How to choose the best backpack for travel?
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How to choose the best backpack for travel? 

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How to choose the best backpack for travel? This question comes up repeatedly on travel forums and social media. Moreover, I asked myself many times. 

More travel backpacks are available on the market than ever before. That’s great news for you because it means that bag companies are finally paying attention to travelers like us who want comfortable, functional, urban, user-friendly, and stylish travel backpacks. And I am here to assist you in selecting the best travel backpack for your needs.

I’ve traveled around Europe dozens of times with a backpack on my back, and over the years, I’ve personally tested over ten of the most popular travel bags to bring you the best travel backpacks on the market (yes, I am backpack nerd).

What you’ll find in this guide: I’ll go over all of the features and aspects to look for when selecting the best travel backpack for you, and I’ll also recommend my favorite backpacks at each price point because we all know that no one wants to spend more than 150 euros on a backpack.

How to choose the best backpack for travel? 

Best travel backpack carry-on

When you travel with only a backpack, you have more freedom than when you travel with a suitcase. It’s a very zen mode of transportation that you won’t fully appreciate until you’ve tried it.

Because you’re physically limited to what you can fit in your backpack, a backpack forces you to think carefully about what you bring. It allows you to travel more efficiently. Sure, it’ll be difficult at first, but once you’re on the road, you’ll appreciate how light the load is.

When you travel light, you can easily navigate crowded train stations, cobblestone streets, endless staircases, and anything else that comes your way.

You won’t have to worry about expensive check-in fees or airlines losing your luggage if you travel with a carry-on-sized backpack.

What size backpack for traveling

How to choose the best backpack for travel?

There are dozens of travel backpacks on the market, and I tested many of them. Some of them are truly remarkable. Some of them are downright awful. However, because every traveler has different needs and requirements, there is no one backpack that is perfect for everyone.

For example, someone going on a weekend trip will have different needs than someone going on a 12-month trip to Europe.

What size backpack for traveling? Typically, backpacks are measured in liters (e.g. 30L, 45L, 50L, etc.). Be aware that companies measure volume differently, so 35L brand A may differ from 35L brand B. Bags also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so liters alone should not be used to determine size.

As a result, in this guide, I’ll try to highlight the various features so you can pick the ones that are most important for your travel style.

In general, a travel backpack’s maximum legal carry-on bag is around 43-45 liters. However, because airline requirements and actual bag sizes differ, you’ll want to double-check the airline’s requirements and actual bag sizes. Most airlines, however, are more concerned with weight than with size.

Backpack reviews

I've included some recommendations for the best carry-on backpack below. The information provided here will assist you in making the best decision possible when purchasing a backpack.

So, what is the ideal travel backpack size? That is dependent on your requirements. However, here are my opinions on backpack size:

20L-30L: Backpacks under 30L are too small for anyone planning a trip lasting more than a day or two. This standard Jansport backpack has a capacity of 25 liters.

  • 30L-35L: There are a handful of travel backpacks in the 30L-35L range. In our opinion, they are still too small for most travelers. Bags in this range are ideal for minimalist travel.

Examples of backpacks:

Osprey Tempest 30L

Air Travel Pack 2 33L

Tortuga Setout Divide (expandable) 26L-34L

  • 35L-40L: Backpacks in the 35L–40L range are starting to hit this sweet spot for many lightweight travelers. That said, you’ll still need to be selective with your luggage, as there will only be room for the essentials. 

Minaal Carry-On 2.0

Backpack examples:

Osprey Farpoint 40L.

Osprey Fairview 40L (a female version of the Farpoint)

Fireplace Tortuga 35L

  • 40L-45L: As mentioned earlier, 45L is about the largest your bag can be before it’s considered a carry-on. But this is the size I recommend for most travelers because it gives you a little more room. 

Backpack examples:

Fireplace Tortuga 45L

Osprey Farpoint 55 (45L + 10L detachable daypack)

Osprey Fairview 55 (45L + 10L detachable daypack)

Setout Tortuga 45L

Kelty Redwing 44

  • Over 45L: If you’re not concerned about meeting carry-on requirements, you might consider backpacks in the 45L-55L range. There are a few 55L-80L bags on the market, but I suggest you avoid them as they become a bit more difficult to carry. 

