What Is the Best Backpack for Travel? 

 July 21, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

A good backpack is one of the most important travel accessories. The way a backpack is designed and worn ensures all your essentials are within easy reach while keeping your hands free. But with the many different types of travel backpacks, how do you choose one?

There are several things to consider before you buy a travel backpack. Factor in the climate of your destination, and the duration of your trip. A good travel backpack should be lightweight, appropriately sized, have pockets to help you stay organized, and be comfortable.

A travel backpack that is chosen carefully can definitely make your trip smoother and more comfortable. Read on below to find out what else you need in the best backpack for travel:

Features of the Best Travel Backpacks

Seasoned travelers know that backpacks are the best bag design when it comes to traveling. 

Sure, there are lots of great suitcases, luggage, and duffle bag styles out there. However, when it comes to convenience, comfort, and organization, nothing simply beats traveling with a backpack. Whether you’re going on a backpacking trip across the country, off for a weekend escape, or are seeing Europe for the first time, a backpack is a fantastic travel accessory. 

That said, there is a wide array of backpacks for travel. Investing time in understanding the nature of your trip and what you need is key to helping you find the best backpack for travel. 

Below is a list of features to look out for:


The destination you’re traveling to should influence many other key factors when choosing a travel pack. Size, for example: if you’re headed to a sunny or coastal location, you can make do with a smaller backpack because you’ll be using lighter clothes. On the other hand, if you’re going on a fall or winter holiday, you’ll need thicker sweaters which will require a larger backpack. 

The climate of the destination should also play a role in the kind of backpack you choose. Cold, wet, and snowy locations require a waterproof or water-resistant backpack to protect your belongings. 

In addition, consider other practical aspects of your visit. For example, many cities in Europe are notorious for pickpockets. If you are visiting these places, you should use a backpack with anti-theft features. 


People travel for many reasons, and the type of activities you’ll be engaging in during your trip should also influence the bag you choose. Business travelers may find that a carry-on backpack is the best choice for a quick work trip, while photography enthusiasts will need specialized compartments for camera gear. On the other hand, travelers going on multi-week excursions will appreciate the convenience and versatility that a wheeled backpack can offer.


Airlines around the world have specific carry-on and check-in weight restrictions for backpacks, luggage, and suitcases. Check-in baggage is weighed upon arrival at the ticketing counter. Sometimes, though rarely, carry-on bags are weighed as well.

Any weight that exceeds airline restrictions can result in hefty fees, which is why many travelers (especially those on a budget) always try to stay within the limits. It’s necessary to know the weight limit of the airline you are flying with before your trip to avoid any surprise expenses. 

That said, you should carefully consider the weight of a backpack for travel before you buy it. In certain cases, you may have to sacrifice weight for some other detail that’s more important to you.  

Laptop backpacks, for one, tend to weigh more because they make use of padding in the laptop compartment and bottom to protect your gadgets. This is something that business travelers should take into consideration. Hiking backpacks are designed to be lightweight so that they can be carried for longer periods of time comfortably, though they cannot be used as carry-on bags. 


Whether you are traveling short or long distances, the best backpack for travel should be comfortable. 

The quality of shoulder straps is usually a good indicator of how comfortable they will be. The general rule of thumb is that shoulder straps should always have thick padding and adjustable buckles. Thick and soft padding is critical in eliminating pressure from carrying heavy loads, especially in packs that are designed to carry over 30L. 

Additionally, a travel bag’s suspension system also contributes to comfort. Travel backpacks may have any number of suspension systems, such as a frame, back panel, hip belt, harness, and load lifter. These all help connect you to the backpack while also helping to redistribute the weight evenly to the appropriate places around your body. 

The very best suspension systems should make the wearer feel like you aren’t carrying much at all, even if you are walking with a pack that weighs 50 pounds. These are incredibly important in backpacking backpacks. 

Below is a list of features found in suspension systems, and what you need to know about them:

Framed vs. Frameless Backpacks

Backpack frames distribute the weight of the pack throughout your body. Choosing between a framed or frameless pack is one of the most important considerations when choosing a travel backpack. 

Framed backpacks are constructed with either an external or internal frame which provides structure and support for the whole backpack. On the other hand, a frameless pack doesn’t have any frame. 

