I used the Trans by Jansport backpack for over 20 years. I took it with me on many road trips and hikes.

My backpack situation was not ideal as I improved my packing strategies.

My bag was not padded for my laptop. It didn't have enough places for me to keep my stuff organized. I have lost more than a few water bottles due to the short and loose side pockets.

Backpack benefits

The best travel backpacks are large enough to hold all your luggage.

They can be more comfortable when used frequently. They're less likely to cause damage to the body if they carry a heavy bag on one shoulder.

"Heavy weight on one side of the body can cause a forward tilt of the shoulder, and poor posture, which can lead to shoulder and back pain for a long time," said Dr. Jenny Yu, head of medical affairs at Healthline Media.

Rolling carry-ons can make your sprint to your connecting flight a little slower, but backpacks are easier to manage.

It was time to get higher. It was difficult to choose the perfect replacement. I looked at various models from different brands.

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Considerations when choosing a backpack


Depending on how you plan to use the bag, it can either be a tote or a purse. Will it be your go-to bag when you travel? Do you need a sturdy backpack for extended travel?

You can hone in on your other requirements once you narrow down your requirements.



The size of your bag will be determined by your travel plans and how you plan to carry it.

A small bag is needed for a cruise port shore excursion or a park day out. The daypacks are fine for hiking or work. backpacks in the 30–45L range are the best for travel.

A 45L backpack is the maximum size that can be carried on most U.S. airlines. You should stick with something under the 40L range if you're flying on a budget carrier.

If you don't want to bring another carry-on, a 45L bag is a good choice. It should be able to hold a toiletry bag. There is an overhead compartment.

Are you going to put your backpack in the overhead bin? It should be smaller than 22 by 14 by 9 inches.

You can fit a small toiletry bag in a 35L backpack. It should be placed under the seat in front of you.

If you want your backpack to fit under the seat, it has to be at least 14 by 8 inches.

If your backpack is a carry-on item, how to tell?


Some backpacks are more robust than others.

It's not necessary for your bag to be at a Fort Knox level of security, but it is important that it protects you from pickpockets and thieves.

Slash-resistant material and straps are included in a backpack.

There is a special material in bags that protects against accidental payments and intentional skimming of credit cards. Criminals can electronically access your information if they are prevented from doing so by them.


If you use packing cubes, this may not be as important to you. I like having smaller sections for things I need to access easily, even with packing cubes.

What are you usually packing in your bag? A laptop pocket is important for me. Hidden pockets are where I like to keep my passport, vaccine card and wallet. It's important that I have separate areas to store my sunglasses, keys, and other items.

In keeping with the above features, I reviewed five backpacks. The round-up has been published.

This is what to pack in a carry-on bag.

Patagonia — Black Hole 32L Travel Pack

The points churchyard is named after Kirby ToLley.

What I liked

The black hole travel pack is made from 100% recycled materials. There are gold, red, black, and gray/blue. The shell is water resistant.

The bag is Fair Trade Certified as well. More than 75,000 workers have been impacted by the program.

The bag is very light and easy to carry. I wondered if it could protect my laptop. The padded pocket works well for most laptops. If the bottom of your bag gets wet, the pocket at the top of the bag can be used to protect your laptop.

My water bottles fit in the side pockets.

During my recent trip to South Africa, I tested this bag with the Away F.A.R. backpack. I was packing.

  • My 13-inch laptop.
  • A 28-ounce insulated water bottle (filled once I passed through security).
  • Compression socks.
  • Travel pillow.
  • Cross-body bag containing my passport, credit cards and money.
  • A small reporter's notebook.
  • Two paperback books.
  • Makeup bag.
  • Toiletry bag.
  • A large Ziploc bag filled with snacks (protein bars, as well as bags of almonds and trail mix.

The backpack was just under 10 pounds.

I was able to pack many items. The backpack is similar to a clown car. It didn't feel cumbersome to carry because the straps held it in place.

You can lay the pocket section of the bag flat if you need to go through the security checkpoint. You don't need to worry about that if you have Global Entry.

There are two rows of loops on the bag. It's a good way to hang items you don't want to get crushed inside.

There is a hole at the top of the hydration pack if you plan on hiking long distances with this bag.

Other considerations

The Black Hole Travel Pack does not offer protection from the Radio Frequency Identification System. If the wallet you use to hold your ID and credit cards has a feature that protects it, you should be covered.

The bag has an air mesh back panel, but other reviewers said it was not enough to prevent sweaty back. I did not come across that issue. The bag doesn't have a hip belt. I usually don't use hip belts on backpacks, so I didn't mind that it wasn't here.

The size was 16.93 by 7.87 by 23.03.

The price is on Amazon.

There is a place to buy here.

Arlo Skye — The Backpack

The brand's luggage line garners high praise from reviewers, so I assumed its one backpack offering, The Backpack, would be solid. Mint and black are the colors of choice. One of my essential travel accessories was tucked in a large bag.

The Backpack. ARLO SKYE

What I liked

The backpack was black. The bag's design and leather top handle made me like it. The water-resistant material is made of two materials.

There is a small zip pocket at the top of the bag that is perfect for storing earbuds, sunglasses, or a small accessory. They may fit if you don't have a clunky set of keys. I tried to get my car alarm to go off.

There are two slip pockets for secure storage of your credit cards, ID and passport in the front section. Easy access to your phone, keys, and other items is provided by a front pocket with a zip. The room was large enough to hold my electronic device. A key leash is attached.

Two smaller pockets, one of which is an extendable mesh, are provided in the middle section. There is a padded laptop compartment that can fit up to a 15" laptop.

There is a wide back sleeve that fits over the handle of carry-on luggage.

