Are you looking the right carry on backpack for travel for your next backpack trip & for full time travel? If you’re looking for recommendations based on real life experience of then trust me this is the only guide you need to find the Best Travel Backpack in 2024!
- You want an easy to store backpack that can easily be taken on a place?
- You want a tough travel backpack that’ll last your adventures.
- You want a Travel backpack with good organization for your clothes and electronics?
Head off to the travel section of Kickstarter and you will soon find 100s if not 1000s of innovative carry on travel backpacks being funded each month. Each with their own amazing new features, catering to a different kind of traveler!
Sometimes browsing the travel section of Kickstarter makes me feel like a little kid in a candy store.
As a full-time traveler and avid trekker and globetrotter, I need a carry on travel backpack that can be comfortable to wear, spacious and yet can be taken on a plane. Cause ain’t no way in hell am I checking in my luggage with an airline!
Who am I and Why Take My Recommendations Seriously?
Hey, I’m Jeremy! I’ve been living out a single backpack for over 8 years so when it comes to picking a new backpack, it’s a huge deal. I travel the world full time working online.
I used to be the head of SEO and organic growth at Foundr magazine (Foundr.com) but I work remotely and spend most of my time doing stuff like climbing volcanos, diving to the bottom of the sea and I’m always on the move.
Having the right travel backpack can make doing all much easier. Right now I’m using the Peak Design Travel Backpack.
Back when I used to travel with more tech (as a digital nomad) I used to use the Nomatic Travel bag which you’ll understand why it’s my top pick later in this article.
Best Travel Backpack 2024
1. Nomatic Travel Bag – Best Travel Backpack For Digital Nomads
This is downright the most interesting Kickstarter I have come across in a long time and my new backpack! :D The Nomatic travel bag raised over $3M on Kickstarter and for good reason. Nomatic believes that they have solved all the issues that exist with most of the carry on travel backpacks on the market.
It’s the most functional travel bag ever and I could talk about their features for hours, but here’s a little summary of the Nomatic Travel Bag:
- 20+ Features
- Duffle + Backpack Strap System
- Waterproof and Durable
- Ships Anywhere (I shipped my to Kuching, Malaysia! to a friend’s house)
- Durable Water Proof Materials
- Free Shipping In The USA
- Laundry Bag
- Waterproofed Bottle Pocket
- Shoe Compartment
- Socks/ Underwear Pocket
- Laptop/Tablet Compartment
- Rfid safe pocket
If you are a digital nomad like me, the Nomatic travel bag might just be your new carry on travel backpack! Their accessories and wallets are a great add-on to complete your travel gear collection. I personally got myself a vacuum bag as it makes packing so much easier.
Do you still have doubts about getting a Nomatic Travel Bag? How about reading my in-depth Nomatic Travel Bag review, where I biked a 1000km long island in Indonesia and even went hiking with this backpack!
The Nomatic travel backpack has an elegant and modern design with ultimate packing efficiency. The backpack has tons of features with a good number of pockets and sleeves that allows you to store your accessories efficiently.
If you want a backpack for a business trip or you’re a digital nomad, the bag can be used for both worlds. Your laptops, passports, and other valuables are well secured in the backpack, while you look stylish on the outside.
Nomatic is one of the most popular backpack companies in the world. Their backpacks combine versatility, quality, and optimum functionality that make them stand out from the crowd. However, the backpack has a capacity of 40L, which may not be enough for travelers who are planning to go on long expeditions.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/TheNASAUnicorn- “I use a Nomatic backpack, and it’s amazing. I love its intuitive pockets and efficient main compartment with extra zippers and highly recommend it”.
u/TinKnightRisesAgain- “Absolutely, I like the backpack as it does everything. I can use it to carry my laptop, document, tech, water bottle, etc. The build quality is exceptional, and it looks really slick and doesn’t look like a kid’s backpack”.
u/realgeeeoff- “I have 3 different Nomatic bags, several notebooks, a wallet, and a watch. They’re entirely legit and are my favorite brand right now. They are all of high quality, durable, and very useful.
