Top 15 Best Backpacks for Travel In 2020 – Complete Guide

Sam Fletcher
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Choosing and buying the right backpack for your travel, hiking, backpacking needs can be a difficult task. You need to consider the size of the pack, weight, ergonomics, materials, brand reputation as well as which features and options you want.

To make it easier for you to find the perfect pack to suit your needs, we’ve reviewed the best backpacks for travel in our guide below.

NameCategoryProduct
Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel BackpackBest Overall
Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel Backpack
Backpacks for MenBudget Pick
Backpacks for Men
TUMI – Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop BackpackUpgrade Pick
TUMI - Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop Backpack

1. Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel Backpack

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Pros:

  • * Lightweight * Very roomy * Fit for long-term travels

When it comes to travel backpacks, one of the bestselling choices of Osprey is the Fairview series. It’s the women’s take on the highly versatile Fairview 26.

The Fairview series is an updated version of Osprey’s previous Talon, and the Fairview is the perfect backpack for anyone who is planning long-term travel. The bag has a fully adjustable harness that can ensure a comfortable carry for a wide variety of body types.

The main compartment can be accessed through the main zip compartment. Since this backpack is designed for long-term travel, there are plenty of small pockets inside the main compartment to keep your smaller items organized. There’s also an inbuilt laptop sleeve that’s located outside the main compartment.

2. The North Face Surge Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


The North Face Surge Backpack

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Pros:

  • Ballistic nylon fabric
  • Built with highly durable zippers
  • Front, top panels feature heat-moldable foam
  • Highly breathable padded back
  • Comes in 6 different colors including camo

The North Face Backpack Surge is a highly versatile backpack that allows you to move swiftly through airports and cities while remaining comfortable. It packs like a backpack as well as a duffel bag due to its unique design.

The North Face backpack comes with spacer mesh shoulder straps and EVA back panel that are extremely breathable.

The backpack also comes with a large zippered front panel that allows you to store smaller items. The backpack also includes an outer zippered pocket for quick access to your phone and keys.

3. Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

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Pros:

  • Durable travel backpack
  • Large capacity
  • Compatible with a laptop
  • Ventilated back panel

Cons:

  • No camera slots
  • Might be too big for some people

This is a great travel backpack that can also be used as a daypack, making it one of the best backpacks for travel.

It’s made from lightweight yet strong 210-denier nylon material and comes with a ventilated back panel to prevent you from sweating on your way to your travel destination or during your long day hikes.

This backpack is a carry-on, and it fits quite a bit of stuff. The front panel has two large pockets. One pocket has a padded laptop sleeve that can accommodate 15” laptops. The other one is a shallow pocket for quick access.

4. SwissGear 5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack. Abrasion-Resistant & Travel-Friendly Laptop Backpack Exclusive Bundle

Our rating: 9 / 10


SwissGear 5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack. Abrasion-Resistant & Travel-Friendly Laptop Backpack Exclusive Bundle

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Pros:

  • Multiple expansion pockets and compartments
  • USB powered pocket
  • Adjustable straps
  • Transparent ID window
  • Lifetime warranty

Able USB Safe Pocket and Water Bottle. Rain-Resistant, Waterproof, Durable, Stylish and Ideal for Daily Commute Work Travel: Black

SwissGear 5358 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack is a comfortable option when searching for the best laptop backpack. It comes in one of the most convenient backpack sizes too.

This pack has structure with comfy shoulder straps that adjust to fit. It comes with a top handle to make it easy to grab and go.

