The best Travel Backpack for travel

Updated over 1 year ago

Normal everyday backpacks do an admirable job when traveling. If you travel often though, it’s worth considering a travel backpack which is meant to simplify life on the road by consolidating your carry on and backpack into a single 35L to 45L bag that still falls within an airline's carry on requirements. They also usually have features to make packing easier, like a clamshell style opening. It's a 🔥 category: there are a ton of great options today, with many released only within the past year or two.

What we look for
  • Quality materials and components to withstand abuse and so you enjoy using it more
  • Smart organization features so you can pack efficiently and quickly find items when on the go
  • Padded straps and vents so it's comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Some level of weatherproofing to make the bag more versatile
  • Good looks which is subjective but we err on the minimal side so it matches with more outfits and doesn’t scream tourist to minimize attention from thieves
  • A good warranty to protect your investment because sturdy backpacks aren't cheap
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Osprey Porter 46

Great overall bag: spacious, durable, light, and functional

You see this Osprey bag often all around the world and for good reason: it's a really good all around bag and not to mention Osprey's top notch reputation and customer service. It comes with a big panel loading main compartment with compression for easy packing and a lockable front panel with padded device compartments. The technical and outdoorsy look, however, isn't for everyone.

  • Conveniently attaches with certain Osprey daypacks, like the Daylite, for easier daily outings
  • If you want an even more seamless daypack combo and don't mind something bigger, see the Farpoint 55 with its made for zip off daypack
  • Lifetime Warranty ("All Mighty Guarantee")
  • 46L, 3.31 lbs
  • Video review

Minaal Carry-on 2.0

A sleek, minimalist bag made to the highest standards

Despite not knowing anything about making backpacks, two kiwis decided to scratch their own itch and create the Minaal Carry-on: one of the most well thought out travel backpacks ever. It's admittedly expensive but the quality and craftsmanship are absurdly good, like comfortable magnetic load bearing shoulder straps that are stowable for a minimalist briefcase look. Its sleek design works everywhere including the office and its clamshell design opens fully for easy packing. If you want the best travel backpack, this bag is definitely up there.

The North Face Surge

Great commuter backpack that also works for travel

This commuter backpack has long been popular among travelers and the "buy it for life" crowd due to North Face's consistent high quality materials and components. It has lots of dedicated, padded pockets for devices including a lie flat laptop compartment for easy airport travel and a comfortable FlexVent shoulder strap system. The only small downsides are a busy exterior (zipper pull and straps galore) and a top loading style main compartment which isn't as convenient for packing.

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • 33L, 3.22 lbs
  • Need more space? Check out its bigger sibling: Router Transit (41L)

Tortuga Outbreaker

A high quality bag optimized for city travel

Tortuga is one of the best brands focused on city travel and their newest Outbreaker backpack continues that tradition with quality components across the board: YKK zippers, waterproof sailcloth, duraflex buckles, and more. It has a clamshell design for easy packing and a padded, lie flat laptop compartment. The rectangular design might not appeal to everyone, but the shape actually lets you pack the most while still falling within carry on requirements.

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45

Best security focused backpack

Paranoid or traveling to a sketchy region? Pacsafe is known for producing high quality, security focused travel products. The Venturesafe EXP45 epitomizes that anti-theft ethos in a sleek bag that doesn't compromise on space or features. You can secure all zippers into a single point, lock the bag to a fixture with an integrated cable, and know your bag is safe from slashing with its steel mesh embedded fabric. For easy packing it has a clamshell design compartment, dedicated device pockets, and stowable straps.

Wanderprep curates the best travel gear, apps, and tips. Our goal is concise recommendations that respect your time and help you travel better and more responsibly. To fund these guides and our giving back goals aka make money, we sometimes use affiliate links. Learn our story and approach. For Gear & Products, we believe in “buy less, but better” so we can simplify our lives and travel lighter. See what we evaluate besides quality, packability, and design.

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