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28 Best Travel Backpacks & Carry-On Options

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A good, sturdy travel backpack is a necessity these days. Carrying your belongings while keeping your hands free during travel is life-changing.

Believe me. As a traveling woman, I can testify that having your things within reach and comfortably snugged across your back is much more convenient. Between travel purses and tote bags, the shoulders can be the most complex working body parts any day. But after hours of traveling? Oof. Where’s the spa?

Backpacks are designed to make travel easier on you, and your spine (and grumpy customs agents, I suppose) are readily available. They come in all shapes and sizes, are loaded with features, are stylish, and are comfortable to boot.

We looked at dozens of travel backpacks for this list and ranked them according to user reviews, personal experience, and general usability. Our recommendations typically have preferred features, such as side pockets for water bottles, a Camelback option, or an electronics pocket. They’re also generally waterproof and machine-washable (unless otherwise labeled).

So save some wear and tear on your shoulders and neck. Please make one of our recommended backpacks your luggage staple. Looking for even more protection while you travel? Consider SafetyWing for your travel insurance needs.

What We Cover

TL;DR: Top Picks by Category

The best travel backpack is the one that fits you and your specific needs. What works for another person may not necessarily suit you. These are solid options with great all-around useful features in most situations.

Category Product Name
Best Travel Backpack Overall Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
Budget Backpack High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack
Women’s Backpack The North Face Women’s Terra 40 Pack
Anti-Theft Backpack Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Travel Backpack

Best Carry-on Travel Backpacks & Daypacks

Having the right backpack can make all the difference. Not only must it be comfortable and functional, but it also needs to fit all your belongings without becoming too bulky. The best carry-on backpacks offer comfort, style, and durability, making them perfect for various travel needs.

These backpacks are usually lightweight and have plenty of compartments and pockets for easy organization.

Many have laptop sleeves, adjustable straps, hip belts, and compression straps to make it easier to carry. They also often feature waterproof materials and tough fabrics, making them perfect for any weather.

1. Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L

Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L
Patagonia Black Hole Pack / Patagonia

The Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L is a superb option for a reliable, mid-size carry-on backpack. It’s constructed with 330D recycled polyester ripstop and TPU-film laminate and has a water-repellent DWR finish. Its laptop sleeve is padded and can fit up to a 15-inch laptop, while its cavernous water bottle pockets are super-elastic.

This backpack also offers excellent organization options with a key keeper, internal organization panel, and a mesh pocket. It’s adjustable straps and hip belt make it comfortable to carry, and its secure external zippered pocket is a great place to store your most valuable items.

Its lightweight construction and multiple compartments make it perfect for packing cubes and compression straps. With its stylish design and comfortable straps, this travel backpack is also perfect for everyday use. It’s lightweight, durable, and offers plenty of room for all your travel essentials.

Pros

  • Mid-size carry-on backpack, suitable for air travel
  • Durable 330D recycled polyester ripstop with TPU-film laminate and water-repellent DWR finish
  • Excellent organization options: key keeper, internal organization panel, and mesh pocket
  • Secure external zippered pocket for valuables
  • Lightweight construction, suitable for packing cubes and compression straps
  • Stylish and sustainable design, perfect for everyday use

Cons

  • Some travelers may prefer a larger capacity for longer trips or more packing space
  • Not specifically stated as fully waterproof, only water-repellent

2. Thule Subterra Backpack 34L

Thule Subterra Backpack 34L
Thule Subterra / Amazon

You’d be hard-pressed to find many sturdy and versatile travel backpacks as the Thule Subterra Backpack 34L. It has a large magnetic roll-top opening that lets you easily reach in and see what you need quickly — useful when customs agents are scowling at you.

One of the greatest inventions in the luggage space is the packing cube, and the Thule has one inside of it—Holy Mother of Organization.

Thule Subterra Backpack 34L Inside Pockets
Thule Subterra / Amazon

Traveling with your laptop? Of course, you are. The Thule Subterra has a padded space for it that securely closes. It also has an internal power pocket to keep your cords neat between your mobile charger and device. There’s more to it, as well.

A small pocket on the side holds your water bottle. Finally, this backpack has a pass-through panel to secure it in your rolling luggage.

Pros

  • The packing cube is removable if you don’t need it
  • Has a zippered side opening

Cons

  • Not waterproof, but it is water-resistant
  • The exterior pocket is small

See Related: Travel Drones

3. Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack

Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack
Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack / Samsonite

The Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack is an excellent option for those looking for a carry-on backpack that is lightweight and durable. It’s constructed with polyester and nylon and has a water-resistant coating. The backpack features adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt for comfort, and its laptop sleeve is padded and can fit up to a 17-inch laptop.

The Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack also offers excellent organization options. It has a separate compartment for clothes and external pockets. Its main compartment opens fully, and its theft-deterrent zippers provide extra security.

It’s affordable and lightweight, perfect for quick weekends or longer journeys. The difference between the small travel backpack often called a daypack, and a regular travel backpack is in its intended purpose. The more you know.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable carry-on backpack
  • Polyester and nylon construction with water-resistant coating
  • Padded laptop sleeve for up to a 17-inch laptop
  • Excellent organization options: separate compartment for clothes and external pockets
  • The main compartment opens fully for easy access
  • Affordable, suitable for quick weekends or longer journeys

Cons

  • Not specifically designed as a daypack, it may be larger than needed for daily commutes or urban excursions
  • The water-resistant coating may not provide full waterproof protection in heavy rain or wet conditions

4. Topo Designs Men’s Daypack

Topo Designs Men’s Daypack
Topo Designs Men’s Daypack / Amazon

Regarding travel backpacks for men, the Topo Designs Men’s Daypack is a fantastic daily option. It’s made of ballistic woven fabric for superior durability and has padded straps for ultimate comfort.

