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Best Travel Backpack 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Traveling Light

Do you love to explore and travel?

Is dealing with luggage is bringing you down?

Why make your trips more stressful than they need to be? Ditch that old oversized, bulky suitcase and pick out a great travel Backpack you’re sure to use more than just a time or two each year!

Best Travel Backpack 2017

Below are our top rated travel backpacks for 2017!

Backpack ImageBackpack NameCarry On FlightLaptop CompartmentPrice
Outdoor Master Hiking Backpack 50L (Editor's Choice)Yes15.6" Check Price
SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack - 19" eBags ExclusiveYes17" Check Price
Tortuga Air Travel Backpack - Carry-On-Sized, 27L, Expandable Weekend BagYes15" Check Price
Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel BackpackYes15" Check Price
Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, 46-LiterYes15" Check Price
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel BackpackYes15" Check Price
Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled LuggageYes15" Check Price
Osprey Packs Women's Tempest 30 BackpackYesNo Check Price
NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel BackpackYes12" Check Price
Incase EO Travel Backpack - Heather GrayYes17" Check Price
Hynes Eagle 40L Flight Approved Carry on BackpackYes15.6" Check Price
Timbuk2 Aviator Travel BackpackYes17" Check Price
Patagonia Refugio Pack 28LYes15" Check Price
Manfrotto MB MA-BP-R Advanced Rear Backpack Yes13" Check Price
Kopack Lightweight Laptop BackpackYes15.6" Check Price
Travel Select Amsterdam Business Rolling Garment BagNo15.6" Check Price
JanSport Hatchet BackpackYes15" Check Price
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender ConvertibleYes17" Check Price
TravPack-30L Best Quality Foldable Lightweight BackpackYes15" Check Price
Witzman Men's Vintage Canvas Duffel Shoulder Backpack Travel A2020Yes17" Check Price
Evecase Large Canvas DSLR Camera Backpack w/Rain coverYes15.6" Check Price

Be sure to also read up on our Travel Backpack Buying Guide first before making a decision on which bag to get!

Backpacks have much going for them – you don’t have to wait around at the baggage carousel to pick them up, they’re great as more than travel bags and can leave a great first impression not just at the airport, but in school or at a business trip too. Although all of these are appealing reasons to get one, a more interesting reason to do so is that a backpack makes you take a closer and thoughtful look at the things you really need, and can make you take up a smarter approach to packing and life in general.

Just ten years ago you could pick out trekkers and mountain climbers at the airport within seconds because they were the only ones with colorful backpacks while everyone else rolled their suitcases along. I’m happy to say that this is no longer the case – more and more people are realizing that backpacks are a more convenient, safer and less stressful way of transporting everything you’ll use without sacrificing much in terms of the amount of stuff you’re taking with you. If anything, they make you realize that you don’t actually need all that stuff and allow you to focus on enjoying your adventure more.

Once I started to write a guide that would examine some of the best travel backpacks and how they would benefit you, it quickly became clear that 10 just wouldn’t do this time around. There are simply too many good ones to pass up on, each with their own set of features that make them better suited for one specific situation or another. That’s why this guide is special, featuring thorough reviews of 21 different backpacks. At least a few of them are bound to catch your eye, and reading the handy guide towards the end will help you pick out the perfect one.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

1. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L – The Best Travel Backpack

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L Review

OutdoorMaster aren’t as well-known as some other brands I’ll be checking out, but they’ve managed to cause quite the buzz in online hiking and bushcraft communities due to their high-quality, versatile and sturdy gear. Their 50l hiking backpack spearheads this charge, and is my absolute favorite.

Its design is probably its best aspect – a full-fledged backpack you can take to an overnight camping trip that can also act as a more than capable luggage bag if ever you need it? Yes please! It is constructed from high-grade nylon resistant to ripping. The back is very comfortable and keeps you cool at all times. Its 50l capacity makes the backpack ideal for carrying a sizeable amount of gear, and the layout within it allows you to carry your smartphone, tablet or laptop with ease. Both of its large compartments are heavily padded, giving enough protection to everything inside.

