Complete guide to the Best Travel Backpack 2017
One of most important items you need when travelling is to choose the best travel backpack to suit you needs. Like your shoes and other travel companions, your backpack will be with you all the way during your adventures; so you need to ensure that it has everything that you need.
You will need a backpack that is lightweight and comfortable enough to carry around all without straining your back or neck, but also stylish enough that you feel confident and attractive throughout your trip.
- 1 Why do I need a quality Travel Backpack?
- 2 Comparison chart for the best travel backpack 2017
- 3 How to choose the best travel backpack
- 4 What to look for in a quality backpack
- 5 Best Travel Daypack
- 6 Comparison chart for the best travel Daypacks 2017
- 7 Travel backpack product reviews
- 8 Advantages of buying good quality backpack
- 9 Plane carry-on backpacks or larger backpacks?
- 10 Best carry on backpack for international travel
- 11 Travel Daypacks product reviews
- 12 Best Daypack for travel summary
- 13 Conclusion
Why do I need a quality Travel Backpack?
Backpacks represent our society’s obsession with adventure, escape, and constant movement. A travel backpack gives you the freedom to carry whatever you need during your travels while keeping your hands free.
Most people never stop to consider how important it is to choose a quality backpack. Unless they suffer from muscle fatigue/poor posture or lose/damage their items. Quality backpacks are specifically designed to house and protect your items as well and prevent the weight of the bag from causing unnecessary strain to your neck, shoulder and back muscles.
Travel backpacks should not be confused with the normal backpacks meant for extended camping, or hiking. Travel backpacks are specifically designed with the emphasis on features that travellers appreciate, rather than just being lightweight. They have internal frames for ergonomic support, and are often made from heavier and tougher material that can survive the rigours of travel and the occasional abuse from luggage handlers.
Comparison chart for the best travel backpack 2017
Finding the right backpack to suit your needs can be difficult. Whether your looking to find the best carry on backpack, or perhaps a larger backpack to replace traditional luggage.
To help you choose, we’ve listed the best travel backpacks for easy comparison along with the main options they provide. To sort the table, click the column heading.
|Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack||3 LBS||View||5.0|
|Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag||1.2 LBS||View||4.9|
|Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack||3.9 LBS||View||5.0|
|Patagonia Headway MLC 45L||3.2 LBS||View||4.8|
|Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Backpack||4.6 LBS||View||4.7|
How to choose the best travel backpack
Finding the Best Travel Backpacks is almost as important as finding your right travel companion. You need a backpack that guarantees comfort, safety, security, sufficient storage capacity, durability and still appeals to your fashion and style preferences. In our list the top 5 best travel backpacks, we have tried to be as diverse as possible to capture your backpacking needs but still stay within a reasonable price range.
What to look for in a quality backpack
The best travel backpacks have straps designed to even the load of the backpack and provide maximum comfort. Adjustable and padded shoulder straps ensure that your backpack sits comfortably preventing the strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. Additional padded hip straps shift most of the weight from the shoulders and back and places it on the leg muscles. This allows you to carry heavier luggage for longer with a fair level of stability.
Generally, thick straps are ideal for weight distribution, but they offer poor ventilation. Narrow vented straps, on the other hand, will allow air to flow through, but they can cause irritation to your neck and shoulders if you are going to carry heavy loads. Cross-body straps are fashionable but do not offer even weight distribution.
Backpack Frame Type
When it comes to backpack frames, you have three main options. Internal-frame, external-frame and frame-less options.
Most of the best travel backpacks sold today are body-hugging internal frame packs designed to keep hikers stable on off-trial, uneven terrain. Internal frames may also incorporate various load-support technologies that help to transfer the load to the hips.
If you are planning to carry a heavy, irregular load, an external-frame pack might be your best option. They also offer lots of gear organisation without compromising of ventilation.
Frame-less packs are good for those looking to tone down on the weight. They are perfect for lightweight hiking where lots of climbing is involved, but they don’t offer the best stability if you have a relatively heavy load.
