around the world travel bags

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Kikkerland Around The World Travel Bags, Set of 4

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around the world travel bags

Kikkerland Around The World Travel Bags, Set of 4

( $5.00 / Count )

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About this item.

  • Polyester material resists moisture and odor absorption
  • Designed by formulation
  • Set contains laundry bag, two shoe bags, personal item bag and storage pouch
  • World map Print
  • Assorted sizes

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Amazon Basics Roll-Up Travel Zipper Storage Bags, Pack of 12 (6 Small & 6 Medium), Multiple, Clear

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Kikkerland Around The World Travel Bags, Set of 4

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Simple Houseware 4 Set Packing Cube - Travel Organizers with Laundry Bag, Blue

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World hop in style with this set of 4 travel bags. Comes with a laundry bag, 2 shoe bags, and a personal items bag. Compact built-in pouch to hold them all when not in use.

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Customers say

Customers like the appearance, durability, quality and travel of the storage bag. They mention that the print is cute, the material is pretty durable and that it holds up for several years without fading or tearing. They also appreciate the ease of folding and weight. However, some disagree on size and value.

AI-generated from the text of customer reviews

Customers like the appearance of the storage bag. They say the print is cute, bold, and pleasing. They also say it looks better than using a plastic bag, and is cleverly designed. Some customers also say the pattern is awesome and neat.

"...Easily washable and easy to stash when not in use. LOVE the earth map theme !" Read more

"...The print is super cute and the fact that it folds up so small is very convenient." Read more

"...The durability is good on this product & cute graphic ." Read more

"I use this bag when traveling. Works great and folds up small. Vibrant colors " Read more

Customers like the durability of the storage bag. They mention that the material is pretty durable, well made, and doesn't seem likely to rip or stretch. Some say that it has held up for several years without fading or tearing. They also like the design and the way it can be folded up into a smaller bag. Overall, most are happy with the durability and quality of the product.

"...If you need a bag for laundry check dimensions & buy bigger. The durability is good on this product &cute graphic." Read more

"This little travel laundry bag is compact and durable , not big enough for shirts and pants, but works great for underclothes and socks...." Read more

" Great material and color is bold/pleasing. Negative is size!..." Read more

"...This bag also feels pretty flimsy and cheaply made so we will see how long it last. Dry it's about 1.2 oz and full mine was about 6 lbs 6oz...." Read more

Customers like the quality of the storage bag. They say it serves its purpose quite well, is useful, and works perfect for a few day trip or a longer trip where you are washing and drying clothes. Some say it's practical and fits for bed sheets, pillow cases, and other items. Overall, most are satisfied with the quality and functionality of the bag.

"...They also work great for wet bathing suits or towels when you don't have time to air dry them coming home from a trip to the beach or lake or when..." Read more

"...The bag serves its function and holds a load of laundry, but only get it if you’re in love with the pattern (and don’t mind a dark teal ocean.)..." Read more

"I use this bag when traveling. Works great and folds up small. Vibrant colors" Read more

"...and durable, not big enough for shirts and pants, but works great for underclothes and socks ...." Read more

Customers like the travel of the laundry bag. They mention it's a great little bag for travel, great for backpackers, and handy for carrying other things. It's lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. Customers also say it'll be great for their upcoming trip.

"...Easily washable and easy to stash when not in use. LOVE the earth map theme!" Read more

"...However, it's great for short trips over a weekend...." Read more

"Good size, holds a full load and is easy to pack away and to carry when full ...." Read more

"This kirkkerland laundry bag is great for traveling . When in it's smallest form is about 4in x 4in x 2in...." Read more

Customers find the laundry bag easy to fold. They mention it folds up into its own pouch when packing, and neatly tucks away.

"...The print is super cute and the fact that it folds up so small is very convenient ." Read more

"...They are easy to fold up and pack or store when not using...." Read more

"I use this bag when traveling. Works great and folds up small . Vibrant colors" Read more

"...I like that it folds up into its own pouch when packing." Read more

Customers are satisfied with the weight of the travel bag. They mention that it's very lightweight, and the material is durable. Some say that the bag is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse.

"...The bag is very lightweight and easy to travel with...." Read more

"...It is very thin and light weight , and I would definitely be concerned about how it would hold up with extended use, or if you were to stuff it full..." Read more

"This bag is extremely lightweight and folds down to nothing...." Read more

"Folds up super small and lightweight so perfect for travel...." Read more

Customers are mixed about the size of the storage bag. Some mention it's the perfect size to take on a quick weekend trip, it fits perfectly in their carry-on, and it folds into itself quite small. It's very lightweight and easy to travel with, but others say that it'll be a little smaller than they expected and not big enough for a laundry bag.

"...When folded into itself, it's just a few inches in diameter. Good size in terms of holding a decent amount of laundry while traveling...." Read more

"...As the other reviews state, it is very small so check the dimensions before ordering! However, it's great for short trips over a weekend...." Read more

"Good size, holds a full load and is easy to pack away and to carry when full...." Read more

"This bag was too small for my laundry needs ; I ended up using it as a travel shoe bag & it is perfect size for that...." Read more

Customers are mixed about the value of the storage bag. Some mention it's worth the price, while others say it'll waste your money. Some say the bag is cheaply sewn with unclipped threads and weak seams.

"... Definitely worth buying ! You'll also look a bit more classy lugging your laundry over to get it washed, if such a thing is possible. :)" Read more

"...They were cheaply sewn with a lot of unclipped threads and weak seams around the stuff pouch. I’m not sure how long they will last...." Read more

"...It was hard finding "kid sized" laundry bags for a reasonable price ...." Read more

"...uses, folds up small and neat, weighs next to nothing and is inexpensive ." Read more

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The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

around the world travel bags

There are a lot of great travel backpacks out there, but not all of them are created equal. A travel pack needs to be comfortable to carry, easy to organize, and durable enough to withstand being toted from place to place.

From hitting the road for the weekend to spending months traveling abroad, we’ve put nearly 30 different travel backpacks through the wringer. We tallied our airline miles, punched our tickets, and put our tray tables in the upright and locked position for close to half a decade now, taking domestic and international flights to as far as Iceland and as close as 30-minute island hops. And while there isn’t a single pack that suits every traveler, we’ve highlighted a variety of designs and price points to help you find the perfect travel backpack.

Choosing a travel backpack can be a dizzying experience, and we’ve shaken down the best to sort through the static. Each pack has seen its time on the baggage carousel, hostel luggage cart, and we’ve even had a few go missing for the full experience. We fully pack and live out of these bags to test them, and in the end, we’re confident that the 15 packs collected here are the best travel backpacks available today. Check in and check them out.

For all your travel pack questions, consult our buyer’s guide , where we’ve laid bare all the essentials. Compare each of the packs using our handy comparison chart , and if you’ve still got questions, check out our FAQ section.

Editor’s Note: We updated our travel backpack guide on May 21, 2024, adding the JanSport Journey Pack as our new best budget travel pack, as well as the feature-rich and burly Able Carry Max Backpack .

  • Best Overall Travel Backpack: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
  • Best Budget Travel Backpack: JanSport Journey Pack
  • Best Carrying Travel Backpack: Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs
  • Best Organization in a Travel Backpack: Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
  • Best Shoulder Bag: Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
  • Best Commuter-Style Travel Backpack: Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L
  • Best Personal Item Travel Pack: TimBuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

  • Capacity 45 L (collapses to 35 L)
  • Weight 4 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Dimensions 22" x 13" x 9.5" standard, 22" x 13" x 11" expanded
  • Compartment access Back panel clamshell design with #10 zipper
  • Material Weatherproof, 100% recycled 400-denier nylon canvas shell; 900-denier waterproof bottom

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  • Compresses down to maximum airline carry-on size, and then expands once you’ve hit your destination
  • Burly construction
  • No details are overlooked in the design
  • Side-carry handles are offset in an awkward position

Perfect is a dirty word in product design, but we’re about stumped when it comes to drumming up a quibble about the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45 L ($300). This redeye-ready clamshell design is made to the highest of standards.

It’s made of quality materials, utilizing aluminum hardware and a burly 400-denier nylon canvas — and it easily ticks all our boxes for the best overall travel backpack. The interior of the bag is split into two compartments: a larger main area for storing the majority of your kit and a secondary sleeve at the front of the bag with five zippered pockets. The main pocket also sports a foam-padded laptop sleeve and three more pockets.

One of the more impressive aspects we discovered along the bag’s inaugural leg from Seattle to Anchorage was how easily the straps of the Travel Backpack stow away into the bag. Two foam panels on the back of the bag flip away to secure them and then close with a magnetic closure — very slick. This was our favorite strap-stowage system, with the zippered panels of the Matador GlobeRider45 coming in a close second. We find the Peak Design bag compresses smaller.

Then there are the little details. An ID-size sleeve on the back panel provides all the information should your bag get separated from you. Zipper pulls thread through one another to keep what’s yours safe. And a collapsible system adjusts the bag from a full 45 L to 35 L.

In our review, there’s little about the Peak Design pack that misses the mark. The company leans heavily toward the camera-toting travelers among us, but the 45 L Travel Backpack makes no compromises and works just as well for any user group. The high price is undeniable, but for the scope of the travel pack, it’s a buy-once-cry-once purchase we would make again.

Also available in a 30L size , the range of Travel Backpacks from Peak Design is so well-thought-out that you can practically see the cogs turning in their creators’ heads. We think they make the best travel backpacks on the market.

JanSport Journey Pack

  • Capacity 28 liters
  • Weight 1 lb., 13.6 oz.
  • Dimensions 19.5" x 12.5" x 7"
  • Compartment access Zippered top access
  • Material 100% 600D recycled polyester + 1680D ballistic boot
  • Electronic storage 15" laptop sleeve

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Compact and clean profile
  • Plush foam back panel and shoulder straps
  • Compression straps on bottom of pack tote around a jacket
  • Smooth-running zippers
  • Good internal organization
  • Laptop sleeve won't fit some large modern laptops
  • Water bottle pockets sized for slimmer vessels

At $95, the JanSport Journey Pack does a lot for a little. As a campus commuter, airline personal item, or do-it-all backpack, this pack leverages its lack of specificity to make it amenable to being used on just about any day. Part of a trio of new travel packs from the legendary campus bookbag brand, the Journey surprised us with a more high-end build than expected, and for the money, it made an excellent travel companion.

While the Journey isn’t trimmed out in some of the more boutique fabrics, it is still solidly built and uses the good stuff where it counts, such as the 1680D ballistic boot material that’s reinforced with recycled car windshield liners (news to us). The 600D polyester used elsewhere has a rugged nailhead finish, and shoulders wear well.

The thick EVA foam used in the shoulder straps and back panel is cushy and applied liberally. On the inside, the laptop sleeve is lined with plush tricot material, along with an organizer pocket for stashing your readers or sunnies.

The organization of the pack is similarly uncompromising and is broken down into a spacious main compartment, front stash pocket, small bits and bobs organizer pocket, and a 15″ laptop sleeve — which easily toted our tester’s MacBook Pro safely.

When packed as a carry-on, we were able to stuff in an assortment of layers we might need along the way (rain jacket, warm puffy, hat), along with our headphones, book, travel pillow , and lunch for the flight, and still had space for an empty water bottle or two.

As a 28-liter pack, there’s no alternate sizing available and no hip belt to go along — though, in our opinion, loads this light doesn’t need one. Compression straps are limited, though you do get a set at the bottom of the pack that doubles as a dock for your beach towel, picnic blanket, or rolled-up jacket.

Like the TimBuk2 Never Check , the side water bottle pockets on this pack are really only ideal for thin bottles or flasks, and while we could shoehorn a Nalgene in there, it didn’t look happy.

Compromises aside, for less than $100, the JanSport Journey Pack doesn’t take the easy way out and phone it in with fewer materials or a more simple organizational layout. We had a pocket or sleeve for anything we needed to stash (besides a dedicated passport pocket), and the Journey made for an easy personal item on the handful of flights we took it on — easily stashing beneath the seat. If you’d rather ball out on your big-ticket luggage and just need a travel backpack that’ll plain work, this is the bag for you.

Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs

  • Capacity 40 L
  • Weight 3 lbs., 7.6 oz.
  • Dimensions 22" x 14" x 9"
  • Compartment access Zippered back panel clamshell design
  • Material Bluesign-approved 450-denier recycled polyester

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Supreme suspension system offers the best carry of any pack we tried
  • External compression straps limit the volume well
  • Comfortably padded grab handles
  • Not much internal organization

No stranger to producing supremely comfortable suspension systems, Osprey injected a good bit of its tech into the Farpoint and Fairview packs ($185), which both sport LightWire frames, load lifters, and breathable framesheet and suspension straps. Our Farpoint pack was easily the best load carrier of any we tested and a close contender for the best travel backpack overall.

Far beyond what any of the other travel packs offer, the pack even allows you to adjust the torso length — unheard of in the typical travel pack. Newly updated, these packs have been tweaked to ride the line between traditional backpacks and functional luggage, a claim we can substantiate.

The 40-liter capacity is just about the sweet spot for domestic carry-on luggage limits, and these packs make good use of the space. We could easily pack away a long weekend’s worth of travel essentials into the bag with a little space to spare.

Whereas many other travel packs stash straps away into the body of the pack, the Farpoint and Fairview move in the opposite direction with a deployable strap cover that neatly seals in the suspension for safekeeping when checked. This produces a clean profile that’s ready to be slung around, but it’s not quite as easy and quick as the magnetic panels of the Peak Design Travel Backpacks, as you need to unclip straps to tuck them away.

The interior of the pack is rather spartan, incorporating only one zippered pocket, a laptop sleeve, and two internal compression straps. We would have rather seen a bit more organizational features involved like those that the Matador GlobeRider and Topo Designs Global Travel bags incorporate, but for those who stuff more than pack, the Farpoint and  Fairview may very well punch the ticket.

With one foot on the platform and one on the trail, these packs from Osprey will get you where you’re going and carry a trip’s worth of kit with ease.

Matador SEG45 Travel Pack

  • Capacity 45 L
  • Weight 2 lbs., 8 oz.
  • Dimensions 22" x 13.4" x 10.2"
  • Compartment access Full clamshell interior, additional front zippered access
  • Material 420-denier nylon exterior, 100-denier Robic Dynatec interior

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Excellent storage organization options
  • High-quality, strong, and lightweight construction
  • No frame to speak of
  • Shoulder straps don’t pack away

Aiming to do more with less, the Matador SEG45 Segmented Backpack ($200) proposes a future free of packing cubes and splits up the bag for you, making the organization of your travel pack a breeze.

The full 45 liters of volume is shared among the five segments (6, 9, 15, 9, and 6 L) and trades volume between the full clamshell compartment and the segments. Each of these segments is accessible via its own water-resistant zippers and can be collapsed as your needs change.

We found organizing by clothing type made the most sense in our own packing, but you could even pack based on the day of the week or the use. The clamshell-accessed main compartment was ideal for holding larger items like spare shoes or quarantining spent outfits.

Known for its overbuilt but lightweight bags, Matador didn’t spare the SEG45, utilizing 420D UHMWPE-reinforced nylon in the pack body, as well as 100D Robic Dynatec weave on the interior. It should be noted that this travel backpack doesn’t have any kind of frame and will rely on being packed well to carry correctly. Because of this, this pack won’t carry as well as bags like the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, so consider packing mostly clothing in the SEG45.

Our testers felt this bag excelled as a travel bag you might deploy once you’ve hit your destination, as it packs away into larger bags so well. Unfortunately, however, the shoulder straps don’t pack away into the bag itself, so you’ll have to wrangle them into place to keep things tidy.

No matter what you’re up to, everything has got a spot to live in the SEG45 . Need a bit less space? Matador offers the SEG28 ($250) for that.

Read Review: Dresser in a Backpack: Matador SEG42 Review

Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L

  • Weight 3 lbs., 10.3 oz.
  • Dimensions 22.8" x 8.6" x 14.5"
  • Compartment access Back panel zippered clamshell design
  • Material 900-denier recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU laminate

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Multiple ways to carry the pack
  • Many different storage and internal organization options
  • Burly external fabric
  • Doesn’t carry the best as a backpack

Looking to squeeze out every last liter of allowed space? Patagonia named this pack in honor of the cause: the Patagonia Black Hole Maximum Legal Carry-On 45 L ($239). This bag can be carried in a number of different ways, but we found it shined during travel as a shoulder bag.

Borrowing fabric from Patagonia’s line of burly Black Hole Duffels , the MLC 45 is made for the long haul. The 900-denier polyester ripstop is coated in a TPU laminate and feels ready to take on the surliest baggage carrier. We certainly felt no remorse in tossing the bag around.

At 45 L, the MLC is certainly right at the cusp of the maximum allowed size, but thankfully that space is well divided up inside the pack. Inside the main clamshell-accessed compartment is a blizzard of zippers and mesh pockets and dividers. Anything we tossed inside was well-stabilized.

Because there isn’t much of a frame to speak of, the Black Hole MLC doesn’t carry the best when slung over both shoulders and can sag when not entirely full. But over a shoulder with the included shoulder strap, this pack feels great and can be easily accessed on the go. This is one of the only packs in our testing to feature a shoulder strap (the other being the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag).

On top of all this, we greatly appreciate that the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45 L is made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining, and webbing. Perfect for grabbing and going, this pack is ready to move.

Read Review: Patagonia Black Hole MLC Bag Review: An Organized, Carry-On-Size Wonder

Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L

  • Capacity 24 L
  • Weight 3 lbs., 1.6 oz.
  • Dimensions 18" x 7: x 11.5"
  • Compartment access Zippered clamshell
  • Material 840D ballistic nylon 6, 420D HT nylon

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Functions as both a laptop backpack and suitcase
  • Well-structured and protected
  • Full panel loading access
  • Limited colorways

With an understated look that betrays the truly impressive fit and functionality inside, the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L ($279) doesn’t need to brag — it knows it’ll tote your kit through the worst of your travel or everyday commutes without missing a beat. This bag is our newly anointed best commuter-style travel backpack.

From a fabrics and materials standpoint, it’s clear that someone at Evergoods truly nerded out when they brewed up this bindle. The 840D ballistic nylon 6 that makes up the exterior of the pack is burly (errantly spilled coffee wipes right off), and complements the thick #10 zippers and spacer-mesh back panel. Even the Evergoods logo is low-key: a simple 2×2” patch on the front of the bag with a slash. That’s it — and we dig it.

Bar none, the Civic Panel Loader has the best laptop sleeve we’ve ever encountered in a backpack, and that’s saying something. The side-accessed zippered aperture can hold a 17” Macbook Pro, and nestles into a fully padded space at the rear of the pack.

This sleeve is suspended from the bottom of the bag, as we’ve seen in many forward-thinking bags, but goes a step further and protects the laptop from the side with an aluminum stay — the primary functionality of which is to support the side handle on the bag. Genius.

The high-polish finish on the CPL24 feels reminiscent of the attention to detail we loved about the Tom Bihn Synapse 25, but we ended up enjoying this pack even more for a simple reason: side carry. The broad handle on the side of the pack is reinforced by that aluminum stay, and it creates a perfectly supported carry for jostling through crowded terminals.

On the interior of the pack, two large pockets are subdivided with a few smaller sleeves and pockets, which are oriented to be accessed with the bag on its side. We carried this pack for a month straight of remote work, lugging it to coffee shops and co-working spaces, and it supplanted all other packs we’ve used previously.

“It’s hard not to love a pack that makes your life easier,” says Senior Editor Nick Belcaster. “This pack does that. Laptop, headphones, notebooks — a whole lot goes into the pack without a care.”

Up there with Nomatic, GORUCK, and Tom Bihn, Evergoods is certainly among the pack-makers that put intelligent design and smart material choice above all else. The Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L is the final word when it comes to a travel pack you can carry every day. We certainly do.

Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack

  • Capacity 27.5 L
  • Weight 2 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Dimensions 18.9" x 11.4" x 5.9"
  • Material 420x2000D Cordura nylon, 135D polyester

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Dang good looking
  • High-quality trim and details, including anodized G hooks and supple webbing
  • Supper cushioned back panel
  • Exterior expandable water bottle pocket is a bit slim
  • Pack straps don't stow away.

Pulling off a good expandable backpack can be a tough task, with fabric accordion folds often taking up valuable real estate on the interior when collapsed in lesser bags. Not so with the TimBuk2 Never Check ($209), which takes a simple backpack shape and elevates it with premium materials and design to create one of our favorite travel backpacks for tucking under an airliner seat.

Unlike a lot of the pure-function rectangular bags in our lineup, the Never Check is a real looker — easily one of the best styled in our testing so far, and we’d have no qualms about bringing it along as a business bag. Small details like rubber-covered zipper pulls, anodized G hooks, and supple webbing keep it looking sharp. The 27.5-liter size is just about dead-on for most airline ‘personal item’ size requirements, and this bag easily slides under a seat.

The main compartment is accessed through a clamshell zipper on the front of the bag, which is gusseted to hang open while you’re loading it up. During the few national and international flights our Senior Editor Nick Belcaster deployed the bag on, this was easily enough space for everything you might want during a plane ride. And for everything else, a front pocket is lined with multiple drop and zip pockets for organizing small gadgets like chargers or keys.

The back panel of the Never Check is a plush ½-inch of comfortable foam, and combined with the equally padded shoulder straps made for a very nice carrying bag. The straps unfortunately do not stow away, but on a lower volume pack such as this, it’s a much less useable feature in our opinions. 

And finally, one of our favorite features: the wide laptop sleeve. This 15” opening is generous enough to accommodate the larger laptops of today, and is suspended from the bottom of the backpack to ensure bumps don’t turn into bruises.

Just like the name suggests, the Never Check Expandable Backpack provides a svelte solution to bringing a bag with you during airline travel — or even just to the office. Its clean profile and attention to detail impressed us, and it would make an excellent work-to-weekend bag.

Able Carry Max Backpack

  • Capacity 30 L
  • Weight 3 lbs., 14.4 oz.
  • Dimensions 20.4" x 12.6" x 7.9"
  • Compartment access Zippered clamshell design
  • Material X-Pac and 1000D nylon face fabric, ripstop 420D nylon interior

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • High-quality fit and finish with top-shelf materials
  • Dedicated work compartment is well organized and padded
  • Shoulder straps and back panel are cushy Zotefoam
  • Fits 17" laptops
  • No hipbelt can be nice for storing, but needed for heavy carries
  • On the higher end for travel pack pricing

Sporting many of the same features and functionality as the leading travel packs in our review, the Able Carry Max Backpack ($278) leaves little on the cutting room floor, decked out with ultra-durable Cordura nylon and X-Pac materials to pull together a travel pack that you could kick, throw, or loft across the airport to no ill effect. This is one tough pack.

At 30 liters, the only thing not ‘Maxed’ out on the Max is the capacity, which lands at less than the maximum legal carry-on size for most domestic airlines, but will be ideal instead for those who are operating with a little more room in their checked baggage, freeing up the Max for the important stuff. We also find slightly smaller packs such as this fly much easier on worldwide flights, where carry-on sizes can be a bit more diminutive.

That space is wisely dispersed, organized, and split between the laptop and main compartments. The laptop sleeve won’t hold any remote worker back, as it will host up to the 17″ mondo laptops of the modern age. It is flanked by an accessories pocket lined with four stretchy pockets for swaddling your chargers, cords, memory cards, and wireless mouse.

The main compartment leaves the organization up to you and is accessed through a broad clamshell opening that gives you full access to the entire space. A couple of packing cubes won’t go to waste in this space, and while Able Carry doesn’t supply the straps themselves, a couple of daisy chain webbing loops run the length of either side of the interior, meaning you can wrangle unruly items if need be. The back panel tucks away a few more zippered pockets, and a water bottle pocket also collapses away when not needed.

On the exterior, the Max is crisscrossed by seatbelt webbing on almost every facet, which will appeal to those who are looking for a modular pack for attaching and switching kit around as it’s needed. The VX21 X-Pac material is a rough and tumble weave that might not have the slick finish of the canvas on the Peak Design Travel Backpack but is easily as weather and abrasion-proof. We also highly appreciated the 1000D Cordura nylon on the boot of the pack, which made shuffling it around a worry-free exercise.

There are a lot of high-quality travel backpacks in the 30-liter space, and while most all will get the job done, it’s the construction of the Able Carry Max Backpack that keeps drawing us back to it. The stitching on this pack is exact and plentiful and works to hold a number of high-quality materials together in a thoughtful design.

Fully loaded, we did sometimes wish for a removable hip belt to help shoulder the weight a bit, but only the most jammed-full load-outs elicited this desire. For anyone after a dialed-in travel pack, the Max lives up to the name.

Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack

  • Dimensions 22" x 12.8" x 11"
  • Material 420D UHMWPE-reinforced ripstop nylon, 100D Robic nylon mini-ripstop

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Incredible density of pockets and sleeves
  • Tough UHMWPE outer fabric can be tossed around
  • Shoulder straps tuck away in a novel and smart manner
  • Laptop sleeve opening is a bit tight
  • Price is up there

With a pocket or sleeve for pretty much everything, the new Matador GlobeRider 45 ($350) gives the Peak Design Travel Pack a run for its money when it comes to the best overall travel pack. 

Our Managing Editor raved about the GlobeRider after serious testing where she pretty much lived out of it for 3 months: “If you travel often and look for crucial components like internal and external pockets, laptop storage, and backpack and hip straps, consider the Matador GlobeRider 45. It’s a unique design in that the [pack] seems to have it all — every feature I’ve needed so far, both living out of it and in my travels — in a pretty packable size.”

What impressed us most was the way the GlobeRider was able to balance both an eye-watering amount of organization and versatility, and burly durability that ensures that this pack won’t shy away from tough travel conditions. In total (and we double-counted) there are 19 individual pockets on the pack, in all types of stretch mesh, zippered, and collapsible configurations. When good organization is key, the GlobeRider reigns. 

On the back panel of the GlobeRider, one of the more novel stowage systems we’ve seen packs away the shoulder straps and hip belt for when you want to slim down the bag. Two zippered panels — similar to the structure of the Peak Design packs, save for the closure — envelop the straps when not in use, and provide a lump-free panel for toting around. 

When it comes to downsides, the GlobeRider doesn’t miss much. The laptop sleeve aperture is a bit small at 9.5”, which in today’s age of mondo-screened computers may be limiting to some with larger devices. There also is no ability to convert the pack to a shoulder bag like the Patagonia MLC does, which can be handy when moving quickly through the airport.

Dang-near the top of the list, the Matador GlobeRider 45 would be an excellent choice for anyone who practices one-bag travel, or desires to have a place for everything in their journeys. The price does sting a bit, but based on the long-term testing we’ve completed so far, we’ve seen no indications that this pack will fade away anytime soon.

Read Review: I Lived Out of This Backpack for 3-Plus Months: Matador Globerider45 Review

Thule Aion 40L

  • Weight 3 lbs., 3 oz.
  • Dimensions 13" x 9.1" x 20.5"
  • Material Waxed P600 polyester canvas

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Maxes out on carry-on-compliant space
  • Internal roll-top TPU bag separates the clean from the to-do laundry
  • Waxed canvas exterior has a classy look
  • Centered side handle carries well
  • Well-cushioned back panel
  • No shoulder strap stowage option
  • No hipbelt on a 40L is pushing it

Better known for their roof boxes and racks, it’s fair to say that Thule knows travel, and the addition of smart, organized, and comfortable travel packs like the Thule Aion 40L ($200) makes all the sense in the world to us. This pack is a finely-honed bag for international and local travel alike, and is decked out in some high-class materials.

Like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC pack, the Aion 40L aims to go for the maximum allowed capacity, and at our measurements (21.5” x 15” x 8”), the pack slides in just half an inch less than the normal 45 linear inches typically allowed. That’s efficient. The space is split up into two main compartments and a laptop sleeve, with the larger opening with a full clamshell zip.

This inner compartment hosts a few zippered pockets and internal compression straps, but the star of the show here is the integrated TPU rolltop bag. This sack can be used to cordon off your liquids (and easily presented for inspection), as well as separate your pile of ‘to-do’ laundry. This reminds us of the ActiveShield compartment in the Gregory Border Traveler pack, but we enjoy the removable aspect here even more. 

Round the back of the pack, the spacer-mesh swaddled laptop sleeve rivals the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader , and has an additional sleeve for items like tablets, notebooks, or chargers. The back panel itself is impressively cushioned (one of the more luxe in our testing) and that extends to the shoulder straps. 

Unfortunately, there’s no shoulder strap-stowage system here, so you’ll have to wrangle those yourself, and while we typically enjoy the lack of a hip belt in smaller travel packs, the absence in a 40-liter pack is a little puzzling. Fully loaded, the Aion could certainly benefit from one, and while a separate sling bag can be added to function as one, you’ll need to fork over $50 for it.

Ranking high up there with your Peak Designs and your Ospreys, the Thule Aion 40L nails the style and material departments, and with a full 40 liters of space on board, has all the room to pack for your week-long trips — no roof box required.

Osprey Archeon 30L

  • Weight 3 lbs.
  • Dimensions 20.5" x 13" x 11.4"
  • Compartment access Zippered top-access
  • Material 840D ballistic polyester with carbonate coating

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Extra-tough exterior fabric with carbonate coating
  • High-polish details such as seatbelt webbing straps
  • Mini-wing hipbelt tucks away easily when not needed
  • Smart internal storage pockets that lay flat when not needed
  • Laptop sleeve opening is a bit too snug
  • Compression straps lay over the main zipper

First off, one word: Rugged. The Osprey Archeon 30L ($250) is a high-end build that spares little in the material department, and looks dang good while it’s at it. The 30-liter size makes this bag weekend travel-ready, and we greatly appreciated the fit and finish.

The overall design of the Archeon reminds us a good bit of the Peak Design Travel Bag (certainly the all-waterproof exterior zippers and curved side-entry pockets), but it’s the exterior fabric that really impressed. The 840D ballistic polyester is coated with a carbonate polyurethane coating, a bolstered recipe that increases durability by a magnitude over traditional PU coatings. In testing, we wore out before putting a dent in it.

The pack itself breaks down into two main compartments, with the main pocket opening behind a curved clamshell zip (we did have a little trouble with the zipper passing behind the exterior straps. Removing them fixed that). Inside, three expandable tech pockets tuck away all of your small kit, and do a good job of keeping things tidy on the interior.

On the exterior, Osprey doesn’t disappoint when it comes to suspension straps, which are comfortable, adjustable, and stashable. The mini wing-style hip belt earns special praise on packed flights, where we find traditional hip belts to be a hassle to store, and combined with the slick shoulder-strap stash pocket, the Archeon converts to minimal mode in under a minute.

Something the Archeon certainly could use, however, is a slightly larger aperture into the laptop/tech compartment. As-is, the zipper doesn’t quite extend down far enough to truly open up the pocket, and as such it can feel a bit like rummaging around in the dark looking for cords and chargers in the bottom of the pack. Extending these zippers down to the middle of the pack would seem to fix the issue, and we hope a later iteration might address this.

Nonetheless, we were still impressed by the Osprey Archeon 30L . There’s also a 40-liter version if you’re looking for a max-capacity carry-on, and even a smaller 24-liter for kicking around coffee shops day-to-day.

Read Review: Hack Carry-On Rules: Osprey Archeon Kit Gives Power Back to Passengers

Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L

  • Weight 3 lbs., 10.4 oz.
  • Dimensions 22.5" x 14" x 7.5"
  • Material 1000D recycled nylon, 400D recycled nylon, 210D recycled nylon, 1680D recycled ballistic nylon

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Overbuilt design with tough materials and chunky zippers
  • Plenty of organizational pockets
  • Bright interior
  • Not the cleanest strap stowage

Chunky zippers, an overhead-savvy profile, and multiple ways to sling it over your shoulder: The Topo Designs Global Travel Pack ($229) has honed in on much of what we love in a travel backpack.

During a recent trip from Seattle to Southern California, we were heavily saddled with the maximum the airline would allow. But this pack made use of every inch of space and reached the allowance of what we could check as our carry-on. The 40 liters of internal capacity is broken down into a series of dividers and pockets, which made condoning off things like electronics from the rest of our kit easy. And the interior of this pack is a cheery canary yellow, which helps with ease and visibility.

On the exterior of this pack, three separate carry styles are available to get you through the concourse in whatever way you choose. We found the full-featured backpack straps to be our go-to, which even sport load-lifters for a comfy carry. This suspension system does tuck away for when you might want to check the bag, though we found the hipbelt to be a bit tricky to fully retract.

Rounding out this travel-ready backpack is a tough build that makes use of 1000D recycled nylon and heavy-duty zippers, and we had no qualms with tossing this bag around during our trip. Perfect for anyone who subscribes to the one-bag travel ethos, the Global Travel Pack from Topo Designs makes the grade for those who want the most out of their carry-on.

And if you’re only going to be away for a short trip, the Global Travel pack is also available in a 30L capacity .

Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Travel Pack

  • Capacity 28 L
  • Weight 3 lbs., 4 oz.
  • Dimensions 19" x 12" x 9"
  • Material TPU-coated 1,000-denier polyester, 840-denier nylon paneling

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Burly exterior material holds up for the long run
  • Plenty of zippered mesh storage pockets
  • On the heavier side
  • TPU-coated nylon can feel grabby

The Allpa 28L Travel Pack ($170) will change the way you travel. It’s sleek, durable, and able to fit an incredible amount of stuff in a small space. The zippered mesh pockets keep clothes organized. And the compression straps maximize what you can pack.

The tough polyester and nylon construction can take a beating without any signs of wear. And we appreciate that the externally accessed, padded laptop sleeve makes pulling out your electronics at security checkpoints a breeze. There’s also a small outer compartment to keep essentials at hand.

You can completely tuck away the backpack straps and carry the pack like a briefcase, or wear it comfortably as a backpack. We’ve stuffed this pack to the gills countless times and have never had a problem with the zippers. Light rain showers or spills roll right off the TPU-coated exterior, but for legit rainstorms, just pull out the included rain cover.

The Allpa also comes in 35L, 42L, 50L, and 70L capacities. As our editor noted in the 42L review , “Building on its fun and functional ethos, Cotopaxi beefs up its bestselling product. The Allpa Travel Pack earns big points for clever design, clean aesthetic, and a surprising number of handy — and hidden — features.”

Yes, the Cotopaxi Allpa packs are an investment, but anyone who travels regularly will find it a worthy one. These powerhouse travel backpacks are sturdy, versatile, and built to last.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25

  • Capacity 25 L
  • Weight 1 lb., 13 oz.
  • Dimensions 13.4" x 20" x 9.1"
  • Material 400-denier Halcyon, 420-denier nylon ripstop

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • Many different fabrics and color schemes are available
  • Built to last design and materials
  • Removable webbing hip belt
  • Suspension doesn’t pack away
  • Side wing pockets are a little awkward to access

Refined and clean-looking, the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($250) is a high-end travel backpack we just can’t stop staring at. It just looks that good. Made of burly textiles and zippers, this pack was built to stand the test of tough travel and come out shining on the other side.

The Synapse 25 is the larger version of Tom Bihn’s Synapse 19 , a popular backpack made for daily carry. The bump in volume is appreciated in this travel-oriented version and is doled out in one large compartment as well as a set of pockets on the front of the pack.

We found all the pockets easily accessible, save for the side wing pockets. While these were excellent for the organization of smaller bits and bobs, the openings were a bit awkward to jump into.

Topped off by a cushioned suspension (the foam is a half-inch of supple EV50), this travel backpack didn’t weigh us down on long days of travel when fully packed. And when we wanted to go light, even the webbing hip belt was removable. In terms of the ability to bop around town as a daily driver, this pack is up there with the TimBuk2 Never Check (we liked the back panel on this pack the most).

Along with being carry-on compliant, the Synapse is also one of the few bags on our list that are compact enough to fit under most airline seats without hogging too much precious legroom.

Osprey Nebula 32 Daypack

  • Capacity 32 L
  • Weight 2 lbs., 1.7 oz.
  • Dimensions 19.2" x 12.2" x 11.4"
  • Material 420-denier recycled nylon

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

  • TSA-compliant laptop sleeve
  • Many options for organization
  • Water bottle pockets fit 32 oz. bottles
  • Need to release two buckles in order to unzip the main pocket all the way

When it comes to backpacks, Osprey has put in the time — and it shows. The Nebula 32 ($140) feels like all the brand’s most popular packs morphed into one. Most of all, we love how it seamlessly goes from city streets to trails.

This backpack can do it all, whether you’re hauling your laptop and books around town; water, food, and layers on an easy hike; or all of the above and then some for a weekend away.

The internal storage pockets are great for organizing all of your things for easy access. And while the Nebula 32 is top-loading, the main pocket opens up wide enough so you won’t have to unload everything to get to the one thing you want at the bottom. The sternum strap and hip belt are comfortable as well, especially when carrying a heavy load.

On smaller volume packs like this, sometimes design concessions need to be made to accommodate all the functionality, and on the Nebula, it’s in the side compression straps. Like on the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, the compression system of the pack overlays across the main compartment zipper, meaning you’ll need to undo some straps before rifling around in the storage area. Not a deal breaker, but a little annoying when the TSA line starts to back up behind you.

Overall, the Nebula 32 won’t disappoint if you make it your go-to smaller-volume travel backpack.

Travel Backpack Comparison Chart

around the world travel bags

How We Tested Travel Backpacks

The staff of GearJunkie is a hot-footed bunch, restlessly plodding across the country or around the globe in search of adventure and whatever else comes our way. And we have a lot of stuff, which necessitates having a travel bag or four in the stable.

Surely any old bindle will do in carrying your kit around, but having a travel backpack that is dialed into the needs of travel can turn a stressful situation into a manageable one. We’ve been testing travel backpacks since 2019 and have put the market slice through the wringer on thousands of miles of travel to weed out the best of the best.

Senior Editor Nick Belcaster has a zeal for international travel, and he leads up our current travel pack testing, logging almost 10,000 flying miles in the last year alone. From Iceland to Utah, Belcaster has carried these packs and lived out of them for weeks, relying on them to support back-to-back travel excursions.

In testing, we looked for a number of features in our travel backpacks, including overall capacity, carry style, durability, and aesthetics. It’s important to think about how you’ll use your travel pack, and as such, every pack on our list is carry-on compliant for the worst-case scenario.

We know no trip will be like the next, so we took a broad swath of the travel backpacks on the market in order to create a list that will suit many different travelers. Packs in hand, over our shoulders, or on our backs, we hit the four corners and tested the best travel backpacks of 2024.

Curious about what we pack in our travel backpacks? We’ve penned up a list for both domestic and international trips .

Peak Design Travel Pack 45L at SEATAC

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Travel Backpack

Travel backpack user profiles.

The International Jet-Setter: The term ‘One Bag Travel’ is no stranger to you, and you’ve just about got your life distilled down into 45 liters of space. If international travel is your bag, then a backpack that’s up to the task will be essential to see you through to further time zones.

Efficiency will be the name of the game here, and going with a pack that is dang-near the carry-on maximums for international flights will mean you can make it through without checking a bag. Look for near to 45-liter packs with plenty of organization baked in, as well as a comfortable (and stashable) carry system.

For international travel, the bag we reach for most often had to be the Peak Design Travel Backpack , with a razor-thin second place going to the Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack . For an emphasis on organization, the Matador SEG45 splits up the volume well, and if you’ll be schlepping bags around a long way, the Osprey Farpoint & Fairview Packs have all the Osprey suspension we love.

Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack in Iceland

The Weekend Warrior: Maybe it’s a work trip, and maybe it’s just for fun, but it’s only going to take 2-3 days total, and you’ll need a bag that can pack it in. For weekend excursions, we find packs in the 25-35 liter range work well for the minimalists among us, and the 30-40 liter range for those who like a bit more options.

The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 is easily one of the most stylish packs in our review, only slightly edged out by the Timbuk2 Never Check , and both make the grade for a single overnighter in a foreign locale. For a bit more space, you can’t go wrong with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L , a fun pack that is a lot tougher than the multi-colored exterior would let on.

Peak Design Travel Backpack on the Back of a Traveller in Seattle International Airport Looking out on the Tarmac.

The Commuter: No flight involved! Duty calls, and sometimes you’ll need to lug around a bit more kit than the old briefcase can allow for. Commuting with a travel backpack is a great way to stay comfortable on longer rides, as shoulder and handbags are cumbersome over the long run. Focus on a bag with a more traditional backpack shape that puts an emphasis on ease-of-access, and is in the 20-30L range.

For bumping around town, we’ve come to love the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24 , which not only lugs our remote office around with ease, but also looks pretty slick doing it. The drawstring opening here is a huge boon for quickly stashing a jacket, and the tough exterior fears no weather forecast. For a budget just-get-it-done choice, the JanSport Journey Pack will make it happen for less.

around the world travel bags

The right size pack for you depends on a few things. First, where are you going? And, how long do you plan to stay? Winter travel often comes with more gear, so you’ll need to pack extra layers. Longer trips often require larger bags.

That said, your personal packing style will be the most important factor. We know minimalists who happily travel for months with only a single backpack in tow and others who want the largest travel backpack possible in addition to a totally stuffed duffel bag . One method isn’t better than the other, but knowing your style is helpful when choosing a bag.

In general, we’ve found that something in the 28-45 liter range is ideal for comfort and packability. Many packs will also offer a compression system to allow you to limit the overall volume of the backpack. We’ve seen many different ways to accomplish this, but the most effective by far were the button snaps and expanding zipper of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L . Packs toward the 40-45 liter range will be your carry-on bags of choice, and the 45-liter Peak Design, Patagonia MLC , and Matador GlobeRider are perfect for maxing out your allowed space. The 40-liter Osprey Farpoint/Fairview packs give up a little internal room for the luxe suspension system they’re carried with.

Packs in the smaller end of the range, from around 25-30 L, make better personal items, and the TimBuk2 Never Check , Tom Bihn Synapse , and Patagonia Black Hole backpacks all fit snugly underneath an airliner seat. These small bags move through a city gracefully and look more like everyday carry backpacks than traditional luggage.

Peak Design Travel Backpack Clamshell Access

What good would a bag be if you couldn’t get into it? From a simple drawstring to a thicket of Velcro and zippers, there are plenty of ways to keep your bag closed while you’re on the go, but not every one will be amenable to travel.

Zippered Clamshells: Most travel backpacks will use a clamshell-style design that opens up the backpack like a suitcase, allowing you to pack intentionally as opposed to stuffing things in. Oftentimes, an internal strap system will help keep your items contained while you’re on the move.

Packs with this clamshell design may also opt to add internal dividers to the main storage area, and make these dividers removable — should you need the entire storage area uninhibited. For packs without internal dividers or straps, consider adding a few packing cubes to keep your items organized.

In addition to the rear entry, some backpacks will offer additional entry points through the top or front of the pack. This can be helpful when you need to quickly retrieve something like a passport from your bag, without the need to totally spill the contents. The majority of packs in our review close in this clamshell manner, and a few of our favorites are the Peak Design Travel Backpack , Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs , and Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack .

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

Zippered Top-Access: Much like many traditional backpacks, zippered top-access packs load and unload from the topside, and generally only offer one point of entry/egress into the pack. For this reason, packs of this flavor are generally left packed during travel, as digging around for something at the bottom can be a hassle.

Bags of this stripe, including the uber-nice Tom Bihn Synapse 25 and expandable Timbuk2 Never Check , most often make better personal items over carry-ons, as their smaller volumes make for easier searching within.

Drawstring Top-Entry: While not quite as common as a zippered clamshell or top-access pack, drawstring top-entry packs can make for very quick and easy access to your kit if you’re on the move. These packs will integrate an extended fabric collar to the top of the storage area, which can be compressed when needed, or overstuffed with bulky items like jackets.

Carrying Options

Patagonia MCL 45L Travel Backpack Carry Options

There are plenty of ways to lug your kit to your boarding gate, but not all of them will be comfortable for everything. Over-shoulder backpack straps can support a good bit of weight but typically will need some type of frame to truly be supportive. The Osprey Farpoint/Fairview packs were the best-carrying packs in our testing, owed largely to the wire frame and Airscape mesh back panels, but we also enjoyed the carry of the aluminum frame stays on the Matador GlobeRider.

A shoulder strap travel backpack, like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L , can be slung across your body and provide a great amount of accessibility on the go. Don’t expect to carry too much weight this way, however.

And then there’s the classic suitcase style, easily towed anywhere. It’s good to note many travel backpacks will have stowable straps to better streamline the pack for a trip through an X-ray machine or stowed under a seat. The strap storage design of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L impressed us most of all, utilizing magnetic closure flaps to pack away the shoulder and hip straps neatly.

Pockets & Organization

Matador SEG30 Travel Backpack Storage Options

There’s an organizational saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” And we couldn’t agree more. Keeping track of everything while you travel is key for organization. And while more pockets always seem better, there is a threshold where having too many simply becomes more places to misplace things. Instead, we recommend packs with three to six pockets.

The Cotopaxi Allpa and Topo Designs Global Travel Bags both have ingenious inner organization systems complete with large zipping “pockets.” It has just enough space to find room for everything but not so many compartments that you’ll be hunting all day for your misplaced passport. For even more organization, the Matador SEG45 splits into five different segments that are accessible from the exterior of the pack.

Bringing along a laptop is a necessary evil for some travelers, and having an incorporated laptop sleeve in your travel backpack can keep it safe during travel. Most laptop sleeves will be padded with some type of foam and nestle in close to the back for maximum protection. In order to be TSA-compliant, a laptop sleeve will need to fold entirely flat away from the pack to be scanned.

Because flying with liquids over 3.4 ounces is prohibited in the U.S., carrying all of these items in a separate toiletry bag can make your foray into the screening line a breeze. Many of the packs on our list incorporate many external pockets where such a bag could be stashed and produced when needed.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 Travel Backpack

Travel luggage takes a beating, so durability is a top concern. Luckily, gear manufacturers realize this and are making increasingly burly yet portable packs. The fan-favorite Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L pack is made with a 900-denier ripstop nylon outer with a TPU laminate for extra durability. It’s nearly indestructible, water-resistant, and versatile.

If you’re traveling somewhere with inclement weather or if your pack needs to double as a climbing bag or hiking pack, durability is extra important. And it’s worth paying more for a backpack that is water-resistant.

Space Efficiency & Carry-On Compliance

Peak Design Travel Pack at SEATAC

Astute observers will note many of the packs in our review sport a rectangular shape, which is certainly due to designers aspiring to create a more space-efficient pack. This isn’t to say that more shapely packs won’t make it happen, but when you’re struggling to make every liter of space count, maximizing dimensions matters.

Carry-on luggage is any bag that you plan on bringing into an airplane and storing in the overhead bins. Because space is limited, airlines dictate the maximum size that any carry-on can be. In the U.S., the most common size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, or 45 linear inches (length + width + height). However, this is just a rough guideline; some airlines differ from these dimensions, and you should refer to their information directly.

In general, these dimensions provide a travel backpack with around 40-45 liters of internal volume, so buying a pack that’s as close to that as possible will provide the most space allowed. Many of the packs on our list have the ability to compress to a smaller size, such as the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L .

Be mindful as well, that any protrusions from your travel pack such as shoulder straps or handles will also need to fall within the maximum allowed size. Many travel backpacks today incorporate some type of strap-stowing ability, such as the magnetic panels of the Peak Design packs, the zippered cover of the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, and the hybrid zipper/panel of the Matador GlobeRider 45. All of these provide a more streamlined profile that should both hit the mark, and fit better into overhead bins.

around the world travel bags

Travel backpacks run the gamut of prices — from affordable to downright pricey. There are a number of factors that play into what you get for the money.

Budget-Minded Travel Packs

Travel backpacks, as a category, are generally a bit pricer than your average luggage, as they incorporate tough materials that can put up with extensive wear over the lifespan. Travel is tough on bags, so it’s unsurprising that even budget travel backpacks will cost you around $100-150.

These packs often will incorporate more traditional architectures such as a zippered top access, as opposed to the more complicated (and spendy) full-zip clamshell designs. For example, the JanSport Journey Pack ($95) is pretty much your average school bag.

Volumes, too, will be a bit limited in this price range — added material adds cost. The 32-liter Osprey Nebula ($140) is about the best price-to-volume ratio you can get.

Mid-Range Travel Packs

Mid-range packs make up the bread and butter of travel packs, and can be had for around $150 to $200. These designs are often more of the full carry-on variety, and aim to capitalize on permitted volume as much as possible. The 45-liter Matador SEG45 ($200), Patagonia Black Hole MLC ($239), 40-liter Osprey Farpoint/Fairview ($185), and Topo Designs Global Travel Bag ($229) all shoehorn in just about as much space as a friendly gate agent will let you get away with.

For the price, you also get a good variety of functionality that makes travel easier, such as stowable pack straps, interior segmented pockets and sleeves (done excellently on the $170 Cotopaxi Allpa ), and an external compression system that limits the space your bag takes up. Some packs, like the TimBuk2 Never Check ($209), don’t exactly hit these parameters, but instead make up for it in high-quality design and materials.

around the world travel bags

Premium Travel Packs

Above $250, you’re likely paying for premium materials or a to-the-hilt design that leaves absolutely nothing on the cutting room floor. The Peak Design Travel Backpack ($300) is a great example, and utilizes super high-quality nylon canvas, custom aluminum hardware, and supple seatbelt material webbing in its build, as well as fitting in just about every conceivable feature you could want in a travel pack. The same can be said of the Matador GlobeRider 45 ($350), which uses high-tech UHMPWE-reinforced materials and sports a total of 19 pockets.

The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($250) is a bit of an outlier, as it commands a high dollar amount not for the extreme amount of space it offers or amount of features, but for being a hyper-customizable, hand-made bag that uses the nicest textiles available, as well as the best zippers, webbing, and foam in its design. If you’re a fan of the finest materials, this is your daily driver pack.

What Is One Bag Travel?

The ‘One Bag Travel’ ethos and travel backpacks go hand-in-hand. Simply put, to travel in one-bag style is to be minimalist in your luggage choices, and only take what you can carry onto the plane/train/pack animal. Not only does this do away with the fuss of deciding what exactly to bring along with you, but it also allows for breezing through airports — skipping the need to check baggage, wait at baggage claim, or fear for lost luggage.

In order to most effectively travel with one bag, be sure to read up on exactly the baggage size allowances provided by your transportation. This can affect both overall size and weight, and having an expandable pack is a large benefit here. In this way, you can carry just enough to skirt through under the limit, and then expand the bag when you’ve hit your destination for more breathing room. If you aim for a 35-40 liter backpack, you’ll be right on the money for one-bag travel.

Finally, remember that this bag is going to be the only item of luggage you’ve got, so ensure it’ll be comfortable enough for the long haul. Look for padded back panels and hip belts that’ll transfer the load correctly, and if they stash away — all the better.

Our team unanimously agrees that the best travel backpack is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L . It’s extremely durable, and it offers plenty of organizational pockets to stash your kit away in. The clamshell opening makes packing a breeze, and we really appreciated the unique shoulder strap storage options available to turn the pack into a stripped-down bag that would slide into any overhead compartment.

Peak Design Travel Pack in Denver

The best size bag for traveling depends largely on your travel itinerary and mode of transport. The Cotopaxi Allpa packs range from 28 to 42 liters.

The 28-liter option makes for a compact and comfortable backpack that easily fits in overhead airplane compartments. The 42-liter option is a bit more like carrying a duffel bag on your back, but it still manages to fit in overhead compartments. It’s a great option for maximizing carry-on capacity in backpack form.

While both have their place in travel, a backpack can offer some advantages over a suitcase. Since they’re much more portable, backpacks can be brought to many more places where a suitcase won’t work. Suitcases can be your large load carriers, but a good travel backpack gives you the freedom to strike out on daily adventures.

Travel backpacks absolutely can be carry-on luggage, given they meet the size requirements. In the U.S., the most common maximum size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, or 45 linear inches (length + width + height). But this is only a common size, and different airlines will have different specifics. Consult with your airline specifically to determine what they allow.

While different body types will find different travel packs comfortable, we can all agree that a good support system and ample foam make for a comfortable carry. In our own testing, we found the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 Travel Packs were by far the most comfortable due to their plush suspension systems.

Because many different airlines operate a slate of different planes, there isn’t a standard under-seat luggage size, although there is an average: 16 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches. Some airlines allow personal items larger than this, but you should consult with their customer service for specifics. Our favorite personal item-sized travel pack was the Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack , which, at 24 liters compressed, easily slides under a seat.

around the world travel bags

The Best Laptop Backpacks of 2024

Whether you’re headed to the office, class, or even the trailhead, here’s our top picks for the best laptop backpacks of 2024.

around the world travel bags

The Best Daypacks of 2024

We tested the best daypacks of 2024 with options for every budget. Top picks include Osprey, Cotopaxi, and more.

around the world travel bags

Hailing from the hemlocks and hanging mosses of Washington State, Senior Editor Nick Belcaster is an adventure journalist following threads of stories across the West. Cruelly stolen from the alpine swales of rural Wisconsin at a young age, Nick made do ascending the snows and granite of the North Cascades while completing a journalism degree. A long stint on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 codified a life bent on sleeping on minor slopes and picking devil’s club out of his shoes.

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Home » Gear » best travel backpack

The BEST Travel Backpacks: (2024)

Did you know that the average human makes upwards of 35,000 decisions every single day? That’s a whole lotta deciding right? But in truth, some of life’s (many) decisions are more important than others. BIG decisions include what career to  pursue, who to marry and of course whether you should take the red pill, the blue pill (or both…_

So, in the grand scheme of things, choosing which travel backpack to buy may not seem all that important and yet take it from us (the experts), having the right backpack can sometimes make or break a trip. Seriously peeps, choosing which backpack to bring on a given trip is almost as important as choosing where to go.

Your travel backpack will carry every single one of your possessions on the road and will become your home. You need your chosen backpack to be strong, durable, comfortable, and compact enough to save you some space! Over the years, I have personally tried countless different backpacks and pushed them far past their limits.

So in this post I am going to channel all of that experience and knowledge in order to help you deuce what is the best travel backpack for your trip? Let’s go find out.

Quick Answer: These are the Best Travel Backpacks of 2024

So why choose to travel with a backpack, travel backpack: the best overall for 2024, the best carry on travel backpacks, best travel backpacks for hiking, best backpacks for digital nomads, the best backpacks for travel photographers, other special travel backpacks worth considering, what makes a good travel backpack, the great backpacker debate (must read), faq about the best travel backpack, conclusion of the best travel backpacks mega-list.

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you . Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more .

  • #1 Nomatic 40L Travel Bag – The Best Overall Backpack
  • #2 Tropicfeel Shell  – Best Organised Travel Backpack
  • #3 Osprey Aether Plus 70L  – Best Long Term Travel Backpack for Men (Large)
  • #4 Osprey Farpoint 40L   – Best Travel Backpack (Carry on)
  • #5 Osprey Aura 50L  – Best Large Long Term Travel Backpack (Womens )
  • #6 Osprey Airscape UNLTD – Best Travel & Hiking Backpack
  • #7 Tortuga Travel Pack  –Best Full-Size Carry On (Unisex)
  • #8 Osprey Ozone  – Best Travel Bag with Wheels
  • #9 WANDRD PRVKE 31  – Best Camera Backpack for Travel
  • #10 Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack  – Best Travel Bag for Laptops

nomatic 40l travel pack

Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

  • Price > $289.99
  • Liters > 30L and 40L
  • Material > Tarpaulin/Ballistic Weave
  • Best Use > Travel, digital nomad lifestyle, weekend trips

Osprey Aether Plus 70 Pack - Men's

Osprey Men’s Aether Plus 70

  • Price > $410
  • Liters > 70L
  • Material > 210D high-tenacity nylon
  • Best Use > Backpacking

Osprey farpoint 40

Osprey Farpoint 40

  • Price > $185
  • Liters > 40L
  • Material > 450D recycled twist dobby polyester
  • Best Use > Travel, international backpacking, urban lifestyle

Osprey Aura AG 50 Pack - Women's

Osprey Aura 50

  • Price > $315
  • Liters > 50L
  • Material > 210D honeycomb recycled nylon
  • Best Use > Trekking, backpacking, hiking, international travel

Osprey Airspace UNLTD

Osprey Airscape UNLTD

  • Price > $700
  • Liters > 68L
  • Material > 210D Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop
  • Best Use > Hiking, international backpacking,

Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

Tropicfeel Shell

  • Price > $249
  • Liters > 22-40
  • Material > Polyester – 60% recycled material, 100% recycled nylon

Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L

Tortuga Travel Pack

  • Price > $350
  • Material > SHELL200D Recycled Polyester

Osprey Ozone 4-Wheel Carry-On Wheeled Luggage

Osprey Ozone

  • Price > $320
  • Liters > 38L
  • Material > 100-denier recycled high-tenacity NanoFly nylon
  • Best Use > Travel, international wheelpacking

wandrd prvke 31 backpack

WANDRD PRVKE 31

  • Price > $239
  • Liters > 31-36L
  • Material > Combination of tarpaulin and robic nylon
  • Best Use > Travel photography

around the world travel bags

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

  • Price > $250
  • Liters > 25L
  • Material > 900D heathered polyester
  • Best Use > Travel, digital nomad lifestyle, carry on, day pack

Osprey Aether

Ok so why should you travel with a backpack rather than suitcase? Well, ultimately it depends on where you are going and your travel style.

For example, the cobbled streets of Europe, dirt roads of Nepal, and busy bus stations around the world are quite simply not suitcase friendly. In these environments your suitcase is likely to get damaged, get in the way and, in general, piss you off. Trust me, carrying your suitcase because the wheels have fallen off while you search for the hostel, is not a great start to a trip.

And, if you are planning to visit multiple destinations and using public transport, a suitcase is simply not practical and you will hate yourself for bringing one!

Backpacks also look kind of cool whereas suitcases just make you look like a tourist.

around the world travel bags

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Now, for just $30, get a lifetime membership that entitles you to 10% OFF on most items, access to their trade-in scheme and discount rentals .

Crucially, when traveling with a backpack your hands are free to use Google Maps to find your hostel, tackling stairs is not a problem, and you can officially join the backpacker hordes! No one likes a suitcase.

Still not convinced? What if I told you that once you invest in the best travel bag you shouldn’t ever need to buy another one! A good quality travel backpack lasts years and does not get damaged as easily as suitcases. I’ve been dragging my pack around the globe for nearly ten years and it’s still going strong.

The best backpacks for travel will be flexible in size and shape so when they are not full, there is more chance that you can take them on board planes. Some traveling backpacks even come with detachable day packs to make things even easier.

Why Should You Trust Us?

The Broke Backpacker team have been travelling and living out of their own backpacks for years now. Collectively, we must have 200+ years of travel experience and, by now, know what it takes to be successful on the road. We are experts in our field and take great pleasure in presenting the best possible gear to you.

Let’s kick this off with what I feel are the absolute TOP backpacks to travel with.

#1 Nomatic Travel Bag 40L

nomatic 40l travel pack

  • Price: $289.99
  • Dimemsions: 22.86 x 53.34 x 35.56 cm
  • Weight: 1.55 kg
  • Looks sexy!
  • Modern and efficient
  • Tons of room
  • Lots of awesome features
  • Carry on size

Nomatic bags are designed to be modern, sleek, and provide ultimate packing efficiency. This is accomplished by great design: tons of features, and more pockets and sleeves than you’ll know what to do with.

The Nomatic Travel Pack 40L is widely acclaimed as the perfect travel pack for several compelling reasons. Firstly, its meticulously designed organization system sets it apart. The pack features an array of compartments and pockets that are intelligently laid out, ensuring that every item has its specific place. This includes a dedicated laptop and tablet compartment, a secure RFID safe pocket, and a versatile main compartment that can expand or contract based on your packing needs.

The bag can seamlessly transition from a 40L check-in bag to a slimmer, day pack by simply adjusting the expansion zipper, making it incredibly versatile for different types of trips. The thoughtful design extends to the inclusion of a cord management system and a magnetic water bottle pocket, making it incredibly convenient to stay organized and access essentials on the go. Whether you need a backpack for a business trip  or are a digital nomad traveling the world, this will keep your laptop and valuables well secured all while looking stylish.

Read our full review of the Nomatic Travel Bag!

#2 Aer Travel Pack 3 – Our Favorite Backpack to Travel With Runner Up

aer travel pack 2 backpack

  • Price: $249
  • Volume: 35 liters
  • Dimemsions: 55 x 33 x 22
  • Weight: 1.87 kg
  • Multiple compartments for organization
  • Lots of potential customization

aer flight pack 2 review

Here at The Broke Backpacker, we are big fans of AER – and the Travel Bag is one of their best backpacks to date. This bag has gotten a ton of (much deserved) hype and it’s our pick for the best overall travel backpack!

The AER Travel Pack 3 is a testament to functional design and urban style, ideal for the modern traveler who values efficiency and aesthetics. This pack is crafted from high-quality, water-resistant materials, ensuring durability and protection against the elements. a wonderful backpack for digital nomads on the go. It can fit your laptop as well as any other travel gear you tote around. Use it as a daypack around town or bring it on the pane for one bag travel.

There are many different compartments, pockets, and zippers to keep you organized. There’s a laptop sleeve and a very handy place just for shoes. With its blend of durability, organization, and style, the AER Travel Pack 3 stands as an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and fashionable travel companion.

The minimalist outer design helps deter thieves, and what the outside lacks in pockets it makes up for with well-designed internal storage.

Read our Aer Travel Pack 2 review to learn more about thus bag!

around the world travel bags

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#3 Osprey Men’s Aether Plus 70 – Best For Backpacking (Men)

Osprey Aether Plus 70 Pack - Men's

  • Price: $410
  • Dimemsions: 83.82 x 38.1 x 35.56 cm
  • Weight: 2.81 kg
  • Convertible top-lid day pack.

Aether Backpack

The Osprey Aether is in our view, the quintessential backpackers backpack. If you headed to Southeast Asia for a few month, or maybe going on a backcountry hiking trip, then this arguably the PERFECT backpack.

It’s offers a whopping 70 litres of storage and has all the advantages that every pack from the Osprey brand offers. (the Osprey ‘All-Mighty Guarantee’ , durability, comfort). Several of us here at TBB use this pack for all of our backpacking trips and I have carried mine across 5 continents now. It has plenty of pockets and compartments to keep things extra organized plus An AirScape back panel to keep you cool on the warmest adventures. I can guarantee it’ll last a lifetime, if you don’t believe me, just ask Osprey!

Literally guys, they put a lifetime guarantee on every single product they sell to prove it. The only downside to this pack is you can’t avoid checked luggage fee’s with this bad boy as its too big. But at least you don’t have to dump any stuff! This is hands down one of the best backpacks for traveling around the world on a longer adventure.

Check out our review of the Aether 70 backpack to learn more!

#4 Osprey Aura 50 – Best For Backpacking (Women)

Osprey Aura AG 50 Pack - Women's

  • Price: $315
  • Dimemsions: 81.28 x 38.1 x 30.48 cm
  • Weight:  1.86 kg
  • Anti-Gravity Suspension
  • Floating top-lid replaceable with FlapJacket
  • Multiple organisation options.

The ladies-specific Osprey Aura is the best travel backpack for the female form. This is a high-quality backpack for women traveling on epic short or long haul adventures. Osprey as a brand are awesome and they guarantee to last many adventures! Seriously, all Osprey travel bags come with a lifetime guarantee making them undeniably the best value backpacks.

With the unique built-in Anti-Gravity suspension system, this bag is designed to carry up to 40lbs without the carrier even noticing! Meaning this travel backpack is stable, strong and can carry the weight without you having to suffer for it! If you’re a lady hitting the road, this is the travel backpack I recommend.

Overall, you should get the Osprey Aura 50 if you are traveling in a variety of weather (humidity and snow) and hike and backpack often. This backpack will be a great fit if you are looking for a high-quality backpack that can handle wear and tear.

Check out our awesome Osprey Aura 50 review!

#5 Osprey Airscape UNLTD – Best Hiking & Travel Backpack

Osprey Airspace UNLTD

  • Price: $700
  • Dimemsions: 81.28 x 40.64 x 38.1 cm
  • Weight:  2.72 kg
  • Cutting edge super comfy back support
  • Lid detaches into a day pack

The Osprey Airscape is one of two spanking hiking packs launched by the world’s leading backpack brand’s as part of its UNLTD series. The Airscape UNLTD is a 68 litre hiking and travel backpack that utilises cutting edge, 3D printing technology to create an ultra comfy, supportive and breathable lumbar, back support.

Whilst there are too many little features to list in this section (read on for the full run down), another major bonus is the 8l top lid that converts to an 18l day pack which brings a whole new dimension to the pack. 

Alas, the Osprey Airscape UNLTD also comes with a hefty $750 price tag which by far makes it the most expensive backpack that I have ever come across. Whether it is really worth that amount of money is of course debatable but what I can say is that this is by far the most comfortable hiking backpack that I have ever tried.

Osprey

I have about four different travel backpacks now. For longer trips I generally use my Osprey Aether, but I also have a number of carry on backpacks which I use for shorter trips.

And hear this, these days it is increasingly common for airlines to charge separately for checked bags and it can often increase the price of the ticket by 50%. As such, if you only travel with a compact backpack you can save a fortune on luggage fees and simply take your backpack on a flight as carry-on. Budget backpacking win right there!

Below are some of my favorite backpacks that I use as a carry-on. If you’d like to learn more about these sort of bags, then be sure to head over our comprehensive guide on the top carry-on backpacks to take traveling!

#1 Osprey Farpoint 40 L  – Best Carry-on Backpack (Men)

Osprey farpoint 40 review

  • Price: $185
  • Dimemsions: 55.88 x 35.56 x 22.86 cm
  • Weight: 1.59 kg
  • Large panel zip access to main compartment.
  • Stowaway backpanel, harness and hipbelt with zippered rear flap for protection.
  • Laptop and tablet sleeve secure in lockable compartment.

Overall, you should get the Osprey Farpoint 40 if you are traveling the world, and like to pack super light (like me). If you are looking for a nearly indestructible carry on backpack which can actually carry, and compartmentalize, a lot of stuff – this backpack might be your match made in heaven.

Because of it’s 40 liter size, the Farpoint 40 is a near-guarantee to carry on no matter the airline. This will save you hundreds of dollars in checking fees, and countless hours waiting in baggage claim. And as we will look at later, there is plenty of space to make sure that light-traveling does not mean bad-traveling.

In my opinion, the Osprey Farpoint 40 is the best value carry on backpack on the market right now. Check out our epic Osprey Farpoint review here . 

#2 Osprey Fairview 40  – Best Carry-on Backpack (Women)

Osprey Fairview 40

  • Size: 40 Liters
  • Dimemsions: 53.34 x 35.56 x 22.86 cm
  • All of the pros of the Osprey Farpoint 40.
  • A hiking and carry-on backpack specifically designed to fit women!

The Osprey Fairview 40 was designed specifically for girls and women – making this category an easy choice! To clarify for the ladies… ANY of the bags mentioned prior can be used for women. Whether you are interested in Minaal, Tortuga, AER, or any of the others – all of these bags are unisex. Except for the Osprey Fairview 40, which was designed specifically for women.

Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack

This travel backpack can transform into a duffel bag, which is made even more awesome by the included shoulder strap, and the ability to stow the bag’s harness and hip belt. At a square 40 liters, you’ll rarely have to worry about this bag being checked.

If you are a lady, and want all of the glory of Osprey in a bag that is specifically designed for you, then hell yes! Please, don’t be hesitant to purchase any of the other bags (as they are all unisex!) but if you want a badass hiking pack that also functions as a carry on backpack, this is an easy pick.

#3 Peak Design Travel Pack – Best 30l Carry On Travel Pack

around the world travel bags

  • Price: $229.95
  • Capacity: 30 litres
  • Dimemsions: 53cm x 34cm x 20cm
  • Weight: 1.44 kg
  • Great organisational capacity
  • Extends to 33L
  • Amazing for organization
  • Comfy to carry and fits under the seat

The Peak Design 30L Travel Pack is built with the modern traveler in mind. Its 30-liter capacity is perfect for weekend getaways or even extended travel if you pack light. The bag’s sleek design isn’t just about looks; it’s also about function. Its adjustable compartments allow for a customized fit for your belongings, while its innovative side access points provide convenience in retrieving items without having to dig through the entire bag. The expansion zippers give you the flexibility to accommodate extra items when needed, making it an adaptable companion for various travel durations.

tbbteam - Peak Design Travel Pack 30

I have been incredibly impressed by this travel pack and it has now accompanied me on a free weekend rips already. What I really love about it is how well organised I can get with my packing – everything has its place and there are enough zips and pockets to stash all of those little odds and ends. In terms of downsides, the packs material is thick and robust but not all that nice to the touch. The bag does also feel a bit heavier than it looks.

Finally I personally find that 30 litres is only ever enough storage for a few nights worth of traveling but perhaps thats just me – I do after all travel with a hair-dryer. Fortunately though there is a 40 litre version available.

#4 Tortuga Travel Pack  – Best Full Size Carry-on

Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L

  • Price: $350
  • Size:  45 litres
  • Dimemsions: 47 x 30 x 23
  • Weight:  1.5 kg
  • The design will leave you fairly impressed
  • It has tons of pockets/compartments
  • It packs huge – you can put A LOT in it

The first thing I noticed when packing my new Tortuga Travel Pack, was just how massive the main compartment was. It has the capacity to carry a ton of clothes. If you are a world traveler, then this is great because it means you have to do less laundry – score! And yet despite its generous capacity, the new and improved version of the Tortuga Travel pack was custom designed to for carry on meaning that it complies with the limits for pretty much every airline in the world.

Its a cleverly designed pan too. The Travel Pack by Tortuga’s design enables its the main compartment to be opened like a suitcase; this is far more convenient than a traditional backpackers backpack. Reaching my stuff was simple, and because of the organization of the compartments, it was easy to know what was where.

Inside the main compartment are six smaller compartments. The first four smaller compartments are enclosed within the main compartment. The Tortuga Travel Pack is still without a doubt one of the best backpacks on the market. It’s quality build, intuitive design, fantastic organization, and smaller size make it the perfect compact travel bag for anyone who wants to travel light, but travel in style.

Check out out our must-read full Tortuga Travel Pack review .

#5 Tropicfeel Shell Backpack – Best Backpack for Organizing

Tropicfeel Shell

  • Size: 22-40 litres
  • Dimemsions: 51 x 30 x 19 cm
  • Really fucking versatile
  • Packs up easily
  • Fairly priced

The Shell by Tropicfeel is a little to medium backpack sized with a big concept. Firstly, it is a 3 in 1 extendable backpack that begins life as a 22 liter pack, rolls up to 30 litres and then with the addition of a detachable pouch goes all the way to 40 litres.

As well as being a 3-in-1 backpack (which you can easily adapt to use as day pack, overnight pack and carry-on pack), the Shell also has another awesome feature – a little, mini drop in pull out travel roll up wardrobe! With multiple compartments, you can easily pack and unpack all of your belongings. For a quick outfit change at the airport, this is ideal.

This is a VERY unique and special pack and it seriously impressed me. While not all of you will want this kind of pack, it has won itself a delisted fanbase. I also just love how mega-stylish this bag is too. Keeping everything tidy, easily accessible and organized during your travels has never been so easy. On top of that, the recycled material is also weather and water-resistant.

Want to know more about the company, we’ve done a full review of TropicFeel just for you!

A lot of people like to go hiking while they are out traveling the world. To do so, they need a special type of travel backpack, one that can go further, carry more, and last longer.

Aside from the Osprey Aether and Aura, here are a couple more options when looking for a good bag to go traveling and hiking with. If you would like to read more about these special pieces of gear, then be sure to check out our ENORMOUS hiking backpack guide !

#1 Osprey Aether Plus 85 Backpack – A BIG Travel Backpack

Osprey Aether

  • Price: $440
  • Dimemsions: 86.36 x 40.64x 40.64 cm
  • Removable top lid w/compartment and waterproof zipper
  • Converts to a lumbar pack with AirScape lumbar pad

Looking to head into the back country in search of adventure? Whether it is a couple of days hiking or an epic adventure The Osprey Aether Plus 85 backpack is the best travel backpack on the market by far.

I’ve been adventuring with my Aether for nearly ten years now. The best thing about Osprey is that they operate an all-mighty guarantee. This means that they will repair any damage done to your pack, no questions asked, for free. However, note that in recent years they have amended this guarantee and it now excludes wear & tear, water damage and airline damage.

The Osprey Aether Plus 85 is a big expedition backpack; it’s 85 liters, extremely comfortable thanks to the custom-molded hip belt, is compatible with hydration systems, has plenty of sections for storage and can easily be loaded up with a ton of stuff – I once strapped three tents to the outside and had a fourth tent on the inside plus cooking equipment, sleeping bags, food, clothes, electronics etc…

#2 Osprey Skarab 30 – A Smaller Backpack for Shorter Journeys

Osprey Skarab 30 Hydration Mens Pack

  • Price: $150
  • Dimemsions: 53.34 x 27.94 x 25.4 cm
  • Weight: 0.74 kg
  • Walking pole attachments
  • Adjustable BIOFIT back system

For the days when you venture into the wilderness or walk the market streets, you need a pack that is both comfortable and practical. I’ve been using my Osprey Skarab for three years now as my go-to backpack for shorter adventures or hikes.

It’s one hell of a pack and is the best budget backpack I’ve come across. It’s pretty cheap considering the quality and it has plenty of pockets for storage, a padded hip belt, a safety whistle on the chest strap (always handy!) and an in-built rain cover.

The Osprey Skarab backpack is 30 liters so it’s a backpack best for weekends or ultralight hiking rather than long expeditions where you have to carry tents and food. It can just about handle long trips but space is limited so whilst it is one of the best backpacks for travel, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a long trip. For more intel check out our full-length Osprey Skarab review .

around the world travel bags

Now, you  could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card!  REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

#3 Deuter Aircontact Core 65 + 10 Pack – A Cheaper Travel Backpack Osprey-Alternative

Deuter Aircontact Core 65 + 10 Pack - Men's

  • Price: $250
  • Dimensions: 84.07 x 32 x 27.94 cm
  • Weight: 2.25 kg
  • 15% perspiration control
  • Dimemsions:

Hands down, this is one of the best backpacks for hiking. This is a fantastic backpack for those looking for comfort, support, breathability and freedom of movement. This backpack is absolutely one of my best picks and if it wasn’t for my trusty Osprey, I would probably be a Deuter man.

These days, traveling without a laptop is just not going to happen. For many of us, a laptop is just as essential as a phone and if you are a digital nomad hitting the road, you need to protect your baby. So amigos, let me share the best travel backpacks for digital nomads and laptop lovers.

#1 Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack – Best Travel Backpack for Digital Nomads

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

  • Size: 25 liters
  • Weight:  1.27 kg
  • Very functional
  • High-quality manufacturing
  • Super organized

This one is pretty obvious – the Setout Laptop Backpack is great for…. laptops! But seriously, if you are looking for a sturdy pack to carry your laptop around– look no further, this bad boy is as good as it gets. This is for a few reasons.

First off, Tortuga Backpacks are possibly some of the most well designed and durable backpacks on the market. We’ve reviewed tons of Tortuga products and they all have an incredible amount of detail to them, and are made of the highest quality materials. High quality/durable materials means your precious laptop will be safe and sound.

Simply put, this backpack has tons of organization features, all of which are designed specifically for laptops. Notice in the pictures above and below, that this bag is loaded with ways to keep your gear safe, and very organized. Tortuga markets this bag as an “organized daypack for air travel” – and it’s certainly true!

The design and features of this backpack make it perfect for air travel. Whether it’s the sleek laptop sleeve, the easy to lock zippers, the luggage handle pass through or the hideaway shoulder straps, this bag thrives in airports and airplanes.

Check out our in-depth Tortuga Setout Laptop backpack review . 

#2 High Spirit Laptop Backpack – Supreme Organization, Style, and Security

stylish black travel backpack

  • Size: 19.5 liters
  • Extremely well made
  • Durable shock-absorbing base

High Spirit Bags have broken onto the travel backpack scene with an emphatic BANG. Their brand new Laptop Backpack is the perfect choice for travelers who prioritize style , security, and functionality all rolled up into one tidy package.

Every inch of the Laptop Backpack is thoughtfully designed to provide the best possible user experience. The high quality leather exterior is the ideal combination of sleek and anti-theft – which when you are toting around expensive electronics – this feature is very important.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the pack’s access design. The zippers are located on the back panel making it virtually impossible for thieves to unzip your backpack whilst you are wearing it. The organizational layout of this backpack provides more than enough storage options for your work day in the city or a weekend jaunt to Barcelona.

Surprisingly, the High Spirt Laptop Backpack is much more affordable than many other laptop-focused travel backpacks out there. The verdict is in: you are not going to find a more high-quality laptop backpack that looks and functions this well for the given price point (£110).

#3 Arcido Akra 35L – A Large yet Lightweight Travel Backpack

Arcido Akra 35L

  • Price: $195
  • Dimemsions: 55 X 35 X 20 cm
  • Weight:  1.7 kg
  • Sleek, stylish design
  • Super lightweight makes travel easy
  • Organized + customizable

This is the perfect carry on travel backpack for urban travelers. Its laptop harness, organizational pockets, and integrative packing cubes (in the Arcido Akra and Vaga Daypack Bundle ) make this the perfect travel backpack for digital nomads too.

At only 2.4 lbs, this is a lightweight backpack for travel that can become even lighter when the sternum straps and waist belt are removed. In essence, Arcido makes simple, tough, and well-designed travel backpacks equipped with enough storage and organizational features make any modern traveler happy. We love that this is an affordable backpack for its high-quality design.

Check out our full Arcido Akra review!

#4 Incase Icon Pack – One of the Toughest Laptops Bags

Incase icon slim pack travel backpack

  • Price: $149.99
  • Size: 9 x 13 x 19 inches
  • Dimemsions: 48.26 x 33.02 x 22.86 cm
  • Dedicated laptop compartment
  • Multiple organisation options
  • Airflow channels in back panel

The Incase Icon Pack is a great travel backpack if you’ll be working on the road and need a sturdy, durable pack to keep your laptop safe while exploring new areas. Featuring multiple exterior and interior pockets, the Icon laptop backpack allows maximum organisation and easy access to your belongings, with a dedicated laptop compartment to stow your gear away safely.

Check out our in-depth breakdown of the best laptop backpacks for more intel!

Photographers need to be very mindful of their gear while traveling. Rough rides and constant movement can imperil sensitive camera equipment, so it’s very important to have a reliable backpack that can keep everything safe.

These are a few more good travel backpacks, this time with the photographers and aspiring photographers in mind. If these suggestions aren’t enough, we’ve also written an in-depth guide to choosing the best camera backpacks too!

