The 19 Best Carry-on Backpacks for Your Next Trip

The best travel backpacks this year are both practical and fashionable. Tumi, Tortuga, and Osprey are among the brands recommended by travel editors.


Travel + Leisure Staff

Updated August 04, 2021

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travel backpack luggage carry-on
Credit: AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

When it comes to the perpetual dilemma of carry-on suitcase Although, we must admit, we’re leaning toward the backpack option, not because it reminds us of our schooldays, but because we’ve found it to be the more practical of the two, especially on budget airlines where you’re more likely to lose your belongings. Whether you choose a travel backpack or a suitcase depends entirely on your personal preferences and travel requirements. concerned with the weight of your luggage.

The Best Travel Backpacks 

  • Best Overall:
  • Best Weather-proof:

Why Try a Carry-on Backpack?

Plus, you can take your carry-on backpack with you from the airport to natural trails, city tours, beach shores, and more, while your hard-shell suitcase serves as your luggage. Most backpacks are lighter (often made of sturdy polyester) and smaller than standard suitcases, usually fitting neatly beneath the seat in front of you.

beach bag is perhaps not the most functional idea.


Yours is an excellent example. There are plenty of padded tech sleeves to choose from. Organization is important. Many of our top picks have thoughtfully designed spaces with plenty of storage. Another feature that modern travel backpacks possess?

In addition, if you’re a fan of , passports, pens, keys, and other items will all have a designated spot — no more scrambling in the security line to find what you need. Some styles even have three-sided zippers, just like traditional luggage. rolling your way through airports One option even has built-in wheels and a double-locking handle, allowing you to use it as both a suitcase and a backpack. We have some good news for you if you’re tired of speed-walking between terminals with 15 pounds of luggage on your back.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Carry-On Backpack

As previously stated, there are numerous factors to consider when selecting the best backpack for travel. If you’re going to use your backpack as a carry-on, you’ll want something that’s well-designed and spacious enough to hold everything you need. This entails paying close attention to the size and looking for features such as clam or doctor bag-style openings so you can see what’s inside and position your items as efficiently as possible.

Back panels, which can be made of breathable materials to promote ventilation and designed to contour your body, and straps, which should be padded and adjustable for optimal comfort, are other material components to be aware of. If you know you’ll be traveling to rainy climates, look for water-resistant nylon bags, or durable (and washable) polyester-crafted bags if you’ll be outdoors or constantly on the move. Then there are the fun criteria to consider, such as color, organizational pockets, USB charging capabilities, and so on. This will not only result in a more comfortable fit, but it will also ensure that your bag performs as expected during your trip. Following that, you’ll want to consider the bag’s material.

Here are 19 tough and stylish backpacks that will have your back on your next adventure.

Best Overall: Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

tortuga outbreaker backpack

Credit: Courtesy of Tortuga

The lay-flat design makes packing a breeze, and thoughtful features like an adjustable suspension system keep it comfortable even when it’s fully loaded. It’s the ideal pack for an explorer, made of super-durable waterproof sailcloth and featuring lockable zippers. Tortuga’s Outbreaker is a travel backpack that might just replace your suitcase. You can purchase a One reviewer claimed to have been able to pack six months’ worth of clothing, gear, and essentials for a long backpacking trip.

set of packing cubes For even more organizational bliss, it’s sized to fit perfectly inside.

To buy:

Best Weather-proof Backpack: Nomatic Travel Pack

nomatic travel backpack review
Credit: Courtesy of Nomatic

The backpack’s supporters claim that its thoughtful design eliminates the need for additional bags, allowing you to travel lighter. The Nomatic Travel Pack has become a traveler favorite for its 20-plus thoughtful features, which include a clamshell-style opening, TSA-ready laptop sleeve, and luggage handle pass-through sleeve, thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. You’ll also find dedicated pockets and sleeves for nearly everything you own on the inside. The ability to expand also allows for a few extra souvenirs. Outside, it’s made of weatherproof materials that will withstand any conditions you’ve unintentionally encountered.

To buy:, $270

Best Laptop Backpack: Lo & Sons Prospect Backpack

lo and sons backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Lo & Sons

It’s a bag that can be worn as a backpack, a briefcase, or a purse. To create a sleek, minimalist look, this backpack combines leather and recycled polyester. tote bag.. There are several organizational pockets on the inside, as well as a padded laptop sleeve, to hold chargers, passports, keys, water bottles, and other travel essentials. The backpack features memory foam straps that contour to your shoulders rather than digging into them, and diamond stitching to keep them from slipping off.

