Even though air travel has slowed down for the moment, there are still tons of opportunities to get out and explore somewhere new. Whether you hop in your car for a quick road trip or venture cross-country in a camper van, backpacks are a great way to travel light and stay hands-free while you’re on the go.
11 Best Travel Backpacks for 2021
Backpacks are the perfect bags for traveling because they’re small enough to take with you anywhere, but big enough to store all your essentials right where you can reach them. We’ve rounded up twelve of the cutest, most versatile backpacks that’ll make an excellent addition to any nomad’s travel wardrobe or capsule closet.
Not only does the Classic Backpack from Travelon have a sleek and unique design, but it offers ample security features like locking zippers and straps, a slash-resistant body, and built-in RFID technology. This bag is the ultimate in travel safety, and will help keep you organized thanks to its roomy main compartment and expandable side pockets.
This mid-volume bag from Herschel is a new take on the traditional backpack, with a more streamlined style, adjustable drawcord closure, and strap-detailed top flap. This bag’s clean-cut shape and subtle features make it an awesome ‘no fuss’ option for travelers who want an alternative to bulkier, sometimes cumbersome outdoor packs.
It’s safe to say the Transit Backpack is Everlane’s most travel-friendly bag yet, with nearly too many incredible features to name. But one that’s definitely worth mentioning is its use of recycled materials; this bag is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, helping to divert waste from landfills and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Chic and sustainable -- what’s not to love?
The Kanken Backpack is one of the most beloved backpacks on the market, due in part to its amazing durability. Although its design is quite minimal, this bag still has an internal laptop sleeve and a front zippered pocket for access to smaller items. Plus, its dirt and water-resistant fabric wipes clean in a snap so you can stay looking fresh all throughout your travels.
Patagonia is known the world-over for its quality products, and this Arbor Daypack is no exception. Made from 100% recycled fabric with a water repellent finish, this bag is the perfect balance of weight and durability. And with a padded laptop sleeve, accessory pockets, and ergonomic straps, you can carry everything you need with comfort and style.
Pacsafe makes another terrific anti-theft backpack that’s actually two bags in one! Their design can be worn as a conventional backpack, or folded down and used as a crossbody. In addition to its versatility, the Citysafe bag offers a laptop compartment, zipper security, and a cut-resistant anchor strap to keep all your belongings properly protected.
Baggu’s Sport Backpack is lightweight yet durable, making it an awesome choice for your daily commute or long-term travels. Complete with an interior laptop pocket, zippered exterior pockets, adjustable padded straps, expandable drawstring, and an external luggage sleeve, this bag is full of practical features at a price that’s hard to beat.
8. Away Daypack
Away has become a leader in the luggage industry over the last few years, and this Daypack offers the same quality and functionality customers have come to expect from the brand. With its trim profile and sleek, hands-free design, this bag has all the features you need to stay organized and on trend wherever your travels take you.
This stylish, compact backpack has all the little extras a traveller could want. With smart features like ergonomic shoulder straps, cozy laptop compartment, USB charging port, and discreet luggage strap, this bag has all the bells and whistles in beautiful, structural design. No matter where you’re headed, this is sure to make a great companion to your travels.
The Y-Pack from Topo Designs fuses classic style and modern functionality in every detail. Its wide, zippered hood provides plenty of storage, while its inner drawstring closure, laptop pocket, and water bottle storage make organizing everything super simple. And as an added bonus, this bag’s fabric construction is perfect for customizing with your favorite patches or pins!
Convenience and style come together in this fold-up backpack from Paravel. As its name suggests, this bag folds flat and zips into a barely-there pouch that’ll save you tons of valuable space. Store it in your carry-on or keep in on hand for the occasional day trip; it’s truly the only backpack that’s there when you need it, but disappears when you don’t.
Travel Backpack FAQs
What size should my backpack be to carry-on?
Most airlines allow bags up to 45 linear inches (length + width + depth) or 22" long, 14" wide, and 9" deep - but keep in mind that each airline sets its own guidelines for the maximum allowable size for carry-on luggage. It's best to check carry-on restrictions for the specific airline you're flying with before you head to the airport.
What is the best travel backpack?
This will of course depend on your individual preferences and needs. Some of the most common travel backpacks that are highly rated include backpacks from Travelon, Herschel, and Patagonia.