Examples of backpacks:

Osprey Carrier 46

Osprey Atoms 50

Osprey Aura 50 (a female version of the Atmos)

Kelty Redwing 50

Note: The length of your trip does not necessarily correspond to the size of your backpack. That's because you'll be doing laundry on longer trips, so the amount you pack for a 5-day trip isn't really any different than for a 7-week trip.

How to choose a travel backpack

It is the traveler’s number one accessory! It will accompany you for years around the world. How to choose a travel backpack? So, choosing the right backpack is important and requires some time to think about. Here are some tips to help you!

I exclude from this category suitcases designed solely for urban travel. For most trips, nothing beats a good backpack!

They allow you to have both hands free while walking, and they are versatile bags. You can both use them for a trek and move around with your luggage no matter what the terrain is! Your backpack should not be too big or too small. Ideally, it should be proportional to your body size. As you know, the bigger the bag, the more tempted we are to fill it. Often, not everything you put in it will be useful, even for a world tour.

I’ve met some travelers with 25-kilo bags. It is really a burden, even a chore throughout the trip. And then, if you have to fly, the weight of checked luggage is usually between 18 and 22 kilos. If you go over the limit, you will have to pay.

My backpack is usually 15 kilos when filled. And yet, I think it’s too much. Some people are adept at traveling light. For a long trip and for a tall person, a bag of between 60 and 80 liters is the norm. You should know that a well-filled 80-liter bag easily exceeds 20 kilos.

Two styles of bags for travel

The classic backpack

  • There are several styles of bags. For my part, I have always opted for a classic backpack.
  • The important thing is that it is comfortable. Thus, it must be adapted to your morphology.

Advantages

  • Versatility: discovery of a country, city, hiking, trekking, etc.
  • Side pockets and other accessories: straps, nets, etc.
  • Less heavy than suitcases
  • They are less costly than suitcases.

On the downside, this type of bag is less secure in the sense that it is easier to open.

Suitcase backpack

Suitcase backpack is another interesting alternative. These backpacks offer a large compartment that opens like a suitcase. They also have wheels and a folding handle. They offer more comfort.

These bags offer a certain compromise between a suitcase and a backpack.

Disadvantages:

  • They are a little heavier.
  • External pockets are being reduced.
  • A little more expensive than the classic backpacks.

Advantage: the ability to easily and securely lock your bag.

Configuration and options

Shoulder straps and belts

Shoulder straps are really important. They must be comfortable walking. Choose a pack with the “adjustable back” option.

One more thing: load reminders are straps that connect the shoulder straps to the backpack. By pulling on these straps, your bag will stick to your body.

The quality of the ventilation between the back and the bag is also not to be neglected.

The belt is an important element of comfort. It will relieve you by making you carry most of the weight of the bag on your pelvis and not on your back.

For a long walk, it is really a plus.

Access

Opt for a bag with two compartments separated by a zip. This will allow you to separate your dirty things from your clean ones.

Your bag should also have a side opening so that you can quickly access your things without having to take them out of your bag.

The flap should be wide enough to fit a sleeping bag or tent without difficulty.

The pockets

They allow you to increase the capacity of the bag. They are very useful for being able to take an object easily.

All backpacks contain two side pockets of varying sizes. They should not be too small.

A document pocket is sometimes located inside the bag on the back. This is useful for storing files, folders, and other documents.

A mesh pocket located on the flap allows you to slip a fleece, jacket, or water bottle for easy access.

Bag protector

Some models include a plastic protection that allows you to cover almost the entire bag. It is practical to protect it from the rain or the bag. If your bag ends up on the roof of a bus during the monsoon in India, you will thank him!

You can also buy this accessory separately.

Wrist

A good handle located at the top of the bag will allow you to move it easily.

My travel companion

For my part, I own a Quechua Forclaz 50, a very good bag at the price of 60 euros that I have had for several months! You can also find very good ones for around 50 euros, always from the same manufacturer.

You should not hesitate to put the price in a backpack. It is an investment in a travel budget. A good backpack will last at least 10 years!

