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23 Best Travel Backpacks You Need To Check Out In 2024

Looking for the best travel backpack? Here are our favorites.

Like many of you travelers out there, we’ve been searching for the perfect travel backpack for over 6 years.

Though we like to keep things minimal at our place, we’ve racked up quite a collection of backpacks during this search. Our backpacks are important to us since they do the job of helping us carry our bare necessities on all our adventures.

These are the best travel backpacks we found.

The Best Travel Backpack for Each Type of TravelerPin

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Last Updated: May 24, 2024

23 Best Travel Backpacks You Need to Check Out in 2024

Before we get into them, let’s start by saying there isn’t a perfect bag for every need and scenario. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes the best travel bag for each type of trip or activity. Over the years, we’ve gathered our favorite bags to pick and choose the right one for each adventure.

What to Look for in a Travel Backpack

When we started our search for the best travel backpack, we had a list of requirements. Over time, as we found more features that we loved, that list grew even bigger.

We also acknowledge that everyone’s needs are different. For us, we carry a fair amount of camera gear. Regardless of our different needs, here are some features you should consider when looking for your bag.

Size

Size matters. You want a bag big enough to hold what you need (plus some extra space in case you pick up items during your travel), but not so big that it’s cumbersome. Also, will you primarily be using it to get your stuff from point A to point B? Or will you need to wear it while you explore? Here are a few general rules to follow:

  • 15-30 L – Good for weekend trips and as a day pack. Perfect to pair with a small suitcase and our current preference.
  • 35-45 L – Nice, all-around size (unless you’re small like me). It can be used for week-long or even month-long trips but feels large to use out and about during the day.
  • 50-65 L – These are bigger if you need extra space. They may also get flagged as a carry on depending on the size of the plane and how you pack.
  • 70-120 L – Way too big for the average traveler. This is moreso used for multi-day backcountry hiking. It’s also really heavy.

Weight

The lighter, the better! With that said, you still want quality and durability. A light bag that falls apart won’t help you on your travels. Also, consider the weight of the bag after it’s filled. It might not seem heavy at first, but it all adds up. As we get older, we’ve realized that we prefer a smaller backpack paired with a small suitcase to relieve the weight we carry on our backs.

Durability + Weather Resistance

Where will you be wearing your bag? Outdoors? Rainy weather? In the city? You want materials that can handle all your adventures. Since we’re carrying a lot of electronics, we try finding waterproof or water-resistant bags, or ones with a rain fly if we’re in a severe downpour.

Design + Access

This all comes down to preference and covers the aesthetics of the backpack and also the usability of it. Do you prefer a top-loading backpack or clamshell so you can access everything without pulling all your stuff out? We always prefer one that also has easier side access to our camera gear.

Also, pay attention to how the straps fit and if they pack away. Do they come with separate handles to help you pick up the bag? If the bag is larger, you may also want waist straps to distribute weight and lighten the load on your back.

Compartments

What are your travel essentials? It’s helpful to put that list together so you know what type of organization you’ll need. Do you travel with a laptop? Camera gear? Extra shoes? A non-negotiable for us was a place to keep our camera gear safe and secure and easy access for any unforeseen photo ops.

Additional Features

It’s impressive to see how bags have evolved over the years. What other features do you want in your backpack? Here are just a few that we’ve loved:

  • Compressions Straps – help pack more without making your bag bulky. It also helps make the bag smaller when it’s not full.
  • Lockable Zippers – extra security when traveling.
  • Secret Compartments – another feature for security.
  • Sternum and Waist Straps – help lighten the load but can cause more dangly straps that get in the way if not designed well.
  • Back Panel – A well-designed back panel can be the difference between a soaking wet back and a nicely ventilated back.

Best All-Around Travel Backpacks

The first few bags that we’ll look at are all-around travel backpacks. They are flexible bags that can be used in most scenarios. These are generally larger bags, and I usually don’t carry them because of their sheer size on my petite frame, but luckily, I have Jacob, who likes to travel with them.

1. Peak Design TRAVEL backpack (Editor’s Pick) →

As you scroll down, you’ll realize that we love Peak Design bags. The main reason is that we always carry camera gear, and they build their bags with cameras in mind. When they announced a Travel Backpack 45L, we knew it would be promising.

The bag is well-designed and packed with a ton of features. They excel at giving you a clean, minimalist design but still have many ways to customize the bag to how you travel.

They also released a Travel Backpack 30L version, which I like much better. It fits with my light packing better and negates the cons listed below. Check out our review here. And don’t forget to pick up their new Small Wash Pouch and updated Packing Cubes.

