The Best Travel Backpacks of 2023
Whether weekend road-tripping or jet-setting around the world, you’re going to need a pack to toss over your shoulder. Here are the best travel backpacks for every adventure.
There are a lot of great travel backpacks out there, but not all of them are created equal. A travel pack needs to be comfortable to carry, easy to organize, and durable enough to withstand being toted from place to place.
From hitting the road for the weekend to spending months traveling abroad, we’ve put nearly 30 different travel backpacks through the wringer. We tallied our airline miles, punched our tickets, and put our tray tables in the upright and locked position for close to half a decade now, taking domestic and international flights to as far as Iceland and as close as 30-minute island hops. And while there isn’t a single pack that suits every traveler, we’ve highlighted a variety of designs and price points to help you find the perfect travel backpack.
Choosing a travel backpack can be a dizzying experience, and we’ve shaken down the best to sort through the static. Each pack has seen its time on the baggage carousel, hostel luggage cart, and we’ve even had a few go missing for the full experience. We fully pack and live out of these bags to test them, and in the end, we’re confident that the 14 packs collected here are the best travel backpacks available today. Check-in and check them out.
For all your travel pack questions, consult our buyer’s guide , where we’ve laid bare all the essentials. Compare each of the packs using our handy comparison chart , and if you’ve still got questions, check out our FAQ section.
Editor’s Note: We updated our travel backpack guide on November 15, 2023 to include additional information on our testing, as well as ensure that our selection is still current.
- Best Overall Travel Backpack: Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
- Best Budget Travel Backpack: Dakine Campus 33L Backpack
- Best Carrying Travel Backpack: Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs
- Best Organization in a Travel Backpack: Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
- Best Shoulder Bag: Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
- Best Commuter-Style Travel Backpack: Arc’teryx Granville 25 Backpack
- Best Personal Item Travel Pack: TimBuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
- Capacity 45 L (collapses to 35 L)
- Weight 4 lbs., 8 oz.
- Dimensions 22" x 13" x 9.5" standard, 22" x 13" x 11" expanded
- Compartment access Back panel clamshell design with #10 zipper
- Material Weatherproof, 100% recycled 400-denier nylon canvas shell; 900-denier waterproof bottom
- Compresses down to maximum airline carry-on size, and then expands once you’ve hit your destination
- Burly construction
- No details are overlooked in the design
- No internal fastening straps
Perfect is a dirty word in product design, but we’re about stumped when it comes to drumming up a quibble about the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45 L ($300). This redeye-ready clamshell design is made to the highest of standards.
It’s made of quality materials, utilizing aluminum hardware and a burly 400-denier nylon canvas — and it easily ticks all our boxes for the best overall travel backpack. The interior of the bag is split into two compartments: a larger main area for storing the majority of your kit and a secondary sleeve at the front of the bag with five zippered pockets. The main pocket also sports a foam-padded laptop sleeve and three more pockets.
One of the more impressive aspects we discovered along the bag’s inaugural leg from Seattle to Anchorage was how easily the straps of the Travel Backpack stow away into the bag. Two foam panels on the back of the bag flip away to secure them and then close with a magnetic closure — very slick. This was our favorite strap-stowage system, with the zippered panels of the Matador GlobeRider45 coming in a close second. We find the Peak Design bag compresses smaller.
Then there are the little details. An ID-size sleeve on the back panel provides all the information should your bag get separated from you. Zipper pulls thread through one another to keep what’s yours safe. And a collapsible system adjusts the bag from a full 45 to 35 liters.
In our review, there’s little about the Peak Design pack that misses the mark. The company leans heavily toward the camera-toting travelers among us, but the 45 L Travel Backpack makes no compromises and works just as well for any user group. The high price is undeniable, but for the scope of the travel pack, it’s a buy-once-cry-once purchase we would make again.
Also available in a 30L size , the range of Travel Backpacks from Peak Design is so well-thought-out that you can practically see the cogs turning in their creators’ heads. We think they make the best travel backpacks on the market.
Dakine Campus 33L Backpack
- Capacity 33 L
- Weight 1 lb., 10.6 oz.
- Dimensions 20.5" x 13" x 8"
- Compartment access Zippered top access
- Material Depending on print type, can be 600-denier recycled polyester, 420-denier recycled nylon, 630-denier recycled nylon, or 1,200-denier recycled polyester
- Cheap price
- Available in many different fabric prints
- Unique insulated cooler pocket
- Not many travel-specific features
- Straps don’t pack away
Even at the regular price of $75, the Dakine Campus 33L Backpack is a great deal. And considering you can grab one on sale for $45, it’s a must-have budget travel backpack.
It has everything you need to keep your travels organized, without getting too big or complicated. It has a padded laptop sleeve, a fleece-lined top pocket to keep your sunglasses safe, and an organizer pocket perfect for pens, a phone, and easy-access essentials. We love pockets, and this backpack has plenty.
And if that weren’t enough, it also has an insulated cooler pocket to keep your snacks fresh on the go, plus double side pockets keep drinks handy. We found the straps comfortable during long travel days. Be sure to use the sternum strap when carrying a heavy load for the best fit.
While this bag does excellent at travel, it isn’t quite what the bag was designed for, and thus it’s missing a few travel niceties like a compression system or the ability to pack away the straps. We didn’t find that we missed them desperately, but it would have been nice to have had in a few instances. For similar-sized backpacks with more of a travel bend to them, look to the sleek Timbuk2 Never Check, or the uber-customizable Tom Bihn Synapse 25. But prepare to shell out some more for them.
If you’re looking for a sub-$100 backpack (under $60 during sales!) that does it all, then the Dakine Campus Backpack is for you. It comes in a variety of colors and is also available in a 25L capacity .
Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs
- Capacity 40 L
- Weight 3 lbs., 7.6 oz.
- Dimensions 22" x 14" x 9"
- Compartment access Zippered back panel clamshell design
- Material Bluesign-approved 450-denier recycled polyester
- Supreme suspension system offers the best carry of any pack we tried
- External compression straps limit the volume well
- Comfortably padded grab handles
- Not much internal organization
No stranger to producing supremely comfortable suspension systems, Osprey injected a good bit of its tech into the Farpoint and Fairview packs ($185), which both sport LightWire frames, load lifters, and breathable framesheet and suspension straps. Our Farpoint pack was easily the best load carrier of any we tested and a close contender for the best travel backpack overall.
Far beyond what any of the other travel packs offer, the pack even allows you to adjust the torso length — unheard of in the typical travel pack. Newly updated, these packs have been tweaked to ride the line between traditional backpacks and functional luggage, a claim we can substantiate.
The 40-liter capacity is just about the sweet spot for domestic carry-on luggage limits, and these packs make good use of the space. We could easily pack away a long weekend’s worth of travel essentials into the bag with a little space to spare.
Whereas many other travel packs stash straps away into the body of the pack, the Farpoint and Fairview move in the opposite direction with a deployable strap cover that neatly seals in the suspension for safekeeping when checked. This produces a clean profile that’s ready to be slung around, but it’s not quite as easy and quick as the magnetic panels of the Peak Design Travel Backpacks, as you need to unclip straps to tuck them away.
The interior of the pack is rather spartan, incorporating only one zippered pocket, a laptop sleeve, and two internal compression straps. We would have rather seen a bit more organizational features involved like those that the Matador GlobeRider and Topo Designs Global Travel bags incorporate, but for those who stuff more than pack, the Farpoint and Fairview may very well punch the ticket.
With one foot on the platform and one on the trail, these packs from Osprey will get you where you’re going and carry a trip’s worth of kit with ease.
Matador SEG45 Travel Pack
- Capacity 45 L
- Weight 2 lbs., 8 oz.
- Dimensions 22" x 13.4" x 10.2"
- Compartment access Full clamshell interior, additional front zippered access
- Material 420-denier nylon exterior, 100-denier Robic Dynatec interior
- Excellent storage organization options
- High-quality, strong, and lightweight construction
- No frame to speak of
- Shoulder straps don’t pack away
Aiming to do more with less, the Matador SEG45 Segmented Backpack ($200) proposes a future free of packing cubes and splits up the bag for you, making the organization of your travel pack a breeze.
The full 45 liters of volume is shared among the five segments (6, 9, 15, 9, and 6 liters) and trades volume between the full clamshell compartment and the segments. Each of these segments is accessible via its own water-resistant zippers and can be collapsed as your needs change.
We found organizing by clothing type made the most sense in our own packing, but you could even pack based on the day of the week or the use. The clamshell-accessed main compartment was ideal for holding larger items like spare shoes or quarantining spent outfits.
Known for its overbuilt but lightweight bags, Matador didn’t spare the SEG45, utilizing 420D UHMWPE-reinforced nylon in the pack body, as well as 100D Robic Dynatec weave on the interior. It should be noted that this travel backpack doesn’t have any kind of frame and will rely on being packed well to carry correctly. Because of this, this pack won’t carry as well as bags like the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, so consider packing mostly clothing in the SEG45.
Our testers felt this bag excelled as a travel bag you might deploy once you’ve hit your destination, as it packs away into larger bags so well. Unfortunately, however, the shoulder straps don’t pack away into the bag itself, so you’ll have to wrangle them into place to keep things tidy.
No matter what you’re up to, everything has got a spot to live in the SEG45 . Need a bit less space? Matador offers the SEG28 ($250) for that.
Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L
- Weight 3 lbs., 10.3 oz.
- Dimensions 22.8" x 8.6" x 14.5"
- Compartment access Back panel zippered clamshell design
- Material 900-denier recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU laminate
- Multiple ways to carry the pack
- Many different storage and internal organization options
- Burly external fabric
- Doesn’t carry the best as a backpack
Looking to squeeze out every last liter of allowed space? Patagonia named this pack in honor of the cause — the Black Hole Maximum Legal Carry-On 45 L ($239). This bag can be carried in a number of different ways, but we found it shined during travel as a shoulder bag.
Borrowing fabric from Patagonia’s line of burly Black Hole Duffels , the MLC 45 is made for the long haul. The 900-denier polyester ripstop is coated in a TPU laminate and feels ready to take on the surliest baggage carrier. We certainly felt no remorse in tossing the bag around.
At 45 liters, the MLC is certainly right at the cusp of the maximum allowed size, but thankfully that space is well divided up inside the pack. Inside the main clamshell-accessed compartment is a blizzard of zippers and mesh pockets and dividers, and anything we tossed inside was well-stabilized.
Because there isn’t much of a frame to speak of, the Black Hole MLC doesn’t carry the best when slung over both shoulders and can sag when not entirely full. But over a shoulder with the included shoulder strap, this pack feels great and can be easily accessed on the go. This is one of the only packs in our testing to feature a shoulder strap (the other being the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag).
On top of all this, we greatly appreciate that the Black Hole MLC 45 L is made with 100% recycled body fabric, lining, and webbing. Perfect for grabbing and going, this pack is ready to move.
Read Review: Patagonia Black Hole MLC Bag Review: An Organized, Carry-On-Size Wonder
Arc’teryx Granville 25 Backpack
- Capacity 25 L
- Weight 1 lb., 14.5 oz.
- Dimensions 22" x 12" x 9"
- Compartment access Drawstring top-entry
- Material N400r-AC² nylon ripstop
- Tough and waterproof exterior fabric
- White interior for easy viewing
- Floating laptop sleeve
- Not very much interior organization
- Simple webbing waistbelt
Made for moving through the city over the concourse, the commute-ready Arc’teryx Granville 25 ($220) takes travel backpacks to the streets in a sleek and tough design that we couldn’t keep from grabbing every day.
Crafted from the same N400r-AC² nylon ripstop as Arc’teryx’s high-end climbing packs, the mountain DNA is strong in the Granville, with fully taped seams that make the pack highly weather-resistant. In our impromptu “rain” test, a garden hose fired directly at the pack wasn’t able to get a drop past the tough exterior.
On the front of the pack, a single water-resistant zippered pocket was practically made for your keys, and could accommodate a few other essentials for when you’re on the go. Tossing back the shaped lid, a single drawstring entry leads to the interior space, which is mainly one large pocket, with a few zippered and drop pockets to separate smaller items. If you’re looking for the same style pack, but with a bit more organization built-in, the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 divides up its space well.
The padded interior laptop sleeve will accommodate up to a 16” laptop, and is suspended within the main compartment in a way that leaves us feeling confident in slinging our computer across a shoulder. Compared to other more airline-focused travel packs, the Granville 25 has its feet more firmly planted on the ground, and excels at bus, bike, or foot travel.
Whether your commute is just across town or across the country, the Arc’teryx Granville 25 makes for a good-looking carry-all that’s bound to be around for a while.
Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack
- Capacity 27.5 L
- Weight 2 lbs., 9 oz.
- Dimensions 18.9" x 11.4" x 5.9"
- Material 420x2000D Cordura nylon, 135D polyester
- Dang good looking
- High-quality trim and details, including anodized G hooks and supple webbing
- Supper cushioned back panel
- Exterior expandable water bottle pocket is a bit slim
- Pack straps don't stow away.
Pulling off a good expandable backpack can be a tough task, with fabric accordion folds often taking up valuable real estate on the interior when collapsed in lesser bags. Not so with the TimBuk2 Never Check ($209), which takes a simple backpack shape and elevates it with premium materials and design to create one of our favorite travel backpacks for tucking under an airliner seat.
Unlike a lot of the pure-function rectangular bags in our lineup, the Never Check is a real looker — easily one of the best styled in our testing so far, and we’d have no qualms about bringing it along as a business bag. Small details like rubber-covered zipper pulls, anodized G hooks, and supple webbing keep it looking sharp. The 27.5-liter size is just about dead-on for most airline ‘personal item’ size requirements, and this bag easily slides under a seat.
The main compartment is accessed through a clamshell zipper on the front of the bag, which is gusseted to hang open while you’re loading it up. During the few national and international flights our Senior Editor Nick Belcaster deployed the bag on, this was easily enough space for everything you might want during a plane ride. And for everything else, a front pocket is lined with multiple drop and zip pockets for organizing small gadgets like chargers or keys.
The back panel of the Never Check is a plush ½ inch of comfortable foam, and combined with the equally padded shoulder straps made for a very nice carrying bag. The straps unfortunately do not stow away, but on a lower volume pack such as this, it’s a much less useable feature in our opinions. And finally, one of our favorite features: the wide laptop sleeve. This 15” opening is generous enough to accommodate the larger laptops of today, and is suspended from the bottom of the backpack to ensure bumps don’t turn into bruises.
Just like the name suggests, the Never Check Expandable Backpack provides a svelte solution to bringing a bag with you during airline travel — or even just to the office. Its clean profile and attention to detail impressed us, and it would make an excellent work-to-weekend bag.
Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack
- Dimensions 22" x 12.8" x 11"
- Compartment access Zippered clamshell design
- Material 420D UHMWPE-reinforced ripstop nylon, 100D Robic nylon mini-ripstop
- Incredible density of pockets and sleeves
- Tough UHMWPE outer fabric can be tossed around
- Shoulder straps tuck away in a novel and smart manner
- Laptop sleeve opening is a bit tight
- Price is up there
With a pocket or sleeve for pretty much everything, the new Matador GlobeRider 45 ($350) gives the Peak Design Travel Pack a run for its money when it comes to the best overall travel pack.
Our Managing Editor raved about the GlobeRider after serious testing where she pretty much lived out of it for 3 months: “If you travel often and look for crucial components like internal and external pockets, laptop storage, and backpack and hip straps, consider the Matador GlobeRider 45. It’s a unique design in that the [pack] seems to have it all — every feature I’ve needed so far, both living out of it and in my travels — in a pretty packable size.”
What impressed us most was the way the GlobeRider was able to balance both an eye-watering amount of organization and versatility, and burly durability that ensures that this pack won’t shy away from tough travel conditions. In total (and we double-counted) there are 19 individual pockets on the pack, in all types of stretch mesh, zippered, and collapsable configurations. When good organization is key, the GlobeRider reigns.
On the back panel of the GlobeRider, one of the more novel stowage systems we’ve seen packs away the shoulder straps and hip belt for when you want to slim down the pack. Two zippered panels — similar to the structure of the Peak Design packs, save for the closure — envelop the straps when not in use, and provide a lump-free panel for toting around.
When it comes to downsides, the GlobeRider doesn’t miss much. The laptop sleeve aperture is a bit small at 9.5”, which in today’s age of mondo-screened computers may be limiting to some with larger devices. There also is no ability to convert the pack to a shoulder bag like the Patagonia MCL does, which can be handy when moving quickly through the airport.
Dang-near the top of the list, the Matador GlobeRider 45 would be an excellent choice for anyone who practices one-bag travel, or desires to have a place for everything in their journeys. The price does sting a bit, but based on the long-term testing we’ve completed so far, we’ve seen no indications that this pack will fade away anytime soon.
Read Review: I Lived Out of This Backpack for 3-Plus Months: Matador Globerider45 Review
Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L
- Weight 3 lbs., 10.4 oz.
- Dimensions 22.5" x 14" x 7.5"
- Material 1000D recycled nylon, 400D recycled nylon, 210D recycled nylon, 1680D recycled ballistic nylon
- Overbuilt design with tough materials and chunky zippers
- Plenty of organizational pockets
- Bright interior
- Not the cleanest strap stowage
Chunky zippers, an overhead-savvy profile, and multiple ways to sling it over your shoulder: The Topo Designs Global Travel Pack ($229) has honed in on much of what we love in a travel backpack.
During a recent trip from Seattle to Southern California we were heavily saddled with the maximum the airline would allow. But this pack made use of every inch of space and reached the allowance of what we could check as our carry-on. The 40 liters of internal capacity is broken down into a series of dividers and pockets, which made condoning off things like electronics from the rest of our kit easy. And the interior of this pack is a cheery canary yellow, which helps with ease and visibility.
On the exterior of this pack, three separate carry styles are available to get you through the concourse in whatever way you choose. We found the full-featured backpack straps to be our go-to, which even sport load-lifters for a comfy carry. This suspension system does tuck away for when you might want to check the bag, though we found the hipbelt to be a bit tricky to fully retract.
Rounding out this travel-ready backpack is a tough build that makes use of 1000D recycled nylon and heavy-duty zippers, and we had no qualms with tossing this bag around during our trip. Perfect for anyone who subscribes to the one-bag travel ethos, the Global Travel Pack from Topo Designs makes the grade for those who want the most out of their carry-on.
And if you’re only going to be away for a short trip, the Global Travel pack is also available in a 30L capacity .
Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Travel Pack
- Capacity 28 L
- Weight 3 lbs., 4 oz.
- Dimensions 19" x 12" x 9"
- Material TPU-coated 1,000-denier polyester, 840-denier nylon paneling
- Burly exterior material holds up for the long run
- Plenty of zippered mesh storage pockets
- On the heavier side
- TPU-coated nylon can feel grabby
The Allpa 28L Travel Pack ($170) will change the way you travel. It’s sleek, durable, and able to fit an incredible amount of stuff in a small space. The zippered mesh pockets keep clothes organized. And the compression straps maximize what you can pack.
The tough polyester and nylon construction can take a beating without any signs of wear. And we appreciate that the externally accessed, padded laptop sleeve makes pulling out your electronics at security checkpoints a breeze. There’s also a small outer compartment to keep essentials at hand.
You can completely tuck away the backpack straps and carry the pack like a briefcase, or wear it comfortably as a backpack. We’ve stuffed this pack to the gills countless times and have never had a problem with the zippers. Light rain showers or spills roll right off the TPU-coated exterior, but for legit rainstorms, just pull out the included rain cover.
The Allpa also comes in 35L , 42L , 50L, and 70L capacities. As our editor noted in the 42L review , “Building on its fun and functional ethos, Cotopaxi beefs up its bestselling product. The Allpa Travel Pack earns big points for clever design, clean aesthetic, and a surprising number of handy — and hidden — features.”
Yes, the Cotopaxi Allpa packs are an investment, but anyone who travels regularly will find it a worthy one. These powerhouse travel backpacks are sturdy, versatile, and built to last.
Tom Bihn Synapse 25
- Weight 1 lb., 13 oz.
- Dimensions 13.4" x 20" x 9.1"
- Material 400-denier Halcyon, 420-denier nylon ripstop
- Many different fabrics and color schemes are available
- Built to last design and materials
- Removable webbing hip belt
- Suspension doesn’t pack away
- Side wing pockets are a little awkward to access
Refined and clean-looking, the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($243) is a high-end travel backpack we just can’t stop staring at. It just looks that good. Made of burly textiles and zippers, this pack was built to stand the test of tough travel and come out shining on the other side.
The Synapse 25 is the larger version of Tom Bihn’s Synapse 19 , a popular backpack made for daily carry. The bump in volume is appreciated in this travel-oriented version and is doled out in one large compartment as well as a set of pockets on the front of the pack.
We found all the pockets easily accessible, save for the side wing pockets. While these were excellent for the organization of smaller bits and bobs, the openings were a bit awkward to jump into.
Topped off by a cushioned suspension (the foam is a half-inch of supple EV50), this travel backpack didn’t weigh us down on long days of travel when fully packed. And when we wanted to go light, even the webbing hip belt was removable. In terms of the ability to bop around town as a daily driver, this pack is up there with the TimBuk2 Never Check and Arc’teryx Granville packs (we liked the back panel on this pack the most).
Along with being carry-on compliant, the Synapse is also one of the few bags on our list that are compact enough to fit under most airline seats without hogging too much precious legroom.
Patagonia Black Hole 25L Backpack
- Weight 1 lb., 6.9 oz.
- Dimensions 22" x 10.5" x 5.5"
- Material 300-denier recycled polyester ripstop with a TPU laminate
- Heavy-duty outer fabric
- Cheaper price
- No hip belt
The Patagonia Black Hole Backpack ($149) is a rugged classic, and now one that is fully revamped with an eye toward sustainability.
The 300-denier ripstop nylon outer is newly 100% postconsumer recycled material, and has a novel recycled TPU laminate for extra durability — all coming together to make this pack 100% recycled material from the body to the lining and the straps. We’ve long been a fan of the entire Black Hole line , and that’s doubly true now that it’s made from recycled materials.
The side mesh pockets are great for water bottles. And the back laptop sleeve is well padded and will hold most 15″ laptops. The organizational pockets inside and on top fit all of your little essentials, making them easy to find. The signature Black Hole gear loops are also great for tying on extra gear or wet clothes that need drying.
One thing that the majority of our testers asked for with this pack was a hip belt, which it unfortunately lacks. Without it, the load can feel a bit unsettled on our backs, and a bit of stability would go a long way on this pack.
We’ve been using a Black Hole backpack for years now, and it still doesn’t show any signs of wear or tear. For durability, it’s one of the best travel backpacks you’ll find.
Mountain Hardwear Redeye 45 Travel Pack
- Weight 3 lbs., 2.1 oz.
- Dimensions 24" x 15" x 12"
- Compartment access Back panel zippered clamshell design, additional top entry
- Material 500-denier CORDURA nylon
- Burly 500-denier CORDURA nylon construction
- Front and rear grab handles make loading easy
- Cylinder shape won’t be the most space-efficient
- Strap storage isn’t the most compact
Fine-tuned and ready to be thrown around, the Mountain Hardwear Redeye 45 Travel Pack ($180) hit all the marks for what we’re looking for in a travel pack for long climbing excursions.
Styled after climbing packs and haul bags, the Redeye keeps a clean profile inside and out and provides access to the internal 45 liters of space via either a full back panel clamshell or an additional top entry. Grown onto the outside is a full-length panel concealing a number of mesh pockets as well as a single water bottle pocket opposite.
We broke in our Redeye with a quick alpine climb in Washington’s granite playground of Washington Pass, where it shouldered a load of climbing kit with aplomb. The rear clamshell design is ideal for fishing out bits of gear as you rack up, and the back panel provided enough cushion to avoid feeling any protruding cam lobes.
Not just a climbing pack, however, the Redeye comes with a number of smart travel features that makes splitting time a cinch. A 15-inch padded laptop sleeve will fit most computers on the market, and the suspension straps are fully stowable, although it wasn’t the most seamless execution we’ve seen.
You probably won’t want to haul it up your next off-width chimney, but a full day of travel in search of one is absolutely on the menu for the Redeye 45 .
Osprey Nebula 32 Daypack
- Capacity 32 L
- Weight 2 lbs., 1.7 oz.
- Dimensions 19.2" x 12.2" x 11.4"
- Material 420-denier recycled nylon
- TSA-compliant laptop sleeve
- Many options for organization
- Water bottle pockets fit 32 oz. bottles
- Need to release two buckles in order to unzip the main pocket all the way
When it comes to backpacks, Osprey has put in the time — and it shows. The Nebula 32 ($140) feels like it’s all the brand’s most popular packs morphed into one. Most of all, we love how it seamlessly goes from city streets to trails.
This backpack can do it all, whether you’re hauling your laptop and books around town; water, food, and layers on an easy hike; or all of the above and then some for a weekend away.
The internal storage pockets are great for organizing all of your things for easy access. And while the Nebula 32 is top-loading, the main pocket opens up wide enough so you won’t have to unload everything to get to the one thing you want at the bottom. The sternum strap and hip belt are comfortable as well, especially when carrying a heavy load.
On smaller volume packs like this, sometimes design concessions need to be made to accommodate all the functionality, and on the Nebula it’s in the side compression straps. Like on the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, the compression system of the pack overlays across the main compartment zipper, meaning you’ll need to undo some straps before rifling around in the storage area. Not a deal breaker, but a little annoying when the TSA line starts to back up behind you.
Overall, the Nebula 32 won’t disappoint if you make it your go-to smaller-volume travel backpack.
Travel Backpack Comparison Chart
How We Tested Travel Backpacks
The staff of GearJunkie is a hot-footed bunch, restlessly plodding across the country or around the globe in search of adventure and whatever else comes our way. And we have a lot of stuff, which necessitates having a travel bag or four in the stable.
Surely any old bindle will do in carrying your kit around, but having a travel backpack that is dialed into the needs of travel can turn a stressful situation into a manageable one. We’ve been testing travel backpacks since 2019 and have put the market slice through the wringer on thousands of miles of travel to weed out the best of the best.
Senior Editor Nick Belcaster has a zeal for international travel, and he leads up our current travel pack testing, logging almost 10,000 flying miles in the last year alone. From Iceland to Utah, Belcaster has carried these packs and lived out of them for weeks, relying on them to support back-to-back travel excursions. In testing, we looked for a number of features in our travel backpacks, including overall capacity, carry style, durability, and aesthetics. It’s important to think about how you’ll use your travel pack, and as such, every pack on our list is carry-on compliant for the worst-case scenario.
We know no trip will be like the next, so we took a broad swath of the travel backpacks on the market in order to create a list that will suit many different travelers. Packs in hand, over our shoulders, or on our backs, we hit the four corners and tested the best travel backpacks of 2023.
Curious about what we pack in our travel backpacks? We’ve penned up a list for both domestic and international trips .
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Travel Backpack
Travel backpack user profiles.
The International Jet-Setter: The term ‘One Bag Travel’ is no stranger to you, and you’ve just about got your life distilled down into 45 liters of space. If international travel is your bag, then a backpack that’s up to the task will be essential to see you through to further time zones. Efficiency will be the name of the game here, and going with a pack that is dang-near the carry-on maximums for international flights will mean you can make it through without checking a bag. Look for near to 45-liter packs with plenty of organization baked in, as well as a comfortable (and stashable) carry system.
For international travel, the bag we reach for most often had to be the Peak Design Travel Backpack , with a razor-thin second place going to the Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack . For an emphasis on organization, the Matador SEG45 splits up the volume well, and if you’ll be schlepping bags around a long way, the Osprey Farpoint & Fairview Packs have all the Osprey suspension we love.
The Weekend-Warrior: Maybe it’s a work trip, and maybe it’s just for fun, but it’s only going to take 2-3 days total, and you’ll need a bag that can pack it in. For weekend excursions, we find packs in the 25-35 liter range work well for the minimalists among us, and the 30-40 liter range for those who like a bit more options.
The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 is easily one of the most stylish packs in our review, only slightly edged out by the Timbuk2 Never Check , and both make the grade for a single overnighter in a foreign locale. For a bit more space, you can’t go wrong with the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 40L , a fun pack that is a lot tougher than the multi-colored exterior would let on.
The Commuter: No flight involved! Duty calls, and sometimes you’ll need to lug around a bit more kit than the old briefcase can allow for. Commuting with a travel backpack is a great way to stay comfortable on longer rides, as shoulder and handbags are cumbersome over the long run. Focus on a bag with a more traditional backpack shape that puts an emphasis on ease-of-access, and is in the 20-30 liter range.
For bumping around town, we’ve come to love the Arc’teryx Granville 25 , which not only lugs our remote office around with ease, but also looks pretty slick doing it. The drawstring opening here is a huge boon for quickly stashing a jacket, and the tough exterior fears no weather forecast. For a budget just-get-it-done choice, the Dakine Campus 33L will make it happen for less.
The right size pack for you depends on a few things. First, where are you going? And, how long do you plan to stay? Winter travel often comes with more gear, so you’ll need to pack extra layers. Longer trips often require larger bags.
That said, your personal packing style will be the most important factor. We know minimalists who happily travel for months with only a single backpack in tow and others who want the largest travel backpack possible in addition to a totally stuffed duffel bag . One method isn’t better than the other, but knowing your style is helpful when choosing a bag.
In general, we’ve found that something in the 28-45 liter range is ideal for comfort and packability. Many packs will also offer a compression system to allow you to limit the overall volume of the backpack. We’ve seen many different ways to accomplish this, but the most effective by far were the button snaps and expanding zipper of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L . Packs toward the 40-45 liter range will be your carry-on bags of choice, and the 45-liter Peak Design, Patagonia MCL , and Matador GlobeRider are perfect for maxing out your allowed space. The 40-liter Osprey Farpoint/Fairview packs give up a little internal room for the luxe suspension system they’re carried with.
Packs in the smaller end of the range, from around 25-30 liters, make better personal items, and the TimBuk2 Never Check , Tom Bihn Synapse , and Patagonia Black Hole backpacks all fit snuggly underneath an airliner seat. These small bags move through a city gracefully and look more like everyday carry backpacks than traditional luggage.
What good would a bag be if you couldn’t get into it? From a simple drawstring to a thicket of Velcro and zippers, there are plenty of ways to keep your bag closed while you’re on the go, but not every one will be amenable to travel.
Zippered Clamshells: Most travel backpacks will use a clamshell-style design that opens up the backpack like a suitcase, allowing you to pack intentionally as opposed to stuffing things in. Oftentimes, an internal strap system will help keep your items contained while you’re on the move.
Packs with this clamshell design may also opt to add internal dividers to the main storage area, and make these dividers removable — should you need the entire storage area uninhibited. For packs without internal dividers or straps, consider adding a few packing cubes to keep your items organized.
In addition to the rear entry, some backpacks will offer additional entry points through the top or front of the pack. This can be helpful when you need to quickly retrieve something like a passport from your bag, without the need to totally spill the contents. The majority of packs in our review close in this clamshell manner, and a few of our favorites are the Peak Design Travel Backpack , Osprey Farpoint & Fairview 40 Travel Packs , and Matador GlobeRider45 Travel Pack .
Zippered Top-Access: Much like many traditional backpacks, zippered top-access packs load and unload from the topside, and generally only offer one point of entry/egress into the pack. For this reason, packs of this flavor are generally left packed during travel, as digging around for something at the bottom can be a hassle.
Bags of this stripe, including the uber-nice Tom Bihn Synapse 25 , rough and tumble Patagonia Black Hole 25L , and expandable Timbuk2 Never Check , most often make better personal items over carry-ons, as their smaller volumes make for easier searching within.
Drawstring Top-Entry: While not quite as common as a zippered clamshell or top-access pack, drawstring top-entry packs can make for very quick and easy access to your kit if you’re on the move. These packs will integrate an extended fabric collar to the top of the storage area, which can be compressed when needed, or overstuffed with bulky items like jackets.
Commuters will find drawstring entry bags the most appealing, and the Arc’teryx Granville 25 has become our dedicated laptop toter for everything from remote work stints at the coffee shop to jumping on a ferry for work.
There are plenty of ways to lug your kit to your boarding gate, but not all of them will be comfortable for everything. Over-shoulder backpack straps can support a good bit of weight but typically will need some type of frame to truly be supportive. The Osprey Farpoint/Fairview packs were the best-carrying packs in our testing, owed largely to the wire frame and Airscape mesh back panels, but we also enjoyed the carry of the aluminum frame stays on the Matador GlobeRider.
A shoulder strap travel backpack, like the Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L , can be slung across your body and provide a great amount of accessibility on the go. Don’t expect to carry too much weight this way, however.
And then there’s the classic suitcase style, easily towed anywhere. It’s good to note many travel backpacks will have stowable straps to better streamline the pack for a trip through an X-ray machine or stowed under a seat. The strap storage design of the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L impressed us most of all, utilizing magnetic closure flaps to pack away the shoulder and hip straps neatly.
Pockets & Organization
There’s an organizational saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” And we couldn’t agree more. Keeping track of everything while you travel is key for organization. And while more pockets always seem better, there is a threshold where having too many simply becomes more places to misplace things. Instead, we recommend packs with three to six pockets.
The Cotopaxi Allpa and Topo Designs Global Travel Bags both have ingenious inner organization systems complete with large zipping “pockets.” It has just enough space to find room for everything but not so many compartments that you’ll be hunting all day for your misplaced passport. For even more organization, the Matador SEG45 splits into five different segments that are accessible from the exterior of the pack.
Bringing along a laptop is a necessary evil for some travelers, and having an incorporated laptop sleeve in your travel backpack can keep it safe during travel. Most laptop sleeves will be padded with some type of foam and nestle in close to the back for maximum protection. In order to be TSA-compliant, a laptop sleeve will need to fold entirely flat away from the pack in order to be scanned.
Because flying with liquids over 3.4 ounces is prohibited in the U.S., carrying all of these items in a separate toiletry bag can make your foray into the screening line a breeze. Many of the packs on our list incorporate many external pockets where such a bag could be stashed and produced when needed.
Travel luggage takes a beating, so durability is a top concern. Luckily, gear manufacturers realize this and are making increasingly burly yet portable packs. The fan-favorite Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L pack is made with a 900-denier ripstop nylon outer with a TPU laminate for extra durability. It’s nearly indestructible, water-resistant, and versatile.
If you’re traveling somewhere with inclement weather or if your pack needs to double as a climbing bag or hiking pack, durability is extra important. And it’s worth paying more for a backpack that is water-resistant.