Pros and Cons of Framed Backpacks

Framed backpacks are recommended if you are going on a multi-day excursion, carrying a backpack weighing 30 pounds or more for several hours a day. On the other hand, a frameless backpack works just fine if you are carrying lighter loads. 

Here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using a framed backpack:


  • Better ventilation
  • Larger capacity
  • Holds its shape better
  • Available in a wide range of designs


  • Bulkier
  • Heavier
  • Expensive

Pros and Cons of Frameless Backpacks

Frameless backpacks are the style of choice for many travelers and backpackers these days. They’re much more common primarily because they’re lighter and easier to transport as you hop from one hostel and a plane ride to another.

Below is a summary of the pros and cons of a backpack without frames when compared to framed packs:


  • Lighter
  • More affordable
  • Better fit and adjustability
  • Compressible
  • Easy to use design


  • Difficult to pack
  • Less ventilation
  • Can carry less weight
  • Smaller capacity

Even though frameless packs are the preferred style for most travelers, there is no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to a personal preference.


As mentioned earlier, the best traveling backpacks have any number of straps, in addition to shoulder straps. They play an important role in your comfort and stability. Here’s what you need to know about backpack straps:

  • Compression straps are located outside of the pack, they are used to cinch the backpack and bring it closer to your back. Not only do they compress the pack, but also help make it more comfortable when you’re carrying a lighter load;
  • Waist belt or hip belt, which is considered an essential aspect of any backpack suspension system. They transfer as much as 80% of the backpack weight from your shoulders down to your hips to relieve your shoulders and minimize back pain. Some waist belts are multipurpose and designed to work like a fanny pack, with strategically-placed pockets where you can keep small things like your lip balm and mobile phone;
  • Chest strap or sternum strap, which helps support the rest of your body and adds stability when carrying a heavy backpack. Also referred to as the harness, these straps relieve the shoulders and back when carrying a heavy load;
  • Load lifters or stabilizer straps help bring the backpack forward to the center of gravity; these straps are usually located above the shoulder straps.


Being organized is key to a successful trip. Nobody wants to waste time looking for a passport, travel documents, wallet, keys, or other items when you should be enjoying every minute of your trip because you know where all your things are. That’s where pockets come in handy.

Here are some important pockets that a travel backpack should have:

  • Side pockets, ideally elastic or mesh, for keeping water bottles and other travel accessories;
  • Internal pockets of any number and size, for organizing your wardrobe and valuables; 
  • Front access pockets to keep items you need quickly or for an emergency; these are also known as quick access pockets to store items you need easy reach to;
  • Padded or lined laptop or tablet compartment, for keeping your electronics protected;
  • Hidden pocket, which comes in handy when traveling to theft-prone cities;

Opening Style

The type of bag opening or entry design is essential for organization and ease of use. The best backpacks for travel come in an array of options to cater to individual preferences and packing styles. The two primary designs found in most travel backpacks are either front loading or top loading; read on below to learn more about them.


Front-loading packs, also referred to as clamshell design or panel-loading, are the preferred backpack opening for many travelers. Since it allows you to open the backpack to the side like a suitcase, it provides maximum accessibility, which contributes to efficient organization since you can easily see your clothes and travel gear inside. There are also some front-loading backpacks that open from top to bottom instead of to the side, though the latter is more efficient.

Additionally, front-loading backpacks are simpler to organize. You can segregate your wardrobe and even use packing cubes. These packs usually come with internal compression straps to help secure everything in this part of the bag.

Front loaders are excellent at compressing your stuff and keeping it close to your back. This results in less strain on your shoulders and back too. 


Top loaders are the most common type of access seen in most traditional backpacks, especially for school, work, and hiking. It’s considered the standard backpack design, though it has its own advantages for traveling.

As its name implies, top-loading backpacks have one opening at the top of the bag for packing and unpacking. They also usually have side and front pockets for additional storage. While you can’t see everything at one glance the way you would with a front loader, top loaders are recommended for petite and smaller people. 

Top loaders are narrower than front loaders, making them easier to carry and navigate with, especially in crowded places like the airport or subway. They are also more comfortable if you are going to walk long distances since they offer significantly better support.  

The main disadvantage of top loaders is that it can take some time and digging to find what you need in top loaders that are bigger than 35L. 