PROS

  • Plenty of compartments while still having a large clamshell design
  • Can pair with their other organizational items and camera cubes to have access to them while out
  • Quality material and weatherproof
  • Side pockets for water bottles or tripods
  • Hideaway straps to convert to a duffel
  • Tuck away zippers for extra security

CONS (not Issues with the 30L)

  • Like other bags this size, it’s heavy and bulky when full
  • Even when compressed, it still has a larger profile than other bags

2. Tortuga Travel Backpack →

The Tortuga Travel Backpack is a great general travel bag if you like traveling light. It has good organization, solid build, and provides plenty of support. I particularly like how easy it is to remove and reattach the waist straps.

PROS

  • Durable and waterproof fabric
  • Lockable and water-resistant zippers
  • Thick and soft shoulder straps and padding
  • Easy to remove hip belt
  • Lot of organization

CONS

  • No side compression straps
  • There isn’t an easy solution if you carry camera gear.

3. Aer Travel Pack 2 →

The Aer travel pack was a Kickstarter we were excited about from day 1. We’ve had this backpack for a long time, and it was our first travel-focused backpack. We’ve been happy with all of its features. The main reason we stopped using it is because it doesn’t have easy access to our camera.

PROS

  • Large capacity with clamshell design
  • Easy to organize with packing cubes
  • Separate area to pack shoes
  • Compression straps work well to lower the profile of the bag
  • Lockable zippers
  • Organizational panel to store smaller items
  • Water resistant

CONS

  • Heavy when full
  • Doesn’t have easy access to camera gear
  • Waist straps are sold separately
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4. Tropicfeel Shell Backpack →

This backpack has many features and runs between 22 and 40 liters, giving it a lot of versatility. One of its best features is the accessories you can add to customize it to you, including a wardrobe system and camera cube.

PROS

  • Weather-resistant
  • Two ways to access the bag
  • Great accessories to customize the bag
  • Additional kangaroo pocket to store additional items below
  • Starts at 22L and can expand to 40L
  • Stowable hip straps

CONS

  • Doesn’t have access to camera from exterior of the bag
  • No side compression straps
  • Base pack is limited – works best with accessories

5. Sandmarc Travel Backpack →

If you travel with your iPhone as your primary camera, then you need to check out the Sandmarc Travel Backpack. It was created specifically for iPhone photography gear with plenty of easy-to-access organization, a front shoulder strap iPhone holder, and more!

PROS

  • Lots of organization.
  • Built specifically for iPhone photography and accessories.
  • Front should strap iPhone holder for POV capture.
  • Luggage pass-through.
  • Premium materials, YKK Zippers, and aluminum hardware.
  • Expandable from 25L to 30.5L.

CONS

  • If you don’t have a lot of iPhone accessories, you may find it hard to use all the small organization pockets.

6. Nomatic 30L Travel Pack →

The Nomatic Travel Pack is another bag that we’ve seen recommended in the travel space, so we had to check it out. Because we can’t easily access camera gear, we don’t use it for travel, but we throw all our climbing gear in there to bring to our local crags. It gives us the right amount of organization with a large section for all our rope and gear. 

PROS

  • Quick transition between backpack and duffel mode
  • A lot of different compartments and organization
  • Large shoe compartment
  • Weather-resistant material
  • Comes in 30L and 40L
  • Pass through a charging cable for your phone

CONS

  • Doesn’t have side pockets for easy grab water bottle or tripod
  • Rigid, boxy shape
  • Some awkward pockets – unsure of how to practically use it
  • Detachable waist straps that you have to find storage for
  • No compression straps

BONUS: Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 →

This is the most durable backpack we own. It’s built like a tank and is also great because it doesn’t look huge on me. Although the Tom Bihn Aeronaut looks smaller, it’s a black hole. I don’t know how it fits so much, but just when you think it’s at its max, it still fits in more!

PROS

  • Ridiculously durable and can take a serious beating
  • Multiple ways to carry the bag (backpack, messenger, duffel)
  • Has accessories/cubes that fit perfectly into this bag
  • Three distinct sections that adjust in size
  • Interior tie-down straps
  • Many color options and two sizes
  • Low profile

CONS

  • Doesn’t have exterior compression straps
  • No water bottle pocket
  • There isn’t a laptop sleeve
  • Nowhere to keep camera gear and have access to it
  • No waist straps

Camera Backpacks

Camera backpacks are our bread and butter since we always travel with gear. At the same time, we don’t travel with so much gear that we need an entire bag dedicated to it. We need a versatile bag for different setups that has room for other items and works well traveling and as a day pack.