Accessories for your backpack

I won’t teach you anything by telling you that bags are the preferred target of thieves. Here are some useful accessories to limit the risks.

Padlock and chain

Get at least one numbered padlock, which is more secure to keep your bag safe in certain circumstances. Buy yourself a chain as well.

This will allow you to attach your bag to the bus hold in Latin America. You will be able to sleep on both ears!

How to choose the best travel backpack for women

How to choose the best travel backpack for women?  We all have different needs when we travel, and there are several reasons for this. First of all, some of us travel for pleasure, others for work, which implies carrying different types of stuff. But also, we don’t all use the same means of transportation, and we are not all organized in the same way. For all these reasons, it is important to know that your choice must be made according to several criteria.

The materials

The materials used for the design of your travel backpack involve other factors that I will explain below. But they also have an impact on the aesthetic aspect of the model you choose. Be sure to choose a quality bag while taking your personal taste into account.

Indeed, if fabric or leather are often the most represented materials, it can sometimes be interesting to aim for other materials, especially synthetic, which can guarantee better maintenance of your things during your journeys.

Capacity

Of course, the question of capacity will be of particular importance when choosing a travel backpack. It is essential to choose a model that allows you to carry everything you need without having to strain yourself.

So, first, I recommend that you ask yourself this question: is your bag intended to supplement your luggage to serve as extra storage, or is it your only bag on your trip? This simple question will immediately guide you to a suitable size and make your decision easier.

Robustness

Here is another very important criterion. The sturdiness of your bag must be particularly well chosen because it will accompany you during your travels, sometimes over long distances or long periods. And beyond the daily wear and tear that it will undergo, it is also necessary to take into account the various movements and shocks that it may be confronted with.

Indeed, whether you travel by train, plane, boat, or even bus and car, you will not be able to watch over it at all times. So make sure your bag will not suffer from all these movements.

Comfort

When I travel, there is nothing more unpleasant than realizing that our luggage is uncomfortable. It is therefore an aspect that you must take into consideration at the time of your purchase.

There are two main aspects to the question. On the one hand, the straps and the back of the bag must be sufficiently reinforced to guarantee your comfort. But the various storage spaces, such as the external pockets, should also attract your attention, as they will allow a much simpler and more fluid use.

Price

Finally, the price factor can also be important, especially if you have a limited budget. And while I always advise putting quality first, you can still adjust your purchases to fit your wallet. But make sure that the model you are looking for meets all your expectations according to the criteria I have just presented.

Why Is It Important To Choose A Sturdy Travel Backpack?

As always, when buying a bag, or more generally, a leather goods item, the question of sturdiness is particularly important. Indeed, the model you choose must be able to resist not only time, but also all your movements.

This is especially true when buying a travel backpack. For good reason, it is a piece of luggage that will be carried for long periods of time and over long distances. Therefore, it is essential that the bag you buy is strong enough to withstand the friction and damage that could result.

Women’s Travel Backpack: What’s the Trend?

There are two aspects to this question. Indeed, the answer will not be the same depending on whether you are looking for a bag for your personal travels or for your business travels.

In the first case, it is obvious that the trend is towards modernity. So choose a bag that allows you to carry all your daily accessories, with a rather contemporary design and that nevertheless guarantees the security of your belongings. For your work, on the other hand, I will aim more for classic and refined models, which correspond more to the expectations of your various partners.

Conclusion About Women’s Travel Backpacks

If you are looking for women’s travel backpacks, it is very important to ask yourself beforehand what your needs are. This is what will allow you to choose the model most consistent with your expectations. So, whether it’s the design, the practicality or the sturdiness of the bag in question, make sure you opt for a complete and durable model.

Our selection is full of different models, which are often available in several colors, to best suit your personality and taste. Feel free to browse through them to find the one that suits you.

How to choose a travel backpack for men 

How to choose a travel backpack for men? To ensure you choose the right travel backpack, the model must meet several criteria that you should focus on. Indeed, according to your needs and your means, you will have a first choice that will be easy to make. I will give you here the main criteria that will allow you to make a first selection, but do not forget that it is up to you to adapt them according to your own priorities.

