The Best Travel Backpacks and Carry-On Bags For Your Next Trip

Travel Backpacks and Carry-ons -

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. That’s why I’ve narrowed down a list of ten bags that either I or my friends swear by and like the most.

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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.

Weekend Trip Options


Pacsafe Vibe 25 Anti-Theft 25L Backpack

Sleek, comfortable, and secure 25-liter backpack with anti-theft technologies built in; ideal for carrying day-to-day necessities on adventures abroad, around town, or as a handy carry-on. So, so sleek. (They have a smaller size too!)

Buy it here.


Chrome Unisex Barrage

A rugged all-condition backpack and a favorite of bike messengers all over the world, rolltop bags give you extra room when you need to haul a ton of gear and fold over to keep everything inside protected from the outside world. Ideal for travelers who need to carry a variety of cargo or who expect to encounter weather other than sun.

Buy it here.



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.

Buy it here.

Read More: Top Travel Gadgets That Will Make Your Trip So Much Better

Multiweek Trip Options

Osprey Farpoint and Fairview

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.

Buy it here.

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.

Buy it here.

Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, 28-Inch/80-Liter

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.

Buy it here.


Osprey Aura 65 Women’s Backpacking Pack

My personal favorite! 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.

Buy it here.

Tortuga Backpack 

Tortuga makes durable, water-resistant carry-on backpacks that packs easily like a suitcase, yet is comfortable enough to wear for miles. It seriously holds enough stuff to travel for weeks at a time, and I know a ton of people who have backpacked across Europe with this thing.

Read More: New And Unique Travel Gifts For Every Type Of Traveler For 2018


Vera Bradley Weekender Bag 

This one is a bestseller. Seriously, we can never have enough carry on / weekender bags.

Buy it here.


NEWHEY Travel Weekender Bag

This one by NEWHEY is not only super spacious (really, it’s bigger than it looks), but it’s made with materials such as genuine leather and waterproof waxed canvas that gives it that classic, rugged feel.

Buy it here.


Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner

Yet another sleek and durable choice! Extremely light and visually impactful, this collection takes polycarbonate design to the next level. Featuring 360 spinner wheels and TSA compatible combo lock.

Buy it here.

American Tourister Belle Voyage Spinner

Another one of my super reliable (and cute!) carry-on bags. This one’s easily identifiable and has the ability to expand. Spinner wheels are a must.

Buy it here.

American Tourister Moonlight Spinner

This case expands for added packing capacity. Featuring 360 spinner wheels and tons of sleek colors and even patterns to pick from.

Buy it here.



Looking for more packing and travel planning ideas? Read more:

25 Top Travel Gadgets That Will Make Your Trip So Much Better

10 Things To Prepare Before Your Trip

The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Europe



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