- The Nomadic travel backpack is designed in sizes up to 40 liters with a weight of 4lbs 8oz.
- Adjustable waist straps
- Tarpaulin and ballistic weave material
- More than enough pockets
- Tons of room
- Looks elegant and stunning
- Modern and efficient
- Well suited for trips for 1-2 weeks.
2. Peak Design Travel Backpack
Peak Design is known to produce unique and versatile backpacks. These packs have excellent build quality with great design. They are stylish to roam in the city while also being suited to operate in harsh terrains.
The backpack protects your equipment from rain, hail, and extreme heat due to its weatherproofing characteristics. The Peak Design backpacks have sheer toughness due to the material they’re constructed with.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/Rick_Proza- “I use the 20l Peak Design backpack for daily activities, traveling, and cycling. It is very comfortable. Sometimes when I have to walk around the city as compared to other backpacks, it is very comfortable”.
u/ParticularTune7146- “I think that the 30l backpack by Peak Design isn’t too big. Took it for 2 to 4 day trips, and the size is perfect. It may just be slightly too heavy”.
u/YoshiWithABlueShell- “I have the Peak Designs backpack and cannot recommend it enough. I have no regrets, and it is amazing. I’ve taken it on every trip since I purchased it a year ago, and it has been stellar”.
- Great design with the excellent build quality
- Highly versatile in its functioning
- Side access and handles
- Plenty of space
- Cleverly hidden quick dry mesh back padding
- Outer canvas shell is 100% recyclable
- The backpacks have sizes up to 21 liters
- It is 400D double poly coated and is impregnated with nylon
- Excellent space and pockets
The Peak Design travel backpack of 45 liters is a product that we would recommend to others who are looking for something ideal for carrying long term travel stuff. It is very durable, which means that you can use it over long periods without worrying about anything, and there are so many pockets that you can store anything and everything quickly and easily. This bag has plenty of features that make it easy for us to fall in love with it, including a secure and easy to use laptop and tablet sleeve.
You can customize this bag all you want, and you can even purchase some of the accessories that they have created. However, if you are searching for a day bag that you can use for cameras and daily use, then this is not going to be ideal. Not only is it going to be too large, but it is also going to be extremely expensive, but it can be a good investment if you are going to use it for your cameras.
However, for those who love to travel, something that will last for years to come and is easy to use, then this is perfect. The frequent travelers would love how comfortable this bag is, and it makes traveling simpler since you can use this as your carry-on and get going faster without worrying about anything. I love this model, and I can see myself turning to this one over my other backpacks when I am starting to pack for my next trip.
3. GORUCK GR2 Backpack
GORUCK is a simple and highly durable backpack. The backpack blurs the lines between a daypack and a travel backpack. The packs come in a variety of colors that gives them an aesthetical outlook. The backpack has minimal looks with excellent functional features.
The GORUCK backpacks are very spacious and have several pockets. If you want a tactical look, then these packs offer an excellent choice and outstanding organization.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/Outcome005– “I used the GR1 21 liters backpack for all my college time, and it is awesome. And now I use it as a work and travel backpack. You cannot mess with a GORUCK”.
u/SilkyChineseFood- “I have a GR2 and use it every day. I hike and travel all the time and get the GORUCK as hand luggage on the place. Had it for a year or more, and it still looks brand new”.
u/hackatac- “If you’re looking for the toughest bag in the market and ready to compromise to carry the extra weight, then you should buy a GORUCK backpack. I have owned the backpack for nearly 2 years and have performed 2 GORUCK challenges using it and it still stands out and is fantastic. I would say out of the 10 bags I have it carries weight on the shoulders, unlike others. I’ve put 100 pounds in the bag, and it is still comfortable”.
- The build quality is impeccable, making the bag very reliable and versatile.
