best travel backpacks

Best Travel Backpacks – 2020 Reviews and Top Picks

The best travel backpacks have for a long time been out of price range for many budget backpackers. But times are changing, now industry leaders have made their backpacks greatly reliable and greatly affordable too. We have collated some of the best travel backpacks out there in 2019 and narrowed them down to our top picks to save you time and energy!

Why Use a Backpack for Travelling

The term backpack often conjures up images of a scantily clad young couple who have rips in their rucksack from being on the road so long and a whole wealth of stories to tell. But the term backpacker is being redefined, now as travel has become so very accessible everyone has the opportunity to be a backpacker even just for a week!

Although there is something special about getting out your expensive suitcase and neatly packing away an item of clothing for every occasion there is something equally special, arguably empowering, about cramming as much as you can into your rucksack, slinging it over your shoulder and headed out into the great wide open. By travelling with a backpack you open yourself up to a world of possibility. The backpack is a truly versatile travel essential, by opting for a backpack you instantly transform your getaway from a holiday to a travelling adventure.

Backpacks are changing, as the demand for more sturdier, more durable and more reliable packs the industry game changers are becoming more and more competitive to create the ultimate travel backpack. Now with ergonomic design, hidden pockets and posture supporting reinforcements backpacks have been truly revolutionised.

It is safe to say that with advanced technology comes an advanced price tag but with the five bags that we have found for you, we know that you will get great value for money. A superior price tag doesn’t necessarily mean superior performance but in the gang, we have gathered for you, we are sure you will find the perfect fit.

There are so very many options available on the market today, backpacks designed specifically for women or backpacks perfect for inter-railing in Europe. With budget airlines dominating the skies everyone wants a carry-on bag that maximises their packing potential, even pushing the limits of airline carry-on allowances and for that too we have found the perfect bag. Laptop bags are an accessory every savvy short-stay traveller must possess and with business meetings to rush off to must be smart looking and greatly functional.

When asking yourself ‘why should I use a backpack’ answer yourself these three questions…

  • Will I be travelling around or staying in one place?
  • Do I have to carry my bag myself throughout the trip?
  • And finally ‘Do I want as much room to pack as in as possible?

If the answer to these three questions is ‘Yes’ then carry on reading for we have found the best travel backpacks for 2019 and you should snap one up as soon as you can!

How to Pick the Best Backpack for Travel

Picking the best backpack for your travels is actually easier than you think.

First thing is first, think about how long you are travelling for and how much stuff you want to bring with you.

  • If you are truly backpacking then you need to think about packing lights and cutting out duplicate items
  • However, if you’re using a backpack for a short two week holiday then you can bulk out your bag with what most backpackers would deem ‘unnecessary’ or ‘luxury’ items. For most people travelling long haul then a 60-70L big rucksack will suffice.

The next thing you have to think about is comfort and in terms of backpacks comfort really does come before fashion! 

  • When you first place that bag on your back you must imagine trudging around a railway station at 1 am in the morning when your train has been delayed, it’s too late to book a hotel and after a long day walking from the city centre to the station you realise that you must sleep there tonight and wait for tomorrow’s train.

Now, when you think about all that, does the pack weigh heavy on your back, do the straps dig into your shoulders and the base in to you hips or does the backpack cradle your back and act as a comfort to you? You’re as safe as a turtle, your life strapped to your back. And then it hits you…your backpack is now your bed! You place your bag down in a quiet corner of the station and prop your head up on the soft exterior and fall asleep.

So, if you can’t play that scenario out within five seconds of placing the bag on your back then it’s not the bag for you. Much like in Harry Potter when a wand chooses you…your backpack will choose you too and from that moment forward you will be truly inseparable!

Finally, and this is a more specific one; when you’re inspecting the backpack you’re thinking of buying check out the attachments and strapping on the outside.  

