14 Great travel backpacks for your next trip

Buying a travel backpack is one of the most important purchases a traveler will make. A backpack isn’t just where you carry your stuff — it’s your home.

Your bag is an important investment. You want one that can handle the abuse that comes with traveling the world on a budget. You’ll be living out of this bag for weeks or months or years. You’ll be hauling it on hikes and across hectic cities, stuffing it onto crowded buses, and flying it around the world.

If you’re like me, you want a bag that lasts. I’ve had my bag for five years (my previous one, before it got lost on a flight, lasted ten), my community manager has had his backpack for seven years, and the director of our charity FLYTE has had hers for eight.

You’ll need a bag that works for you — but what works for you might not necessarily work for someone else. So, before diving into how to pick a backpack for travel, I want to mention the most important features you need to consider as you evaluate my favorites listed below. You want backpack that has:

  • Water-resistant material
  • Lockable zippers
  • An internal frame
  • A padded hip belt & shoulder straps
  • Multiple openings (not just a single top opening)
  • Lots of compartments
  • A contoured/padded back

And be sure your backpack fits your body too. Don’t get one that’s too small or too large as it will hurt your back. Proportionality matters!