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The 12 Best Travel Backpacks in 2020

The 12 Best Travel Backpacks in 2020

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When it comes to efficiently hauling your gear on a daily basis, nothing gets the job done quite like a quality backpack. Great packs come with storage, organization, and resilience, while also the easiest and most ergonomic form factor to carry heavier loads. So it's no surprise that plenty of of manufacturers make the effort to make not only everyday packs, but also travel-worthy bags that bump up the specs and space, making them worthy of seeing the world with you.

Whether it's an overnight business trip, weekend getaway, or jetsetting your way around the globe on an exciting adventure, a quality travel backpack is the ultimate EDC companion. Below are 12 of our picks for the best travel backpacks you can pick up and head straight to the airport with right now.

Thule Landmark 40L

This Swedish bagmaker has been in the game for over 70 years, making high-quality packs, accessories, and carriers for literally every walk of life, and their experience shows in their 40-liter Landmark backpack. It's overflowing with thoughtful travel features, including resilient 420D/600D Polyester construction, secure mesh and secret compartments for your valuables, and even a dedicated storage compartment for up to 15” laptops or tablets. Carry your way with stowable straps and hip belt, and stay secure with lockable zipper pulls and a sternum strap whistle.

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Aer Travel Pack 2 Black Camo

With 33 liters of storage and a bevy of features designed to make traveling a breeze, the Aer Travel Pack 2 certainly lives up to its name. This upgraded version comes with redesigned straps and storage for a more organized and comfortable carry, while rocking Aer's new black MultiCam design in 1000D Cordura nylon. The Travel Pack 2 comes with pockets for pretty much everything you'll need and more, including a dedicated laptop slot, a lay-flat main compartment, mesh and zippered storage, a quick-access top pocket, an expandable water pocket, and even a dedicated shoe slot for up to men's size 13 shoes. The usual fit and finish rounds out the bag's features, including lockable YKK AquaGuard zippers, luggage pass-through, and compression straps to lock down everything tight.

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Evergoods CTB40

Inside and out, the CTB40 isn't like the usual travel backpack you've come to expect. Its sleek, discreet exterior is made of 500D nylon for lightweight durability, then finished with a durable water repellant for weather resistance when and where needed. The clamshell-style main compartment features ample padding and flexible, foldable "wings" along the perimeter to protect and contain your gear. Multiple compression straps keep things tight and secure when you're packing heavy, or keep the bag low-profile for when you're traveling light. The top section of the pack serves as an integrated travel organizer with plenty of zippered pockets and mesh paneling to separate and identify your gear without needing to rummage through your bag. A high-contrast, PU-coated 420D nylon lines the interior to keep things light, easily visible, and clean. Last but not least, you can stow your laptop in the CTB40's dedicated laptop compartment that's fully padded and suspended, making for a protected and comfortable carry.

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Fjällräven Travel Pack

The Fjällräven Travel Pack is the Swedish outdoor brand's flagship carry-on travel backpack, whose discreet, sleek exterior belies its comfort and utility. It's built from Fjällräven's cornerstone material, G-1000, a dense woven fabric that's hardwearing, ventilating, and adaptable with Greensland Wax to make it even more resilient. On the exterior is a flat zippered front pocket for quickly grabbing your essentials, paired with a fleece-lined pocket for more sensitive gear like your phone. Its 35L main compartment comes with a zippered mesh cover and three inside pockets to organize your main essentials, along with a dedicated pocket for up to 15” laptops or tablets. Finally, stowable padded shoulder straps and a padded top leather handle let you carry the Travel Pack with ease.

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Chrome Summoner Backpack

The Chrome Summoner is all about access and organization. While the pack can compress to a deceptively thin profile, it actually has plenty of room (and especially organization) within its 32L volume across two main compartments. Four corner compression clasps allow access to its main zipper, which when opened bisects the bag in a full, clamshell-style open design. Its deeper compartment houses an organization panel and padded laptop sleeve for your essentials, while its counterpart on the flap has mesh and zippered pockets covering a deeper storage space. And for even more organization, the Summoner has a few more external quick-access pockets surrounded by grab and go handles to make carrying as simple and efficient as possible.

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AmazonBasics Slim Carry On Travel Backpack

What the AmazonBasics travel backpack lacks in fit and finish, it makes up for in loaded features at an affordable price. The slim pack is made from 100% polyester that gives it a lighter weight and ample resistance—just don't get caught in a heavy downpour. Front and side are home to its fully-loaded organization and zippered water bottle pockets, while its fleece-lined top pocket and middle compartment house more sensitive gear like your phone, laptop, or tablet. A large main compartment (about 34 liters) can store the rest of your clothes and essentials. Compression straps all around tidy up the backpack to as low a profile as possible, while removable straps, grab handles (also low profile), and a luggage pass-through give you plenty of options for carry.

