We’ve reviewed hundreds of the best travel bags throughout the years – from the best hiking backpacks to the best laptop bags, we know bags.
This article is for you if you don’t know where to start when it comes to travel bags. Are you a dedicated backpacker, a fan of the duffel bag, or maybe a devotee of the wheelie suitcase? Perhaps you’re not sure which type of travel bag you should buy or if you should make a switch.
Whether you’re a newbie or looking to upgrade and replace your existing travel bag, choosing from the best travel bags can be something of a minefield.
How on earth do you choose? The best way is to simply read on!
Keep scrolling and you’ll discover a wealth of detailed information on all the latest travel bags – backpacks, duffel bags, carry-ons, backpacks with wheels, and anti-theft bags; the list goes on! By the end of the article you’re sure to have found the best travel bag ever… for your needs!
- Quick Answer: The Best Travel Bags of 2023
- How to Choose the Best Travel Bag
- Best Travel Backpacks
- Best Travel Duffel Bag
- Best Travel Daypacks
- Best Travel Luggage with Wheels
- Best Carry On Travel Bags
- Best Anti-theft Travel Backpacks
- Best Foldable Travel Bags
- Best Travel Duffel Bags
- Best Laptop Travel Bags
- How and Where We Tested To Find The Best Travel Backpacks
- FAQ about the Best Travel Bags
Quick Answer: The Best Travel Bags of 2023
- Best Travel Backpack – Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
- Best Travel Daypack – Tortuga Laptop Backpack
- Best Travel Backpack Runner-Up – AER Travel Pack 3
- Best Leather Travel Pack – MAHI Leather Overnight Bag
- Best Eco Luggage – Monarc Brand Settra
- Best Travel Luggage with Wheels – Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45
- Best Carry on Travel Bag – Stubble & Co Adventure Pack
- Best Anti-Theft Travel Backpack – Pacsafe Metrosafe X
- Best Foldable Travel Bag – Wandrd Veer 18L
- Best Travel Duffel Bag – Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
- Best Laptop Travel Bag – AER Commuter Brief 2
NOMATIC 40L TRAVEL BAG
- Price > $$
- > Lifetime Warranty
- > Full of unique storage features
Tortuga Travel Backpack
- Price: > $$
- > Laptop and tablet sleeves
- > Made with water proof sailcloth
AER Travel Pack 3
- Price: > $$
- > Carry on friendly
- > Sleek, minimalist design
Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45
- Price: > $$$
- > Carry on size
- > Detachable day pack
Tortuga Laptop Backpack
- Price: > $$
- > Book-style opening
- > Dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves
Pacsafe Metrosafe X
- Price: > $
- > RFID-blocking pouch
- > Interlocking zips
WANRD Veer 18L
- Price: > $
- > Lightweight
- > Multiple pockets
Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
- Price: > $$
- > Excellent all-round duffel bag
- > Protected pocket for tech
AER Commuter Brief 2
- Price: > $$
- > Durable
- > Lightweight
How to Choose the Best Travel Bag
When deciding between all of these great travel bags, how do you choose the best bag for travel? Here are some pointers…
One of the easiest ways to narrow down the choices is to consider the size of bag you require. If you’re searching for a bag that will see you through the daily commute you’re almost certainly going to need a smaller travel bag than if you’re heading off vacation away from home.
Generally, good travel bags of somewhere between 30 and 45-liters, unless you plan to use air travel check-in. If you have a lot of electronics, camera gear, camping equipment, or clothes (we’ve all been there!), then a larger bag makes much more sense.
If you have a travel bag you’re looking to replace or upgrade, ask yourself what sort of style it is – and whether of course, you like that style!
If you’re comfortable with a backpack-style travel bag, then focus your search on the same; whereas, if you prefer the ease of a duffel bag or wheelie suitcase, that’s the way you should be leaning. Want something in between, have a look at a duffel-backpack hybrid bag instead.
Will you be carrying your travel bag for long distances? Because if so, every gram (or ounce) of excess weight matters. While wheelie suitcases are a great idea for city movement, wheels always add weight to a bag and are a pain if you are heading off-road (or even onto the cobbles of a city like Paris).
Also, remember that weight is often a trade-off for durability, especially when it comes to travel and hiking backpacks. The more durable a bag, the more it tends to weigh. Understand how you plan to use your bag before buying the lightest or most heavy-duty pack! Overall, the higher-quality luggage brands tend to be able to keep things lighter whilst still being durable.
Are you traveling with Tech?
Are you traveling with tech? These days you probably are, whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for work.