Its exterior is equally great, offering a number of mesh pockets as well as one designed for quickly accessing things you use often. Since fully loaded the backpack can really have some weight to it, OutdoorMaster have introduced padded straps that curve into an S-shape, allowing for a better weight distribution to not just your back, but neck and shoulders too. Underneath them there’s a waist belt which has a pocket you can keep more stuff in, as well as sleeping bag and tent straps.

There’s just one minor issue with this backpack – its outer pocket doesn’t have a zipper. You’ll want to avoid placing valuable items in it because of this, but can comfortably use it for quick-reach items like sunglasses, wipes or snacks.

This is the best travel backpack I’ve used in a long while. Not only does it offer enough room for everything you could possibly want, but it does a tremendous job of keeping all of your items snug, dry and in perfect condition. Plus, its two-tone appearance makes it look amazing, only adding to the value. This is why the Outdoor Master is TRVNK’s pick for the best travel backpack!

  • Made from high quality materials
  • Roomy
  • Great weight distribution
  • Outer pocket has no zipper

2. SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack – 19″ eBags Exclusive – The Best Swissgear Travelgear to Carry Your Laptop In

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack - 19

The digital nomad lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular – traveling the world with little more than your laptop and a few essential belongings sounds like loads of fun! If you want to minimize the hassle of going through airport checkups all the time, or if you just want a solid travel backpack that does much more than keeping your laptop safe, then the Scansmart Backpack 1900 should be at the very top of your items list.

Swissgear is an offshoot of Victorinox, the legendary company which first introduced the iconic Swiss army knife. It’s no surprise that they’d apply their craftsmanship and innovative approach to other products. Above all else though, as with the army knife, this backpack is the epitome of organization!

Its layout has been planned out to the smallest detail – the exterior is brimming with compartments of various sizes, all zipped up nicely with attractive metal zippers. Especially useful is the small front one which has a number of pockets built into it you can stuff with various small items like USB cables, pens and notebooks that can then be accessed without opening the main compartment up.

Speaking of which, there’s enough room inside that one to hold binders, thick textbooks and other larger items. The most appealing feature of its interior though is the brilliantly-designed quick-access laptop compartment. Dedicated exclusively to holding your laptop (and a tablet if you have one), you can unzip it, produce the laptop for inspection and zip it back up in a snap without having to get out the rest of your belongings.

Since its primary use is to hold your laptop, this model is somewhat smaller than a regular hiking backpack. If you only plan on using it for school, work and not much else, then it is ideal, otherwise you might be in need of a bigger model.

This backpack performs its main job of safely transporting a laptop very well. Its ergonomic design will also help carry all of your supplies with maximum comfort. As an urban, multipurpose backpack, the Travel Gear 1900 is an excellent choice.

  • Great for organizing a lot of small items
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Quality build
  • A bit too small to be used for camping or as luggage

3. Tortuga Air Travel Backpack – Carry-On-Sized, 27L, Expandable Weekend Bag – A Carry-on Tortuga Travel Backpack for All of Your Essentials

Tortuga Air Travel Backpack - Carry-On-Sized, 27L, Expandable Weekend Bag Review

Do you like to travel light and can’t stand waiting around for your luggage to arrive after you’ve landed? Tortuga has heard your cries for help and introduced their air travel backpack, a sleek small carry-on that will streamline your flying experience.

At first glance it looks very small. Don’t be fooled by its empty appearance however – when you start filling it up with clothes, electronics and small essentials, you’ll find that it will expand in size and can carry as much as 27l. This won’t be enough for a week-long trip to an exotic destination, but is perfect if you’re spending the night at a stateside hotel. Most importantly, it falls under the regulation guidelines for carry-on bags, meaning that you can take it with you inside the plane and keep it under your seat!

A nifty thing about the Tortuga travel backpack is that it opens like a suitcase. Its middle is unzipped to offer two compartments, a deeper one to the back and a shallower one at the front. Surprisingly, both seem to be able to hold A LOT of clothes. The 2nd compartment can expand more, so you’ll get about equal use out of them.

