When you’re planning a backpacking adventure the single most essential items for any aspiring traveler is a good quality traveling backpack.

Your backpack will carry every single one of your possessions on the road and will become your home. You need your chosen backpack to be strong, durable, comfortable, and compact enough to save you some space! I for one, love my trusty old backpack – it’s become a travel buddy while I explore the world.

Choosing the best backpack for traveling is a bit of a minefield but I’ve been living out of backpacks for ten years now and I know what to look out for when choosing the best backpack to travel with.

To find the best bag for travel I did a heap of research and a ton of trial and error over the years. All of that experience has culminated in this guide!

I’m here to answer the age-old question: what is the best travel backpack? Join me as I explore several bags and what makes them more or less suitable for each person’s specific needs.

Quick Answer: These are the Best Travel Backpacks of 2022

Product
Description
Best Overall Travel Backpack
Best Overall Travel Backpack

Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

  • Price > $$
  • Liters > 30L and 40L
  • Material > Tarpaulin/Ballistic Weave
  • Best Use > Travel, digital nomad lifestyle, weekend trips
Best Organised Travel Pack
Shell Backpack By Tropicfeel
Best Organised Travel Pack

Shell by Tropicfeel

  • Price > $$
  • Liters > 20 – 40L
  • Material > 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon Exterior
  • Best Use > Travel, urban lifestyle
Best Long Term Travel Backpack (Men)
Osprey Aether AG 70
Best Long Term Travel Backpack (Men)

Osprey Men’s Aether 70

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 70L
  • Material > 210D Nylon Dobby
  • Best Use > Trekking, backpacking, hiking, international travel
Best Carry-on Backpack
Osprey farpoint 40
Best Carry-on Backpack

Osprey Farpoint 40

  • Price > $$
  • Liters > 40L
  • Material > 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop
  • Best Use > Travel, international backpacking, urban lifestyle
Best Long Term Travel Backpack for Women (Large)
Best Long Term Travel Backpack for Women (Large)

Osprey Aura 50

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 50L
  • Material > 210D Nylon Dobby
  • Best Use > Trekking, backpacking, hiking, international travel
Best Travel & Hiking Backpack
Best Travel & Hiking Backpack

Osprey Airscape UNLTD

  • Price > $$$$
  • Liters > 68L
  • Material > 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop
  • Best Use > Hiking, international backpacking,
Best Organized Backpack
Best Organized Backpack

Tropicfeel Shell

  • Price > $$
  • Liters > 22-40
  • Material > Polyester – 60% recycled material, 100% recycled nylon
  • Best Use > Travel, international backpacking, urban lifestyle
Best Full Size Carry On (Unisex)
Tortuga Outbreaker
Best Full Size Carry On (Unisex)

Tortuga Outbreaker

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 35L and 45L
  • Material > X-Pac waterproof sailcloth
  • Best Use > Travel, international backpacking, urban lifestyle
Best Travel Bag with Wheels
osprey ozone backpack with wheels review
Best Travel Bag with Wheels

Osprey Ozone

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 42L
  • Material > 210-denier nylon honeycomb/450-denier packcloth
  • Best Use > Travel, international wheelpacking, urban lifestyle
Best Camera Backpack for Travel
wandrd prvke 31 backpack
Best Camera Backpack for Travel

WANDRD PRVKE 31

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 31-36L
  • Material > Combination of tarpaulin and robic nylon
  • Best Use > Travel photography<
Best Travel Bag for Laptops
Best Travel Bag for Laptops

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

  • Price > $$$
  • Liters > 25L
  • Material > 900D heathered polyester
  • Best Use > Travel, digital nomad lifestyle, carry on, day pack

So Why Choose to Travel with a Backpack?

If there is this much research to be done to find the best backpacks for traveling, why travel with one at all. Wouldn’t a suitcase be easier? The easy answer is no, it would not.

The cobbled streets of Europe, dirt roads of Nepal, and busy bus stations around the world are quite simply not suitcase friendly. Your suitcase is likely to get damaged, get in the way and, in general, piss you off. Trust me, carrying your suitcase because the wheels have fallen off while you search for the hostel, is not a great start to a trip – plus you end up looking like an idiot.

Backpacks to the rescue!

The best backpacks for travel make life when traveling, easier. Strapped to your back, with a good hip strap you’ll barely feel the weight of your travel pack on your back. On your travels, you will often pick up your luggage and hoist it over your head to access luggage compartments, lofts, treehouses, bunk beds, etc… This is significantly easier with a backpack compared to a suitcase.

a man with his best travel backpack surveys a lake

Crucially, when traveling with a backpack your hands are free to use Google Maps to find your hostel, tackling stairs is not a problem, and you can officially join the backpacker hordes! No one likes a suitcase.

Still not convinced? What if I told you that once you invest in the best travel bag you shouldn’t ever need to buy another one! A good quality travel backpack lasts years and does not get damaged as easily as suitcases. I’ve been dragging my pack around the globe for nearly ten years and it’s still going strong… even better, my pack has a lifetime guarantee.

The best backpacks for travel will be flexible in size and shape so when they are not full, there is more chance that you can take them on board planes. Some traveling backpacks even come with detachable day packs to make things even easier.

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How This Article is Set Up

Over the course of this article, we’re going to highlight a grand total of 19 backpacks for traveling. 19! That’s a lot of options.