- Well protected compartments
- The zippers are buttery smooth and easy to use
- Good organization and plenty of ways to expand them
- Highly durable with a superb warranty
- Sizes up to 26 liters
- Great quality due to excellent craftsmanship
- Cordura Nylon material with YKK zippers, Paracord, and Duraflex hardware
- Plenty of compartments
- Epic warranty
4. Tortuga Travel Backpack
What Redditors had to say about it
u/jaymeetee- “I’ve been living on a Tortuga backpack since May 2nd, 2015. I can assure you that I am pretty happy with the Tortuga materials and quality”.
u/AdventureInAbsurdity- “Tortuga makes great backpacks, made for long-term one bagging. If you are looking for unboxing, customer service, and daily use, you can’t purchase a better product”.
u/BenThereNotYet- “I’ve owned the 45L Tortuga backpack for almost 2 years and have made dozen trans-oceanic trips around the world from last year to the beginning of this year. It is usually considered a carry-on but was once forced to gate-check it. I make sure I hide the straps on most occasions. Two years later, the bag looks brand new and has been a great investment for me”.
The Tortuga Travel Backpack is an incredible backpack explicitly made for travel. It’s perfect for short and long trips and is designed to fit all your belongings in a carry-on size. This Backpack has impressive features that make it a top choice among travelers.
- Smartly Designed Storage: The Backpack features a balanced design and many options for storage, so everything has a place to call home.
- Luxurious Comfort: The suspension and straps redefine comfort, making those lengthy journeys seem effortless.
- Hip Belt Haven: The hip belt provides outstanding support for a journey without tiredness, going above and beyond.
- Week-Long Warrior: This rugged Backpack is a reliable ally for week-long hiking trips.
- Built to Brave: Made of durable, water-resistant materials, the bag scoffs at deterioration.
- Eco-Friendly Chic: An environmentally conscious touch, the main fabric proudly displays the label of recycled materials.
- Harness that is like a cloud: The padded, height-adjustable harness provides a secure fit without sacrificing comfort.
- Suitcase-Like Opening: The Backpack’s innovative suitcase-like opening style deserves special mention. This design feature simplifies packing and accessing your belongings and lets you see all your packed items simultaneously.
- Tech-Savvy Companion: The Backpack features a dedicated and well-padded laptop compartment that can comfortably accommodate a 16-inch MacBook Pro or similar-sized laptops.
- Traveller’s Pleasure: The Backpack complies with carry-on requirements, reducing stress at the airport.
- Globetrotter’s Assurance: No matter where your travels take you, a global warranty attests to its quality.
5. Osprey Farpoint – Best Travel Backpack for Backpacking in 2024
Enter a backpacking hostel and it won’t be long before you see someone with an Osprey Backpack. Other models are popular as well and are listed below but the Farpoint is one of the best picks and they come in all sizes from 40, 55, 70 and even 80 Liters.
My recommendation is the 40 liters as you can carry it on a plane, the 55 liter backpack which is popular among people taking a gap year and it does have a zip-off day pack attached to the front which you could carry on if you want!
At 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and padded shoulder straps and a light-frame wire suspension the 40 Liter Farpoint is a great bet for most people. With 4.7/5 stars rating on Amazon, it’s hard to go wrong with an Osprey Farpoint.
Nomatic vs Osprey
How does Nomatic compare vs Osprey?
Well, in all honestly the Nomatic travel bags are geared more towards digital nomads, freelancers and people who travel with a lot of tech.
Osprey, on the other hand, is the go-to bag maker for backpackers. So based on your style of travel ie Nomading or Backpacking, it’s easy to make the decision.
6. Minaal Carry On 2.0 – Decent Digital Nomad Backpack
This company started out as a project on Kickstarter and now makes one of the best carry on travel backpacks I’ve seen on the market. The first Carry-on Version launched on Kickstarter in September 2013 and surpassed its goal by $300,000+ and is now sold out. They came out with an updated version called Carry on 2.0 last year!
The perfect carry-on backpack. – Buzzfeed
It’s a little more expensive when compared to the other bags on this list but you do get your money’s worth with Minaal and would definitely recommend it for the long term travelers or for someone like me who lives out of a backpack. The New Carry on 2.0 is a popular backpack among digital nomads or long-term travelers.