Offering proper support for your back is very important to a backpack you need to carry all through the airport, and the Tortuga excels here as well, offering great balance thanks to its padded straps. Filled to the brim, it doesn’t even feel all that heavy, which is a real testament to its design.

You’ll have to pay for such high quality though. As we’ve seen with OutdoorMaster’s model for example, you can get a lot more space for far less money. Then again that might not be your primary concern when traveling as light as possible.

Tortuga’s backpack more than makes up for the difference with its convenience. Being able to zoom on through to your seat and still carry everything you took with you is well worth the extra investment, and makes this backpack one of the greats.

  • Lightweight
  • Compact yet roomy
  • Somewhat pricy

Osprey Backpacks – Dedicated to the Environment and Customer Satisfaction

Osprey Backpacks

Since the next five backpacks I’ll be taking a look at are all from the same company, it might be a good idea to also highlight what Osprey is all about. It was started by one man, Mike Pfotenhauer, back in 1974. Pfotenhauer is a hands-on guy who built his backpacks one by one back then and individually sold them to his customers. Word quickly got around that his creations were of top notch quality and the business soon expanded.

Today you’ll find city dwellers, survivalists, hikers and mountain climbers all around the world swearing by the quality of their Osprey travel backpack. All of their packs are covered by the “All Mighty Guarantee”. Osprey is very aware when it comes to preserving the environment and will always try to find a way to repair your backpack (within reason) rather than make it go to waste. Their environmentally-friendly approach doesn’t stop at that – Osprey has paired up with the European Union and is engaged in a number of bird conservation projects, taking concrete steps to protect the birds that inspired its creation.

4. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack – Ideal for Lightweight World Travel

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack Review

Farpoint is Osprey’s dedicated line of backpacks for seekers of adventure in the great outdoors. These packs come with a slew of features that make them lightweight, comfortable and tough enough to brave any jungle or mountain path right along with you.

The Osprey Farpoint 40 travel backpack strikes a great balance between solid carrying capacity and convenience. It is just small enough to be classified as a carry-on, but has room for everything a minimalist would need for a trip lasting weeks. There are two compression straps which stretch across the bag’s front, protecting its contents from moving too much. On the other hand, the regular straps you carry it with can be put away using a flap on the back panel, reducing their movement and chances of damage during transit.

As with Tortuga’s model, you open the backpack’s main compartment like you would a suitcase. Naturally, there’s more room for your belongings, and there’s a specialized compartment for laptops up to 15’’ as well. You can lock the main compartment for extra protection, which is always appreciated.

For a travel backpack you’d use at campouts and treks, it is surprising that the Farpoint doesn’t come with a pocket to put your water bottle in or straps for your sleeping bag at the bottom. You can always place these inside the pack / secure them to the side, but dedicated places for both would have been better.

If you aren’t bothered too much with the above, the Farpoint 40l is a great choice for all of your nature adventuring needs. It keeps your stuff dry and won’t feel like a burden even after you’ve carried it on your back all day. There are cheaper backpacks out there, but the qualities this one has make it a worthwhile investment.

  • Spacious yet carry-on compatible
  • Good weight distribution
  • Main compartment lock
  • No water bottle pocket or bottom straps

5. Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, 46-Liter – One of the Best carry-on Backpacks

Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, 46-Liter Review

With Porter, Osprey are going for a backpack you can use in a wide variety of situations. It is a cross between a duffel bag and a traditional backpack, constructed in a way that makes packing simple and organized whether you’re carrying documents, books or supplies needed to survive in the wilderness.

The Osprey Porter 46 travel backpack bag is starting to push the definition of carry-on compatible, and yet it stays within its limits. There seems to be no end to the amount of stuff you can carry inside it, while still not going over the dimensions suitable for air travel.

The balance and comfort of this backpack are incredible. I was worried that this would be offset by the laptop compartment, which isn’t placed directly at the back as you’d expect, but this had no effect on how centered its balance was, even at full load.

Apart from the pockets and pouch you’ll find on the outside, there are two very useful straps you can use to adjust the volume of the pack. When tied, they also compress the items within, reducing their movement and making the Porter 46 much more stable.