Weight of Backpack
Lightweight packs might be an ideal way to lighten your overall load, but they often don’t offer comfortable straps and their suspension is quite poor. However, this is no problem if you often pack an equally lighter load and tend to go out just a few times on shorter trips. Additionally, lighter backpacks are much more comfortable for older people or those with minor physical limitation.
Heavy backpacks, on the other hand, are a perfect choice for people who tend to carry a few extra comforts and favour longer trips. Heavy packs offer more suspension and padding, as well as more durable materials than lighter packs. Ultimately, it all comes down to a choice between light load, and comfort and durability.
Accessing the Backpack
There are two main options when it comes to backpack access. Top-loading openings and side zipper access.
Most hiking bags only open from the top, more like a garbage bag. The trouble with this kind of bag is that every time you need something at the bottom of the bag you have to unpack, and then repack everything. Top-loading access packs are mostly closed by buckling a flap down over the opening or tightening a drawstring. These kind are not the best travel backpacks because they leave your valuables vulnerable to theft
There are packs that offer zippered front panel which when opened, it exposes the full interior of the pack. This option makes it easier to access items deeper in your pack.
A good backpack will have multiple compartments for better organisation. This helps you to break up your travel gear into smaller sections for ease of access and finding items that you need without having to dig around in your bag.
Best Travel Daypack
Daypacks are basically smaller versions of backpacks typically designed for carrying small light items.
Travel Daypacks are essential if you plan on doing a lot of walking or for an all-in-a-day outing. They can help you organise your items such as Phone/Tablet, map, spare shoes or sandals, creams and medicine, hairbrush, sunscreen and so on.
Having a Daypack also leaves your hands free and the right Daypack, with the right features, properly fastened, can keep your items safe from theft.
Finding the right Daypack to suit your needs can be difficult so to help you choose, we’ve listed the best travel backpacks and minimalist backpacks for easy comparison along with the main options they provide. Sort the table by clicking the column heading.
Comparison chart for the best travel Daypacks 2017
|Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack||1.32 LBS||View||5.0|
|Osprey Packs Daylite Backpack||1 LB||View||4.9|
|Deuter Speed Lite 10 Backpack||350 g||View||5.0|
|Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 16 Backpack||1.21 LBS||View||4.9|
|The North Face Vault Unisex Backpack||1 LB||View||4.6|
During our trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu we decided to take a small backpacks as we knew we would be walking on uneven terrain most of the day when we took the long journey to Macchu Picchu. The backpack Ros choose was the Osprey women’s Tempest 16 backpack listed above, and can vouch that in her opinion it is one of the best travel backpacks for women. After a long day walking around the ruins her back felt fine. She now uses it regularly on long day trips of walking. It is specifically designed for women and padded to fit the female figure and offer breathable cushioning.
Travel backpack product reviews
Osprey Farpoint 40L
Osprey is well known for creating high quality long lasting backpacks, and the Osprey Farpoint 40L is no exception. The majority of Farpoint 40L is made from a tough nylon blend and features a mesh on the back panel for ventilation. The material is also quite easy to clean.
When it comes to comfort, we give this backpack an absolute A; it has well-padded shoulder and hip straps that don’t strain your neck or shoulder even with a little extra weight. It comes in two main sizes, i.e. S/M and M/L. The general size recommendation for people under 5’6” is the S/M, while the M/L works better with individuals above 5’6”.
The Farpoint 40L is carry-on compliant since it doesn’t exceed the maximum total carry-on requirements of less than 115cm. However, some reports have stated that overloading the Farpoint 40L may make it appear bigger and this might attract the attention of the luggage attendants. Either way, fitting the Farpoint 40L in the overhead bin has never been a problem. Having said that, you need to remember that even if your backpack is carry-on compliant, you should always make sure that it meets the weight restrictions. Your bag might be an acceptable size, but may be too heavy depending on what you are carrying. Always check out the specific airline weight restrictions.
Osprey Farpoint 40L features
• Back panel flap: This allows you to keep the big straps out of way and create a slimmer and sleek profile. It’s is a convenience feature which allows you to stow and zip away the straps which make a better-checked bag.
