Backpacks aren’t just for the playground anymore. The best travel backpacks are functional powerhouses, stylish, and comfortable.
Ever lug a single-strap bag around the airport? It’s uncomfortable, messes with your alignment, and puts uneven pressure on your joints.
What’s the answer to this problem? Backpacks!
Backpacks distribute the weight more evenly on your back. No more hobbling sideways through the airport.
As a backpack devotee, I’ve tried a number of backpacks. The ones selected below are the best of the bunch. I use most of these backpacks during my own travel adventures. Check them out. I think you’ll agree that these are the best travel backpacks to take on your next trip.
For your airplane personal item
I bought this Lo & Sons backpack right before a recent trip to France.
I had planned to only use it as my airplane personal item. But when the airline lost my checked luggage for five days, it became my primary bag for the trip. It was my day bag, my photography bag, and my shopping bag.
And it was perfect for all of those things.
Given my poor experience with checked bags (“a checked bag is a lost bag”), I’m now a member of the carry-on only club.
My Lo & Sons backpack, with its sleek design and creative pockets, will be joining me on the “carry-on for life” journey.
For your photography gear
I used to struggle with organizing my camera gear. I found it difficult to make the gear easily accessible while protecting it from damage.
Enter this Peak Design backpack. It has removable shelves so I can create three different areas of the bag to store my gear. And maybe the best part? It opens on both sides and from the top. That means I can access the gear in any part of the bag quickly. No unpacking and repacking.
I keep my Peak Design backpack packed with my camera gear at all times. On days I want to shoot pictures around town, I simply put on the backpack and head out.
For your day pack
As a new “carry-on for life” convert, I appreciate things that can be packed down as small as possible.
That includes this Longchamp backpack.
While the two backpacks above are my primary backpacks, sometimes you need something a little lighter. It’s also great for places like museums and sports venues that don’t allow big bags.
I tuck this little Longchamp backpack into one of my bigger backpacks during my flight and bring it out when I need it during my travels.
For your outdoor adventures
I love experiencing the outdoors on my travels. Hiking, kayaking, biking…you name it, I love it. (Except skydiving…you daredevils can keep that for yourselves.)
For my more adventurous travels, I take along a sturdier backpack that can withstand the elements. This Osprey backpack fulfills that requirement.
My Osprey backpack is lightweight, well-made, and can handle outdoor adventures.
For your extra purchases
Ever go a little bit overboard with your souvenir purchases? Those 53 ornaments for your loved ones seemed like such a great idea at the time.
It can be a pain to get all those extra purchases home. And you don’t want to buy an extra bag to add even more costs to your souvenir extravaganza.
That’s where this Herschel packable backpack comes in handy. It packs down to the size of your palm. It’s ready to jump into action when you (or maybe me) inevitably purchase one too many souvenirs.
For your urban adventures
Urban areas often have crowds. And crowds can sometimes draw pickpockets.
I like to wear this Eddie Bauer sling backpack in those situations. I can easily slip it around to my front as I maneuver through crowded areas.
This sling is also easy to swing around to my front if I want to grab my wallet quickly in a crowded marketplace. Plus, it packs down small so it doesn’t take up a lot of room in my luggage.
For your business travels
My friend Suzanne has this Knomo backpack. It looks deceptively small but fits a full-size laptop.
The Knomo backpack looks sleek and put-together at the airport. And makes you look organized and capable in your business meetings.
For the long-term backpacker
This Osprey backpack is a favorite of hikers and multi-day backpackers across the world.
I’ve seen backpackers with this backpack in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the fjords of Norway.
This Osprey backpack can fit an amazing variety of long-term essentials, like tents, sleeping bags, and camp stoves. It has a built-in rain cover to keep your stuff dry. But wait, there’s more! All the straps tuck inside the bag so you can check the bag at the airport (if you dare risk checking a bag).
Do you use another backpack that qualifies for the best travel backpacks list? Send me a message to let me know!