Space Efficiency & Carry-On Compliance
Astute observers will note many of the packs in our review sport a rectangular shape, which is certainly due to designers aspiring to create a more space-efficient pack. This isn’t to say that more shapely packs won’t make it happen, but when you’re struggling to make every liter of space count, maximizing dimensions matters.
Carry-on luggage is any bag that you plan on bringing into an airplane and storing in the overhead bins. Because space is limited, airlines dictate the maximum size that any carry-on can be. In the U.S., the most common size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, or 45 linear inches (length + width + height). However, this is just a rough guideline; some airlines differ from these dimensions, and you should refer to their information directly.
In general, these dimensions provide a travel backpack with around 40-45 liters of internal volume, so buying a pack that’s as close to that as possible will provide the most space allowed. Many of the packs on our list have the ability to compress to a smaller size, such as the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L .
Be mindful as well, that any protrusions from your travel pack such as shoulder straps or handles will also need to fall within the maximum allowed size. Many travel backpacks today incorporate some type of strap-stowing ability, such as the magnetic panels of the Peak Design packs, the zippered cover of the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview, and the hybrid zipper/panel of the Matador GlobeRider 45. All of these provide a more streamlined profile that should both hit the mark, and fit better into overhead bins.
Travel backpacks run the gamut of prices — from affordable to downright pricey. There are a number of factors that play into what you get for the money.
Budget-Minded Travel Packs
Travel backpacks, as a category, are generally a bit pricer than your average luggage, as they incorporate tough materials that can put up with extensive wear over the lifespan. Travel is tough on bags, so it’s unsurprising that even budget travel backpacks will cost you around $100-150. These packs often will incorporate more traditional architectures such as a zippered top access, as opposed to the more complicated (and spendy) full-zip clamshell designs. For example, the Dakine Campus ($75) is pretty much your average school bag.
Volumes, too, will be a bit limited in this price range — added material adds cost. The 32-liter Osprey Nebula ($140) is about the best price-to-volume ratio you can get, with the Patagonia Black Hole Backpack ($149) coming in behind it at 25 liters.
Mid-Range Travel Packs
Mid-range packs make up the bread and butter of travel packs, and can be had for around $150 to $200. These designs are often more of the full carry-on variety, and aim to capitalize on permitted volume as much as possible. The 45-liter Matador SEG45 ($200), Patagonia Black Hole MLC ($239), Mountain Hardwear Redeye ($180), 40-liter Osprey Farpoint/Fairview ($185), and Topo Designs Global Travel Bag ($229) all shoehorn in just about as much space as a friendly gate agent will let you get away with.
For the price, you also get a good variety of functionality that makes travel easier, such as stowable pack straps, interior segmented pockets and sleeves (done excellently on the $170 Cotopaxi Allpa ), and an external compression system that limits the space your bag takes up. Some packs, like the TimBuk2 Never Check ($209), don’t exactly hit these parameters, but instead make up for it in high-quality design and materials.
Premium Travel Packs
Above $250, you’re likely paying for premium materials or a to-the-hilt design that leaves absolutely nothing on the cutting room floor. The Peak Design Travel Backpack ($300) is a great example, and utilizes super high-quality nylon canvas, custom aluminum hardware, and supple seatbelt material webbing in its build, as well as fitting in just about every conceivable feature you could want in a travel pack. The same can be said of the Matador GlobeRider 45 ($350), which uses high-tech UHMPWE-reinforced materials and sports a total of 19 pockets.
The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 ($243) is a bit of an outlier, as it commands a high dollar amount not for the extreme amount of space it offers or amount of features, but for being a hyper-customizable, hand-made bag that uses the nicest textiles available, as well as the best zippers, webbing, and foam in its design. If you’re a fan of the finest materials, this is your daily driver pack.
What is One Bag Travel?
The ‘One Bag Travel’ ethos and travel backpacks go hand-in-hand. Simply put, to travel in one-bag style is to be minimalist in your luggage choices, and only take what you can carry onto the plane/train/pack animal. Not only does this do away with the fuss of deciding what exactly to bring along with you, but it also allows for breezing through airports — skipping the need to check baggage, wait at baggage claim, or fear for lost luggage.
In order to most effectively travel with one bag, be sure to read up on exactly the baggage size allowances provided by your transportation. This can affect both overall size and weight, and having an expandable pack is a large benefit here. In this way, you can carry just enough to skirt through under the limit, and then expand the bag when you’ve hit your destination for more breathing room. If you aim for a 35-40 liter backpack, you’ll be right on the money for one bag travel.
Finally, remember that this bag is going to be the only item of luggage you’ve got, so ensure it’ll be comfortable enough for the long haul. Look for padded back panels and hip belts that’ll transfer the load correctly, and if they stash away — all the better.
Our team unanimously agrees that the best travel backpack is the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L . It’s extremely durable, and it offers plenty of organizational pockets to stash your kit away in. The clamshell opening makes packing a breeze, and we really appreciated the unique shoulder strap storage options available to turn the pack into a stripped-down bag that would slide into any overhead compartment.
The best size bag for traveling depends largely on your travel itinerary and mode of transport. The Cotopaxi Allpa packs range from 28 to 42 liters.
The 28-liter option makes for a compact and comfortable backpack that easily fits in overhead airplane compartments. The 42-liter option is a bit more like carrying a duffel bag on your back, but it still manages to fit in overhead compartments. It’s a great option for maximizing carry-on capacity in backpack form.
While both have their place in travel, a backpack can offer some advantages over a suitcase. Since they’re much more portable, backpacks can be brought to many more places where a suitcase won’t work. Suitcases can be your large load carriers, but a good travel backpack gives you the freedom to strike out on daily adventures.
Travel backpacks absolutely can be carry-on luggage, given they meet the size requirements. In the U.S., the most common maximum size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, or 45 linear inches (length + width + height). But this is only a common size, and different airlines will have different specifics. Consult with your airline specifically to determine what they allow.
While different body types will find different travel packs comfortable, we can all agree that a good support system and ample foam make for a comfortable carry. In our own testing, we found the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Fairview 40 Travel Packs were by far the most comfortable due to their plush suspension systems.
Because many different airlines operate a slate of different planes, there isn’t a standard under-seat luggage size, although there is an average: 16 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches. Some airlines allow personal items larger than this, but you should consult with their customer service for specifics. Our favorite personal item-sized travel pack was the Timbuk2 Never Check Expandable Backpack , which at 24 liters compressed easily slides under a seat.
The Best Women’s Travel Pants of 2022
Active travel demands versatility from your clothing. To help you travel with ease and confidence, we scoured the latest styles to determine the best women’s travel pants for 2022.
The Best Men’s Travel Pants of 2023
We’ve tested the best wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and comfortable men’s travel pants of the year. Pack your bags and get ready for adventure.
Pro Gear Tester Mallory Paige is always up for adventure. Whether motorcycle camping across North America (with her dog in a sidecar!), paddling whitewater in a tiny packraft, or traveling in a van she’s always ready to pivot and turn a challenge into an opportunity. When not busy obsessing about gear, she can be found building an off-grid homestead in the remote mountains of Colorado.
Hailing from the hemlocks and hanging mosses of Washington State, Senior Editor Nick Belcaster is an adventure journalist following threads of stories across the West. Cruelly stolen from the alpine swales of rural Wisconsin at a young age, Nick made do ascending the snows and granite of the North Cascades while completing a journalism degree. A long stint on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 codified a life bent on sleeping on minor slopes and picking devil’s club out of his shoes.
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The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks
Opening up your favorite carry-on travel backpack—with all of your stuff in the right place and easy to reach—should feel like you’re opening the door to a well-organized closet or sitting down at a clean desk.
This is a moment to center yourself, no matter how chaotic the journey.
What we considered
A 45L bag maximizes overhead space but can get heavy when fully packed; 35L bags tend to be more manageable.
Clamshell designs open like a book and are easiest to pack, but bags that open traditionally tend to have more structure.
Ideally, a travel backpack has handles on all sides, especially the bottom, for pulling it out of overhead bins or from under seats.
Some internal pockets are useful, but major organizing is better managed on your own with packing cubes.
We spent six months testing 22 bags and flying across the country with all of our picks.
In the end, we chose two as our top picks: the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L (for most trips) and the larger Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L . Both bags are exemplary carry-on travel backpacks that are designed for comfort, durability, and organization.
Though these backpacks are great as companion bags for any trip, they’re designed to ultimately replace all of your other luggage and become your exclusive bag as you travel.
This is not a style of packing that’s for everyone, but once some people try it , they’re forever hooked. However, finding the right bag is a personal choice, and no single bag will appeal to everyone.
That’s why we have picks that are great for people traveling for work , others designed to be carried over long distances , and budget options for travelers who want to give the one-bag strategy a try.
Why you should trust us, best small carry-on bag for most situations: cotopaxi allpa 35l, best large bag for most situations: peak design travel backpack 45l, best bag for document organization: topo designs global travel bag 30l, best bag for long journeys on foot: osprey farpoint 40 and fairview 40, best bag if you need a large suitcase on your back: tortuga travel backpack 40l, best affordable large backpack: ebags tls mother lode weekender, other good carry-on travel backpacks, who this is for, how we picked and tested, what to look forward to, the competition.
I’ve been covering aspects of luggage and travel bag design for Wirecutter for nearly a decade and have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. And as members of a remote organization, our editors and writers travel a lot and are continually testing the gear we recommend—our travel gear guide remains a perennial favorite among staff members. I personally try to do most of my travel with a single backpack whenever possible. I spent nine months roaming around Hawaii with not much more than that and another six months nomadically couch-surfing in New York City.
In addition to documenting our own experiences, I reached out to experts and writers who specialize in traveling the world carrying everything they need in a single bag. Eytan Levy is the owner and operator of the Snarky Nomad travel website, which combines travel guides and tips with in-depth gear reviews. James Feess is the founder of The Savvy Backpacker and author of The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide to Europe on a Budget . And Sharon Gourlay is the writer of the Where’s Sharon? travel website. I also spoke with moderators of Reddit’s r/onebag and r/heronebag forums, as well as with Chase Reeves, bag fanatic, reviewer, and owner of Matterful .
Cotopaxi Allpa 35L
A versatile small pack for a week or a weekend.
The Allpa’s clamshell design makes organizing your things simple. The strap design lets you easily wear this durable bag on your back or carry it in your hand while you’re on the move.
Get this if: You want an easy-to-organize, comfortable-to-carry bag with a rainfly for downpours or you want to support a B-corp and its related social and sustainable missions .
The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L features an easy-to-pack clamshell design and highly adjustable straps that make it a great all-around bag for any traveler who’s dedicated to packing light, or for a smaller person who wants less to carry. Handles on all four sides of this bag make it easy to grab no matter where you’ve stowed it. It’s also protected by a full lifetime warranty and has the build quality to back that up. After more than four years of testing, this single backpack (plus a personal item ) has replaced nearly every travel bag or piece of luggage I use.
Cotopaxi also makes the Allpa in 28 - and 42 -liter sizes. But the 35 liter is, for us, the best. At 42 liters, this bag becomes heavy for most people to carry when its fully packed, and for a bag that big, we’d prefer that it had a more-robust hip belt. At 28 liters, the bag becomes a touch small for most people, and its internal organization feels fussy for any shorter trip, such as an overnight. Cotopaxi also makes a hip pack that’s designed to fit snugly into the Allpa’s front top compartment. It’s a neat little addition to the bag, and it is worth getting if you like wearing fanny packs while you travel.
The Allpa has a clamshell design, which means it opens like a hard-sided suitcase: A large YKK zipper runs around three sides of the bag, letting it fall open into two halves when unzipped. On the right side is a deep compartment, spacious enough for two large packing cubes or half a suitcase’s worth of clothes (which you access through a mesh zippered flap). On the left, there’s space for one more medium-size packing cube behind a zippered flap. Above that are two smaller pockets with high-visibility backing—useful when you’re looking for hard-to-differentiate personal items.
The Allpa’s hip belt, which can be removed while the bag is on your back, is substantial enough that it’s comfortable to wear when you need it. With or without the hip belt, the Allpa is decently comfortable over long distances. However, folks who have longer torsos (over 19 inches) may find that the waist belt sits a little high off the hips, unless you fully extend the shoulder straps. Speaking of, unlike the shoulder straps on our other picks, the Allpa’s straps are contoured to fit people who have large or small chests. It’s not a specifically gendered design, but our female tester noticed the improvement right away.
The Allpa has two side-access zippers—great for on-the-go access, especially when the bag is hanging from your shoulder. One of these reveals a flat computer pocket with a padded false bottom, so if you drop the bag, it won’t land on the corner of your computer; the other reveals a “secret” pocket with a hidden zipper and access to the main compartment. All of the main compartment zippers are protected by security loops, which you thread the zipper through at the end of its run. This prevents anyone from subtly or quickly grabbing a zipper and opening your bag when you aren’t paying attention.
The Allpa is made with 1680-denier ballistic nylon, similar to the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag or the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 . This feels similar to a strong canvas, but it has a more prominent weave. The Allpa is the kind of bag you can toss as easily into an overhead compartment as you can into the back of a rusty pickup truck. Uniquely in this category, the Allpa also includes a rainfly.
Flaws but not dealbreakers The Allpa has a minimal amount of administrative organization—places to keep pens and papers, spaces to hold tickets, and so forth. This is where a good personal item comes in handy. However, if you want to travel with just this one bag, there are a few nooks you can hide things in. The front organizer is deep enough that you can also fit several small organizing pouches, if you want, or the aforementioned fanny pack.
Cotopaxi does enjoy playing around with fabrics and colors. Sometimes the company has released the Allpa without the TPU-lined front panel. The TPU panel improves water resistance, but we’ve found after many years of travel with our bag that the TPU layering can begin to flake in spots. We’d love to see the all-nylon option return at some point, for people who prefer the added robustness and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of rain coverage.
Capacity: 35 liters Weight: 3 pounds, 5 ounces Main compartment access: Clamshell opening Style: Adventurous Colors: Assorted
Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L
An easily customizable large bag for long trips and expensive gear.
This bag was built with photographers in mind, but most travelers will appreciate its easy accessibility, clever tuck-away straps, and the elegant way the bag expands and contracts. The accessory cubes cost extra, though.
Get this if: You travel often with expensive camera gear and need easy access and many storage pockets, or you just prefer a backpack-based packing system with plenty of adaptability and customization.
Some bags in this category are built to do one thing extremely well—be luggage on your back. But the Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is built to adapt. It’s the Swiss Army knife of backpacks: adjustable, customizable, and (if you spring for the extra cubes and organizers) an almost perfect system for a photographer or gearhead on the move. Most bags’ expanding mechanisms aren’t worth the extra zipper they’re built on, and they look about as attractive as a boiled ham splitting out of its plastic packaging. Not so with the Peak Design: It looks just as good fully packed at 45 liters as it does compressed to a 30-liter daypack.
You can access the bag through a back panel, which doubles as a computer and tablet pouch, as well as a front one, if you unzip the pass-through divider. You can also get into the main compartment via two wing-like trapezoidal flaps that run along each side of the pack. In its natural shape, the Travel Backpack holds 35 liters, but an expansion zipper lets the bag swell to 45 liters. If you want to use the bag as a daypack, you fold in the top corners and snap them down, reducing the bag’s volume to a slim 30 liters. It will still feel larger than a normal daypack in this configuration, but we think that’s a small compromise for being able to use one backpack as both your travel bag and your daily explorer. The bag itself consists of 400D nylon and polyester fabrics. It feels tough, but not as tough as some other bags we’ve tested, such as the Cotopaxi Allpa .
The Peak Design lets you tuck its shoulder and hip straps away when you’re not using them. But unlike any other bag we’ve ever tested, this pack has magnetic flaps on the back panel that open and close with an almost magical snap. Once you’ve played with them, you’ll wonder why every backpack doesn’t have something similar. A small, childish part of me still gets excited about tucking away the straps when I put the Peak Design into an overhead bin. Although the straps are thin, they’re comfortable. The hip belt isn’t quite as plush as the one on the Tortuga ; still, even when the Peak Design is fully loaded, the belt doesn’t pinch or dig into the body.
If you travel with a camera, you don’t have to use Peak Design’s camera cubes , but they do make carrying that gear a whole lot easier. The cubes come in three sizes, and if they’re situated properly in the bag with the provided clips, they line up with the Travel Backpack’s side-access flaps for quick access. Caleigh Waldman (the photographer for this piece and, full disclosure, my spouse) took this bag across the country for a wedding shoot. “I want this backpack,” she said after three weeks of travel. “I want to travel with it everywhere. With my cameras. Without my cameras. It doesn’t matter. I want to travel with it.”
Peak Design also makes a line of ultralight packing cubes . They’re good cubes, and they compare well to the ultralight Eagle Creek Pack-It Isolate Cube set, our pick for light packers . However, the Peak Design cubes are sized specifically for this bag and fit just so inside it, especially when combined with other Peak Design gear cubes and accessories, like the toiletry bag . (Chase Reeves has done an in-depth video review of these cubes; it’s a good resource for anyone who’s on the fence about buying them.) After testing the cubes (and this is not a mark against the Eagle Creek or the Peak Design ultralight cubes, both of which are excellent), I personally still prefer the more-rigid Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal set, one of our longtime picks .
Flaws but not dealbreakers The Travel Backpack has few flaws. It is expensive—especially if you commit to the entire system of packing and camera cubes. The adjustable design and multiple zippers do add complexity, and complexity adds potential weaknesses. Peak Design covers all of its bags with a lifetime warranty , which should alleviate most people’s concerns. But if you’re particularly hard on your gear and still need to carry as much as possible, you might consider the Tortuga instead.
Capacity: 45 liters Weight: 4½ pounds Main compartment access: back-panel loader Style: minimalist and unobtrusive Color: Black, Sage
Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L
Combines more organization with a simple interior.
This bag’s open interior makes packing easy. Those who travel for work will appreciate the Topo’s accessible front pockets and holders for organizing books, papers, and assorted miscellaneous items.
Get this if: You travel often for work and prefer a bag that’s much easier to work out of than most of our other picks. The front panel and assorted pockets are like a small traveling office space.
Of all the bags we recommend, the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L comes closest to the style of an everyday carry backpack, due to its small size and minimal external features. This bag is perfect if you have to travel to a work event, get off the plane, and then use it as a daily backpack without drawing too much attention to yourself. Topo also includes built-in attachment clips, if you want to piggyback a smaller daily-carry backpack to your Travel Bag. I know people who love to do this. I personally do not. But it’s a good feature, especially if you’re committed to Topo gear in general. However, given its basic strap system and flat nylon back, the Topo is not built as well as our other picks for longer hikes.
The Travel Bag is one of the simplest bags we tested, with a main compartment and some basic document organization in the front pocket. This bag is a front-panel loader (which we find very easy to pack), organized around a main pocket that can fit two large packing cubes. Inside, the lid of the bag also has two mesh dividers, for a small amount of organization. Outside, the bag has two small zippered pockets for travel accessories (such as earbuds and a passport) and a larger organizer pocket for books, tickets, and snacks. The Topo is constructed with heavy YKK zippers and, similar to the Cotopaxi Allpa, has built-in zipper security loops (strong loops of fabric that secure your zippers when the bag is shut), if you want a touch more security.
Similar to our other picks, the Travel Bag is backed by an excellent lifetime warranty and repair program from Topo. However, Topo’s gear is made from 1000D nylon (a dense and very tough fabric) and built like a tank; it has rigid padding throughout, and there is an attention to detail (particularly in the stitching around the zippers and handles) that’s a mark of quality to any savvy bag enthusiast. The point is, you would really have to get into some trouble to need the repair program. But it’s there if you do need it.
If you want to carry as much as possible, the Travel Bag also comes in a 40L model . It’s a fine bag at that size, and it does include a small yet stowable waist belt to help carry the weight. But we prefer our larger picks, like the Tortuga (more carrying capacity) or the eBags TLS Mother Lode (less expensive).
The Travel Bag has a built-in laptop compartment that fits most 15-inch laptops and is situated close to your back; this protects the computer and keeps its weight closer to your body. The Topo is well padded on all sides, and it is stitched in a way that keeps the edge of your computer from the bottom of the bag and should protect your computer from all but the worst drops. This bag, like most of Topo’s gear, is designed to work with Topo dopp bags , accessory bags , and packing cubes . Fully packed, it can carry two large packing cubes, two medium accessory bags, and a dopp kit.
Flaws but not dealbreakers Despite its travel-document organization, the Topo bag lacks the large internal pockets of our other picks, and the bag’s main compartment isn’t quite as spacious as that of our other picks. People who like a deeper main compartment might prefer the Cotopaxi or Tortuga bags. The Topo bag’s compartment is a little tight for large laptops, so it isn’t the best when going through security. We’d love to see a little more attention paid to the back contouring and straps of this bag, to make longer walks more comfortable.
Capacity: 30 liters Weight: 2 pounds, 10 ounces Main compartment access: front-panel loader Style: retro Colors: Navy, Black, Clay, Charcoal, Olive
Osprey Farpoint 40
For long distances on foot.
A great starter option for one-bag travel, the Farpoint is easy to pack, adaptable to most situations, and sturdy enough to take with you as you travel the world. And it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
Osprey Fairview 40
For smaller torsos.
A scaled-down version of the Farpoint, the Fairview has shoulder straps that are slightly lower, to keep the bag’s bulk more aligned with smaller torsos.
Get this if: You’re starting out with one-bag travel and aren’t sure which style of bag is best for you, but you want one that’s easy to carry over long distances.
The Osprey Farpoint 40 is well made, easy to pack, and comfortable to carry over most mid-length distances—such as walking across a city for an afternoon. (For simplicity’s sake, everything we say here about the Farpoint applies to the Fairview as well.) Osprey makes excellent backpacks for hauling around, and its lifetime warranty is renowned within the industry . The Farpoint also has an optional messenger bag–style strap, which offers some flexibility when you’re maneuvering tight spaces like subways or crowded city centers.
If you’re just starting out with one-bag travel, or you aren’t sure what type of travel bag best suits your needs, the Farpoint is an excellent first choice.
The Farpoint is easy to pack. Opening the bag reveals a clamshell design; it’s deep enough to accommodate most large items, without your having to fumble awkwardly with zippers once it’s time to close up the bag. The feeling you get is not unlike packing a bit of sturdy luggage, which is something we love about bags like this—especially when you pack with packing cubes . Osprey says this bag, when fully packed, can carry 40 liters. But after using the Farpoint for a few years, we’ve decided that its rounded shape seems to cut into that theoretical packable space more than other bags do. In practice, the available space in the Farpoint is closer to—but still less than—that of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L .
Like all Osprey bags, the Farpoint has very comfortable shoulder straps. The years of design and consideration that Osprey has put into its line of hiking backpacks are quite evident in the Farpoint. After more than six years of long-term testing this bag, we’re still surprised by how great it feels to put on when it’s fully packed. Crucially, the straps of the Farpoint stow away neatly behind a zippered panel. However, when you’re using the shoulder straps, the design forces you to also use the hip straps. Though this isn’t a huge issue, if you prefer a sleeker look or would rather have the option of using shoulder straps without hip straps, the Cotopaxi Allpa is more flexible and lets you hide the waist straps while the bag is on your back.
As Iylana of Penny Caravan points out, smaller individuals may appreciate the lighter weight and more-compact design of the Farpoint or the Fairview (which basically have the same design, but the Fairview is made for someone with a more-diminutive torso). On both, the chest-strap clip is also equipped with a small security whistle that’s surprisingly loud. It’s a handy feature for anyone traveling in unfamiliar environments.
Flaws but not dealbreakers For a smaller carry-on travel backpack, this one has little not to like. However, we do wish Osprey would trade some of the sleeker contours for a little more interior space.
Capacity: 35 liters Weight (Farpoint): 3 pounds, 3 ounces Weight (Fairview): 3 pounds, 2 ounces Main compartment access: front-panel loader Style: active Colors (Farpoint): Gopher Green, Tunnel Vision Grey, Muted Space Blue, Black Colors (Fairview): Winter Night Blue, Zircon Red, Night Jungle Blue, Black
Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L
A suitcase to carry on your back.
For dedicated single-bag travelers, this water-resistant, durable bag is easy to pack and to travel with. And it’s comfortable to wear over endless miles—as long as you don’t mind the heavier weight.
Get this if: You want to maximize your packing space in a bag that’s durable, customizable to fit most torso lengths (there’s also a 30L version ), and water-resistant, and that has organizational features to suit any digital nomad.
The Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L is built to occupy the maximum carry-on space available. It’s a nearly perfect blend of backpack and luggage. On the outside, its tear-resistant sailcloth and sealed zippers provide ample protection from sharp objects and the elements. Opening the main clamshell zipper reveals a cavernous interior and a few organizational features that make the bag a cinch to pack. The front panel is a particular standout, great for keeping track of electronics and chargers. Of all the bags we tested, the Tortuga strikes the closest balance between the carrying comfort of a hiking backpack and the space and organization of a piece of luggage.
When it comes to packing, the Tortuga has a soothingly minimal interior, as any good suitcase should. In addition to the bag’s cavernous main pocket, its interior lid has a large vented panel. The panel is too narrow to hold additional packing cubes, but it’s great for holding light jackets or doubling as a dirty-laundry bag (if you’re really committed to one-bag travel). The Tortuga is available as a 40-liter bag (the max space for a carry-on bag), which we tested, along with the 30-liter version, which is compliant with some intra-European flights. The more-diminutive version is a decent choice for weekend travel or for minimalist travelers—but for those uses, we prefer the space-saving profile and extra internal organization of the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L .
However, the Tortuga is the most adjustable bag we’ve tested five years in a row, thanks to its adjustable torso length, shoulder straps, and waist-belt system. The adjustable strap system lets you manipulate the location of the shoulder straps (video) to fit a wider variety of body sizes, in both the 30- and 40-liter versions. This design (with its included load-adjuster straps at the top, to prevent the bag’s weight from sagging toward your lumbar region) is the best of those we’ve tested at distributing the weight of the bag (4.5 pounds when empty—roughly a pound and a half more than most of our other picks, except the Peak Design.) The hip straps are removable if you need, but the shoulder straps are not stowable.
Flaws but not dealbreakers Some people, especially those who are hard on their gear, may consider not being able to remove or stow the Tortuga’s shoulder straps (as they can with our other picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa) a disqualifying factor. But after years of testing, traveling with, and occasionally checking our bag, we haven’t had an issue. Personally, it still makes me nervous to see the Tortuga traveling on the luggage belt toward mysterious machines and conveyors beneath the airport—all of which, in my imagination, are waiting to tear the hip belt from the bag or slice open the sailcloth exterior. But the Tortuga appears to shrug it all off with ease. However, if these mysteries beneath the airport also make you nervous, you might prefer our picks with easy-to-stow straps, such as the Peak Design Travel Backpack .
We’ve also fielded complaints from some testers that older models of this bag were too heavy for them to carry, even with the padded hip belt and adjustable straps. The additional padding does add weight. At 4.5 pounds, the new Tortuga is more than half a pound lighter than it used to be —the difference is noticeable—and it weighs the same as the equally large Peak Design . But if you feel like you would struggle carrying this model, we strenuously encourage you to consider one of our more-manageable picks, like the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L .
Capacity: 40 liters Weight: 4.5 pounds Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: minimal, with a rigid construction Color: black
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender
Affordable capacity and organization.
The Mother Lode offers the organizational features most travelers want, at an affordable price. However, it’s not as comfortable to carry as pricier options, and it can expand well past the limits of most overhead bins.
Get this if: You want an affordable bag with a traditional look, to carry as much as you can—potentially more than you’re allowed by airlines.
If you like the concept of the large Tortuga Travel Backpack but not its price, the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is a great option for infrequent travelers who are willing to give up some features, such as a decent hip belt. It’s not comfortable enough for trekking long distances on foot, but there are plenty of external pockets for organization, a laptop sleeve that holds the weight of your computer high up on your shoulders, and an easy-to-access main compartment. This bag also has the largest capacity of any of those we tested, expanding to 65 liters—well beyond any airline’s regulated 45-liter limit. However, the bag’s more-casual looks might not be to everyone’s taste.
The Mother Lode is a good suitcase built around a basic (if slightly underwhelming) backpack. That’s the tradeoff you make for its low price, which is less than half that of other models. Unlike our other picks, the Mother Lode is not for carrying over long distances, especially when it’s full. If you know you’re going to be walking long distances (say, over a mile or so) with your pack on, you might want to consider one of our other picks. That said, if you’re carrying your bag only from a taxi to the airport security line but you want to avoid checked-item fees, the Mother Lode might be the bag for you.
The best part of the Mother Lode is the interior layout: It is easy to pack, and it’s smartly organized but still adaptable enough to mold to your preferred style of packing (meaning you can find what you need when you need it). However, the intense design focus that’s evident in the interior of the bag seems to have slipped a bit when it came to the exterior. Compared with those of several other picks in this size, this bag’s slim straps and barely there hip belt are noticeably lacking, especially if you’ve maxed out the bag’s ludicrous capacity.
The clamshell opening of the Mother Lode is similar to the Tortuga’s or the Cotopaxi Allpa’s. This space is augmented by a separate front compartment and organization panel for quick access to mid-size items like a toiletry kit; a top compartment for keys, small books, or sunglasses; and a front pocket organizer for smaller flat items, like travel documents and wallets. The laptop pocket is large and well protected, and it has a strap to help secure and position your laptop’s weight higher up your back if you wish.
Flaws but not dealbreakers There are plenty of flaws with this bag, if you choose to see them as flaws instead of the necessary consequences of the Mother Lode’s inexpensive price. During testing, we packed as much into the Mother Lode as we did in the Tortuga (more, if we expanded the Mother Lode past strict carry-on dimensions). The problem with that much capacity? It becomes an absolute bear to carry. And the flimsy waist belt is almost useless at distributing weight across your hips. Several times during testing I considered just cutting it away. This is a shame, since the bag could go from “decent for the price” to “fantastic, especially at this price” with just a few upgrades.
Capacity: 45 liters (expandable to 65 liters) Weight: 4 pounds Main compartment access: clamshell opening Style: casual Colors: Eggplant, Garnet, Slate Blue, Heathered Graphite, Pine Green
If you want to travel like a backpacker but fit in at a board meeting (and have the budget to do so):
Consider the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 —its reputation for durability, adaptability, and a low-key aesthetic make it a favorite among many dedicated one-bag travelers, and after testing it, we think it’s a great bag too. That said, for the bag to really stand out against other backpacks, and to take full advantage of its carrying adaptability, you need to buy the $33 internal frame , the $33 hip belt , and (if you’re traveling with a suit or jacket) the $33 shoulder strap (all prices at the time of writing). This all adds up on a bag that already costs $330. Even though everything about the Tom Bihn (the fabric, the zippers, the quality of construction) feels like an upgrade from other bags, it’s simply too pricey, and its design is too rarified and specific for most people. The biggest flaw, from our perspective—apart from the price—is that the Tom Bihn lacks a dedicated laptop pocket. In its place, the company sells laptop sleeves (a fine version if you don’t have one) that clip into the bag’s central compartment. Not everyone needs a dedicated laptop pocket, but we prefer the more secure feeling of bags that do.
Anyone who wants to travel light and stay flexible should seriously consider using a carry-on travel backpack. For some people, the challenge of cutting down a packing list is intimidating. But if you can get past that initial hurdle, traveling with a single bag is a revelation. With fewer items, you have more time to concentrate on and appreciate the journey. It’s easy to remain more mobile when you’re not loaded down by heavy luggage and easier still to adjust your plans mid-trip. If you’re willing to do laundry on the road, then one bag is all you need to travel indefinitely. And as airlines charge more and more for checking baggage, traveling with just a carry-on bag (frequently referred to as one-bag travel ) is becoming less of a lifestyle choice and more of a survival skill. At its heart, one-bag travel allows you to discover more—not just about the places you’re going but about yourself and what you really need day to day.
If you desire more creature comforts or more gear, or if you plan to be away for a long time across multiple climates, you’ll want a bigger travel backpack . These larger bags are not carry-on-friendly, though, especially in Europe, so be prepared to check them. We also have a guide to wheeled carry-on bags , which are designed to hold a lot of stuff while remaining easy to maneuver around airports. However, wheels, retractable handles, and frames subtract from precious packing space and add weight, and can make a bag difficult to manage on busy city streets.
There’s no single backpack that is perfect for everyone. Before you make any purchase, consider some basic points. How much can you carry? And where do you usually visit: city or outback? Travel gear should feel like a welcome companion—there to support you when you need it, but unobtrusive when you do not. The best bags are built to survive a lifetime of use and, if cared for properly, should be something you develop a bond with over time.
To compile our list of possible models, we scoured the world of travel blogs and product reviews (most driven by a similar affiliate revenue model to ours), including The Savvy Backpacker , Snarky Nomad , The Travel Hack , Nomadic Matt , The Travel Tester , Where’s Sharon? , Y Travel Blog , Lengthy Travel , and GearLab . Additionally, we lurked on Reddit’s r/onebag and r/heronebag forums, and emailed and had phone interviews with the moderators of those subreddits, Addison Ryan and Lindsay Lorraine Calderón, respectively. Additionally, we spoke with the prolific travel bag reviewer Chase Reeves to get his thoughts on what most great bags have in common. We ended up with a list of 60 candidates and then narrowed this list down to 22 finalists using the following criteria: capacity, compartment design, aesthetics, reviews, and reported comfort.
There isn’t one perfect bag to please everyone, but there are tools you can use to find what’s best for you. We did a lot of our own research to compare models of travel bags, but r/onebag moderator /u/-Nepherim created one of the best product-comparison spreadsheets we’ve seen . If you want to keep researching your own pick, this spreadsheet is a great place to start.
Even if you aren’t convinced by our picks, we do think we can help you figure out what parameters are best for travel bags of any size. We’ve narrowed down our specifications to the following list of features, ordered from most to least relevant.
- Panel-loading or clamshell opening for the main compartment: As with any good piece of luggage, with these bags, you want to be able to open them and see everything you’ve packed. A panel-loading or clamshell design—rather than a traditional top-opening design—lets you pack and unpack these bags just as you would a suitcase.
- Backpack strap comfort and design: You never know when you’ll be walking farther with your bag than you’d intended. The more comfortable and well designed the straps, the easier traveling will be. “Ideally, you want a bag’s shoulder straps to adjust to the angle of your shoulders,” said Eytan Levy of Snarky Nomad. “Good shoulder straps are the difference between an easy trip and a hard trip.”
