The 7 Best Travel Backpacks Reviewers Swear By

The 7 Best Travel Backpacks Reviewers Swear By

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HuffPost staffers recently got to chatting about their favorite unisex travel backpacks. Some like a compact pack intended for a laptop and wallet. Some crave complex luggage full of pockets and sections. Some want a roomy knapsack that fits a suitcase’s worth of clothes. All want a versatile, long-lasting bag that will make traveling just a little bit easier.

Unlike tote bags, duffles or suitcases, backpacks don’t have to be dragged or rolled. Many fit airport carry-on restrictions and will allow you to navigate hands-free through airports, trains and terminals.

To help you find your perfect travel bag, we’ve rounded up some favorites from our own team plus top-selling rucksacks with rave reviews and a few high-capacity backpacks that were previously recommended to HuffPost by devoted practitioners of packing light.

Ahead, you’ll find bags at a variety of different budgets and sizes — yet all are high-quality, durable travel backpacks with receipts to prove it.


Carhartt advanced backpack

If you’re looking for a long-lasting bag without a ton of extra zippers or doodads, HuffPost senior editor and reporter Andy Campbell has a recommendation. “This Carhartt work backpack was a godsend for me, someone who splits time between work in a city environment and business trips all over the country. It’s super durable (the zippers don’t break!) and it works both as a computer bag and a day pack for hiking. I’ve used this backpack daily for years and I can’t imagine switching brands for my next one,” he said.

Another promising review: “I got this for my big girl college bag and it’s perfect, comfortable has enough pockets and when i’m walking to class in the rain all my books stay dry.” — Aniya Surratt


Timbuk2 Wingman backpack duffel

If you’re looking for a brand that will have your back, HuffPost’s senior culture editor Erin E. Evans recommends the luggage company Timbuk2. “When my Timbuk2 [bag] broke, I mailed it off to them and they fixed it and sent it back,” she said. While everything on their site is drool-inducing, this travel backpack is versatile and chic. With a roomy main compartment, interior water bottle pocket and wipeable bottom cargo pocket for shoes, it holds everything you need for a carry-on.

Promising review: “Love this bag for short 2-3 day trips. I don’t like checking bags and I can fit a few changes of clothes in compression sacks with shoes in it no problem. I also like the fact that it has dedicated pockets for my both my laptop and my tablet. If you like traveling light, this bag is for you!” — Jason


Coowoz carry on waterproof backpack

With the capacity of a duffle bag but the practicality of a backpack, there’s no wonder this sleek bag has an overall Amazon rating of 4.6 with 4,161 total reviews. It has a shoe compartment, a “wet bag” section for products or wet bathing suits, tons of pockets and separators, and a spot for your laptop. Reviews say it works for both travel and daily use to work or school and can hold a couple of days’ worth of clothing.

Promising review: “I absolutely love this bag! I bought it to stuff as much in it for a personal bag on an international flight. Boy did I cram a lot in the bag! It fits the personal bag qualifications, so it’s a great companion when trying to cheat those extra charges on air travel. Definitely recommend this bag!” — Kaylee


Pakt travel backpack

This extraordinarily well-equipped backpack comes very highly rated, with a 4.61-star Amazon rating across 171 reviews. A clamshell opening, divided main compartment, easy-access top zippers, a separate waterproof wet pocket and a luggage pass-through are just a handful of the hardworking features that this do-it-all 30-liter bag offers. (Minimal lifestyle vlogger Spencer Scott Pugh previously recommended a similar bag from Pakt to HuffPost.)

Promising review: “I’ve only used it on one trip so far but I’m SO happy with it. I go on a lot of 2-5 day trips and I have a lot of other gear I need to take with me for work, so having all my personal belongings in a backpack that functions like a suitcase is absolutely PERFECT for my needs. This backpack seems like high quality constructions, the zippers are so satisfying, decent amount of space and flexibility, the large water bottle pouch on the side is excellent… easy 5 stars.” — James Schulz


Matein travel laptop backpack

With 4.8-star Amazon rating from 79,054 reviews, this travel laptop backpack may be the bestselling carry-on on Amazon. With internal and external pockets for your laptop, phone, keys, pens, water bottle and more, this baby will keep you put together when traveling or commuting to work.

Promising review: “This backpack is Amazons #1 backpack and for a good reason. It has many different pockets that fit all your needs and is extremely durable. I personally have had one for about 3 years now and it still is in very good shape. It’s also waterproof which is super useful since it would be bad it water got in any electronics that you may have in your bag” — Evan W


Herschel Little America laptop backpack

Noah Michelson, editorial director of HuffPost Personal, has only bought Herschel backpacks for the past decade. While he loves them all equally, the Little America laptop backpack with a 4.7-star Amazon rating from over 10,000 reviews is his recommendation. “I love this particular style because there’s an easy-access zipper pocket in front and a slot for my laptop inside,” he said. “It’s perfect for work or the gym or — because it’s big but not bulky — both. Best of all, it comes in a ton of colors and patterns and Hershel updates and offers new ones all the time (I’ve got my eye on the ash rose one right now).”

Promising review: “I’ve had this backpack for a couple of years now. It’s my personal item whenever I travel by plane and it fits so much! I’ve also used it for weekend trips. I really like the laptop sleeve as it protects my MacBook and I don’t have to worry about it when I travel. The quality of the bag is really great, like I said I’ve had it for a couple years already but still looks good!” — Justine


Thule 28L Aion backpack

From trusted Swedish gear brand Thule comes this high-capacity waxed canvas backpack that’s equipped with a side zipper, allowing the bag to expand from a 28-liter daypack to a 32-liter travel backpack. Geoff Grisdale of One Bag Travels previously recommended this rucksack to HuffPost. “It’s large enough to hold on my gear and organize it well, but it’s also has a pretty simple minimalist look and feel to it that makes it not weigh too much and also not be super expensive,” he said.

Promising review: “This is a great backpack work perfect and all clothing go perfect.” — Emilio Escartìn


Osprey Fairview 40 travel backpack

Minimal lifestyle vlogger Sophie Daquis previously recommended this Osprey Fairview 40 travel backpack. “It’s a very well-built and functional bag. I love it because it is big enough to hold all of my essentials (camera gears, laptop, clothes, and other small essentials), but also small enough that it makes me think twice about what I actually need on the trip,” she said. With a 4.7-star Amazon rating from 1,208 reviews, other people seem to love this sporty bag as well.

Promising review: “I ordered this pack to use for a 9 day trip to Ireland and Scotland. With the help of two packing cubes I was amazed at how much I was able to fit in here. When I got home I somehow had 2.5 loads of laundry to wash. I am 5’1 and I ordered size small.” — E


Wandrd PRVKE Lite

HuffPost art director Jianan Liu said her boyfriend has (and loves) this super versatile travel backpack with a protected section for a camera. Although it’s a weatherproof bag designed by and for photographers, the big inner pocket with removable foam dividers can also fit personal items for non-photographers. There’s a section for a water bottle, a laptop sleeve and a removable chest strap if you want to wear it as a duffle.

Promising review: “I really love this bag. It is small enough to comfortably fit under an airline seat. It carriesmy laptop and has a special compartment for a camera from the outside of the bag, Youcan get to it easily , Fits easily on my back and I am tall! Has a special fuzzy space in thetop for your phone! Would buy it again!” — Alice G