7. Wandrd PRVKE (Editor’s Pick) →

This is our go-to camera backpack, and overall, it has worked well. We usually travel with our 5D Mark IV, two lenses, and our DJI Mavic 2 with Smart Controller. It keeps everything nice and organized.

Jacob still has mixed feelings about the roll top. It’s a nice feature since the bag can expand without making the bag’s profile any larger, but it’s also more annoying to access.

PROS

  • Modular organization for camera gear 
  • Multiple access points to the bag
  • Easy, side access to a camera
  • Secure pocket for valuables along your back
  • Weather-resistant material
  • Low profile
  • Expandable with roll-top design
  • Can add waist and accessory straps
  • Dedicated rainfly pocket

CONS

  • Camera side access is from the left side (it feels more natural on the right side to me)
  • Roll-top is slower to access
  • No dedicated storage for waist straps

See More: We Found the Best Camera Backpack. Here’s Why.

Wandrd Prvke + 15 Best Travel Backpacks You Need to Check OutPin

8. Peak Design Everyday Backpack →

We’ve used the Everyday Backpack for a long time before switching. It’s a great day-to-day bag when we’re in town, and we traveled with it quite a bit. We sport the 20L bag since it fits our bodies better.

PROS

  • Dividers give you the flexibility to configure the inside any way you want
  • Easy and quick access from two sides and the top
  • You can access the sides and panel pockets while still wearing the bag
  • Expandable side pockets for water bottles or tripods
  • Weatherproof shell
  • Organization pockets specifically for camera gear (memory cards, etc.)

CONS

  • Expansion on top doesn’t give you that much extra space
  • Waist straps aren’t padded
  • Removing or putting back all shelves can be annoying
Peak Design Everyday Backpack ReviewPin

9. Lowepro Freeline BP350 AW →

We unintentionally added the Freeline to our collection when Jacob won it at a B&H raffle. The very first thing we noticed was how similar it is to the Peak Design Everyday bag. They took the popular bag and improved it, but it still looks like a camera bag.

PROS

  • A modular three-shelf organization system that can be easily removed
  • Organization pockets specifically for camera gear (memory cards, etc.)
  • Side access zippers for camera gear
  • Weather-resistant
  • Additional gearbox included to organize cables and adapters

CONS

  • Looks like a camera backpack, which can be a target for theft
  • Waist straps aren’t padded
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Adventure Backpacks

We need a much larger backpack to carry our gear on longer hikes or backpacking adventures. These are also great if you’re going backpacking through Europe.

10. Wandrd Fernweh →

The WANDRD FERNWEH is the latest launch from one of our favorite bag companies. It’s a mix of an adventure, travel, and camera backpack. We got our hands on a prototype, so check out our YouTube review on YouTube.

PROS

  • Modular organization system that can be easily removed
  • Tons of padding focused on comfort with heavy loads
  • Four access points

CONS

  • Some changes will be made with the final product (probably more of a Pro since they’ll add better features and tweak a few things, but you won’t know what the final product looks like)

11. Osprey Atmos →

We only travel with these packs when we’re headed on multi-day backpacking trips. Jacob has the Aether and unfortunately, the women’s version doesn’t fit me, so I use the kid’s Ace Pack instead.

PROS

  • Can remove top lid to convert into a daypack.
  • Great support while allowing your back to breathe
  • Zippered hip belt pockets
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
  • Hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Side panel zip access to the main compartment

CONS

  • No dedicated spots to carry electronics
  • A huge bag that is cumbersome to travel with
  • May not fit into all overhead compartments (specifically smaller planes)

12. Lowepro Whistler Backpack 450 AWII →

We started using this backpack in Portland and loved it for rainy weather. Not only does it have great support if you’re hiking, but you can access everything in the bag without putting it down, which was perfect for the wet climate in the Pacific Northwest.

PROS

  • Plenty of storage space for all your camera gear with a modular system
  • Weather-resistant material plus dedicated rainfly pocket
  • Great support to carry heavy loads
  • Easy to flip the bag while still on your waist to access all your gear

CONS

  • Mostly built for camera gear
  • No laptop sleeve
  • You cannot store away bulky waist straps, and the loose straps can get annoying.
  • Looks like a camera bag, which can be a target for theft.

13. IceMule Pro X-Large 33L →

If water activities are your thing, then check out the ICEMULE Pro. It’s a great cooler that can carry up to 32 cans plus ice. It also doubles as a dry bag! The seams are welded making it 100% waterproof and will even float (although we haven’t tested that yet!).

