Before any journey, before any take-off, any exotic meal, any rooftop wonderment-we must take the first step of our travel…packing our necessities and strapping on our backpack. In order to do this one must know what the best travel backpack for them is, because if you’re traveling right, it’s truly one of the only physical things tying you down during your journey.
It can be overwhelming to search the internet for “backpack” so let this be your guide for choosing the best backpack, what to look for when buying one, and how to know what the best travel backpack for you is.
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The best travel backpack
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How to choose the best backpack
Before your purchase, you must know the purpose of your backpack in order to find the best one to suit your needs. There are three main things to consider when choosing your backpack:
- The Fit
- The Size
- The Features
Finding a pack that truly fits you is extremely important. The best backpack for travel will have various sizes and maybe even distinct models for males and females. Look for a pack with adjustable straps, especially in the hip section, as this is where the majority of the weight of your pack should rest.
If possible, try your travel backpack on before purchasing with some weight inside it to feel out any pressure points or uncomfortable aspects of the bag; this will save you in the future while you’re underway in your adventure.
It’s also important to note the types of clothes you’ll be wearing while backpacking. Just because the straps feel great over a thick sweater, doesn’t mean they’ll be comfortable over a t-shirt in a warmer climate.
The size of your travelpack will allow you to bring along everything you could ever imagine, save room for souvenirs, or simply pack the travel essentials. A longer trip doesn’t necessarily mean you need a larger pack, so keep in mind if you’re looking to check your backpack on planes, or if you don’t mind carrying around a few more liters.
Airlines will vary (a bit) in the size of carry-on they will allow, but generally things over 45L will need to be checked. If this isn’t an issue, and you’ll need more space, no worries!
If you want to make speedy transitions at airports or between taxis and trains, it might be wise to invest in a smaller pack with a surplus of pockets.
The purpose of your backpack dictates the features you might require. For starters, it’s generally important to find a backpack with the right pockets in the right places, this will help keep you organized, and make accessing important items easy.
Adjustable straps will keep you comfortable, and a rainfly dry…if you need it! And it’s important to determine if you’d prefer a top-loading pack, or a front-opening for access to your things inside.
Best Travel Backpacks for Women
Most women require specific features in a backpack, so finding one created with a female body in mind is key to finding the best travel backpack.
When looking for a female backpack, keep in mind fit and weight distribution specifically, as the strap lengths, location of waist buckles, and fit to the body will be different than the male version of the same pack.
This pack was created for the perfect female fit, with various adjustable waist and shoulder straps, thin shoulder bands, and a lightweight frame. The mesh backing also lets this backpack conform to your body, allowing the pack to sit comfortably on your hips and lower back.
This pack is great for backpacking, hiking, and outdoor sports without weighing you down. You can also use it as a top loading or front loading pack, which allows it to be versatile and fit a variety of needs. Buy on Amazon.
Another one of the best travel backpacks for women is the Osprey Kyte 36L Backpack. With sizes ranging from extra-small to medium, this pack allows you to find the perfect fit using your unique measurements.
This travelpack also has every feature you could ever imagine, from an integrated rain cover perfect for the surprise storm, to mesh front pockets, hydration system adaptation pockets, zippered hip belt pouches, and external compression straps for holding in sleeping pads, extra jackets, or hiking poles.
This is the ultimate womens’ adventure pack and will leave you completely satisfied with all its features, fit, and of course…style. Buy on Amazon.
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Best Travel Backpacks for Men
Nothing can ruin an epic adventure on the trail or on a train like an ill fitting, poorly designed backpack. These travel backpacks for men are sure to augment your undertakings with all of the bells and whistles necessary.
Designed by tech minded backpackers, this lightweight travel backpack was created to fit the maximum size requirements for a checked bag, meaning you can always keep your essentials with you safely.
The front loading pack keeps everything organized, and the surplus of interior and exterior pockets ensures that your documents, technology, and miscellaneous items never get lost in the chaos of the bag.
With stylish looks, you’ll never feel like a grungy backpacker on the streets of a new city, and the side handles allow you to carry the pack like a duffle if you need to slip into a more formal setting while on the road. Check their website for the latest price and new arrivals.
A versatile, front loading travel pack with compression straps for squeezing in just one or two more things, the Osprey Porter allows you to move from bus to train to hotel to motorbike adventure without worry about lugging around bulky bags.
Internal zippered pockets secure your valuables, so you can spend more time enjoying and less time worrying about anything getting jumbled about inside your bag. There is also an option to attach the Osprey Daylite pack if you need a bit more space. Buy on Amazon.
Best Carry on Travel Backpack
Hands down the easiest way to travel is with a simple carry on backpack. Here are some of the best carry on backpacks to ensure a quick and joyful journey for all.
Osprey Fairpoint 40L is a lightweight travel backpack with a thin waist strap for holding lighter loads. If you’re more of a minimalist packer with the need for a carry-on pack, this is a great option.
Front compression straps stabilize any gear you pack on the outside, and the front loading feature allows for quick access to all of your items inside.
It also has a built in laptop pouch and the option to lock the interior zipper to fully secure your goods! Added features also include gear loops for hanging extra items, and mesh pockets to aerate those bits of stinky clothes we all inevitably carry around. Buy on Amazon.
This small travel backpack guarantees that you will be able to carry on your gear worry free every time. Don’t be fooled by its small size though, this pack is chock full of pockets to keep everything organized, and its durability makes it a best-seller!