#1 WANDRD PRVKE 31  – Best Travel Camera Backpack

wandrd prvke 31 backpack

  • Price: $239
  • Size: 31 Liters
  • Dimemsions: 48 X 30 X 18 cm
  • Expandable roll top
  • Large enough for travel camera + 3-4 lenses
  • Additional straps for accessories

For those who want a backpack that can does a little bit of everything, is durable, and looks damn good in the process, the WADNRD PRVKE 31 is an excellent investment. At 31 (expandable to 36) liters, this backpack can hold quite a bit and there are plenty more pockets to hold everything else. Thanks to its robust weather-resistant design, your belongings will be safe as well. Add in some customizable straps and sleek sexy design and you have a backpack that can do damn near anything.

Though the PRVKE 31 has lots of padding and additional straps for distributing weight, it lacks certain key features that make it truly adept at carrying heavier loads. During our tests, both of the women on our trip struggled somewhat while carrying this bag as it did not fit snugly against their bodies.

I was impressed with the number of customizable options that PRVKE 31 offered. Between the many loops found on the pack as well as the ability to attach adjustable accessory straps (sold separately), users will be able to find many alternative means of packing. Overall, a badass camera backpack!

Read our WANDRD PRVKE 31 review!

#2 Nomatic Peter Mckinnon Camera Bag  – Best Travel Camera Backpack

nomatic camera bag

  • Price: $399.99
  • Size: 35 liters
  • Dimemsions: 55.88 x 34.29 x 22.86 cm
  • Weight:  2.61 kg
  • Expands to 42 liters
  • Can hold a full-frame camera, multiple lenses, and a small drone
  • Doubles as a great short-term travel backpack

This is the first true camera bag offered by Nomatic. Inspired and designed by legendary Youtuber and renowned photographer Peter Mckinnon, this 35 liter backpack is already a top competitor of the Wandrd PRVKE 31.

Built to last and with the traveling photographer in mind, the Nomatic Camera Bag is ultra-functional, durable, and sleek. Small enough to be a carry on, yet big enough to support extended weekend trips, the 35 liters offered here makes this bag ideal for photographers who find themselves frequently out on overnight/ inner-city trips.

The drawback: to get the most of this bag, you really need to go for the bundle package – which comes with all of the nice accessories that make this backpack great. If you have the money, going for the Nomatic Camera Bag is an excellent investment and is probably an all-around better backpack then the WANDRD 31 when all of the accessories and features are added up.

Read our Nomatic Camera Pack review !

Sometimes traveling calls for a unique bag. Maybe you’re a weekend warrior who needs something both professional and rugged. Maybe you just like to mix things up. Either way, these backpacks maybe more appropriate for you.

#1 Osprey Ozone 4-Wheel – Top Wheeled Backpack for Travel

Osprey Ozone 4-Wheel Carry-On Wheeled Luggage

  • Price: $320
  • Size: 38 Liters
  • Weight: 2.27 kg
  • Will attach to any of the wheeled luggage by Osprey
  • Can be combined with other Osprey bags to make a nimble beast

Wheeled luggage sometimes get a bad reputation. We’ve all seen those travelers trying to roll giant pieces luggage around cobble stone streets or busy Asian alleys, clearly in over their head. But wheeled backpacks are different. …

Designed for the savvy traveler, Osprey Ozone 4-Wheel Carry-On Wheeled Luggage is pretty much one of the best travel backpacks out there. The padded hip-belt and shoulder harness stow away for easy transport. It can clip on to the wheeled range by osprey for easy transport and it is super breathable. It even has an inside zipped compartment perfect for smelly hiking boots!

I’ve been using this pack on and off for two years: you can fit a TON of stuff in it – a genuinely surprising amount considering it still qualifies as hand luggage most of the time – however, once it’s heavy it quickly becomes a tad uncomfortable – not ideal if you plan on taking it hiking. This is one of the best backpacks for travel if you have a ton of valuables you want to keep in your hand luggage – i.e. if you are a digital nomad!

#2 REI Co-Op Flash 55 – An Excellent Budget Backpack

REI Co-op Flash 55

  • Price: $199
  • Dimensions: 76.2 x 35.56 x 30.48 cm
  • Weight: 1.28 kg
  • Perfect-Fit suspension for on-body adjustments
  • Easy access
  • Budget-friendly

Although a little smaller than the Osprey Aether (and not as well-built), the REI Flash 55 still makes for a quality backpack for travel on long haul minimalist trips and weekend backpacking missions.

Ideal for use in both cities and in the mountains, the Flash 55 is a versatile, sturdy backpack with multi-functional pockets, a comfortable, suspension- supported fit, and easy access compartments allowing you to get to your essentials whenever you need to. This is one of the best hiking bags around for under $200.

Coming in just under $200, this pack features 8 external pockets plus a main compartment, making packing for your adventure a breeze. Combine this with a breathable back frame and comfortable hip belt, this is a great go-to for your weekend backpacking trips and more. I’ve used this pack primarily in desert climates, and typically tried to keep the overall packed weight under 35 lbs, and it’s yet to fail me.

All that being said, there are a few things I don’t love about the bag. For starters, the zipper pouch on the back side is made from a ripstop nylon material, which I found to be super inconvenient.. Another small complaint I had was the option to not include a rain cover for the bag. The nylon exterior can fend off small mistings of from mother nature, but anything more would more than likely render the bag (and your belongings inside) rather soaked and heavy.

Osprey Aether

Picking the best backpack to travel with doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive…

It’s easy to grab a great discount deal from a top brand and, to be honest, if you buy anything from Osprey, AER, or Tortuga you won’t be disappointed. However, not all backpacks are created equal and there’s a few factors you should always look at when picking a backpack for traveling…

1. The Right Travel Backpack Size

Size is a personal choice and the best travel packs have no definitive size. If you are a medium to long term traveler who needs more space for camping gear, who wants to pick up lots of trinkets or who travels with a full wardrobe then you need a 60-liter minimum backpack. I have seen some backpackers make do with 50 litre packs, and while I applaud them, they are definitely freaks!

Larger backpacks however mean checked baggage fees and you are less likely to be able to take your backpack into the bus with you -instead you’ll have to strap it to the roof and hope it doesn’t rain (rain covers do exist mind).

Is Turkey safe to travel alone?

The smaller your travel bag, the less you can take, but the big bonus is no checked bag fees and it’s easier to keep tabs on your pack at all times. If you can keep your backpack below fifty liters you will save a fortune when flying. However the reality is that small bags are usaally too small for trips that last longer than a week to maybe two.

Think carefully about the size of your pack and what’s best for you – the best backpacks for travel are different for everyone. Personally, I travel with a seventy liter pack as I am often carrying camping gear.

2. Straps on Your Travel Backpack

Carrying everything you need to travel the world on your back doesn’t come lightly… even when you pack light! Wandering lost, trying to find a hostel in the heat of the day with a travel bag is not fun, even the lightest packers will agree.

To combat this, the best backpacks will include well designed load bearing straps to help turn that heavy backpack into a fairly light backpack.

The aim of the game is to take weight off your shoulders and onto the hips. This is significantly better for you and you can walk, climb and even jump around pretty comfortably if your pack’s weight is distributed evenly. These days most larger backpacks include hip belts as standard.

For me, quality hip belts are what makes a great travel backpack. Without a hip belt, even the best backpack in the world can turn into a nightmare. Some traveling backpacks have heat-molded custom made hip belts that may appear somewhat gimmicky but are very comfortable.

Your shoulder straps are equally important and should be comfortable to wear, without the hip belt. Look for shoulder straps that have plenty of padding.

A swagman with a durable backpack

3. Pockets, Pockets, POCKETS

Well organised travel bags make the best travel bags. There’s nothing more annoying than a typical backpack which only opens from the top meaning that each and every time you need something you’ll be pulling literally, everything else but that, out.

Pockets alleviate this problem; allowing you to assign certain segments of your travel backpack to particular items (e.g. clothes, toiletries, passport and money) for easier access. The best pocket is a U-shaped opening pocket as this allows easy access.

Nomatic bag features

4. Travel Backpack Weight

Great travel backpacks are those which are as light as a feather. Sadly these don’t really exist and instead, you need to consider the best weight for what you’ll be doing. Backpacks themselves are not weightless, the heavier the frame, the more weight you have to start with.

In general, you want to go for the lightest, but toughest, pack you can find. Gregory Packs are some of the lightest packs on the market but they are simply not as tough as Osprey or AER and that is there downfall…

Osprey Renn 50: a light travel backpack

5. How Comfortable Should a Travel Backpack Be?

Your travel backpack will become your new best friend, it’s where you will store all of your shit, it will basically become your home; therefore you need to try and choose the most comfortable backpack.

You’ll find the best travel pack by trying it on in the store before buying. When trying it on, load it up with some weight to take it for a proper test drive. I strongly recommend trying a bunch of different backpacks on at an REI or Outdoor Store before making your choice.

When it comes to fitting a backpack , you want an even distribution of weight across your hips, shoulders and chest, and to make sure there are no pressure points that may cause the bag to rub or pinch as you walk. Cushioned shoulder pads and padded hip belts are always a winner my friends…

The better your hip belt, the better your pack will sit upon your body and the more comfortable it will be.

osprey exos 58 review: one of the most comfortable backpacks

6. Material and Construction of a Good Travel Backpack

So it’s raining and you’re still trying to find your hostel? Or you can see your backpack from the plane window waiting to be loaded and it’s sitting in the rain? ( Fuck you Kingfisher Airlines ). Water-resistant material is essential when traveling!

Your bag will be exposed to rain, puddles or leaks at some point. There’s nothing worse than opening the bag to find your clothes soaked and stinking or worse, your electronics damaged. The most durable backpacks are made from strong, durable, stretchy, waterproof material.

So look out for backpack material that will last for years – the last thing you want is a ripped bag halfway through your travels!

Does the sound of having a super-durable backpack speak to you? Check out our in-depth best heavy duty backpacks review!

a most durable backpack in snowy mountains

7. Best Travel Backpacks for Men vs Women

There are literally thousands of backpacks for traveling on the market and the best packs tend to be made with one gender or another in mind. Unisex backpacks usually will fit pretty much anybody but you can get a man’s backpack, which will take into account broad shoulders, for the same price so I definitely recommend finding a gender-specific backpack when you hit the road.

Finding the best female travel bag requires more research than nice colors and comfortable straps. I am, of course not a woman. So to help me out on this I spoke to a bunch of kick-ass women adventurers for advice.

A woman hiking with a medium size backpack

Size is perhaps the most important consideration along with comfortable straps and weight distribution. This doesn’t mean that women have to buy travel bags specifically for them, but the feedback from my girlfriend and friends; is that they’re so much better.

Other than the different design for a typical woman’s body, there is not much difference between the women’s and the men’s travel backpacks. Most of the points that you’ll below apply to both genders so keep these in mind.

Generally speaking, backpackers are some of the most warming, understanding, agreeable people on the planet.

But there is one decisive issue among backpackers.

To travel with a carry on backpack, OR to travel with a large backpack ?

This has proven to be quite the epic debate. Every backpacker has an opinion on the topic, making it difficult for newbie travelers to know which side to pick, and most importantly, which bag to buy.

Let’s go over both options.

In Favor of a Big Backpack (60L – 80L)

The most obvious reason to have a larger backpack is that you can carry more stuff! A 65-70 liter backpack can hold all kinds of extra items from food to gear to photography/videography equipment!

Now not everyone is going to want or necessarily need to deal with all of these extra pieces of kit. More kit means more weight, more check-in fees, and more tedious packing and unpacking sessions. Ultimatly, you should only be packing what you need.

How About 50 Litres?

Some backpackers prefer to use 50 litre backpacks. They offer the comfort and durability of “proper” big backpacks but obviously are lighter and carry less stuff making them lighter again. Honestly, a litre backpack feels really nice to carry and they are easy to throw on and take off bus roofs.

However. While some travellers a 50 litre backpack to be something of a “not too big not too small” sweetspot, I actually find them to occupy a bit of a neversphere. What I mean is that they are too big to take as carry on but (for me) not big enough for a proper long trip. Personally, my view is that you are going to go with a full sized pack, go with 60 litres. Even if you don’t use all 60, at least you have room for souvernirs.

  • Can accommodate extra gear for hiking, camping, etc
  • Great if traveling to colder destinations
  • Great when traveling off the beaten path
  • More room=more options
  • Additional strain on your back
  • Have to check it on airplanes and buses
  • Many travelers simply don’t need it
  • Not as ideal for urban travel

In Favor of a Carry On Bag (35L – 40L)

tortuga travel backpack

While traveling with a  60L+ bag might make sense for some people, it is completely unnecessary for other people. If you are a lighter packer, or maybe if you are just going away for the weekend, then need a 65L beast is too way much.

If this is you, then you may prefer a 40L, “carry on” size bag. To be fair, they are still a decent size and can carry a lot of stuff. If you are not any bringing camping or hiking gear, then a 40-50L bag can be more than enough to handle all of your stuff.

Traveling with a light bag means traveling with less stress. Less stress on your back, less stress in your bag, less stress in your life in general. Travelers who carry large bags often fill it with things they don’t need.

But traveling light does require a sense of dedication, and if this minimalist bag style doesn’t appeal to you, then go big baby!

  • Less shit to worry about
  • Less stress on your back
  • If your bag is under 40L, you don’t have to check it
  • Great for urban travel
  • Forget about camping, trekking or hitchhiking
  • Limited space means less stuff
  • Not a great option if you want to bring a lot of clothes

Should you get a Large or Carry On Backpack?

This is completely up to you and will ultimately depend on your travel style.

Take into consideration the type of person you are… is traveling super lightweight attractive to you? Do you plan to go camping around the world ? Do you plan to travel mostly to cities? Will you be flying a lot and want to avoid luggage fees?

By determining your travel plans and travel style, you’ll be able to better make a selection for which travel bag is best for you

around the world travel bags

If you still have some questions then no problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

How can you find the right travel backpack for you?

Comfort, durabilty, size and prize are the main factors that determine a good backpack. Make sure you measure your torso and find out how much capacity you need for your gear during your trip. Then choose from the remaining options accordingly.

Is a 40L backpack big enough for Travelling?

Unless you’re travelling extremely minimalistic, long term travel can be tricky with only 40L. For short term travel however, it’s abolutely enough.

What is the best value travel backpack?

The Nomatic Travel Bag 40L is a great value backpack since it offers the best bang for your buck that you could find on the market. However, the Aer Travel Pack 3 is a strong competitor.

Are there any good budget backpack options?

The REI Co-Op Flash 55 is an excellent budget option. With 55L and high quality material, the Flash 55 is a versatile, sturdy backpack.

Which is the best travel backpack brand?

For us, the obvious choice is Osprey as they hit the right price point, the backpacks are durable and they offer a big variety of styles.

REI Flash backpack

So there you have it amigos, the best tips to help you find the best travel packs for your upcoming adventures. The packs featured here are our personal favourites and we can vouch for each and every one of them.

Still not sure which backpack to buy? Well to nicely summarise it all for you, the best backpacks for travel are:

  • The Nomatic Travel Bag 40L is the best overall travel bag for 2024.
  • For the best hiking travel backpack, it is the Osprey Aether 70 …

You are now armed with all of the best options to find the best backpack for you! Our hope is that you find the backpack of your dreams and have many, many awesome adventures with your new best friend.

Now that you have your backpack, it’s time to check out our backpacking packing list for some ideas of what to put in it!

around the world travel bags

Aiden Freeborn

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59 Comments

You can backpack with a surplus military rucksack and do well. Poorly chosen footwear, tho, not so much.

Lets not hype it too much. Any three of the comparable packs in size and intent would be usable for the length of that trip. For the experienced packer tho, you only get one pair of boots. Choose wisely – and carry extra socks.

I know most of the experienced packers would read right past the opening line, but someone wanting to try the trail for their first time to Devil’s Den would not be well served concentrating on a high end pack and hitting the trail head with flip flops.

Great detailed article. I ended up going with the Wandrd Prvke. I think i made an awesome choice. Really love the looks and functionality of the bag.

Hey Will, Thanks for your wounderful review. Actually I was using Pacsafe Metrosafe backpack and now I want to upgrade my backpack. I’ll go for Nomatic as exactly you said it is designed to be modern, sleek, and provide ultimate packing efficiency. Thank for this buying guide!

Glad you are enjoying the Nomatic Pack! Indeed, that pack is awesome. Cheers.

very informative article sir

Thanks for sharing. I’m the new in backpack travel. I was torn between nomatic backpack and zynego backpack. Although I know the popularity of these two bags cannot be compared, I am very interested in zynego’s ai intelligence system. I think I need help! hhh

Our top choice at the moment is the Nomatic backpack :). Cheers!

I use the Osprey Porter 30L as my Carry On, because I have NEVER had to check it in no matter what airline. Even on small regional flights, I had no issues with it as a Carry On. The Farpoint and Fairview are excellent bags, but depending on the airline, yoiu may have to check them in. That’s never an issue with the Osprey Porter 30L.

Same with my 35 liter Minaal 2.0 Never have to check it. Always allowed carry on. Best way to travel… light… quickly… easily.. one bag… carry on. Much more free feeling…

I missed Deuter act lite but I bought 60 + 10 liter for women and I am more than happy with it!

60 – 70 liters. WOW ! I would never want to be packing that much stuff. Why would you need to pack so much stuff and put so much strain on your body? I travel for months at a time with just a 35 liter convertible backpack and I find that’s plenty. Pick up and go. I never have to check a bag, always carry on. I used to travel with a 45 liter bag, but it was big, and I always had to check it at the airport and then hang around the carousel waiting for it at my destinations. Now I just carry my 35 liter bag on and toss it in the overhead and no waiting a carousels or wondering who’s handling my bag. One Bag…Carry On travel. I always travel for a minimum of two months at a time, and up to four months. One, 35 liter, convertible backpack.

Whoah, Thanks for the lovely post. A great help, hope you continue to do this more often. I really like studying your posts. Cheers!

Hey, I’m in a bit of a dilemma- I’m so used to suitcases and i’m doing my first backbacking trip around SE Asia for 5 weeks in aug-sept. I want to pack quite a few clothes and I’m travelling by plane between different cities. Should I still go for a backpack and what size would you recommend. I was thinking backpack because I want to get scooter Grabs, and also the terrain. I was thinking 60-70 because of the amount of stuff I wanna bring but I was told by a friend that it would break my back lol.

Pssshhhh!!! Don’t listen to them! You can totally take a 60L without a problem so long as you don’t have a pre-existing spinal problem. Just make sure the pack fitted right! Depending on how heavy you pack, you might not need all that stuff though. I’m in Thailand for 7 weeks with Nomatic’s 30L . (Don’t worry, they have laundry service everywhere!)

I’m in my 60’s and would never think of taking a 60 or 70 liter back pack. Too much stuff. And you will have to check it at the airport and possibly pay baggage fees. Why would you want to take lots of clothes? I take three pair of summer weight material zip off pants, three thin summer weight material Columbia shirts wit roll up sleeves and three pair of ex-officio underwear and a good pair of hiking sandals. So I wear one set of clothes, and my other two sets are “Ranger Army Rolled” and in packing cubes in my 35 liter backpack. There are cheap laundries everywhere there that will do a load for a buck or two. And you can even wash your clothes in the sink and shower and hang to dry in your hotel room or apartment. I go for months at a time in Southeast Asia and carry only my 35 liter Minaal 2.0 convertible backpack. So much easier to carry less stuff, and not have to check any bags. Just carry it on the plane and throw it in the overhead. No waiting at carousels, or worrying about other people being rough with your bag or having it being diverted to another country and not showing up. Minimalist, one small bag, carry on is the way to travel. And it’s becoming more popular.

60 – 70 liters. WOW ! I would never want to be packing that much stuff. Sounds like major Himalayan expedition for a few months. I travel for months at a time with just a 35 liter convertible backpack and I find that’s plenty. Pick up and go. Never check a bag, always carry on.

Hey thank you for writing this post. It’s really helpful 🙂

Hi I am not a frequent traveller though like travel. In a recent trip with a connection inDubai, i used an american tourister 35L backpack, which caused a heavy toll on my back. Is it due to the particular brand or backpacks as a whole. Please suggest a backpack that is Back’ frenly.

Hi Shephy, I don’t really know about that model specifically, but if you have no spinal issues normally, a well-made, well-fitted pack won’t give you problems. Make sure you have hip straps (and use them). You can have someone help you fit it properly and always pack the bag with the heaviest stuff closest to your spine. This helps maintain your normal posture.

Have you tried the Eagle Creek Global Companion 40L? I’m trying to decide between that one an the farpoint 40L. Thank you.

Hi Lucas, we have not tested the Eagle Creek backpack you mentioned, but we always recommend anything by Osprey…and the Farpoint is a solid choice!

Any suggestions for a woman with low back issues. I hurt my back last year and can no longer carry larger bags but love the freedom of having a backpack for travel. I’m also only about 5″3″ if that helps.

It’s recommended to have a backpack with hip straps if you’re traveling but in your case, I’d say it’s ESPECIALLY important to have sturdy and padded hip straps, even if it’s a smaller backpack. This will take most of the pressure off your back. The second key element will be to get it properly fitted, especially if you’re wearing a larger bag. You need to find the tension that works for your hip straps, shoulder straps, and stabilizers (if you have them). You can research this online or ask a professional at an outfitter – they’re usually willing to help, even if you didn’t purchase the pack in their store. Similarly, do research on how to mount the pack properly without doing more damage to your back. Lastly, manage the time that you’re carrying your pack. This will just take a little planning before you leave your hotel or get off your flight – take breaks when you need to and cut down on weight as much as possible. I hope you find that backpacking freedom again! See ya out there!

Jackie… take a look at the Minaal 2.0 It’s only 35 liters and is convertible to duffle or backpack. Get the optional waist belt for it. I did. It’s the only bag I take even when I go for months, and I never have to check it. No more waiting at carousels.. I’m 67, and still carry my own bag. No wheelie luggage. There are other 35 liter and even smaller bags out there. You don’t have to get a Minaal 2.0 It’s a pricey bag. But I love mine.

First of all, I’ve been scouring the Internet for any articles/blogs/videos/Reddit comments regarding backpacks that are optimal for people with lower back pain, as I have really bad lower back pain too. Second of all, I HIGHLY recommend you to check out a rolfer or a trained Structural Integration practitioner in your area. Saved me thousands in chiro fees and made me stand straight after years of lower back pain.

As for backpack choices, I suggest maybe 30L and below and with hip straps (maybe Tortuga Setout if you’re in the US) and/or load lifters. I personally am 6 ft and around 185lbs and decided to go with Thule Subterra 34L and Tortuga Setout 35L (for when I need to pack more stuff).

Hope your lower back issues can be fixed!

Thank you all so much!! I appreciate all of the advice!! I have seen a doctor and went through physical therapy for 3 months to get me pretty much back to normal. Unfortunately, heavy lifting still bothers my back and I need to be careful about how and how much I carry. With all of your suggestions I went to get fitted and learned even more about keeping your pack weighted correctly. They fitted me with the Osprey Sirrus 24 Hiking backpack which is a little too small for longer travel so I’m looking at getting the Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack. Smaller than the ones listed here but I think should be a good option for me. I haven’t bought one yet so I can’t speak to how it works for someone with back pain but I’m hoping it works well. Thanks!!

Yes, 24 liter might be a bit small for long term travel, although there are some minimalists who do travel long term with bags that small. I downsized from a 45 liter bag to a 35 liter convertible backpack. It’s great traveling lighter and being able to carry it on the plane and just toss it in the overhead. I spend months at a time in Southeast and South Asia with only that one 35 liter bag. No waiting at carousels and worrying about it going missing or being mishandled. I feel better not being over loaded down with stuff, not paying baggage fees. Becoming a minimalist one bag, carry on traveler takes adjusting, but is so much more freeing and enjoyable.

You should also start backing up the data you store on your device(s). If you don’t know where to start, you’ll want to dig into our guides covering iCloud backups and iTunes backups. Data loss issues are pretty rare, but there’s always a chance something gets lost in the shuffle as you transition to a new version of iOS.

Hi. Just wanted to leave some information on my trip that I just returned from. I used the Osprey Porter 30. Carry On bag only. I had one connection both ways of the trip. My trip was for three days, and I had no issues fitting what I needed in the bag and I was able to fit it under the seat in front of mine, even on the smaller planes. I stowed away the straps to do it, and it worked out great. One of the best travel investments I made. It also wasn’t uncomfortable walking through the terminals to my connections. I highly recommend the Osprey Porter 30 for shorter trips as a carry on bag. I love it.

Amazing! This makes traveling easier.

Thanks for the recommendations. I really like Osprey and was going to get the Farpoint 40, which because of you and others I know, is said to be an excellent carry on bag. That said, I opted for the Osprey Porter 30 because I need a bag that will ALWAYS be carry on size, no matter what airline I am flying on. I usually only need a bag to get me by for a few days and I am pretty good at packing what I need. This bag looks small on the outside, but it is bigger than it looks. I have no problem packing everything I need. I won’t be hiking, camping, or anything like that. Just needed a carry on bag. I may attach an Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack to it, but I really don’t need to.

I travel one bag, carry on also. So many great bags out there. Used to travel with a 45 liter convertible backpack, but was made to check it too often. So I bought the 35 liter Minaal 2.0 with zip away backpack strap. Can carry it like a duffle bag when I want. I’ve always been able to carry on my Minaal. Never had to check it. Love being a one bag, carry on traveler. Even when going for months, I only take my Minaal 2.0. It’s so freeing not taking so much stuff. I can’t believe the travelers I see with huge 70 – 120 liter expedition backpacks on their back, a second, smaller backpack on their front. Why ? We call them “Turtle Backpackers” Some of them with all that stuff also pulling a big wheelie suitcase. Unbelievable! That can’t be a comfortable way to travel. Impossible. I just toss my little 35 liter backpack on…and gone. For months at a time. Have safe flights and happy travels.

Good content with great pieces of information on traveling bags with so much variety.

Hi Will! Do you have any thoughts or experience with the Osprey Talon 44 as a travel pack in comparison to the osprey packs you mention?

I plan to travel for 1-3 months, fairly light, so I’m hopeful I can use it as a carryon in some cases. I know I want to to some hiking so a travel-specific pack is a no-go for me.

Thanks for the great guide and your awesome website!

Thank you for the very detailed guide and for your recommendation. I’ve had an Osprey backpack for several years, but I am looking to upgrade to something new and I am browsing opinions from experienced backpackers. To be honest, Nomatic was not on my short list, I was looking at Tortuga and Osprey again, but after your strong recommendation, I may have to take it seriously into account. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for sharing this article. Really glad to read this article and I will refer this site to my friends. – hr staffing solutions in bangalore

Not a fan of the Osprey Ozone. It was weird, I expected to love it- my Osprey Vector 22 (a model they don’t make anymore, sadly) is an almost-perfect carry-on rollaboard type of bag.

But the T-handle is a pain in the ass if the bag rocks or a wheel catches just a bit- it twists too easily in your hand and you can’t steady it while walking. I live in Spain and travel Europe, and so there’s lots of cobblestones, and the Ozone wasn’t great there.

The frame is also a little bit weird. Their guarantee is excellent, which is good because the way the bag attaches *to* that bottom frame is with fabric straps and they’re going to get beat up and break.

Just all in all, wasn’t a fan, and I normally love Osprey stuff. I wish they’d bring the Vector back.

That’s why I like my 35 litre Minaal 2.0 backpack.. which I can also carry like a duffle if I wish just by zipping the backpack straps behind their panel. I don’t have to worry about handles and wheels, sand, mud, stairs, cobblestones. It’s going with me again this year back to southeast Asia. Traveling for much longer than the two months I did last time. Just pick up and go…. carry on… no checking baggage or waiting at carousels. It’s the only bag I take.. whether going for two weeks… or for a year or more.. 67 years old now.. 35 litre backpack… get up and go….

I am very thankful to you as your article has given me lots of ideas. I enjoyed a lot by reading this post. Thanks for sharing your blog.- staff providing agency in bangalore

I’m surprised you didn’t include the Minaal 2.0 in your reviews.. I’ve had a Tortuga bag and an M.E.I Voyageur….. both good bags..Both 45 liters. (They’ve been making the Voyageur since the early 1980’s..with a few tiny improvements over the years. Nothing says “Great Product” like longevity in production). But in early 2017 after a lot of research and comparisons, I bought the Minaal 2.0 …a 35 liter convertible backpack. I was made to check my Tortuga and Voyageur on many flights… but during a two month trip to Cambodia and Thailand in 2017… I was always able to carry it on and toss it in the overhead. Its clean lines and grey color with minimalized Minaal logo keep it from sticking out in the crowd.. discrete. Small… pick up and go.. Hide away backpack straps, rain cover in its own little hidden pocket, I like to use a single strap and carry it like a duffle at times.. Only using the backpack straps and hip belt if I do a long hike across a city… You might like to check out the Minaal 2.0

Your guide is phenomenal. I was looking to buy a Best Camera Backpack for my tactical gear trip and happy that I read your review! Love your other travel articles as well.

It is a very advantageous post for me. I’ve enjoyed reading the blog. It is very supportive and useful information. I would like to visit the post once more its valuable content. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

Thanks for such a comprehensive post about travel backpacks, Will! Love how you managed to incorporate the important features of each backpack, the pros and cons, as well as links on where we can buy them. Thanks for also providing additional links on your detailed reviews for each product

thank you for share this blog with us. I also like travelling and also like hyking on mountains.

Hi Will, I’m a very tall girl 5’10 and travelling SE Asia for a few months next year. I used a bag with detachable dayback while in Australia and loved it. I noticed the Fairpoint doesn’t have an adjustable back system. Which would you recommend?

Hmmm… tough for me to recommend as you’re taller than me! 😛 I recommend going into a shop for this and testing a bunch out to find one that works for you.

Thanks for such a comprehensive post about travel backpacks, Will! Love how you managed to incorporate the important features of each backpack, the pros and cons, as well as links on where we can buy them. Thanks for also providing additional links on your detailed reviews for each product. It saves us time and headache when looking for the best travel backpack for us. Kudos!

I’m planning on travelling from Australia to Asia, and then on to Europe with total travel time of 9 months (potentially staying on to work). Would you recommend getting something bigger than the womens Osprey 55?

Love your website – it’s filled with really great and helpful information!!

Cheers, Ash

Hey Ash! Hmmmm… it really depends on how much stuff you need, and also how tall you are… but personally I would stick to 55 as the max size, if you have something bigger then you WILL fill the space, and you’ll have a real heavy pack!

Hi Will, How does a laptop fit into these travels bags? Im deciding between a 50l deuter bag and a 60l osprey. I think the 50l is enough for me right now but i think i will travel to some colder places in the future and may appreciate the larger size. However, i need to travel with my laptop as well. I dont want to check my laptop in with the checked backpack. Do you think carrying a smaller normal backpack just for my computer would be reasonable?

If you want to travel with a laptop in your main pack, I would honestly consider picking up a pack specifically designed for this, have a read of this post – https://www.thebrokebackpacker.com/best-laptop-backpacks-for-travel/

A vote for the Farpoint here, I ‘ve bought two others since I first bought that and gone back to it each time.. so much better build quality and just so comfortable to carry.

Great review. Thanks. I’m torn between the Nomatic Travel Bag and the Osprey Farpoint 40. I’m going to be island hopping and diving in the Philippines, so it looks like I will be getting the obligatory ‘back sweat’ from wearing backpacks.. Is the Nomatic comfy? I see you have to purchase the hip straps separately and they are detachable, which leads me to believe thay won’t be particularly comfy or robust. Plus the price is probably swing it in favour of the Farpoint 40.. although I wish they did it in more colours.. I really like the green (that they only appear to do in the women’s version ‘Fairview’. Keep up the good work.

I personally think the Farpoint is the better pack…

hi will I am looking at the osprey farpoint 70-80 litres, I am going travelling for 6 weeks, I do however have a wedding to attend so I have 2 extra outfits plus 1 extra pair of shoes, It will be summer so not worried about a load of clothes, I love backpack so the travel backpack with the zip all the way around looks great, any suggestions?oh I am 5ft 5in, 68kilos medium build, & have always carried a backpack, oh yeah I do not need a day pack attached, thanks?

The Farpoint is a great pack, assuming you don’t plan on hiking and if you pick up the 70 litre Farpoint, you’ll have plenty of space for sure!

Finally – a comprehensive list of the best backpacks for travellers. I think you’ve persuaded me to pick up the Osprey Ozone. Firstly it looks beautiful but also 46 Litres is the perfect size for me. Thanks for the advice Will!

Happy to help – The Ozone is an epic backpack!

Thanks for sharing. Some great idea’s for backpacks. Love the detail you go into. Makes choosing a new backpack so much easier.

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How to Pack a Suitcase for a Round-the-World Trip

By Jane Sung

Image may contain Backpack Bag and Luggage

Whether city touring in Europe or trekking through the jungles of Borneo, around-the-world travel involves careful planning that goes way beyond an average getaway. Given the longer travel times and diversity of locales, you’ll want to take your packing strategy up a notch. We asked globetrotting entrepreneurs for their best packing tips to ensure the smoothest sailing (and flying) around the world.

1. Choose the right luggage.

“I’m always shopping and collecting fun finds and vintage items along the way, so weight is always my biggest issue, especially on an around-the-world trip. When suitcase selecting, my go-to is always the lightest,” says Elisa Marshall, co-founder of Maman cafés , who travels frequently between the company's New York and Canada locations, as well as the Tropical Hotel St. Barths , where she oversees the food and beverage program.

“I like hard luggage,” says Denielle Wolfe, chief design officer of cult luggage brand Arlo Skye. "They keep my precious belongings safe and protected. Always wheels and always four wheels, as I can either have it glide alongside me or pull it behind me.” Carry-ons that leave the hands free are also key for hauling your gear around multiple stops. “Since travel and accommodation connections are often not door-to-door, I highly recommend a backpack ,” says Sara Leveen, co-owner of New York-based Hanoi House , which was inspired by a seven-month round-the-world trip that included stops in Slovenia, Belgium, and Vietnam .

A neutral or solid colored sarong can be used on bus or van seats in sweltering day trips in Southeast Asia, for impromptu beach naps, or as a shoulder cover-up for temples and churches.

2. Focus on multipurpose pieces.

“I organize my packing list by destination and then pack as many items as I can that show up on the most destinations,” says Leveen. Her must-packs? “A neutral or solid colored sarong can be used on bus or van seats in sweltering day trips in Southeast Asia , for impromptu beach naps, as a shoulder cover-up for temples and churches, and as an additional layer on rented beach chairs,” she says. “I have a fitted cotton jersey blazer for day-to-night layering in cooler climates like New Zealand and Japan . It’s just formal enough to wear with a silk tank and jeans for dinner out—plus it doubles as a comfy in-flight cover-up. And my single most useful piece of clothing is the perfect heather gray v-neck t-shirt.”

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian travels the globe so regularly for work that he designed his own custom leather carry-on with the Parisian L’Atelier Renard and sticks to simple textiles for his travel uniform: “Light and natural fabrics like cotton or cashmere depending on the climate, for t-shirts, jeans, and other comfortable seamless clothing.

3. Fold and roll.

“I pack clothing on the side with the handle tubes and use small items first to level out the grooves. On the opposite side, I pack my toiletries, shoes, and pouches filled with small items,” says Wolf. “Always resist the urge to pack something that you may ‘try and wear on this trip’. If you didn’t wear it before, you will very likely not wear it on the trip.”

Kurkdjian tightly rolls basics—t-shirts, pants, sweaters—and places shoes stuffed with socks at the bottom of his suitcase and heavy items on the sides to shelter more delicate or fragile items. He has a clever, crease-reducing trick for tailored clothing. “Shirts can be folded in half vertically to avoid wrinkles. Flip your jacket inside out and fold the arms crossed inside,” he says.

This image may contain Backpack, Bag, Clothing, and Apparel

Avec Les Filles designer Joyce Azria, who grew up in Paris and traveled extensively before settling down in Los Angeles, advises, “Tissue paper is a must-have—it helps slippery pieces like silk stay put. But more than anything it’s great to fight the wrinkles without the weight.” Another essential? “Large freezer zip-lock bags: They are perfect for everything from shoes to toiletries and keep things clean and visible,” says Marshall. “I never travel without them.”

4. Bring a virtual concierge.

Marshall uses the CityMaps2Go app to build easy, mobile itineraries. “When I get suggestions on places to see or things to do, I enter it into the app and pin it on the map,” she says. “When I arrive in the city, I have a customized map of all these great spots I’ve wanted to check out, and from there I can best plan my route and days to maximize my travel... It works offline too!”

5. Plan ahead for illness or injury.

Beauty entrepreneur James Read boosts his immune system before any journey. “When I’m going away, I make sure to get a vitamin B shot and always bring vitamin C and echinacea,” he says. “I always make sure to stock up on medications and over-the-counter basics—like Excedrin and band-aids—before I travel just in case anything goes wrong. There is nothing like having a bug bite or a killer headache and having to go to a foreign pharmacy, explain what’s wrong, and gamble on mystery pills and ointments (not to mention higher prices). I have my little medical emergency travel kit with me at all times—better safe than sorry!” says Marshall.

Do not travel internationally with fresh food. We were slapped with a $400 fine entering New Zealand with a fruit from Hawaii in our carry-on.

“Start your research eight weeks in advance by visiting the CDC’s website ,” Leveen recommends. “It lists suggested vaccinations and medications by destination that will allow you to build a spreadsheet to take to the travel doctor, who will want a list of your destinations... REI has great options for first aid kits , not to mention a myriad of other suggested gadgets like sleeping bag liners and microfiber towels.”

6. Maximize in-flight comfort.

Stay hydrated , warm, and cozy on an inevitably chilly plane. “Long-haul flights require a cashmere scarf and a water-resistant toiletry kit with TSA-approved necessities: cleanser, moisturizer, lip balm, toothbrush, eye drops, ear plugs,” says Wolfe. “I pack a hat and scarf so I can cover my head while sleeping, as there is always a freezing airflow on the plane. And don’t forget to drink loads of water. It’s the best beauty product ever,” says Kurkdjian.

7. Avoid getting flagged at customs.

“Security varies from city to city, so assume they'll let you get through with nothing and put all gifts, liquids, and tools in your checked baggage,” says Leveen. “Even wine openers and nail clippers can get confiscated. And do not travel internationally with fresh food. We were slapped with a $400 fine entering New Zealand with a fruit from Hawaii in our carry on.”

Above all, Azria says a good attitude will get you further than the most elite status. “People who work at customs and security are bombarded with all sorts of personalities. Keep a smile and be helpful. It goes a long way (although it doesn’t get you an upgrade—believe me, I’ve tried!),” she says.

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The Best Travel Bags for Wherever You’re Headed

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Maxlite luggage on white backdrop

Best Carry-On for Most People Travelpro Maxlite 5 Read more

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Best Hard-Shell Carry-On Away Carry-On Read more

YETI Crossroads Luggage

Best Soft-Shell Carry-On Yeti Crossroads 35L Read more

Briggs Riley Baseline luggage

Best Bag for a Lifetime Briggs & Riley Baseline CX Read more

Whew! You've made it all the way across the globe. But have your toothbrush, pajamas, and running shoes made it, too? If you're a frequent traveler, it's easy to obsess over the logistics of getting your stuff clean, organized, and in good working condition upon arrival. Paying for a decent travel bag and a few useful accessories means buying a little peace of mind, especially when a few yards of zippers and some nylon are the only barriers between your precious belongings and the belly of an airliner.

