Where to Buy Backpacks for the Best Prices

Where to Buy Backpacks for the Best Prices


A backpack is an essential part of back-to-school gear. They get stuffed, trampled, lost, found, placed in puddles as line holders…and that’s just within the first week of school!

First, weigh your options for buying a backpack. Consider your child’s size (could they use a junior backpack?), multiple functions (will they also be toting an electronic device?) and your price point before you begin your search.

Where should you get backpacks for the best prices? Here are a few options to get you started.

Shop at Home

Does last year’s backpack have any life left? Try a delicate wash, and air dry, to bring a backpack back to life. If your child can use last year’s backpack just for September, you will be able to find clearance deals at many stores then.


Kijiji and Craigslist both offer many quality items for a fraction of the retail cost. It might be worth quick search for a backpack before heading out to the stores (especially if you are looking for a particular brand or design).

Check Out Thrift Stores

Check for a backpack at local thrift stores such as Value Village, Goodwill, Salvation Army or Talize. When others purchase new backpacks, they may be getting rid of great ones. If you see one that is good quality throughout the year, purchase it and tuck it away.

And be sure to take advantage of extra promotions at the thrift store the first day they are offered to get the best selection.

Expect to Pay: $4.99-$9.99

Browse Online

Browse backpack options with your child in the comfort of your own home. Pay attention to details such as padded straps, extra compartments and caring instructions so you know exactly what you are getting. Watch for extra promotions throughout August (like free shipping) and don’t forget to shop through Ebates.

Hint: If possible (and it may not be), avoid buying “trendy” backpacks. A FROZEN backpack will be easily lost in a sea of similar ones this fall.

Shop big Stores with Competitive Pricing

Walmart offers great deals on many back-to-school supplies. Watch for promotions throughout August. In store, they offer a reasonable selection of backpacks, at different price points. And you can buy your backpack while PRICE MATCHING other school supplies from your flyers!

Expect to Pay: $14.99-$29.99

Consider High End Stores

Being frugal does not always mean buying the cheapest item, especially if that item wears out quickly. Consider investing in a high-end quality backpack that will last for several years.
Trivia – Whose motto for backpacks is: Built to last from grade school to grad school?

Answer: L.L. Bean and I believe it

My son received a beautiful L.L. Bean backpack from his auntie for his birthday (from their clearance sale!) After two years of use and abuse, it only has a few scuff marks. Practically a miracle!

In May, I purchased a Gap backpack from their clearance section. It was $39.95 reduced to $19.95 with an extra 30% off that day. It is well-built and seems like it will endure a few school years.

Expect to Pay: $29.99-$49.99 less sales and discounts

No other school supply will receive as much use (and abuse) as a backpack this year. Consider this purchase carefully with your child so you will both be happy with your decision.

Where are your favourite places to buy backpacks?


  1. Ali G

    We bought backpacks from MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) for both kids two years ago and they are still going strong. I think we paid $30-35 but I think it was well worth it. MEC will fix a product if it becomes defective, like a broken zipper, even years later. And if they can’t fix it they will replace it.

  2. Olivia

    Wow! Now that’s a guarantee …….repair or replace endlessly.

  3. Jennifer

    PLEASE do not cheap out on a backpack! I teach grade 1 and you would be amazed how hard it is for kids struggling with some of the cheaply made packs. You can always tell by the zippers. For my own kids (who are incredibly hard on backpacks the only ones that have lasted for 2 years are from MEC and LLBean (neither inexpensive but worth it) and GAP lasted the full year. Those character backpacks no matter how much your kids fall in love with them are horrible

  4. Peggy

    I swear by Children’s place backpacks. My son who is rough on most things, has had his for 2 + years each time I’ve purchased them there. I’ve bought the character ones and they are garbage by Christmas time but TCP ones have lasted well and they are nice and roomy with 2 separate zippered pockets and extra areas in each one for pencils etc. you can even get lunch bags to match them which are equally as good. With their sale on right now you could pick them up for under$20.

  5. Heidi

    Lands End is another great option for quality backpacks that last. I got clearance backpacks in the Spring for about $15 last year. They still look as good as new after a year of use.

  6. Karen Gauvreau

    The wisdom of a teacher – your voice of experience is worth a lot!

  7. Karen Gauvreau

    That is an amazing guarantee by MEC. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for!

  8. Shelagh

    I purchased a back pack for my oldest at Costco 3yrs ago and if it hadn’t been for an “unfortunate” accident with a pair of scissors it would have been used this year. I paid $20 each for 2 new ones this year (just saw they are on sale this wk for $5 off). Hoping these 2 last a while.

  9. Lynne

    Another endorsement for MEC backpacks. We have several that are 3 to 7 years old and still going strong.

  10. Cassie Howard

    Yes, that’s a great guarantee!

  11. Karen Gauvreau

    Costco for backpacks – if I weren’t vacationing in a non-Costco town (gasp!) I’d head there myself!

  12. Jamie

    LL Bean is what I recommend. I bought my daughter hers on clearance 3 years ago and it’s still like new. She is very hard on backpacks (and shoes) and previous to buying her this one we were going through several each school year, including more expensive name brand ones. I am extremely happy with this purchase. She is older so I bought a bigger one and even being on clearance it was more than $30 but has proven to be very worthwhile.

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