But there are different kinds of bags for different kinds of travelers. If you like to go camping and on multi-day hikes while you’re traveling, you will obviously need a backpack that can accommodate all the extra gear. If you are a photographer, you will probably need a special backpack that can protect your gear. These are just a few examples.

Osprey farpoint 40 review

We’ve broken this article up into sections based upon what kind of traveler you are. Each section will apply (broadly) to different kinds of backpackers so find the one that suits you best and start reading.

After we cover the backpacks, we will then go into more detail about WHAT makes a great backpack for traveling. Be sure to keep reading to gain some extra insider information on choosing the right backpack.

JUMP TO ->

Why Should You Trust Us?

The Broke Backpacker team have been travelling and living out of their own backpacks for years now. Collectively, they must have 50+ years of travel experience and, by now, know what it takes to be successful on the road. They are experts in their field and take great pleasure in presenting the best possible gear to you.

Overview of the Best Travel Backpacks

I’ve taken the best travel packs in the world and explained EXACTLY what kind of traveler they are for. Each backpack is different depending on how you travel, and what you plan to do on any given adventure.

This makes things easy on you, so you can easily find a backpack that fits your style.

There is nothing worse than a traveling backpack causing pain, discomfort, and dread every time you pack up to move on.

Let’s go!

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Best Overall Travel Backpacks of 2022

Let’s kick this off with what I feel are the TOP backpacks to travel with. Backpackers and digital nomads behold…`

#1 Nomatic Travel Bag 40L

nomatic 40l travel pack
Specs
  • Size: 40L
  • Straps: Adjustable, waist straps
  • Pockets: More than enough
  • Material: Tarpaulin/ballistic weave
Feature Highlights
  • Looks sexy!
  • Modern and efficient
  • Tons of room
  • Lots of awesome features
  • Carry on size

Nomatic bags are designed to be modern, sleek, and provide ultimate packing efficiency. This is accomplished by great design: tons of features, and more pockets and sleeves than you’ll know what to do with.

Whether you need a backpack for a business trip or are a digital nomad traveling the world, this will keep your laptop and valuables well secured all while looking stylish.

If you are a modern traveler who spends a lot of time in urban environments, the Nomatic Travel Bag is an awesome backpack. It looks great, is feature-rich, and can pack a lot more than it looks like. Nomatic is one biggest players in the backpack niche – this bag is why.

However, do note that this bag’s capacity is 40L which may not be enough storage space for backpackers on long trips.

Read our full review of the Nomatic Travel Bag!

#2 Aer Travel Pack 2 – Our Favorite Backpack to Travel With Runner Up

aer travel pack 2 backpack
Specs
  • Volume: 33 liters
  • Weight: 3.7 lbs
  • Material: 1680D Cordura Ballistic Nylon Exterior
  • Laptop Compartment: Yes
  • Carry-On Compliant: Yes
Feature Highlights
  • Multiple compartments for organization
  • Durable
  • Lots of potential customization

Here at The Broke Backpacker, we are big fans of AER – and the Travel Bag is one of their best backpacks to date. This bag has gotten a ton of (much deserved) hype and it’s our pick for the best overall travel backpack!

The AER is a wonderful backpack for digital nomads on the go. It can fit your laptop as well as any other travel gear you tote around. Use it as a daypack around town or bring it on the pane for one bag travel.

There are many different compartments, pockets, and zippers to keep you organized. There’s a laptop sleeve and a very handy place just for shoes.

The minimalist outer design helps deter thieves, and what the outside lacks in pockets it makes up for with well-designed internal storage.

Read our Aer Travel Pack 2 review to learn more about thus bag!

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    #3 Osprey Men’s Aether 70 – Best Long Term Travel Backpack (Men)

    Osprey Men’s Aether 70: best travel hiking backpack
    Specs
    • Size: 70L
    • Straps: Hip, Shoulder and Chest Compression Straps
    • Pockets: Multiple!
    • Frame: IsoForm5 harness and CM™ hip-belt for a custom fit
    • Material: 210D Nylon Dobby
    Feature Highlights
    • Anti-Gravity technology
    • Custom-fit
    • Convertible top-lid day pack.

    The Osprey Aether has all the advantages of every pack of the Osprey brand (the Osprey ‘All-Mighty Guarantee’, durability, comfort), but this model is slightly smaller than the standard 80+ liter. Making it the perfect backpack for travel on long-haul trips when a small travel bag just won’t do.

    Additionally, it has plenty of pockets and compartments to keep things extra organized. An AirScape back panel to keep you cool on the warmest adventures. I can guarantee it’ll last a lifetime, if you don’t believe me, just ask Osprey!

    Literally guys, they put a lifetime guarantee on every single product they sell to prove it. The only downside to this pack is you can’t avoid checked luggage fee’s with this bad boy. But at least you don’t have to dump any stuff! This is hands down one of the best backpacks for traveling around the world on a longer adventure.

    Check out our review of the Aether 70 backpack to learn more!

    #4 Osprey Aura 50 – Best Long Term Travel Backpack (Women)

    Osprey Aura 50: best travel abckpack for women
    Specs
    • Size: 50L
    • Straps: Hip, Shoulder and Chest Side Compression Straps
    • Pockets: Multiple – including top, front and water bottle pockets.
    • Frame: Internal, full peripheral frame
    • Material: 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby
    Feature Highlights
    • Anti-Gravity Suspension
    • Floating top-lid replaceable with FlapJacket
    • Multiple organisation options.