Your 15-inch laptop will fit easily. And the diagonal zips and other touches give this pack a stylish, contemporary look.

Unlike many daypacks, this one has a few internal pockets for extra organization. There are also pockets for water bottles on either side. The pack makes an excellent travel carry-on and fits easily under your seat. If you’re going for a weekend, this may be the only baggage you’ll need.

Pros

  • Great fit and stylish look
  • Internal and external pockets

Cons

  • Some reviewers weren’t crazy about the fashion-forward design
  • The compact size makes it good for a weekend but nothing longer

See Related: Travel Gadgets for Long Flights

5. Nomatic Navigator Premium Backpack

Nomatic Navigator Anti-Theft Premium Backpack
Nomatic Navigator Premium Backpack / Amazon

The Nomatic travel bag is on the smaller side with a 15L capacity, but it has a built-in 6L expansion providing more space. If you want something more minimalist for your travels, this backpack is functional and stylish with many innovative features.

The Nomatic travel pack also features cord pass-throughs, pen slots, mesh organizational pockets, external carry straps, laptop storage, a breathable back panel, a sternum backpack strap, exterior handles, and a quick-access fleece-lined pocket.

Nomatic Navigator Premium Backpack Laptop Pocket
Nomatic Navigator Premium Backpack / Amazon

Pros

  • Functional everyday carry design
  • Water and tamper-resistant materials, making it more durable and long-lasting
  • Comfortable and versatile
  • It can be slid onto your rolling luggage, making it easier to transport everything

Cons

  • Only has an internal water bottle and no external water bottle pockets
  • This travel backpack is priced higher than other options

Best Weekend Travel Backpacks

Weekend trips are a great way to find respite from the chaos of everyday life and explore new places. Having the proper travel backpack to make the most of your weekend getaway.

When deciding on a weekender backpack, you’ll want to consider the travel backpack’s size, features, and price. You’ll also want to consider the weight and how comfortable it is. Additionally, you’ll need to consider how many pockets and compartments the backpack has and whether it has features such as a laptop sleeve or packing cubes.

6. Peak Design Duffelpack 45-65L

Peak Design Duffelpack 45-65L
Peak Design / Amazon

If luxury is important to you, you’ll love the first-class feeling of the Peak Design Duffelpack. It can expand from an already roomy 45L to a massive 65L. You know, in case you’re sailing around the world.

The actual nylon fabric is highly durable and rip-resistant. It’s also waterproof. You could probably camp in it. Kidding (maybe – the 65L is enormous and perfect for those who love one-bag travel).

Peak Design Duffelpack Inside Pockets
Peak Design / Amazon

As for comfort, the shoulder and hip straps of this Peak Design travel backpack are padded and can be stowed if needed. Even the straps are padded, so you won’t amputate your fingers. And the backpack features convenient storage galore for your little things in two external and two internal pockets.

Pros:

  • It comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Attractive sage color, so you’ll spot it immediately at baggage claim in the sea of black travel bags

Cons:

  • No laptop compartment
  • It’s not designed to be a carry-on

See Related: Monos Luggage Review: Is it Worth it?

7. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack in Green
Osprey / Amazon

The best backpack for travel during a gap year experience is the Osprey Farpoint 40 because of its utility. It comes in two versions: the Osprey Farpoint 40 for Women and the Osprey Farpoint 40 for Men.

Both have a front-loading design that is incredibly convenient for hostel stays. But the pack’s also super comfy due to its durable suspension system. It features straps that neatly stow and a padded grab handle if you need to carry it like a duffel.

A functional hip belt works as intended and can be used as a hiking backpack. Two front pockets made of mesh hold convenience items, water filters, and water bottles.

And a zippered smaller pocket contains a key fob for quick accessibility. (It also works well for stowing sunglasses.) This pack even has a compartment for your laptop.

Pros

  • Airline carry-on compliant
  • Also good as a hiking backpack

Cons

  • If the pack is filled, the laptop compartment loses capacity
  • Exterior mesh pockets are not zippered

See Related: Best Travel Gifts for Backpackers

8. Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L in Charcoal

Topo Designs 30 L Global Travel Bag Charcoal
Topo Designs Global Travel Bag / Amazon

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L in charcoal is a superb option for weekend travel. This lightweight, durable, and stylish bag makes it perfect for weekend trips.

The backpack straps are adjustable and comfortable, and the laptop sleeve has plenty of space for a 15-inch laptop. Additionally, the main compartment is spacious enough to fit all your weekend essentials, and plenty of zippered pockets and compartments keep everything organized.

The bag also has an easy-access front pocket and an interior mesh pocket with an adjustable drawcord. Additionally, it comes with a waist belt and a rain cover, making it ideal for outdoor adventures. The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is compatible with packing cubes, giving you even more organization options.

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L in charcoal is a great option for weekend travel, offering a great combination of size, features, and price. It is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has plenty of accessible compartments and pockets for your essentials.

