Travel has always been a transformative experience for people all over the world. It’s a key part of how the nation was formed. It expanded from East to West. Manifest destiny, and all that jazz. Yet Travel backpacks would not come around for decades, as people on those ships did not exactly have the best traveling equipment.
With new airlines coming out with cheaper and cheaper ticket prices, traveling has become easier and more accessible to a broader audience. People are now able to manifest their own destiny and travel worldwide easier.
Those big rollaboard bags are great, but they aren’t always reasonable. Besides, we men are light packers.
It just makes a lot more sense to have a smaller, more adaptable bag to use.
This is why Travel Backpacks are so amazing.
Humans have an interesting relationship with backpacks. You use them all through grade school. Then they become less popular when you have a locker in middle school and high school. In college, backpacks are really frowned upon. It becomes a world of briefcases and messenger bags after that.
In recent years, the last 10 or so, men have become more accepting of them and use the bags quite often.
They have officially made the comeback to socially acceptable for businessmen as well as children. The difference is going to be the style and quality.
We at #ManVs have done the research for you. We handled the Google searches, then watched countless videos, and much more.
We’ve used these personally too, all to come up with the perfect list of the best travel backpacks. This writer is a flight attendant as well, so I can say these are 100% proven to work.
- Price – $41.15
- Size – 17” x 5” x 12.5”
- Pros – Pockets for organization, 5-year manufacturer warranty, excellent entry price.
- Cons – Poor zippers, strength issues in straps
The Solo Duane is considered to be in the upper echelon for fashion when it comes to travel backpacks. Solo has consistently put out a good product. The Duane is sub $50, making it a great option for an entry-level travel backpack that offers good quality as well. The numerous pockets making organizing easy and convenient when on the go.
There are some issues that people have been reporting with zippers breaking, the teeth coming apart and some strap strength issues. Luckily, the 5-year warranty will help keep those in check. If the Duane lasts longer than 5 years, then you got your money’s worth for sure.
Yukon Bags – Moose Backpack
- Price – $215
- Size – 5″ x 11.4″ x 3.9″
- Pros – Crazy Horse Leather, durable, ages well.
- Cons – Expensive entry price, few pockets, leather requires special care.
There’s just something about leather that is just…manly. This holds especially true when it comes to Crazy Horse Leather. It’s the highest quality available and looks just amazing. The Yukon Moose Backpack is at its peak when it comes to leather travel backpacks. The minimalist design is extremely pleasing to the eye, and the leather ages into a new look making each backpack unique.
It is a bit pricey as it passes the $200 mark, but the bag is designed to last an incredibly long time. The minimal design does mean there aren’t many pockets. The downside of high-quality leather means that it does require some special care. The care instructions aren’t too time-consuming, but they are a bit annoying nonetheless.
SwissGear – 2871 Tote Backpack
- Price – $64.99
- Size – 16” x 14.5” x 3.5”
- Pros – Lightweight, 10-year manufacturer warranty, lots of carrying options.
- Cons – Not very good looking, the tote straps are large, small total capacity.
SwissGear is known for being a fantastic brand. They continually put out quality products at reasonable prices. On top of that, they frequently run sales on their products at various stores, so stay on the lookout for those. Enter the SwissGear 2871 Tote Backpack. This bad boy offers 3 different carrying options: tote handles, backpack straps and an over-the-shoulder strap to carry like a messenger bag.
The downside of those options is, it’s not very nice looking. But it is extremely lightweight for a travel backpack weighing in at about 1.5 pounds. This lightweight could result in some weaker straps or something, but the 10-year warranty makes sure that won’t be an issue long.
- Price – $139.99
- Size – 18” x 12.75” x 8.5”
- Pros – Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, unique side zip entry, plenty of pockets, sleek design.
- Cons – Only right-hand zipper option, issues with initial quality have been noted.
eBags is a top brand among frequent travelers and flight crew. The Professional Slim Laptop Backpack is one of the top travel backpacks on the market for a reason. It’s extremely nice to look at and a favorite for most business personnel. There is the perfect number of pockets for staying organized on the go.
