You don’t always need a bulky backpack or purse weighing you down. Sometimes you want a lightweight bag for only the items you absolutely have to carry. That’s the beauty of a drawstring bag!

Drawstring bags are unsung heroes, and it’s about time to pay them their due. Here’s everything you need to know!

What is a Drawstring Backpack?

A drawstring bag, or cinch-up backpack, is a small, lightweight bag that is adjustable with two strings. You pull the strings to close the bag, and pull the bag apart at the top when you want to access the items stored inside.

These bags are not typically very big, so they’re ideal for day trips to places like amusement parks or the beach. Some even have the added bonus of featuring front zippered pockets or mesh side pockets for water bottles!

What Are Drawstring Bags Used For?

Everyone can wear a drawstring bag, but there are some situations that benefit from one the most! You’ll see these casual backpacks used for all of the following:

  • Sports teams
  • Theme parks
  • Colleges
  • Gyms
  • Hiking
  • Beach trips
  • Campgrounds
  • Music festivals
  • Libraries
  • Halloween events
  • Animal shelters

Sports Teams

Do you play on a volleyball or soccer team? You need to bring your knee pads and shin guards to and from practice. How about a baseball team? You can’t be without your mitt! A drawstring bag is great for any athlete!

Theme Parks

You’ll do a lot of walking at a theme park, which means your back can get sore if you carry too much weight. A drawstring bag is ideal for storing only the essentials like your phone, wallet, keys, and lip balm.


Students can use drawstring bags for laundry day and after-class activities. Sell them in the bookstore, or hand them out during orientation day!


A water bottle, towel, change of clothes, a pedometer, and running shoes are all you need to bring to the gym. All these items will fit with ease in a durable drawstring bag!


Are you going on a shorter hike through a forest preserve or on a local trail? Put a few granola bars and your phone and keys in a drawstring bag. You can also keep your hands completely free by finding a bag with a side pocket for your water bottle.

Beach Trips

Soak up the sun and fill your drawstring bag with everything you need for a day on the beach. This should include sunglasses, a towel, sunscreen, and maybe a few fun toys to play with in the water. A change of clothes for when it’s time to head home doesn’t hurt either!


Do you run a summer camp for kids? They’ll love receiving a drawstring bag with your logo on the front! It’s not too heavy to carry, and the campers can reuse it when it’s time to go back to school in the fall.

Music Festivals

You need as much room as possible to dance, sing, and pump your fist in the air. A lightweight drawstring bag won’t get in your way, so you can get into the groove!


People need an easy way to bring their books to and from the library! A drawstring bag is a no-brainer as it’s comfortable to carry and durable enough for 2 to 3 books.

Halloween Events

Are you hosting a spooky Halloween party? Drawstring bags are perfect for trick-or-treating or holding mini pumpkins. Hand them out when you’re stamping hands or collecting tickets.

Animal Shelters

Each new adoption is just as exciting as the last! Send your visitors home with not just a new puppy or kitty, but also adoption papers, toys, and treats in reusable drawstring bags!

How Do You Wear a Drawstring Bag?

The drawstring bag is worn on your shoulders, with one string on the left and the other on the right. A little bit of fashion know-how can make these bags look less nerdy and way more trendy and stylish!

Choose a bag that works with your style!

#1: Sporty

#2: Professional

#3: Trendy

#4: Laidback

#5: Quirky

Drawstring bags are extremely versatile, which means you’ll find one that fits your vibe. Don’t be surprised when all of your friends start asking you where you got that awesome bag!

What Are Drawstring Bags Made Of?

You will find drawstring bags made from denim, leather, and most commonly, polyester, canvas, or nylon. Each material is lightweight, yet insanely durable.

Drawstring bags are made from all of the following materials:

  • Burlap
  • Cotton
  • Canvas
  • Denim
  • Fleece
  • Jute
  • Leather
  • Mesh
  • Microfiber
  • Neoprene
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyurethane
  • Vinyl

A denim or leather drawstring bag will look great for an evening out, while a nylon or canvas bag is easy to sling over your shoulders for running errands. Variety is the spice of life, so add as many of these bags as you can to your collection!

Are Drawstring Bags Waterproof?

For the most part, drawstring bags are not waterproof, though there are some exceptions. Vinyl, neoprene, and microfiber are waterproof materials, while nylon and polyester are water resistant, which means they can withstand a little bit of rain, but should be in a dry area as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that “waterproof” is a term that should be handled with great care. Drawstring bags, no matter which material they’re made from, will still get wet and could be damaged from water. In other words, don’t bring them with you into the swimming pool!

Can You Wash Drawstring Bags?

It’s recommended that you hand wash a drawstring bag if it’s printed with a custom design on the front. On the other hand, if your bag is both undecorated and made from a safe material like nylon, you can wash it in cold water with a good detergent. Be sure to let it all air dry!

The washing instructions will vary depending on your drawstring bag’s material. Double check with the manufacturer before putting your bags into the washing machine!

*DISCLAIMER: Quality Logo Products® is not responsible for any damage caused by washing your drawstring bags. A custom drawstring bag should always be washed by hand! If you have any questions, reach out directly to the manufacturer.

