The Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, limiting travel. Fortunately, things are much better now, and you can travel safely as long as you’ve met the Covid-19 traveling requirements. And for your next trip or vacation, get a travel backpack.
Travel backpacks are a lightweight luggage option compared to suitcases. With a travel backpack, you no longer have to wait to identify your luggage on the long conveyer belt or worry about losing it. Backpacks also promote better mobility than dragging a suitcase up and down stairs or rushing to catch a flight.
Which is the best travel backpack? It depends on the nature of your travel. A travel backpack for work may not be ideal for urban exploration or hiking. Based on the diversity of individual traveling needs, we came up with these nine best travel backpacks. Read on.
Best Overall Backpack – Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack
The Amazon Basics Carry-on is the best travel backpack for weekends and short trips. It is lightweight, has multiple internal pockets for storage, and its size is compliant with most airlines.
The main compartment comes with a zippered mesh space for better organization and compressional straps to hold your clothes and gear in place. An expansion zipper boosts the main compartment’s storage space by 10% so that you can add extra items. Meanwhile, the front pockets allow easy access and are perfect for packing travel documents or must-have electronics.
It features adjustable shoulder straps and back panel, which have thick polyethylene foam padding for comfort. And, a hip belt and an adjustable sternum strap help distribute the bag’s weight.
- Carry as a backpack or a messenger-style piece
- Super-practical main compartment with a mesh pocket and a midway shelf
- Padded shoulder straps and back
- Features a waist belt, sternum strap, and zippered expandable storage
- Zippers could be better
Best Budget Backpack – Matein Carry-on Backpack
Get a good quality 40L travel backpack even on a budget. The Matein Carry-on backpack has adequate packing room yet is compact to fit under the seat and in an overhead compartment.
Its main compartment opens like a standard suitcase and is spacious to hold your essentials. And you can expand its capacity by unbuckling the compression straps on the sides. The front pocket has an organized compartment to hold small items like phones and wallets.
Also, this cheap travel backpack is made of water-resistant polyester and sturdy zippers to guarantee durability.
- The main compartment is expandable for added storage space
- Well-organized front pocket
- 40L storage
- Works as a carry-on suitcase and duffel bag
- Easy to carry with adjustable, padded shoulder straps and a ventilated back panel
- It fits under the seat and the overhead compartment
- The laptop compartment is not padded
Best Travel Backpack for Work – Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
The Nomatic 40L bag is our best travel backpack with laptop protection. This bag has a pocket for everything and is made of water-resistant materials. Besides, the laptop pocket is well-padded to reduce the hassle of carrying an extra laptop bag, and a tablet pocket is included, so you don’t have to pack the laptop and tablet together.
When packing for work trips, the main compartment has a full-perimeter zipper for wide opening, easy access, and optimal packing. And, the bag meets international carry-on standards and fits in the overhead compartment and underneath the seat.
We recommend the Nomatic bag as the best travel backpack for extended travel as its 40L capacity can hold up to 7 days of clothes with an included laundry bag to put your dirty clothes. And there is a shoe compartment that fits two pairs, a top pocket for socks and innerwear, and a right-side pocket with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) safe pocket to keep credit cards and passports safe.
- Carry as a duffle bag and backpack without dangling straps
- Multiple pockets for better organization
- Made with durable and waterproof materials
- Well-padded laptop and tablet pockets
- Easy packing with full-perimeter zipper
- RFID blocking pocket for valuables
- Water bottle pocket is inconvenient
- The embedded pockets render some useless, meaning you can’t use all pockets
Best Travel Backpack for Men – Vancropak Travel Backpack
The Vancropak Travel Backpack stands out as the best men’s travel backpack on Amazon. Its main compartment has a 180-degree zippered closure for easy storage and quick security checkup. The second main pocket has sponge padding and six pockets to hold a laptop, two phones, wallets, and other valuables.
The Vancropak is also the best anti-theft travel backpack with an anti-theft zipper pocket at the back bottom. And you can access your valuables from this zipper pocket without taking off the backpack.