The major factors that made me pick this backpack is the fact the great accessibility as you can have a full-length zipper, as well as amazingly comfortable. The backpack straps can also be hidden away carried around with a single arm.
Nomatic vs Minaal
Nomatic and Minaal are both companies making backpacks geared toward Digital Nomads. I personally preferred and use the Nomatic Travel bag for one single reason.
I biked the island of Flores (Indonesia) in the middle of a thunderstorm for a couple of hours with the Nomatic travel bag and didn’t worry about my electronics at all.
Note: Nomatic probably wouldn’t recommend that haha! But I’m pretty sure I have pushed their bag to the limit and it still works!
Minaal is definitely better for a city-digital-nomad ie someone who wouldn’t ever think about doing what I did above.
7. Osprey Porter – Great Hiking Travel Backpack
Here’s another one from Osprey! The Osprey Porter is a 46-liter backpack with a removable day-lite pack in the front! With top compartments and panel load access, the Osprey Porter is one of the easiest bags when it comes to accessibility!
The Osprey Porter is a great fix if you need a little more space and want a sturdy carry on travel backpack but don’t want to get one of the big hiking backpacks.
The bag comes with a technical pack suspension built-in and you can unzip the back-panel and get access to a padded mesh shoulder harness and a hip belt suspension which makes it comfortable to carry it while on a hike or a walk. With 4.7/5 stars on Amazon with over 400 reviews this bag is loved by many!
8. Osprey Airspace UNLTD
Osprey Airspace UNLTD is produced by the world’s leading backpack brand. The backpack is designed with cutting-edge 3D printing technology to create a comfortable and supportive pack. The backpack is one of the most comfortable hiking packs in the market.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/Wyattr55123- “Someone spend too much company time and money to create a perfect backpack”.
u/fittpilam- “I have 4 Osprey packs and love them. I will definitely try them again if my youngest needs a bag.”
u/DirtyDan- “This is from last November, and nothing has changed. Their new bags are of great quality and still come with their All Mighty guarantee”.
- Maximum size limit of 68 liters
- Hip, shoulder, and chest side compression straps
- Multiple pockets
- Space age material
- Internal, full peripheral frame having a 3d lumbar support
- The lid can be detached into a day pack
- Good anti-gravity suspension
- Super comfortable back support.
- Good guarantee period.
9. Deuter Aircontact – Great Travel Backpack for Hiking
A Deuter Aircontact is one of the best backpacks for hiking. The backpack has outstanding comfort, support, and breathability. They allow for great freedom of movement and have abundant space.
The backpack has a unique design and is available with different strap that supports your journey all the way. Further, the packs are designed with a superior material that makes them very reliable.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/frontfight- “Deuter Aircontact pro was my first pack. Out of the 15 packs I have, it has been the most comfortable. I utilize it generally for loads now and can definitely recommend the Deuter to be a great pack”.
u/swampwalker906- “Deuter has many years of experience making packs. I wouldn’t worry to purchase it”.
u/Hiker22- “I own an aircontact pro. I really like it as it is very comfortable even though it has heavy loads. I choose it as it is right on the back, and the build quality is pretty good”.
- Maximum 65 liters size
- ActiveFit shoulder straps, chest straps, and VariFlex hip fins
- Robust X-frame construction
- Different types of pockets
- Designed with 20% polyester and 80% nylon
- Great ventilation
- 15% perspiration control
- A 3D AirMesh cover alongside breathable hollow chamber foam
10. Aer Travel Backpack – Wonderful Backpack for Digital Nomads
The Aer Travel backpack is a versatile travel backpack in the market. The backpacks can fit your laptop and accessories efficiently. They can be used as a daypack and made it one bag for all occasions.
The Aer Travel backpack has a unique design quality and has different pockets and zippers that allow you to stay organized. The minimalist outer design deters thieves to from burgling away the material. The internal storage is very spacious and it’s overall very reliable.
