Whether you’re looking to travel lighter, keep your gear more organized and accessible or you’re tired of wheeling around a suitcase, a backpack is one of the most important travel essentials.
Since I started traveling in 2012 I’ve gone through all different types of luggage options.
Looking back, it’s easy for me to see why backpacks are so popular among global travelers.
Being able to travel with the best travel backpack available can really change how you feel about your trip and can make things a lot easier for you when you’re abroad.
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for a few days, a few weeks, on a tight budget or heading to multiple countries, using one of the best backpacks for travel that you can afford is one of the single most important factors in how much you’ll enjoy your trip.
In this post I’m going to cover all of the different options that you have when it comes to travel backpacks and I’ll give you plenty of pointers on how to choose the right one for your next trip.
- 1 Why Use a Backpack for Traveling?
- 2 Choosing the Best Backpack for Travel
- 3 The Best Travel Backpacks for Men
- 4 The Best Backpack for Europe
- 5 The Best Backpack for Carry On Travel
- 6 The Best Laptop Backpacks
- 7 The Top Travel Backpack Reviews 2016
Why Use a Backpack for Traveling?
You might be thinking that traveling with a backpack just isn’t for you.
I admit, in some cases it can be a lot easier to use a suitcase, but generally a travel backpack gives you more flexibility and is less stressful than rolling around a bulky piece of luggage.
I have used plenty of suitcases before, especially when I was younger and traveling with my parents, but since I started using a backpack it’s unlikely I’ll ever switch back.
With so many different options available I was really looking for the best travel bags that would make my time abroad the least stressful.
It’s really much easier to use a backpack and, as long as you’re able to find one that fits properly and distributes the weight evenly, you’ll hardly notice that you’re even carrying one.
That’s the key with backpacks–once you learn how to pack and wear them properly you’ll find it becomes a lot easier to make your way through airports, bus stations, get on and off public transportation, walk through cities that you are unfamiliar with and just generally get around.
Every year most of the top travel backpacks tend to come with more features that are geared towards travelers, they use lighter but stronger materials and they take advantage of a more minimalist and compact design.
A few years ago you would find that many packs came with tons of straps and so many different features that ended up being useless in the long run.
Today, it’s easier than ever to find a backpack that is suitable to the style of travel that you prefer for a budget that you can manage.
The benefits of the best travel backpacks are endless but right away you’ll notice that getting around becomes a lot easier.
With a pack it’s not as hard to get on a bus or board a plane and you can save time since you don’t have to wait for your luggage, or stand in line with everyone else waiting for theirs.
You’re also able to avoid paying additional baggage fees that many airlines charge so you’re not only able to depart faster and start exploring a new place but you also save money.
Finally, backpacks today are such high quality that you’ll find that it will last you many years of travel, even when you’re tough and careless with it.
Unlike suitcases and hard luggage a quality backpack isn’t as susceptible to damage and since they’re so flexible and durable you can easily shove it into small, tight spaces where you wouldn’t be able to add a suitcase.
Some packs even come with a daypack that can be removed from the main pack which makes it even easier to keep your valuables close and allows you to avoid having to buy an additional daypack for travel.
Choosing the Best Backpack for Travel
When you are considering the best travel backpack there are a few things you want to look out for.
For starters, many people will recommend a pack to you but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their recommendation is a good one.
Before you buy anything it’s a good idea to make a list of the features you want to get an idea of the packs that you should take a look at and, most importantly, always try it on for size to ensure a comfortable and proper fit.
Once you start looking for a travel backpack here are the different features you need to consider:
With so many different types of backpacks available it can seem like quite a daunting task to find one that meets all of your requirements.
There are many things to consider regarding the type of pack you need such as how many seasons you’re traveling for, whether or not you want to use it as a carry-on or carry it with you throughout the day, if you need a laptop bag or day pack for your laptop and electronics or, if you’re not sure, what are some things you really need to consider?
Many travelers go with a backpack that’s suitable for most (not all) travel situations.
What I mean by this is that a pack that is big enough to comfortably and effectively hold all of your gear without having to sacrifice too much comfort or practicality is most likely a good options.
If you’re going to be going on some extreme adventures, like heading into the Arctic or mountain climbing, then you’ll want to reconsider the type of pack you need.
Otherwise, a general backpacking backpack is going to be more than suitable enough for your next trip and any trips thereafter.
In my opinion, the size of the backpack that you want to travel with is the single most important feature to look out for. If your backpack is too small or too big, or if you’re unable to wear and carry it properly, you’re going to be complaining about it your entire trip and you won’t have an enjoyable experience.
How it fits is just as important as the overall shape and size and it’s essential that you try on any of the backpacks you’re interested in to find one that is comfortable and fits you well when you’re walking around.
I’ve tried out a variety of different packs and not all of them have been totally comfortable. The biggest mistake I made was bringing one that was way too big for me and any time I wore it when it was full I was chafed, uncomfortable and, if it was hot enough, the itchy straps would even leave me with a burning, unsightly rash on my shoulders, neck and lower back.
