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14 Travel Backpacks That Will Make You Want to Ditch Your Rolling Luggage

Trust us, they fit everything you need.

man packing travel backpack in bedroom
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For most of us, packing for a trip can be the worst part of traveling, especially if we’re going to multiple destinations. These travel backpacks are here to make the packing process easier for you, whether you need a 45-liter one that can hold everything for your whole trip, or a smaller pick that can be packed into your carry-on and used once you've arrived at your destination.

Best Travel Backpacks

What To Consider

Since “travel” can mean different things to different people, there is no one true “best travel backpack” above all others. A sojourn spelunking demands very different features than spending the weekend with the family, and there is no catch-all carry-on for all occasions. The questions to ask are less about the travel bag, and more about the traveler: How do you like to travel? Where do you go? How do you get there? It’s about finding the right bag not for every place in the world, but for every place you plan to go. Consider these factors when looking for your next travel bag:

  • Duration: How long do you plan to travel for? Will you need just enough space to weather a weekend, or will the contents of this bag have to hold you over through a week, a month, or more? A simple single-zipper bag can store your phone charger and enough toiletries to last a few days, but consider something with more space and storage options for intense travel times.
  • Durability: What's the weather like where you may be going? How are the conditions? A car ride across state lines may not necessitate a bag that can take a beating, but your old high school book bag won't survive the rough terrain of outdoor camping. Durability is about more than just the material, too: Keep an eye out for errant straps that can get snagged on branches, and also factors like strap width or weight distribution that may not work well with your body type or mode of carry. After all, the last thing you want to do is cause injury.
  • Dimensions: How do you travel? If you've got a car or van, sure — you can toss any bag in the trunk and barely give it a thought. But when you find yourself at an airport staring at that slender rectangle that determines whether you're paying for a second checked bag? You're going to wish you took better measurements. Knowing how much time this bag will spend stuffed under seats or overhead compartments should be weighed against exactly how much room you'll need for all your stuff, in order to determine its ideal dimensions.
  • “Do you have room for this?”: Which is really a way of saying, do you travel alone or with a group? Maybe your sparse and Spartan solo travels mean you often leave with less than you've brought, but anyone who's ever taken a family trip knows any empty spots in a bag can quickly fill up with souvenirs and other accoutrement — most of which may not even be yours. Consider the cases when you'll be carrying for more than just yourself, especially if there are little ones like babies or pets around, who can't quite carry bags of their own.

We've researched more than 30 different travel backpacks, and even tested out some ourselves to help narrow down the choices for you. These are the best that will make traveling a breeze from start to finish.

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Most Useful Compartments

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 11.42 x 18.9 x 5.51 inches
  • Capacity: 22 liters
  • Materials: Nylon Cordura

This X-Pac Errant is a backpack that’ll last you for a long time to come. It has endless pocketing and great interior organization. 

At the bottom of the pack, there’s a 6-liter wet/dry compartment for dirty shoes or clothes. This is essential because it'll keep the moisture and smell away from the rest of your clean belongings. Plus, it can hold a 17-inch laptop in its water-resistant compartment.

More: The Best Carry-On Bags for Your Next Trip

Most Packable
ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 11.81 x 16.54 x 7.09 inches
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

ZOMAKE makes a really affordable, lightweight travel backpack that comes with a lot of features. It's water- and tear-resistant, has a front zippered pocket and mesh pouches on each side, and comes in 13 different colors. It even folds into itself and zips up into a little pouch. 

The OG Travel Backpack
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Travel Backpack

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Capacity: 54 liters
  • Materials: Polyester

eBags has somewhat of a cult following, and once you get one, there'll be no surprise why. For a more affordable price than other top products in the space, the Mother Lode Weekender has all you could ever want from a travel backpack. It has a 19-inch laptop sleeve, two exterior pockets for easy access, a water bottle pocket on the side, and four compression straps that ensure the bag will fit inside an overhead bin, no matter how much you stuff in it. 

And if blue isn't for you, the bag comes in a whole slew of other colors, too.

Comfortable Material
Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 13.25 x 5.25 x 17.5 inches
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Materials: Neoprene, Air Mesh

Dagne Dover's Dakota backpack comes in three sizes, but we recommend the large for traveling. It comes with a shoe bag (which can also be used as a laundry bag) and a removable zipper pouch, and it has both a laptop sleeve and a sleeve at the back to fit over a luggage handle. 

Plus, the neoprene material is super durable, so you don't have to worry about throwing it around on planes, trains, taxis, cars, etc.

Best Backpack Design
Aer Travel Pack 2

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Capacity: 33 liters
  • Materials: Nylon Cordura

Aer makes sleek backpacks for pretty much any occasion, including travel. Their 33-liter Travel Pack 2 has some updated features that make it easier to access all your essentials on-the-go.

It has a luggage  strap to slide on to the handle of your rolling suitcase, comfortable shoulder straps, and a full organizational panel at the front. The main section opens up like a suitcase, so it’s easy to access everything inside, unlike is the case with top-loading bags. There’s even a separate compartment on the bottom for shoes or dirty clothes.

Most TSA-Friendly
SwissGear Travel Gear 5977 Scansmart TSA Travel Backpack
Swiss Gear

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 13.25 x 9 inches
  • Capacity: 30.7 liters
  • Materials: Polyester

Walk around any airport, and you'll see a slew of SwissGear backpacks. They're durable, water-resistant, TSA-friendly, and have multiple compartments to store all your gear. It's the most classic pick on our list.