Whether you're slinging a duffel into a car trunk for a weekend trip or packing for a whirlwind jaunt across Asia, we've got you covered. Need a bag for your passport or groceries? Don't forget to check out our other guides, like the Best Laptop Backpacks and the Best Recycled Bags , for more picks.

Updated April 2024: We reorganized this guide and added new picks, such as the Yeti Crossroads, Tom Bihn Aeronaut and Trinity, the Frame Carry-On Max, the Lo & Sons O.G. 2, the Camelbak A.T.P. 20, the Calpak Luka Duffel, and the Rux 70. We also updated the information on sizing and checked links and prices.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off) . This includes unlimited access to WIRED. com. Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Best Carry-On for Most People

Look around any airport—if you see flight attendants or pilots, they will probably be rolling around a Travelpro suitcase. We like Travelpros because you get a lot of bang for your buck. They're durable, light, and not too expensive.

For only a little over $100, the Maxlite 5 is one of the more affordable Travelpro suitcases, and at 5.4 pounds, it's very light! The exterior toiletry pocket is a nice touch for when you go through security and need to take out your liquids, and the zippers are also quite strong and don't tend to get stuck. The wheels also rolled nicely on both the spinner and roll-aboard versions. Reviewer Matt Jancer did note that the aluminum handle extensions did sometimes stick and the main grab handle on the bag is only single-stitched, which may cause durability issues farther down the line. However, he has seen no issues yet. This probably the best bag you can get in the $100 to $150 price range.

Best Hard-Shell Carry-On

Away's business practices may have raised some eyebrows , but there's no denying that this company changed the travel market entirely. It has increased in price since we first tested it, but multiple WIRED staffers still use the classic Away hard-shell carry-on ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ) as their travel suitcase.

Hard-shell suitcases tend to be heavier. There's also not as much give in the case, so you may find it hard to squeeze in more items than in a soft-shell bag, bu they look a lot sleeker than their soft-shell counterparts and protect fragile items better. The Away weighs 7.5 pounds, which is pretty standard for a hard-shell carry-on. When I tested it, I liked that it had multiple height settings and that the polycarbonate shell wiped clean and stayed mostly scuff-free (it helped that my tester was in the darker navy color). Away's suitcases also come with a built-in TSA-approved combination lock, four spinner wheels capable of rotating 360 degrees, and an included laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest of your stuff. The handle did feel a bit wobbly, though.

★ Alternatives: So many companies now offer a direct-to-consumer, stylish, hard-shell carry-on similar to the Away's. We've tried ones by Monos ($255) and July ($295) . Besides price, the differences are mostly negligible. I like July's aluminum bumpers, but they do add weight. The Monos's handle rolls out more smoothly, but the July's pebbled surface doesn't show scuffs as badly. Both have survived multiple cross-country trips, being checked as baggage, and being ridden on by two small children with no damage.

Paravel also offers an Aviator carry-on ($395) that touts itself as the world's first carbon-neutral carry-on; it has an interior lining made of recycled plastic bottles, a telescoping handle made of recycled aluminum, and vegan leather trim to help it stand out from all the plain black bags at the airport. Product reviewer Jaina Grey fell in love with its roomy interior and durable, anti-scuff hard-shell exterior.

Best Soft-Shell Carry-On

Yeti's coolers and cups are famous for being bomb-proof. The company recently launched a luggage line that's similarly overbuilt. The Yeti Crossroads 35L is a 22-inch roller bag that's carry-on size for most major airlines. It weighs 7.7 pounds, on par with soft-sided competitors of the same size.

I recently spent a week dragging the Crossroads up and down grimy subway station escalators, thumping it across cobblestones, and scrunching it into overfull overhead bins during a trip to London, Paris, and Brussels. The blue 700D nylon on the front and sides looks just as fresh as it did out of the box while the molded polycarbonate shell on the back has a few well-earned battle scratches. The two extra-large fixed wheels are rolling as smoothly as ever and hopped up curbs so well that I grew to favor them over smaller spinner wheels. The Crossroads has a half-dozen well-placed pockets and sturdy zippers that didn't give me any anxiety even as I tugged them hard while smooshing down to fit souvenirs into a carry-on with 8 days of clothing. —Martin Cizmar

Best Bag for a Lifetime

Do you only want to buy one suitcase and never think about it, ever again? Briggs & Riley is one of the few companies with a lifetime unlimited warranty. I bought a Briggs & Riley carry-on as my first and only post-college purchase. Right now, it has lasted over 20 years. Periodically, I bring it into the one Briggs & Riley-approved dealership in my town to get a zipper pull put back on, and it's fixed for free in a few days. Its components are top-of-the-line. The face fabric is a heavy-duty ballistic nylon that’s water-repellent and abrasion-resistant. After having been dragged all over the globe, from the Philippines to Turkey to Iceland, the gleaming red is just as bright.

The low-profile wheels nor handles have never broken. The grab handles are also luxuriously smooth and padded, and there's an interior folding garment bag for my husband's suits. The only downside is that at 9.3 pounds, it’s pretty heavy.

★ Alternatives: If you need an absolutely bomber-tough rolling suitcase and don't mind its 9.6-pound weight, the Pro Front-Access Carry ($799) will stand up to more abuse than most rolling bags, with its aluminum frame and 70-percent-recycled polycarbonate body. WIRED reviewer Chris Haslam says it's his favorite rolling bag in years. Jancer also likes Travelpro's Platinum Elite carry-on ($315) , which he calls one of the most high-end polycarbonate bags on the market.

around the world travel bags

Best Backpack

When I reviewed the Cotopaxi Allpa in 2018 ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ), it had only recently launched. Now, a half-dozen years later, it is one of the most popular travel backpacks that I see online and in airports all over the world. It's a combination of a camping backpack, a suitcase, and a soft, frameless duffel. You can splay it open like a sandwich to pack it easily; access items through a side zip; put it on your backpack and secure its weight with a sternum strap; or squash or stomp it into any overhead compartment or corner of your car trunk. The use case for this bag is extremely specific—the same people who are bopping around Thailand for several weeks in one backpack are not the same people trying to look professional at a work conference. But it is sturdy and comfortable.

★ Alternative: I took the Ekster Packable Duffel ($250) on several weekend trips this spring, and found that it more than upheld its claims of being built for “smoother journeys, on and off the grid.” This travel bag converts from a backpack to a duffel, with two separate compartments that also splay open for easier packing. The 600-denier exterior and water-resistant zippers are so sturdy that when we ran out of space in the car, we lashed it to the roof rack with surf straps and drove for hours in the rain. It, and its contents, remained pristine.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 bag

Best Convertible Bag

Every serious traveler knows the name of Seattle-based Tom Bihn, manufacturer of bomber bags that will last you a lifetime. The Aeronaut 45 is the classic Tom Bihn convertible carry-on, which the size of the maximum allowable carryon bag on a plane.

You get everything from a Tom Bihn bag that you pay for. It’s made of incredibly sturdy 1050 denier ballistic nylon, with bombproof YKK zippers. It has both hidden backpack straps and an extremely comfortable cross-body strap. This is commerce director Martin Cizmar's bag, and he's tossed it around and lugged it down rough streets and through crowds where roller bags are a liability. He owns two and the first lasted for more than a decade. This is the bag that both he and I would use, if we didn't have to constantly test other bags.

Small bag with several zippers 2 handles and 1 strap

Best Personal Item

Some airlines are not content with charging you extra for checking a bag and now charge you for overhead bin space . The Tom Bihn Trinity ( 7/10, WIRED Recommends ) addresses that problem by providing a space for you to pack everything you need while still fitting underneath the seat in front of you. As the name suggests, it has three main compartments and three ways to carry—either as a briefcase with padded grab handles, a backpack, or as a shoulder bag with two attachment points.

It has three main compartments which can be arranged to your liking; for example, on one of the side compartments, you can zip a water bottle holder into place or unzip it for more room. It wasn't quite as versatile as I expected; I found that I prefer a small duffel with one main compartment that I can organize as I like. However, it does fit under the seat in front of me, even with clothes, laptop, and four (four!) hardcover books that I somehow stuffed inside it.

Lo  Sons OG bag

Best Work Bag

I've been traveling a lot for work and for family reasons in the past few months, and the bag I prefer for my personal item is the Lo & Sons O.G. 2, which is the larger version of the brand's Nouvelle purse ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ). It comes in a medium and a large version; the medium is adequate as an everyday bag, but the large turns it into a versatile work/travel bag. It’s low-profile and has both smooth leather grab handles as well as a shoulder strap. I have kicked it under plane seats and around airports, and the nylon doesn't show any damage. There's a hidden separate compartment if you spill water on yourself, and it has sturdy feet so you can put it on an airplane bathroom counter and dig for your makeup without it falling over or getting the bottom of the bag too disgusting. The toothed zippers do tend to crinkle and snatch at your knuckles when the bag gets overstuffed, but I suppose you could always, uh, avoid overstuffing your bag.

★ Alternatives: We have plenty of recommendations in our guide to the Best Laptop Totes , but we love Lo & Sons. The Catalina Supreme Tote ($338) is also great for weekend trips. Again, there's also a bottom compartment for a pair of shoes, or anything else you need to keep separate.

Camelbak A.T.P. 2.0 Backpack

The Best Hiking Daypack

The Camelbak A.T.P. is so useful that I’m always startled to realize it only has a 20-liter capacity. I have it in the 100 percent recycled white color, which saves water and only emits half the greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the dying process. It’s a panel loader, which means you can unzip the top and see exactly where everything goes, like a duffel. This is convenient when packing for trips—I was able to fit clothes, a Dopp kit, and electronics for an overnight trip. (I know these types of zippers fail more often than top loaders, but it does make it easier to arrange and sort items near the bottom of the pack.)

I particularly like how narrow it is. It fits my back and goes under airplane seats that even my children’s backpacks can’t. The bottle pocket has a zipper that makes it expandable so it can fit a little coffee thermos or my giant Yeti water bottle . Exterior compression straps also help squeeze my clothes even smaller. This is a great backpack if you want something that looks sleek enough for a work bag but is durable enough to take on a weekend trip to Yosemite.

★ Alternative: I also love the Patagonia Black Hole Backpack ($149) . This 25-liter bag is the perfect combination work/adventure bag. The suspended 15-inch laptop pocket clips shut, and the rest of the pockets are thoughtfully placed. It’s extremely light (a little over a pound) and is made from 100 percent recycled ripstop fabric.

REI CoOp Big Haul 40L duffel bag

Best Duffel Bag

The Big Haul ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ) is our favorite duffel because it hits the right balance of robust build materials and pockets without being too heavy to lug around all day. The standout feature of the Big Haul series, which comes in 28-liter to 120-liter options, is the ability to easily reposition the carrying straps, which feature plastic fishhook-style ends that slip into fabric loops. You can connect one strap end-to-end or double up on two straps in an H pattern for more stability with heavy loads. Adding and removing the straps isn't super fast, but it's not difficult, either, and six low-profile loops seems less intrusive than six rattling plastic buckles.

Two small interior pockets and an exterior pocket keep small things organized, and its water-resistant fabric is thick and tough without being stiff. All the sewing around the grab handles feels very robust too. Padded backpack straps hide away under a padded pocket on the top of the bag. This means that when you sling the Big Haul over your shoulders to give your arms a rest, your back is against the relatively clean top of the duffel, rather than a wet, dirty bottom side that's been set down on the ground. The current iteration of the Big Haul is also made with recycled nylon. What's not to love? —Matt Jancer

★ Alternative: For slightly more money, the classic duffel in this category is the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel ($159) , which also comes in a variety of colorways and sizes. You can either carry it by the grab handles or with the shoulder straps, and it's made from 100 percent recycled polyester with a TPU-film laminate. I (Adrienne) have had the 40-liter version for almost 15 years now and the laminate has yet to peel. It also fits as a carry-on on flights.

Red Oxx travel bag

The Best Expedition Bag

If you like outdoor sports, you probably need a good expedition bag—that is, a huge, burly duffel that you can just throw all your pointy ice axes, trekking poles, or camp chairs into that you can take anywhere and everywhere. Reviewer Matt Jancer's expedition bag of choice is the Red Oxx PR5. He's used it for whitewater paddling trips and to lug mountain climbing equipment from coast to coast without a single frayed thread. Everything about Red Oxx is overbuilt. The zippers are huge, its thick pieces of nylon webbing are robustly sewn, and chunky metal rings hang the detachable carrying strap. All that said, it's not abominably heavy. At 3.4 pounds it's still lighter than many wheeled bags.

★ Alternative: If you've ever gone to a popular outdoor destination, like Yosemite or Everest, you've probably seen stacks of North Face Base Camp duffels . This is the quintessential expedition bag. My own personal bag is the OnSight Tarmac EPO , but the company no longer exists; I also have a Mountain Hardware duffel ($180) and after 20 years, the coating has finally started to peel.

Rux 70L storage box

Best for Camping

We love everything from Rux; I'm currently testing the waterproof adventure tote ($150) and I use it for everything from my climbing gear, to picnic gear, to bringing my kids' roller skates and soccer balls to the park. I have also leaked an entire water bottle in it and it stayed contained and out of the bottom of my car.

But for camping (or any outdoor pursuit, really), what you need is a Rux storage system , which, as the artist and filmmaker Van Neistat puts it, will help you kit your shit . It holds its frame shape, which means you can stack and organize inside of it just like a box, but it folds down like a bag for easy storage once you're at your destination. It's also light and waterproof and comes with a wide array of accessories . This is an upgrade for everyone who currently sorts their camping, climbing, or snowboarding gear in a series of $5 plastic totes and stacks them in their trunk.

The Frame CarryOn Max Aluminum Edition

The Best Aluminum Suitcase

Perhaps you've seen those Instagram-friendly, shiny aluminum suitcases and wonder whether it's worth the investment. Aluminum is extremely durable and can be machined with precision. That means it will protect your belongings better, and you can close them with latches instead of zippers. Your suitcase will last longer and be more secure— zippers are pretty easy to break into —and generally have fewer points of failure.

In my opinion, the cost-benefit analysis generally weighs against them. Aluminum suitcases are usually heavier and won't flex as much if you have overpacking tendencies, and I find them painfully conspicuous. Any suitcase with a decent warranty policy will painlessly cover any repairs. If you must have one, we like Arlo Skye's the Frame. Arlo Skye was founded by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi, and reviewer Matt Jancer says that everything about the Frame screams robust quality, from the leather grab handles to the combination-lock latches. It also comes with a removable battery bank and has a few more liters of carrying capacity than the similarly-sized Away. The main disadvantage is that the interior organization is a bit lacking.

★ Alternative: Do you want the benefits of an aluminum suitcase without the drawbacks? You might want to consider Monos's Hybrid Carry-On ($325) . You won't fool anyone into thinking you've shelled out for a 100 percent aluminum suitcase, but Jancer notes that it's only a pound or so heavier than the competition and the aluminum frame offered better protection than any 100 percent polycarbonate suitcase that he tried.

Luka Duffel Bag

A Good Emergency Go Bag

To be clear, any bag here could be considered a go-bag—even a grocery bag works when you have to leave the house imminently. But reviewer Nena Farrell used Calpak's duffel for an emergency surgery, and she is kicking herself for not getting it sooner. It was big enough for everything from makeup bags and extra outfits to a massive book and Nintendo Switch, and was comfortable to carry thanks to the large straps.

The shoe compartment was big enough for sandals and slides, but not big enough for shoes with an ankle. It was also a great place to stash haphazard Ziplocs of emergency toiletries and medications. There are some side pockets inside too, plus an exterior side pocket and a pass-through panel to place it on top of your luggage. It was a great hospital companion, but Farrell can't wait to take the Luka somewhere a little more fun.

Solgaard CarryOn Closet Plus luggage

Other Bags We Like

Not every good product can snag a best-in-category title, but there are several more bags we've tested that get our thumbs-up.

Osprey Ozone 40L for $280 : At 4.47 pounds, Osprey claims this bag is the lightest carry-on suitcase. It's also made from 400D recycled bluesign-approved nylon and is treated with DWR. This bag is light enough to easily hoist above my head and has also been checked multiple times.

Gregory Alpaca 40 Duffel for $140 : This duffel weighs a scant 2.7 pounds, but the water-resistant fabric and extraordinarily beefy (though plastic) buckles make it a solid bag for adventuring. There's an exterior pocket for storing shoes or dirty clothes. The backpack straps don't tuck away for storage—you have to unclip them—but might be the most well-padded, comfortable straps I've encountered on a duffel. Exterior daisy chains and an interior zippered pocket round out the impressive features list.

Land's End Waxed Canvas Duffel for $180 : Most duffel bags these days are made of nylon, and while it's tough to call a material that's been popular since the 1940s “modern,” nylon bags don't have the old-school charm that this waxed canvas bag does.

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 40L for $149 : This bag weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces, which is only slightly heavier than air. It also has backpack straps that stow away in a front pocket.

Skyway Epic Carry-On for $160 : At 7.1 pounds, the Epic is an average weight. The handle is a wee bit more finicky than our top pick, and the Travelpro's wheels glide a little more nicely. Still, the Epic is a solid choice.

Target Signature Weekender Bag for $81 : Looking like a cross between a duffel and a handbag, the Weekender has a structure that product reviewer Louryn Strampe says can become overfilled, so keep that in mind if you plan to bring it onto a plane as a carry-on. She appreciates its durability and the many internal pockets for organization, though, and its rather long five-year warranty.

Solgaard Carry-On Closet Plus for $345 : It's a tiny bit over what most airlines list as the maximum dimensions, but the difference is so small that it's accepted 95 percent of the time. WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe praises its optional clip-in closet clothing organizer, which makes for efficient packing. The built-in TSA lock is easy to use, and there's an internal power-bank pocket. This suitcase is included in our Favorite Recycled Products guide.

Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-On for $200 : This is a hard-side, four-wheeled spinner carry-on made from an outer shell of durable polypropylene. Standout features include an interior fabric made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and a “WetPak” storage pocket for keeping damp items separated from the rest of your luggage.

Adidas Defender Duffel for $40 : If you're looking for an inexpensive duffel that'll handle some light-duty traveling, this is a good way to save $100. The fabric is significantly thinner and less sturdy than that of other duffels in this guide, and it lacks backpack straps. But for taking on the train or tossing into a car trunk, it'll do the trick.

Eagle Creek Caldera Convertible Backpack

Bags We Don’t Like

Some bags just aren't worth the asking price, especially with so many good alternatives at all price points.

Peugeot Voyages Carry-On Spinner for $595 : What a price tag for a plastic-case suitcase. You can see where Peugeot tried to imbue the Voyages with some luxury, such as the metal riveting and built-in travel locks, but the case felt no more solid than a budget hard-sided bag, and the USB charging port felt cheap, like an outlet you'd find built into a seat in an airport terminal.

Eagle Creek Caldera Convertible International Carry-On for $469 : At 6 pounds, 2 ounces, this bag is a bit heavy. There's a zip-off 19-liter backpack that you can separate from the rest of the 37-liter bag, but when they're zipped together, the combined size doesn't meet carry-on restrictions.

Ebags CTS Carry-On Spinner for $200 : This one wasn't awful, but there are much better options for the money. Its hard plastic sides felt more brittle than the hard-sided plastic Away suitcases. The handle rattles a lot and it didn't roll quite as smoothly as other bags.

portable UrPower Clothes Steamer

A Few Travel Accessories

Once you've got your bag, you'll want to pack it with a few more useful items:

Apple AirTag for $24 : If you have an iPhone, it's one of the best ways to keep a digital eye on your bags. Drop an AirTag into an interior pocket to make sure you and your luggage are reunited at your destination. Don't have an iPhone? We suggest the Chipolo in our guide to the Best Bluetooth Trackers .

Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Cubes Three-Pack for $35 keep everything inside your bags organized by allowing you to separate it into different cubes, so you won't ever have to hunt through seven pairs of socks to find your bathing suit again.

Calpak Clear Cosmetics Case for $75 : Calpak’s viral clear cases come in three sizes and a ton of colors for the edge trims. Reviewer Nena Farrell loved the small size for my gym bag and traveling with a smaller carry-on bag, while the medium was a great size for my daily makeup or larger suitcases.

Troubadour Buddy 2.0 Tech Case for $75 : You probably need a case to organize your spare charging cables and power banks. I've been testing this compact, waterproof, and recycled bag that fits neatly into my personal item.

UrPower Portable Steamer for $24 beats a travel iron because it's far lighter and you don't need to hunt down an ironing board at your hotel. WIRED reviewer Medea Giordano and I both have been using UrPowers for years. For a tiny thing, it's powerful and effective at steaming practically anything. You just need to refill it often.

Samsonite Manual Luggage Scale for $15 is handy when you're packing a heavy bag for an upcoming trip. Use it to weigh your luggage and make sure it's within the weight limits. International airlines are sticklers for carry-on weight, and even American airlines will be unforgiving about weight for checked bags.

InCase MacBook Sleeves for $50 will keep your laptop from bearing the damage caused by airport security lines. Travel through an airport without a case and it's only a matter of time before a bare laptop or tablet picks up nasty scratches and dents. Check our guide to the Best MacBook Accessories for more.

Carryon luggage in stowaway overhead container on airplane

How to Pick the Right Size Bag

Every airline sets its own dimensional requirements for carry-on baggage, so if you want to be safe, you should check your airline's requirements before packing. But broadly, they're split into two categories: domestic and international.

Domestic flights by US airlines (and a few others) have standardized on 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

International carry-on bag sizes tend to be about 21 inches tall and a bit narrower, but they're all over the place. It's tough, because many international airlines will measure your bags at the airport and reject anything even slightly bigger than the allowed size. If you fly outside the US a lot, you may as well buy a bag sized for international flights.

You'll also want to check each airline's weight limits. They vary wildly, but some international airlines restrict you to 15 or 20 pounds, including the weight of the bag itself. For example, there are some East Asian airlines that limit carry-on bags to 11 pounds. Once you subtract 6 or more pounds for the bag, you're not left with much wiggle room to put stuff inside.

USB cable plugged into removable battery bank on luggage

When to Remove Battery Banks

Battery banks, also known as power banks, are a travel must-have. Whether you're using a tablet to watch movies on your flight or relying on your phone to coordinate rideshares, hotel check-in, and handle your boarding passes, you've got to keep those devices charged and topped up. Many bags offer a removable battery bank that slides into a special pocket or notch of the suitcase.

For carry-on luggage on a flight in the US, you're allowed to bring a lithium-ion battery of 100 watt-hours or less. You don't need to remove it from the suitcase's pocket if you're storing your bag in the overhead bin.

Lithium-ion battery banks are not allowed in checked luggage. If you check your bag or have to gate-check it, make sure to remove the battery bank before you give your suitcase to the gate agent. Slip the battery bank into your purse, backpack, or pocket for the duration of the flight.

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A Complete Baggage Guide for RTW Travelers

Chances are if you’re going somewhere you will have luggage, be it a backpack, a suitcase, a 1920s-style steamer trunk or a stick with a bandana sack. And somehow you’ll have to get it on a plane.

Lamentably, airline baggage restrictions and baggage fees are here to stay. But on the bright side, there are a number of resources to take the surprise out of baggage restrictions. We’ve assembled this page to help you avoid any excess baggage fees. Click the links to drop down to the following categories: Restrictions | Excess Baggage Rules | Size Limits | Fees | Lost or Stolen Baggage Also, here is a gigantic list of links to the baggage sections of all the airlines we work with at AirTreks .

Baggage restrictions

When it comes to baggage, the three things to keep in mind are number (of pieces), size, and weight.

The “Piece” rule On international flights to, from and within North America, baggage is limited by the “piece rule”. The rule is one piece of luggage, not exceeding 62 inches as the sum of its dimensions. Itineraries that allow two require that one piece does not exceed 62 inches and that the total for both pieces not be more than 106 inches (these vary slightly from airline to airline. Please call each airline on which you intend to fly for their specific rules).

The flights governed by the piece rule allow each of these pieces to be up to 50 lbs. However, on flights within North America, just about all airlines charge for checked baggage. Most flights will have a $15-$25 fee for the first checked bag, and an additional fee for the second checked bag. We are also starting to see international carriers charging for checked luggage as well. So be careful.

You can find the most up to date checked bag fee list here .

The “Weight” Rule For most flights in the rest of the world (i.e. those not touching down in North America), baggage is limited by the “weight rule”: a TOTAL of 20 kgs (44 lbs), total for all pieces and items including carry-on items. On these flights, carry-on baggage is limited to 5 kg (11 lbs) and is included in the overall limit of 20 kg. Carry-on items are included in the overall weight limit, even if they weigh less than 5 kg.

Even if you have only one bag, small enough to fit under the seat and weighing less than 20 kg, the airline is NOT obligated to let you carry it on. The airline can require you to check any bag weighing more than 5 kg.  It’s rare that this happens but it helps to be aware.

Note: Not all airlines are strict in enforcing luggage limitations. But it’s possible to get a strict check-in clerk on any given airline and flight, and you cannot count on checking or carrying on more than the rules allow. Before you leave for your trip, it helps to check to see if you’re within your free baggage allowance for all your flights (not just the first one). To do so, do as the airline does: put everything you’re taking on a scale, including your purse, shoulder bag, camera, or anything else you plan to bring and see how much it weighs.

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Excess baggage

The main point to take away from this section is that excess baggage is very expensive. The standard charge for excess baggage is one percent of the full first class fare per excess kilogram (even if you are traveling on a discounted coach-class ticket), payable separately for each flight.

If you must take excess baggage on some portion of your trip, check with the airlines in advance: particularly on flights to and from North America, some airlines charge a flat rate per overweight piece (typically $100-$125) which is substantially lower than the per-kilogram charge.

Airlines are not required to accept excess baggage at all. On some flights operated by small planes, like those to African safari camps or shorter island or mountain airstrips, they simply don’t have room for it and won’t carry it at any price. Nor will excess baggage, even if paid for as “accompanied” baggage, necessarily be put on the same flight with you, although airlines have no reason not to and usually will, space and other circumstances permitting.

Unaccompanied baggage is considered “air freight” and charged at cargo rates. Air cargo rates are higher per kilogram per kilometer (or per pound per mile) than most coach rates for passenger transportation.

Size limits

Be careful traveling with oddly shaped baggage such as surfboards, bikes, skis, taxidermy giraffes, musical instruments or Alexander Calder sculptures.

Always call your airline to see what their policies are on these items. Unlike regular checked bags, rules on what can travel, how, and at what cost vary widely from airline to airline. If you have, or expect to have, anything larger than an ordinary suitcase or backpack, call each and every airline on which you plan to travel, in advance, to find out whether they will accept your item, and  how much they’ll charge.

Most airlines have set fees for specific oversized items . Some carry surfboards for free, some charge $150 per board per flight.  Does your airline require bicycles to be dismantled and/or boxed? Do they provide the boxes, or must you bring your own? Do they require oversize baggage to be checked in early? How many hours before your flight?

If you will be changing planes, find out if you will be charged additional special item fees for each flight or only once for the entire itinerary.

Note: Since it’s unrealistic to list these fees for every airline that AirTreks books, we leave this duty to the client transporting these items.

Baggage fees

Since the airlines have finally recognized the revenue-generating power of checked baggage fees, paying for checked bags is now a way of life for many flyers.

And unfortunately, if you’re not constantly reading airline news you may end up stunned—or incensed—when you get to the airport; the fees are changing on a regular basis.

Fortunately, there’s a handy website that’ll find the info for you when you’re packing for your trip:   iflybags.com

It helps to know what all your flights charge or don’t charge for checked luggage if only to avoid surprises. Be happy and check beforehand. Due to the changeable nature of baggage fees, a simple chart won’t give you as complete information as you can get on a specialized site.

Lost, Delayed or Stolen Baggage

Hey, it happens. But still, it’s downright horrifying to realize you don’t have your bags when you arrive in a new city. The logistics of traveling is complicated enough but to do it without your stuff can be totally debilitating.

That said, don’t panic. You aren’t likely to make good decisions if you’re freaking out. Fortunately, there are tried and true systems in place to locate lost luggage – the airlines have been losing bags since commercial flight began and know just what to do.

Always remember that 98% of all delayed or lost luggage is returned eventually and those are great odds.

Baggage Delayed

The first thing you need to do when you realize your bag isn’t coming down the chute is to visit the airport’s baggage claims office  located in the baggage claim area.

There are three possible scenarios for what happened to your bags:

  • They didn’t make the flight : They’ll get to you on the next flight and you’ll likely have to wait a few hours to a day to get your bag back (unless the airport doesn’t have daily service). If there are no more flights to where you are, trust me, you have other problems to worry about.
  • They were put on a wrong flight : They likely have gone to another airport, causing you a potentially longer wait since the bags will have to return to the original airport then connect to your location.
  • They were on your flight but didn’t make it to the carousel : This is the best-case scenario since you should only have to wait a few minutes (at worst an hour or two) for staff to track it down.

Airlines usually will, but aren’t obliged to, deliver your lost bags to you when they come around. Some will even reimburse you for expenses tallied due to the loss. Ask them about this when filing your claim.

Be sure you know how to check the status of your delayed bags – some airlines will have you call, some will have you check online. Find out which one works best before you leave the airport.

Baggage Lost

First things, first. If the airlines loses your bag, don’t panic. Have we said that enough? Panic never helps. Secondly, start a written “lost luggage” claim, sometimes different than a “missing luggage” claim. Airlines have a certain sum that they are liable to pay you if they cannot locate your stuff. It caps at about $3000 for US domestic flights but the limits vary for international flights as they are set by international tariff law.

To get reimbursed, it’s helpful to have an inventory of everything you had in your bag, so they can return the maximum extent of what you lost. Proof of purchase, such as receipts for your stuff is extremely helpful, especially if the item was expensive, like a laptop.

Airlines won’t reimburse for certain expensive items like heirlooms, jewelry, and other valuables, so if you must travel with these things, keep them in your carry-on. If you’re perpetually worried about losing your luggage, or even if you’re not, get travel insurance . Most good policies cover for lost, delayed, or stolen luggage.

Baggage Stolen

The best way to keep it from happening is to head directly to the carousel as soon as you deplane. Most airlines now scan luggage as it’s off-loaded so they have a record of which bags are loaded on the carousel. That said, if you aren’t there to pick it up, someone else might.

If your bag is stolen after you leave the baggage claim area go immediately to the police, not the airport personnel, and file a report. You’ll need it to collect from the insurance company.

Pro Tip: Make It Easy On Yourself

Avoid a lost, delayed or stolen bag situation by nipping it in the bud. Here are a few things you can do to either prevent these situations from happening or else keep them from becoming more tragic than they need to be.

  • Keep your name on—and in—all of your bags , in permanent or indelible ink.
  • Make an inventory of what’s in your bag . If it gets lost, the airlines, or insurance company, will want to know what’s inside (so they can reimburse you!). A list will make the process of remembering easy. Keep the list with your other important docs, on your person, and consider leaving a copy with someone you trust at home.
  • Write down the size, color and brand of your bag . It’s amazing how unhelpful your memory is when called upon to describe your baggage.
  • If your bag isn’t eye-catching, embellish it . Make it stand out from the other nondescript black luggage coming down the ramp with colorful tags, ribbons, a paint job, or better yet, reflector tape that catches the light.
  • Keep your claim ticket . I know they’re small, but stick them to your passport. It’ll make the lost bag claim go a lot smoother if you can provide them with the barcode of your bag.
  • Don’t check in late for your flight . The airport crew may be crafty but when you check in late for your flight, they may not have time to get your bag on the plane before takeoff. You can run through the airport, your bag cannot.
  • Avoid short connection times . Again, the process for getting a bag from a flight to another flight may be quick for a body, but a bag has to be unloaded, scanned, transported, handled, scanned again and loaded.
  • Keep your important documents, medications, heirlooms, valuables, keepsakes, expensive electronics, money, and passports on your person or in your carry-on bag.  If you’re carrying a larger carry-on and worry that it might be gate checked, have your most important items in a smaller go-bag inside it that you can remove and carry-on if the bigger bag is checked.
  • Get travel insurance . It will simply make your life easier in the event of the unfortunate.

If you ultimately find yourself without your luggage be sure to file a claim immediately. Airport staff know what to do in these situations and will help you out. Remember that stat from before? 98% of all lost bags are returned to their owner eventually. When you’re packing , please keep in mind that the international standard is 20 kg. (44 lbs) of free baggage per person, total including all carry-on baggage. On flights within North America, paying for every bag you check is the norm. Back to top

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59+ Best Carry on Backpacks for Travel in 2024: An Expert Guide to the Best Bags Ever for Any Traveler, Any Trip

The luggage you carry when traveling can either go pleasantly unnoticed or create all sorts of unnecessary headaches.  For this reason, on your adventures around the world, taking a carry on backpack for travel, as your only bag, is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your adventure. By traveling the world with only what fits overhead in your international flight saves time, money, and stress, leaving energy for the more enjoyable experiences to come.

In this list of the best carry on backpacks for travel, I’ll share my favorite carry on sized backpacks for weekend trips and years around the world, tech heavy travels, and outdoor adventures, with the perfect carry on sized backpack for every type of traveler.

For over three years I’ve wandered the worlds searching for adventure, exploring urban paradises, and aiming to experience everything in between. Throughout that journey I’ve learned that the baggage you take can enhance your travels or weigh you down, heavily depending on what you aim to find during your travels, where you go, and what you’ll carry. But , no matter how you travel…lighter is better, and “carry on only” travel or “onebag travel” makes for lighter minds and freer adventures.

Read on to discover the best carry on backpacks for travel trekking & trail , urban adventures , women , durability , and weekend travel in this list of the best travel packs for onebag and carry on travel.

(This article contains affiliate links )

around the world travel bags

Contents of this Ultimate Carry on Backpacks List

  • Quick List of the Best Carry On Backpacks for Travel
  • Criteria to Consider when choosing a carry on bag

Carry On Backpack Size Guidelines and Recommendations

Major airline carry on regulations.

  • Best 45L Carry On Backpacks (Big Enough for World Travel)

Best 40L Carry On Backpack (Big Enough for World Travel)

  • Best 35L Carry On Backpacks (Urban Travel Around the World or Adventurous Weekends)
  • Best 30L and Smaller Carry On Backpacks (Weekender Bags that Double as Daypacks)
  • Best Convertible Duffle Bags as Carry On Backpacks
  • Best Carry-On Backpacks for Women
  • Toughest Carry On Travel Backpacks
  • Weather Proof Carry On Backpacks
  • Minimalist and Lightweight Carry-On Backpacks
  • Best Anti-theft Carry On Backpack
  • Best Trekking, Outdoor, and Adventure Carry On Backpacks
  • Best Budget Carry On Backpacks (Under $150)
  • Best Carry On Backpack with Wheels
  • Packing Cubes
  • Packable Daypacks
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Carry On Bags

Quick List of the Best Carryon Backpacks

Best 45L Carry On Backpack (Big Enough for World Travel)

  • Tortuga Outbreak 45L

GORUCK GR3 45L

  • Osprey Porter 46L
  • The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 (45L)

Nomatic Navigator 32L Travel Bag (Expandable to 41L)

Nomatic travel backpack (40l), goruck gr2 40l.

  • Thule Landmark 40
  • Topo Design Global Travel Bag (40L)
  • GORUCK Rucker Long Range (39L)

REI Ruckpack 40 (Temporarily Discontinued)

Best 35l carry on backpacks.

  • Minaal Carry On 2.0 (35L)
  • Aer Travel Pack 3 (35L) or 2 (32L)
  • Cotopaxi Allpa (35L)
  • Peak Design Travel Bag (35L expandable to 40L)

Best 30L and Smaller Carry On Backpacks : Small Travel Backpacks Big Enough for Weekend Trips

Best Carry On Travel Backpack for Women

  • REI Trail 40 (Women’s)
  • REI Flash 45 (Women’s)
  • Osprey Fairview 40

Osprey Fairview 55

  • Women’s Kelty Redwing 36L and 55 L
  • REI Ruckpack 40 (Temporarily Discontinued)**

Most Durable Carry on Backpack for Travel

  • SPEC OPS T.H.E. Pack

Best Weatherproof Carry on Backpack s

Best Minimalist Carry On Backpacks

  • Patagonia MLC Black Hole 45L

Best Anti-theft Backpack s

  • Pacsafe Venture Safe EXP45 (45L) and EXP35 (35L)
  • Pacsafe Ventures Safe 40

Best Outdoor and Adventure Carry On Backpacks

  • REI Trail 40

REI Flash 55

  • Gregory Zulu 40 backpack
  • Osprey Kestrel 38
  • Kelty Redwing 50

Best Cheap and Starter Carry On Backpacks (Under $150)

  • Osprey Farpoint 40

Osprey Farpoint 55

  • Standard Luggage 3 in 1 Carry On

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

Best Duffelbags that Double As Carry On Backpacks

  • Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45L Convertible Travel Duffle
  • The North Face Base Camp Duffel
  • Peak Designs Duffle **
  • Patagonia Black Hole Duffle **
  • Monarc Settra Duffel Backpack **
  • Kaka Carry On Duffle Backpack **
  • WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffle Backpack **
  • Osprey Transporter **
  • Tom Bihn Technonaut 30 L and 45L**

Best Carry On Backpacks on Wheels

  • Topo Designs Travel Bag Roller **
  • Osprey Sojourn **

Extra Space Options

  • GORUCK Brick Bag

Best Compressible Duffles and Hand Carry Luggage

  • GORUCK Kit Bag 32L

REI Roadtripper Duffle 40L

Other Well Reviewed Backpacks and Brands

( Click here to return to the table of contents )

Click here to jump to our Full List of the Best Carry On Backpacks

Characteristics of the Best Carry on Backpacks for Travel

Meets carryon restrictions for most airlines and can be compressed slightly to meet the rest

Most airlines limit carry on sizes to 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches  (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters) and 40lbs, however the carry on limitations tend to vary by continent and airline with budget airlines in Europe and Southeast Asia having more strict limits. (Click here to see carry on limits by country)

Front-loading or clamshell Design: allows easily accessing anywhere in the bag easily, without unpacking much Lightweight via simple design, innovative materials, and efficient construction saving more weight and space for packing

Comfortable shoulder straps that stabilize the load letting you use it on any terrain

Comfortable yet functional hip belt so they can be used for long walks on any terrain

Durable enough to survive at least 2-3 years of constant travel and hard abuse (budget bags) and the rest should last for life

Fit : The bags shoulder straps, height, width, and waist belt fit your body

Size: The bag’s capacity fits your packing needs, with room for everything you need to travel comfortably, and the dimensions fit the maximum size for your preferred mode of travel – airplane carry on, train, bus, et.c

Sufficient Pockets and Organization : The bag has room and logically placed pockets for everything you’ll carry and in a thoughtful way. Small, zippered and secure pockets for passports, cell phones, credit cards etc., space for shoes (if you prefer), laptop storage, etc.

Designed functionally for your travel plans : Trekking through Patagonia, backpacking Europe, weekend trips, etc.