    The ladies-specific Osprey Aura is the best travel backpack for women. This is a high-quality backpack for women traveling on epic short or long haul adventures. Osprey as a brand are awesome and they guarantee to last many adventures! Seriously, all Osprey travel bags come with a lifetime guarantee making them undeniably the best value backpacks.

    With the unique built-in Anti-Gravity suspension system, this bag is designed to carry up to 40lbs without the carrier even noticing! Meaning this travel backpack is stable, strong and can carry the weight without you having to suffer for it! If you’re a lady hitting the road, this is the travel backpack I recommend.

    Overall, you should get the Osprey Aura 50 if you are traveling in a variety of weather (humidity and snow) and hike and backpack often. This backpack will be a great fit if you are looking for a high-quality backpack that can handle wear and tear.

    Check out our awesome Osprey Aura 50 review!

    #5 Osprey Airscape UNLTD – Best Hiking & Travel Backpack

    Osprey Airspace UNLTD
    Specs
    • Size: 68L
    • Straps: Hip, Shoulder and Chest Side Compression Straps
    • Pockets: Multiple – including top, front and water bottle pockets.
    • Frame: Internal, full peripheral frame with 3d printed lumbar support
    • Material: Space Age!
    Feature Highlights
    • Anti-Gravity Suspension
    • Cutting edge super comfy back support
    • Lid detaches into a day pack

    The Osprey Airscape is one of two spanking hiking packs launched by the world’s leading backpack brand’s as part of its UNLTD series.

    The Airscape UNLTD is a 68 litre hiking and travel backpack that utilises cutting edge, 3D printing technology to create an ultra comfy, supportive and breathable lumbar, back support.

    Whilst there are too many little features to list in this section (read on for the full run down), another major bonus is the 8l top lid that converts to an 18l day pack which brings a whole new dimension to the pack. 

    Alas, the Osprey Airscape UNLTD also comes with a hefty $750 price tag which by far makes it the most expensive backpack that I have ever come across. Whether it is really worth that amount of money is of course debatable but what we can say is that this is by far the most comfortable hiking backpack that we have ever tried.

    The Best Carry On Travel Backpacks

    I have about four different travel backpacks now and whilst I am almost always carrying my Osprey Aether, it’s well worth having a second backpack which is small enough to get by as carry-on luggage.

    If you only travel with a compact backpack you can save a fortune on luggage fees and simply take your backpack on a flight as carry-on. Budget backpacking win right there!

    Below are some of my favorite backpacks that I use as a carry-on. If you’d like to learn more about these sort of bags, then be sure to head over our comprehensive guide on the top carry-on backpacks to take traveling!

    #1 Osprey Farpoint 40 L – Best Carry-on Backpack (Men)

    osprey farpoint 40 liter backapck
    Specs
    • Size: 40L
    • Straps: Interior/exterior synches
    • Pockets: Exterior mesh pockets, more inside bag
    • Frame: Light, wire frame
    • Material: 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop
    Feature Highlights
    • Large panel zip access to main compartment.
    • Stowaway backpanel, harness and hipbelt with zippered rear flap for protection.
    • Laptop and tablet sleeve secure in lockable compartment.

    Overall, you should get the Osprey Farpoint 40 if you are traveling the world, and like to pack super light (like me).

    If you are looking for a nearly indestructible carry on backpack which can actually carry, and compartmentalize, a lot of stuff – this backpack might be your match made in heaven.

    Because of it’s 40 liter size, the Farpoint 40 is a near-guarantee to carry on no matter the airline. This will save you hundreds of dollars in checking fees, and countless hours waiting in baggage claim. And as we will look at later, there is plenty of space to make sure that light-traveling does not mean bad-traveling.

    In my opinion, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is the best value carry on backpack on the market right now.

    Check out our epic Osprey Farpoint review here

    #2 Osprey Fairview 40 – Best Carry-on Backpack (Women)

    Osprey Fairview 40: best carry on backpack for women
    Specs
    • Size: 40 Liters
    • Material: 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop
    • Best Use: Travel, international backpacking, urban lifestyle
    Feature Highlights
    • All of the pros of the Osprey Farpoint 40.
    • A hiking and carry-on backpack specifically designed to fit women!

    The Osprey Fairview 40 was designed specifically for women – making this category an easy choice! To clarify for the ladies…

    ANY of the bags mentioned prior can be used for women. Whether you are interested in Minaal, Tortuga, AER, or any of the others – all of these bags are unisex.

    Except for the Osprey Fairview 40, which was designed specifically for women.

    Just as the Osprey Farpoint 40, the Farview 40 is a masterpiece, and is taken to the next level by being tailored for women.

    This travel backpack can transform into a duffel bag, which is made even more awesome by the included shoulder strap, and the ability to stow the bag’s harness and hip belt. At a square 40 liters, you’ll rarely have to worry about this bag being checked.

    Is the Osprey Fairview 40 the best traveling backpack for you?

    If you are a lady, and want all of the glory of Osprey in a bag that is specifically designed for you, then hell yes! Please, don’t be hesitant to purchase any of the other bags (as they are all unisex!) but if you want a badass hiking pack that also functions as a carry on backpack, this is an easy pick.

