Backpacks are the essential part of the daily lives of people all over the world. We use backpacks while shopping, hiking, going to and from school and work. These versatile bags carry our essentials with us during our daily nomadic lives. So when it’s time to scope out a new backpack for yourself, it’s a decision that does require some thought and even thorough research.
So, when you are in the market for a new stylish, functional and durable backpack, you may find yourself just a bit overwhelmed by the vast variety of options available to you. Don’t believe me? Sit down at your PC, and just begin your search for a suitable backpack online, and you’ll find that these bags come many different styles, sizes, shapes, colors, and functions.
Best Travel Backpacks 2017 Comparison
|The 46 Liter Osprey Porter|
|eBags TLS Mother Lode|
|Cabin Max Oxford|
|Hynes Eagle 38|
|Top Power 8006|
|Osprey Farpoint 40|
All backpacks are very situation specific. This means that some backpacks are built for hiking and travel, while others are made for carrying textbooks to and from school. Still other bags need to be a certain size so they qualify for being a carry-on for travelers who frequently utilize air travel. Then you have the commuter travel bags, which function as a way for people to cart not only their mobile office, but also gym supplies, so they can work out before, during or after work. I know what you’re thinking, so many bags, and so little time, so let’s get started.
The 46 Liter Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Review
The first bag we are going to look at for our travel backpack review, is the 46 liter Osprey Porter Travel Backpack bag. This bag is touted as one of Osprey’s finest backpacks, and its one I am particularly fond of. Indeed, this can be considered one of the best travel backpacks out there. Osprey is a company founded in 1974 by Mike Pfotenhauer, and is devoted to the design and manufacture of backpacks, day packs, hydration packs and waist packs. Osprey bags are noted for their built-in suspension system which assists in balancing out the load. The Osprey Porter 46 liter Travel Pack is a lightweight, sleek travel backpack that takes it’s job seriously.
This travel pack comes with an adjustable, padded backpack harness that conveniently tucks away when not in use. If we take a look at the side walls of the Osprey 46 liter, we can see that they are padded and have compression straps which assists you in compressing your gear. The Osprey 46 liter is quite a hardy, tough bag, 9 x 22 x 14 inches in size, and has numerous pockets, which include a padded front panel that has room for your laptop or tablet. So, if we open it up and take a peek inside, we see that the interior pockets comfortably and safely carry your mouse, earphones, cell phone, cables or other items you may need to do business with as you travel. Quite the bag for the buck, I’d say.
Due to the frame construction, the padded backpack straps, along with the chest strap makes the Osprey 46 Liter a quite comfortable travel backpack that can be worn for many hours. This passion for creating comfort makes the Osprey 46 liter a favorite with trekkers, travelers and hikers everywhere. However, it should be noted that if you are a traveler, this bag holds a lot of gear, so it can get too heavy if packed to tightly, so best to load it at home, and try it out for a bit before the big trek. Whereas the padded shoulder straps are favored among users of this bag, others have suggested that the waist strap would be improved if it had more padding or were perhaps a bit wider. The Osprey 46 Liter comes in black, Hoodoo red, and nitro green.
Crazy Ants Military Tactical Travel Backpack
At 22x12x7.5 inches, this medium sized travel backpack packs a powerful punch with its fans. Crazy Ants Military Tactical bag is suitable for trekking as well as for packing and carting school text books and lunches. I found this bag had a rugged feel to it, and the look of a tough, sturdy military style backpack. This travel pack has the usual, standard padded and adjustable shoulder straps which add comfort, as well as proper ventilation, as the back is constructed of an air mesh material that aids cooling during long hot days under the steamy sun.
The adjustable shoulder straps can be stowed away in a zippered back panel. This works just fine when you wish to carry it as you would a brief case or duffel bag. To use it as a backpack, simply unzip the back panel, and roll the panel out of the way, and proceed to pack it on, traditional ‘backpack’ style. Putting the backpack on, you may find that you need added stability and balance for your load.
