So, you like traveling, but you hate hauling a large suitcase behind you as it just slows you down. Are you a person that likes his hands to be free and all your gear to be safely packed on your back? What you should be focusing on, are the best backpacks for traveling the market has to offer.
Backpacks are really useful as they allow you to transport all of your gear, and still be quite mobile, whether you are running through the airport aisles, or jumping from rock to a rock while crossing a stream on your outdoor adventure.
But, not all backpacks are made for all situations and finding the right one for your needs can be complicated, especially since there are literally thousands of different models available. This is where we jump in to help and make your search less stressful and quicker.
In this article, you will first see which features are the ones you should keep an eye on before making the final choice. Then, we will take you through five in-depth backpack reviews, so that after getting armed with the knowledge on the topic, you make sure that your final choice is a perfect one.
Main Features – Review Criteria
As promised, in this section, you will find out what are the most important questions you need to ask yourself before buying a backpack:
The first thing you should know about a backpack is, will it survive the wear and tear of traveling, or hiking, or other outdoor adventures that might come your way? Will be a one-trip backpack, or will it serve you for years to come?
The answer usually lies in the product specs, and you need to pay attention to the type of material the backpack is made of. Usually, travel backpacks are made of nylon, which is a good thing as this material proved itself to be quite durable.
Also, you should, if possible, check for the seams, to see if they are double layered, and if they are undamaged. This is important because no matter how quality the material the backpack is made of, if the seams are bad, the entire backpack will soon fall apart. And, you should also check if the backpack has heavy duty zippers, because if you can’t close it, you can’t use it, right?
After making sure the backpack you think is a good fit for you, the next step is capacity. This mostly depends on the type of traveling, meaning, is it a short one-day trip, a few days, or over a week?
For one-day trips, you don’t actually need a huge backpack that has a capacity of 60 or 70 liters. What you need for such trips is a small, compact backpack with no more than 35 to 45 liters capacity.
This is not actually a question of aesthetics because your backpack looking like a deflated balloon, but the fact that if you have a small amount of gear in a big backpack, you won’t be able to secure it properly, and will risk damaging your gear from tumbling inside the backpack during the travel.
On the other hand, when it comes to longer trips, where you actually haul plenty of gear with you, a big-capacity backpack is a logical choice.
Comfort & Weight Distribution
The backpack that will be in charge of holding all your gear, and “sitting” on your back, needs to be comfortable, period. What good is a backpack that has a 70 liters capacity, if it’s completely uncomfortable for carrying, and throws you out of balance with every sudden change of direction?
So, what you need to make sure, is that the shoulder straps are padded, adjustable and with buckles. Also, if the backpack comes with an adjustable, as well as breathable, hip belt, and if there is a chest strap as well.
One might think that having so many straps and buckles only makes the backpack look cool, without having any actual benefits. But, these traps are not there for fashion, but to make sure you adjust and secure your backpack the best way possible.
For example, if you can’t adjust, or even don’t have a chest strap, the weight of the gear will pull the shoulder straps away from the shoulders, making the backpack unsecured, and it might fall off of you if you have to run, or jump.
The same goes for the hip belt, it is there to make sure your backpack stays on your back and to give you freedom of movement, without the backpack bouncing in all directions, with every step you make.
Another useful feature a backpack should have is good weight distribution. This means that it should distribute the weight of your gear evenly, on both sides, because if the weight is focused on, for example, the left side of the backpack, you will be unstable.
This also means that the backpack needs to have security straps inside, so that the gear stays in place, all the time, and doesn’t move around freely, no matter what you do, or in which position the backpack is.
Waterproof or Water Resistant
Obviously, the logical choice would be waterproof, right? To a certain point, we do agree with this, as having a waterproof backpack is more practical than having a water resistant one, because if the rain starts to fall all of a sudden, you won’t need to stop and take out the waterproof rain-cover (assuming that you got one with the water resistant backpack), and pull it over the backpack, secure it, and then put everything on your back again, secure the straps, while standing in the rain all the time.
However, what most people tend to overlook, is that the waterproof materials, tend to lose that waterproof ability over the time. Your waterproof backpack will definitely have a fair share of rubbing against the seats, cargo storage, maybe walls, or ground, and so on, and that “kills” the waterproof ability. So, once in a while, you will need to apply a waterproofing solution, to make sure your laptop doesn’t become just a dead weight if the rain catches you unprepared.