    #3 Tortuga Outbreaker – Best Full Size Carry-on (Unisex)

    best minimalist backpacks
    The Tortuga Outbreaker 35 L is my top pick for best carry-on backpack for minimalists.
    Specs
    • Size: 35 and 45 liters
    • Material: X-Pac waterproof sailcloth
    • Pockets: Multiple
    Feature Highlights
    • The design will leave you fairly impressed
    • It has tons of pockets/compartments
    • Amazing for organization
    • It packs huge – you can put A LOT in it

    The first thing I noticed when packing my new Tortuga Outbreaker, was just how massive the main compartment was. It has the capacity to carry a ton of clothes. If you are a world traveler, then this is great because it means you have to do less laundry – score!

    The Outbreaker’s design enables its the main compartment to be opened like a suitcase – which is 10 times more convenient than a traditional backpackers backpack. Reaching my stuff was simple, and because of the organization of the compartments, it was easy to know what was where.

    Inside the main compartment are six smaller compartments. The first four smaller compartments are enclosed within the main compartment.

    While there might be some gray-area on the size of this bag and how many times I’ll actually have to pay to check it, the Tortuga Outbreaker is still without a doubt one of the best backpacks on the market. It’s quality build, intuitive design, fantastic organization, and smaller size make it the perfect compact travel bag for anyone who wants to travel light, but travel in style.

    Check out out our must-read Tortuga Outbreaker review.

    #4 Tropicfeel Shell Backpack – Best Backpack for Organizing

    Tropicfeel Shell
    Specs
    • Size: 22-40 litres
    • Material: Water-resistant nylon
    • Weight (at full capacity): 3.3 lb
    • Add-on compartments: Yes!
    Feature Highlights
    • Really fucking versatile
    • Packs up easily
    • Fairly priced

    The Shell by Tropicfeel is a little to medium backpack sized with a big concept. Firstly, it is a 3 in 1 extendable backpack that begins life as a 22 liter pack, rolls up to 30 litres and then with the addition of a detachable pouch goes all the way to 40 litres.

    As well as being a 3-in-1 backpack (which you can easily adapt to use as day pack, overnight pack and carry-on pack), the Shell also has another awesome feature – a little, mini drop in pull out travel roll up wardrobe! With multiple compartments, you can easily pack and unpack all of your belongings. For a quick outfit change at the airport, this is ideal.

    Keeping everything tidy, easily accessible and organized during your travels has never been so easy. On top of that, the recycled material is also weather and water-resistant.

    Best Travel Backpacks for Hiking

    A lot of people like to go hiking while they are out traveling the world. To do so, they need a special type of travel backpack, one that can go further, carry more, and last longer.

    Aside from the Osprey Aether and Aura, here are a couple more options when looking for a good bag to go traveling and hiking with. If you would like to read more about these special pieces of gear, then be sure to check out our ENORMOUS hiking backpack guide!

    #1 Osprey Aether 85 Backpack – A BIG Travel Backpack

    Osprey Argon 85 Backpack
    Specs
    • Size: 85L
    • Straps: Removable hip belt molding straps, comfortable shoulder straps
    • Pockets: Lots – mesh pocket for 1-liter size water bottle, a zippered storage pocket, and more
    • Frame: HDPE/aluminium rod
    • Material: High tenacity nylon
    Feature Highlights
    • Removable top lid w/compartment and waterproof zipper
    • Converts to a lumbar pack with AirScape lumbar pad

    Looking to head into the back country in search of adventure? Whether it is a couple of days hiking or an epic adventure The Osprey Aether 85 backpack is the best travel backpack on the market by far.

    I’ve been adventuring with my Aether for nearly ten years now. The best thing about Osprey is that they operate an all-mighty guarantee. This means that they will repair any damage done to your pack, no questions asked, for free. However, note that in recent years they have amended this guarantee and it now excludes wear & tear, water damage and airline damage.

    Osprey packs are expensive but you are effectively buying a pack for life. The backpack is extremely durable; in ten years of constant backpacking I have never damaged or ripped the main pack’s body and only minor things have broken (usually after five years).

    The Osprey Aether 85 is a big expedition backpack; it’s 85 liters, extremely comfortable thanks to the custom-molded hip belt, is compatible with hydration systems, has plenty of sections for storage and can easily be loaded up with a ton of stuff – I once strapped three tents to the outside and had a fourth tent on the inside plus cooking equipment, sleeping bags, food, clothes, electronics etc…

    You can fit everything in this pack and it will remain comfortable and manageable. I cannot recommend Osprey enough. The best backpacks for travel are all made by Osprey. 

    #2 Osprey Skarab 30 – A Smaller Backpack for Shorter Journeys

    If you love the look then you’ll also love the durability of Berghaus bags
    Specs
    • Size: 30L
    • Straps: Height adjustable chest strap and side compression straps
    • Pockets: Zipped internal lid pocket and front bungee system
    • Frame: Ultra-light 6001 aluminium frame
    • Material: Nylon
    Feature Highlights
    • Walking pole attachments
    • Adjustable BIOFIT back system

    For the days when you venture into the wilderness or walk the market streets, you need a pack that is both comfortable and practical. I’ve been using my Osprey Skarab for three years now as my go-to backpack for shorter adventures or hikes.

    It’s one hell of a pack and is the best budget backpack I’ve come across. It’s pretty cheap considering the quality and it has plenty of pockets for storage, a padded hip belt, a safety whistle on the chest strap (always handy!) and an in-built rain cover.

