10 Best Travel Backpacks: Buyer’s Guide for Men and Women (2020)

Best Travel Backpack

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Fear and Excitement. You are going to face these two conflicting emotions when heading out for a long journey.

But the prospect of discovering new cultures, meeting cool natives, and having a once in a lifetime experience is enough to quell any fears.

Travel backpacks are one of the most important purchases you’ll make before traveling. They hold your important travel documents, provide comfort on long trips, and give you peace of mind so you can focus on your journey.

You need to pick the best travel backpack just for you. 

And there are a lot of things to consider. You need a backpack that can lock high-value items like passports and money. If you’re traveling as a digital nomad or have a travel job, you might need a detachable daypack. For long hikes, a water reservoir or hip belt may be a requirement. Additionally, the size of your travel backpack may be different depending on how long you’re on the road.

So in order to save you the trouble, this guide will help you choose the best travel backpack, the best backpack brands, and other important options to consider before your journey.

Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: Please note that this post includes affiliate links which provide a commission to me at no cost to you. However, the links are for the best travel backpacks based on real-world experience. For more information, you can read my affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2020: Overview

1. Nomatic 40 L Travel Backpack.

Size: 40L

Price: $269.99

Straps: Adjustable, waist straps

Material: Tarpaulin/Ballistic weave

Key Features:

  • Spacious yet compact
  • Highly weather-resistant
  • Can be used as a duffel bag
  • Best travel backpack for business travelers

Nomatic 40 L Travel Backpack

Owing to its versatile compartments and excessive packing efficiency, this travel backpack lives up to all the hype surrounding it. You can even use it as your laundry bag, toiletry bag, vacuum compression bag — all rolled into one.

The exterior is extremely durable and weather resistant. However, this backpack is probably not the right option for a small casual vacation. But thanks to excessive compartments, it is perfect for business travelers or for travelers who tend to stay on the road for weeks or months on end.

2. Osprey Aether AG 70. (Best Large Travel Backpack)

Size: 70L

Price: $310.00

Straps: Large hip-belt and harness

Material: Nylon Dobby/High Tenacity Nylon

Key Features:

  • Anti-gravity technology
  • Convertible top-lid daypack
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • The IsoForm5 harness and custom fit hip belt provide amazing comfort

Osprey Aether AG 70

Looking for a travel backpack that is extra spacious and comes with amazing features? Look no further than Osprey Aether AG 70 Travel Backpack.

This backpack is best suited for extended trips or long trails, especially when you need extra compartments to keep everything sorted. However, don’t expect to avoid airport check-in fees while carrying this bag.

3. Osprey Farpoint 40 or 55. (Best Travel Backpack for Men and Women)

Size: 38-40L

Price: $160.00 (Currently on sale at $120.00)

Straps: Adjustable sternum strap with rescue whistle

Material: Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop

Key Features:

  • Dual front mesh pockets
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • Lightweight and sturdy at the same time
  • Detachable daypack for extra storage and organization
  • Harness and hipbelt with zippered rear flap for protection

Osprey Farpoint 40

Osprey Fairpoint 40 is an ideal choice if you are a light-packer and plan to travel all across the world. Detachable back panel and multiple compartments provide extra space to load plenty of stuff while saving you from paying extra checking fees.

If you are looking for a backpack that offers the best value for your money, then Osprey Farpoint 40 is a great option.

4. Osprey Aura AG 50 (Best Travel Backpack for Women)

Size: 50L

Price: $240.00 (Currently on sale at $180.00)

Straps: Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hip-belt

Material: Nylon Dobby/High Tenacity Nylon

Key Features:

  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
  • Additional storage and compartment options
  • Protect your gear and minimize the weight with a detachable lid
  • A lightweight mesh extending from the top to the hip belt

Osprey Aura AG 50

Depending upon your packing preference, this backpack is ideal for women traveling on long or short trips. The bag provides an anti-Gravity suspension system, which allows the ladies to carry up to 40lbs without any trouble. It is also a great fit for intense weather conditions as it can easily handle regular heat and tear.