Best for Photographers
Ape Case Camera Backpack With Wheels
Ape Case

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 19.25 x 15.38 x 10.13 inches
  • Capacity: 23.5 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

Our former photo editor Kayla Ramsey and her photojournalist friends swear by Ape Case to protect their fragile gear. This backpack is jam-packed with customizable padding that's sturdy enough to keep fragile lenses in place.

It’s also as comfortable to wear on your back as it is to wheel behind you at the end of a long day abroad. Ramsey says, “Hauling gear isn’t for the faint of heart, but at least you don’t have to sacrifice your back when you can easily switch between backpack and trolley with this baby.”

Sleekest Option
Away Daypack

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 4 x 15.7 inches
  • Capacity: 11.6 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

Away's Daypack has a sleek design and surprising amount of interior organization for its trim profile. The best part is how well it secures to any rolling luggage you have. Trust us: It's a game-changer. 

If you're an Away lover and tend to over pack the brand's even bigger carry-on rolling suitcase, throw everything that doesn't fit into this backpack and you'll be all set. They even have a slightly larger version available for chronic overpackers.

Most Durable
Minaal Carry-On 2.0

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 7.87 inches
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

Minaal’s Carry-On 2.0 — a 35-liter backpack — will keep even your most prized possessions protected, thanks to its DeviceNest shock-proof compartment. You can even tuck away the shoulder straps and use it as a briefcase! It’s lightweight, made of durable nylon, and has the world’s best zippers.

Best Front-Loading Backpack
Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack
Now 30% off

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

This front-loading travel backpack from Osprey will fit in all the clothes you'd ever need for a weekend away. It has an organizer compartment for all your smaller items, and even a lockable laptop compartment. The Farpoint 40 backpack also comes with a ventilated back panel, along with a harness and hip belt on the side to reduce chafing.

Best for Families
Indi Diaper Backpack
Dagne Dover

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 11 inches
  • Capacity: 10.73 liters
  • Materials: Neoprene

Gone are the days of hideously oversized, blindingly pastel baby bags that don't go with any outfit outside of a circus tent. Parenting products have adapted to modern, unobtrusive styles that make traveling with young children easier than ever (not that it was ever easy, but it can get better).

If your next vacation demands a portable nursery, we recommend the Indi Diaper Backpack. Its subdued style means you can go about your day without standing out in a crowd, but you'll always have a bottle or diaper on hand when duty calls. 

This backpack can be carried by the handles or back-straps, and even attached to a carriage for wherever your journey may take you. It's designed to fit most electric and manual breast pump models, has an extra zipper pocket for easy access to wipes for unexpected messes, and even includes a pouch perfect for small tablets or e-readers, so you can use them to take a well-deserved rest. 

Best Convertible Backpack
Solo New York Briefcase
Solo New York
Now 54% off

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 13 x 18 x 4.5 inches
  • Capacity: 17.4 liters
  • Materials: Polyester

If your travels involve any work-related detours, you don't want to be rolling into a business meeting with a rucksack befitting the Canadian Rockies. Having a laptop on your trip can be a hassle with the wrong backpack, but bringing a separate laptop bag or briefcase can be a pain (sometimes literally). What we're saying is, get yourself a bag that can do both.

The Solo New York Briefcase can easily switch from briefcase to laptop bag to backpack, thanks to its built-in hideaway straps. Its padded 15.6-inch laptop compartment will keep your computer from being jostled around as you navigate busy walkways, and there's also plenty of extra space for notepads, tablets, books, or any other items that you might need to boss it up.

Best for Tech
KOPACK Slim Anti Thief Business Computer Bag
Now 36% off

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.8 x 4.3 inches
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Materials: Nylon

Our tech has become part of our lives, and despite what some dystopian sci-fi movies might tell us, that's not inherently a bad thing. Maybe you want peace of mind, knowing that you can be reached in an emergency. Maybe you're traveling abroad where translation apps and GPS can be literal lifesavers. Or maybe you just want to have more entertainment options than the nine channels on the hotel TV.

Whatever the case, you'll want a bag that's not only designed with your tech in mind, but one that can keep those valuable electronics safe. This backpack features a dual-layer, anti-puncture, lockable zipper to protect your laptops, tablets, and other devices. 

Better still, the built-in USB port allows you to attach a portable charger inside the backpack and plug in your charging cable to the external USB. This lets you charge your phone or other devices without ever having to open your bag. 

Best for Theme Parks
Mickey Mouse Backpack For Women

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 6 inches
  • Capacity: 15 liters
  • Materials: Polyvinyl

Too many travel bags assume travel means rustic journeys to the ends of the earth. Some of us don't want to risk life and limb like Indiana Jones; we just want to pretend to be him inside a theme park ride in Anaheim. So, if your vacations involve more turkey legs than treacherous terrain, you'll want a bag that's optimized for that environment.

Far be it from us to pick a bag that suggests Orlando theme park allegiance (there's enough room in this world for both Mickey Mouse and E.T.'s teacher Botanicus), but if you're a die-hard theme park fan, this option is the way to go. 

It's compact enough so you're not knocking people over in the queue lines, and it'll make getting through security a breeze. It's entirely customizable with hooks for charms and a perforated exterior to secure all your theme park pins without damaging the bag itself. 

Speaking of no damage, this bag is deceptively durable and able to handle some of the most intense theme park outings. 

One caveat, though: Neither this, nor any other bag, will survive the front row of Splash Mountain without getting wet, no matter what your sister tells you. Just trust us on that one.

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