Incase Travel Pack review: Sustainable tech and lifestyle crossover laptop bag

Incase Travel Pack Hero

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: This sustainable briefcase backpack carries your MacBook and much more.

Made from recycled materials

Plush laptop sleeve

Tons of compartments

Flexible carry methods


Inhibits bacterial growth

Style may not appeal to all

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  • Price and availability
  • What's good
  • What's not good
  • The competition
  • Should you buy?

Looking for a great laptop bag , particularly for travel, that holds up to a 16-inch MacBook Pro ? Incase's ARC collection includes this nicely-sized travel bag that protects and carries your MacBook and much more. "ARC" stands for "A Responsible Carry," as the entire lineup is crafted from recycled polyester. The ARC collection uses RFID-blocking material, and it fights bacterial growth.

The Incase Travel Pack has a ton of compartments, including a plush laptop compartment and iPad sleeve. It can be carried horizontally (briefcase-style) or vertically. In addition, it can be carried as a backpack with memory foam padded straps. The bag can also be slipped onto your suitcase handle with a strap on the back.

Incase Travel Pack: Price and availability

Incase Travel Pack Lifestyle Back View

You can purchase the Incase Travel Pack on the company's website in either Black or Navy. It retails for $229.

Incase Travel Pack: What's good

Incase Travel Pack Lifestyle Side Handle Front View

The Incase Travel Pack is made from a durable, water-resistant 900D-by-1200D recycled polyester. The handles and interior material fight bacteria growth. The tech compartments use RFID-blocking material, so you don't have to worry about digital theft. The back panel and shoulder straps are made from Ortholite Impressions memory foam, making this bag a comfortable carry. A sternum strap across the chest helps balance the load and makes carrying this bag backpack-style even more comfortable. A travel pass-through on the back of the bag makes it easy to slip on your expanded luggage handle. A small secret zippered compartment for your valuables is nestled behind the pass-through.

There are so many compartments that will help you organize your tech gear and plenty more. An expansion zipper gives you 3.15 inches (80 millimeters) more depth in the bag. The main compartment opens up butterfly-style and has two main zippered compartments with mesh flaps to keep your clothing and other personal items in place. There is even a separate shoe section.

This is a great laptop briefcase backpack for the environmentally-conscious traveler.

The laptop compartment is lined with a wonderfully furry fabric to cradle your precious laptop. It will comfortably hold up to a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Next to that is a slim iPad sleeve; it'll hold up to a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. A good-sized tech compartment in the front is further divided into smaller sections to organize your chargers, dongles, and more. Finally, a zippered closure on the side could hold a water bottle, umbrella, or similarly-sized item.

While the Incase Travel Pack is not advertised as such, I measured it and found that you could use this as a personal item on most airlines, so you don't have to pay the carry-on fee for it. It should work as long as you don't pack it too full or use the expansion zipper, but I'd recommend taking measurements and checking them against your specific airline's rules before booking your airline ticket.

Incase Travel Pack: What's not good

Incase Travel Pack Lifestyle Open

This is a pretty pricey bag. There are certainly cheaper and perfectly good laptop backpacks on the market. This one is specifically for someone traveling with tech who wants to travel very light, or someone traveling with other luggage that wants to maximize the use of their personal item.

The squared-off style is neither a full "business briefcase" nor "casual backpack" look but somewhere in between. As a result, the look won't appeal to everyone.

Incase Travel Pack: Competition

Harber London Laptop Briefcase Lifestyle

If you're in the market for more of a briefcase-style bag, check out the Harber London Laptop Briefcase . It's a classy, elegant leather bag with handles and a long strap that can be carried over the shoulder as a messenger bag. In addition, it has plenty of compartments for your 16-inch MacBook and much more.

WaterField Mezzo Laptop Backpack

The Waterfield Mezzo Laptop Backpack is one to consider if you want a straight-up backpack that's upscale enough for business use. It also accommodates any size MacBook up to and including the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Waterfield makes lots of very nice bags in all shapes and sizes.

Incase Travel Pack: Should you buy it?

Incase Travel Pack Lifestyle Compartments Open

You should buy this if ...

  • You need a mid-sized business-appropriate laptop briefcase/backpack
  • You prefer items made from sustainable materials
  • You like a lot of compartments to organize your stuff

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • It's not your style
  • It's out of your budget
  • You need different features

This is an excellent purchase for someone who needs a tech bag with plenty of compartments for your MacBook, iPad, and all your other tech stuff and personal items as well. It's also great for the environmentally conscious since it's made out of recycled polyester. However, if the style and features don't appeal to you or the bag is out of your budget, you'll have to look for something else.

The Incase Travel Pack is an excellent purchase if you're in the market for a bag like this. It can be carried four ways: horizontally by the handle at the top, vertically by the handle on the size (briefcase-style), as a backpack, or slipped onto your extended suitcase handle. There is a compartment for just about everything you'd need, including an exceptionally plush one for your 16-inch MacBook Pro or smaller laptop. In addition, it's made from sustainable recycled polyester and has RFID-blocking and bacteria-inhibiting properties. While the price and style won't necessarily appeal to everyone, this bag is a great investment.

Incase Travel Pack Render Cropped

Bottom line: Feel good carrying this well-designed laptop briefcase backpack.

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.

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incase arc travel pack review

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Incase's ARC bag collection will handle your tech-carrying needs with eco-friendly materials

Made from tough recycled fabrics, the collection will keep your tech protected but still look stylish.

incase arc travel pack review

  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.


The new Incase ARC Commuter Pack (right) and Travel Pack are tech-ready and eco-friendly.

Incase, which designs bags and other protection for creatives, announced a new collection Thursday that puts a focus on using sustainable and recycled materials. Called ARC, short for "A Responsible Carry," the collection consists of three backpacks and a tote: the Travel Pack, Commuter Pack, Daypack and Tech Tote. All of the bags are made from recycled polyester with a polyurethane coating to protect them from wear and weather.

The shoulder straps and the back panels on the backpacks use eco-friendly Ortholite Impressions memory foam . The foam's open-cell design helps with breathability and moisture and also fights bacteria growth. Incase used nylon lining throughout the collection that helps inhibit bacterial growth as well. 

The backpacks all have a well-organized tech compartment on the outside at the top. It has elastic straps for cables, a stretchy mesh pocket that's perfect for earbuds and a slip pocket that runs the length of the compartment. Behind that slip pocket is a zippered pocket lined with RFID-blocking material. The tote has a similar tech storage compartment that also has RFID blocking.


