Best Travel Backpacks
Backpacks always come in handy when you are on the move, especially if you are traveling. The reason why backpacks are so popular amongst the traveling crowd is that it is a bag that is easily packed and carried with you, without being inconvenienced and looks stylish as you are on the move. Backpacks can be used not only for travel but also for going to and from work which makes them a great addition to anyone's gear. If you are sick of lugging around a piece of carry-on luggage or a briefcase and want a bag that is a bit more comfortable and will be easier to carry around with you conveniently, I think it is time you looked at investing in a travel backpack.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Lots of color options
- Hyne's Eagle 38L
- Deuter Transit 65
- Osprey Farpoint 55
- Speedo Teamster
- Osprey Porter
- Kelty Redwing 44
- Timbuk2 Aviator
- JanSport Superbreak
- Timbuk2 Uptown
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Travel Backpacks
1. Hyne's Eagle 38L
Lots of color options
Not as durable as some other options
If you need a nice looking backpack that has a lot of space and won't get you a lot of headache at the airport as carry-on luggage, then the Hyne's Eagle 38L Weekender is perfect for you. This bag has the ability to fit under the seat in front of you, or in the overhead compartment. The new version that we are featuring here now comes with a sternum strap to make carrying a heavy load a little bit easier.Read more
Two easy to grab handles make it easy to carry this bag in three different ways. You can wear it as a backpack, carry it from the top, like a suitcase, or carry it from the side handle, like a briefcase. Because this bag only holds up to 38L, it is difficult to make it too heavy, therefore making it a fairly comfortable bag to carry.
If you are going to be traveling internationally, this bag is going to save you a lot of time and money, because you don't have to check it in at the airport. When you open it up, you'll be surprised how similar to a suitcase it is. Packing and unpacking is a breeze with this bag.
In addition to outer compression straps, the inside of the backpack also features compression straps to hold your clothes in place and save room. There is a dedicated sleeve for a laptop up to 15.6-inches. There is also a large front pocket for quick access items, such as travel documents or a book. For more important items, there is a larger zippered pocket with organization inside.
The Hyne’s Eagle features side compression straps to keep your bag small, reduce stress on zippers, and secure your belongings inside with minimal movement. While this is a great bag and comes at a great price, it is made of out Polyester, instead of the popular and durable Nylon, that we love. This bag should last you for a few years, but we don’t expect it to be a lifer.
2. Deuter Transit 65
Wonderful for trips abroad
Multiple color options
Might be too big for smaller people
A well-liked feature of this Deuter Transit 65 is its detachable daypack. You're not going to want to carry the entire bag everywhere you go, and this makes it much more convenient to take just the items that you need.Read more
This bag allows you to be flexible because you can carry it in a lot of different ways. For example, if you get tired of it on your back, you can switch to the shoulder strap. There's a handle on the side that allows you to carry it like a suitcase if you wanted to, along with another handle on the top of the backpack. The straps for both shoulders along with the waistband are tucked neatly inside of the back of the backpack out of sight. The cover for the straps and waistband is thin and light, and when you want to carry the bag on your back, it rolls down easily and fits underneath into a lower pocket.
With the day bag removed, the rest of the bag actually acts as a suitcase. You have full panel access to the larger bag with one zip of a zipper, and the top easily flips open to expose the very spacious interior. There's even a compartment that is specially made to store your sleeping bag, or you could use that space for other items instead.
There are also internal compression straps that you could use to create more space for clothing or to hold an important item in place inside of the bag. There's also a front panel pocket for extra organization.
This bag is made out of 95% Polyester and 5% Polyamide. The tight weaving of the polyamide makes this bag very resistant to abrasions and the polyester material keeps the bag strong and lightweight.
3. Osprey Farpoint 55
Good for long-term travelers
Handy detachable 15-liter day bag
The material is not so breathable
The Osprey Farpoint 55 is wonderful for long trips. I'm not talking a few days or a couple of weeks. What I mean is, if you wanted to go on a very extended trip (even if it's a six-month tour of many different locations across the world), this would be the backpack that you want to take with you.Read more
Featured on this bag is Osprey’s LightWire frame suspension which helps evenly distribute the weight of the bag among your back, hips, and chest. Some people don't think so initially, but belt straps are so necessary with large travel backpacks like this one. This one is 55 liters large, so when filled to capacity it can get quite heavy depending on what you have on the inside. Good thing it has a belt strap for that extra added support. This way, all of that weight from your backpack won't be focused just on your back and shoulders, but can now be evened out to use more of your hips while carrying it.
