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cotopaxi bataan hip pack

Last updated on January 27th, 2022 at 07:24 pm

Promotional bags 101

When we are out and about running errands, going to school/work, going to beach or any other activity, we are always carrying something around. That is why promotional bags are consistently the top 5 of the most popular promotional products.

In this article, we will show you the different types of custom printed bags that are available, the latest trends so you can make a better decision on the type of bag that is best for your clients and your next event. 

Types of Promotional Bags

Tote Bag

quilted non woven tote
Quilted non woven tote

Promotional tote bags are popular for many reasons. They have a wide variety of uses, including trips to the grocery stores, weekend picnics, soccer tournaments and more. Custom printed tote bags are also one of the most affordable, for their simple design and construction. There are many bag materials available making it versatile and one of the most commonly ordered promotional bags out there.

Promotional tote bags are perfect item for tradeshows, outdoor events, community events, product launches, school events. One of our favorites is this quilted non-woven tote features strong construction and thicker non-woven materials.

If your event calls for a large audience of people from all walks of life, a custom grocery tote bag is generally the way to go. Some examples will be non-woven tote bag, cotton tote bag, tradeshow tote, vinyl clear tote

Explore different material options in a promotional tote bag

Drawstring Backpack

heathered drawstring backpack
Heathered drawstring backpack

Promotional drawstring backpacks are perfect for sporting events,community events and youth summer camps. A lightweight backpack made of either polyester or cotton, the drawstring cord pulls the bag to a close. You can easily fit a ball, water bottle, sunscreen and such for a quick trip to the park or soccer practice. This heathered drawstring backpack puts a new modern spin on this classic.

If your target audience is mostly youth, kids, young athletes, a custom printed drawstring backpack will work out very well!


timbuk2 authority backpack
Osprey Arcane large backpack

Besides drawstring backpacks, there are other styles of promotional backpacks that are pretty popular – computer backpacks and urban backpacks.

Many corporate clients like to provide computer backpacks for the staff to carry laptops and other things to and from the office, and when they travel. Many computer backpacks are also TSA approved, making it faster to zip through security lines at the airports. 

As for retail brands and entertainment industry, a stylish urban backpack is always a desirable gift. These are slightly smaller backpacks, they may not have a padded sleeve for laptops. They work well as a school backpack or for being out and about. The company Timbuk2 combines urban features into their computer backpacks which makes it one of the best brand out there.

See more custom Timbuk2 bags

See more Osprey bags

There are a few imprint methods for promotional backpacks: embroidery, patches or full color dye-sublimation. Full color dye-sublimation is a great way to create a unique custom print all over on the backpack. Each backpack style and material will determine the best way to customize. 

Messenger Bags

Solo Notch messenger bag
Solo Notch messenger bag

An alternative to computer backpacks will be promotional messenger bags. A messenger bag, sometimes also called courier bag is worn over one shoulder with a strap that goes across the chest resting the bag on the lower back. Messenger bags are now also an urban fashion icon.  A smaller version is often called a sling bag. Some companies may also prefer briefcases. The Solo Notch Briefcase pictured here, has modern fabrics and clean lines, with lots of functional storage. 

Fanny Packs

cotopaxi bataan hip pack
Cotopaxi bataan hip pack
Vinyl Clear Fanny Pack with Custom Logo

They are sometimes called waist packs, hip packs, lumbar bags — it all means the same thing: a fanny pack. Fanny packs are definitely making a comeback – popular in the 90s, this iconic style has revolved to fit our modern needs. From fishing to trail running, travel to bike commuting, fanny packs prove endlessly versatile and useful.

That is why promotional fanny packs are popular among retail brands, music and movie industries. They are hip, retro, colorful, fun. 

For brands who have a young hip audience that favors trends , a custom fanny pack maybe just the answer.

Duffel, Weekender Bag

recycled duffel bag
Solo Re:move duffel
Osprey arcane recycled duffel pack
Osprey Arcane duffel pack

Duffel bags might be one of the most versatile types of promotional bags. Not only are they perfect for travel, but they can also function as gym bag or work tote for everyday use. The Solo Re:move duffel, has a beautiful heathered grey material created from 16 recycled PET bottles. The Osprey Arcane duffel pack doubles as a backpack as well, and is made of recycled polyester.

The weekender bag, as a duffel sometimes is called, is a bag that has room to fit belongings for a weekend getaway. You can take it with you as a carry-on when flying, or throw it over your shoulder so your hands are free.

Because of its versatility, if you are looking for a customer retention gift or employee appreciation gift, a custom duffel bag will fit the bill nicely.

Retail Paper, Plastic Bag

matte eurotote paper bag with foil imprint
matte eurotote paper bag with foil imprint

If you have a retail store then one of the things you may constantly need to keep on inventory will be custom printed paper bags or promotional plastic bags. 

There are many options and sizes for paper bags, from paper merchandise bags, paper shopping bags, paper takeout bags, and Eurototes.

With plastic and paper bags, one color imprint or foil stamping maybe the only decorating option. However, there are new technologies with printing on plastic bags now that full color vibrant print is possible too.

Lunch Cooler

igloo legend can cooler
Igloo legend can cooler
Cooler backpack chair
Cooler backpack chair

Promotional lunch cooler is another great idea for employee welcome kit, employee appreciation kit, school events or summer outdoor events. Many employees appreciate a nice durable lunch cooler, especially those in construction industry or those who tend to be outside most of the day. 

There are soft side lunch coolers and hard side coolers. Igloo Playmate lunch coolers are the most iconic hard side cooler. They are very durable, keep things cool for a long time. For something a little more high-end and rugged, the Pelican 14qt personal cooler is a great choice.

Imprint methods on custom printed bags

When it comes to decoration methods, there are a plenty of options here! Heat transfer and screen printing work are cost effective for single color and full color logos. Embroidery, patches are elegant and classic. For those who want to create full color designs for the entire bag, full color dye-sublimation is the answer. Check out our article on promotional products imprint methods for detail descriptions of each imprint method.


There are many many styles and types of bags we can put a logo on. Think outside the box! Surprise your audience! The next time you’re considering a bag, take a look at this list of options and see what may fit best. As always, reach out to us for some one on one help to choose the right product for your event! 

About the Author

Shirley Ho

Shirley is the co-founder of Garuda Promo and Branding Solutions. With a background in print production and graphic design, she specializes in promotional products marketing, creating end-products that aligns with her client's marketing goals and brand strategy.

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