5. Osprey Fairview 40.

Size: 40L

Price: $160.00 (Currently on sale at $120.00)

Straps: Dual front compression straps

Material: Nylon Mini Hex Diamond Ripstop

Key Features:

  • Sturdy yet lightweight
  • Comfortable and durable for women
  • Detachable daypack for extra storage and organization
  • Stowaway harness and hip belt to ensure comfort and safety

Osprey Fairview 40

Osprey Fairview 40 for women offers a great packing capacity and comes with amazing quality and durability. The backpack can also be transformed into a duffel bag, which can be a huge plus in certain situations and with this bag, you don’t have to worry about checking fees either.

6. Osprey ATMOS AG 65.

Size: 65L

Price: $270.00 (Currently on sale at $202.00)

Straps: Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hip-belt

Material: 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby

Key Features:

  • A detachable floating lid to minimize weight and offer safety
  • Anti-gravity suspension to provide additional comfort and ventilation
  • Adjustable stretch mesh front panel pocket for extra storage and compartmentalization options.

Osprey ATMOS AG 65

Another great travel backpack from Osprey, ATMOS AG 65 features 3D suspension for better upper-body mobility. This backpack is perfect for heavy packing, organizing your stuff, and to evenly distribute the weight.

7. Osprey Ozone.

Size: 38L

Price: $220

Straps: Tuckaway tow strap

Material: 210D Nylon Honey Comb Contrast Thread/450D Packcloth

Key Features:

  • Strong and durable fabric
  • Extra interior storage options for more organization and accessibility
  • Extremely lightweight and comes with a handle that makes it easy to hoist around

Osprey Ozone

Tired of carrying your backpack on your shoulder? You can quickly transform this backpack into a wheeled suitcase. It also provides extra top pockets, large panel opening, and a detachable daypack.


Size: 31-36L

Price: $184

Straps: Magnetic tote handles

Material: Combination of tarpaulin and nylon

Key Features:

  • Weather-resistant zippers
  • Quick side camera access
  • Checkpoint friendly laptop sleeve
  • Expandable water bottle/tripod pocket


Featured in and recommended by the likes of Forbes, USA Today, and National Geographic, WANDRD PRVKE is an award-winning camera bag. This minimalist travel backpack is perfect to carry for a short trip and is a treat to travel photographers.

9. Tortuga Outbreaker.

Size: 35L-45L

Price: 35L at $269 and 45L at $299

Straps: Padded, removable hip belt

Material: X-Pac Waterproof sailcloth

Key Features:

  • Highly weather-resistant
  • Laptop and tablet sleeves
  • Thick, soft padding for extra comfort
  • Height-adjustable suspension system

Tortuga Outbreaker

With a huge main compartment and massive capacity to carry a great number of clothes, Tortuga Outbreaker is perfect for world travelers. Additional compartments for laptops, chargers, toiletries, accessories, and important documents come in handy while on the road.

10. Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack.

Size: 25L

Price: $125

Straps: Top and side grab handles / removable sternum strap

Material: 900D heathered polyester

Key Features:

  • Lockable zippers
  • Clothing compartment
  • Highly weather-resistant
  • Laptop and tablet sleeves
  • Luggage handle pass-through sleeve

Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

Naturally, this backpack is suitable to carry laptops. However, you still get an extra compartment to carry a change of clothes, toiletries, and a few other accessories along with your important documents.

So these are some of the best travel backpacks that will make your life easier when on the road. Compare the prices, identify your requirements and then carefully choose a travel backpack for your upcoming expeditions.

There are some other things that you also need to consider, including the size of the backpack and other additional features.

Backpack Sizing Guide

One of the most frequently asked questions before selecting an appropriate backpack is about the size.

However, contract to popular belief, there is no perfect travel backpack size. Sizes vary on the basis of the number of days you are traveling for, the country you are visiting, and most importantly your body proportion.

