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Best Travel Backpack [2019]

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
  • TSA-Friendly
  • Tons Of Storage Space
  • Can Hold Laptops Up To 15 Inches


For the price, the Farpoint 40 from Osprey hits the sweet spot. You get plenty of storage space for a solid weekend (plus a few days) with plenty of features found on higher-end travel backpacks.

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack
  • Weather-Resistant Material
  • 15 Different Color Options To Match Your Personality
  • Folds Up When Not In Use, Big Enough To Hold Up To Two Days Of Clothing


Looking for an inexpensive travel backpack with plenty of storage for a short trip? The Outlander ultra-lightweight is right up your alley. It is one of the least expensive options on our list with plenty of features. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it weighs less than 0.5 pounds unloaded.

Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack with 3-Piece Packing Cube Set
  • Fashionable Aesthetics
  • Tons Of Adjustability Options For Added Comfort
  • IATA Flight Approved


If you want more than a simple bag, the Hynes Eagle 40L with 3-Piece is perfect. It’s not your normal rucksack or duffel bag. In fact, it looks so good, people will stop to ask you about it. Maybe not built for the next hiking adventure (though it could be), this will make travel pleasurable again!

How We Picked

Traveling can be one of the most enjoyable experiences in the world. Seeing new places, making new memories – there aren’t many experiences that can compare. Whether you are starting out or have been traveling for you, it’s important to have the right gear. Today, we are going to focus on travel backpacks.

A travel backpack is more than just a garbage bag with straps. A travel backpack is a wearable backpack that can hold all of your essentials (and some of your non-essentials). You can keep all of your clothes, your camera equipment, hygiene products, and more in one convenient place. These bags are great for local travel, overseas travel, and even air travel (think TSA and carry-ons). A travel backpack is a more user-friendly version of the suitcase and a massive upgrade over a garbage bag.

Knowing what to look for can be a little difficult, especially if you’ve never purchased a travel backpack. Today, we are going to discuss what you need to look for in a travel backpack, why these features and functions matter, how to get past all the marketing jargon, and even give you a few options we think will work great for your traveling needs. Plus, we are going to include answers to some of the most frequently asked questions too. Before you leave, you’ll either know what you need to look for or you will have found the perfect travel backpack.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: 31 Liters
  • Weight: 3.25 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: Yes

SwissGear is one of the premier brands in the travel industry. For years, they’ve created tools and travel accessories that are hard to match. They provide reliable products that you can trust for years and years – and that’s why they are on our list.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack

The SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack is a good, mid-level backpack with plenty of storage. With 31 liters of storage capacity, it will give you enough room to travel for a few days without any issues. It is built from a durable, thick 1200D polyester fabric that provides safety from unexpected storms.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack Open

It has top-loading and front-loading pockets to make finding what you need a breeze. The pockets open up and fold forward, making it even easier to find what you need. The outside has clips and compression loops to hold smaller items like water bottles, sunglasses, and cell phones. Plus, you have a water bottle holder on the side for trips that might need a little rehydration. Inside, you have plenty of room for your clothes, electronics, and a tablet or laptop.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 in the office

This backpack comes with a durable top handle and two thick, contoured, padded straps. The straps have a built-in suspension that provides a little shock protection to and they can be adjusted to keep the bag as snug as you want.

What We Like

This is large enough to hold a laptop up to 17 inches. And while that is impressive on its own, the fact that you can still store a LOT more stuff makes it even more impressive. With 31 liters of storage, you’ll have a hard time filling this up. The suspension straps provide an extra layer of comfort not found on a lot of travel backpacks.

Overall

If you are looking for a great mid-sized travel backpack, the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 with ScanSmart and Lay-Flat technology should be first on your list – like ours! It’s affordable, looks great, and is designed to last for years. Heck, unless you need something bigger, this might be the last travel backpack you look at.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart Travel Backpack

  • Weather-Resistant Material
  • Storage Space For Laptops And Tablets
  • Contoured, Padded Shoulder Straps With Sunglass Loop And Built-In Suspension

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Specs:

Capacity: 40 Liters
Weight: 3.00 Pounds
TSA Friendly: Yes

The next travel backpack on our list is built with function as the main priority – looks take a backseat this time.

