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Whether you’re a business traveler, a backpacking junkie, or like to get away for the weekend, traveling light has plenty of advantages. Carry on backpacks are a great way to save money on ever-increasing baggage fees. 

Not to mention all that time you’ll save waiting for checked luggage at the airport.

If you prefer not to get bogged down with a lot of stuff while you’re traveling, you’ll need something light, comfortable and convenient. You need a bag that leaves you hands-free and worry-free as you’re out there exploring the world. 

So let’s get to the goods. 

These eight backpacks are sturdy, well-designed and make the perfect carry on. 

We’ve broken them into categories depending on the kind of traveler you are. 

Check out these favorites from well-seasoned travel enthusiasts:

Nomatic Travel Bag 40L

The rear view of the Nomatic Travel Bag.


This sleek, modern Nomatic 40L Travel Bag is perfect for the business traveler and digital nomad. 

Loaded with clever features and a huge array of pockets, it’s ultra-efficient. 

Optional accessories like a shirt organizer, laundry bag and toiletry bag make it especially appealing for the professional traveler. 

Touted as “the most functional backpack ever,” the Nomatic Travel backpack seems to live up to the name.

Why You’ll Like It:‍

  • Pockets, Pockets and more Pockets
  • Shoe Compartment
  • Highly Weather-Resistant
  • TSA Checkpoint Compliant 

Osprey Farpoint 40 (Men)

The Osprey Farpoint 40 in black.

Lightweight and comfortable, this Osprey Farpoint 40L Men’s Backpack is popular among budget travelers the world over. 

It has a front-loading main compartment and a lockable laptop sleeve, which makes it both convenient and secure. 

Backpackers who like to rack up the miles will also appreciate its well-padded back panel, shoulder straps, and full-size hip belt.

Another plus: It comes with a lifetime guarantee! 

It does have a few less organizational compartments than the Nomatic. But if you like to travel light and stress-free, this durable backpack may be just what you’re looking for.

Why You’ll Like It:‍

  • Lightweight & Medium Price Point
  • Comfortable Suspension
  • Lockable Zippers
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Osprey Fairview 40 (Women)

The Osprey Fairview 40 in green.

The Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Backpack has all the features of the Osprey Farpoint, but with a fit tailored explicitly to women. When you’re out exploring the world, a backpack that jostles around can make your road-weary fast. 

So why not buy one specially made for you?

Even better, this backpack transforms into a duffle with its shoulder strap making it super functional. 

For all you world-traveling gypsies out there, this may be the one.

Why You’ll Like It:‍

  • Tailored to Women
  • Lightweight & Medium Price Point
  • Comfortable Suspension
  • Lockable Zippers
  • Lifetime Guarantee

Tortuga Set Out (35-45L)

The Tortuga Set Out 45L travel backpack.

Weighing in at under five pounds, the Tortuga Set Out Backpack is lightweight and versatile. 

Equally suitable for globetrotting or urban adventures, it has a lap-top compartment at the back and lots of pockets for organizing.

Another nice feature is a cushioned hip belt with two zipped pockets for things you want quick access too. 

Don’t need the harness or hip belt? You can take them off and stow them. It also turns into a duffle bag. 

Want a bag as multifaceted as you are? This may be the winner. 

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Lightweight
  • Plenty of Pockets
  • Hip Belt with Pockets
  • Removable Harness and Hip Belt
  • Multi-Functional Use

Standard Luggage Carry On

The orange and black Standard Luggage Co. travel bag.


This versatile Standard Luggage Carry-On Backpack can be used as a backpack, suitcase or shoulder bag. 

It has hideaway backpack straps, a hip strap and a dedicated laptop sleeve. Other excellent features include stylish color accents, a rain cover and even a safety whistle. 

Whatever travel situation you find yourself in, this baby has you covered.

Why You’ll Like It:‍

  • Full Perimeter Zip for Easy Packing
  • Professional Looking 
  • Multi-Functional Use
  • Dedicated Laptop Pocket

Active Roots Foldable Daypack

The packable day pack by Active Roots.

Weighing slightly less than 10 ounces, this incredibly light Active Roots Lightweight Daypack is also durable enough to handle your adventurous side. 

It has a capacity of 34 liters and seven pockets, which means you’ll have plenty of room for everything you need for a day trip. 

When you’re not using it, fold this feather-light pack and stow it in your luggage. 

Active roots also have a 30-day money-back guarantee and donates to environmental charities. What else could you ask from a daypack?

Why you’ll Like It:

  • Super Lightweight
  • 7 Pockets
  • Good for the Planet
  • Super Compact 

AER Travel Pack 2

The Aer Travel Pack 2 backpack.

For shorter trips, the AER Travel Pack 2 offers 33 liters of well-organized space. It has plenty of storage pockets, stows away easily for air travel and even provides a shoe compartment.

For a quick round-tripper, this one is solid and well designed.

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Well Organized
  • Expandable Water Bottle Pocket
  • Quick Access Laptop Pocket
  • Shoe Compartment

Peak Design Travel Backpack

The Peak Designs Travel Backpack in gray.

If you have a bit more to spend, this Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L is an extremely well-designed travel backpack. It has lots of smart storage spaces and thoughtful features like magnetic pouches and hidden straps. 

Optional accessories include a toiletry bag, electronics pouch and packing cubes. 

All that and this sturdy, well-made pack weighs in at under 5 pounds. In this case, you get what you pay for.

Why You’ll Like It:‍

  • Clever Storage
  • Thoughtful Details
  • Lightweight
  • 100% Recycled Nylon Canvas Shell

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Now that you have the lowdown on the good gear, you may want to invest in some packing cubes. These go a long way with helping you stay organized and packing like a pro.  

Wherever you travel, it’s an experience you want to remember. Not the stuff you dragged around with you. 

Here’s to keeping it light in body and spirit as you head out on your next adventure.

8 Best Travel Backpacks (Summary)

Honorable Mentions:

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Posted 
Nov 15, 2019
 in 
Travel
 category

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