If your backpack doesn’t fit you properly you’re really not going to have a great time whenever you have to wear it and, depending on how far and long you are traveling for, this could really put a damper on your trip.
No one wants their trip to be ruined by such a trivial matter so that’s why I always recommend picking up the highest quality and best travel backpack that you can afford. Thankfully, even if you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of affordable travel backpacks available.
Another issue you’ll run into when you’re looking for a new pack is the size in liters. If you’re wondering how many litres for backpacking are ideal it’s really up to you and how much you are traveling with.
I suggest making a list, or gathering together, all of your travel gear before buying a new bag just to see how much stuff you are traveling with.
Once you have a rough idea it makes it easier to see whether or not a pack will be too big or too small for your stuff. It’s always a good idea to go with something a bit bigger as it’s better to have more space than not enough.
Another feature that you need to consider when you’re looking for a new pack are the straps. All of the best backpacks for travel will have comfortable, sturdy and durable straps that will enable you to get the best fit and weight distribution possible.
You don’t want straps that are too thin, as they aren’t very comfortable to travel with, but you also want to avoid straps that are too thick since they tend to be bulkier and hard to pack down.
Keep an eye out for:
- Sturdy, padded shoulder straps
Look for shoulder straps that are padded and thick enough to distribute weight evenly across your shoulders.
When you grab them they should feel padded to the touch and should be as thick as the palm of your hand. You will be grasping them a lot when you put on and take off your pack so make sure you’re able to handle them comfortably and you enjoy the feel of the material they’re made from.
- Thick, padded hip strap
I see a lot of backpackers wearing their bags without the straps done up and it boggles my mind why they would want to travel this way.
The hip straps, when they are done up properly, are how the weight in your pack is spread across your body.
With the straps done up the entire weight of your backpack is now balanced on your hips rather than weighing down on your shoulders, upper back and neck. With the weight on your hips it’s a lot easier to carry the bag and, if the pack fits you properly, you will hardly notice the weight.
As I mentioned earlier you’ll want to try on any backpack that you’re interested in and try to feel if you can feel the hip straps digging into your hips or not balancing the weight properly. If you adjust the gear in your pack and the hip straps still aren’t comfortable I suggest taking a look at a different option.
- Chest strap
The chest strap is the one that connects to gather your two shoulder straps and adds an additional layer of weight distribution and support.
These straps don’t typically come padded but be sure to find a pack where the chest straps are able to easily do up and tighten enough to add some support.
- Carrying strap
A carrying strap isn’t an essential feature but it can make it easier to carry your bag or stow it when you are taking any form of transportation.
You’ll definitely want a handle strap, which some bags don’t come with, but a dedicated carrying strap isn’t necessary.
If you have never purchased a backpack before you might not be aware of the fact that they come in three different options of frames.
You can choose from an external, internal or frameless bag and each of them has their own drawbacks and merits.
External frame backpacks are quite old school, unnecessarily heavy and not at all practical for traveling with.
Internal frame backpacks are much lighter and offer all of the support you need for both short-term or extended periods of traveling abroad. Any of the best travel backpacks will come with and internal frame and it’s what I recommend you keep an eye out for.
Smaller packs, like a day pack, don’t come with a frame at all. These types of packs are ideal for just using during the day or for short periods of time when you aren’t carrying much stuff.
Depending on your travel preferences you’ll either want to find a bag with many different compartments or just a single compartment. I’ve come to love using the clamshell backpacks that have one large compartment and a few small pockets but your preferences will dictate what’s more suitable for you.
With a lot of compartments you can store everything in its own place without having to rummage through your pack just to find that one small thing.
A pack with just one compartment makes it easier to look through everything you have, pack your travel gear and arrange everything properly rather than having to open and close too many different compartments.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is most suitable for your travel style and personal preferences.
I find that the best travel backpacks tend to be made from material that is both water resistant and durable.
Keep an eye out for packs made using water resistant fabric since this will help keep your gear from getting wet or damaged if it happens to rain. You’ll also want something that’s durable and thick enough to hold all of your gear without ripping or becoming damaged from regular use.
With any bag you’re interested in feel the fabric and materials with your hands–if it feels thin and flimsy then look for something else but if it feels thick and sturdy then the bag you’re looking at could be a good option.
Ease of use
Ultimately you’ll want a travel backpack that’s easy to use and that allows you to quickly reach into all of the pockets and main compartments without any problems.
I prefer using a clamshell pack, which you open all the way around and have access to the entire interior similar to a duffel bag, but there are quite a few top loading backpacks that are designed for travel as well.
Even after using some of what have been said to be the best top loading backpacks for travel I still try to avoid them. It’s annoying having to take out every single piece of gear just to get the bottom of your pack, and packing it in the bottom– up format is also a pain in the butt.