Aside from great organization and pockets that we know each Osprey bag provides, one of the coolest features about this Osprey Farpoint 55, is that it has a nice detachable day bag. It has his own shoulder straps for easy carrying and has the compartments that you expect, such as one for your laptop. The smaller bag makes your traveling experience so much more convenient, because you can leave the larger part of the bag back at the hotel, and carry the smaller one for souvenirs that you pick up while you're out and about, maps, travel guides, and brochures.
This is a very durable backpack that will last you for years to come. It is made from 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop material. This is an incredibly strong material and the entire bag is also backed with a lifetime guarantee.
4. Speedo Teamster
Comes with an extra dirtbag
Adjustable for a perfect fit
Colors can be different from pictures
This backpack from Speedo is not only brought to you from a trusted brand but also comes in a variety of colors and styles so no matter your personality, there will be a speedo backpack to accompany you on your next trip.Read more
This backpack is quite comfortable and molds to the shape of your back to provide a comfortable fit. The bag itself also has two adjustable straps to ensure that once you are wearing the backpack, you can adjust it to your proper fit. This will ensure that it fits perfectly and will be comfortable without putting a strain on your back.
This backpack may look like a basic model but it does come with some convenient features which makes it more comfortable to wear and easier to store your gear. This backpack comes with a chest strap to give you extra support and take all the weight off your back. If you are traveling for a while, this feature will come in handy and make sure you stay comfortable. It also has an additional dirtbag which can be used to store the dirty or wet gear that you do not want mixing in with your other gear.
This backpack comes to you from the trusted brand of Speedo and the quality of this backpack matches the quality of this brand. This backpacks outer shell is abrasion proof and is made from polyester and nylon.
Laptop slot could have more padding
This backpack from Matein will make a great addition to your travel gear and will provide a comfortable feel and keep your gear safe while you travel to your destination. It also comes in a variety of colors to ensure you find the perfect style for you.Read more
This backpack will not only conveniently carry around your travel care with ease but it also provides a comfortable fit and feel and that is due to the adjustable straps to ensure the backpack fits properly and takes the strain off your back. It also has a padded back to allow it to rest easy on your back.
This backpack from Matein comes with a laptop slot to store your laptop safely and securely, it also has an external USB charging port to make sure your gear is charged while you travel. This backpack also gives you the option to lock it through the zippers if you need the extra security.
This backpack is not only made from high-quality material but it is also water resistant to ensure if you get caught in the rain that your gear will not be damaged and the bag itself will not be damaged.
6. Osprey Porter
May or may not be airplane carry-on friendly, it just depends on the airline you're flying with
Just because you're traveling it doesn't really have to look like you are, and this Osprey Porter is not only sleek-looking but very efficient. It's lightweight for its size, but that can be deceptive because of the large amount of space that it has inside.Read more
This is a comfortable backpack in itself. The only thing that could affect the comfort level is the weight of the items you pack it with. For a simple 3-day trip, this bag is a breeze. However, if you are trying to use this bag for a month abroad and aren’t a light packer, you will feel the weight after walking around with it for a while.
This bag does have the ability to be carried by hand, instead of on your back. Sometimes travel backpacks can have a lot of loose straps that can get caught up and hung on things as you walk down the train or airplane isles. These straps also get in the way when you are at a checkpoint trying to put your backpack on an airport conveyor belt. External straps can be tucked in easily with this backpack.
This Osprey Porter 46 L has so much space is unbelievable. When you open up the 'office section' there's room for your pens, notebooks, tablets, and a laptop, and they all can fit in there at the same time. The best part about it is that it's at the front part of the bag, so you don't have to open the large part just to grab something quickly, such as a phone or a tablet.
Traveling can take a toll on your bank accounts. Obviously, you don't want to overspend on a good travel backpack, but you still want to get one that is of good quality and will suit your needs well. With this one, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get one that's going to last you for a long time, and get you through many future businesses and/or leisure trips.
7. Kelty Redwing 44
Extra cushioning inside and out
No locks on zippers
This Kelty Redwing 44 travel backpack is one you will feel comfortable wearing, whether you're a small or large framed person. The capacity ranges from 44 to 50 liters, so if you're short, tall, male or female, there's one for you. This travel backpack also has a version that's made specifically for females that's 40 liters.Read more
One thing travel backpack consumers complain about is the fact that theirs doesn't have enough padding. This one comes with soft cushioning on the waist and shoulder straps, but what most backpacker's love the most about this one, in particular, is the lower back padding. If you're going to be doing a lot of walking during your tours (as most backpacker's do in the most scenic destinations), this padding lessens your chances of having back pain at the end of your journey. The material this backpack is made of is also very breathable, so when you visit those humid destinations, you'll hardly get that icky, sweaty feeling between the backpack and your back.