In which case, do you want a rigid travel bag that provides protection, or perhaps a padded laptop sleeve or compartment? We have an entire section dedicated to good travel bags for laptops.
If this is the case, make sure the sleeve is large enough for your particular laptop or tablet too!
Are you Hiking?
While some of the best travel bags are geared for travel, they’re often not designed for hiking. Some backpacks are designed for both travel AND hiking, but that usually means it’s not the best at either, just manageable.
If you want a backpack that you can take on the trails, then pay attention to how the backpack holds its weight, the suspension system (if it even has one), the shoulder straps, and waist strap comfort. Remember, some of the really nice traveling bags that look great for city hopping aren’t going to cut it on the trails!
Best Travel Backpacks
For those who need a larger, more conventional backpack that can handle all sorts of trips. These come in all shapes and sizes though our top choices are around 40 liters.
For more information on these sorts of bags, visit our IN-DEPTH guide on how to choose a travel backpack. There are some really great travel bags to choose from.
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Nomatic bags have 20 innovative features to make your travels all the easier, such as a dedicated shoe pocket that keeps dirty soles away from the rest of your luggage, and a fleece-lined RFID-blocking pocket that will keep your electronic data and passports safe from illegitimate scanning by scammers. Pretty much it is the only travel bag under 40 liters you will ever need; which is why we chose it as your top pick.
This bag also incorporates a dedicated laptop sleeve, and is carry on approved for a plethora of international airlines!
Our testers thought this was, well, to put it bluntly, the best travel bag out there! There are so many features they could point to in terms of what they loved the most but because I’m limited on the wordcount I’ll focus on one. Organisation! They loved the different pockets, zippered sections and show well the shape of the bag fits packing cubes inside.
We have so much to say about this bag that we wrote an entire Nomatic Travel Bag review.
- Perfect carry-on size
- Tons of features for the modern traveler
- RFID-blocking pockets
- Laptop sleeve
- Weight is a tad heavy for some (1.8 kg)
- Soft frame
- Hip belt must be bought separately
With their Travel Backpack model, US-brand Tortuga promises to deliver a travel bag that has the portability and ergonomic qualities of a hiking backpack with the organizational stance and ease of packing that comes with a suitcase.
That said, we do not recommend this backpack for hiking… refer to our reviews on hiking backpacks instead.
Having said that, our team of testers especially loved how easy to pack this bag was. With the rectangular shape and clamshell opening it was perfect for fitting in packing cubes and keeping everything neat and organised. The smaller size also fits perfectly into overhead compartments.
sComing in 30 and 40-liter versions, which you might consider weekend and max-sized, both sizes of the Outbreaker carry 15” laptops, and also tablets of up to 9.7”.
- Suitable for laptops up to 15”
- Comprises additional tablet sleeve
- Carry on compliant
- Plain look
- Made in China
- Rectangular shape
- Not for adventures
The AER Travel Bag 3 is one of the best travel bags, ever. We have no doubts about that. Pound for pound, we consider the AER Travel Pack to be as good as the Nomatic Travel Bag. They’ve designed and engineered a built-in solution to all of the previous problems we’ve had with travel bags.
This bag is great for digital nomads, backpackers, and business travelers alike. It is designed with your laptop and organization in mind. It’s 35 liters of backpacker perfection.
Use this bag as a daypack, a carry on, or both. You’ll appreciate the many pockets and storage features. Wear it around town to camp on your laptop at your favorite coffee shop or bring it on a plane without needing to check your bag.
I recently took this bag on a trip over to France and I totally fell in love with it. The real stand-out feature for me, travelling with my camera and laptop, was the strong and smooth zippers that can be locked for extra security.
For more details about the Aer Travel Pack 3, read our Aer Travel Pack review.
- 35 liters
- Carry on friendly
- Shoe pocket
- Many organization features
- Small water bottle pocket
- Not entirely waterproof
- No raincover
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Best Travel Duffel Bag
Leather travel packs are stylish and hard wearing. Whilst note created for outdoors and not ideal for “backpackers”, they do suit urban, business an weekend travellers. MAHI leather is the company to beat in the leather bag market and this weekend sized 30L duffel is a cracking carry on companion.
This leather bag is the flagship duffel for a proven company, and its clean appearance and durable straps have earned it the highest place on our list. The bag can be carried with handles or a shoulder strap, and brass hardware ensures you can walk with confidence no matter how you hold it.
You won’t lose anything inside the bag, thanks to the zip and phone pocket. You can pack everything you need this weekend in this lightweight and stylish leather bag that checks off all the boxes.