Other Details to Consider

  • Shoulder Strap padding thickness, softness, and construction
  • Hip Belt Construction: Padded? Integrated Pockets? Detachable and stowable?
  • Sternum Strap: Included?
  • Back Panel: Padded and breathable?
  • External Pockets and Organization: Water bottle pocket, quick access pockets for valuables (phone, passport, cash)
  • Internal Pockets and Organization: Sufficient for your needs?
  • Dedicated Laptop Compartment or Laptop Protectioion Sleeve

A Guide to choosing the best carry on backpack for you

No single carry on backpack will be perfect for every occasion, but the best carry on backpacks for travel will be perfect for their intended uses and type of travel – urban adventures, trekking, nomading, etc.. The best approach to picking the right carry on backpack for you is to understand what you will use a backpack for and you can pick the right bag accordingly. From there, look at each backpack option feature by feature and category by category based on the essential criteria you should consider for your backpack

Size and Capacity

Less than 45 liter capacity and airline maximum dimensions (generally 22″ x 14″ x 9″ ) but sufficient to pack clothing and goods for your entire trip if the bag is your only bag.

For world travel and a single bag, 45 liters is sufficient if you are a minimalist packer.

For one week to month of travel, 35L to 45L is sufficient.

For a weekend trip, 25 liters to 35 liters of space is sufficient for most people.

Design: Open Flat Design, Either Clamshell Opening, Top Loading, or Back Loading

Picking a backpack that opens flat instead of a toploading backpack, common in school bags and back country/hiking backpacks, makes it easy to access anything anywhere in your backpack very easily.

Paired with packing cubes an open flat design in a backpack makes packing and unpacking insanely easy

Organization, Pockets, and Features

The possible features on good, well designed carry on backpacks, like the ones on this list, is nearly limitless. As such, not all features are suited to all travelers or travel, and including them all would actually make a bad backpack – heavy, with wasted space.

Instead, aim for a backpack with the organization, pockets, and features that fit your style of travel and you as a traveler. Whether you’re a tech-heavy digital nomad, a 20 something-year-old backpacking through Europe, or a minimalist slow traveler, aim for features that are useful, and ideally essential, to you.

Popular features on carry on backpacks to consider:

  • Quick access pockets outside for passports, phones and cash
  • Water bottle holder
  • Padded waist belt with pockets
  • Tech Pockets and Organization inside and outside
  • Heavily padded shoulder pads

Comfort (Shoulders and Back)

The main reason for using a backpack for travel is the convenience of wearing it, instead of dragging it behind you on cobblestone roads, or over the shoulder like a duffle bag. For this plan, of ease and more comfort, to work out well the bag needs to be comfortable.

No matter what bag you choose initially, test it out under light conditions with 25 to 40 lbs of weight, at home aiming to keep it clean so you can return it if need be.

Comfortable shoulder straps are the most important point of the bag. Wide, thickly padded shoulder straps will make a lot of difference when walking several blocks through the city to get from your accommodation to your bus stop or train, or even taking your bag around the city.

A breathable, supportive, and ideally contoured back panel is the second most important aspect for a comfortable backpack.

Individual preference for fit and feel comes last, but is very important. Feel how the bag’s shoulder straps, hip belt, and back panel contour to your body, as well as where the weight sits, and judge accordingly.

Examine the bag fabric, stitching, buckles, webbing, zipper quality, durability, and construction based on what you’ll need for your travels and adventures.

The primary cloth used in a backpack is one of the most important aspects of its construction for durability, as it’s abrasion resistance, tear resistance, and strength dictate how long it will last. For instance, 1000 denier Cordura nylon, used as the external cloth on many tactical backpacks, offers some of the highest abrasion and tear resistance, while sail cloth offers great waterproofing.

Polyester cloths on the other hand are very prone to quick wear and damage.

For the highest durability aim for packs with high denier nylon, sailcloth, or a proven experimental fabric used from another industry

Weather Resistance

If you plan to travel through potentially rainy places, especially if you’ll be backpacking around the world, if you have electronics (such as a laptop) it is worth looking at backpacks with weather resistance. Though none of the best travel-sized carry-on backpacks are 100% waterproof, many, such as the Tortuga Outbreaker are constructed with waterproof fabrics and shielded zippers lending protection from the rain.

If you need truly waterproof, simply place a large trash bag inside your backpack and place your belongings inside the trash bag.

Price & Value

For the price, are you getting the function you need? Will the bag last long enough for you and how do you intend to use the bag to justify the price? If your budget is on the light side, be honest. Go for a budget/value pack  now and a pricier, “buy it for life” pack later.

Size, Dimensions and Suitability for Carry On Airline Travel

Does it meet airline carry on size and weight restrictions for the airlines you plan to travel on? Will it be easy to access things in the bag while in an airport or hotel lounge without creating a yard sale?

When examining a backpack’s design ask questions that will help you determine if the features designed into the bag deliver what you need to make travel and daily life easier by storing everything safely and in an organized way and while also making everything accessible.

Does the backpack have the pockets, material, and organization that make your life easier?

Laptop compartment or included padded laptop sleeve?

Quick access cell phone and passport compartment?

Clamshell or alternative style opening that makes full access quick and easy?

Function and Purpose

Whether you’re a hiker, minimalist, digital nomad, business traveler, or other, will the design of the bag, how its carried, and how it stores items make your life easier and less stressful?

Is the bag designed for trail performance: in terms of shoulder straps, weight, durability, and storage?How comfortable will the bag be while hiking for one day? For multiple days?

Is the bag designed for City & Urban Travel in terms of streamlined design, security, and maximization of space use? Will the bag be easy to carry on subways and buses, walking through aisle ways? Is the bag design vulnerable to pickpocketers or slashing?

Does the backpack have the comfort elements you need? Such as padded Shoulder Straps, Padded Hip Belt, suitable Back Panel (softness, breathability)

Fit & comfortable feel specifically for you

Regardless of the reviews, the ultimate deciding factor should be comfort and how the pack fits you. Are the shoulder straps comfortable? Does the hip belt stay comfortable when weighted? Does the back panel feel comfortable on your back and breathe? Fit and comfort are the main reasons for different pack designs for men and women, so make sure you don’t sell yourself short by getting the pack perfect for everyone else and horrible for you.

Quality and Company Reputation

Does the manufacturer provide good customer service support and warranty support after the sale based on customer reviews? Is production quality consistent?

As you discover the common features available in good travel backpacks, note the function you do and don’t need, and select accordingly.

When it comes to travel backpack carry on options, 35 Liters (35L)  to 45 Liters  (45L) is the best bag size for most adventures – big enough to carry everything for trips longer than 1 week, small enough to satisfy the airlines.  FYI, the “L” after the size numbers indicates the liters of capacity  in the backpack

Here are some general guidelines for other backpack sizes:

<30L: Best for daypacks or ultralight travel

30L -> 39L: Weekender or 1-week travel bags (1 month+ for minimalist travel pros) 35L -> ~50L: 1 Week or longer of carry on only travel (perfect for “RTW Travel”) 50L<:  “Summit bags”, multi-climate travel, bringing your own camping gear, and completely moving your life

If you’re traveling through several different climates and carrying your own gear you may need an expandable storage option, to use at times and pack flat during airline travel, to avoid taking a 50L. Keep in mind that for most regions of the world, hiking and camping gear can be rented cheaply and easily for the duration of your trip. Consider the expandable storage options (below) for temporary extra storage.

  • (North America) Spirit Airlines Carryon Guidelines : 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 x 46 x 25 centimeters)
  • (Asia) Air Asia Carryon Guidelines: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 centimeters)
  • (Europe) Ryan Air Carryon Guidelines: 21.5 x 16 x 8 inches (55 x 40 x 20 centimeters)
  • (South America) Avianca Carryon Guidelines: Can’t exceed 45 inches (115 centimeters) or 22lbs (10 kgs)

How We Picked and Tested These Backpacks

Purchased, used, and tested plenty of bags only recommending the best.

Asking travelers over the past 5 years, in airports, train stations, and coffee shops, what the liked and disliked about the bags they’re wearing.

Analyzed the materials, construction, and technical details of each backpack – dimensions, capacity, pocket placement, materials (Cordura nylon vs. ripstop nylon vs. polyester vs. sailcloth), individual components (zippers, strap padding), features (memory foam, padded waistbelts) and more.

Finally, we used a decade of experience traveling the world, backpacking Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, North America, and the Middle East, trekking Patagonia and the Himalayas, and generally existing as a digital nomad to assess which backpacks would make life easier and more enjoyable – and dismiss the backpacks that “needed work.”

Because each traveler, and their respective travels are different, we narrowed the list to 45+ backpacks total with the 3 to 5 best backpacks for every traveler and respective traveler need.

Full List of the Best Carry On Backpacks – by Categor y

Best 45l carry on backpacks, big enough for world travel and backpacking around the world.

For the past 5 years of traveling the world, I have only traveled with a single, carry-on sized backpack – to lower my cost of travel (avoiding baggage fees) avoid the hassle (no checked bags) for security (keeping my bag close on long bus rides). Having an airplane carry-on-sized backpack allows these benefits, however, the fit can be tight.

A 45L bag (referring to 45 liters of capacity by volume) is the perfect bag for world travel because it is the maximum allowable size giving you every square inch possible to pack, while eliminating the issues of large checked baggage.

This section lists the best 45L carry-on backpacks on the market today.

The Tortuga Outbreaker (45L) 

Best carry on backpack for international travel and exploring cities.

The Tortuga Outbreaker - possibly the Best Carryon Backpack for urban travelers that need to stay organized make it the best travel backpack carry on options

The Tortuga Outbreaker is absolutely one of the best carryon backpack options for urban ventures and my vote for the best carry on backpack for international travel thanks to the meticulous design by travelers, for travelers. The result is a roomy backpack that is as comfortable as can be with tons of space for tech, sheds rain, and still passes for a carry on sized bag. The Tortuga Outbreaker is a ridiculously well thought out pack and has a place for everything.

The Tortuga Outbreaker’s organization, two main compartments with several zippered mesh pockets and padded pockets for electronics.  The separate zippered compartment for a laptop, a tablet, and electronics cables is well thought out. The bag also opens flat for easy packing and unpacking. Comfortable straps, and a water bottle pocket finish off this highly functional bag.

around the world travel bags

The only concern I have with this is the durability of the touted “X-Pac Waterproof Sailcloth” over 1000D Cordura nylon and 1600D ballistic nylon. The fabric is a combination of 210D nylon and laminates which may suffice for everyday use on airlines but causes me to question durability of the cloth with heavier loads and the abrasion of adventurous travel.

I glean that the Tortuga team implies that you should reasonably expect a 3-year lifespan based on  Tortuga’s official warranty .

From Tortuga’s website:

“Most travelers replace their luggage every few years. Barring a defect as mentioned above, your Tortuga will easily handle all of your adventures during that time…” .

In either case, the bags is impressively designed and well suited for urban adventures, but future reviews will tell if the materials will stand the test of time and adventurous travel.

Best for: Tech saavy travelers, flashpackers, and digital nomads confined to city limits Advantages: Impressively designed for keeping organized without packing cubes due to the plethora of pockets, separated into three compartments and room for a laptop, tablet, and electronics Cons:  Questions on the durability of X-Pac Sailcloth as the primary fabric under hard travel, and the value over 610D Nylon or 1000D Cordura Nylon.  

Bottom Line : Despite the Tortuga Outbreaker’s durability questions (given the price), this is an impressively designed bag that will help keep digital nomads and road warriors organized through the hustle.  If the bag does break down in 3 years, the money spent will be worth the convenience gained

I like what the Tortuga team is doing with their gear but buy this bag understanding that you can only expect a few years out of it or aim for something more durable if that’s your primary concern in a bag.

  • Price: $299 (45L); $269 (35L) at Tortugabacks.com
  • Size (45L): 22″ x 14″ x 9” | 56 x 35.5 x 23 cm — 5.1lbs | 2.3kg
  • Size (35L): 20.3″ x 12.9″ x 8.2” | 51.5 x 33 x 21 cm — 4.6lbs | 2.1kg
  • Materials: Waterproof X-Pac Sailcloth (210D nylon with DWR and UV resistant coatings, PET film, 50D polyester taffeta backing)
  • Features: Front Loading/Clamshell design; Padded Laptop Compartment for 17″ laptop; Padded, removable hip belt; Lockable zippers; Fleece Lined Electronics Pockets

Click here to read more about the Tortuga Outbreaker in this Tortuga Outbreaker Review

Best tough backpack for long term travel.

You will be hard-pressed to find a more well constructed, more heavy-duty backpacks than the GORUCK line – trust me, I’ve tried.  Among the GORUCK packs, the GORUCK GR3 is the most suited as for long term travel and is one of the best one bag travel backpack options on the market thanks to ample space (45L) and the optional 18L tough bag stuff sack which straps easily to the bottom.

The GORUCK GR3: One of the best heavy duty backpacks

The GORUCK GR3 is inspired military medic packs, upgraded with intuitive yet simplistic design, put together with materials and construction that allow it to carry 450lbs, and tested during 100’s of rucking (aka hiking) competitions GORUCK hosts. Based on specs for design construction and 6 months of travel, I rate this hands down as one of the most durable and best travel backpacks available.

around the world travel bags

Best for: Heavy use, heavy loads, high abrasion, long term travel Advantages:  Pure durability. Tested to loads of 450lbs+, lifetime guarantee, easily expandable storage to 63L (with GORUCK Tough Compression Sack). Cons: •  Sternum strap sold separately •  Pricey (but you get what you pay for) •  Requires packing cubes to stay organized •  Weight is ~1lb more than your average pack due to heavier materials Price: $545 at GORUCK Size:  22 x 14 x 9 in. | 56 x 35.5 x 23 cm Capacity: 45L | 2746 cu. in. Weight: 5.15lbs (4.59 lbs without hip belt) | 2.3 kg  Materials: 1000D Cordura makes this backpack heavily slash resistant, and great for city travel, “rainproof”; YKK zippers; Mil-spec webbing and buckles

Osprey Porter 46L Travel Pack

around the world travel bags

  • Best for: Backpacking and long term travel
  • Streamlined exterior and no loose straps, for easy plane, train, and bus travel
  • Compression straps make it easy to pack light, or (slightly) overpack
  • Stowaway straps
  • Best Price Available: $160 at REI.com
  • Weight:  
  • Dimensions:
  • Also Consider:

around the world travel bags

Other 45L Carry On Backpacks to consider

  • The Topo Design Global Travel Bag 40L: Expands to 45 liter capacity , made of materials and sports a cool retro look
  • Peak Design Travel Bag 35L: Expands to 45 liter capacity
  • The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45: A 45L anti-theft backpack with integrated metal security mesh and lockable zippers

Best 40L Carry On Backpacks

Still big enough for world travel, but easier to manage.

45L backpacks are perfect for traveling around the world indefinitely, but for travel of a few weeks or a month, the 40L backpacks on the market may be more suitable.

Whereas 45L carry-on backpacks are as monstrous as travel backpacks can get, they may be perfect for a year of travel around the world but may also be too large for some people.

If your travels tend to be in more pleasurable and warm climates, meaning you’ll pack fewer clothes, or primarily in the city, which requires no boots and outdoor trekking gear, a 40L backpack may be the sweet spot of just large enough but not too large.

Additionally, if you plan to take a carry-on backpack and a small duffle or handbag , checked or taken onto the plane as a personal item, the 40L backpack category may have some of the best options for you.

around the world travel bags

  • Advantages:
  • Best Price Available: $399 at Nomatic online

around the world travel bags

Also check out the entire Nomatic Navigator series , consisting of day packs, sling bags, “standard luggage” and more

around the world travel bags

  • Water resistant outer material
  • Laptop protection pocket and sleeve, TSA ready
  • Dedicated shoe pocket
  • Quickly shifts to a duffle bag style, handbag carry without stowing straps

  • Best Price Available: $289.99 at Nomatic.com
  • Capacity: 40L
  • Weight:  3.42 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9″ x 21″ x 14″
  • Design and Pockets: Laptop pocket – 16″ x 10.5″ x 1.5″
  • Warranty: Nomatic Lifetime Warranty
  • Also available in a 20L backpack expandable to 30L

A Heavy Duty Backpack Perfect for Shorter Term Travel – 1 week to 1 month or single climate travel and ready for adventure

The GORUCK GR2 retains the same rugged and tested DNA of the GR3, but helps you stay better organized, thanks to more standard pockets and the two compartment setup.  The smaller size (34L & 40L) make it better than the GR3 for shorter travel.

GORUCK GR2 Carry On Travel Backpack

The GR2 does have 5L or 11 less space than the GR3, depending on the variant you get, thus I only recommend it for travels shorter than 1 month and in a single season/climate. A benefit of the GR2 over the GR3 is with the smaller size, it is easier to get away with the GR2 as an everyday use pack. From my experience with this pack, it is excellent for its intended purposes of heavy use and short trips. If that’s what you’re after, the GORUCK GR2 is an excellent option.

around the world travel bags

• Best for: Heavy use, heavy loads, daily use, shorter trips, and anyone looking for “buy it for life” gear Advantages: Bombproof, durable construction and a significant lifetime guarantee Cons: •  Price…but once again, you get what you pay for •  Weight, approximately 1lb heavier than the average carryon bag and .5lbs heavier than the average carry on travel backpack Price: $495 at GORUCK Size (40L Model): 22 x 12.5 x 9 in. | 56 x 32 x 23 cm Size (34L Model):   20.5 x 12.5 x 9 in. | 56 x 32 x 23 cm   Capacity: 40L Model |2440 cu. in & 34L model | 2074 cu. in. Weight: 4.75lbs  | 2.2 kg Materials: 1000D Cordura makes this backpack heavily slash resistant, and great for city travel, “rainproof”, and abrasion resistant; YKK zippers; Mil-spec webbing and buckles

Thule Landmark 40L Travel Backpack

around the world travel bags

Very similar to the REI Ruckpack 40

  • Best for: Medium to long term travelers (1 month+)
  • Perfect balance between a “travel backpack” and a trekking/hiking backpack
  • Clamshell opening design makes everything available duffle bag style, perfect to pair with packing cubes
  • Dedicated and protected laptop pocket
  • Lid pocket with lockable zippers
  • Padded, breathable back panel
  • Stowable shoulder straps
  • Stowable water bottle pocket
  • Best Price Available: $199.95 at Backcountry.com or Amazon.com
  • Capacity: 40L (2441cu in)
  • Weight:  3lb 3oz
  • Dimensions: 9.8 x 13 x 21.5in
  • Materials: 420D polyester dobby, 600D polyester
  • Pockets and design : 1 zippered top, 1 zippered laptop/tablet sleeve (15-inch), 1 CashStash compartment, internal mesh storage, 1 zippered side, 1 side bottle
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty through Thule
  • Also Consider: REI Ruckpack 40

around the world travel bags

Topo Design Global Travel Bag (40L), Expandable to 45L

around the world travel bags

  • Retro look and colorful designs
  • Made of tough, high quality material assures you this pack will last
  • 40 liter capacity expands to 45L
  • Divided internal panel design
  • Brightly colored internal cloth make finding items easy in darker places
  • 3 Way Carry (traditional backpack, shoulder bag, handbag)
  • Boxy design pairs well with packing cubes and makes every inch of space available
  • Back panel laptop pocket fits up to a 15″ laptop
  • Top and side carry handles
  • Removable shoulder straps
  • Best Price Available: $229 at REI.com or $229 at TopoDesigns.com** with an optional 15% discount
  • Capacity: 40 L / 2441 cu. in., expandable to 45L
  • Dimensions: 14″ x 22.5″ x 7.5″
  • Materials: 1000D recycled nylon, 400D recycled nylon, 210D recycled nylon, 1680D recycled ballistic nylon, large heavy duty YKK zippers
  • Design and Pockets: Expandable and stowaway water bottle pockets

around the world travel bags

GORUCK Rucker – Long Range (39L)

A seriously tough backpack with additional features to double as a weight backpack for workouts and rucking.

around the world travel bags

  • Best for: Hard users who want a backpack that carries serious weight and can double for workouts
  • Most durable ~40L bag on this list
  • Stress points tested to 400lbs+
  • Handles on top, bottom, and side intended for workouts but very useful for travel
  • Open flat design
  • Divider and double wrap around zipper create 2 separate “shelves”
  • No Laptop pocket
  • Best Price Available: $255 at GORUCK.com with lifetime warranty

around the world travel bags

Budget Travel Backpack: One of the best travel packs for Europe and urban wandering

On the REI Ruckpack 40, REI took clear design cues and hiking performance from the REI Trail 40, then cleaned up the exterior to make it more urban travel focused. This urban-focused bag is one of the best travel packs for Europe for those on a budget. Functional, durable, simple, and comfortable.

around the world travel bags

Zip away pockets make moving through the cities without being pickpocketed easier. Stowaway shoulder straps and hip belt, hidden at will by the zip up back panel, make for easy bag checking and side/top handles make it easy to move while straps are stowed. Finally, the REI DNA makes for frame/back support and straps design that will stay comfortable throughout the hiking and trekking adventures that happen between city experiences.

around the world travel bags

Best for: New travelers or travelers on a budget that will hike as much as they’ll adventure by plane, bus, rail, or however the trail happens Price: $140 at REI Online Size: 24 x 13 x 10 in. | 61 x 33 x 25.5 cm.  Capacity: 40 Liters |2,440 Cubic Inches Weight: 4lbs 3 oz | 1.9 kg Materials: 210 Denier Ripstop Nylon and YKK zippers Warranty: 1 year unlimited warranty through REI Features:  Side zip access to water bladder pocket/ laptop pocket that fits a 15″ laptop

Checkout our Full Review of the REI Ruckpack 40

Other 40l carry-on travel packs to consider.

  • Gregory Tribute Women’s 40L Travel Pack
  • Gregory Tetrad Men’s 40 Travel Pack

For weekenders or one-month adventures in a single climate, as long as you pack efficiently you can’t go wrong with a 35L backpack.

Pack travel friendly clothes that require minimal washing, use packing cubes , and get a functional toiletry bag, and this relatively tiny setup will have everything you need while making your life very easy.

Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag (35L)

The Minaal Carry on 2.0 Bag is great option, and more suited to the crowd that values attention to detail.

around the world travel bags

Minaal clearly pays attention to small details, which shows in the features like a magnetic clipping system for the top shoulder harness support straps, a clip in “holster” for the chest strap, and even etching the bag’s dimensions on the shoulder strap to show to over zealous airport security (not sure that will suffice though…the New Zealand TSA must be quite a bit different than US TSA).

around the world travel bags

Beyond the tiny details, the bag structure is similar to the other urban carry options: a flat opening pack made of durable material with mesh and covered pockets on the inside front panel. The question is if the additional price is worth those tiny details for you .

Best for: Minimalist travelers and digital nomads moving through urban areas Advantages: The attention to the very  small details Cons: • A bit on the small side making it better for trips of a week or less, but minimalists may do just fine traveling for longer than a week • Heavy design focus on small details that add very small vale to the travel experience Price: $299 Dimensions: 55cm x 35cm x 20cm | 21.6in x 13.7in x 7.8in Capacity: ~35L | ~2135 cu in. Weight: 3.1lbs | 1.4kg Materials: A combination of 600D and 1000D Nylon, YKK zippers Warranty: Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects (+90 day trial period) Notable Features : Chest strap “holster”, embossed bag dimensions on shoulder strap, roll away & zippered cover to stow shoulder straps and waist belt (although reported to annoyingly press into the users shoulders), laptop and tablet strapping system that holds your devices in place and saves space, also suspending your devices to prevent damage when the bag is dropped, document pocket and passport pocket, 2 Small “quick access” pockets on top of the pack and two expanding pockets along the back panel of the main pack

Aer Travel Pack 2 (33L) and Aer Travel Pack 3 (35L)- Small One Bag for Urban Terrain

A near perfect urban travel backpack.

The Aer Travel Pack 2 and 3 are fairly simple carry on sized urban travel backpack made of extremely ballistic nylon, that make it something you can for short travels (~1 week) and use for a long time to come.

The Aer Travel Pack 2 - an excellent Travel Backpack Carry On on the smaller side - urban travel backpack

The Aer Travel Pack 2’s smaller than average capacity (~33L) may limit it to the corporate traveler, weekend traveler, and short trippers. If you travel for longer than a week, consider something larger, but for 1 week or less (or are a minimalist traveler) this is a great carry on backpack option.

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Best for: Weekend travel, short trips, minimalist urban travelers Advantage: Constructed of very durable materials with a clean aesthetic Cons: A bit on the small side at 33L, limiting it to shorter (~1 week) trips. Fairly simple design that could deliver more function for the price tag . Simple, main compartment + front panel/pocket organization differs little from normal laptop backpacks for much cheaper Price: $220 Size: 21.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 | 55 x 34  x 22 cm Weight: 3.7lbs | 1.7kg Capacity: 33 liters | 2014 cu. in. Materials: 1680 Denier Cordura® ballistic nylon exterior, YKK zippers, Duraflex® plastic hardware

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

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  • Best for: Weekenders to month long backpacking adventures in urban areas and a single climate
  • Tough outer materials, TPU coated for water resistance
  • Colorful, eye catching fabric
  • Side access laptop pocket
  • Lashing straps
  • 3 Way Carry: Backpack, handbag, shoulder bag
  • Stowable shoulder straps and hip belt
  • Rain cover included

  • Best Price Available: $200 direct from Cotopaxi or $200 at REI.com
  • Capacity: 35L (2136cu in)
  • Weight:  4lb 10oz (2.1kg)
  • Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 8in (51 x 30 x 20cm)
  • Open flat, clamshell design
  • Right side opens into a large, mesh, zippered compartment
  • Left side is divided into mesh zippered compartments
  • Materials: TPU Coated 1000D polyester and 860 denier ballistic nylon

around the world travel bags

Peak Design Travel Bag (35L expandable to 45 liters)

around the world travel bags

  • Best for: Weekend travel to month long travel adventures
  • Compact enough for
  • Sturdy handles on top, bottom, and sides
  • Plenty of sturdy lashing points
  • Great quality materials and construction will last a lifetime
  • Best Price Available: $299.95 at PeakDesign.com
  • Capacity: Compressed: 30L, Expanded: 45L
  • Weight:  4.5 lb / 2.05 kg
  • Dimensions: 22″ x 13″ x 11″
  • Materials: Weatherproof 400 denier recycled nylon canvas exterior with durable water resistant coating, 900 denier waterproof bottom
  • Warranty: No hassle lifetime warranty

Best 30L and Smaller Carry On Backpacks

Small carry on travel backpacks – big enough for weekend trips and small enough to to double as a daypack.

30L Carry On Backpacks (and smaller) are in a very functional space of being the perfect sized weekend bag that can be emptied and double as a useful daypack.

30L travel bags are also great for long term travel and nomading when paired with a duffle bag that doubles as a backpack .

For digital nomads and long term travelers that make a base in one city for months at a time and travel for shorter periods (a weekend to a week) the duffle bag makes the perfect “leave behind bag” while the 30L travel pack serves as a daypack, the all important carry-on bag, and the travel bag for weekend adventures.

These are the best travel friendly 30L carry-on backpacks.

Also Consider

  • Tom Bihn Synik 30 Daypack and Travel Pack

Best Carry On Travel Backpacks for Women

Backpacks specifically designed to be more comfortable for women

In the months I’ve been on the road, I have to admit…I’ve noticed women make up most of the backpackers over the age of 25 that I’ve met. Whether they’re leaving for a week, a month, or on sabbatical, they’re doing their thing and I think that’s awesome! In an attempt to help out my fellow travelers (of the female persuasion), I’ve kept notes on the travel backpacks for women I’ve seen satisfied female travelers wearing abroad. The backpacks below are the ladies’ packs I keep seeing over and over with great reviews.

What makes women’s packs different from men’s packs? Why does it matter?

Curved shoulder straps follow the contours of the chest, and a shorter length and longer hip belt transfer the load from the shoulders to the hips more effectively than unisex backpacks

The structural build of the average male vs. the average female is very different, especially when we look at shoulder width, torso length, hip width/circumference, and the ratios of all these bits and pieces. As a result unisex (i.e., standard) packs can be uncomfortable for many women, especially if they’ve been designed and tested on only men. The same way a one size fits all pack is usually not the best for every hiker, the best unisex backpacks usually aren’t great for women.  The best travel backpacks for women (as reported by women) take into account these subtle differences in body makeup.

Now, in case the title of this site doesn’t make it clear, I am not a woman (and I don’t know the struggle) so these packs are recommended based on observations, research, reviews, and conversations. Ladies, if you have a great pack you can recommend specifically for women (or disagree with the packs on this list) please let me know at [email protected] . Thanks!

REI Trail 40 Pack – Women’s

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Note on the Women’s REI Trail 40 Pack Reviews: The Women’s Trail 40 pack on the REI was updated and isn’t enjoying great reviews in its initial days, although the previous version that had great reviews was and is essentially the same pack. I’ll keep an eye on this and update accordingly but I have faith that users will appreciate the bag they get for the price with the Women’s Trail 40.

Best for: Just like the original nisex pack, this pack is a perfectly sized carry on that wears comfortably and is well suited for hiking and trekking. I took this pack (in the unisex version) from Galapagos to Everest and loved it. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better backpack for the price Advantages: The amazing price, and how well the backpack performs hiking and trekking Cons: Could use more horizontal compression straps Price: $119 at REI Online Capacity: 40 liters | 2,441 cubic inches Dimensions: Size (Small): 20.25 x 13.125 x 10.5 inches Size (Medium): 21.6 x 13 x 10.5 inches Weight: 2 lbs. 15 oz. | 1.3 kg.

View the REI Trail 40 Review for more info

REI Flash 45 Women’s Pack (Hiking + Trekking)

Just like the Men’s REI Flash 45, the REI Flash 45 Women’s pack is a true trekking and hiking backpack but aimed at the ultralight hiking and camping crowd, so it performs well while keeping weight light.

The REI Women's Trail 45 travel backpacks for women

The benefit of the women’s Flash pack over the men’s is the shorter length of 25”, meaning it will be easier to squeeze by the all too common 22” length restriction on Southeast Asia and European budget airlines. You can get around this restriction by under packing or offloading some gear into your daypack “personal item” to make that last 3 inches, but know about this potential hassle going in. If you can handle that, you’ll get a carryon sized backpack that is completely designed for trekking and multi-day backcountry adventures. Pair this with the Flash 22 compressible daypack and you’re set for all of your adventures

Best for: Female Trekkers and hikers Advantages: A lightweight pack designed for trekking and hiking that is much more affordable than the competition, with padded and curved straps and a shorter torso to accommodate most female frames Cons: • No dedicated, padded laptop space • Exceeds the strictest Southeast Asian and European budget airlines by 3 inches (which can be made up for by under-packing) Price: $149 at REI Online Weight : 2lbs 12oz | 1.25 kg. Capacity (Sm): 45 | 2,746 cu. In. Capacity (Med): 47 | 2,868 cu. in Size: 25 x 13 x 8 inches | 63.5 x 33 x 20.5 cm Materials: 420 denier ripstop nylon and YKK zippers Comparison: Over the Women’s REI Trail 40 , you get a beefier shoulder strap and waist belt system with the REI Flash 45 Women’s , 5 additional liters, and tougher material (420D nylon instead of the 210D nylon used on the Trail 40)

The Osprey Fairview 40 – Great All Around Women’s Backpack

The well-reviewed and lady friendly version of the Osprey Farpoint 40

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Best for: Mostly urban travel with the occasional jaunt beyond city limits. Great for new backpackers and small budgets Advantages:  Cost and versatility Price: $160 at REI Online Materials: 210-denier ripstop nylon/600-denier packcloth Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 9 in. | 53.5 x 35.5 x 23 cm. Weight : 3 lbs. 2 oz. | 1.4 kg Capacity: S/M: 40 liters | 2,441 cubic inches Capacity: XS/S: 38 liters | 2,319 cubic inches

The REI Women’s Ruckpack 40

Great City Travel Option for Newbie Ladies and Small Budgets

The lady friendly version of the Men’s REI Ruckpack 40. This pack’s length does exceed most airline carry on size restrictions by 2”, but you can compensate for this by not over packing the top portion of the pack…so if you get this one, ensure to pack your self-control before packing anything else (and overloading your pack).

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What makes this version different than the fella’s version? Shaped harness straps that curve differently around the chest. Shortened torso length. Longer hip straps to accommodate the extra curves (that we love so much)

Best for: Urban travel with light adventuring beyond city limits. Great for new travelers and small budgets Advantages: Price and value. REI delivers amazing packs for the price and the ladies are loving this one Cons: 2 inches too large for some carry on travel, but reportedly a great travel rucksack for the price nonetheless Price: $140 at REI Online Weight/size Weight: 4 lbs 3 oz | 1.9 kg Size: 24x13x10 inches | 61 x 33 x 25.5

Checkout our  Full Review of the REI Ruckpack 40

The perfect backpack for traveling abroad

The ladies’ version of the Osprey Farpoint 55, so this is essentially the Fairview 40 with a zip off daypack included. Impressively reviewed as reliable, convenient for airline travel, and versatile.

around the world travel bags

Best for: Mostly urban travel with the occasional jaunt beyond city limits. Great for new backpackers and small budgets and travelers that want a daypack included Cons: The Packs length exceeds carry on restrictions for most airlines by 3 inches when fully loaded, so be ready to shift items in your pack if called out by the gate agent Advantages:  Cost and versatility make it suitable for most travelers Price: $180 at REI Online Materials: 210-denier ripstop nylon/600-denier packcloth Dimensions: 25 x 13 x 12 inches Weight: 3 lbs. 13 oz. Capacity S/M: 55 liters | 3,356 cubic inches Capacity XS/S: 52 liters | 3,173 cubic inches

Women’s Kelty Redwing 36 (36L) and 50 (50L)

A tired, true, and legendary backpack in the outdoorsy community that isn’t perfect, but is reputed for being roomy, tough, and comfy. Available at a great price ($119 and $149)

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  • Best for: Backpacking and outdoorsy adventures and tough enough to last a lifetime
  • Best Price Available for the Kelty Redwing 36L: $119 at Kelty.com
  • Best Price Available for the Kelty Redwing 50L: $149 at Kelty.com
  • Capacity: 36 liters and 50 liters respectively
  • Dimensions and Weight- 36L: 22 x 17 x 10 in / 55.87 x 43.18 x 24.40 cm | 2 lbs 9 oz / 1.16 kg
  • Dimensions and Weight – 50L: 27 x 18 x 10 in, 3 lbs 15 oz / 1.79 kg
  • Materials: Poly 420D Small Back Stafford
  • Warranty: Kelty lifetime warranty

Durable & Heavy Duty Backpacks Fit for Carry on Travel

Built to handle heavy abuse, heavy abrasion, and heavy loads. Designed to last through the worst but still serve well for adventurous travelers that want a bag that will last for life

When you want a travel backpack that will last you for life, durability is your main concern and you need a heavy duty backpack for your travels. I admit, this is the category I love most as I usually abuse my backpacks. I also believe each time a backpack survives a “risky encounter”, it retains a bit of luck. Needless to say, my Spec Ops T.H.E. and my GORUCK GR3 are the “luckiest” packs I own.

When shopping for a durable backpack, look for :

• High denier Nylon materials, ideally coated for weatherproofing. I settle for nothing less than 1000D Cordura. • Military-grade straps and buckles • Reinforced and heavily stitched straps, handles, and stress points to support heavy loads and abuse • A track record of good reviews and lots of abuse in varied environments

Spec Ops T.H.E Backpackpack

Budget Durable Travel Backpack

The Spec Ops brand T.H.E. (“Tactical Hold Everything”) backpacks are very durable, heavy duty backpacks at much better prices than you’ll find on GORUCK’s site, making them a great GORUCK GR3 Alternative.

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I bought my Spec Ops T.H.E. 13 years ago and took it to war 3 times…and it did just fine. If the GORUCK line is too pricey and you don’t mind the “tacti-cool” look of MOLLE webbing consider this option with the optional removable back panel …or a homemade kydex frame sheet. I’ve run with 25lbs – 45lbs in this bag, hiked and rock climbed plenty with it, taken several trips with it in the last decade and there is not so much as a single thread loose.

Best for: Durability, heavy loads, lots of potential abrasion abuse Advantages: Though it lacks the marketing, arguably as bombproof as the GORUCK series Cons: •  Not fully front loading design •  Will require packing cubes for organization •  Back Panel sold separately (~$30) •  No padded laptop space Price: ~$180 on Amazon Size: 19 x 13 x 12 in | 48 x 33 x 30.5 cm Weight: 3.5lbs| 1.6kg Capacity: 42L | 2550 Cu Inches Materials: 1000D Cordura Nylon, Military grade webbing and buckles, #10 YKK zippers Warranty: Full warranty on workmanship and materials, Spec-ops will prepay shipping to return the item and repair/replace for free. If the gear damage is your fault and you have a great story, Spec-ops will likely repair/replace for free Also Consider: The 5.11 Rush 24 or Rush 72

The ALICE Pack

An Old School Military Rucksack

A reliable, time tested budget option for those that want durable, hiking ready, heavy duty backpacks with old school swag. ALICE isn’t perfect, but she’ll get everything you need done just fine. You can buy one new online or get a “seasoned” one from any military surplus store.

For near perfection, upgrade the shoulder straps to something more substantial and padded and purchase a frame for the pack – or build one out of 1/2″ PVC based on online tutorials. For less than $50 you can have an extremely durable pack with the function to travel well anywhere and is light enough to impress any ultralight traveler.

Another option is to aim for many of the updated versions of this pack, made with 1000D Cordura nylon in the US to durability standards that rival GORUCK. Spec Ops Brand was the front runner, but many have popped up in their place.

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Note: If you do go the route of beloved “ALICE”, eBay or your local surplus store are your best bet for getting a genuine, military issue ALICE pack for cheap. Avoid Rothco and Fox gear, as these are replicas and not built to military specifications. Retired, GI backpacks can be found for ~$20-$50 at your local surplus store or on ebay. You’ll have to add your own straps from there, and I recommend Blackhawk, Tactical Tailor, or any other reputable brand for great shoulder straps. At this point, you’ll have a simple, durable backpack for ~$75. If you want to step it up for serious hiking, pickup a used ruckpack frame for the ALICE pack and you will have the most reliable backpack setup possible for under $100. Also, check eBay for used versions of the Spec Ops Brand Recon Ultra backpack for a reliable, updated option (these packs have been discontinued but provide the same function in an updated package for cheap).

My experience: This was my first true “one bag” for a vacation to Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan over a month. For this kind of single climate travel, the ALICE pack is perfect Best for: Travelers looking for a tough budget friendly pack, hard users, minimalists, and anyone who appreciates an old school feel Advantages: Well tested, extremely durable yet functional, cheap Design: Functional via simplicity, with three easily accessed external pockets, one main storage area, a document pouch in the lid, and one pouch in the main compartment Cons: To get the best use out of this bag, making a homemade back support from PVC is optimal, but not necessary Price: ~$50-$75 for the whole package Weight/size: ~2lbs Capacity: 2,285 cu.in | 37.5 liters Materials: Unicorn leather Warranty: None. But this kind of gear doesn’t need one Also Consider •  Greenroom123 Rainmaker: Something more modern on the cheap side •  RedOxx C-Ruck

Best Weatherproof Carry on Backpack

If you plan to travel somewhere with plenty of rain and wet (like a Southeast Asian country during its monsoon season) plan for wet in order to keep your gear dry. Now, remember that aside from a roll top dry bag , such as those design for SCUBA gear, no bag will keep your gear dry under a heavy downpour. If you’re expecting lots of rain or wet boat rides, get a heavy duty trash bag, put that bag inside your backpack, and put your gear inside that.