There is a lot of space on the inside of this backpack, but some buyers feel they still need more organization. It doesn't have a whole lot of separate compartments on the inside, so, depending on your personal preference, you may want to purchase some compression cubes, small pouches that you can add to the inside of the backpack to separate smaller items from the bigger ones. You also may want to get yourself some zipper locks, because this one doesn't come with them.
When you're out and about enjoying your vacation destination, there will be several bumps to your backpack, whether you notice them or not. You want to have the piece of mind of knowing that expensive items such as your laptop and tablets won’t end up with cracked screens or other damages. Good thing this Redwing 44 has extra cushioning in those specific areas where these items will be kept.
This bag is made from two different types of Polyester and features an Aluminum lining. This ensures that the bag will not lose its shape and will protect itself, along with your items, for years.
8. Timbuk2 Aviator
Compact with lots of space
Attached built-in rain fly
Some may consider the bag itself heavy on its own
If you need a travel backpack that's durable, but that also has all the space you need, then the Timbuck2 Aviator is a wonderful choice. There's even an emergency rain fly that's attached to it with its own compartment for when the weatherman didn't tell you it was going to pour that day!Read more
When you first see this bag the shoulder and waist straps seem like they're all over the place, but the good thing is that you can tuck them away. There's a zipper over the top of the bag where you can open and store in the shoulder straps, and the waistband has its own private compartment at the bottom. This is even more convenience for when you want to actually wear the belt because you can either pull it out and around your waist, or stuff the belt easily in the pockets, depending on how much back support you need. There are even clips on the shoulder straps you can use to take the pressure off your shoulders while carrying it.
When you flip this bag open, you'll see lots of space, enough that if you roll your clothes up you can probably make two layers, unless they're thicker items like sweaters or jeans. There are also a good bit of compartments, like the one with the zipper on the back. There's another zipper compartment on the top that's a good place to put your passport or your phone, and you can access it by either flipping open the top lid or from the outside of the bag.
You want your backpack to be durable, whether you're out in nature on long scenic hikes, or if you're going to mostly be on and off trains or in and out of airports and hotels. This backpack is durable, so if you were to get caught in the rain, as long as you're not purposefully standing in it for a long period of time you don't have to worry too much about your stuff getting wet. The bag itself weighs around 4 lbs, and that's because of the materials that it is made out of. Still, some people feel that the extra weight is okay because of the backpack's durability.
9. JanSport Superbreak
Could come with a bit more features
This is a highly rated backpack and you might have seen a friend or family member with it in your lifetime. This backpack has a simple design but allows you to pack all your travel gear easily and conveniently and get you on your way.Read more
This backpack is the perfect size to fit your back comfortably and not put to much strain on your back. It also is lightweight which is a great feature to have as the heavier the backpack the more strain that your back will experience.
This backpack is a basic design and does not come with many extra features.
This backpack is quite durable as it is made from abrasion and waterproof material so no matter where you plan on taking this backpack it will hold up and keep your gear safe from damage.
10. Timbuk2 Uptown
Lots of organizational space
Comes in a variety of styles
Not recommended for long term trips
Sometimes it can be hard to find a backpack that meets your needs and is also stylish. If you do a lot of traveling (especially by plane) this Timbuk2 Uptown travel backpack, is an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers.Read more
This backpack features strong, cushioned mesh straps. This backpack is smaller than most on our list, and therefore, will not be as heavy, making it more comfortable. If somehow you do manage to pack a lot into this small space, there is a chest strap to help evenly distribute the weight amongst your body and take some tension off your shoulders.
Another comfortable and useful feature is the ventilated back panel. This mesh material has the ability to breathe and won’t overheat you. This also makes the bag more comfortable while resting on your back.
This bag is TSA compliant and makes catching your plane in time a breeze. There’s no need to check this bag and you can arrive at the airport and head straight to security.
The easy-to-access compartments of this bag are also what makes it so popular. It has many different compartments, all ideal for different objects, including a padded laptop slip, up to 15-inches, on the backside of the backpack. Additionally, there is a compartment for a tablet and ideal storage for passports and travel documents.