PROS

  • Cooler backpack that can store up to 32 cans plus ice or 56 cans with no ice.
  • 100% waterproof welded seams making it a great dry bag.
  • Will float.
  • Elastic straps on the front.

CONS

  • No organization for smaller items.

Icemule Coupon Code: Use code LOCALADVENTURER for 10% off until December 31, 2024

Lightweight Backpacks (Day Packs)

These packs aren’t meant to stand alone as travel bags but can pair well with other bags, giving you a better daypack option.

14. Wandrd Sling (Editor’s Pick) →

We love our WANDRD PRVKE so we’re excited to try the new WANDRD Sling. It comes in 3 sizes (3L, 6L, 9L) and two colors. We have the 6L version so it’s easy to carry our camera around town. It has some unique features like the security strap to keep it closer to your body. The 6L also has the option to have an added laptop case for 14 or 16 inch laptops

PROS

  • High quality and weatherproof material
  • Lots of organization
  • Wear it three ways
  • An optional security strap keeps it closer to your body
  • There is an expandable water bottle/tripod holder
  • Optional laptop case on the 6L

CONS

  • Limited if you’re trying to carry a lot of gear
  • If your gear is heavy, it’s harder to distribute the weight, unlike a backpack

15. Peak Design Sling →

This bag is another great day-to-day option for a camera and some small items. It’s nice because I can easily swing it from my back to front and stash my camera away quickly when I don’t need it. There are two sizes, the 5L and 10L, and we have then both. The 10L allows you to carry a tripod on it.

 I have carried a tripod on it by putting one of the legs through the strap. It’s not the most comfortable carry but works if you need your hands free.

PROS

  • Can adjust the strap with one hand
  • Weatherproof main compartment
  • Flexible dividers to help you organize
  • A couple of extra pockets to organize smaller items
  • Can be adjusted to carry on your waist
  • Can pack down flat if you want to pack it in your suitcase.

CONS

  • Not big enough to store a laptop (only a tablet)
  • Too small if you need more than a DSLR & 2 lenses and excludes large lenses like the 70-200.
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16. REI Flash 18 Pack →

We’ve had multiple versions of the REI Flash 18 pack over the years, and it still holds up. We use it for short day hikes and when we go bouldering. We also picked up the Flash 22 for when we needed more space.

PROS

  • Lots of color options
  • Super lightweight
  • Can easily pack it in your suitcase without it taking up much space

CONS

  • Thin shoulder straps are not great for heavier loads
  • No structure to the bag

BONUS: NOMATIC Navigator Collapsible Sling 6L →

If you’re looking for a packable sling, check out the NOMATIC Navigator. It folds into itself, saving room in your luggage, but it also gives you up to 6L for storage with plenty of organization.

Most packable bags don’t hold much form, but the molded back panel is a nice touch. Plus, even though it doesn’t pack tiny, it’s easy to fold up. I’ve become frustrated with other packable bags when I struggle to return them to their original form.

PROS

  • Packs small
  • Stowable stabilizer strap
  • Lots of organization
  • Molded back panel
  • External water bottle pocket

CONS

  • No padding if you want to carry a camera
  • Not the smallest when packed up because of the molded back panel

Stylish Backpacks

Not all functional bags look great for photos, so we’ve collected a few different bags over the years that are more stylish depending on the occasion. If the aesthetic of the bag is what you’re more worried about, these are the bags to get.

17. Solo Parker Hybrid Backpack Tote →

We got this bag at the same time we added the packable bag to our collection. I used it on a recent weekend trip and love the look and feel of it. It’s great for any city travel.

PROS

  • Converts from a backpack to a tote
  • Plenty of organization for smaller items
  • Low profile and hugs the body
  • Zipper top to secure everything inside
  • More stylish than any of my other backpacks

CONS

  • No dedicated space or protection for a DSLR
  • Capacity is limited, so it’s only good to pair with a suitcase or for short weekend trips.
  • Still a tad big for my petite frame

18. Driibe Dakota 3 in 1 Convertible Backpack →

You can carry the Driibe Dakota as a backpack and purse. Unlike other convertible bags that call themselves convertible because of additional straps, this one actually transforms. Even though it’s not meant to be worn this way, I sometimes like to wear the straps on the backside to showcase the lighter

PROS

  • Converts from a backpack to a purse
  • Has an expandable section to give me more space as a backpack
  • More stylish than any of my other backpacks
  • Has a convenient spot for me to carry a jacket.
  • Made from sustainable materials.
  • Comes with lots of accessories.