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

The Farpoint 40 from Osprey is a large travel backpack with a lot of storage. Built with a maximum capacity of 40 liters, you’ll be able to get a few extra days out of this particular travel backpack. It comes with top-loading and front-loading compartments for easy access and it has a ton of compartments!

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

In fact, the shoulder strap and harness system even have their own hideaway spot for a smooth backside for sleeping. About the straps, they are padded and come with a chest harness to give you even more bracing/support for heavier loads. You have water bottle pockets, a laptop/tablet compartment that can hold up to a 15” laptop, and plenty of room for other items like clothing and electronics.

Beyond straps, it also comes with a top-mounted and two side-mounted padded handles for easier carrying convenience. It is considered TSA-friendly so using it as a carry-on shouldn’t be a problem (check with the airline beforehand).

What We Like

While this isn’t the best-looking travel backpack we’ve seen, Osprey made up for it with functionality and storage. With multiple carrying options, a stowaway option for the rear straps and harness, and 40 liters of storage, it makes it easier to take most of your bedroom with you.

Overall

The Farpoint 40 by Osprey is a mid/large travel backpack that can make the longest trips easier. It has a 40-liter capacity with storage compartments everywhere. If you like a little extra support, the chest strap connecting the two shoulder harnesses will be your best friend. Though it doesn’t look as nice as the SwissGear we just reviewed, it will give you more space to work with. If space is a priority for you, then the Farpoint 40 is a good option to travel with.

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

  • TSA-Friendly
  • Tons Of Storage Space
  • Can Hold Laptops Up To 15 Inches

Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack with 3-Piece Packing Cube Set

Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack with 3-Piece Packing Cube Set

Specs:

  • Capacity: 40 Liters
  • Weight: 3.09 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: Yes

So, what do you get when you mix a SwissGear product with an Osprey product? A Hynes Eagle product! SwissGear had the looks, Osprey had the functionality, and Hynes Eagle gives you both.

Open Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack

The 40L Travel Backpack from Hynes Eagle looks absolutely stunning, especially in gray and black. If you wanted a backpack that looks fashion-forward while still giving you plenty of storage space, here you go! Now, you might look a little out of place hiking with the gray and black option, but there are plenty of other options to choose from (18 options to choose from).

Open Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack

For storage, you get more than enough room for most trips with 40 liters of compartment-optimized space. In fact, you even get three packing cubes of varying sizes making it even easier to keep everything where it needs to be. There are front-loading and top-loading pockets for easy access and you can store a tablet up to 11 inches or a laptop up to 15 inches inside.

Carrying this backpack is a breeze with the hideaway shoulder straps with a chest harness, padded top handle, or the side handles. It even comes with an adjustable waist strap to give you even more comfort and support. If you need to store it on the plane, it fits in most overhead bins or under the seat configurations.

What We Like

This travel backpack took everything good from the SwissGear 1900 and the Osprey Farpoint 40 and combined it. Plus, the outer looks stunning in certain color configurations. It looks luxurious without the huge price tag found on some of the other competitors in this niche. The added harnesses (chest and waist) make this one of the most comfortable travel backpacks you’ll find.

Overall

If the SwissGear 1900 and the Osprey Farpoint 40 didn’t tickle your fancy, prepare to be tickled. The Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack is the “love child” of those two iterations. It still has plenty of space, tons of aesthetic appeal, and a massive dose of functionality. It’s just big enough to give you days of traveling pleasure without being “too big”. If you consider yourself a fashion-forward individual, this is your last stop.

Hynes Eagle 40L Travel Backpack with 3-Piece Packing Cube Set

  • Fashionable Aesthetics
  • Tons Of Adjustability Options For Added Comfort
  • IATA Flight Approved

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: 20 Liters
  • Weight: 0.46 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: Yes

For those who enjoy quick trips in the wilderness or a stayover at any moment, the Outlander Daypack is perfect.

