A good travel backpack is an essential anyone who travels often should own. Not only is a travel backpack useful in hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities, but it also comes in handy when packing for a day trip from your main destination, or can be used as a carry-on or your only suitcase for short weekend getaways.
Some travel rucksacks, especially those built for camping or to fit a lot of gear, can be very expensive. We did the research and found the best travel backpacks for any budget.
Whether you want something small and lightweight for a day hike or city exploration, or are looking for something bigger to serve as your suitcase or accompany you on a long hiking trip, we have the best travel backpack for you. Best of all, they come in a range or prices.
When considering which travel backpack is best for you, think about things like comfort, size, durability, number of pockets needed, whether you need it to be waterproof, style, and if you prefer top loading or zippers.
This list features the best travel backpacks that take all of these qualities and more into consideration. Here are our favorites, in no particular order.
1. Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
This lightweight backpack is great for travel, as it works well for wandering cities, long hikes, or to pick up groceries at a local farmer’s market. It attaches to larger Osprey packs and can be packed in your carry-on then pulled out to use on a day trip.
The mesh back panel makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and it also features a hydration pocket (to store a water back during outdoor activities), a laptop pocket, mesh water bottle pockets on the sides, and a larger front pocket with several smaller compartments.
The bag is 18 x 9 x 9 inches, and weighs 15 ounces. Users found it comfortable and high-quality, and loved it for day trips, especially those that involved hiking. Some found it too small for more than a day. It comes in 10 colors.
- Breathable and comfortable back
- Multiple pockets and compartments
- High-quality and reputable brand
- Only fits enough supplies for a day trip
- More expensive than other brands
2. Army Expandable Tactical
This durable bag offers plenty of storage and is great for adventure travelers. It can store up to 60 liters thanks to a large main body pouch, and two smaller front pouches.
The bag has a water bottle holder on the side, as well as buckles to provide stabilization. There are two small electronics pockets on the shoulder straps, which are great for headphones.
The travel backpack is made of Denier Polyester and has durable zippers, though users noted they are not military grade. It coms in four camouflage patterns and three solid colors. Some reviewers were upset that the bag does not have side pockets, but most found it spacious and good for outdoor activities or as a carry-on.
- Multiple pockets
- Durable material
- Does not have side pockets
- Not military grade
3. Venture Pal Lightweight Daypack
This travel backpack weighs only 0.7 pounds and costs only about $20, yet is a favorite among travelers. The bag is water resistant, making it great for outdoor activities, and can store up to 35 liters in multiple compartments.
The shoulder straps are made with a breathable mesh fabric that allows you to carry it for long stretches without discomfort. The double-layered bottom helps hold heavier objects without strain, and a chest strap helps you lock it securely in place.
The travel backpack has one main pocket, two zippered front pockets, and two side pockets. There are two separators in the main pocket. When not in use, the backpack folds into a zippered inner pocket to save space, so you can pack it in your luggage then take it out to use for day trips on vacation.
It comes in nine colors. On Amazon, it has nearly 4,000 reviews and the overwhelming majority are positive. “I carried it on my back for about 12 hours one day, and I have to say it was pretty darn comfortable,” said one user.
- Lots of storage
- Comfortable mesh pockets, double-layered bottom, chest strap
- Not as large as other bags
4. Diamond Candy Hiking Backpack
This high-quality nylon travel backpack has four storage compartments and can hold 40 liters. It also has a rain cover, which can withstand even heavy rains, a tent strap, and a whistle on the chest strap.
The backpack has four zipper compartments, one laptop sleeve, two side pockets, and two lower side pockets. It’s built to be used either as a school backpack, or for hiking, camping, or fishing where you’ll need to bring a lot of gear and strap a sleeping bag or other equipment to the outside.
Reviewers were happy that the shoulder straps stay in place even after hours of climbing, and liked the multiple storage compartments. Some said it was not the best travel backpack out there, but very good for the price. It comes in seven colors.
- Multiple pockets
- Comfortable and stays in place
- Waterproof rain cover
- Low price for quality
- Some didn’t like the colors or design
- Only waterproof to a point
- Doesn’t expand as much as one reviewer would like
5. Oakley Kitchen Sink Backpack
This travel backpack is pricier than others on the list, but is an Amazon best seller for its high-quality and ample storage. It’s made of a durable nylon-polyester blend and has a laptop sleeve, multiple inside storage pockets, two outside side pockets, a front organizer pocket, and a bottom shoe compartment, which is great for keeping trekking shoes away from more delicate items.
It has a compression molded back panel and adjustable, comfortable shoulder straps. It has three metal loops to clip on extra gear, which reviewers found helpful on camping trips and during deployment. The backpack is water resistant, keeping your electronics and gear safe.
