Sam Whittaker | Oct 13, 2021 | 0
The 10 Best Travel Backpacks for Any Trip - The only list you need!
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A lot of first-time travelers will just pick up cheap travel backpacks, without even knowing anything about it.
...But it’s actually incredibly important to carefully pick the right pack for your trip. Think about it like this:
Imagine hiking a trail, and your pack (which seemed fine when you started walking) starts to weigh you down just a few miles in.
Your group is way ahead of you, and they have to stop and wait for you to catch up every few minutes (irritating for them)… while every step with your poorly-fitted pack rubs painful rashes, blisters, or even bruises on your hips and shoulders (highly irritating for you).
Now… I know what you’re probably thinking...
It’s just too hard (and even overwhelming) to choose the right type of bag… there are so many options, companies, and features to pick from, and all the conflicting reviews and opinions make it seem impossible to know where to start.
I get it... and that's why I used my expertise as an experienced outdoorsman to make choosing the right travel backpack dramatically easier… because I’ve narrowed it down to the top 10.
I’ve organized this highly-researched list by carrying capacity, and even included an incredibly helpful, step-by-step guide to choosing the right pack for what you need for your list of hobbies.
3 Best Travel Backpacks
Daypacks are small bags that are used for short hikes (usually not for camping overnight).
…So you don’t need your day pack to have room for a tent and sleeping bag, but you do need space for your water bottle, compass, food, and any other basic camping supplies.
Usually, the most important features in a daypack are multiple external pockets for quick access to your gear and a comfortable fit… but look through this list and see what seems most important to you.
Here are the 3 best travel backpacks:
1. New Outlander Daypack
A lot of features for the price
The New Outlander comes with more benefits that you’d expect from a bag at that price.
You can organize your gear neatly in one of its 6 zippered pockets, and reach gear easily in the small inside space.
And it gets better:
It’s completely foldable (internal compression straps compact it to fit in your pocket), so you can travel with it in a larger suitcase easily.
Either way, the New Outlander definitely has the size and space to make it a solid choice for your go-to daypack.
2. Osprey Daylite Travel Backpacks
Cool internal features
The Daylite is one of their smallest packs, designed specifically for daytrips. But despite being so small, it still packs a lot of cool features:
- An internal water pack reservoir
- A tablet sleeve inside its spacious main compartment
- An ability to attach onto larger Osprey packs, making it a removable compartment for longer trips
If you’re looking for a travel backpack that’s reputable, full of features, and integrates into your other Osprey gear, then the Daylite is the right choice.
3. Kavu Rope Travel Backpacks
About 15 liters
Unique sling-style strap
The Kavu Rope Backpack is one of the most stylish bags I’ve seen… it uses a repurposed climbing rope as the single shoulder strap, comes in 30+ colors and patterns, and works as both a day hiking bag or a school bag.
The Kavu is designed sit close to the body (worn over one shoulder, with the single strap across your chest like a seatbelt), making it not only uniquely stylish, but also extremely comfortable.
It even comes with one large internal compartment and two zippered external pockets, so it should have more than enough space for a short hike, or to carry your laptop to class.
4 Best Overnight Travel Backpacks
Overnight bags are best for one or two-day hikes, when you expect to be camping outside.
…So the bag should be able to store a sleeping bag, pad, and tent.
You also want enough extra space for food, water, and any other basic equipment you need… so the most important features are usually a comfortable fit (since the bag will be more weighted down), easy-to-reach external pockets, and enough carrying capacity.
Here are the 4 best overnight travel backpacks:
4. Quechua Forclaz Travel Backpacks
A lot of features for the price
The Quechua Forclaz is the perfect compromise between size and price.
Its 50-liter capacity will give you all the space you need to stow any gear you’d want for an overnight hike… and the under $100 price tag makes it an extremely affordable option.
It also comes equipped with padded shoulder and hip straps to help redistribute your weight, and external pockets to organize your gear… and the fabric is even water resistant.
If you’re looking for a feature-packed smaller bag at the lowest price, you should definitely consider the Forclaz.
5. Osprey Stratos
The Stratos is one of Osprey’s most popular mid-size bags, and has all the features that make hauling heavy loads actually easy: an ergonomic design to keep you comfortable, internal compression system to allow for more gear, and a 37-liter capacity to fit every necessity in.
Now… I can personally speak to the benefits of this bag:
I took the Stratos as my only bag on a three-month backpacking trip to Europe.
…And after being stuffed to its limit, dragged through the muddy woods of northern Germany, and used as a pillow at far too many train stations, it doesn’t have a single strained seam or rip in the fabric.
Here’s the bottom line:
If you’re looking for something highly durable for overnight travel, I highly recommend the Osprey Stratos.
6. Deuter Guide 35+ Travel Backpack
Highly customizable to height and weight
Deuter is one of the most popular gear outfitters in Europe that prides itself on the customizability of its gear.