The ARC collection is currently three backpacks and a tote.

I had a chance to test out two of the four bags in the lineup, the $229 Travel Pack and $199 Commuter Pack. (My first impressions on those are below.) Prices for the UK and Australia weren't immediately available but those prices convert to £165 and AU$315 for the Travel Pack and £145 and AU$270 for the Commuter Pack. The $129 Daypack is a trimmed-down version of the Commuter Pack but can still fit a 16-inch laptop and a 13-inch tablet. The Tech Tote, $79, fits a 13-inch laptop , has quick-access front and back pockets, and can be carried by its cushioned top handles or on your shoulder or across your back with its removable shoulder strap.

Incase ARC Travel Pack


The Travel Pack is a small suitcase that also has room for your tech. If you regularly take a second set of clothing for your commute, e.g. gym clothes and shoes, as well as a laptop up to 16 inches and a 13-inch tablet, too, this would be a great fit. It is compact and slim but it can actually fit quite a lot.

Organization inside and out is spot-on. The main compartment butterflies open and there are zippered mesh dividers to help keep your packing tidy. A separate, expandable shoe compartment accessed from the front keeps your clothes clean and has room and then some to fit my size-12 shoes (11 in the UK and Australia). 

Using the shoe storage does eat into your internal space but you can open a zipper that wraps around the body to give you a couple of inches of additional storage space. There are compression straps on the outside to help cinch things down, however they look sloppy compared to the overall clean look of the bag. Similarly, with no way to secure the shoulder straps to the bag's back panel, the shoulder straps simply sag and flap around when you carry the bag by its side handle.

One of the bag's best features, an internal water-bottle pocket that's accessible from the outside, helps keep the outside of the bag looking tidy. It also lets you put the bag down on its side without the water bottle getting in the way, and it would make sliding it under an airplane seat easier as well. 

There is a separate laptop-and-tablet compartment at the back of the bag with a YKK weather-sealed zipper. However, unlike the company's EO Travel Backpack, the compartment doesn't fully open and lie flat to make passing through airport scanners easier. There are also no loops on the zippers to add a lock to secure your tech or other belongings in the backpack. 

Incase ARC Commuter Pack


While the Travel Pack is a mixed bag for me, the Commuter Pack is a winner. Again, organization is great, but this time the bag's design is more all-around thoughtful. For example, the zippered pockets on each side can be used to hold a water bottle or umbrella but can also be used to simply secure small items. It's also a good place to charge your phone on the go. And when they're not in use, there's no saggy pockets to look at.

The main compartment has plenty of room for a lunch, headphones, books or whatever, and there's a large slip pocket for files, too. There is also a set of elastic tie-down straps similar to what you'd find in a suitcase that are perfect for holding a jacket. Just like the Travel Pack, you'll find a separate laptop-and-tablet compartment with a weather-sealed zipper. The laptop sleeves are lined with faux fur to protect your tech and feel amazing to boot. 

My favorite feature, though, is the hidden faux-fur-lined pocket on the top. It's a quick-and-easy spot to drop your phone or sunglasses, and it has a magnetic closure so stuff won't fall out. But the best part is that the pocket is accessible even when the pack is on your back. 

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Incase A.R.C. Collection

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When it comes to the rigors of daily carry, Incase bags have made a name for themselves as a sleek and solid options for protecting your essential tech. This fall, Incase steps up their game even further with their new A.R.C. collection. A.R.C. is short for “A Responsible Carry,” a nod to the unique mix of smart durable design, practical organizational features, and sustainability at the heart of each bag in the new line.

incase arc travel pack review

There are a total of four bags which vary in size and intended use, but each one features premium materials and build quality, comfort, and ease of use that makes them a compelling choice for EDC, whether you’re looking for a small day pack or looking to pick up your next robust carry-on travel one-bag.

incase arc travel pack review

Each bag features a mix of 1200D and 900D recycled polyester fabric, with PU coatings in critical areas to protect areas of high wear. The zippers are all YKK, with both weatherproof and high-speed RC hardware used at different points. UTX hardware is used for the buckles, and their high quality overbuilt nature means they won’t snap and break even under heavy loads.

incase arc travel pack review

The A.R.C. collection features comfort-focused Ortholite memory foam padding, which allows for 95-100% breathability with bacterial growth prevention integrated into the foam. Bacterial growth prevention is also built into the liners inside of the bag, which you’ll appreciate especially for reducing odors if you need a change of clothes. Finally, each bag features an RFID blocking lining that hinders cellular and GPS transmission, keeping you and your tech protected from digital theft and unwanted tracking.

incase arc travel pack review

The Tech Tote is designed as a professional, minimalist, over-the-shoulder bag for your tech essentials and important documents. It can be carried strictly as a tote with the comfortable EVA-cushioned carry handles but the D rings at the sides let you use it crossbody over the shoulder as well when given enough length. On each panel of the exterior of the Tech Tote there are quick access zippered pouches for your gear. The main compartment features enough padded room to safely fit up to a 13″ Apple MacBook Pro too. And the internal water bottle pocket lets you carry one of your choice without ruining the clean overall aesthetic of the bag from the outside.

Check Out the Tech Tote

The A.R.C. Daypack features a low-profile, elegant look that doesn’t scream “laptop backpack” to the world. Differentiating itself from a lot of day packs in the industry that feature a big cavernous main compartment, Incase’s Daypack features a plethora of inner sleeves and pockets that help organize your everyday carry essentials and puts everything its place. Its padded, faux-fur-lined laptop compartment fits up to 16” MacBook and up to 12.9” iPad, and its organizational features helps when you’re trying to find a specific piece of gear quickly too, a big boon in a crowded bag full of cables, adaptors, and other tech tidbits.

Check Out the Daypack

incase arc travel pack review

Commuter Pack

The Commuter Pack features an office-friendly professional design that works great for the namesake daily commute, but it also features the ability to turn into a travel-oriented bag thanks to its clamshell opening and tie down straps for compression and securing your gear. There’s even a luggage passthrough sleeve so you can use it as your personal bag with a larger set of carry-on luggage. A special feature of this bag is the tech compartment on the front, which takes the place of a dedicated tech pouch by giving you an organizational space for small tech essentials that’s easily accessible. Like the Daypack, the Commuter Pack can also take on your biggest hardware, accommodating a MacBook up to 16” and an iPad up to 12.9”.