The best backpacks for travel come in a range of sizes. The capacity of a backpack is usually indicated in liters: this is the standard unit that is globally accepted for measuring a bag’s volume or capacity. 

Different kinds of trips will require a specific backpack size, so it’s important to choose the right capacity. If you are exploring Southeast Asia’s warm beaches for a few weeks, a backpack around 50L is ideal. Meanwhile, a business traveler off for a 2-night city trip can make use of a 30L backpack. 

If you aren’t sure what capacity you should get for your trip, use the table below for expert recommendations:


Good for


Weekenders, short beach trips, ultralight and minimalist packers, daypack


Camping, 2-3 night trips, long hikes


Adventure travel, week-long trips

50L and above

Multi-week excursions, hammock camping, backpacking trips

If you want your backpack to double as a carry-on, keep in mind that 45L is the maximum allowable carry-on permitted by a majority of airlines in the United States. The dimensions are typically 22 x 14 x 9 inches (length x width, height), and a weight restriction of 22kg. Even if a backpack is advertised as a carry-on, always check for its dimensions.

While these guidelines are helpful, remember that each traveler has their own unique traveling style and preferences. Minimalist travelers can certainly make do with a smaller bag during longer trips. Others like to pack an extra set of clothes to have options.

There is no right or wrong way to pack, as long as you are being realistic about what your own packing style is. Of course, don’t forget to factor in the weather and the type of clothing you should be bringing to stay warm and comfortable.

Durable Materials

Travel backpacks will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear.

They can be tossed around by airport security, placed down on the street, and worn for hours and on various modes of transportation. Being selective about the kind of backpack material you choose ensures your belongings are always safe. Poor-quality fabrics are usually prone to scratches and abrasions, which can even develop into holes that put the security of your valuables at risk.

The best backpacks for travel are made with tough fabrics that have a high denier rating. Denier ratings measure the thickness of the material. Travel products with a low denier rating, such as 100D, are used in everyday or packable backpacks.

However, higher denier ratings are advisable for travel backpacks because they are more resistant to abrasion and are thus much more durable. Bags with a denier rating of at least 400D are recommended for travel backpacks, though they tend to drive the price up more. 

When it comes to materials used in travel backpacks, nylon and polyester are the most common. They perform similarly and are both resistant to stains, wrinkles, and mold. But nylon has a better strength-to-weight ratio, and polyester can hold color more efficiently. 

Travelers looking for a bag with brighter colors should use a polyester backpack. 

Other Useful Features

Backpacks for travel also come with a bunch of other features and details that you may find useful. Check these out below and see which ones may come in handy for you:

Carry handles

Grab or carry handles are usually located on top of the pack, side, or both. These are ideal for plane travel since the handles allow you to grab the backpack easily from a baggage carousel, out of the overhead bin, or under your airplane seat.

Wheeled travel backpacks

Wheeled travel backpacks are extremely beneficial in a number of different travel scenarios. For example, if you are traveling long distances and don’t want to carry a heavy backpack all the time, they give you the option of using your backpack as wheeled luggage. Just be sure to choose a bag with heavy-duty wheels and light aluminum handles for comfort. 

Anti-theft features

Security is a common concern when going on vacation. This is especially true in cities that are prone to pickpockets. Keep your money and valuables safe by using backpacks with slash-proof materials, hidden pockets, combination locks, or lockable zippers


Many smaller travel bags offer users more versatility by allowing you to wear them in multiple ways. Detachable straps are a popular feature that lets you use the backpack as a crossbody bag, tote bag, or messenger bag. Foldable and multipurpose backpacks are also great accessories for long trips because you can just pack them into your main bag and use them for sightseeing. 

Expandable storage

Backpacks with expandable storage, as opposed to one with a fixed capacity, allow you to maximize a backpack in different travel situations. For example, some travel bags are 20L but have an additional 15L capacity when expanded. These are perfect for travelers who like to buy souvenirs during travels – you’ll have peace of mind that you have extra space when you need it.

Attachment points

Attachment points are located outside of the pack so that you can attach other items or travel accessories to them without taking up space inside. These can be used to attach a sleeping pad, tent, or external pouches. 

