Best Backpacks for Travel
I typically use a travel backpack as my carry on luggage personal item, so it needs to be roomy and durable enough to fit a large laptop, a change of clothes, heavy camera gear and lots of travel accessories.
It’s surprisingly tough to find a travel backpack that can fit all these things while still being comfortable to wear!
My ideal bag will have a laptop sleeve big enough to fit a 15″ laptop and protect it securely from everything else in my bag. Finally, travel bags are slung around and put on the ground constantly, so I’m always looking for a travel backpack that’s durable and lasts for the long haul.
If you feel as overwhelmed as I do, keep reading for the perfect list of travel backpacks that will fit any vacation need!
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Best Travel Backpack Brands
Keep reading below for our reviews of each!
Best Classic Travel Backpack
Fjallraven Classic Backpack
15” x 10.5” x 5” | $$
I recently got back from Copenhagen and Fjallravens are all everyone carries there. They’re a popular transplant to the U.S. now as well… and here’s why!
First, unlike most Fjallraven packs, this one does not look like most shades of baby food. Additionally, it has all the bells and whistles you need in a modern backpack – laptop sleeve (up to 15”), weather resistant fabric, and a lightweight construction.
You gotta hand it to them, those Scandinavians know their style!
We think the Fjallraven wins hands down for all around best backpack for travel due to its functionality, design and long-haul durability.
2. Best Sustainable Travel Backpack
18″ x 12″ x 5.5″ | $$
For style, you can’t beat Everlane’s minimalist backpacks, which work equally well for office commutes as they do for international travel.
I have the snapped laptop backpack which is fantastically roomy enough to hold my 15″ computer, 15 pounds of camera gear and various small electronics.
The laptop sleeve protect computers from damage, nicks and scratches while the myriad pockets can hold your cords, cables and computer accessories.
Alternatively, you can fit in a change of clothes and water bottle for day to day travel!
3. Lightest Travel Backpack
ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Backpack
20 Liters | $
It is totally appropriate that ZOMAKE and “ZOMG!” begin with the same three letters, because this backpack is insane!
While it may not be the largest backpack at 20 liters, this small backpack for travel is perfectly made with incredibly lightweight fabric.
Can you believe it compresses into a pouch that is smaller than an iPhone Plus? It’s also coated with a durable waterproof repellent, making it the perfect pack for unpredictable weather conditions.
This is easily the most versatile small travel backpack on our list!
4. Best Anti-Theft Travel Bag
OutdoorMaster Sling Backpack
18” x 12” x 2.5” | $
This stylish travel backpack from OutdoorMaster oozes practicality and innovation.
With a reversible shoulder strap and sleek design, it’s flexible for righties, lefties, men and women. We like the hidden anti theft pocket to store valuables and the thoughtful water bottle pocket, which you typically wouldn’t find on a smaller bag.
And don’t let the size fool you! This one shoulder backpack is perfect for day trips and quick getaways when you just want to carry the essentials – sunscreen, water and a few other sundries. But if you need to carry more, it can fit a camera, tablet and small laptop!
5. Best Water Resistant Backpack
18.5” x 12” x 6” | $$
For our money, the Bolong Backpack is the vacationer’s all-around best travel backpack.
It has the right blend of gadget-friendly small pockets and large compartments for laptops and extra clothing. The nylon construction is super lightweight and water resistant, while the sleek design and smart compartment layout make this backpack a functional winner.
For the more stylistically adventurous, it even comes in 10 colors, including fuschia, making it the best carry-on travel backpack in our eyes.
6. Best Vintage Style Backpack
Odyseaco Vintage Canvas Rucksack
14” x 18” x 8” | $
The first things that caught my eye about this backpack were the awesomely clever exterior features: two snap-buckle loops on each side can secure extra items, and the center hand loop allowing the pack to be carried briefcase-style is nothing short of genius.
The backpack interior doesn’t disappoint either, as the pack can carry up to a 15” laptop and 33 liters overall. The Montera’s design and functionality alone earn its place on our best travel backpack list.