Back of the Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack

This is an inexpensive, lightweight travel backpack that comes in a plethora of color options (15 color options). The colors help to give it some character as it lacks it in the looks department. In fact, it’s fairly underwhelming when compared to some of the other options on our list when it comes to the outside appearance.

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack

However, it comes with a fair amount of space, with 20 liters of true capacity. When it isn’t in use, it can be folded up into a small carrying bag. At this size, you can easily pack everything you need for the night (maybe two). It has top-loading and front-loading pockets, however, none of them lay flat making it a little more difficult to get to things at the bottom.

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack in travel pouch

It does come with shoulder straps and a top handle for easy portability. The shoulder straps are made from a breathable mesh to reduce sweating and all the stress points are reinforced. It is rip-proof and weather-resistant for increased durability.

What We Like

This is a great, inexpensive daypack travel backpack. With 20 liters of capacity, you can easily carry a night or two of clothing and accessories. The color options give it a touch of personality that can’t be found on a lot of other travel backpacks.

Overall

Though slightly bland in the looks department, you still get plenty of storage and function with the Outlander Daypack Travel Backpack. It is one of the more budget-friendly options on our list while giving you plenty of features and functions to work with. If you find yourself joining your friends on short trips to “anywhere”, this is a great travel backpack that you can’t live without.

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Daypack Travel Backpack

  • Weather-Resistant Material
  • 15 Different Color Options To Match Your Personality
  • Folds Up When Not In Use, Big Enough To Hold Up To Two Days Of Clothing

YOREPEK Extra Large Travel Backpack

YOREPEK Extra Large Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: 45 Liters
  • Weight: 2.3 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: Yes

While not a well-known brand, YOREPEK has created a travel backpack that deserves your time and attention. This is a large, ultra-durable backpack with a ton of features that easily makes it one of the best options on our list.

Open YOREPEK Extra Large Travel Backpack

It comes with 45 liters of storage capacity, easily giving you enough room for a weekend (plus a few days). It is built using high-quality polyester fabric with a high-density nylon lining for weather-resistances and durability. It has more than 20 different organizational pockets to make it easy to keep everything in place, even in the worst of travel situations. As for pockets, you can store your tablet and laptop in a secure spot (up to 17 inches) and the main compartment opens up in a lay-flat configuration for easy TSA travels.

Back of the YOREPEK Extra Large Travel Backpack

Carrying this travel backpack is easy with the top-handle, shoulder straps, and retention strap for luggage attachment too. But, there’s more to this than just a few straps. In fact, they’ve loaded it with other features including a battery bank pocket with USB port, headphone port/hole, lockable zippers, adjustment straps on all sides, external pockets, and more. Unlike some of the others, YOREPEK seems to understand that we need more than just pockets and heavy-duty straps.

What We Like

For the tech-savvy, this is a great travel backpack. The portable battery bank pocket and the USB charging port make it extremely attractive. Taking it a step further, the headphone port makes it easy to keep your phone put up while still being able to listen to your corded headphones (cordless headphones would do well in any situation).

Overall

If you need a LOT of space and travel a lot with electronic gadgets, this is a great travel option. With 45 liters of storage, the ability to charge your electronic devices with a portable battery bank (not included), and the lay-flat design, you’ll have everything you need for almost any situation.

Sale
YOREPEK Extra Large Travel Backpack

  • Huge Storage Capacity
  • USB Charger + Battery Bank Pocket
  • 20+ Organizational Pockets For Easy Access

WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack

WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: Not Specified
  • Weight: 3.09 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: No

For the outdoorsman, the WITZMAN Vintage Travel Backpack is going to jump out at you. It is one of the best-looking options on our list, with colored leather options that give it a premium look and feel without a huge price tag.

WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack

While WITZMAN doesn’t identify the storage capacity, this is a rather large bag with plenty of storage. It does come in two different sizes, though we will be focusing on the larger one. To give you an idea of size, it is 21” tall x 13” deep x 7.5” wide. It is wrapped in PU leather with a cotton canvas liner.