    The Osprey Skarab backpack is 30 liters so it’s a backpack best for weekends or ultralight hiking rather than long expeditions where you have to carry tents and food. It can just about handle long trips but space is limited so whilst it is one of the best backpacks for travel, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a long trip.

    Check out our full-length Osprey Skarab review.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    #3 Deuter Aircontact 65+10 Backpack – A Cheaper Travel Backpack Osprey-Alternative

    Deuter Air Contact the best backpack for hiking
    Specs
    • Size: 65L
    • Straps: ActiveFit shoulder straps, VariFlex hip fins and Chest straps
    • Pockets: Lid, hip belt, wet, valuables, side, front and bottom compartments
    • Frame: X-frame Construction
    • Material: Polyester: 20% / Nylon: 80%
    Feature Highlights
    • 15% perspiration control
    • 3D AirMesh cover with breathable hollow chamber foam
    • Great ventilation

    Hands down, this is one of the best backpacks for hiking. This is a fantastic backpack for those looking for comfort, support, breathability and freedom of movement. This backpack is absolutely one of my best picks and if it wasn’t for my trusty Osprey, I would probably be a Deuter man.

    Best Backpacks for Digital Nomads

    These days, traveling without a laptop is just not going to happen. For many of us, a laptop is just as essential as a phone and if you are a digital nomad hitting the road, you need to protect your baby. So amigos, let me share the best travel backpacks for digital nomads and laptop lovers.

    #1 Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack – Best Travel Backpack for Digital Nomads

    Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack
    This backpack was designed for smooth laptop travel
    Specs
    • Size: 25 liters
    • Material: 900D heathered polyester
    • Laptop Fit: Up to 15 Inch
    Feature Highlights
    • Very functional
    • High-quality manufacturing
    • Super organized

    This one is pretty obvious – the Setout Laptop Backpack is great for…. laptops!

    But seriously, if you are looking for a sturdy pack to carry your laptop around– look no further, this bad boy is as good as it gets. This is for a few reasons.

    First off, Tortuga Backpacks are possibly some of the most well designed and durable backpacks on the market. We’ve reviewed tons of Tortuga products and they all have an incredible amount of detail to them, and are made of the highest quality materials. High quality/durable materials means your precious laptop will be safe and sound.

    Secondly, to make the world’s greatest laptop backpack, Tortuga put a lot of time and effort into the laptop-features of this backpack.

    Simply put? This backpack has tons of organization features, all of which are designed specifically for laptops. Notice in the pictures above and below, that this bag is loaded with ways to keep your gear safe, and very organized.

    Tortuga markets this bag as an “organized daypack for air travel”– and it’s certainly true!

    The design and features of this backpack make it perfect for air travel. Whether it’s the sleek laptop sleeve, the easy to lock zippers, the luggage handle pass through or the hideaway shoulder straps, this bag thrives in airports and airplanes.

    Whether you are a road warrior looking for an upgraded carry on backpack, or you just love to travel the world, this is the backpack that will make your life easier and stress free while traveling via air.

    Check out our in-depth Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack review

    #2 High Spirit Laptop Backpack – Supreme Organization, Style, and Security

    stylish black travel backpack
    The High Spirit Laptop Backpack is one sexy beast.
    Specs
    • Size: 19.5 liters
    • Material: Top quality leather exterior
    • Laptop Fit: Up to 15 Inch
    Feature Highlights
    • Anti-theft
    • Extremely well made
    • Durable shock-absorbing base

    High Spirit Bags have broken onto the travel backpack scene with an emphatic BANG. Their brand new Laptop Backpack is the perfect choice for travelers who prioritize style, security, and functionality all rolled up into one tidy package.

    Every inch of the Laptop Backpack is thoughtfully designed to provide the best possible user experience. The high quality leather exterior is the ideal combination of sleek and anti-theft – which when you are toting around expensive electronics – this feature is very important.

    Perhaps my favorite feature is the pack’s access design. The zippers are located on the back panel making it virtually impossible for thieves to unzip your backpack whilst you are wearing it.

    The organizational layout of this backpack provides more than enough storage options for your work day in the city or a weekend jaunt to Barcelona.

    So what about cost?

    Surprisingly, the High Spirt Laptop Backpack is much more affordable than many other laptop-focused travel backpacks out there. The verdict is in: you are not going to find a more high-quality laptop backpack that looks and functions this well for the given price point (£110).

    High Spirit – you have won over our entire gear review team – good on you!

    #3 Arcido Akra 35L – A Large yet Lightweight Travel Backpack

    Arcido Akra 35L
    Specs
    • Size: 35L
    • Straps: Shoulder, chest, and hip
    • Pockets: Exterior sleeves, hidden pockets, back passport pocket
    • Frame: None
    • Material: Kodra Nylon, Polyurethane
    Feature Highlights
    • Sleek, stylish design
    • Super lightweight makes travel easy
    • Organized + customizable

    This is the perfect carry on travel backpack for urban travelers. Its laptop harness, organizational pockets, and integrative packing cubes (in the Arcido Akra and Vaga Daypack Bundle) make this the perfect travel backpack for digital nomads too.

    At only 2.4 lbs, this is a lightweight backpack for travel that can become even lighter when the sternum straps and waist belt are removed.

    In essence, Arcido makes simple, tough, and well-designed travel backpacks equipped with enough storage and organizational features make any modern traveler happy. We love that this is an affordable backpack for its high-quality design.