In that case, just use the waist, or hip belt, and remember, the hip belt needs to align with your hips or the weight will not be distributed evenly. There is also a strap that allows you to carry it across your shoulder, so the bag crosses your body. The Crazy Ants Military Tactical Backpack has Molle webbing for its pockets. Molle, pronounced ‘molly’ means Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment. Having Molle web for pouches and a padded interlayer for your laptop make this mid size bag extremely useful and sturdy for long hikes, heading to the gym or business trips.
For this travel backpack review, the Crazy Ants Military Tactical Backpack wins praise for its handling ease. The adjustable padded shoulder straps mean that this bag can be toted comfortably via one shoulder or two. This bag can also be carried as a duffel or handbag, great for airline travelers needing a durable, mid size bag for a carry-on with a large capacity. This bag not only provides the user with convenience, but it is also very practical and sturdy, perfect for short range hikes or light travel. The Crazy Ants Military Tactical Backpack comes in black, khaki, and army green.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Travel Backpack
The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible 45 Liter is a really nice find on this travel backpack review, I liked this bag a lot, even though it’s heavy, it’s still fun to use. The TLS Mother Lode is a tough bag, constructed from a strong polyester fabric, 9 x 22 x 14 inches in size and comes in at 3 pounds 15 ounces, that’s almost four pounds just for the bag itself. The TLS Mother Lode was selected as a preferred bag for travel, in the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle and was awarded the Best of Field Award.
The Best of Field Award takes into consideration the bags design, function, materials used, and end cost. This puts the TLS Mother Lode in the running for the best travel backpack. Despite it’s heft at nearly four pounds, the Weekender is a trekkers dream, as it has a laptop pocket, a multitude of organizer pockets as well as a fold down shelf. The bag gets it’s ‘Weekender’ name because it was designed for the extended weekend travel backpack trip.
I’m a person who likes to carry a lot of ‘stuff’ in these bags, so layout of a bag is very important. In order to gain full access to your essentials, your backpack’s configuration is a topmost concern, and this is where the TLS Mother Lode excels. The multiple compartments, pockets, allows the user to break up your gear in an orderly fashion. If you unzip this bags expander, the capacity can reach close to 60 liters.
The TLS Mother Lode’s comfy, contoured air mesh straps can be stowed away, so you can now carry this bag by a handle as a duffel bag. This Weekender allows you to utilize the interior as one large compartment, or you have the option to use a divider which separates the space into two separate compartments. If you are like me, and love details, then the TLS Mother Lode has them, such as the pack-away water bottle holder, ID windows and the compartment divider.
The Weekender sports a patent-pending ‘laptop sling’ that is designed to securely hug and protect your laptop. An excellent choice for the trekker or traveler, as this bag is flexible and responds very well to the traveler that is balancing business with fun, with a side trip to the gym. As an added side note, travelers have had great success with the additional purchase of the eBags Packing Cubes, which assist you in efficiently packing your Mother Lode. The TLS Mother Lode Weekender comes in black, blue yonder, eggplant, sinful red, green envy, heathered graphite.
Cabin Max Oxford Carry On Travel Backpack Review
Cabin Max is a company out of the United Kingdom that designs hand luggage to be light, tough and affordable. The Cabin Max Oxford Carry-On backpack, or soft case bag, is a beautifully designed bag, as it has a very trendy, contemporary design, with the front of the bag sporting a long, diagonal zipper that’s just built for your tablet, or documents. But looks with this bag can be deceiving.
For all its contemporary styling, this is a very rough and tough bag. Fans of this bag have taken it on treks across Europe, and are quite pleased at how it withstood the journey, often with very little damage. The fabric is UV coated and built to take punishments. If we open up the Cabin Max Oxford we see that opens just like any other hard case suitcase into a wide, roomy 44 liter interior.