On the other hand, water resistant backpacks, usually come with a waterproof cover. Sure, it is made of the same material and it does lose its trademark ability over time, but unlike the backpack, it is most of the time stored safely in a backpack compartment, and doesn’t suffer the same amount of abuse, thus, it stays waterproof much longer.
Other Useful Features
Besides the most important features we talked about above, there are a few more useful ones that will definitely come in handy. For example, some backpacks have water hydration systems compartments, which is quite useful if you use the backpack for hiking, or generally if the backpack stays on your back for a long period of time and you don’t want to stop, open the backpack, and locate the water bottle, every time you get thirsty.
Another useful feature, are separate gear compartments. This way, organizing your gear inside the backpack is much easier, and you have a better access. Also, this helps in weight distribution, but you do need to organize everything yourself, so that the weight is evenly distributed.
Furthermore, some modern backpacks come with a solar panel and USB charging ports. This is a great solution for those who are always on a go, and need their electronic gadgets, working most of the time. But, make sure you have a Powerbank because most of solar panel backpacks don’t include a Powerbank in the package.
The High Sierra Titan 55 Internal Frame Backpack, comes with great load capacity, plenty of useful features, and is a solution for carrying heavy loads relatively easy.
Speaking of features, the most important one for this backpack is the comfort, as it comes with an S-shaped Ergo-Fit shoulder strap harness. And, together with the load-lifters, and the adjustable sternum strap, the backpack can be well adjusted, meaning that, no matter your body shape and the load, it shouldn’t throw you out of balance.
Furthermore, thanks to the back panel, padded with high-density foam, and with an internal frame with a unique contour structure and large Airflow channels, the backpack provides exceptional load support, while keeping your back dry.
For ease of transport and convenience, the Titan 55 is made of lightweight nylon fabric, which also includes front positioned webbing daisy chain, soft lashing hardware, so that you can attach hiking poles or an axe, and a bottom pocket with a rain cover.
The back pack comes in three colors; Moss (shown in title) Black, Brick Red (shown Below):
- S-shaped Ergo-Fit shoulder strap harness
- Multiple compartments and load-lifters
- Big Capacity
- Hip Pocket
- The sleeping bag compartment is a little small
The Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack comes with enough capacity for everything you might need on your tip, and, has compartments for a hydration system and a sleeping bag. Also, the backpack is suited for both the grown ups and even children, as it comes with height-adjustable shoulder straps.
But, how much room does this backpack offer actually? As the name suggests, it has a capacity of 3400 in3, or in plain language, 55 liters. Which is not a surprise as the backpack offers a top-loading main compartment, sleeping bag compartment, hydration system compartment, and side zippered pockets on both sides, as well as two pockets on the hip belt.
This means that it can take all your necessary gear, a hydration bladder, some smaller items on the sides, hiking poles if you need them, as well as the sleeping bag at the bottom.
As far as the comfort goes, the Scout 3400 is equipped with dual aluminum stays with contoured pads for shoulders, lumbar area and the waist, making it very comfortable and taking out the need to stop often, due to back pain. It also includes a rain fly, so that you don’t have to worry about your gear, if a sudden rainfall catches you.
The Teton backpack come in Coyote Tan (shown in title), Hunter Green and Mecca Orange colors (shown below):
- Contoured pads
- Rain fly included
- Compatible with most hydration systems
- Back length adjustments
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Mesh pocket is secured with a Velcro strap
- Fits airline overheads, if not fully packed
- Smaller pockets all over the backpack
- May be a bit on the heavy side
The Bolang Summit 45 Internal Frame Backpack comes as a good looking and a comfortable choice that also provides a breathable and a cool trip, thanks to the suspension system that keeps the perspiration away.
As far as the shoulder straps and the hip belts are concerned, the breath-ability of this backpack is further highlighted, since they are densely padded for comfort, yet keep the air circulating along your back and shoulders. Also, both shoulder straps are fitted with D-rings, making the linking of small items possible and further increasing the overall carrying capacity of the backpack, which, without the added linked gear on the outside, is 45 liters.
Furthermore, the backpack comes with a zippered bottom compartment access, which is great for storing wet clothes, shoes, or even a one-person tent or a sleeping bag, which can actually be compressed, thanks to compression straps.