- Hip belt comfort and design: A hip belt transfers heavy loads from your back and shoulders onto your hips, letting your legs—not your back—bear the brunt of the weight. Just having a waist belt is a plus, but having a padded and sculpted one—especially on bags with over 40 liters of volume—makes a world of difference.
- Style: This is purely subjective. We preferred bags that had a minimalist exterior style, but not all of our picks will please everyone. Most of the people we spoke with, however, preferred not to stick out like a tourist wearing a large, colorful backpack, if they could avoid it.
- Material quality: Durability is critical for any type of luggage, but especially for a backpack that will be your only bag. Most bags worth considering are made of nylon, which resists abrasion more than polyester fabrics of similar density. Spending more, however, can get you such exotic, light, and strong materials as Dyneema or sailcloth.
- Weight: Once the bags arrived, we weighed each one ourselves. Most of the bags weighed within a few pounds of one another. But unless you’re very strict with yourself, by the time you’re packed for a two-week journey, all bags are going to feel equally massive, even if one is just 2 pounds heavier than another when empty.
- Stowable straps: These are nice to have but aren’t absolutely necessary. “The more often you need to check a bag, the more often you need to hide away the straps,” Levy said. “But if the straps are tough enough, it doesn’t matter.”
- Accessory pocket layout and design: Some people will love an accessory pocket that has a specific space for everything, while others may find that feature constricting and unadaptable. We prioritized simple designs that guided our packing without constraining us.
During testing, we flew with these bags across the country, took weekend trips to nearby cities, lived out of them on extended trips, and tried them locally in our daily routines. We also packed and unpacked each bag, using a standardized set of weeklong travel necessities and accessories, to see how well the internal organizational features (or lack thereof) aided or got in the way of efficient packing.
The Patagonia Black Hole MLC 45L has an updated design featuring a new hip belt, which brings it back into class with many of its competitors in this category. In the past, the MLC’s straps were too slim and unsupported for the bag’s 45-liter capacity. Also, its lack of any framing gave the bag a soft and unsettling feeling if it was anything but fully packed. We’re looking at the newest model to see if some of these problems have been corrected and if a former champion travel backpack can regain the spotlight.
Asenlin 40L Travel Backpack : This mind-bendingly inexpensive bag (which includes three packing cubes, all for $45 at time of publication) is a remarkable testament to the cutthroat logic and efficiency of a globalized free market. Is it attractive? No. Is it comfortable to carry? Not particularly. Is it durable enough to withstand years of travel? Unlikely. Is it $45? Yes! If you want the absolute least expensive carry-on travel backpack we’ve ever seen, this is it. But you’ll get more with the TLS Motherlode , which, although double the price, is still very affordable.
Away F.A.R. Convertible Backpack 45L : A rare miss from the Away team. This bag is resoundingly average for the price. Admittedly made of excellent materials, the bag is let down by its overall design, which lacks any kind of structure or attention to comfort. There are better options.
Cabin Max Metz (and the nearly identical AmazonBasics Carry-On ): This cheap, no-frills bag is enticing for the price. But after comparing these bags to the TLS Mother Lode, we think you’re better off paying twice the price for way more than twice the value. The Mother Lode is more reliable and built from stronger materials, and it will hold more stuff comfortably than either of these bags.
GeniusPack Travel Backpack: The GeniusPack is the only model we came across that tried to fit a suit into a travel backpack. Though some people might need this, we think those who have to travel with a suit (or clothes that require pressing) would be better off with a piece of carry-on luggage . (GeniusPack now has a version 2 of this bag, but our conclusion hasn’t changed.)
Goruck GR2 : I’m a big fan of Goruck bags, and I use the GR1 regularly as my daily work and travel bag. These bags will last a lifetime. However, the GR2 is too expensive and too large (its 40L size is a true 40L) for many people, especially since none of the three sizes (26L, 34L, and 40L) comes with a hip belt. We wish the GR2 had a removable hip belt, something similar to what’s on the GR3. That said, this bag is simple, sturdy, and stoic. There is a lot to love about it. And if you don’t mind the high cost, this bag will probably outlast your corporeal self.
Goruck GR3 : The GR3 is almost worth the cost for certain people. It’s strong and simple and covered by an iron-clad repair guarantee. The removable hip belt is comfortable to wear and good at displacing the weight of a 45-liter backpack. It’s a good bag. However, after testing it, we weren’t thrilled with the internal Velcro lining for compatible Velcro packing cubes. Velcro isn’t great: It wears out, is difficult to keep clean, and clings to dirt. That might seem like a small thing, but for the price, this bag should feel perfect.
Kelty Redwing 44 : When we got our hands on the Redwing, we realized that it was closer to a top-loading light camping backpack than to the panel-loading packs we tested. It didn’t quite fit the scope of this review because of its design.
Hynes Eagle 40L Flight Approved Carry-on : This pack is very similar pack to the eBags TLS Mother Lode and the Cabin Max Metz models. It might be useful as a weekend traveler, but we don’t think it would hold up for longer trips.
MEI Voyageur : There’s a lot to like about this bag, especially for the price. It features 1000D Cordura nylon and YKK zippers, and it has a spacious design and decent shoulder straps. But we’re still on the fence about recommending it. The lack of recent reputable reviews gives us pause, along with the sparse Shopify website , which, the last time we checked, in 2023, wasn’t operational. (The company now appears to be selling directly via PayPal.)
Minaal Carry-on 2.0: This bag was designed to be the absolute best travel backpack for business people. But if you’re a business person, you’re probably wearing at least a blazer, so you wouldn’t use a backpack in any case. Even so, if you’re a business traveler who falls more on the casual end of the business-casual spectrum, and you’re not on a budget, you should know that many travel writers have spoken highly of this bag, despite its high price. This does look to be a well-thought-out pack, but we think our picks are more versatile for world travel. (Minaal has since introduced a 3.0 version ; our thoughts about it remain the same.)
Osprey Porter 46 : This is a slightly larger sibling of the Farpoint 40 . It’s about 2 inches longer, and it pushes right up to most airline limits. If you don’t mind possibly having to gate-check your bag at the last minute, this would be an excellent alternative to the Farpoint 40.
Trakke Storr Carryon : Travel-bag enthusiast Chase Reeves used to list this bag as one of his top picks for a medium-size carry-on bag, and it looks very well built . But at $500, plus shipping from Scotland, it is simply too expensive for most people.
We also tested and dismissed The North Face Overhaul 40, which has since been discontinued.
This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.
Lyra Pierotti, The Best Travel Backpacks , GearLab , November 17, 2016
Chase Reeves, Matterful.co , phone interview , October 10, 2018
Addison Ryan, moderator, r/onebag , email interview , September 8, 2018
Lindsay Lorraine Calderón, moderator, r/heronebag , phone interview , September 28, 2018
Meet your guide
Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.
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- Travel Gear Reviews
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10 Best Travel Bags of 2023
Our Top Picks
With over a decade of sightseeing, adventuring, and commuting, our travel experts present to you the top GearLab-tested travel bags for whatever road lies ahead. We lashed oversized duffel bags to the backs of alpacas and wheeled small carry-on luggage for miles through airports and international cities. We stuffed backpacks and daypacks under airline seats and in car trunks. We checked suitcases and carried essentials in fanny packs . Through it all, we evaluated every nook and cranny to ensure they could withstand the rigors of travel, packing, and keeping us organized while we commute downtown or expedition across the globe. We put many miles on these bags, carrying them, wheeling them, flying them, driving them, and even throwing them. We tested how comfortable they are to get around, how well they store and protect your belongings, how easy they are to access, and how durable they are to the rigors of wherever you're going. From wallet-friendly laptop backpacks to luxury luggage and weather-resistant messenger bags , we've found the perfect travel bags for your journey and budget.
We've tested the most promising and popular travel-centric gear. Whether you're seeking the best school backpack or a hiking daypack that doubles as an air travel personal item or a pair of great underwear you can wear across the world , we've got you covered. From the top-rated cargo boxes for your road trips and protective cases to bring your bike , our testers travel thousands of miles to find the best travel gear for commuting, moving, and exploring the world.
Best Carry-On Luggage
Travelpro platinum elite 21" expandable spinner.
The Travelpro Platinum Elite has stolen our carry-on luggage review team's hearts and for a good reason. It's like a treasure chest of organization, with exterior pockets galore and space-saving interior tricks that'll make you feel like a packing pro. This flip-top style bag opens up seamlessly with smooth gliding zippers. Inside, you'll find a detachable suit organizer, four pockets, and a removable toiletry case. The suitcase is built with both compression and expansion capabilities, both of which provide great utility when a few extra souvenirs need to make their way home. It boasts several exterior pockets of various sizes, including a powerpack pocket to keep your devices charged up.
This carry-on suitcase has just about everything you could want in a travel companion. It's built from high-density ballistic nylon fabric with a DuraGuard coating that resists stains and scratches. Its four wheels magnetically align and glide smoothly without much effort. However, the Platinum Elite 21" is technically a tad too large, according to US airline carry-on requirements. But these rules are seldom enforced, and as long as you don't overstuff the front pockets, you should be smooth sailing with your bag in the cabin. Looking to check instead? Check out the larger, 29" Platinum Elite .
Read more: Travelpro Platinum Elite 21" Expandable Spinner review
Best Value Carry-On Luggage
Swissgear sion softside expandable 21-inch.
It can be difficult to find a carry-on travel bag that maximizes capacity and features without breaking the bank. However, the SwissGear Sion Softside 21-Inch does just that. This front flip-zipping suitcase includes variously sized compartments inside and out, including a front shallow pocket great for phones and a larger external pocket for documents or a tablet. Along the inside, mesh pockets, a waterproof toiletries bag, compression straps, and an expansion zipper can be found. Pushing this bag through the airport is a breeze thanks to its four smooth-riding wheels.
The Sion Softside is just a little bit on the heavier side when it comes to carry-on luggage; however, it has three well-padded handles that help during loading and unloading. Additionally, it is just barely out of US carry-on regulations. If you avoid overstuffing and utilize compression techniques, this bag should have no trouble making it onboard with you. When you're not traveling via air routes, the Sion's expandable zipper provides an impressive amount of extra space — just don't jam it full and expect it to fit in the airplane's overhead bin. If you like the Sion Softside's budget-friendly characteristic but prefer hardshell cases, we suggest taking a gander at the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Spinner 20-inch . It's lighter in weight, well-built, and offers about the same amount of storage volume. Rather have a backpack-style carry-on? Check out the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag , which features 40 liters of space and should fit in even the smaller overhead bins.
Read more: SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable 21-inch review
Best Premium Soft-Sided Luggage
Briggs & riley baseline essential spinner.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential is where luxury meets convenient airline travel. Its sleek design isn't just aesthetically pleasing. This travel bag is made to last with a ballistic nylon exterior that can handle some wear and tear as you venture from destination to destination. Its large shock-absorbing wheels have no trouble gliding over various types of terrain, so you won't have to carry the suitcase when the sidewalk gets a bit bumpy. The Baseline Essential is packed with features, including an internal "envelope" that minimizes wrinkles in event attire. The bag has one of the most sophisticated compression systems we've seen to date. Additionally, the carry-on is equipped with various external pockets that can hold a laptop, travel documents, and even charge a phone.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline has just about everything you could want in a carry-on suitcase. It comfortably sits within TSA standards and effortlessly wheels around the airport. While the price might not be ideal for some, those frequent travelers are sure to get their money's worth. Additionally, this well-built suitcase is on the heavier side. However, we found the padded handles to be quite useful for unloading and loading. If you're in the market for a larger version of this premium pick, check out the large, checked suitcase version . If premium hardshell luggage has more of your vibe, we think the Rimowa Original Cabin is an excellent choice if you want to stand out in the crowd — and can stomach the high price tag.
Read more: Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Spinner review
Best Hardside Large Suitcase
Samsonite omni pc hardside expandable 28".
The Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable 28" is the ultimate option for those who like to pack just about everything and know it's protected. This suitcase offers ample room to haul various items, from wetsuits and climbing shoes to uniforms for a whole team. Its side expansion panel allows for additional storage space after a vacation full of souvenir collecting. This rolling travel bag smoothly navigates through crowds and corners with little effort, thanks to its four wheels and telescoping handle. It's constructed with tough polycarbonate, making it hold up against various challenges, such as airport tarmacs and concrete stairwells. Additionally, the bag is extremely lightweight when compared to its large capacity, weighing just under ten pounds. The Omni PC opens along the middle, separating into two shallower compartments. To keep items on their designated sides are a mesh net and straps. When zipped, this suitcase can be reliably secured with its incorporated TSA-approved lock.
Despite its advantages, the Omni PC has some drawbacks. The sheer size and depth of the bag can easily lead to exceeding the 50-pound airline weight limit, resulting in expensive overweight luggage charges. Moreover, when the bag is only packed halfway, the additional space allows items to shift inside. The suitcase is hindered when faced with rough terrains, as the small spinner wheels offer little support on rocks and curbsides. The bag's weight and lack of easy maneuverability when fully packed can also be a challenge, especially if any lifting is needed. If this much space is too much space, check out the smaller carry-on version we tested instead. If you don't have a problem upping the travel budget, you may want to consider the Away The Large . It has an excellent packing system, a super durable shell, and a smooth ride.
Read more: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable 28" review
Best Rolling Duffel Bag
Osprey sojourn shuttle 100l.
The Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L (previously the Shuttle Wheeled 100L ) is no stranger to adventure. It's the ultimate gear hauler, and it boasts the capacity and toughness to transport your stuff to any corner of the globe you may be headed. A key distinguishing feature is this bag's exterior straitjacket compression system, which bookends your payload between two padded, 500-denier, high-tenacity nylon flaps and then cinches everything into place by way of two thick strips of webbing. Other stand-out features are the Sojourn Shuttle's extra-large 4-inch wheels, full-length interior metal frame, balance-engineered grab handles, and water-tight shell. In terms of quality and function, this bag's comprehensive design is top-of-the-line and checks all our adventure boxes. Literally every inch of it was engineered with purpose. Beefy zippers and zipper pulls, an exterior muddy boot bin, an add-a-bag strap — everything just makes sense. The Sojourn Shuttle even has a built-in Travel Sentry luggage identification plate that allows your bag to be located anywhere in the world if you (or your airline) happen to lose it.
Top-performing fabrics, metal frames, and quality components don't just grow on trees, so expect to pay a little more if you want the construction quality that this bag affords. It has some of the best zippers on the market, so you don't have to worry about them splitting during a long-haul international flight; however, this extra strength makes them more stubborn and stiff. We also feel its 99-liter central cargo bay may not provide enough packing volume for the most extensive expedition travel, so for your largest expeditions, we highly recommend the Sojourn Shuttle's 130-liter model . If you prefer a more compartmentalized approach to packing your gear, the Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30 is another excellent rolling duffel to consider.
Read more: Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 100L review
Best Overall Duffel Bag
Sea to summit duffel.
Among the most versatile duffel bags we've seen to date is the Sea to Summit Duffel . This is in part due to its impressive strap system. The two removable straps can be attached to 14 different connection points, so you can get the perfect configuration every time. Based on your preferences, you can set it up to be a backpack, shoulder sling, or traditional briefcase style. This beefy bag is built to withstand rough and tough use with its burly 1000-denier material and three-layer bottom. Around the bag are multiple daisy chain webbing clip points, handles, and cinch straps. Furthermore, the duffel is available in four sizes.
We wish the bag had more than just one small under-lid pocket, especially for traveling where documents need to be easily accessible. We also found the traditional briefcase-style configuration to be less than optimal. Since it doesn't have handles, you'll be carrying it with the thick shoulder straps. The design includes a small magnet to keep the straps together, though, in practice, we didn't find this to be particularly useful. Despite these minor weaknesses, year after year, we continue to rave about the Sea to Summit Duffel duffel's functionality and durability as a great travel bag. If more organizational pockets are a must for you, check out the Thule Chasm Duffel Bag .
Read more: Sea to Summit Duffel review
Best Budget Duffel Bag
The Alpaca doesn't have many weaknesses in our eyes. Though fairly minor, we found the backpack straps to be a bit tedious to remove. If you're the type of traveler who likes to remove extraneous straps to check a bag, this can be annoying to deal with in a bustling airport or train station. Otherwise, this travel bag is an excellent option and will keep your wallet happy. We also love the similarly-priced Osprey Transporter for its super comfortable backpack-strap carrying system.
Read more: Gregory Alpaca review
Best Convertible Duffel and Travel Backpack
Patagonia black hole duffel 55l.
While most duffel bags are equipped with backpack straps, none hold up to the comfort of the Patagonia Black Hole 55L . Available in various sizes, it caters to all types of journeys, whether it's a weekend road trip, a long-haul flight, or a Peruvian expedition. Crafted with a tough PCU laminate, this duffel-turned-backpack is designed to withstand the rigors of travel, maintaining its abrasion resistance and waterproof external. Its soft-bodied construction and spacious main compartment provide ample space, allowing you to fit all your belongings while also compressing to fit into tight spaces. Patagonia has the outdoor traveler in mind, as evidenced by the Black Hole's durable yet easy-to-use, construction. For added convenience, it also has a long daisy chain of webbing that provides clipping points for extra gear.
While it excels as a duffel, it lacks some of the organizational features found in other travel backpacks . Apart from one small pocket for essential items, the Black Hole lives up to its name, with just one large internal compartment. When the bag isn't full, it can somewhat slouch during carry, particularly as a backpack. Ultimately, we are quite impressed with the Black Hole duffel bag. Its comfy straps make it wearable as a backpack while easily converting to a duffel you can toss in the back seat. Looking for an accompanying laptop backpack? Check out the similarly constructed Patagonia Black Hole 25 .
Read more: Patagonia Black Hole 55L review
Best Protective Travel Backpack
Peak design travel 45.
The Peak Design Travel 45 is a well-designed travel backpack that maintains an excellent balance between aesthetics and functionality. This feature-packed bag has pockets for just about everything, including small quick-access exterior compartments and internal mesh dividers. Every strap and pocket serves a purpose, contributing to the bag's efficient organization. It includes deep, stretchy water bottle pockets that can double as storage for other items. The bag's comfort level is top-notch, with padded shoulder straps and a thick, adjustable hip belt that can be tucked away when not in use. The high-density foam throughout the bag ensures it maintains its shape and provides excellent protection for valuables.
While this pack has all the features you could possibly want in a travel backpack, it's on the heavier side. This is in part due to its rigid design and bulky padding. With all these structural components and protections, it feels a bit smaller than its 45-liter capacity. If you're packing valuable items like camera equipment, you'll want that protection on your side. But, if you're simply packing some clothes for a weekend away, this might be a bit overkill. All things considered, the Peak Design is highly functional as a travel bag, especially for those tech junkies that want to keep their gear safe. If this bag is a bit out of your price range, take a look at the REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 , which is lightweight and around half the price but holds a similar amount of stuff.
Read more: Peak Design Travel 45 review
Best Carry-On Travel Backpack
Osprey porter 46.
When your trip goes off the beaten path, you'll want a bag that can keep up. That is exactly what the Osprey Porter 46 has in mind. If you're the type of traveler who likes to have one bag that holds all your things, this travel backpack will have you covered. Though it can be paired with a suitcase for longer travels, the Porter does well on its own for shorter trips and savvy packers. The ergonomic fit, waist strap, and padded shoulder straps are comfortable enough to wear for hours on end. Inside is a variety of pockets and compartments that help keep everything tidy and organized. We love the internal and external cinch straps that tighten everything down, making this bag quite versatile for different-sized loads.
This travel bag fits comfortably in airplane overhead bins. However, its rounded design makes it a bit awkward to fit under seats or in tight places. Likewise, when walking around a crowded area, it feels like you're wearing an obtrusive and bulky turtle shell. All in all, the Porter is a great option for those who prefer to keep all their belongings close and want to ditch the roller bag. For a more slim and trim travel backpack with ample organizational features, we recommend the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag .
Read more: Osprey Porter 46 review
Best Backpack for Urban Commuters
We absolutely love the Incase Icon backpack, and it's all for good reasons — it has an excellent organization system for laptops, tablets, books, and more. The backpack boasts a sleek and stylish design that easily transitions from the office to casual outings around town. With two separate side-access compartments, you can safely store both a 15-inch laptop and a tablet. Not just for tech gear, this backpack offers ample space for your post-work change of clothes and snacks. With an impressive array of over 14 pockets, it effortlessly accommodates all your essentials.
While some might love the vast selection of compartments, others might find this overkill. If you're the type of person to just toss in your daily essentials, the expansive organizational system might not be a great fit. Additionally, this travel bag is on the pricier side. For a smaller, more budget-friendly laptop pack, we recommend the Matein Travel . However, if you're searching for a laptop backpack that excels in durability, style, and functionality, the Incase Icon is undoubtedly our top choice.
Read more: Incase Icon review
Best Go-Anywhere Carry-On Backpack
Osprey nebula 32.
There are few places where the versatile, high-performance, go-everywhere Osprey Nebula 32 won't be the perfect accessory. At 32L in capacity and jam-packed with thoughtfully arranged, well-sized pockets, it's a top choice for students as well as anyone who needs a smart, capable carry-all. Travelers with a heavy haul will appreciate the deeply padded frame, water-resistant exterior, and outdoor-adventure-inspired suspension system that delivers all-day comfort and protection no matter what configuration of bus, train, or plane lies ahead. They will also celebrate the large webbed grab handle and TSA-approved clamshell laptop compartment that are sure to make airport security a breeze. Tall, easy-access mesh side pockets, a soft-sided accessory pouch, and a heavy mesh front pocket provide easy stash-and-track options for water bottles, your phone, travel documents, snacks, and sweaters. And once you've arrived, it's a quick swap to replace the laptop with a hydration pack before heading out to explore.
Osprey is a brand that knows a thing or two about building a top-quality backcountry pack and in the Nebula 32 , we see that expert design knowledge channeled into a lifestyle bag that's up to nearly any everyday challenge. Where it may disappoint for some is in cost. Such superior quality does not come cheap, and many travelers won't have the budget for such high-end hand luggage, no matter how reliably functional it may be. In these cases, we'd point you to the Patagonia Refugio 26L , which boasts a fairly comparable set of features at a lower cost, or the The North Face Jester , which excels in comfort and stability and comes at an attractive mid-range price point.
Most Commute-Ready School Bag
Matein travel laptop.
The Matein Travel Laptop is a versatile pack well-equipped to handle the demands of a busy school, work, or travel day. A designated back compartment with a padded sleeve can hold a 15-inch laptop, keeping your device stabilized and protected during transit. A large boxy core compartment easily handles textbooks, folders, tablets, or even clothing, while additional pockets in various sizes come layered front to back, providing safe places to stash passports, snacks, headphones, and more for easy access on the road. Another travel-smart addition is an external USB port that you can connect to a power bank inside for charging your electronics on the go. As an added bonus for busy transit stations, you'll find a secret pocket for valuables tucked into the lumbar padding at the bottom of your back, as well as a baggage belt to secure your pack to the handle of your rolling luggage and primary zippers that can easily be secured with luggage locks.
We have only a few minor complaints about the Matein . First, the padding wasn't as densely structured as we might have preferred for long-haul days, and felt a bit lumpy on our backs when packed full. This left us wondering a bit about the quality of construction, which we note has been of concern among some purchase reviewers in the past, even if we saw no direct evidence under testing. All things considered, these are flaws that can be overlooked with an eye toward its many great qualities, including its excellent price point. For a similar lockable laptop-slash-school bag, the Volher Travel is another top choice that could easily serve the needs of commuters and travelers alike. The Tzowla Travel Laptop is another very similar and inexpensive option, with only slightly less space for storage, limited water bottle pocket functionality, and a few more ounces in weight.
Read more: Matein Travel review
Best Messenger Bag
Chrome buran iii.
The Chrome Buran III is quite a versatile messenger bag thanks to its ruggedness and weatherproof features. The bag's 1050-denier nylon fabric and 500D TPE tarp liner make it one of the most durable options available. It offers a spacious main compartment with an intuitive pocket system for easy organization, including a padded laptop pocket on the back that can hold up to a 17-inch laptop. The bag is comfortable to wear, even when fully loaded, and the cross-body stabilizing strap ensures a secure and ambidextrous fit while biking or walking. The numerous pockets on both the exterior and interior provide easy access to essentials like a phone, wallet, and keys without being too overwhelming.
Though we love this travel bag, it has some minor drawbacks. The bag is one of the heaviest messenger bags we tested. However, with how comfortable this bag is, you likely won't notice the weight. The zipper on the laptop pouch isn't waterproof — though it has a substantial weather-resistant flap over the top and will likely be covered by the rest of the bag when on your back. The Buran III is on the expensive side, though, making it an investment. This bag is built to last through years of school, work, and commuting. But if you can't quite swing the price, you might also like the durable and functional Timbuk2 Classic .
Read more: Chrome Buran III review
A Great Versatile High-Value Daypack
Rei co-op flash 22.
The REI Co-op Flash 22 is a versatile one-size-fits-most pack that offers the flexibility to take hiking or to work. The pack features comfortable suspension and padding, even when the bag is fully packed. Its lightweight, minimalist design can be packed within suitcases or stowed comfortably under airplane seats as a personal item. The pack's organization, including multiple pockets and attachment points, is practical for travel, daily use, and outdoor activities. Each pocket is easily accessible and accommodates the essentials. Capable of fitting a 14-inch laptop, this minimalist day bag can also tackle work commutes or schooldays. If you want a little more room for your goods, we also like the slightly larger Trail 25 and even the more rugged backpacking-style Traverse 32 .
One drawback of the Flash 22 is its subpar ventilation system compared to more hiking-specific daypacks . The mesh back lacks structural rigidity and overall padding. This, along with the lack of built-in compression straps, limits its ability to compress and hold a bulky load, so you likely won't be able to tack on your snowshoes. All things considered, the REI Flash is quite inexpensive while boasting the features needed for a solid travel day bag. We've also tested the smaller, even simpler, Flash 18 , which is lightweight, minimalist, and even more affordable.
Read more: REI Co-op Flash 22 review
Best Lightweight Daypack
Osprey tempest 20.
The Osprey Tempest daypack offers a perfect balance between support, comfort, and functional simplicity, making it an excellent choice for many activities, from commuting to hiking to traveling. The Tempest has a frame that is both supportive and flexible, lending to a comfortable fit that moves along with your movements. The AirScape back panel enhances breathability, while the BioStretch harness keeps you cool in hot weather. The pack's soft harness and back panel keep the pack comfortable and distribute the load evenly. Additionally, the Tempest features numerous compartments and pockets, including water bottle pockets, a hydration bladder slot, and a handy helmet LidLock for active folks.
While the Tempest has a variety of features, the front stretchy stow is a touch narrow, limiting the size and number of items that can realistically be stored there. The mesh used for this pocket and the side pockets also run the risk of being snagged during your travels and adventures. The torso runs a bit short, but we appreciate its adjustability. It's a bit small to accommodate anything other than a petite laptop or tablet, but if you're after a personal item that can accompany you comfortably all day as you explore your travel destination, the Tempest — or Osprey's men's version, the Talon 22 — is a great dual-purpose travel bag.
Read more: Osprey Tempest review
Excellent for Daily Essentials
Jansport fifth ave.
A solid fanny pack is great for just about any travel, and we think the Jansport Fifth Ave is the most versatile one up for the job. Prior to hitting your destination, this waist bag can be paired with a backpack or suitcase for easy access to travel documents or a phone without adding to your airline bag allowance. Once you have arrived at your destination, this convenient little pack can hold your daily essentials as you explore. It has two main pockets, one larger and one smaller. The bag is low profile, rests closely against your hip, and can be easily transitioned into a sling bag if you prefer.
It's hard to find anything wrong with the Fifth Ave . If you're into flashy patterned bags, you might find this pack too boring. For some of our testers, the bulky buckle often rested on our hip bone, though it wasn't uncomfortable. Lovers of tons of organizational pockets may be disappointed in its simplistic design. Time and time again, we return to this handy fanny pack (or sling bag!) to keep our basics close by on busy travel days. For a little extra flare, the Tinyat Travel Waist Pack comes in some seriously fun colors and patterns, though it also holds a bit less.
Why You Should Trust Us
Over many years, our team of experts has been researching, traveling with, and testing the top travel bags, packs, and luggage available. Over the years, we have spent hundreds of hours scouring the market for the most promising, most interesting, and most popular products available. We've bought hundreds of pieces of travel gear and toted them across the globe to see how they held up. We've wheeled bags through security, checked them on international flights, strapped them to pack animals in remote mountains, worn them trekking foreign cities, and commuted to school and work with them. We've put them in our showers, cycled through rainstorms, worn them in the snow, dropped them from unnerving heights, and jammed them full of as much as they could hold. Year after year, no matter the situation, we do our best to push these travel bags to their limits to learn which ones are best for what types of travel.
Maggie Nichols is one of our top bag experts and a self-professed "bag geek." She has tested well over 100 different bags and packs in her time with GearLab, including women's daypacks, duffel bags, carry-on luggage, and more. She's spent over 15 years guiding backcountry trips on trails and on water, spent whole summers researching and teaching in far-flung corners of the world, and commuting and traveling incessantly.
Joining Maggie on the pursuit to find the best suitcases and duffel bags are Jason Wanlass , Myrha Colt , and Nick Bruckbauer . Jason has spent decades wandering the globe in search of adventure with his family. He's traversed continents and taken more airplane trips than he cares to count and needs great luggage that can get him there. Myrha has spent time living and spending long-term travels on six continents. She's a true packing specialist, keeping overall functionality in mind. Nick is a gear junky, packing his bags for the next big climb or ski trip. His passion for equipment research, paired with his professional experience as a civil engineer, allows him to methodically approach each travel bag with the utmost precision.
Leading the team on the hunt for the best backpacks for your journey are Sam Schild , Hayley Thomas , and Jediah Porter . With many backpack styles to choose from, this team has searched long and hard for options that work best for long-term travels, as well as day trips. From local trips to the library to flights to far-away lands, this team hand-tested every backpack in search of the best.
Ben Applebaum-Bauch and Buck Yedor are no strangers to the long days and lengthy commutes. After spending years venturing hours a day to and from school and work, they value a good day bag to hold the daily essentials, whether it be a lunch, textbook, or laptop.
Jane Jackson steers the way for our fanny pack testing. She is a professional mountain guide, working throughout the Rockies. Jane travels often, whether it be by plane or foot, and always has a sling bag on her side. In the past five years, Rebecca Glades has traveled to over 10 countries. She has made it her personal mission to keep traveling for as long as she can. With this in mind, she loves a bag that can do it all, whether it's a weekend trip to the ski slopes or a month-long journey to Europe. Together, this team has come far and wide, working tirelessly to bring you this list of top-notch travel bags.
How to Choose the Right Travel Bag
Based on the type of traveling you plan on doing, you might opt for a specific style of bag. If you're headed out on lengthy journeys abroad, you might value space and portability, or maybe one over the other. While these often don't go hand in hand, there are options like travel backpacks that meet somewhere in the middle. On the other hand, travelers who plan to bring nearly everything in their wardrobe might opt for a large bag like a traditional suitcase, which will likely not be the most portable. Before choosing a bag, it's important to first consider what your intentions are with your travels, how long you'll be away, and how you plan to get around.
Length of Travel
You might be in the market for a bag that gets you across Europe, or you might simply need something small for your daily commute. Regardless, it's important to ask yourself a few questions to ensure you get the most out of your bag.
First, how long will you be gone? Packing for a weekend trip will look quite a bit different than packing for a month-long journey. Based on your destination and travel goals, certain bags will be better options. For example, heavy packers or those headed away for an extended time should prioritize internal space, which can be achieved with a traditional suitcase or an oversized duffel bag. Whereas those who are headed on a weekend getaway will likely be fine with a carry-on backpack or smaller luggage.
Next, consider what you'll need to bring along. If you're headed to a cold climate or on a trip where lots of gear is needed, you'll obviously need more space in your pack. Some bags have one large compartment, while others have pockets galore. If you prefer to stay organized, look for a bag with plenty of storage options. But, if you're the type of traveler to "throw-and-go," a single-compartment bag will be best.
Finally, consider how portable you need to be during your travel. If you're hopping from town to city to oceanside villa, you'll want a bag that's easy to get around. For example, travel backpacks and duffel bags are both going to be highly portable and comfortable to wear. On the other hand, you might be headed to a single destination where you can leave your belongings back at the hotel. In that case, you won't need to be as picky about the bag's style or versatility and can focus on what it fits and how well it travels to get there.
The same rings true for a good day bag. While you're on your day-to-day adventure, consider what your "essentials" are. If you're taking a computer or tablet along, prioritize a backpack or messenger bag that has a designated sleeve or compartment to keep it safe. If you're headed to work, keep in mind what you like to have on you, whether it be a change of clothes, headphones, or a packed lunch. Plenty of day bags will have enough space to hold your belongings. But, you might opt for a pack that has plenty of pockets that can separate out your wallet and keys to pens and pencils to binders and tablets.
Regardless of the bag you choose to take, we recommend pairing it with a fanny pack or a small backpack. Having a smaller bag allows you to ditch your big bag back at the hotel or hostel so you can venture around with just the day's essentials. Fanny packs are great because they are low profile and almost never need to be taken off. Here, you can stash some money and your phone without having to worry too much about theft. Sling bags and daypacks are another great option, allowing you to bring a rain jacket or your favorite fleece jacket , or have extra space for a snack to get you through a long day or bring back souvenirs you might pick up while out exploring a new city.
Type of Travel
Working hand in hand with how long you'll be gone is how you'll get around. Choosing the open air? Be sure to look into your airline's bag specifications. Some let you fly free with a carry-on and checked luggage, while others charge you for just about everything you plan to take. If you plan to check your bag, you won't need to worry much about it until you land.
Trains and buses have varying rules about luggage quantity and size. However, you should consider how often you'll be changing from one to another. Getting off and on constantly will be a challenge if you've packed heavy and bulky. Often on buses and trains, you need to keep your luggage with you, which can get cramped. Consider an option that will be a bit easier to lug around if the rails or bus will be your primary form of transportation.
Taking a road trip? Portability might not be worth stressing over. Instead, you'll want to consider how much space your bag will take up, especially after everyone has piled into the car. Soft-bodied options that compress down are often a great way to conserve space. Those who are walking or biking will need to prioritize their comfort and consider the size of the bag. Bulky bags with items jostling around are the last thing you need when navigating busy sidewalks and bike routes.