• Panel access: Large panel zip access to the main panel features lockable sliders that offer quick accessibility and security to the main contents. The best part about this is that you don’t have to remove nearly all your contents just to access the items at the bottom of your pack.
• Front Compression Straps: the dual front compression straps helps to keep your gear stable as you move around.
• Padded Handles: the Farpoint 40L comes with two nicely padded handles –one on the side and one on top. These come in handy when you need to hoist your pack, especially if it’s heavily loaded.
• Built-in Laptop Compartment: It features two padded laptop and Netbook/Tablet sleeves. So the larger sleeve can hold a 15-inch laptop while the small sleeve can accommodate a large Tablet or small Netbook.
Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, 46-Liter
The Porter 46 is designed with flexibility and durability in mind, which are two of the most coveted attributes in a travel backpack. If you have a long walking day ahead, just unzip the back panel and release the hip belt suspension and padded mesh shoulder harness to enhance the comfort.
It features a large front panel with padded laptop and tablet sleeves, and a small internal pocket for small items. Zippers accessing the main compartments are lockable for additional security.
Porter 46 Comfort
The Porter 46 comes with technical suspension and padding which makes it feel as comfortable and natural as a backpack. It comes with impressive load lifter straps which help to centre the load weight by pulling the pack in closer. The stiff padded foam back panel contours the back well to minimise any strain especially if the pack is fully loaded.
Porter 46 features
• Panel load access: The large panel load zippered access offers easy access to the main compartment. The zippers are also lockable for additional security of the internal contents. The internal mesh zippered pockets in the main compartment offer excellent organisation of the internal contents.
• Straight Jacket Compression: the foam padded sidewalls have a StraightJacket compression that protects, stabilises and compresses that load.
• Stowaway harness: the stowaway padded shoulder harness has an adjustable sternum strap with a rescue whistle buckle that offers additional comfort, security, and convenience.
• Front panel organisation compartment: the Porter 46 has a lockable zippered front panel organisational compartment with a padded laptop and Tablet sleeve as well as organisation sleeve and ample space for your gear.
• Daylite attachment: the porter features 4 reinforced cord loops on the front panel that allows you to attach the Osprey Daylite pack for additional carrying capacity.
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack
The Osprey Farpoint 55 does pretty well outdoors with a technical suspension that is very comfortable and easily stows away in a zippered flap to offer you a slim profile, and for easy transport with the airlines. It also comes with a detachable day pack for additional space. The Farpoint 55 does not make a good carry on as it may be a little too big for the overhead bin; this is where the day pack comes in.
The Farpoint 55 is designed to handle up to 50 pounds. If you have a more than average load by weight, you will appreciate the LightWire™ frame suspension that transfers most of the weight from the harness to the hip belt. If ventilation is your concern, then you will be happy to know that the mesh back-panel and the mesh on the harness work hard to keep your neck, shoulders and back ventilated. The dual compression straps work hard to keep your cargo from moving during transit.
Farpoint 55 may not be the toughest of the Osprey Farpoint series, but its tenacity is adequate for backpacking and use while remaining supple and lightweight for odd shaped loads and extended carry times. The workmanship behind this backpack defiantly lives up to Osprey’s standards; strong sewn seams, great zippers and straps and durable buckles.
Farpoint 55 features
• Panel access: The large zip access to the main compartment is further secured by lockable sliders that provide security and convenient accessibility to the main contents. The main compartment has laptop and tablet sleeves and an internal scratch-free pocket to protect eye wear and other little delicate items.
• Stowaway back-panel: the back-panel, harness system, and hip belt can be easily stowed and zipped away to prevent them from sticking onto anything and for a slimmer profile when in transit.
• Padded carry handles: the Farpoint 55 has two padded carry handles –one on the top and one on the side. This comes in handy when you are loading or offloading your bag, and one in a while when you need to carry your backpack without putting it on your back.
• Durable fabric and lockable zippers: the heavy duty zippers that secure the main compartments are lockable to help keep the bad guys away from your items. The fabric is a heavy duty 420D nylon that can withstand a good level of abuse.
• Detachable Daypack: the Daypack is comfortable and can be easily zipped onto the back of your main backpack. You can also clip the Daypack to the front of the main bag to help your track important documents or valuables.