Further inspection reveals that the interior has two zippered compartments, one mesh for your clothing. Mesh compartments for your clothing are an important consideration that often goes unnoticed. Mesh compartments help to keep your clothing fresh while it lays inside the bag, and that is extremely important if you will not be near any laundromat facilities during your travels.
Other features include a zip pocket that can contain a tablet or laptop, maximum size 15.5 inches. The adjustable, padded backpack straps can be stowed away in case you decide to carry your Cabin Max Oxford like a handbag or duffel, using one of the two grab handles located on its top or side. This bag also does well utilizing packing cubes (purchased separately). This bag is sized to 21 x 20.4 x 2.5 inches, as listed on Amazon, which is perfect as a carry-on for air travel. The Cabin Max Oxford comes in gray.
Timbuk2 Uptown Travel Backpack
timbuk2 backbacks is a company that began in a small garage in San Francisco’s Mission District by bike messenger, Rob Honeycutt. Today it’s a well received company that designs and manufacturers high quality backpacks and believes in sustainable manufacturing. For those of you that seek the fun and style of an urban outfitter bag, well the Timbuk2 Uptown Travel Backpack is right up your alley. I found this bag to be quite fetching while carried. This bag is lightweight, has a good size storage capacity, and has a streamlined, professional look. This bag is a mid size bag, 19.49″ x 11.22″ x 6.5″, and is constructed from oxford nylon fabric, which is a lightweight, strong and flexible fabric.
The Timbuk2 has a well favored status among its fans due to its multi compartment design, and is one of the absolute best travel backpack. Storage pockets flourish on both the interior of the bag as well as the exterior. Ventilation, is always important for travel backpacks and for those hot days, a channeled air mesh back panel will prevent your back from becoming hot and sweaty as you travel during the humid daylight hours. This bag has a large capacity which can comfortably contain your books and lunch, as well as having a dedicated TSA compliant laptop compartment.
As you can see, from this travel backpack review, this bag is the businesspersons dream travel companion. The Timbuk2 has pockets for your tablets, pens, and small accessories, as well as slip and zip pockets, with a zippered front pocket and two side pockets for treats or water or juice bottles. This is a durable, lightweight backpack suitable for urban commuting and trips to and from school.
The Timbuk2 Uptown is designed with a contemporary flair, and is stylishly modern in appearance. What I really liked about the Uptown was its conveniently placed, zippered pocket on the top of the bag, which is excellent for storing essentials such as pens, bus passes, identification cards, or car fare, right where you can get to them, without having to deep inside your bag. Also, a the Uptown sports a convenient side handle for those of you who’d rather tote the bag by hand, as you would a duffel bag or briefcase. The Timbuk2 Uptown is the perfect bag to take along to festivals and rock concerts, as it’s design is just made for storing foods, drinks, and blankets. If you have a new student who is off to their first year at college, this is the perfect bag to gift them. The Timbuk2 Uptown Travel Backpack comes in black, abyss, black/red devil, diablo, dusk blue-black, midway, oxide adobe, Pike, tropic limestone.
Outlander Packable Travel Backpack
One look at this Outlander Packable Backpack, and you can see why it is a great favorite for many trekkers and travelers. The Outlander Packable Backpack is compact, stylish, lightweight and strong. While doing the travel backpack review, I found the high point of this particular travel bag to be how it folds into itself to become compact and out of the way when not needed.
The compact aspect of this backpack can be seen when you fold the bag into an inner pocket and zip it up. When you need the Outlander Packable Backpack to become a backpack again, you simply unfold it from the pocket and viola, it returns to a backpack. The Outlander also scores highly with users for it’s multi compartment design.
Time to take a peek inside this lightweight giant, and see what we can find. The Outlander Packable Backpack bag has a large, spacious main compartment, two front pockets, two side pockets for treats, bottles or an umbrella, plus one interior lockable zippered pocket for any valuables such as cash, credit cards and passport.
