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To find the best travel backpacks for men and the best travel backpacks for women, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your household. We recommend that you favor travel backpacks that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that can easily withstand an accident or two. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the travel backpack you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your travel essentials will fit inside. When buying a travel backpack, always look for a durable build, a light and compact form factor, and plenty of room for all of your daily essentials. If you want to travel comfortably, go for the best bags that meet your needs.
After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Osprey Porter 46 is the best travel backpack on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags available.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Best travel backpack for Europe and anywhere else you may wander, thanks to meeting airline size restrictions for carry-on items and featuring an ultra-durable nylon construction.
The Osprey Porter 46 is the best travel backpack carry-on, as it meets most size requirements for modern airlines. We appreciated the durable construction, as this backpack is made from 100 percent nylon and the fact that it is on the larger side, allowing for a maximum of 46 liters. We also admired the multiple pockets located throughout, including the front panel organizational pocket for travel-related items like passports.
Though this travel backpack does boast a sturdily constructed D-ring for the attachment of a shoulder strap, it does not ship with said strap. Additionally, this backpack weighs nearly four pounds, which is slightly heavier than some other available models. For a slimmed-down version, you might also have luck with the best college backpacks which offer similar storage capabilities.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic choice for a road trip, featuring a durable nylon construction complete with ultra-sturdy YKK zippers, in addition to boasting padded top and side handles.
The Aer Travel Pack 2 is one of the best business travel backpacks available for purchase, thanks to a quick-access laptop pocket that can easily accommodate large laptops of up to 15.6-inches wide. We appreciated the durable nylon construction and the sturdy YKK zippers, making for a secure form factor that can take an accident or two. We also admired the padded top and side handles here, for a comfortable carry even while full. For travelers planning to head to a shooting range, consider the best range bag as well.
Though we did like that this backpack features attachment points for a removable hip belt, this hip belt does not ship with the backpack itself. Also, the weight here is slightly heavy, as this model clocks in at just around four pounds. You might also like checking out our best tactical backpack buying guide.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality design with a robust feature set that includes an integrated rain cover, a zippered security pocket complete with key clip, and a ventilated CrossFlo suspension for increased comfort while carrying a heavy load.
This Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 55 travel backpack is a high-quality and ultra-durable choice, thanks to a nylon lining and an embossed polyester harness. We appreciated the integrated rain cover here, for water-resistance, and the zippered security pocket that comes with a key clip. We also liked the patented CrossFlo ventilated suspension system here, which significantly improves comfort while bearing a heavy load.
The feature set is admirable but so is the price, as this travel backpack comes in at a higher-than-average price point. Additionally, this is a large backpack that can hold more than 80 pounds and, as such, it may not meet the carry-on requirements of all major airlines. For additional carryon-on friendly options, you can also check out our best duffle bag buying guide.
Award: BEST ORGANIZATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Thoughtfully built with the organization-loving consumer in mind, with rigid sidewalls, a full back panel, a zippered dividing panel, and the ability to expand from a maximum capacity of 30L to 45L.
This Peak Design travel backpack is built with organization in mind, with a bevy of features to suit this design aspect, including rigid sidewalls, a full back panel, and a zippered dividing panel. This backpack also boasts an expandable design, allowing it to balloon from a maximum capacity of 30 liters all the way to 45 liters. We liked the quick-access laptop compartment, which can hold laptops of up to 16-inches, and the ergonomic padded handles.
This is a heavier-than-average backpack, however, as it comes in at 4.5 pounds, which could impede some consumers. Also, the large size means it may not get through as a carry-on with some major airlines, so take that into consideration. If you’ll be traveling with a laptop, you might also want to consider the best laptop backpack for added security for your device.
Award: BEST FOR AIRLINES
WHY WE LIKE IT: Built with airlines in mind, with a design that easily passes as a carry-on, with a lockable padded laptop sleeve and a pair of front mesh pockets for water bottles and related items.
This Osprey Farpoint 40 is the perfect choice for air travel, as the size was carefully considered so it can easily pass through as a carry-on with most major airliners. We liked the lockable padded laptop sleeve, which offers easy access, and the pair of front mesh pockets that are built to hold water bottles. We also liked the detachable shoulder straps and hip belt, which can both be stored inside the backpack itself when not in use.
This is a slightly expensive backpack, however, so take that into consideration before making a purchase. Additionally, the design here is not made to be water-resistant or waterproof. You’ll need the best dry bag to get those features.
Award: BEST HYBRID DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: Hybrid design that allows this model to transform from a backpack to a duffel bag, to suit different consumers, with a TSA-compliant form factor and a large shoe pocket that can easily accommodate two pairs of shoes.
The Nomatic V2 Travel Backpack is a great choice for those who can’t decide between a backpack or a standard duffel bag, as this model excels at both, thanks to a transforming design. We loved the water-resistant materials, adding durability, and the RFID safe pocket, for storing a wallet, smartphone, or any other item where added security would be a benefit. We also admired the extra-large shoe pocket, which can easily fit two pairs of shoes.
