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Travel Backpacks - Reviews & Guides For 2023

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Travel Backpack Buyers Guide

If you are a travel enthusiast, then you will agree on how important a travel backpack is! Not only the backpack helps you organize your stuff, but also it offers ample comfort and support that you need while exploring new places.

An ideal backpack should last for years and should be entirely waterproof; that's why it becomes daunting when choosing a reliable travel backpack.

Whenever you search for the best travel backpacks, you will get tons of options to choose from. Different brands, a variety of sizes, and other such factors will make it hard for you to make a choice.

But no need to worry as we are here with this travel backpack buyer’s guide that will help you choose the best backpack that lasts longer and looks good.

Go through this guide to find out what factors you should consider when looking for a travel backpack.

Benefits of using a travel backpack

Most of you might think that what is the need to use a travel backpack when you can travel with a regular backpack! Well, a travel backpack has different characteristics than a regular backpack. Below we have explained some benefits that you will only experience if you have a reliable pack.

Highly water-resistant

Rains are inevitable, especially if you love to explore the unexplored forests and other such areas. So, you need a backpack that protects your camera gear and other precious items from water splashes.

When you purchase a travel backpack, you get the assurance of ultimate water resistance. These backpacks are made using materials that water from entering the bag. Also, the zippers are durable and are highly waterproof.

You can rest assured that your stuff will remain dry if you purchase an excellent waterproof travel backpack.

More storage and less fuss

Travel backpacks are designed to offer more storage space so that you can carry a lot of things while traveling. Furthermore, you can easily access all the compartments, and there will be no fuss and confusion. Travel backpacks are designed to make your life easy.

You can even access some compartments while walking with the pack on your back.

Secure pockets

There are plenty of secure pockets available in travel backpacks that will help you in keeping your precious stuff safe. Whether you want to protect your smartphone or the camera gear from thefts, you can use the same secure compartments.

Unparalleled convenience

Unlike a suitcase, you don't need to pull the backpack around. You can put it on your back, and you are good to go. Travel backpacks are ideal for traveling on flights due to the compact size and ample storage space.

You can even stow the pack in the overhead compartment, so convenience is guaranteed.

Now that you know about the benefits of a travel backpack, let's look at the factors that will help you decide which pack is suitable for you.

Factors to consider when selecting a travel backpack

Travel backpacks are available in a variety of options, sizes, weight capacities, and materials, so it wouldn’t be that easy to choose the best backpack without this guide.

The factors mentioned below will help you shortlist the best pack that’s lightweight, comfortable, and offers excellent storage.

What are your travel plans?

To decide which travel backpack you should buy, you need to understand your travel plans. If you love one-day hikes, then there is no need to buy a backpack that has 40-50 liters storage capacity.

Similarly, if you are planning to spend a week away from home, then you need a backpack with good storage to accommodate your stuff.

For shorter trips

You should go for a compact and handy carry-on travel backpack for shorter trips that are perfect for throwing two pairs of clothes and some other accessories in it. The backpack is flight-friendly, and you can stow it in the overhead compartment without any hassles.

The backpacks have specific compartments, but you get excellent storage to carry your laptop, sunglasses, water bottles, and some clothes. Buying a carry-on travel backpack will be a great idea if you don’t have any plans for longer trips.

For a single day hike

There is no need to invest in a massive backpack with extra storage if you have some plans for a single day hike. You should go for a waterproof backpack that has plenty of pockets so that you can carry your supplies, some gear, and all the things that you will need while hiking.

The storage capacity of these packs is less, and that’s why they are affordable and lightweight. Further, these packs are highly comfortable and come with padded straps so you can comfortably hike for hours without getting tired.

For long term traveling

So, you are planning to spend a few days far away from your home? You need a backpack that helps you in carrying everything you will need. For long term travel, you need a backpack with incredible storage capacity ranging from 40-50 liters.

The backpack should have enough pockets and storage compartments to carry your essentials. Moreover, you can stuff a lot of items inside these backpacks due to the size.

For multi-day camping and hiking

The travel backpack's storage capacity should be around 50-60 liters so that you can carry your waterproof clothing in it. These packs should be waterproof, so make sure that it is made using water-resistant material.

You will find most of these packs a bit pricey, and that's evident because of the durability you will get. Additionally, you can use the loops available on the backpack to carry the tent poles and other such things.


The next thing to check is the type and quality of material as the backpack's longevity depends on the material it is made up of. Some materials are waterproof, while some aren't. Similarly, the life of every material is different, so you should choose the right type of material depending on your requirements.

