What separates a standard backpack from a travel backpack? That depends on who you ask. For our purposes, we want a few things out of a travel backpack. It has to open more like a piece of carry-on luggage than a top-loading backpack. It has to have a little squishiness so you can squeeze it into those pesky bag-size checks at the airport. Most importantly, you need to be able to fit more than an overnight bag’s worth of stuff. It also depends a lot on what kind of travel you plan on using the bag for, how much stuff you want/need to carry with you at all times and what you want to spend. Here are the 8 best travel backpacks for every budget.


AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

If you only looked at the interior of this bag you could easily mistake it for the inside of a roller because it has one basic zip compartment on the left and a wide open bottom with dual elastic straps. That simple, familiar design makes this a great basic travel backpack that, thanks to the AmazonBasics name (they’ll also sell you packing cubes for inside!) and model means you’re getting a quality that far exceeds the ridiculously affordable price tag. It still has multiple carrying handles, straps and an exterior organizational compartment, but it lacks the high-end design and engineering you’ll find in other options.


Hynes Eagle 40L Flight-Approved Carry-on Backpack

If we had to hazard a guess, when AmazonBasics was developing their travel backpack they used the Hynes Eagle 40L Flight-Approved Carry-on Backpack as a “point of reference,” because they’re pretty similar. Unlike the AmazonBasics option, this Hynes travel backpack includes one additional exterior pocket to divide travel documents from tech, an easily accessible water bottle pocket, a few more inches of interior space and it comes with the packing cubes you’ll need to maximize the large main compartment.


eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

The eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible is basically a soft-sided carry-on bag that’s built as a travel backpack. Three exterior grab handles for side carry, cargo carry and top carry. Front zipper pocket for documents. “Forehead” pocket at the top. Briefcase-style organizer pocket on the front. Medium-sized middle open compartment for packing cubes, toiletries or tech. All those pockets and the gear they contain are accessible before even unclicking the four compression straps to access the large, divided main compartment, which is big enough for some people to pack for themselves and their kids for a two week trip.


5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack

Take everything you know about travel backpacks and then completely over-engineer the hell out of one and build it for tactical deployments or extended excursions. The 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Backpack is a full 72-hour bag with almost 48L of internal packing space and more individual compartments and webbing attachment points than you’ll ever have stuff you want to carry. It also has a padded hip belt, adjustable chest straps and an internal frame for extended backpacking. You also get a fleece-lined pocket at the top for glasses or a phone, a bladder pocket and channel for hydration packs and a kangaroo-style expandable pocket at the front for layers or a helmet. As long as you’re willing to look tactical, this is more bag than you’ll ever need.


Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

The Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack has been called “Editor’s Choice,” “favorite” and “best travel backpack” by more than a few outlets over the years because of its size, versatility and design. The Osprey Farpoint 55 is a combination of the Osprey Farpoint 40 main pack that holds everything you want to leave at the hotel or Airbnb and a detachable Farpoint Daypack (which is where the additional 15L comes from) that holds all your daily essentials and expensive items. It has an internal frame setup for long backpacking treks. It has a stowaway backpanel for the hipbelt and straps if you need to check it, because it is technically larger than some carry-on requirements. This might be the best travel backpack on the market.


Topo Designs Travel Bag

If you want a highly functional travel backpack that requires no sacrifices in the style department, look no further than the Topo Designs Travel Bag. With a 1000D Cordura fabric outer in three different colors with options in the contrasting accent department, Topo combines everything you need in a medium size (just over 30L) bag with their iconic take on webbing, lash tabs, handles and design. It’s slim enough that it doesn’t need an internal frame because it won’t let you over pack, but it’s still large enough to accommodate what you need for a longer journey. If you’re worried about space, this Made in the USA bag is also designed to attach to the Topo Trip Pack if you want an extra, detachable daypack.


Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack

Four-layer waterproof sailcloth construction. Hardware from YKK for the zippers and Duraflex for the buckles. Hiking-style suspension system, Ariaprene padding adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt for easier, more comfortable carrying. Sleek, stealthy exterior that camouflages organizer pockets, side pockets for bottles or umbrellas, a document pocket, lie-flat electronics pocket for all your tech and chargers, and finally, a main compartment that’s best described as anal retentive because of all the individual packing compartments for everything from toiletries to socks. If you like having everything just so and you’re a digital nomad concerned about your tech, this is one great travel backpack.


Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Travel Backpack

Minaal was started by two guys from New Zealand who were tired of their travel gear. A few years, successful Kickstarter and a couple iterations later we got the Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Travel Backpack. Minaal make no bones about the fact that this bag was designed to be a good-looking and stylish piece of gear that will get you from coast to coast or across the pond and right to a meeting without looking like someone who just hiked through the bush. The bag weighs just over 3lbs, has 3D mesh and fabric pockets, a four point load-balancing system with magnetic clip locks and a unique lie-flat scoop for all your clothes. It’s pricey enough that you might want to expense it, but this is the business travel backpack you want.

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