Choosing a right backpack for you largely depends on your needs and preferences. If you are a frequent hiker, you will probably want a comfortable backpack that is light and has enough room. On the other hand, if you're going to use your backpack for school, your requirements are not going to be as strict. We've made a list of five backpacks under $150 that should cover any use you have in mind. From hiking and traveling to just having a backpack you can carry every day.
There is no doubt about it, 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 is a backpack designed for military and law enforcement. But its functionality makes it almost unrivaled for civilian applications as well. The build quality is exactly what you would expect from a purpose built product designed to be used in unforgiving conditions, and the fact that it comes with well laid out MOLLE webbing makes it extremely modular and versatile. You can use the Rush 24 for travel, hiking, and even every day use. The waist strap and shoulder straps are comfortable and distribute the weight efficiently, allowing you to use this backpack for a long time before you start experiencing fatigue. The price is just right for what you're getting, and the only downside to this backpack is the lack of color schemes that don't scream military.
This backpack differs so much from most of its competition that it deserves special praise. It is not only large, but its innovative design allows more efficient packing. The build quality is great and the lifetime warranty definitely makes this backpack an appealing piece of kit. Best thing about this backpack is its price that makes it a bargain for anyone who travels frequently. You can easily use this backpack instead of a smaller suitcase. TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible is a very versatile and innovative option that comes at a surprisingly cheap price.
It's a very unusual backpack that definitely stands out from the competition, both with its unorthodox design and features it offers. It's spacious and very well made which makes it perfect for longer trips and light hiking. However it is not something you would want to carry on your back every day. Oakley Kitchen Sink backpack offers just enough compartments to allow for well organized packing, and isn't too cluttered with unnecessary pockets. It sports some features whose function is questionable, such as the metal anchor points, but they are a part of an already wacky design.
Farpoint 40 is a backpack designed primarily for traveling and hiking. Its layout works best for those applications, and it isn't packed full of unnecessary compartments and pockets. Overall its a very minimalist design. The build quality is great, and you get an above average amount of volume in a very light package. Farpoint 40 is fairly versatile, allowing you to remove the back straps and use it as a messenger bag. Speaking of back straps, they are very comfortable and the padding will keep the backpack snug to your body. Same goes for the waist strap that is also removable.
North Face Recon is a backpack designed primarily for light daily use. It's a great companion for road trips and excursions, but it is not suitable for hiking or trips longer than a day. The backpack is inconspicuous but stylish, and offers the basic features you would expect in such a pack. Recon is very well made, and comes with a life warranty. If you need a backpack for daily commute to work or school, North Face Recon is a great choice. It's comfortable, light, and just the right size.
Choosing the best backpack under the $150 price point is tough, mainly because your choice will largely depend on your intended use. However, the backpacks we chose are mostly versatile and are definitely something to consider no matter what you need them for. We won't talk about the quality of these backpacks as all of them meet high standards in this aspect.
When it comes to size and capacity, the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible undoubtedly takes the cake. That backpack is incredibly spacious, and has the highest volume at 54 liters. Some may even argue that it's too large for a backpack, but we disagree. Any additional space is welcome, especially when its designed in an innovative way. Aside from the North Face Recon, the rest of the backpacks in our comparison are all fairly similar in capacity. The North Face Recon is smaller then all of them.
Functionality is an area where Rush 24 by 5.11 Tactical just shines. The modular design and well thought out compartments make it by far the best option. Second place would go to the TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible due to the outstanding interior packing options it offers. The Oakley Kitchen Sink and Osprey Farpoint 40 both have a reasonable amount of versatility when it comes to packing, but nothing above average. North Face Recon offers the most basic layout that you can see in most modern backpacks of its size.
Again, TLS Mother Lode Weekender is absolutely the best value for the money. Even though it's large and not as comfortable as the rest of the backpacks on this list, it just offers so much space for almost half the price of the packs we've listed. No matter how niche oriented this backpack is, it is simply a bargain that is hard to resist.
Even though almost each and every one of these five backpacks can be used for numerous applications, we feel that 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 offers the best experience from the five choices we've listed. 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 comes on top for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is incredibly functional and offers almost unlimited modularity. The compartments are incredibly well thought out and aren't in the way. It is just below our price limit, but it's worth every penny you will spend on it. You can use it for what ever application you want, whether it's hiking or every day casual use, and thanks to durable materials, it will keep you company for a long time. Rush 24 by 5.11 Tactical is absolutely our top pick.