Best Travel Backpack (March 2018)

Travel backpacks are a great alternative to standard luggage. Not only can they be worn in order to free up your hands, they have plenty of room inside and often come with a laptop sleeve to protect your electronics. Some travel backpacks also feature a locking mechanism that secures your belongings and makes your bag a less desirable target for potential thieves. I have decided to review a few of what I believe to be the best travel backpacks around to help you decide upon your next purchase.

Best Travel Backpack

Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

Top Features of the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

Large Internal Storage

For someone who spends a lot of time traveling both for business and for pleasure, I know from experience that having a single pack to carry all of my belongings in is much more efficient than trying to juggle several pieces of luggage around. The Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack is excellent for me regardless of if I am going away for the weekend or for a few weeks at a time. It has an interior and exterior pocket, both of which can hold a combined weight of 50 pounds. Inside there is a laptop and tablet sleeve dedicated to keeping them safe and there is even a scratch-free pocket for things like sunglasses. There are also two internal pressure straps to secure my belongings that work great for packing extra shoes and boots.

Included Daypack

The only thing I don’t like about large packs is that it can be hard to access essentials when in transit. Thanks to the included daypack with the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack, I don’t have this issue. This day back fits snugly on by body and has a reverse spacer mesh harness that makes it super comfortable. It attaches to the main harness on the backpack which lets me dig into it when I need to access my passport or camera so I don’t have to stop and unload all of my things to gain access to a single item.

Comfortable and Supportive

Not only does the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack have a comfortable daypack, the rest of it is just as supportive and ergonomic. There is a fixed back panel that provides upright support of my belongings. A hip belt comes included which helps to shift away some of the weight of the backpack itself so that my shoulders aren’t bearing the entire load. When in transit I can tuck away the harness system to make it slimmer and easier for me to store the backpack into an overhead bin on a train or a plane.

Sleeping Pad Straps

Another great thing about the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack is that it allows for the attachment of external items. This makes it a great pack for hiking and camping, as I can easily slip a sleeping pad onto the back of it instead of trying to figure out a way to cram it inside of the pack.

Lockable Bag

When traveling in foreign places that I have yet to visit to gauge the feeling of security there, having my belongings secured is my top priority. Not only are things like my passport and wallet in my pack, but I don’t want to risk losing my clothing, laptop or shoes, either. The Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack offers me that protection in the form of two loops that come on the zippers in the main part of my bag. I can attach a lock to the compartment to ensure that no one can get into it. I have learned a lock also helps deflect potential thieves, as they simply see it as too much work to try and break the lock in order to access my things. I do recommend getting a TSA recognized lock in order to shave off time in the security lines at airports.

  • Daypack included for easy access to any essential items
  • Fits into storage bins on trains and planes
  • Hip belt and harness combine for comfortable wear
  • Large internal storage capable of holding up to 50 pounds of weight
  • Locking mechanism
  • Made from a durable polyester
  • Straps that allow external gear such as sleeping bags

  • Price. The Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack is definitely a higher end travel backpack. The price alone might make a prospective buyer steer clear of this product, but with its durable, supportive nature and incredible capacity, this is definitely the best travel backpack for the money. It fits into most transit storage units, is comfortable and comes with a daypack. Really, traveling has never been more convenient. Don’t let this deter you.

Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

Top Features of the Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

Ultra Sturdy

I want to ensure that whatever I am spending my money on is going to last. Whether I am taking the backpack on a simple business trip or backpacking through the wild, the Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack delivers. This durable backpack is made out of a super sturdy fabric that is resistant to both rips and water. This nylon backpack also delivers an incredibly lightweight feel for being so strong. Helping in its durability is a 2-way abrasion resistant metal zipper all the way across the pack. I also noticed that the stress points have been evened out and reinforced with bar tacking. This not only makes it more comfortable to wear, but also helps promote a longer life.

Incredibly Compact–Goes Anywhere I Go

Perhaps the coolest feature about the Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack is that it can become ridiculously small. This pack, when not in use, can fold into itself completely. What I mean by this is that there is a zippered pocket on the front of it that this backpack folds into neatly. After folding up this pack, the pocket that it turns into can then be stored away into any other luggage. This is great if I am going somewhere in which I expect to return with gifts or souvenirs that I didn’t originally travel with, giving me an extra unit for travel without all of the bulk and hassle that comes with it. It can also be easily placed into storage during the times when I am not traveling and not take up any of my storage space.