Check out the Commuter Pack

incase arc travel pack review

Travel Pack

The Travel Pack features a smart travel design that’s versatile enough for business EDC even if you don’t find yourself commuting on a plane or a train. The bag features a clamshell main compartment that opens entirely flat for easy compartmentalized loading and unloading of clothes and other essentials for an extended trip. When you need to maximize space you can quickly unzip the YKK expansion zipper to give yourself an extra 3.15″ of space. There’s a dedicated 16″ laptop and padded compartment near the foam at the back, and there’s tons of pockets including some that are hidden for stashing tech essentials, travel documents, and valuables. The luggage passthrough sleeve lets this bag integrate into a larger traditional luggage ensemble, but the ability to cinch things down along with the comfort afforded by the foam back panel and sternum strap allow you to go it alone with just this bag when you need it.

Check Out the Travel Pack

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INCASE A.R.C. Travel Pack

INCASE A.R.C. Travel Pack

You don’t have to look like an overburdened Sherpa to carry around all your gear. The new A.R.C. Travel Pack is meant for everyday gear carry, as well as for travel, and it manages to look low-on-the-radar and quite sleek in the process. Made with recycled polyester, it’s properly sustainable to ease the conscience while providing space for clothing, shoes, a 16″ MacBook and a 12.9″ iPad, all in dedicated compartments. Great water resistance and Butterfly access to the main compartment add to its repertoire, as well as RFID blocking technology, bacterial prevention on the handles and in the lining, breathable Ortholite Impressions foam on the straps and back, and a pass-through strap to dock onto rolling luggage. Never did a pack so capacious and convenient look this understated.

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Incase EO Travel Backpack Review

The Incase EO Travel Backpack is a streamlined, functional, and versatile bag that expands from 24–33L. But we wish the harness system was more robust.

Our Verdict

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  • Thoughtful organization and access
  • Expandable from 24L to 33L—great for versatile modes of carry
  • Streamlined look with some great functionality
  • Buckles can be hard to use (the straps get in the way)
  • Position of grab handles are not ideal while expanded
  • Harness system is lackluster

Technical Details

Carry-on compliance.

View 63/145 Airlines

Disclaimer: We take the measurements of the bag provided by the manufacturer and compare them to the allowance listed on airline websites. This should be used as a guideline rather than a rule. Bags can change size as you pack them out, and every airline's interpretation of compliance is different. Just because a bag is listed as carry-on compliant here doesn't mean that the airline will interpret it that way.

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

Not expanded, 33l expanded

Weight (lb)

3 lb (1.4 kg)

21.5 in x 15 in x 5 in (54.6 x 38.1 x 12.7 cm)

Not expanded

Notable Materials

Polyester, Cotton, Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware

Manufacturing Country

Laptop Compartment Size

Warranty Information

Incase Warranty

Full Review

The Incase EO Travel Backpack is a 24L backpack that can be used for your everyday essentials or expanded to 33L to pack for longer trips.

The folks at Incase frame their designs around “protection and mobility to meet the evolving demands of today’s creatives.” Basically, they want to make sure your laptop is safe. And they specifically focus on those creatives who use Apple products—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Incase EO Travel Backpack In Belize

We’ve been testing the Incase EO Travel Backpack for the last month in Detroit, Michigan, Atlanta, Georgia, and San Pedro, Belize.

So, let’s dive into the details.

Materials & Aesthetic

The main material on the Incase EO Travel Backpack is a 900D polyester. On the front is a triple-coated TPU. Since this material is not used around the entirety of the bag, it may be more for aesthetic purposes instead of additional weather resistance.

We’ve seen a decent amount of marks develop on the TPU—which isn’t surprising. We’ve seen scuff marks like these develop on other bags that use this material, too. So, if you get this bag, you’ll probably experience the same.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Scuffed Material

From a branding perspective, you’ll see a black-on-black Incase logo on the front of the bag and near the strap. You’ll also see little Incase leaves on the edges of the zipper pulls, as well as where the strap attaches to the bag. Personally, we like the look of this logo, so we don’t mind it popping up in various places.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Material & Logo

At the time of this review, you can pick up the Incase EO Travel Backpack in a few different colorways which come with slightly different materials. We’ve been testing the Black (obviously) which features the materials we mentioned above. The Heather Gray is made with an eco-friendly 300D polyester, while the Navy has 100% polyester on the exterior.

Incase EO Travel Backpack In Detroit

When this bag is compressed, it looks pretty slick. Fully expanded, the EO Travel Backpack definitely has a boxy look. It can appear bulky and a bit saggy (more on that in a minute), but functionally, it does a pretty good job standing up on its own. Especially if you pack it right.

Overall, we’re digging the look of the Incase Eo Travel Backpack—especially when compressed—but our Instagram audience is pretty split. About 51% gave this bag a thumbs up in the aesthetic department. (Make sure to check us out on Instagram to participate in future polls.)

Incase EO Travel Backpack Zippers & Buckles

Wrapping up the rest of the notable materials on this bag, we have beefy YKK zippers with easy-to-grab zipper pulls. Plus, durable Duraflex plastic hardware on the compression straps, strap adjusters, and sternum strap.

Exterior Components

The harness system on the Incase EO Travel Backpack is pretty straight forward. The shoulder straps do a decent job, but they’re nothing to write home about.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Shoulder Strap Padding

Compared to similar travel bags, the amount of padding and its density is pretty low. There’s also a noticeable edge to the strap, which can sort of cut into your chest and shoulders if it’s fully loaded with heavy gear. Plus, since there are no load lifters, the bag can be a little saggy. On the plus side, the mesh below the shoulder straps adds some great breathability.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Shoulder Straps

The straps themselves are easy to adjust with Duraflex hardware. This harness system is permanently attached to the bag, so there’s no hiding the straps like you can on other packs. While we don’t have an issue with this, it may be a deal-breaker for you.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Sternum Strap

We really like the sternum strap on this bag. It’s pretty much permanently attached, so it won’t get lost. And there’s a bit of elastic that gives the sternum strap some flexibility to move with you when walking. We’ve found that straps designed like this are a lot more comfortable to wear than ones without the elastic. And there’s a strap keeper to help you achieve #DangleFreeExperience.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Back Panel

Taking a look at the back panel, you’ll find two rounded rectangles that do a pretty good job of promoting airflow and breathability. It also looks great as a design element compared to the boxy nature of the rest of the bag. Visually, the back panel is pulled together nicely—and that’s exactly what we’d expect from Incase. As for the functionality, that dreaded swamp back is always hard to avoid, but these panels should help a bit.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Buckle Issue

Now, before we move on, we do have a weird little nitpick with the buckles on the Incase EO Travel Backpack. The female side of the buckles acts as a sort of a sheath to cover up the strap on the opposite side. This gives the buckles a clean look, but if the strap is even the slightest bit loose, it obstructs buckling the clip. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but these small design details can really make a difference when you’re rushing to catch your train or flight and trying to do things quickly.