Pros

  • Lightweight, durable, and stylish design
  • The laptop sleeve fits a 15-inch laptop
  • Spacious main compartment with zippered pockets and compartments for organization
  • Easy-access front pocket and interior mesh pocket with adjustable drawcord
  • The waist belt and rain cover are included, suitable for outdoor adventures
  • Compatible with packing cubes for additional organization options

Cons

  • 30L capacity may be too small for extended trips or heavy packers
  • Charcoal color may not appeal to all users, and limited color options could be a drawback

See Related: Credit Cards for International Travel

Best Adventure Travel Backpacks

For those looking for an adventure backpack, there are great options available. Regardless of your desire for a lightweight, durable bag for day trips or an all-in-one bag for longer trips, there are plenty of options.

9. Matein Travel Backpack, 40L

MATEIN Travel Backpack 40L
Matein Travel Backpack / Amazon

The Matein Travel Backpack, 40L, is a great choice for adventurers looking for a reliable and durable travel bag. With its expandable zipper compartment that can enlarge more than 8L for storage, TSA-friendly laptop compartment that can hold a 17-inch laptop and an iPad, compression straps, and waterproof packing cube to store shoes, it is ideal for any traveler who wants to stay light and organized.

Along with its excellent storage capacity, the Matein Travel Backpack has a USB charging port, luggage sleeve, and spacious pockets to access your travel essentials. The Matein Travel Backpack also has ergonomic padded shoulder straps and adjustable hip belts to carry your gear comfortably. The breathable mesh back panel helps keep you cool during long hikes or day trips.

It also features dedicated laptop sleeves, a waist belt, and external pockets for water bottles, making it the perfect bag for a day out in the city or a weekend getaway. And with its durable materials and rain cover, you can be sure your Matein Travel Backpack will last you for years.

Pros

  • Reliable and durable 40L travel backpack, expandable by 8L for additional storage
  • TSA-friendly laptop compartment for a 17-inch laptop and an iPad
  • Compression straps and waterproof packing cube for shoes
  • USB charging port, luggage sleeve, and spacious pockets for travel essentials
  • Ergonomic padded shoulder straps, adjustable hip belts, and breathable mesh back panel for comfort
  • Clamshell opening with ample packing space

Cons

  • 40L capacity may be too large for some travelers or not suitable for stricter carry-on requirements
  • Some users may prefer more color options or designs

10. Yeti 35L Backpack

YETI Crossroads Backpack 35L
YETI Crossroads Backpack / Amazon

The Yeti 35L Backpack is an excellent choice for travelers looking for a versatile, durable, lightweight backpack. This backpack features a clamshell opening that offers 180° fold-open convenience, a 360° padded laptop vault with a suspended sleeve and wraparound padding for extra protection, QuickGrabTM Lash Points, and MetalLockTM Hardware.

The Yeti 35L Backpack is also made of high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination to be puncture and abrasion-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor expeditions.

Coupled with its excellent design and durable materials, the Yeti 35L Backpack offers plenty of storage options to accommodate all your travel needs. It’s also the perfect bag for camping trips, as its multiple pockets and compartments make it easy to keep everything organized. Plus, the Yeti 35L Backpack is carry-on compliant and fits most overhead compartments, making traveling with it a breeze.

Pros

  • Versatile, durable, and lightweight 35L backpack
  • 360° padded laptop vault with suspended sleeve and wraparound padding
  • High-density nylon and thick TPU lamination for puncture and abrasion resistance
  • Multiple compartments for organization, including a laptop sleeve and quick-access pockets
  • Carry-on compliant and fits most overhead compartments

Cons

  • It may be too small for extended trips or heavy packers
  • Limited color or design options may not appeal to all users
  • The price point may be higher compared to similar backpacks in the market

11. The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel 32L

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel - 32 L
North Face Base Camp Voyager / REI.com

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel 32L is a superb choice for adventure travelers, offering features and carrying options that make it a great choice for any trip.

The bag is made of durable, recycled body and boot materials and has four compression straps, a water-resistant ID pocket on top, and a new zip mesh storage bag that can be used as a packing cube. It also has detachable, adjustable, alpine-cut shoulder straps, a laptop compartment, and a rain cover.

The bag is also lightweight and has a cylindrical design that is roomy and efficient. It is carry-on compliant, so it is perfect for those looking for a travel backpack that can be taken on an airplane. The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel 32L is spacious enough to fit multiple items, making it ideal for weekend trips or extended expeditions.

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel 32L is an excellent choice for those looking for a durable, space-efficient travel backpack that is also carry-on compliant.

Pros

  • Excellent option for adventure travelers
  • Durable, recycled body and boot materials
  • Four compression straps for secure packing
  • Water-resistant ID pocket and zip mesh storage bag for organization
  • Detachable, adjustable, alpine-cut shoulder straps
  • Lightweight, cylindrical design for efficient packing
  • Spacious enough for weekend trips or extended expeditions

Cons

  • May not have as many organizational pockets as other travel backpacks
  • All users may not prefer the cylindrical design
  • Limited size options available compared to other duffel bag series

12. Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack 45L

Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack
Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack / Away

The Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack 45L is a superb choice for those seeking a giant backpack. It is made from durable and lightweight nylon, making it perfect for long trips.

This convertible luxury backpack also has a convenient clamshell opening for easy packing and unpacking. It also has compression straps, a water bottle pocket, and an adjustable waist belt for additional carrying options.

The Away F.A.R Convertible Backpack 45L has a two-year warranty and is available in multiple colors. Additionally, it’s perfect for those looking to take weekend trips with only a carry-on travel backpack, as it is spacious enough to fit all your essentials.