Backpack sizes are always mentioned in liters of volume they have room for. Most travel backpacks range from 25 to 85 liters. The possibilities are huge.

If your backpack is too big, it might be a bit of an overkill and might even make you topple over while hiking. On the other hand, if your backpack is too small, you might have to grapple with overflowing your stuff that you can’t contain in a single backpack.

So to help you make the right decision, here are some important details on some common travel backpack sizes:

15-30 Liters

15-30 liters backpack is more like a daypack and is more suited for a small weekend trip. If you are planning to carry extra gear or accessories with you, then this is not sufficient for even the whole weekend.

40-45 Liters

Be it shorter trips or long-drawn-out trips, a 40-45 Liters travel backpack is adequate and can sustain you for weeks or even months. That said, if you are planning to travel across varied climatic conditions and might require bulky winter clothing, then you may have to look for something larger. The good news is that this size is usually conflated with carry-on luggage, and hence saving you time and check-in fees.

50-65 Liters

Suitable for your camping and hiking expeditions or if you are traveling to cold-weather destinations. If you are just a heavy-packer in general, then you should definitely consider a backpack with this size. Extra space also comes in handy when you need to store additional stuff like your travel photography gear.

70-120 L

The extra weight added due to more volume can be too much of a nuisance. I’d suggest you avoid a travel backpack of this size unless you are planning for hardcore trekking or hiking excursions.

What to Look For in a Good Travel Backpack

Browse on the internet and search for best travel backpacks. You will be surprised to see just how many travel backpacks are available on the internet or even in the brick-and-mortar stores.

And the best backpacks are usually made with one specific gender in mind. Sure you can use any backpack disregarding your gender, however, you need to take things like your shoulder type and other things into account. Which is why it’s better to go for a gender-specific travel backpack.

Along with size and gender, there are so many other factors that you need to consider before buying your backpack.

Here’s a list of some of the factors that you need to look out for in your travel backpack:

1. Water-resistant material — Your travel backpack should be made of semi-waterproof if not fully waterproof material so your stuff stays intact even when you get stuck in a drizzle somewhere. Naturally, many travel backpacks come with an additional tarp to deal with such situations.

2. Front-loading — A front-loading travel backpack allows you to open and close the zips from the side so that you can access your stuff. A front-loading backpack also allows you to access everything at the bottom of your backpack, which is nearly impossible in a top-loading bag.

3. Lockable zippers — Make sure that your travel backpack has lockable zippers. Zippers should have loops for a lock or the backpack needs to have two zippers that you can lock together with a solid TSA lock.

4. Multiple compartments — If you are a sucker for organizing and keeping everything in different compartments, then you need to specifically look for a travel backpack that has tons of compartment. There should be a main compartment for your clothes, a compartment for your flip flops or shoes, and let’s not forget one compartment for your laptop.

5. Straps — A great backpack needs to have durable and padded hip belts to transfer all the weight from your shoulders to your hips. Your shoulder straps should be equally comfortable and laden with plenty of padding. On top of that, make sure that the back of your bag is also padded so that it’s more comfortable for you to carry your luggage around.

The Best Travel Backpack: Conclusion

So there you have it, my picks for the best travel backpacks. Choose your backpack wisely so that you can experience travel without worrying about what you’re carrying.

Because that’s the ultimate goal with a travel backpack – providing comfort, peace of mind, and security so that you can experience your journey to the fullest.

Still not sure which travel backpack is perfect for you?

Here are my recommendations:

Overall, Nomatic 40 L Travel Backpack is great if multiple compartments are your thing. For extended hiking and trails, Osprey Aether AG 70 is a great option, and Osprey Aura AG 50 is perfect for women.


1 Comment

  1. Hi Adam,
    I was looking for some information to create an infographic on Backpacking and came across your site. Very informative and thanks for taking the effort. After completing the infographics. I would like to share it.

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