ISO cheap backpacks
May 11, 2016 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I would like to purchase some backpacks (approx 10 of them) at a price point of under a dollar each.

Can be any back-wearable style, needs to be able to hold something the size of let's say three standard bricks. I was thinking those ubiquitous drawstring bag-style ones like this, which would work great for this purpose, but I just can't seem to find any at the price I want in non-bulk quantities (which is super frustrating since this sort of thing is generally my, ah, bag).

Do any of you have suggestions for me? Maybe a secret bag place? Somewhere I can call to get branded rejects? I don't really care what they look like, though since the end use is for kids, bright happy colors would be awesome (and if they have some kind of branding on them, nothing obscene). What am I not thinking of? Assume I have already done a pretty thorough googling and assume that I've seen all the ones in the $15/dozen range. When I say under a dollar I really do mean *under* a dollar. Because of course there's always shipping to consider.

Alternative suggestions for a back-wearable bag of the same approximate size would also be appreciated! Thanks!
posted by phunniemee to Shopping (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about a local company or organization that uses them for PR. Maybe they would donate 10 . Doubt you would be able to find any at the price you are looking for with a bulk order.
posted by tman99 at 10:07 AM on May 11, 2016

Do they have to match? Have you tried going to Goodwill or equivalent and seeing what their stock looks like?
posted by brainmouse at 10:08 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you only need 10 of them, have you thought of appealing to your friends? (Do the backpacks need to match?) Maybe your friends have some branded promotional ones laying around?

Or, try Nextdoor. You can join this and put out an ask to your local neighbors. There are also a lot of neighborhood groups on Facebook, similar to Nextdoor. One is the 'Buy Nothing' project, which is organized by neighborhood. People give stuff away, and make asks for other stuff.
posted by hydra77 at 10:10 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Conferences often provide material in bags like those and generally order extras so as not to run out with door registrations. You might reach out to some that are coming up in your area - they might be willing to sell you leftovers cheap or just give them to you, especially if this is for some kind of good cause.

You might also check with local screen printing type places in case they have a run of rejects/misprints sitting around.
posted by Candleman at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2016

What's your total budget? TotebagFactory (which you probably saw) has some that come out to $22.90 including shipping.

Actually, they have small ones that are maybe $0.80 plus $9.95 shipping for 10?

Ooh, and large ones for $0.85/each ?
posted by leahwrenn at 10:16 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you tried American Science and Surplus? This sounds like something they might have.
posted by bleep at 10:16 AM on May 11, 2016

$12.78 per dozen?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:18 AM on May 11, 2016

Damn - 30 for $9.99, but it's a Malibu Rum logo! Could it be painted over?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:20 AM on May 11, 2016

AHA! 99 cents each! And if you scroll down you can find some other designs for the same price.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:24 AM on May 11, 2016

Try Wish. It's weird.

E.g. these are $1 each, and these are $2. You'll probably have to create an account to see those links.
posted by caek at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2016

This sounds like a job for a dollar shop.
posted by rabidsegue at 11:06 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Under 14 bucks with free shipping isn't that bad. But below 12 is possible too.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:53 PM on May 11, 2016

Goodwill is probably your best best for cheap bags like that.

Do you have a local college or university? You could also try posting on their "Class of [whatever year]" page that you're looking for these bags. I was in college ~8 years ago and got at least two of those drawstring bags a year from university events or banks catering to youth.

Another thing to try is to ask a local print shop that prints on those bags. Maybe they have some floor samples or misprints they could donate.
posted by thewestinggame at 1:27 PM on May 11, 2016

Aliexpress is my recommendation. They generally offer very inexpensive prices, plus free shipping -- the only caveat is that since they are coming from China, it can take a few weeks to get to you.

If you are not in a particular rush, you can easily get solid coloured drawstring bags for starting at around $1.41 US each, with free shipping. In the $1.00 and less category, you are limited to children's patterns and logos, but still with free shipping.

Here are some links:

Aliexpress $1.41 and up drawstring bags

Aliexpress $1.00 and less drawstring bags

Hope that proves helpful.
posted by Jade Dragon at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2016

I've had really good luck with this at stores like dollar tree or daiso.

I'm an idiot who often ends up buying piles of weird lightweight but clumsy to carry things while out and around, and has bought more than a few at dollar/discount department stores.

If you factor in shipping, paying $1.50-2 at a daiso type place is probably a break even.

On preview, i SWEAR i've seen multi-packs of those drawstring "athletic" sacks in ross/tjmaxx type stores near the kids section for dirt cheap. I'd also look in the section that has the $2 socks and stuff near the sports shoes. Another good place would be that same section in a goodwill, where they sell the new socks and shoe spray and stuff. Similar prices, similar stuff.

Don't give up on retail for dirt cheap once you have to factor in shipping, is my main point.
posted by emptythought at 7:11 PM on May 11, 2016

I can probably send you 12 or so. We have them left over from an event. They are the nylon drawstring type. They are black, branded with a literature event for teens. Memail me if you want them. I won't be able to send them until next week, since I am in Chicago & bags are in Minnesota.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 8:50 PM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

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