This is an extremely expensive backpack, however, likely due to the high-grade materials and features on offer. Also, this model only comes in one color, black, which may not suit all consumers. For additional security measures, you should check out our best passport holder buying guide.
Award: BEST WATER-RESISTANCE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Made from highly water-resistant woven fabric, making it a great choice for hikers, with four hidden external pockets for smartphones and passports, with internal compression straps to help secure items in place.
This Bellroy Transit travel backpack is great for hikers and travelers of all kinds, thanks to being manufactured with water-resistant woven fabric. We loved the four hidden external pockets running throughout this backpack, which are perfect for the storage of smartphones, passports, and the like. We also liked the internal compression straps, which do a great job of affixing items in place during transport.
This is a fairly expensive backpack, however, likely due to the advanced feature set and the water-resistant materials. Additionally, this model does meet most airline carry-on restrictions but the maximum capacity is on the smaller side, at 28 liters. For additional options, check out our best commuter backpack buying guide.
Award: BEST CAPACITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Incredible maximum capacity, 45L, with an extra-large laptop sleeve that can hold laptops up to 17”, in addition to boasting an open-flat design that packs like a suitcase.
The Tortuga Setout Travel Backpack is built for superior maximum storage, with a design that can hold up to 45 liters that includes a large laptop sleeve that can accommodate computers of up to 17-inches. We loved the open-flat form factor here, which allows consumers to pack as if it were a suitcase, and the injection-molded foam shoulder straps for comfort. We also admired the durable weather-resistant materials here.
Though this backpack can certainly hold numerous necessities, there is no internal frame that can impact security during transport. Also, this backpack is only available in just one color, which may not suit all consumers. If you need something suitable for work, you can also consider the best backpacks for work.
Award: BEST SECURITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The perfect choice for those who want to avoid theft and other security breaches, thanks to a cut-proof form factor, a top-loading design, a built-in steel-enforced lock, and numerous RFID-blocking hidden pockets running throughout.
The XD Design Urban Travel Backpack is built for theft protection and protection against security breaches, with an exterior that is entirely cut-proof, a top-loading design, a built-in integrated steel-enforced lock, and a number of RFID-blocking hidden pockets. We admired the light form factor here, just 2.2 pounds, and the fact that the integrated laptop sleeve can accommodate screens up to 15.6-inches wide.
The unique design aesthetic here may not suit all consumers, as it more resembles a pillow than a traditional backpack. Additionally, the maximum capacity here is just 27 liters, though it will meet most carry-on restrictions. We also recommend browsing our best RFID wallet guide for added security while traveling.
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Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly design with plenty of great features, including availability in 5 aesthetically pleasing colors and a padded laptop sleeve that can easily fit large 17” laptops.
The Eagle Creek Wayfinder travel backpack comes in at a budget-conscious price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as a padded laptop sleeve that can easily accommodate displays up to 17-inches in width. We admired the 17-inch shoulder drop as well, allowing for a comfortable carry even while filled to the brim with travel necessities. This backpack is also available in five unique and aesthetically pleasing colors.
Though the laptop sleeve does feature some protection against the elements, the exterior of the backpack itself does not boast too much water-resistance, which is something of an oversight. For additional budget-friendly options, check out our best crossbody bags buying guide. Planning to get a bag for your upcoming short trip? Check out our guide on the best weekender bag.
To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a wide array of top travel backpacks, looking for models that truly shined while traveling on airplanes and taking hiking and road trips. To that end, we liked backpacks that were built using durable and long-lasting materials, with bonus points awarded if said materials offered some measure of water-resistance.
As for air travel, we preferred backpacks that were designed with the TSA in mind, offering form factors that can easily act as carry-on items with most major airlines. We also liked backpacks that managed to offer plenty of storage room while still adhering to these carry-on restrictions, with special attention paid to backpacks with dedicated and large laptop sleeves.
We preferred backpacks that were built with enhanced security features, including cut-proof exteriors and pockets that boasted RFID-blocking materials, and those that were padded for comfort. Finally, we liked aesthetically pleasing backpacks that were available in multiple colors and design options.
The best travel backpack for digital nomads is one that is durably built using high-grade materials and is easy to pack. The best travel backpack should also boast a large maximum capacity and the ability to be used as a carry-on piece of luggage during air travel. You may prefer front-loading backpacks with adjustable straps for day to day use or for traveling long distances.
The TSA requires carry-on luggage to meet certain size requirements, so as to easily fit in either the stowaway compartments up top or underneath the seat. In other words, read the fine print of the backpack you are thinking of buying to ensure that the manufacturer adheres to these standards.
A lengthy stay in Europe requires a durable hiking backpack that boasts some form of water-resistance, just in case you get caught outside during a storm. You’ll also want a large maximum load capacity, offering enough space for a week or so of clothing and other personal items.
We tend to lean on the side of backpacks here, as they can be affixed to your back for easy transport, whereas suitcases must be carried with a hand. Backpacks also typically offer modern features, such as water-resistance and cut-proof designs, for the protection of camera gear and other big-ticket items.