- Made with water-resistant polyester
- 40L capacity
- 180-degree zipper
- Anti-theft pocket
- Five different pockets
- Lacks hip straps for weight distribution
Best Travel Backpack for Women – Osprey Aura AG 65
The Osprey Aura has a 65L capacity that is adequate to pack essential women’s gear and any extra luggage. If you are worried about its weight, the backpack does not feel bulky on the shoulders and the back. Thanks to its anti-gravity suspension, the backpack feels much lighter and more comfortable, making it the best backpack for women.
In addition to its 65L capacity, a floating top lid provides more storage space, and when removed, you can integrate a Flap Jacket to protect your valuable gear. And if you enjoy hiking, the lower zippered compartment can accommodate a sleeping bag.
- Side compression straps for a streamlined profile
- Anti-gravity suspension for comfort
- 65L capacity
- Removable top lid
- The hip belt may feel stiff
Best Travel Backpack for Moms – Ruvalino Multifunctional Travel Backpack
Ruvalino Travel Backpack prioritizes space, convenience, and comfort, making it the perfect fit for moms.
Overall, it has 16 pockets for better organization of all baby essentials. The main pocket includes a changing pad and ample space to hold extra clothes, blankets, diapers, and baby books without looking stuffed. The backpack also has insulated bottle pockets to ensure baby milk stays warm. These pockets can hold 5 to 11 oz. bottles.
To guarantee comfort while traveling, the backpack features padded-mesh shoulder straps and two handles so you can switch from carrying it as a backpack to a handbag. Besides, you can clip it to a stroller with its D-rings.
- Dual zippers and extra-wide opening allow you to grab baby essentials fast
- 16 pockets offer ample storage space and better organization
- Insulated bottle pockets
- Made of luxe vegan leather that’s durable, lightweight, and waterproof
- Includes a portable changing pad
Best Waterproof Travel Backpack – Yeti Panga 28 Waterproof Bag
Worry no more about drenching your gear in rain or mud on your next adventure with the Yeti Panga 28 waterproof bag. This model can withstand wetness with its thick TPU lamination and high-density nylon construction. The Hydrolok zippers also lock moisture out.
The bag’s main pocket features a stowaway mesh pocket and a sleeve to organize your gear. Unfortunately, this is the only internal storage compartment.
The DryHaul shoulder straps are also well-padded for carrying comfort, and the waist belt and chest straps promote weight distribution, stability, and security.
- Airtight, waterproof backpack
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Best lightweight travel backpack
- Puncture- and abrasion-resistant shell
- Hydrolok zippers keep gear dry
- Limited storage room with its single internal pocket
Best Travel Backpack for Hiking – Osprey Aura 50 Backpacking Backpack
The Osprey Aura 50 offers plenty of room for all your hiking gear, earning the top spot for the best travel backpack for hiking.
The lower zipped compartment conveniently holds a sleeping bag, a feature that has earned the bag points as the best travel backpack on Reddit. Meanwhile, the main pocket has room for food and other camping essentials. Pack a raincoat or extra layers in the front mesh pocket for fast access. And you can keep snacks in the zippered hip belt pockets to eat on the move.
The back panel has a continuous anti-gravity suspension that provides ventilation and makes the backpack feel lighter. In addition, an adjustable harness and hip belt distribute weight to prevent extra strain on your lower back.
- 50L capacity
- Multiple storage pockets
- Anti-gravity suspension for ventilation
- Compression straps stabilize luggage
- The hip belt may rub against the hips, leaving marks or causing pain
Best Travel Backpack for Personal Items – Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
The Hyena Eagle Travel Backpack is all about packing right for your trip. It comes with three sets of packing cubes: small, medium, and large, so you can sort your personal items before adding them to the main compartment.
The second compartment can hold a 15.6-inch laptop, 10.5-inch tablet, and other travel accessories, whereas the front zippered compartment has smaller pockets for a book, phone, power bank, passport, and earbuds.