This bag might not be for everyone and it did split our team somewhat, but for those who loved it, it was the outer material that was a real winner. They felt the feel of the soft and supple but strong leather used provided both great protection whilst looking super stylish and professional.
Travel can really take it toll on the planet – I mean jet fumes are not exactly good for anybody right? The good news is that Ecological and Sustainable travel initiatives are now really gaining serious momentum and ecological travel products are popping up everywhere.
So, the Monarc 2-in-1 Duffle-Backpack is the world’s first backpack made from 100% recycled bottles and the producers have been awarded a highly coveted “plastic negative” rating.
As well as being eco friendly, the Monarc Settra is also a seriously cracking great pack. Its 2-1 concept design means it can be worn as a backpack or carried as a duffel using the comfortable handle. If you do wear it on your bag, there are adjustable straps to help carry the weight.
Then there are the organizational possibilities. Its’ 40L of storage can go pretty far and the pack offers a shoe compartment and a 17” laptop sleeve. Coming in at $149.00, it’s an absolute bargain although if you have the budget we also recommend picking up the full set including camera cube, compression cubes and laundry bags.
Anything else? Oh yeah, it’s also water-resistant, TSA Carry-on compliant and comes with a lifetime guarantee!
When our team gave this a test run they really loved how comfortable the straps and handle were however the bag was configured. Sometimes these types of bags are more suited to one use over the other but this guy feels great either way.
Best Travel Daypacks
Small travel bags that are meant for shorter journeys. These typically hold less than 30 liters and are designed to be easy and lightweight.
If you’re interested in buying a smaller bag and want to learn more, we’ve written a comprehensive daypack post as well!
Daypacks have become a vital way of carrying all you need when you’re out and about for the day but can falter for two reasons.
Firstly, they don’t always provide enough space for a laptop. Secondly, what do you do with it when its no longer needed? The Tortuga Laptop Backpack answers both of these problems!
It will take a laptop of up to 16” and a tablet of 12.9” in dedicated sleeves, and folds flat so it can be easily be packed into your main luggage. We think this is such an awesome feature!
Weighing a very light 2.1 lb (0.95 kg), it won’t add much extra weight to your luggage, but is still made with waterproof sailcloth to keep your tech and other kit safe even on drizzly days!
Much like the larger Tortuga, this bag was well-loved on our team. They loved the fact that it still has clamshell opening which is pretty uncommon for smaller bags and helps when you’ve got organisational needs.
- Laptop and tablet sleeves
- Folds flat for packing
- Weighs just 500 grams
- Made with water proof sailcloth
- Won’t fit larger laptops
- Volume limited to 21 litres
- Just one colour
- White interior may stain quickly
For a daypack orientated towards hiking and outdoor adventures, this is one of the best bags for travel on the market. Made from a durable ripstop and water-resistant nylon, it’s very capable of taking on the great outdoors.
Its frame helps to spread the weight evenly, taking the stress further off your shoulders, which will already feel the benefit of the padded and ventilated shoulder straps. 20-liter packs with frames and waist straps are virtually unheard of, meaning this pack is perfect for day hikes.
Lightweight at just over half a kilo, the Osprey Daylite Plus boasts dedicated spaces for laptops and tablets, in addition to ‘standard’ hiking bag features such as an emergency whistle and chest strap!
Our testers can confirm how well the mesh ventilation system works to keep your back dry. They loved how much this bag made their time on hikes or exploring cities like Bangkok much more comfortable.
- Made with durable ripstop nylon
- Water resistant
- 20 liters
- Lightweight travel bag
- Buckle closure top flap
- Lacks external webbing or anchor points
- Front pocket is unlockable
- May be too small for some users
The WANDRD PRVKE 31 is one of the best camera backpacks on the market for non-professional photographers. The bag is extremely versatile and extremely durable. Its versatility and durability mean the WANDRD PRVKE 31 can be used for more than just a camera bag.
It’s good for hiking, a daypack, or even a small travel bag – the magic is in the WANDRD’s ability to be more than just a camera backpack.
The photographers on our team really fell in love with the functionality of this bag. The removable camera cube that straps in and connects with the side opening in practical use worked a treat. It meant assessing your camera on the go was easy and quick.
Looking for the best camera bag, check out our guide for some more options.
- Very durable and robust
- Great design
- Tons of pockets
- Comes with handy accessories
- Limited space for cameras/equipment
- Magnetic handles are just OK
Best Travel Luggage with Wheels
Sometimes, having a set of wheels on your bag can be really useful. Not having to carry around a big ol’ bag can really save your back, especially when you’re in the airport or on some really nice pavement.
