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The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024: Finding Your Perfect Travel Companion

CEO Tinh Phung
Introduction Looking for the best travel backpacks for your adventures in 2024? Look no further! With so many options on the market, finding the perfect travel backpack can be overwhelming. But fear not, we've done...

Introduction

Looking for the best travel backpacks for your adventures in 2024? Look no further! With so many options on the market, finding the perfect travel backpack can be overwhelming. But fear not, we've done the hard work for you. After extensive testing and research, we've compiled a list of the best travel backpacks available today. Whether you're a jet-setting international traveler or a weekend warrior, we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and find your perfect travel companion!

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Best Overall Travel Backpack: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
  • Best Budget Travel Backpack: Dakine Campus 33L Backpack
  • Best Carrying Travel Backpack: Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs
  • Best Organization in a Travel Backpack: Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
  • Best Shoulder Bag: Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
  • Best Commuter-Style Travel Backpack: Arc’teryx Granville 25 Backpack
  • Best Personal Item Travel Pack: TimBuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack

Peak Design Travel Pack 45L at SEATAC Freshly plucked from the baggage carousel and hot off an Atlantic crossing, the 400-denier nylon canvas on the Peak Design pack kept it kicking; (photo/Erika Courtney)

How We Tested Travel Backpacks

At GearJunkie, we take travel seriously. Our team of avid adventurers has put these travel backpacks to the test, traveling thousands of miles and exploring diverse destinations. We know what it takes for a backpack to withstand the demands of travel and meet the needs of different types of travelers.

Senior Editor Nick Belcaster, a seasoned globetrotter himself, has personally tested and reviewed these packs. From international trips to weekend getaways, Belcaster has lived out of these backpacks and relied on them to support his back-to-back travel excursions. Our testing considered factors such as overall capacity, carry style, durability, and aesthetics. We made sure that every backpack on our list is carry-on compliant, ensuring you can breeze through airports hassle-free.

Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack in Iceland International travel is the best stress test of a good travel backpack, and Keflavik International Airport in Iceland made a perfect testing area; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Travel Backpack

Travel Backpack User Profiles

The International Jet-Setter: If you're a frequent international traveler who embraces the "One Bag Travel" philosophy, you need a backpack that can handle the demands of long-haul trips. Look for a backpack with a capacity of around 45 liters, efficient organization features, and a comfortable carry system. Our top choices for international travel are the Peak Design Travel Backpack and the Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack.

The Weekend-Warrior: Planning a quick getaway? For weekend trips, a backpack in the 25-35 liter range is ideal for minimalists, while those who prefer more options can opt for a 30-40 liter backpack. The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 and the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L are great choices for single overnighters or short trips.

The Commuter: Need a backpack for your daily commute? Look for a backpack with a traditional shape that emphasizes ease-of-access and has a capacity of 20-30 liters. Our top choice for commuters is the Arc’teryx Granville 25 Backpack, which offers both style and functionality. The Dakine Campus 33L is also a budget-friendly option for commuting.

Peak Design Travel Backpack on the Back of a Traveler in Seattle International Airport Looking out on the Tarmac. The 45-liter Peak Design Travel Backpack is just about the perfect carry-on for international travel, in our opinion; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Capacity

When choosing a travel backpack, consider the size and duration of your trip. Winter travels may require extra gear, while longer trips often require larger bags. Your personal packing style also plays a role. Minimalists can travel for months with a single backpack, while others may need additional luggage.

In general, backpacks in the 28-45 liter range offer comfort and packability. Look for backpacks with a compression system that allows you to limit the overall volume. The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L, and Matador GlobeRider offer ample space for maximizing your packing needs. Smaller backpacks in the 25-30 liter range, like the TimBuk2 Never Check and Tom Bihn Synapse, are ideal as personal items and for city exploration.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack While we favor the 40L versions of Osprey’s Farpoint and Fairview packs for their carry-on-ability, the packs are also available in a number of different volumes; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Access

Easy access to your belongings is crucial when traveling. Most travel backpacks feature a clamshell-style design, allowing you to pack and access your belongings easily. Look for internal dividers and removable straps to keep your items organized. The Peak Design Travel Backpack, Osprey Farpoint/Fairview 40, and Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack all offer convenient access options.

For those who prefer top-access backpacks, options like the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 and Patagonia Black Hole 25L are great choices. Drawstring top-entry backpacks, like the Arc’teryx Granville 25, provide quick and easy access for commuters.

