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Choosing the Best Custom Drawstring Bags: 4 Expert Tips

Last Updated: 09-20-2022

Choosing the Best Custom Drawstring Bags: 4 Expert Tips

What's the first thing that jumps to mind when you think of promotional items? Is it pens? Mugs? Maybe t-shirts?

What if I specifically asked about custom bags? Odds are you immediately think about tote bags. However, there's another -- much more often overlooked -- option: custom drawstring bags.

A pair of kids wearing custom drawstring backpacks with the "A Better Me" logo

What's a custom drawstring bag?

If you're completely unfamiliar with the concept, a drawstring bag is exactly what it sounds like: a bag with a drawstring. In this case, the drawstring is used to close the bag.

Sometimes called cinch bags, a drawstring bag can basically be used as a backpack -- but with two important differences.

First, a drawstring bag uses a much thinner material than most traditional backpacks. This helps it carry things that might not fit as neatly in a normal backpack (like a pair of shoes).

Second, drawstring backpacks don't use straps like normal backpacks. Instead, they rely on the same cord used to draw the bag closed. This means drawstring backpacks won't necessarily be as comfortable as their normal variants, especially if you're carrying a lot of weight in the bag.

 

The advantages of promotional drawstring bags

Although generally overlooked, custom drawstring bags offer an array of benefits that make them a great promotional tool. Here are just a few of the reasons you should consider using personalized drawstring bags.

Drawstring bags can feel like a big deal

A drawstring bag is basically a backpack, which gives the impression of being a premium item. After all, when's the last time somebody offered you a free backpack?

Despite the prestige factor, drawstring bags are almost shockingly inexpensive. In many cases, you won't pay much more than you would for a custom t-shirt.

Basically, they're an item with a perceived value that's far higher than their actual cost. This means it's something people will keep (and hopefully use) where you don't have to heavily invest in.

Can be used again and again and again (and again)

Although a custom t-shirt needs to be washed every time you wear it -- and probably won't be worn more than once a week unless it's a uniform -- custom drawstring backpacks can be used just about every day. (However, when they do get dirty, you can clean them.)

Hiker with a polyester cinch backpack that has a logo and graphic

Convenient design placement

When it comes to where you can put a design on your custom drawstring bags, that decision is pretty limited -- it's obviously going on the back.

However, even though there's really only one option, it's a fantastic place for a design. The back is a spot people can easily see and nobody has to worry about being seen staring while reading your message.

Good amount of space for a design

Whether you're looking to fit your brand message or just have a large logo, custom drawstring bags give you a lot of space to work with.

Flexible storage space

Besides offering a lot of storage, these bags provide a flexible space. Whether it's sports equipment, something for gym trips (shoes, workout clothes, etc), energy drinks, or just a big water bottle, drawstring bags can carry a wide variety of objects.

(Of course, it might help if you evenly distribute weight inside the backpack!)

They're super-portable

An empty bag can be folded up and stuffed in your pocket when not in-use. So if you're carrying food or drinks, you can stash the bag in your pocket after you've finished eating. (Unlike a normal backpack which still needs to be carried.)

This kind of utility makes the bags popular at concerts and other outdoor events, meaning more people will see your drawstring bag's design.

 

Custom drawstring bags vs tote bags

When it comes to custom bags, totes tend to be the first thing people think of. And while each of these bags has its fans, there isn't necessarily a clear-cut "better" overall choice. Like anything else, it comes down how to how they'll be used.

A tote with a business logo would work well at a trade show, but not a sporting event

Totes are a bit more professional, drawstring bags tend to be casual

What jumps to mind when you hear the word "backpack?" If you're like many people, your first thought is probably kids and school.

Most of us grew up with backpacks and then "outgrew" them when we became older (or, at least, stopped using them as often). Because drawstring bags might as well be called drawstring backpacks, they tend to attract that same association.

Tote bags, on the other hand, don't carry that stigma. And, even when totes are associated with schools, they're seen as what teachers (not students) carried around. Or, in simpler words, totes seem more "mature."

And that brings us to the larger issue of context...