The clamshell opening style packs are really the best bet for quick packing and optimal organization of your gear.
The Best Travel Backpacks for Men
If you’re in the market for the best travel backpack for men available you’ll want to keep in mind everything I mentioned up above when you come across a bag or two that you’re interested in.
Be sure to check that it fits properly, is comfortable enough and has enough space to hold all of your gear.
I like to travel with darker bags since they don’t look as dirty and they tend to blend in a lot more compared to something brightly colored and obnoxious. I’m sure your preferences will be different but always try to find a pack that’s a comfortable, practical and seemingly durable than enough for your next 5 to 10 trips abroad.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be traveling that much it’s still a good idea to pick up the highest quality option so that you have a piece of travel gear that will last you a lifetime of use.
Here are two recommendations for travel backpacks for men that I suggest you check out:
Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack Review
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If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable and arguably one of the best carry on backpacks for travel then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Kelty Redwing 44.
If you plan on taking a lot of trains, buses or flying a lot during your next trip than this is the pack that I would recommend.
It’s honestly surprising to me how much gear gear that you can fit inside the Redwing 44.
Even when it’s full it’s not so heavy that it becomes too unwieldy and it remains portable enough that you can easily carry it around fully packed without too much difficulty.
With a 44 L capacity there is definitely enough storage space if you want to bring a few changes of clothes, an extra pair of shoes and even your laptop or any additional electronics.
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If you’re only traveling during one season, or heading abroad during the spring or summer, I don’t think you’ll need a pack with a bigger capacity and this one is still what I would recommend.
What I love about the Redwing 44 is that it has a comfortable back panel that keeps the bulk of the weight off of your back directly and doesn’t cause you to get too sweaty if you have to walk around with it on for an extended period of time. The shoulder straps also take advantage of an airy, mesh design that makes this bag even more lightweight and comfortable to wear.
Along with the comfortable shoulder straps and back panel the hip belt has also been thoughtfully designed. The outer part of the strap is very thick which makes it more comfortable to wear, distributes the weight more evenly and helps to keep the bag sturdy on your back.
The part of the strap where it connects in the center is thinner which allows you to get a tighter fit and a better level of adjustment. This thoughtful design ensures that the bulk of the weight of your bag is placed on your hips and helps to save your shoulders from doing too much work and heavy carrying.
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With so many different pockets and storage compartments it’s super easy to stay organized and quickly access your passport, wallet, electronics or anything else you need to grab in a hurry. It also has the clamshell/U-zipper design that I love that makes it even easier to pack your stuff and keep it organized.
One of my favorite features is the mesh water bottle holder, something you don’t find often in travel backpacks, and I love being able to stash a water bottle so I can stay hydrated during transit.
Inside the pack digital nomads and tech based travelers will love the fact that there is a laptop compartment. Some bags don’t have one but with the the Kelty Redwing 44 you can quickly pack your laptop and you don’t have to worry about it shaking around in the inside of your bag.
Even with all the features this backpack is still super compact and portable. There aren’t too many straps or pockets hanging off the outside and it’s really easy to zip up and take onto an airplane being able to avoid having to check it.
You can also bring it with you on buses and trains and you don’t have to place it in a separate storage area for larger items of luggage. This way you simply grab your bag, get off the form of transportation you’re on and head out into the city immediately.
I definitely recommend checking out the Kelty Redwing 44 if you’re looking for, what is in my opinion, one of the top options for the best small travel backpack. It’s lightweight, durable and is ideally suited for traveling abroad with.
Osprey Porter 65 Travel Backpack Review
Another pack I’d recommend if you’re looking for the best travelling backpack is the Osprey Porter 65.
Whether you’re heading into the backcountry, doing some day hiking or traveling abroad this pack is portable, versatile and light enough to be a suitable option.
At 65 L in capacity the Osprey Porter isn’t a small bag by any means but I find that it’s not as bulky as backpacks similar in size. When it comes to traveling during multiple seasons, long-term travel or if you are traveling with a lot of camera gear/electronics then a 65 L pack is probably what you want to keep an eye out for.
There are plenty of storage options with the Porter 65 and with so many compartments you’ll definitely have space to properly pack and easily organize all of your gear.
On the front is a large zippered panel pocket where you’ll find many different compartments for storing your electronics, passport and anything else you need easy access to. In this compartment there is space for both a tablet and laptop along with smaller pockets for your smartphone, credit cards, keys, pens and other small travel accessories you have.
It’s actually easier to have the laptop compartment in the front of the bag rather than having it rest on your back. It’s more protected from shocks and you can quickly take it out and put it away to use on any transportation.
The Osprey Porter 65 is a combination backpack/duffel bag which many people will find to be more suitable for long-term/multiple week travel. Similar to a clamshell/U-zipper pack the main compartment unzips completely and you have full access to the storage space on the interior.
This makes it easier to pack your gear and properly organize it. There are some zippered organization pockets on the inside as well for even further storage capability.