Our Recommendations for the Best Travel Backpack

It can be overwhelming to sift through a sea of choices when shopping around for the best travel backpack. Save time by checking travelers’ favorite models in various categories below (note: we earn a small commission from Amazon if you decide to purchase any of these backpacks): 

Best Backpack for Traveling

Vera Bradley Microfiber Backpack: If you’re looking for an overall backpack for travel that you can take everywhere and one that helps you stay organized, the Vera Bradley Microfiber Large Backpack is highly recommended. With a capacity of 35L, a sleek silhouette, and dimensions of 12W x 19H x 7D, it’s also a wonderful pick for city travel.

Vera Bradley Microfiber Backpack

This backpack can hold a serious amount of gear – much more than it looks from the outside. There are many details to love in this product, though it must be said that it has outstanding organizational abilities. It opens up like a suitcase, and the compression straps on the main compartment will keep your clothes in place. 

Additionally, the Vera Bradley Microfiber Backpack features an expandable section, ideal for those trips when you never know if you’re going to do more shopping than planned. A front pocket accessible by zipper helps you keep small travel essentials securely, and two slip pockets inside are perfect for keeping your keys, lip balm, and tissue. 

There are water bottle pockets on each side which are always handy in the best travel backpacks. It would be ideal if these pockets were bigger, but at least you have somewhere to keep your water bottle. 

Given how quickly backpacks get dirty while traveling, the microfiber material used in this bag is low maintenance and easy to clean. Just dip a damp cloth in mild detergent to get rid of stains and dirt. It comes in neutral black and navy colors to complement any wardrobe. 

The shoulder straps of this backpack are padded thickly for comfort as well. Overall, it’s soft and lightweight, almost feeling like you’re carrying very little. 

Best Day Backpack for Travel

HIKPRO 20L Backpack: A small lightweight bag packed into your main travel backpack is always an excellent idea for sightseeing and day trips. The HIKPRO 20L Backpack is perfect for that: weighing just 7.05 ounces, you can fold up this bag to a size as small as a sandwich. Once folded, the entire backpack comes down to a size of 6.7 inches. 

HIKPRO 20L Backpack

The roomy main compartment is spacious enough to carry a light jacket, snacks, a guidebook, and a small camera. It has elastic side pockets for your water bottle and umbrella. You can keep your wallet and passport in the front access pocket. 

The HIKPRO 20L Backpack is such a great accessory for day trips because it’s weather-resistant. The quality nylon construction will keep all the bag’s contents dry for as long as an hour in a downpour. Even better, it’s tear-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your backpack breaking down in the middle of your journey. 

This is a newer version of the brand’s first model, and it’s made with many improvements. Most importantly, it’s significantly more durable and has ultra-comfortable padded shoulder straps. Choose from a range of vivid colors to match your wardrobe. 

Best of all, the HIKPRO 20L Backpack is so affordable. Whether you’re a backpacker, budget traveler, or simply want a portable daypack option, this is a fantastic choice. It’s made extremely well and will hold up to the abuse of travel. 

Unfortunately the side pockets aren’t deep, so you can only make use of very small water bottles. And while it claims to be water resistant, some have found that it isn’t actually waterproof, so it’s best to keep your backpack out of the rain whenever possible. If you like to carry a lot of gear, you might find this bags size to be too small, though it can be just right if you need to use it for a few hours. 

Best Backpack for Traveling Europe

Osprey Farpoint 40L: Osprey’s Farpoint series of backpacks has been designed to cater to adventurers who are passionate about world exploration. Osprey is one of the most renowned travel and outdoor backpack brands in the world because of their dedication to craftsmanship and quality materials that last a long time. 

Osprey Farpoint 40

The Farpoint 40L is one of the most popular backpacks in their collection, and it’s easy to see why. Weighing just 3.46 lbs, this pack is equipped with technical features that serious and long-term travelers can benefit from.

These include adjustable torso fit, breathable harnesses and hip belts, lightweight frames, and excellent internal organization. The tough compression straps help keep the pack close to your body, especially when the bag isn’t packed to the brim. Meanwhile, padded side and top handles make it easy to grab and go.

With dimensions of 22H x 14W x 9D, the Osprey Farpoint 40L also doubles as a carry-on for most domestic airlines. Should you need to use this backpack for the outdoors, the external gear attachment loops come in handy. The main compartment is lockable for extra security too.