To buy:, $233 (originally $465)

Best Anti-theft Backpack: Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 15L

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

RFID-blocking technology is also included in the bag’s interior ID and card pockets. One reviewer remarked, “The security features are rather awesome.” This stylish anti-theft bag is available in three colors and is woven with a hidden stainless steel wire mesh, making it slash-proof and ideal for pickpocketing hotspots. The zippers are all lockable, and one of the straps also serves as a locking mechanism, allowing you to secure your bag to the alfresco table and relax while eating. “It’s perfect for the metro, and I don’t have to worry about pickpocketing because opening the secured zippers is a difficult task.”

To buy:, $100 (originally $110)

Best Lightweight Backpack: Timbuk2 Uptown Backpack

Black Packable Backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Shopbop

Its ventilated back panel allows for more airflow and prevents the backpack from feeling too heavy, while its custom-fit straps provide just the right amount of support and padding. It can fit a 15-inch laptop comfortably and comes equipped with strategic pockets and compartments to help keep track of everything. It weighs 2.4 pounds and is made of a durable polyester material. Timbuk2’s backpack is light without sacrificing quality (or space to pack everything you’ll need for your trip).

To buy:, $119

Best Leather Backpack: Leatherology Parker Backpack

leatherology leather travel backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Leatherology

A separate 18-inch-wide laptop pocket and three external pockets make it simple to stow (and find) smaller essentials like your wallet and keys. Leatherology’s popular backpack is made to be used, not to sit in a dust bag in your closet. It’s made of super-soft, high-quality leather. It comes in ten earthy tones and can be personalized with a debossed or hand-painted monogram.

To buy:

Most Comfortable Backpack: Bellroy Transit Backpack

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Even when you’re carrying this Incase pack for hours on end, the shoulder straps and padded air mesh back panel make it a comfortable fit. Its versatile design, thoughtful compartments, and stash pockets make it ideal not only for catching flights, but also for running errands, going to the gym, and any other stop on your daily commute. It’s slim but roomy enough for your tech and other daily essentials, and it comes in five colors. The compression straps on the inside keep your clothes and gear in place and organized, allowing you to pack more.

To buy:, $229 (originally $289)

Best With Compartments: Thule Subterra Backpack 34L

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Several sleeves and pouches are located inside the front compartment to hold your electronics, travel documents, keys, and other items. For its minimalist exterior, Thule’s pack has a surprising amount of organizational features. There’s a padded laptop compartment that fits a 15.6-inch device comfortably, as well as a deep side pocket that can fit a water bottle and has a handy zipper for storing valuables. There’s a separate compartment for your clothes, and the backpack comes with packing cubes to keep everything organized while you’re on the go.

To buy:, $160

Best for Functional Fashion: Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack

Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Choose your favorite color from four options and don’t leave home without this space-saving bag that folds flat and tucks away until you need it. This backpack has adjustable straps and an interior pocket and is made of water-resistant nylon with leather trim. The bag’s top zipper is hidden behind a chic leather flap, keeping you safe from pickpockets. This Longchamp design is timeless. We like that it’s large enough for practical packing and storage. stylish enough to use as a purse It’s more spacious than some reviewers’ everyday purses, according to some. as soon as you’ve arrived at your desired location

To buy:

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack is the best backpack for adventure travel.

osprey porter carry on backpack
Credit: Courtesy of eBags

If you use a set of Osprey’s clothing, this roomy pack from the brand could fit up to a week’s worth of clothing. packing cubesIt can also be used as a duffel bag if necessary. Furthermore, if you’re forced to gate check, the shoulder straps and hip belt zip into the back. There are separate compartments for your toiletries, laptop, and other sensitive items in the front-loading main compartment, which is easy to access. The front panel is packed with pockets, and there are separate compartments for your toiletries, laptop, and other sensitive items. ..

To buy:, $140

Best Packable Backpack: Zomake Ultra Lightweight Backpack

Best Selling Backpack on Amazon
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

It’s water-resistant, has two stretchy side water bottle holders, and is available in ten colors for under $30. This Amazon best-seller backpack is made of extremely lightweight and durable nylon and folds down into a sandwich-sized pouch so you can fit it into your luggage without taking up too much room. The budget-friendly backpack has a 20-liter capacity and plenty of organizational compartments to fit everything you need for the day when it’s in use.