As a duffel bag/backpack combination the hip belt and shoulder straps completely zip away making for a streamlined, strapless pack. When everything is zipped away it’s easier than ever to stow your bag underneath the seat in front of you or in the luggage compartment above you without having to worry about any straps or zippers getting caught.
When it’s fully packed you might have some trouble using it as a carry-on but that depends on the airline.
In regards to comfort, I find the Porter 65 to be very comfortable and the hip belt, while a bit thinner than what I’m used to, is supportive and is able to evenly distribute the weight of the bag even when it’s full.
I definitely recommend taking a look at the Osprey Porter 65 if you’re going to be heading abroad for more than week or if you’re planning on travelling between two seasons and you’re not sure exactly what the weather is going to be like.
Osprey is one of the most recognizable and best travel backpack brands and so far I haven’t run into any problems with any gear from them.
The Best Backpack for Europe
Something you want to keep in mind when you’re out looking to find the best travel backpack for Europe is that it’s comfortable to wear, use and it’s easily able to fit all of the gear you’re traveling with.
You want it to be comfortable since you’ll be carrying it around with you everywhere, walking with it on your back and lugging it up and down stairs, across cobblestone streets and through various cities.
When you’re getting off and on different modes of transportation and walking around places that you don’t know very well you definitely want a backpack that’s comfortable to wear and lightweight.
One of the reasons I always recommend traveling with a smaller bag is because the smaller it is the less amount of stuff you’ll bring with you.
People have a tendency to fill up whatever bag they are bringing completely and if it’s too heavy you won’t be comfortable, you’ll be in pain and you won’t ever want to travel with a backpack again.
Choosing a small backpack for travel is even more important if you are a budget traveler.
Having to check your bag because it’s too big or having to take a taxi because you can’t stand taking any public transportation because of your bags size is only going to cost you more money and eat into your travel budget.
Taking these factors into consideration would tell you that a bag that’s portable, comfortable and light enough to wear regularly makes for the best backpack for traveling Europe with.
Here are my recommendations for the all-around best backpacks for traveling Europe with:
Osprey Farpoint 40 Review
One of my personal favorites, and a bag that I would most highly recommend, is the Osprey Farpoint 40 travel backpack.
When it comes to the best backpacks for backpacking Europe this is one option that you keep hearing about. At 40 L in capacity it’s the perfect size for traveling abroad and has all of the features that you want in a backpack to bring with you to Europe.
I love Osprey packs and this one is no exception.
It’s portable enough that you can easily bring it with you on any form of transportation and you’ll never have to worry about checking it. The handle on the side and streamlined exterior makes it very easy to stow and you don’t have to worry about getting the straps, zippers or buckles caught on anything.
When it comes to storage you have 40 L of space to pack all of your gear and, with the clamshell panel zipper, you can quickly and easily access the large, interior compartment.
With the pockets on the inside you can even further organize your smaller items of gear and the outer compression straps allow you to compress your bag so that it can fit into even smaller spaces once it’s full.
While this bag is more suitable for men it’s also a good option when it comes to the best travel backpacks for women. It’s not too bulky but the shoulder straps are a bit further apart and some women might not find them as comfortable.
Another feature I love about the Farpoint 40 is that the shoulder straps and hip belt can be tucked away and zipped up to make it even easier to travel with on any forms of transportation.
Overall, if you’re planning on backpacking through Europe and you want a sturdy, reliable and versatile pack I highly recommend checking out the Osprey Farpoint 40.
Gregory Z40 Backpack Review
In my opinion the Gregory Mountain Products Z40 is another one of the top options for the best 40 litre backpack for travel that I’d recommend.
Gregory is one of the top travel backpack brands and they’re very popular among hikers and backcountry adventurers along with short-term and long-term travellers.
One of my favorite things about the Gregory Z40 backpack is how accessible it is and how much storage it has. It’s a 40 L backpack but it’s surprising how much you can really pack inside it.
On the front of the pack is a smaller compartment where are you can quickly store and easily access smaller and more portable items that you might need to grab in a hurry. There is also a top loading main compartment but you still have full frontal access using the U-Zipper.
This makes it ideal for packing your travel gear and allows you to access both the top and bottom parts of the bag if you’re ever in a rush.
In the smaller, top compartment you can easily store a light jacket, your passport, maps or anything else that you’d prefer to have on hand. This top compartment can also be removed if you want to carry it around with your important travel documents or any local currency.
Another great feature that makes the Gregory Z40 such a great travel pack is the comfortable suspension. The Z40 takes advantage of an updated CrossFlo suspension system which helps to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders, back and hips without causing any specific pain points or problem areas.
In addition, both the shoulder straps and hip belt are lined with foam and offer great ventilation. This helps to prevent sweating and is a lot more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time when you’re walking through airports or across the city.
Once you combine a comfortable and practical backpack with a stylish and sleek design you’re looking at what I believe to be one of the best travel backpacks for Europe or wherever else you’re planning on traveling to.