Whether freediving through the Philippines and traveling rough seas, or getting caught in rainstorms in Bali or Patagonia, that trick (the trash bag) has been the #1 way to keep things dry.

For every other “slightly wet” situation, wherein you want weather resistance, these three bags are your best options.

  • Tortuga Outbreaker
  • Nomatic Navigator Travel Bag
  • Patagonia MLC Black Hole (TPU Outer Version)

Best Minimalist Construction Carry On Backpacks

Most times, less is more – and this is where minimalist bags come in. Getting a bag that is just a well-stitched bit of high quality, durable, weather-resistant material, and throw in some packing cubes for organization can be an excellent, versatile option.

These are the best minimalist carry on backpacks…

The Patagonia Black Hole MLC Brief Case 45L  

This flat folding pack is minimalist, full of pockets for organizing, is made of a fully waterproof  material, and is a fraction of the Outbreaker’s pricetag ( $180 at REI Online with membership + free shipping)

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This carryon lacks structure and internal support of the other urban travel carry on backpacks, but is still great for carry on travel. A friend did Southeast Asia with it for 6 months and loved it

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Best Anti-theft Backpack

Security is one of the biggest concerns of new solo travelers. Though, to be honest, there is no 100% deterrent for theft aside from staying aware and keeping an eye on your belongings, having a good backpack with slash-resistant fabrics, lockable zippers, lashing points, and other pickpocket deterrents can deliver the peace of mind that will allow you to freely enjoy your travels.

This section delivers the best theft-resistant carry on backpacks for travelers.

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 ECONYL Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Pack (45L) and EXP35 (35L)

This high quality bag takes a normal, roomy, functional carry on and builds in security and anti-theft functions to allow you to travel without worry of pickpockets and even leave your bag strapped to a pole or static point.

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The combination of locking zippers that are puncture proof and an integrated cut resistant wire mesh throughout the backpack make this a full sized carry on that will keep your belongings and valuables safe. Last, an integrated metal cable allows you to lash this bag securely to a static point.

Available in 35L and 45L

  • Best for: Travelers heavily concerned with theft, or your average nomad carrying thousands of dollars of valuables on their back.
  • Regenerated nylon made from recycled fishnets
  • Slash resistant metal mesh throughout the fabric of the bag
  • Locking zipper system with puncture resistant zippers
  • Integrated security cable allows locking to a chair, pole, or table
  • 2 way carry – as a backpack or briefcase style handbag
  • Padded laptop sleeve fits up to a 16″ laptop
  • Best Price Available: $239 with free shipping
  • Capacity: 45 L / 2746 in3
  • Weight:  3 lb 13 oz / 1.73 kg
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 13.8 x 8.7 in / 55 x 35 x 22 cm
  • Materials: Water resistant 400 denier recycled nylon, made from recycled fish nets, with integrated wire security mesh

around the world travel bags

Pacsafe Venture Safe X40 Plus (40L)

  • Best Price Available:

Well-padded and designed shoulder straps, waist belt, and back panel make it easier to hike for long periods with these packs while pockets are designed to make it easier to access items frequently used on the trail 

For the traveler that will arrive by plane but inevitably make their way into the outdoors, a travel and trekking ready backpack is a must.

When aiming for a backpack with travel + trekking prowess, look for the following:

  • Well-padded and designed shoulder straps a waist belt
  • Weather and abrasion resistant fabrics and thoughtful, hiking conscious construction
  • External pockets that make storing and accessing essentials while hiking (e.g., water, snacks, camera, phone) quick and easy
  • Proven reputation (of the bag and the manufacturer) with travelers and backpackers – good assurance that the bag will perform well over time

The REI Trail 40

One of the most functional and comfortable packs I’ve owned, and a great value for the price.

I tested this bag over 2 years which included hiking to Everest base camp solo, riding the Ho Chi Minh trail by motorbike, countless treks and wandering through 9 countries by plane, train, bus, and boat. For adventurous first time travelers, I absolutely recommend this bag.

Best for: Travelers that plan to hike and trek Advantages: A trekking and hiking ready pack that works equally well as a carryon and is perfect for beginners in performance and price. Cons:  • No dedicated, padded laptop space • Shoulder straps are comfortable but feel like the weakest point on the pack. If carrying heavier loads (45lbs+) expect a ~2 year lifespan, conservatively estimating. Price: $129 at REI Online Weight: 3 lbs Size (Medium): 21.5 x 13 x 10 in. | 54.5 x 33 x 25.5  Size (Large) 22.5 x 13 x 10 inches| 57 x 33 x 25.5   Materials: 210 denier nylon and YKK zippers

Also Consider: the REI Ruckpack 40 if your adventures are more urban and involve more airline travel than overland.  Checkout our Review of the REI Ruckpack 40 for more info

View the  REI Trail 40 Review  for more info

Technically too large to be a carry-on backpack but will fit as a carry on, and is a great minimalist trekking and hiking bag

A true trekking and hiking backpack with a lightweight yet functional design aimed at the ultralight hiking and camping crowd. This pack honestly does not meet carry on regulations, as its 30″ height exceeds the 22″ limit however, you may be able to slip by security by cranking down the lid and sneaking by the airline check stand. With the lid removed or empty, the bag only exceeds carry on restrictions by an inch, and definitely fits easily in overhead compartments. If you want a compact, minimalist, cheap trekking bag, the REI Flash 55 is a great option

This pack’s frame, shoulder and hip padding, and ultra-light hiking design make it a comfortable and useful bag on and off the trail, especially for the price. Plus, with 55 liters of capacity, you’ll be able to pack an entire year’s worth of travel gear in this single bag.

This pack’s length (30” for the unisex medium and 29” for the small) is a bit longer than the 22” average length restriction for budget airlines in Southeast Asia and Europe. You can get around this by under packing or offloading some gear into your daypack “personal item”, but know about this potential hassle going in. If you can handle that, you’ll get a carryon sized backpack that is completely designed for trekking and multi-day backcountry adventures. Pair this with the Flash 22 compressible daypack and you’re set for all of your adventures

From REI’s website: “Most airlines require a piece of carry-on luggage to be no bigger than 45 linear inches (L + W + H) to meet carry-on size restrictions. The medium [REI Flash 45] is 38 linear inches and the large is 49 linear inches, so please check with your airline ahead of time.”

Best for: Trekkers and hikers Advantages:  A lightweight pack designed for trekking and hiking that is much more affordable than the competition Cons: – No dedicated, padded laptop space – Length of the REI Flash 45 Pack when fully packed is technically longer than most budget airline restrictions by 4” on the medium and 5” on the large, but you get great on trail performance in return Price: $199 at REI Online Weight: 2lbs 14oz Size (Medium): 26 x 13 x 9 inches Size Large: 27 x 13 x inches Materials: 420 denier nylon and YKK zippers Comparison: Over the REI Trail 40 , you get a beefier shoulder strap and waist belt system, 5 additional liters, and tougher material (420D nylon instead of the 210D nylon used on the Trail 40)

Also Consider: “Almost” Carry On Backpacks

These 40L trekking backpacks are some of the best, however, 1 to 2 inches longer than the 22″ height maximum for most airlines. Aiming to take these packs as carry-on may not work. However, if you’re looking for a compact, minimalist trekking backpack – to make bus rides, train rides, and even some train rides easier, these may be great options.

Budget & Starter Carry on Backpacks for Travel

If you will be “backpacking Europe” for the first time or know that your adventures from day to day will be confined to the city limits, consider these budget bags for urban adventures.

Urban travel carry on backpacks generally have a durable, abrasion resistant outer material sturdy enough to handle the occasional abuse of checked baggage and being thrown under buses (the storage, not under the wheels). Travel within city limits will be more enjoyable, than with trekking backpacks,  thanks to  the streamlined profile (so that you don’t bump everyone and everything while walking) and the ease of wearing your luggage instead of dragging it (over rolling carry ons).

The shoulder straps and waist belt usually tuck away making for a smooth exterior without straps to snag on conveyor belts, in the occasional adventures of checked baggage. 

Remember that urban travel carry on backpacks are designed to make travel (planes, trains, and buses) easier but the shoulder straps and overall design aren’t meant to be worn all day. Bring a packable day pack that fits inside your carry on luggage, like the REI flash 22 compressible daypack so that your city exploration isn’t limited by what you can carry in your hands.

So, if you’re planning on your first jaunt to a foreign city, consider these option.

Osprey Farpoint 40 (Men’s) ($160)

The Osprey Farpoint 40 has to be the backpack that I come across dmost uring my travels. Whether in the US, Asia, or Europe, you will find plenty of people with this bag, and for good reason.

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The size is just right for trips less than 3 months and through a single climate. The build is durable and the bag stays comfortable even on long walks. Lastly, the cost is great considering what you get.

Even today, while writing this article (in Albania), a Canadian guy stopped in front of me with the Osprey Farpoint 40 strapped to the back of his bicycle. It was his first backpacking trip but he got jealous of everyone with the freedom to ride the Balkan coast when and where they chose, so he bought a bike and rode. When I asked him about his bag, he replied, “I love it, it’s been great, and it’s just the perfect size. I wouldn’t have been able to bicycle with it if it was any bigger, so I’m glad I chose this pack.”

Morals of the story: The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a reliable starter bag, and over packing will limit your adventures, so stick to a carryon and consider the Osprey Farpoint 40 as your first bag.

Best for: Urban backpacking with a touch of adventuring beyond the city limits Differentiator: Great price and value, durable, versatile fit and comfortable support system makes it appropriate for most beginners and a great starter pack Cons: You’ll look like 25% of the other backpackers you come across…but in the world of travel, that’s not necessarily a bad thing… Price: $160 at REI Online Weight: 3 lbs. 2.7 oz. Dimensions: Size (M/L): 21 x 14 x 9 inches | 53.5 x 35.5 x 23 cm Size (S/M): 20 x 14 x 8 inches | 51 x 35.5 x 20.5 cm Capacity (M/L): 40 liters | 2,441 cubic inches Capacity (S/M): 38 liters | 2,319 cubic inches Materials: 210 denier nylon, 610 denier pack cloth Warranty: 1 year warranty when purchased through REI (REI Warranty)

For more info checkout our Osprey Farpoint 40 Review

A great all around travel backpack. This bag is essentially the Osprey Farpoint 40 with a convenient zip-off daypack. I have seen the Osprey Farpoint 55 more times on the road than I can count. Partly due to great price (often on sale) and partly due to reliability, as most people have taken it on several trips over the years.

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Every time I ask for a traveler’s opinion on their experience with this bag, usually the bag is the traveler’s first travel pack and they still love it. 

Best for: New travelers in need of an all-around performing backpack; those who want a pack/daypack combo Differentiator: Zip off daypack included simplifies travel Cons: Not front loading or fold flat design and a few inches longer than most airline carry on limits Price: $180 at REI, but frequently on discount Size: 25 x 13 x 12 in. | 63.5 x 33 x 30.5 cm. Weight: 3 lbs. 14 oz. | 1.8 kg. Capacity: 55L / 3,356 cubic inches (including daypack capacity) Variants    S/M: 53L (15-19 inch torso)    M/L: 55L (18-22 inch torso) Materials: 210-denier ripstop nylon Warranty: “All Mighty Warranty” – Fix or replace for life, from Osprey

Best Cheap Carry On Backpacks Under $150

When you’re just getting started traveling, most travelers honestly don’t know what they need in a bag. For that reason, dropping $300-$500 on a travel backpack doesn’t make sense…yet.

For another crowd, money may be scarce – whether you’re a gap year student or saving for other things, money may be limited. In both cases, I absolutely advocate experiences (and travel) over material possessions, so spend more money on your trip and less money on your gear. If buying a pricier backpack will compromise a portion of your trip, or prevent you from getting the ticket to the destination that you really want to go to, then get the cheaper backpack now and make those memories. 

In the meantime, consider any one of these great quality backpacks for budget friendly prices.

Standard Luggage Co. – Standard’s Carry on Backpack, 35L-45L

Standard Luggage Co.’s Standard Carry on Backpack is a great carry on backpack option for those that want to avoid checking baggage, will be based mostly in cities, will use a different bag for their day hikes, and don’t want to spend ~$300+ on a backpack.

Standard's Carry on Backpack - one of the Best Travel Backpack Carryon budget options

The Standard Carry on Backpack is made of high quality, durable materials (1600D ballistic nylon), incorporates a few good internal pockets, a laptop pocket for up to a 15” device, and has a shoulder harness system that will get you through your travels comfortably. Just don’t plan to use this as your day bag because the shoulder strap system isn’t built well enough for serious hiking.

around the world travel bags

Standard’s Carry on Backpack is a well-built yet simple carry on backpack at a reasonable price. The carry on is 35L but unzips and expands to 45L. Get Standard Luggage Co.’s Hanging Packing Cubes , which fit the backpack perfectly, along with Standard’s packing cube that doubles as an 8L backpack , or pick up some reliable nylon packing cubes on Amazon to keep the bag in order.

Best for: Ideal for urban travelers on a budget Advantage: A durable carry on backpack intended for urban travels at a reasonable price Cons : Lacks the organization of the Aer, Minaal, and Tortuga packs, but you can use the money saved to get packing cubes Price: $179 on Standard Luggage; $189 on Amazon Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 in when zipped and 21.5 x 13.5 x 9.5 when expanded Capacity (zipped) : 35 Liters | 2135 cu in. zipped Capacity (unzipped): 45 Liters | 2746 cu in. unzipped Weight: 3.7lbs | 1.7kg Materials: 1600D Ballistic Nylon Warranty: Lifetime warranty for the original owner and excludes damage caused by “negligence, extreme use, improper care, accidents, or the natural breakdown of materials over time” Perks: Free shipping, made in Canada

A simple, straight forward, budget friendly backpack. Don’t expect all of the bells and whistles of other bags, or for this bag to last forever. However, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more suitable “urban travel backpack” for the price.

around the world travel bags

  • Best for: Urban travel
  • Advantages: Great price
  • Cons: Straps could be sturdier, polyester outer will wear much faster than the nylon used in the best bags
  • Best Price Available: $119
  • Capacity: 54L / 3300 cu. in.
  • Weight:  3.75lbs
  • Dimensions: 9 x 22 x 14 inches
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

around the world travel bags

  • Kelty Redwing 44 and 50 : Only $120 for a legendary outdoor and travel backpack

Best Duffel Bags for Carry On that Double As Backpacks

Functional duffle style bags with a few additions, that make them more conducive to staying organized and traveling. I only recommend these for travel of less than one week or with little movement, but they’re great day to day bags.

A Note on Duffle Bags as Carry on Bags:

For the weekend traveler or the frequent traveler only going from airport to taxi to hotel, a convertible duffle bag may be a simple, functional and cheap solution. “Convertible Duffle Bags” offer a one up on reglar duffel bags because they can be worn as a backpack as well. Granted, these bags won’t be perfect for long hikes, they will make travel easier when walking a couple miles through urban terrain or changing a few buses. But, whatever you do, make sure to get a good shoulder strap.

I personally don’t recommend the pure duffel bag option if traveling more than a week, especially if you’re frequently changing where you sleep, but the following two options are great for any length of trip thanks to the shoulder straps and functional setup.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45L (The Functional Convertible Duffle)

A meticulously designed urban travel bag that emphasizes organization, via 3 main compartments and countless pockets, and versatility, as it can be loaded and worn as a backpack or shoulder bag/duffle.

around the world travel bags

Tom Bihn’s Aeronaut incorporates extremely heavy-duty materials, such as 1600D ballistic nylon and YKK zippers, ensure this is a “buy it for life” investment. For those that don’t plan to abuse this bag enough to warrant ballistic nylon, the bag is also available in a lighter 450D nylon.

For the consummate urban traveler that is more concerned with keeping the contents of their bag organized than using it to scale mountains in their free time, the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45L is a strong candidate.

around the world travel bags

Best for: Purely urban travelers that have difficulty staying organized, travelers looking for a bag that will do double duty as the gym back you take to work in the mornings that is built durably to last a lifetime Advantages: • Versatility – can be carried as a backpack, shoulder bag, and duffle with a removable frame • Choice of fabrics to choose for light weight (450D nylon) or durability (ballistic nylon) • Novel, intuitive design • With the ballistic Nylon outer (design for bulletproof vests) and lifetime guarantee of workmanship this bag should last for years. • Design: Divided into three compartments with side opening clamshell design for main compartment and top opening/accessing for side compartments Price: $295 Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x9.1″ |55.5cm x 35.5cm x23cm Capacity: 45L | 2700 cu. In. Weight: 1050 Denier Ballistic Nylon – 3lbs 1 oz | 1.4 kg. Weight: 450 Denier Nylon – 2lbs 7oz. | 1.1 kg. Materials:  1050D Balistic Nylon or 650D Ripstop Nylon (your choice); YKK #10 Zippers; Duraflex buckles Warranty: Lifetime free repair and replacement for manufacturer defects. Repair for a reasonable fee of wear and tear Pick this bag if: • Staying organized is difficult for you • You prefer compartmentalized bags to separate things (shoes, gear, etc.)

North Face Base Camp Duffel

An awesome, outdoor tested duffle for cheap.

The North Face Base Camp Duffle is a great convertible duffle bag option as it delivers very well on a simple concept: Duffle with handles and shoulder straps. The best part is the Base Camp Duffle is absolutely a carry on, and it can fit on any plane…but it’s on you to not overstuff the thing.

around the world travel bags

I’ve had my Base Camp Duffel for a couple years and love it…I was considering using it for this year long trip with a the Ruckpack 28 as a daypack (checkout our REI Ruckpack 28 Review ) when I wasn’t sure if my GORUCK GR3 would arrive in time. The North Face Base Camp Duffle has normal, short carrying handles as well as comfortable shoulder straps to use when moving around town. The fabric is waterproof, though the seams are not waterproof sealed, so count on this bag to be very water resistant, but not quite waterproof.

The outer bottom of the bag is covered with a nylon canvas to protect the waterproof fabric from abrasion and extend the life of the bag. Functional daisy chain loops line the outside of the bag so, with help of some small Metolius carabiners , you can clip shoes, wet gear, or anything else to the outside of the bag. For the price, this is a great duffle that I’ve used it a ton. I wouldn’t plan on hiking with it, but it’s a great carry on option for holding most of your gear and using an REI Ruckpack 28 or a GORUCK GR1 for your other adventures up to a few days

around the world travel bags

Pro Tip: If you like this bag but don’t need it right now and have Vietnam on your itinerary, visit Hanoi and buy one of these bags for ~$15 -$30 that  have been cut by “quality control” (“or fallen off the backs of trucks”) but are still perfectly solid for use. Look for the “Made in Vietnam” stores as a starting point. I have a The North Face Japan edition backpack that I picked up in Hanoi for my motorcycle ride through Vietnam and Laos. I still have that bag to this day and love it. Bottom line: Pickup this pack cheap in Vietnam, or get it from REI. Either way, you’re getting a great deal.

Best for: General travel, when you have a separate bag for the hikes and treks Advantages: Great quality gear dumpster for the price Cons: • Shoulder strap system isn’t comfortable enough for legitimate hiking and there is no back support system which also limits hiking. Think of the Base Camp Duffle as a gear dumpster to pair with a small hiking pack. • This thing is huge (good) and its on you to not over pack (bad) Price: $149 at REI Online Weight: 3lbs 8 oz. | 1.6 kg Dimensions: 13.9 x 25.4 inches Capacity: 71 liters | 4,333 Cu. In. Materials: 1000-denier fabric laminate (waterproof)/840-denier ballistic nylon (abrasion reistant) Warranty: 1 Year satisfaction guarantee through REI Also Consider: The Patagonia Black Hole Line

Peak Designs Duffle (60L)

This well crafted duffle converts between a three-way carry, as a backpack, hand-carry duffle, and a shoulder-slung duffle. This 65 liter pack is soft sided enough that you could underpack it and easily get it onto a plane as a regulation compliant carry on.

around the world travel bags

Patagonia Black Hole Duffle (40L)

Patagonia’s Black Hole duffle lives up to the outdoor gear company’s reputation of high quality in gear (in design, materials, and construction) combine with simplicity. This perfectly sized 40L duffle will deliver great performance for a lifetime.

Tough drag handles, waterproof TPU coated cloth, multiple handles and convertible straps for flexible carry, and more make this bag a great carry on friendly bag for travel.

around the world travel bags

Monarc Settra Duffel Backpack

around the world travel bags

WANDRD HEXAD Access Duffle Backpack

A techy, well designed, and comfortable backpack style carry duffel bag at a great price.

around the world travel bags

Osprey Transporter Duffle Bag (40L)

A simple, functional duffle from one of the most reliable backpack manufacturers for travelers at a great price given the quality.

around the world travel bags

Tom Bihn Techonaut 30 (30L) and 45 (45L)

around the world travel bags

Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Travel Backpack (45L)

around the world travel bags

Expandable and Extra Space Options

For long term travelers, during your trip the pile of what you’re carrying can grow and shrink like most waistlines during the holidays. Whether you’re picking up some extra gear for a long hike or accumulating cooking ingredients while traveling overland by bus, having an expandable storage option that straps easily to the outside of your bag and folds flat when empty (as not to violate carryon restrictions) is a convenient way to hold those temporary additions.

The GORUCK Brick Bag 18L

Tough, expandable storage option

Of the 15 or so “compression sacks”, packing cubes, and stuff sacks I’ve been through, the GORUCK Tough Compression Bag is by far the best. This bag is roomy, tough , and easily attaches to my GORUCK GR3.

around the world travel bags

My GORUCK Brick Bag is currently strapped to the bottom of my GORUCK GR3 and holds shoes, dirty laundry, and anything I don’t feel like packing when traveling by boat, bus, or foot. When I fly, I empty it (making sure I did my laundry), repack my main ruck, and make carryon restrictions just fine. Over 6 months of travel, and sitting on the bottom of my travel ruck, the bag has been rained on, dragged, and beaten pretty well, but is still in fairly great condition (no holes or abrasion).

For comparison, my REI bags have all been filled with holes and worn through after 4 months of travel. The rain resistance and buckle system or two more keys that make this the expandable storage bag you should get.

around the world travel bags

Best for: Expandable storage capable of taking abuse and can be strapped to the bottom of a bag Advantages: Durability Cons: • Needs vertical compression straps to be a true compression bag • I wish it made coffee for me in the morning • 4x the price of other compression bags – but will last 10x longer, at least. Price: $90 Weight: .73lbs Dimensions: 19.5 x 13 x 13 in. 49.5 x 33 x 33 Capacity: 18L | 1098 cu. in. Material: 1000D Cordura nylon (abrasion resistant, water resistant)

Compressible Duffles as Carry On Bags and “Leave Behind” Bags

If you’re making a long hike, trek, or trip in country and returning to the same spot, keeping a “leave behind bag” handy is a great idea. I’ve had great experiences keeping a flat folding duffle (like the GORUCK Kit Bag ) or easy stowing duffle (like the REI Roadtripper ) to store things in and leave at a location I’ll come back to later.

During my Everest and Patagonia treks, which were in the middle of 6-month long trips, having a “leave behind bag” allowed me to easily drop my gear at a hostel in town, lightening my load for my trek, and returning to quickly grab the goods on my bus out of town. If you plan to be on the road for more than a few months and have some multi-day adventures planned, definitely bring a leave behind bag to make life easier.

GORUCK Aviator Kit Bag 32L

Best Hand Carry Luggage & A Durable Little Duffle

When looking for a pure duffle bag that is simplistic yet easy to organize and will last through abuse , the GORUCK 32L Aviator bag is a great option.

around the world travel bags

The GORUCK Kit Bag will perform well as a carryon weekend bag, gym duffle, or even suffice for travels up to a week if you use packing cubes and aren’t moving too much. The bag has a very clean aesthetic, muting how well built the bag is.

The 1000D Cordura Nylon and military grade webbing show little signs of use and no abrasion after 6 months of being my leave behind bag and “improvised briefcase” while doing the digital nomad things. Also, the fold flat design let this bag fit easily into the front pocket of my GORUCK GR3 until its ready for use.

Though I advise against using this bag for long term, or as a one bag travel backpack (get something that has shoulder straps), I’m addicted to it as a durable handbag and small duffle. If you do use this bag for travel, absolutely pickup some packing cubes. These Travel Wise nylon packing cubes are what I’ve used for the past 6 months and they’re great. The packing cubes also fit the GORUCK Kit Bag perfectly.

Best for: Leaving gear behind during treks, carryon bag when traveling for weekend trips, gym bag, daily use as an improvised briefcase. Why this bag? A weekender bag that will survive the apocalypse, and keep you organized along the way

My Experience: I accidentally brought this bag on my trip intending send it back to the US…but it went from pinch hitter to being used pretty much on a daily basis. My favored day bag, the REI Flash 22, started to rip at the shoulder straps after 2 years of carrying too much weight (~10lbs) so I started using this bag as a briefcase and urban day bag, instead of just a “leave behind” bag.

The bag quickly became my go to for anything that wasn’t hiking. It can withstand heavier loads (grocery shopping), slings easily over the shoulder easily, and the pockets keep everything organized on the inside (charging cables, laptop, notebooks, snacks, pet ferret) and easily accessible on the outside (immediate snacks, water, cell phone, book/kindle, notebook). I repaired my Flash 22 but I still use this bag as my “briefcase” on workdays (digital nomad problems) and as a personal item on flights to keep the essentials close.

Bottom line: I love this bag. Way better performance and usefulness than I thought I would get Design Notes: The bag has 5 well placed and designed pockets that allow storage and easy access to anything, while doing an impressive job of keeping the bag organized: two on the outer ends, two zippered mesh pockets on the internal ends, and one easy to access internal zippered pockets.

Cons: • Shoulder strap not included – but reviews say the GORUCK shoulder strap isn’t worth buying, so opt for a different one. • Wouldn’t recommend for trips over a week • Fabric (1000D Cordura Nylon) is bulkier than lightweight options – but I appreciate the durability I get in return. Price: $160 Weight/size: 2.5lbs | 1.2 kg Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.5 x 9 in | 44.5 x 29 x 23 Capacity: 32L | 1952 Cu in Materials: 1000D Cordura Nylon, YKK zippers Warranty: GORUCK SCARS guarantee, they’l replace it for life Also consider • Redoxx – C-ruck Carry-on Rucksack $285.00 • Redoxx – Small Aviator Bags

Read the full GORUCK Kit Bag Review

A Cheap and Practical Little Duffle

The REI Roadtripper duffle is another great, simple duffle that packs away into a small package.

around the world travel bags

The no frills design of the REI Roadtripper Duffle is just right for tossing in gear to leave behind during adventures (instead of using a flimsy trash bag) and still packs into a small disk that can sit at the bottom of your bag. During my Asia trip last year, this bag sat at the bottom of my REI Trail 40 for most the trip, but when I hiked to Everest Base Camp and when I rode the loop around north Vietnam starting and ending in Hanoi I left half of my gear at my hostel in the Roadtripper duffle to lighten the load. As a simple, no frills leave behind bag that sits at the bottom of your pack otherwise, I recommend considering the REI Roadtripper.

around the world travel bags

Best for: Leaving gear behind during adventures, expandable storage that packs into the bottom of your backpack Advantages: Cheap, packs away efficiently

Pros: • You really can’t be this price • Packs down small Cons: • Not functional enough to be an everyday bag • Didn’t feel durable enough to survive a trip as a primary bag • Polyester material – which isn’t the most durable Price: $40 Weight: 1lb 2 oz. Dimensions (Upacked): 21 x 10 x 10 inches Capacity: 40L | 2,440 cubic inches Materials: Polyester Warranty: 1 year satisfaction guarantee through REI

Other Well Reviewed Backpacks and Manufacturers to Consider

Though this list has most of the best travel backpack options available in carry on size, the list is not exhaustive. This list is just meant to be a starting point for anyone shopping for a new bag. There are several other reputable backpacks and backpack manufacturers to consider if the bags above don’t suit your needs and tastes.

Backpacks are like boots — what may be perfect for someone, may not be perfect for you…and there’s nothing wrong with that. In those cases, use what you’ve learned from the list above and consider these other bags and manufacturers that have great reputations or are newer but full of potential.

  • Heimplanet Travel Pack 34L**
  • Amazon Basics Slim Carry On Travel Basic Weekend**
  • Troubadour Goods Aero Pack**
  • Large Expandable Knack Pack**
  • Eastpak Travel Pack Cnnct**
  • Thule Subterra (40L)**
  • Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Daypack (Urban Carry on Alternative)**
  • 5.11 Rush 72 – 55L , (GORUCK GR3 Alternative)**
  • 5.11 Rush 24 – 37L , (GORUCK GR2 Alternative)**

Smaller Carry On Backpack Options

  • REI Ruckpack 28 (28L)   read our REI Ruckpack 28 Review to learn more
  • A er Flight Pack 2 (23L )
  • Tom Bihn Western Flyer (26L)
  • Patagonia Black Hole Pack (30L)
  • Osprey Nebula 34

Now What? Grabbing the Other Travel Essentials

  • Get packing cubes
  • Get a packable daypack
  • Get a toiletry bag to stay organized and safe from exploding toothpaste**
  • Use a good packing list to avoid missing the important things**
  • Slim down your wardrobe and get travel friendly gear to make your travels lighter**

Other Travel Essentials: Packing Cubes

If you’re traveling with only a carry on bag, every square inch matters for packing – and this is why you need packing cubes. Packing cubes are essentially zippered squares of breathable fabric for organizing your clothes and essentially act as drawers. This allows you to easily keep your backpack organized and use space more efficiently

The Packing Cubes I Recommend

  • Tortuga Outbreaker Packing Cubes : Tough, well designed, and high quality
  • Peak Design Packing Cubes : Cheap for the quality, well designed, lots of sizes
  • GORUCK Packing Cubes: Tough, ready for abuse, lifetime warranty
  • Amazon Basics Packing Cubes : Cheap, reliable

Other Travel Essentials: A Packable Daypack

If your carry on backpack is 35 liters or larger, carrying it around throughout the day will be annoying, cancelling out the convenience and benefit of a carry on backpack. Instead of using your carry on backpack daily, I highly recommend taking a packable daypack that will tuck away neatly and unnoticeably at the bottom of your main carry on bag.

I’ve saved you the trouble of searching and created this list of the 27 best packable daypacks for travel .

Carry On Backpack Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest carry on backpack for international travel.

The REI Trail 40 is one the cheapest and effective carry on backpacks for international travel .

What is the best carry on backpack for international travel?

The best carry on backpacks for travel are the Osprey Farpoint 40L for backpackers, the Tortuga Outbreaker for digital nomads, and the GORUCK GR3 for hard users and long term travelers.

What size backpack is allowed as carry-on a plane?

Most airlines limit carry on sizes to  9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches  (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters) and 40lbs, however the carry on limitations tend to vary by continent and airline with budget airlines in Europe and Southeast Asia having more strict limits.

Can you take a 40L backpack as a carry-on? Is a 40L backpack carry-on size?

Most 40 liter backpacks are allowable as carry on backpacks, however, their measurements must generally be under 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches.

Can a 45L backpack be a carry-on?

Most 45 liter backpacks are allowable as carry on backpacks, however, their measurements must generally be under 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. Ultimately airline carry on size restrictions and the individual backpacks dimensions determine whether or not a specific 45L backpack can be a carry on.

Can a 55l backpack be a carry-on?

Most 55l backpacks are too large to be carry on items, however, if the overall size can be compressed to 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches then the bag will be allowed as a carry-on

Can I fly with a backpack and a carry-on?

You can fly with a backpack as a personal item and a carry-on item if the airline allows bringing a personal item and the backpack meets the measurements and weight for that specific airline’s personal item policy.

What is the best bag to take on a plane?

The best bag to take on an airplane is a backpack with plenty of handles on top, bottom, and sides, has few external straps and buckles, and is slightly smaller than the carry on size dimensions limit.

What are the best stylish Carry on backpacks?

The best stylish carry on backpacks are the Tortuga Outbreaker , the Nomatic Navigator , and the Peak Design travel bag .

Other Great Travel Content

  • The Best Military Grade Travel Backpacks : For hard users and those who prioritize durability
  • The 21 Best Packing Cubes for Backpacking
  • 8 Great Travel Shoes
  • 5 Best Travel Shorts
  • 15 Best Men’s Travel Pants
  • My Carry On Backpack List for a Year of Travel
  • 9 Great Hiking Backpacks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carlos is a nomad, slow traveler, and writer dedicated to helping others live abroad and travel better by using his 7+ years of experience living abroad and background as a management consultant and financial advisor to help other nomad and expats plot better paths for an international lifestyle. Click here to learn more about Carlos's story.

TheRidgelineReport

Tuesday 2nd of October 2018

I think I have an obsession with packs, and have about a million on my list. Love the look and detailing of the Minaal, and that one has been on my radar for some time now. There's a couple by Timbuk2 that I really love - the especial series is awesome. In any case, still looking to land on a million bucks so I can try them all!

Packing for a round-the-world trip

Jun 7, 2012 • 3 min read

around the world travel bags

It's time to go! You're just days away from your one/two/four year round-the-world trip. Hell, why even set dates? You may never come back. Screw reality, accountability and personal hygiene! You're free!

Equally, if you haven't planned suitably, you may be back in two weeks due to illness, mishap, theft, or your companion ditching you for being an unforgivable travel liability. A big component of this planning involves sensible packing.

I've observed two distinct styles for round-the-world packing:

  • The Boy Scout - be prepared for anything
  • The Lifeboat Survivor - bring only enough to forestall death, or at least social ostracism

Like many seasoned travellers, I started as the former and, after much back pain and embarrassment, transformed into something closer to the latter. More recently, I've been re-inspired by Rolf Potts' No Baggage Challenge to pack even lighter.

Many astute tips like clothes rolling, multipurpose items and lightweight accessories have already been discussed in our earlier post about hand luggage-only travel . But for the long-haul trips, there's a few additional details to consider.

Bags: backpack or wheelie bag?

Answer: hybrid. Round-the-world bags reached a state of perfection with soft-sided, wheeled backpacks, with zip-off day-bags, like the Victorinox Swiss Army . The purists preaching that backpacking should be done with real backpacks have largely gone silent (probably too busy downing painkillers for their chronic back spasms). I've had my light-weight, wheeled backpack for six years and have only needed to use it in backpack mode twice. Save your energy for the adventure activities and let your bag roll.

Features - 2926913685_f821185c53_z

Image by alanwoo

Tech: how small can you get?

This continues to get easier as newer, smaller, more powerful gadgets that combine three older gadgets are released each year. A netbook, still/video camera, dynamic smartphone and Kindle, (gear that would have filled an entire backpack only five years ago), barely fills half a day-bag now. Don't forget data back-up accessories. Data loss, including critical information, journals and pictures, is the most common, and often most painful, mishap I've seen on the road.

Security: are you an impenetrable fortress?

Again, the pendulum of opinion swings wide. Aim for paranoid, complicated fortification (which can potentiallydraw more attention to your valuables) or lean toward inconspicuousness and common sense? Personally, I bring steel luggage locks, a mid-sized padlock for hostel lockers and mobile alarms for my tech. I like the small, light Defcon 1 Ultra mobile alarm , with motion sensor. None of these items are going to defeat a truly determined thief, but mild deterrents go a surprisingly long way.

Clothes: the laundry is your best friend

The logistics of clothes can be dizzying, what with changing seasons, hemispheres and altitudes that can occasionally carry you from winter to summer and back again in a matter of days. But you'll be surprised how little clothing you can get by on. Resist the urge to bring 21 pieces of underwear, 12 shirts, six pants and four pairs of shoes. You can easily get by on a third of that when combined with a reasonable laundry routine. And, unless your trip specifically calls for it, there's no need to pack for every possible weather contingency. If necessary, you can buy any important clothing, say for an impulse Everest summit, while on the road.

Furthermore, unless you're camping in the Sudanese desert for six months, prescription meds notwithstanding, you can acquire almost anything you need while on the road. So no need to pack six months of contact lens solution, batteries, pain relievers, laundry soap, etc.

Finally, a Swiss Army knife or a similar multipurpose tool is indispensable. Especially the corkscrew.

Leif Pettersen has authored multiple guidebooks for Lonely Planet. He describes his packing style as that of 'a militant, light-packing wingnut.'

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Advertisement

The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks

Kit Dillon

By Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a writer focused on bags and travel gear. He has worked for Wirecutter for a decade and lost count of the number of bags he has tested.

When you open up your favorite carry-on travel backpack, it should feel like you’re opening the door to a well-organized closet or sitting down at a clean desk, with everything in the right place and easy to reach.

This is your moment to center yourself, no matter how chaotic the journey.

What we considered

A 45-liter bag maximizes overhead space but can get heavy when fully packed; 35-liter bags tend to be more manageable.

A bag with a clamshell design opens like a book and is the easiest to pack, but a bag that opens traditionally tends to have more structure.

Ideally, a travel backpack has handles on all sides—especially the bottom—so you can pull it out of overhead bins or from under seats.

Some internal pockets are useful, but major organizing is better managed with packing cubes.

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack and the larger Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L offer the best combination of features, quality, and durability. Both bags are exemplary carry-on travel backpacks that are designed for comfort, durability, and organization. Though these backpacks are great as companion bags for any trip, they’re designed to ultimately replace all of your other luggage and become your exclusive bag as you travel.

This style of packing is not for everyone, but once some people try it, they’re forever hooked. Finding the right bag is a personal choice, though, and no single bag will appeal to everyone. That’s why we also have picks that are great for people who travel for work , others that are designed to be carried over long distances , and a bag that’s basically luggage on your back .

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, best small carry-on bag for most situations: cotopaxi allpa 35l travel pack, best large bag for most situations: peak design travel backpack 45l, best mobile office: patagonia black hole mlc 45l, best bag for long journeys on foot: osprey farpoint 40 and fairview 40, best bag if you need a large suitcase on your back: tortuga travel backpack pro 40l, other good carry-on travel backpacks, how we picked and tested, the competition.

I’ve been covering aspects of luggage and travel bag design for Wirecutter for nearly a decade, and I have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. I personally try to do most of my travel with a single backpack, whenever possible. I spent nine months roaming around Hawaii with not much more than that, and I spent another six months nomadically couch-surfing in New York City.

I reached out to writers who specialize in traveling the world carrying everything they need in a single bag: Eytan Levy, the owner and operator of the Snarky Nomad travel website; James Feess, founder of The Savvy Backpacker ; and Sharon Gourlay, of the Where’s Sharon? travel website. I also spoke with moderators of Reddit’s r/onebag and r/heronebag forums, as well as with Chase Reeves, bag fanatic, reviewer, and owner of Matterful .

We researched and tested bags designed for those who want to travel light and stay flexible while flying, without the burden of checking luggage. For some people, the challenge of cutting down a packing list is intimidating. But if you can get past that initial hurdle, traveling with a single bag is a revelation. With fewer items, you have more time to concentrate on and appreciate the journey.

  • When you’re not loaded down by heavy luggage, it’s easy to remain more mobile. And it’s easier to adjust your plans mid-trip. If you’re willing to do laundry on the road, then one bag is all you need to travel indefinitely. At its heart, one-bag travel allows you to discover more—not just about the places you’re going but also about yourself and what you really need day to day.
  • Size and weight still matter. If you desire more creature comforts or more gear, or if you plan to be away for a long time across multiple climates, you’ll want a bigger travel backpack . These larger bags tend not to be carry-on-friendly, however, especially in Europe, so be prepared to check them.
  • No single backpack is perfect for everyone. Before you make any purchase, consider some basic points. How much can you carry? And where do you usually visit: the city or outback? Travel gear should feel like a welcome companion—there to support you when you need it but unobtrusive when you don’t.

