Travel Products

Best Carry-On and Backpack Options

These days, a good, reliable travel backpack is essential. Traveling with your belongings while having your hands free is a life-changing experience.

Trust me. As a woman who frequently travels, I can attest to how much more convenient it is to have your belongings close at hand and snuggled across your back. The shoulders can be the most complicated working body parts on any given day between purses and tote bags. But after a long journey? Oof. The spa is not here.

Let me share with you a fascinating late-night arrival from Dallas at Montreal Trudeau International Airport. I kicked a bag through the customs and immigration line because I was trying to balance so much stuff on my aching arms.

Yes, the customs officer did not find it funny. I wasn’t either, but I didn’t have many choices. Years after that experience, it’s easy to find backpacks made to travel easier on your back and your spine (and, I suppose, grumpy customs agents). They come in all different sizes and shapes, are packed with features, fashionable, and comfortable on top of that.

For this list, we evaluated dozens of backpacks for travel and ranked them based on user feedback, individual usage, and all-around usability. We usually include preferred features in our recommendations, like side water bottle pockets, Camelback options, or electronics pockets. They are typically machine-washable and waterproof (unless otherwise noted on the label).

Save your neck and shoulders some stress by doing this. Please make one of our suggested backpacks your go-to piece of luggage. Looking for additional safety while traveling? When looking for travel insurance, think about SafetyWing.

The Best Travel Backpacks by Category, in Brief

The travel bag that best suits your needs must be customized for you. What functions for one person may not necessarily be appropriate for you. These are reliable choices with fantastic all-around features that are helpful in most circumstances.

Best Daypacks & Backpacks for Carry-On Travel

A good backpack can make a world of difference. It must fit all of your belongings without becoming overly bulky in addition to being comfortable and functional. The best carry-on bags are comfortable, fashionable, and strong, making them ideal for a range of travel requirements.

These backpacks typically weigh little and have lots of pockets and compartments for simple organization. To make them easier to carry, many come with laptop sleeves, movable straps, hip belts, and compression straps. They are also ideal for any weather because they frequently include durable fabrics and waterproof materials.

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32-L Patagonia Black Hole Pack

A great option for a dependable, mid-size carry-on backpack is the Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L. It has a water-repellent DWR finish and is made of 330D recycled polyester ripstop and TPU-film laminate. It has a padded laptop sleeve that can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches in size, and its enormous water bottle pockets are extremely elastic.

With a key keeper, internal organization panel, and mesh pocket, this backpack also provides excellent organizational options. It is comfortable to carry thanks to the adjustable straps and hip belt, and the secure exterior zippered pocket is a great place to keep your most priceless possessions.

It is ideal for using compression straps and packing cubes due to its lightweight design and numerous compartments. This travel backpack is ideal for daily use thanks to its chic style and plush straps. It is strong, lightweight, and has plenty of space for all of your travel necessities.

Pros

  • Mid-size carry-on bag that is appropriate for flying
  • TPU-film laminated, tough 330D recycled polyester ripstop with a water-repellent DWR finish
  • Key keeper, internal organization panel, and mesh pocket are excellent organizational features.
  • valuables-safe external zippered pocket
  • Lightweight design that works with compression straps and packing cubes
  • Fashionable and environmentally friendly, ideal for daily use

Cons

  • For longer journeys or more packing space, some travelers might prefer a larger capacity.
  • Only water-repellent, not explicitly stated to be completely waterproof

34-L Thule Subterra backpack

There aren’t many as reliable and functional travel backpacks as the Thule Subterra Backpack 34L. When customs officers are scowling at you, you can quickly reach in and see what you need thanks to the large magnetic roll-top opening in this bag.

The packing cube, also known as the Holy Mother of Organization, is one of the greatest inventions in the luggage industry. It is included in the Thule.

Taking your laptop on the road? You are, of course. It has a cushioned space for the Thule Subterra that securely closes. Additionally, it has an internal power pocket to keep the cords between your device and mobile charger organized. There is also more to it.

Your water bottle can be stored in a small side pocket. The pass-through panel on this backpack allows you to fasten it inside your rolling luggage.

