If you’re traveling for leisure you need a light bag to use while you’re out and about. Something to hold a water bottle, map or guidebook, snacks and a few odds and ends. A really useful one should be light and compact enough to pack in your luggage until you get to your destination. Get the best drawstring backpack that you can and it will last for years and through several trips.
If you find the shoulder strings too uncomfortable, you could also consider a light daypack, some of which can be folded.
If you do decide to use a drawstring bag, make sure you don’t overload it or carry anything sharp or pointy in it, as that could tear into the seams. If you need to carry a few small items as well, then pick one with zippered pockets. A few bags also come with a water bottle pocket on the outside. Also, note that all our picks for a drawstring pack are made of 100% polyester. It’s the most common material used for lightweight bags and it is water resistant but not waterproof.
We’ll pick the best rated drawstring bags on the market, but if you’d like more choice, Amazon has a wide range.
Under Armour Ozsee Sackpack
If you’re looking for a simple and reasonably priced bag then look no further than the Under Armour Ozsee Sackpack. This 16 litre bag is durable, right from the thick material to the thick straps. It measures 18″ x 14″ x 2″.
It is a one string bag, so there are no straps to get tangled or get uneven when opening and closing the top. A plastic removable and adjustable clip connects the two sections of the strap either close to the opening to keep it top securely closed, or across your chest to keep the straps from slipping off your shoulders.
There are several color combinations to choose from, with one side a contrasting color to the other and a bold but stylish logo on both sides. The design allows you to reverse the bag to show off whichever color you prefer on the day!
The only drawback with this bag is the complete lack of pockets for small items.
Drawstring Backpack with Pockets
Under Armour Undeniable Sackpack
Same brand but more features is what the Under Armour Undeniable Sackpack provides. Again with several colors and the adjustable sternum strap clip to wear the single cord straps comfortably, but with more pockets and a bit larger. The logo is tastefully small on the top front.
This 25L pack measures 19″ x 15″ x 2″ and comes with a large U-shaped zipped pocket in the front, one side pocket, and a small soft-lined zipped pocket inside for keys, change, a wallet or phone. There’s a D-ring just under the exterior pocket that you can use to attach a carabiner clip to secure other items, like a pair of shoes or bundled up wind jacket.
Most say that this bag is very roomy and durable but it’s downfall might be that it could be too big and would encourage users to overload it, thereby leading to tearing at the seams. If you do buy it, take care not carry more than necessary.
Nike Team Training Gymsack
For a simple drawstring backpack with zipper pocket, the Nike Team Training Gymsack is just right. It measures 19.5″ x 14.5″ x 3″ and has thick cord dual shoulder straps.
The main compartment features a horizontal divider to create separation in storage space, so large gym items like a football won’t fit in here, but you can pack your shoes in one section and clothes in the other. The exterior front features a single large zippered pocket.
The bottom of this Nike drawstring backpack is PU coated for protection if you set it down on a wet surface and there’s ventilation holes on the bottom front to allow sweaty clothes to breathe. Although it is specifically designed to be a gym bag, it will work well as a travel daypack too. You can get this in a few different colors too.
Under Armour Trance Sackpack
For those who find regular drawstring bags too uncomfortable to carry, the Under Armour Trance Sackpack is a good alternative. It’s really a lightweight unstructured backpack with drawstring closure. The integrated shoulder straps are like regular backpack ones and are adjustable and mesh lined for breathability. The back of the pack is lightly padded for added carrying comfort.
This Under Armor drawstring backpack measures 20.9″ x 15″ x 15″ and can hold a soccer ball but not a basketball, as it is long but slender.
The inside of the main compartment has a large zippered mesh pocket and a small softly lined zippered valuables pocket. The exterior has one vertical zippered pocket on the front. The drawstrings to close the top of the main compartment can be cinched tight to ensure nothing falls out.
Drawstring Backpack with Water Bottle Holder
Adidas Team Speed II Sackpack
The Adidas Team Speed II Sackpack is another good option if you’re looking for several exterior pockets. It measures 19″ x 14.75″ x 2″ and can hold a regulation size soccer ball easily. The dual corded straps are thick and strong and so is the bag itself.
The exterior front boasts a zippered pocket that looks a bit small but when you open it up, you’ll see that it extends up into the length of the bag. There are ventilation holes here too, so it’s ideal for carrying used gym clothes or swimwear. There are two large vertical mesh pockets with elastic tops on the sides of the bag. These can hold large water bottles without fear of them falling out.
The one drawback is that short people might find the straps too long. Since they knot inside the bag, an easy solution would be to add in one or two more knots inside to shorten the straps and no one will be any the wiser.
Adidas Alliance II Sackpack
The Adidas Alliance II Sackpack is very similar to the Team Speed II Sackpack above except that instead of the ventilated zipped pocket low down on the front, there’s a higher up horizontal soft-lined zippered pocket. It also has two water bottle mesh pockets on the sides and thick corded dual straps for the carrying on the shoulders.
This Adidas drawstring backpack measures 18″ x 13.8″ x 1″. Although this bag has three pockets, they don’t expand outwards but instead go inwards, so if you want to maximize the main compartment space, don’t stuff the outside pockets too much.
Adidas Strength Sackpack
There are pockets galore on the Adidas Strength Sackpack and it is nice and large at 20″ x 15″. It is the only one in this list that has a soft tricot lined tablet pocket inside the main compartment. There is also a smaller zipped mesh pocket here for small items.
The exterior features 4 pockets. Two diagonally zipped ones on the front – one mesh and one tricot lined. There is one elastic top mesh pocket on each side of the bag for water bottles.
The back of the sack is lightly padded for comfort and the bottom is reinforced for extra strength and durability.
All these bags are meant for light packing and for use as daypacks. They don’t have much in the way of interior organization. If you want something with compartments inside, consider Gobi Gear stuff sacks, some of which you can insert into these drawstring bags.