5. TUMI – Alpha Bravo Davis Laptop Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


TUMI - Alpha Bravo Davis Laptop Backpack

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Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Rugged durability
  • Wide range of designs from which to choose
  • Lots of pockets
  • Reasonable price
  • Lightweight
  • Laptop storage sleeve
  • Can be used as both a backpack and a briefcase
  • Approved by TSA for travel
  • Laptop pocket with hook and loop fastener

6. The North Face Women's Borealis Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


The North Face Women's Borealis Backpack

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Pros:

  • Incredibly padded back panel, shoulder straps, and hip belt
  • Multiple pockets, including one with a zipper
  • Phone and sunglass pockets
  • Lightweight
  • Detachable top pocket
  • Durable
  • Integrated rain cover
  • Compression straps keep the load balanced
  • Easy to travel with, fits comfortably under the seat in crowded places
  • Sits high on the waist to eliminate lower back pain (unlike most backpacks)

This pack is more stylish than the average frame backpack. It also has a feminine shape and appearance, which is a double-edged sword. I think it's great that women are getting more stylish options from great brands like TNF, but I didn't consider this pack because I prefer more neutral colors and I don't want people thinking I'm a woman when looking at my back in public. If you're concerned about this, just know that if you buy this backpack, you'll be getting a high-quality piece of gear that will last for many years.

7. TUMI – Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


TUMI - Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop Backpack

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Pros:

  • Stylish and sleek design
  • Water resistant; weatherproof
  • Spacious main compartment
  • Several pockets and compartments
  • High-quality
  • Comfortably and securely holds up to 15” laptops

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Needs a bit of adjustment

If you’re an adventure seeker, then the Tumi line of backpacks is a great choice. Tumi’s Alpha Bravo Laptop Backpack is great for more adventurous excursions. It’s strong, light, and comfortable.

The Alpha Bravo holds a laptop, documents, and a ton of other stuff with its spacious main compartment and several pockets and compartments. The top of the bag also features a gun-metal gray strap that pulls out a second level of zippered storage.

The outside of the backpack has several hidden pockets to conceal things that you don’t want anyone to see, making it a great travel bag. The high-quality polyurethane fabric resists water. It’s the perfect day-to-day backpack that will last for years.

8. Samsonite Tectonic 2 Large Backpack

Our rating: 9 / 10


Samsonite Tectonic 2 Large Backpack

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Pros:

  • Onboard pass-through sleeve to carry your laptop
  • Internal organizers
  • Integrated rain cover
  • Durable outer material

Cons:

  • Straps are almost too short
  • Lacks durability of more expensive models

This backpack strikes a nice balance between a fashion statement and a travel essential. It performs well for both weekend trips and extended international vacations. It fits a large 17-inch laptop and has a water-repellent coating for protection from light showers.

Organization is pretty much the name of the game. The Tectonic 2 offers a dedicated compartment for your laptop, a pocket for your passport, and an internal organizer for your pens, phone, wallet, and cords. The lack of a gaudy logo distinguishes it from cheaper imitators and makes it a versatile companion for business and leisure travel to upscale destinations.

9. Kenneth Cole Reaction Sophie Women's Silky Nylon 15.0" Laptop & Tablet Anti-Theft RFID Backpack

Our rating: 8 / 10


Kenneth Cole Reaction Sophie Women's Silky Nylon 15.0" Laptop & Tablet Anti-Theft RFID Backpack

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Pros:

  • Very spacious
  • Comes with a key fob and handy compartments
  • Stylish
  • Material is good quality and feels silky

Cons:

  • Stiching isn’t the best quality
  • Zippers feel flimsy

The Kenneth Cole Reaction Sophie is one of the best backpacks for school because it comes with some of the most useful compartments to make your life a lot easier.

The back compartment was designed in a way that allows you to keep your laptop out of sight since there are open pockets with Velcro for you to stick your laptop in. The pack also comes with water bottle pockets on both sides, making it ideal for long hikes and school mornings.

The biggest compartment in this backpack is the top compartment. You can fit all of your daily necessities, including your laptop, books, and gym clothes and keep them safe and secure with a metal zipper.