Headed on a work trip or to an event? You'll want a bag that can keep your fancy clothes wrinkle-free while keeping ahold of all your regular travel wear. Many carry-on options and suitcases have included or incorporated garment bags to keep your business or formal attire looking fresh for those special events and meetings. These special compartments are often removable, so you can hang up your attire once at your destination. And when you're not on a trip where you'll need that specific component, you can leave it at home and free up some internal space.
In many cases, what bag size comes down to is how long you'll be away and how much you plan to take. If you're traveling via air, it's worth understanding what a carry-on is. These travel bags fit in the overhead bins and within the size requirements put out by each airline. This varies slightly by company but is generally around the 22 x 14 x 9-inch range. Additionally, most airlines allow you to have a personal item, which is a smaller bag that can fit under the seat in front of you. This means you might actually be able to bring two bags on board with you as long as they fit within the size requirements. If you're headed out on a short trip or you pack light, you'll probably be just fine with these two bags. Beyond the airport, the same rings true. However, if you're headed on a fairly long journey, or you need to pack your bulky winter gear, you might need to size up to a larger duffel or checked suitcase.
Duffel bags are a versatile option for whatever type of traveler you are. Often these bags are available in a large selection of sizes, and many even double as a backpack, making them easier to carry through airports, on public transportation, or up long flights of stairs. Some of the smaller ones even fit under the airplane seat, allowing them to act as your personal item.
Most bags are measured in liters, which may get a bit confusing when trying to choose the right size for air travel that's defined in inches. In general, most day bags tend to be between 20-30 liters, which typically can be squeezed under an airline seat. This size fits typical travel needs like a laptop, an extra layer, a snack and drink, a book to read, and other carry-on essentials. These work great as a personal item as they almost always fit under the seat.
Medium-sized bags are within the 30 to 50-liter range and are typically considered carry-on bags. They usually fall within airline size restrictions and can be stuffed into most overhead bins. Large bags, like suitcases and some duffels, are generally around 60 liters in volume and can sometimes be more than 100 liters. If you're a heavy packer, you'll want one of these huge packs — though be wary of your bag's weight if you plan to check it, as most airlines charge high fees for heavy bags. No matter how much other stuff you need to bring, you can never go wrong by adding a fanny pack or small sling bag to keep ahold of those smaller items.
If you're headed to work or school, your travel bag is going to look quite a bit different than if you were headed abroad. Whether it be a messenger bag or backpack, you'll want a day bag that can hold all your essentials. Do you take a laptop or tablet with you? Specifically, look for a pack that is large enough to house your electronics. Additionally, an option with multiple pockets will keep you organized. Consider how you get to work or school. Is it by public transportation, car, or bike? Consider the weather you may encounter and the protection you may need. Are you biking to work in the rainy Pacific Northwest or the snowy northern cities? Are you battling crowded subways and buses? In any case, you'll want to keep an eye on the bag's overall comfort, protection, and functionality.
There are many different styles of bag to help you get from here to there. While many have obvious uses and strengths, many more have multiple usable situations and attributes that help them excel in different styles of travel.
Best Suitcases of 2023
Best Carry-On Luggage of 2023
Best Duffel Bags of 2023
Best School Backpacks of 2023
Best Travel Backpacks of 2023
Best Laptop Backpack of 2023
Best Daypacks of 2023
Best Fanny Packs of 2023
Best Travel Gear of 2023
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The 21 Best Travel Bags, According to Frequent Fliers
By Alyssa Lapid
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Whether you have travel lined up or your friend’s recent travel posts are inspiring your next out-of-office getaway, it’s high time to shop for the best travel bags. The type of travel bag you decide to get will depend on your travel destination, your budget, and your personal style. But with so many choices, it's hard to know what to pick. We spoke with frequent fliers and travel experts on the best tips to pick the right travel bag for comfortable, secure, and easy travel. Below are the expert-recommended picks and tips to help you choose. And if you’re flying, remember to try to keep up with safety travel precautions as best as you can.
- Makeup and Toiletry Bag
How to choose a travel bag
When it comes to shopping for luggage , experts agree that you should never sacrifice quality. “If you plan to travel often or take longer trips, it’s worth investing in higher-quality luggage,” Ciara Johnson , full-time travel blogger at Hey Ciara , tells SELF. Big-ticket items like suitcases should be long-lasting and durable. Otherwise, you’d be shelling out way more to keep replacing damaged bags.
We know that wear and tear can’t be avoided, especially with luggage taking a beating on planes and buses. Megan Homme , a travel blogger who also works in the airline industry, has a tip for that. She says to opt for a dark-colored suitcase to hide scuffs better. “Lighter colors will show wear and age much more quickly,” she says. Pro tip: Add a unique luggage tag to make your bag stand out from the others at the conveyor belt seat.
If possible, try to opt for carry-ons to save time at check-in lines and speed through baggage claim—just make sure it passes the size requirement. “These days, it’s more important than ever to use carry-on because of the chaotic systems at understaffed airports,” says Caroline Eubanks, writer and author of This Is My South: The Essential Travel Guide to the Southern States . “You should ideally be able to manage your own bags and not rely on flight attendants.” Her pro tip: Always look up what type of plane you’ll be on. She notes, “for small, regional routes, the standard carry-on bag won't fit in the overhead bin.”
When it comes to the actual shopping part, Johnson recommends shopping by need and tendencies. Will you be staying in hotels or hostels? Will you be taking shorter or longer trips? Will you be traveling in places with an established or developed infrastructure? Spinner wheels are easier to haul through airports, but if you’re backpacking in Europe, ditch the spinners for a backpack to avoid the cobblestone streets that will surely wreck the wheels.
Johnson also adds, “If possible, you should examine the product in-store. However, the most innovative luggage brands typically only exist online." She recommends doing research and comparing various luggage brands before you make a purchase. She adds that some brands even offer a “try-before-you-buy policy, along with a lifetime warranty.” Generally speaking, travel bags are not the place to save some money on your travels, but there are ways to find deals, especially during shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And if you enjoy the thrill of secondhand shopping, Eubanks says she’s gotten a deal or two shopping thrift. “Secondhand can be a good way to save money.”
You also don’t need to be a pro packer or inherently organized to pack well. All you need are pockets. Johnson says a good rule of thumb when shopping for any travel bag is “the more pockets [and] organizers, the better.” Use them for separating clean clothes from sullied ones. You can even separate gifts for loved ones to take home after your vacation. According to Johnson, you can’t go wrong with the following features for luggage options: 360 spinner wheels, expandability, compression straps, endless pockets, a side handle, built-in TSA locks, and polycarbonate material.
Best travel bags
Here are 21 expert-recommended travel bags for every kind of traveler to help you narrow down your options and focus all that logistical planning on your itinerary. We broke it down by luggage and suitcases, carry-on bags, backpacks, fanny packs , crossbody bags, tote bags, and makeup and toiletry bags.
Béis The 29-Inch Rolling Spinner Suitcase
As far as check-in bags go, Johnson says the Beis 29-Inch Large Check-in Roller is “one of the most functional suitcases on the market.” Beis is owned by Pretty Little Liars alum Shay Mitchell and has been a hit since its launch. Its many features include everything you’d need in a check-in suitcase: multiple pockets and organizers, a built-in TSA lock, a laundry and shoe bag, and an ergonomic handle for easy lugging. Her favorite feature? “There's a built-in weight indicator that tells you if your bag is overweight.”
Hartmann Ratio 2 Global Carry On Expandable Spinner
For soft-side suitcases, the technologically-advanced Hartmann Carry-on comes highly recommended. Eubanks loves the bag’s “flexibility,” including the pockets for reading materials and documents that are often lacking in hard-shell cases. The best features are the padded, trifold garment suiters it comes with for keeping formalwear or business outfits tidy and pressed, and the bag has built-in USB ports, so you can charge your gadgets while in transit.
Away The Carry-On Flex
Frequent fliers love Away’s suitcases. Homme, who always travels carry-on only, prefers Away’s The Carry-on Flex because its expandable feature ensures extra storage allowance for shopping. Plus, she points out, “I recommend hard-shell luggage because you never know what could leak out of someone else’s bag in the bins.”
Away The Bigger Carry-On with Pocket
“The quality of Away luggage is incredible across the board,” says Johnson, who is a fan of the brand and prefers The Bigger Carry-on with Pocket. Most hard-shell suitcases in the market don’t have external pockets, but this one features a water-resistant front pocket—perfect for keeping your travel documents and boarding passes available for easy access. It can even hold a 15-inch laptop. It has a removable, washable lining and a hidden laundry bag.
LuggageWorks Stealth Premier 22" 737 Rolling Bag
Cierra Mistt, a flight attendant and TikTok travel influencer , only has one carry-on go-to: LuggageWorks’s Stealth Premier 22-Inch 737 Rolling Bag. Apparently, her crew feels the same way. “I know pilots and flight attendants who have had the same roll-aboards for 10 years and never had to get another,” she says, adding, “Durable is an understatement.”
Tumi International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On
Another expert favorite brand is Tumi for “extremely resistant and durable” bags. Though just in case it breaks when you’re on the go, Tumi offers worldwide support anytime, anywhere. Mar Pages, co-founder of Solo Female Travelers and Solo Female Travelers Tours, says the Tumi Carry-on in particular is a popular choice for vacationers for a reason. “You will recognize this bag because they have been making it for well over 20 years with minimal improvements.” She particularly enjoys the “nifty details” like “outside hooks to hang your laptop bag” and “double bar handles so you can slide your laptop bag.”
Béis The Backpack
Another Béis favorite is The Backpack. “It is really, really spacious,” Kristina Rodulfo , beauty content creator and former Elle editor, tells SELF. Rodulfo notes that the bag “opens really wide which makes for easy packing” while still looking sleek as a solo bag for short getaways. It's designed to carry everything from your laptop to your gym stuff. If you want to pair it with a trolley, use the sleeve to attach it to your luggage.
Pacsafe Citysafe CS300 Anti-Theft Compact Backpack
This Pacsafe Citysafe backpack is a great hands-free, anti-theft option thanks to its slash guards, smart-zipper security, and an RFID-safe pocket. “The zippers can be attached with a clip, and one shoulder strap has a locking mechanism if you want to secure it around a table leg,” adds Eubanks. There are also a ton of pockets and compartments, including a laptop sleeve and two side pockets for holding water bottles or umbrellas.
Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack
If you're looking for an outdoor backpack , check out the Osprey Porter Travel Pack 46. Kristen Bor, founder of Bearfoot Theory Outdoor , recommends it if you're going on an adventure or outdoor trip and need a bag that can double as a daypack. “The U-zip compartment allows for easy packing and access to your gear, while the stowaway shoulder harness and hip belt give you options on how you want to carry your luggage: backpack style or over the shoulder like a duffel.” Osprey has been continuously perfecting the bag with slight improvements yearly, and it’s built with recycled fabrics making it an eco-friendly option.
Osprey Daylite Daypack
Think a short hike will be on your itinerary? According to Bor, Osprey’s smaller Daylite Pack is a great find for light outdoor adventures. The lightweight backpack has compartments for a laptop and two water bottles for an itinerary that’s incredibly versatile. Take it to a coffee shop, a festival, or to a mountain summit.
Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack Del Dia
Bor dubs the Cotopaxi Allpa 35 Del Día Travel Pack an “all-around functional, rugged carry-on bag” that can weather rougher terrain. “The exterior polyester and nylon shell resists moisture and defends your belongings against rough scrapes or tears during transit,” says Bor. It even comes with a rain cover.
Herschel Seventeen Hip Pack
Fanny packs are a great option for hands-free travel, and this versatile Herschel Seventeen Hip Pack Fanny comes highly recommended by Eubanks, who wears it on her hip and as a crossbody. Plus, she loves that there are some 25 colors to choose from. You could even wear it with a backpack like she does to have easy access to essentials like documents or a camera.
Lululemon Clean Lines Belt Bag
This Lululemon bag is another great, stylish option with several pockets that make grabbing smaller items like lip balm, credit cards, and headphones easy. “I always recommend a belt bag for the airport to breeze through security and keep your ID and ticket easily accessible,” says Homme. Keep it on your hip during your flight if you’d rather not dig through the bag under the seat.
Travelon Anti-Theft Parkview Hobo Crossbody
Many frequent fliers prefer anti-theft bags for venturing out during travels—especially when traveling alone. Pages recommends using the Travelon Anti-Theft Parkview Hobo Crossbody for places where pickpocketing might be a concern. “These bags are specifically designed with these types of thefts in mind and have added security features such as anti-slash straps to avoid the common motorbike run theft.” The bag also features other security features like secure zip locks and anti-RFID mesh compartments to keep credit card information safe.
Lululemon Easy Access Crossbody Bag
Here's another great crossbody bag option. “I normally keep my passport, cards, and phone in there when I’m walking through the airport and can easily access that when I get off the plane. In fact, it’s so easy that when we’re boarding, I can easily just slip it into my personal item and stow it under my seat with no worries," says Mistt.
The Daily Edited Mini Black Saffiano Leather Cross Body Bag
“Everyone needs a crossbody purse for travel,” Rodulfo insists, and her choice is TDE’s mini leather bag. It fits daily essentials including documents, a camera, and even sunscreen . The bag’s minimalist style also allows for outfit versatility. "It works for evenings out as well as during the day,” says Rodulfo. It helps not to look like a tourist all the time. Another cool feature? TDE items can be monogrammed, making it a great travel gift .
Tumi Everyday Tote
Lord & Taylor
If roomy tote bags are more your style, check out Tumi’s Everyday Tote. The lightweight nylon material makes it easy to lug around without hurting your back. The small details are what make it stand out, such as its pen loop, key ring, and magnetic snap phone pocket to ensure you don’t spend time rummaging through your belongings each time you need to get something. Pages likes to slide her tote on top of her Tumi Carry-on when traveling.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Travel Tote Bag
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 is a great hybrid tote with several organizational compartments. "It’s roomy enough to fit all of my actual personal items including electronics, chargers, and even snacks,” says Mistt. And it’s compact enough to fit comfortably under the plane seat or in the overhead bin.
Kusshi Makeup Bag Plum Collection
You don't have to strip down your beauty or skin-care routine on vacation—at least, not with Kusshi’s Vacation Makeup Bag, which can hold 20 to 25 products. “Kusshi [bags] are by far my favorite because they are washable, fit a ton (including full-sized products), and have plenty of pockets for easy organization,” says Rodulfo. If you have a bigger beauty arsenal that includes makeup brushes and other skin-care tools , just add the attachments. “You could even include attachments like the makeup brush organizer for less fuss and digging while getting ready.”
Herschel Travel Kit
Another option for toiletries big and small is the Herschel Travel Kit. Johnson laments that it’s surprisingly difficult to find the perfect toiletry bag. She recommends this bag because it is extremely spacious with multiple pockets and slots for easy organization. It also comes in multiple colors, proving that toiletry kits don’t need to be boring.
- The Best Weekender Bags for Last-Minute Getaways
- 19 Packing Tips Frequent Flyers Swear By
- What to Bring on a Road Trip to Make Your Time So Much Better
SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
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The 12 best travel purses of 2024.
From hands-free to anti-theft options, discover the ideal companion for your journey.
The Best Travel Purses
Lo & Sons' The Waverly 2 bag in small is the perfect choice for a compact travel bag. (Courtesy of Lo & Sons)
When you're planning a trip, a key wardrobe decision is determining what purse works best for your itinerary. You may want anti-theft features and compartments with space for glasses, passports, sunscreen and more – but you can also find plenty of extras like built-in wallets, hidden pockets and key ring attachments. There's a wide range of different styles on the market to suit your travel purse needs.
To help narrow the options, the editors at U.S. News along with travel experts researched and shared their go-to bags for all of life's adventures.
The Top Travel Purses of 2024
U.S. News editors researched dozens of review sites, including Amazon, online retailers, travel industry review sites and more, to come up with this selection of the best travel purses.
Best Overall: TUMI Voyageur Tyler Crossbody
- Jump to features and traveler insights ↓
Best Crossbody: Lug Skeeter Convertible Crossbody
Best for europe: minooy eirene crossbody bag, best anti-theft: travelon anti-theft crossbody bag, best shoulder bag: vera bradley glenna satchel, best messenger bag: tory burch nylon small messenger, best backpack purse: calpak luka mini backpack.
- Best Small Travel Purse: Lo & Sons The Waverly 2 Small
Best Packable: LeSportsac Deluxe Everyday Bag
Best belt bag: dagne dover ace fanny pack, best sling bag: cluci small sling bag for women, best clutch: consuela thunderbird uptown crossbody.
(Note: Prices were accurate at the time of publication; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors. We update this article quarterly to ensure the bags we're recommending are in stock and continue to have great overall reviews from consumers, while also considering new product launches. Dimensions are listed in order of length by height by width.)
(Courtesy of TUMI)
Dimensions: 10.3 x 10 x 1.8 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Colors: Five, including black with gold hardware and indigo
What sets it apart: This sleek design blends fashion with function. The Tyler Crossbody by TUMI has multiple organizational features, including a spacious main compartment for a passport, camera and other personal essentials; a U-shaped front pocket with a leather card pocket and key leash; two front zippered pockets; and a back slip pocket. The upscale nylon construction is durable yet polished and it can be spot cleaned for when those spills happen. What's more, the detachable leather charm can be monogrammed.
Travelers appreciate: Buyers love this bag because of all the pockets and separate compartments that keep everything organized and quick to find. They say the nylon has an upscale feel, and the overall design works perfectly for travel or daily use.
Price: $295 or less Shop now: TUMI | Amazon | Zappos | Macy's
Dimensions: 6 x 8 x 3 inches | Weight: 0.75 pounds | Colors: Multiple colors and prints, including red with white polka dots and solid options such as black or kelly green
If you love organizational details, the Lug Skeeter is a multicompartment crossbody bag with plenty of potential. You can leave your wallet at home and utilize the front compartment's built-in wallet, with its clear ID window and RFID protection, along with the bungee key ring that allows you to easily find your keys. There's a lined slip pocket with magnetic closure for quick access to your phone − making snapping a selfie oh-so-easy. The main compartment can fit your camera, snacks and personal essentials, with a plastic-lined zippered pocket for sunscreen, lotion or other small liquids. The back zippered compartment is ideal for wipes, a passport or other necessities.
Travelers appreciate: Owners of this style love the material of this bag, which comes in a variety of fun colors and prints. It's wipeable and water-repellent, so that spilled latte or sudden downpour won't be a problem. You can remove the adjustable strap and carry the bag with the top handle, depending on the needs of the day. Plus, the charm bar is a fun way to customize your handbag.
Price: $80 or less Shop now: QVC | Amazon | Luglife
Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.64 x 2.48 inches | Weight: 1.34 pounds | Colors: Black, brown, caramel and coffee
What sets it apart: When traveling abroad, versatility is key, and this chic design by Minooy offers just that. Constructed of high-quality full-grain leather in a choice of four classic colors, this multicompartment travel purse is packed with details. The separate main zippered pocket keeps everything from lipstick to a phone cord in its place. The crossbody bag offers understated luxury, the RFID-blocking internal compartment has six card slots, and the outside zippered pocket can hold up to an iPhone 14 Pro Max or Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Expert review: Marisa Méndez , senior travel editor at U.S. News, adores this purse. "I love how soft the leather is on this bag as well as all of the pockets and loops for organization," says Mendez. "My favorite feature is that the entire bag is RFID-blocking so I don't need to worry about carrying a wallet; I can just use the card slots in the bag."
Price: $159 or less Shop now: Minooy
Dimensions: 11.5 x 13.5 x 2.25 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Colors: Multiple colors and prints, including wine-colored roses and solids like black or spruce
What sets it apart: Protecting your valuables is always important, but when you're traveling it's even more vital. This bag features Travelon's patented five-point anti-theft system, which includes slash-resistant handles and mesh panels within the walls of the bag. The bag also offers RFID protection, a locked main compartment, and the ability to fasten the bag to a chair or post to deter a thief in a restaurant, train station or airport.
Travelers appreciate: The lightweight construction of the bag, combined with the theft-proof security features and multiple pockets, makes this a traveler favorite. Owners of this bag say it holds all of your travel essentials from passports to sunglasses, and that it holds up well after years of use.
Price: $70 or less Shop now: Travelon | Amazon
(Courtesy of Vera Bradley)
Dimensions: 11 x 12.25 x 8 inches | Weight: 0.88 pounds | Colors: Multiple prints, such as paisley and plaid or solids like green and navy
What sets it apart: Machine-washable and available in an array of eye-catching prints to suit your style, the Glenna Satchel is a large shoulder bag ideal for city adventures, day trips, shore excursions and daily activities. The spacious main compartment has a zip pocket and three slips, along with room for a book, tablet, planner, phone and wallet. There are two exterior slip pockets to stow things like maps or handouts, and a hidden zip pocket on the outside as well to secure smaller items. For added options, the drawstring adjusts the size of the bag depending on your needs.
Travelers appreciate: Fans of this bag praise the functionality and the pretty print options of the satchel. Though, some do note that the straps could be longer.
Price: $110 or less Shop now: Vera Bradley | Amazon
Dimensions: 8.7 x 7.1 x 3.9 inches | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Colors: Black
What sets it apart: Constructed with a 100% recycled nylon shell and trimmed in leather, this design gives major '90s vibes in all the best ways. The unstructured messenger bag is perfect for travel with an interior compartment for your wallet, phone, keys and more, plus an interior slit pocket and zippered pocket to keep valuables secured. The front exterior pocket of the bag zips, and the back slit pocket is ideal for your phone or items you want to reach quickly. Finished with a magnetic closure flap and a removable crossbody strap, this bag adds an element of style to your travel wardrobe.
Travelers appreciate: Lightweight, practical and functional are a few of the words bag owners use to describe this messenger bag. They say it works well for sightseeing, and that the bag can hold a lot without looking clunky or overstuffed.
Price: $248 or less Shop now: Tory Burch | Amazon
Tips on Trips and Expert Picks
Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.
Dimensions: 10.75 x 8.75 x 4.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Colors: 16 options, including gold and lilac
What sets it apart : Designed with travel in mind, this mini backpack has a luggage trolley sleeve and matches the duffels and other items in the CALPAK Luka collection. You can put your tablet, wallet and other must-haves in the interior compartment; your cell phone and a travel umbrella in the exterior side pockets; your passport in the hidden back zippered pocket; and other items in the front zippered compartment. The bag's lining is water-resistant, the puffy exterior is soft and comfortable to carry, and the straps are adjustable to suit your needs.
Travelers appreciate: The compact and functional design is a key selling point for owners of this bag. They like that it fits an iPad, reading material, a wallet and even a camera. Plus, it's possible to coordinate your purse with other CALPAK luggage items. However, some note the two exterior side pockets could be slightly larger, as they can't hold a water bottle.
Price: $72 or less Shop now: CALPAK
Best Small Travel Purse: Lo & Sons The Waverly 2 Small
(Courtesy of Lo & Sons)
Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 2 inches | Weight: 0.6 pounds | Colors: More than 25 color and fabric options, including black saffiano leather or cognac cactus leather
What sets it apart: For a compact design with adaptability, this Lo & Sons design checks all the boxes. This convertible style has a two-part strap to transform into a belt bag, crossbody, clutch, shoulder bag or wristlet with ease. The neatly organized interior compartment has space for your phone and essentials with a three-slot zippered pocket, an interior slip pocket, and an exterior card slot ideal for a room key or transit card. Offered in a choice of natural-grain nappa leather, scratch-resistant textured Saffiano leather or plant-based cactus leather, this style can easily go from day to night or boardroom to ballgame.
Travelers appreciate: Buyers of this bag really like the option to adjust the strap to suit the day's events. They compliment the quality construction and overall look, with many saying it's great for travel because it can easily fit into a duffel or backpack.
Price: $210 or less Shop now: Lo & Sons
Dimensions: 14 x 9.75 x 5 inches | Weight: 0.84 pounds | Colors: More than 20 options for solids and patterns, including black and seasonal prints
What sets it apart: Made of recycled ripstop nylon, this lightweight and durable handbag can easily be packed into your suitcase and pulled out for use when you arrive at your destination. It lays flat when not full of your belongings. This roomy travel purse has plenty of space in its two main compartments for a wallet, water bottle, cell phone, on-the-go necessities and a few fun things you find along the way. The front has two exterior zippered pockets, and there's a back zippered pocket as well. With the adjustable crossbody strap, the bag can also be worn as a shoulder bag. What's more, LeSportsac continuously adds to the color and pattern choices in this classic bag with everything from Peanuts characters to florals or plaid.
Travelers appreciate: Handbag owners rave about the pockets, durability and color options for this style. Many note while it is great for travel, it's also ideal for everyday use with plenty of space for everything.
Price: $105 or less Shop now: LeSportsac | Amazon
(Courtesy of Dagne Dover)
Dimensions: 9.25 x 5.5 x 2.75 inches | Weight: 0.3 pounds | Colors: 12 options across neoprene and mesh materials, including black, navy and ube purple
What sets it apart: Offered in a choice of neoprene or air mesh, this versatile option is U.S. News' top fanny pack pick . This hands-free belt bag has an adjustable belt, a small front zip pocket (a great spot to stash cash for tipping) and a back panel exterior credit card. The roomy main compartment comes equipped with an elastic loop, a key clip and a card pocket to keep things easy to find.
Travelers appreciate: Wearers of this belt bag like the quality construction, color options and the overall versatility of the design. They also compliment the fabrication and say it holds the essentials without being bulky.
Price: $95 or less Shop now: Dagne Dover | Nordstrom | Saks Fifth Avenue
Dimensions: 10.6 x 6.5 x 2.95 inches | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Colors: Nearly 20 options, from dark coffee to apricot
What sets it apart: Available in a wide variety of colors, this hands-free crossbody bag is perfect for those on the go. The three zippered pockets are roomy enough for travel essentials like keys, sunglasses, lipstick, wallet and sunscreen. Place your ID and credit cards in the five interior card slots, so you can leave your wallet at home. The back pocket of this sling bag is ideal for keeping important items close to your body to prevent theft, and the adjustable strap makes it comfortable to carry.
Expert review: "My favorite travel purse is the vegan leather crossbody bag by CLUCI," says Sharael Kolberg , a U.S. News travel contributor. "Not only is it environmentally and animal-friendly, it's also stylish and easily fits my wallet, passport, reusable water bottle and snacks. Plus, the front pocket allows easy access to my smartphone."
Price: $25.99 or less Shop now: Amazon
(Courtesy of Consuela)
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Color: Antique white
Perfect for a night out on the town, exploring the city or even running errands, this clutch style is essentially a wallet that can be carried as a clutch or wristlet, or worn as a crossbody. Its eye-catching snake print exterior is trimmed in natural leather and adorned with a hand-woven friendship bracelet, a tassel charm and a hand-painted leather bag tag. There's also an exterior zippered pocket. Open the magnetic closure to reveal two interior zippered compartments for essentials, along with six card slots.
Expert review: "I bought this purse on a whim after seeing it in a Facebook ad, and it's my favorite wallet-style crossbody among all I have owned," says U.S. News travel contributor Holly Johnson .
Price: $215 or less Shop now: Consuela
Why Trust U.S. News Travel
Rachael Hood has had a serious love for handbags her entire life. For everything from daily errands to global journeys, she has tried a variety of travel purse styles from an array of brands, discovering the good, the bad and the very best options. For this article, Hood used her personal experience along with retail merchandising background and research expertise to curate this list.
You might also be interested in:
- Editor Picks: The Top Travel Accessories
- What to Pack in Your Carry-on Bag
- The Top Toiletry Bags
- The Top Clear Stadium Bags
- The Top Carry-on Luggage Pieces
Tags: Travel , Travel Gear
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The Best Luggage for International Travel
by Dan Horvath - Last updated on May 11, 2018
- Packing Tips
One of the most important, and often most overlooked, decisions to make when traveling abroad is what luggage to take. Most of us would rather be scoping out a cool weekend getaway, finding new restaurants to try, or making lists of must-see attractions. Figuring out the best luggage for your trip seems boring and dull in comparison.
But, great luggage is essential for a great trip. We have assembled a list of go-to options for all your travel abroad needs. A lot of time and research was invested into this list as we believe your travel gear should propel you forward on your adventures. It shouldn’t be a burden. With the right gear, you gain the confidence to explore further and push more boundaries. And that’s what meaningful travel is all about.
Read on to learn our breakdown on the best luggage for international travel this year.
What makes luggage “good” vs “great?”
The luggage industry is huge! The amount of companies and products available will make your head hurt if you look long enough. In this endless sea of luggage options, there are many good options out there for you. But, with how big of a decision it is to travel abroad, we wanted to show you the options we considered great! Use these guidelines (as we did) when doing your own research in finding the best luggage options out there:
- Ability to be hands free. Being able to carry your luggage like a backpack is a must. Wheeled luggage is very convenient, no argument there. But, have you ever tried to wheel a suitcase on the old cobblestone streets of Italy? Not fun. The best luggage for travel abroad allows you to be hands free, giving you the ability to perform nearly every other task required to travel (while your luggage is in tow!).
- Durability. The rigors of travel are tough on our luggage. You need something constructed out of strong, durable materials that will hold up to the wear and tear that a life of travel will inflict. All reputable companies will disclose the materials used in the construction of their products. A few common, quality materials to look for are 600D Nylon, Tarpaulin, 1000D Polyester and Cordura.
- Company values. Purchasing quality luggage is a big investment. When doing so, be sure the company you are purchasing from has your best interests in mind. We prefer products from smaller companies, as they are more focused on providing the most value possible to you. Luggage companies that were started by travelers also tend to produce great products. Being travelers themselves, they have the knowledge and experience to know what works best.
Your study abroad backpack—or backpack for any kind of meaningful travel—should fulfill the above requirements at minimum. That’s the sweet spot!
The best all-around luggage
The travel bag by nomatic.
Our vote for the best all-around luggage is the Travel Bag by Nomatic. Started by John and Jacob out of their basement, Nomatic is driven by a passion to create the most functional travel gear ever. This passion shines through in the design of their Travel Bag which boasts over 20 features! The bag is constructed out of durable and waterproof Tarpaulin material, so it is made to last and keep your belongings dry.
Best All-Around Luggage: The Travel Bag from Nomatic
A wrap around zippered flap opens the bag up lengthwise—giving you easy access to the entire bag. This flap also has a built-in padded sleeve for a laptop and a tablet. Thanks to an innovative strap design, you can either wear this as a backpack (hip belts included) or carry as a duffel. Hate putting your dirty shoes in the same space as your clean clothes? There is a separate, self-contained pocket made just for shoes!
There is even a built-in sleeve which allows you to slide the Travel Bag over the handle on a rolling suitcase if needed. The combination of its carry-on size, durable and waterproof construction, and endless features make this great bag our vote for Best All-Around Luggage.
- Best For: Study Abroad, Intern Abroad, Long Term Travel (i.e. Teach Abroad), Carry-On Travel
- Buy It Now!
Best carry-on luggage for international travel
Minaal carry-on 2.0.
Looking for the perfect carry-on bag that fits all the strict international airline standards? Minaal Carry-On 2.0 is just the bag for you—it’s the best luggage for traveling abroad with only hand luggage.
Best Carry-On Luggage: Carry-On 2.0 from Minaal
The team at Minaal designed this bag specifically to be compliant with all international carry-on bag restrictions.* Don’t let the sleek design fool you. The Carry-On 2.0 is made of heavy duty 600D Nylon, so it’s built to last. The backpack straps include a sternum strap for added comfort while carrying. The bag opens into a lay-flat design, making the process of packing and unpacking simple. While it is a bit on the smaller side (allowing it to be a universal carry-on), there is still ample space to pack for an extended weekend trip. Avoid checked bag fees with this great bag from Minaal!
- Best For: Carry-On Travel, Weekend Trips, Intern Abroad
- Cost: $299.00
*Note, these are changing all the time, please refer to your airlines rules before purchasing
Best luggage for travel & work
Standard luggage’s daily backpack.
When work coincides with travel, there is a delicate balance to achieve. You want a functional and comfortable bag, but you don’t want to show up to the office with your hiking backpack and its 57 straps dangling everywhere. You want something that is professional and practical. Look no further than The Daily Backpack from Standard Luggage.
Best Luggage for Travel & Work: The Daily Backpack from Standard Luggage
The Daily is constructed with hide-away straps, which allow it to function as a backpack, a briefcase, or a shoulder bag. Constructed out of 310D Nylon, the Daily is durable, yet sleek and professional looking. The compartments and pockets are designed with the young professional in mind, complete with padded laptop and tablet sleeves.
- Best For: Carry-On Travel, Work Related Travel, Intern Abroad
- Cost: $119.00
Best luggage for adventure travel
Allpa 35l from cotopaxi.
Looking for best luggage for traveling abroad that can keep up with your ultra-adventurous ways? The Allpa 35L from Cotopaxi is perfect for you.
Best Luggage for Adventure Travel: The Allpa 35L from Cotopaxi
Constructed from heavy duty Nylon ensures this bag can withstand even the most rugged adventures. Cotopaxi designed the harness system with backpackers in mind. There are padded shoulder straps and a padded hip belt to help evenly distribute the weight while carrying. The Allpa 35L has a full, wrap around zip opening, allowing you easy access, comparable to a suitcase. Inside, Cotopaxi included zippered mesh pockets, keeping all your stuff organized. There is even an included rain cover, which can be stowed in the pack, making it a natural pick as one of the best backpacks for study abroad or volunteer abroad with a healthy dose of adrenaline.
- Best For: Adventure Travel, Weekend Travel, Short-Term Study Abroad, Carry-On Travel
- Cost: $199.95
Other essential gear for every traveler:
- Packing cubes. No meaningful traveler should leave home without packing cubes. This essential piece of travel gear is for perfect for trips of all types. By subdividing your luggage, there is no more unpacking your entire bag to find that one specific thing you needed. Packing cubes keep you organized, which makes packing and unpacking less of a chore.
- Daypack. All the luggage we have shown you so far is great for getting your stuff from your home to your destination. But, you don’t want to lug your large bag around with you everywhere you go. That’s where a good daypack comes in. Use your daypack for your daily adventures. Perfect for exploring new cities or taking day trips, a smaller bag is a must during longer-term meaningful travel.
- Adapter. Traveling abroad introduces many new and exciting differences to your daily life. For new travelers, one of the least expected differences are the various electrical outlet types found abroad. Don’t cross everything off your list before leaving, only to forget an outlet adapter. Make sure to research what you need before leaving, allowing you to keep your devices charged while abroad.