…And the Guide 35+ is probably one of the most customizable bags out there. Check it out:
It has an adjustable strap system that lets you get a perfect fit regardless of your height… and the external compression straps and hip belt are movable, or can be removed completely.
That means your gear stays strapped in, but you stay comfortable, since the straps will all be in the exact position you want them.
Here’s the takeaway:
All of the customizable options make the Guide the closest thing to a tailor-made hiking bag you’re likely to find.
7. Mountain Hardware Rainshadow
An integrated waterproof membrane
The Rainshadow has one feature that can be hard to find in mid-size backpacks:
An integrated waterproof membrane, which means that you don’t have to pull out and attach a separate rain cover, like you do with most bags. The bag’s lining is already waterproof and sewn in.
That may seem like a minor feature, but it’s a lot less minor when it starts raining, and you already know your gear is safe (plus, it saves you the $30-40 you’d spend on a separate rain cover).
The Rainshadow also comes with padded straps, large pockets, and a top-loading compartment with an internal compression system, which squeezes down the load, letting you pack more in.
Pretty cool, right?
3 Best Multi-Day Travel Backpacks
Multi-day bags are designed to carry enough gear for travel lasting three to five days. They have enough space for camping equipment like a tent and sleeping bag, plus room for enough food and water for an extended trip.
Capacity is one of the most important features, since you’ll be carrying quite a bit more gear than on shorter travels. And another key feature to look for is comfort, since carrying that much extra gear can drastically wear you out over a few days.
Here are the 3 best Multi-day travel backpacks:
8. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
Weight-lifting external frame
While the internal frame backpack is currently popular in the hiking world, the classic external frame (which places the support on the outside of the bag) is worth considering for its versatility and comfort. sourceThis external frame and bag from ALPS Mountaineering has a huge 5250 cubic inch capacity, which is around 86 liters (and that's great for a bag that's only $120).
The bag can even be removed from the frame, allowing you to strap just about anything to the frame and haul it with you comfortably (the external structure actually lifts the weight off you).
9. Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Backpacks
The huge number of features
This is one of the more costly bags on my list, but you get excessively more benefits with it:
- A 65-liter capacity (perfect for multi-day travel)
- A huge, top-loading inner compartment (that can be removed to form its own small pack)
- 5 large exterior pockets (for quick-access tools like a compass or water bottle)
- A top-of-the-line suspension system (contours to your body for comfort, and distributes the weight from just one part of your back)
…And if you add all that with the durability and quality that Osprey is known for, you get one of the best options for a multiday bag out there.
10. Deuter Quantum
Huge capacity, light weight
The Quantum has a 70-liter capacity, plus an additional 10 liters in the detachable top compartment…
…but in spite of that massive capacity, the bag is surprisingly light, at around seven pounds.
The bag isn’t only lightweight for its size, it’s also hugely versatile… it comes with an adjustable harness system, foldaway hip belts and another detachable compartment in the front (which can actually be used as a stand-alone day bag).
In short… the Quantum has the biggest internal frame capacity, and can actually be used for day hikes and longer travel.
Pretty useful, right?
How to Choose the Right Travel Backpack for You
Like I mentioned above, choosing the right travel backpacks for you can seem pretty intimidating at first, given the huge number of options and features to choose from.
…But I’ve put together this simple, actionable plan for how to choose the right travel backpack.
Here is how to choose the right travel backpack for you:
1. Consider How Long You’ll Be Traveling
Obviously, longer travel implies more necessary gear (extra food, clothes, survival supplies LINK (essential survival skills)).
...And the amount of gear you can fit in travel back packs are usually measured in liters: a daypack is 10-20 liters, an overnight pack is 20-40, and a multi-day pack is 40-80 liters.
So only look at bags with enough capacity to fill your needs, and no bigger (because like I mentioned above, you don’t want to be weighed down too much).
2. Consider How Often You Need Different Packs
A few of the packs on my list are actually multi-use packs:
Their capacities either work for multiple time frames, or they have detachable day bags included.
…So if you travel outdoors often, you’ll be much better off with one of those travel back packs that actually serve as two packs.
3. Look At The Extra Features
The type of travel you do heavily influences which extra features will matter to you…
So make a quick list of what features you like in a bag.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself about features:
- Do you need lots of external pockets to access your stuff faster?
- Do you need built-in rain protection?
- Do you need an internal or external support system?
Think about options like that while you browse the list, and pick the bag that fits all those needs.
More Travel Essentials Every Man Need
Every hobbies for men need the right essentials.
- Check out the best EDC gear out there.
- Knife Box is the perfect box for people who love their unique blades. Check our review in TheUnbox.
- Tacpack is a great box filled with survival accessories for survival enthusiasts.
With everything else you have to worry about while traveling, you don't want a poorly-chosen pack to be a problem.
...But with my highly informative list and buying guide, you can choose the right travel backpacks easily.