We’ve only covered a few bags in this section – read more about wheeled backpacks if you’re interested!
One of the main reasons you should invest in a backpack with wheels is for convenience. Well, this backpack takes convenience to an entirely new level with its super comfortable carrying system.
With this luggage, you will have a backpack, and rolling luggage all in one! The StraightJacket compression system helps keep the load tight, compact and neat for those long travel days jumping on and off transport.
A few more great features include padded top and side handles, a removable shoulder harness, and the HighRoad Chassis that gives you great clearance over any rough ground you might encounter.
This item meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines (size does not exceed 45 linear inches).
Our team are most used to backpacking but they were pretty keen to give this hybrid number a go. Well, the vast majority were converted and they just loved how well this bag functioned as a backpack and then easily converted to rolling luggage without looking too much like a suitcase.
- Carry on size
- High clearance wheels
- Heavy! Over 6 Lbs.
This 37-litre rolling luggage that doubles as a backpack is perfect for international travel. It was built to be weatherproof and dirt-resistant for all of your adventures. Not only that but it also comes with a detachable 18l day pack too!
Plus, it’s probably the coolest looking backpack with wheels – something I haven’t said since the fourth grade! A few of its awesome features include the top quick stash pocket, multiple grab handles, and treaded off-road wheels so you can roll this bag on challenging terrain!
The main drawback is its weight. There is always a trade-off for durability and weight… and in this case, it’s a few pounds! This backpack may be overkill if you aren’t going on an adventure…
Our team felt this bag was more suited for rolling than carrying but appreciated the additional functionality. However, their favourite feature was the quality feel of the outer material and how much punishment the wheels could take.
- Perfect carry on size
- Weatherproof and extremely durable
- Treaded off-road wheels
- Heavy! 6+ Lbs.
A traditional wheelie suitcase, the four-wheeled Aerolite Superlight Hard Shell Carry on offers its users supreme protection of its contents thanks to its rigid form of ABS plastic.
Accepted by all the major airlines in Europe and North America as carry on compliant, it weighs 2.5 kg and has a mid-range capacity of 33 litres.
Its wheels rotate a full 360°, giving you effortless movement across airport departure halls. Inside, the case includes packing straps to hold all your baggage in place, two elastic shoe pockets, a slim mesh pocket for documentation, and a zipped divider to keep items separate from one another.
Finally, there’s a five-year guarantee to protect against manufacturing defects!
Our team loved the durability of these bags and just how high quality they felt. The hard exterior provided great protection whilst remaining compact and light. The four wheels also made rolling the case, even on the cobbles of Prague, super easy.
- Rigid-form carry on
- Carry on compliant
- Easy wheel movement
- Five year guarantee
- Weight of 2.5 kg
- Wheels protrude and cannot be retracted
- Cannot be used as a backpack
- No padded laptop sleeve
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!
Best Carry On Travel Bags
For those who fly very often and NEED to make sure that their backpack will can be taken on the plane. Generally speaking, 20-30 liter bags can almost always be used as carry ons. 40 liter bags are a little bit more risky but, because we like to toe the line, we’ve included some 40-liters that we believe can be used as such.
If you’d like, you can also read more about carry ons here!
This nifty and compact carry on ready backpack is ideal for both city breaks and outdoor time.
This innovative, super uber cool, brand new to-the-market hiking daypack is tough, durable, and also highly functional. It is designed to be a go-anywhere, do-anything bag that is equally adept when out hiking in the woods, hitting the gym, or undertaking the daily hell that is the wretched commute to work!
It zips fully open almost like a suitcase and offers a raft of different compression-compartments separated by mesh netting and zips that make packing and squeezing stuff in a dream. There are also a few external pockets for leads, charges, passports and cigarettes as well as a deducted 16″ laptop sleeve.
Have a look at our Stubble & Co Adventure Bag in-depth review for more information.
- Durable Material
- Padded Laptop and Tablet Compartment
- Great organisation
- Cushioned Shoulder Straps and Hip Belt
- Quite heavy
- Kinda expensive
If you are trying to decide between the Tortuga and the Osprey, then it simply comes down to one thing – your personal travel style
Do you need a carry on travel bag for camping and light hiking, or for urban travel? If you picked the former, then the Osprey Farpoint is for you!
Here’s the thing, the Farpoint is somewhat of a hybrid travel and hiking backpack. I’d never pick it primarily for hiking when Osprey carries so many specific hiking backpacks, but if you want a bag that can do a little bit of everything and accompany you on flights, then look no further.