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Pros

  • You can remove the packing cube if you don’t need it.
  • has a side zipper opening

Cons

  • It is water-resistant but not waterproof.
  • The small exterior pocket

Silhouette 17 Backpack by Samsonite

For those looking for a carry-on luggage that is compact and strong, the Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack is a great choice. It has a water-resistant coating and is made of polyester and nylon. The backpack has padded laptop sleeves that can hold laptops up to 17 inches in size, adjustable shoulder straps, and a hip belt for added comfort.

Additionally, the Samsonite Silhouette 17 Backpack has great organizational options. It has exterior pockets as well as a separate compartment for clothing. The main compartment opens completely, and the zippers are theft-deterrent for added security.

It is lightweight and reasonably priced, making it ideal for extended trips or short getaways. The intended use distinguishes the small travel backpack, also known as a daypack, from a traditional travel backpack. the more you are aware.

Pros

  • Carry-on bag with a sturdy but light backpack
  • Construction made of polyester and nylon with a water-repellent coating
  • Up to a 17-inch laptop can fit in the padded laptop case.
  • Excellent options for organization: Separate clothing storage and exterior pockets
  • For simple access, the main compartment fully opens.
  • affordable, ideal for extended trips or quick weekends

Cons

  • Since it wasn’t made to be a daypack, it might be too big for daily commutes or city outings.
  • In the event of heavy rain or other wet conditions, the water-resistant coating might not offer complete waterproof protection.

You can easily fit your 15-inch laptop. Additionally, the diagonal zips and other details give this pack a chic, modern appearance.

This daypack, in contrast to many others, has a few internal pockets for added organization. On each side, there are pockets for water bottles as well. The pack fits easily under your seat and works well as a carry-on for flights. This might be the only luggage you need if you’re only going for the weekend.

Pros

excellent fit and appearance
Pockets both inside and outside

Cons

The fashion-forward design didn’t win over all of the reviewers.
It’s suitable for a weekend only due to its small size.

Backpack Nomatic Navigator Premium

The Nomatic travel bag has a 15L capacity, which is on the smaller side, but it has a built-in 6L expansion that adds more space. This backpack is practical, fashionable, and has many cutting-edge features if you prefer something more understated for your travels.

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Cord pass-throughs, pen slots, mesh organization pockets, external carry straps, laptop storage, a ventilated back panel, a sternum backpack strap, exterior knobs, and a quick-access fleece-lined pocket are additional features of the Nomatic travel pack.

Pros

  • everyday carry design that is practical
  • Materials that are resistant to water and tampering increase its durability and longevity.
  • versatile and comfortable
  • It can be slid onto your rolling luggage, making everything more convenient to transport.

Cons

  • only has a built-in water bottle; there are no pockets for external water bottles.
  • This travel bag costs more than alternative choices.

Best Weekend Bags for Travel

Weekend getaways are a great way to escape the stress of daily life and discover new places. Having the right travel bag will help you maximize your weekend getaway.

You should think about the size, features, and cost of the travel backpack when choosing a weekender bag. Additionally, you should think about how comfortable it is and how much it weighs. You should also think about the backpack’s number of pockets and compartments, as well as whether or not it has accessories like a laptop sleeve or packing cubes.

45-65L Peak Design Duffelpack

If you value luxury, you’ll appreciate the high-end feel of the Peak Design Duffelpack. It can expand from a comfortable 45L to a huge 65L. In case you’re sailing around the world, you know.

The nylon fabric itself is incredibly strong and rip-resistant. Also, it is waterproof. It probably allows for camping. (Perhaps) kidding, but the 65L is sizable and ideal for people who enjoy traveling with just one bag.

The padded shoulder and hip buckles of this Peak Design travel backpack can be stowed if necessary for comfort. Because even the straps are padded, your fingers won’t be amputated. Additionally, the backpack has two external pockets and two internal pockets for convenient storage of all your small items.

Pros:

There is a lifetime warranty included.
It stands out in the sea of black travel bags at baggage claim thanks to its attractive sage color.

Cons:

There is no laptop storage
It’s not meant to be carried on.

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