Another thing to point out on the Incase EO Travel Backpack is that the entire harness system is held on by a #5 YKK zipper. We’re all about YKK zippers, but a No. 5 is pretty measly compared to the larger #10 on the main compartment. If this #5 zipper were to break, the bag would pretty much become useless—except for holding it by the handles. We’re surprised that Incase didn’t opt for a #10 here.

Speaking of handles—there are two pretty nice grab handles on this bag. One at the top and one on the wearer’s right-hand side. They’re nicely padded, have some mesh for breathability, and generally feel good in the hand. That said, they’re a little crinkly.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Handles

You’ll want to keep positioning in mind with these side handles. When the bag is in compressed-mode, they’re pretty grabbable. When the bag is expanded, however, the handle goes way to the front which gives you a floppy, angled carry. Especially if you have a lot of weight inside. Some bag companies skirt this by anchoring the handles at an angle, or they’ll place it right in the center, but that isn’t possible with the compression zipper design Incase chose for this bag. Ultimately, this will just mean a slightly unbalanced carrying experience that’ll be more pronounced when the bag is fully loaded with heavy gear.

To expand the EO Travel Backpack fully, simply unzip the compression zipper and completely loosen all four compression straps. When it gets to that point, the bag is pretty wide and boxy. If you don’t have the bag stuffed full, you can use the compression straps to give this thing a slimmer profile. This gives you quite a bit of customizability between 24L and 33L, which we’re big fans of. If 24L is too small but 33L is too big, no problem. Just tighten up the compression straps on the sides and you’re good to go.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Expanded

We want to point out that the compression straps can only be unbuckled on the wearer’s right-hand side to get access to the main clamshell. The other side has no buckle—just strap adjusters. When the bag is fully compressed, these compression straps can get very dangly very quickly. We wish they would’ve offered elastic keepers like they did on the sternum strap, but alas.

One other quick note: due to the way the EO Travel Backpack compresses, there is no external water bottle compartment.

Inside the Pack

The inside of the Incase EO Travel Backpack has some great organization going on. Let’s start with the thing you’re probably most excited about—the laptop compartment (Incase does talk it up after all).

Incase EO Travel Backpack Laptop Compartment & Sleeve

The laptop compartment opens up clamshell-style. This means, during a security checkpoint, TSA might let you lay it open flat and leave your computer in your bag. We’ve had low success rates in getting through security like this, but your mileage may vary.

We really dig how padded the laptop sleeve is. And it’s lined with a fur-like material that’s so soft, you may find yourself petting it for minutes on end. (No? Just us?) Seriously though, it’s great. The only problem with this laptop sleeve is that there’s no false bottom—meaning, your laptop is not suspended within the compartment. If you drop your bag, there’s not much to stop your laptop from hitting the ground, which could lead to some damage. There is some padding on the bottom of the bag, which should help.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Laptop Compartment Liner Pocket

Opposite of the laptop sleeve, you’ll find a liner sleeve where you could put documents, a slim keyboard, or other flat items.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Top Quick-Grab Pocket

At the top of the bag is a quick-grab pocket that’s about the width of the handle. It’s lined with that same incredibly soft faux-fur found in the laptop sleeve. This pocket is a little bit on the small side—we’ve even had some trouble getting a plus-sized iPhone in it—so it’s much better suited for something like sunglasses.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Front Quick-Grab Pocket

If you’d like a larger quick-access pocket to dump the contents of your pockets into when you’re going through airport security, the front pocket of the EO is a better fit. It has ample room inside and we like the yellow-green interior—it turns on the lights and makes it easy to find your stuff. We also dig that the zipper is hidden beneath a fabric welt, promoting a clean look that goes along so well with the backpack.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Front Pocket Organization

The tech area on the Incase EO Travel Backpack is excellent. The zipper on the front opens up horseshoe-style about halfway down the bag. On the front flap towards the bottom, you’ll find two nylon divider pockets. If you keep this bag pretty fully loaded, we think the nylon pockets could be cut—with the outer pocket, main pocket, and two layers of organization, it just gets to be a little bit much. We found ourselves not using these liner pockets very often.

Towards the back panel is two stretchy mesh pockets, which are great. We kept an Apple Magic Keyboard inside of a neoprene sleeve in one, and a tech pouch in the other.

This organization panel also has liner divider pockets that can house items like a battery bank, snacks, pens, pencils, styluses (styli?), or a small notebook. There’s plenty of space above these liner pockets so you should have room to fit taller items, like a notebook. Plus, depending on how you use these pockets, you may have room for another pouch (like a toiletries bag) in this top area.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Main Compartment Clamshell Opening

The EO Travel Backpack’s main compartment opens up suitcase-style. The left side has a smaller, mesh pocket, which is nice for things like socks, underwear, a small Dopp kit—anything you don’t need quick access to. Above it, you’ll find a small tag that reads “Travel well.” And we enjoy that little reminder.

Incase EO Travel Backpack "Travel Well" Tag

On the right side, you’ve got a mesh compartment with a neon yellow-green zipper that’s super easy to spot and unzip. It’s pretty much designed like a clamshell suitcase. The cavernous space that opens up inside is ideal for packing cubes . Or, you could fit quite a lot of loose clothing in here if that’s more your style.

The lining inside the main compartment has this funky gray and black pattern. This isn’t as much of an issue for visibility here since the bag opens up fully clamshell, but we’re curious what it would have looked like with the yellow-green liner used in the front pocket.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Main Compartment Lining

On a trip to Belize, we packed one small and one medium Peak Design Packing Cube —which fit in there pretty much perfectly inside the main compartment—as well as a shoe pouch with some sandals inside and a Blunt Metro Umbrella .

Now, keep in mind that the main compartment is what expands and compresses. So, if you have the expansion zipped up and fully compressed, it becomes significantly smaller.

Incase EO Travel Backpack Main Compartment Packed

All in all, it’s a nice, simple main compartment. And we’ve liked the versatility of being able to compress this bag down based on what you have inside.