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Maxpedition Entity 35

The low-profile minimal design of the Maxpedition Entity is something you don't expect to see on a tactical bag. It features an urban gray color scheme and muted branding to keep things discreet. It's still built tough enough to stand with the rest of the tactical packs out there with its weather-resistant, PU-coated 500D Kodra fabric exterior. Beefy YKK zippers as well as reinforced seams and straps ensure the bag lasts through everyday wear and tear. True to its name, the Entity 35 provides 35 liters of storage space, with a main compartment opening up like a clamshell for easy access to your gear. It also includes a dedicated padded pouch for up to a 17” laptop or tablet. For added security while travelling, the main compartment is compatible with TSA locks, while also having a magnetic closure that helps keep your gear inside even if you forget to zip the bag up. For further organization, the flap space on the sides work well with your small items, with a removable pocketed waist strap and rear CCW compartment rounding out its features.

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Peak Design Travel Backpack

Taking functional cues from Peak Design's experience with their popular EDC backpack and slings maximized in an ideal carry-on size, each side and panel of the Travel Backpack is lined with features. Its core is a clamshell-opening 45L main compartment with generous space to fit the rest of the Travel Line system, accessible from either side and top access to the laptop/tablet slot. Expansion zips let you make full use of its 45L capacity as a carry-on pack, while compression straps let you compact the bag to a daypack-friendly 35L. You also get a full suite of thoughtful details like a front admin panel, grab handles from every angle, theft-deterrent zippers, hidden pockets galore, and even stowable shoulder and waist straps. Keeping it all together is the Travel Pack's exterior shell made from field-proven and weatherproofed 400D nylon made from 100% recycled plastics.

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Hazard 4 Grayman Series Pillbox

When duty calls and your destination could put extra stress on both you and your gear, then the Hazard 4 Pillbox is the bag that's got your back. A tactical pack through and through, the Pillbox uses an extra-tough but lightweight thermoformed shell that protects your gear and prevents them from getting crushed. The 29.5-liter main compartment is divided into 2 sections, with the front panel containing an admin panel, laptop pouch, and organization pockets, while the rear panel is configurable as an empty space or divisible with movable padded dividers. As to be expected from a field-ready tactical pack, there's no shortage of straps, lash points, expansion webbing, reinforced stitching, and heavy-duty hardware to ensure top-tier fit and finish and a lifetime of service.

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Arc'teryx Granville 20

Taking their experience from making some of the most resilient outdoor bags as well some of the most high-tech equipment and apparel, Arc'teryx bring together technical utility and urban aesthetics in their Granville 20 backpack. Made from exceptionally water-resistant AC² (Advanced Composite Construction) technology, the laminated composite material is both heavy duty and lightweight. With taped seams and a folding top panel locked with a one-handed release buckle, its 20 liters of capacity is well protected from the elements. On the inside is a padded sleeve that stows up to a 15” laptop while a stretch mesh zippered pocket stores loose essentials. A zippered compartment under the flap holds essentials that need quick access like keys or your phone, and a clip-in point secures a bike light when you're on the move.

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Many EDCers consider the GORUCK GR1 to be a grail bag, and the same tough build that makes it great for everyday carry also makes it a great choice for travel. Its rainproof 1000D Cordura build means your gear stays dry, and YKK zippers keep water and sand out of the main compartments so if you’re going to be near a beach you won’t have to worry. It has a separate reinforced compartment for your laptop and rows of MOLLE webbing let you modify the pack as needed. Carrying heavier loads is also made easier because of ergonomic curved straps that follow the natural flow of your upper body. It’s simple, practical, and built like a tank. You can’t go wrong with the GR1 in any situation. This special bundle with the 21L model comes a few extra accessories including a carabiner, patch, and padded field pouch, and even better, it's on sale for a limited time, making it the perfect time to upgrade to one of the ultimate EDC backpacks.

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Topo Designs Explorer Travel Bag Kit

Topo Designs are well known for pairing high-quality hardware with a distinct and colorful design language, and many of their products are standout pieces that have stood the test of time for everyday use. Their Explorer Travel Bag kit is a modular system that gives you both a versatile 30L EDC daypack and a pouch system to organize and optimize your travel essentials. The 1000D nylon-constructed Travel Bag itself carries 3 ways, with front zippered compartments, internal organization, and a rear panel laptop compartment for easy access. The included Pack Bag is a space-saving packing cube with a mesh inner organizer sleeve, while the Dopp Kit is a triangular, self-standing 3L container for your grooming essentials.

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For more travel bag options, check out last year's guide from the archives.

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Discussion (7 total)

Any of these capable to hold 17 inch laptop?
Hey! Where did you find the image top image of the guy carrying the black bag? I need one like it and want to buy it off a stock website!
Also the Black Ember Citadel Modular. Alone its 25l, and with the add on Sport Pack its about 37 liters. Adaptable to different airline requirements, IPX6 waterproof, configurable and super tough...
The Topo Link goes to GoRuck
Fixed it, thank you!
Osprey Farpoint 40L*
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