If you’re able to fit all of your travel gear into a 40 L backpack then I highly recommended the Gregory Z40.
The Best Backpack for Carry On Travel
Traveling light is liberating and gives you so much more freedom than if you were traveling with a ton of gear.
Being able to quickly pack your stuff, stow your luggage and easily make your way through a new city definitely improves and enhances the travel experience.
The problem is that some people might need to travel with more stuff than others and will have to check their bags regardless of how light they want to travel.
If you want to avoid checking your bag and you want to travel with the best travel backpack to carry-on then I would recommend the Gregory Z40 and Osprey Farpoint 40 that I’ve already talked about.
If you need to check a bag but you want a day pack for travel or another smaller bag to carry your important essentials with during transit then you’ll want to look for one of the best carry-on backpacks so that you can stay organized, even without your main pack.
Something you want to keep in mind if you’re looking for a new carry-on backpack is its capacity and the amount of gear you’ll need to store in it. Your carry on bag will also most likely be used as your daypack once you reach your destination so, similar to a full-sized backpack, you want to look for something comfortable, portable and compact.
When I need to use a carry-on backpack for travel I usually keep my camera gear, tablet, laptop, water bottle and a few other essentials. I always look for one with an internal frame so that way I don’t feel my gear poking me in the back while I am walking around and it makes it easier to keep my things organized. I also look for lightweight options since I’m probably going to be carrying it around as a day pack and I want something comfortable but still durable enough for regular use.
What makes the best carry-on travel backpack is one that is the proper size for how much stuff you’re traveling with, has comfortable straps that won’t chafe you, fits properly, has easy access to all of your gear and hopefully has a water bottle holder.
Depending on how light you’re traveling, even if you still have to check your backpack, a fanny pack for travel could be a suitable alternative. I sometimes travel with a man-bag as well but a dedicated backpack with two straps is always the most comfortable, practical and best option.
Here are the best carry-on backpack options that I would recommend:
The North Face Jester
If you need to check your main backpack and you want something lighter and more portable to travel on the plane, bus or train with, or if you’re looking for a good day pack for travel to carry around with you in a new city that you’re exploring then my first recommendation for you to check out would be The North Face Jester.
The North Face is one of the most popular and one of my favorite travel brands and their Jester daypack is the ideal choice if you’re looking for the best carry-on backpack for traveling with.
I’ve already written a North Face Jester review, so check that out if you’re looking for more information about the bag, but let me tell you a little bit about it here first.
The Jester is small, durable, portable and reliable enough for regular daily use.
When it comes to a day pack that you plan on using for travel the Jester has all of the features you need and is definitely a suitable choice.
If I’m traveling for an extended period and I need to check in a bigger backpack I always bring along my Jester to use for storing my travel gear that I need quick access to on any forms of transportation and it also makes a practical option for taking out with me to use as a day bag.
It’s a 27 L backpack and with just two shoulder straps, an easily removable hip-belt for carrying and it’s not too bulky or obnoxiously large in size.
It comes with two main compartments–a large internal compartment and a smaller external pocket. The internal pocket is perfect for storing a change of clothes, bigger electronics like a camera or tablet along with anything else you’ll need for a flight or for carrying around with you during the day.
There is also a built in laptop sleeve that is padded and floating, rather than directly sewn into the bottom of the bag, to protect your laptop from been banging around or being knocked. The external pocket can be used for storing any accessories, documents or local currencies that you’ll need to access quickly.
I use it for storing my MP3 player and passport but I prefer to leave my foreign cash tucked away further in the main compartment. One of the best features, which you don’t find very often with daypacks, is the two mesh water bottle holders which makes it easier than ever to carry around a drink and stay hydrated during the day.
On the very outside of the Jester is one of those elastic string bungee stashes where you can add your travel towel, sweater or anything else lightweight but too bulky to add to the back itself.
For comfort the back of the bag is stitched-foam and feels very nice and sturdy when it’s secured to your back. The shoulder straps are also very comfortable and take advantage of a FlexVent injection-moulded design that helps to alleviate any built-up pressure on your shoulders when the bag is full.
There is a hip belt that comes with the Jester but that can be easily removed and I recommend removing it right away as I find it to be generally useless when I’m using the Jester as a day pack.
There is also a removable sternum strap but it helps to distribute the weight of your bag across your shoulders and upper back. I don’t like the hip belt because it’s pretty flimsy and not really needed for using a small daypack that’s only 27 L in capacity.
I’ve had my North Face Jester backpack for many years and I highly recommended checking it out if you’re looking for the best carry on backpack for traveling with. It’s a high quality and durable bag and it’s likely to last you quite a long time if you treat it right and maintain it properly.
Osprey Talon 22 Review
The Osprey Talon 22 is another great choice when it comes to the best carry-on backpack.
It’s very small, lightweight, portable and is very easy to take on and off plane, train or bus overhead storage compartments.