    Check out our full Arcido Akra review!

    #4 Incase Icon Pack – One of the Toughest Laptops Bags

    Incase icon slim pack travel backpack
    Specs
    • Size: 9 x 13 x 19 inches
    • Straps: Shoulder and Chest Straps
    • Pockets: 5 exterior pockets, 1 interior zippered pocket
    • Frame: None
    • Material: 100% Nylon
    Feature Highlights
    • Dedicated laptop compartment
    • Multiple organisation options
    • Airflow channels in back panel

    The Incase Icon Pack is the best travel backpack if you’ll be working on the road and need a sturdy, durable pack to keep your laptop safe while exploring new areas. Featuring multiple exterior and interior pockets, the Icon laptop backpack allows maximum organisation and easy access to your belongings, with a dedicated laptop compartment to stow your gear away safely.

    Check out our in-depth breakdown of the best laptop backpacks for more intel!

    The Best Backpacks for Travel Photographers

    Photographers need to be very mindful of their gear while traveling. Rough rides and constant movement can imperil sensitive camera equipment, so it’s very important to have a reliable backpack that can keep everything safe.

    These are a few more good travel backpacks, this time with the photographers and aspiring photographers in mind. If these suggestions aren’t enough, we’ve also written an in-depth guide to choosing the best camera backpacks too!

    #1 WANDRD PRVKE 31 – Best Travel Camera Backpack

    wandrd prvke 31 backpack
    Specs
    • Size: 31 Liters
    • Material: Combination of tarpaulin and robic nylon
    • Pockets: Multiple pockets and 3 main storage compartments
    Feature Highlights

    For those who want a backpack that can does a little bit of everything, is durable, and looks damn good in the process, the WADNRD PRVKE 31 is an excellent investment. At 31 (expandable to 36) liters, this backpack can hold quite a bit and there are plenty more pockets to hold everything else.

    Thanks to its robust weather-resistant design, your belongings will be safe as well. Add in some customizable straps and sleek sexy design and you have a backpack that can do damn near anything.

    Though the PRVKE 31 has lots of padding and additional straps for distributing weight, it lacks certain key features that make it truly adept at carrying heavier loads. During our tests, both of the women on our trip struggled somewhat while carrying this bag as it did not fit snugly against their bodies.

    I was impressed with the number of customizable options that PRVKE 31 offered. Between the many loops found on the pack as well as the ability to attach adjustable accessory straps (sold separately), users will be able to find many alternative means of packing. Overall, a badass camera backpack!

    Read our WANDRD PRVKE 31 review!

    #2 Nomatic Peter Mckinnon Camera Bag – Best Travel Camera Backpack

    nomatic camera bag
    Specs
    • Size: 35 liters
    • Material: Tarpaulin and Nylon
    • Storage: Interior Dimensions of main compartment: 21? x 12.5? x 5.25?
    Feature Highlights
    • Expands to 42 liters
    • Can hold a full-frame camera, multiple lenses, and a small drone
    • Doubles as a great short-term travel backpack

    This is the first true camera bag offered by Nomatic. Inspired and designed by legendary Youtuber and renowned photographer Peter Mckinnon, this 35 liter backpack is already a top competitor of the Wandrd PRVKE 31.

    Built to last and with the traveling photographer in mind, the Nomatic Camera Bag is ultra-functional, durable, and sleek. Small enough to be a carry on, yet big enough to support extended weekend trips, the 35 liters offered here makes this bag ideal for photographers who find themselves frequently out on overnight/ inner-city trips.

    The one drawback? To get the most of this bag, you really need to go for the bundle package – which comes with all of the nice accessories that make this backpack great. If you have the money, going for the Nomatic Camera Bag is an excellent investment and is probably an all-around better backpack then the WANDRD 31 when all of the accessories and features are added up.

    Read our Nomatic Camera Pack review!

    Other Special Travel Backpacks Worth Considering

    Sometimes traveling calls for a unique bag. Maybe you’re a weekend warrior who needs something both professional and rugged. Maybe you just like to mix things up. Either way, these backpacks maybe more appropriate for you.

    #1 Osprey Ozone – Top Wheeled Backpack for Travel

    Osprey Ozone the best travel backpack
    Specs
    • Size: 42 Liters
    • Straps: Compression straps, shoulder straps and hip strap.
    • Pockets: Stretch Mesh Pockets
    • Frame: Ultra-light 6001 aluminium frame
    • Material: Nylon
    Feature Highlights
    • Will attach to any of the wheeled luggage by Osprey
    • Can be combined with other Osprey bags to make a nimble beast

    Wheeled luggage sometimes get a bad reputation. We’ve all seen those travelers trying to roll giant pieces luggage around cobble stone streets or busy Asian alleys, clearly in over their head.

    But wheeled backpacks are different.

    Designed for the savvy traveler, Osprey’s Ozone Travel Pack 46 is pretty much one of the best travel backpacks out there. The padded hip-belt and shoulder harness stow away for easy transport. It can clip on to the wheeled range by osprey for easy transport and it is super breathable. It even has an inside zipped compartment perfect for smelly hiking boots!

    I’ve been using this pack on and off for two years: you can fit a TON of stuff in it – a genuinely surprising amount considering it still qualifies as hand luggage most of the time – however, once it’s heavy it quickly becomes a tad uncomfortable – not ideal if you plan on taking it hiking. This is one of the best backpacks for travel if you have a ton of valuables you want to keep in your hand luggage – i.e. if you are a digital nomad!