Pros

  • Large capacity (45L) backpack suitable for long trips and weekend getaways
  • Durable and lightweight nylon material
  • Adjustable shoulder straps, padded hip belt, sternum strap, and well-padded back panel for maximum comfort
  • Large main compartment, two external pockets, and laptop compartment with lockable zippers
  • Easy-access passport pocket and dedicated laptop pocket
  • Two-year warranty and available in multiple colors

Cons

  • It may be too large for some travelers, especially for those prioritizing carry-on compliance
  • Potential for overpacking and exceeding airline weight limits due to large capacity

13. Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
Cotopaxi Allpa / Amazon

This marvel is a small travel backpack with features that will take you from the airport to town and the country. Although the Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack is lightweight and compact, the roomy 35L interior holds enough clothing for a 10-day trip, according to one reviewer.

Cotopaxi created this second-gen pack as a smaller carry-on alternative to their popular adventure carry-on backpack system. The low-profile harness system of the Cotopaxi Allpa keeps the weight evenly distributed, and there’s a padded pocket for a laptop.

Heavy-duty zippers close the main compartment, and pockets keep belongings secure. External pockets offer theft-proof webbing, too. Carabiner loops, straps that stow, grab handles, and a packable rain cover round out this pack’s utility and ruggedness. Read our full Cotopaxi Allpa review after testing and demoing the backpack.

Pros

  • Mid-sized travel backpack with a balance of capacity, accessibility, and organization
  • Durable and waterproof polyester material
  • Mesh across the back helps with ventilation and comfort
  • Two external pockets, a laptop compartment, and a large main compartment with a clamshell opening
  • Waterproof even without pulling out the rain cover
  • Water bottle pocket, key clip, and compression strap for easy packing

Cons

  • Not suitable for those looking for a budget option
  • The hip belt is flimsy compared to the other straps
  • Interior compartments take up valuable clothing space

See Related: Portable Travel Toothbrush

14. Mystery Ranch Glacier

Mystery Ranch Glacier Side View
Mystery Ranch Glacier / Amazon

The heavy-duty Mystery Ranch Glacier is the best travel backpack for men and women who call hitting the trail a vacation. The company is a favorite of my outdoorsy husband, who planned a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After spending hours researching and talking with customer service reps of various outfitters, he settled on Mystery Ranch’s 100L T100.

The Glacier is the 70L option but still has many features and rooms. Unless you, too, are planning an epic trek, you probably don’t need 100L.

This backpack has a large top opening for easy packing. The top can be detached and used as a daypack. Zips on the sides make it easy to access the interior without unpacking the whole thing.

On the exterior are two large pockets for everything else. This is the ultimate travel backpack for the ultimate travel adventure.

Pros

  • One of the highest-quality packs on the market. Many users are former and currently deployed military
  • Excellent (and patient) customer service

Cons

  • Pricey, but the pack will last longer than you will – an instant heirloom
  • Most experienced hikers know this, but you’ll need to buy and carry a couple of extra hip belt buckles. They will break on the trail — even on Mystery Ranch packs

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First-Class Flights

15. Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack
Osprey / Amazon

The Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack is an excellent choice for a larger-capacity travel backpack with a lifetime warranty. The backpack has adjustable shoulder straps, a laptop sleeve, and plenty of compartments for storing your items. Additionally, it has a dedicated tablet/hydration sleeve and water bottle pockets, making it perfect for long trips.

The Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack is a great choice for those looking for a larger-capacity travel backpack built to last. The backpack is durable and has a lifetime warranty, ensuring your travels will be worry-free. Given the large size, it’s a great option for those looking to suit one-bag travel.

Pros

  • Larger-capacity travel backpack
  • Lifetime warranty for peace of mind
  • Dedicated tablet/hydration sleeve
  • Water bottle pockets for convenience
  • Durable construction to withstand long trips

Cons

  • May be too large for some users’ preferences or carry-on restrictions
  • Heavier than some other backpack options due to its larger capacity
  • Price point might be higher compared to similar-capacity backpacks

Best Travel Backpacks for Men

We’ve picked out a few bags that make the best backpacks for men’s travel due to their style, usability, durability, functionality, and, most importantly, good fit.

16. Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack

ATMOS 65 Osprey Travel Backpack
Osprey / Amazon

One of the best travel backpacks for men is the roomy, rugged Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG. This travel backpack will deliver if you’re more likely to travel for adventure than for business. Anti-gravity suspension makes the pack feel lighter than it should—the shoulder harness and hip belt help to facilitate the ideal fit.

Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack from Back
Osprey / Amazon
Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack Side Net
Osprey / Amazon

The pockets on this thing are made of mesh. Perfect for shoving in a rain jacket or windbreaker. You can stow water bottles in the zippered mesh hip pockets. But it also has a hydration sleeve for a 3L water reservoir (like a Camelback, sold separately).

Pros

  • Breathable mesh on the back will keep you from getting sweaty
  • Over-the-top comfort and fit

Cons

  • Hikers commented that the pocket zippers are challenging to open with one hand
  • The suspension system may not work as well for big, heavy loads
  • The water sleeve is sold separately

See Related: Best Luxury Travel Gifts for Him

17. Matador SEG45 Travel Pack

Matador SEG45 Travel Pack Charcoal color
Matador / REI.com

The Matador SEG45 Travel Pack is a versatile and functional backpack designed for travelers who value organization and convenience. This backpack features a clamshell-style opening that allows easy access to its spacious main compartment, which is further divided into multiple pockets and compartments to keep your gear organized. The pack includes a separate laptop compartment and a front pocket with organizational panels.