The Talon 22 comes packed with features that allow it to be used in various traveling environments like hiking, climbing, camping or just walking around exploring a new city.
On the exterior of the bag are plenty of attachment points for different travel accessories and you can easily clip on a water bottle, towel, hat, small camera case and just about anything else you would need quick access to.
The Talon comes in many different sizes but I would recommend the 22 L capacity if you’re looking for a small and portable backpack to use as a carry-on.
When it comes to comfort the Talon 22 doesn’t skimp at all – the shoulder straps are wide and come padded with a breathable material that helps to prevent sweating and chafing.
There is also a smaller mesh pocket on the exterior of the bag where you can add some small coins, your smartphone or even an MP3 player if you don’t want to open the bag itself to access it.
The side pockets are made from a stretchy material and, while I didn’t find them an ideal size for a large bottle of water, they’re great for smaller bottles like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, storing your sunglasses and maybe even a half litre bottle of water.
This pack is also extremely light, which only adds to its comfort and portability.
There are hardly any better options if you just want a daypack to bring with you on transportation and carry around with you during the day without having to carry something too heavy, bulky and full of straps.
If you do plan on carrying it for extended periods, or packed full of your electronics like your camera and tablet, the Osprey Talon 22 has more than enough support and all of the comfort you would need.
The back panel of this bag takes advantage of Osprey’s own AirScape design technology and is made from ridge-molded foam and provides enough ventilation to keep you cool and prevent too much sweating.
The shoulder straps and hip belt also offer plenty of support and take advantage of another of Osprey’s backpack technology – the BioStretch. This means that they’re flexible enough to provide support and distribute the weight evenly even when your bag is full of all your travel gear.
I also love how the bag looks. It has a streamlined design and more technical look but is still an ideal choice for travel and off road/adventure use.
It’s one of the best daypacks for travel that I’d recommend due to its high quality design, portability and versatility.
If you pack efficiently you should be able to fit your camera, a sweater or change of clothes, laptop or tablet and plenty of other travel accessories in the Osprey Talon 22 without having to sacrifice space or worry about your more expensive electronics in a backpack that you had to check.
The Best Laptop Backpacks
If you’re a travel blogger, digital nomad, business traveler, travel photographer or you just want to stay connected while you’re abroad then you might want to consider a dedicated laptop backpack.
Comfort, durability and sturdiness are the features you want to look out for when it comes to the best laptop backpacks. Laptops can be quite heavy and bulky so something designed for carrying around your laptop might be a better idea than a regular day back.
I’ve chosen these laptop backpacks with the fact that you are traveling with it in mind. These choices are also suitable if you’re looking for the best business travel backpack and you don’t want something that’ll make you stick out and look like a tourist or obvious backpacker.
When you’re looking for the best backpack for carrying a laptop with here are some features and options you’ll want to consider:
- Is it the Right Size for your Laptop?
Backpacks that have been designed for carrying laptops come in all different sizes.
You’ll want to find one where your laptop will fit in perfectly without too much additional space for it to shake around. Usually each pack we’ll have a number that corresponds with the size of a laptop so look for one that is closest to the size of yours.
Otherwise, bring your laptop with you when you’re trying on a pack or be sure to check the dimensions carefully if you are ordering online to make sure that your laptop will fit.
- What Else Are You Carrying?
If you are planning on carrying just your laptop and nothing else then you’ll probably want a bag that doesn’t have any additional pockets or straps.
On the other hand, If you are traveling with a laptop charger, mouse, portable keyboard for travel or any other electronics then you’ll want a bag that has enough storage space to fit all of your gear.
Be sure to write down or remember all of the gear and related electronics that you’re traveling with to make sure that it will fit in any of the bag options that you’re interested in.
- Will it Protect Your Laptop?
When you are traveling your laptop backpack will be bumping around and getting knocked regardless of how careful you are with it.
If your laptop is really expensive or highly important to you then look for features that help to protect it such as additional foam padding or a dedicated laptop sleeve.
You also should consider a waterproof/water-resistant option since it’s impossible to avoid the rain and you never want your laptop to get wet.
- Most Importantly – Is it Comfortable?
Like I said before a laptop backpack full of your electronic travel gear can be quite heavy and bulky.
You want to make sure that your laptop backpack is comfortable, easy to carry and has enough ventilation so that you don’t get too sweaty.
Here are the options that I would recommend if you’re looking for the best travel laptop backpack:
Timbuk2 Q Laptop Backpack Review
My first choice and personal recommendation if you are in the market for the best travel laptop backpack is the Timbuk2 Q.
The Timbuk2 Q is a TSA-friendly laptop backpack and perfect for using as a carry-on or even as a daypack if you were so inclined.
It’s a 22 L bag and you’ll definitely be able to use it for a laptop up to 15 inches in size. Keep in mind that it has a width of 11.8 inches so if your laptop is bigger than that you’ll have to look at a different option.