- External battery. Long haul flights, cross-country train rides, and action-packed days of exploring take their toll on the batteries of our electronic devices. Taking an external battery pack ensures your devices stay charged, all day long. Never miss a picture, Instagram post, or text again by keeping one with you in your daypack!
#TravelHack—Buy it all at the same time!
You’ve read through this long list and thought, “I need all of these for my trip—yikes!”. Well, cast your travel-gear-purchasing worries aside because you’re in luck! Our company, Traveling Tranquilo, has created the No Borders Bundle specifically for you, slightly worrisome travel worrier. We have researched and tested a full line up of travel gear and accessories to bring you a one-stop shop solution. Awesome, right?
Complete with a carry-on bag, a daypack, packing cubes, outlet adapter, external battery, and even a phone case to help you break language barriers. Don’t need everything, no problem. Customize the Bundle to fit your needs.
Get what you need and get out there!
When preparing for any trip abroad, be sure you take an honest look at your travel gear situation—don’t sacrifice comfort and durability for quick and cheap stuff. You deserve the best luggage for travel abroad.
Your luggage and accessories need to be built for the type of travel you plan to do. It may not be the most exciting part of planning a trip abroad, but it's one of the most important. Being properly equipped ensures that you get the absolute most out of your adventures. Stay focused on your travels, not your stuff. Hopefully this guide helps provide great options to suit your needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions—it's our mission to help!
This article was provided by Traveling Tranquilo. Traveling Tranquilo was started with one purpose in mind—help travelers get the most out of their adventures by properly preparing and packing beforehand.
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The 14 Best Travel Crossbody Bags to Complement Your Wanderlust
Embark on adventure in style.
There’s a fine line that divides the modern jet setter from the weary traveler, and it’s (mostly) marked by a precise combination of style and preparedness. After all, getting there is half the battle, so you’ll want to be equipped with the best of the best—and crossbody bags are an effortless part of that equation.
The best crossbody bags for travel (some of which you’ll find on 2023’s list of must-have designer bags ) allow you to carry your essentials hands-free while you’re hauling ass through airport security at 5 A.M. or putting on the miles during a day of sightseeing. Get a bag that can do both. And if you choose wisely, you’ll also be able to sling it over all of your bulky winter puffer jackets before heading out for dinner and drinks.
Best Camera Bag
Stella mccartney small logo faux-leather camera crossbody.
Madewell the transport shoulder crossbody bag.
Kurt geiger mini teddy southbank.
Prada padded re-nylon shoulder bag.
Eslla dharma crossbody bag.
Vera Bradley Performance Twill Triple Compartment Crossbody
Best for Essentials
Mali + lili josephine recycled vegan leather crossbody.
Béis the sport sling in black.
Travelon anti-theft courier tour bag.
Aupen Precious Mini Bag
So, whether you’re jetting off on an international adventure or just heading home for the holidays, shop the 14 best crossbody bags for travel ahead.
Nobody does ethical luxury like Stella McCartney, so move this logo camera bag to the top of your wishlist. The sleek design and ample interior space make it perfect for housing your Polaroid and a pair of sunglasses during a day of sightseeing.
Dimensions: Height: 6 inches; width: 8 inches; depth: 2 inches
Material: Polyamide, polyurethane, fabric
Colors: Black, Moss, Cloud, Bellini Rose
Customer review: “It is larger than my other camera bags, but not overwhelming on my petite frame! I use it as a work bag rather than my other totes. I like this bag because it’s not leather but still looks luxe.”
Regardless of whether you’re planning a girls’ trip or a day trip, this functional zip-up tote will serve its purpose far beyond getting to and from. Glossy leather and multi-strap options mean you can sport this bag all day and night.
Dimensions: Height: 9 inches; width: 12 inches; depth: 2.5 inches
Colors: True Black, Espresso Bean
Customer review: “This really reminds me of the kind of bag my mother had when I was growing up in the eighties and nineties. It’s structured in a way that other Madewell bags are not, and the leather is beautiful and thick with more of a sheen, almost a gloss...the two straps give it more versatility. Recommended for the value and quality.”
What’s not to love about this mini teddy tote? Cozy-soft faux shearling, multiple carrying options, and snap-open side panels for extended width (meaning you can probably stuff an extra pair of shoes inside if need be). Pair it with Kurt Geiger’s matching Teddy Scarf .
Dimensions: Height: 8.2 inches; length: 10.2 inches; depth: 4.7 inches
Material: Faux shearling, polyester, leather
Editor review: “This bag is just the pop of color I needed heading into dreary winter months (thank you daylight savings). I like the multi-strap options and, unlike a regular tote, this one zips closed to keep my stuff from falling out. And nobody can convince me that the cozy faux shearling isn’t keeping me warmer.” —A.A.
It wouldn’t be a complete crossbody roundup without some form of nylon Prada. Similar to the ever-practical Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon Bag , this quilted flap-over bag comes complete with a detachable mini zipper pouch.
Dimensions: Height: 17 centimeters; width: 24 centimeters; length: 8 centimeters
Material: Nylon fabric
Colors: Black, Desert Beige
Customer review: “I have the original nylon and the Re-Edition, and they are my go-to bags. Lightweight, durable, and great for daily use.”
This sophisticated ESLLA bag is so stylish, that it may seem more fashion than function. But when you need to trek through an airport or spend a day on your feet, you can attach the shoulder-padded crossbody strap and be on your merry way.
Dimensions: Height: 6 inches; width: 11 inches; depth: 4 inches
Material: Cactus leather, recycled polyester
C olors: Green, Beige, White, Matte Black
Customer review: “I have the matte black color...gorgeous AND vegan!!”
If you like to stay organized without unnecessary bells and whistles, opt for this weather-friendly Vera Bradley crossbody. With multiple zip, slip, and exterior compartments, you can travel hands-free and look good while doing it—rain or shine.
Dimensions: Height: 9 inches; width: 10 inches; depth: 2 inches
Colors: 10 options
Customer review: “I saw this style and decided to purchase it on a whim. This has a lot of room and I was able to safely store my cell phone and sunglasses while walking in Las Vegas...this is now going to be my go to travel purse.”
Nothing drags down a getaway vacay like lugging around an overpacked bag the whole time. Optimize your efficiency and stick to the essentials with this top-rated mini crossbody from Mali + Lili.
Dimensions: Width: 5.5 inches; height: 6.5 inches; depth: 2.5 inches
Material: Vegan leather, polyester
Colors: 6 options
Customer review: “Taking this to Europe! It fits my iPhone 13 Max Pro, plus has room for wallet and credit cards etc. I love that it comes with an extra strap that can be used to dress it up.”
Béis knows travel. This sling backpack is ideal for busy walkabout days and can play counterpart to any number of other Béis luggage pieces. If you act fast, you can stock up and save big on multiple items during the brand’s early Black Friday sale .
Dimensions: Height: 8.2 inches; width: 6.7 inches; depth: 2.7 inches
Material: Nylon, faux leather, recycled polyester
Colors: Black, Slate, Beige
Customer review: “Love all the pockets and how accessible the sling is! Grabbing what you need quickly from the slots is so handy. I can’t wait to use this on my Italy trip!”
As a traveler with her naïveté on constant display, this anti-theft bag could’ve saved me some heartbreak (and the four hours I spent Google translating a theft complaint to the Paris police department). Slash-resistant material, deep locking compartments, and an RFID-protected pocket mean you can rest a little easier knowing your belongings are safe and sound.
Dimensions: Length: 11 inches; height: 11.5 inches; depth: 3 inches
Material: Cotton canvas, leather
Colors: Navy, Stone Grey
Customer review: “Did a month with this bag all over the world and there is no wear or tear that I can see at all...it fit everything I needed (wallet, rolled up rain jacket, phone, passport, rolled sun visor, etc.) and the zip out water bottle pocket works with a collapsible water bottle to fill up when you’re not in an airport.”
Anyone who knows anything knows that Aupen is the celeb-loved brand of the moment, for which I am so thankful. Aupen functions under the adage that “fashion should never come at the cost of animal welfare or the environment,” so its bags are ethical and certifiably sustainable (not to mention affordable). Recent conscious consumers of this brand include Taylor Swift, Hailey Bieber, and Olivia Rodrigo.
Dimensions: Length: 12 centimeters; height: 9.5 centimeters; width: 8.5 centimeters
Material: Vegan leather
Customer review: “I am surprised at how much I LOVE it. Super cute. Small. Different. For the price it’s great.”
Tumi Katy Crossbody
For those who never leave their tech behind, keep your lifeline secure in Tumi’s vertical leather crossbody, complete with a touch of gold hardware for style points. It even has a few additional pockets for cash, cards, and mini must-haves.
Dimensions: Height: 7 inches; length: 4 inches, depth: 1.6 inches
Customer review: “I bought the Katy for travel, but I’ve been using it daily for just about everything. It holds so much...the main space houses my small wallet, a pen, vaccination card, a mask, comb, and my folding sunglasses. The styling is elegant. The Katy feels equally appropriate for a walk in the neighborhood, or an evening out.”
Mango Crossbody Bag
This bag from Mango gives off an aura of quiet luxury that makes it versatile enough to wear as your day-to-day bag or take it on the go. It’s polished, simple, and houses dual compartments to enhance convenience.
Dimensions: Length: 10.2 inches; height: 6.7 inches; width: 3.5 inches
Material: Polyurethane, polyester
Colors: Black, Leather
Customer review: “Yeah to to faux leather! The time has come for us to be conscious consumers. This purse is perfect to wear with my simple, classic wardrobe pieces.”
Coach Coachtopia Loop Quilted Wavy Tote
An extension of the Coach brand, Coachtopia revives recycled and upcrafted materials to give birth to new designs, like this puffy-soft crossbody laptop tote.
Dimensions: Length: 16.75 inches; height: 12.25 inches
Material: Recycled polyester
Colors: Twilight, Deep Orange, Black, Olive Green
Customer review: “This tote is so cute and comfy on my shoulders. It holds a lot of items...great for work or travel.”
FashionPuzzle Triple Zip Small Crossbody Bag
This crossbody bag has a 4.6-star rating from almost 30,000 reviews. At such an affordable price point, you might want to choose a couple of color options to add to your collection.
Dimensions: Length: 8.5 inches; height: 5.5 inches; depth: 2.75 inches
Material: Faux leather
Colors: 30 options
Customer review: “I use this when traveling, it holds so much without being bulky. I can put passports, phone, sunglasses, lip products, money/cards and still have gobs of room left.”
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The Best Luggage for International Travel in 2023
- Last Modified: November 13, 2023
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Traveling internationally demands a lot from luggage. Since you’ll be living out of your suitcase, you want something that packs in convenient features and durable construction that will stand up to abuse.
I’ve traveled across four continents and have had to toss my luggage on top of packed buses and drag it miles over cobblestone streets. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about what makes a suitcase work well for traveling internationally.
So what makes a piece of luggage ready for international travel? The most important distinction is that international airlines have tighter restrictions for carry-on size than domestic flights. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll want to make sure your carry-on is smaller than 21” so you don’t have to worry about fitting within limits.
This guide will highlight the best carry-on bags that fit within international restrictions as well as some of the best checked luggage for international flights.
- Best Luggage for International Travel Overall: Briggs & Riley Baseline Global 21”
- Best Lightweight Luggage for International Travel: July Carry-On Light
- Best Luggage Set for International Travel: Samsonite Novaire Set
- Best Carry-On Luggage for International Travel: LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On 20”
- Best Checked Luggage for International Travel: Travelpro Roundtrip
- Best Large Luggage for International Travel: Eagle Creek Expanse
- Best Durable Luggage for International Travel: Osprey Ozone
- Best Medium Luggage for International Travel: Monos Check-In Medium
- Best Soft Luggage for International Travel: Travelpro Maxlite 5 International
- Best Hardside Luggage for International Travel: Briggs & Riley Sympatico International
1. Briggs & Riley Baseline Global 21” : Best Luggage for International Travel Overall
Briggs & Riley is one of the most respected luggage brands out there. Flight crews and frequent travelers around the world trust them to build the highest-quality and longest-lasting luggage available.
Unlike most manufacturers who offer at best a limited lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects, Briggs & Riley has a true lifetime guarantee. If your suitcase is ever damaged, they will repair or replace it no questions.
Good international luggage needs to meet carry-on size restrictions while still offering lots of packing room. You also want to look for features that will help you stay organized while you’re traveling.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Global 21” is a fantastic choice for overseas trips. It combines impressive durability, thoughtful features, and unmatched versatility, making this suitcase an easy choice for anyone traveling abroad.
Two-wheeled rolling luggage is more durable than spinner wheels. You can drag this suitcase over cobblestones or other rough surfaces without worry.
You get a large external pocket that can fit a laptop, hanging garment storage for suits and dresses, compression straps, and an expandable main compartment if you need more space. The array of interior and exterior pockets is extensive and well-thought-out. All these features make this carry-on incredibly versatile and organized.
While the price is high, if you’re looking for the best quality out there and the peace of mind that comes with a lifetime guarantee, you can’t go wrong with the Briggs & Riley Baseline.
Briggs & Riley Baseline Global 21″ Specs:
2. July Carry-On Light : Best Lightweight Luggage for International Travel
Launched in 2018, July is a startup travel brand based in Australia that is dedicated to simplifying and improving the travel experience with innovative designs and quality products. Though they’re new to the market, they have quickly become a leader in the industry, thanks to their commitment to solving problems in the luggage industry.
If you’re traveling a lot, it’s definitely worth looking for lightweight luggage that won’t weigh you down. A suitcase that’s under five pounds will be easier to maneuver through the airport and lift into overhead bins. You don’t want to compromise on durability and features though.
The July Carry-On Light is the perfect solution for anyone looking to drop a few pounds from their travel gear. At 3.9 lbs, this is the lightest carry-on case on the market!
This ultralight suitcase manages to cut weight without cutting corners on build quality. It has a sturdy polycarbonate shell, a well-engineered aluminum handle, and July’s bomber double spinner wheels. You can count on this case to stand up to some abuse.
The closure uses YKK zippers and has an integrated TSA-approved lock. This ensures your suitcase is secure during travel.
Organization is simple but effective, with a zippered divider and interior pockets. If you want the easy access of exterior pockets or more advanced organization, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for the lightest luggage on the market to lighten your load while traveling, I highly recommend you take a look at the July Carry-On Light.
Want to learn more about this brand? Read our full July luggage review for an in-depth look at their products.
July Carry-On Light Specs:
3. Samsonite Novaire Set : Best Luggage Set for International Travel
Samsonite luggage is probably the most well-known brand. They’ve been selling luggage for over a century and have built a reputation on providing high-value suitcases for every budget.
If you are traveling with a family or are just looking to buy both checked and carry-on luggage, it’s definitely worth trying to buy a luggage set. You’ll get matching suitcases that work together, and you’ll save money over buying pieces individually.
The best luggage sets will keep you ready for everything. With a carry-on and checked bags you’ll be prepped for anything from weekend beach trips to long-haul international adventures.
The Samsonite Novaire Set is one of the best luggage sets out there and is a perfect choice for international travel. It includes a carry-on that is sized for international restrictions and a large 29” checked case that is ready for trips where you have to haul a lot of gear.
Both suitcases are made with durable Makrolon polycarbonate hardshells with scratch-resistant texture and reinforced corners. These cases will take a beating and keep looking good over the long term.
The expandable luggage design gives you the option to add a few inches of packing space. This increases the versatility of the set so you’re ready for trips with different packing requirements.
The Samsonite Novaire Set is a fantastic combination that is well-built, affordable, and ready for anything. On a bit of a budget? Our list of the best cheap luggage sets can help you find something more affordable. You can also check out our list of the best hardside luggage sets .
Samsonite Novaire Set Specs:
4. LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On 20” : Best Carry-On Luggage for International Travel
LEVEL8 is a modern luggage brand that emphasizes functional, minimalist designs that are intended to streamline the travel experience. They specifically make some of the best carry-on luggage that is stylish, simple, and well-built.
A good carry-on suitcase for an international trip needs to be spacious enough to carry all your belongings for longer trips while fitting within international size restrictions for carry-ons.
The LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On is a sleek and stylish hardshell case that’s designed to fit carry-on size restrictions for airlines all over the world. It stands out with innovative features, streamlined design, and high-quality construction.
This carry-on case is built with Makrolon polycarbonate and has a TSA-approved lock. You can be sure your belongings are protected and secure while traveling.
Unlike most hard-sided luggage, this case has a large external pocket that can fit a 15.6” laptop. This quick-opening zipperless pocket is fantastic for keeping electronics or other items easily accessible
If you’re looking for a sturdy, streamlined hardshell carry-on suitcase for international use, the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On is a fantastic choice.
Looking for something a bit cheaper? Check out our list of the best affordable carry-on luggage .
LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On 20″ Specs:
5. Travelpro Roundtrip : Best Checked Luggage for International Travel
Travelpro was started to make luggage specifically for flight crews. With pilots, flight attendants, and other pros trusting their luggage, you can be sure they are doing something right.
Travelpro has been at the forefront of luggage innovation for decades. Their founder invented the first upright rolling suitcase, and they continually seek new improvements in designs and materials.
The best checked luggage for traveling internationally needs to be strong enough to stand up to frequent flight transfers across the globe. An expandable design is also a plus so it can adapt to your needs over different trips.
The Travelpro Roundtrip combines all of Travelpro’s luggage expertise into a highly-functional and well-built check-in suitcase that’s ready for long international trips.
The Roundtrip has a durable polycarbonate shell with built-in corner guards. Corners are usually the first thing to break on hardshell suitcases, so this is a fantastic design that helps this suitcase endure hard hits and make it to the baggage claim undamaged.
This case uses Travelpro’s double spinner wheels and a lightweight extendable handle. It is exceptionally smooth rolling and easy to maneuver through the airport.
If you’re going on an extended trip and need more room than just a carry-on, the Travelpro Roundtrip is a fantastic choice for a checked bag.
Travelpro Roundtrip Specs:
6. Eagle Creek Expanse : Best Large Luggage for International Travel
Eagle Creek builds luggage for adventurous folks who are heading far from the beaten path and need equipment that’s rugged and well-designed. Their No Matter What Warranty shows that they stand behind their products.
For some trips, you just need a lot of space. Whether you’re hauling climbing gear to Morocco or packing for a family, a single massive piece of luggage often makes more sense than multiple smaller bags.
The Eagle Creek Expanse is a massive rolling bag with rugged durability, heavy-duty wheels, and cavernous space. It’s strong enough to haul heavy loads and stand up to abuse.
While it’s easy to assume hard-sided luggage is more durable because it has a rigid shell, that isn’t always the case. This soft-sided luggage is made of ultra high strength fabric that’s virtually impossible to tear. Unlike a hard case, it will never crack under impact.
The design is simple, with one massive main compartment, a small external pocket, and a mesh internal pocket on the lid. This gives you a lot of freedom to pack gear the way you want.
If you need a big checked bag that’s ready for anything, this is it.
Eagle Creek Expanse Specs:
7. Osprey Ozone : Best Durable Luggage for International Travel
Osprey is a Colorado-based outdoor gear brand that is best known for their innovative backpacking and hiking packs . You may not know that they also build capable and durable travel luggage.
Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee is legendary within the outdoor community. You can send in any product for any reason to be repaired or replaced for free.
I really respect companies that stand behind their products, and Osprey is one of the best. They also are committed to reducing their environmental impact by using recycled materials and sustainable processes.
The Osprey Ozone is a compact, lightweight carry-on that is built tough so you can take it around the globe without any worries of wear and tear. I love that this bag is really built for adventurous travelers, with no-nonsense features, organization, and construction.
This bag is built with a highly-engineered aluminum frame, durable recycled nylon fabrics, burly YKK zippers, and oversized wheels. You can count on it to stand up to the abuse of global travel.
If you’re looking for an international carry-on that will last forever, the Osprey Ozone is built to handle a beating. If you ever do manage to break it, Osprey will repair it for you.
Osprey Ozone Specs:
8. Monos Check-In Medium : Best Medium Luggage for International Travel
Monos is a luggage brand that emphasizes minimalist designs that give you everything you need without any unnecessary bells and whistles. They are also committed to quality and have some of the best durability and life testing I’ve ever seen for luggage.
I am really impressed by the testing methods Monos has developed for their products. It really gives a lot of confidence that their suitcases will survive hard use.
The perfect medium check-in bag gives you ample room to pack for longer trips without becoming cumbersome when maneuvering through the airport.
The Monos Check-In Medium is an incredibly well-built 26” suitcase with durable construction, ultra-smooth spinner wheels, and extremely well-thought-out details.
Interior organization is phenomenal in this suitcase. It has a large zippered divider, a plethora of zippered interior pockets, compression straps, and includes two shoe bags. Every detail is well-configured to make it easy to stay organized and neat while traveling.
If you need more space while traveling but don’t want to be weighed down by an overly-bulky case, the Monos Check-In Medium is a fantastic choice.
Monos Check-In Medium Specs:
9. Travelpro Maxlite 5 International : Best Soft Luggage for International Travel
This is the second Travelpro luggage product on this list, and it’s because they make seriously capable and well-designed products. Their soft-sided luggage is especially good, with sturdy construction and fantastic organization features.
Soft-sided luggage excels in organization, accessibility, and lighter weight. Convenient external pockets can make it very easy to access items while traveling. Having a single large compartment can make packing much easier than the two-sided clamshell design of hard luggage.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 International is a lightweight soft-sided carry-on that combines thoughtful design, rugged construction, and an affordable price into a fantastic carry-on for international trips. It fits size restrictions for almost any airline in the world, but still has a surprising amount of space inside.
The body of the bag is built with a high-denier polyester fabric with a water-resistant coating. This material is highly durable and protects your belongings from rain or splashes.
This rollaboard suitcase uses sturdy wheels with rigorously-tested steel ball bearings. The best rolling carry-on luggage will always be more durable than any fancy spinner case. You can expect this bag to be smooth-rolling for a lifetime of travel, even if you’re pulling it over cobblestones or other rough surfaces.
Travelpro Maxlite 5 International Specs:
10. Briggs & Riley Sympatico International : Best Hardside Luggage for International Travel
We’ll wrap up this list with another suitcase from Briggs & Riley. This brand builds some of the best quality luggage on the market, and their unbeatable warranty ensures that when you buy one of their suitcases, it’s going to last you a lifetime.
It is common nowadays for manufacturers to skimp on materials, construction, and quality testing. It’s refreshing that Briggs and Riley changes that by building suitcases that can be an investment. Their products aren’t cheap, but I think it’s worth it for frequent flyers.
Hardside luggage has the advantage of being more secure and protective for expensive or fragile items. Hard luggage for traveling internationally needs to maximize those advantages with a highly durable shell that will survive the abuse of longer trips.
The Briggs & Riley Sympatico International is a stylish, spacious, and durable hardside carry-on that is compact enough for international airline restrictions.
This case has a durable polycarbonate shell, YKK zippers, and an aircraft-grade aluminum telescopic handle. This well-built suitcase will last a long time, and if you ever manage to break it, Briggs & Riley will repair or replace it for free.
If you are frequently traveling internationally and are willing to invest in a hardside suitcase that will last a lifetime, I highly recommend the Briggs & Riley Sympatico.
Briggs & Riley Sympatico International Specs:
How to Choose the Best Luggage for International Travel
What size luggage should you buy.
The biggest difference between luggage for international and domestic trips is the carry-on luggage size restrictions. Most international airlines limit the length of any carry-on to 21.5”. Many manufacturers make luggage slightly larger than that for domestic flights, so double-check suitcase dimensions before purchasing. Knowing how to measure luggage can be helpful here.
For checked luggage, size restrictions are less of an issue on international airlines. Still, wherever possible I’d recommend going a bit smaller. Packing light will simplify your trip and let you focus more on the experience of traveling rather than hauling around massive overstuffed suitcases.
Hard vs Soft-Sided Luggage
Another major decision when shopping for luggage is whether to buy a hard or soft suitcase . Soft luggage used to be much more common, but hardshell cases are gaining in popularity, and with advances like durable yet lightweight polycarbonate shells, they are better than ever.
Picking between hard and soft-sided luggage is mainly up to personal preference, but if you’re on the fence, there are some key factors that can help you decide.
Soft-Sided Luggage Advantages
- Soft luggage is usually more lightweight .
- You will get more options for external zipper pockets .
- Soft luggage is more flexible for packing and cramming into the overhead bin.
- If you want 2-wheeled luggage , a soft suitcase is your only option.
Hard-Sided Luggage Advantages
- Hard luggage is more protective .
- When combined with a TSA-approved lock, a hard suitcase is more secure .
- Some people prefer the streamlined style of hardshell cases.
International Travel Luggage Accessories
Monos travel folio.
When traveling internationally, keeping passports, travel documents, and electronics together in one place can relieve a lot of anxiety. I know one of my biggest fears is losing my passport while abroad.
This zippered folio can act as your travel wallet/passport folio. With room for electronics, cards, and important travel documents, it’s a great way to keep all your most important items in one place.
REI Co-Op Flash 18 Pack
When you arrive at your destination, you’ll want a good travel daypack for heading out on shorter excursions. This compact, lightweight pack is perfect for everything from hiking to heading out around town.
This little backpack is easily packable, so it won’t take up space in your suitcase while traveling. You can easily use it as your personal item on the airplane or as a stuff sack for added organization inside your suitcase.
July Leather Luggage Tags
For a stylish addition to help identify your luggage in the airport or at the baggage claim, check out these luggage tags that you can personalize to your liking.
This luggage tag is made of full-grain leather and attaches easily to a handle on your suitcase.
Monos Compressible Packing Cubes
It’s easy for the main compartment of your suitcase to become a disorganized, jumbled mess. These zippered packing cubes are a great solution for taming the chaos.
Built of a lightweight fabric, these packing cubes have a mesh front panel that lets you easily see what’s inside.
They come in an array of sizes to fit everything from socks to shirts. You can purchase either a four-pack or a six-pack.
Why Trust TravelFreak?
Here at TravelFreak, we want to give you the best information and recommendations to help you get out and explore the world. Our brand reputation is based on giving high-quality recommendations you can trust, so we take our product selection very seriously.
We don’t pick products just because they are popular or highly rated. All the members of our team are avid travelers and adventurers, and we base all of our recommendations on our personal experiences, observations, and struggles traveling the globe.
We’ve had a lot of chances to test luggage and to learn what works and what doesn’t. Every suitcase in this list is something we would personally use in our own travels.
I’ve hauled luggage up endless stone staircases in the lower Himalayas and have destroyed suitcase spinner wheels on the unforgiving cobblestone streets of Germany. The recommendations in this list are made based on my own real-world experience and the combined travel experience of the TravelFreak team.
Luggage for International Travel FAQs
What luggage brand is best for international travel.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline Global is a fantastic luggage choice for traveling internationally.
Is hard or soft luggage better for international travel?
Soft luggage is typically lighter and has more external pockets. Hard luggage is more protective.
What size luggage do I need for international travel?
International airlines limit carry-ons to 21.5” in height; luggage needs to be shorter than that.
How do I choose the best luggage for international travel?
A suitcase for international travel needs to be very durable and fit international carry-on size limits .
What is the best suitcase for traveling to Europe?
A 2-wheeled rollaboard will be better for the cobblestone streets you find in Europe.
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Béis Luggage Review: Hype or Worth it?
10 Best Delsey Luggage Pieces of 2023
July vs. Monos: Which Luggage Brand to Pick in 2023
July Luggage Review: Hype or Worth It in 2023?
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Monos vs. Away Luggage: Which Should You Buy in 2023?
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Home » Gear » best travel bags
31 Best Travel Bags: Duffels, Backpacks or Suitcases?
We’ve reviewed hundreds of the best travel bags throughout the years – from the best hiking backpacks to the best laptop bags, we know bags.
This article is for you if you don’t know where to start when it comes to travel bags. Are you a dedicated backpacker, a fan of the duffel bag, or maybe a devotee of the wheelie suitcase? Perhaps you’re not sure which type of travel bag you should buy or if you should make a switch.
Whether you’re a newbie or looking to upgrade and replace your existing travel bag, choosing from the best travel bags can be something of a minefield.
How on earth do you choose? The best way is to simply read on!
Keep scrolling and you’ll discover a wealth of detailed information on all the latest travel bags – backpacks, duffel bags, carry-ons, backpacks with wheels, and anti-theft bags; the list goes on! By the end of the article you’re sure to have found the best travel bag ever… for your needs!
Quick Answer: The Best Travel Bags of 2023
How to choose the best travel bag, best travel backpacks, best travel duffel bag, best travel daypacks, best travel luggage with wheels, best carry on travel bags, best anti-theft travel backpacks, best foldable travel bags, best travel duffel bags, best laptop travel bags, how and where we tested to find the best travel backpacks, faq about the best travel bags.
- Best Travel Backpack – Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
- Best Travel Daypack – Tortuga Laptop Backpack
- Best Travel Backpack Runner-Up – AER Travel Pack 3
- Best Leather Travel Pack – MAHI Leather Overnight Bag
- Best Eco Luggage – Monarc Brand Settra
- Best Travel Luggage with Wheels – Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45
- Best Carry on Travel Bag – Stubble & Co Adventure Pack
- Best Anti-Theft Travel Backpack – Pacsafe Metrosafe X
- Best Foldable Travel Bag – Wandrd Veer 18L
- Best Travel Duffel Bag – Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
- Best Laptop Travel Bag – AER Commuter Brief 2
NOMATIC 40L TRAVEL BAG
- > Lifetime Warranty
- > Full of unique storage features
Tortuga Travel Backpack
- Price: > $$
- > Laptop and tablet sleeves
- > Made with water proof sailcloth
AER Travel Pack 3
- > Carry on friendly
- > Sleek, minimalist design
Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45
- Price: > $$$
- > Carry on size
- > Detachable day pack
Tortuga Laptop Backpack
- > Book-style opening
- > Dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves
Pacsafe Metrosafe X
- > RFID-blocking pouch
- > Interlocking zips
WANRD Veer 18L
- > Lightweight
- > Multiple pockets
Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
- > Excellent all-round duffel bag
- > Protected pocket for tech
AER Commuter Brief 2
When deciding between all of these great travel bags, how do you choose the best bag for travel? Here are some pointers…
One of the easiest ways to narrow down the choices is to consider the size of bag you require. If you’re searching for a bag that will see you through the daily commute you’re almost certainly going to need a smaller travel bag than if you’re heading off vacation away from home.
Generally, good travel bags of somewhere between 30 and 45-liters, unless you plan to use air travel check-in. If you have a lot of electronics, camera gear, camping equipment, or clothes (we’ve all been there!), then a larger bag makes much more sense.
If you have a travel bag you’re looking to replace or upgrade, ask yourself what sort of style it is – and whether of course, you like that style!
If you’re comfortable with a backpack-style travel bag, then focus your search on the same; whereas, if you prefer the ease of a duffel bag or wheelie suitcase, that’s the way you should be leaning. Want something in between, have a look at a duffel-backpack hybrid bag instead.
Will you be carrying your travel bag for long distances? Because if so, every gram (or ounce) of excess weight matters. While wheelie suitcases are a great idea for city movement, wheels always add weight to a bag and are a pain if you are heading off-road (or even onto the cobbles of a city like Paris).
Also, remember that weight is often a trade-off for durability, especially when it comes to travel and hiking backpacks. The more durable a bag, the more it tends to weigh. Understand how you plan to use your bag before buying the lightest or most heavy-duty pack! Overall, the higher-quality luggage brands tend to be able to keep things lighter whilst still being durable.
Are you traveling with Tech?
Are you traveling with tech? These days you probably are, whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for work.
In which case, do you want a rigid travel bag that provides protection, or perhaps a padded laptop sleeve or compartment? We have an entire section dedicated to good travel bags for laptops.
If this is the case, make sure the sleeve is large enough for your particular laptop or tablet too!
Are you Hiking?
While some of the best travel bags are geared for travel, they’re often not designed for hiking. Some backpacks are designed for both travel AND hiking, but that usually means it’s not the best at either, just manageable.
If you want a backpack that you can take on the trails, then pay attention to how the backpack holds its weight, the suspension system (if it even has one), the shoulder straps, and waist strap comfort. Remember, some of the really nice traveling bags that look great for city hopping aren’t going to cut it on the trails!
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For those who need a larger, more conventional backpack that can handle all sorts of trips. These come in all shapes and sizes though our top choices are around 40 liters.
For more information on these sorts of bags, visit our IN-DEPTH guide on how to choose a travel backpack . There are some really great travel bags to choose from.
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#1 Nomatic 40-Liter Travel Bag
Nomatic bags have 20 innovative features to make your travels all the easier, such as a dedicated shoe pocket that keeps dirty soles away from the rest of your luggage, and a fleece-lined RFID-blocking pocket that will keep your electronic data and passports safe from illegitimate scanning by scammers. Pretty much it is the only travel bag under 40 liters you will ever need; which is why we chose it as your top pick.
This bag also incorporates a dedicated laptop sleeve, and is carry on approved for a plethora of international airlines!
Our testers thought this was, well, to put it bluntly, the best travel bag out there! There are so many features they could point to in terms of what they loved the most but because I’m limited on the wordcount I’ll focus on one. Organisation! They loved the different pockets, zippered sections and show well the shape of the bag fits packing cubes inside.
We have so much to say about this bag that we wrote an entire Nomatic Travel Bag review.
- Perfect carry-on size
- Tons of features for the modern traveler
- RFID-blocking pockets
- Laptop sleeve
- Weight is a tad heavy for some (1.8 kg)
- Hip belt must be bought separately
#2 Tortuga Travel Backpack
With their Travel Backpack model, US-brand Tortuga promises to deliver a travel bag that has the portability and ergonomic qualities of a hiking backpack with the organizational stance and ease of packing that comes with a suitcase.
That said, we do not recommend this backpack for hiking… refer to our reviews on hiking backpacks instead.
Having said that, our team of testers especially loved how easy to pack this bag was. With the rectangular shape and clamshell opening it was perfect for fitting in packing cubes and keeping everything neat and organised. The smaller size also fits perfectly into overhead compartments.
sComing in 30 and 40-liter versions, which you might consider weekend and max-sized, both sizes of the Outbreaker carry 15” laptops, and also tablets of up to 9.7”.
- Suitable for laptops up to 15”
- Comprises additional tablet sleeve
- Carry on compliant
- Made in China
- Rectangular shape
- Not for adventures
#3 Aer Travel Pack 3
The AER Travel Bag 3 is one of the best travel bags, ever. We have no doubts about that. Pound for pound, we consider the AER Travel Pack to be as good as the Nomatic Travel Bag. They’ve designed and engineered a built-in solution to all of the previous problems we’ve had with travel bags.
This bag is great for digital nomads, backpackers, and business travelers alike. It is designed with your laptop and organization in mind. It’s 35 liters of backpacker perfection.
Use this bag as a daypack, a carry on, or both. You’ll appreciate the many pockets and storage features. Wear it around town to camp on your laptop at your favorite coffee shop or bring it on a plane without needing to check your bag.
I recently took this bag on a trip over to France and I totally fell in love with it. The real stand-out feature for me, travelling with my camera and laptop, was the strong and smooth zippers that can be locked for extra security.
For more details about the Aer Travel Pack 3, read our Aer Travel Pack review .
- Carry on friendly
- Shoe pocket
- Many organization features
- Small water bottle pocket
- Not entirely waterproof
- No raincover
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#1 MAHI Leather Overnight Bag
Leather travel packs are stylish and hard wearing. Whilst note created for outdoors and not ideal for “backpackers”, they do suit urban, business an weekend travellers. MAHI leather is the company to beat in the leather bag market and this weekend sized 30L duffel is a cracking carry on companion.
This leather bag is the flagship duffel for a proven company, and its clean appearance and durable straps have earned it the highest place on our list. The bag can be carried with handles or a shoulder strap, and brass hardware ensures you can walk with confidence no matter how you hold it.
You won’t lose anything inside the bag, thanks to the zip and phone pocket. You can pack everything you need this weekend in this lightweight and stylish leather bag that checks off all the boxes.
This bag might not be for everyone and it did split our team somewhat, but for those who loved it, it was the outer material that was a real winner. They felt the feel of the soft and supple but strong leather used provided both great protection whilst looking super stylish and professional.
#2: Monarc Brand Setra
Travel can really take it toll on the planet – I mean jet fumes are not exactly good for anybody right? The good news is that Ecological and Sustainable travel initiatives are now really gaining serious momentum and ecological travel products are popping up everywhere.
So, the Monarc 2-in-1 Duffle-Backpack is the world’s first backpack made from 100% recycled bottles and the producers have been awarded a highly coveted “plastic negative” rating.
As well as being eco friendly, the Monarc Settra is also a seriously cracking great pack. Its 2-1 concept design means it can be worn as a backpack or carried as a duffel using the comfortable handle. If you do wear it on your bag, there are adjustable straps to help carry the weight.
Then there are the organizational possibilities. Its’ 40L of storage can go pretty far and the pack offers a shoe compartment and a 17” laptop sleeve. Coming in at $149.00, it’s an absolute bargain although if you have the budget we also recommend picking up the full set including camera cube, compression cubes and laundry bags.
Anything else? Oh yeah, it’s also water-resistant, TSA Carry-on compliant and comes with a lifetime guarantee!
When our team gave this a test run they really loved how comfortable the straps and handle were however the bag was configured. Sometimes these types of bags are more suited to one use over the other but this guy feels great either way.
Small travel bags that are meant for shorter journeys. These typically hold less than 30 liters and are designed to be easy and lightweight.
If you’re interested in buying a smaller bag and want to learn more, we’ve written a comprehensive daypack post as well!
#1 Tortuga Laptop Backpack
Daypacks have become a vital way of carrying all you need when you’re out and about for the day but can falter for two reasons.
Firstly, they don’t always provide enough space for a laptop. Secondly, what do you do with it when its no longer needed? The Tortuga Laptop Backpack answers both of these problems!
It will take a laptop of up to 16” and a tablet of 12.9” in dedicated sleeves, and folds flat so it can be easily be packed into your main luggage. We think this is such an awesome feature!
Weighing a very light 2.1 lb (0.95 kg), it won’t add much extra weight to your luggage, but is still made with waterproof sailcloth to keep your tech and other kit safe even on drizzly days!
Much like the larger Tortuga, this bag was well-loved on our team. They loved the fact that it still has clamshell opening which is pretty uncommon for smaller bags and helps when you’ve got organisational needs.
- Laptop and tablet sleeves
- Folds flat for packing
- Weighs just 500 grams
- Made with water proof sailcloth
- Won’t fit larger laptops
- Volume limited to 21 litres
- Just one colour
- White interior may stain quickly
#2 Osprey Daylite Plus
For a daypack orientated towards hiking and outdoor adventures, this is one of the best bags for travel on the market. Made from a durable ripstop and water-resistant nylon, it’s very capable of taking on the great outdoors.
Its frame helps to spread the weight evenly, taking the stress further off your shoulders, which will already feel the benefit of the padded and ventilated shoulder straps. 20-liter packs with frames and waist straps are virtually unheard of, meaning this pack is perfect for day hikes.
Lightweight at just over half a kilo, the Osprey Daylite Plus boasts dedicated spaces for laptops and tablets, in addition to ‘standard’ hiking bag features such as an emergency whistle and chest strap!
Our testers can confirm how well the mesh ventilation system works to keep your back dry. They loved how much this bag made their time on hikes or exploring cities like Bangkok much more comfortable.
- Made with durable ripstop nylon
- Water resistant
- Lightweight travel bag
- Buckle closure top flap
- Lacks external webbing or anchor points
- Front pocket is unlockable
- May be too small for some users
#3 WANDRD PRVKE 31
The WANDRD PRVKE 31 is one of the best camera backpacks on the market for non-professional photographers. The bag is extremely versatile and extremely durable. Its versatility and durability mean the WANDRD PRVKE 31 can be used for more than just a camera bag.
It’s good for hiking, a daypack, or even a small travel bag – the magic is in the WANDRD’s ability to be more than just a camera backpack.
The photographers on our team really fell in love with the functionality of this bag. The removable camera cube that straps in and connects with the side opening in practical use worked a treat. It meant assessing your camera on the go was easy and quick.
Looking for the best camera bag , check out our guide for some more options.
- Very durable and robust
- Great design
- Tons of pockets
- Comes with handy accessories
- Limited space for cameras/equipment
- Magnetic handles are just OK
Sometimes, having a set of wheels on your bag can be really useful. Not having to carry around a big ol’ bag can really save your back, especially when you’re in the airport or on some really nice pavement.
We’ve only covered a few bags in this section – read more about wheeled backpacks if you’re interested!
#1 Osprey Sojourn Shuttle 45
One of the main reasons you should invest in a backpack with wheels is for convenience. Well, this backpack takes convenience to an entirely new level with its super comfortable carrying system.
With this luggage, you will have a backpack, and rolling luggage all in one! The StraightJacket compression system helps keep the load tight, compact and neat for those long travel days jumping on and off transport.
A few more great features include padded top and side handles, a removable shoulder harness, and the HighRoad Chassis that gives you great clearance over any rough ground you might encounter.
This item meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines (size does not exceed 45 linear inches).
Our team are most used to backpacking but they were pretty keen to give this hybrid number a go. Well, the vast majority were converted and they just loved how well this bag functioned as a backpack and then easily converted to rolling luggage without looking too much like a suitcase.
- Carry on size
- High clearance wheels
- Heavy! Over 6 Lbs.
#2 Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Convertible Carry-On Wheeled Pack
This 37-litre rolling luggage that doubles as a backpack is perfect for international travel. It was built to be weatherproof and dirt-resistant for all of your adventures. Not only that but it also comes with a detachable 18l day pack too!
Plus, it’s probably the coolest looking backpack with wheels – something I haven’t said since the fourth grade! A few of its awesome features include the top quick stash pocket, multiple grab handles, and treaded off-road wheels so you can roll this bag on challenging terrain!
The main drawback is its weight. There is always a trade-off for durability and weight… and in this case, it’s a few pounds! This backpack may be overkill if you aren’t going on an adventure…
Our team felt this bag was more suited for rolling than carrying but appreciated the additional functionality. However, their favourite feature was the quality feel of the outer material and how much punishment the wheels could take.
- Perfect carry on size
- Weatherproof and extremely durable
- Treaded off-road wheels
- Heavy! 6+ Lbs.
#3 Aerolite Superlight Hard Shell Carry on
A traditional wheelie suitcase, the four-wheeled Aerolite Superlight Hard Shell Carry on offers its users supreme protection of its contents thanks to its rigid form of ABS plastic.
Accepted by all the major airlines in Europe and North America as carry on compliant, it weighs 2.5 kg and has a mid-range capacity of 33 litres.
Its wheels rotate a full 360°, giving you effortless movement across airport departure halls. Inside, the case includes packing straps to hold all your baggage in place, two elastic shoe pockets, a slim mesh pocket for documentation, and a zipped divider to keep items separate from one another.
Finally, there’s a five-year guarantee to protect against manufacturing defects!
Our team loved the durability of these bags and just how high quality they felt. The hard exterior provided great protection whilst remaining compact and light. The four wheels also made rolling the case, even on the cobbles of Prague, super easy.
- Rigid-form carry on
- Easy wheel movement
- Five year guarantee
- Weight of 2.5 kg
- Wheels protrude and cannot be retracted
- Cannot be used as a backpack
- No padded laptop sleeve
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉
For those who fly very often and NEED to make sure that their backpack will can be taken on the plane. Generally speaking, 20-30 liter bags can almost always be used as carry ons. 40 liter bags are a little bit more risky but, because we like to toe the line, we’ve included some 40-liters that we believe can be used as such.
If you’d like, you can also read more about carry ons here!
#1 Stubble & Co Adventure Pack
This nifty and compact carry on ready backpack is ideal for both city breaks and outdoor time.
This innovative, super uber cool, brand new to-the-market hiking daypack is tough, durable, and also highly functional. It is designed to be a go-anywhere, do-anything bag that is equally adept when out hiking in the woods, hitting the gym, or undertaking the daily hell that is the wretched commute to work!
It zips fully open almost like a suitcase and offers a raft of different compression-compartments separated by mesh netting and zips that make packing and squeezing stuff in a dream. There are also a few external pockets for leads, charges, passports and cigarettes as well as a deducted 16″ laptop sleeve.
Have a look at our Stubble & Co Adventure Bag in-depth review for more information.
- Durable Material
- Padded Laptop and Tablet Compartment
- Great organisation
- Cushioned Shoulder Straps and Hip Belt
- Quite heavy
- Kinda expensive
#2 Osprey Farpoint (40 liter)
If you are trying to decide between the Tortuga and the Osprey, then it simply comes down to one thing – your personal travel style
Do you need a carry on travel bag for camping and light hiking, or for urban travel? If you picked the former, then the Osprey Farpoint is for you!
Here’s the thing, the Farpoint is somewhat of a hybrid travel and hiking backpack. I’d never pick it primarily for hiking when Osprey carries so many specific hiking backpacks, but if you want a bag that can do a little bit of everything and accompany you on flights, then look no further.
The Farpoint range has been a popular choice amongst our team for years and this updated version lived up to its reputation. One of the features our crew loved the most was the combination of internal and external compression straps that help minimise the size of the bag when packed and keep everything from shifting.
This bag caters Digital Nomads and backpackers. Read our full Osprey Farpoint 40 review here.
- Duffel bag or backpack
- Lifetime guarantee
- Not as much tech-organization as Nomatic
- Looks a bit like a turtle shell
#3 Osprey Stratos (33 or 36 liter)
Unlike the Farpoint reviewed above, the Osprey Stratos is a hiking bag first, and a travel bag second. If you love to hike, then you’ll love this bag for many reasons.
This bag is a go-to for short hikes and overnight camping excursions. It comes with an integrated rain cover, is quite lightweight, and has an impressive amount of organization capacity for it’s minimal design.
At 33 or 36 liters (depending on the size you buy), this bag is ALWAYS carry on compliant – just tighten up the compression straps. If you aren’t sold on the Stratos, the Osprey Cirrus 36 is another great option.
Our testers loved how comfortable this pack was to wear even fully loaded on the trails. Its super padded shoulder and hip straps alongside the mesh back panel made it great for hiking and long treks wearing the pack.
Read our full Osprey Stratos 36 review here.
- Always carry-on compliant
- Awesome ultralight hiking backpacks
- New updated design
- Ventilated mesh back panel
- Likely too small for most travelers
- Not made for regular travel
- Mixed reviews on the pocket sizes
#4 Peak Design 30L Travel Pack
Tailored for the contemporary traveler, the Peak Design 30L Travel Pack offers a 30-liter capacity that is ideally suited for brief escapes or minimalist extended journeys. Its elegant design extends beyond aesthetics; it’s a reflection of functionality. With adjustable compartments for a tailor-made fit for your possessions, and clever side openings for easy item retrieval, this bag offers superior convenience. Expansion zippers allow you to modify the bag’s size to suit various travel needs, adding to its adaptability.
- Carry on compliant – even Ryanair
- Packs a lot in and extends to 33:
- Sleeves for laptop and tablet
- Not waterproof
Most travel bags have some sort of security against theft. For extra protection though, you’ll need a special backpack with more features than usual.
#1 Pacsafe Metrosafe X
The Australian brand, Pacsafe, is dedicated to creating fully-functional travel bags that also protect you from theft. The Metrosafe X has a reasonable daypack size of 20 litres, while weighing less than a kilogram.
There’s an RFID-protective pocket to keep your credit cards, identity card and passport safe from data theft, and a PopNLock security clip that secures the Metrosafe X to any immovable object.
An interlinking zip closure system also makes it impossible for anyone to open any of the bag’s zips without you noticing! The Metrosafe X is also protected from the slash and grab tactics of some thieves due to its hidden wire mesh, and shoulder straps that incorporate steel wires.
Pacsafe is the gold standard when it comes to keeping your valuables secure when travelling. Our testers loved how lowkey the bag looks and how simple the exterior is. It means with one lockable zip their gear felt safe and secure.
- Weighs less than a kilo
- RFID-blocking pouch
- Interlocking zips
- Embedded steel mesh
- Fairly plain exterior
- Too small a volume for some
- Some users report zips jamming
- Not for adventure travel
#2 Oscaurt Anti Theft Backpack
With a stylish modern design and 12.5 litre capacity, the Oscaurt Anti Theft Backpack has both hidden zips to make it harder for pickpockets to make a quick grab for your kit, and additional hidden pockets.
The water repellent and slash proof outer material will see splashes of water just run off, while the interior has space for laptops up to 15.6” in size and tablets of up to 10”.
Further, the Oscaurt Anti Theft Backpack also includes an integrated USB charging port into its design, enabling you to charge your smartphone and still use it by connecting it to a powerbank stored safely inside the bag.
Our testers loved the adjustable internal divider system which could easily be configured for a whole heap of different uses from camera equipment storage to keeping clean and dirty clothing apart. They felt it far from gimmicky and felt it worked well in practical use.
- Ideal for commuting or day travelling
- Hidden zips for main compartment
- Slash proof material
- Integrated USB charging port
- 12.5 litre capacity not for longer travels
- Water repellent rather than water proof
- Fits laptops up to 15.6”
- Powerbank not included
#3 Kopack Lightweight Anti-theft backpack
In the Kopack Lightweight Anti-theft backpack, we have another travel bag with anti-theft features that is able to carry laptops up to 15” in size.
Like the Oscaurt, this model from Kopack has a hidden zip design that makes it difficult for pickpockets to target, while this bag is nice and comfortable thanks to the padding added to the shoulder straps and other areas of the bag that touch the body.
A sleeve on the inside means you can keep your laptop safe and in a convenient location, while the outer materials are deliberately made from tough nylon that is resistant to tears and anti-slash too!
Our testers loved the internal storage and how there was a dedicated slot to store battery packs that then connects to the external USB charger in seamless fashion, as well as the overall look of the bag; bridging the gap between hipster style and professional functionality.
- Hidden zipper design
- Tear resistant nylon construction
- No RFID-protection pocket
- Not fully water proof
- The Bottom Has No Extra Padding
- Fits laptops up to 15” only
These are the ultimate packable backpacks – ones that can fold and collapse into a sleeve that is usually the size of a purse or tablet! These make for excellent additions to backpacking gear lists and are usually very affordable as well.
#1 Wandrd Veer 18L
Wandrd make some of the best gear on the market today and have now added their packable backpack to the range. It has a sturdy main structure which is resistant to general wear and tear as well as protection against rain and other weather conditions.
Weighing just a few hundred grams, there are two zip-shut front pockets for smaller items of kit, pockets on either side for water bottles or an umbrella, and a mesh pocket with zip closure on the inside. An access point has been incorporated for use with water hydration systems.
Our team loved how comfy this bag was for how small it folded down. They felt the blow-up back panel really works well to great some structure and padding to the bag.
- Nice colour options
- Sturdy structure
- Multiple pockets
- No padding for laptop or tech
- Mesh pockets could be stronger
#2 Outlander Packable
The Outlander is a foldable daypack with multiple compartments! This bag has an internal security zippered pocket to protect valuable items. The fabric is water and abrasion-resistant and it is reinforced to be ultra-durable. It’s also extremely affordable!
Our team loved how the fabric, stitching and zippers felt really high quality and super strong given how lightweight and compact the bag is.
- Multiple compartments
- Durable for a packable
- Not for proper hikes/athletics
- Simple style
#3 BAGSMART Folding Travel Bag
The Bagsmart Folding Travel Bag is a foldable duffel bag with a 46 litre capacity! Coming with a detachable shoulder strap, the Bagsmart still only weighs 1.2 pounds when empty.
Folding into a flat pack roughly the size and shape of a tablet computer, it can easily be slipped into a larger piece of luggage or even a daypack or handbag.
Each of the metal zips have strong metal tags for grip, which contrasts nicely against the otherwise plain black nylon material. The manufacturers report it to be strong enough to be placed in the hold of an aircraft without issue, but we’ve yet to test this out for sure.
The team loved how robust and strong the material of this bag felt given how lightweight it felt to carry and how easy it was to fold.
- Comes in two sizes
- Just 1.2 pounds in weight
- Folds down to size of tablet computer
- Tough enough to act as hold luggage
- Soft shell design without rigidity
- No padding or dedicated tech sleeve
- No backpack handles
- Not a wheelie suitcase
Duffels are tried and tested bags that are still useful these days. Grabable, packable, tossable, and stowable, for some travelers, duffel bags are the way to go.
#1 Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
Duffel bags don’t have to be foldable to be a great way of transporting kit from place to place, with the Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel an excellent example of this.
Not only does it have all the features of a standard duffel bag – a large main compartment accessed via a large top opening – it also has a set of padded shoulder straps that can be pulled out when you want to use this duffel as a backpack.
There’s also a padded internal compartment for keeping your laptop protected; the tough double zips are lockable, and the materials are long-lasting and durable.
Our team of testers loved the high-quality feel across all features of this duffel. The material felt durable and strong and the hefty zippers with their lockable holes make your gear feel super secure.
- Excellent all-round duffel bag
- Packable padded shoulder straps
- Lockable zips
- Protected pocket for tech
- Has rain flaps but not fully water resistant
- Mid-sized bag of 40 litres
- Rigid construction
- Locks must be bought separately
#2 Peak Design Travel Duffel
This duffle is one of the best travel bags for air travel. It really shines when it comes to internal organization, even though it’s a duffel bag! It includes a compartment for your laptop and chargers, and also comes in a super stylish colorway with comfortable handles and straps.
Our team loved that, unlike many other duffel bags, the Peak Design Travel Duffel had separate pockets for your laptop and general organisation. That left the large main compartment free for bulkier items and allowed for easier access to their accessories.
- 35 L perfect carry on size
- Wonderful design
- Laptop compartment
- Tons of organization
- No luggage pass through
- Straps are not as comfortable as their backpack!
- Only fits 13″ laptop
- No water bottle pocket
#3 Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler
The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler comes not only with backpack shoulder straps, but also with grab handles, making this duffel-style travel bag simple to lift, move, and transport. Fantastic, no?
But there’s more! The 40 litre capacity version of the Cargo Hauler comes with an empty packed weight of just 2 lbs, making it a very lightweight travel bag, while 600 Dernier synthetic materials that are also water resistant make it durable and tough. Though there is no dedicated padded compartment for delicate items, the Cargo Hauler does boast a padded bottom section, so you should have little worry when placing your duffel on uneven ground.
Our testers loved how hard-wearing and durable the Eagle Creek duffel bag felt. The thick water-resistant material was durable and well-made, making the bag ideal for carrying outdoor equipment.
- Incorporates backpack straps and grab handles
- 600 Dernier material
- Padded base
- Water resistant rather than water proof
- 600 Dernier thinner than some duffel materials
- No rigid structure
- Not for business travel
#4 Patagonia Black Hole
Patagonia is the doyen of the outdoor market, and The Black Hole series of duffel bags are made with even thicker, more durable synthetic materials than the Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler. Each version of these duffels is constructed with a 900 Dernier ripstop nylon material which has been treated in to be highly water-resistant as well as tear-resistant – liquids really do just roll off this bag.
Despite the thicker materials used in these quality constructions, the Black Hole series still offers an impressive balance between usage and weight, with the 70-litre version hitting the scale at less than 3 lbs. It has backpack straps too! Perfect if you want to travel with a checked bag that you won’t be able to carry into the cabin. What’s more, they also offer a wheeled duffel version too.
If our team thought the Eagle Creek was hardy then they were blown away by this offering from Patagonia when it came to durability. Given the quality of the material, they were also impressed by how the bag stuffs into its own pocket for easy storage.
Want something different from Patagonia? Check out the best Patagonia backpacks instead.
- 900 Dernier ripstop construction
- Relatively lightweight
- Come with backpack straps
- Soft shell design
- Not fully waterproof
- No detachable cross body shoulder strap
- Not a guaranteed carry on
These days, lots of people travel with laptops . If you do as well, make sure that you have the right bag to protect. A laptop can be a big investment, and it’d be a shame if it was broken because it was carried in the wrong kind.
#1 AER Commuter Brief 2
Many of our other reviewed travel bags have dedicated laptop compartments of one form or another, but that doesn’t mean a specialised laptop travel bag isn’t useful for expensive tech.
Taking the standard form of a modern briefcase laptop bag, the AER Commuter Brief 2 is made up of durable and waterproof materials and zips. It has a reversible padded shoulder strap for easy transportation and side pouches that can be used for packing water bottles or other accessories.
If you are a bike commuter, you will appreciate the relatively small size of the Commuter Brief 2 – not too bulky – but big enough to carry what you need for the day. You can also easily combine it with a stylish travel purse to keep your documents, passport and phone at hand too.
Our team loved how this bag felt super professional and compact to boot. They felt it was the ideal pack to take on busy public transport into the office or on a business trip.
- Reversible shoulder strap
- Capacity of just 13 liters
- Solely a laptop bag
- Cannot be used as main bag
#2 Tortuga Laptop Backpack
The Tortuga Laptop Backpack is the smaller version of their first laptop backpack – and it’s just as awesome! This bag is a 25-liter masterpiece for anyone looking for a smaller laptop bag that feels and looks great.
The Laptop Backpack has plenty of organizational features including mesh pockets and a secure area for your laptop.
The Laptop is marketed as a laptop bag for those who do a lot of air travel. If this sounds like you, then this may be your backpack from heaven.
One of the standout features of the bag for our testers was the separate compartment for their laptops. Having it away from the main section made them feel like their computers were safer from both accidents and theft.
Read our complete Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack Review here.
- Minimalist design
- Dedicated Laptop and Tablet Area
- Pricey for 25 liter bag
- Might be too small for some
#3 Incase City Compact Backpack
The Incase brand is known for making stylish business backpacks. This bag is made for people on-the-go and on business trips. The City Compact Backpack accommodates a 15-inch laptop and has tons of options for internal organization.
The bag itself is made out of 300D polyester, and the black option has a triple coated weather-resistant front panel. The shoulder straps are made with breathable mesh, and the back panels are padded too.
The main compartment has plenty of storage space whilst remaining compact for a speedy commute around the city.
Our team loved the organisational features of this bag, from several different sections for keeping your laptop, accessories and main gear, it’s the perfect pack for digital nomads.
- Fits up to a 17-inch laptop
- Padded back panels
- Main compartment expands by 35%
- Zippable laptop compartment makes security checks a breeze
- For minimal travelers only
- No strap to attach to suitcase handle
#4 Kroser Laptop Backpack
Not only does the Kroser Laptop Backpack offer some protection from the rain with its water-resistant qualities, but it also boasts some environmental credentials with its use of environmentally-friendly poly fabric!
It weighs in at just over 1 kg, and consists of several large compartments, with dedicated padded sleeves for laptops up to 17” in size and standard-sized tablet computers.
It also includes an integrated USB charging port, so that you can continue to use a smartphone while it is being charged with a powerbank hidden inside the bag.
Our team were pretty blown away by how high quality this bag felt given the budget price. The material, zips, sewing and water resistance are really top-notch for such a reasonable price.
- Environmentally friendly
- Dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves
- USB charging port
- Not for longer journeys
- Does not boast TSA approval
The Nomatic Travel Pack is another superb offering from this brand! We think it’s one of the best day bags due to its size and versatility.
This 20-litre daypack can be expanded to 30 litres, making it extremely adaptable for your trip!
To test these packs, we laid our mitts on some of the best bags to travel with and gave them a good old test drive. Over several trips and adventures, our team members put each travelling bag well and truly through its paces all in the name of scientific discovery, or something like that!
A backpack is designed to carry gear, so we specifically looked at how packable each one was so you could be sure you’re picking the best travel bag for your needs. Any decent pack maximises its available space and has features for making packing more economical. So basically we packed and unpacked the bags for this test!
Equally though, we also paid close attention to how easy the pack was to unpack – being able to get to your gear quickly and easily was also an area we awarded points for when reviewing these bags.
Weight and Comfort of Carrying
If a pack is overly heavy or awkward to carry then taking it along on trips becomes uncomfortable and ultimately unenjoyable! All the best travel bags minimise weight whilst maximising comfort and storage capacity. So we’ve awarded full marks to those that can tick those boxes well.
In order to test out how well a pack fulfilled its job of holding clothes, gear and other accessories, well, we threw all that in there! We also gave those rated as carry-on compatible the famous “Ryanair test!” For cycle backpacks, we strapped them on and got on our bikes and went for a ride. You get the idea right?
Some people say that travel gear doesn’t need to look hot AF if it completes its primary function. Well, we’re not those people, hell nah, we’ve got higher standards here. We believe you can look sexy whilst hauling your stuff around the world! So we’ve added extra beauty points!
Durability and Weatherproofing
Ideally, in order to really test out how durable a backpack is we’d run it over with a truck in the middle of a hurricane. But unfortunately, that’s not entirely practical. So the next best thing was the pour a litre of water over it and take it for a challenging trip out.
When assessing these bags we paid particular attention to the quality and hardiness of the materials used, the traction of the zippers, seam sewing and pressure points that often break.
Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know when looking for the best bags to travel with:
Is it more professional to carry a backpack?
It is definitely not more professional – such a thing doesn’t exist. However, it’s the easiest way to carry all of your gear if you’re out and about on adventures.
What kind of travel bag should I get?
That depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing. For city travel, you can opt between duffels, sling backpacks, daypacks and even wheeled backpacks. If you’re in more secluded areas, there’s no way around a professional and well-fitting backpack.
What are the best overall travel bags?
Check out our favorites: – Nomatic 40-Liter Travel Bag – AER Travel Pack 3 – Osprey Transporter Expedition Duffel
How can you keep your travel bag safe?
Simple – buy an anti-theft backpack. The Pacsafe Vibe 25 is protected from the slash and grab tactics of thieves due to its hidden wire mesh, and shoulder straps that incorporate steel wires.
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The Best of the Best Travel Bags Revealed!
Whatever your preferred choice of travel bag, our epic list of the best travel bags has undoubtedly brought the latest and most impressive bags to your attention.
We’ve covered all manner of travel bags in this review, from traditional backpacks to laptop bags and the staple wheelie suitcase. Having scoured the world for the very best, our selection includes some of the globe’s biggest travel brands, but also lesser-known labels we think you should pay attention to! In fact, we’ve covered what we think are all the best travel bags for 2020 and beyond!
Need help packing once you’ve bought the bag? Check out our how to pack your backpack guide for some advice.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
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15 of the Best Travel Bags You Need for Your Next Vacay
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here .
Whether you’re a first-time or frequent flyer, the right bags can mean all the difference. Is your carry-on too big? Is your dop kit leak-proof? Is there enough room in your purse for all-day adventure? To help you get ready to take off—and thereafter—we went ahead and compiled a list of 15 of the best travel bags around, from hard-shell and soft-shell suitcases to weekend duffles and toiletry bags . So get those passports ready and read on to find your next favorite travel bag. Bon voyage!
How To Choose The Best Travel Bag
Domestic vs. International Travel Carry-Ons
We know that you’ve probably gotten away with taking a suitcase that definitely was not regulation carry-on size. Typically, domestic flights are a bit more lenient with your luggage dimensions, but a good rule of thumb for domestic flights is to make sure your carry-on bag fits within 22-inches by 14-inches by 9-inches. This size ensures that your bag—along with everyone else’s—is going to fit in the bins overhead on your flight. If you’re flying internationally however, these airlines are more likely than not going to be stricter. We suggest finding a carry-on that is 20 inches or shorter to take on your international flights. And always check with your airlines.
Soft Shell vs. Hard Shell Luggage
If you’re a no-fuss kind of traveler, a soft-shell suitcase is for you. They’re able to withstand a bit more wear and tear whether you’re taking it glamping or stuffing it in the overhead compartment. On the other hand, if you are packing items that need some added protection (think: a pair of heels you don’t want to break or a beloved designer bag), we suggest going with a hard-shell suitcase so that none of your valuables sustain any damage.
Two-Wheel Luggage vs. Four-Wheel Luggage
If you have ever been down-to-the-last-second late for a flight and almost missed it because you had to drag your heavy suitcase behind you, we suggest you get a spinner suitcase. A spinner has four wheels, which tend to be multidirectional, helping you not only have full control over your bag, but also allowing you to comfortably glide your luggage alongside of you as you maneuver through security to your gate. On the other hand, two-wheeled suitcases typically have wheels that are inside of the main compartment and required being tilted on their side to drag through the terminal.
Best Travel Bags At A Glance:
- Best Overall: Calpak Hue Luggage
- Best Checked Travel Bag: Béis Check-In Roller
- Best Carry-On Travel Bag: Away The Carry-On
- Best Backpack Travel Bag: Rains Waterproof Backpack
- Best Duffle Travel Bag: Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
- Best Laptop Travel Bag : Lo & Sons The Seville Aire Tote
- Best Purse Travel Bag: Longchamp Le Pliage Travel Bag
- Best Eco-Friendly Travel Bag: Paravel Aviator
- Best Soft Shell Travel Bag: Yeti Crossroad Luggage
- Best Travel Bag Set: Samsonite 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Budget-Friendly Travel Bag: Amazon Basics Spinner Suitcase
- Best Splurge-Worthy Travel Bag: Rimowa Cabin Suitcase
- Best Toiletry Travel Bag: Everlane The ReNew Catch-All Case
- Best Weekend Travel Bag: Baboon to the Moon Small Go-Bag
- Best Customizable Travel Bag: Roam the Jaunt
9 Best Travel Pants (Tested by Our Comfort-Obsessed Staff)
1. Calpak Hue Luggage
She’s sleek, she’s stylish and she has a little bit of everything: A TSA-approved lock that keeps your valuables safe in transit, multi-directional wheels for back-ache-free transportation, interior compartments for peak organization, a large front pocket to stow any essentials you need in close reach and a price tag that won’t make too big a dent on your checking account.
2. Béis Check-in Roller
Best Checked Travel Bag
You get to the airport, lift your suitcase onto the scale, stare in horror as the red numbers flash “58 lbs” and proceed to spend the next five minutes on the floor, suitcase open, stuffing as much as you can into a spare bag. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. So while this bag has all of your usual perks, the red light that turns on to indicate it's over the 50-pound weight limit makes this guy unbeatable as a checked suitcase.
3. Away The Carry-on
Best Hard Shell Suitcase
This is one of our tried-and-tested favorites. We love how protective its sleek styled shell is and it earns extra points for having a security lock for extra safety. Plus, it has a USB charging port so no more desperately searching for an outlet that’s close to your gate.
4. Rains Waterproof Backpack
Best Travel Backpack
This is made of durable, waterproof neoprene and has enough room to fit all your gadgets and gizmos. Bonus points for its hidden back pocket to help keep your valuables safe and secure.
5. Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
Best Duffle Travel Bag
Whether you’re taking this by bus, train or plane, this duffle’s expandable design offers ample room so you’ll have a spot for literally everything. Case in point: the pocket specifically made for holding your phone and interior compartments for storing water bottles, shoes and everything else in between.
6. Lo & Sons The Seville Aire Tote
Best Laptop Travel Bag
Cushioned padding protects the thing most precious to you: your laptop. Plus, the thoughtful pockets keep things organized while you're on the go—no more franticly digging through your bag for your AirPods for a Zoom you have to join in two minutes.
7. Longchamp Le Pliage Travel Bag
Best Purse Travel Bag
This cutie is going to keep you looking stylish whether you’re grabbing after-work drinks or jet-setting to Europe. It’s the ideal size if you’re searching for a style-savvy carry-on that can easily stow your laptop alongside other daily essentials and makes for a roomy tote even when you’re not using it for travel.
8. Paravel Aviator
Best Eco-Friendly Travel Bag
Looking to get your hands on a sustainably sourced option? This fashion-forward carry-on may be easy on the eyes, but it's entirely made up of recycled material—from the interior lining and exterior polycarbonate shell to the zippers.
9. Yeti Crossroad Luggage
Best Soft Shell Travel Bag
Yes, Yeti delivers some of the best on-the-go travel mugs, but did you know Yeti produces some stellar luggage, too? This one in particular is especially worth the investment, thanks to its durable hard-shell exterior, 70/30 split dividers for keeping all your things secure, packing cubes for added organization and front pocket for stashing all the things you need to keep within close reach.
10. Samsonite 3-piece Luggage Set
Best Travel Bag Set
Durable hard shell? Check. Spinner wheels? Check. Three different sizes? Also check. This set comes in three different sizes, with one carry-on and two checked size suitcases.
11. Amazon Basics Spinner Suitcase
Best Budget-Friendly Travel Bag
Luggage is notoriously expensive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t budget-friendly options out there to help you glob trot and save some money. Case in point: Amazon Basics’ travel bag line. This one in particular caught our eye, thanks to the durable hard shell, multiple packing compartments, TSA-approved lock and array of pretty colors.