Patagonia Headway MLC 45L
The Patagonia Headway MLC 45L ranks very high among some of the Best Travel Backpack on the market. It is one part a backpack, one part a suitcase, which cutters for all your carry-on travel needs. The soft sides are responsible for its lightweight properties, while the 940D Cordura® Nylon fabric lends it significant durability. It may not be the best waterproof backpack but It’s coated with a water repellent finish that is capable of shading off light rain.
The heavy duty dual zipper opens to reveal two main separate compartments that help you pack easy and organise your items. Whether you use fold, or roll method, it should be able to hold up to 3 to 5 day’s worth of clothing. Or, if you just want to pack your 17” laptop and a few other essentials, well and good; Patagonia 45 comes with a heavily padded laptop compartment.
The external zipped pockets help you organise small items such as passport, phone, reading materials and pens. You can carry it over your shoulder by pulling out the hidden shoulder straps, or carry it briefcase-style, whichever works best for you.
Patagonia Headway MLC 45L Features
• Laptop compartment: an internal, well-padded sleeve that firmly holds a 17-inch laptop, which can also double as a cloth compartment
• Main compartments: Two compartments that help in organising items and a compression strap that help keep the bulky items in place. There is also a second pocket that separates shoes from your clothing.
• Fabric: abrasion resistant ballistic nylon with a polyurethane coating and water-resistant DWR finish.
• Two small exterior pockets that help organise and easily access items like passports, tickets, phone, and documents.
• Multiple carrying options: a padded shoulder strap allows you to wear this bag across your chest or on your shoulder, while the side and tip handles allow carrying it like a briefcase.
• Stowaway back-panel: the zip away, shoulder straps easily converts the MLC into a backpack.
• Meets most of the carry-on weight and size restrictions –check with your carrier for specific requirements.
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Backpack
The highly popular Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 offers backpackers with up to 3966 cubic inches of storage space with perfect comfort at 4 pounds. This makes it an excellent selection for extended or multi-day packing trips. It also ranks well in the all-weather category with its protective Deuter rain cover.
The Lite 65+10 makes it easy to carry heavy loads with a single entity that relies on expansion and compression of the thermo and hydro-phobic foam that provides load-carrying comfort and ventilation. There is a continuous air channel along the spine of this bag that allows warm air to escape while letting in cold air between the body of the pack and your back.
The breathable soft fabric and ventilated pads in addition to contoured shoulder straps work hard to keep you cool and comfortable in transit. The hipbelt and aluminum X-frame offers a great combination of flexibility and rigidity, which enhances stability. The inside of this pack has a compartment for sleeping bags, hydration-compatible sleeve and an extra compartment for stashing in your dirty clothes.
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Backpack features
• Size: You have 65 litres and an additional 10 litres worth of backpacking space. With the kind of support and compression system, you can possibly pack more than that and still maintain stability. This is perfect if you are travelling for an extended period or through multiple climates.
• Suspension system: the bag has a system known as the “AirContact Lite”. This basically consists of a breathable padding on the back, an X-frame system to add rigidity, as well as well-padded and contoured straps.
• The “+10” extension folds up to provide additional storage space. If not needed, you can simply fold it down inside the pack
• Top + Bottom loading: Most Backpacks only loads from the top. The Lite 65+10 opens from both the top and the bottom to allow you access contents easily.
• Lightweight: Lite 65+10 is relatively lightweight, which makes it a good choice for extended trekking. However, the generous storage capacity easily robs it of its ‘lightweight’ tag, depending on how much you are packing.
• Vari-Quick harness allows you to easily and quickly adjust the pack to suit your best fit.
• The adjustable lid has two pockets that allow quick access to gear such as first aid kit, map, multi-tool and sunscreen.
• Front elastic cord comes in handy when securing gear to the front of your pack.
Advantages of buying good quality backpack
They offer the convenience of safely carrying around everything you need throughout the day
To protect your items, more so your expensive electronic gadgets from theft and from elements
They are comfortable to carry around with ergonomic designs that prevent you from straining your neck and shoulder muscles
Quality backpacks are durable and designed to work in different environments
A good quality backpack has plenty of compartments that can keep you organised and prevent the unnecessary irritation and stress of having to dig through everything to get the item you are looking for.