    #2 REI Co-Op Flash 55– An Excellent Budget Backpack

    cheap hiking backpacks
    Specs
    • Size: 55L
    • Straps: Side Compression Straps
    • Pockets: Multiple – including top, front and water bottle pockets.
    • Frame: Internal, Steel
    • Material: 100-denier ripstop nylon main body
    Feature Highlights
    • Perfect-Fit suspension for on-body adjustments
    • Easy access
    • Budget-friendly

    Although a little smaller than the Osprey Aether (and not as well-built), the REI Flash 55 still makes for a quality backpack for travel on long haul minimalist trips and weekend backpacking missions.

    Ideal for use in both cities and in the mountains, the Flash 55 is a versatile, sturdy backpack with multi-functional pockets, a comfortable, suspension- supported fit, and easy access compartments allowing you to get to your essentials whenever you need to. This is one of the best hiking bags around for under $200.

    What Makes a Good Travel Backpack?

    Picking the best backpack to travel with doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive…

    It’s easy to grab a great discount deal from a top brand and, to be honest, if you buy anything from Osprey, AER, or Tortuga you won’t be disappointed. However, not all backpacks are created equal and there’s a few factors you should always look at when picking a backpack for traveling…

    1. The Right Travel Backpack Size

    Size is a personal choice and the best travel packs have no definitive size. If you are a traveler who needs more space for camping gear, you want to pick up lots of trinkets or you travel with a full wardrobe then a 60-liter plus backpack will suit your travels.

    Larger backpacks however mean checked baggage fees and you are less likely to be able to take your backpack into the bus with you, instead you’ll have to strap it to the roof and hope it doesn’t rain!

    Is Turkey safe to travel alone?

    The smaller your travel bag, the less you can take, but the big bonus is no checked bag fees and it’s easier to keep tabs on your pack at all times. If you can keep your backpack below fifty liters you will save a fortune when flying.

    Think carefully about the size of your pack and what’s best for you – the best backpacks for travel are different for everyone. Personally, I travel with a seventy liter pack as I am often carrying camping gear.

    2. Straps on Your Travel Backpack

    Carrying everything you need to travel the world on your back doesn’t come lightly… even when you pack light!

    Wandering lost, trying to find a hostel in the heat of the day with a travel bag is not fun, even the lightest packers will agree.

    So how do you combat this? Well the best backpacks will include well designed load bearing straps to help turn that heavy backpack into a fairly light backpack.

    The aim of the game is to take weight off your shoulders and onto the hips. This is significantly better for you and you can walk, climb and even jump around pretty comfortably if your pack’s weight is distributed evenly. These days most larger backpacks include hip belts as standard.

    For me, quality hip belts are what makes a great travel backpack. Without a hip belt, even the best backpack in the world can turn into a nightmare. Some traveling backpacks have heat-molded custom made hip belts that may appear somewhat gimmicky but are very comfortable.

    Your shoulder straps are equally important and should be comfortable to wear, without the hip belt. Look for shoulder straps that have plenty of padding.

    A swagman with a durable backpack
    Before the days of heat-molded custom straps with anti-gravity bearings and attached safety whistle.

    3. Pockets, Pockets, POCKETS

    Well organised travel bags make the best travel bags. There’s nothing more annoying than a typical backpack which only opens from the top meaning that each and every time you need something you’ll be pulling literally, everything else but that, out.

    Pockets alleviate this problem; allowing you to assign certain segments of your travel backpack to particular items (e.g. clothes, toiletries, passport and money) for easier access. The best pocket is a U-shaped opening pocket as this allows easy access.

    Nomatic bag features
    All those sexy, sexy pockets.

    4. Travel Backpack Weight

    Great travel backpacks are those which are as light as a feather, right?

    Sadly these don’t really exist and instead, you need to consider the best weight for what you’ll be doing. Backpacks themselves are not weightless, the heavier the frame, the more weight you have to start with.

    In general, you want to go for the lightest, but toughest, pack you can find. Gregory Packs are some of the lightest packs on the market but they are simply not as tough as Osprey or AER and that is there downfall…

    Osprey Renn 50: a light travel backpack
    The lighter the pack, the easier the walk!

    5. How Comfortable Should a Travel Backpack Be?

    Your travel backpack will become your new best friend, it’s where you will store all of your shit, it will basically become your home; therefore you need to try and choose the most comfortable backpack.

    You’ll find the best travel pack by trying it on in the store before buying. When trying it on, load it up with some weight to take it for a proper test drive. I strongly recommend trying a bunch of different backpacks on at an REI or Outdoor Store before making your choice.

    When it comes to fitting a backpack, you want an even distribution of weight across your hips, shoulders and chest, and to make sure there are no pressure points that may cause the bag to rub or pinch as you walk. Cushioned shoulder pads and padded hip belts are always a winner my friends…

    The better your hip belt, the better your pack will sit upon your body and the more comfortable it will be.

    osprey exos 58 review: one of the most comfortable backpacks
    The longer the walk, the more comfortable you want your backpack.

    6. Material and Construction of a Good Travel Backpack

    So it’s raining and you’re still trying to find your hostel? Or you can see your backpack from the plane window waiting to be loaded and it’s sitting in the rain? (Fuck you Kingfisher Airlines).