Timbuk2’s Uptown backpack is made from durable nylon that is water resistant. This definitely isn’t a bag you want to stand out in the rain with, but a little spill won’t ruin it. Between the strong zippers, amazing organization and durable material, this bag will last you a long time.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Your backpack overall has to feel good while you’re carrying it. It has to fit the proportions of your body. It doesn’t matter so much how much you weigh or how tall you are, but your backpack should line up more with the length of your torso. Travel backpacks come in different sizes, and some even have adjustable suspension for added comfort. The term ‘backpack’ can actually throw a lot of people off when it comes to the weight that they can safely carry for long distances. When initially purchasing a travel backpack, travelers may not realize that most of the weight is going to be supported by their hips, not their back, at least it should be. Someone walking around with a travel backpack that doesn’t have a waistband on it will be putting all that weight on their back. This can cause injury over an extended period of time, and the only way to be sure that you are safe from hurting yourself is to be sure that your travel backpack does have one that’s comfortable for your waist size.
Although most of the backpack weight is supported by your waist, you still want to make sure that yours has a padded back area. It will be generally located near the lower part of the backpack, and if you don’t think that it makes a difference, take a hike in your old travel backpack, then in one with this extra cushioning. An ideal one will have this padding contoured, with the middle portion of the padding cut low. This is so your backpack does not get sticky and sweaty in that area on long tours.
Travel backpacks generally fit people with regular waist sizes from the mid-20s to the mid-40s in inches around. But, there are folks out there who are extra small or large in physical stature, so they’ll have to search a little harder to find a travel backpack that’s right for them. If you’re one of these people with a very narrow or wide frame, some of these backpacks have hip belts that are interchangeable to meet your specific personal needs. These are good to have when getting a travel backpack for a child because as they grow they could adjust it over time. And, of course, your shoulder straps have to be comfortable up top, around and under your chest/shoulder area. Nothing feels worse on a long walk in a backpack than to have the shoulder straps feel like they’re pressing into your body. This is probably because the straps themselves are too thin, and even a little extra weight makes the pack painful to carry. Wide, comfortable, padded straps are what you need, ones that feel snug as you explore your destination.
For this section, we mainly focused on the size of the product and the organization that it offers. Having multiple compartments simply makes it easier to manage things in your travel backpack. Many travelers keep their clothes and shoes in the main largest compartment, the one that they won’t open that much while moving from place to place. Items that they may grab multiple times during their trip they will keep in the compartments nearest the front/outside.
For some people, it is also important to note if the backpack has a designated laptop sleeve. More people travel for business than pleasure these days and that can be a deal breaker.
When you buy a travel backpack, your goal should be to get one that’s going to last you for years to come. This is going to depend on what you put in it, how you pack it, and how frequently you use it. That being said, it is always good when you can find a backpack that has a lifetime guarantee. Only time will tell how long it will actually last, but do your research on the backpack brand itself.
Getting a backpack that has heavy-duty materials will be to your benefit. Generally, travel backpacks are made of nylon or polyester, but you can get a very durable one made out of canvas as well. A leather one is going to cost you a little more, but if that’s what you want, go for it. Still, no matter what materials it’s made out of, you have to always pack your backpack smartly. As with many material things, if you take care of it, it will take care of you, so don’t pack your backpack to capacity (only about three-quarters of the way full).
There are a few repetitive reasons why people normally will toss out a backpack. One of these reasons is the fact that shoulder straps sometimes tear. The person may have gotten the wrong sized backpack for their torso length, then carried it a long time with that uneven torso-to-back pack proportion, until one day the straps just began to give out. Or, the person may have bought the correct size travel backpack, but just continuously packed it too heavy. Don’t put weight in your bag that it can’t handle, or weight that you can’t carry without leaning too much to the front or back while walking. This can also be very hard on your zippers, and when they break it’s another reason travelers will simply throw away a backpack.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Investing a travel towel is a great idea, especially if you will be backpacking. These towels, usually made from microfiber, dry incredibly quickly and can be folded down very small. Even better, these towels are very lightweight. A travel towel is a must have for any backpacker.
Having more than one lock for your bag is advisable. Depending on the type of travel that you'll be doing, you may need a long cord lock to lock your bag to yourself while sleeping. Having an extra lock is also great because you can use it for your daypack when exploring touristic areas.
When looking for a backpack you want to make sure that it will fit and feel comfortable when in use. This is even more apparent when you are traveling as you will be wearing this backpack for quite some time and do not want it making you feel uncomfortable halfway to your destination. It is best to find a backpack that has adjustable straps so you can adjust the comfortability while you travel. This way you stay comfortable for the complete trip.
Other Factors to Consider
The last thing you want is a travel backpack that’s not going to protect what you have on the inside. So, don’t get a one that is not waterproof, or at least water resistant. And, padding is just as important on the inside as the outside of a travel backpack. For example, you may not feel comfortable sticking your laptop into a backpack that does not have padding in that particular area.