The Outlander is very lightweight at only 1/2 a pound, and at 33 liters, it’s very roomy, stylish design works for most travelers. This sturdy and durable backpack is constructed with a tough nylon fabric that resists tears and general wear with ease, providing it’s owner with many years of top notch performance.
This lightweight bag is only 0.5 pounds and comes with a large 33 liter capacity. It should be remembered that a bag this light is minus some major support and protection for items within the bag, so be conscious of this aspect of the bag. Dimensions of this 33 liter bag are: Unfolded, 19 x 13 x 8.2 inches, and folded 6.29 x 5.90 x 2 inches. The bag also comes in a 20 liter design.
Perfect for light travel or for use during your day to day activities. So for any of you travelers out there that like to live by the ‘gram’ so to speak, where every bit of weight matters, this travel pack is definitely for you. The Outlander Packable Backpack comes in black, green, red, light blue, pink, dark blue, orange, purple, and gray.
Hynes Eagle 38 Travel Backpack Review
The next bag on our best travel backpack review list is the Hynes Eagle 38 Liter Carry-on travel backpack. This backpack is a well constructed bag manufactured from a rugged PVC polyester fabric. The Hynes Eagle is a sturdy bag that can easily handle your laptop, accessories, and other gadgets within its large capacity, padded compartment. The Hynes Eagle is a bag that transforms, in other words, it’s a convertible travel pack.
So, when I say that it transforms, I mean that it can convert from a traditional backpack to a duffel bag carry on when necessary. After converting, the bag can then be carried by utilizing either the top handle or side handle.
The main compartment is spacious and is designed with inner straps to assist in keeping your essential items in place during your travels. Having internal straps also guarantees peace of mind in case of a zipper failure in that your essential items will still remain in place within the bag. There is also a sleeve pocket for a laptop or tablet. For the traveler that needs quick access to travel essentials, such as documents and maps, car fare, or passports, the front has a zippered pocket that gives the traveler easy access to these items.
The interior of the Hynes Eagle, holds pockets which can store your writing implements, cell phones, chargers, or other items. The reinforced lining adds to the quality of this bag. The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded for comfort, and can be easily stowed away when the backpack is converted into a duffel bag. The sides of the Hynes Eagle 38 liter have compression straps so you can easily adjust for your load.
The bag comes with a top handle and side handle which offers flexibility for handling. The Hynes Eagle 38 Liter bag is actually the perfect bag for those hard bodies out there that need a good, solid bag to take with them to the gym. This bag can carry a laptop, charger and cable, work papers, jogging shoes, curling iron and hair dryer, plus a random assortment of toiletries, along with lunch. So, this bag is the perfect day to day bag, built for work and also for time at the gym after work. An excellent commuter bag. Dimensions of this bag: 13 x 7.9 x 19.7 inches. The Hynes Eagle 38 Liter backpack comes in black, purple, gray, or violet.
Top Power 8006 Travel Backpack
We continue our travel backpack review, with a bag that efficiency packers will love. If you are in the market for a top of the line, tough mid size convertible bag, look no further, the Top Power 8006 is here. I found that the Top Power 8006 is a solidly made, good quality, 35 liter backpack with a large capacity and multiple storage options for your personal needs. The Top Power 8006 is a convertible bag, which means you can transform this as you see fit. This travel backpack unzips so you can utilize any of the three pockets, and zips up again, when those pockets are no longer necessary. The Top Power 8006 can be used as a carry on bag during trips, or used like a standard backpack via padded, adjustable shoulder straps. The seams are well sewn, zippers are tough and do not stick.
The Top Power 8006 is the bag for those of you efficiency packers out there, that absolutely love a bag with a lot of compartments. There are also easy access net pouches on each side, which adds to its perfection for hiking, trekking, traveling, or just regular day to day activities such as commuting to school or work, or just going shopping. The well padded, adjustable shoulder straps fit very well around the shoulders and help protect against fatigue and chafing.
