- Buyer's Guide
The Best Travel Backpacks, According to our Community
Our Carryology Classified community are a switched-on when it comes the very best travel gear. So we asked them to share their recommendations for their favorite travel backpacks. Tried, tested and true, these are their top picks…
Peak Design’s Travel Backpack really ticks the boxes for travel-friendly features. Multiple access points, flexible volume, comfy carry, pockets for smaller gear, and an attractive, weatherproof and durable build. But what makes it really shine is bringing all these elements together in a way that simply works effortlessly.
“I’m always working towards nailing my travel setup, switching new packs in almost monthly, and the Peak Design is the greatest pack I’ve tested, period. It expands and shrinks when you need it. It’s rugged as all heck. Snug. And has features for days. It’s a triumph!”, Taylor Welden.
The super rugged GORUCK GR2 is the kind of bag you can haul on adventures off the beaten track, then dust off for an overnight work trip or weekend city break. The lay-flat opening makes packing and access a breeze, while the separate laptop compartment ensures tech is well taken care of.
“I have owned and used a GORUCK GR2 34L for several years now and have used it as my travel “one bag” on everything from 4-day domestic trips to 10-day multi-stop European trips. If you have learned the skills of minimalist packing, you can make the GR2 work flawlessly”, Andy Jacobs.
Need an office-ready bag with the flexibility to embrace short trips? The Medium Expandable Knack Pack delivers, with a 17L design that increases to 31L courtesy of a separate, expandable clamshell-style compartment. The pack also provides dedicated quick-access laptop storage and a range of pockets for neatly storing smaller items.
“I’m loving it so far and using it for the office, gym and travel. The expandability is awesome and I love the pocket layout (the hideable water bottle pocket is killer)” ,Giuseppe Salemme.
The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is a durable, adaptable carry-on backpack with the convenience of a clamshell main compartment. The padded waist belt, shoulder straps and sternum strap provide welcome comfort for carrying heavier loads. And the harness is stowable for snag-free storage in tight spaces, with multiple grab handles for maneuverability. Additionally, the quick-access laptop compartment keeps tech at the ready for zipping through airport security.
“It’s not too big, suitable for carry-on, with useful suitcase-type organization and a good harness. I’ve had mine for just over a year and I love it!”, Lance Young.
The Remote Equipment Alpha 31 serves up a well-considered mix of access, durability and adaptable load carry. Roll-top and front panel access provides flexible options for getting to gear and accommodating changing setups. And your laptop stays close at hand thanks to the side-access laptop sleeve. Add in its weather-resistant X-Pac build and you’ve got a quality pack ready to tackle a range of travel needs.
“It’s durable and weatherproof enough for travel, while being comfortable enough for general activity without being obtrusive. The design gives quick access to a laptop and liquids for airport security. And it offers effective compression/expansion too”, Jed Edwards.
The updated Trakke Storr now offers 35L of packing space, along with an extra front pocket to stash small essentials at the ready. Its tough, handmade build and premium dry-finish waxed canvas material ensure it’s ready to take on the demands of travel use. And its clamshell main compartment and exterior-access laptop sleeve means you don’t need to rummage or waste time trying to reach specific items.
“The Trakke Storr 2019 model has all the space I need for a week or more, the perfect amount of organization and a shape that packs better than its 35L capacity would suggest. It also fits all carry-on requirements, even budget European carriers. Oh and it looks and feels very classy!”, Mike Lambrou.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 offers a range of travel-friendly features to make journeys easier. The wide-opening main compartment allows for convenient packing and access. Quick-access storage keeps essentials within easy reach. A choice of backpack, shoulder strap and grab handle portability lets you adapt on the go. And with its stowable harness and interior and exterior compression you get even further functionality.
“I am super happy with my Farpoint 40, it’s been all around Europe and the US and no complaints. The rummage pocket on the top is awesome. It carries about a week’s worth of clothing (depending on the weather and whether I’m packing running shoes), plus work stuff. It feels very nice on my back, the hip belt is good, and the general construction is super solid”, Änne Troester.
REI’s Co-op Ruckpack 40 does a fine job of balancing urban and outdoor functionality to help you explore more. The pack combines understated aesthetics with a durable and weather-resistant build that includes a raincover for added protection. It opens up wide for fast, hassle-free access to gear and has a stowable harness for convenient storage. You’ll also find an assortment of attachment points and pockets to secure and organize your gear.
“There’s no snazzy space-age materials, magnets, or hip styling. Just a well-stitched, bread-and-butter bag for $139.00 out the door. I am about to take it to New Delhi for three weeks on a TDY trip, partnered up with a basic Swiss Gear backpack. It has been to Beirut, Kathmandu and Amman, and continues to deliver”, Jon Custis.
The Attitude Supply ATD1 fuses durable build quality with low-key urban styling and roll-top versatility, allowing you to alternate between travel and day-to-day use with ease. In addition to the comfortable harness, grab handles on all sides make it easy to transport over short distances or maneuver in small spaces. The pack also has front and side quick-access pockets, while the back panel lays flat for ease of packing and access to the main compartment.
“The Attitude Supply ATD1 Backpack is very similar to EVERGOODS in terms of bomber build quality and functionality, but it morphs seamlessly between 20L and 55L. For me that’s made it an essential”, Tom Newbury.
With three carry options including backpack, shoulder bag and briefcase-style mode the Topo Designs Travel Bag 30L is easy to transport across various settings. And the luggage pass-through makes it simple to secure to wheeled luggage too. The pack provides dedicated quick-access laptop storage, a lay-flat main compartment with interior organization and a front organization pocket for frequently used items.
“Since packing cubes are square, they fit in the bag perfectly due to the bag’s shape. Topo’s own cubes are worth the investment with this bag. The materials, the shape, the backpack and shoulder carry, and the add-a-bag clips for some of their other bags make this a multi-functional, very useful travel pack. It can also fit under the seat so no need to fight for overhead space”, Kevin Ankin.
Aer’s Travel Pack dishes up a great blend of clean style, hard-wearing durability, lay-flat access to the main compartment for fuss-free packing, as well as plenty of pockets for storing those smaller, easily misplaced essentials. And if you want to get in on the action, the updated Travel Pack 2 serves up even better functionality with improved shoulder straps, updated organization, a luggage pass-through and a slot for an optional hip belt.
“This is, in my opinion, one of the most accessible high-quality travel bags. And for a price that normal people are willing to pay. This bag is comfortable for a variety of body shapes and sizes. If you’re a minimal packer, this bag can be enough for indefinite travel, but even if you’re not it is a perfect weekend bag. It has just the right amount of organization with plenty of options for modular travel”, Linc Silva.
Enjoyed this article? Why not check out this too: