Ah, the travel backpack. There’s something so freeing about traveling with only one bag on your back and nothing in your hands. When given a choice, I’ll almost always pick a backpack over a checked suitcase due to practicality.
Traveling with a backpack forces you to cut down on many of the unnecessary things you probably won’t even use on your travels. With one bag, you’re able to easily move from location to location, always having just enough and never too much.
And then, there’s the carry-on. I find them equally as convenient as the backpack for short weekend trips. You just toss it into the overhead compartment of a plane and voila! Nothing more to worry about.
When the flight lands, just grab the bag and be on your merry way out of the airport. The last thing you want to do is spend an extra 30-45 minutes waiting for your luggage at baggage claim, especially when you could be using that time to explore.
When it comes to the dilemma of carry-on suitcase vs. travel backpack, it all depends on your personal preferences and travel needs.
Choosing the perfect travel backpack or carry-on can be a tough endeavor when the options seem endless. There are bags literally everywhere by every brand you could possibly think of.
That’s why I’ve narrowed down a list of 10 travel bags that either I or my friends swear by and like the most! Check them out below — I hope you find one that suits your lifestyle!
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BEST TRAVEL BACKPACKS
WHY I LOVE TRAVEL BACKPACKS – Most backpacks tend to be lighter than standard luggage (yet still very durable) and smaller, too — usually fitting neatly beneath the seat in front of you.
Plus, it serves multiple purposes. You can easily take your carry-on backpack from the airport to your day out in the city, to the beach, and beyond. They often have tons of pockets, providing you with a place to store everything.
Bellroy Transit Backpack
Best for: Weekend trips and business trips
The Bellroy Transit Backpack is the perfect backpack for the modern traveler. This backpack is designed with organization and convenience in mind, featuring a spacious 28-liter capacity that can accommodate all your essentials for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
Plus, look at its sleek design! Modern indeed. The backpack also features a weather-resistant design that can protect your belongings from rain and moisture.
One of the standout features of the Bellroy Transit Backpack is its organization system. The backpack includes multiple pockets and compartments for easy access to your essentials, including a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. The backpack also includes a front pocket with a key clip and a hidden pocket for valuables.
For those who need a larger backpack, the Bellroy Transit Backpack is also available in a 38-liter size. This larger size is perfect for longer trips and extended stays, and includes all the same features as the 28-liter size.
Available sizes: 28L, 38L
Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Backpack
Introducing the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Backpack – the ultimate travel companion for the modern adventurer. This backpack is designed with security in mind, featuring anti-theft technology that ensures your belongings are safe and secure at all times.
With a spacious 45-liter capacity, the Venturesafe EXP45 is perfect for long trips and extended stays. The main compartment is roomy enough to hold all your essentials, while the internal compression straps keep your belongings organized and secure. The backpack also includes a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop, so you can stay connected on the go.
The Venturesafe EXP45 also features a patented eXomesh slashguard, which protects the bag from slash-and-run thefts. The backpack’s straps and back panel are also padded, ensuring maximum comfort during long hours of wear.
Other features of the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Backpack include a detachable hip belt, external compression straps, and multiple pockets for easy access to your essentials. Whether you’re exploring a new city or embarking on a wilderness adventure, this backpack has everything you need to stay safe, organized, and comfortable on the go.
Available Sizes: 45L
WANDRD – The PRVKE Bag
Best for: People who travel with camera gear
Calling all travel photography enthusiasts out there! The PRVKE Pack’s innovative design and high-quality materials make it an award-winning camera bag. This travel camera backpack is perfect for photography, travel, and even daily use. It has been featured in and recommended by Forbes, USA Today, and National Geographic.
Best of all? The WANDRD team recently made a ton of new updates to this award-winning backpack line.
Expect new and improved features including the hidden passport pocket, a luggage pass-through strap, stronger magnets in the tote handles, updated zipper u-pullers, and velcro-and-roll cinch strap webbing organization.
You’ll need to head on over to their site for a full list of all the new features because the list is HEFTY.
Available Sizes: 21L, 31L, 41L
Read More: Top Travel Gadgets That Will Make Your Trip So Much Better
Osprey Farpoint and Fairview
Best For: Longer, multi-week trips + cobblestoned destinations
Two of my favorite travel backpacks are the Osprey Farpoint and the Osprey Fairview — they’re both essentially the same backpack but the Fairview is a female-specific version that’s slightly tweaked to better fit females. They have multiple sizes available which is awesome for customization (40L, 55L, 70L, 80L).
The Farpoint and Fairview are two of the most fully-featured travel backpacks on the market because they incorporate many features that you’d find in a traditional hiking pack, but it’s marketed as a travel bag as well. Gotta love these multipurpose backpacks.
Osprey Farpoint (Men’s Option): Osprey’s Farpoint is perfect for a weekend getaway in the city or the wilderness. The frame suspension transfers the load from harness to hipbelt. If you get the larger sizes, the detachable daypack provides additional storage and organization ideal for daytrips or carry-on.
Osprey Fairview (Women’s Option): Lightweight and streamlined, the Fairview Series is an ideal travel pack for fast-moving globetrotters. The zip-off daypack provides additional storage and is perfect for carrying around town by itself. The stowaway harness and hipbelt disappears for safe keeping when you check your bag, and durable fabrics offer added protection.
Available Sizes: 40L, 55L, 65L (wheeled option), 70L
Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage 80-Liter
Best For: Heavier loads that can be wheeled or carried by back
This convertible, lightweight bag by Osprey is the ultimate multi-tasker. It can be wheeled or carried as a backpack! Rolling luggage is great, but sometimes the terrain is too rough and you need a backpack. The Osprey Sojourn’s got you covered.
If you’re one to pack heavier loads when traveling, this is the perfect travel companion for you. This luggage is designed with the traveler in mind, featuring a spacious 80-liter capacity that can accommodate all your essentials for longer trips.
The Sojourn Wheeled Luggage is built to last, with durable materials and reinforced zippers that can withstand the rigors of travel. The backpack also features a sturdy aluminum frame that can support heavy loads, ensuring that your belongings stay safe and secure at all times.
One of the standout features of the Sojourn Wheeled Luggage is the included detachable daypack, which can be used separately for shorter excursions. The backpack’s wheels are also durable and can easily navigate different terrains, making it the perfect choice for both urban and outdoor adventures.
Osprey Aura 65 Women’s Backpacking Pack
Best for: ladies on backpacking trips or longer adventures abroad
My personal favorite! (Can you tell I’m a big fan of Osprey yet?)
This backpack is designed with the female body in mind, featuring a custom-fit suspension system that ensures maximum comfort and support during long hikes and backpacking trips.
The Aura 65 Women’s Backpacking Pack has a spacious 65-liter capacity, making it perfect for extended trips abroad as well as overnight camping.
The Aura 65 Women’s Backpacking Pack is designed with comfort in mind, featuring a padded back panel and shoulder straps that can be easily adjusted to fit your body. The backpack also includes a hip belt that can be custom-fit to your body, providing additional support and reducing fatigue during long hikes.
The Aura AG 65 is the best-fitting and most comfortable women’s-specific pack ever made for traditional backpacking trips. The innovative Anti-Gravity suspension makes it feel like you’re carrying less weight and seamlessly wraps around your body.
This is by far my favorite feature, especially when it comes to commuting from city to city on travel adventures in Europe or Asia!
Read More: 40 Travel Essentials for Hot Weather and Tropical Climates
BEST WEEKENDER DUFFELS
Monos Metro Duffel
Another personal staple of mine — the Monos Metro Duffel. This lovely (and surprisingly spacious bag) is designed with style and functionality in mind, featuring a sleek and minimalist design that is perfect for any occasion.
The Monos Metro Duffel is my go-to bag when I’m just traveling for 2-3 days or when I need a bit more capacity than what can fit inside my carry-on suitcase. Because it’s got a luggage handle pass-through sleeve, it sits atop wheeled luggages so you can be hands-free while commuting through airports and hotels.
One of the standout features of the Monos Metro Duffel is its spacious interior. The duffel includes a large main compartment that can accommodate all your essentials for a weekend getaway, including clothes, shoes, and toiletries. The duffel also includes multiple pockets for easy organization, including a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop.
I’d also like to mention that when you get the Metro Duffel weekender bag, you’re actually getting a 2-for-1 special. The bag consists of the Metro Duffel (the big bag) and the Metro Classic Kit (the detachable zippered pouch in the front of the bag).
Read more: Monos Metro Duffel Review: Is It Actually Worth The Price?
Yup, another Bellroy bag on the list! It’s one of our favorite brands because of just how high-quality their pieces are.
One of the standout features of the Bellroy Weekender is its organization system. Its got pockets on pockets in all the best places!
The duffel includes multiple pockets and compartments for easy access to your essentials, including a padded laptop sleeve that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. The duffel also includes a front pocket with a key clip and a hidden pocket for valuables.
The Bellroy Weekender is designed with comfort in mind, featuring a padded shoulder strap that can be easily adjusted to fit your body. The duffel also includes two sturdy handles that can be used for easy carrying.
Other features of the Bellroy Weekender include a luggage pass-through for easy transport, a side pocket for a water bottle, and a built-in RFID-blocking pocket for added security.
BEST CARRY-ON SUITCASES
If you all don’t already know, I own Monos everything. Carry-on, packing cubes, backpack — you name it. I love the sleek design of their travel gear!
Let’s talk carry-ons though. The Monos Carry-On is the standard option and also the most affordable option offered by the brand. It comes equipped with all the staple features of a quality suitcase (unbreakable polycarbonate shell, sturdy telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock, whisper-quiet wheels, and all-premium materials).
Now moving down to the Carry-On Plus. The main difference between the standard carry-on and the Carry-On Plus is its size; the Plus is a bit bigger and offers 8 more liters of storage than the standard. This extra space is better for travelers who tend to take longer trips or who tend to pack more for their trips.
The Monos Carry-On Pro is the same size as the standard carry-on, and has all the same features with one main difference – there’s an additional zippered compartment on the front of the luggage. This external compartment features a 15” laptop sleeve and three additional zippered pouches for all the other little things you may want easy access to.
One of my favorite features? The wheels! Monos luggage features Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run wheels, which are probably my favorite feature about Monos Luggage. These dual spinner wheels are so smooth, and silent!
Even when I’m at home sitting in the living room, I’ll sometimes move the luggage across the floor just for the sensory experience that those smooth wheels give off! They are pure perfection.
Paravel Aviator Carry-On
I’m personally a huge fan of Paravel. All of Paravel’s travel gear is not only made of sustainable recycled materials but also has durable construction and standout design. I mean, have you seen the suitcases? Classic and sophisticated, to say the least!
The biggest standout of this brand has been its carbon-neutral suitcase. The Aviator suitcase offsets emissions throughout the entire process (from it being created to it being shipped) to ensure the brand’s sustainability standards. Such a noble cause–this is by far one of the biggest reasons why I love the Paravel brand.
All of Paravel’s suitcases are flight regulation-friendly. There are 3 different sizes fit to fly in different ways.
- Aviator Carry-On | designed to fit in the overhead bin of almost any flight, anywhere in the world.
- Aviator Carry-On Plus | provides more room and fits nicely in the overhead compartment of major US airlines, but may need to be checked on smaller planes.
- Aviator Grand | perfect as a roomy checked bag.
The Aviator Carry-On is the smaller of the two options and also the most affordable option offered by the brand. It comes equipped with all the staple features listed above (unbreakable polycarbonate shell, sturdy aircraft-grade telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock, whisper-quiet wheels, and all-recycled materials.
It’s currently available in five different colors. All of the color combos are classy and stylish. In my opinion, the Safari Green and Scout Tan options are the easiest on the eyes!
The great thing about the standard Carry-On size is that it was designed to fit in the overhead bin of almost any flight, anywhere in the world.
Read More: Paravel Aviator Carry-On Review: Is It Worth The Money?
Looking for more packing and travel planning ideas? Read more:
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40 Travel Essentials for Hot Weather and Tropical Climates
7 Best Budget Backpacking Packs
18 Advanced Ways to Save Money For Travel
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