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Best Travel Backpacks of 2019: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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There are a lot of different types of travel bags available to you. From carry-on bags to giant rolling luggage, there’s a bag out there for every type of need and occasion.

One of the most basic travel bags that often gets overlooked is the backpack!

Having the best travel backpack for your personal travel needs is key to having the best adventure that you can possibly have.

Whether you plan to go backpacking and need a bag that will keep everything with you, or you want a travel backpack that makes sense for all of your day-to-day excursions, you’ll be happier if you spend time searching for the perfect bag.

We know how difficult this task can be, so we have put together a list of the best backpack options for travel that are available this year. Let’s take a look.

Comparison Chart

Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack
Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack
MATEIN Business Travel Backpack
MATEIN Business Travel Backpack
SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack
SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack
Loowoko Hiking Backpack
Loowoko Hiking Backpack
PANS Military Expandable Travel Backpack
PANS Military Expandable Travel Backpack

Best Travel Backpack Reviews

1. Venture Pal Travel Backpack

Venture Pal Travel Backpack

First up, we will take a look at the Venture Pal Travel Backpack. This roomy bag is built for comfort and durability, but will it pass our tests? Let’s find out!

Product Highlights

This travel backpack from Venture Pal is a 35L bag that is lightweight and foldable. It can be contained in its own pocket when not in use and is quick to unfold as well. There are a few different organizational compartments: one main zippered compartment, two front pockets, and two side pockets.

The bag is made out of tear- and water-resistant material to keep your belongings safe while you are traveling. The size of the bag is perfect both for weekend or week-long trips.

What’s to like about the Venture Pal Travel Backpack

The comfort of this bag is out of this world. In addition to having padded shoulder straps, this bag also has an adjustable chest strap to keep the bag from being too painful to carry.

The bag itself weighs less than one pound, so you don’t have to worry about it being too heavy. Finally, the straps are breathable, which makes carrying it easier as well.

What’s not to like about the Venture Pal Travel Backpack

The biggest issue with this bag is durability. Due to how lightweight the materials used on this bag are, it can wear out in essential areas very quickly. If you plan on using this bag for rugged activities, you should look for something with a thicker material.

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PROS

  • Zippered pockets have additional compartments inside
  • Very lightweight
  • Comfortable strap padding
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Easy to organize

CONS

  • Rips during rugged activities
  • Not great for hiking
  • Not waterproof
  • Not machine washable

2. Matein Business Travel Backpack

Matein Business Travel Backpack

Now, let us look at the Matein Business Travel Backpack. Judging from its name, it is obvious that this bag is a smart choice for business travelers. However, it can be adapted for other uses as well.

Product Highlights

This is a simple yet smart bag. The bag itself is divided into three different compartments that can make it easy to store files, laptops and other electronics, as well as other necessities while you are traveling for work. The manufacturer recommends storing your clothes, your computer, and your other objects in these three pockets.

The bag has a fun feature that allows you to hook up a portable charger inside it. Then, you can plug in your phone from the outside, making it very easy to charge your device while using on the go.

What’s to like about the Matein Business Travel Backpack

The best thing about this bag is the number of organizational compartments that it offers. In addition to the three separate main compartments, this bag has plenty of other zippered pockets and exterior pockets as well, which ensure that you can carry everything that you might need with you while traveling.

What’s not to like about the Matein Business Travel Backpack

One of the biggest issues with this bag is its lack of padding on the bottom. While the shoulder straps and back are well padded, the bottom part is not. If you are carrying a laptop or camera with you while traveling, this can be a big issue as far as protecting your belongings goes.

[Source]: We Thank Peter von Panda for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to Peter von Panda

PROS

  • Zippers move smoothly
  • Looks fashionable
  • Lots of compartments
  • Stands up even when empty
  • Two stretch bottle compartments

CONS

  • No bottom padding
  • Irritates lower back while carrying
  • Chemical smell at first

3. SwissGear ScanSmart Travel Backpack

SwissGear ScanSmart Travel Backpack

The SwissGear ScanSmart Travel Backpack is a travel bag that is built with the most common frustrations of airport security in mind. Find out what makes it stand out below.