12. Rimowa Cabin Suitcase
Best Splurge-Worthy Travel Bag
Before luggage brands started producing aluminum suitcases by the dozen, there was this one. The first of its kind, the Rimowa Cabin Suitcase’s iconic silver exterior is made from anodized aluminum and built with ball-bearing mounted wheels. Translation: this durable workhorse is going to last you for years to come.
BUY IT ($1,200)
13. Everlane The Renew Catch-all Case
Best Toiletry Travel Bag
Don’t be fooled, this toiletry bag might not be massive, but it can fit way more than you think. It’s got interior pockets to keep products nice and tidy, low maintenance fabric that’s easily cleaned and an expandable design that can handle being packed to the max with your skincare and beauty goodies.
14. Baboon To The Moon Small Go-bag
Best Weekend Bag
We love this guy for more reasons than we can list. Not only is it TSA-approved for carry-on size, but its water-proof shell has backpack straps, different sized handles, an over-the-shoulder strap, a lockable zipper, comes with four different pockets and easily stashes three-to-five day’s worth of your gear.
15. Roam The Jaunt
Best Customizable Travel Bag
If your goal is to avoid mixing up your suitcase with someone else's, having a personalized travel bag is where it’s at. From the option to monogram the exterior shell down to custom colors you can select from, you can personalize this puppy in a myriad of ways for luggage that matches your vibe perfectly.
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The 10 Best Luggage Pieces for International Travel
With everything else you’ve got to worry about, have peace of mind knowing your stuff is secure.
Thankfully, there's no shortage of durable and attractive pieces of luggage out there. We tested the best of the best to ensure that you won't get caught in a luggage letdown when you're already at the airport.
Our Top Picks
Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside Luggage with Spinners
Best Carry-On for Luggage for International Travel
Away the bigger carry-on suitcase.
Most Stylish Carry-On Suitcase for International Travel
Paravel aviator carry-on suitcase.
Béis Carry-On Roller Suitcase
Best Luggage Warranty for International Travel
Monos carry-on rolling suitcase.
July Carry-On Spinner Suitcase
Best Tote Bag for International Travel
Calpak luka large duffel with trolley sleeve.
Best Backpack for International Travel
Dagne dover dakota neoprene backpack.
Briggs & Riley Baseline-Deluxe Travel Tote Bag
While size guidelines vary based on airline, destination, and even frequent flyer status and seat location, a good rule of thumb to abide by is keeping your carry-on luggage less than a length of 22 inches (56 cm), width of 18 inches (45 cm) and depth of 10 inches (25 cm), according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) . These dimensions include wheels, handles, and side pockets. A standard domestic carry-on can typically be slightly longer, so you'll want to be prepared well before wheels up.
Check out our top picks for the best options at every price point and luggage type, from tote and duffle bags with trolley sleeves to rolling luggage and everything in between. Whether you're checking your bag or stowing it in the overhead bins, the best luggage for international travel will put your mind at ease as you prepare for takeoff.
When you're taking the whole family across international waters, you're going to need luggage that can store everything you need – with plenty of room for souvenirs, of course. That's where this sleek suitcase comes into play. It offers double-spinner wheels for easy maneuvering (a major bonus for clumsy kiddos who insist on toting their own bags!), a double-locking system with a TSA-approved lock, two large fully lined compartments with multiple pockets, an ergonomic handle, and the ability to expand an extra two inches to ensure no must-have gets left behind. What else could you need?
When it comes to a sturdy, solid suitcase that doesn't take up too much room, this Samsonite 20-inch carry-on checks the boxes. Scratch-resistant polycarbonate construction means it'll look brand-new for years to come, and side-mounted TSA-approved locks ensure your belongings are safe and secure. Multiple color options let you fly in style, and its lightweight design will take you from cab to plane to train, boat, car, and street with ease and flexibility.
Trust us: Any luggage from Away is an investment worthy of a spot in your travel essential arsenal. While it may seem a little pricey up front, our Away suitcases have never had any issues and last through city streets and long travel days for years.
Along with a 100-day trial period and free shipping, this impressive polycarbonate hard-shell suitcase is ideal for transporting all your necessities. It's also solid for staying organized on multi-destination itineraries, thanks to a water-resistant inner laundry bag and multiple storage compartments.
If you're looking for stylish travel bags for your fabulous holiday abroad, Paravel makes some of the best—from Oprah's favorite fold-up travel backpack to this super-chic rolling suitcase. Its Aviator carry-on suitcase comes in five gorgeous colorways and has an option for personalization. Plus, Paravel offers an impressive 10-year limited warranty.
Not sold yet? While the luggage is made from recycled materials, the brand also offsets the carbon emissions that are generated creating and shipping the bag to you.
It's been a few years since rolling suitcases first got a facelift thanks to modernizing brands like Away and Monos. Now the stylish travel brand Béis is in the mix, and we're loving everything from the tough but still sleek design to roomy interiors and organizational pockets.
Traveling in style has never been easier than with this beauty, which is designed for optimal comfort no matter where your journeys may take you. Included is a sturdy polycarbonate shell, comfy telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock, whisper-quiet wheels, and vegan leather detailing—and each carry-on is designed to fit inside the brand's larger check-in sizes, making storage simple and seamless. Did we mention that each luggage piece has a lifetime warranty?
Aside from the fact that it comes in a dozen bold, beautiful hues, the July carry-on makes for the ideal travel companion thanks to its minimalist look, manageable size, and impressive added features like a hidden TSA-approved lock, ejectable USB-C battery, and 20-height handle. For an added fee, you can customize your carry-on by adding your initials, making it a solid gift option for any jet-setter in your life.
Calpak's puffer tote bag perfectly stores an extra pair of shoes, your laptop or iPad, and other essentials, thanks to tons of interior and exterior pockets. It's made from a high-quality, lightweight, and scratch-resistant fabric. The icing on the cake? The luggage trolley sleeve that lets you rest it right on top of your rolling suitcase. Did we mention the super-quick shipping for last minute trips?
Thanks to a lightweight, waterproof-finish neoprene, you won't have to worry when toting your travel essentials internationally. Dagne Dover's backpacks are roomy enough to carry all your gear while tons of interior and exterior pockets keep you organized. Plus, you can use the handy trolley sleeve when you want to give your back a rest.
Briggs & Riley Baseline-Deluxe Travel Tote Bag
Along with being frequent-flyer- and flight-attendant-approved, this travel tote includes an inner toiletry kit for easy access, a roomy main compartment, and an interior pocket to hold everything you need readily available, including tickets, magazines, device chargers, and more. If your travels are taking you directly from boarding gate to the boardroom, you won't worry about this classic carry-on taking up too much space...just grab it, and you're good to go.
Sara Klausing covers all things fashion and style for Oprah Daily . Follow her on Instagram .
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The 6 Best Travel Purses of 2023
We found the best options for hauling around your essentials
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TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong
A travel purse is an important investment with many roles to fulfill: it must secure your belongings, make them accessible while going through airport security , and keep them organized while sightseeing. The best travel purses allow you to move through your journey hands-free while offering aesthetic versatility.
When choosing a travel purse, look for anti-theft features such as RFID-blocking technology and locking compartments. A bag worn across the body is inherently more secure than a shoulder pick, and thoughtful organization keeps your belongings accessible and away from would-be pickpockets.
Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or a worthy splurge for a lifetime investment, here are the best travel purses.
- What to Look For
Why Trust TripSavvy
Best overall: baggallini everywhere bagg, best overall, baggallini everywhere bagg with rfid.
Has anti-theft features
Easy to spot clean
No interior dividers
Travel purses help secure your items when you're abroad—without sacrificing style. A popular choice among female travelers, the Baggallini Everywhere Bagg is perfect for comfortably holding all your essentials. With thoughtfully designed pockets and sections, there's plenty of space for you to keep everything organized.
Some compartments feature RFID-blocking technology, so you can protect your personal information on credit cards, passports, and key cards and avoid identity theft. The travel purse features super lightweight, water-resistant nylon material, so your stuff will stay dry and protected in case of rain or spills. With cool colors and a stylish design, this bag works just as well for the office as it does for traveling abroad, so it's a great choice if you're looking for a very functional, multi-purpose bag.
According to our tester, the Everywhere Bagg feels substantial without being clunky. It can be worn on the shoulder or across the body and looks equally at home on your everyday commute as on your next international trip.
Price at time of publication: $100
Size: 9 x 11 x 5 inches | Weight: 15 ounces | Pockets: Internal and external | Care: Machine washable
Travelon anti-theft classic essential messenger bag.
Slim top opening
This versatile bag from Travelon has the security features you want in a travel purse but still excels in style and affordability. With an adjustable cut-proof strap and slash-proof construction, it conveniently works as a cross-body purse and a travel shoulder bag. It features organized, lockable compartments and a handy, removable LED flashlight. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this simple and classic bag, which comes in almost a dozen colors and patterns.
Our tester appreciated the sturdy construction of this bag, which is ideal for a travel item. The shoulder strap buckles open easily, allowing you to secure the bag to a luggage handle or stroller.
Price at time of publication: $55
Size: 9.75 x 10 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 12 ounces | Pockets: Internal and external | Care: Wipe clean
Travelon anti-theft classic mini shoulder bag.
Removable LED light
Slow access to security pockets
This mini shoulder bag is perfect if you're looking for a lightweight, stylish travel purse that will keep your valuables secure . With the roominess of a bigger bag, it features a main locking compartment and convenient front and rear pockets. The RFID-blocking card, passport slots, and slash-resistant body and shoulder strap will give you peace of mind that your valuables are protected. Our tester mentioned that while the back pocket doesn't have a locking zipper, it lays against the body and would be much more difficult for a pickpocket to access. With a low price and many fun colors to choose from, you may decide you want more than one.
Price at time of publication: $50
Size: 8.5 x 8.5 x 2 inches | Weight: 10.9 ounces | Pockets: Internal and external | Care: Wipe clean
Mumi x neat organizing clutch.
No crossbody strap
This multi-functional travel pouch keeps all your essentials secure and organized. Use it as a casual clutch with an included wristlet to stay streamlined while traveling, or toss it into a larger purse or travel bag. Made with vegan leather, the clutch features card slots, a money slot, and a removable, cleanable PVC pouch for travel toiletries. Add a monogram for a customized touch.
Price at time of publication: $79
Size: 9.8 x 11.4 inches | Weight: Not listed | Pockets: Internal and external | Care: Spot clean
Best Fanny Pack
Patagonia ultralight black hole mini hip pack.
Built-in key clip
Packs down into own pocket
Made of 100% recycled fabric
No RFID-blocking tech
Travel days can be long, and sometimes you just need the essentials close at hand. Enter Patagonia's Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack. From one of the industry leaders in sustainability and quality, this small pack is easy to wear thanks to an adjustable strap that extends from 8 to 36 inches. Its 1-liter capacity is divided between a main zippered compartment and a smaller security pocket, also zippered, with a built-in key clip. True to the brand, the weather-resistant nylon is light, tough, and made of recycled materials.
Price at time of publication: $49
Size: 8 x 4.75 x 2 inches | Weight: 3.5 ounces | Pockets: External | Care: Not listed
Fjallraven kanken mini classic backpack.
Can be worn multiple ways
Available in a variety of colors
No internal dividers
If you're already a fan of Fjallraven's iconic line of backpacks, you'll love this mini version, too. Borrowing the same design as its larger counterpart, this 7-liter backpack features a main zippered compartment, a front zippered pocket, two open side pockets, adjustable straps, and top handles for convenient carrying. The 100 percent Vinylon F material means the bag is water-resistant and easily wipes clean. Combining the functionality of a backpack with the portability of a travel purse, you truly get the best of both worlds with the Kanken Mini Backpack.
Price at time of publication: $80
Size: 11.4 x 7.9 x 5.1 inches | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Pockets: Internal and external | Care: Spot clean
What to Look for in a Travel Purse
Chances are, you’re getting a travel purse because you want the extra security features it offers when you’re on the go. So look for travel purses incorporating RFID-blocking technology so scammers can’t swipe your credit card details from afar and locking compartments to keep valuables where they belong.
Some bag types are inherently more secure than others. Shoulder bags, for example, can be a little easier to swipe because they’re so easy to yank off. On the other hand, messenger bags and crossbody bags are harder to remove and run with. They also keep your valuables closest to your body.
When it comes to travel purses, external compartments are handy for keeping items you need to access easily, like phones and car keys. However, these are also extremely easy for thieves to grab, especially if the pockets aren't secure. Think carefully about how you use your purse. If having external pockets makes you nervous, you can always throw your need-to-haves into a pouch in a deeper tote bag.
Always keep your passport in your purse while traveling; it should stay with you versus in any checked luggage out of your sight. The same goes for any essential medicines. Carry a portable charger for your key devices. Bring hand sanitizer and wipes for cleaning up when a proper sink isn’t available. Lip balm helps soothe lips dehydrated in flight. And if you’re flying internationally, bring a pen if you have customs forms to fill out before you land.
TSA’s current guidelines allow one liquid hand sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags until further notice. (All other liquids, gels, and aerosols brought to a checkpoint are still limited to 3.4 ounces.)
Each airline has its own specific requirements, so consult your carrier’s rules for your fare class. But generally speaking, yes: a purse, briefcase, or laptop case in typical sizes should all be considered personal items.
Christine Luff is a New Jersey-based freelance writer specializing in travel and health. She has held staff positions at Reader's Digest and Ladies' Home Journal and has written for numerous magazines, websites, newsletters, and books.
Transportation Security Administration. " Hand Sanitizers ." Accessed Dec. 15, 2022.
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The 11 Best Travel Purses of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Keep your belongings at your side with these T+L-approved travel purses.
Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Since living overseas in 2018, Anna has been a travel writer and began reviewing products in 2021.
In This Article
Jump to a Section
- Our top picks
- Other Purses We Liked
Our Testing Process
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Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington
Organization while traveling is key, so we recommend having one designated spot for storing travel essentials like a passport, money, and technology. While you can store these items in a bigger bag en route to your destination, a more portable bag like a purse, mini backpack, or sling bag may be a better option.
We consulted our Travel + Leisure staff as well as other industry experts across our team to get recommendations for travel purses that are tried and true by frequent fliers. We received submissions from over 30 seasoned travelers for bags they've used anywhere from six months to over four years all around the globe. We selected 11 purses that received the highest praise and broke down why we think you’ll love them, too.
Lo & sons o.g. 2.
Lo & Sons
- Capacity 5 /5
- Portability 5 /5
- Ease of Use 5 /5
The large purse has a pocket for every travel essential you could ever need to pack.
It can get heavy when it’s packed full.
Lo & Sons makes some of our favorite travel bags, so it’s no surprise that this one came highly recommended for its spacious capacity and superior organizational features. The large shoulder bag comes with a padded laptop pocket that can store and protect devices up to 13 inches long, or you can place a laptop up to 16 inches in the main compartment, but it won’t be in the padded section.
For any other travel essentials, this bag has you covered with plenty of small pockets in the main section of the bag for phone chargers and snacks, and there’s a water bottle pocket to stay hydrated on the go. The front zippered pocket has smaller pockets inside to store grab-and-go items like a phone, wallet, and passport. Best of all, the bag has a discrete side pocket for a pair of shoes when you're using it as an overnight bag. And, of course, the more you pack the nylon bag, the heavier it will get, but it does have a trolley sleeve for securing it to a suitcase if it feels cumbersome to carry.
Price at time of publish: $378
The Details: 16.5 x 13.75 x 6.75 inches | Nylon, Nappa leather | Water resistant | 13-inch laptop pocket
Best Overall, Runner-up
Cheruty women's backpack purse.
The stylish backpack has a modular design so you can carry it three ways.
The anti-theft design makes it less convenient to grab items.
Versatility is key with a travel purse, so we love that this backpack purse can be carried in multiple ways. While the purse is designed for use as a backpack with the built-in backpack straps, it also has a top handle and removable crossbody strap to convert the style as desired. Our favorite part of the backpack is the anti-theft design featuring a main compartment that is only accessible from the back zipper. There is a front zippered pocket to store small items like lip balm or a phone charger and the interior has four zippered and slip pockets for staying organized. The anti-theft design makes it a little less convenient to grab items quickly, but it offers peace of mind in crowded spaces since it’s much more difficult for pickpocketing to occur. This bag also earned praise for being effortlessly stylish thanks to the sleek faux leather look over two dozen color options.
Price at time of publish: From $35
The Details: 12.6 x 5.9 x 12.6 inches | PU leather | Convertible | 9.7-inch laptop pocket
Travel + Leisure / Tamara Staples
Quince Revive Nylon Large Tote
The nylon material is super lightweight and easy to wipe-clean on the go.
It doesn’t have a top zipper.
Looking for a purse that’s easy to pack? Quince’s nylon tote bag is impressively lightweight whether you’re toting it around while sightseeing or packing it away in a bigger suitcase. While we love a leather bag, nylon material can be a safer option for travel since it’s easy to spot-clean with some soap and water on the go, and is typically lighter so it won’t weigh down your shoulder when packed full of the essentials. This tote’s interior has designated pockets for a laptop and water bottle, and various slip and zippered pockets to organize smaller items. For security reasons, it would be nice if the bag had a zip-top instead of a magnetic closure, but the slim design of the bag makes it easy to keep it close to you while traveling. The tote also has two exterior slip pockets and it comes in Oxford blue, olive, and black color options.
Price at time of publish: $90
The Details: 17 x 13 x 7 inches | Recycled nylon | Water resistant | 15-inch laptop pocket
Best Shoulder Bag
Uniqlo round mini shoulder bag.
- Capacity 2 /5
The nylon bag is easy to compress and pack down for excellent portability.
It’s not big enough to store tablets or laptops.
Crescent bags are a bit more stylish than a traditional fanny pack, but the style offers similar security to a sling bag that rests on the upper body. The simplicity of this Uniqlo shoulder bag makes it an excellent choice for travelers in search of a packable bag to store the essentials. It’s big enough to carry a phone, wallet, passport, or other smaller items, but it isn’t large enough to hold laptops or tablets. If you need to consolidate your personal belongings before getting on an airplane, this nylon bag compresses down and can be folded up to seamlessly fit in a backpack or carry-on. The water-resistant bag is also machine washable and comes in seven earthy colors. And, the purse is the most affordable option on this list if you can’t choose just one color.
Price at time of publish: $20
The Details: 11 x 7 x 3.9 inches | Nylon | Water resistant
Travel + Leisure / Abigail Moore
Best Fanny Pack
Dagne dover ace fanny pack.
- Quality 5 /5
- Capacity 4 /5
The spacious fanny pack is made with durable and waterproof neoprene fabric.
Dirt and dust are easily attracted to the fabric.
If you’re traveling somewhere damp or rainy, you’ll want a purse made of waterproof materials to protect your belongings. This Dagne Dover fanny pack is made with the brand’s signature neoprene material that wards off inclement weather and rough handling thanks to the thick cushion of the fabric. While we love the protective material, it is prone to catching dust and dirt, but it can be easily spot-cleaned so it isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. The interior is big enough to fit phones, wallets, eReaders, and sunglasses with plenty of room to spare, but it isn’t so large that it feels bulky to wear. The nylon strap can be adjusted to wear the fanny pack comfortably around the waist and shoulder or as a crossbody sling bag, which is ideal for versatility while traveling or running errands. There are several slip pockets and a zippered one in the front to store and organize small items and the fanny pack comes in six color options.
Price at time of publish: $95
The Details: 9.25 x 5.5 x 2.75 inches | Neoprene | Water resistant
Travel + Leisure / Anna Popp
Baggallini everywhere bagg.
The lightweight materials and adjustable crossbody strap offer all-day comfort.
The interior could benefit from a divider to separate the spacious compartment.
The Baggallini Everywhere Bag is travel expert-endorsed largely due to the fact that it offers superior comfort compared to other crossbody bags on the market. The entire bag and strap are made of a lightweight nylon fabric that won’t rub or dig when it’s being worn across the body or as a shoulder bag. Large enough to fit an iPad or tablet, the purse has an impressive capacity for storing everything from the bare necessities like a wallet and keys to tech gadgets for air travel. The medium-size purse is chock full of pockets on the inside and outside, and there’s even a discrete side pocket for easy access to phones or wallets. The main compartment has a pocket for tablets and a few small slip pockets, but we wish there was a divider or more pockets to prevent items from getting lost in the bottom of the bag. We also love that there is a trolley sleeve in the back and the bag comes with an RFID-blocking removable wristlet as a thoughtful touch.
Price at time of publish: $83
The Details: 11 x 9 x 5 inches | Nylon | Water resistant
Radley london sundown avenue weave medium flapover clutch.
- Capacity 3 /5
- Comfort 5 /5
The compact purse can be worn as a crossbody bag or carried as a clutch.
The chain strap is not adjustable.
For travel looks that require a chic purse to complete the outfit, we recommend this convertible clutch from Radley London. It’s made with high-quality genuine leather with a woven design and elegant gold hardware that gives the purse a truly elevated design. And for the best part: it comes with a removable chain to style the purse as a crossbody or carry it as a clutch for upscale events like weddings or fancy dinners. The chain strap is effortlessly chic, but we wish it was adjustable or slightly longer since the shorter chain is a bit awkward to use with the bag. The size is small enough to fit in a backpack or suitcase, and the magnetic-closing bag can fit various small items like lipstick, credit cards, and a phone.
Price at time of publish: $248
The Details: 11 x 6 x 4 inches | Leather | Detachable chain strap
Longchamp le pliage original backpack.
The backpack can fold up to a fraction of its original size.
It doesn’t offer any pockets for organization.
If you don’t want your travel purse to count as a personal item or carry-on for flying, Longchamp’s packable mini backpack is a game-changer for saving space. While the bag is already smaller in size, it can fold up with the help of built-in snap-closures to compress the backpack into a small rectangle that packs flat. The bag can then be placed into a large piece of luggage for travel and unfolded to create the perfect purse for a day of sightseeing. It can hold bulkier items like a tablet, camera, water bottle, and wallet without feeling heavy or weighed down. One thing to note is that the bag doesn’t offer organizational features like pockets, so you may want to use a small pouch to organize smaller items. The recycled polyamide canvas backpack looks elegant and it comes in seven color options, but if backpacks aren’t your preferred way of carrying items, the brand also carries a similar packable Le Pliage Original Tote Bag that came highly recommended by T+L travel experts, too.
Price at time of publish: $140
The Details: 11 x 10.2 x 3.9 inches | Recycled polyamide canvas
Best Machine Washable
Baggu medium nylon crescent bag.
- Value 4.8 /5
You can toss this nylon bag in a washing machine after a trip for hassle-free upkeep.
Consider air-drying the bag to prevent pilling or shrinkage.
Traveling can speed up the typical wear and tear on a purse, especially for frequent fliers, so this machine-washable bag from Baggu makes it easy to breathe new life into it after trips. Baggu bags are notorious for being easy to pack and this larger crescent purse is no exception thanks to the flexible nylon material that can easily be compressed and folded. The medium size is surprisingly spacious with a large main section for water bottles, tablets, snacks, and wallets, and two slip pockets for lip balm and keys. Plus, the nylon strap is adjustable for the most comfortable fit whether the bag is packed to the brim or with just a few items. Since all travelers have different styles, we love that the bag comes in various solid colors and bold prints to please everyone. While the bag is machine washable, we recommend hanging it up to air dry to prevent any shrinking or damage from a dryer.
Price at time of publish: $52
The Details: 13.75 x 8 x 4 inches | Recycled heavyweight nylon
Longchamp Le Pliage Filet L Mesh Bag
The material has plenty of stretch so it can hold bigger items like beach towels and jackets.
You’ll want to store keys and lip balm in a separate pouch since smaller items can fall through the mesh.
Whether vacationing somewhere tropical or swinging by the farmer’s market, this Longchamp mesh bag is a must-pack. Compact and easy to store in a bigger purse, the bag turns into a Mary Poppins bag once you begin packing it. From jean jackets to beach towels, the cotton mesh material has the slightest bit of stretch to hold bulkier items without anything falling through the perforated design. It can also store fruit, veggies, and flowers if you come across an unexpected farmer’s market while traveling. For smaller items, we recommend using a smaller pouch to keep keys, lip balm, and other skinny items safeguarded from the netting. Depending on your personal style, the bag comes in six color options featuring neutrals like white and brown or bolder colors like pink and green.
Price at time of publish: $110
The Details: 15 x 12.2 inches | Cotton, gold hardware
Best for Laptops
John fluevog shoes nashua laptop bag.
John Fluevog Shoes
- Value 4.5 /5
This compact laptop bag comes with tote handles and a crossbody strap that offers both a comfortable and convertible design.
Larger laptops might be a tighter fit.
This recommended John Fluvog leather laptop purse offers protection for your technology while traveling. It’s basically a laptop case with straps to carry it as a crossbody or tote bag, so we love that it’s specifically designed for computers. The removable crossbody strap is made with the same soft leather material and it boasts two little pockets to store small items like lip balm or earbuds that are easy to access from the strap. The interior has a designated slip pocket that can store laptops up to 15 inches long, but anything bigger might be a tight squeeze or not fit at all. Aside from a laptop, travelers can store small water bottles, snacks, notebooks, headphones, or any other essentials in the spacious main compartment. There is a front zippered pocket to conveniently access boarding passes or a phone while traveling. With several color and texture options, shoppers have the choice between black and blue color options made with soft pebbled leather and a brown color made with sleek smooth leather.
Price at time of publish: $200
The Details: 15 x 11.25 x 2.25 inches | Pebbled leather
Other Travel Purses We Liked
Several travel purses still came highly recommended, but didn’t have as much praise compared to our winner’s list.
Madewell The Transport Saddlebag : The crossbody bag has lots of space to hold travel essentials, but the leather strap isn’t the most comfortable for long periods of time.
Senreve Midi Maestra Bag : We love that the modular design makes it easy to carry the bag in three different ways, but the medium size is a bit awkward for travel since it’s too small to hold a laptop and too bulky to pack in a suitcase.
With recommendations from T+L editors and other trusted travel experts on our team, we compiled this of tried-and-true travel purses. While we accepted all submissions, we narrowed the list down to 11 options that stood out for quality, capacity, and portability. Each bag recommended has been used for at least six months (some have been tested for over four years) and has traveled all around the world with us on various trip types.
Tips for Buying a Travel Purse
Know your storage and organization needs.
Whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist packer, there’s a travel purse out there to fit your needs. For travelers in need of extra space for larger wallets or laptops, we recommend a tote bag or medium-size backpack that often have designated pockets for items of different sizes. Crossbody, sling, and shoulder bags are best for storing just the essentials like phones, credit cards, earbuds, or a small wallet.
Comfort while traveling is essential, so if you know you’re an over-packer, opt for a backpack or purse with thick, padded straps to help distribute the weight and provide cushioning. In general, you want to look for bags that don't have thin straps (often crossbody bags) since this can often cause discomfort or rubbing.
Think about anti-theft protection
Pickpocketing is a very real threat when traveling and the best way to avoid it is by making sure all of your valuables aren’t easily accessible. Anti-theft protection in travel purses can vary, but the common traits include discrete pockets in the back or interior of the purse, lockable zippers, and cut-resistant fabric.
A personal item is anything (allowed on an airplane, of course) that can fit underneath the seat. That means that purses, backpacks, totes, shopping bags, or laptop cases can count as your allotted personal item. If the airline is strict about personal items, you can always stick your purse inside of a backpack or carry-on to consolidate the number of items.
It depends on the material the purse is made out of and the type of fabric lining. In general, purses should come with manufacturing cleaning instructions, but if not, you can always opt for some soap and water to gently spot clean until you can get the bag professionally cleaned or into a washing machine if allowed.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
T+L commerce writer, Anna Popp , writes nearly all of the team’s Travel + Leisure Tested articles and participates in product testing from luggage and shoes to outdoor gear and apparel. Anna sifted through testing notes from dozens of bag submissions and pulled from her knowledge of travel accessories to recommend the best travel purses.
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13 Best Travel Purses That’ll Make Your Trip a Breeze
Zippers, pockets, and storage included!
Now onto the fun part: Finding the perfect travel purse! But not just any old handbag—we're talking the best of the best because there's literally nothing more annoying than a bulky purse that keeps getting in the way when you're hauling heavy luggage or rushing through airport security. The purses, sling crossbodies, totes, and shoulder bags on this list feature all the bells and whistles—including spacious compartments, durable interior lining, exterior pockets (ideal for phone, ID, or wallet storage!), zippers, and even key leashes—to make sure that doesn't happen. Maximum storage and convenience coming right up!
Whether y0u're in the market for a new functional handbag or just want to celebrate the fact that you might finally (!!) get to go on a vacation, here are the 13 best travel purses to buy now.
Lattelier Gracile Box Bag
Classic clean lines, sturdy gold hardware, and an adjustable shoulder strap that's made to last—not even airport security chaos could ruin this leather purse.
Vavvoune Riya Shoulder Bag
This travel purse—which features a flap snap closure and a cotton twill-lined interior pocket—is thin and sleek. And how cool is the asymmetrical silhouette?!
Everlane The Studio Bag
If having a travel purse that can fit your laptop is a non-negotiable for you, try this light taupe leather stunner that reviewers say "sits nicely against the body."
Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag
Dagne Dover bags are just so damn clever, and this crossbody is no exception. With two interior air mesh pockets, an exterior pocket for your ID or phone, a detachable key leash, a zippered interior, and more, the Landon Carryall is basically a mini duffle bag.
Fossil Harper Flap Crossbody
Crafted from Litehide (leather that has undergone raw materials processing to reduce water consumption, wastewater pollution, CO2 emissions, and waste), this stylish yet simple eco-friendly purse will match your luggage and your airport fit.
Cuyana Double Loop Bag
If you're constantly digging for your phone, wallet, or passport while traveling, this sexy suede bag is going to be your new best friend. It has a back slip pocket and two exterior side pockets for maximum convenience.
Coach Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag
She practically broke the internet last year, and for good reason! The Coach Pillow Tabby is crafted from ultra-soft leather, and reviewers love that the "strong magnet closure" makes that "reassuring snap [sound] every time."
Mango Mini shopper bag
This under $20 option ( hello , what a steal!) has a double strap, as well as a long adjustable strap and a magnetic metallic fastening.
Longchamp Le Pliage Green Small Top Handle Bag
If you often find yourself jamming a bunch of crap into your carry-on (no shame in the over-packing game!), you'll love this lightweight yet spacious tote bag. It has a snap and a top zip closure, so you can fill it to the brim without worrying that something will fall out.
Beis The Survival Sling
So! Many! Pockets! Plus durable nylon, a removable waist strap, a shoulder strap, and a key clip.
Cise Lynda Backpack
Finally! A functional and durable backpack that's actually cute. This one has a front pocket, a high-quality snap closure, and plenty of room inside.
Lattelier Cut-out Crossbody
Came for the color; Stayed for the top zip closer....and the simple silhouette, and the detachable shoulder strap, annnnnd the roomy interior.
Monos Metro Sling
Not only does it have a zippered main compartment, an interior zip pocket, and three sleeve pockets, this crossbody also touts anti-bacterial interior lining fabric (made from recycled plastic bottles!). And in these Covid times , that lil feature is pretty freaking epic.
Hanna Flanagan is an associate shopping editor at Cosmopolitan, sharing her recommendations for everything from denim and eye creams to coffee mugs and silk sheets. Before joining Cosmopolitan , she wrote fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content at People (so, yes, she’s basically a professional product tester at this point). Follow her on Instagram for photos of Timothée Chalamet and #OOTD mirror pics.
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The 15 Best Daypacks for Traveling Abroad in 2023 [Detailed Guide]
Senior Content Contributor
Countries Visited: 63 U.S. States Visited: 9
Countries Visited: 41 U.S. States Visited: 28
Why Buy a Daypack for International Travel?
Size and capacity, material and durability, straps and handles, compartments, water resistance, hydration compatible, 1. best for travelers on a budget, 2. a stable, secure, and sizable daypack for hiking, 3. stow and go with this foldable daypack, 4. best for bikers, hikers, and those on the go, 5. great daypack for tech-heavy travelers, 6. big brand quality for an affordable price, 7. quality daypack complete with built-in hydration, 8. one of the best for the fashion-conscious traveler, 9. a big backpack with additional safety features, 10. iconic backpack with award-winning design features, 11. light on both your back and your wallet, 12. slim, sophisticated, and great for digital nomads, 13. an anti-theft backpack with impressive all-around capabilities, 14. lightweight backpack with added storage, 15. an expandable backpack that will last, final thoughts.
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Daypacks are lightweight, easy to carry, and perfectly designed for taking the essentials you need with you for a day out while traveling. From sleek and minimal single backpacks to perfectly primed cabin bags with lots of compartments and zippers, the most successful daypacks are a fantastic example of form and function at their finest.
Rucksacks, suitcases , and cabin bags are all excellent vessels for carrying your gear, but when it comes to day trips, excursions, and even urban adventures, you don’t need big heavy baggage weighing you down.
Usually offering somewhere between 10- to 30-liter capacities, daypacks do not usually have an internal frame to support them, making them perfect for slinging in your things and going. Designed to carry lightweight loads, they also often feature a range of zippered compartments to keep your essentials safe.
Different daypacks are designed for different days out, and what you buy will depend on your travel style .
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you working while you travel, and will you need a compartment for your laptop ?
- Will you be using it for hikes and need a hydration pack, too?
- Will this be your cabin bag or just something you fold in your main luggage and use on arrival?
- Are you looking for something budget or a statement piece to compliment your style?
There is a daypack to suit every need. Some are made to cater to the outdoor enthusiast and can be carried on your back while you bike, hike, or climb your way to your destination. At the same time, others are compact and convenient enough to be used for a day trip, an afternoon at the shops, or even just for day-to-day commuting.
Whatever your own personal preference, be aware that a travel daypack works best when it is completely commutable. Soft, light, and easy to fold away when not in use means you can throw it in your luggage for use on arrival. Weatherproof, wipeable options will stay dry and clean until you get back home.
Things To Consider With Daypacks for Travel
The perfect daypack will be big enough to carry everything you need on a day out, but not so big that it gets in the way or holds you back from bigger adventures. It should be able to sit comfortably on your shoulders and not hang down too far or prevent you from sitting.
Daypacks that offer a compact capacity of 10 liters or less are just right for holding the most basic essentials, such as keys, money, and snacks, but might be too small for days out while traveling.
Those that offer a more generous capacity of up to 25 liters are better for keeping your extra clothing, food, water bottle , and other essentials close at hand.