The Osprey Farpoint 40L is comfortable to wear even when walking long distances on foot. It even comes with a strap that lets you wear the backpack as a messenger bag, which is extremely useful when walking in crowded airports, subways, and city streets. This pack shares many of the great details the Cotopaxi Allpa is known for, though it’s a more spacious version.

The bag’s clamshell opening makes packing a breeze. The body is constructed with 450D recycled polyester, with a water-resistant coating for added protection. It’s created to withstand the abuse of long-term travel, and this bag has been around for several years now with many attesting to its durability. 

However, it does come with a laptop compartment that is unusually located in the second compartment. Laptop compartments should ideally be placed against the user’s back, but the way the Farpoint is designed keeps the laptop far from the center of gravity, which can make the backpack feel heavier than it actually is. 

Additionally, it would have been better if the pack was equipped with a rain cover for added protection from the weather. This can easily be resolved by purchasing a separate rain cover as they are generally inexpensive. The hip pads could also do with some padding, though hopefully, Osprey will make these improvements in the future. 

Despite that, the Osprey Farpoint is a great all-around choice for traveling to Europe. It's also our CEO's travel backpack of choice, it’s clear that this is a no-brainer travel backpack. From discovering historic cities to overnight trips exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, this is a fantastic long-lasting backpack for travel.

Best Large Backpack for Backpacking

Loowoko 50L Hiking Backpack: Travelers who are going to embark on an exciting backpacking journey around Southeast Asia or Europe will find that the Loowoko 50L Hiking Backpack ticks all the boxes. This massive bag can accommodate 45L with an expandable 5L of storage, and it only weighs 2.5 lbs!

Loowoko 50L Hiking Backpack

As one of the strongest and most affordable ultralight backpacking models out there, it’s easy to see why this product is so popular among travelers. It’s constructed with tough and abrasion-resistant fabric, which makes this bag ideal for hiking and camping adventures. And when you’re carrying such a heavy weight on your back, you need five-star comfort – this model has that too. 

The Loowoko 50L Hiking Backpack is equipped with breathable mesh shoulder straps, filled with generous sponge padding to reduce pressure on your shoulders. The straps are also much wider than the average backpack straps, which truly makes a big difference when you’ve been carrying the bag for many hours. In addition, a ventilated back panel adds to the pack’s overall comfort.

The pack is equipped with many other bells and whistles that make it comfortable to wear. These include multi-directional compression straps, an adjustable sternum strap, and a padded hip belt. The hip belt is also designed with spacious pockets where you can keep hiking and travel essentials within easy reach.

That’s not all: this bag features an anti-gravity suspension system which greatly helps reduce back pains.

When you’re on the road, the last thing you should have to worry about is keeping your stuff dry. This pack already comes with a rain cover to further protect your belongings from unexpected rainfall. When not in use, simply keep the rain cover tucked away in the small compartment at the bottom of the pack.

However, the rain cover is made from a very thin fabric, which increases the risk of it getting snagged when walking through dense foliage. 

This backpack shares many similar features with the Osprey Atmos AG 50, though the Loowoko offers more value for money because it’s much more affordable. That said, the Loowoko 50L Hiking Backpack is a winner in this category. 

Best Men's Travel Backpack

Osprey Porter 46: The Osprey Porter 46 has a cult following among male travelers. After all, with top-notch organizational features and durable materials, it’s one of the best travel backpacks for men. Weighing 3.2 lbs and measuring 21.5H x 14W x 9D inches, these dimensions are the sweet spot for most travelers.

Osprey Porter 46

The capacity of this backpack allows it to cater to many different kinds of travelers. It’s especially well-suited for a digital nomad or techie who travels with lots of electronics. 

The Osprey Porter 46 opens up like a duffle bag, from top to down. This allows for efficient packing and unpacking, allowing you to see all the contents of your bag without having to dig deep or remove anything else. Using packing cubes and pouches is recommended for even better organization.

A major highlight of this well-designed pack is the StraightJacket compression straps, which are equipped with padded sidewalls for easier compression while protecting your valuables. These are truly useful whenever you need to compress the bag down. Compared to many other compression straps found in the market, Osprey’s are superior because of the technology they have invested in designing them.