Durability & Testing

At the time of this review, we’ve been testing the Incase EO Travel Backpack in Michigan, Georgia, and Belize. In Michigan, we’ve been using it as a daily driver to bring our essentials to and from work. We found it to be a bit large for everyday use, but not so big that it’s cumbersome (if you keep it compressed to 24L).

Incase EO Travel Backpack In The Overhead Bin On An Airplane

As a one-bag travel pack, the EO is pretty solid as well. The thoughtful pocket layouts make it great to organize all your stuff. But we did notice that some of the design details—like the positioning of the handles and lackluster harness system—were a pain to use in transit.

Overall, we’ve enjoyed testing this bag for both EDC and travel. It’s a solid contender if you’re looking for one bag to do it all.

Usage Timeline

Condition: Excellent

  • Middle compartment expands to give you 35% more carrying capacity, great for longer trips or just hauling more clothes and gear
  • Laptop compartment feels secure and has a super soft lining
  • Good amount of organization in this bag

It’s a little big for daily carry, but the thoughtful organization is working out well. And that laptop sleeve is so soft!

Took this on a trip to Belize, fully expanded and packed out. While the expansion works well, the harness system isn’t our favorite and feels a little cheap.


Get your questions about the Incase EO Travel Backpack answered from our team and the Pro Community right here on the page. Plus, join discussions with other members about gear, guides, and more.

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Incase EO Travel Backpack

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incase arc travel pack review

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incase arc travel pack review

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Incase A.R.C. Daypack, 19.5L - Travel Computer Backpack & 16 Inch Laptop Bag w/MacBook, iPad, RFID & Travel Pass Pockets - Sustainable & Water-Resistant Tech Backpack, Black (17.5in x 11.4in x 6.2in)

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Incase A.R.C. Daypack, 19.5L - Travel Computer Backpack & 16 Inch Laptop Bag w/MacBook, iPad, RFID & Travel Pass Pockets - Sustainable & Water-Resistant Tech Backpack, Black (17.5in x 11.4in x 6.2in)


Purchase options and add-ons

  • Ultimate Versatility - The A.R.C Daypack is the perfect lightweight travel backpack designed to keep your daily essentials organized and easily accessible. Crafted from recycled polyester and ideal for transitioning from the set to the office then out for the weekend.
  • Tech Enthusiast - Our versatile tech backpack features a padded faux-fur lined laptop compartment that fits up to a 16" MacBook and up to a 12.9" iPad. Additionally offering an RFID-blocking compartment to prevent digital theft while on-the-go.
  • Uncompromised Performance - This computer bag is sustainably designed with a mixture of 900D x 1200D recycled polyester and exterior water repellent coating to resist wear and stains. While durable and high-performance hardware line the tech compartments.
  • Sleek & Sophisticated - Unlike typical laptop backpacks, Incase keeps user convenience in mind. Enhanced comfort and breathability comes from the Ortholite Impressions Foam embedded in our eco-friendly material along the shoulder straps and backp panel. An ergonomic sternum-strap was also incorporated to make the load feel lighter during your commute.
  • Thoughtful Design - A laptop carrying case for any occassion, whether you're a working professional or a frequent traveler a thoughtful and discreet AirTag pockets gives you limitless peace of mind.

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Product Description


Each and every day

A versatile carry for today’s creatives, the Daypack effortlessly transitions from the set to the office then out for the weekend. Organize and access all tech and everyday essentials quickly using dedicated compartments and sleeves to seamlessly move from place to place.

ortholite materials

OrthoLite Impressions Foam

Ortholite Impressions Foam offers enhanced comfort, breathability and moisture-management all embedded in one material.

a lot of features for your everyday life

A better experience through good design.

Over the past few years we have revolutionized how we work, and create. The A.R.C. collection is a modern illustration of the tools you need to stay focused, creating and inspired.

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Incase A.R.C. Travel Pack Review

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incase arc travel pack review

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incase arc travel pack review

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incase arc travel pack review

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A.R.C Travel Pack

A.R.C Travel Pack

  • Sustainably designed with a mixture of 900D x 1200D recycled polyester, with the main fabric incorporating an exterior water-repellent coating to resist wear and stains.
  • RFID-blocking tech compartment prevents digital info theft.
  • Ortholite® Impressions foam on shoulder straps and back panel for breathability and comfort.

Zippered laptop compartment fits up to 16” MacBook and up to 12.9” iPad.

Butterfly opening gives full and easy access to large main compartment.

  • Bacterial prevention on top and side handles, plus lining throughout bag.

Dedicated shoe compartment.

  • Expansion zipper unlocks increased storage space by 80 mm.
  • Premium YKK® zippers, including YKK® weather resistant zippers on tech compartments.
  • Proven high-performance Duraflex® hardware.
  • Ergonomic sternum-strap makes the load feel lighter.

Travel pass-through for secure roller-bag integration.

  • Hidden storage pocket below the travel pass-through.
  • Multiple internal zippered mesh dividers and pockets keep essentials organized.

Sleek enough for business class travel, comfortable as a daily office go-to, and ready for a weekend trip.

[spec-block material]

Recycled Polyester

[spec-block dimensions]

483mm x 330mm x 203mm (L x W x H)

Volume: 25L *33L fully expanded*

[spec-block compatibility]

Up to 16" MacBook Pro, iPad

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incase arc travel pack review

Travel well.

Sleek enough for business class travel, comfortable as a daily office go-to, and ready for a weekend trip, the Travel Pack is the ultimate tech and lifestyle crossover bag.

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incase arc travel pack review

The way you get there. .

Trajectory. This is our drive, our need to experience and explore. The momentum that guides us. The Incase A.R.C collection delivers an ecosystem of bags that provides the utility today’s creatives need to seek out their own path.

incase arc travel pack review

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incase arc travel pack review

Eco-friendly Ortholite Impressions Foam .

Ortholite Impressions Foam offers enhanced comfort, breathability, and moisture-management all embedded in one eco-friendly material. Extra bacterial growth prevention is featured on all webbing, handles and interior lining.

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incase arc travel pack review

Adaptable organization.

A butterfly opening design allows for multiple compartments, while zippered mesh dividers and a dedicated shoe compartment ensure items stay neatly in place on-the-go. Additional laptop, tech, and water bottle pockets provide ultimate device protection and thoughtful organization.

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incase arc travel pack review

Safe and secure .

Discover the latest tech features like RFID blocking that keeps the data found on your credit cards, passports, and ID’s safe from digital theft.