Certain functions and activities favor one over the other

Can you imagine being given a drawstring bag at a business conference or trade show? How about a tote bag at a little league game? And have you ever brought a drawstring bag to the beach? Or been given a drawstring backpack with mementos at a wedding?

Either one bag or the other will make more sense within certain contexts. Anything athletic will probably favor drawstring bags while totes tend to associated with less-active endeavors (as well as some creative pursuits -- totes can be big when it comes to arts and crafts).

Very different types of storage

Besides those other factors, there's a very practical component, too. The two bags are good at storing very different types of things.

Tossing books into a tote bag? No big deal. Tossing books into a drawstring backpack? That can be a bit of an issue.

Gym clothes or equipment in a drawstring bag? Sure. Tossing them in a tote? Well... it'll feel awkward.

Additionally, the thin materials used for drawstring bags means that certain objects are likely to rip a hole. (While some drawstring backpacks are durable, they generally aren't even known for their abrasion resistance, let alone the ability to hold pointy objects!)

Finally, there's the subject of weight. While carrying a heavy tote bag is inconvenient, wearing a heavy drawstring backpack can be downright painful. Because the straps are just cords, they have a habit of digging into your shoulders.

Drawstring bags are print-only

While you can get some types of tote bags embroidered, drawstring bags are usually limited to print designs. Again, this comes down to the nature of the bags.

Embroidery works best with a thicker material. Because drawstring bags are on the thinner side, if you were to customize them with embroidery, the design wouldn't come out right.

Does this limitation make a difference? Not really. Considering drawstring bags tend to be more casual, you probably weren't going to embroider them anyway. And a print design is far more cost-effective because you can get a larger design at a lower price.

 

Custom drawstring bags vs traditional backpacks

Considering how often drawstring bags are used as backpacks, it's also worth comparing them to traditional backpacks -- particularly if you're looking for a higher-end item.

A durable backpack will outperform custom drawstring backpacks in most regards, but it costs far, far more

Drawstring backpacks are way cheaper than their normal counterparts

The biggest difference between personalized drawstring backpacks and custom traditional backpacks is the price... and you'll notice it immediately.

In many cases, you're looking at a minimum twenty-dollar difference. This makes the promotional backpack a super-high-end item, typically reserved for special occasions. Most people won't be able to justify the difference in price.

Traditional backpacks are far more durable... and offer more options

Given they're an ultra-premium item, traditional backpacks have a lot more going for them.

It's not uncommon for normal backpacks to have an unbelievable number of pockets -- including side pockets and interior pockets -- and most of them are somewhat more rigid, padded structures (meaning the contents of those pockets are better protected from everything else).

They're also incredibly durable, with the highest-end options using some of the most durable materials (among fabrics, anyway).

However, one of the biggest perks is having real shoulder straps, meaning they can help you carry heavy loads comfortably.

When it comes to choosing between custom drawstring bags and traditional backpacks, ask yourself whether you need those additional features.

The BG204 basic backpack is a lightweight option that can carry a variety of items

However, if you are considering that jump, Port Authority's BG204 basic backpack is a great choice. Available in 5 colors, it's a significant step up from personalized drawstring bags.

Ultimately, the choice between drawstring bags and traditional backpacks will mostly come down to price. For most uses, normal backpacks just won't make sense.

 

Best uses for custom drawstring bags

If real estate is all about, "Location, location, location!", then drawstring bags are all about, "Occasion, occasion, occasion!"

These bags tend to work best as inexpensive giveaways at outdoor events. For example, if your business is trying to build its presence in a community, you could sponsor local sporting events -- like little league games or marathons -- where you'd give out bags.

Conversely, a minor league, school, or other local sports team could probably make a little extra money by selling t-shirts and bags featuring their team's logo.

It's also a nice little item for a church or family picnic, among other personal events.

Or, if you run a kid-centered business like an after-school program or summer camp, you might include the bags as an extra souvenir to get kids and their parents excited about your service (and to help spread the word).

 

Which custom drawstring bags are best for you?

While custom drawstring bags are an incredible promotional product, you're probably wondering which ones best meet your needs. And the short answer is... it depends on why you need them and what they'll be used for.