The Farpoint range has been a popular choice amongst our team for years and this updated version lived up to its reputation. One of the features our crew loved the most was the combination of internal and external compression straps that help minimise the size of the bag when packed and keep everything from shifting.
This bag caters Digital Nomads and backpackers. Read our full Osprey Farpoint 40 review here.
- Duffel bag or backpack
- Lifetime guarantee
- Not as much tech-organization as Nomatic
- Looks a bit like a turtle shell
Unlike the Farpoint reviewed above, the Osprey Stratos is a hiking bag first, and a travel bag second. If you love to hike, then you’ll love this bag for many reasons.
This bag is a go-to for short hikes and overnight camping excursions. It comes with an integrated rain cover, is quite lightweight, and has an impressive amount of organization capacity for it’s minimal design.
At 33 or 36 liters (depending on the size you buy), this bag is ALWAYS carry on compliant – just tighten up the compression straps. If you aren’t sold on the Stratos, the Osprey Cirrus 36 is another great option.
Our testers loved how comfortable this pack was to wear even fully loaded on the trails. Its super padded shoulder and hip straps alongside the mesh back panel made it great for hiking and long treks wearing the pack.
Read our full Osprey Stratos 36 review here.
- Always carry-on compliant
- Awesome ultralight hiking backpacks
- New updated design
- Ventilated mesh back panel
- Likely too small for most travelers
- Not made for regular travel
- Mixed reviews on the pocket sizes
Tailored for the contemporary traveler, the Peak Design 30L Travel Pack offers a 30-liter capacity that is ideally suited for brief escapes or minimalist extended journeys. Its elegant design extends beyond aesthetics; it’s a reflection of functionality. With adjustable compartments for a tailor-made fit for your possessions, and clever side openings for easy item retrieval, this bag offers superior convenience. Expansion zippers allow you to modify the bag’s size to suit various travel needs, adding to its adaptability.
- Carry on compliant – even Ryanair
- Packs a lot in and extends to 33:
- Sleeves for laptop and tablet
- Looks good
- Not waterproof
Best Anti-theft Travel Backpacks
Most travel bags have some sort of security against theft. For extra protection though, you’ll need a special backpack with more features than usual.
The Australian brand, Pacsafe, is dedicated to creating fully-functional travel bags that also protect you from theft. The Metrosafe X has a reasonable daypack size of 20 litres, while weighing less than a kilogram.
There’s an RFID-protective pocket to keep your credit cards, identity card and passport safe from data theft, and a PopNLock security clip that secures the Metrosafe X to any immovable object.
An interlinking zip closure system also makes it impossible for anyone to open any of the bag’s zips without you noticing! The Metrosafe X is also protected from the slash and grab tactics of some thieves due to its hidden wire mesh, and shoulder straps that incorporate steel wires.
Pacsafe is the gold standard when it comes to keeping your valuables secure when travelling. Our testers loved how lowkey the bag looks and how simple the exterior is. It means with one lockable zip their gear felt safe and secure.
- Weighs less than a kilo
- RFID-blocking pouch
- Interlocking zips
- Embedded steel mesh
- Fairly plain exterior
- Too small a volume for some
- Some users report zips jamming
- Not for adventure travel
With a stylish modern design and 12.5 litre capacity, the Oscaurt Anti Theft Backpack has both hidden zips to make it harder for pickpockets to make a quick grab for your kit, and additional hidden pockets.
The water repellent and slash proof outer material will see splashes of water just run off, while the interior has space for laptops up to 15.6” in size and tablets of up to 10”.
Further, the Oscaurt Anti Theft Backpack also includes an integrated USB charging port into its design, enabling you to charge your smartphone and still use it by connecting it to a powerbank stored safely inside the bag.
Our testers loved the adjustable internal divider system which could easily be configured for a whole heap of different uses from camera equipment storage to keeping clean and dirty clothing apart. They felt it far from gimmicky and felt it worked well in practical use.
- Ideal for commuting or day travelling
- Hidden zips for main compartment
- Slash proof material
- Integrated USB charging port
- 12.5 litre capacity not for longer travels
- Water repellent rather than water proof
- Fits laptops up to 15.6”
- Powerbank not included
In the Kopack Lightweight Anti-theft backpack, we have another travel bag with anti-theft features that is able to carry laptops up to 15” in size.
Like the Oscaurt, this model from Kopack has a hidden zip design that makes it difficult for pickpockets to target, while this bag is nice and comfortable thanks to the padding added to the shoulder straps and other areas of the bag that touch the body.