People like the look of the bag and the amount of storage space, though some noted it is heavier than other bags even when empty.
- Durable and high-quality
- Spacious with multiple compartments
- External gear clips
- Separate shoe compartment
- Heavy, even when empty
- More expensive than other bags
6. Swiss Gear Travel Bungee Backpack
Swiss Gear is a well-known, reputable brand when it comes to the best travel backpacks, and this Travel Gear Bungee Backpack is no exception. The bag is 17.5 x 11. 5 x 7.5 inches and has multiple compartments for your travel gear, water bottle, laptop, camera, and other necessities.
The padded shoulder straps make it easy to carry, and the airflow back system helps decrease sweat on long hikes. The travel backpack has a main compartment with a laptop sleeve, a smaller zip pocket, a front pocket with numerous compartments for pens and small electronics, and two side pockets.
Users liked the size–big enough to pack a lot in, but small enough to fit under an airplane seat–and the number of pockets. However, they found the laptop sleeve a bit short to hold the laptop securely in place, and had the same issue with the side pockets (water bottles falling out was not uncommon).
Most users found it to be one of the best travel backpacks they’ve used, thanks to durability, comfort, and space.
Price: $44.99 (50 percent off $90)
- High-quality, durable
- Reputable brand
- Multiple compartments
- Currently 50 percent off
- Good size
- Side pockets too short for certain water bottles
- Laptop sleeve to short to hold large laptops securely in place
7. Osprey Packs Porter 30 Travel Backpack
When it comes to the best travel backpack, Osprey is on most lists. The brand has been making high-quality travel gear for years and has amassed a loyal base of frequent travelers.
This backpack features a stowaway harness, straightjacket protection, a medicine pocket, and a laptop sleeve, as well as a main pocket and two smaller front zip pockets. It weighs only 2.8 pounds empty, and is 20 x 13 x 12 inches.
The straightjacket compression and padded panels help keep gear and clothing safe and dry, which reviewers loved. They also found it very comfortable and liked the solid black design.
- High-quality, reputable brand
- Straightjacket, padded protection
- Multiple pockets
- More expensive than others
- No side water bottle pockets
8. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack
This 50 liter travel backpack is a versatile bag that can be used for long travels, hiking, and camping. It has two main compartments, each containing other small pockets. It also has a front flap and mesh side pockets.
The straps are comfortable and sturdy, and users found they helped distribute weight easily. However, they are not as breathable as other bags. The travel backpack has a waterproof rain cover, so you don’t need to worry about your belongings during wet outdoor adventures.
Aside from numerous pockets, it has straps on the outside so you can attach a tent, sleeping bag, or other gear. The bag comes with a six-month, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. One reviewer used it to travel around the world and said it was the “only backpack I’ll ever need.” Another liked that it was large enough to fit items for a long trip, but still qualified as a carry on bag on most airlines.
- Spacious, with many compartments
- Affordable for quality and size
- Six-month guarantee
- Straps not breathable
9. Sami Studio Lightweight Hiking Backpack
For such a low price, this backpack does a lot. It can fit 35 liters, but also folds into its own pocket for easy storage in larger luggage. When unfolded, it’s extremely lightweight and water-resistant.
It has a main compartment and two side compartments. There are two woven loops on the front bottom where you can attach more gear. The top buckles, helping to keep your things secure. The bag comes in five attractive colors.
Users found it useful and versatile, using it for the gym, to day trip to cities, and for camping. However, when packed extremely full it could be a little uncomfortable, so if you’re planning a long hike you might want to go with a bag on this list that has padded shoulder straps and a waist belt.
- Folds into pocket
- Fits 35 liters
- Shoulder straps aren’t as comfortable as higher-quality bags for long hikes
- No waist belt
10. Vbiger Foldable Travel Backpack
This hiking backpack is great for outdoor trips, but also large enough to use as a carry on for any type of travel. It fits up to 50 liters in the main pockets, and has mesh side pockets for water bottles, and a small pocket on the waist belt for easy access to your phone or wallet. It opens from the top, but can also unzip from the bottom for easy access to shoes.
The lightweight, water resistant material is fairly durable, though not completely waterproof. The travel backpack is built with an ergonomic air division system and breathable mesh on the back, so it’s comfortable to wear for long stretches.
Users found it to be excellent quality for the low price. It fits a lot of gear and lasts for years. However, it does not have an internal frame for support, like some other hiking backpacks, so carrying heavy gear can become tiresome more quickly.
Reviewers liked the multiple straps on the outside, which keep belongings safe and make it more stable and comfortable to wear. It folds into itself for easy storage when not in use.
- Fits more than most backpacks
- High-quality for price
- Numerous inside pockets and outside buckles
- Lightweight, water-resistant, breathable fabric
- No internal frame for support
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