What Redditors had to say about it
u/spacemanvt- “I found the Aer Travel backpack 3 is more comfortable, and the comfort is king”.
u/PixelSquish- “Just traveled with the Aer Travel backpack to Greece, and Cyprus, from the US. Got easily on the flight as it was stuffed full”.
- Maximum size up to 33 liters
- Designed with 1680D Cordura Ballistic nylon exterior
- Different compartments and pockets
- A compliant carry-on
- Lots of customization options
- Highly durable
- Plenty of space to work with
There are several backpacks out in the market. I’ve highlighted some backpacks with some key features that make them a viable choice in the industry. All in all, select a backpack that is comfortable for you. The last thing you would want is a backpack that rubs your shoulders or hips as you walk.
Best Travel Backpack 2024 Buyer’s Guide
There are many factors to consider when picking a bag, your choice in a carry on travel backpack will depend on your style of travel and also your packing style. For some people, a 70 Litre bag might be too bulky while for others it might be too small.
Why A Travel Backpack in 2024?
As I was writing this article in a cafe in Bali a couple at the table right next to me asked to borrow the phone of the waitress so that they could call the airport to check up on the update on their lost luggage and were in a fury as they didn’t have any spare clothing. If that didn’t convince me that I have to sway all of you away from the dark side to the light side (pun intended) of airline luggage.
Traveling with just a carry on a backpack is always safer and thus a better choice. However, I’m not going to lie to you; there are some downsides.
- I always lose my swiss pocket knives :’) this is obvious but you can’t take a swiss knife on the plane. This isn’t a problem for most people, however, more than once, I’ve ended up opening my bag looking for it for the corkscrew. Few things are as much of a ‘cork blocker’ than using a shoe to open a fancy bottle of wine at the end of a romantic evening
- You start being judgemental of people who check in luggage! When you start traveling with only a carry-on, you are going to start wheezing through airports and eventually, you will think that you are so #woke versus all your counterparts. Or maybe that was just me…
- You start being a #minimalist and your captions on Instagram start to sound like “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff”, we’ve all been there :P
Many carry on travel backpacks on the market claim to be the “best carry on backpacks“, however, they’re a few basic factors that are important mainly for traveling with a carry on backpacks vs normal travel backpacks
Carry On Travel Backpack Guidelines
- Size: Right off the bat, Size is one of the most important factors when it comes to a carry on travel backpack. One reason is that the size of your carry on travel backpack, will influence your strategy when it comes to packing, I always tell people to start off with a tiny backpack as it’ll force them to pack light. Not only must your backpack fit the dimensions of the airlines (usually 22″x14″x9″) but the size and dimensions of the backpack is something to keep in mind when it comes to placing your backpack under your seat or in the overhead cabin.
- Weight: Usually 7kgs for budget airlines and more for others but the weight of your baggage can be an issue at times. Especially if you are late for the flight and have to run across the airport. Note: You can almost always flirt your way through if you bag is just a little over the weight my bag weighs around 8kg but no air hostess ever stops me from taking it on. The issues I have with many trekking and hiking backpacks I have used in the past are that the metal frame increases the weight of the bag, exponentially! While the metal frame does provide comfort while climbing a mountain, it isn’t really convenient for daily life.
- Accessibility: When it comes to security you are going to have to remove your laptop and place it in a different tray along with your toiletries. This can be easy if your laptop is in a different compartment that can be opened up like the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack. How easy is it to get the things you want in your backpack? You don’t really want to have to remove everything in your bag just to get your toothbrush which you accidentally put at the bottom.
- Comfort: How comfortable is it to carry your travel backpack? Does it have a hip-belt to make those occasional long walks a little more comfortable by taking the weight off your shoulder and onto your hips? Comfort is a huge factor while picking a backpack.
Why a carry on travel backpack vs a roller bag in 2024?
This is actually something that’s going to depend on your style of travel. If you are just going to be airports and hotel lobbies, then it’s not really a bad idea to travel with a roller bag especially if you have back injuries and would rather not carry a heavy backpack, that being said even if you roller bag is carry on compliant they’re some downsides to it.