To buy:, $16

Best Commuter Backpack: Knomo Beauchamp Backpack

knomo backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

A RFID-blocking zip pocket in the front section keeps your credit cards safe while you’re on the go. This nylon backpack has a padded 14-inch laptop section and numerous pockets. It is durable, comfortable to wear, and splash-resistant for any unexpected showers, according to our testing. The backpack has plenty of room for your daily essentials despite its light weight, making it ideal for the office, the gym, and wherever else your day takes you.

To buy:, $155

Tumi T-Pass Business Class Brief Pack is the best option for business travelers.

Tumi Tahoe Butler Backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Tumi

This best-selling backpack features a 15-inch laptop compartment and is professional enough to wear to conferences and client meetings. laptop sleeve and the Add-a-Bag sleeve, which makes it easy to slide onto your rolling bag carry-on luggageIt also has a water-resistant exterior pocket for umbrellas and water bottles, as well as designated meeting materials storage areas. ‘s command.

To buy:, $525

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible is best for one-bag trips.

eBags TLS Convertible Wheeled Carryon
Credit: Courtesy of eBags

The 22-inch bag unzips all the way around like a suitcase, but it’s much more comfortable to carry and comes with a slew of thoughtful features to make packing a breeze, including tie-down straps and a hidden passport pocket. The padded laptop sleeve in the pack can hold electronics up to 19 inches long, and you’ll love how many stash pockets it has. Its mesh interior panel pocket allows you to pack more freely, while the compression straps keep everything in place. Thousands of happy customers have given this carry-on a thumbs up.

To buy:

Best Wheeled Backpack: Osprey Packs Meridian 60L

osprey packs
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Osprey’s lightweight convertible bag is the perfect multitasker. comes highly recommended by Travel + Leisure editorsIt can be wheeled or carried as a backpack, and it zips in half to provide travelers with a day pack for shorter side trips. Unlike similar wheeling carry-ons, this bag has a sturdy, dual-tube extended handle for total control and maneuverability while on the go, and its balanced design ensures it won’t tip over when fully loaded. There are plenty of pockets, compartments, and sleeves to store and organize your travel essentials while flying. ..

To buy:, $350

Backpack that is resistant to water Fjallraven Knken is the best simple travel backpack.

Fjallraven Kanken Waterproof Backpack
Credit: Courtesy of Nordstrom

Due to its functionality, sturdy design, and cool Scandinavian look, the Knken backpack has become a staple in travel gear. It was first used by Swedish schoolchildren in the 1970s. The backpack, which comes in more than 20 colors, is water-resistant and even has a rain flap to keep moisture out. The removable foam insert, which can be used as a seat cushion when you need to take a break, is our favorite feature. With its snap-together carrying straps, it can comfortably hold a 13-inch laptop and be worn as a backpack or carried as a briefcase.

To buy: 

Best for Flying: eBags Pro Slim Weekender

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

There are several organizational pockets and panels, including a discreet back pocket, and the clam-style opening gives it a carry-on luggage feel. Its slim, lay-flat profile makes it ideal for stowing under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. The TSA-compliant ScanSmart design of the eBags convertible Pro Slim Weekender Bag eliminates the stress of packing by allowing it to open quickly at security and be easily scanned to avoid hiccups pre-flight.

To buy:, $170

Venture Pal 40L Travel Backpack is the best backpack for traveling with kids.

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

The backpack’s water-resistant wet pocket will come in handy for bathing suits and spill-prone snacks and beverages. The bag’s padded straps, handy chest buckle (which helps evenly distribute weight), and stress-relieving bartack stitching keep it comfortable even when fully loaded. This kid-friendly and durable backpack is equipped with strategic and easy-to-access pockets, ensuring that everyone in the family has access to their belongings at all times.

To buy:, $23

Himawari Travel Backpack With USB Charging Port is the best with a charger.

Amazon Travel Bags
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This budget-friendly backpack is both stylish and functional, and thanks to its ingenious USB charging port, which connects to your computer, you’ll never be without a charger. parts and equals personal power bankBut it’s useful for more than just that: The roomy pack features a doctor bag-style opening for easy packing, as well as a padded back panel for a laptop and multiple organizational pockets and compartments. Before you get to the front of the security line, you can easily remove it. both regular and There are 22 colors and two sizes to choose from: large17.7 by 11.8 by 7.9 inches, and the latter measures 17.7 by 11.8 by 7.9 inches.

To buy:, $37 (originally $50)

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