The sternum, or chest strap is well made and useful when carrying a large load. The two hidden pockets located in the front of the bag come in handy as well for bus passes and car fare. The back panel is an airflow back panel which prevents you from becoming hot and sweaty when traveling under the heat of the noon day sun. This pack also comes with an adjustable sternum, or chest strap that makes carrying a fully loaded pack easier.
The Top Power 8006 is also equipped with a strong top handle for toting. The pack is constructed with a sturdy nylon fabric, and has reinforced stress points for added durability. Customer service for this bag is touted as particularly good, with quick response time from the manufacturer. The dimensions of the bag are 20 x 14 x 7.8 inches. This bag scored a 78 percent 5 star review on Amazon. The Top Power 8006 is available in black.
Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack Review
The Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is another fine, sturdy and upstanding model from Osprey. This is a good, solid bag, but I still personally favor the Osprey 46 Liter. Still, this bag is a sleek, and stylish light travel bag, constructed of a tear and wear resistant nylon fabric. The Osprey Farpoint is a very well constructed bag, with dual front compression straps that allow you to compress your load for ease of travel and storage. The bag has dual front mesh pockets, as well as handles on both the top and the sides of the bag, for easy handling. The Farpoint has a large capacity main compartment built for books or 15 ” laptop.
The Osprey Farpoint has padded, adjustable shoulder straps that can be stowed away and hidden when not in use. For those days when you have a heavier load, users are encouraged to use both the hip belt and sternum strap for that last, added bit of stability and balance. The interior of the bag has one slip pocket and one zip pocket. The main compartment has built-in inner straps to secure any essentials that you are carrying.
The lining is a bright fluorescent green which may look a little unsightly at first, but serves a very useful purpose. The bright green is extremely useful in locating items within the compartment, quickly and efficiently with as little hassle and fuss as possible. This gets high marks from me, as there are times when you do need something from your bag, and you need them fast.
This bag is an Osprey, so you know it is going to have a solid suspension system built into it. Indeed it has a light wood frame suspension which aids in balancing the load as you hike. The Osprey Far Point 40 is a good choice for those who plan on spending time away from the big city, and head to the wilderness for the weekend. The back panel is mesh, so allows for constant air flow which keeps you cooler on hot days.
This bag is a great gym or commuter bag, as well as one that would handle a lot of camping gear. It comes with a top handle and side handle for when you’d prefer to tote it during a walk. Dimensions for the Far Point 40 are 14 x 21 x 15 inches. The Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack comes in blue, brick-red, Caribbean blue, jasper red, and volcanic gray.
And the Best Travel Backpack is…
There you have it, nine of some of the best backpacks available on the market today, as seen in our travel backpack review. However, of all these amazing, highly durable and functional packs, I chose the Osprey 46 Liter Porter Travel Backpack as the absolute best travel backpack available.
The Osprey 46 Liter Porter Travel Backpack
The reasons for choosing the Osprey 46 Liter travel backpack, are quite simple and straightforward. The Osprey 46 Liter design makes it the perfect carry-on size, while at the same time, having a large capacity compartment that can hold the gear you will need during your trip, or commute. The Osprey can be used as a traditional backpack or carried as a duffel bag.
Osprey is known for its frame suspension design that it builds into their bags. This suspension design nicely transfers the weight of the load, so it’s balanced and stable. This suspension helps to prevent muscle soreness, chafing and fatigue by taking the weight off the shoulders. You can carry the Osprey 40 Liter as a backpack or as a duffel bag. When it comes time to go full on backpack, just unzip the back panel and grab the padded, mesh shoulder straps and waist belt.
This bag is designed and crafted to carry a maximum load with minimal discomfort. It accomplishes this, not only with the built-in suspension frame, but also it’s ‘straight jacket’ compression side straps, which aid in stabilization of the pack while trekking. The Osprey 46 Liter backpack is just the absolute perfect back pack for all of your day to day, travel, or trekking needs.