How to Fix a Drawstring Backpack

The strings can easily fall out of a drawstring bag, especially if they’re held in place by grommets which are the thin metal circles at the bottom. This may cause your bag to tilt to one side or not sit right on your shoulders. If this happens to you, no worries! There’s an easy fix.

This is how you fix a drawstring backpack:

Step One:

Secure a safety pin to one end of the drawstrings. If your strings are frayed, consider buying replacements.

Step Two:

Squeeze the safety pin through the hemmed opening and tug it along through the cinched up part at the top of the bag.

Step Three:

Make sure the strings are even on both sides.

Step Four:

Fit the end of each string through the grommet at the bottom of the bag and tie each end into a knot.

Step Five:

Your drawstring bag should be ready to go!

Maybe your issue doesn’t have to do with the ropes, but you have a tear in your bag instead. If that’s the case, you’ll need to sew it up or iron a patch over the hole. Worst case scenario, drawstring bags are fairly inexpensive. You can always find a good replacement!

Pro Tip: The steps listed above for fixing a drawstring bag can also be used for fixing the strings on your favorite hoodie!

What Can I Do With an Old Drawstring Bag?

After years and years of use, your drawstring bag might end up looking like it’s seen better days. The good news is there are plenty of ways to repurpose it into something new!

You can reuse old drawstring bags for any of the following:

  • Trash bag for your car
  • Shoe bag
  • Dirty clothes bin
  • Gift bag
  • Mini tarp
  • Giving donations to charity
  • Toy storage
  • Holding random cables

Trash Bag for Your Car

Sometimes when you’re on the go, empty bottles and wrappers end up on the floor of your car. Keep your interior nice and clean by hanging an old drawstring bag on the passenger side and using it to collect trash.

Shoe Bag

Whether you like to bowl, golf, or run, you might need to carry an extra pair of shoes with you. A drawstring bag is the perfect size!

Dirty Clothes Bin

When you travel, you don’t want to mix the dirty clothes with the clean clothes in your suitcase. An old drawstring bag is a great place to store your laundry.

Gift Bag

You can decorate your old drawstring bags with rhinestones, fabric markers, or iron-on decals and reuse them to hold gifts or party favors! This is a fun project for birthday parties or the holidays.

Mini Tarp

Drawstring bags make great mini tarps for small items in your garage or shed, like tools and rollerblades. Your storage will stay protected, especially during long winters!

Charity Donations

Non-profits are always looking for care packages. You can stuff your drawstring bags with essentials like toys, cosmetics, food, or office supplies and then donate them to your favorite cause.

Toy Storage

Do your kids have toys everywhere? A few old drawstring bags can help you stay organized! You can keep building blocks or LEGOs in one bag, and other small odds and ends in another.

Random Cables

Video game systems, TVs, laptops, cell phones… there are a lot of cables and wires associated with your favorite gadgets. Wrap them in rubber bands or zip ties and store them in old drawstring bags.

Can You Recycle Drawstring Bags?

You can recycle some types of drawstring bags. It just depends on the material! Contact your local recycling to find out what they do and don’t accept.

You can also send your drawstring bags to TerraCycle. This online platform has a recycling program specifically for backpacks. You simply go on their site and purchase a Backpacks Zero Waste Box. The waste that is collected is then manually separated into different materials – metals, fibers, and plastics. TerraCycle goes through the process of properly disposing of each piece.

This is a good option to look into if you have a ton of old drawstring bags or backpacks collecting dust in your house. Better yet, team up with friends and relatives to collect a bunch. You’re doing your part for a greener planet!

What is the Best Drawstring Backpack?

The best drawstring bags check all the boxes when it comes to function and style. They’re usually lightweight, yet durable and have some kind of memorable design on the front.


You shouldn’t feel the weight on your shoulders with a drawstring bag! They hold only the essentials, which is a lot easier on your body.


The drawstring bag is designed to make your life easier. Take traveling for example. You can get in and out of airport security a lot faster with a good see-through bag as your carry-on.


Can you imagine the bottom of your bag ripping and all of your things falling out? You won’t have to worry about that mishap with a strong drawstring bag.

Folds flat for easy storage

The last thing you want is more clutter! Luckily, a drawstring bag folds flat or even rolls up, which means it won’t take up very much room.


You can get a good drawstring bag for less than $1. Even the more stylish options still have a fair price tag! This gives you a lot of bang for your buck.


It is recommended by experts that a bag weigh no more than 10% to 15% of a child’s body weight. A light drawstring bag is a much safer choice than a super bulky backpack.


A drawstring bag may be functional and affordable, but it still can be super trendy. You can find one that fits your fashion taste!

Why Are Drawstring Bags Popular?

Drawstring bags are popular because they are accessible and comfortable. You can use them at home, work, school, and everywhere in between without feeling a ton of weight on your back and shoulders.

Not only that, but you can use these bags for storage, traveling, or as gift bags. With a design printed on the front, they’re also an excellent way to promote a business, event, or non-profit organization. There’s a lot to love about drawstring bags!

The Bottom Line

Who needs a big old backpack? Most of the time, you can get away with just the essentials in a drawstring bag! These bags are great for travel and your day-to-day activities. Find one that fits your style and carry on!


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About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.