While a number of backpacks these days come with a padded and lockable laptop compartment, not all are made equal. Osprey’s laptop sleeve is located in the back, which is the right place where the laptop sleeves should be. This eliminates the risk of any pressure that may damage your laptop.

Keep your travel essentials and valuables in easy reach at the top pocket. This is also a wonderful place to store liquids and toiletries because it segregates them from the rest of your clothes, reducing the risk of any spills.

The backpack is constructed with durable water-repellent 500D recycled nylon pack cloth, a tough choice that can hold up to the abuse of traveling. Quality craftsmanship and materials, as expected, which the brand is well-known for.

However, it would have been appreciated if duffel straps were actually provided. The bottom and top handles are a great touch, though a duffle bag strap would have provided another carrying option. 

Best Women's Travel Backpack

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L: The first generation of the Cotopaxi Allpa was already popular with travelers, though it needed a few improvements. Cotopaxi responded with a fantastic second-generation backpack, which is more durable and lighter – ideal for globetrotting women who are serious about functionality.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L comes in an array of fun, vibrant colors. It’s loaded with convenient features that modern travelers will appreciate. But more importantly, it’s also worth noting that the company has numerous sustainable and social projects, so using this backpack will help you support worthy causes. 

The bag is constructed from 1000D polyester – one of the toughest fabrics out there – so strong, in fact, that it's used in crash pads. In addition, the paneling is made from 840D ballistic nylon. These fabrics have been professionally tested in a laboratory to make sure users don’t encounter any issues when the bag is in use. 

With materials this strong, women can focus on traveling far and wide without having to worry about protecting their gear.

Its clamshell opening and its unstructured design make packing and unpacking a breeze as you can see everything packed in the interior compartment easily. It’s an outstanding choice for minimalist packers too. The rectangular shape may seem simplistic, but it’s made that way for a purpose: you’ll stay stylish and comfortable no matter where your journey takes you.

Women traveling long distances on foot will appreciate the superior comfort this bag offers. The back panel is designed with ventilated materials for excellent breathability, while the padded straps are adjustable, contoured, and padded for unbeatable comfort. The sternum strap lends additional stability while the padded helps improve balance when your backpack is fully loaded.

There are grab handles situated strategically on each of the four sides of the backpack. For this reason, using the Cotopaxi Allpa on virtually any mode of transportation is simplified. You can toss and pull it out of an overhead cabin, into your trunk, and under your seat with ease. 

Use carabiners to attach additional gear outside of the pack. This is useful for outdoor adventures when you need to attach a rainfly, extra pouch, or other essentials. It’s also great that there are two exterior zippered pockets for keeping items you need easy access to. 

There is also the option of purchasing Cotopaxi’s fanny pack separately, which is compatible with the Allpa. It makes for a useful travel accessory that you can keep in the top compartment of the backpack when you aren’t using it. 

Given how versatile, comfortable, and tough the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 is, it’s an excellent backpack that can accommodate the needs of many female travelers. It does lack pockets and compartments, but given all the advantages of this bag, it’s still a great buy. 

Best Weekend Backpack

Ambor Carry On Rolling Backpack: Weekend getaways are more convenient when you use a wheeled backpack, especially if plane travel is involved. The Amber Carry On Rolling Backpack is a great choice and one that’s affordable too.

Ambor Carry On Rolling Backpack

It looks compact, but it can accommodate an impressive 39L of space. Minimalist packers can even make use of this rolling backpack for an excursion lasting a week long. There are a total of three compartments, each of which opens up to several more pockets for efficient organization.

The Ambor Carry On Rolling Backpack features a laptop sleeve which can accommodate up to 17” laptops. It also has a tablet sleeve, which is already attached to the laptop sleeve, for easy organization of all your electronics. The quick-access pocket allows you to reach for your tablet in no time. 

Digital nomads and business travelers will especially appreciate the fact that it has an extra tablet sleeve located in the front compartment. Anyone who travels with a lot of tech knows how important it is to have a separate compartment so you can easily locate where everything is, and this Ambor backpack makes that so easy. Documents, magazines, and notebooks can also be stored in another external compartment.

The lightweight and strong aluminum handle pops in and out with ease. The rubber in-line wheels can be maneuvered with ease, which comes in handy when you need to walk through crowded spaces or go up and down stairs.