While the back panel is quite comfortable and allows your back to breathe, it is thinner than one would expect from a backpack of this quality. You won’t have any trouble with this if you mostly carry around your books or clothes, but items that are awkwardly-shaped or pointy should be placed towards the front so that they don’t end up digging into your back.

The Osprey Porter 46 travel backpack bag proves that a hybrid bag with features suitable for both the urban and outdoor environments can offer great results. Its comfort and volume will keep delighting you with each use, and since it is so well made expect to depend on it for many years to come.

  • Superb balance and comfort
  • Good carrying capacity
  • Thin back padding

6. Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack – An Adaptable, Roomy Backpack for World Travel

Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack Review

Farpoint 40’s big brother, the Osprey Farpoint 55 travel backpack is a step up in terms of size and arguably versatility too. It should have enough room for all the things you’d take on your vacation or campout and then some without being cumbersome or hard on your back.

You definitely won’t feel like a pack mule while wearing it as the two main padded straps combine well with a waist and a chest strap, allowing you to carry more weight distributed more evenly across your entire back and shoulders. You won’t be able to stuff it under your airplane seat though, which is understandable given its size.

This travel backpack actually consists of two smaller ones put together. There’s the main 40l part and a 15l daypack you can detach and carry on its own. This is very useful when traveling because it lets you carry all of your valuables, including a laptop, with you at all times while your clothes are back at the hotel.

There’s really a lot of space inside the main compartment, and it even comes with a big mesh pocket for smaller items like socks or gloves. The 40l part of the backpack has no pockets though. Those are only located on the smaller daypack, which means that you can’t use the larger part for anything other than carrying the bulk of your stuff.

Even so, the Farpoint 55l is a versatile travel backpack built to accompany you on all of your journeys and offers enough storage space for a home away from home for someone whose needs are modest. If you’re that kind of person, you should jump at the chance to own it.

  • Two backpacks in one
  • Great weight support and balance
  • The bigger pack lacks pockets

7. Osprey Ozone Convertible 22″/50L Wheeled Luggage – Osprey’s Travel Backpack with Wheels

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22

What if you’re not satisfied with the versatility of having two backpacks in one, and want more options in transporting what’s inside too? Don’t worry, Osprey have thought of that scenario as well. Their travel backpack with wheels allows you to roll it along smooth surfaces like sidewalks and airport floors. Once the going gets tough it turns into a backpack you strap onto your shoulders and can carry even on the roughest trails.

There’s a 28’’ model with the same properties, but this smaller 22’’ one has the added benefit of being carry-on compliant. Switching from one mode of transportation to the other is easy and seamless – to use the wheels, you just extend the handle and place the pack on the ground. When you’re using it as a backpack, the handle is put away and gives way to two shoulder straps that are hidden inside a zipped-up pouch when not in use.

Like the Farpoint 55l, this model comes with a removable daypack. Its laptop compartment is a bit smaller, but there are pouches on either side you can easily store water bottles in. The main pack doesn’t just have one big compartment though. Rather, it is divided into a few compartments. There are mesh and nylon pockets too best used for small unsorted items.

Once the handle is retracted and the straps are tucked away, there isn’t that much room to be had in this backpack. The nylon construction allows for it to expand, but since there are more interior compartments than seen with other Osprey models, you can’t place as many large or bulky items inside it.

With some item management this shouldn’t be much of a problem, and you can always choose the bigger version if this one is too small for your needs. Still, as a wheeled, airplane-approved travel backpack, this is one of the most well-rounded entries in the guide, and among my personal favorites.

  • Can be wheeled or carried
  • Many compartments and pockets
  • Can’t hold as much as bags of similar size

8. Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 30 Backpack – A Travel Backpack Women Will Love

Osprey Packs Women's Tempest 30 Backpack Review

When it comes to a good backpack, women’s needs are slightly different. Their packs need to be stylish as well as functional, and that is why Osprey’s Tempest line caters specifically to the outdoorsy lady who doesn’t want to compromise on either of those.

