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You should consider your travel backpack as a second home. After all, it goes everywhere you go, and it needs to be comfortable, durable, and compact.
Our article is going to help you find the best travel backpack that ticks all of the necessary checkboxes. We have done tons of research, so you don’t have to.
You will learn what to look for and how to find a travel backpack that holds everything within arm’s reach. Basically, by the end of this article, you will know which backpack works the best for you.
Ready to take on world travel in the best backpack? You can’t go wrong with the Tortuga Setout Backpack. Designed for city travel, this bag is sized for carry-on so it will get onto an airplane.
If you never pack ‘just in case’ stuff, Minaal Carry On 2.0 is the ideal pick for you. It is a 35L capacity backpack that will prompt you to carry only what you need. Not to say that you have to leave behind your laptop. It has room for that and other accessories that make travel feel like chasing wanderlust.
Though the same size as Tortuga’s Outbreaker, Tortuga Setout weighs less and is more streamlined. For most people, it sits better on your back though it won’t be calling attention to you.
Tortuga Setout is a 45L front-loading backpack. It packs like a suitcase because the main compartment is boxy and wide. It allows you to fold clothes into whatever style you choose because access is fast and easy.
Because it does not have interior divisions; you may want to consider investing in packing cubes for more organization.
Setout has a ton of pockets including the laptop one which will fit most 17-inch notebooks. The pocket is also good to go with a 9.7-inch tablet alongside their chargers. Next up is the tech pocket which will come in handy for your books, pens, passports, sunglasses, and even cash that you need for safe keeping.
You also have the two mesh compartments in the interior. These are important for toiletries, belts, underwear, and the like. And finally, there’s the front zippered pocket and a water bottle pocket.
The Tortuga Setout represents impeccable craftsmanship. This backpack is designed of 900D polyester material with a durable water repellant coating. It is not only built to withstand long term use, but you can count on it to keep your stuff dry.
We like that it has injection molded foam and air mesh on the shoulder straps and the back. You will be able to lock everything safely on the YKK zippers which are considered the best quality in backpack zippers. What’s more, the Setout has a padded side carry handle such that you can stow away the shoulder straps and carry this backpack like a duffel.
With its hip belt and chest strap, Setout will never feel heavy as it balances on your body. The belt even has a pocket for stuff that you keep on hand like your phone and boarding pass.
Even though Tortuga Setout is Carry-On approved, overloading it will possibly make it checked luggage and risk it arriving in another country. You’ll want to pack it intelligently because it is at the maximum carry-on size.
Tortuga Setout is ideal for digital nomads, hikers, and all kinds of travelers who pack light. It is not the hardest to organize as it has pockets destined for specific stuff. It is easy to grab and feel comfortable even when loaded to capacity. It is the perfect companion for most types of travel.
Minaal Carry-On 2.0 is a sleek backpack geared towards business travel over city and countryside travel. It is simple and minimalistic without too many straps or logos. Its capacity is also an indication that you can’t carry more than five days worth of clothes.
This bag will replace your wheeled carry-on in a cinch. It packs the same, loads the same, but does not carry the same because you won’t lug it around. It will sit comfortably on your shoulders. You get lots of pockets to pack clothes, a laptop, tablet, phones, and other accessories like a pro.
The main compartment has two 3D interior pockets. Everything will lay-flat in a suitcase style, and you will be able to separate clothes from shoes, toiletries, underwear, and even the dirty clothes during your trip. It is perhaps the most organized as it has features that you will actually use.
Looking at the laptop suspension compartment, Minaal has made it be shock-absorbent. It ensures that your laptop will not arrive with a cracked screen when the backpack you put the pack on the floor. What’s more, the pocket is also size adjustable, so there is no room for a shifty laptop; thus, improving its security.
With the two, quick-access pockets, you have everything in handy. Instead of opening the front pocket for a notebook; it will be easier to access from the outside. Another aspect of organization is that it can transform into a briefcase carriage style which is genius for office travel.
Minaal Carry-On 2.0 resonates more on quality and functionality than any bag you can get for the price. It boasts 600D nylon fabric construction which is both lightweight and sturdy. All the abrasion areas are complete with 1000D nylon augmentation meaning you can put it on the floor or push against tight spots without tearing through the bag.
