The Best Backpacks for Onebag Travel and EDC in 2019-2020

The Best Backpacks for Onebag Travel and EDC in 2019-2020

Editor's Note: This guide has been updated with new recommendations for 2019. Check it out here: The Best Travel Bags in 2019.

Whether you’re going on a family trip or traveling solo through another country, a good travel bag can go a long way. But airline baggage fees can add up in a hurry, and while rolling luggage is great for finding your way through airports they’re not so practical once you get to your destination. A beautiful beach or scenic cobblestone street can easily turn into a struggle if you’re rolling around a giant suitcase.

Which is why if you’re going to be traveling, it might be a good idea to look into getting one bag that can do it all. The idea behind onebag travel is to find one bag that fits what you need, is comfortable to carry, and doesn’t need to be checked. That way you can hop off the plane ready to explore. Onebag travel isn’t a new concept and it takes a bit of practice to get it right, but there are plenty of great bags that make it a little easier to get started. In this guide we’ll look at some great options you should check out whether you’re a frequent flyer, first-time adventurer, or looking to travel the world with nothing but a backpack.

Pacsafe Venturesafe X22

Pacsafe's focus is keeping your precious cargo protected with their range of luggage, including backpacks. The X22 Anti-Theft Adventure pack lives up to its name. Not only does it have an RFID-blocking pocket for passports and credit cards, but the fabric throughout is embedded with a stainless steel mesh wire that protects your stuff from slash-and-run thieves. It also has a nice mix of internal organization and external quick access pockets along with a padded compartment for a 15-inch laptop. If you want that extra bit of security on your next trip, the X22 is a safe bet.

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Minaal Carry-on 2.0

Minaal had plenty of success with the first version of their minimal travel pack, but their new 35L Carry-On 2.0 makes some clever improvements without taking away from the overall experience. A 600D construction paired with trusty YKK zippers is reliable enough for travel without weighing you down, and it comes with a slick rain cover for when the weather goes south. It has custom-molded foam backing that allows for plenty of airflow, but when your back needs a break you can use the new, reinforced side handle to carry it briefcase-style. Along the inside are 3D pockets that give you plenty of space and organization to work with, and you can carry up to a 17-inch laptop to boot.

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AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack

AmazonBasics as a brand might not scream luxury travel, but that doesn’t take away from how practical their Carry-On Travel pack is. If you want a bag that won’t break the bank but still offers plenty of useful features, this should be on your shortlist. In the main compartment you’ll get a zippered mesh section for smaller items with straps to hold down packing cubes or larger clothes like jeans and dress shirts. On the front is a separate compartment with useful organization for items you need quick access to while a top-loading laptop compartment lets you retrieve your laptop at a moment's notice.

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DSPTCH Travel Pack

DSPTCH designs all their bags with a solid foundation of EDC-worthy utility and durability, then dials in the features for special use cases. Their dedicated Travel Pack fits the bill for onebag travel/EDC with its 30L capacity, easy-loading U-zip main compartment, and hip belt for heavy loads that doubles as a compression strap for when you're carrying less. A dedicated shoe compartment, luggage strap, and briefcase handle are just some of the thoughtful features that round out its 1680D nylon construction.

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Arc'Teryx Men's Brize 32 Backpack

If your next trip is going to take you away from major metropolitan areas then it might be worth investing in a pack made for the outdoors instead. Take the Arc’Teryx Brize Backpack for example. This 32L pack was made to blend travel and adventure thanks to plenty of useful features that keep your bases covered. A small pocket on the top flap is perfect for storing smaller essentials like your wallet or passport and even has an attachment point for your keys. You can also secure the main compartment thanks to a drawcord system that cinches the bag shut. The sternum strap and waist strap work together so your back doesn’t have to do the bulk of the heavy lifting when you’re out and about.

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Nomatic Travel Bag

The 40L Nomatic Travel Bag was made specifically with travelers' needs in mind, which is why it’s one of the most versatile bags on this list. You can carry it like a normal backpack, but it also has handles so you can carry it duffel-bag style in crowded areas. And if you’re going to be walking a lot the sternum and waist straps help to distribute the weight evenly, making it easier on your back. You’ll get plenty of travel-focused features like an RFID blocking pocket specifically for wallets and passports, a dedicated shoe compartment, a water bottle compartment that prevents water from spilling into your bag in case of leaks, and even an underwear and sock compartment. That’s not even including the main compartment which has padded pockets for a 15-inch laptop and standard sized tablets as well.