At 30l, it is big enough to take everything you need for a day hike or cycling tour. It even has Osprey’s signature loops you can fasten your walking sticks with on either side. Thankfully there’s no trace of the stereotypical pink you’d think the backpack would come in – its vibrant green and white combo makes the Tempest both unique and attractive without insisting on the gender of its intended audience.

You’ll find no short supply of pockets and compartments here as the Tempest comes with heaps of them. The most notable are the hydration sleeve which allows you to quickly fill up your water reservoir on the go, waist belt pockets useful for storing your smartphone or wallet, and a handy compartment for your laptop. Additional welcome features include a point to which you can attach your bike light and additional straps that secure the pack firmly to your body while cycling.

Although the shoulder and waist straps are comfortable, the chest strap leaves much to be desired. If you are particularly well-endowed in that area, the chest strap might not fit you comfortably.

Even so, the multitude of its features and its feminine yet badass look make the Tempest 30l the best travel backpack women can buy right now. It is bound to be a step up from a backpack which doesn’t take women’s needs into consideration, and once you get used to it you won’t want to switch back.

  • Good support on foot and when cycling
  • Lots of pockets and compartments
  • Stylish appearance
  • The chest strap can be a bit uncomfortable

9. NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel Backpack – A Small Travel Backpack for the Urban Explorer

NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel Backpack Review

A big city has its own set of challenges, and a big backpack certainly doesn’t always have what it takes to overcome them. Having realized this, NeatPack has introduced its versatile canvas sling bag, a pack that will help you traverse the urban jungle without breaking a sweat.

They weren’t kidding when they put the “versatile” in its name. Not only is this a pack with about as many pockets as I’ve ever seen on one, it can also be worn in a number of ways. You can hold onto its thick broad strap and carry it over the shoulder. It can also be carried over your whole back messenger style, or you can turn it around and carry it across your chest.

Although it is a small travel backpack, NeatPack have put a lot of effort into its design and construction. The polyester it is made from will keep the items within out of the rain. Other than the elements, it protects your items from digital threats too – the pack comes with a RFID-blocking pocket useful for storing your wallet and credit cards.

If you wear the pack too tightly, the bottom part of its shoulder strap can start chafing against your clothes. Since its edge is hard and rugged, there’s the possibility of damage over time to clothes like sweaters and wool jackets.

Provided you wear it properly, this backpack might be just what you need. Its small size, comfortable strap and pockets galore make it an unobtrusive, useful and welcome item that will enhance both your daily commute and your sense of security.

  • Allows for different carrying styles
  • Water resistant
  • Anti-theft and RFID blocking
  • Shoulder strap can damage your clothing

10. Incase EO Travel Backpack – Heather Gray – The Stylish Backpack for Tech Enthusiasts

Incase EO Travel Backpack - Heather Gray Review

The EO is another appealing backpack for tech lovers who are always on the go. It has a quick-access laptop compartment similar to the Travelgear 1900, but its design is more in line with a modern and sleek business-style suitcase than an enhanced backpack you’d bring to school.

The professional look is brought about with its well-chosen monotone color and angular appearance. Don’t think that it makes the Incase EO travel backpack look uninspired though! More importantly, the blocky exterior conceals three large compartments, each with their own unique use.

The one closest to the back is well-padded and can house a laptop up to 17’’ big along with a tablet. The middle one is also the biggest and can stretch out to an additional third of its size, providing enough room for everything you need for a short vacation or business trip. The outer compartment is home to a lot of smaller pockets that will keep your loose belongings secure. Whether you fill just one compartment or all of them, the pack’s shape always stays the same and the things you store in one compartment don’t press up against the other two.

The downside to this model is that it lacks a waist strap. While this isn’t really that big of a deal, it does mean that you don’t get optimal weight distribution and support.

All in all this is a solidly constructed, visually appealing backpack for the modern traveler. No waist strap aside, it provides all the features you need from a backpack for a well-prepared traveling experience. Add bonus points for how good you’ll look while wearing it at the airport, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

This post first appeared on TRVNK, please read the originial post: here

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Best Travel Backpack 2017 – Buyer’s Guide


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