Made of high-quality materials, the SEG45 is durable and water-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor adventures. It also features a padded back panel and shoulder straps for comfort, as well as a stowable waist belt for added support.

Front of Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
Matador / REI.com

One unique feature of the Matador SEG45 is its compression system, which allows you to reduce the pack’s volume when you’re not carrying as much gear. This is especially useful when you’re traveling by plane and want to avoid extra baggage fees.

Back of Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
Matador / REI.com

Pros

  • Well-organized interior with multiple pockets and compartments
  • Durable and water-resistant materials
  • Comfortable back panel and shoulder straps
  • Stowable waist belt for added support
  • Compression system to reduce pack volume

Cons

  • No external water bottle pockets
  • Expensive compared to some other travel backpacks on the market
  • Some users may find the clamshell opening awkward to use in tight spaces

See Related: Best Cross-Body Bags for Travel

18. Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack

Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack / Amazon

The Pacsafe Venturesafe travel backpack is a 25L anti-theft backpack. It’s smaller, but its features make up for this. This carry-on travel backpack has interlocking zippers, cut-resistant fabric with a lightweight steel mesh inlay, a detachable shoulder strap to secure the bag, and an RFID-blocking pocket to prevent unauthorized credit card scans.

Since 2019, newer models have featured a completely redesigned strap adjustment system, so you can now adjust the backpack straps from 17 to 36 inches. The top carrying handle is now padded, and the bag also features honeycomb padded back support.

Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack Backview
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack / Amazon

When it comes to organization, this Pacsafe Venturesafe travel backpack doesn’t disappoint. There are two lockable zipper compartments, one padded, and a suspended interior notebook sleeve that can fit a laptop of up to 15 inches, as well as one mesh zip pocket and key clip.

The opening at the top of the bag can fit a hydration pack, and there are two side pockets for water bottles or even your umbrella. The shoulder straps and hip straps are padded for comfort, and the adjustable sternum strap can also be adjusted for height.

Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack Top Pocket
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack / Amazon

Finally, the bag is made of soft but durable, water-resistant materials. Its easy-to-clean nylon and polyester construction ensures long-lasting use.

Pros

  • Keeps your belongings safe and secure as you travel
  • Water-resistant and easy to clean
  • Plenty of compartments for organization
  • Adjustable for height and better weight distribution

Cons

  • No organizational pockets in the main compartment
  • Bag has a smaller capacity than other travel options

See Related: The Complete Backpacking Checklist for Traveler

19. Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45 Pack

MYSTERY RANCH Mission Rover Pack
Mystery Ranch / REI.com

The Mystery Ranch Mission Rover 45 Pack is a durable and versatile travel backpack designed to meet the needs of travelers who demand high performance and organization.

This pack features a spacious main compartment with multiple internal pockets and a separate zippered compartment for shoes or dirty laundry. It also includes a padded laptop sleeve and a front zippered pocket with organizational panels.

Made of high-quality materials, the Mission Rover 45 is built to withstand the rigors of travel. It features a weather-resistant coating and durable YKK zippers, as well as a comfortable back panel and shoulder straps.

One standout feature of the Mission Rover 45 is its unique 3-way carry system, which allows you to carry the pack as a backpack, shoulder bag, or briefcase-style tote. This versatility makes it ideal for a wide range of travel situations.

MYSTERY RANCH Mission Rover backview
Mystery Ranch / REI.com

Pros

  • Spacious main compartment with multiple internal pockets
  • Separate zippered compartment for shoes or dirty laundry
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Comfortable back panel and shoulder straps
  • Weather-resistant coating and durable YKK zippers
  • 3-way carry system for versatile use

Cons

  • Expensive compared to some other travel backpacks on the market
  • Some users may find the pack’s design too bulky for their needs

20. High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack

High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack
High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack / Amazon

The High Sierra Access Laptop Travel Backpack comes in various color options. It has a large, multi-compartment 45L capacity and design, making organizing all your items for your trip easy.

The laptop sleeve is fully padded and fits most 15” laptops. The deluxe media pocket has a headphone port.

This High Sierra travel backpack also features mesh beverage pockets and articulated S-shaped mesh shoulder straps with an adjustable sternum strap. The zippered accessory pockets and the tricot-lined media pockets protect all your items.

High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack Front Pockets
High Sierra Access Laptop Backpack / Amazon

Pros

  • It comes in a variety of color options
  • Large main compartment
  • Plenty of storage and organizational options
  • Deluxe airflow with mesh padded back panel
  • Dedicated padded laptop sleeve and Tech Spot sleeves (excellent for business travelers)

Cons

  • It does not have a built-in rain cover like its previous model
  • If you overfill the bag, it might not pass as a carry-on for your flight

See Related: Travel Toiletry Bags

Best Travel Backpacks for Women

Confidently travel the world with these stylish, durable backpacks that are comfortable enough to take anywhere.

21. The North Face Women’s Terra 40 Pack

The North Face Terra 40 Pack for Women
North Face / Amazon

Looking for a travel backpack as adventurous as you are? Take a look at The North Face Women’s Terra 40 Pack. It’s a genuine technical pack that is comfortable and roomy enough for a backcountry camping trip. You’ll be able to use this as luggage, too.