The 100cm water-resistant coating plus the inclusion of a seam-sealed rain cover goes to say it can withstand sudden rainfall and it will stay dry when you deploy the cover.
This backpack is designed to be super comfortable to carry. The adjustable shoulder straps are padded for a superior fit for most people. It has a moldable back panel and a four-point harness adjustment system. Even without the hip belt, Minaal should not cause pain to your shoulders.
Our only issue has to be with the front panel. It has to be loaded with something for it not to look collapsed. The pack also tends to collect dust very fast. It could be that the coating has something to do with it so don’t be caught in the middle of a sandstorm in Dubai.
Minaal Carry-On 2.0 is top of the list when it comes to functionality, ease of use, and quality. The brand makes sure to make every inch of this bag comfortable. It can fit under most airplane seats and will not give you any problems in overhead compartments. It is a superior backpack; no wonder it is not one of the cheap ones.
If you are always on the road and don’t want to spend a fortune when ditching roller-type cases, you will want to consider the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible. It’s a backpack that will fit a week’s worth of clothes so you can rest aside your worries about what not to carry.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible opens like a suitcase. It includes a collapsible shelf that helps keep your clothes organized when it is upright. The main pocket can be used with packing cubes as it is just like the Setout; boxy and wide.
We like that it includes fasteners which again helps things to stay in their place so you can fit more. Though this is a carry-on approved size, it can quickly become checked luggage as it can be expanded to 60L. It is ideal when you want to take stuff for more than just a weekend.
The main compartment also includes the mesh pockets and a small pocket to put the small stuff. The front panel is ideal for small accessories. It has small organizers that will keep your toiletries, notebooks, pens, and other items away from the main compartment.
This pack also has a suspension laptop compartment. When it is fully loaded, it can feel like a tight fit for your laptop, but the suspension system helps to keep laptops up to 19 inches away from the edges and the bottom.
Although this is a budget backpack, it does not mean it is not durable. Weekender Convertible is a blend of 600D and 900D twisted poly. It is a durable material that ensures it can withstand the stress of life on the road. You can easily have a backpack life since there’s no fading from the sun or from constant washing because it does not easily collect dust.
This backpack is water resistant; not waterproof. It can take on light showers, so don’t take it out during downpours.
Also, the shoulder straps though padded are not adequate. Plus, they don’t adjust all the way. The back is not of mesh which means it can accumulate sweat in hot environments.
What’s to like about the shoulder straps is that they are stowable so you can carry it as a duffel. You can also remove one of the shoulder straps entirely.
Since this is a backpack on the cheap, there are few compromises. Fortunately, they are not on the quality. The hip belt is undesirable, and most people will skip using it altogether. It is slim and does little to counter the weight so you can be more comfortable.
If you are on a budget, you cannot make compromises on everything. eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible is the kind you pick when you want functionality and easy organization for road trips and air travel. It is not suited for backpacking, camping, and hiking as it can put extra pressure on your shoulders if you have to bring camping items so better stick to nights in hotels.
When it comes to finding a daypack, you’ll realize that most of them suck. But Tortuga Setback Laptop Backpack is the model to beat when you want a quick bag for your day’s essentials. We are talking about your laptop, phone, notebooks, chargers, medicine, and anything you’ll want at your feet during air travel.
Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack is reserved for your electronics so don’t count it in if you want to take a weekend with only one bag. But it is king of organization starting with the front grab pocket that can store your phone and boarding pass.
The main compartment still opens like a suitcase and will accommodate a day or two worth of stuff. You can include some packing cubes, but that’s not really necessary considering the 25L capacity. We do like that the insides have ripstop nylon that helps to keep any rips from ripping further.
The main pocket also includes two mesh compartments that are just as important for toothbrushes, belts, and toiletries. On to the laptop sleeve, Tortuga has also invested in suspending your laptop but not with straps but with a false bottom. Your laptop won’t go all the way to the bottom. All around the sleeve is impact-resistant padding and a separate partition for your tablet.
You also get a mesh pocket for the chargers that are also kept away from your laptop.