Saves on Space and Weight

The Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack is seriously lightweight. When I have it packed to the brim, I don’t feel like any of the additional weight comes from the pack itself which really helps more than I’d realized initially. This pack only weights 0.7 pounds and really doesn’t even feel like it is there at all. I am only carrying the weight of what I bring along. Because of the ability of this backpack to fold into itself as I mentioned before, I can fold it up and stuff it into another bag to take on my trips to avoid overweight fees or the awkwardness of trying to fit oversized luggage onto a crowded flight. Once I get to my destination, I can just unpack it and unzip it. It really helps with saving space and saving money. It can even be used as a carry on in flight. This is definitely the best travel backpack in terms of space saving.

Compartments for Everything

Organization is key when it comes to long weekends abroad or even when hiking. Having everything I need neatly packed away is important so that I can access my belongings right when I need them instead of digging through my supplies and ruining the organization of the pack. The Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack comes in a classic shape that includes several different pockets. Outside of the roomy and spacious main compartment, there are two front zipper pockets to hold small and essential items that I want to reach with ease like a cell phone, wallet or passport while abroad. There are even two side pockets perfect for both water bottles and umbrellas alike.

  • Can fold into itself for easy storage and for adding extra luggage without overweight fees
  • Durable with an abrasion-resistant, 2-way zipper
  • Roomy main compartment
  • Two front zippered pockets
  • Two side pockets
  • Ultra inexpensive
  • Weighs only 0.7 pounds

  • Not waterproof. The Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack is durable in its own right, but unfortunately, while in heavy rain, this backpack may get your belongings wet. It can resist a certain amount of water so it is suitable for light weather traveling–just don’t go outside in a torrential downpour. That said, it isn’t likely that I or anyone else would willingly put themselves in that situation, so I hardly consider this a downside.

SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900

Top Features of the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900

Perfect for Airplane Travel

Oftentimes with travel backpacks, I run into the common issue of my pack being too large. That said, I also don’t want a backpack that is too small to accommodate my essential belongings, so it’s a rather frequent issue that I run into. I don’t have that problem with the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900. This bag measures 9 inches high and 13.5 inches wide, the perfect size to fit into an airplane’s overhead compartment without having to sacrifice the storage and the features of a nice travel pack. It has been specially designed to get me through airport security and TSA x-ray machines. It also features lay-flat technology that makes running it through the TSA scanners quick and painless so I can get on with my travels. This is definitely the best travel backpack for getting through security.

Designated Laptop Compartment

Another important feature of the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 is the compartment specifically designed to keep my laptop safe and snug. Upon measuring it I have determined that it can hold any laptop up to 17 inches in size. This makes me feel more secure about bringing my laptop on business trips opposed to carrying it in a messenger bag that offers limited protection and potentially crushing it under the seat or while smashed inside of the overhead bin. This saves me a lot of awkward maneuvering that often comes with trying to shove a bag that is shaped strangely or too large into the overhead bin on a crowded plane with other passengers trying to get to their seats.

Comfortable, Durable and Organizable

The SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 comes with ultra comfortable shoulder straps that seem to evenly distribute the weight, no matter how many items I have placed inside of it. This roomy bag is full of organizational tools and a water bottle pocket.

It also comes with a number of other convenient and comfortable features like giant, rugged zippers for easy grasping, compression straps that are easily adjustable, padded, contoured mesh straps for the shoulders and a back, padded panel that is super comfortable. The straps themselves have a reflective material on them to help keep me safe when traveling at night. I also love the ventilation that has been incorporated into this as it makes things breathable and comfortable when I have to carry it around for a long time.

An Array of Features

Finally, I want to talk about all of the neat features that the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 comes with. I do not see many travel packs that have put so much thought into the wearer’s convenience!  The handle has a molded top that makes it easy to carry and a webbing daisy chain with a carabiner to attach any additional gear. On the front is a quick-access pocket for my essentials that I need to grab in a hurry. This pack also has a floating, protective TabletSafe pocket for a tablet and phone, an organizer compartment, an accordion style file folder, several accessory pockets on the inside, a media pocket that comes with a headphone cord accessible port and side accessory holders, including a water bottle pocket. I cannot think of anything that can’t be stored in this SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900, making it the best travel backpack for the organization lover on the go.

