If you are trying to find the best backpack to travel in, it may be difficult to choose one that meets all the requirements. In this guide, I will share with you what I think are some of the best travel backpacks for traveling anywhere. Whether you’re going on vacation, traveling as a backpacker, or need a backpack for your business trips, I’ve got it covered.
Best Travel Backpacks
To help you get your hands on the best backpack, we did heaps of research along with tons of trial and error over the past several weeks and came up with the following travel backpacks.
So, read through the end and explore which backpacks are the most suitable for you.
1. SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Travel/Laptop Backpack
The new SwissGear 1900 comes in 10 different colors and is constructed using durable and weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester that can easily bear heavy use and wear and tear of the extreme condition. It uses lay-flat technology which helps to protect up to a 17” laptop. You can open it quickly at any security checkpoint.
There are multiple compartments inside the bag that are separate from each other. This helps to keep your items and gadgets more organized. There two breathable side compartments for an umbrella and large water bottles or your clothes. Overall, this is probably one of the best travel backpacks that you need for convenience, support, and comfort on the go.
2. Mancro Travel Multi-Purpose Backpack
This beautiful travel backpack by Mancro is a unique product of its own kind. It has the perfect size and storage space that you need to tuck in all your valuables and carry with you. It is made from waterproof fabric which keeps you worry-free when carrying a laptop or any other gadgets inside.
Ideally, this backpack can store a large 15.6-inch laptop or a Macbook. It comes with a built-in USB charger outside along with a built-in charging cable inside. Simply plug your smartphone to a power hub on the inside and connect your USB cable to it.
There is an anti-theft lock that protects your valuable from getting stolen by thieves. Overall, it is a sturdy and comfy bag that can go with you anywhere you want.
3. AmazonBasics Carry On Travel Backpack
Available in three different colors, the AmazonBasics travel backpack comes with an internal zippered laptop sleeve that keeps it in place safely. It is extremely flexible and lightweight to carry around with your valuables in it. The polyester used in its manufacturing is very durable which also gives strength to your new travel backpack.
Its main compartment is zippered and has a mesh space. There is a front pocket and a front top pocket to carry your documents and liquids. However, the main upper packing compartment comes with an organizer and there are padded shoulder straps that can be disconnected easily and stored in the zippered back pocket. Overall, this backpack is very spacious and easy to organize and comes are a very reasonable price.
4. JanSport Black Label Superbreak Backpack
JanSport travel backpack is 100% polyester made and is of imported quality. Not a brag, but I must mention here that JanSport is one of the highly trusted names in the backpacks. This bag comes with a lifetime warranty and you can carry it anywhere with confidence. In case any unexpected damage happens to your backpack, you can always get it repaired or even replaced.
You will fall in love with its ergonomic and iconic design. There are comfortable shoulder straps as well along with a padded back panel and a web haul handle for your convenience. You can depend on the reliability of this backpack, thanks to the durable fabric, zippers, and straps that hold it together for a lifetime. Overall, it makes organization easy and is a brand that you can trust for your traveling and storage needs.
5. Yousu Men’s Nylon Backpack
Yousu backpacks are known for their wide range of color options and multi-function. It is a duffle backpack with 3-ways to use it. You can also transition it from a duffel to a regular backpack or even a hand-carry pretty easily. With seven pockets and a large main compartment, you get plenty of storage space for both your large and small valuables.
Whether it be your clothes or gadgets, your items are safe inside this backpack. There is internal padding as well which helps to add an extra layer of protection for your gadgets like laptop, smartphone, iPad, etc.
Its material is water-resistant nylon and it can also be used as a gym, laptop, overnight trip o a military backpack.
Key Features of Travel Backpacks
Front-loading (you’ll love this!). Many backpacks are top-loading, with a drawstring to close them at the top. This sucks It means having to dig awkwardly to get something from the bottom. Handbags with a shell design are much prettier: you just have to open them upside down, with everything within instant reach.
- Waist strap: The use of a waist strap distributes the load around the entire body rather than just the shoulders. It is essential for frequent trips, as it helps to avoid shoulder pain and a bad back.
- Space for laptop: A separate padded compartment keeps your electronics safe. Of course, you can also use these zippered compartments for books, your travel diary, or many other things.
- Rainproof: You don’t want the water to seep into your bag! Make sure it’s weather-sealed or includes a rain cover.
- Hand size (if possible): It may not be a deciding factor for everyone, but the size of the carry-on allows you to save time and avoid additional baggage fees on some airlines.
- Other good things: lockable zippers (rings that allow you to place a padlock or wire lock to prevent opportunistic theft), good carrying handles (for when you’re not using it on your back), and internal or external compression straps (helps pack more and organize better).
How to choose the best travel backpack
If you’re like us, you’ll travel by many different means and want a quality backpack brand that lasts and is practical for all travel occasions.
You’ll spend a lot of time with your backpack as you get on and off public transport, climb stairs, navigate airports, queues, walk city streets or walk the dusty roads of Africa in search of accommodation.
Your backpack will become your new best friend with your team, so there are some important considerations.
Researching the best travel backpacks is time-consuming. With so many choices between different brands of backpacks, prices, and features, it’s hard to know where to start and what’s best for you.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to have a backpack to travel that:
- It adapts to the shape and height of your body.
- It has good weight distribution.
- You can carry and protect your belongings.
- It is functional and comfortable to carry.
- It is easy to pack and unpack.
- Meet your budget
Consider your physical condition
If you’re not used to walking with a backpack, the pressure will be added to your shoulders and lower back, so you’ll want a bag that fits your style and height properly.