Tortuga does not stop here since there is a front horseshoe panel. It will house everything from your pens in their sleeves to notebooks, hard drives, power bank, and snacks all in their nifty compartments. It allows you to access stuff without bumping into what you don’t want because everything will be in its place.
We start with the air-mesh back panel and the padded, adjustable shoulder straps. Setout Laptop won’t eat into your shoulders no matter how long you carry it. Since it has a small capacity, we don’t expect a hip belt and Tortuga has not included one either.
It does, however, have a sternum strap which is removable so again, no need because it won’t feel heavy. This backpack is destined to be a carry-along if you are on long trips. The shoulder straps can be stowed, and you can use the side handle to carry it.
With its 900D polyester exterior and weather resistant coating, this backpack can also withstand moderate weather conditions. It comes with lockable YKK zippers that express quality and the security extended to your stuff.
As a daypack, this is one of the expensive options. It does not support more than two days of travel, and there are bigger options from the same line if you want to carry more.
Keep your electronics stuff safe and organized with the Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack. It is designed with ease of use in mind as it is minimalistic. You can count on it for durability and comfort for all your short trips or as a carry along with your suitcase.
The Osprey Packs FarPoint 40 Travel Backpack maybe a carry-on, but hikers will love how it falls right in with hiking features. This 40L backpack is water resistant with exceptional organization that exceeds most people’s expectations.
The Osprey Farpoint Series is not a new name in the backpacking world. This particular model is reasonably priced. It is carry-on sized and will save you money on luggage. This pack is also a front loader meaning it opens like a suitcase. It will allow you to carry a substantial amount of stuff when taking on a day to a week’s trip.
You may still want packing cubes, but it’s not a must since it has a solid body and compression straps that ensure everything stays at its place. It has also included the large mesh pocket for separate items. There’s the front compartment which will be useful if you don’t stuff lots of things in the main compartment.
For your laptop and electronics, you get two sleeves in the front compartment. One is ideal for 15-inch ultrabooks and slim notebooks. The other will fit short stuff like tablets and power banks. Since the sleeves are in the front compartment, you’ll want to exercise caution not to bump it since your laptop may take most of the shock.
Osprey has constructed this backpack with 210D Nylon ripstop material. Nylon is not just strong, but it has water-resistant capabilities. This backpack can withstand a downpour and not have everything soaked to the core. It is however not waterproof so don’t plan on taking it on a kayak and hope to have your stuff dry.
When it comes to how comfortable it feels with the FarPoint 40, you’ll find that you can load it up to full capacity and depend on the shoulder straps and hip belt for comfortable carriage. It has compression straps for the front to bring in the material and cover the YKK zippers in the process.
This means the zippers are not visible; hence someone will have a hard time trying to figure out where the bag opens from. What’s more, the harness, shoulder straps, and hip belt are all stowable. It gives the bag a sleek look when you want to carry it using the side handles or when storing it in overhead carriages- no more straps that are all over the place.
The mesh on the side is designed to act as a water bottle holder. But once you have the pack full, there’s hardly any space to squeeze in a small water bottle. A solid pocket would be a better option as its size won’t be influenced by the rest of the pack.
Osprey Packs FarPoint 40 Travel Backpack is exceptional. It balances its weight and durability allowing you to carry more without the hassle of carriage. It is practical for day hikes, backpacking, and as a carry along during long trips.
Osprey Packs Porter 46 is an excellent alternative to the FarPoint 40. It offers a tad more space such that you can pack for up to 10 days.
This pack does not need to be stuffed all the way thanks to the stiff side panels. It can hold a small number of clothes without the sides collapsing and making the pack look grumpy. It will look better when it is loaded to a reasonable capacity though.
Porter 46 comes with a better laptop sleeve but not great at organizing. It is more of a duffel bag since you can store as much stuff as you want in the main compartment. It has zippered side pockets that will come in handy for your socks, belts, underwear, and other random stuff.
We like its straightjacket compression as it comes with padded wings that help make your loader look decent and smaller. It also has a padded lower panel that will secure all your gear. The laptop panel is at the rear. It includes a laptop and tablet sleeve that is well-protected from impact.
At the front panel, you also get vertical zippered pockets ideal for books and travel documents. And the top, zippered pocket is enough for your toiletries.