Here are some materials used to manufacture travel backpacks:


Nylon is a popular material when it comes to travel backpacks because it is lightweight and durable. Nylon is a superb synthetic material that comes in different types, so you should check the instruction label to find out the material composition of the backpack.

There are many benefits of using nylon backpacks, such as they are durable, lightweight, and waterproof. If you want the backpack to last longer, then go for nylon packs. However, they can be expensive as compared to other materials.


Travel backpacks made using canvas are lightweight and affordable. If you have no plans to roam into the wilds, then go for backpacks made using high-quality canvas. However, canvas packs aren't waterproof and aren't very durable as well.

Furthermore, they easily get dirty, so you need to wash the backpack after some time.


Polyester is another commonly used material used to manufacture travel backpacks. These backpacks are waterproof but a bit heavier as compared to nylon backpacks. You can use a polyester backpack while hiking or camping, and they are suitable for other traveling purposes as well.

How to choose material thickness?

The thickness of the material helps you determine the durability and sturdiness of the backpack. The thicker the material, the more durable the pack will be. However, the weight of the pack will increase due to its thickness.

To measure the thickness, the manufacturers use denier ratings. You can check the denier rating on the instruction label to find out the thickness of the backpack.

Panel access

The panel access will help you decide how easy it will be to access the stored items. If you want to access some items while walking with the pack on your bag, then you should go for side panel access packs. Here are some common panel access types explained in detail, along with the pros and cons.

Side panel access travel backpacks

These backpacks will look more like a suitcase, as the zipper moves on the side of the backpack. You can conveniently store the items and access them whenever required. Travelers who like packs that are safe should go for side panel access, as the zips are lockable.

Additionally, accessing the stored items is easy, as you don't have to put all the items out of the pack to access the items stored below.


  • Easy access and ample storage
  • Lockable zips ensured added safety
  • Durable and sturdy


  • Fewer storage compartments
  • Heavy

Top load panel access backpacks

Top load panel access backpacks are the ones that you commonly see. The backpacks have a panel on the top that lets you store the items easily. The backpacks have multiple pockets and zippers that you can use to store your belongings.


  • Lightweight
  • Highly durable and waterproof
  • Multiple storage compartments


  • Not as secure as side panel access

Safety features

When choosing a travel backpack, never compromise with the security features. As an example, some backpacks are manufactured using slash-free material that safeguards your items from thefts. Also, check the zippers and make sure that they aren’t accessible to anyone when you put the pack on your back.

Another thing to check is the lockable zippers so that you can lock the backpack while traveling in a bus or flight. Some manufacturers offer secure compartments, and no one can guess where you have stored your belongings.


There is no need to explain why comfort is important when buying a travel backpack. You should never buy a backpack that's not comfortable as you won’t be able to walk while carrying it on your back.

To determine the backpack's comfort, you should consider checking the straps, lumbar support, and padding. The backpack should have sufficient padding in the straps and the back.

Further, the straps should be breathable so that you don’t feel sweaty around your shoulders. A backpack that is comfortable will help you travel with ease, and you can walk miles without getting tired.

Resistance to water splashes

There is no IP water resistance rating when it comes to choosing a travel backpack, so you need to be careful when buying it. Most manufacturers list whether the backpack is waterproof or not. Also, you can guess it by choice of the material.

Backpacks made using polyester and nylon are waterproof, whereas canvas material isn’t waterproof. Additionally, check the zippers to ensure that the water cannot seep inside the backpack from anywhere.

You will also find some travel backpacks that aren't waterproof, but you can purchase a rain cover to protect the backpack from water splashes.

The capacity of the backpack

The capacity of the backpack is measured in liters. You need a backpack that's of the perfect size so that you can carry your belongings in it without any issues. From carry-on travel backpacks to multi-day packs, the storage capacity of the packs is different.

To help you select the ideal capacity, we have classified them below:

70-120 L

Backpacks with 70-120 L capacity are huge and can accommodate almost anything. These packs are good for travelers and hikers. You can carry your clothes, supplies, and other such things in the backpack.

Further, you can even store a small tent in the pack, so traveling will be easy as you have less luggage to travel with.

However, they are expensive and heavy, so get ready to spend some more and carry more weight off you need backpacks with this capacity range.

50-65 L

If you don’t need a massive backpack like 70-120 L, then go with 50-65 L capacity so that you can carry a plethora of items in it. These backpacks are preferred by multi-day hikers and travelers. You will find a plethora of storage compartments.

35-45 L

The travel backpacks that fall in the range of 35-45 L are perfect for shorter vacations. The backpacks are lightweight and compact so that you can store them in the overhead compartment of the plane or bus.

