Just any travel backpack that you find lying around may not work for your needs and requirements. In this section, we will be looking at some of the different features that you need to keep an eye out for when you go travel backpack shopping, so keep reading!


No one likes a heavy or bulky backpack that will leave you with an aching back after you carry it around for a day. One of the biggest factors that make up a good travel backpack is how lightweight it is. The lighter the backpack, the better it is for you in the long run.

This lightness is based on the quality of materials used to build this backpack. The lighter the materials, the more expensive the backpack could be. Just keep in mind that it should not be flimsy or there could be tears that develop over time.

Size and Capacity

The most common way in which companies advertise the size of their travel or hiking backpack is in liters, depending on the volume that the backpack is capable of holding. If you are looking for daypacks, they usually stand at about 15 to 30 liters. This is enough for the times that you are out for the day.

Slightly larger backpacks – between 30 liters and 40 liters – are more suitable for carry-on luggage or a short trip out of town. If you are going away for longer and only carrying that backpack, it should be anywhere between 50 to 65 liters.

Front Loading or Top Loading

Most hiking backpacks are filled up from the top. This means you hold the backpack and add things from the top. This also means that you will have to rummage through the entire backpack to get to those essentials that you have placed at the bottom of the backpack.

Travel backpacks, on the other hand, open like a suitcase – from the front. If you make these bags lie down, it is much easier to zip it open and take out whatever you need without messing up the entire backpack.

Type of Straps

Good quality shoulder straps are important if you want to stay comfortable when you are traveling. There needs to be enough padding so that the straps don’t dig into your shoulders and become a nuisance. A number of travel backpacks also have padded waist straps. This strap helps in distributing the otherwise heavyweight of the backpack, preventing injuries in the long run.

Many people complain of backaches and sore shoulders after wearing backpacks for long periods and padded straps are helpful in avoiding that. Keep an eye out for duffel-bag straps and handles.


Good quality zippers are important if you want your things to be safe and secure when you are traveling. Instead of tiny, flimsy zippers that are easy to break, keep an eye out for larger zippers that are much easier to use. If you want to go the extra step with security, there are also lockable zippers that will allow you to use a small lock and keep it safe.

Special Pockets for Gear

Hiking backpacks tend to have a lot of different pockets and attachments for all your hiking and trekking gear, but this isn’t of much use when it is a simple travel backpack that you are carrying as a carry-on. Avoid one with too many different pockets, as things tend to get lost a lot more this way.

There are, however, some key pockets that will come in use when you are traveling. Look for organizers that have a place for your keys, passport, sunglasses, tablet and more. A pocket for a water bottle always comes in handy.


You need to keep your body type in mind when you choose a traveling backpack, as even the best travel backpack will do you no good if it doesn’t fit your body in the right way. For example, if shorter women go for travel backpacks that are gender-neutral or meant for men, they may find them to be too long for themselves. This can also lead to discomfort and pains in the long run. Choose a backpack that is right for the length of your torso.

Style and Aesthetic

Travel backpacks are available in a range of different colors and finishes. For example, there may be some sleek, leather-like options, or others that are sturdier and maybe even waterproof. In many cases, travel backpacks seem to have a more boxy look about them – so that you can fit in a lot of your things – but you will have enough options to choose one that is more in line with your aesthetic.

Water Resistance

You never know when you come across a sudden downpour while you are out exploring a new city. It is always helpful when your backpack is built using water-resistant material so this is one thing you should keep your eye out for. In many cases, backpacks also come with rain covers, which can act as an additional barrier against rainwater.

Carry-on Friendly

When you are traveling by air, you may need to have a dedicated backpack that can double up as your carry-on luggage on the plane. There are strict restrictions that airlines place on the dimensions of luggage that can be carried onto the airplane with you.

Even if you don’t have a measuring tape to check the dimensions of your backpack, it will be wise to avoid anything over 45 liters when it comes to travel backpacks that have to be taken into a plane.

Laptop Compartment

Not all travel backpacks have their own dedicated laptop compartments but there are a few that have padded compartments that will house your laptop and other gadgets, for example, your smartphone, tablet, and others.

The regular compartments of the backpack can also be used for storing these gadgets, but the padding does a long way in keeping them safe. You can also use these padded compartments for books, journals, and other items.

Price and Warranty

You will find a backpack at many different price points, depending on what material it is made of or the size of the bag. Brands also make a big difference in the price. On average, a travel backpack may cost you anywhere between $99 and $300. A good quality travel backpack – medium in size – should not cost you over $199 in most cases. Bigger brands may be more expensive, which means you need to analyze whether it is worth the money you are spending.


If you are apprehensive about buying a backpack for traveling, you need to start off by gauging your own requirements. Even if you aren’t a regular traveler who is out of the city every month or so, you will need a good quality piece of luggage when you do choose to go on vacation.

All the products on this list have been chosen after a great amount of research but not all will be right for you. After going through this list of the best backpacks for travel, you will be able to find one that is better suited for your needs than the others.

Once you have your hands on a good quality traveling backpack, you can fall back on this trusty bag whenever you are making a short trip out of town or need carry-on luggage for your next exotic vacation. Picking up the right backpack can make traveling a breeze, so there is no reason to wait anymore!

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