How Big is a Mini Backpack?


A mini backpack is a term broadly used to define a small bag with shoulder straps suited to a day long hiking trip or outing at the park. This style of ‘mini’ bag might be the right size for a 50 ounce kids hydration pack, or large enough for a technical hike from dawn to dusk. To better illustrate this difference, an overnight pack may have two to three thousand cubic inches of volume, whereas a mini backpack typically has around four hundred to a thousand.

Using the word ‘mini’ to sell bags in styles such as messenger bags or shoulder bags is a common practice, but the true mini backpack is evolved from the larger camping or expedition backpacks.

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A Variety of Mini Backpacks

The need for smaller packs with the efficiency and quality of expedition gear spawned great mini technical packs like Dakine’s wonder backpack, and the Pandora from the North Face, made especially for women. These companies filled a market need for a waterproof pack that was comfortable, spacious, and strong.

There are packs suited to every sport and outdoor endeavor, but also for taking to school or going on a trip downtown. For these trips, a stylish leather mini backpack will blend in better, while providing just enough space for your necessities.

Besides leather, nylon mini backpacks come in an endless variety of colorful designs and muted colors. The Schizo is the jansport mini backpack that redefines the accepted zipper placement and access to the inside. The narrow pack combines the zipping action of a duffel bag with the traditional dual zippers of common backpacks. The low profile creates an unusual and unique look.

What Mini Do You Need?

Finding the mini backpack bag with all the choices on the market is simple: Define your needs; define your budget, review, and shop.

  • Your needs: Is the mini pack for school, and probably nowhere else? Buy a technical traveling bag, and always have more pack than needed. These bags are expensive though, so if you are buying the look alone, think twice. For a weekend camping trip, the climate and planned activities will help you decide if a mini backpack will be enough.


  • Budget: Get the best value, but avoid cheap day packs. For rugged outdoor use, it is worth spending extra for better quality.


  • Review: Even a backpack bought to hold gym clothes should be from a reputable manufacturer. Do some homework and avoid potential problems from overrated bags.

Some Great Mini Backpacks

For durability and streamlined construction, the Dakine technical backpacks come in small sizes and offer well thought out features. Black mini backpacks by Dakine are a top seller for the company, alongside the trendy designs of their girl’s backpacks. Technical mini backpacks from Dakine are as suited to the snow as a hiking trip in the Sierras.

The future of mini backpacks may be the ‘Victorinox Swiss Army pack’, complete with a ratchet system, and ability to change from a backpack, to a shoulder bag, to a messenger bag, depending on the needs of the wearer.