Traveling is hard enough without having to worry about your things. Large, bulky suitcases are not always the best choice, and there’s always the carry-on option, too. A travel backpack can easily fit the bill when you need a bag that can fit your most important belongings and withstand the wear-and-tear of adventure.
We had the opportunity to personally test some of today’s best travel backpacks, in addition to reviewing top picks on the market, researching thousands of real user reviews. According to ZDNET experts, these are the best travel backpacks for your next trip.
Also: These travel pillows actually let you catch some Zzz’s away from home.
- Spacious interior
- Available in vegan leather
Features: Dimensions: 16.5″ × 11.5″ x 6″ | Volume: 18 L | Weight: 2.4lbs (nylon) / 3lbs (vegan leather)
The Monos Metro Backpack features a nylon twill design that is scratch and water-resistant, while vegan leather detail adds some flair. You can wear the backpack as both a daily commuter bag and a weekender — it all depends on your lifestyle and calendar. Plus, the backpack utilizes exclusive QuickSnap Modular Kit System, so you can customize the bag for your day’s needs.
The Monos Metro Backpack includes a laptop sleeve for 15-inch computers, so you can access your computer without opening the entire bag. Plus, the privacy compartment and bonus back pocket are perfect for hiding smaller valuables, like your ID and phone. The Monos Metro Backpack also features a zippered pouch, two interior pockets, and a large sleeve. If you happen to have a Monos suitcase like one featured on our best carry-on luggage list, this backpack pairs perfectly, thanks to the built-in trolley sleeve that fits Monos suitcase handles.
- Luxury design
- Various color options
- Briefstyle concept
- Too small for some computers
Features: Dimensions: 15″ x 11.5″ x 3″ | Weight: 2.8lbs | Color: Black or tan
If you’re willing to spend more, the Luis Steven Medium Laptop Backpack combines soft calf leather with natural suede lining for a professional backpack you can bring everywhere. The backpack is vertically oriented, so it mimics the style of a traditional backpack for a sleek, stylish look. It’s versatile, so you can either carry it or wear it as a backpack.
Inside, you will find laptop and tablet sleeves, plus a zipper pocket on the back wall for smaller items. This bag can carry your laptop or files with up to three inches of space, even fitting the larger MacBook Pro 16″ model. Plus, it’s also compact enough to fit underneath an airline seat.
- Built-in water bottle
- Excellent pockets
- Limited product details online
- Best for outdoors
Features: Volume: 15L | Bladder: 1.5L | Weight: 1lb
When you plan to break a sweat, the Nathan Crossover 15L Hydration Pack is a fantastic travel backpack. I’ve personally been trying to steal it out from under my husband, because the backpack has been a huge hit in my household. Its perfect for outdoors and fitness enthusiasts, featuring a 1.5L water bladder with a magnetic hose clip that you can use to stay hydrated during long travel days.
This hydration backpack is also very comfortable. Made of moisture-wicking woven fabric, the design incorporates mesh shoulder straps with a chafe-free design. It also includes sternum straps and a removable waist strap. For storage, two main back zipper pockets include organization pockets. Plus, the straps feature two angled pockets for easy access to items like your phone, keys, and other valuables.
- Oversized capacity
- Lifetime warranty
- Several accessories available
- Users report difficulty with straps
Features: Dimensions: 20.9″ x 13.4″ x 7″ | Volume: 33L | Weight: 3.17lbs
The Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L is the best travel backpack for everyday needs and short trips. This backpack is the smaller version of Peak Design’s 45L model, so it’s more manageable and recommended for trips of three days or less. It’s ideal for daily use, too. If you’re flying, this travel backpack is the perfect carry-on item — you can stash it under an airline seat without trouble. The Peak Design Travel Backpack can also fit into your suitcase for easy transport.
The zipper pulls are theft-deterrent for extra reassurance, but you still have convenient rear access. If you choose to carry it as a traditional backpack, padded shoulder straps provide extra comfort. It also features expandable side pockets and an oversized top pocket with extra-soft lining for delicate items, like your glasses and phone. Internal mesh pockets with padded laptop and tablet sleeves can also keep you organized throughout your busy schedule.
- Fantastic as dry bag
- Lifetime guarantee
- Too large for some users
Specs: Dimensions: 22″ x 17″ x 6.5″ | Volume: 35L | Weight: 43oz
The Sea To Summit Flow 35L Dry Pack offers complete waterproofing technology, forgiving quick submersions if you happen to drop it. The external pocket is water-resistant, giving you more peace of mind than other comparable units. Made durable, the Sea to Summit Flow Dry Pack is abrasion-resistant and created to endure tough environments that athletes and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy.
It is constructed of TPU-laminated nylon and a white interior lining that makes contents easily visible, even in the dark of night. It is comfortable, too, with ventilated quick-dry shoulder straps and a removable waist strap that enables a custom fit. There is a roll-top main chamber with an internal fabric zipper pocket, plus an impressive bladder compartment that holds up to three liters of liquid.
There are many different types of bags you can use when traveling. Before your next trip, consider our picks for best luggage brands and best luggage sets!