Backpacker magazine made this an editor's choice in 2009, raving, "Every tester who carried the Flash 65 — whether for fast-and-light weekends or long-and-overloaded weeks — thought it worked perfectly for the job." (See the full review here.) Do keep in mind that a pack this size is better suited for hiking than casual campus usage, but assuming you're serious about your features, and your hiking, you can't possibly go wrong here. From the rigid plastic frame sheet that helps stabilize loads to the choice of three sizes each for men and women, the Flash oozes versatility and quality. Highly recommended.

  4. eBags Piazza Day Bag
    Store: eBags via eBay Daily Deal
    Price: $24.99 plus free shipping
    Lowest By: $15, compared to direct order from eBags
    Expires: September 3

    Is It Worth It?: We're thinking this bag might be better suited for the gals, though there's no law against metro guys going for one of these in black. The Piazza features a zippered main compartment, a mesh water bottle pocket, and a feature we love: fleece lining on the outside panel to keep your belongings comfy. For those who like minimal fuss and bulkiness, this bag fits the bill; it also has that all-important compartment for an MP3 player. A fun bag at an affordable price.

Photo Credit: o5com via Flickr

Lou Carlozo is dealnews' Green Dad columnist. He was most recently the managing editor of and, before that, a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune. Follow him on Twitter— @LouCarlozo63. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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