The company’s patent-pending lift system and complementary support technology are designed for quick load adjustments. Along with an adjustable hip belt, this tech means you’ll be able to carry the most significant loads comfortably.

The North Face Women's Terra Backpacking Backpack
North Face / Amazon

Interior compartments keep your things separated and easily accessible. Carry a sleeping bag under the floating lid, too. This heavy-duty pack is also designed to hold your preferred hydration system.

Pros

  • Offers tons of space
  • Completely waterproof

Cons

  • Doesn’t seem to have the ventilation of other similar packs
  • The pack itself weighs more than its competitors

See Related: Essential Travel Safety Tips for Trips

22. Osprey Daylite Plus

Osprey Daylite Plus
Osprey / Amazon

Thousands of five-star reviews say the best travel daypack is the Osprey Daylite Plus. Let’s take a look. The opening is large, so you can easily reach inside, and a sleeve is ready to hold either a water reservoir or tablet.

Osprey Daylite Plus from Back

On the outside, two-sided mesh exterior pockets can secure your small extras and accommodate a water bottle. Another pocket on the front is suitable for stowing rain gear. The water-resistant back is covered in ventilating mesh for comfort.

Pros

  • For a daypack, it’s quite spacious, and reviewers were surprised by how much stuff it could handle
  • Lightweight yet still a high-quality pack

Cons

  • There are limits to how much you can adjust the backpack straps, and they don’t stow if you don’t need them
  • Other than the sleeve on the inside, there are no interior pockets

23. High Sierra Loop Backpack

High Sierra Loop Backpack
High Sierra Loop Backpack / Amazon

The High Sierra Loop backpack is a great option as a travel backpack for women because of the generously large main compartment and multiple pockets for storage and organization. It also features stylish color choices that stand out on a baggage carousel.

High Sierra Loop Backpack Laptop Pocket
High Sierra Loop Backpack / Amazon

The backpack features a dedicated laptop sleeve and multiple pockets, including pen pockets and a key fob hook. You can keep even your most minor items secure as you travel.

The compression strap design lets you cinch the bag down smaller and secure your gear as you carry it. The straps also provide extra storage for items such as your jacket or a sleeping bag.

The suspension system of the High Sierra Loop travel backpack is suitable for those times when you have to carry a heavier load as you travel. It helps dampen shock and spreads the weight more quickly.

Pros

  • Many designs and colors to choose from
  • Premium organizer with multiple pockets
  • Mesh padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • You can attach extra gear with the bottom compression straps
  • Has a large, multi-compartment design
  • It can be used as a carry-on

Cons

  • This travel backpack is not waterproof
  • It is not machine washable, making it harder to clean

24. TUMI Voyageur Carson Laptop Backpack

TUMI Voyageur Carson Laptop Backpack

The TUMI Voyageur Carson laptop backpack should be on your list if you are looking for a stylish yet dependable travel backpack. It features a double zip entry to the main compartment and a front U-zip pocket, and it also has a zippered entry to the laptop compartment, which accommodates a 15” laptop.

In addition to these storage and organizational options, you’ll also find a side zip pocket, a side zip water-resistant water bottle pocket, a quick access phone pocket with magnetic snap, and a front straight pocket with a locking zipper pull.

TUMI Voyageur Carson Laptop Backpack Pockets
TUMI / Amazon

Inside the travel backpack, you’ll also find a tablet pocket, one large open pocket, two smaller open pockets, a zip pocket with a TUMI tracer, a card pocket, and a pen pocket.

This backpack comes in colors, each one pretty chic. You might even want to swap out your purse for a jazzy, snazzy number.

Pros

  • Will hold all your essentials without being too bulky
  • Has a back sleeve so it can slip over extended luggage handles
  • The TUMI tracer helps with lost or stolen travel bags
  • The specially designed waterproof pocket can hold umbrellas, water bottles, and damp items
  • Padded laptop compartment for enhanced protection
  • Simple and practical design

Cons

  • This travel backpack is on the more expensive side
  • Some find that the straps are too long

Best Travel Backpacks for Kids

Our review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention a few cute travel backpacks for our kid travelers! All of the options listed below are cute, stylish, and functional.

When you give a kid a travel backpack, you can get them to adopt good travel habits and practices early on — and (hopefully) carry their stuff!

25. Cherubic Kids Travel Mini Bag

Cherubic Kids Travel Mini Bag
Cherubic Kids Travel Mini Bag / Amazon

The Cherubic Kids travel mini bag comes in various colors and patterns your child will love. Find me the toddler that hates dinosaurs or unicorns. I dare you.

While on the smaller side, this pack offers ample space with two front pockets and the main compartment. The adjustable straps allow you to find the best and most comfortable fit for your child, according to their height.

This travel backpack is versatile and can serve multiple uses, including camping, backpacking, hiking, and school. It’s great for a day trip to the zoo or traveling on an airplane. The pack can hold all your child’s essentials, including crayons, pens, paper, snacks, etc.

Cherubic Kids Travel Mini Bag Designs
Cherubic Kids Travel Mini Bag / Amazon

Pros

  • Adjustable shoulder straps for the perfect fit
  • Made of durable materials, it is long-lasting
  • Comes in fun designs and colors
  • Perfect for most 3 to 5-year-olds

Cons

  • No water bottle compartment
  • On the smaller side

26. Hipotuo Unicorn Travel Backpack

Cute Kid Rainbow Backpack
Hipotuo Unicorn Travel Backpack / Amazon

Regarding cute travel backpacks, this one makes the list. It is made of thickened, waterproof Oxford cloth material and has a large capacity that is perfect for any trip.