A sleeve on the inside means you can keep your laptop safe and in a convenient location, while the outer materials are deliberately made from tough nylon that is resistant to tears and anti-slash too!
Our testers loved the internal storage and how there was a dedicated slot to store battery packs that then connects to the external USB charger in seamless fashion, as well as the overall look of the bag; bridging the gap between hipster style and professional functionality.
- Hidden zipper design
- Tear resistant nylon construction
- No RFID-protection pocket
- Not fully water proof
- The Bottom Has No Extra Padding
- Fits laptops up to 15” only
Best Foldable Travel Bags
These are the ultimate packable backpacks – ones that can fold and collapse into a sleeve that is usually the size of a purse or tablet! These make for excellent additions to backpacking gear lists and are usually very affordable as well.
Wandrd make some of the best gear on the market today and have now added their packable backpack to the range. It has a sturdy main structure which is resistant to general wear and tear as well as protection against rain and other weather conditions.
Weighing just a few hundred grams, there are two zip-shut front pockets for smaller items of kit, pockets on either side for water bottles or an umbrella, and a mesh pocket with zip closure on the inside. An access point has been incorporated for use with water hydration systems.
Our team loved how comfy this bag was for how small it folded down. They felt the blow-up back panel really works well to great some structure and padding to the bag.
- Nice colour options
- Sturdy structure
- Lightweight travel bag
- Multiple pockets
- No padding for laptop or tech
- Mesh pockets could be stronger
- Not fully water proof
The Outlander is a foldable daypack with multiple compartments! This bag has an internal security zippered pocket to protect valuable items. The fabric is water and abrasion-resistant and it is reinforced to be ultra-durable. It’s also extremely affordable!
Our team loved how the fabric, stitching and zippers felt really high quality and super strong given how lightweight and compact the bag is.
- Multiple compartments
- Water resistant
- Durable for a packable
- Not for proper hikes/athletics
- Simple style
The Bagsmart Folding Travel Bag is a foldable duffel bag with a 46 litre capacity! Coming with a detachable shoulder strap, the Bagsmart still only weighs 1.2 pounds when empty.
Folding into a flat pack roughly the size and shape of a tablet computer, it can easily be slipped into a larger piece of luggage or even a daypack or handbag.
Each of the metal zips have strong metal tags for grip, which contrasts nicely against the otherwise plain black nylon material. The manufacturers report it to be strong enough to be placed in the hold of an aircraft without issue, but we’ve yet to test this out for sure.
The team loved how robust and strong the material of this bag felt given how lightweight it felt to carry and how easy it was to fold.
- Comes in two sizes
- Just 1.2 pounds in weight
- Folds down to size of tablet computer
- Tough enough to act as hold luggage
- Soft shell design without rigidity
- No padding or dedicated tech sleeve
- No backpack handles
- Not a wheelie suitcase
Best Travel Duffel Bags
Duffels are tried and tested bags that are still useful these days. Grabable, packable, tossable, and stowable, for some travelers, duffel bags are the way to go.
Duffel bags don’t have to be foldable to be a great way of transporting kit from place to place, with the Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel an excellent example of this.
Not only does it have all the features of a standard duffel bag – a large main compartment accessed via a large top opening – it also has a set of padded shoulder straps that can be pulled out when you want to use this duffel as a backpack.
There’s also a padded internal compartment for keeping your laptop protected; the tough double zips are lockable, and the materials are long-lasting and durable.
Our team of testers loved the high-quality feel across all features of this duffel. The material felt durable and strong and the hefty zippers with their lockable holes make your gear feel super secure.
- Excellent all-round duffel bag
- Packable padded shoulder straps
- Lockable zips
- Protected pocket for tech
- Has rain flaps but not fully water resistant
- Mid-sized bag of 40 litres
- Rigid construction
- Locks must be bought separately
This duffle is one of the best travel bags for air travel. It really shines when it comes to internal organization, even though it’s a duffel bag! It includes a compartment for your laptop and chargers, and also comes in a super stylish colorway with comfortable handles and straps.
Our team loved that, unlike many other duffel bags, the Peak Design Travel Duffel had separate pockets for your laptop and general organisation. That left the large main compartment free for bulkier items and allowed for easier access to their accessories.
- 35 L perfect carry on size
- Wonderful design
- Laptop compartment
- Tons of organization
- No luggage pass through
- Straps are not as comfortable as their backpack!