  • An incredible assortment of organizational features and compartments
  • Fits perfectly in overhead bins of an airplane
  • Tablet and laptop safe
  • TSA-appropriate to help navigate the airport more swiftly
  • Ultra comfortable and relatively light

  • Weight. Some online reviewers of the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 have stated that the bag is a bit heavier than they had hoped for. Personally, I find that the weight is appropriate–it weighs just over three pounds. With all of the other items that I typically store in it, three pounds does not make a difference to me, especially when it comes to all its features. It’s worth the extra few pounds.

Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack

Top Features of the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack

Perfect for Storing a Laptop

There are two awesome features that come with the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack that both serve to protect my laptop. The first one I want to talk about is the laptop sleeve. This sleeve sits separately from the main unit so that my laptop is not being jostled around and damaged during transit. There is a laptop frame included in this as well that resists any sort of impact, making sure that the entire thing is safe from shock damage like being dropped or even worse, in the event that there is turbulence on one of the flights I often take. It protects the laptop from a height fall that might otherwise ruin the screen or the inner workings for good.

Protects from Every Angle

The second incredible laptop-protecting feature of the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack is rather innovative in my opinion. Most travel packs have that aforementioned sleeve in one form or another, but this backpack goes the extra mile. It features complete, full-surround coverage that stops any damage to the laptop or any other items that I might have in my pack for that matter. There is a rigid front plate, back plate and even rigid side plates so that if my backpack takes a tumble, no matter in what direction, my belongings are safe and secured. This also makes it great for taking any other valuable equipment that I might not otherwise dare travel with, such as my nice camera when I go on vacation.

Giant Main Compartment

The Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack features an incredibly large main storage unit that can hold just about anything I throw into it. This means I can pack up my clothes, shoes, jackets, books, laptop and so much more without having to cram everything down and muck up my organization just for the sake of making everything fit. Packing it up is a breeze which helps with the process of getting ready for travel which, in some cases, seems almost as stressful as actually taking my trips.

Storage for Everything Else

The spacious Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack doesn’t just stop at keeping my laptop in a secure and dedicated place. It has inner pockets that allow storage for smaller items that are harder to organize and might become warped or damaged floating around freely in the main compartment. This includes spaces for my phone case, various office accessories like pens and pencils and even a place for cards of all kinds.

Ergonomic and Breathable

Finally, I want to point out that the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack is so comfortable and easy to carry.  Even with those 360-degree protective rigid panels, this Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack is incredibly lightweight for its size. It has an ergonomic design that follows the curves of my shoulders and back excellently which also seems to more evenly distribute the weight I am carrying to help prevent shoulder and back pain from prolonged use. The back channel is even ventilated, making it very breathable and perfect for carrying it for long periods at a time without it becoming too hot and uncomfortable against my back.

  • 360 degrees of rigid protection that prevents shock and damage to the items inside
  • Designated laptop sleeve
  • Ergonomic shoulder straps
  • Small interior storage compartments
  • Ventilated back channel

  • Not waterproof. While the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack can resist water fairly well, such as a stroll through a light rain or getting splashed by a source of water, it is not recommended that this pack be taken out into a torrential downpour or become partially submerged at all. I don’t find this as such a negative thing because I don’t plan to take the bag into weather that way, and all of its protective features more than make up for it in the event that I did want to do such a thing.

Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack

Top Features of the Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack

Great Size for Airplane Travel

If you are anything like me, you have struggled with getting all of your essentials onto a flight with you without first having to pay exorbitant prices to check your large bags. It can be a struggle trying to determine what to leave at home in order to avoid this issue, but with the Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack, I no longer have this problem! This backpack measures a comfortable 17 inches by 12 inches with a 15-inch shoulder drop that makes it simple to put into the small spaces above the seats on any given aircraft. Not only does it measure out to be a great size, it can become that much smaller when I take off the removable shoulder strap. Every inch counts in those rather cramped overhead bins.

Highly Durable

The Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack is also extremely well made. I could tell just by looking at it and feeling the ballistic nylon fabric on the outside that this backpack could withstand a lot of travel. This exterior fabric resists general wear, dirt and abrasions. Most importantly, it is water resistant. This is great for when I travel somewhere rainy and need to move about town. I don’t have to worry about my belongings getting soaked so long as it doesn’t start raining like crazy. It also features an ultra durable zipper closure that does not budge once I have zipped all of my belongings securely inside, letting me know that if there is a shift in the overhead bins during turbulence on a flight, my laptop can’t force itself out with the weight and become damaged.