Plenty of storage room, expandable mesh pockets, and an affordable price makes this pack an easy go-to lightweight travel backpack option! Buy on Amazon.
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Best Backpacks with Wheels
There are a lot of secret benefits that backpacks with wheels have that certain travelers won’t dare to mention…
You never have to haul weight around on your back, you can travel and look more stylish than you would lugging a traditional backpack into a nice hotel, and you can travel with a small daypack, without the infamous double-backpack-turtle-shell look.
Here are some of the best travel backpacks with wheels.
This wheeled backpack gives you the best of both worlds with a set of wheels, as well as hidden straps that can be removed if you have the sudden need to carry your bag.
Zippered pockets and daisy chains make attaching and accessing your smaller belongings easy, and grab handles on all sides mean that this bag is easy to move, haul, and stow away.
A great option for transitioning between more formal travel and adventuring! Buy on Amazon.
This wheeled travel backpack is seriously rugged. It is made from an intense water resistant fabric that prevents normal wear and tear while on the road.
Its massive handle makes it easy to roll anywhere (and if you have to give this bad boy a bit of a drag, you won’t have to worry about damaging the aluminium handle).
The all terrain wheels can take you through just about any place a regular backpack can, so you can be prepared for anything without worry with this travel bag. Buy on Amazon.
Best Daypack for Travel
A daypack is your secret weapon for a successful day out exploring a new place. It keeps all your important possessions safe, keeps extra provisions in case of a sudden downpour, extreme thirst, and is comfortable enough to wear around all day.
Here are some of the best travel daypacks!
This daypack is seriously prepared for anything. With a fully waterproof outer shell, this pack is perfect for keeping your prized camera gear safe and dry, or making sure your extra set of clothes stays fresh after a whitewater adventure.
It is hydration pack compatible, and also has two mesh side pockets for carrying additional bottles of sustenance. The pack is known for its comfort rating, and is fully adjustable to almost any body type. Buy on Amazon.
For a bit more of a stylish option, this travel daypack offers sensibility as well as style (and comes in an awesome range of colors)! Massive pockets (perfect for a laptop or camera gear) allow for ample storage, and small interior pockets keep you organized throughout your day.
The outside is coated in an eco-wax that keeps your goods dry no matter the weather, and the expandable straps ensure a wonderful fit throughout your adventures. Buy on Amazon.
Best Travel Backpack for Europe
Before choosing a backpack for Europe, be prepared for lots of stairs, trains, and walking long distances, this means comfort as well as fit will be extremely important when choosing your pack.
With a top-loading design, it’s easy to fold/smash/fit, all of your adventure gear inside the pack, and then compress it using the exterior straps.
The adjustable shoulder and waist straps ensure that you get an excellent fit for those long city treks or castle staircases, and extra pouches make packing extra snacks, train tickets, or cash easy to access as well as safe. Buy on Amazon.
A great travel backpack for Europe that will ensure a perfect fit, so that you can spend your time enjoying your journey rather than adjusting your pack. Foam hip belt and multi-way adjustable straps make this a comfortable pack for all.
A top loading pack with a surplus of interior and exterior pockets, as well as a detachable top pocket with zipper also makes this a versatile and easy to use pack in Europe. Buy on Amazon.
Best 40L Backpack
A 40L pack tends to fit most airline requirements for check-in baggage, as well as allowing you to hike around comfortably. Best suited for more minimalist packers or a weekend away. These are the best 40L travel backpacks to suit your needs.
Osprey Fairpoint 40L The king of fully-featured travel backpacks! Extra-padded hip belts, fully adjustable shoulder straps, an extensive assortment of interior and exterior pockets, carry on handles, and the ability to zip-away extra straps, if you’d need to check it for a flight, or would rather transport it like a duffle.
Extremely versatile with some of the best backpack reviews on the market! Buy on Amazon.
One of the best 40L backpacks around. This backpack can flawlessly transition from an overnight backpacking trip in the mountains, to riding fast-paced trains in Western Europe.
There is also a specific women’s version making certain that its fit is exactly what you need. Buy on Amazon.
Best Hiking Backpack
For long treks, a wonderfully fitting, moisture wicking, hydration accessible pack can make the difference between being preoccupied with your bag, and being overwhelmed by the incredible journey you’re experiencing.
For the best hiking backpack with intense durability, massive amounts of important features, and a brand you can trust, the Osprey Atmos has a serious amount of components that make it difficult to compete with.
An “Anti-Gravity” ventilated back panel does amazing to make sure your pack truly fits you like a glove, and leaves space to keep you cool and dry no matter your hiking location. Buy on Amazon.
With a brand name like Gregory, you can be certain that you’re purchasing quality outdoor gear, and this hiking backpack is no exception.
The 65 liter version comes with a removable daypack for exploring, a rain cover for sudden showers, and a top loading model for ample space to fit all of your outdoor necessities.
Its precurved design also ensures an amazing fit, and foam hipbelt means all of your weight can rest comfortably on your hips, saving your back while you explore mountain tops, side streets, or campsites. Buy on Amazon.
Knowing exactly what you’re looking for in a travel backpack is important, but understanding your options will help you make the best purchase possible. A good travel backpack is an amazing investment, so best of luck on your journey.
If you’ve found an amazing backpack that you’d recommend or have had great luck with one of the packs mentioned here, leave a comment below!
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