There are a number of things you should consider.

#1 - Cost

While drawstring bags tend to be inexpensive, the price can still vary by style. If you're trying to stretch your promotional budget as far as possible, picking the lowest-cost option might be a big help (although you generally won't break the bank on drawstring bags).

Bolt's BPNWBP personalized drawstring bag is a great low price option. It features a non-woven polypropylene material

Currently, Bolt Printing's most budget-friendly option is our custom-printed cinch bag. Although it's low-cost, the material is durable and water-resistant. To top it all off, it's available in 10 colors.

If you're ordering custom drawstring bags for giveaways, cost will likely be a major factor. The savings when ordering in bulk can be substantial.

 

#2 - Bag size

How much are you looking to fit in your custom drawstring bags? If you want a lot of storage, you can go with a larger style.

The 8882 is a large, nylon bag which should be good for picking up a few groceries

The Liberty Bags 8882 is somewhat larger than your average custom drawstring bags, measuring 17" x 20". Available in 14 colors, it gives the wearer a bit more space for their stuff.

However, from a practical standpoint, most drawstring bags are going to be large enough to fit whatever you need. There really aren't any super-tiny drawstring backpacks.

#3 - The fabric

A drawstring bag's material can make a difference in its ability to carry your belongings.

The BP6BP cotton bag is a great value, offering the durability of cotton

Our BP6BP cotton custom drawstring bags (available in 20 different colors, including the vibrant orange seen above) use a 6-ounce cotton canvas, making them a little sturdier than than other options.

The 8886 uses a denier nylon, making it lightweight and weather-resistant

Conversely, Liberty Bags's 8886 promotional drawstring bags (available in 10 colors) use a denier nylon. This gives it a bit of weather resistance while still remaining lightweight.

How much do the materials matter, you ask? What's the big difference between cotton, nylon, polyester, and the rest? For the most part, the differences are going to be subtle. Polyester and nylon, for example, will be a little better at keeping out moisture. Cotton will be a bit more durable. However, all of these bags will be pretty good for most normal uses. (Unlike, say, a faux leather, which won't perform well outdoors.)

And other fabrics can provide a vastly different utility. For example, there are drawstring bags that use a mesh material, which lets the bag's contents dry or air out.

#4 - What about a zipper?

What if it's not so much added storage space you need, but instead a separate storage section? This is where zipper pockets come in.

Some customers love features like zippered pockets

Bolt Printing's BPNBP custom drawstring bags (available in 12 colors) feature an outer pocket, which is a great add-on in case you need to store something that might get lost among your other items.

Just keep in mind that, unlike traditional backpacks, the pockets found on drawstring bags don't offer a rigid storage space. This is significant because the contents aren't protected from what's in the rest of the bag -- ie, you don't want to store anything fragile in the space. And, on a more pragmatic note, you're technically not getting extra storage space (unlike with a traditional backpack) because drawstring bags naturally "expand" to fit objects anyway since the material is so thin.

 

Bolt Printing has your back (or drawstring backpack)

Whatever kind of bags you're looking for -- tote, drawstring, or even backpacks -- Bolt Printing has you covered.

We have a HUGE variety of promotional items that we can customize to meet your needs and, thanks to our lightning-fast turnaround times, you'll get your order when you need it. Best of all? We offer some of the best prices out there.

Our business is located in Connecticut. We offer free shipping on most orders across the contiguous USA.

How are we able to offer such competitive pricing? Simple! Bolt Printing handles the customization in-house at our own facility in sunny Brookfield, CT. Many other businesses outsource the production elsewhere, so they're paying another company to handle the customization for them. Because Bolt Printing isn't middleman, we save a bundle and pass those savings to our customers. (And we don't try to hide fees or play around with prices. We even offer free shipping on most standard orders to a single address in the contiguous USA.)

If you customize with Bolt Printing, you save money vs going with those other guys -- and create things your customers will love

Want to get started today? You can create an amazing design online in our studio, either by using our vast clip art library or uploading your own artwork. And, if you decide you aren't ready to order, you can always save the design for later.

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