This pack has a construction from 420D nylon pack cloth fabric. It is deemed to last long, but it is not the most comfortable in warm weather. You may find yourself sweating pretty quick since it does not have mesh on the back panel.
However, this Porter 46 also comes with stowable harness and strap system plus two comfy handles. The shoulder straps are fully adjustable to ensure you can find the most comfortable fit for your height. If you have half the load, the straightjacket compression can compress the pack to nearly flat. This way, you don’t have to walk around with a backpack with collapsed walls.
The harness and hip belt are all padded thus capable of stabilizing your load over long distances.
Porter 46 will not squeeze into small spaces. Being a 46L pack, you will want to stay in the confines of 45 linear inches if you want it to pass carry-on weight and size. It is a thin line between carry-on and checked luggage which again depends on the airline.
Osprey Packs Porter 46 will carry more than a week’s worth of clothes and items. It is large but not heavyweight. It carries comfortably as long as it is the right fit for you. It is ready to travel in cities and the countryside the same.
If you are looking for a Tortuga for a 3-day trip, the Setout may be too big while the daypack is too small. Enter the Setout Divide. This backpack is identical to the 40L Setout, but it can be as compact as 26L or as big as 34L which is still within carry-on limits.
Tortuga Setout Divide is for light packers. It features an expandable main compartment and a mesh sleeve on one side. You can fit clothes for up to five days of travel when the compartment is fully expanded. It has a buckled compression strap to help pack more in the available space.
As always, Tortuga has an exceptional tech pocket. In this pocket, it has separate sleeves for your notebooks, pens, passports, and other documents. The laptop pocket can fit a 15-inch laptop, a 9.7-inch tablet, and their chargers. And for those items you want to access quickly, it has a pocket on the front panel and another on the hip belt that is great for quick grabs.
We like that the laptop compartment is at the rear. It utilizes a suspension system that ensures it does not fall to the bottom of the pack or be too close to the sides.
With the Setout Divide, you still get an expandable water bottle pocket that will fit different-sized bottles.
As always, Tortuga produces durable packs. The Setout Divide has a 900D polyester construction that is tough and water resistant. It can take you through most adventures except through rivers and lakes. It is a reliable pack in securing your stuff as it also invests in YKK zippers.
Since it does not have a rain cover and the zippers are not waterproof, the laptop compartment will not be safe in the rain.
The Setout Divide uses injection molded foam on the shoulder straps to balance your load. The straps will contour to your shoulders which helps if you have the pack fully stuffed. The back and hip belt are also padded. When you have the pack in full 34L capacity, it’s going to feel comfortable carrying because of the hip belt.
And if you don’t have much to carry, the hip belt is removable.
Setout Divide will fit 17-19-inch torsos. The shoulder straps are not adjustable and will spell trouble for short people.
Tortuga Setout Divide Backpack is consistent on quality and features to what we have come to expect from Tortuga. It proves to be a durable product that can take you on short trips and endure the outdoors. It is stylish and streamlined which makes it enough for light packing.
From a durable construction to great organization, Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack will save you money on baggage fees. It boasts comfortable suspension suited for urban and backcountry travelers.
There’s nothing like a great travel backpack if it misses on comfort. That’s why this pack concentrates on the way it carries more so for those who will go from city to city living out of it. Weighing in at only 3.7 pounds, stuffing it will not increase its weight unimaginably.
Most of the weight will be distributed around your weight with the non-removable hip belt. It is well-padded, and so are the contoured shoulder straps. The pack has a breathable back panel that has mesh to promote air circulation and control sweating. You will like that it has a sturdy sternum strap that will also help manage the weight of the backpack.
With construction from TPU-coated, 100D polyester and 1680D ballistic nylon, nothing should keep you from experiencing the outdoors. This pack is sturdy and water-resistant. It does not attract dust and will stay in excellent condition for a long time.
Like other backpacks on our list, this one is also a front loader. It has one zippered mesh compartment on one side of the main pocket and three zippered mesh compartments. It is perhaps the best in organization since you will be able to separate clean and dirty clothes, toiletries, underwear, and even shoes without the need for packing cubes.
With a shortcut side zipper, you don’t have to open the pack all the way when you want to access something fast. The padded laptop and tablet sleeves are great at keeping your electronics protected at all time. The suspension system helps to keep your laptop from smashing to the floor when you lay the pack down.
Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack also offers two zippered compartments at the top. These are crucial for chargers and power banks. And to meet carry-on size restrictions, it has a stow-away stash for the straps and harness. This way, it is neat and can fit in most above-the-head carriages.
We don’t see you using the pocket in the hip belt. It is too small and since boarding passes have a certain way they fold; it is pretty useless even for iPhones.
If you are looking for a 35L pack that carries well and can withstand the elements, this is the model for you. Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack combines great design and organization to help give you a comfortable time during all your trips.
Whether as the only bag you need for your trip or an accessory to your suitcase, the Aer Travel Pack 2 is a nice pick for style and ease.
With a 33L capacity, this pack is average in size. It will not carry a week’s worth of clothes, but it keeps everything sleek and organized. As a premium choice, you don’t want to compromise on quality. Fortunately, Aer is on top of things.
This pack is of water-resistant ballistic nylon. It is made for the long-haul since it does not leak water and will not collect dust the instant you hit outside. What’s more, it uses YKK Aqua-guard zippers that protect electronics from water that could otherwise seep to the inside through the zipper. All its plastic hardware is of Duraflex meaning it can resist cracking even when trying to buckle tightly.
The shoulder straps are thicker than the previous Aer Travel Pack and more ergonomic. You can adjust them fully to fit your torso. We also like that this pack has four compression straps on the outside. They make your bag look sleeker, and it is not full, stuff will not be thrown from side to side when walking.
We start off with a feature only seen in this pack. You have an individual shoe compartment. Instead of looking for packing cubes to separate shoes from your clothes in the main compartment, now you can stash a pair in the solo shoe pocket.
The main compartment is a clamshell that will probably need packing cubes. On the other side, you have one zippered pocket and a mesh panel. These pockets bring better organization in your packing because you can optimize the available space.
Aer Travel Pack 2 also has a tech and a laptop pocket. You will be able to store lots of stuff including magazines, documents, pens, and up to 15.6-inch laptops. It also has the top pocket that is probably enough for a charger and a hard drive.
The shoe compartment is a clever design, but it impacts on space. This means when it has shoes in it, you cannot fit lots of stuff in the main compartment. This may mean that you have to look for a way to store dirty shoes or to compromise on the space you need for your other stuff.
Aer Travel Pack 2 is the perfect pick for business and urban, one-bag travel. It has plenty of pockets, thoughtful organization, a streamlined profile, and a good size to breeze through airline checkups.
GORUCK GR2 is a military-style backpack that is built to beat the odds. It is super tough without weighing you down. You get to choose from seven colors which is great considering most travel backpacks are only in three or four colors.
This pack has two main compartments and eight pockets. You can already tell the much you can bring while maintaining carry-on size. This 40L model can pack more than a week’s load without packing hassles.
The two main compartments will open like a suitcase. One of them has four rows of MOLLE webbing. You can fit the bulk of your clothes like sweaters and jeans in one compartment and customize with MOLLE-compatible accessories. The MOLLE webbing goes well with GORUCK field pockets which are designed for the same.
You have a ton of pockets with little organization sleeves still in one of the main compartments. On the other side, you have two mesh pockets important for items separation.
The second main compartment will come in handy for stuff like shoes and more clothes. It has a field pocket that can keep things like a camera and other gear. You also have the Cordura sleeve in the second main compartment. This one will fit notebooks, an iPad, and flat stuff like magazines.
As we said, this is the most durable travel backpack. Designed from 1000D Cordura fabric, it can take on the elements from water to sand, dust, impact, and stress with no problem. It has gone through serious testing in tactical situations to come out unscathed. In short, it may be the only pack you ever need.
With a bombproof laptop compartment, it is reinforced to be impact-resistant and super-padded for the harshest of situations. It is also made to be anti-slash so cutting through it is going to be difficult when someone is trying to steal something from you.
The shoulder straps are super padded and will probably need some time before they fully break in. After that, you can travel the world in only one bag.
This is a relatively heavy backpack and will be heavier when it is fully loaded. Notice that it does not have a sternum strap or hip belt. For the price, these are features that we hoped it could have.