  • If you’re travelling for a long time you are bound to acquire stuff that doesn’t fit in your bag. You’re bound to pick up a new hobby or skill that requires equipment to carry along with you, whether that be yoga, snorkelling or slack-lining it is always good to have the option to carry your additional items on the outside of your bag.
  • Even better, most international airports now have a bag wrapping service so when it comes to flying home fear not if your bag is as full outside as it is in, wrap it up and send it in the hold!

We have tried, tested and reviewed 2019’s top picks for best travel backpacks so you don’t have to! With so many great options out there it is hard to know where to start! We have selected one top-class bag from each category to give you an idea of what to look for! Happy travels backpackers!

Best Travel Backpacks for Men

The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is a top choice for guys or for girls! The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack comes with a lifetime warranty (additional extra) so if anything should happen to your pack simply take it into an Osprey retailer and they will see to fixing it for you. This 65L bag is light and durable with a good selection of sections within the bag to keep your belongings separated.

Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Backpack


  • The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is light, weighing just 3.9lbs meaning you can maximise your airline weight allowance and with 65L of space inside you can pack everything, including the kitchen sink!

What We Like:

  • A key feature of the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is the anti-gravity suspension system that offers you unprecedented comfort and ventilation to keep you cool on the move. The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack has been designed to specifically curve and snug into the contours of the male form to create a wonderfully comfortable and posture supporting bag.
  • The highlights of this bag include the Fly-Zip Hip Belt which houses a small purse bag perfect for storing your wallet, keys and passport on the move so you can travel safely in the knowledge that your essential items are right under your nose and nothing bad can happen to them.
  • Additionally, the side compression straps make the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack truly versatile. By battening down the hatches on the sides of the bag you can ensure that your items are stored securely and that your bag is as compact as can be on your back.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • On the downside, some people have reported that the antigravity system does not provide the comfort promised by Osprey. However, this risk can be eliminated by going into store and trying the pack on for yourself before you purchase or return home to purchase online. 

​The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack comes in medium and large sized and the antigravity system works at its optimum potential when the correct sizing has been selected.

Overall the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is a great shout for season backpacking pros looking to upgrade their trusty pack or those who are starting out and want a backpack that is going to last for life!

Best Travel Backpacks for Women

We are so happy to see that the industry has started to design backpacks to suit the female figure. Although when it comes to stamina we know the girls can keep up with the boys but as height, posture and shoulder span changes between men and women it is important to have a pack that is not only comfortable but is designed to support your posture and stature. The Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack does just that.

Osprey Women's Aura 65 AG Backpack


What We Like:

  • As with the Osprey Men’s Atmos AG the Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack has their signature antigravity suspension system which offers women unrestricted movement during usage which is perfect for those travellers who have a more active trip in mind. There is nothing worse than trying to run for a train or taxi when the pack on your back prevents you from running and moving smoothly!
  • The Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack is particularly good for hikers, trekkers and ramblers as the Aura 65 AG comes with the Stow-On-The-Go system. This attachment system has been created for travellers to attach and carry their trekking poles with them on the go when not in use. Conveniently located on the hip belt the Stow-On-The-Go systems stops you having to scramble for your poles on your rough and adventurous ramble!
  • Another great benefit of the Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack is the adjustable harness. The adjustable harness allows you to adjust the torso length of the Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack to suit your height which means you minimise the risk of stooping over when you walk with the bag on your bag.

As with any pack, we recommend that you try it on for size before you buy as Osprey’s size chart isn’t the most accurate. The bag is designed for smaller, very petite women and as such taller and broader women may, in fact, do better with the men’s pack. In terms of aesthetic design, there are no features that determine whether the bag is designed for men or women but the difference is in the strapping adjustment centre.