CONS

  • No dedicated space for a DSLR.
  • If you’re carrying a lot of weight in the bag, the straps are thin to be comfortable. It comes with padding and other accessories to help with comfort, but it doesn’t look as cute with them.

19. Lo & Sons Rowledge →

This bag comes in two sizes and is great if you don’t need to carry a large camera. I’ve brought it on my last few trips and I love how stylish and timeless it is. Plus, it’s an AAPI-owned company!

PROS

  • Classic and stylish look
  • Good organization for your items
  • Fits laptops up to 13″
  • Has a suitcase handle sleeve
  • Can be carried as a briefcase

CONS

  • No dedicated camera storage and won’t fit larger cameras
  • Straps can get uncomfortable if you have a heavy load
lo and sons rowledgePin

20. TOPO Designs Rover Collection →

We used to rock the Klettersack, which is a more stylish outdoorsy bag, and the one I’ve used the most out of the three. Although it lacks in function in comparison to many of the other bags listed in the post, the color pops for photos, so we take it out often on our trips.

We recently upgraded to their Rover collection! We got a mini because I love the size especially since I’m petite, and the tech for Jacob, which has a bit more organization.

PROS

  • Tons of color options
  • Classic look
  • Has basic organization and compartments
  • Includes side water bottle pockets
  • Water repellent finish

CONS

  • Just one large main compartment so you have to dig through everything to get access to your stuff
  • No dedicated camera storage or easy access to it

21. Ekster Grid Backpack →

The Ekster Grid Backpack is a clean and sleek design for everyday carry. Plus they have some great accessories like a Camera Cube and Tech Bag.

PROS

  • Weatherproof
  • Packs like a suitcase – opens 180°
  • Built to protect your tech
  • Lots of places to attach gear on the outside
  • Additional organization options sold separately
  • Hidden RFID pocket
  • Made with recycled material

CONS

  • No easy access to camera gear
  • Must buy accessories individually

22. Sprayground Rivera Savvy Crossbody →

We’ve been looking for a stylish crossbody for our day-to-day adventures when we don’t need a camera. We love this premium handcrafted cut and sewn crossbody by SPRAYGROUND. Has just the right pop of color and helps me carry what I need.

PROS

  • Lightweight and efficient
  • Stylish cross-body
  • Good for essentials
  • Durable Vegan Leather
  • Water-resistant fabric

CONS

  • Not much organization
  • Not big enough for a camera or jacket

BONUS: Kovered Taw Rolltop Backpack →

This is a beautiful leather backpack that is rugged and gives a vintage look. It’s made with waxed leather protecting it against moisture and can carry up to 27L with the roll top build

PROS

  • Water-proof waxed canvas
  • Laptop compartment
  • 2x 500ml water bottle pockets
  • Reclaimed leather and sustainably sourced
  • Magnetic fasteners

CONS

  • No dedicated camera storage if you have a lot of gear
  • The large interior pocket is so deep it can be hard to get to the bottom

Duffels

We don’t use duffels often, but from time to time, we need a large capacity bag to throw all our gear in.

23. Peak Design Travel Duffel 65L →

Peak Design recently updated their Travel Duffel 65L with some amazing features. It can be carried four ways and has just enough organization while still being able to carry a ton of gear.

PROS

  • Can be carried 4 ways
  • Massive capacity with a big opening
  • Organization inside and outside
  • Great quality material and durable
  • Security measures for the zippers

CONS

  • Heavy when full
  • Not padded so if anything is fragile, you need additional padding

BONUS: Kovered Humber Duffel →

Here’s a rugged large 45L capacity holdall perfect for a weekend getaway. It gives vintage vibes with present-day tech.

PROS

  • Wax canvas gives it moisture protection
  • Durable cotton fabric double lining
  • Has 2 interior compartments to help organize
  • 2 exterior zipped pockets for easy access
  • Full-grain leather straps and steel rivets
  • Reclaimed leather
  • Lifetime guarantee

CONS

  • If you’re doing a lot of walking, duffels can get heavy on one shoulder
  • No easy way to protect any fragile items
Kovered Humber Duffel Best Travel BagsPin

Other Bags We’ve Tested

  • Aer Duffel Pack
  • Exped Summit Lite (discontinued)
  • Golla Weekender Bag (discontinued)
  • Lo & Sons Seville and Rhodes Duffel Weekender (discontinued)
  • Lowepro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II Backpack (discontinued)
  • ONA The Camps Bay Backpack (discontinued)
  • Solo Packable Backpack (discontinued)
  • Wandrd Veer (discontinued)

Planning Checklist

What do you currently consider your best travel backpack? Are there any features you would add to make the perfect travel backpack?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

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