Win the backpack battle with the GORUCK GR2. It is an incredible pack that does not come cheap. But it ticks all the boxes for the best travel backpack from organization, durability, comfort, and water-resistance. You can explore and learn about new cultures with the pack on your back the least of your worries.
The first thing you should know is that backpacks offer greater mobility than standard luggage. Another important fact is that travel backpacks are harder to lose than other types of luggage. We will do our best to show you why travel backpacks make your journey easier and more enjoyable.
There are plenty of reasons why you should use a travel backpack, and we will go over the most important ones.
While no backpack is perfect, there are a couple of things you should look for in your new travel backpack. We will focus on the things that make it easier to carry your backpack around. But, we will also make sure to teach you what to look for if you want to protect the things you are carrying.
Your shoulders bear the weight of your backpack, so it is not unusual to feel discomfort after long travels. Padded shoulder straps make your journey more comfortable by taking the pressure off of your shoulders.
You should find a backpack with thick shoulder straps. But, you also need to make sure that the padding is made from a single piece of material. While shoulder pads that are created from a couple of pieces of material are not bad, they are more likely to thin out.
Good travel backpacks make sure that the back pain is lessened. This is done by padding the area that is in contact with your back. Some of the better models come contoured in a way that makes sure that your back isn’t put through unnecessary stress.
If you can find a model that creates space between the backpack and your back, then you should think about getting it. It will help you avoid pools of sweat on your back during long hikes.
If you aren’t going on long hikes through a rainy environment, then you don’t need a 100% waterproof backpack. On the other hand, you should make sure that your new backpack provides your valuables with some sort of water protection.
Try to find a backpack made from thick but lightweight material. Another useful thing to look for is a tarp included with a backpack. The worst thing that could happen is for you to come back home with a backpack full of wet clothes and electronics. So, make sure that your new travel backpack can keep your valuables safe from water. If you travel during rain a lot, then make sure that the backpack doesn’t stay wet for a long time. Backpacks that tend to stay wet for a long time develop an unpleasant smell.
You should check your new backpack for lockable compartments. Make sure that the backpack you are checking out, comes with two zippers. You can use a lock to bind two zippers together, but make sure to use TSA-friendly locks. TSA-friendly locks allow the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) to open them without having to break them.
While most of the backpacks that are created today come with an internal frame, there are still some models that utilize the external frame.
The first thing you will notice with the external frame is that the aesthetics are off – it looks very dated. Another fact is that external frames can get caught in your surroundings. External frames are bulkier and heavier than internal frames. All in all, avoid backpacks with external frames, go for a model with an internal frame.
A decent backpack comes with extra compartments. An awesome backpack comes with plenty of compartments.
Compartments help you break up your necessities into smaller sections. This gives you easy and quick access to anything you might need. You can keep your clothes in one compartment, your electronics in another one, your valuables in the third one, and so on. The more compartments in your travel backpack – the better.
The size of the backpack has to be a good fit for your body frame. You want to find a backpack that can hold everything you need without being bulky.
You should know that the biggest problem with large backpacks is that you can’t carry them with you on the airplane. So, if you travel a lot, make sure that the dimensions of your back permit it to be carried on board.
Nobody can tell you if the size of a backpack will be a good fit for you. The best thing to do is to try on a backpack before purchasing it.
The easiest way to choose a perfect backpack for yourself is to think about its use.
Will you be using your backpack for short trips only? Will you be hiking for a long time? Are you going to explore nature or a city?
When you know what you will be using the backpack for, you can start thinking about the things you need to carry with yourself. Make a list of everything you have to bring with yourself. But, also add a couple of things you don’t need to the list. It is better to be prepared in advance.
After you have created a list of the necessities you will be carrying with yourself, you can focus on the size of the backpack. Make sure that you can fit everything in without deforming the shape of the backpack.
Now that you have a list of the things you need and how much space those items can take, you can start thinking about a concrete model. If you are going on short trips, then a lightweight backpack could do the trick. On the other hand, if you are planning a long trip into the outdoors, then look for a backpack with greater carry capacity, padded shoulder straps, and a back support system.
In the end, you should try out your new backpack if you get a chance. But, if you can’t test out a particular model, then read what the other people who have bought it have to say.