Great for Getting Through Airport Security

The Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack boasts what they call a Speedthru pocket on the front. This pocket is small and ready to accommodate things that one might need on hand immediately during travel, such as passports, plane tickets, general identification, cell phones, wallets and anything else I might need to access quickly. This makes the process of going through airport security checkpoints a breeze, especially when I need to discard any watches or other jewelry before stepping through the x-ray machines. I can store these items away quickly and then have swift access to them once I have passed the TSA mandated security tests, making this a much less stressful process.

Multiple Compartments

Inside of the Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack is a main compartment for housing larger items such clothing and shoes. There are also much smaller compartments for me to organize my smaller belongings that I do not want rattling around inside of my pack and potentially getting damaged. This is perfect for cell phones, personal belongings like jewelry and cards and any number of other small accessories I am taking with me on my trip.

RFID Blocking

Finally, the most unique thing about the Briggs & Riley @ Work Luggage Clamshell Backpack is the RFID blocking pocket. This pocket protects against anyone with ill intentions that may try to access my credit cards and passport using a scanner or other devices that permit unauthorized access to my personal information.

  • Durable ballistic nylon fabric
  • Many interior storage compartments for the purpose of organization
  • Perfect size for fitting inside of small overhead compartments on an airplane
  • Speedthru pocket on the front for accessing travel essentials during travel and while going through airport security
  • Unique RFID blocking technology to prevent access to credit card or passport information
  • Water, wear, dirt and abrasion resistant

  • Not waterproof. While the Pelican Products ProGear Sport Laptop Lite Backpack can resist water fairly well, such as a stroll through a light rain or getting splashed by a source of water, it is not recommended that this pack be taken out into a torrential downpour or become partially submerged at all. I don’t find this as such a negative thing because I don’t plan to take the bag into weather that way, and all of its protective features more than make up for it in the event that I did want to do such a thing.

Final Verdict

I have chosen the Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack as the best of these backpacks for a few reasons. This durable backpack features an impressively large main compartment that can withstand anything I want to put into it up to 50 pounds. It has an included daypack that keeps everything I need right where I can reach it at any given time, helping alleviate some of the frustration of travel. It also features a lockable option for added security and is incredibly supportive. I recommend this bag for frequent travelers who want to make the most out of their luggage.

Benefits of Buying a Travel Backpack

– More organizational prospects. With a travel backpack, they come with a number of inner and outer compartments that allow for clear organization of all of your belongings. From laptops and tablets, clothes and shoes to smaller items like books and office supplies, there is a place for everything in these well-designed packs.

– Ergonomic. Unlike a suitcase that you have to tote around with your hands or by way of an uncomfortable shoulder strap, travel backpacks are designed to provide you with the most comfort possible. They often feature padded shoulder straps and some even come with a hip belt to help distribute the weight. Contoured designs are common as well to ensure they fit the shape of your upper body to promise comfortable wear for extended amounts of time.

– Easier to get through security checkpoints. Because everything is so well organized, travel backpacks can be seen through much more simply than a crowded suitcase. Oftentimes, they also can lie flat for easier passage through the scanner, making traveling through an airport less stressful.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Travel Backpack

– Durability. When choosing a backpack, you want one that can stand the test of time and the trials of travel. Water resistance, durable fabrics and sturdy shoulder straps that can withstand a lot of weight are imperative to a long-lasting backpack.

– Price. While you may be on a budget, it is important to remember that you are getting what you pay for with a travel backpack. Carefully examine the features that are included and the value that you are getting from the pack before buying to feel secure in your purchase.

– Size. While most travel backpacks are designed to fit into overhead bins on an airplane, ensure that the backpack you are looking at isn’t too large. You can still find more compact backpacks that don’t sacrifice the storage and organization for size; it’s all a matter of shopping around.

Tips on How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack for Your Needs

– Consider whether or not you need a travel backpack with an included laptop sleeve.

– Choose a travel backpack that is designed for your comfort as you will be toting it around for extended periods of time and want to avoid back, shoulder and neck strain if possible.

– Read travel backpack reviews online such as the ones found below to get an idea of what the backpack is like when being used actively.

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