This cute backpack features S-shaped widening shoulder straps that fit the child’s shoulders and neck, relieving pressure. It also has an anti-theft back pocket to place valuables for safe protection. There is even a compartment on the side that holds a water bottle.

Cute Casual Travel Backpack Pockets
Hipotuo Unicorn Travel Backpack / Amazon

Plenty of mesh pockets help with organization, and a mesh pocket can hold a small tablet, with smaller pockets for a cellphone, pens, markers, or whatever smaller items your child travels with. It’s cute as all heck. I’m buying one for myself. No shame.

Pros

  • Plenty of storage and pockets for organization
  • Large capacity main compartment
  • Anti-theft features for safety and protection
  • Multi-functional bag made with durable materials

Cons

  • Does not offer any padding to protect the electronics
  • Can only be hand-washed
  • MAKE ONE FOR ADULTS PLEASE

27. Hydrajet 12 Kid’s Hydration Backpack

Hydrajet 12 Kid's Hydration Backpack
Osprey / Amazon

The Hydrajet Kids Hydration Backpack is a great option for active kids who need to stay hydrated on the go. This backpack features a 1.5-liter hydration reservoir and a tube with a bite valve for easy drinking. The reservoir is easy to fill and clean, and the backpack also includes additional storage compartments for snacks and other small items.

The backpack is durable and lightweight, making it comfortable for kids to wear while running, biking, or hiking. It also features reflective accents for added visibility in low-light conditions.

One unique feature of the Hydrajet Kids Hydration Backpack is its fun and colorful design, which will appeal to kids of all ages.

Osprey Hydrajet 12 Kid's Hydration Backpack
Osprey / Amazon

Pros

  • 1.5-liter hydration reservoir with easy-to-use bite valve
  • Lightweight and durable materials
  • Additional storage compartments for snacks and other small items
  • Reflective accents for added visibility in low-light conditions
  • Fun and colorful design

Cons

  • Some users may find the backpack too small for older or larger kids
  • The bite valve may leak if not properly secured after use

28. Eagerrich Kawaii Backpack With Cute Pin Accessories

Eagerrich Kawaii Backpack
Eagerrich Kawaii Backpack/ Amazon

The Eagerrich Kawaii Backpack offers a ton of cute options to choose from. Each bag is made of nylon material and has zipper closures. A spacious main zippered compartment offers an expanded size (12.6” x 4.3” x 16.9”), two side pockets, and three front pockets. It is also a good bag for holding loose items such as books, a mobile phone, stationery, and clothing.

The adjustable shoulder straps are padded and soft to reduce the pressure on the child’s shoulders, making them comfortable to wear during weekend trips.

The nylon and mesh fabric is lightweight but durable. The material is coated and wear-resistant. The material stops water from penetrating the bag if it gets wet during the rain. It’s also breathable and functional. Best of all, it has three different pins to decorate the bag and a fluffy little buddy.

Pros

  • Many cute designs to choose from
  • Just the right size for your child and their essential travel gear
  • Multi-functional compartments for organization
  • Abrasion and water-resistant

Cons

  • The backpack is dry-cleaned only

Buying Guide for Choosing the Best Travel Backpack

These best travel backpacks can handle all the trips, treks, and globetrotting you can throw at them. When shopping for the best travel backpack, there are multiple factors to consider to find the best fit for your needs.

Capacity, accessibility, carrying options, pockets and organization, durability, space efficiency, and carry-on compliance are all critical factors to consider when selecting the best backpack for your travels. There’s a science to this, you know!

Type

Consider the type of travel you plan to embark on, such as urban exploring, hiking, or business trips. Each trip may require specific features, like a laptop sleeve or hydration system compatibility. Keep these needs in mind while evaluating your options.

There is no one-size-fits-all option for travel backpacks because we all have our needs and wants. For example, you’re going on a work trip and must bring your laptop; you want a travel bag with a laptop pocket.

Or you may have to pack a charger but still need plenty of room for clothing and other items. In this case, you may want a different option. We’ve covered the types of travel backpacks in more detail below if you’d like to consider a more thorough analysis of the available options.

Easy Access

Regarding finding the best travel backpack, accessibility is an essential factor to consider. It is essential to find a bag that provides easy access to the main compartment and any pockets or compartments the backpack may have. Features such as U-shape designs, clamshell openings, and hidden anti-theft pockets can all make a backpack more accessible.

The shoulder straps are also an essential factor to consider when selecting a travel backpack, so select a backpack with comfortable shoulder straps that are adjustable and padded. For instance, the Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L has adjustable shoulder straps and is designed for comfortable carry even with a heavy load.

Traveling can expose you to various risks, so finding a backpack with security features such as lockable zippers, hidden compartments, and slash-resistant materials is crucial. These measures will help safeguard your belongings against theft and loss.

From hidden anti-theft pockets to clamshell options and U-shape designs, a range of features can make a travel backpack more accessible and easier to use. This results in a better travel experience overall.

Capacity

And that brings us to the capacity of your travel backpack. Consider the backpack’s capacity in liters, and choose one that matches the gear you typically bring on your trips. It’s also essential to have multiple compartments, pockets, and external attachment points for efficient organization and easy access to your belongings.