Product Highlights

This backpack is a standard-sized bag that is made out of thick polyester material. This material is both water-resistant and durable. The backpack has a main compartment as well as many zippered pockets too, which make it easy to store your belongings.

Unlike many common backpacks, this backpack can be unzipped to lay flat, which is one of its main features. This makes it much easier to access your belongings.

What’s to like about the SwissGear ScanSmart Travel Backpack

This bag was designed to keep you moving through airport security quickly. The backpack can be unzipped to lay flat so that any electronic devices you have inside, such as a laptop or tablet, can be scanned without having to remove from your bag.

This lay-flat style also makes it very easy to open and pack your bag. How so? You do not have to fully unzip the bag to access this pocket; this is simply an option that you have.

What’s not to like about the SwissGear ScanSmart Travel Backpack

One of the biggest drawbacks of this bag is that the zippers that were used are not as durable as they could be. The quality of the fabric on this bag will stand up to years of use, but it is unlikely that the zippers will last as long.

While there is a standard one-year warranty that comes with this bag, the zipper issue is still a problem for many.

[Source]: We Thank Review Everything for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to Review Everything

PROS

  • Large-capacity main compartment
  • Durable fabric
  • Many pockets and dividers
  • Internal phone holder with an external headphone jack

CONS

  • Zippers break easily
  • Quite bulky
  • Does not stand up on its own

4. Loowoko Hiking and Travel Backpack

Loowoko Hiking and Travel Backpack

Next up is the Loowoko Hiking and Travel Backpack. This backpack is a large-capacity backpacking-style bag that is perfect for long adventures with no other luggage. Aside from that, there are also many other benefits that it offers. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Product Highlights

This bag is a 50L travel backpack that is designed to make backpacking a lot more fun and hassle-free. While the bag fits the requirements of most airlines, it is quite large, so you should keep that in mind.

This bag can hold a lot of items, and it has many different compartments to handle that kind of travel. The backpack has eight different adjustable straps so that you can easily carry it in the best way possible for you.

There are a lot of different pockets and learning how to pack this bag efficiently will take time.

What’s to like about the Loowoko Hiking and Travel Backpack

Everything in this bag is easily accessible, even if you have it packed very full. When you are carrying all of your belongings with you while camping or on a long travel trip, you might be worried about how easily you will be able to access something. Due to the number of compartments and pockets on this bag, you can get to everything with relative ease.

What’s not to like about the Loowoko Hiking and Travel Backpack

This bag has some durability issues. If you pack it full, you’re likely to see problems with the straps after just a few uses. While these can easily be fixed with some thread and a needle, this inconvenience can be a big hassle while traveling.

[Source]: We Thank Lilly Reviews for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to Lilly Reviews

PROS

  • Super functional design
  • Versatile functionality
  • Lightweight
  • Includes a rain cover
  • Expandable bottom for addition 5L capacity

CONS

  • Weak internal frame
  • Durability issues
  • Zippers stick

5. PANS Travel Backpack

PANS Travel Backpack

The last option we have today is the PANS Travel Backpack. This backpack is a tactical, military-style bag, but does it function in the way that it should?

Product Highlights

This small backpack comes in eight different designs and colors. The PANS Travel Backpack is expandable to provide you with up to 64 liters of total capacity. This is done by simply unzipping one part of the bag.

In addition to having some MOLLE functionality via straps and Velcro additions, the bag also has useful external pockets that can be used for your water bottle and other items that you would need on the go.

What’s to like about the PANS Travel Backpack

This bag is built to be stuffed full. In addition to being able to expand the size of the bag to fit more items, there are also two buckles that can help to reduce the size once it is full. This is great for when you are flying as you will often need to squeeze the bag into the overhead compartment on planes.

What’s not to like about the PANS Travel Backpack

This bag is meant for light use or only occasional use while traveling. Despite the look of this backpack, the materials, buckles, and zippers are simply not durable enough for rugged use. At this affordable price, however, this bag is still a great option for light usage.