- Only fits 13″ laptop
- No water bottle pocket
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler comes not only with backpack shoulder straps, but also with grab handles, making this duffel-style travel bag simple to lift, move, and transport. Fantastic, no?
But there’s more! The 40 litre capacity version of the Cargo Hauler comes with an empty packed weight of just 2 lbs, making it a very lightweight travel bag, while 600 Dernier synthetic materials that are also water resistant make it durable and tough. Though there is no dedicated padded compartment for delicate items, the Cargo Hauler does boast a padded bottom section, so you should have little worry when placing your duffel on uneven ground.
Our testers loved how hard-wearing and durable the Eagle Creek duffel bag felt. The thick water-resistant material was durable and well-made, making the bag ideal for carrying outdoor equipment.
- Incorporates backpack straps and grab handles
- 600 Dernier material
- Padded base
- Water resistant rather than water proof
- 600 Dernier thinner than some duffel materials
- No rigid structure
- Not for business travel
Patagonia is the doyen of the outdoor market, and The Black Hole series of duffel bags are made with even thicker, more durable synthetic materials than the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler. Each version of these duffels is constructed with a 900 Dernier ripstop nylon material which has been treated in to be highly water-resistant as well as tear-resistant – liquids really do just roll off this bag.
Despite the thicker materials used in these quality constructions, the Black Hole series still offers an impressive balance between usage and weight, with the 70-litre version hitting the scale at less than 3 lbs. It has backpack straps too! Perfect if you want to travel with a checked bag that you won’t be able to carry into the cabin. What’s more, they also offer a wheeled duffel version too.
If our team thought the Eagle Creek was hardy then they were blown away by this offering from Patagonia when it came to durability. Given the quality of the material, they were also impressed by how the bag stuffs into its own pocket for easy storage.
Want something different from Patagonia? Check out the best Patagonia backpacks instead.
- 900 Dernier ripstop construction
- Water resistant
- Relatively lightweight
- Come with backpack straps
- Soft shell design
- Not fully waterproof
- No detachable cross body shoulder strap
- Not a guaranteed carry on
Best Laptop Travel Bags
These days, lots of people travel with laptops. If you do as well, make sure that you have the right bag to protect. A laptop can be a big investment, and it’d be a shame if it was broken because it was carried in the wrong kind.
Many of our other reviewed travel bags have dedicated laptop compartments of one form or another, but that doesn’t mean a specialised laptop travel bag isn’t useful for expensive tech.
Taking the standard form of a modern briefcase laptop bag, the AER Commuter Brief 2 is made up of durable and waterproof materials and zips. It has a reversible padded shoulder strap for easy transportation and side pouches that can be used for packing water bottles or other accessories.
If you are a bike commuter, you will appreciate the relatively small size of the Commuter Brief 2 – not too bulky – but big enough to carry what you need for the day. You can also easily combine it with a stylish travel purse to keep your documents, passport and phone at hand too.
Our team loved how this bag felt super professional and compact to boot. They felt it was the ideal pack to take on busy public transport into the office or on a business trip.
- Reversible shoulder strap
- Capacity of just 13 liters
- Solely a laptop bag
- Cannot be used as main bag
The Tortuga Laptop Backpack is the smaller version of their first laptop backpack – and it’s just as awesome! This bag is a 25-liter masterpiece for anyone looking for a smaller laptop bag that feels and looks great.
The Laptop Backpack has plenty of organizational features including mesh pockets and a secure area for your laptop.
The Laptop is marketed as a laptop bag for those who do a lot of air travel. If this sounds like you, then this may be your backpack from heaven.
One of the standout features of the bag for our testers was the separate compartment for their laptops. Having it away from the main section made them feel like their computers were safer from both accidents and theft.
Read our complete Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review here.
- Minimalist design
- Dedicated Laptop and Tablet Area
- 25 liters
- Pricey for 25 liter bag
- Might be too small for some
The Incase brand is known for making stylish business backpacks. This bag is made for people on-the-go and on business trips. The City Compact Backpack accommodates a 15-inch laptop and has tons of options for internal organization.
The bag itself is made out of 300D polyester, and the black option has a triple coated weather-resistant front panel. The shoulder straps are made with breathable mesh, and the back panels are padded too.
The main compartment has plenty of storage space whilst remaining compact for a speedy commute around the city.
Our team loved the organisational features of this bag, from several different sections for keeping your laptop, accessories and main gear, it’s the perfect pack for digital nomads.
