Today we are going to show you how to find the best travel backpack for your trips.

After many years on the road and trying different backpacks in many different situations, we have elaborated the ultimate list of backpacks.

This guide, will help you decide on what kind of bag meets your needs considering different factors.

So if you want to find out what is your perfect travel backpack, let’s dive in!

The best travel backpack in 2020

If you are in a rush and want to see what is the best travel backpack in 2020, our choice is the 45L Peak Design Travel Backpack.

For the full list of the 11 best travel backpacks, click the button below.

Editor’s Choice
45L Peak Design Travel Backpack

45L Peak Design Travel Backpack.

  • + Elegant Design
  • + Can be compressed to 35L
  • + Easily accesible and great organisation
  • – Padding on shoulder strap could be improved

This page may content affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure

Overview of the best travel backpacks in 2020

In this table, you will see an overview of the information you will find in this post.

To know more about the details of each backpack keep reading.

Backpack Best For Capacity Price
Peak Design Travel Backpack Best Overall 45L View At Peak Design
Nomatic Travel Bag Best For Digital Nomads 40L View At Amazon
Tortuga Setout Backpack Best For City Travelers 45L View At Tortuga
Osprey Kestrel 38 Best Men’s Travel Adventure Backpack 38L View At Amazon
Osprey Kyte 36  Best Women’s Travel Adventure Backpack 36L View At Amazon
Osprey Farpoint 40 Best Men’s All Purposes 40L View At Amazon
Osprey Fairview 40 Best Women’s All Purposes 40L View At Amazon
WANDRD PRVKE 31 Best For Photographers 31L View At Amazon
Osprey Ozone 42 Best Wheel Backpack 42L View At Amazon
Osprey Atmos AG 65 Best Men’s Camping Backpack 65L View At Amazon
Osprey Aura AG 65 Best Women’s Camping Backpack 65L View At Amazon

How to choose the best travel backpack

As we said, the process of looking for the best travel backpacks is time-consuming. With so many options between different backpack brands, price points, and features, it’s hard to know where to start and to choose the right one.

Some things you need to consider to find your perfect travel backpack:

  • Fits your body shape and height
  • Is functional and comfortable to carry
  • Has good weight distribution
  • Can carry and protect your belongings
  • Is easy to pack and unpack
  • Meets your budget

Key Features For A Backpack

  • Front-loading and Top-loading. Many backpacks are top-loading, which means they open at the top. Some of them, have an additional side zip to make it easier to access the stuff at the bottom. These tend to be taller backpacks.
    As per front-loading, you just zip them open face down, with everything within instant reach. Which make them more functional and accessible
  • Waist strap. Using a waist strap helps to distribute the load around your whole body instead of just your shoulders. This is important to prevent painful shoulders and for a more comfy way to move.
  • Weather resistant. It is great to have a bag which is weather or water resistant, or at least with a cover to prevent it to get soaked.
  • Ventilation. Some backpacks come with a back panel which is breathable and provides separation between your back and bag to prevent your back from sweating against your bag.
  • Water bottle pockets. Honestly, this is a must. Water is essential and most of us always travel with a bottle of water, thus a water bottle pocket is well needed.
  • Padded shoulder straps. This is important to carry your backpack comfortably when loaded.
  • Useful compartments. Compartments can also help you to organize things better. Ideally, you should have a compartment for laptop, side pockets for bottles, extra pockets for accessories, etc. Packing cubes can also be helpful for this.
  • Compression straps. This will help you to compress your stuff even more, making it more manageable to move around.
  • Dimensions (Portable). It might not a deal breaker for everyone, but carry-on size lets you save time, headaches and avoid additional luggage fees on some airlines. We are light packers and we always manage to travel with carry on luggage and makes life easier.

What is the best size for a travel backpack?

Travel backpacks come in a wide range of sizes, and the volume is expressed in liters.

For us, the best size for a travel backpack is that which you can carry comfortably for hours. That is why we always try to pack light, and only packing the strictly necessary. Also, this will make moving around easier, and even avoid fees at the airport if you opt for a carry on size.

The weight is one of the most important factors. The bigger the heavier, and the more stuff you’ll put on it.

Ultimately, the best backpack size for you will be given by your travel style.

There is hardly one bag perfect for all occasions. Are you normally a backpacker jumping from place to place and traveling for long? or maybe you enjoy many short vacations to visit more places? Will you be carrying your laptop and some more electronics normally? Or maybe going on campings?

As you can see there are endless options and combinations. So you really need to think this through to make sure you choose to win.

Moreover, we have learned that you need to pay for quality. You don’t want to do a poor investment to find out that after a couple of days traveling your backpack is falling apart. That is a pain in the ass.

Summarizing, what size do you need for the best travel backpack?

  • Consider how you will be moving around  (flights, buses, road trips, etc)
  • Consider the type of accommodation (hostels, Airbnb, guesthouses, camping, etc)
  • Think about the kind of clothes and accessories you travel with normally.
  • Destinations and seasons.
  • Packing habits- Do you normally pack light or do you normally need a large bag?

Once you have an idea for each of those points, you’ll be able to find your perfect backpack.

You can find many tips on how to pack for any trip on this post.

Travel backpacks size guide

Below you can find a quick guide to have a better understanding of what to expect.

15-30 L. This size is too small for travel backpacks. Is perfect size for day-packs or commuter bags.