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incase arc travel pack review

Sustain your A.R.C.

Premium, sustainable fabrications are matched with a modern take on durability. The main fabric has DWR (durable water repellant) coating to resist both water and stains, a PU coating is featured on areas of high wear to maintain performance.

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incase arc travel pack review

A better experience through good design.

Over the past few years we have revolutionized how we work, and create. The A.R.C. collection is a modern illustration of the tools you need to stay focused, creating and inspired.

incase arc travel pack review

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Incase EO Travel Backpack Review

Comfort, organization, and thoughtful construction married to an elegant design makes this pack best for business travel

Incase EO Travel Backpack

The Incase EO Travel Backpack is one of 10 travel backpacks I evaluated for qualities including organization, comfort, and sturdiness as part of CR’s Outside the Labs reviews program.

Price: $169 Where to buy: Amazon , InCase Dimensions: 12.25 x 19.5 x 6 inches Weight: 3 pounds Construction: Polyester Claimed capacity: 26 liters Tuckable pack sleeves: Yes External bottle sleeve: No Shoulder carry: Yes Waist strap: No Eyeglass sleeve: Yes Extras: Keychain loop

Here’s My Review The Incase EO is just slightly less comfortable for long slogs than the Patagonia, but the soft-touch fabric and elegant design of the EO make it a great choice for business travelers in need of a more polished look. The bulk of the bags I evaluated are designed with a big, main compartment sandwiched by a laptop sleeve on the side that fits against your back and an organizer area for smaller items on the outside. This Incase bag takes a four-layer-cake approach, instead. Its laptop sleeve is large enough for a tablet, magazine, MacBook, and my paperback; the central cavity is ideal for clothing, etc., and then there’s another layer that would be perfect for a sport coat or jacket. (Mesh dividers let you see what you’ve stuffed, so you’re not guessing where you put what.)

See our  review of the best travel backpacks  for more information, including details on how we evaluated them.

The fourth, or outermost, layer has lots of nooks for snacks, notebook, cell charger, cable organizer, pens, and so on. This pocket is thicker than those of most other brands, so there’s also enough room to cram in last-minute items like the magazine you grabbed pre-flight. The organization of this bag shows that someone at this company travels A LOT. 

Is it perfect? Not quite. There’s no waist strap option, but broad shoulder straps and very thick back padding do help keep the ride stable. It would be kinder on my body not to have all that weight on my shoulders, but it’s manageable and was pretty comfy for e-biking, grocery-store strolling, and walking up and down hills in my town. 

Bonus! Side compression straps and an expansion zipper let you crank down the Incase to fit into the stingy storage area under the seat in front of you, and then let the bag exhale to fit souvenirs from your adventures. 

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Other Travel Backpacks Evaluated

• Amazon Basics Carry-On Travel Backpack •  Away the Backpack • eBags Pro Slim •  Pacsafe Vibe 28L Anti-Theft Backpack •  Patagonia Black Hole Mini MLC Travel Backpack •  Thule Crossover Backpack 32L •  Topo Designs Global Briefcase •  Tumi Essential Backpack Alpha Bravo • Yeti Crossroads 27L

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The 13 best carry-on backpacks of 2024, tested & reviewed.

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The Best Carry-on Backpacks

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L in blue in field.

Leilani Osmundson | U.S. News

Not sure whether to take a rolling suitcase or a travel backpack on the plane? Both types of carry-on luggage certainly have their merits, but if you like keeping your arms and hands free when traveling, a backpack is the right choice for you. Furthermore, compared to a hard-sided suitcase , it's easier to squeeze a malleable backpack into an overhead bin or under the seat. And if your vacation is focused on adventure travel, you might value a durable pack on your back over wheels on the ground.

U.S. News compiled this list from extensive research and testing along with consumer reviews. Whatever your reason for choosing a backpack, there are plenty on the market to satisfy your needs. Read on for the best carry-on travel backpacks.

Best Overall: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

  • Jump to features and expert insights ↓

Best Budget: ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Hiking Backpack 20L

Best lightweight: mz wallace metro utility backpack.

  • Best for Business Travel (tie): Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack – Large
  • Best for Business Travel (tie): Aer Travel Pack 3

Best for International Travel: Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Pack

Best for weekend getaways: solo grand travel tsa backpack, best for women: tumi voyageur celina backpack, best for men: peak design travel backpack 45l, best for adventure travel: kelty redwing 36, best with wheels: samsonite tectonic nutech wheeled backpack, best organization: augustnoa classic noa, best leather: monos metro backpack in vegan leather.

(Note: Prices and availability were accurate at the time of publication; they may fluctuate due to demand and other factors. Dimensions of backpacks are height by width by depth.)

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L in purple.

Price: $200 or less

When it comes to bag travel, the Cotopaxi Allpa packs a serious punch. The carry-on backpack is available in three sizes – 42L, 35L and 28L – and a variety of colors, including the vibrant multicolor Del Día style. The 35L size not only fits everything you need for your next getaway, but it's also TSA-compliant as a carry-on item . On the outside, the Allpa features a removable waist belt, a padded laptop sleeve on the side, anti-theft zippers, carabiner lash loops for extra gear, a sternum strap and a front zippered pocket. The backpack straps can be tucked away if you're looking to save more room in the overhead bin or you want to carry the bag via its grab handles.

The bag opens suitcase-style; inside, you'll find one large zippered mesh compartment on the right and a subdivided zippered mesh compartment on the left, providing ample space for all your clothes, shoes and accessories. What's more, the bag comes with a rain cover (though it's already water-resistant).

What our editors say:

I've taken my Cotopaxi Allpa on countless adventures, from a road trip around Iceland to camping all over Colorado. It fits more than expected, is comfortable to wear (especially if using the waist belt) and is extremely durable. I just wish the 35L had an exterior water bottle pocket like the 42L does! – Leilani Osmundson, Senior Digital Producer

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Hiking Backpack 20L in black and gray.

Erin Evans | U.S. News

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Hiking Backpack 20L in black and gray.

Price: $15.99 or less

This backpack has three excellent things going for it: It's affordable, lightweight and durable. It's a great option for a weekend getaway bag and is an excellent little backpack to have on hand for tours and day trips once you make it to your destination. If you're planning to hike or kayak on your next getaway, you'll definitely want to have the ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Backpack in your back pocket – literally. It can be folded into a compact pouch and tucked away in a larger carry-on bag if you're planning to only use it as a daypack.