Peak Design Travel Backpack Clamshell Access +The broad clamshell design of the opening on the Peak Design Travel Backpack makes packing and quick access a breeze; (photo/Nick Belcaster)*

Carrying Options

Comfort is essential when carrying your travel backpack. Look for backpacks with shoulder straps that have proper support, preferably with a frame or suspension system. The Osprey Farpoint/Fairview packs excel in this aspect, thanks to their wire frame and Airscape mesh back panels. The Matador GlobeRider, with its aluminum frame stays, also offers excellent carrying comfort.

Shoulder strap backpacks, like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC, provide accessibility and convenience for on-the-go travelers. Suitcase-style backpacks are great for easy towing and often feature stowable straps for streamlined travel. The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L stands out with its innovative strap storage design, making it a breeze to navigate through airport security.

Patagonia MCL 45L Travel Backpack Carry Options Slung over your shoulder or carried briefcase-style, the Patagonia MCL 45 is easy to toss around while on the run; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Pockets & Organization

Organization is key when traveling. Look for backpacks with a balanced number of pockets, ensuring you have enough space for all your essentials without creating unnecessary clutter. The Cotopaxi Allpa and Topo Designs Global Travel Bags have ingenious inner organization systems, while the Matador SEG45 offers external accessibility with its segmented pockets.

If you travel with a laptop, look for a backpack with a dedicated laptop sleeve. Many backpacks also feature external pockets for toiletries or liquids, making them convenient for security checks. The Peak Design Travel Backpack, Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, and Matador GlobeRider all offer excellent organizational features.

Matador SEG30 Travel Backpack Storage Options The multi-tiered organization of the Matador SEG45 was easily the most organized in our testing. There’s a spot for everything; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Durability

Travel backpacks endure a lot of wear and tear, so durability is crucial. Look for backpacks made from tough materials that can withstand the demands of travel. Water resistance is also important, especially if you'll be traveling in inclement weather or using the backpack for outdoor activities.

The Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L, with its 900-denier ripstop nylon outer and TPU laminate, is nearly indestructible and water-resistant. The Mountain Hardwear Redeye, Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, and Topo Designs Global Travel Bag also prioritize durability.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 Travel Backpack Available in a large number of color schemes and fabrics on a rolling production basis, the Tom Bihn Synapse is built burly with 400-denier+ fabrics and #8 and #10 YKK zippers; (photo/Erika Courtney)

Space Efficiency & Carry-On Compliance

Efficient use of space and carry-on compliance are essential for hassle-free travel. A rectangular shape maximizes dimensions and ensures you make the most of your allowed space. Most airlines have specific carry-on size limits, typically around 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (45 linear inches).

Backpacks in the 40-45 liter range are the ideal carry-on size, providing ample space for your belongings. Many of the backpacks on our list, such as the Peak Design Travel Backpack and Patagonia Black Hole MLC, can compress to a smaller size. Look for backpacks with stowable straps, like the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, to fit within size limits.

Peak Design Travel Pack at SEATAC +The expandable gills on the sides of the Peak Design bags help keep it under carry-on maximums; (photo/Erika Courtney)*

Price

Travel backpacks come in a range of prices to fit different budgets. Affordable options typically cost around $100-150, offering budget-friendly durability and functionality. Mid-range backpacks range from $150-200 and provide a balance of capacity and features. Premium backpacks, priced above $250, offer high-quality materials and cutting-edge designs.

When choosing a travel backpack, consider your specific needs and budget. Whether you're looking for budget-friendly options like the Dakine Campus or top-of-the-line backpacks like the Peak Design Travel Backpack, there's a travel backpack for every budget.

What is One Bag Travel?

The "One Bag Travel" ethos is all about minimalist packing and traveling with just one bag. By embracing this philosophy, you can avoid the hassles of checking baggage, waiting at baggage claim, and worrying about lost luggage. To effectively travel with one bag, check the baggage size allowances set by your transportation provider. Look for an expandable backpack that allows you to adjust the volume and carry just enough to comply with size limits. Comfort is essential, so choose a backpack with padded back panels and hip belts that can be stowed away when not in use.

Conclusion

Choosing the right travel backpack is essential for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. With our comprehensive list of the best travel backpacks of 2024, you can find the perfect companion for your next adventure. Whether you're a frequent international traveler, a weekend warrior, or a daily commuter, there's a backpack on our list that will meet your needs. So, pack your bags and hit the road with confidence! Safe travels!

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