What Is the Best Backpack to Take on a Cruise? 

 January 7, 2023

By  Diane Wuthrich

Cruising is one of the most fun ways to travel while seeing multiple destinations in one trip. The nature of cruising requires travelers to pack all their belongings and have it ready for exploring port stops, which is why a backpack always comes in handy. However, many often wonder which backpack is best for a cruise.

Choose a backpack that is appropriate for your cruise itinerary and the weather. It should also be lightweight, portable, of the right size, durable, comfortable, have multiple organized compartments, and suits your personal style.

Because of the many factors involved in selecting the best backpack for a cruise, we’ve narrowed them down to make it easy for you. Read on below to learn more.

Best Backpack for Cruise Excursions

Most cruise travelers bring a suitcase to pack all their belongings for the entire trip, but you shouldn’t forget about your day pack.

Since backpacks make traveling so convenient, it’s no surprise why they are another crucial piece of luggage for cruise travelers. However, the kind of backpack you’ll need for a cruise is dependent on many factors.

Cruise Itinerary and Weather: Before setting out to choose the best backpack for cruise excursions, the very first consideration should always be the destination and your itinerary.

For example, an Alaskan cruise will require significantly heavier gear because you’ll need to stay protected from the cold, thus requiring a backpack opposite to what you would use on a cruise taking you to port stops around the Mediterranean during the summer. On top of that, the activities will also vary; in Alaska, many travelers like packing heavy DSLR cameras to see the wildlife which require larger, more heavy-duty backpacks while port stops around the Mediterranean don’t typically require much for the warm weather except if you intend to do a lot of shopping.


A lightweight and portable backpack, such as one that weighs under 3 pounds, is ideal if you want to store it away in your luggage or cabin when not in use.

This will enable you to easily grab it and fill it up with your day’s needs such as water, snacks, sun protection,  gadgets, and more.

Right Size

The best backpack size for cruising is highly subjective based on your traveling style, preferences, and type of cruise trip. For example, if your port visits are only a few hours long in various cities in Europe, then you can make do with a day pack or backpack that’s no larger than 25L. It would more than enough to hold everything you need to explore each destination with the necessities you need from the ship.

On the other hand, there are also more cruises that enable guests to stay overnight at port visits. You may want to prepare a backpack that is around 40L in size so that it can carry all your necessities for an overnight stay, while leaving room for you to stow away some souvenirs. Then there are also cruises that enable you to explore the Alaskan wilderness for several hours, where you will need a larger bag for the day, such as around 45L or more, to carry heavy cold-weather clothes, a DSLR or drone, and other essentials.

Another thing to think about is if you want your backpack to double as a carry-on. In this case, you would have to consider the airline carry-on size requirements before you select a backpack.


When you’re out exploring a new destination, the last thing you want is your bag breaking down because it broke. It’s a real headache and inconvenience, but one that can be avoided by investing in a backpack that is made from durable materials.

Common durable materials used in travel backpacks include nylon, rip-stop nylon, ballistic nylon, Kodra nylon, canvas, and polyester. These materials are suitable for relaxed port visits in small cities that don’t require you to bring too much gear for the day.

Branded backpacks may use leather or other high-end material. If you are going to a destination that may expose you to rain or snow, such as Alaska, you may be better off going with a hardy material such as ballistic nylon, PVC, which are useful because they are water-proof and tear-resistant, depending on the kind of PVC that you buy.

You may also want to consider anti-theft material if you want to have added protection for your valuable belongings.

Additionally, shoulder straps are the most vulnerable part of a backpack for tearing. Look for good stitching and material, and it’s always best to buy from a renowned manufacturer.


Features that enhance comfort, such as adjustable and padded shoulder straps, padded hip belts, and breathable contoured backs are more important if you will be doing a lot of walking or hiking during the day in your port stops. These go a long way in ensuring you don’t hurt yourself while staying cozy and relaxed as you explore your destination.

Organized Compartments

A day pack that has just the right compartments for what you need is key for enjoying your cruise trip. Nothing could be worse than having an hour left in your port of call, where you are left fumbling for several minutes looking for your passport, insurance, or airline tickets. Choose a backpack that has organizers for what you specifically need, such as mesh side pockets for water bottles, smaller pockets for safely keeping your ticket and passport, camera compartment, and more.

Personal Style

Last but not least, you can consider your own personal style. A traveler who is out to see the wilderness in Alaska would have a different backpack style compared to one who is visiting Croatia. One would need a more heavy-duty functional backpack, while the other could prefer a fashionable day pack.

There’s no right or wrong answer, for as long as it meets your own specific needs.

Best Backpack For Cruise

There are many beautiful as well as functional backpacks that you can use on a cruise. Here are some examples you can compare on our website:

-   HIKPRO 20L Lightweight Backpack
-   PacSafe Venturesafe 25L GII Anti-Theft Travel Pack
-   Outlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring a backpack on a cruise?

You can bring a backpack to your cruise trip. Depending on its size, it can also double as your carry-on. Upon arrival at the cruise ports, all luggage is checked in with the cruise line except for your carry-on, which can be a backpack or any other kind of bag. Just like with airlines, cruise guests are usually allowed to bring a carry-on bag with them upon boarding while the rest of your check-in luggage goes through security screening.

After security screening, the luggage is loaded on the ship then eventually will be delivered to your cabin that day. A backpack is not only allowed but a handy way to make sure that you have all of your day’s essentials with you while keeping your hands free.

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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