Their gear tends to be high quality, durable and reliable for traveling so whenever I get a chance I always talk about Timbuk2 products.
If you’re looking for something to carry your laptop where you can also add some more travel gear like a tablet, camera and a few other small items and accessories then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Timbuk2 Q laptop backpack.
The interior pocket is perfect for storing your laptop during transit and the padded, microfiber material will help to protect your electronic gear from small bangs and knocks. It’s also a floating sleeve pocket, which means that your laptop or tablet won’t sit directly on the bottom of the bag, in contact with the floor, and is rather floating a few inches above, which adds an additional level of protection.
The bag itself is very streamlined and there aren’t any loose, hanging straps on the exterior that can get caught in storage compartment doors or the hanging metal pieces underneath the seat in front of you.
It’s quite comfortable to wear with thick, padded shoulder straps and there is a sternum strap for extra weight distribution. The shoulder straps can even be removed and you can carry the bag sort of like a briefcase if you wanted to.
With five exterior pockets there is more than enough storage space for power cords, USB cords and all your chargers/smaller pieces of tech gear that you typically travel with. I can easily store my camera and laptop in the Timbuk2 Q along with all the relevant cords and still have room for a light sweater.
If you’re looking for the best laptop backpack for traveling then I’d highly recommend you take a look at the Timbuk2 Q to see if it’s suitable for your travel style and preferences. If you have a smaller laptop, like a MacBook, or you just travel with a tablet and camera then this is a good option for you to consider.
Belkin Slim Notebook Backpack
The Belkin Slim Notebook backpack is another laptop pack that I’d recommend. It’s a lot smaller than the previous option I recommended but if you’re doing a lot of airport traveling and using many different modes of transportation then you’ll love how streamlined and portable the Belkin Slim is.
For starters, the Belkin Slim is designed to hold laptops up to 15.4 inches in size. It’s good for tablets as well and the interior soft lining and durable polyester exterior lighting will help to protect any of your electronic devices that you’re traveling with.
This is really a no-frills laptop bag for travel and it’s great if you want to store the majority of your gear in your main backpack without having to worry about crushing or damaging your laptop and other expensive electronics.
Along with a large, dedicated laptop pocket there are plenty of other pockets and compartments in the Belkin Slim that you can use to store any additional travel accessories like your passport, foreign currencies, credit cards and all of the power cords and tech supplies that you need to bring with you.
One of the features that I love about this pack is the removable pouch where I typically store my phone charging and USB cords for quick and easy access.
For a laptop backpack the Belkin Slim is surprisingly comfortable and I find it to be a good, lightweight alternative to carrying around a dedicated day pack.
The shoulder straps are quite narrow but the bag sits fairly high up on my back and I don’t notice any additional stress or neck pain even after carrying my laptop around for a few hours.The straps themselves are quite padded and covered with a mesh fabric that helps to prevent any sweating.
Another ingenious feature is the small headphone hole that’s built right into the backpack itself.
It’s really easy and convenient to slip your headphone cord through the hole and keep your MP3 player in the backpack pocket. I always take advantage of this feature when I’m walking through the airport or on my way to the hotel or hostel so that I don’t have to fumble with my iPod once I reach my destination.
The only drawback I find with the Belkin Slim is that it can be a bit too small. If I’m traveling abroad for a short period of time then it’s a good choice but for longer trips I prefer using a bigger day pack/laptop bag with more storage capacity.
However, the Belkin Slim Laptop Backpack is what I recommend checking out if you’re looking for the best business travel backpack or you want something lightweight and minimalist just for storing your laptop or tablet during your trip.
The Top Travel Backpack Reviews 2016
Okay, I’ve just gone over all I can think about relating to travel backpacks.
However, there are still a few options that I missed.
Without any more babbling here are a few more of the best travel packs that are also some of the top rated backpacks for traveling.
The North Face Terra 50 Review
The North Face Terra 50 is one of my favorite 50L backpacks for travel and another pack that I’d recommend if you’re heading abroad for either short-term or long-term travel experience.
At 50 L in capacity it has more than enough space to carry all of your gear and it’s a high quality, reliable and durable pack as well.
It’s more vertical in design compared to the many other options on this list that tend to be shorter and stouter in size and shape. The vertical design makes it very portable, although due to its size you’ll definitely have to check it if you’re planning on any air travel.
It’s also a top loading backpack which makes it harder to access anything you’ve stuffed into the bottom but gives you the opportunity to pack it down more allowing you to bring more gear.
The Terra 50 is actually designated as a hiking backpack but its hiking related features make it a better choice for traveling with as well. There is a large, padded hip belt that provides all of the support you need to carry a full bag and the shoulder straps are padded with a mesh ventilation material to help prevent sweating and overheating.
There are plenty of pockets and access points so that you can quickly grab any smaller items or accessories and you can keep the larger items, such as clothes, tucked deep in the bag without having to worry about them.