As for the main compartment, this backpack makes packing and compressing your gear easy, as it comes with a drawstring cable, and you can safely secure everything with the top cover that includes adjustable straps and buckles.
Also, there is a special compartment in the main compartment, which is meant for an internal hydration system. But, if you don’t want to use such a system, the outside meshed, side pockets, will be ideal for storing water bottles.
All in all, the Bolang Summit backpack is a nice choice for all types of trips and outdoor adventures, as it has plenty of pockets, well organized compartments, and is also water resistant and comes with a rain fly.
The Bolang backpacks are available in blue and black. They are also have 55 Liters version of the backpack.
- Great compact and good looking design
- Very Breathable
- Bottom zippered compartment
- Plenty of compression straps
- Compartment for a hydration system
- Hip belt and side pockets
- The hip belt cannot extend that much, might be for people with wider hips
The Mountaintop 40L Backpack offers a light and comfortable fit, thanks to the molded foam padded back panel and the dense padding of the shoulder straps and the hip belt. Also, the design of the back panel offers great air circulation between the backpack and your back.
Furthermore, the shoulder and sternum straps are adjustable, allowing you to fully adjust the fit to your needs, and to evenly distribute the weight of the backpack across your shoulders, and down to the hip belt.
When it comes to the organization of the Mountaintop backpack, it is really user-friendly and simple. You will find six adjustable straps on the exterior, which allow you to attach all sorts of gear, such as a sleeping bag, beach mats, a tripod for your camera, or maybe hiking poles, or an ax.
The backpack also includes a unique, useful feature, a zipper secured front pocket that gives you the access to the bottom half of the main compartment, which is great for when you need something from the bottom of the pack.
Overall, with 40 liters of cargo capacity, the Mountaintop backpack is a nice, lightweight choice for shorter trips, as it comes with plenty of features that can come in handy, such as a rain fly, a secret Velcro secured pocket for valuables such as your phone, the passport, or other small things, and has the size that meets the requirements for most airlines.
The Mountaintop 40L Backpack is available in many colors. Three are shown below:
- Nice design
- Could use more pockets
The Venture Pal Field Operation 35L Backpack comes as a stylishly designed model that is a great choice for those who plan on taking shorter trips or hikes. Also, when not used, the backpack can be folded into the zipped inner pockets, which makes it the size of a smaller handbag.
As for the organization of your gear, this backpack offers the main, zippered compartment with a double layered bottom, which is meant for storing the bulky stuff. For the storage of smaller items, such as water bottles, phones, chargers, and so on, you can use the two additional zipped pockets at the front, and two pockets on each side of the backpack.
When it comes to the comfort and adjustability, the shoulder straps have breathable mesh and sponge padding, and are quite comfortable. The backpack also comes with an adjustable chest strap with a buckle, for keeping the pack close to you and helping you not lose your balance.
Furthermore, the backpack is made of durable, water and tear resistant material that is really long lasting, and to back that fact, the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty. Also, this model comes in various color choices, which is great as you can actually match your traveling outfit, or maybe even your motorcycle if you plan on using it during the rides.
This Backpack is available in many colors, three of which are shown below:
- Made of high quality weather and tear-resistant material
- Available in many colors
- Can be folded up and stored in a small container
- No hard shell, abrasion-resistant panel, or padding inside
- No rain fly included
Best Backpacks For Traveling Verdict
With the Venture Pal Backpack, we have reached the end of our article. Now you are fully armed with knowledge on the topic and making the perfect choice shouldn’t be difficult, considering you now know what to keep an eye on before making the final choice.
However, we also wanted to announce the clear winner of our best backpack for traveling contest. When all the important features we talked about are considered, the best choice among the reviewed backpack models is the High Sierra Titan 55.
It is not just because it offers plenty of space for your gear, and it can really take in a lot, but also because it is the most versatile model on the list. It comes with plenty of compartments, dividers, and compression straps to keep your gear organized and in place, and to distribute the weight evenly, and also has more than enough external pockets. The comfort of this model is exceptional, and it is fully adjustable to suit all types of torsos.
All in all, we consider it as a really good choice for traveling, outdoor adventures, or even everyday use as it has quite a stylish design as well.
Now, it’s your turn to share some experiences. Have you used any of the reviewed backpacks? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Also, have we missed any models that should be on this list? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section, and feel free to share this article on social media so that your friends can also read it and maybe find a backpack that suits their needs. Thanks for reading!