    Water-resistant material is essential when traveling!

    Your bag will be exposed to rain, puddles or leaks at some point. There’s nothing worse than opening the bag to find your clothes soaked and stinking or worse, your electronics damaged. The most durable backpacks are made from strong, durable, stretchy, waterproof material.

    So look out for backpack material that will last for years – the last thing you want is a ripped bag halfway through your travels!

    Does the sound of having a super-durable backpack speak to you? Check out our in-depth best heavy duty backpacks review!

    a most durable backpack in snowy mountains
    Weather resistance is key!

    7. Best Travel Backpacks for Men vs Women

    There are literally thousands of backpacks for traveling on the market and the best packs tend to be made with one gender or another in mind. Unisex backpacks usually will fit pretty much anybody but you can get a man’s backpack, which will take into account broad shoulders, for the same price so I definitely recommend finding a gender-specific backpack when you hit the road.

    Finding the best travel backpack for women requires more research than nice colors and comfortable straps. I am, of course not a woman. So to help me out on this I spoke to a bunch of kick-ass women adventurers for advice.

    A woman hiking with a medium size backpack
    The best travel backpack for women takes into account the feminine frame.

    Size is perhaps the most important consideration along with comfortable straps and weight distribution. This doesn’t mean that women have to buy travel bags specifically for them, but the feedback from my girlfriend and friends; is that they’re so much better.

    Other than the different design for a typical woman’s body, there is not much difference between the women’s and the men’s travel backpacks. Most of the points that you’ll below apply to both genders so keep these in mind.

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    The Great Backpacker Debate (Must Read!)

    Generally speaking, backpackers are some of the most warming, understanding, agreeable people on the planet.

    But there is one decisive issue among backpackers.

    To travel with a carry on backpack, OR to travel with a large backpack.

    This has proven to be quite the epic debate. Every backpacker has an opinion on the topic, making it difficult for newbie travelers to know which side to pick, and most importantly, which bag to buy.

    Let’s go over both options.

    In Favor of a Big Backpack (60L – 80L)

    The most obvious reason to have a larger backpack is that you can carry more stuff! A 65-70 liter backpack can hold all kinds of extra items from food to gear to photography/videography equipment!

    Now not everyone is going to want or necessarily need to deal with all of these extra pieces of kit. More kit means more weight, more check-in fees, and more tedious packing and unpacking sessions. Ultimatly, you should only be packing what you need.

    So choosing to ditch a smaller travel backpack en lieu of a larger one really comes down to how specialized your trip is going to be. If you’re going to be participating in a wide variety of activities and for longer periods of time, you’ll want a bigger bag. If you just need a backpack for traveling around Europe and don’t intend on doing anything crazier (than usual), then you probably don’t need something too large.

    Pros
    • Can accommodate extra gear for hiking, camping, etc
    • Great if traveling to colder destinations
    • Great when traveling off the beaten path
    • More room=more options
    Cons
    • Additional strain on your back
    • Have to check it on airplanes and buses
    • Many travelers simply don’t need it
    • Not as ideal for urban travel

    In Favor of a Carry On Bag (35L – 50L)

    best travel backpack Nomatic travel bag
    This bag (Nomatic) is ready for anything!

    While traveling with a  60L+ bag might make sense for some people, it is completely unnecessary for other people.

    First, if you are sure you will do ZERO hiking, trekking or camping… then you probably have no need for a large bag. If you just need a backpack for the weekend, 65L is too much.

    40L bags are still very large and can carry a ton of stuff. If you are not bringing camping or hiking gear, then a 40-50L bag can be more than enough to handle all of your stuff.

    Traveling with a light bag means traveling with less stress. Less stress on your back, less stress in your bag, less stress in your life in general. Travelers who carry large bags often fill it with things they don’t need.

    But traveling light does require a sense of dedication, and if this minimalist bag style doesn’t appeal to you, then go big baby!

    Pros
    1. Less shit to worry about
    2. Less stress on your back
    3. If your bag is under 40L, you don’t have to check it
    4. Great for urban travel
    Cons
    1. Forget about camping, trekking or hitchhiking
    2. Limited space means less stuff
    3. Not a great option if you want to bring a lot of clothes

    Should you get a Large or Carry On Backpack?

    This is completely up to you and should depend on your travel style.

    Take into consideration the type of person you are… is traveling super lightweight attractive to you? Do you plan to camp? Do you plan to travel mostly to cities? Will you be flying a lot and want to avoid luggage fees?

    By determining your travel plans and travel style, you’ll be able to better make a selection for which travel bag is best for you

    FAQ about the Best Travel Backpack

    Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

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      Conclusion of the Best Travel Backpacks Mega-List

      So there you have it amigos, the best tips to help you find the best travel packs for your upcoming adventures. Remember, the most important thing that makes a travel bag one of the best backpacks for travel is the comfort.

      The last thing you want is a bag that rubs on your shoulders or hips while walking. Follow these tips, try some bags on before buying, and you’ll end up with a bag to last you years of adventures!

      Still not sure which backpack to buy?

      OK, let’s break it down… The best backpacks for travel are:

      You are now armed with all of the best travel backpack options. Our hope is that you find the backpack of your dreams and have many, many awesome adventures with your new best friend.

      Happy travels!

      Got your backpack! Check out our backpacking packing list for some ideas of what to put in it!


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