Best Travel Backpacks in 2023, Tested by Gear Experts
Travel Bag

Best Travel Backpacks in 2023, Tested by Gear Experts

There are a couple of features you want to keep an eye on when shopping for a travel backpack. Overall, your travel backpack should be lightweight, organized, and suitable to the types of travel you typically take.


As mentioned earlier, a good sweet spot for travel backpack capacity is between 30L and 40L. This amount of space usually allows you to pack a couple of basic outfits and a pair of shoes, or allows you to pack all your airplane essentials. Some of the travel backpacks above go up to 45L. We love the generous capacity, but if you go above this sizing you might be veering away from carry-on size requirements or you might find a bag packed that fully becomes a little heavy on the shoulders.

TSA Carry-On Approved

Pretty much all travel backpacks are TSA approved for carry-on use. If you’re someone who likes to keep a bag under the seat, you’ll want to pay closer attention to the exact dimensions and how your bag looks when it’s fully packed.

Outer Material

The good news about all our travel backpacks above is they all have some sort of water-resistant material. Most have abrasion resistance too. Aside from looking for these prior two qualities, most travel backpacks use nylon or polyester blends. A truly tough bag might don an outer material of 500-denier nylon or higher, which is a material grade that ensures the nylon is strong, water-resistant, and tear-resistant.

Packing Organization

Last to consider is your preferred packing style. The vast amount of travel backpacks on the market today has led us to have all sorts of bag openings and packing configurations. Some have lots of compartments (interior and exterior) while some have a single main compartment and only one stash pocket.

Most travel backpacks have openings that help you pack clothes down tightly and allow for easy access if you need to get something at the bottom of the bag. A few common bag opening designs include: U-shaped zipper openings, suitcase openings, and clamshell openings.