Someone carrying WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack

It has top-loading, side-loading, and front-loading pockets with adjustable strapping to secure your loads. It comes with a bevy of carrying handles and straps with two front-mounted straps, two side-mounted straps, a top-mounted strap, and two shoulder straps for the ultimate in portability; it even comes with a shoulder-strap in case you want to carry it like a duffel bag.

While it doesn’t come with the same functions as the previously mentioned travel backpack, it’s not built for techies. It can still hold a laptop (13 inches), but it’s more focused on durability. The leather outer is one of the best features, giving it the ultimate in scratch and water protection. It is covered by a one-year warranty while the straps are protected by a lifetime warranty.

What We Like

The leather outer is absolutely stunning! It comes six different color options (including canvas) and will get the attention of anyone in eyesight. However, it’s more than just a pretty backpack. It also comes with a ton of storage to work with. All of the strapping options make it easy to carry this is just about any configuration.

Overall

Want to stand out? The WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack can help! Covered in beautiful, colored PU leather, you’ll stand out but have plenty of protection too. Beyond looks, you get plenty of storage with a warranty that is hard to match.

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WITZMAN Vintage Duffel Travel Backpack

  • Lifetime Warranty On The Straps
  • Covered In PU Leather With A Cotton Liner
  • Weather-Proof, Rip-Resistant

Gonex 70L/80L Internal Frame Hiking Travel Backpack

Gonex 70L80L Internal Frame Hiking Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: 80 Liters
  • Weight: 4.83 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: No

Next on our list is a behemoth! Gonex has built a two-week travel backpack that honestly can keep you for almost any trek. Now, you can take your home with you (not really; just a lot of stuff).

Gonex 70L80L Internal Frame Hiking Travel Backpack

This is a high-end, large-capacity travel/hiking backpack with TONS of storage. You get up to 80 liters of capacity, meaning you can store everything you need to survive a winter apocalypse. It is made from 210-420D rear-resistant nylon with a PU coating inside; it is extremely tear-resistant and water-resistant. Plus, it comes with YKK zipper hardware for years of use and abuse. To give it extra durability and support, it has an internal frame made from an aluminum alloy (adding to the overall weight).

Someone carrying the Gonex 70L80L

It has pockets all over the place (top, front, side, back). If you can’t find somewhere to put your stuff, you aren’t looking. It has lightweight straps for light items, compression straps and hooks for heavier items, and plenty of external pockets for water or electronics. It even comes with a hydration bladder for longer trips.

The straps are extremely durable, with plenty of padding to help with the added weight of the system and all of your stuff. They are fully adjustable with plenty of cinch points for customized comfort. It even comes with a breathable lumbar support pad to make it more comfortable. Everything in the Gonex 70L/80L is designed for capacity and comfort.

What We Like

This is one of the largest travel backpacks on our list. Gonex made sure to equip it with plenty of comfort features to help with the load. At 80L of capacity, things can get quite heavy. The straps are durable, padded, and fully adjustable. They even equipped it with extra bearing and lumbar support; not typically found on travel backpacks at this price point.

Overall

If you want to travel with your bedroom on your back, the Gonex 70L/80L travel backpack has you covered. With a full capacity of 80L, you could almost take a few appliances with you. This is designed for ultra-long trips up to two weeks at a time. It comes with a built-in bladder to give you ample hydration on even the longest of trips.

Gonex 70L/80L Internal Frame Hiking Travel Backpack

  • TONS Of Storage Space
  • Numerous Support Options For Comfort
  • Weather-Resistant And Scratch-Resistant Materials

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Hiking Travel Backpack

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Hiking Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: 65 Liters
  • Weight: 4.64 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: No

While not as big as the last hiking travel backpack, the Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65L Travel Backpack is more than enough for most trips. Osprey is a mid/high-level brand that builds quality equipment that you can trust.

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Hiking Travel Backpack

This travel backpack is a testament to their quality. It comes with 65 liters of capacity giving you a week to ten days of storage. It is made from weather-resistant and tear-resistant material with an internal frame to keep everything in place. All of the hardware is double-stitched and built for years of abuse.