Carry this lightweight travel bag on its side, top handle, or as a backpack.
- Airline-approved carry-on size
- Three packing cubes
- Middle and front organizer pockets for personal items
- Hide-away shoulder straps
- Lacks a waist belt
Best Minimalist Travel Backpack– Tortuga Men’s Travel Backpack
The Tortuga Men’s Travel Backpack provides essential room for minimalist gear. You can organize up to 7 days of travel in the main compartment and electronics and accessories in the outer pockets.
To guarantee your comfort, the bag has a padded hip belt that shifts 90% of the backpack’s weight from the shoulders to your leg muscles. This prevents neck, shoulder, and back pain. In addition, an adjustable sternum strap and a load lifter strap help balance and distribute weight.
This carry-on is also built to last with its weather-resistant coating and top-quality YKK zippers.
- The back panel features air mesh padding for comfort
- 45L capacity
- Made with weather-resistant materials and zippers
- A padded hip belt shifts most of the weight to the legs
- Main compartment packs like a suitcase
- The hip belt is only removable, not adjustable
6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Travel Backpack
A perfect backpack should meet your specific traveling needs. Here are six factors to keep in mind to understand how to choose the best backpack.
Purpose of Travel
The purpose of your trip will help determine the best travel backpack. Hiking backpacks may not be ideal for traveling and vice versa.
When getting a hiking backpack, Fiona Outdoors recommends getting one with the right size and weight to hold food, water, and essential camping gear, is weather-resistant, and has adequate padding for comfort. For a traveling backpack, look for backpacks with multiple pockets to better organize your clothes, electronics, and travel documents.
How long will you have the backpack on your back? If you are going hiking or on an exploration adventure, get a comfortable backpack with ergonomic designs. Padded hip belts and chest straps help distribute a backpack’s weight from the back to the hips and chest.
The size of a travel backpack determines how many items it can carry. Therefore, consider how much space your items need to choose the perfect backpack. Some backpacks can hold as little as 6L, whereas large-capacity rucksacks have a 50L+ capacity.
Also, confirm the recommended backpack dimensions of your preferred airline before purchase.
Get a travel backpack with a durable fabric, whether you are an occasional or regular traveler. Nylon fabric, particularly 600 to 1000 deniers, is more durable than cotton and polyester. It is mainly used in the base of the backpack to prevent wear.
Additionally, look for quality zippers and buckles. Opt for curved-shaped zippers and hard-plastic buckles.
A backpack with many internal pockets means better organization. Therefore, check whether the bag has internal zippers, removable dividers, or several compartments. An internal compressional strap can also hold your clothes and gear in place and minimize movement.
Padding helps distribute weight to avoid straining your shoulders and lower back. Opt for travel backpacks with padded shoulder straps, hip belts, and back panels.
FAQs on Best Travel Backpacks
What is the Best Backpack for Traveling?
The Amazons Basics Carry-on is the best travel backpack for weekends. It is ultra-flexible with expansion zippers providing 10% more storage space. Plus, it fits under the seat and in the overhead compartment.
How Do I Keep My Travel Backpack Organized?
Keep your travel backpack organized by designating internal compartments to hold specific items. For example, arrange your electronic devices in a dedicated compartment and your clothes in a different pocket. Compression packing cubes can improve organization if your backpack has few internal pockets.
What Travel Backpack Size is Best for Traveling?
The recommended travel backpack size is 25 to 30 liters. However, you can get a smaller or larger backpack depending on the purpose of your trip and gear.
How Often Should You Replace Your Backpack?
You should replace your travel backpack as soon as it starts to fall apart. High-quality backpacks last 5+ years and don’t need frequent replacement.
It is crucial that you get a travel backpack that packs easily, has enough space to organize your essentials, feels comfortable on your shoulders and back, and is durable. Your best travel backpack should meet your individual needs and protect your items for a stress-free experience.
We hope this travel backpack review and guide help you find what you are looking for, and happy travels!
Sources: Fiona Outdoors, Tortuga Backpacks, Nerd Wallet.