10. WITZMAN Men Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack Vintage Duffel Bag

Our rating: 8 / 10


WITZMAN Men Travel Backpack Canvas Rucksack Vintage Duffel Bag

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Pros:

  • Eco-friendly mochila
  • Water resistant canvas
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Excellent stitching
  • Strong, decent-sized zippers
  • Appealing leather handle via detachable buckle
  • Bow is riveted to the bag , making it harder to lose
  • Many pockets
  • Excellent price
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • No color variation on the stitching
  • No placement listed for where the straps attach to
  • Shoulder space isn’t conducive to baby wearing
  • Lacking in stroller straps

As a parent, you’ll be the first to admit it. The last thing you need when traveling with your offspring is to be fumbling to find a zipper and get the damn thing open to get to the good stuff inside. The great thing about this bag is that it’s got ample space, compartments, and zippers to alleviate the stress involved with any packing. We love this bag for having so many choices.

11. Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

Our rating: 8 / 10


Inateck 40L Travel Backpack

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Pros:

  • Stylish, modern, and spacious design perfect for everyday use
  • Able to hold up to a 17.3-inch laptop
  • Constructed of Oxford fabric for ultimate durability
  • TSA-friendly
  • Water-resistant interior pockets for electronics
  • Luggage strap for convenient travel
  • Zippered interior pockets for organization
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Waist strap
  • Ventilated back panel

Cons:

  • No exterior side pockets
  • Some reviewers had issues with the placement of some zippers

Traveling is one of the most amazing things you can do, but taking everything you need with you at all times can be stressful. This is why today, we have decided to provide you with some insight into the best travel backpacks for your upcoming trip.

12. Backpacks for Men

Our rating: 8 / 10


Backpacks for Men

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Pros:

  • Price tag
  • Water resistant
  • Many pockets
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Durable
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Spacious
  • Built-in personal organizer
  • Built-in USB charging cable

Cons:

  • Warranty programs could be better
  • Laptop pocket can be hard to get to
  • Not super lightweight

SwissGear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack ‗ Extended Edition ‗ Holds 17-Inch Laptop and Offers a Mesh Side Pocket, Computer Sleeve and Tablet Pocket ‗ Black.

The SwissGear 1900 SCANSMART Laptop Backpack is a top-rated pack. Futuristic and functional, this backpack from SwissGear is a great option for anyone who wants a great laptop backpack at a great price. It is light enough for easy carrying, waterproof, and its laptop compartment is totally accessible and versatile.

This backpack is a traveler’s dream. It’s a carry on-sized pack that holds enough for a weeklong trip. This pack is also sleek, professional, yet stylish enough for everyday use. It’s perfect for students and anyone who wants a good laptop backpack for business or school at a reasonable price.

13. AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack

Our rating: 8 / 10


AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Durable
  • Water-resistant material
  • Water-resistant interior lining

I love a bag that makes me look like a futuristic adventurer on the go (I’m sure you do too). I also appreciate a backpack that’s simple yet stylish, and the AmazonBasics sports a great black and grey color scheme.

This backpack will fit a laptop with a 17-inch screen if it’s within .7 inches from the bag’s max.

A padded laptop pocket and sleeves make sure that your tech doesn’t take a beating, and internal organization pockets keep your pens, cell phone, headphones and any other items in their proper places.

14. Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

Our rating: 8 / 10


Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

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Pros:

  • Comfortable in a variety of ways
  • Lots of storage compartments
  • Easy to use handle
  • Easy to cover zippers
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Stylish
  • Available in different colors
  • Backpack straps remove for storage purposes

Cons:

  • No hip support
  • No laptop sleeve
  • No side bottle holders

Samsonite is a trusted brand when it comes to luggage, and this backpack is no exception. It’s great for hiking, traveling, and school, and it offers a lot of storage compartments without being overly bulky.

The shoulder straps are padded, and the back support is thick to offer lots of comfort. You can use the handle to pull it around or you can wear it like a backpack. When wearing it as a backpack, you can remove the straps for more stability.

The shoulder and back padding are designed to be soft to prevent any chafing, and the straps are comfortable. They might not hold up for extremely heavy loads, so if you plan to carry a lot, you should probably consider a different backpack.

15. Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

Our rating: 8 / 10


Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Lots of storage space
  • Budget friendly
  • Carry on approved

Cons:

  • Diminished quality for price
  • Zippers get stuck sometimes

This Samsonite backpack is made of a nice, sturdy material, so you don’t have to worry about the backpack falling apart from normal use. Also, this pack is easy to store and take out of a suitcase.

The inside of the bag is big enough to fit a weekend’s worth of clothes for a couple or even small enough for a week’s worth of clothes for just a single person. This pack is great for those who are just traveling for a day or two as well.

The only real problem I had with this bag is when you pack it with things like clothes and the lining in the bag gets all bunched up. It’s usually pretty easy to fix, but just takes some finesse.

16. SwissGear 17" Gray Notebook Backpack

Our rating: 7 / 10


SwissGear 17" Gray Notebook Backpack

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Pros:

  • Very cheap
  • Plenty of carrying capacity
  • Great quality
  • Lots of pockets and compartments
  • Comfortable
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Quick access

My choice for the best backpack for laptop comes from none other than the great SwissGear. It’s exactly what you want from a backpack: it’s roomy, comfortable, and has lots of pockets.

The SwissGear 17” Notebook Backpack is a bit larger than some of the others but it can easily carry a lot of things and will fit a 17-inch notebook. It features a compartment for extra padding for a laptop or tablet, a zippered compartment for other essentials, and even a smaller zippered compartment for pens, calculators, and other accessories.

Its padded straps are firmly attached to the backpack and feel very comfortable. You’ll forget that you’re even wearing a backpack.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best traveling backpack?

Most travel backpacks on the market look pretty much the same. But do not be fooled by the design. It is the functionalities of certain backpacks to hold your gears that segregates it from the rest.

The Bago Travel Backpack is designed to squeeze in more space without weighing itself down. It’s signature design includes a massive, expandable compartment that can accommodate your things to a state of organized chaos. The in-built suspension system is the best in the market and fits comfortably, of even a large build. Lastly, a separate modifiable pod enables you to carry any luggage you like, like a laptop bag.

The Gate2Travel is a product made for those who want an elevated travel experience. It offers performance on a new level and can hold more gears, hydration, and a greater capacity than any travel bag in the market.

How do I choose a backpack for traveling?

As with any type of luggage, the ideal backpack for travel will depend on the types of travel you do. Each type of travel comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and you’ll want to take these into consideration when you choose the best travel backpack for you.

For example, if you want to go on long camping trips, you’ll want a larger backpack with plenty of space to stow all your gear. However, if you travel with your backpack on a city bus, under your seat, then a smaller backpack will be ideal.

The following is a list of features you’ll want to keep in mind for choosing the best travel backpack for you.

What size backpack do I need for a 10 day trip?

Picking the right backpack size is one of the most difficult parts of preparing for a trip, mainly because every trip has a different length. As an example, a week-long vacation will obviously require a smaller bag than a 3-month expedition through Europe.

In the past, many backpackers used 50-liter packs on shorter trips and 80L on lengthy journeys. Nowadays, the average backpack size for extended travel is between 70L and 85L.

The choice of backpack size depends on many factors. The number of days, the weather, the planned activities, and of course, the person carrying the pack. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and an 80L pack will likely work for a shorter trip more than an extended journey.

Ultimately, it all comes with experience, but here’s a quick guide to help you figure out how many days your trip requires.

Conclusion

Picking the right traveler backpack doesn’t have to stop you from your adventures. With so many impossibly beautiful travel destinations out there, you can be limited only by your budget and schedule. A backpack can take you on a lifetime journey, usually for an affordable price. Design and style are also important since you will be carrying it around a lot.

The bottom line is that the best backpack for travel is the one that is right for YOU. To help you in that critical decision, we’ve put together this section to help you pick the safety features, size, design, and stability you look for in a backpack for travel.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel BackpackBest Overall
Osprey Fairview 55 Women's Travel Backpack
Backpacks for MenBudget Pick
Backpacks for Men
TUMI – Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop BackpackUpgrade Pick
TUMI - Alpha Bravo Nathan Laptop Backpack