If the plane is overfull and they have to remove a little luggage from it, your roller bag will most likely be the first one asked to be put in the hold before any backpacks. Now, something like that is super rare but why risk it? Just travel with a carry on backpack. Also, backpacks give you so much more free mobility thus making it easy to move around. Also, you look less of a target for crime as you look less of a tourist (unless you are lugging around a massive backpack) but that’s a whole other story.
Features of a Good Travel Backpack
There are several features you have to consider when selecting the right backpack. Never buy a bag based only on the brand, but take a look at important features as mentioned below to have a positive experience.
- Size- The size of a backpack is a crucial factor when selecting the best travel backpack for your journey. Each trip is different, and so is the size of the backpack that is the right choice for you. If you’re planning to go on a 2-month trip across Europe, then a 40-liter backpack is ideal as it will be comfortable and available at lower rates. If you’re planning to travel to Nepal or the French Alps, then you should go for a bigger backpack, preferably between 58 to 70 liters.
- Straps- The number of straps on your backpack is a decisive factor when selecting a backpack. Selecting a bag with a hip/waist strap is a must, as it will evenly distribute the weight on your body. The backpacks that are supportive to your body will positively impact your journey in several ways.
- Material- The material the backpack is designed with will also impact the quality and usability of the item. Polyester, leather, canvas, and nylon are the most common and best type of material. Consider where you will be traveling and make the material choice accordingly.
- Pockets- A backpack with enough pockets will allow you to have better accessibility to your wallet, passport, etc. However, having too many pockets is not good either, so select a backpack with practical and functional pockets.
- Comfort- The most important factor while selecting a backpack is comfort. You may have a beautiful backpack, but if you’re not comfortable with it, then it is not the right fit for you. Your backpack can either make your journey glamorous or sour, so choose a comfortable backpack to experience the mesmerizing thrills of the way.
Carry on Travel Backpack vs Suitcase
A carry on backpack or traveling with a suitcase; The never-ending debate as old as the “traveler vs tourist” crap, I normally recommend carry on travel backpacks, that’s why this article is titled “Best Carry On Travel backpack 2024” and not “best travel suitcase 2024” however they are times when I would actually give you a pass for traveling with a suitcase.
- If you are going to go to a new country and you want to do a lot of shopping, carrying a ton of backpacks won’t work and you are better off traveling with a suitcase like my parents do when I go pretty much anywhere.
- If you are heading for a conference and not really going to do much traveling and just going from the airport to the taxi to the hotel lobby.
Carry On Travel Backpack Form Factors
- Volume: Every backpack on the market spends so much time trying to advertise their volume. The volume part is the most unregulated part of the backpack and there’s no industry standard so it’s just a vanity metric that can be gamed easily. “True volume” is the exact amount that you can pack in your backpack because the volume of the material of your backpack isn’t that important to you. You care about the usefulness of your space and what you can pack in it.
- Front Loading: If you go hiking you will see a lot of hikers using a backpack with a large bag that opens at the top. Now it doesn’t take long to figure out how inefficient this is. If you accidentally left your toothbrush at the bottom of your bag you will now have to empty your entire bag just to get access to it. Most of the carry on travel backpacks mentioned in this list and on the market nowadays can with front loading which basically lets you open the bag from the front or back (in the case of the Nomatic travel bag) thus making access the core of your things so much easier.
- Weather-resistant: If you are going to be traveling around where the weather maybe not that pleasant it helps to have a little water resistance so that you don’t have to have one of those ugly bag covers out the moment there is a tiny shower. I’m someone who bikes across countries every chance I get and I just did a 1500 km+ bike ride around East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia so having my bag being resistant to ruff and tear along with water resistance makes a ton of difference.
I hope that this list of the best backpacks for travel helps you pick a travel backpack that makes your travels incredibly comfortable. Let me know what you think about the suggestions in the comments below.
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API