35-45 L. This is the perfect size! Great for shorter trips but equally fine for trips lasting weeks or months. This size is usually accepted as carry-on luggage, saving you time and check-in fees when flying.

50-65 L. Great if you need extra space. This size makes it easier if you need to pack more. It’s also an ideal size if you’re backpacking and need to store a tent or sleeping bag.

70-120 L. Way too big. This should be taken only for big adventures when you are not planning to have it on your back for long. Otherwise, this will kill your back!

The 11 best travel backpacks in 2020

When considering all the different factors explained previously, these are our top choices.

Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L

Best Overall

Peak Design travel backpack 45L
  • Elegant design
  • Extremely versatile
  • Easily accessible and great organization
  • Great for photographers
  • Poor padding on shoulder straps

Dimensions:53.34cm (21″) x 38.1cm (15″) x 14.61cm (5.75″) | Capacity: 45L |Weight: 2.05 kg (4.5 lb) |Weatherproof: Yes | Hip Belt: Yes| Laptop compartment: Yes | Front Loading: Yes | Carry On Size: Yes |

The 45L Travel Backpack from Peak Design is the backpack I have been looking for a long time.

In the beginning, I had serious doubts about choosing Peak Design vs Nomatic. But after I used them both the 45L travel backpack was a closer match to my needs

As backpackers and photographers, finding the best travel backpack has proven to be one of our biggest challenges. Sometimes the bag was too heavy, did not the right size, it was mainly gear orientated, etc.

But not this time. That’s why we have chosen the 45L Travel Backpack from Peak Design as our #1 choice. It does not matter what kind of traveler you are, because this backpack has you covered. It also goes one step beyond with the different organization cubes.

It is a versatile, durable, and beautiful carry-on travel backpack. Features top, side, front and rear access via intuitively placed weatherproof zips. It also has a dedicated laptop compartment and a small one for tablets.

Meets international carry-on size requirements, but expands to be a 45L gear-hauler and collapses to be a 35L day pack, making it unmatched for 1-bag travel. It also has tons of internal and external pockets.

View At Peak Design

Nomatic 40L Travel Bag

Best For Digital Nomads

Nomadic backpack
  • Lots of features
  • Beautiful design
  • Plenty of space
  • Too expensive with all the accessories.

Dimensions: 53cm (20.8″) x 35cm (13.8″)  x 22cm (8.6″)  | Capacity: 40L |Weight: 1.85 kg (4.08lb)  |Weatherproof: Yes | Hip Belt: Yes| Laptop compartment: Yes | Front Loading: Yes | Carry On Size: Yes |

As I mentioned before, I really considered the Nomatic backpack vs Peak Design bag at the beginning. And even though I chose the latter, it does not mean this can be your perfect travel bag.

The Nomatic travel bag is highly functional and can be used as a backpack or duffle pack, with over 20 innovative features

They raised $3 million on a Kickstarter campaign, so you can have an idea of the potential.

Every single part of traveling has been accounted for in the design and it will change your journey forever. The design process began by combining the best features of a backpack, duffle bag, and luggage, into one easy-to-carry bag.

It offers a ton of features and is with no doubt one of the best travel backpacks right now. A great thing is that qualifies as a carry-on.

View At Nomatic

Tortuga Setout Backpack

Best For City Travelers

tortuga backpack, one of the best travel backpacks
  • Easy Access
  • Quality materials
  • Uncomfortable waist belt and straps

Dimensions: 55,8cm (21.9″) x 35,5cm(13.9″) x 22.8cm (8.9″)  | Capacity: 45L |Weight: 1.77 kg (3.9 lb)  |Weatherproof: Yes | Hip Belt: Yes| Laptop compartment: Yes | Front Loading: Yes | Carry On Size: Yes |

Tortuga Setout Backpack is another versatile backpack easy to use for any type of trip and a great main compartment.

Although it is a multipurpose bag, this backpack is better suited for cities rather than adventures due to its design. The materials are excellent, but the waist belt is not the most comfortable.

The front-loading makes it easier to use and is also gentle on pockets with excellent organization

It is a stylish bag without drawing much attention, which is a good thing.

View At Tortuga

Osprey Kestrel 38L

Best Men’s Travel Adventure Backpack

osprey kestrel 38l
  • Comfortable even fully loaded
  • Great for hikes
  • Incredibly durable
  • Great compression straps
  • Tricky to adjust to your body
  • Narrow access

Dimensions: 75cm (29.5″) x 31cm(12.2″) x 11.4cm (8.9″)  | Capacity: 38L |Weight: 1.54 kg (3.4 lb)  |Weatherproof: Yes | Hip Belt: Yes| Laptop compartment: No | Front Loading: No | Carry On Size: Yes |

I can only say good things about the Osprey Kestrel 38L.

This is the backpack I first used for our trip around the world for a year. I got on it all my clothes and gear and made the job really good. If you do not travel with many gadgets and want to travel comfy, this is your bag for sure.

It is comfortable, ideal for trekking or hiking, and the compression straps make it really compact.

On the other hand, if you are not a light packer, this might feel small.

Once you know how to adjust the torso and the waist belt, you’ll start to love it even more. To me, this is one of the best travel backpacks for men.

View At Amazon

Osprey Kyte 36L

Best Women’s Travel Adventure Backpack