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Hiking Travel Backpack

Pockets are in high demand and Osprey has made sure you have more than enough. In fact, they even fit a 3L water/hydration reservoir into this bag just to make sure you have everything you need for your next adventure. To make the trip more enjoyable, Osprey has built an anti-gravity (i.e. the AG name) that uses a continuous backpanel of mesh to provide breathability with super-padded straps that adjust to any height. The hipbelt can be adjusted while being work; not a feature held by other brands and the hipbelt even has more pockets! The top lid can be removed and comes with even more pockets. If you need pockets…

And that isn’t all. It even comes with stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachments for the extreme adventurer. If you want a system that is designed to make your load feel weightless, the AG load-bearing system is perfect!

What We Like

The anti-gravity suspension system makes loads disappear. While we wish that it really did make them weightless, it does not. The ability to adjust the hipbelt on the fly is a great addition and the 3L reservoir is a great option too!

Overall

While it may not be an 80L+ backpack, it has more than enough storage space for most of your trekking needs. Equipped with an anti-gravity suspension system, you’ll think you left everything behind. Loaded with plenty of features, this is one of the biggest, baddest backpacks on our list … what else do you need?

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 Hiking Travel Backpack

  • Anti-Gravity Suspension System
  • Internal Hydration Pocket
  • Numerous Pockets

AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

Specs:

  • Capacity: Not Specified
  • Weight: 3.64 Pounds
  • TSA Friendly: Yes

AmazonBasics is not built to be the best, just the most cost-efficient. Amazon has data on some of the most popular selling items along with what is being asked for. As such, they are able to create products that meet and fix problems that other brands can’t/won’t.

AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

The AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack is a good, mid-level travel backpack with plenty of storage. Though the capacity isn’t specified, this backpack measures in at 15” x 6.5” x 20.1” which is fairly large; this puts it in the weekender category. The backpack is rather heavy at 3.64 pounds unloaded, but this is due in part to the thick material and heavier hardware (both issues that some travel backpacks have).

Open AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

It has top-loading and front-loading pockets for easy accessibility and the pockets open up flat for fast TSA security checkpoints. It comes with top-mounted straps, side-mounted straps, and two padded shoulder straps; it even includes a duffel bag shoulder strap too.

Someone carrying the AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

If you have a laptop or tablet, you’ll be glad to hear that it can hold up to a 15-inch laptop without any issues. To keep everything in place, you get 10 other organizational pockets too. And finally, it is covered by the AmazonBasics blanket one-year limited warranty policy.

What We Like

This is not a fancy, feature-filled travel backpack. It’s a budget-friendly option that manages to give users most of what they want without breaking the bank. It fixes some issues from other brands (i.e. thin material, durability issues, heavier hardware) while giving you ample storage space for a weekend trip.

Overall

AmazonBasics is an entry/mid-level option that doesn’t cost a lot. However, you get a lot for what you pay for. The amount of storage is inside given the durability of this travel backpack at this price point. If you aren’t “brand” stuck, this could very well be the last travel backpack you’ll ever need.

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AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

  • Thick, Durable Material
  • Budget-Friendly
  • TSA-Friendly

Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Travel Backpacks

Knowing what to look for in a travel backpack can be confusing. There are so many “extras” that make them look enticing. Marketing departments are paid a TON of money to make you want their products. They’ll use special terms to stand out when they really offer the same thing as everyone else. We dig through all the mumbo-jumbo and focus on what really matters. Below is a great resource for understanding how we ranked these backpacks and what you really need to focus on.

Weight

Even if you want to pack the world into your travel backpack, you still need to look for a light travel backpack. In fact, the lighter the backpack, the better off you’ll be. Each added ounce will add up over the duration of your trek. The size of your bag, the quality of the hardware, the type of material used will affect the weight of your travel backpack. There are specialized fabrics that weight a lot less, but they tend to cost more to provide the same durability. Most travel backpacks range from 0.5 pounds to 5.0 pounds with the average weight landing around 2.25 pounds.