Switching from a backpack to a wheeled suitcase is so easy. Stow away the shoulder straps, and cover up the wheels for protection when not in use. The bag is constructed out of tough polyester with a water-resistant coating, though if you need extra protection, you can purchase a rain cover separately.

However, the padding on its shoulder straps leaves much to be desired. They could have done with thicker padding, so it’s best not to carry it as a backpack for long periods of time or you can risk discomfort and strains. The number one pick for the best weekend backpack is the Ambor Carry On Rolling Backpack, no doubt.

Best Backpacks for Travel and Work

Best Business Travel Backpack

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L: Travelers going on business trips will find the many practical features of the Peak Design Travel Backpack useful. It has won several awards, so if you want a reliable pack that’s been tried and tested for different kinds of trips, this is the bag to invest in. 

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is ideal for digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and photographers. When your work requires you to travel with electronics and tech, you need a backpack that both supports and protects your gear. The tablet and laptop sleeves have ample padding to protect your expensive electronics.

This bag offers more flexibility, organization, and access compared to its 30L predecessor. The access points are conveniently located in the front, rear, and side – so you can quickly locate your jacket, documents, and other belongings. Meanwhile, the luggage sleeve allows you to easily slip it on a stroller, helpful for those trips when you need to bring more.

Another reason why this bag is so convenient is the fact that its main compartment has dividers. The zippered divider sleeve lets you maximize the use of two compartments instead of one whenever you need to, which is great for segregating your wardrobe and belongings. There’s plenty of room for packing cubes or camera cubes, including additional storage for shoes, bulky jackets, and pouches.

It’s good to know that the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is sustainably made. Environmentally-conscious folks will appreciate that it’s certified fair trade and 100% carbon neutral as well. Creating an award-winning travel backpack that’s also eco-friendly is not something many other backpack manufacturers can easily do.

Unfortunately, the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is heavy: at 4.52 lbs, it takes up a sizeable amount of precious luggage weight. This is also one of the pricier backpacks given its size. But for travelers who see the value of investing in a backpack that is both high-quality and high-performance, this bag is worth it.

Best Weekend Business Backpack 

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L: Weekend escapes are simplified with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L in tow. With all the well-thought-out pockets and compartments, this bag proves you really only need just one backpack for short trips. It eliminates the need to bring along additional pouches or bags for other items.

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L

This carry-on-compliant backpack can be used for flights as well. It’s lightweight too: weighing just 42 ounces, it’s a minimalist packer’s dream backpack. But it’s so versatile and streamlined that it can even be used for business trips and hikes.

The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag is compact and has simple but functional aspects, especially when it comes to organization. The front pocket features sleeves and compartments that are perfect for safekeeping documents, while mesh dividers in the interior top flap provide extra space for more organization. This front-loader backpack can accommodate two large packing cubes inside the main compartment as well, with interiors similar to a briefcase but much more modern.

The bag’s exterior features two zippered pockets for keeping accessories, including cables and cords, your passport, and wire headphones. Meanwhile, the bigger organizer outside can be used for keeping snacks, tickets, your wallet, and notebooks. The heavy-duty YKK zippers seal off the main compartment securely.

This useful backpack can be used as a messenger bag, thanks to the shoulder sling. The backpack straps can then be kept in a small pocket when they aren’t in use. Side and top grab handles let you carry the bag several different ways too. However, when you do want to use it as a backpack, the shoulder straps are truly comfortable: thick padding and adjustability reduce pressure on your shoulders at all times.

This weekender bag can also be used as a carry-on, though if you need more storage, there’s a 40L version too. The Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L comes in stunning colorways for both men and women.

When it comes to disadvantages, you may feel that there are far too many pockets. Yes, that could actually be a disadvantage! If that sounds like you, the Osprey Farpoint may be a better choice.

Perhaps Topo Designs could also add a water bottle pocket or two on its sides for future versions. Despite that, the fact that this bag offers multiple ways of carrying while still being slim and lightweight makes it a winner for many travelers.


The world’s best backpack for travel is one that meets all your needs. This guide can help you narrow down one that caters to your travel style and personal preferences. It may take some time, but once you see how useful it will be on your journey, finding the best travel bag will be worth it.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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