Best Backpack for Europe

Travelling in Europe carries very specific requirements, with convenient travel options in the form of trains and budget airlines you don’t necessarily need to look for durability in your bag when travelling to Europe as it won’t be exposed to the rough and ready travel you might expect in Asia for example. In Europe, you need a bag that is big enough to carry all that you need and ideally fit in the cabin of a budget airline plane the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack does just that.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack


What We Like:

  • The neat 40L bag fits in the cabin and holds just enough of what you need. With additional straps on the outside to clip on a coat, hiking boots or yoga mat the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is a great lightweight travel backpack for Europe. Whether you’re heading to the city or wilderness the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack will be a trusty companion.
  • Key features of the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack include the LightWire framework that holds the bag strong but weighing is at a breezy 3lb! Lest we forget the mesh lining that provides superior heat ventilation and dissipation to keep you cool in the hot European summer months.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • One downside to the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is that it is small so for those heading to Europe for the long haul and need camping gear then the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is not for you. If you’re sticking to the cities and are on a shorter adventure then the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is simply perfect.

Best Carry-On Backpack

When we’re travelling long term and long haul we inevitably carry a lot of tech that needs to be kept safe and on our person during the travelling hours. The North Face Jester Backpack is perfect for travellers who want to keep their tech close to hand and have a light and fashionable backpack to wear around the world!

The North Face Jester Backpack has a floating padded 15’’ laptop compartment that keeps your laptop or tablet safe and secure throughout your travels. Conveniently zipped way, your laptop will be easily accessible but protected from bumps, scuffs and falls. The The North Face Jester Backpack has a FlexVent Suspension system that offers you shoulder moulded pads for added comfort and security.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack


As we have mentioned before, the ability to store items on the outside of your bag is vital when travelling long term and The North Face Jester Backpack can provide just that ability with its external bungee attachment feature; this coupled with the front accessory pocket makes The North Face Jester Backpack a great choice as an additional bag for tech and essential items.

What We Like:

  • The North Face Jester Backpack is a great choice for carry-on luggage, a little smaller than the standard diameters dictated by airlines with The North Face Jester Backpack you can rest assured that your bag will be allowed in the cabin every single time you travel.
  • Many travellers who carry their main back on their back will carry their smaller bag on their front, looping the straps over each other on their shoulder. The North Face Jester Backpack comfortable straps mean that there is no digging in or chaffing caused when wearing this bag on the front rather than the back.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The one negative about The North Face Jester Backpack is that the mesh back panel is a little abrasive and has been known to cause discomfort on your back. Again, try before you buy and you can’t go too far wrong!

Best Laptop Bag for Travel

As the millennial generation travels more we are realising that we don’t want to stop and we want to work on the road. Anywhere can be our office provided we have a laptop and internet connection. For the digital nomad or the working holiday traveller the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack is the best laptop bag for travel of any kind.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart


What We Like:

  • SwissGear are famed for their sturdy and reliable bags that have a great long lasting lifespan and great design features. The SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack is a prime example of SwissGear’s ingenuity. The SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack has a durable and weather resistant 1600D ballistic polyester exterior, this heavy duty material is built to withstand even the most rigorous of travel experiences.
  • The SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack also features the ScanSmart lay-flat technology that protects your laptop from scraps, bumps and drops as well as aiding you through airport security as quickly as possible by opening up quickly and efficiently. The bag too features two breathable side compartments to house umbrellas or large water bottles.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • There are little complaints about the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack, some people have experienced issue with the zippers being weaker than they would like but bare in mind that this is a laptop bag, not a camping or wilderness bag. This bag has been designed to withstand gentle and courteous use! Treat is kindly and it will do the same to you!

Backpacks Galore in 2019!

There is such a wide range of choice within our top picks of best travel backpacks for 2019 and we’re confident we have found the perfect bags to suit every occasion and every style of travel.

Remember; your bag is your best friend! Treat it well and it will serve you well too!

About Author

I'm Linda Smith. I'm passionate about traveling and I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

4 thoughts on “Best Travel Backpacks – 2020 Reviews and Top Picks”

  1. Thank you so much for this informative post. Here you explained everything about this post. I really appreciate your writings. You have perfectly explained all the details of the topic.

  2. I believe that if you are a professional traveler and always looking for traveling as like me then just only you can understand the value of backpack. One simple backpack can make your traveling enjoyble. Many many thanks for sharing with us the fantastic article.

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