We especially love this travel backpack for Europe, or anytime you’re visiting multiple countries and want to carry lots on hand without looking like an “American tourist”.
7. Best Women’s Backpack
Kroser Doctor Backpack
16.9” x 7.5” x 11.2” | $
It’s not a satchel…it’s a purse, OK!?
Seriously, the KROSER Laptop Backpack perfectly blends substance and style – perfect for the modern jetsetter!
As for substance, this travel backpack features water-repellant leather and nylon, a wide-open mouth that can fit your laptop and plenty more, a durable steel frame, (that’s right, folks. Steel. Not cheap plastic!), and a nifty luggage strap that makes for a perfect travel carry on backpack!
On to more important things (style), the KROSER backpack offers a smart, sleek look that will look great as either a day bag or travel backpack! Plus, it comes in 9 cool styles, including some pretty legit floral patterns!
8. Most Organized Travel Backpack
Pacsafe Anti Theft Travel Backpack
16.5” x 5.1” x 11.6” | $$
Everyone familiar with the term bells and whistles?
Well, the Pacsafe Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack has a veritable ton of them. Let’s see if we can get through them together!
This travel backpack is heavy on security and technology, featuring lockable zippers, cutproof steel mesh fabric, an RFID-blocking zippered pocket for credit cards, a suspended laptop sleeve (so your laptop never touches the bottom of the backpack!), padded shoulder straps, and 2 water bottle side pockets.
Whew. That was fun, wasn’t it!
Oh, one last thing. For all those bells and whistles, the Pacsafe backpack is an incredibly light 1.6 pounds. How do they do it??
9. Best Laptop Backpack
Swissgear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack
18.5” x 9” x 13.5” | $$
When you think travel backpacks, you might think of backapcks that are small, cute, and easy to just throw over your shoulder.
Wel, think again, because the Swissgear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack is large and in charge.
The defining feature of the Swissgear travel backpack is its padded and meshed 17-inch laptop compartment and floating tablet sleeve that allow for a miraculously convenient laptop-in-bag security screening!
That’s right, no more fumbling and inevitably looking stupid as, for whatever reason, your travel-addled brain tries to take off your left shoe and remove your laptop all at the same time.
The Swissgear backpack also features something called weather-resistant ballistic (I thought we only used this words with guns, so, whatever it is, it must be heavy-duty!) polyester, an integrated meda pocket, and an immense amount of storage room!
Best Travel Backpacks 2020
To summarize, here’s a handy chart to compare each of the different travel backpacks and their benefits.
10. Electronics Cable Organizer
9.4″ x 6.3″ x 0.8″ | $
Nowadays we travel with so many electronics and gadgets that it gets messy when they’re all left loose.
After leaving behind one too many phone chargers in hotel rooms, I got this travel electronics organizer to keep all my accessories and cords neatly in one place. Nothing gets bent or broken in my backpack or luggage, and everything has its own place.
This particular electronics organizer is quite slim, and the two zippered mesh pockets fit SD cards, thumb drives, earphones, phone cables and lots of small accessories.
It’s a lifesaver travel accessories organizer!
Shop Travel Backpacks
Read More in my travel packing checklist series:
Best Travel Luggage
The Best Carry on Luggage for 2021
The Best Packing Cubes for a Perfectly Organized Bag
The Best Lightweight Luggage for Overpackers
The Best Hard Luggage Sets for Stylish Travelers
The Best Underseat Luggage for Minimalists
The Best Carry On Bags for Men - Rugged + Durable!
The Essential Business Packing List
The Best Laptop Cases for Working Women
The Best Laptop Bags for Men
The Best Travel Wallets for All Your Vacation Essentials
The Best Jewelry Cases Never Untangle a Necklace Again!
The Best Toiletry Bags to Clean Up Quick
Travel Packing Lists
The Best Travel Jackets for All Types of Weather
The Best Duffel Bags for Your Next Weekend Trip
The Best Travel Backpacks to Hold Everything You Need
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