Plane carry-on backpacks or larger backpacks?
When it comes to flying, the choice of your backpack can be influenced by a number of factors. These include the length of time you will be away, the amount of luggage you need to carry and so on. Either way, both carry-on and large backpacks have their own pros and cons as detailed below.
|Save time when checking in at airports||Restricted packing space|
|Easy to walk for long distances||You need to board as soon as you can so that you don’t run out of the overhead space for your carry-on|
|No need to wait for your checked bags at the final destination||Restriction on liquids that you might want to carry|
|The Carry-on backpack is lighter and easier to pack and unpack|
|Save money with Airlines that charge extra for checked in luggage|
|Lower chances of losing your luggage|
|More space to pack all you need for your trip||heavy and harder to carry on back|
|more space for items purchased during your trip||must be checked in on flights|
|After check in you have all the freedom you need with your hands||increased risk of loosing backpack during flights|
|Able to pack liquids and other items restricted from cabin baggage|
|More suited for extended trips|
Best carry on backpack for international travel
If your planning using a carry on backpack for international travel it’s wise to research for a backpack that will be both easy to carry and sufficient to hold everything you wish to take. We travel internationally regularly and have noticed in the last few years that backpacks are becoming a preferred option not only for younger backpackers but also for some older travellers. International travel especially to Europe with it’s cobblestone lined streets and accommodation that is often lacking lifts makes a backpack a wise choice rather than lifting a suitcase up multiple flights of stairs.
Many of our readers are older and some may think that backpacks are heavy on your back. However this is not always the case, especially some of the lighter ergonomic designs. Naturally the smaller the backpack the easier it is to carry and the trade off less space.
The best carry on backpack for Europe travel would be one that is easy to carry, lightweight, and with easy access for travel documents and devices that need removing during airport scanning. The Osprey Farpoint 40L backpack would be a good choice as it’s light, sturdy, and has a large front panel with padded laptop and tablet sleeves, and a small internal pocket for small items.
An added advantage of a carry on backpack is that airlines especially budget carriers charge extra for checked in luggage.
If your planning a longer trip and still wanting the convenience of a backpack a good choice may be the the Osprey Farpoint 55 travel backpack. One of the advantages of this backpack is the detachable Daypack which can be easily removed and used as a carry on pack. This Backpack makes a great universal backpack and the workmanship behind this backpack lives up to Osprey’s standards of strong sewn seams, great zippers and straps, and durable buckles.
Travel Daypacks product reviews
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack
The Talon 22 is designed for comfort and high-speed action. Its zippered front panel allows for quick access to all your items at a glance. The lightweight Talon 22 is a perfect choice for your done-in-a-day pursuits and can effortlessly accommodate travel and plenty of other outdoor activities.
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Features
• Mesh-line perforated hipbelt and shoulder straps enhance breathability and saves weight.
• The Talon 22 pack can be easily adjusted to fit any back length using the adjustable torso.
• Zippered stretch-mesh pockets patched on the hipbelt are large enough for some snacks in one and your compact digital camera in the other.
• The Lidlock helmet attachment allows you to quickly secure your helmet on the go.
• The Panel-loading compartment accommodates your lunch, an extra pair of sandals and some extra clothes and tools.
• The hydration compartment is easily accessible between the pack compartment and the torso adjustment.
Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
The Daylite is designed to attach to a variety of Osprey’s larger backpacks and travel bags for additional storage and for use as a separate pack away from the base camp. Its large zippered panel allows ease of access to the main compartment. The side mesh pockets will hold your water and other sundries while the front pocketing featuring a mesh organiser can accommodate other small items. It’s also the best travel Daypack most people who wish to use it as a carry-one pack.
Osprey Packs Daylite Features
• Panel Load Access: This offers easy access to any item in the main compartment hassle-free.
• The side mesh secures a water reservoir while the front zippered pockets offer additional storage for other small items.