Solidity

The first thing you need to pay attention to is the sturdiness of the bag in question. Indeed, when you travel, you will be subjected to rubbing, knocks, and other clumsiness, even without meaning to.

It is therefore important that you are aware of this and that you make your choice accordingly. Thus, in addition to the manufacturer’s reputation, I invite you to check the presence of reinforcements in the most fragile areas, as well as the presence of straps or supports.

Dimensions

Of course, the dimensions of a men’s travel backpack are of paramount importance on several levels. First, and most obviously, your bag should be able to accommodate all of your belongings without having to force it. I even recommend that you keep some room for souvenirs, for example.

But there are two other factors to keep in mind. On the one hand, the bag must be the right size for you so that you don’t suffer from carrying it. On the other hand, it must also be adapted to your means of transportation. On planes, in particular, luggage must not exceed certain dimensions. You will have to find the right size with all these criteria.

The characteristics

This is a rather broad criterion that I propose here, but it is also important. When I talk about features, Iam thinking in particular about the different storage possibilities that the bag you have chosen allows you. It is indeed important to ensure that all your accessories will find their place.

But it can also refer to more modern features, such as the presence of a USB port, an advanced security system, anti-theft protection, and so on. It’s up to you to check that according to how important it is to you.

The materials of manufacture

Checking the manufacturing materials must be done at the same time as checking the solidity. Indeed, these two elements are closely linked and allow you to ensure the safety of your belongings.

Therefore, I invite you to choose materials that are already resistant, such as nylon, for example, which also have reinforcement systems that improve the durability of the bag.

The cost

Finally, I know that the cost of such a purchase can hold some people back. And while I advise you to always put quality first, it is entirely possible to find a model that offers good value for money.

When making your selection, don’t hesitate to adapt your choice according to your budget, which will allow you to concentrate on the other essential criteria.

Why Is It Important To Choose The Best Travel Backpack For Men?

If you choose correctly, your travel backpack will be able to accompany you for many years on all your travels. It is therefore essential that you select it carefully so that you don’t have to make a repeat purchase too often.

By taking care of your belongings and choosing a particularly resistant model, you will travel with more peace of mind, especially since your belongings will always arrive in good condition regardless of the means of transportation used. But don’t worry, there are enough good-quality models to find the right one for you.

What’s the Trend for Men’s Travel Backpacks?

In recent years, there has been a genuine revival of nostalgic items, that is, items inspired by several decades ago. For travel backpacks, this is confirmed by some vintage products that easily find their audience.

However, we must not forget the need for modernity, especially when traveling. So, whatever design you choose, remember to make sure that all your equipment (electronic or not) can find its place in a secure way. This way, you will be able to enjoy your comfort during all your travels.

Conclusion About Men’s Travel Backpacks

As is often the case with fashion and accessories, subjective criteria and personal taste play a huge role. This is also true for travel backpacks. However, if it’s also about standing out with your personality, you should not lose sight of the fact that there are some objective factors that need to be taken into account.

SUMMARY

When planning to buy a travel bag, therefore, consider making sure that you will be able to use it as you see fit, so that this purchase is useful and meets precisely what you expected.

I hope this 'How to choose the best backpack for travel' guide will help you make a decision on choosing the right travel backpack for you. If you have any questions about backpacks, I will be happy to answer them. As always, you can ask questions in the comments. Have a great trip!


Did you know….
When you buy something after clicking on one of my links, I get a small commission. However, you continue to pay the same amount!



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5 Comments

  1. This is a great article for someone like me! I never traveled with a backpack, but it would make my life much easier. I probably would go for the biggest one, but after reading your article I realized it would be a bad idea. Thank you for putting this together ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This is such a great detailed post, really enjoyed it! Buying a backpack specially designed for women made a huge difference for me, comfort is definitely key!

  3. Great article! I just “invested” in a suitcase / backpack hybrid this year from Osprey and it doesn’t really seem to fit things very well – might be time to go back to the drawing board and get a new one!

    1. Thank you very much Katie! I had never considered purchasing a hybrid backpack. I’m used to traditional backpacks because I travel frequently and hike in the mountains. The Osprey backpacks are of excellent quality. There are also other notable manufacturers, such as Deuter, that I did not mention in the article.