You cannot store a lot of items inside the bag due to its storage space. Usually, travel backpacks with 35-45 L are fit for traveling as you can check-in and board your flight quickly.

15-30 L

They are the smallest among all travel backpacks. The backpacks are good for one-day travel and for commuting. You cannot store much stuff inside the pack, and there are fewer storage compartments available.


Checking the frame is essential when buying a travel backpack. There are two types of frames i.e., internal and external frames. The frame helps the pack retain its shape even if you load it completely.

Also, the durable frame will protect the stored items from external factors such as rough treatment during check-in. The frames are usually made using carbon fiber and plastic depending on the type of backpack and its cost.

You should consider buying packs that have a frame so that the backpack looks good, and it doesn’t get out of shape due to the stored items.

Frames are most common in hiking backpacks, but nowadays, traveling backpacks also come with a built-in frame.

The choice of frame will impact the weight of the pack, so make sure that you make a good decision when choosing the frame.

Shoulder harness

The shoulder harness of the backpack should have padding for added comfort. You should ensure that the shoulder straps sit on your shoulders comfortably, and you can walk with ease when carrying the pack.


Not all travel backpacks come with a hipbelt. If you want to hike or travel on the terrains, then look for a hip belt as it helps the backpack to remain secure in place, and you don't have to adjust it multiple times.

The hipbelt should have a durable buckle so that it gives a snug and comfortable fit.

Sleeping bag compartment

Not every travel backpack has a sleeping bag compartment, and when you store the sleeping bag in the main compartment, it takes up the entire space.

If you have plans to go camping, then look for backpacks that have a built-in sleeping bag compartment so that you can organize the bag properly without consuming the entire storage space.

Drawstrings and bungee ties

With drawstrings and bungee ties, you can fit items permanently or temporarily with the backpack without putting them inside the primary storage compartment. These backpacks are good for travelers who need to mount the tent poles and other items with the backpack.


If the zippers of the backpack fail, then you cannot use it till the time you get them repaired. Always buy backpacks that have durable zipper systems. Most of these backpacks come with YKK zippers, which are durable and renowned for their sturdiness and lifespan.

Never go for cheap backpacks as you will get poor zipper systems that can fail anytime.


Some travel backpacks can be expensive, but that doesn't mean that you cannot buy them if you have a tight budget.

The choice of the backpack should depend on your purpose. If you need it, shorter travels, then don't go for bigger backpacks with more storage capacity as they will be expensive.

The price of the backpack depends on multiple factors, such as the brand, material, storage capacity, and much more. So, make your budget before searching for a traveling backpack if you don’t want to end up overspending.

FAQs: Best Travel Backpacks

Q: How to determine the capacity of the backpack?

A: The capacity of these travel backpacks is measured in liters. You can quickly find out how many items you can carry in the bag by checking its capacity. Smaller bags have a lesser capacity, while bigger bags have more capacity.

If you need a backpack for a short trip go with 35-45 L capacity options. On the other hand, if you want to explore new places and need more storage space, go for backpacks with more than 70L storage capacity.

Q: Are travel backpacks washable?

A: Yes, you can wash the travel backpack whenever required. It’s common that the packs get dirty during traveling, so a quick wash will make the pack look like a new one. The process of washing the backpack is explained below.

  • Empty out the backpack and check all the compartments.
  • Now take a tub and add lukewarm water to it.
  • Pour some drops of mild liquid detergent, and soak the bag in it.
  • After 15-20 minutes, take the backpack out and use a soft brush to clean it.
  • Rinse with normal water and lay it on a flat surface to dry.
Q: Do these packs have laptop compartments?

A: It depends on the choice of the backpack. You need to check it beforehand to ensure that you can pack your laptop securely in it. Most travel backpacks feature a laptop compartment that secures your device in place.

Q: Why is the frame important?

A: When choosing a travel backpack, you should check whether it has a frame or not. The frame retains the shape of the backpack and protects the packed stuff from external factors. Check the material of the frame to determine its strength and weight.

Q: Are cheap backpacks worth it?

A: It depends on the type of backpack you are going to buy. Not all cheap backpacks are worth your money because of the poor material and low-quality zippers. It would be great to choose the travel backpacks manufactured by popular brands that have a reputation in the market.


With these factors in mind, you can buy the best travel backpack without any issues. The buyer's guide is intended to help you out in making a quick decision. Now there is no need to spend hours choosing a backpack when you can do it in minutes with the guide.

Make a list of travel backpacks and compare them based on these factors. Lastly, never settle down with cheap backpacks in order to save some bucks. Cheap packs can break down anytime, so go for prominent brands that are trusted by thousands of travelers. / - © Copyright 2020