The Osprey 46 Liter Travel Backpack is the best travel backpack for the money. The suspension design, along with the well-placed backpack harness, makes this travel backpack one you can use for hours without feeling great fatigue. Sturdy and durable, this bag will provide you with years of trusted service. I highly recommend this travel backpack to anyone looking to purchase a new travel backpack.
How To Choose a the Best Travel Backpack
Choosing a travel backpack is a lot harder than you think. So lets start with the basics. As previously stated, there is much research that needs to be done so you will find a backpack that truly suits your needs. Your initial consideration when choosing a new backpack is a basic and simple one: Gear. You should first consider what type of gear you will be toting in your bag. For example, will you be using it for camping, travel or school?
Will your bag be primarily used for going to work and then to the gym? Hiking and camping backpacks will have different features than one which has been built for books and laptops. Once you have narrowed down your choice based on gear, then you will need to consider the capacity of the bag, or the size of the bag you will need. For example, if you are a light traveler and just need it for overnight stays, a 20 – 50 liter bag will do. If you are on the road for, say, 5 days, then choose a 50 – 80 liter.
For any type of extended hiking or trekking adventures, then you’d best go for an 80 plus liter bag. To help you in picturing the size in terms of liters, remember that a 40 Liter bag is equivalent to twenty, yes twenty 2 liter bottles of soda! Remember, choosing a backpack means you’ll be traveling light, so make sure you do not choose a pack that will end up making you sore and worn out when you get back. A good rule of thumb is to start small, and work your way up.
Travel Backpack Basics
We’re not done yet. Having a basic knowledge of backpack ‘anatomy’ is also an important consideration when choosing your best travel backpack. The first thought should be your comfort. You want to be comfortable and cool as you trek or travel, so look for shoulder straps that are easily adjustable and are nicely padded, and that sit well on your shoulders. Make sure that the straps do not chafe your arms.
Unless you want the back of your T-shirt all wet and sweaty, look into the ventilation of the bag. The bag should also have a back panel that has air mesh construction, which allows air to circulate between the bag and your back, so you do not become turn into a hot sweaty and stinky rag by the end of the day. Check out the straps. Certain bags come with a ‘sternum strap, also known as a chest strap. The chest strap connects the shoulder straps to the front for additional stability. This chest strap is highly recommended if you will be carrying camping equipment over heavy terrain for a long period of time.
Compression straps, also called ‘straight jacket straps’ are those straps which are located on the sides of the backpack. These compression straps can be adjusted to either loosen the bag so you can increase the capacity, or tighten the bag when you are not packing many items. A Hip belt, or waist strap is used to tighten around your hips. Make sure that the hip belt aligns with your hips. This adds additional stability and aids in balancing the load. Another part of bag anatomy that is important in your final decision is panel placement. Do you prefer a top loading or side loading backpack.
The following travel backpack reviews include the best travel backpacks that are available on the market today. Strong, functional and each with their own particular style and design. We will go through each travel backpack design and point out the absolute best qualities of that particular bag, in hopes to assist you in finding that perfect traveling companion.
These backpacks are referred to as ‘travel backpacks’. All within the MLC, or maximum Legal Carry on size. In other words, all are classified as bags used as carry ons for airlines, hold pockets for passports, documents, juice or water bottles, pockets for laptops, tablets and cell phones.
All in all, a great selection of some of the best travel backpacks that you just cannot go wrong with. It’s important, when shopping for your new backpack to take in all the considerations necessary to end up with the absolutely best backpack for your trekking, travel or day to day needs. A good travel backpack will make your journeys, both near and far much easier, as the selection of the proper bag will result in a comfortable and pleasant experience. As long as your chosen travel backpack fits you properly, distributing the weight evenly as well as a comfortable harness system, you should be able to wear the pack for long periods if need be whether you travel by foot, bus, train or plane.