The lightweight travel bag is both tear- and water-resistant. With all of its pockets – including one on each side for water bottles or umbrellas – you'll be able to fit everything you need for an adventure-filled trip.

It can fit enough for a weekend trip, plus it's super useful for hiking, boat excursions and more once you're in your destination because it's so light and water-resistant. I've used it for years and it has held up incredibly well; it comes in so many fun colors, too. I love it so much, I bought two so my husband has one he can use as well. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

MZ Wallace Metro Utility Backpack in black.

Rachael Hood | U.S. News

MZ Wallace Metro Utility Backpack in black.

Price: $345 or less

Constructed with recycled bluesign-approved quilted nylon, this chic bag is packed with pockets and organizational details. The interior has a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve, a large zip pocket with two slip pockets, two water bottle pockets and two removable pouches. On the front of the bag there's a deep phone pocket and multiple zippered pockets of various sizes, including a small one that's ideal for a boarding pass, earbuds or wipes.

A water bottle pocket sits on each side of the bag, and the back of the bag has a luggage trolley sleeve that can be zipped shut on the bottom to be a pocket when not attached to your suitcase. This backpack has a top-zip design, and can be carried by the two top handles or the adjustable padded backpack straps.

This bag has completely changed my mind about backpacks. It's extremely spacious and works so well for my laptop, change of clothes, toiletry bag and other carry-on essentials. I love all of the pockets and that I can carry this like a north-south tote in addition to using the trolley sleeve or backpack straps. But what truly sets this apart is the beautiful fabrication that is so soft and the luxurious Italian leather details. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

Best for Business Travel: Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack and Aer Travel Pack 3 (tie)

Dagne dover dakota neoprene backpack – large.

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack in brown.

Catriona Kendall | U.S. News

Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack in brown.

Price: $215 or less

This sleek, professional backpack by Dagne Dover is perfect for professional and casual settings alike, with a vast array of organizational features and a 20-liter capacity for the large size. On the outside, you'll find a zippered padded pocket for up to 16-inch laptops and a slip pocket for your phone, while an interior sleeve can fit a tablet or a second laptop, allowing you to travel with multiple devices. The inside of the bag has two mesh slip pockets and a zip-top pouch attached with a leash, as well as three zippered pockets in the front panel.

To help you stay even more organized, the exterior also features a zippered front pocket with pen loops and a key clip; two zippered side pockets; two slip side pockets; and straps to secure a small bottle. The water-resistant bag comes with adjustable shoulder straps, a luggage sleeve and a separate shoe bag.

I adore bringing this bag to work and using it as a personal item on flights. I don't think I've ever used a backpack with better organization than this one – there's a dedicated place for every little thing, from keys to pens to my devices. I also love that the neoprene material is extremely lightweight and water-resistant. – Catriona Kendall, Editor

Aer Travel Pack 3

Aer Travel Pack 3 in black.

Price: $249 or less

With a pocket for everything, the clamshell-style Aer Travel Pack 3 keeps you organized to the max on business trips. Keep your laptop (up to 16 inches) safe in the padded, zippered laptop sleeve, and stow your passport in the quick-access side pocket. The front compartment features several sizes of pockets perfect for chargers, notepads, pens and more. Along with the lay-flat main compartment for clothes, there's also an interior pocket for small accessories as well as a hidden luggage tracker pocket.

Designed for one-bag travel, the durable Aer Travel Pack 3 also features a water-resistant nylon exterior along with load lifters for a more comfortable fit. You can purchase a hip belt separately.

The Aer Travel Pack 3 has one of the sleekest designs when it comes to carry-on backpacks. I also appreciate all the pockets: The sizable laptop pocket is perfect for someone like me who uses a huge laptop; the eight pockets in just the front compartment are so handy for everything you could need while traveling; and the bag even comes with a zippered water bottle pocket on the side. – Leilani Osmundson

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Pack in blue.

Price: $185 or less

The Osprey Farpoint is truly an all-in-one travel pack that combines quality with minimal weight. The clamshell-style carry-on bag features a substantial main compartment across from a large mesh pocket. There's an easy-to-access zippered laptop sleeve on the side for devices up to 16 inches.

For extra support and comfort, the backpack includes a sternum strap, back panel, harness and hip belt; the latter three can be zipped up for fully streamlined travel, and compression straps help slim the bag down even more. The Osprey Farpoint 40 meets most domestic carry-on size requirements and is compatible with the Farpoint/Fairview Travel Daypack , which can be brought onto the plane as a personal item .

This is one of my favorite backpacks. I love how the back can be zipped up so the bag more resembles a duffel; this makes it easy to stow away without having to deal with a lot of straps. Additionally, the interior compression straps can really help cinch down belongings, especially if you're using packing cubes . – Leilani Osmundson

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Solo Grand Travel TSA Backpack in gray.

Amanda Norcross | U.S. News

Solo Grand Travel TSA Backpack in gray.

Price: $117.99 or less

Perfect for weekend getaways , the Solo Grand TSA Travel Backpack opens like a regular suitcase. In the main compartment, you can secure several outfits with compression straps and store accessories and toiletries in two zippered mesh pockets. In the back, a padded compartment protects laptops up to 17.3 inches in size, and on the front there are a variety of pockets – even pockets within pockets – for your phone and other essentials. This backpack is also equipped with two side mesh pockets, a trolley sleeve, and side and top carry handles.

This backpack is flawless. It's big without the bulk and has plenty of pockets, which not only makes it ideal for weekend getaways but also prevents me from having to awkwardly rummage through my bag when I need something on the plane. – Amanda Norcross, Senior Content & SEO Strategist

TUMI Voyageur Celina Backpack in black.

Price: $475 or less

This backpack blends function and fashion with a compact design. On the front of the bag are two zip compartments and a U-zip pocket with a card slot, a slip pocket and a pen holder. The interior of the bag is divided into two separate compartments: one zippered section with a padded laptop compartment (holds up to a 15-inch PC or 16-inch MacBook), and another large compartment with a zippered pocket and two slip pockets (ideal for glasses or charging cords).

There is also a zippered compartment on each side of the bag, one of which has a water-resistant lining for a water bottle. On the back of the bag you'll find a hidden phone compartment and a trolley sleeve to attach to a roller bag.

This style oozes sophistication, especially the black with the gold hardware. From its sleek material to its many pockets and details, this backpack looks and feels like a chic handbag that can go from the office to a beach resort with ease. I especially like that there are two places you can access the front compartment of the bag, and I like that the laptop section is separate from the rest of the backpack so it's easier to take out my computer and go through airport security (which makes me less likely to drop something from inside my bag). – Rachael Hood

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L in black.