I don’t recommend completely filling up the pack and heading out on your trip since it’s unlikely you’ll ever need that much travel gear. With the Terra 50 you can even bring along a laptop and a handful of other relevant electronics while still having enough room for all of your clothes and other important travel necessities.
Overall, I recommend taking a look at The North Face Terra 50 if you’re looking for a larger travel backpack but you still want to take advantage of one that’s portable and versatile.
Osprey Farpoint 70 Review
I already mentioned the Farpoint 40 as one of my favorite travel backpacks so of course I have to bring up the Osprey Farpoint 70 as another great choice if you’re looking for a top rated backpack for travel.
Many of the features in the Farpoint 70 are similar to that in the 40 so I won’t go deep into a review but I’ll still give you a quick look.
At nearly 70 L in capacity the Osprey Farpoint 70 is a huge bag. If you’re only traveling for a few weeks in the same season then you definitely don’t need a bag this big.
However, if you’re going to be abroad for a couple of months during different seasons or you plan on doing some extreme adventures like hiking, camping or anything else outdoors then the FarPoint 70 is a choice you should consider.
In regards to comfort Osprey does it right and the Farpoint 70 is a very comfortable bag in my opinion.
It’s actually a unisex option, not specifically designed for men, and the harness can be comfortably used regardless of your body shape or size.
There is a spacer back panel to help with ventilation and to prevent any excess sweating and the suspension system takes advantage of a light wired design that offers maximum versatility and range of motion.
The suspension can also be zipped away if you don’t need it and there are carrying handles on the side and top of the bag to make it easier and more portable for you to carry depending on the situation you’re in.
For storage, there is a main compartment that can be accessed by a panel zip and it offers plenty of room for all of your travel gear and accessories.
One of the features that I liked about the Farpoint 70 is that the zippers to the main compartment can be locked together which gives me an added peace of mind when I’m not in direct reach of my bag.
Another great feature is that there is a easy to remove daypack which is quite useful for getting around airports and having access to your smaller accessories and gear. With an attached day pack you also don’t have to buy an additional, new one and can save some money in that regard.
Overall, whether you’re planning on spending a few months exploring Europe or hiking high in the Peruvian Andes the Osprey Farpoint 70 is definitely a pack you should consider. I recommend avoiding traveling with anything bigger than 70L unless you’re absolutely sure you need that much space.
Gregory Baltoro 65 Review
The Gregory Baltoro 65 is another great option if you’re looking for a larger backpack to take with you abroad.
This pack is comfortable, has a great suspension and is, in my opinion, one of the top travel backpacks in the 50L or greater capacity range. Similar to the Farpoint 70 the Baltoro 65 has been designed with both off-road/adventure travel and typical backpacking adventuring in mind.
At 65 L in capacity there is more than enough room for all of your travel gear and you’ll hopefully have some space left over for some souvenirs.
At first glance you’ll notice that the Baltoro 65 has plenty of compartments and pockets for storage. This is actually one of my favorite features about this bag and I love how easy it is to store everything away while still being able to quickly access it. T
here are two zippered pockets on the side, another on the front, zippered pockets in the hip belt and two pockets for waterbottles. If you want to stay completely organized I don’t think you’ll be able to find another backpack with more storage and organizational features.
This pack has both top loading and U-zipper access. I prefer the U-zipper but sometimes when I’m in a hurry it’s easier to shove everything down into the pack using the top loading compartment rather than organize it all with the U-zipper.
There is also an internal sleeping bag compartment, which you won’t need if you are traveling to hotels/hostels, but I tend to leave the internal divider in place and that’s where I keep my dirty laundry.
Another wonderful feature is the water bottle holster and it surprised me with how often I used it.
I usually have to carry a water bottle when I’m wearing my pack since I hate having to take it off to access the water bottle pockets but with the Baltoro 65 there is a small holster, that can be stashed away when you’re not using it, where you can store a water bottle for quick and easy access.
If the water bottle holster wasn’t enough there is another small pocket on the hip belt that’s sealed and coated with a protective material where you can store your passport, smartphone and other small electronics/accessories to keep them protected from poor weather elements like rain, snow or wind.
This way if it’s raining you can keep your important stuff safe while still being able to access it without having to take off your pack.
For a bag of this size the Baltoro 65 is still comfortable to use and the high quality suspension system evenly distributes the weight across your body. There is a torso length measurer so you can measure your torso to make sure that the back fits you properly and is in the right place in regards to your back and hips.
The hip belt is also very comfortable and takes advantage of Gregory’s LifeSpan foam to help it stay in place and not cause any chaffing.
The shoulder straps use the same foam material and are super comfortable even when the bag is full of gear. They can be quickly adjusted and I recommend spending some time to ensure that the backpack fits you properly and is comfortable, even when you’re walking around with it full.
Overall, I recommend the Gregory Baltoro 65 if you’re looking for a reliable, durable and versatile backpack for traveling with that has enough room for all of your gear and travel accessories.