45-liter bag vs. 35-liter bag

A graphic comparing the difference in capacity between a 45-liter and a 35-liter backpack.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

A versatile small pack for a week or a weekend.

This durable bag’s clamshell design makes it easy to organize your stuff. And due to its strap design, this bag can be worn on your back or carried in your hand while you’re on the move.

Buying Options

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack is an easy-to-organize, comfortable-to-carry bag for getaways lasting just a few days or a whole week.

It’s one bag that can do it all. This is a great all-around bag for any traveler who’s dedicated to packing light, or for a smaller person who wants less to carry. There are handles on all four sides of this bag, so it’s easy to grab no matter where you’ve stowed it. It’s also protected by a full lifetime warranty, and it has the build quality to back that up. After more than four years of testing, this single backpack (plus a personal item ) has replaced nearly every travel bag or piece of luggage I use.

It comes in various sizes, but we think the middle-of-the-road version is the best. Cotopaxi also makes the Allpa in 28-liter and 42-liter sizes. But for us, the 35-liter bag is the best option. At 42 liters, this bag becomes heavy for most people to carry when it is fully packed, and we’d prefer that it had a more-robust hip belt. At 28 liters, the bag becomes a touch small for most people, and its internal organization feels fussy for shorter trips, such as an overnight. Cotopaxi also makes a hip pack , which is designed to fit snugly into the Allpa bag’s front top compartment. It’s a neat little addition to the bag, and it is worth getting if you like wearing fanny packs while you travel.

It’s organized, easy to pack, and easy to carry. The Allpa bag has a clamshell design, so it opens like a hard-sided suitcase—a large YKK zipper runs around three sides of the bag, allowing it to fall open into two halves when unzipped. On the right side is a deep compartment, spacious enough for two large packing cubes or half a suitcase’s worth of clothing (which you access through a mesh zippered flap). On the left, there’s space for one more medium-size packing cube behind a zippered flap. Above that there are two smaller pockets with high-visibility backing—useful when you’re looking for hard-to-differentiate personal items.

The packed Cotopaxi Allpa Travel Pack, shown fully open so that the contents are accessible.

It’s secure but still accessible. The Allpa pack has two side-access zippers—great for on-the-go access, especially when the bag is hanging from your shoulder. One of these reveals a flat computer pocket with a padded false bottom; so if you drop the bag, it won’t land on the corner of your computer. The other reveals a “secret” pocket with a hidden zipper and access to the main compartment. All of the main compartment zippers are protected by security loops, which you thread the zipper through at the end of its run. This prevents anyone from subtly or quickly grabbing a zipper and opening your bag when you aren’t paying attention.

It’s comfortable to carry. The Allpa bag’s hip belt—which can be removed while the bag is on your back—is substantial enough that it’s comfortable to wear when you need it. With or without the hip belt, the Allpa bag is comfortable to carry over long distances. However, folks who have longer torsos (over 19 inches) may find that the waist belt sits a little high off the hips, unless you fully extend the shoulder straps. Speaking of shoulder straps, unlike the ones on our other picks, the Allpa bag’s straps are contoured to fit people who have large or small chests. It’s not a specifically gendered design, but our female tester noticed the improvement right away.

The Allpa pack is made with 1680-denier ballistic nylon, similar to the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 . (Denier is a measure of a fabric’s fiber thickness.) It feels similar to a strong canvas, but it has a more prominent weave. This is the type of bag that’s as easy to toss into an overhead compartment as it is into the back of a rusty pickup truck. And it also includes a rainfly, which is unique in this category.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

  • Though this pack is well organized for packing, it’s less ideal as a mobile office. The Allpa pack has a minimal amount of administrative organization—places to keep pens and papers, spaces to hold tickets, and so forth. This is where a good personal item comes in handy. However, if you want to travel with just this one bag, there are a few nooks you can hide things in. The front organizer is deep enough that you can also fit several small organizing pouches, if you want, or the aforementioned fanny pack.
  • We prefer the model without the TPU front. Cotopaxi does enjoy playing around with fabrics and colors. Sometimes the company has released the Allpa pack without the TPU-lined front panel. The TPU panel improves water resistance, but after many years of traveling with our bag, we’ve found that the TPU layering can begin to flake in spots.

Capacity: 35 liters Weight: 3 pounds 5 ounces Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: adventurous Colors: assorted

A person stands by a wooden fence outdoors while wearing the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L, our larger pick for the best carry-on travel backpack.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

An easily customizable large bag for long trips and expensive gear.

This bag was built with photographers in mind. Yet most travelers will appreciate its easy accessibility, clever tuck-away straps, and the elegant way the bag expands and contracts. The accessory cubes cost extra, though.

The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is a good choice for those carrying more expensive gear—especially camera gear. It’s also great for those who prefer a large, backpack-based packing system.

One bag provides many configurations. Some bags in this category are built to do one thing extremely well—be carried on your back. But the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is built to adapt. It’s the Swiss Army knife of backpacks: adjustable, customizable, and (if you spring for the extra cubes and organizers) an almost perfect system for a photographer or gearhead on the move. Most bags’ expanding mechanisms aren’t worth the extra zipper they’re built on, and they look about as attractive as a boiled ham splitting out of its plastic packaging. That’s not the case with the Peak Design: This bag looks just as good fully packed at 45 liters as it does compressed to a 30-liter daypack.

It’s expandable, with clever folds and zippers. You can access the bag through a back panel (which doubles as a computer and tablet pouch) as well as a front one (if you unzip the pass-through divider). You can also get into the main compartment via two wing-like trapezoidal flaps, which run along each side of the pack. In its natural shape, the Travel Backpack holds 35 liters, but an expansion zipper lets the bag swell to 45 liters. If you want to use the bag as a daypack, you fold in the top corners and snap them down, reducing the bag’s volume to a slim 30 liters. In this configuration, it will still feel larger than a normal daypack, but we think that’s a small compromise for being able to use one backpack as both your travel bag and your daily explorer. The bag itself consists of 400-denier nylon and polyester fabrics. It feels tough but not as tough as some other bags we’ve tested, such as the Cotopaxi Allpa.

It has fold-away straps, for easier storage. The Peak Design lets you tuck its shoulder and hip straps away when you’re not using them. But unlike any other bag we’ve ever tested, this pack has magnetic flaps on the back panel that open and close with an almost magical snap. Once you’ve played with them, you’ll wonder why every backpack doesn’t have something similar. A small, childish part of me still gets excited about tucking away the straps when I put the Peak Design into an overhead bin. Although the straps are thin, they’re still comfortable. The hip belt isn’t quite as plush as the one on the Tortuga pack; still, even when the Peak Design is fully loaded, the belt doesn’t pinch or dig into the body.

It’s great for carrying expensive gear. If you travel with a camera, you don’t have to use Peak Design’s camera cubes , but they do make carrying that gear a whole lot easier. The cubes come in five sizes. And if they’re situated properly in the bag with the provided clips, they line up with the Travel Backpack’s side-access flaps for quick access. Caleigh Waldman (a photographer for this piece and, full disclosure, my spouse) took this bag across the country for a wedding shoot. “I want this backpack,” she said after three weeks of travel. “I want to travel with it everywhere. With my cameras. Without my cameras. It doesn’t matter. I want to travel with it.”

  • It’s expensive—especially if you commit to the entire system of packing and camera cubes.
  • More complexity means more things that can break. The adjustable design and multiple zippers do add complexity, and complexity adds potential weaknesses. Peak Design covers all of its bags with a lifetime warranty , which should alleviate most people’s concerns. But if you’re particularly hard on your gear and still need to carry as much as possible, you might consider the Tortuga bag instead.

Capacity: 45 liters Weight: 4½ pounds Main compartment access: back-panel loader Style: minimalist and unobtrusive Color: black, sage

The Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L, our also-great pick for the best carry-on travel backpack, is held in midair by a person wearing a plaid shirt.

Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L

Combines more organization with a simple interior.

This bag’s split interior makes organizing easy. Those who travel for work will appreciate this bag’s dedicated panels for organizing tech, books, papers, and assorted miscellaneous items.

If you travel often for business and prefer a bag that’s much easier to work out of than most of our other picks, you may like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L . This bag has a front panel and assorted pockets that make it feel like a small traveling office.

It’s built like luggage but organized like your office. Of all the bags we recommend, the MLC (short for Maximum Legal Carry) comes closest to being a suitcase on your back, due to its large size, simple interior, and minimal external features. The MLC is also one of the simplest bags we tested, divided into two leaves (imagine a book with only one page), with a main compartment for packing and a second compartment for document organization and tech storage. The MLC has a built-in laptop compartment that fits 17-inch laptops and is situated close to your back; this protects the computer and keeps its weight closer to your body.

Despite its size, it’s comfortable enough to carry. Most carry-on backpacks of this size, without frames, become somewhat unwieldy when fully packed. Thankfully, the Black Hole MLC bag, like the Cotopaxi Allpa, is a welcome exception to this rule. The MLC has two shoulder straps, a hip belt, and an optional shoulder strap, for easy carrying. When they're not in use, or when you’re checking your bag, all of the straps can be stowed away easily. When fully loaded, the bag was pleasant to carry—not as comfortable as the Peak Design or the Osprey, but decent enough. I wouldn’t want to carry it all day across a city, but I wouldn’t mind carrying it through an airport to a car and to a hotel.

It’s built from high-quality materials, with durability in mind. This pack is made from recycled polyester, and the fabric is woven in a cross-weave that’s very similar to what Patagonia uses in its long-lasting Black Hole series of duffle bags . This is a material I’ve come across a bunch with Patagonia gear, and I’ve tested it thoroughly; it’s very tough. The front of the bag is coated in a weather-resistant TPU, for extra protection from the elements. The bag has large YKK zippers (the industry leader) and smaller YKK zippers throughout. Unlike the Cotopaxi Allpa pack, the Black Hole MLC bag has no security loops.

It comes with one of the best repair programs and a lifetime warranty. Similar to our other picks, the MLC is backed by an excellent lifetime warranty , and we’ve always found that Patagonia’s repair program goes above and beyond other comparable companies.

  • We wish the Maximum Legal Carry (despite the name) came in a few more sizes. The 45-liter capacity may be intimidating for some people, and there is no alternative.

Capacity: 45 liters Weight: 3 pounds 10 ounces Main compartment access: clamshell Style: retro Colors: tan, black, olive, green

The Osprey Farpoint/ Fairview 40 Travel Pack, one of our also-great picks for the best carry-on travel backpack, shown in black.

Osprey Farpoint 40

For long distances on foot.

A great starter option for one-bag travel, this bag is easy to pack, adaptable to most situations, and sturdy enough to take with you as you travel the world.

around the world travel bags

Osprey Fairview 40

For long distances and smaller torsos.

A scaled-down version of the Farpoint, this bag has shoulder straps that are slightly lower, to keep the bag’s bulk more aligned with smaller torsos.

Updated in 2023, the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 packs are both built around a hiking backpack frame that’s easy to carry over long distances.

It’s built for travel but designed for hiking. The Farpoint 40 bag is well made, easy to pack, and comfortable to carry over most mid-length distances—such as walking across a city for an afternoon. (For simplicity’s sake, everything we say here about the Farpoint bag also applies to the Fairview bag.) Osprey makes excellent backpacks for hauling around, and its lifetime warranty is renowned within the industry . The Farpoint pack also has an optional messenger bag–style strap, which offers some flexibility when you’re maneuvering tight spaces like subways or crowded city centers.

View of the straps on the reverse of the Osprey travel backpack.

It’s simple to pack, but not as spacious as it seems. Opening the bag reveals a clamshell design; it’s deep enough to accommodate most large items, yet you won’t have to fumble awkwardly with zippers once it’s time to close up the bag. The feeling you get is not unlike when you’re packing a bit of sturdy luggage, and that’s something we love about bags like this one—especially when you use packing cubes . Osprey says this bag, when fully packed, can carry 40 liters. But after using the Farpoint bag for a few years, we’ve decided that its rounded shape seems to cut into that theoretical packable space more than other bags do. In practice, the Farpoint pack’s available space is closer to—but still less than—that of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L .

It’s the easiest bag to carry among our picks. Like all Osprey bags, the Farpoint 40 has very comfortable shoulder straps. The years of design and consideration Osprey has put into its hiking backpacks are quite evident in the Farpoint 40. After more than seven years of long-term testing this bag, we’re still surprised by how great it feels to wear when fully packed. Crucially, the straps of the Farpoint 40 stow away neatly behind a zippered panel. However, when you’re using the shoulder straps, the design forces you to also use the hip straps. Though this isn’t a huge issue, if you prefer a sleeker look or would rather have the option of using shoulder straps without hip straps, the Cotopaxi Allpa pack is more flexible, and it lets you hide the waist straps while the bag is on your back.

The Fairview 40 has the same features, in a scaled-down size. The Farpoint 40 and the Fairview 40 packs basically have the same design, but the Fairview pack is made for someone with a more-diminutive torso. It’s also slightly lighter. However, it has the features and durability of the Farpoint bag. It also has the same hip belt and adjustability. On both, the chest-strap clip is also equipped with a small security whistle that’s surprisingly loud. It’s a handy feature for anyone traveling in unfamiliar environments.

  • For a smaller carry-on travel backpack, this one has little to not like. However, we do wish Osprey would trade some of the sleeker contours for a little more interior space.

Capacity: 35 liters Weight (Farpoint): 3 pounds 3 ounces Weight (Fairview): 3 pounds 2 ounces Main compartment access: front-panel loader Style: active Colors (Farpoint): green (Gopher), gray (Tunnel Vision), blue (Muted Space), black Colors (Fairview): blue (Winter Night), red (Zircon), blue (Night Jungle), black

The Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L, our also-great pick for the best carry-on travel backpack.

Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L

A suitcase to carry on your back.

For dedicated single-bag travelers, this water-resistant, durable bag is easy to pack and to travel with. And it’s comfortable to wear over endless miles—as long as you don’t mind the heavier weight.

The Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L maximizes packing space in a bag that’s durable, water-resistant, and customizable to fit most torso lengths (there’s also a 30L version ), with plenty of organizational features to suit any digital nomad.

It’s like a suitcase, with backpack straps. The Tortuga Travel Backpack Pro 40L is built to occupy the maximum carry-on space available. It’s a nearly perfect blend of backpack and luggage. On the outside, its tear-resistant sailcloth and sealed zippers provide ample protection from sharp objects and the elements. Opening the main clamshell zipper reveals a cavernous interior and a few organizational features that make the bag a cinch to pack. The front panel is a particular standout, great for keeping track of electronics and chargers. Of all the bags we tested, the Tortuga strikes the closest balance between the carrying comfort of a hiking backpack and the space and organization of a piece of luggage.

The Tortuga Backpack Pro shown with the front clamshell lid in the open position.

It’s as easy to pack as luggage. When it comes to packing, the Tortuga pack has a soothingly minimal interior, as any good suitcase should. In addition to the bag’s cavernous main pocket, its interior lid has a large vented panel. The panel is too narrow to hold additional packing cubes, but it’s great for holding light jackets or doubling as a dirty-laundry bag (if you’re really committed to one-bag travel). The Tortuga is available as a 40-liter pack (the maximum space for a carry-on bag), which we tested; there is also a 30-liter version, which is compliant with some intra-European flights. The more-diminutive version is a decent choice for weekend travel or for minimalist travelers—but for those uses, we prefer the space-saving profile and extra internal organization of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L bag.

It’s very customizable. The Tortuga pack is the most adjustable model we tested, thanks to its adjustable torso length, shoulder straps, and waist-belt system. The adjustable strap system lets you manipulate the location of the shoulder straps (video) to fit a wider variety of body sizes, in both the 30- and 40-liter versions. Of the packs we’ve tested, this one (with its included load-adjuster straps at the top, to prevent the bag’s weight from sagging toward your lumbar region) is the best at distributing its weight (4½ pounds when empty—roughly 1½ pounds more than most of our other picks, except the Peak Design ). The hip straps are removable if you need, but the shoulder straps are not stowable.

  • Its straps don’t stow away. Some people, especially those who are hard on their gear, may consider not being able to remove or stow the shoulder straps (as they can with our other picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa ) a disqualifying factor. But after years of testing, traveling with, and occasionally checking our bag, we haven’t had an issue. However, if these mysteries beneath the airport also make you nervous, you might prefer our picks with easy-to-stow straps, such as the Peak Design.
  • It's heavy. We’ve fielded complaints from some testers who said that older models of this bag were too heavy for them to carry, even with the padded hip belt and adjustable straps. The additional padding does add weight. At 4½ pounds, this latest Tortuga bag is more than half a pound lighter than it used to be (the difference is noticeable), and it weighs the same as the equally large Peak Design pack. We are currently testing a new, lighter, and less-expensive version of this pack—aptly named the Travel Backpack Lite 40L —and will report back soon.  In the meantime, if you think you would struggle carrying the Tortuga, we strenuously encourage you to consider one of our more-manageable picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L.

Capacity: 40 liters Weight: 4½ pounds Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: minimal, with a rigid construction Color: black

If you want to travel like a backpacker but also fit in at a board meeting (and you have the budget for it): Consider the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 . This bag’s reputation for durability, adaptability, and a low-key aesthetic make it a favorite among many dedicated one-bag travelers. And after testing it, we think it’s a great bag too. That said, for the bag to really stand out against other backpacks—and to take full advantage of its carrying adaptability—you need to buy the internal frame , the hip belt , and (if you’re traveling with a suit or jacket) the shoulder strap . On a bag that already costs $330, all of this adds up. Everything about the Tom Bihn bag (the fabric, the zippers, the quality of construction) feels like an upgrade from other bags, but it’s simply too pricey, and its design is too rarified and specific for most people. The biggest flaw, from our perspective—apart from the price—is that the Tom Bihn bag lacks a dedicated laptop pocket. In its place, the company sells laptop sleeves (a fine version if you don’t have one) that clip into the bag’s central compartment. Not everyone needs a dedicated laptop pocket, but we prefer the more secure feeling of bags that do.

If you want a budget pick (but only when it’s on sale): The eBags Mother Lode Travel Backpack (our former budget pick) is still your best budget option, if you can catch it on sale for at least half off the list price. It’s not comfortable enough for trekking long distances on foot, but there are plenty of external pockets for organization, a laptop sleeve (which holds the weight of your computer high up on your shoulders), and an easy-to-access main compartment. This pack also has the largest capacity of any bags we tested, expanding to 65 liters—well beyond any airline’s regulated 45-liter limit. However, the bag’s casual-to-basic looks might not be to everyone’s taste. In 2024, eBags raised the price of the Mother Lode to $200. We have seen it on sale for $100, and in our opinion it’s worth getting only at the sale price.

We’ve narrowed our specifications for a great bag to the following list of features, ordered from most relevant to least:

  • Front- or back-panel loader or clamshell opening, for the main compartment: As with any good piece of luggage, with this type of bag, you should be able to open it and see everything you’ve packed. When you have a bag with a panel-loading or clamshell design—rather than a traditional, top-opening design—you can pack and unpack it just as you would a suitcase.

A graphic illustrating a clamshell bag opening

  • Backpack strap comfort and design: You never know when you’ll be walking farther with your bag than you’d intended. The more comfortable and well designed the straps are, the easier traveling will be. “Ideally, you want a bag’s shoulder straps to adjust to the angle of your shoulders,” said Eytan Levy of Snarky Nomad. “Good shoulder straps are the difference between an easy trip and a hard trip.”
  • Hip-belt comfort and design: A hip belt transfers heavy loads from your back and shoulders onto your hips, letting your legs—not your back—bear the brunt of the weight. Just having a waist belt is a plus, but having a padded and sculpted one—especially on bags with over 40 liters of volume—makes a world of difference.
  • Material quality: Durability is critical for any type of luggage, but especially for a backpack that will be your only bag. Most bags worth considering are made of nylon, which resists abrasion more than polyester fabrics of similar density. Spending more, however, can get you exotic, light, and strong materials, such as Dyneema or sailcloth.
  • Weight: Once the bags arrived, we weighed each one ourselves. Most of the bags weighed within a few pounds of one another. But unless you’re very strict with yourself, by the time you’re packed for a two-week journey, all bags are going to feel equally massive, even if one is just 2 pounds heavier than another when empty.
  • Stowable straps: These are nice to have, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. “The more often you need to check a bag, the more often you need to hide away the straps,” Levy said. “But if the straps are tough enough, it doesn’t matter.”
  • Accessory pocket layout and design: Some people will love an accessory pocket that has a specific space for everything; others may find that feature constricting and unadaptable. We prioritized bags with simple designs that guided our packing without constraining us.
  • Style: This is purely subjective. We preferred bags that had a minimalist exterior style, but not all of our picks will please everyone. Most of the people we spoke with, however, preferred not to stick out like a tourist wearing a large, colorful backpack, if they could avoid it.

During testing, we flew across the country with these bags, took weekend trips to nearby cities, lived out of them on extended trips, and tried them locally in our daily routines. We also packed and unpacked each bag, using a standardized set of weeklong travel necessities and accessories, to see how well the internal organizational features (or lack thereof) aided or got in the way of efficient packing.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the carry-on travel backpacks we have tested. We have removed any models that have been discontinued or that no longer meet our criteria.

The Away Outdoor Convertible Backpack 45L is a rare miss from the Away team. This bag is resoundingly average for the price. Although it’s made from excellent materials, the bag is let down by its overall design, which lacks any kind of structure or attention to comfort. There are better options.

The cheap, no-frills Cabin Max Metz bag is intriguing for the price. Any bag at this price should almost be considered disposable. That said, if you need a simple bag that costs less than a seat upgrade, this might be the way to go—unless you can pick up the eBags Motherlode bag for under $100, which we think is a better deal at that price.

The GeniusPack Travel Backpack is the only model we came across that tried to fit a suit into a travel backpack. Though some people might need that, we think those who have to travel with a suit (or clothes that require pressing) would be better off with a piece of carry-on luggage . GeniusPack now offers a second version of this bag, but our conclusion hasn’t changed.

For certain people, the GoRuck GR3 is almost worth the cost. It’s strong and simple and covered by an iron-clad repair guarantee. The removable hip belt is comfortable to wear, and it’s good at displacing the weight of a 45-liter backpack. This is a decent bag. After testing it, however, we weren’t thrilled with the internal Velcro lining for compatible Velcro packing cubes. Velcro isn’t great: It wears out, it’s difficult to keep clean, and it clings to dirt. That might seem like a small thing, but for the price, this bag should feel perfect.

The Minaal Carry-On 2.0 was designed to be a backpack for business people. But if you’re carrying it for business, you’re probably wearing at least a blazer, so you wouldn’t use a backpack in any case. If you’re a business traveler who falls more on the casual end of the business-casual spectrum, and you’re not on a budget, this is a well-thought-out pack. But we think our picks are more versatile for world travel, and they come at a better price. Minaal has since introduced a 3.0 version of this bag ; our thoughts about it remain the same.

The Osprey Sojourn Porter 46L is a slightly larger sibling of the Farpoint pack. The Sojourn Porter bag is about 2 inches longer, and it pushes right up to most airline limits. If you don’t mind possibly having to check your bag at the last minute, this would be an excellent alternative to the Farpoint pack.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Chase Reeves, Matterful.co , phone interview , October 10, 2018

Addison Ryan, moderator, r/onebag , email interview , September 8, 2018

Lindsay Lorraine Calderón, moderator, r/heronebag , phone interview , September 28, 2018

Meet your guide

around the world travel bags

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

Further reading

Four Osprey travel backpacks, two blue, two green, sitting next to each other.

The Best Travel Backpack

by Geoffrey Morrison

For trips ranging from a week to multiple months, the Osprey Farpoint 55 and Fairview 55 carried everything we needed comfortably.

Three of our favorite backpacks, totes and duffle bags on display

Wirecutter’s Favorite Bags, Totes, Backpacks and Carryalls

by Truth Headlam

Whether you’re going to school, work, the gym, the store, or on vacay, you need a bag. Here’s the Wirecutter-recommended carrying gear we love most.

A person in an outdoor environment wearing one of our picks for best buy it for life backpack with a minimalist look, the GoRuck GR1.

The Best Buy It for Life Backpack (Please Don’t Call It Tactical)

by Kit Dillon

A buy-it-for-a-lifetime backpack should last you for years of heavy use. But as with all investments, you need to decide if it makes sense for you.

A person wearing the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel backpack.

I Took 5 Trips in 6 Months. My Go-To Weekender Bag Was This Surprisingly Spacious Backpack.

by Elissa Sanci

Struggling to pack for your weekend away? The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L fits so much more than you’d expect.

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I'm a Travel Writer, and I Always Pack These 12 Amazon Essentials for International Trips, From $9

Shop must-have compression packing cubes, portable travel scales, and weekender bags.

around the world travel bags

Travel + Leisure / Tyler Roeland

In my years as a frequent international flier and Italian travel writer , I’ve come to learn (sometimes the hard way) that the items you pack can greatly impact your experience of being suspended some 30,000 feet in the air in a metal contraption for over six hours at a time. My biggest takeaway: it pays to be prepared. 

Through trial and error, I’ve fine-tuned my travel essentials packing list to include everything from spinner carry-on suitcases and compression packing cubes to portable luggage scales and travel adapters. The good news is that all of my favorite items can be found at Amazon, and they're starting at just $9. So without further ado, these are the 12 travel essentials I always pack to make my international flights smooth and stress-free, whether I’m traveling around the world to slake my newest destination obsession or returning home to Italy.

Gonex Compression Packing Cubes 

I never understood the hype around compression packing cubes until I tried them out for myself during a recent week-long road trip through Ireland . This bundle of four from Amazon-loved brand Gonex, in sizes ranging from S to XL, can compress a wardrobe's worth of clothes and is great for an overpacker such as me. I recently used them on a 10-day trip home to Rome and still had plenty of room left in my carry-on suitcase for shoes and toiletries. Now that I’m officially a compression packing cube believer, they come with me on every international trip. 

Travel Inspira Portable Digital Travel Scale 

Any overpacker knows the pain of reaching the airport check-in desk and having to pay an exorbitant fee for overweight luggage — believe me, I’ve had to reluctantly shell out cash more than once. As a precaution, I purchased this small portable digital scale, I haven’t paid any overweight baggage fees since (much to my wallet’s pleasure). Compact enough to pack away into a personal item, the easy-to-use scale can weigh your luggage in both pounds and kilograms. Currently on sale at Amazon for $10, it’s a handy gadget that could potentially save you hundreds of dollars at the airport.

Twelve South AirFly Bluetooth Wireless Audio Transmitter

There’s nothing quite like watching a movie on an international flight with a handful of snacks and a crisp glass of ginger ale, at least in my opinion. However, I’ve had my movie experience ruined a handful of times by the subpar earphones handed out on flights, which can never quite drone out the airplane’s engines or fit right in my ears. This traveler-loved, pocket-sized Bluetooth audio transmitter lets me connect my wireless earphones to the airplane’s seatback television, so I can enjoy crisp audio quality without any wires getting in the way. It has vastly improved my international flight experience, and at a humble $35, is worth every penny.

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Spinner Carry-on Suitcase

A sturdy carry-on suitcase is always with me whenever I travel internationally, either as my primary luggage or simply for extra space in the (probable) case my European shopping sprees get out of hand. I always make sure that my carry-on is a spinner suitcase, which I find is easier to navigate busy airports and cities with.

While I just invested in the Samsonite DLX Voltage Global spinner carry-on , you can snag this lookalike at Amazon from the same Travel + Leisure -trusted brand. It comes with smart features like expandable sides, TSA-approved locks, and an interior divider pocket. And, with 10,000-plus five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers, it’s not surprising that it’s currently the best seller in the carry-on luggage category . 

Tessan Universal Travel Adapter

A universal travel adapter is a must-have for any international trip, which is why I always have one or two on hand. This one from Tessan is one of my favorites because of its wide coverage — it can work in over 150 countries across Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Plus, it comes with four USB ports that can charge up to five devices at a time, so it’s a great option if you’re traveling with family or friends.

Although the device can be a bit bulky to pack away, I always keep one in my checked suitcase and one in my carry-on or personal item bag in case of long layovers and missed or canceled flights.

Apple AirTags 4-pack

Apple AirTags are my absolute best friends when I travel. Not only do they give me peace of mind when I fly and have layovers, but they’ve also helped me track my lost luggage more times than I can count. I was once able to see that my suitcase had been left behind in Dublin during a layover flying from Boston to Rome, and was able to track it when it eventually arrived in Italy and was making its way to my house via an airport worker. 

I also use them in my everyday life to keep a close eye on my keys and wallet, and have yet to change their battery even though I’ve had them for two years. Although pricey, they’re worth the investment — and the good news is that they’re currently 20 percent off at Amazon.

Amazon Fire 10-inch Tablet

Bibliophiles know the power of a good book and are well acquainted with how easy it can be to lose track of time when you’re engrossed in a story. My paper-thin Amazon Fire tablet, which easily fits into my personal item or carry-on suitcase, is always on me when I travel, and I can easily pass the hours reading a book or two on particularly long flights. 

The Amazon Fire tablet doesn’t just stop at books, though — you can play games (I’m a big fan of in-flight Solitaire), catch a movie or show via Netflix or Disney+, listen to music on Spotify, and even jump on a Zoom call. It’s an incredibly versatile device that’s great for traveling, and to sweeten the deal, it’s currently on sale for $95.

Topbag Family Passport Holder

As a triple citizen, I always carry all my passports with me when I travel, which can be a bulky ordeal. While mine was gifted to me years ago, this TopBag Family Passport Holder is a close match. Capable of holding up to six passports, which is ideal for families or friends traveling together, the wallet also comes with a cash pocket and six card slots so you can keep all your essentials in one, easy-to-reach place. It’s slim enough to fit into a personal item and comes with a handy strap that you can wear around your wrist for easy access. 

Miady Dual USB Portable Chargers 2-pack

This pack of two pocket-sized portable chargers , roughly the same size as an Apple iPhone, is essential for long international flights, especially ones with layovers. I’ve brought these all over the world with me, from Iceland and Ireland to Rome and India. They're small enough to fit into a crossbody bag and each portable charger comes with two USB ports that can charge two devices at a time, which I usually use to juice up my cell phone and Amazon Fire tablet during long flights. Currently on sale for $18, these portable chargers have enough power to get you anywhere you need to be and back, as their near-76,000 five-star ratings can attest to.

Uto 3-in-1 Crossbody Bag

I purchased this crossbody bag for a recent week-long road trip through Ireland , and have since crowned it my official travel purse for its durability, ample storage features, and sleek silhouette. It can easily survive the wear and tear of traveling long distances thanks to its water-and-scratch resistant synthetic-washed leather exterior — seriously, it emerged from my Ireland trip virtually unscathed despite suffering comical amounts of wind, rain, and mud. 

What's more, the crossbody bag comes with three zippered compartments, one of them detachable, plus a removable chest-level coin purse. Inside, I can fit my three passports, wallet, keys, lip balms, hand creams, Apple AirPods, portable charger, and phone cable — with room to spare. The bag’s budget-friendly price tag, now on sale for $23, is just the cherry on top. 

Monogrammed Luggage Tag

Trying to find your suitcase at baggage claim can be tricky, which is why I make mine stand out with this small but chic monogrammed luggage tag. Made from supple PU leather, the black luggage tag is virtually scratch-free and comes with a subtle privacy shield to cover your personal information. It’s an extra step to ensure that my bases are covered in case my luggage gets lost, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty cute, too.

Etronik Weekender Bag

Weekender bags are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They’re sleek, spacious, and easy to carry — essential criteria for any kind of travel. I usually bring my flight attendant-loved Béis Mini Weekender Bag with me on international flights for its sturdy exterior, stiff-zippered bottom shoe compartment, and ample storage space. For those who don’t want to splurge on Béis’ $98 version , you can score this budget-friendly weekender from Amazon-loved brand Etronik (which I also own) is on sale for $36. 

Available in over 20 color and pattern variations, the Etronik Weekender Bag features a bottom zippered shoe compartment, a USB charging port, a toiletry bag, two shoe bags, and a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap. Because of these smart features, which have earned it over 7,000 five-star ratings, I used the bag every weekend for nearly a year when taking four-hour bus rides between Boston and New York City. Even though I’ve now upgraded to Béis, the Etronik bag is still in great shape and ready to go when I need it.

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The best travel backpacks, according to experts

Split image of the lo&sons travel backpack on a suitcase, the Peak Design Travel backpack 45L and Wandrd backpack

Packing can be hectic. Outside of your luggage , it's a task to fit all your essentials in a way that’s easily organized, but accessible.

A travel backpack can help ease the load and is a versatile accessory for your adventures. They usually have various storage compartments, are adjustable and will keep your hands free to carry your other devices.

We spoke to travel bloggers to learn about the best travel backpacks and what to look for when buying one.

SKIP AHEAD The best travel backpacks | How to shop the best travel backpacks

Selected. Our top picks

Lo &amp; Sons Rowledge

How we picked the best travel backpacks

To pick the best travel backpacks, we consulted travel bloggers and experts. Here is what they recommend keeping in mind as you shop:

  • Multiple compartments : Every travel backpack we recommend below has an easily accessible compartment for your laptop or tablet. There are also extra compartments on the inside for your passport or wallet.
  • Adjustable straps : Every travel backpack has adjustable back straps so you can modify their length to your desired height for comfort.
  • Lightweight : Every travel backpack weighs below five pounds.

around the world travel bags

select Make your summer travel easier with the best hardside and softside carry-on luggage

The best travel backpacks of 2024.

Here are the best travel backpacks that are highly recommended by our experts.

Lo & Sons Rowledge

Lo &amp; Sons Rowledge

Lo & Sons Rowledge

The Lo & Sons Rowledge is a favorite of Maggie Espinosa , a travel blogger and journalist. “This backpack is both stylish and useful, “ she says. “It has leather handles, a separate laptop compartment and fits under an airline seat." The luggage comes in small and large sizes, though the small size can only store electronics that are nine by 12.75 inches, so your laptop may not fit. The zippers and nylon exterior are water-resistant too, so a simple coffee spill or light rain shouldn't damage them, according to the brand. The backpack is also available in several colorways.

Material: Nylon | Weight : 2.9 lbs (small) 3.2 lbs (large) | Water resistant : Yes

Wandrd Prvke 21L

Wandrd Prvke 21L

The Wandrd Prvke 21L is recommended by Nadine Sykora , a travel video content creator who’s been traveling for more than 13 years. She called it her “go-to camera bag” as it has removable cubes for keeping gear during her adventure-style shoots. She’s also used it for several years and finds it durable. It also has a passport pocket, a water bottle sleeve and a fleece-lined pocket for your sunglasses or tech. The bag, which comes in three sizes, has both a removable sternum strap and magnetic tote handles, should you want to hold your bag instead of wearing it as a backpack.

Material: Waterproof tarpaulin and nylon | Weight : 2.8 lbs | Water resistant: Yes

Targus Balance 15.6-Inch Backpack

Targus Balance 15.6&quot; Backpack

The Targus Balance is the most affordable backpack on our list. Sykora recommends it for its protective features, like the inbuilt cradle that suspends your laptop to save it from impact if the bag ever falls. There’s a sternum strap if you want a more snug fit, and padding on the lower back and shoulders, which the brand says makes this bag more ergonomic. This travel backpack will also sit upright when you place it on the floor, making your belongings easy to access.

Material : Re-polymerized plastic spun into yarn | Weight : 2.61 lbs | Water resistant : Yes

Osprey Fairview 70 Travel Pack

Osprey Fairview 70 Travel Pack

This travel backpack comes with a detachable day bag ideal for shorter day trips or excursions during your vacation. It’s also convenient: “This backpack opens like a suitcase for easy packing and access to items, and is very comfortable for wearing for long periods, “ says Sykora. The handles are padded for comfort and there are two internal compression straps to protect your electronics and other items. There’s both an adjustable sternum strap and a hip belt to keep your bag snug during any activities, and an included rescue whistle on the sternum strap if you’re lost or in danger. There are multiple internal zipped pockets for extra storage and external attachable loops, to clip your portable speaker to.

Material : Polyester | Weight : 4.5 lbs | Water resistant : NA

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Sykora loves this bag for its multiple compartments that make it convenient to organize your travel essentials, like your passport, sunglasses and e-reader. There are expandable side pockets to store your water bottle, a zipped top pocket for your passport and internal zippered mesh compartments for any electronics. There are padded waist and shoulder straps for comfort and padded foam surrounding the exterior to protect it from scratches. a waterproof bottom and a weatherproof exterior build, according to the brand.

Material : Nylon | Weight : 4.5 lbs | Water resistant : Yes

around the world travel bags

select Minimize chaos on your next trip with these expert-approved accessories

How to shop the best travel backpacks.

While shopping for the best travel backpacks, our experts recommended considering the following:

Organizational features : Look for multiple compartments on the interior, so you can store your devices, travel documents and cosmetics separately. “Separating electronics and gear from clothes, liquids or items prone to getting dirty during travel is essential,” says Sykora.

Water resistance : We prioritized options with a water resistant exterior.

Compression Straps : If you’re prone to overpacking, a compression strap will help keep your bag compact.

Zippers : You’ll want to choose a bag with zippers that can accommodate locks, this way you can add extra security to your belongings. You also want to avoid bags with open exterior compartments, as items may fall out.

Durable materials : Look for backpacks with fabrics that are water and scratch resistant, like nylon, says Sykora.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Maggie Espinosa is a travel journalist and author. She’s been featured on Travel Channel, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, USA Today, Huffington Post and more
  • Nadine Sykora is a leading travel video content creator, with over 500k+ subscribers.

Why trust NBC Select?

Nishka Dhawan is the former associate editor at NBC Select. For this piece, she interviewed travel bloggers and journalists on what to look for in a travel backpack, and the best travel backpacks to shop for in 2023.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal finance , tech and tools , wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

around the world travel bags

Nishka Dhawan is a former associate commerce editor at NBC Select.

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packing list

How I Traveled Around the World with Just a Carry-On

I traveled through three climates in three weeks and didn't check a bag. Here's how I packed.

packing list

Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Download the app .

A few months ago, I was waiting at the boarding gate at my home airport in Redmond, Oregon, feeling pretty proud. In 20 years of working for Outside , I’d done my share of traveling on assignment, but this was the first time a series of jobs would take me all the way around the world. The plan called for a week in the sweaty Fijian jungle, followed by ten days in autumnal Sweden. To break up the 25 hours of air time it takes to get from Nadi, Fiji, to Göteborg, Sweden, I added a 27-hour layover in Doha, Qatar , where the forecast called for clear skies and a high of 115 degrees. All in all, I was looking at three climates in three weeks, with four airlines, ten airports, and multiple activities that ranged from hiking and running to paddling and biking.

The proud part? I’d checked zero bags. Everything I needed was in a tidy carry-on and personal item. Both were so small, in fact, that I could easily fit them in those diminutive overhead bins you find on puddle jumpers.

Baggage is the bane of the adventure traveler. Commercial airlines in the United States likely collected more than $5 billion in baggage fees in 2019, according to the Department of Transportation . Worldwide, the figures are staggering. In 2018, some 4.36 billion travelers checked more than 4.27 billion bags, says SITA , a Switzerland-based airline-baggage-tracking firm. While the chance of your suitcase never making it to baggage claim has actually gone down over the years, airlines are charging more for the schlepping service. The price for checking luggage on many of the nation’s carriers leapt 20 percent last year, from $25 to $30 for the first bag.