You will want to invest in a daypack that is made of highly durable material, as there is nothing worse than a daypack that falls apart out on the open road. Ripstop nylon is tough but lightweight, as is ballistic nylon , while CORDURA-branded materials are also popular and practical.
The daypack should also feature YKK-grade zippers to keep the contents secure and strong nylon straps to hold your belongings safely on your back without the risk of breaking.
Hot Tip: Always look for a material that offers some protection against the elements and has been coated to offer some water resistance. They will also be easy to clean, too.
While wearing your belongings on your back is incredibly practical, it needs to remain a comfortable option, too. In order to prevent pain on your shoulders, neck, and the top of your back, daypack straps should be padded.
EVA foam is often found in the shoulder straps of the modern-day backpack — this high-density foam offers excellent levels of comfort and prevents chafing, rubbing, and skin damage on many of the most popular and best daypacks on the market today.
Enjoy greater flexibility with additional carrying options on your next daypack. Handles on the top and the side will allow you to carry it like a regular tote bag and will make it super easy to use when it is not on your shoulders.
You can also look for a daypack that offers additional straps to be used when you are wearing it. Sternum straps, chest straps, and other fixings keep the pack secure . These types of backpacks are perfect for high-octane outdoor pursuits, as well as offering an additional level of security in urban settings and on public transport.
Most daypacks offer a single large compartment for holding the majority of your gear and a selection of smaller ones for keeping individual items safe and well-organized.
When you are traveling, you will want to ensure that you can quickly reach your passport, wallet , cell, and other necessities, so keeping your backpack well-organized is essential.
Bottom Line: Laptop pockets should offer additional padding to protect your device, and anti-theft or hidden, theft-proof pockets are useful for keeping your money, passport, and other essentials safe on the go.
If you are keen to keep your gear safe, there are numerous built-in safety features that you can find in a daypack. These could include pockets lined with RFID-blocking material to keep your credit cards safe, lockable zips, no front access pockets, and reflective strips to ensure maximum visibility.
You’ll also want to consider an internal compartment for laptops and tablets.
Some of the very best daypacks are made from materials that offer some degree of water resistance. Made with a DWR coating that allows the water to roll off the daypack, you can be sure that your belongings will remain dry when the weather is damp or wet around you. These types of fabric can also be useful in exceptionally humid conditions.
Hot Tip: Note that water resistance does not mean waterproof. If your daypack is completely submerged in water, it may not be able to protect your belongings. If you’re going to get really wet you might want to consider a waterproof backpack instead.
Some backpacks come complete with a built-in hydration system. These types of bags will provide you with liquids on the go and are especially well-suited to explorers heading off the beaten path or those looking to enjoy some serious outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, and climbing.
Hydration compatible backpacks include a plastic or rubber “bladder” that can be filled with liquid. When the need arises, simply bite down on the valve and the water can be sucked from the pack to your mouth, keeping you cool and hydrated.
The 15 Best Daypacks for International Travel
There is a whole world of daypacks out there for commuters, urban explorers, and outdoor adventurers to enjoy. Here are some of the best daypacks for international travel.
Amazon Basics Laptop Computer Backpack
The Amazon Basics range provides good quality luggage at affordable prices, and this laptop backpack is one of its best offerings. Good-size dimensions and a multi-compartment interior make this an excellent choice for travelers on a budget.
The padded sleeve offers protection for laptops measuring up to 17 inches , and it can also be used for keeping tablets safe. There are additional compartments designed to hold pens, keys, and even your cell phone, as well as zippered compartments that will keep your valuable essentials safe on the go.
Mesh water bottle holders can be found at the sides, and there is a quick access space for items you need to reach quickly.
Designed with comfort in mind, this backpack has adjustable, heavily padded shoulder straps to help you find the very best position to carry your gear with you. The material is water-resistant to protect against inclement weather and is also easy to wipe clean when you need to.
Much more than just a daypack, this is a workhorse that can be used as a diaper bag , an overnight bag, a school bag, a commuter bag, and so much more. Good looks, practical design, and a very affordable price tag make this an excellent choice for all kinds of travelers.
What We Like
- Padded compartment for a 17-inch laptop
What We Don’t Like
- No waterproof protection
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack
Another of the world’s most popular lightweight backpacks, the Osprey Talon offers tons of exceptional features, including customizable fitting, superior comfort, and incredible versatility. Especially popular with the hiking community , this backpack comes complete with a BioStretch harness and continuous wrap hip belt to create an incredibly stable carry system.
For your ongoing comfort, the AirScape back panel will keep you cool on hot days, and the Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachment and LidLock helmet attachment are useful for those who like to get out there by foot or by bike.
The simple design offers a large main compartment as well as 2 zippered hip belt pockets, dual stretch mesh side pockets, and even an ice tool loop with bungee tie-offs, making it great for ski trips and other winter activities.
There is a female-specific version, too. The Tempest 20 offers all the same great style and quality but with a smaller torso size that makes it both practical and comfortable on the go.
- Side mesh pockets to stash small items
- The hip belt is quite small
Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Travel Hiking Backpack
This versatile and incredibly durable backpack is surprisingly spacious on the inside while remaining simple and chic on the outside. Made from superstrong nylon fabric, it is also well-protected against the elements with a good degree of waterproofing, meaning that your valuables will stay safe and dry no matter what the weather throws at you.
The roomy main compartment offers enough space to keep all of your belongings well-organized en route, and the top-loading zipper makes for easy access. There are also a further 2 front zipper pockets that are perfect for holding small accessories, 1 internal zippered security pocket for valuable items, and 2 side pockets for your water bottles or even your umbrella.
For your peace of mind and added security, the zippered pockets are all lockable.
Incredibly lightweight, even when fully loaded, this brilliant little backpack also folds up when not in use, making it easy to stow in your suitcase when you are not using it. With adjustable, mesh shoulder straps, the Outlander is comfortable to carry all day long, and the stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity.
Available in a wide range of colors, and easy to carry in its very own pocket, this is a delightful little daypack that is more than capable of performing just as well as some of the more expensive backpacks from big brand names.
- Folds up neatly when not in use
- Material is incredibly thin
TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack
This popular backpack made by a well-established leader in leisure luggage is sure to impress hikers, bikers, and adventurers of all kinds. Offering a very acceptable 18 liters of storage space, the very best feature of this little backpack is the integrated 2-liter water bladder, keeping you hydrated on every adventure.
FDA-compliant and BPA-free, the 2-liter bladder also comes with a kink-free sip tube and an easy-to-use push-lock cushioned bite valve, making it perfect for adventurous types. There is even a small opening for ice, helping you to stay supercool and nicely hydrated in the great outdoors.
Made from high-quality materials, this backpack offers a fully customizable fit that suits all frames, and the foam stabilizer with mesh coverings will help to keep the backpack comfier for longer.
When it comes to keeping your gear safe and sound, the spacious main compartment has plenty of room for larger items, while the 3 further zipped pockets will keep smaller items protected.
There are also 2 mesh pockets for drinks and snacks, a bungee cord system for your bike helmet, a butterfly opening for jackets, and an integrated rain cover to keep your stuff dry. This is a daypack that offers premium features on a budget.
- Lots of pockets to stay organized
- Bladder screw top can sometimes leak
KROSER Laptop Backpack
Sleek and full of techie extras, this beautiful backpack is functional, practical, and perfectly formed for day-to-day use and further travels. The leather and nylon exterior looks super plush, while on the inside, there is plenty of room to hold everything you will need. The material is also water-repellent to help keep your valuables safe and dry.
Perfect for those who like to stay connected, this backpack comes with a built-in USB port that will help you to charge your phone conveniently ( power bank not included), and the padded foam compartment will keep your laptop well-protected.
The main compartment is large enough to carry a laptop measuring up to 17 inches comfortably, and there is plenty of additional space for your camera, headphones, tablet, or other travel essentials.
There is a selection of further pockets for credit cards, wallets, and passports, as well as a zippered front pocket for easy access and 2 side pockets to hold your water bottles. Designed with practicality in mind, this backpack has some other useful features, including a luggage strap that slips over your suitcase handle, a glasses hook on the side handle, and a top handle for carrying when necessary.
The breathable mesh back and padded shoulder straps help keep you sweat-free and fully comfortable while you carry it, and the sleek design is just right for the fashion-conscious traveler.
- Has a built-in USB port for easy charging
- Might be too big for smaller people
The North Face Borealis Men’s Backpack
As perfect for the urban hiker as it is for the outdoor adventurer, this compact backpack from one of the biggest brands in the market is a firm favorite with travelers, commuters, and students alike. It makes a great daypack for city travel.
The patented FlexVent suspension system makes it super comfortable to carry on your shoulders , and the back paneling keeps the bag supported at all times.
Be ready for anything with 2 decent-sized compartments that can house all of your essentials. The laptop sleeve is well-padded and will keep your tech truly safe on the go, and the second, fleece-lined compartment makes light work of looking after your camera, tablet, cell phone, and anything else you can think of.
Because The North Face really knows what you want from a daypack, it has also included a selection of smaller, zippered pockets, both inside and outside the main compartments. There is also a bungee strap system for storing easy-to-reach items and clever little drinks holders on each side.
The breathable padding on the back helps keep you sweat-free for longer, and the adjustable shoulder and sternum straps will help you to find the most comfortable position to suit your frame — a brilliant backpack, from one of the biggest and the best.
- Available in a variety of colors
- No padding on the hip belt
- Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack
As you would expect from the luggage giants at Osprey , the Daylite Plus Daypack really is one of the best of the bunch. Made from heavy-duty 210D nylon oxford and weighing a tiny 1.2 pounds, this versatile daypack can be used in town, in the air, and just about anywhere else you want to take it.
Designed with everyday adventurers in mind, this backpack comes with a hydration bladder sleeve just behind the back panel, and there is a hip belt for extra stability if you are hiking or biking your way across the country.
With a large panel-loading main compartment, there is plenty of room to take your essentials with you. If you really need to, you could even stash your laptop in there, too. With a further selection of side mesh pockets, a front pocket with a mesh organizer, and a key clip, this bag offers a lot of practical storage space.
Lightweight, durable, and incredibly comfortable to carry , the Daylite Plus is also one of the best-looking backpacks in the Osprey range. It can be used on its own or attached to some of the larger Osprey bags, including the Sojourn and Farpoint backpacks, offering even more flexibility for dedicated travelers.
- Breathable mesh back panel
- No top handle to grab quickly
The North Face Jester Backpack
As popular with city slickers and urban commuters as it is with outdoor explorers, the Jester Backpack is a sleek and sturdy budget-friendly daypack that performs well in any environment.
Made from superstrong polyester and available in a wide range of colors, this backpack will shake off some heavy rain but is not entirely waterproof. Its simple design makes it lightweight to carry, and the adjustable padded shoulder straps and FlexVent support on the back panel keep you feeling fresh.
A large main compartment offers subtle padding and a thin layer of protection to laptops, while the secondary zippered compartment is fleece-lined and handy for holding all your travel essentials close at hand. There is also an external bungee storage system.
Good looking and with a cool name tag, this backpack works well for outdoor adventures, but can also cope admirably with the daily gym workout, after-work hike, or commute . An entry-level North Face backpack, this little beauty offers plenty of simple, usable storage space when you need it most.
- Front bungee cord for external storage
- Doesn’t stand up on its own
Thule Crossover 30L Laptop Backpack
A true all-rounder, this chunky but funky laptop bag from Thule bridges the gap between the needs of everyday commuters and weekend explorers. Packed full of Swedish style and practicality, you can be sure to find lots of compartments and storage slots, while padded straps and water-resistant fabric comes as standard.
The larger of the main compartments is designed to hold up to a 15.6-inch laptop and a tablet in the integrated, padded laptop compartment. The Crushproof SafeZone will also keep your phone and sunglasses safe from damage.
Designed with active wearers in mind, the padded and adjustable shoulder straps are extremely comfortable to carry, and the mesh covering and padded back panel helps air to breathe around you, keeping you cool no matter how active you get.
The water-resistant fabric and zippers will keep your belongings dry, whatever the weather throws at you, and the gusseted side pockets are perfect for keeping a water bottle or umbrella close at hand.
There are lots of other useful features, including an organization compartment to keep cords and accessories safely tucked away and a discrete slip pocket on the side. This is an excellent example of a backpack that has thought of everything.
- Has a protected top pocket for your sunglasses or other fragile items
- Zippers can be noisey
Peak Design Everyday Backpack
This legendary backpack has a huge following and a heavy price tag but ticks a lot of boxes for commuters and adventurers alike. The award-winning design comes from a small company that started life making camera bags, and its continued desire to make the ultimate carry bags is what makes this one of the very best backpacks out there.
The MagLatch lid has a magnetic clasp that closes over the top and onto the front of the bag, making it supersafe yet easy to access. At the same time, the modular straps can be attached or removed as necessary, meaning you can carry it however you want to.
This backpack offers an incredibly cool organization system that includes Flex Fold dividers that can turn the main compartment into any shape you need to keep your camera kit or other stuff free from movement. There is also a tech pocket in the bag big enough to hold a 15-inch laptop, a selection of side panel pockets, water bottle holders, and even hidden pouches for extra security.
This backpack is as comfortable to carry as it is easy to use, and the padded shoulders straps with pivoting joints move with you to keep your carry position on-point.
Made from a 400D nylon-canvas blend with a double DWR coating, this backpack is weatherproof enough to keep your gear dry, and the zippers all feature aqua-guards to ensure the safety of your belongings.
An investment piece, for sure, this incredible daypack is worth its hefty price tag and is bound to impress anyone who appreciates great design and superior quality.
- Gear can be accessed from the top or side openings
- The interior dividers could be better
Gonex 20L Ultralight Packable Backpack Handy Small Daypack
Foldable, storable, and incredibly usable, this lightweight backpack is roomy yet affordable and perfect for lots of different uses. In addition to a good-sized main compartment, there are also nylon mesh pockets on the 2 sides for storing your water bottles, an inner zip pocket for storing small items, and a large front pocket for keeping your most important items close at hand.
Made from good quality, rip- and water-resistant nylon fabric, this backpack feels light as a feather , but is built and designed to last. It also comes with a durable 2-way abrasion-resistant SBS metal zipper to keep your items safe and to remain rust-free and smooth running.
Large enough to carry magazines, books, or your iPad, this backpack folds up small enough to be kept in your purse or carry-on for use as and when you need it. This is a handy little backpack that can be used for day trips, vacations, hikes, camping, and even a trip to the shops.
- Water-resistant with a quick-drying exterior
- The zippers can get caught on the material
Thule Lithos Backpack
With its slim profile and clever design features, the Lithos is as practical on the subway as it is on a mountain peak. Nice-looking, good quality, and gimmick-free, this is a great backpack for everyone.
With a wide, top-loading main compartment, you can easily fit in everything you need for your trip. The padded and suspended tech pocket is perfect for keeping a 15-inch laptop safe and protected, and there is a further 10-inch sleeve for your tablet, too .
There are zippered interior pockets for smaller items and an exterior front organization panel for easy access to your essentials. Side pockets will also keep your drink close by.
For your carrying comfort, there is a padded back panel and straps that can be adjusted to find the perfect fit. Other useful additions include an attachment point for a bike light and strap management for excess webbing.
Functional, compact, and lightweight, this is the type of backpack that wouldn’t look out of place in a business meeting, yet be equally at home on the back of a bike. Available in a choice of colors, this is a sleek choice for the fashion-conscious adventurer.
- 2 side pockets for water bottles
- No sternum strap
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 25 Liter Anti Theft Laptop
Made from strong and durable polyester, this sleek and functional laptop backpack is a great option for commuters and adventurers alike. Full of useful features, this comfortable and practical backpack will keep your gear safe on the go.
The anti-theft design comes complete with lockable zippers, cut-proof materials, and an RFID-blocking pocket to keep your credit cards and ID safe.
With impressive internal dimensions, the backpack offers a padded and suspended interior notebook sleeve that fits laptops up to 15 inches, 2 side pockets, 2 zippered interior pockets, and a key and wallet clip. This bag is more than big enough to comfortably carry your laptop, iPad, portable camera , and everything else you need on a day out.
The soft, durable external materials are water-resistant to protect your belongings against the elements, while also being easy to wipe clean. Complete with a 5-year Pacsafe warranty, this is a good mid-range backpack to suit every type of backpack user.
- Slash-proof straps for security
- The shoulder straps are too wide for those with a smaller frame
Foldable yet formidable, this lightweight and compact daypack offers 20 liters of awesome storage space for urban adventurers and outdoor explorers alike.
Made from superior, water- and tear-resistant nylon and with reinforcements in 14 areas across the pack, the HIKPRO has a hidden strength that its compact size belies.
There is a very spacious main pocket that can be used for storing all of your daily essentials. For keeping your most important bits and pieces safe, there is also an inner zippered pocket that works well for storing your travel documents, passport, credit cards, and cash safe and sound. There is also another smaller pocket on the outside.
Weighing in at just 7.5 ounces, and able to fold up to the size of a sandwich , this is an awesome little bag for traveling abroad. You can fold and stow it when not in use, and the water-resistant material is easy to keep clean no matter how active you may be. Strong and durable, this is an affordable and easy-to-use addition to your lightweight luggage collection.
What we Like
- Small and lightweight to stash in your suitcase
- Thin material, so the contents can stick into your back
NOMATIC Travel Pack
The zippered laptop sleeve and mesh dividers will help to keep your electronics safe and separate from your other belongings, and the lie-flat design for your laptop is TSA-approved. There is also a charging cable pass running through all of the major pockets in the backpack.
Featuring an innovative strap system, you can add versatility to this backpack by unsnapping the back panel, tucking in the straps, and carrying it like a briefcase . Other upscale features such as a magnetic snap water bottle pocket and the retractable key leash make this a great choice for business travelers.
Made from durable waterproof materials and zippers, this backpack is spacious enough to carry everything you need for a few days away. Add to that the additional exciting features such as the RFID-safe storage, clamshell opening for easy access, and multiple hidden pockets, and you have an excellent alternative to a traditional cabin bag.
Perfect for the stylish traveler, the Nomatic Travel Pack expands to offer 20 to 30 liters of interior storage space, and sleek, sophisticated design on the outside.
- Lockable security pocket
- Zippers can sometimes break
Daypacks come in a variety of types and sizes, but by far, the most popular ones are those that remain lightweight and fully portable, no matter how much you squeeze in them. If you are in the market for a good quality everyday backpack, take some time to do your research and choose a specific daypack that suits both your needs and your budget.
From super-slim basic backpacks for bikers and hikers to fully-padded laptop bags or mini carry-ons, if you choose the right daypack, it will quickly become an integral part of your everyday use or next big adventure.
Looking for more travel products? Head over to our one-stop shop on travel product reviews .
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a daypack.
A daypack is a type of bag or backpack that you use to carry just enough items to get you through the day. Daypacks have many uses , from commuting, hiking, traveling, or general days out.
How big is a daypack?
Daypacks vary depending on what you will be using them for. For the bare essentials and very little features, you can get daypacks as small as liters. Most daypacks will be around the 20- to 30-liter mark.
What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?
Daypacks are a type of backpack. Backpacks come in all types and sizes and some have 100-liter capacities. Daypacks are simply backpacks that you only use to carry your daily essentials and can be anywhere from 10- to 30-liters.
What's the best daypack for traveling?
Some of our favorite day packs include:
- The North Face Jester Backpack
- KROSER Laptop Backback
What is the best size daypack?
Daypacks that offer a compact capacity of 10 liters or less are just right for holding the most basic essentials such as keys, money, and snacks, but might be too small for days out while traveling.
Daypacks that offer a more generous capacity of up to 25 liters are better for keeping your extra clothing, food, water bottle, and other essentials close at hand.
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About Amar Hussain
Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.
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How to Choose the Best Luggage for Travel Abroad: Smart Buying Guide
Best Suitcases , LUGGAGE
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If you’re wondering how to choose the best luggage for travel, find out the three things to consider with our easy-to-use buying guide.
Shopping for the Best Luggage for Travel
Written by: Kelly Ella Maz
Table Of Contents
The best luggage for travel is strong enough to make it through baggage handlers and good looking enough to be pulled around international airport terminals. Durability, function, and size are the specifics you should consider before buying.
The biggest difference between types of luggage is the material it’s made of. The material can affect the durability, appearance, and cost. Deciding which factors are most important for your style of travel will narrow down the best luggage for travel for you!
When deciding how to choose the best luggage for travel, there are three m’s to consider:
Wondering how to choose the best luggage for travel? Start with the number of wheels. Don’t make this choice solely based on how the luggage rolls in the store; consider the environment you’ll be traveling in. For most people, everywhere you go isn’t going to have smooth airport floors!
The secret to traveling light is to create a travel capsule wardrobe which can easily fit into a carryon suitcase with the help of packing cubes to compress your clothing!
Delsey’s Helium Aero 29″ Spinner
Four wheels glide the easiest through airports and train stations. Being able to push your suitcase (versus pulling it behind you) is a lot easier on your body, especially when your bag is heavy! If you’re really worried about extra weight, it’s worth noting that a four-wheeled suitcase will weigh slightly more than a two-wheeled suitcase.
Delsey’s Helium Aero Spinner is a great four-wheel suitcase that will glide easily through any terminal, and is often considered one of the best luggage for travel. Buy it here!
Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-on 42L/21.5″
Two-wheeled cases are not as easy to pull through airports as four-wheeled ones, but they are significantly easier to navigate on cobblestone roads. If you do a lot of Europe travel, you may want to consider sticking with the traditional two wheels.
Osprey Ozone Wheeled Carry-on is a durable choice, guaranteed to last through any uneven terrain. Buy it here!
Briggs & Riley Luggage Baseline-Deluxe Duffle Bag
Bags without wheels are great for those who travel with significantly smaller suitcases or those looking for weekender bags . If a duffle bag is all you need, getting one without wheels will save on your overall luggage weight.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline-Deluxe Bag is a fantastic choice for a travel duffel bag. Buy it here!
Alternatively, if you like this style but need wheels, check out these rolling duffle bags that make great alternatives to travel backpacks!
I learned a tough lesson when I assumed bigger was better when it came to checked luggage! I thought a 30” suitcase would be perfect for bringing eight pairs of shoes and endless bikinis. But it turns out I wasn’t able to lift my suitcase off the baggage carousel!
In addition, even with four wheels, it was really hard for my 5’1” body to push this suitcase around. The best luggage for travel is the one that you can carry comfortably!
Tired of overpacking? Read our ultimate guide on carry-on bags only.
Delsey Chatelet Hard Wheel Spinner Carry On
This size is great for travelers who want to jetset with carry-on only. Using smart packing techniques and organizers like those shown in this video tutorial , you can travel carry-on for any destination or trip length. We definitely think this is one of the best luggage for travel.
Delsey offers stylish and cost-effective luggage. The Chatelet style is gorgeous! Buy it here!
Samsonite Omni PC 24″ Spinner
These are the perfect size for people who need to check a bag. The ideal height for someone using this size luggage would be over 5’4”. The suitcase will reach to your mid-thigh, which is the optimal height for easy mobility.
Samsonite’s Omni Spinner is the perfect height and size for average-height travelers who don’t want to travel carry-on, and many travelers say this is the best luggage for travel. Buy it here!
Victorinox Luggage Spectra 2.0
Larger suitcases are best left for people who are 6’ or taller and specifically need to pack a larger quantity of items. The handle will be at the right spot for you to comfortably pull it around the airport. Many women will find this size to be overwhelming, especially if you’re traveling alone.
The Victorinox Luggage Spectra 2.0 is a great choice to accommodate travelers with various heights! Buy it here!
The best luggage for travel that’s carryon sized:
- Carry-on Suitcases We Absolutely Love
- Non-boring Carry-on Suitcase Designs
- Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
- Carry-on Personal Item Options
- The Best In-flight Travel Purse
Another question you’ll be faced when determining how to choose the best luggage for travel is the luggage material. Different materials are more durable than others, some are waterproof, and some are lightweight. You’ll want to evaluate which matters most to you.
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero 25 Inch Spinner
The hard sides of polycarbonate luggage prevents the suitcase from caving in, which protects your belongings. The major downside to “hard” luggage is that it scratches easily and occasionally cracks. Many travelers consider polycarbonate hard suitcases the best type of luggage because it’s lightweight.
Delsey Helium Aero is a popular choice for polycarbonate luggage. Buy it here!
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 22″ Lightweight Expandable Carry-on
Nylon fabric is both strong and lightweight, making it the most durable option. Nylon also has more “give,” allowing you to squeeze in that extra pair of shoes. Some nylon suitcases are made from the same technology used in military gear, so you know your stuff will be safe!
For a high quality and lightweight nylon suitcase, the Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5 is what some call the best luggage for travel. Buy it here!
IT Luggage Stitched Squares 22-inch Lightweight Carry On
Polyester fabric is the cheapest and least durable. You can usually find these suitcases on sale in a local mall, but they won’t last very long. If you’ve ever seen how luggage gets handled at an Italian airport, you won’t be buying a polyester suitcase. Let’s just say, most of the best luggage for travel isn’t made from polyester.
IT Luggage Stitched Squares 22-inch an example of an affordable and popular polyester suitcase. Buy it here!
Best Luggage for Travel Comparison Chart
Still undecided? Here’s a quick review of the best luggage for travel:
AmazonBasics Hardside 20″ Spinner Luggage
Tips on How to Choose the Best Luggage for Travel
It’s not easy knowing how to choose the best luggage for travel. Along with our tips we’ve covered so far, here are a few more to help you make your decision:
- If you’re stuck between two suitcases, compare their warranties. We love companies that offer lifetime warranties!
- With so many flashy suitcase colors, it’s hard to buy one that will stand out from others on a baggage carousel. Consider going with classic black and adding a luggage strap . The strap gives you added security, and your black suitcase will look chic whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.
- Bring a measuring tape with you when shopping for luggage. I was heartbroken when I discovered that my Heys Smart Luggage was significantly larger than advertised.
Compass Rose Packing Cubes
- Airlines have different size restrictions. Jot down the maximum measurements for the airlines you’re most likely to fly with before buying luggage. Be aware that international airlines have tighter size restrictions than US domestic airlines.
- Always check the wheels, zipper, and handle before buying. I once fell in love with a Samsonite, but when I had trouble using the zipper in the store I knew I couldn’t buy it. Lockable zippers are a bonus to help prevent theft !
- Empty suitcases roll a lot easier than full ones. Stuff a smaller suitcase into your suitcase at the store to get a better idea of how it will perform.
What are your tips on how to choose the best luggage for travel?
For more tips on how to choose the best luggage, please read:
- Travel Experts Recommend the Top Luggage Brands
- Step-By-Step Guide to Choosing a Suitcase
- Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Backpack
- This Video Will Change the Way You Pack
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I hope you enjoyed this buying guide on how to choose the best luggage for travel. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Author Bio: Kelly Ella Maz is a travel writer from Canada. Her passion for travel and world-wide experience led her to start her own travel planning business and blog. She recently bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona, where she’ll be living by the beach and traveling around Spain. You can follow her travels at www.kellyellamaz.com .
Alex— have you reviewed the Away brand of luggage? It looks really good online but would be helpful to have an independent review.
Hi Becky, thank you for your question! No I haven’t used it personally because I prefer carryons that are 2kg/5lb. To get you some feedback about the brand, I have gone ahead and posted your question on TFG’s Facebook page. Our readers have the best feedback, so keep an eye open for their replies from Saturday: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ . Sorry I could not be of more help! 🙁
I’m nowhere near pilot level of trips but I fly about 40 times a year, and love my four wheel TravelPro. It’s much more maneuverable through crowded areas, great for nudging along with my foot when inching through a security line, and better for my 6’4″ height than the two wheeler I use to have (the angle when I held the handle wasn’t conducive to good rolling.)
Great feedback Jiiva!
Is American tourister bag for having clothes and other bag for some utensils,food products like rice mix.Would be good enough for A 3 week business trip to canada. Let me know ur thoughts
It’s a highly recommended brand. You may want a hard side suitcase if you plan to take delicate items. Have a good trip!
Hi there. Thanks for the excellent post! I’m traveling to China soon and staying for 2 weeks. What luggage would you recommend? I can’t decide between nylon or polycarbon. Thx!
Hi Harper, it’s really based on personal preference. I prefer a soft sided suitcase for a wide space and longer trips and a hard side suitcase for short vacations. These other tips might help you choose: https://travelfashiongirl.com/suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage/
I need the size capability of a suitcase for a Paris trip/France cruise but need something that I can handle on the train from Paris to Lyon. Last year I had a horrible time with my suitcase and carry-on bag during the train portion of my journey. Any suggestions?
What type and dimensions of suitcase I should prefer, when I am going for Vietnam?
And please suggest me, what extra care I should take while traveling to Vietnam?
Thanks for your help.
Thanks for asking! You should be fine with either a rolling bag or backpack in Vietnam, unfortunately there isn’t great public transportation so to get around you typically take taxis so rolling bags aren’t really an inconvenience. Within Vietnam the budget airlines dimensions for carry-ons are: 36cm x 56cm x 26cm so stick within that for a carry-on and you shouldn’t have a problem! Here is a Vietnam specific packing list: https://travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-wear-in-vietnam/ Enjoy your trip!
Hey, what do you think is a good sized suitcase for a 17 will be 18 year old when go girl who is going to Tahiti for a french immersion trip next year with school for 10ish days?? I have never been overseas so have no idea…
If she packs smart, she should be fine with a carry on! There are some great options in this post: https://travelfashiongirl.com/best-carry-on-suitcases-for-traveling-europe/
When I travel light for a week, I’ll pack my ROLO bag that hangs as soon as I reach my hotel room. Nothing is unpacked until I need it. I pack minimally, so I carry my mini hygiene kit and other essentials in my Rough & Tumble Messenger.
Great tips! Thanks for reading and contributing! Happy travels!
nice tips good one have a lots of ideas
Thanks for the list. Very in depth and useful information. I wish I didn’t have the misfortune of bringing home a nasty little unwelcome passenger from my last trip. Did you consider bed bugs prevention as a luggage factor to consider? I can think of nothing else having had a taste for the discomfort they can cause. I went with luggage that actually kills them: http://thermalstrike.com/products/Mw== and was hoping to find more info out there. I guess if I had never had them run amuck in my house I wouldn’t be worrying either. Thanks again and good luck on bug-free travels everybody!
Hi Raegan! I actually did have a bed bug infestation on the second week on my round the world trip. The reason? I placed all my clothes on the bed then repacked them in my suitcase. The easy solution is to never put all your clothing on a hotel bed and never ever put your suitcase on the bed either 😉
Nice tips thanks! How do u compare delsey with rockland luggage?
Hi Tommy, I don’t own a Rockland suitcase, only Delsey. From what I’ve seen in the stores I would say Delsey appears to be better quality. However, without testing it out first I can’t say 100% for sure.
Hi, your list is nicely put together, thanks! It’s pretty hard to get your hands on Heys hand luggage here in the UK. It’s a shame as I keep reading good reviews about their products… Do you know or have views on Tripp suitcases?
I have to add my two cents in defense of spinner suitcases. Another advantage of a rollable spinner with 4 wheels vs. a regular pullable suitcase with 2 wheels is that in a narrow space, such as on an airplane or a train car, you can roll the spinner sideways. I remember getting stuck once on a train in Russia where my regular 2-wheel suitcase simply did not fit in the narrow isle. I was literally stuck not being able to lift and carry that thing down the isle to my seat, until some kind soul with much bigger muscles offered to help. As soon as I got back home from that trip I replaced both my check-in and carry-on suitcases with spinner versions and have been very happy since with how they’ve performed even on the exhausting cobblestones in Italy.
OOOOH great defense! You are completely right and I do agree with you! It’s so much easier to go through the plane aisle with spinners
I am going to Paris for a month in the early spring of 2016. I would love not having to check bags. Is there a carry-on that would work for that length of stay? Any tips for packing light?
Hi Lynne, take a look at these posts:
Hope you’ll find the tips helpful 🙂
Nice recommendations I like the Briggs & Riley BRX Duffle in the picture I guess I’m gonna try something like that style.
It’s definitely a great brand!
I’m more a backpack person than a luggage traveler, but I will pass these tips on to my mom :).
Hi Agness, you might find this travel backpack guide more helpful: https://travelfashiongirl.com/step-by-step-guide-how-to-choose-the-best-travel-backpack-for-your-trip/
I want a 29 in to send and a 21 in for carry on. Can these be stacked so I don’t have to pull both separately? Thank you
Hi Linda, there are gadgets to connect luggage such as this multi-bag stacker: http://amzn.to/1KZ0A9Q
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Letters for November 20, 2023: 'Trudeau's actions have tarnished a once-great symbol.'
Posted: November 20, 2023 | Last updated: November 20, 2023
Over the years, when Canadians travelled abroad, they would put on their clothing or luggage a small pin or decal showing the Canadian flag. It was a badge of honour and was warmly acknowledged wherever one visited. Sadly, with the ongoing actions of Prime Minister Trudeau, over his many missteps, he has embarrassed Canada many times. It is shameful for what he has done in lowering the image of our country.
(Heads are hanging lower every day.)
Canadians are abandoning the Sunny Ways SS Trudeau aka The Liberal Titanic. It cannot sink fast enough to save Canada.
(Liberals should walk the plank.)
In a perfect world
I read with great interest this column by Armstrong Williams and I was waiting for the punchline (“A path forward for Trump: Rising above the fray,” Nov. 13). Ha, Trump is not capable of embracing any of these ideas.
(Donald does it his way.)
It is very obvious that the Trudeau Liberals’ obsession with climate change is hurting Canadians financially, and undermining our nation’s economy. Trudeau’s regressive and punitive carbon tax has increased the cost of everything, including food. The irony is that emissions have not been reduced, but have increased, despite the misery imposed upon Canadians. It’s an irrefutable fact that Canada’s contribution to global emissions is insignificant and irrelevant: Hence Canadians are being punished for no reason, other than to champion Trudeau’s pathetic ‘virtue signaling.’ It’s time to put an immediate end to this unscientific mirage that is wrecking havoc on Canadians.
JOHN HARLEY WHITLOCK
(Enough is enough is enough.)
No timeouts in war
The Israel-Hamas War is not a soccer game. What is this lunacy of four-hour breaks in fighting to let in “humanitarian aid,” also known as Hamas re-supply time.
War is not a soccer game. The sport has two halves with a halftime break in between. The objective in both instances is to win with as few losses as possible, but conflict has no artificially imposed time limits.
(Sadly you are right, wouldn’t a time limit be nice.)
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