[Source]: We Thank #MensFashion for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to #MensFashion

5. PANS Travel Backpack

PANS Travel Backpack

The last option we have today is the PANS Travel Backpack. This backpack is a tactical, military-style bag, but does it function in the way that it should?

Product Highlights

This small backpack comes in eight different designs and colors. The PANS Travel Backpack is expandable to provide you with up to 64 liters of total capacity. This is done by simply unzipping one part of the bag.

In addition to having some MOLLE functionality via straps and Velcro additions, the bag also has useful external pockets that can be used for your water bottle and other items that you would need on the go.

What’s to like about the PANS Travel Backpack

This bag is built to be stuffed full. In addition to being able to expand the size of the bag to fit more items, there are also two buckles that can help to reduce the size once it is full. This is great for when you are flying as you will often need to squeeze the bag into the overhead compartment on planes.

What’s not to like about the PANS Travel Backpack

This bag is meant for light use or only occasional use while traveling. Despite the look of this backpack, the materials, buckles, and zippers are simply not durable enough for rugged use. At this affordable price, however, this bag is still a great option for light usage.

[Source]: We Thank #MensFashion for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to #MensFashion

PROS

  • Velcro patches for gear
  • Many compartments
  • Included waist and sternum straps
  • Very resistant to water

CONS

  • No back venting
  • No waist strap padding

BUYER’S GUIDE

When you’re getting ready to choose which of the best travel backpack options is right for you and your travel style, you may begin to feel like all of the options look the same. To help you sort through this confusion, we have put together a complete buyer’s guide for you.

By paying attention to the features that are outlined in this guide, you will be able to differentiate what matters to you most when choosing your new backpack. Let’s get started!

Type

First, consider that there are a few different types of backpacks out there. There is not one specific style of a backpack that is considered a travel backpack, so it will be up to you to narrow the selection pool down to the types of backpacks that you prefer.

Generally speaking, there are three main types of backpacks:

Standard

What we consider a standard backpack is a simple, school-style backpack. These backpacks typically have a medium capacity that is largely in one main compartment. The bag may have some smaller external pockets as well, but the overall design is quite simple.

Sometimes, these backpacks have been outfitted specifically for travel purposes with bonus features like locks and extra compartments.

This type of backpack is good for those who want to use it for day excursions or weekend trips. It cannot hold enough to be able to use it for a longer vacation for most people.

Backpacking

Backpacking style bags are much larger and tend to have space for a large amount of clothing or hiking equipment. These bags are very large and usually replace all of your luggage. Many people choose to use these bags when they are traveling by train or bus for much of their travel as it is easier than rolling bags.

Fashionable Backpacks

Fashionable Backpacks

Many daypacks are more fashionable these days. These type of backpacks often look like a purse. While these bags are still functional for travel purposes, they are also very good looking and great for those who love to have something that looks stylish.

Material

The material that your bag is made out of is very important for both durability and safety purposes. Most people choose travel backpacks that are made out of thick polyester, but this is not a necessity.

The main thing that you will want to pay attention to is how durable you can expect the fabric to be. If the material will not be able to stand up to the wear and tear of your travel plans, it isn’t the right choice.

Ideally, your bag would be made from a tear- and water-resistant material. This helps to ensure that all of the items kept inside of your bag will be safe from even the poorest weather conditions.

Size

The next thing that you will want to consider is what size of bag you need for your travels. Ask yourself some basic questions to help figure this out:

  • Will you be using this bag for day trips or for longer trips?
  • How many things do you like to carry with you?
  • Is size an issue for something like plane travel?

Once you’ve answered these three basic questions, you will have a better idea of what size would be ideal for your situation. Many small day trip backpacks are between 15L and 25L in size while longer trips warrant a bag with at least 45L of internal capacity to be truly functional.

The size is completely up to you, but you will want to choose carefully. Pull out some bags you have at home before buying and see what size seems right. This will help you make a more informed choice!

Quality

Check out reviews of the bags that you are considering and keep an eye out for anyone who mentions the quality of the bag. As you will be relying on your travel backpack while away from home, ensuring that the stitching, straps, buttons, zippers, and other closures on the bag are all high-quality and durable pieces is very important.