Alternatively, you could get a rain fly/cover for your travel backpack. These come in all sizes, from extra small to extra large, and some even come with a lifetime warranty. They are very light and easy to store in your backpack. It’s recommended that you store it in a compartment that’s easy to get to, so you don’t have to go through all of your things just to quickly grab it in a situation where you encounter spontaneous rain.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What size should my travel backpack be?
If you need a point of reference, people with 18-inch torsos should get small backpacks, folks with 18-inch to 20-inch torsos will feel comfortable in a medium one, and if your torso is larger than 20 inches you should go for a large travel backpack. Travel backpacks come in lots of different sizes, and the best choice for you depends on how long you’re staying on your trips, how you’re traveling, and what you know you need to carry with you for the entire stay. Travel backpacks are generally anywhere from 25 to 85 liters large, and most people find an ideal one to be between 40 and 50 liters. This size may seem to be right in the middle, but smaller is normally better.
Keeping a minimalist attitude when it comes to your backpack will be to your benefit, especially at the airport. This is going to save you money because you don’t have to check in your bags. It’s also going to save you a lot of time, being that you don’t have to wait at baggage claim. Carrying this size bag will also save you a lot of stress. Have you ever noticed how, when traveling, if you carry less stuff you lose/misplace fewer things?
q: What type of travel backpack should I get?
What you want to do first is be sure that what you’re buying is actually a travel backpack. Some people do not know the difference and may feel that anything that resembles a regular book bag will do just fine. The thing that you have to remember is that a travel backpack loads up from the front. This means it has more of the characteristics of a suitcase, and you won’t always have to open your entire bag just to get one thing that you regularly use.
Getting the correct amount of support is also a feature that a travel pack will have versus other types. Have you ever noticed when you’re carrying your regular book bag styled backpack that your lower back begins to hurt at times if it’s loaded up heavily? This is because it very likely does not have a waistband on it. This evens out the weight and allows you to walk for longer distances without feeling pain and/or a lot of fatigue. The way that the shoulder straps are designed on travel backpacks compared to other similar types of bags also contributes to your personal comfort while wearing it from destination to destination. Every backpack in the above review list is an actual travel backpack.
q: Should I get a travel backpack that’s waterproof?
The first thing you should realize is the difference between a travel backpack that’s waterproof and one that’s water-resistant. If you are mostly going to be in and out of airports, up and down city streets, in and out of museums, and touring different other destinations, then a water-resistant backpack will be good for you. This is because when you go out to visit these places you will normally make sure beforehand that the weather is going to be nice, and the worst you’ll probably expect is a light drizzle of rain, or maybe a passing vehicle that splashes some street puddle water on to you while you’re window shopping on the sidewalk!
If your travel backpack is waterproof, it means that you expect to get wet on your trip. Technically, the word ‘waterproof’ means that the material of the backpack could actually be submerged in water, and keep all of your things dry. This type of backpack is ideal if you were, say, rafting on a river in a canoe, or if you wanted to walk through or underneath a waterfall. Still, with the number of electronic gadgets that people carry with them on trips today (laptops, phones, tablets, etc.) some travelers still feel the need to get a backpack that’s labeled waterproof to protect these high priced, valuable items.
q: Is there a limit to how much I should put inside of my travel backpack?
If you’re visiting a major tourist destination, then there are going to be several places where you’ll pick up small souvenirs and other items. This is why it’s important to not pack your backpack all the way full. You should try to leave about 25% of your travel backpack empty. This is unless, of course, you’re on the way to the airport, and taking every single one of your belongings with you to your next destination.
q: What features should my travel backpack have?
One of the first things buyers look for in a travel backpack is a laptop holder. These holders are not just good for laptops, but also for magazines, books, and other items that have that similar flat shape. You want to also be sure that your backpack has waist wraps. If you do a lot of traveling, these are going to save your lower back in the long term. Getting a backpack that has extra padding on the back of it for back support as well as padding on the waist belt, shoulder straps, and inside compartments are also recommended.
You should also keep an eye out for a travel backpack that has locker zippers on them, or ones that come with combination locks. There are a lot of pickpockets in airports and unfamiliar distant locations, and in a very crowded area its easy for a thief to unzip your backpack (from behind you while you’re wearing it), grab something quickly, then head in a different direction without you ever knowing, at least not to you get back to your hotel and notice something missing.
- HOW TO CHOOSE & BUY THE RIGHT TRAVEL BACKPACK (2019 EDITION), Travel Blog ,
- BEST TRAVEL BACKPACK | GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE PERFECT BACKPACK (2018), Travel and Advice Blog ,