- Fits up to a 17-inch laptop
- Padded back panels
- Main compartment expands by 35%
- Zippable laptop compartment makes security checks a breeze
- Might be too small for some
- For minimal travelers only
- No strap to attach to suitcase handle
Not only does the Kroser Laptop Backpack offer some protection from the rain with its water-resistant qualities, but it also boasts some environmental credentials with its use of environmentally-friendly poly fabric!
It weighs in at just over 1 kg, and consists of several large compartments, with dedicated padded sleeves for laptops up to 17” in size and standard-sized tablet computers.
It also includes an integrated USB charging port, so that you can continue to use a smartphone while it is being charged with a powerbank hidden inside the bag.
Our team were pretty blown away by how high quality this bag felt given the budget price. The material, zips, sewing and water resistance are really top-notch for such a reasonable price.
- Water resistant
- Environmentally friendly
- Dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves
- USB charging port
- Not fully water proof
- Not for longer journeys
- Does not boast TSA approval
- Powerbank not included
The Nomatic Travel Pack is another superb offering from this brand! We think it’s one of the best day bags due to its size and versatility.
This 20-litre daypack can be expanded to 30 litres, making it extremely adaptable for your trip!
|Name||Capacity (Litres)||Dimensions (CM)||Weight (KG)||Price (USD)|
|Nomatic Travel Bag||40||35.56 x 53.34 x 22.86||1.55||289.99|
|Tortuga Travel Backpack 30||30||51 x 33 x 21||2||299|
|Aer Travel Pack 3||35||54.5 x 33 x 21.5||1.87||249|
|Tortuga Laptop Backpack||24||48.5 x 27.5 x 18||0.95||250|
|Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45||45||23.62H X 16.54W X 12.2D IN||6.4 LBS||350|
|Tortuga Travel Backpack 40||40||55 x 35 x 20 cm||2||350|
|Pacsafe Metrosafe X||25||17.7 x 11.8 x 5.1 in||1 lb. 13.9 oz||169.95|
|WANRD Veer||18||45.72 x 27.94 x 22.86||0.41||148|
|Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel||40||55.88 x 38.1 x 25.4||1.13||160|
|AER Commuter Brief 2||11.1||41 x 29 x 14||2.9 lbs||145|
How and Where We Tested To Find The Best Travel Backpacks
To test these packs, we laid our mitts on some of the best bags to travel with and gave them a good old test drive. Over several trips and adventures, our team members put each travelling bag well and truly through its paces all in the name of scientific discovery, or something like that!
A backpack is designed to carry gear, so we specifically looked at how packable each one was so you could be sure you’re picking the best travel bag for your needs. Any decent pack maximises its available space and has features for making packing more economical. So basically we packed and unpacked the bags for this test!
Equally though, we also paid close attention to how easy the pack was to unpack – being able to get to your gear quickly and easily was also an area we awarded points for when reviewing these bags.
Weight and Comfort of Carrying
If a pack is overly heavy or awkward to carry then taking it along on trips becomes uncomfortable and ultimately unenjoyable! All the best travel bags minimise weight whilst maximising comfort and storage capacity. So we’ve awarded full marks to those that can tick those boxes well.
In order to test out how well a pack fulfilled its job of holding clothes, gear and other accessories, well, we threw all that in there! We also gave those rated as carry-on compatible the famous “Ryanair test!” For cycle backpacks, we strapped them on and got on our bikes and went for a ride. You get the idea right?
Some people say that travel gear doesn’t need to look hot AF if it completes its primary function. Well, we’re not those people, hell nah, we’ve got higher standards here. We believe you can look sexy whilst hauling your stuff around the world! So we’ve added extra beauty points!
Durability and Weatherproofing
Ideally, in order to really test out how durable a backpack is we’d run it over with a truck in the middle of a hurricane. But unfortunately, that’s not entirely practical. So the next best thing was the pour a litre of water over it and take it for a challenging trip out.
When assessing these bags we paid particular attention to the quality and hardiness of the materials used, the traction of the zippers, seam sewing and pressure points that often break.
FAQ about the Best Travel Bags
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 when looking for the best bags to travel with:
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The Best of the Best Travel Bags Revealed!
Whatever your preferred choice of travel bag, our epic list of the best travel bags has undoubtedly brought the latest and most impressive bags to your attention.
We’ve covered all manner of travel bags in this review, from traditional backpacks to laptop bags and the staple wheelie suitcase. Having scoured the world for the very best, our selection includes some of the globe’s biggest travel brands, but also lesser-known labels we think you should pay attention to! In fact, we’ve covered what we think are all the best travel bags for 2020 and beyond!
Need help packing once you’ve bought the bag? Check out our how to pack your backpack guide for some advice.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!