And make sure you get the right bag for your sex. Women’s travel backpacks are designed to fit, you guessed it, women! They’re not necessarily smaller, but manufacturers consider that women generally have a shorter torso and wider hips.
Travel backpacks: size guide
Backpack sizes are normally expressed in liters (i.e. the volume they can contain). You will notice that backpacks sometimes have this number in the name of your product. Thinking about liters may not be totally intuitive, so here are my 2 cents on some of the common sizes:
- 15-30 L: Too small unless you go on a weekend trip or are super minimalist. This size is usually for day packs or travel bags.
- 40-45 L: Ideal for shorter trips, but just as good for trips that last several weeks or months. Better if you travel within a climate and don’t need a lot of bulky winter clothing. This size is generally accepted as carry-on luggage, saving you time and check-in fees when flying.
- 50-65 L: Great if you need extra space. Not everyone knows how to compress space to the maximum, so some prefer these sizes despite the extra weight. Consider this if you need to carry more clothes, have additional items to store (e.g. sports equipment), or often buy lots of gifts or souvenirs. It’s also an ideal size if you’re backpacking and need to store a tent or sleeping bag.
- 70-120 L: Not recommended. Only for the most unconditional trekking and camping expeditions. Internal support frames often already weigh several kilos. This is an exaggeration for most travelers.
If you stay in hotels, apartments, or hostels, I generally recommend a 40-liter bag or something like that to go. You will end up with less weight on your back, more freedom to move, and much less discomfort. Although you may want to combine this with a smaller backpack, you can usually take these to the flights as your additional personal item.
Loading the travel backpack
Is a front or top loader better?
In addition to choosing a size, another important factor to consider when choosing travel backpacks is how you will access your bag.
Do you want front-loading or top-loading backpacks? And not to be confused, front-loading is sometimes referred to as panel loading. Either way, it means how you get things in and out of your backpack.
Front-loading backpacks have a zipper that surrounds the entire front. You can unzip, unzip the front piece and place your backpack belongings in front of you like the inside of a suitcase, making it so easy to find things.
They also seem to have more support for your back and sit more comfortably. You can also keep a backpack in front, which you’ll really need for the short, yes, guessed it, day trips.
So, consider a bag that has a U-shaped zipper system where the zipper rotates around three sides of the bag. If you’re packing and unpacking frequently, you should definitely consider a front loader.
Top-loading backpacks open at the top, making it difficult to access all of your equipment, and tend to be narrower and taller.
After initially traveling with a top-loading backpack, we hate them now. You do your best to dive into the cavernous depths of your herd, only to have to empty everything because the long-sleeved shirt you must wear inside your temple is pushed down at the bottom.
Benefits of front-loading backpacks:
- Faster and easier to pack and unpack
- It has a larger opening and you don’t have to dig from top to bottom to access the contents of the bottom or remove anything that is frustrating.
- You can have multiple access points (top, front, bottom, side)
- Front-loading backpacks tend to be a little shorter (better for shorter torsos).
- Have zippers, while most top-loading backpacks have drawstrings.
- You can usually lock zippers for a little peace of mind.
Other important features of the travel backpack
In addition to size and whether you prefer a front-loading package or higher, keep these important features in mind when purchasing your travel backpack:
- Padded shoulder straps: Needless to say, the better quality of padded straps will make a big difference in your comfort when carrying your bag.
- Padded hip strap: for more comfort and to spread the weight so that your shoulders and back do not carry a full load of your backpack.
- Waist strap: again, useful for those with weak shoulders and back, as it distributes the weight around the whole body.
- Sternum strap: Your bags should have this small strap in the middle of the chest that will be connected between the two shoulder straps. Again, this helps keep your bag stable and distributes the weight evenly.
- Sleeping bag cords and tents: During our 5-month trip to Africa, we carried a tent, sleeping bags, and having cables to connect them was priceless.
- Camera and laptop protection: Whether you’re a blogger or a digital nomad, some backpacks have separate padded compartments that keep your laptop safe.
- Elastic water bottle pockets: Not all beverage bottles are the same size, so pockets that expand and contract to keep your bottle safe are priceless.
- Lap belt pockets: Having a few outside pockets can be useful for those smaller items that need frequent and quick access to similar phones, such as snacks, etc.
- Waterproof material: Make sure your bag material is weatherproof or comes with a layer of rain for those occasions when you are loading onto an airplane in wet weather or if you are walking in the rain. Good quality bags come with better quality material that also dries quickly.
- Carry Handles: The top and side handles are good for when you’re not using them on your back and makes carrying your bag more ergonomic.
- Internal compression straps: Like a suitcase, they help you pack tighter and keep your gear in place when the bag is upright.
- Zippered Day Pack: A small day pack that can be removed from the main bag is useful for day trips and can add more liters to your overall packing capacity.
- Multiple compartments: Instead of one main area in your bag, having several compartments to separate your belongings is useful, as are the practical aspects of using packing buckets.
- Ventilation: Some backpacks come with a back panel made of suspended mesh (a trampoline-like design) that is breathable and provides separation between the back and the bag to prevent the back from sweating against the bag.
- Torso Length: The adjustable torso allows the travel backpack to fit a wide variety of sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, some backpacks are available in various sizes, from small to large, and fit a variety of torso lengths.
- Dimensions: If you’re looking for a handheld backpack, don’t forget to check the dimensions to make sure they work with the baggage restrictions of your favorite airline.