Other considerations

This may not work for you if you need a backpack that only serves as your one and only carry-on. It's roomy for basics and a minimalist packer could fit a weekend's worth of clothes in it. It would be a better option for your daily commute and weekend road trips.

I didn't find the water bottle pockets useful. You're limited in bottle size due to the pockets not expanding and the material not giving.

I couldn't push the bottle all the way to the bottom of the pocket because it wasn't big enough. A 16-ounce bottle of water is probably fine with you.

I decided to carry my 40-ounce bottle separately because I don't like storing my water bottle in my backpack. There is a metal hook on the side of the bag that you can attach a bottle to.

The size was 11.8 by 7.5 by 17.

There is a price for this.

There is a place to buy here.

Away — F.A.R. Backpack 26L

The points churchyard is named after Kirby ToLley.

Thanks to its stylish hard-side rolling luggage, Away has a large fan base.

The outdoor line is called F.A.R. The collection is designed for travelers. The bags in the collection are made from recycled material and are water and abrasion resistant. The recycled materials are used in the sewing machines.

What I liked

The backpack was tested. The bag was wrapped in a plant-based plastic bag in line with the brand's push towards offering more sustainable and eco-friendly products.

It is available in five different colors.

I tested this bag on my flight back from South Africa. Everything I packed in my backpack, as well as two small bags of souvenirs I found at the airport on the way out, was in it.

I was worried that it wouldn't hold everything I had with me, since it's a bit smaller than the backpack I carried first. I was surprised it didn't have any problems.

There are two side pockets for waterbottles. I traveled with a 40-ounce insulated bottle that fit easily, despite the fact that the pockets fit up to 32 ounces.

There were a lot of pockets in this backpack. The front compartment has interior slip pockets for easy access to small essentials like your wallet, phone, passport and book. I thought it would be given the larger size after filling it.

There is a bigger slip pocket for your laptop in the main compartment. I didn't worry about the padding being damaged because it was enough.

I wouldn't have found them if I hadn't read the features card that came with the backpack.

The bag's wide front loops can be used to hold your keys. The backpack trolley strap is easy to slip onto your luggage handle.

Other considerations

The F.A.R. line has a 45L backpack, a water bottle bag, a packing cube, and a messenger bag.

This was probably my favorite backpack. I will probably add more F.A.R. products to my travel arsenal.

The total weight is.78 pounds.

There is a price for the item.

There is a place to buy here.

Solo Re:Claim

Solo Re:Claim. AMAZON.COM

The Solo Re:Claim is made from a type of plastic that is 100% recycled. Additional backpacks, totes, rolling cases, laptop sleeves and other products are included in the collection and are made from recycled plastic.

The bag was grey. The burgundy and navy backpacks were not available at the time of writing.

What I liked

There is a limited warranty on the backpack. It has a small clip for your keys, as well as a small zippable pocket for pens, cards, phones, and tablets. The compartment is large enough to fit 11- to 15.6-inch laptops.

There are pockets on each side of the bottle. I couldn't squeeze in my bottle because of the pockets. I was pretty sure it wouldn't fall out once I got it in.

There was a tag in the packaging with information about the partnership. Every bag sold from the recycled collection is planted with trees.

Other considerations

The two handles at the top of the backpack were not something I cared about. They were on each side of the opening and connected with a wrap. I had to disassemble it every time I wanted to put it in the bag.

I travel with a bottle that does not fit in the side pockets.

The total weight is 1.2 pounds.

On Amazon, the price is around $65.26

There is a place to buy here.

Briggs & Riley — @Work Large Cargo Backpack

Briggs & Riley. AMAZON.COM

What I liked

The backpack is ideal for work commuters and business travelers who need a professional looking bag. If you need an overnight stay, it's roomy enough to hold clothes and other items.

You might be intimidated by the price tag. The company's lifetime replacement warranty and positive customer reviews make it worth the investment.

It has an interior organizer, main and laptop compartments, a durable fabric lining, anRFID-blocking pocket with two hidden credit card pockets that hold a wallet and passport, and two hidden credit card pockets that hold a wallet and passport

Three elastic slip pockets with leather tabs are used to organize smaller items such as cords, and two more slip pockets to hold other items.

There is a pocket on the front panel. Two elastic pen loops, a large main compartment, a full-length slip pocket, and two elastic pockets in the main compartment are what it has.

There is a laptop compartment with a padded sleeve and a padded tablet pocket in the laptop compartment.

1600D nylon is tough and resistant to wear. The front panel has a leather name on the front, a deep zip pocket, top-grain leather carry handles, and a side pocket with an elastic band for a water bottle.

The backpack has a slip-through back panel that can be slid over a luggage handle to protect it from wear and tear.

It's nice. I was surprised at how light it felt. It was tested during my commute. There is an extra pair of shoes in it.

The light contrasting shade of the bag's inside lining made it easy to locate my items.

Other considerations

Black and grey are the only colors available. If you're using it for business travel, you want something that looks professional, and this definitely fits that bill.

There are no external gear attachment options. There is a luggage tag in the bag.

The size is 19 by 15 by 8 inches

The price is $379.

There is a place to buy here.

What do your luggage brands say about you?

Bottom line

The travel backpack is worth its weight in gold.

If you want your bag to last through all your travels, you might want to spend a bit more on it. If you travel occasionally and need a backpack for convenience, there are cheaper options.

Check out the best credit cards for online shopping, as well as the guides to airline and shopping portals, if you want to buy your next backpack. Buying gear for your next trip can help you pay for it.

Are you able to do without a backpack? Email tips@thepointsguy.com if you would like to let us know. We are always looking for products that make travel simpler and we would love to hear from you.