Saving coin wasn’t what had motivated me, though. Nor was it the fear that even a delayed bag on such a complicated itinerary would almost certainly mean never seeing it again. Rather, a few simple tricks and techniques I’ve used to perfect my packing over the years, combined with some smart but easy clothing choices, left me with shockingly little—about 25 pounds total. And that’s from a six-foot-seven, 200-plus-pound middle-age dude whose outfits quite possibly carry twice the volume of yours.

How did I do it? Let’s break it down.

Choose Clothes That Do Triple Duty

packing list

No matter what you bring, the idea is to pack items that can work in multiple situations. This is deceptively hard. It means you may have to leave behind the expensive pants you bought specifically for hiking in favor for some less rugged ones that could also work at a sit-down stübli .

For relatively nicer button-up shirts, I go with  ExOfficio (starting at $31), since its apparel is quick drying, easy to clean in a sink, and acceptable attire for interviewing officials. For warmer trips, I like Columbia’s Silver Ridge 2.0  shirt ($40), because it includes UPF 50 sun protection. The Renegade pant from Kühl ($85) is the definition of triple duty: I’ve worn mine hiking, skiing, and even to a wedding once. A light sweater or black base-layer top makes it look like I’m mixing up outfits. ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go  briefs ($26) are the best thing to come along down there for men since the fig leaf. Except for a few pairs of black socks, everything I pack dries quickly.

Granted, as a shaggy non-fashionista, I get away with some things that maybe others can’t. My toiletry kit is a brush each for teeth and hair, some contact solution, toothpaste, and a small vial of Ibuprofen. I rarely need formal wear. Two pairs of shoes—trail runners and sandals—generally see me through.

packing list

Fold or Roll?

Some traveling friends prefer to roll their clothes like scrolls. Others fold them flat like a sales clerk might at the Gap. I find rolling shirts doesn’t cut down on as much bulk as I’d like, and a simple fold doesn’t do it at all. So I combine the methods— folding, then sort of rolling —which is basically what Marie Kondo, the Japanese anti-clutter czar, teaches. This works great for almost everything except button-up long sleeves, pants, and sweaters.

For those, I rely on Eagle Creek’s Pack-It folders ($35), the only packing-specific items I’ve ever bought, and they’ve lasted me nearly a decade. They have a rectangular, flexible plastic bottom and four nylon flaps that wrap around your clothes with hook and loop closures. You fold your shirts  and pants flat, stack them on the open folder, and wrap and compress the pile using the flaps. This method definitely saves on space, and clothes arrive mostly wrinkle-free.

Eagle Creek’s Specter Tech Compression Cubes ($40) are another must. Not only do you cut down considerably on bulk, but it’s super easy to keep everything organized, which makes repacking quick when you’re always on the move. I put shirts in one cube and socks and underwear in another. I make a third cube my activity cube, with workout clothes, a heart-rate monitor, a headband, and everything else I need for morning runs in one grab-and-go package. You can see through the fabric well enough to tell what cube holds what, but with so little stuff, it’s easy to remember.

I put all of my chargers and cables (bound together with rubber bands or coiled up in Humangear GoTubbs ), as well as notebooks, pens, spare batteries, a voice recorder, and other travel-writer tools, in another sack. Use Ziplocs if nothing else.

packing list

Use the Best Carry-On

I used to be a roller-bag kind of guy, and I still use one when the hard-adventure component is low or I’m checking a bag anyway. But these days, I’m all about bags you can carry comfortably on your back. Anyone who’s ever dragged a wheeled duffel up the cobblestone streets of Lisbon, Portugal, would agree with me.

Cotopaxi’s Allpa bag ($200) is a game changer. It now comes in three sizes—42, 35, and 28 liters—but the 35-liter version strikes the perfect balance between size and function. Even fully loaded, it still fits in the tiny overhead bins on planes that fly into the smaller adventure towns you probably want to visit. Yet it’s big enough that it could easily hold everything I brought. It has a TPU-coated polyester exterior that sheds water and won’t wet out when you dump it on a rainy sidewalk in Stockholm. The backpack harness distributes weight well.

But it’s the little things that make the bag so rad. It opens up clamshell style to reveal mesh compartments that make it easy to find what you packed. There’s a laptop sleeve you can access from the outside. The zippers all have this ingenious loop of fabric that you can slip the zipper head under, which makes it nearly impossible for a thief to surreptitiously open the bag while you’re wandering through the souk.

Packing list

Since my round-the-world jaunt, I’ve taken the pack across the country twice, most recently out to Utah to get some of that five feet of snow that fell. I had to check my skis, so I put my bulky jacket, pants, and gloves in with them, and I used the Allpa for everything else. Once again I had so little that I could breeze through security, get on and off planes quickly, and waste no time getting up to and out of my hotel room. That meant more time doing what I’d come to do.

For a personal item, almost anything will work, like a small backpack or laptop bag. I see a lot of messenger bags coming down the aisles, but I’m lukewarm on them. You want something boxier, with maximum room for minimum space. Think Fjällräven’s Kånken series of packs. Ideally, it should be big enough that if you, say, buy a bottle of rare rum and need to put it in the Allpa and check it to get it home, the personal item can easily hold the overflow. Just in case, I always stuff a small, collapsible backpack into my bag that can haul kit around on city missions and double as a second carry-on should I buy too much and need to check the Allpa on the return home.

Eagle Creek used to make a larger cube-shaped overnight or gym bag that opens up clamshell style, with mesh flaps that I still use as my preferred personal item. It holds everything I may want to get at in-flight: headphones, books, a water bottle, pens.

packing list

Here’s the List of What I Actually Packed

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 2 long-sleeved button-up shirts
  • 1 short-sleeved button-up shirt
  • 1 llama-wool sweater
  • 1 thin hoodie
  • 1 sun shirt
  • 2 shorts (with “gear loft” for a comfy commando)
  • 2 base-layer tops
  • 1 base-layer bottom
  • 1 pajama bottom (that I also wore on that 18-hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Doha)
  • 1 rainjacket (very light, can stuff into its own pocket)
  • 8 pairs of socks
  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • Hiking/running shoes (black, so I can get away with them at dinner)
  • A Buff, a beanie
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Neck pillow
  • Books, notebooks, a laptop, Kindle, pens
  • Chargers, cords
  • Dirty trucker hat
  • Water bottle (and a UV stick for purifying tap water)
  • Small collapsible daypack

In the end, what I packed made it all the way around the world without much issue. I have a rule that says: if I bring it, I must wear it. The ten pairs of underwear made me break it. Even in rainy Sweden, clothes dried quickly after a wash in the hotel sink, so five pairs would have been just fine. I didn’t pack enough toothpaste. I had to buy a razor. I also got great at answering one question over and over: “Is this all you brought?”

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

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35 Travel Essentials for Any Length of Trip

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There’s something about traveling that is equal parts excitement and stress, especially when it comes time for you to bust out your suitcase and prepare to pack. What comes along with you can vary tremendously depending on the length of your trip and the occasion. Thankfully, the Cut Shop team has traveled far and wide, and has picked up a few tips, tricks, and essentials for packing well. Regardless of whether it’s a quick weekend escapade or a whole month abroad, here are the 39 best travel essentials worth taking along, listed according to the length of time spent away from home.

[data-uri="www.thecut.com/_components/clay-subheader/instances/clxj2hvcw000c3e7munhsc3vw@published"]{font-family:'Chap',Arial,sans-serif;font-size:12px;font-weight:700;letter-spacing:2.5px;text-transform:uppercase;line-height:18px} SO, YOU’RE GOING ON A TRIP?

➼ For Overnight Trips ➼ Weekend Trips and Excursions ➼ Anywhere From Five Days to a Week and a Half ➼ Two Weeks or Longer ➼ A Month or More

. For Overnight Trips

Whether you’re only traveling ten minutes away for a staycation or venturing to a nearby city for a day, overnight trips can be just as challenging to pack for as longer ones. Our best tip is try to be strategic about stowing all the necessities in a larger tote ba g.

iMangoo Protective Cable Organizer Case

Keep all your chargers and cords organized and untangled in one place. This little case makes sure you can actually find what you are looking for, especially in the depths of a big bucket-shaped bag.

Hill House Home The Ellie Nap Dress

The Nap Dress is comfortable enough for any road trip or train ride or even to sleep in. You really can’t go wrong — it’s like wearing your pajamas but still looking totally presentable. We particularly like the wrinkle-resistant navy dress for easy wear on the road.

Baggu Go Pouch Set

This three-pack of pouches might be one of The Cut Shop ream’s favorite purchases. Perfect for everyday use, the pouches are great for housing everything from makeup to dirty clothes to receipts. We always have one in our bags, no matter if we’re leaving the house for a night, an hour, or a whole week.

July Everyday Garment Tote

Perfect for event-specific travel, this tote doubles as a garment bag, protecting those special-occasion outfits. It has just enough space to also pack a pair of shoes you do not want to commute in.

Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35 Sunscreen

One of the best tinted moisturizers out there, this option from Saie offers hydration and some SPF and will give you light coverage with a dewy glow. When you can’t bring your entire medicine cabinet, this is a great option that combines a bunch of products in a multistep routine.

HoodHealth Stainless Steel

Because hydration is always important, especially when you’re traveling.

Leeshine Ice Roller for Face and Eyes

Just because you’re not doing your skin-care routine in your bathroom at home doesn’t mean your skin should suffer. This ice rollers will fit perfectly in your toiletry bag and come in handy first thing in the morning.

Emi Jay Big Effing Clip

Sometimes on those quick trips, we push washing our hair an extra day (or three) so we can leave all our heat tools at home. With some dry shampoo and a cute hair claw , no one has to know.

. Weekend Trips and Excursions

Whether you are heading out of town for a wedding, trying to get away for a little R&R, or traveling for work, when it comes to packing a weekender or a smaller suitcase, organization is key.

Béis The Weekend Duffel Bag

There are so many options out there for weekender bags, but this water-repellent tote from Béis ticks all our boxes including the trolley pass-through pocket to attach to your suitcase and save your shoulders. This one is just over $100.

Guanda Car Vent Phone Mount

Most of the time, travel is associated with flying, but whether by choice or not, sometimes the trip involves hours of car time. A phone mount changes the game on a long road trip and is definitely safer.

Comrad Nylon Knee High Socks

For those longer flights where you are in a confined space and not moving around as much (looking at you, window-seat fliers), compression socks can help reduce swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet.

Loop Quiet Earbuds

Weekend trips can sometimes mean a jam-packed itinerary, so when you want to sleep, you want to snooze uninterrupted. Enter Loop, a reusable silicone earplug that allows you to get the ultimate fit (it comes in four sizes) so you can get in that power nap.

Le Specs Outta Love Sunglasses

Forgetting your sunglasses on vacation, especially when headed somewhere sunny, is a rookie mistake, which is why this pair from Le Specs is perfect to just keep in your weekend bag so you are never without.. They’re stylish, sturdy, and under $70 , in case you end up losing or breaking them.

Cadence Build Your 6 Bundle

Normally, travel containers are not the most stylish or multifunctional. But these Cadence capsules are both of those things. Unlike traditional travel containers, these can be used for anything from storing pills and skincare products to necklaces and hand cream. Plus, you can design your own set to include different labels and colors

Everlane the Relaxed Oxford Shirt

You can never go wrong with a classic button-up . It’s a must-have for any trip, especially a weekend one when space is limited. Wear it on its own, with a dress or pants, or as a bathing suit cover-up.

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

The Tower28 spray is our skin-care savior , and if you’re looking to pack minimally for weekend trips, this needs to be in the toiletry bag. Perfect for sensitive skin, it’s multifunctional, and a spritz delivers a refreshing dose of hydration and soothes stressed-out skin.

Kindle Paperwhite

Not only do books take up valuable real estate in a carry-on, they add a bit of weight too. A Kindle is so low profile and light that we do not even think twice about tossing it in our bag. It also saves us time doing the math on how many books we should be bringing on a trip because our next read is just a Wi-Fi connection away.

Ries The Essential Travel Vanity Bag

If you’re skipping the carry-on, this is an easy way to organize your beauty routine now that you’ve condensed it into teeny bottles and containers. The recycled faux -leather bag zips closed and features enough compartments to keep everything neat and organized.

. Anywhere From Five Days to a Week and a Half

A full-fledged trip that still limits you to a carry-on may be the most difficult to pack for. Europe,Cabo, our parents’ house, it’s all about making the most of the room you have, even if you can’t help but pack all your sunglasses , expensive skin care, and cute outfits.

Reformation Fantino Cashmere Collared Cardigan

This cashmere cardigan is amazing on its own or as a layering piece in case you get chilly en route or in your hotel room. When you’re packing a carry-on, the more pieces you have that you can wear multiple different ways, the better.

Dagne Dover Remi Glasses Case

Sometimes you just can’t decide which sunglasses to bring, especially if you are going somewhere extra-sunny. This protective case from Dagne Dover allows you to bring three pairs in a very compact and convenient case that is easy to hang up when you get to your final destination.

Away Bigger Carry-On

There is a reason you can’t travel without seeing one of these suitcases. It fits in the overhead bin of most major U.S. airlines and allows travelers enough room to store all their belongings while remaining light, sturdy, and sleek. Plus, it comes in seven attractive colors and has a USB external battery for those extra-long travel days. It is an essential for the majority of trips you will probably take.

Calpak Packing Cubes 5-Piece Set

We love using packing cubes when we need to keep a duffel bag from becoming total chaos or for just staying organized when we’re traveling somewhere where we will be doing a wide range of activities that require very different wardrobe options. These packing cubes from Calpak are cute and will help bring some order to a carry-on.

Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Whether you are in the window seat and do not want to disturb your neighbors to wash your hands or need to do a quick clean after pumping gas on a road trip, having some sort of hand sanitizer while traveling is a good idea. This one from Aesop obviously smells amazing.

. Two Weeks or Longer

It’s time to check your bags. Fill your carry-on with the essentials and save the rest for your suitcase. Opt for two-in-one products, space-saving containers, and clothes you can dress up or down. Pro tip: Don’t forget to invest in a luggage tracker to make sure your suitcase arrives when you do.

Uniqlo Wide-Fit Pleated Pants

Wearing trousers on a plane not only saves room in your suitcase but also makes you feel more put-together on the go. These comfy but tailored pants from Uniqlo can be worn casually or dressed up, making them the perfect pair to travel in for long periods.

Merit Flush Balm Cream Blush

A two-in-one product that is perfect for face and lips is a godsend on the road, and this Merit lightly tinted balm is highly rated. It is the perfect product to throw in your bag for when you want to do a real quick touch-up, no matter where you are. Not to mention it’s one of our senior shopping editor’s favorite cream blushes .

Rimowa Classic Check-In L

The pinnacle of traveling well comes down to one word: Rimowa. The cases are classic, luxurious, and durable, though definitely a splurge. If you’re traveling for long stretches of time, and often, they can be worth the price point.

Wild One Travel Carrier

Pets under 20 pounds are allowed to fly in a carrier under the seat in front of you, and this stylish option from Wild One opens into a bed so your pet can relax at the gate before you both board.

4PCS Refillable Travel Perfume Spray Bottles

Most fragrances do not come in a three-ounce bottle, and it can be quite a risk to send a glass bottle in your checked bag, so it might be safer to opt for something like this. Even when you are not traveling, these little cases are convenient to throw in a bag so that you always can carry around your favorite scent.

. A Month or More

We’re way past suggesting hand cream and new luggage because, at this point, you’re practically moving to your destination. These are the things that upgrade you from a casual traveler to a pro and will make your longer flights and longer stays more comfortable

Bearaby Travel Napper

Carrying an extra six pounds might seem a bit excessive, but if you’re on a long flight and you’re staying over a month in your new destination, you might as well be as cozy and comfortable as possible. This travel0size weighted blanket from Bearaby comes in its own duffel bag, so it can easily be your personal item or be checked in with no problem.

FunTouch Rechargeable Travel Makeup Vanity Mirror

Want to be able to still do full glam while you’re away? This rechargeable and slim travel vanity mirror will help your makeup look flawless no matter your lighting situation.

Twelve South AirFly Pro

You may have seen this on your TikTok FYP. It allows you to connect your Bluetooth headphones (hello, AirPod Maxes ) to airplane screens, so you can watch your favorite comfort movie or episode of Sex and the City without worrying about bringing a corded pair or needing to purchase those cheap plane headphones in the air.

Saatva Weighted Silk Eye Mask

Like a weighted blanket for your eyes, this eye mask is sleep enhancing (perfect for long flights and jumping through timezones) and made from super soft silk.

Tumi Just In Case Tote

Chances you’ll come back from vacation with more clothes than you went there with are high, so consider packing this foldable nylon tote to hold all your overstock.

Mejuri Travel Case

Travel with ease knowing that your necklaces won’t get tangled and all your earrings are safe and sound in one place.

Daily Pill Organizer

This pill case also came from our TikTok FYP and is small enough to fit in any purse, but has enough storage to hold all your medicine, vitamins, and supplements.

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Editor’s Picks

around the world travel bags

The 15 Best Crossbody Bags to Travel With This Summer

Spacious styles that can go from airport to museum to dinner with ease.

crossbody bags to travel

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

The best crossbody bags for travel should be lightweight, since you're likely going to be on your feet all day sightseeing, and durable (you know, in case of the occasional thunderstorm), but they also should be big enough to store your most important valuables (think: your passport , wallet, camera, sunglasses) along with a few extras. Not to mention, many of today's iterations are convertible, versatile, and can seamlessly transition from airport to museum to dinner reservation without a second thought.

To help make your upcoming travels a breeze, team T&C got together to curate a list of the most reliable crossbody bags around. Top contenders include Gucci's Horsebit shoulder bag , Prada's Re-Nylon bag , Tumi's slim sling , and Leatherology's camera bag , but ahead, you'll find more tried and true picks for every kind of traveler.

Horsebit 1955 Shoulder Bag

Best Designer

Gucci horsebit 1955 shoulder bag.

Re-Nylon Shoulder Bag

PRADA Re-Nylon Shoulder Bag

Persia Crossbody Bag

Tumi Persia Crossbody Bag

Gucci's iconic Horsebit Bag is certainly a splurge, but a classic you'll get use of for years to come. It has a structured silhouette that never loses its a shape, a secure frontal flap that allows you to easily access your belongings, and perhaps most importantly, an adjustable strap that can turn the crossbody into a shoulder bag or vice versa. Oh, and how about that discreet gold horsebit hardware? Sleek as they came.

As T&C' s Deputy Digital Lifestyle Director Roxanne Adamiyatt puts it, "it's a wear-to-anything-and-everywhere-piece that manages to still feel special every time I put it over my shoulder."

Material: Leather

Dimensions: 9.8"W x 7"H x 3.1"D

Weight: 1.8 lbs

When we think nylon bags, we think Prada. The label's legendary Re-Nylon crossbody bag is compact yet functional and features an adjustable strap, pockets and zipped compartments galore, and a detachable mini pouch for storing your smaller knick knacks. It's also ridiculously lightweight—no matter how much you cram inside, it'll sit easy on your shoulders all day.

Material: Nylon

Dimensions: 23cm W x 15cm D x 7cm L

Weight: N/A

If you happen to run into T&C 's Emily Burack abroad, you'll likely find her carrying this Tumi across her body. The small but mighty purse is made from durable nylon and is big enough to hold your phone, passport, cards, boarding pass, and more.

One shopper says: "My go to bag. I use this everyday. It’s absolutely the perfect size and holds a lot more than you might think. Love the other back pocket which provides easy access to your cell. The material is fabulous and easy to clean."

Material: Nylon, leather

Dimensions: 5"W x 7 1/2"H x 1 3/4"D

Weight: .80 lbs

Dagne Dover Micah Water Resistant Crossbody Bag

Micah Water Resistant Crossbody Bag

Dagne Dover makes some of the best duffel bags around (I never fly without the Landon Carryall !), but its crossbody bag is just as impressive. Frequent travelers will love it for its durability, the fact that its water-resistant, and how it conveniently carries your travel necessities over your shoulder. If you ask me, my favorite part is the front zipper pocket and slip back pocket for retrieving my cards and lip balm with ease.

One reviewer writes: "The perfect crossbody for travel or everyday. I bought it for a recent trip and it was exactly what I wanted. The bag was big enough to fit sunglasses, camera, wallet, and the front pocket was perfect for chapstick, keys, and other small travel items. The storm (navy) color is beautiful, also bought the large Landon carryall duffle to match."

Material: REPREVE recycled polyester

Dimensions: 8 1/2"W x 7 1/2"H x 3 1/2"D

Weight: .8 lbs

Leatherology Meadow Large Satchel

Meadow Large Satchel

Here's a crossbody bag that was made for globetrotting. Crafted of buttery soft leather, this Leatherology pick boasts an exceptionally roomy main compartment with interior pockets and an additional exterior pocket for easy access while on the go. I have taken mine with me everywhere because it fits just about everything (wallet, phone, a book—you name it!) and still manages to feel super lightweight.

Bonus: The color variations are pretty amazing—which is a good and bad thing: it's good because you have options; it's bad because you'll struggle deciding on the one to get... which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't so bad after all! On top of that, you can even get your own bag monogrammed or debossed with your initials for a personal touch.

One reviewer writes: "I got this bag for traveling on my honeymoon and I did the trapunto monogram with my new married initials and this bag was worth every penny. It held so much and yet was compact, traveled well. It’s durable yet soft and supple! I love this bag so so much for traveling and just being on the go and I will be back for more!"

Material: Full grain leather

Dimensions: 10.25"W x 4"D x 7.25"H

More: Tried & True : The Leatherology Meadow Crossbody Is a Bag for All Occasions

Cuyana Double Loop Bag

Double Loop Bag

Take a look at any T&C 's editor's bag collection and you'll likely find a bag or two from Cuyana. We're obsessed. For traveling, we love this minimalist crossbody because it's perfectly sized to fit all your daily belongings and it has three small exterior slip pockets for storing your phone, keys, or anything else. Another plus: the flap opening. There's a hidden magnetic closure that keeps all your valuables safe and sound.

One shopper says: "The shape is classy and versatile. I love that the purse is spacious, I purchased the bag as an excuse for an upcoming trip and it has the the features I need. Fits all the necessities and a water bottle for a day packed with sightseeing."

Material: Italian leather

Dimensions: 8"H x 9.5"W x 5.5"D

Weight: 1.5 lbs

MZ Wallace Metro Sling Bag

Metro Sling Bag

MZ Wallace is practically synonymous with travel bags. The brand offers an array of different crossbody styles featuring its signature quilted design (like the fan-favorite Metro Scout ), but we're particularly partial to the hands-free sling bag. It's spacious, stylish, and holds a ton—without weighing a ton! It's really a throw-on-and-go kind-of-bag for whenever you're on the move.

One reviewer raves: "This is the perfect travel bag! It lays so well, lots of storage, and such a beautiful buckle. Worth every penny."

Dimensions: 13 1/2"W x 7 1/2"H x 2 1/2"D

Weight : .5 lbs

Coach Chaise Crossbody

Chaise Crossbody

T&C 's Digital Director Caroline Hallemann has sworn by this leather Coach bag for years, but it also makes for a great everyday option. The polished design boasts a spacious main compartment with a front slip pocket that securely closes with a turnlock, as well as an exterior zip pocket for even more essentials.

One shopper says: "Absolutely adore this bag it is a great size and will be good for traveling on holiday. Plenty of space for all the essentials and the outside pocket is handy... Really beautiful quality."

Dimensions: 10 1/2"L x 9 3/4"H x 2 1/4"W

Longchamp Le Foulonné S Crossbody Bag

Le Foulonné S Crossbody Bag

Longchamp offers all the hallmarks of a functional yet sleek travel crossbody: a flap with a magnetic button for extra safety, a spacious interior with three interior pockets, and exterior pocket to slip your cards in and out with ease.

One online reviewer says: "This purse is the perfect size to hold your essentials, cell phone, wallet, sunglasses and keys. I bought this purse because it’s great for travel or everyday use. I would definitely recommend. Great quality too."

Dimensions: 9.4"L x 7.1"H x 3.1"W

Weight: .98 lbs

Lo & Sons Nouvelle

Nouvelle

For a bag that can go the distance, look no further than Lo & Sons's Nouvelle. Made of water-resistant nylon, the compact carrier can withstand ultra-high temps, rainy climates, or any harsh condition the day throws at you. Inside, you'll find pockets on pockets on pockets to help keep your important necessities organized. On top of that, it's lightweight, comfortable, and versatile enough for everyday outings.

One shopper says: "I bought this purse for a trip to Europe. I wanted a bag I could wear across but was also more spacious. I'm so glad I decided to go with this one! Not only is it cute and can look elegant or sporty depending on your outfit, but the materials are really good quality. The strap is super resistant, and the double zip is perfect for safety."

Dimensions: 9" W x 7" H x 3" D

Weight: 11.5 oz

Senreve Aria Belt Bag

Aria Belt Bag

For an option that can go from airport to museum to dinner with a simple change of the strap, Senreve's convertible purses won't disappoint. Beloved by celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Selma Blair, the Aria is a spacious (and lightweight!!!) leather belt bag that can be converted into a crossbody, shoulder bag, sling, and clutch. It comes in various colors and you even have the option to swap in a chain if you want to make it more elegant than it already is. Trust me, it's a one-and-done bag that you'll never think twice about packing with you, because it truly is perfect for everything on your agenda.

One shopper says: "Good size for a small bag. It can fit just the most important things I need. The strap is adjustable and can be tucked in neatly if I need it shorter. It can be use as a belt bag, shoulder bag, and great as a crossbody bag. Looks elegant with the simplicity of the bag and yet the quality and craftsmanship is of excellent standard."

Material: Pebbled leather

Dimensions: 8"W x 5"H x 2"D

Weight: .89 lbs

MORE: T&C Tried & True : The Senreve Aria Élevée Belt Bag Is the Most Versatile Purse You'll Ever Own

lululemon Crossbody Camera Bag 2L

Crossbody Camera Bag 2L

Made from a water-repellent fabric, this durable bag features two zippered compartments that can comfortably hold your phone, wallet, passport, and other small things will be your new favorite travel companion.

One reviewer writes: "This bag is really cute and trendy. It’s the perfect size to carry a few things while out and about. It’s very light weight and the strap is comfortable."

Dimensions: 8.1"W x 2.6"D x 4.9"H

Monos Metro Crossbody

Metro Crossbody

An organized-type's dream, the Metro Crossbody is conveniently-sized for storing your wallet, keys, phone, sunscreen, and other travel essentials. Every little detail is thoughtfully considered, from two-way zipper that opens all the way for accessing your belongings easily, to the various interior compartments, to the four card sleeves, to the adjustable shoulder strap.

One shopper writes: "I used my crossbody on my trip to Hawaii. It was a perfect size to hold my wallet, 8oz bottle of water (of course not filled), small cosmetic bag, snacks. I like the idea that the zippers are two way and open all the way down making it easier to access items. Also I like the idea of the 4 different shoulder strap length. It rained one day and I was concerned about the vegan leather, however it held up with no water spots!"

Material: Vegan leather

Dimensions: 9.8" W × 6.6" H × 3.4" D

Weight: 1.97 lbs

MORE: T&C Tried & True : The Monos Carry-On Pro Plus Makes Traveling a Breeze

Bandolier Kimberly Smoother Leather Crossbody

Kimberly Smoother Leather Crossbody

Prefer keeping your things to a minimum? A crossbody phone bag is exactly what you need. It's designed to hold just your phone and cards across your body and a no brainer when you don't want to schlep a bunch of things around.

One reviewer writes: "Did some traveling and I wanted to go out and about with not a lot of baggage with me. All I had was my phone and some credit cards with the use of the bandolier. Will purchase more of these in other designs."

Dimensions: 43" - 49” strap

Mansur Gavriel Classic Crossbody

Classic Crossbody

Mansur Gavriel's aptly-named crossbody is the perfect sweet-spot size: not too big, not too small, just right. We also love how easily it can be dressed up or down, and isn't that what we all want in a travel crossbody bag at the end of the day? Oh, and did we mention Taylor Swift carries it, too? All the more reason to get yourself one.

One reviewer writes: "Love this bag! Light weight and hangs beautifully. Fits the essentials: wallet, keys, phone, one pair of glasses. Very well made."

Dimensions : 8.5"W x 7.5"H x 1.9" D

What to look for in a good travel crossbody bag:

crossbody bags for travels faq

  • Durability: Look for a crossbody bag made of nylon or premium leather. Nylon tends to be lightweight and water-resistant, perfect for the rigors of travel, while a good leather is hard-wearing, scratch-resistant, and makes for a more versatile option.
  • Weight: The last thing you're going to want while traveling is something that weighs you down. Look for crossbody bags around the 1 lb mark.
  • Pockets: A spacious main compartment is great and all, but interior and exterior pockets can help keep your belongings organized.
  • Versatility: A good crossbody bag makes a perfect travel accessory, but an even greater one should also be versatile enough to be worn from day-to-night for every event on your itinerary.

Why trust Town & Country?

why trust town and country

For more than 170 years, Town & Country has been the trusted source for influence, taste, elegant living, and the finest things in life. We cover everything from the latest and greatest in beauty to luxury travel to the buzziest fashion trends of the season. All of our stories are thoroughly researched, tested, and vetted by T&C editors and industry experts.

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Sophie Dweck is the associate shopping editor for Town & Country, where she covers beauty, fashion, home and décor, and more. 

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The Best Carry-On Luggage and Weekender Bags for Summer Travel: Shop Away, Samsonite, Monos and More

Away

The right luggage or carry-on bag can help make summer travel as smooth as possible.

If you're gearing up for your summer travel plans, you may be searching for the perfect luggage to accompany you on your upcoming getaway.  Carry-on luggage  — including weekender bags and spinners — is probably the best way to travel if you want to beat the lines at busy airports, especially if you're traveling on a Friday.

No matter where your travel destinations are, one thing's for sure: the right luggage will make all the difference. We've found the best luggage to shop for all of your travels, from spacious duffle bags and practical backpacks to large and luxurious carry-ons  for your next flight.

Need a new tote bag to toss everything in for an upcoming July 4th weekend getaway or a bigger carry-on for a tropical vacation? The Beis Weekender Bag will fit all your essentials and help you travel in style. Need a new go-to suitcase for every travel situation? Away’s  standard carry-on traveler bag has plenty of packing space while still fitting in the overhead bin. Trying to avoid the checked baggage fees and long bag drop line? The Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Luggage helps you save money and time by going straight to TSA.

Below, we've rounded up the best carry-on luggage and weekender bags this year to take along on your summer trip .

The Best Carry-On Suitcases for 2024

Samsonite freeform carry-on spinner.

Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

Not only is the Samsonite Hardside Spinner perfectly sized and extremely durable, it's also incredible lightweight so you won't have to strain putting it in the overhead airplane compartment. With all kinds of pockets, you can easily organize all your belongings confidently. 

$200   $140

Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

This Away bag boasts flashy features such as a durable polycarbonate hard shell, spinner wheels and a TSA-approved, ejectable USB charger. The classic rolling hardside luggage with a retractable handle is designed to fit in most major airlines' overhead compartments, making it a great go-to Carry-On bag for travel, regardless of your destination.

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

This Rockland Melbourne Spinner Luggage makes traveling easier by being extremely lightweight. While protecting your items, the wheels rotate 360 degrees for a smooth and seamless stride in the airport. Although it is compact, this carry-on luggage has the ability to hold everything you need for a short vacation.

Take OFF Luggage Personal Item Suitcase 2.0

Take OFF Luggage Personal Item Suitcase 2.0

The perfect-sized luggage that doubles as a personal item — just pop off the wheels and slide it under your seat. 

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

This Travelpro Maxlite softside luggage has spinner wheels and is lightweight, making it easy to maneuver airport terminals and your flight's overhead storage bins. 

$170   $127

With Coupon

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

Compact and convenient, this soft-sided luggage can slide smoothly under the seat in front of you or be tucked away in an overhead bin. The bag's main compartment can fit several outfits and a spare pair of shoes. Interior pockets lining the compartment will keep your toiletries organized. The telescoping handle and rolling wheels make this bag easy to navigate around a crowded airport, making it a great choice for the frequent flyer looking to pack light.

$145   $100

Monos Carry-On

Monos Carry-On

Traveling is a breeze with the minimalist Monos carry-on, designed to fit in the overheard bin of almost any flight.

Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside Expandable Spinner

Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside Expandable Spinner

Travelpro is a pilot-founded brand that you've likely seen used by flight crews. Travel stress-free with the Travelpro hardside carry-on luggage that effortlessly fits in the overhead bins of major domestic airlines, thanks to rigorous sizer bin testing and enhanced packing capacity. The PrecisionGlide System delivers impeccable control and a seamless rolling experience, so you can get through the airport with ease.

$370   $314

The Best Travel Backpacks and Totes for 2024

Béis travel tote.

Béis Travel Tote

The Beis Travel Tote, from Shay Mitchell's baggage line, can conveniently slot into place atop a suitcase with its trolley sleeve, but can also be carried on its own with a detachable shoulder strap, and top handles designed to rest comfortably on your shoulder. This bag boasts a bottom zip shoe compartment, padded tech sleeve and multiple exterior and interior pockets. 

Samsonite Detour Travel Backpack

Samsonite Detour Travel Backpack

Built to protect your belongings from the elements, the Detour Travel Backpack has enough capacity for your business, overnight or weekend trips.

$150   $112

Cuyana Classic Easy Tote

Cuyana Classic Easy Tote

This sleek tote is made of Italian leather and comes in a bunch of color options. You can choose from three sizes and whether to include a top zipper.

Calpak Luka Backpack

Calpak Luka Backpack

With multiple storage compartments including a separate laptop sleeve and a space to store your shoes that has its own exterior access, this lightweight Luka backpack will help you stay organized on the go.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

This travel backpack comes with a weight-distributing, low-profile harness system and a 35L capacity, making it suitable for carry-on use. It is designed with a full-wrap zipper opening on the main compartment, along with large and subdivided zippered mesh compartments on the sides, providing convenient packing options. Additionally, its attractive design ensures you can easily identify your bag wherever you go.

Troubadour Featherweight Tote

Troubadour Featherweight Tote

A modern classic and easy-access bag. This Featherweight Tote features a light and waterproof fabric with vegan leather handles, and is perfect for gym trips or a day out!

The Best Weekender Bags for 2024 

Dagne dover landon carryall bag.

Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag

For weekends away, this extra-large duffle includes a laptop sleeve, shoe bag and plenty of space for all your essentials.

lululemon Go Getter Bag 2.0

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Calpak Stevyn Duffel

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SwissGear Apex Travel Duffle Bag

SwissGear Apex Travel Duffle Bag

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Forget What You Know About Booking Flights! A Round The World Ticket Is A Game Changer

Post may contain affiliate links; we may receive compensation if you click links to those products. This has no impact on how offers are presented. Our site does not include all offers available. Content on page accurate as of posting date.

It's every traveler's dream: to pack a bag and fly off around the world. It's definitely my dream!  

But what if that dream was now more attainable and affordable than ever before? 

Round-the-world airline tickets have been around for a long time, but with airfares going up, they now often pose better value than repeated single trips for frequent flyers.  

Here's what you need to know about round-the-world tickets and why I think they're an absolute game changer:  

How Do Round The World Tickets Work?

First things first, buying a round-the-world plane ticket is a little more complicated than buying a regular return flight.  

You need to do some research on several destinations, as well as ensure you're taking the most economical (in terms of both your time and your money) route.  

While many airlines offer round-the-world plane tickets, the two most well-known and highly regarded are Oneworld and Star Alliance.  

These allow you to fly on any of their member airlines, and because they are big alliances that means you have plenty of options available to you.  

There are some rules! And to make things a little complicated, these rules vary by provider. 

But here's a breakdown of the round-the-world offerings from these two alliances:  

Star Alliance Round The World Airline Tickets  

With the Star Alliance round-the-world ticket, you have to start and end your journey in the same country.

You also have to travel in one direction around the world (so pick to go east or west), and you have to cross both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.  

You can have as many as 15 stops in your itinerary, but you have to have at least 2 stops (otherwise you're just booking a return flight!) and you can extend your travel from between 10 days and 1 year.  

Provided your dream trip meets all of these criteria, the world really is your oyster!  

Ticket prices vary by itinerary and by the dates you wish to travel.  

You can choose your own itinerary or you can choose one of the Star Alliance set itineraries. With prices starting at $4,000, you can choose a route that will take you to see all of the 7 wonders of the world, for example.  

An Example Itinerary  

I created a sample itinerary departing from New York JFK airport on 8 th September, and visiting 5 different destinations with a stay of 5 days in each destination to get the most accurate example price.  

The destinations were Rio De Janeiro, Paris, Istanbul, Dubai, Tokyo, and then back to New York.  

The total price for this journey for one passenger, including all taxes and fees, was $3,532.  

As a point of comparison, a Delta return flight to Tokyo for the same dates was $1,899 for a refundable economy fare. 

And a Delta return flight to Dubai from JFK for the same sample dates was $1,638. Meaning that a round-the-world trip to see 5 different destinations would cost the same as return flights to see just 2.  

Of course it's worth noting these are just estimates, as prices can vary.  

Oneworld Round The World Airline Tickets  

I'm planning to spend 6 weeks traveling the world with my family using the Oneworld round-the-world tickets next summer, so I've done a ton of research on how it works!  

Unfortunately, the Oneworld system is a little bit more difficult to understand than the StarAlliance one, because they offer 3 different types of round-the-world fare. The good news is that makes it easier to find the one that best fits your budget!  

You can choose from Oneworld Explorer, which is a continent-based fare (the more continents you visit, the more you pay), the Global Explorer, which is a distance-based fare, or the Circle Pacific. This is the option that is most similar to the round-the-world option offered by Star Alliance.  

To show how the Oneworld system works, I created another sample itinerary.  

This time departing from Los Angeles, LAX, and leaving on Feb 9, 2025, to see if planning a winter itinerary would impact the price. (Spoiler alert: it didn't make any difference!)  

This time my preferred imaginary route went to Paris, London, Helsinki, Doha, Seoul and then back to LAX. The total price including taxes for this ticket was $4,374.00.  

It's worth noting that the more time you have and the more stops you're able to make, the cheaper your ‘cost per flight' will be. I added an extra stop in Dubai to this itinerary and the price only went up to $4,555.00.  

I'm not suggesting that flying around the world is cheap. But it's certainly more affordable than you might expect.  

And if you already take 2 or 3 long-haul vacations per year, then you could maximize the value of your expenditure by taking one round-the-world trip instead.  

Round-the-world tickets can offer limited flexibility with changing dates and destinations, but if you have a fixed itinerary and dream of exploring the world then they're a great choice.  

You can find out more about the different Star Alliance pre-set rounds and book a Star Alliance Round-the-world ticket here.  

Alternatively, you can book Oneworld Round-the-world plane tickets here.  

Tor Brierley

Tor has been writing for more than 20 years and has visited 25 countries (and counting!) She specializes in European and family travel and never says no to new adventures.

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The post Forget What You Know About Booking Flights! A Round The World Ticket Is A Game Changer appeared first on Travel Off Path .

Forget What You Know About Booking Flights! A Round The World Ticket Is A Game Changer

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    It's every traveler's dream: to pack a bag and fly off around the world. It's definitely my dream! ... A Round The World Ticket Is A Game Changer appeared first on Travel Off Path. Travel Off Path.