Safety

While traveling is very fun, it can also be a prime time for theft. Many travel backpack manufacturers are aware of this concern and have outfitted their bags with safety features to protect your belongings.

Some common features that you might want to look for include:

  • RFID protection
  • Double zippers for easy locking
  • Hidden compartments
  • Back zipper pockets
  • Ring closures for zippers

Best Travel Backpack FAQs

How to pack a backpack for travel?

When you first get a travel backpack, you will likely want to stuff it with as much items as you can. After all, you never know what you might need when you are on your next adventure, and you would rather be prepared, right?

Wrong!

It’s a common mistake to think that you need to pack everything that you might need in every situation when travelling. In the end, you probably wouldn’t use more than 40% of what you pack if you don’t cut back.

Instead of focusing on filling your backpack to the brim, focus on packing your bag the right way. When packing a travel backpack, this can be even more difficult.

This video does a great job of showing how to pack a large capacity backpack for travel. Practice packing like this at home to get faster and more efficient at doing it.

[Source]: We Thank Bring Me for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to Bring Me

How to make your backpack lighter?

Making your backpack just a wee bit lighter can be a big challenge, but these five simple tips should help you cut down on the weight:

  • Bring items that can be worn in multiple ways for multiple days to cut down on the number of clothes that you pack.
  • Pack multiple thin layers instead of bulky layers.
  • Wear your heaviest shoes; pack your lightest.
  • Limit your toiletries. Remember, you can always buy more!
  • Don’t pack more than one book. Seriously!

How to protect backpack when checked as luggage?

Sometimes, your bag simply cannot make it onto the plane with you. Whether you knew you wouldn’t be able to use it as a carry-on or not, it is always smart to make sure that your bag is packed in a way that will protect your items in case you need to check it in as luggage at the gate or at check-in.

The absolute best way to protect a backpack that needs to be checked in is to use a pack protector. These protectors can be bought in specific sizes, and they are very lightweight. Keeping it in your pack can save you from all sorts of headaches. These covers are simply a bit of foam that protects your bag while also holding in your straps.

If you have to check in your bag unexpectedly, tighten all of the straps and then wrap any loose ends tightly so that your bag will not get stuck on any machinery.

What size backpack for travelling?

When traveling, it can be hard to determine what size of backpack you will need. After all, you never know what adventures you might take on during your journey!

Still, it is important to try to figure out the size ahead of time to ensure your trip goes smoothly. Thankfully, you are not the only one that has had this problem, and many people have done research into the right sizes of bags for various travel scenarios.

Check out this interesting video that should help you to determine the perfect backpack size:

[Source]: We Thank Half the Clothes for the awesome video, and encourage readers to check out more videos and Subscribe to Half the Clothes

Can a backpack be a carry on?

Yes, a backpack can be a carry-on as long as it fits the size limitations set by your airline. Every airline has different requirements as far as both size and weight go, and those requirements might differ depending on what class of ticket you buy.

As such, it is important that you research the specific rules that the airline you are flying with has before you pack your stuff. Most airlines will allow you to fit a standard sized backpack under the seat in front of you, but larger backpacking bags may not be allowed in the cabin so you will have to check them in.

The only way to be absolutely certain about this is to contact the airline that you are flying with directly. This is important, and you should absolutely find this out before arriving at the airport for your trip.


FINAL VERDICT

There are many great options when it comes to exploring the best travel backpacks, but there is really one bag here that stands out among all of the others.

The Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Backpack is a great option that provides easy storage, great value for money, and fun colors. No matter what your purpose is while traveling, this bag can be useful for you. Plus, it folds up into its own bag too, so you don’t have to worry about storing it!

If you prefer to get something that looks a bit more professional, then the Matein Business Travel Backpack is our next favorite option. This bag blends both form and function and will keep you on track during your next work trip.

If none of these backpacks stick out to you today, we hope that our buyer’s guide can help lead you to the perfect back for your upcoming travels! Good luck!

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