Size / Capacity

When considering a travel backpack, you need to focus on how much space you have to work with. Most travel backpacks are rated in liters of volume in reference to capacity. The capacity range for most travel backpacks land between 15 liters and 65 liters with the average capacity landing around 35 liters. Travel backpacks can land in one of three size categories:

  1. Daypack
  2. Carry-On/Weekender
  3. Oversized

Daypacks generally hold between 15 and 30 liters. Carry-Ons generally hold between 30 and 40 liters. And Oversized backpacks tend to hold 50+ liters. Finding one that is too big can make travel awkward and/or difficult. Make sure you consider what you intend to do the most before purchasing a travel backpack.

Loading Style

Travel backpacks and hiking backpacks have a lot of crossover features, but the loading style is not one of them. Hiking backpacks tend to load from the top, making you dig for everything. Travel backpacks tend to have front-loading pockets making it easier to access everything without having to dig as much. Plus, they work more like a suitcase instead of a garbage bag. When traveling, which one would you prefer to carry – a suitcase or a garbage bag?

Strapping

Most backpacks have two shoulder straps. However, how much padding is in them can really affect your comfort during long trips. Being able to adjust the straps easily is another element that you need to consider. Additionally, you should look for extra strapping that might wrap around your waist for more support and comfort or handles that make it easier to hold your travel backpack in different configurations (i.e. standing, dragging, pulling).

Pockets

Travel backpacks should have enough pockets to hold everything you need without struggling to find what’s at the bottom of the bag. If you have to throw everything on the ground or seat to find your binoculars or phone, then the bag isn’t working right. The number of pockets is a polarizing topic with sides leaning heavily towards “no pockets” and the other side leaning to “as many pockets as possible”. For you, it should come down to how much stuff you are carrying and how much access you’ll need to individual products.

Zippers

While zippers are exactly “advanced hardware”, you still should have strong, durable zippers on your bag. If the zippers are small, they’ll be hard to grip and could break easily. If they are large, they’ll be easy to grip, less likely to skip track, and last longer before needing replacement. As this is a travel backpack, you should also look for zippers that have locking tabs to give you an extra layer of protection when traveling through airports and other high-traffic terminals or cities.

Fit

If you buy an ultra-tall and/or long backpack, you could be in for a world of hurt, especially if you are average or short. Finding the right fit is necessary, especially for long treks. A backpack that doesn’t sit right on your body will quickly become a nuisance and potentially cause your back and/or shoulders to hurt. Once that happens, the rest of your body will follow suit. If you are carrying an improperly sized backpack for a long time, the enjoyment factor will be minimized and you’ll be left with bad memories.

Appearance / Look

While looks aren’t everything, you should enjoy carrying your travel backpack. For the most part, travel backpacks are built with a “rugged” or “natural” look. They tend to use dark and/or muted colors which can be unappealing to some. Plus, they tend to be bulky and/or boxy. While they may not look as good, these are the best travel backpacks as they give the most working space. Appearances and/or looks are subjective, so what we like might not be as appealing to you (and vice versa). Find a travel backpack that catches your eye and you should be fine.

Weather / Waterproof

While travel backpacks aren’t good for a long-term swim, they should fare well if you get them wet for a couple of minutes. If you fall into a lake, your content should be mostly dry, though some things might get wet. Look for travel backpacks that have a form of weather resistance as you might get caught in a heavy rainstorm.

Travel Compatible

And finally, make sure that the travel backpack meets the travel requirements you will use. If you travel by plane, keep up with the current TSA guidelines. At the time of this writing, you should try to stay under 45 liters of storage space. Of course, there could be height/length/width requirements too (and poundage ratings).

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Backpacks

Q: Why would I need a travel backpack?

A: Travel backpacks are one of the most convenient storage options – especially for those who like to take off on a whim. Sure, you can use a suitcase, but it’s hard, rigid and doesn’t fit well in tight spaces. When you need to be ready for anything, a travel backpack is the best option. Travel backpacks are light, flexible, and travel easier than suitcases and other hard-shell options. They can handle all types of terrains, are easily carried either by hand or by back, and adapt to your environment. Plus, a travel backpack makes carry-ons at the airport fast and easy as they generally conform to the size requirements better than small, single-pocket suitcases.