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Kelty Redwing 44

When it comes to helping to distribute weight, the Redwing 44 is tough to beat. If you’re going to be outdoors and need a bag that won’t break your back after a few miles then the combined sternum strap and large waist belt will be a welcome sight. This 44L top-loading pack gives you plenty of room on the inside to carry your main clothing and gear, but it also has seven external pockets for better organization of your smaller items and for quicker access to them. There’s also a hydration on the inside that pulls double-duty as a laptop sleeve when you need it to.

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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 quick trips. 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. It’s simple, practical, and built like a tank. You can’t go wrong with the GR1 in any situation.

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Opposethis Invisible Carry-on

If you want a travel bag that doesn’t stand out and make you look like a traveler, then the Invisible Carry-On by Opposethis could be what you’re looking for. A clear emphasis on design makes this one of the most minimal packs you can get without sacrificing the functionality you want when you're far from home. It’s made from a blend of 800D and 600D waterproof nylon and has quality YKK zippers throughout. Plus there’s plenty of room in the main compartment to hold all your things with smaller pockets and organizers throughout so you won’t have to go digging through your bag for every little thing. The bag has a 24L capacity by default making it a decently sized daypack, but then you can expand its capacity to 33L when traveling.

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AER Travel Pack

If you’re looking for a minimal travel bag with plenty of organization for smaller essentials, then the AER Travel Pack might be for you. This 33L pack opens clamshell style so you can pack and unpack easily, but it also has a second compartment dedicated to organizing smaller items like pens, chargers and cables, sunglasses, and anything else that you might need to get to throughout the day. There’s even a compartment on the bottom for shoes or dirty clothes, so you can keep them separate from your clean clothes. Throw in a padded straps for comfort, a suspended laptop compartment, and a water-resistant 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon build and it’s no wonder this is one of the best packs you can get for onebag travel.

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Tortuga 35L Outbreaker Backpack

One bag worth checking out if you want to keep it light on your next trip is the Outbreaker backpack by Tortuga. It combines the durability you need from a backpack that has all of your stuff in it with the organization necessary to get to them in a pinch. Zippered mesh compartments on the inside keep everything separate while the front organization pocket makes getting to your EDC items seamless. The entire bag is made of X-Pac waterproof sailcloth, with YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware to round out its go-anywhere construction.

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What bag do you use for travel? Let us know in the comments below.

#backpacks #travel #bags-pouches #edc-backpack #best-daily-carry-backpack #best-edc-backpacks #edc-backpack-2020 see all

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Discussion (12 total)

Been using an EagleCreek Switchback for just over 20 years. Heavy-guage fabric, zip-off daypack on front, padded shoulder straps tucked away in back, two wheels at the bottom, pop-up U-handle on top, and a heavy-duty side handle, to carry horizontal, instead of vertical. Fits overheads, and still repaired for free when an airline damages it when it's checked baggage (happened two years ago. Thanks AirFrance). Used to have integrated lock on front slot zipper, where a tablet (non-existent then) usually travels now. But that lock's cylinder got removed by security the flight home from Europe when airspace opened after 9-11. Lots of new tech out there, but I know this bag, and trust it implicitly.
A $300 backpack????
Have a look at the ATD1 backpack, just funded on Kickstarter! Super durable and expandable (20 to 50 liters!)
My wife ordered three Nomatic bags during their initial fundraiser....and I've traveled with the bag several times out of the country for up to a week. Great bag if you're looking for this style....lots of storage options and the straps are comfortable for me, which is hard, as I've got broad shoulders and a thick chest. Lots of packs I've tried aren't suitable for big guys. Seems to be holding up well to the rigors of air travel as well.
Just what I was looking for! Thanks for the list!
Vertx Gamut is a solid choice as well.
I think CabinZero should be included in this list.
GORUCK is a solid brand and company. I own several of their bags and can honestly say they are the toughest most well sorted out and designed bag I've ever used. The GR1 and GR2 are truly the Grail bags for travel. Do yourself a favor and get one, you won't regret it.
GoRuck is beautifully simple. Enough MOLLE to be useful without being overkill for pouchtastic velcro lovers. I also like the stock patch, because it's stitched like the U.S. flag moving forward, without even needing a patch. It's perfect.

If I did not already have a 5.11 RUSH 12 and MOAB 10 along with my hiking Mystery Ranch Scapegoat, I would grab one. Got the 5.11's 8 years ago and the M.R. about 4 years ago. So if it aint broke, don't fix it. I have enough packs.

Honestly, the 5.11's may be old, but they are some of the best and for good reason. They just work.
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