A travel bag often replaces a suitcase. If this is the case for you, you want something with at least 40 liters of capacity. The average carry-on bag has a 35L to 45L capacity, so keep this in mind as you narrow your choices.

When considering space, you need to look at the pockets and organization the bag offers. If the backpack features several external pockets and other compartments, this may reduce the space you will have in the main compartment.

Pockets & Organization

Regarding travel backpacks, selecting a backpack with ample pockets and organization features is essential to help maximize packing space and ensure your belongings are secure. You’ll want to find a backpack with plenty of smaller pockets for travel documents, laptops, and other items.

Travel backpacks can also help organize belongings while traveling. Packing cubes, compression bags, and other organizational items can help organize belongings and maximize packing space. Additionally, look for backpacks with features such as top external pockets, side pouches, and internal pockets that can be used to store and organize items.

Finally, it is vital to consider the type of pocket configuration a travel backpack offers. Mesh pockets can help store items such as toiletries, while other pockets may be useful for items such as cameras and other travel gear. Look for backpacks with external pockets that can be used to store items such as water bottles.

By selecting a backpack with ample pockets, organizational features, and easy access, you can have the most comfortable and convenient experience possible.

Material and Quality

You must prioritize the materials and quality when choosing the best travel backpack. Polyester is a material often used in cheaper travel backpacks.

Instead, watch for ballistic and ripstop nylon because they can hold up to all the travel bumps. Backpacks made of these materials are also usually water- and abrasion-resistant. If a travel backpack has mesh, it will have good ventilation and be comfortable to carry around, even on hot days. It might get too hot without mesh and cause you to sweat more.

Finally, padding is crucial for a travel backpack, especially if you carry your laptop or other electronics. More foam means your backpack will have better resistance to shock and impact.

Types of Backpacks

When it comes to travel, having the right backpack is essential for a successful trip. Many travel backpacks are available, designed to meet different needs and preferences.

These include everyday backpacks, laptop backpacks, duffel backpacks, tote backpacks, drawstring backpacks, carry-on backpacks, TSA-compliant backpacks, and wheeled backpacks. They can also be categorized into travel, hiking, sporting, and multi-purpose backpacks.

Everyday backpacks are great for light travel. These packs often come with shoulder straps and hip belts for added comfort and support and are perfect for everyday use or short trips.

Laptop backpacks are designed to accommodate laptops and other tech gear, with padded laptop sleeves for added protection. Meanwhile, duffel backpacks are ideal for weekend trips, as they offer plenty of storage space and can often be carried as a suitcase or a backpack, depending on the user’s preference.

Carry-on Backpacks

Carry-on backpacks are the most popular type of travel backpack, as they are designed to meet the size requirements of most airlines and provide a convenient way to travel.

They are often made by the same manufacturers that make outdoor and hiking backpacks, offering features such as hip belts, shoulder straps, laptop sleeves, and packing cubes for the organization. Women-specific carry-on backpacks are also available, and many brands offer two different fits for different body types.

For added comfort, consider features like lockable D-rings, side water bottle pockets, small-scale pockets, padded shoulder straps, and hip belts. Carry-on backpacks are usually medium-sized, but some are small enough for carry-on luggage for most airlines. Also, consider the budget, as budget backpackers have some affordable options.

Adventure Backpacks

Illustration of a hiker with backpack and trekking essentials guide.

Adventure backpacks are designed for longer trips and more rugged activities like hiking, camping, and multi-day backpacking.

These backpacks are typically larger than carry-on backpacks and often have features such as adjustable hip belts, sternum straps, and compression straps to keep the load secure. Adventure backpacks also typically have lockable zippers and rain covers for added protection.

For this type of travel pack, consider the size, features, and brands that best suit your needs when shopping for an adventure backpack. Meanwhile, look for features such as a clamshell opening for easy access, hip belts for added comfort and support, and compartments for organizing gear.

If you want a lightweight option, consider a 40L travel backpack, such as the Matein Travel Backpack, as it is designed for long trips and offers plenty of storage space. Consider the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack for a more affordable option.

Weekend Backpacks

Weekend backpacks are designed for short trips and are often smaller and more lightweight than other travel backpacks. These backpacks typically have a clamshell opening, making it easy to pack and unpack clothes and other items. They also have compartments for organizing items and are perfect for weekend trips or overnight trekking.

Consider the size, features, and brands best suit your needs when shopping for a weekend backpack. Look for adjustable shoulder and waist straps for added comfort and support and lockable zippers for extra security.

Smaller packs, such as the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L in Charcoal, are perfect for weekend trips, while larger packs, such as the Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack, are great for longer trips.

FAQs

What are the most important features to have in a travel backpack?

When selecting the perfect travel backpack, consider comfort, size, durability, and organization. Ensure the backpack fits your body type, has adequate space for your belongings, and is made from high-quality materials. Don’t forget to look for practical organization features such as compartments and pockets to keep your items secure and easily accessible.

Are any travel backpacks designed specifically for men, women, or both?

Travel backpack designs exist specifically for men, women, or both. Some brands offer gender-specific designs with ergonomic features tailored to different body shapes. Unisex backpacks with adjustable straps and padding cater to a broader range of travelers.

Can I bring a travel backpack as a carry-on?

Yes, you can bring a travel backpack as a carry-on if it meets the size requirements set out by your airline. Don’t forget to check with the airline before flying to confirm their size restrictions for carry-on luggage.

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