Q: How do I choose a travel backpack?

A: To help you choose the right backpack, you first need to know what the purpose of the backpack will be. Will you be using it for overnighters, hanging out with friends for the weekend, or traveling for weeks at a time? If you are using it for overnighters, it won’t have to be very big. However, if you intend to travel for weeks at a time, you will want a large, multi-pocket travel backpack. In order to find the right travel backpack, you need to first know the purpose it will fulfill.

You need to look at the size and capacity, comfort, and carrying options for sure. If you intend to wear it a lot, you might want to look at breathable materials so you don’t get hot/sweaty and make sure you look for padding (LOTS of padding). If you intend to use it a lot, look at all the extras that come with it as they might make the trip more enjoyable.

Q: What is the right size for me?

A: Again, this comes down to the purpose of the travel backpack. Overnighters will not need a massive backpack. They can get away with a couple of pockets with a total capacity under 30 liters. However, if you intend to travel to Europe for a few weeks, you’ll need a much larger backpack – think 50+ liters. Here, you’ll need plenty of pockets with ample space in each. Some travel backpacks come equipped with add-ons that give you overnight capability while having everything at your disposal.

Q: How do I pack a travel backpack?

A: This is preference-dependent, but the general rule of thumb is to back from the bottom up. You should put the heaviest items at the bottom and they create layers; each layer should be lighter than the next. However, you should also focus on what you’ll need access to the most. You do not want to have to dig through everything to get to your underwear or hygiene products. Use the extra pockets and compartments to keep your specialty items separate from everything else such as cash and IDs. Use the top pockets for items you’ll need instant access to light cash, IDs, and sunglasses. If you need to carry water or other items like a flashlight, make sure that you attach them to the outside of the backpack using clips or harnesses.

Q: How do I clean a travel backpack?

A: Cleaning most travel backpacks is a cinch. As they are generally water-resistance, they’ll clean up easily under running water and/or a washrag and soap. Wiping them down after each use will keep them clean. If you notice a smell, you can wash them in a clothes washer (though you should check the label first); not all can be washed in the washer.

Remove the framing and flip the travel backpack inside out. Use a little soap and turn the washer to the gentle cycle; NEVER use warm/hot water! If you don’t want to use the washer, you can use a toothbrush too, though this will take a while. When finished washing the backpack, let it air dry; NEVER use the drying to speed up the process as this will damage the materials and/or stitching.

Q: What size travel backpack can I take on a plane?

A: While there should be a universal baggage size for commercial airlines, there isn’t. As such, each airline has its own rules concerning the size of their carry-ons. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your backpack is less than 22” long, 14” wide, and 9” deep. Some airlines are pretty strict with what they will allow, so even if your bag is marked as “carry-on safe”, make sure with the airline beforehand.

Q: Why would I want a travel backpack when a suitcase can hold more?

A: This is subjective. Travel backpacks can actually hold more in most cases. However, they are flexible and lighter than suitcases. Suitcases tend to be very rigid and inflexible, making them hard to fit into tight, abnormal spaces. Plus, they don’t carry very well over odd/rough terrain. If you were taking a trip to the lake for the weekend, a suitcase would look a little odd – though a travel backpack would not. Plus, you can carry a backpack on your back where a suitcase would have to be rolled and/or held the whole time in your hands.

Conclusion

If you are a traveler now, or you intend to become one, one of the travel backpacks on our list is sure to be a perfect fit. We considered a lot of different bags, but these are the ones that really stood out the most. Again, we wanted to help you understand what we looked for, so we included a brief buyer’s guide that showed the features and functions we considered. We also tried to make sure to answer all of your questions in our frequently asked question section. Ultimately, our goal was to help you find the perfect travel backpack for your needs. If we didn’t, at least you know what to look for and what is available. So, we only have one question left for you…

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API