Price: $299.95 or less

The Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is a solid, rugged choice that will last. The nylon canvas shell of the backpack is weatherproof and water-resistant, with a waterproof bottom liner as well. You can unzip the back panel to access the main packing compartment, which is also accessible via zippers along each side of the bag and can be divided in two by a mesh sleeve. To keep you organized, this backpack has quick-access pockets for small items like passports and glasses, plus expandable side pockets for water bottles, tripods or umbrellas.

The bag meets carry-on size requirements but can expand by 1.5 inches if you need the extra room; the shoulder straps and hip belt tuck away if you plan to check it instead. If you prefer a smaller bag, the Peak Design Travel Backpack also comes in a 30-liter size .

If you only want to bring one bag on a short trip, you can't go wrong with this backpack. It's sturdy, reliable and able to fit a ton while still being carry-on-sized. It served me well on a recent trip to New Zealand, and I'd definitely recommend it for travelers who like hands-free luggage. – Catriona Kendall

Kelty Redwing 36 in blue.

Price: $134.95 or less

If you'll be adventuring in the great outdoors for your next trip, consider purchasing the Kelty Redwing 36 backpack. You'll find two exterior water bottle pockets as well as a hydration-friendly inner pocket (for storing a water bladder). Tool loops can hold hiking poles, fishing poles, ice axes or other adventure gear. Organization is made easy with plenty of zippered pockets, including one on each side of the bag, a large one on the front and one on top that's perfect for storing travel documents such as a passport. Plus, a ventilated back panel helps keep you cool when you're hurrying through airports or hiking up a mountain.

If you need a bigger backpack, the Kelty Redwing 50 Tactical is a great checked bag option and has many of the same features as the Redwing 36 along with more straps and pockets.

The Kelty Redwing 36 can be cinched down quite a bit for truly streamlined travel and to better meet carry-on size guidelines. However, I'll caution that the waist belt is difficult to remove. – Leilani Osmundson

Samsonite Tectonic NuTech Wheeled Backpack in black.

Price: $159.99 or less

If you want the flexibility to either carry or wheel your luggage, a wheeled backpack style may work best for you. The Samsonite Tectonic NuTech Wheeled Backpack transforms from a rolling bag into a backpack by just tucking in the handle, pulling out the stowed straps and using the wheel cover. The durable polyester material is water-repellent and has red accents.

There are three sections to this bag: a main compartment with space to pack for a weekend trip, a dedicated sleeve for both a laptop up to 15.6 inches and a tablet up to 11 inches, and a front pocket equipped with various organizational features. There are various small pockets, pen sleeves, card slots and a key leash within. You can tuck a water bottle and umbrella into the exterior pockets on either side of the bag. Just keep in mind that this bag may slightly exceed carry-on size restrictions on some airlines with stricter rules.

I expected a wheeled backpack to be uncomfortable to carry, but this convertible bag has proved surprisingly convenient. I like having both the rolling and hands-free options for different circumstances, and it has ample packing space. – Catriona Kendall

augustnoa classic noa in cream.

Price: $148 or less

This sustainable water-resistant backpack is constructed with 100% recycled materials and has 10 pockets to organize everything. The spacious interior compartment has a 17-inch padded laptop sleeve and a tablet sleeve with a strap to secure it in place, as well as an interior mesh pocket for small items or charging cords and a removable shoe bag.

On the exterior, the front pocket has a built-in mesh organizer for pens, and there are mesh water bottle holders on each side of the backpack. The back of the bag has two adjustable padded straps, each with a built-in zippered compartment ideal for keys, ID or tickets. A hidden zip pocket makes for a secure space for a wallet or passport, and the trolley sleeve provides added versatility.

This backpack is great for travel or everyday use. I especially appreciate the comfortable backpack straps with the small zip pockets. They are easy to reach and perfect for small items like lip gloss, cash or a transit card. Durably constructed, the water-resistant exterior performs well in any weather, and I love that there's a padded space for both my laptop and iPad. – Rachael Hood

Monos Metro Backpack in Vegan Leather in brown.

Price: $230 or less

For an upscale backpack that can be dressed up or down, this Monos style is an ideal choice. Constructed with sustainable vegan leather (there's also a nylon version with vegan leather accents), this structured style is both water- and scratch-resistant. The 15-inch laptop sleeve is separate from the main packing compartment so you can access your device easily. The brand's QuickSnap Modular Kit System means you'll have a detachable Metro Kit for small items that attaches magnetically to the front of the bag; this kit is interchangeable between Metro bags and can be swapped out for a different kit or removed entirely, depending on your needs.

The backpack's main compartment is designed for maximum functionality with a felt-lined document sleeve, a large zippered pocket, two slip pockets, and a waterproof zippered privacy compartment for a rain jacket or gym clothes. On the back, you can make use of a hidden slip pocket for your phone, a trolley sleeve and adjustable padded straps. There's also two top carry handles if you'd prefer to carry this backpack like a tote.

I really like the elevated styling and durability of this vegan leather bag. But what sets it apart is the separate laptop compartment (I don't like to have to open my entire bag to get out my laptop while on the go), and the modular Metro Kit system that can be removed when it's not needed. It's full of value-added design elements, and the material looks classic and appropriate with any attire. – Rachael Hood

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on its size, a backpack is considered a carry-on item. To be able to put it in the overhead bin, you generally don't want it to exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches, but that sizing varies by airline, and since backpacks are soft-sided, the dimensions can be somewhat malleable. If it fits under the seat in front of you on the plane ( check your airline's specific size requirements ), it is typically considered a personal item. If the backpack can fit under the seat, then you can often bring it in addition to a larger carry-on bag (based on your airline ticket type and inclusions).

For a backpack to be a carry-on for most domestic airlines, it should not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches (or should be able to be squished to approximately those dimensions). To be considered a personal item, it must fit under the seat in front of you. Underseat size and space varies by airline and airplane type, so it's best to check with your airline's size restrictions.

How We Tested

From the comfort of the straps to the capacity of each bag, our team tested more than 20 carry-on backpacks from a variety of brands at a range of price points. We tested to see how the overall structure of the bag works for travel needs, along with the durability and details that make a difference. After taking these backpacks on a variety of adventures, we've selected these carry-on backpacks as the best for 2024.

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  1. Incase A.R.C. Travel Pack Review

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