• Interior sleeve for extra organisation which can also be used to hold a Tablet or water reservoir.
• Backpanel: the mesh-covered foam back panel offers both ventilation and comfort
• The tuck-away shoulder straps have a breathable spacer-mesh with an integrated handle.
Deuter Speed Lite 10 Backpack
The Speed Lite 10 is small, light and simple, yet sturdy backpack perfect for lightweight travelling. As the name suggests, the Speed Lit is designed for people on the go who value durability, simplicity and quality. It’s build with walkers in mind, those who want to pack items that they won’t forget about while on the go.
Deuter Speed Lite 10 features
• Loops for attaching a helmet and other items to the outside of your pack.
• Side compression straps: it compresses the contents of the pack and provides stability while on the move
• Removable Hipbelt: adds stability to the pack. Though a little thin, it serves the purpose pretty well.
• Padded pack with breathable 3D-AirMesh
• Hydration compatible
• Double-layered pack bottom for versatility and durability
• Spacious zippered main compartment
• Side mesh pockets for quick access of frequently used items.
• 3M Reflector Blink loop offers superior low-light safety
Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 9 Backpack
The Tempest 9 is a women specific pack perfectly designed for light travelling. It offers enough room for extra shoes, clothing, trail maps as well as small items in the front zippered pocket. Need to bring along your helmet? The Tempest 9 features a pull-out helmet attachment that goes through the helmet vents to secure it to the front of your pack. The hip-belt and shoulder straps are specifically positioned, shaped and padded to fit the female figure and offer breathable cushioning. It also comes in a range of colours.
Tempest 9 features
• Panel Loader: offers a wide and easy access to all items in the main compartment
• Zippered Hipbelt pockets: provides secure storage of the frequently used items
• External Hydration Sleeve: it simplifies the refilling and secures your pack’s contents from spills.
• Front Slash Pocket – For organising and storing small items
• Adjustable and padded ErgoPull hip-belt and shoulder straps for comfort
• Rugged nylon fabric and lightweight YKK buckles
• Reflective graphics
The North Face Unisex Vault Backpack
The north face vault backpack is one of the best Travel Daypacks that comes with a 26 litre storage capacity and comfort features that provide ultimate carrying experience. It’s also engineered with the latest technology to provide excellent safety and convenience while maintaining its lightweight status.
It has high quality patented FlexVent shoulder straps with a well contoured and padded back panel. The large main zippered compartment features a floating, padded laptop sleeve that can secure a 15” laptop.
North Face Unisex Vault features
• FlexVent™ suspension: the system features a compression-moulded shoulder straps and generously padded air-mesh back panel to maximise ventilation and comfort
• Laptop compartment: located in the main compartment, separated by a sleeve and well-padded to protect your laptop from falls and bumps
• The second compartment has internal zippered pockets and pen pockets for security and organisation.
• 360 degrees of reflectivity is provided by the reflective bike-light loop, reflective shoulder strap and reflective water bottle tabs
• Two mesh water bottle pockets to keep you hydrated all day long.
Best Daypack for travel summary
If you are planning for an all-in-one-day recreational tour, weekend escape or just headed out for a walk exploring the sights, one of the above Daypacks/backpacks should suit your needs. Our list is not exclusively on Daypacks; however, all the above named packs are extremely lightweight, minimalist and comfortable enough for anyone to throw them on their backs and move around all day without even noticing the weight. We have also varied the sizes a little bit to accommodate a wide range of applications. So whether you just need the best small travel backpack, that you can simply throw in a Tablet, a newspaper and a pair of sandals and be on your way. Or a spacious option for your extra clothing, pair of shoes, laptop, or other small day items; you’ve got something to go with.
Backpacks are a great tool to carry your items around. All you need is to find the best travel backpack that accommodates all your needs in terms of size, design, and weight. Ideally, your backpack should be comfortable, convenient and durable. Other considerations such as colour, material and brand will all depend on your sense of fashion and style. We have tried in this list to include a selection of Backpacks and Daypacks that we feel would be a good choice for anyone considering purchasing a new backpack. Please feel free to leave a comment. We always appreciate feedback.
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