If you’re a lefty, you might have a few issues since the zippers are only really made with simple right-hand entry. I’ve come across some people having the bag shipping with some defects, but the lifetime manufacturer’s warranty seems to be able to take care of that quick and easy.
TravelPro – Crew Executive Choice 2
- Price – $200
- Size – 17” x 13” x 8”
- Pros – Durable, lifetime warranty, excellent organization options, USB opening.
- Cons – Generic look, backstrap to attach to rolling luggage is overly tight, heavy even when empty.
TravelPro is the number one brand for several flight crewmen and women. If you meet a flight attendant, they will have at least one piece of TravelPro luggage. The company is known for excellent luggage. It makes sense to have them on the list of best travel backpacks as well. The unique offerings with the TravelPro Crew Executive Choice 2 make it top choice on our list.
The USB slot helps keep those electronics charged on the go. TravelPro has a lifetime warranty that is well-loved in the aviation industry. The bag does have a generic look to it though. The backstrap connecting it to rolling luggage is very tight, but it will loosen after intentionally stretching it. The biggest downside is that this travel backpack weighs almost 5 pounds empty.
That means it’s heavy-duty, with an emphasis on the heavy.
Urban Dezire – Vintage Roll On Backpack
- Price – $60
- Size – 14” x 18” (rolled) 24” (open) x 4”
- Pros – Low price, full-grain leather, good looks
- Cons – Very few pockets, leather will stink at first, thin straps for the buckles.
Urban Dezire is not a hugely popular brand, but that doesn’t mean they can’t produce quality. The company was founded on the principle that you can create quality leather products at a reasonable price. They accomplished that and created an amazing travel backpack with the Vintage Roll On Backpack. The roll-top design is really cool and makes the back adjustable for different sizes.
The full-grain leather is top tier, but it does mean that the bag comes with a really strong stink at first. It needs to be aired out for a bit to get rid of the smell. Some people have expressed concern with the straps being thinner where the buckles are on the straps, but no actual issues have been reported.
Timbuk2 – Wander Pack
- Price – $179
- Size – 15” x 22.8” x 7.48”
- Pros – Large capacity, fully opening zipper, top & bottom compartments.
- Cons – High price, few compartments, heavy when packed.
Timbuk2 is a really cool brand. The story behind the brand is just awesome. The bags available tell the tale as well as the creator himself. Timbuk2 prides itself on helping nomads navigate the world. They also care and give back to the communities and people they serve. This all culminated in the Wander Pack. It is designed to help people have experiences and memories.
The bag is a little pricey, but it’s made in San Francisco and has a lifetime warranty. Larger capacity means the adventure can be longer, but it also means that the bag is heavier. The straps are large to help compensate for the weight. In functions well as a duffel style bag, but it a little lacking in the general backpack debate.
Topo Designs – Travel Bag
- Price – $229
- Size – 14” x 22.5” x 7.5”
- Pros – Large capacity, multiple color options, durable, lots of pockets.
- Cons – Expensive, heavy when packed to capacity, moveable strap buckles are difficult to work.
Sometimes your greatest strengths are also your greatest weaknesses. That seems to be the case with Topo Designs Travel Bag. The bag is large, offering a 40-liter size option. This is great for travelers, but it also means it’s heavy when packed out. The color options are nice, but some of them kind of look childish.
The durability means that the moveable strap buckles are extremely stiff. The bag is built to last, and after charging over $200 it better last. Luckily, the Travel Bag is available in different sizes to meet almost any need.
Nomatic – TravelPack
- Price – $259.99
- Size – 18.5” x 12” x 6”-9.5”
- Pros – Minimalist design, weather-resistant, 20-30 liter expansion.
- Cons – High price, heavy even when empty.
Nomatic was founded as a luggage company and evolved from there. They really hit the mark with the TravelPack. It’s a very cool looking bag from the get-go. The minimalist design is very appealing to a lot of people. It has excellent organization options with tons of pockets.
The outside is weather-resistant for traveling in the woods or on an airplane. A neat feature is its expandable size. A common feature in rolling luggage, the Nomatic TravelPack steals this idea and made the capacity increase from 20 liters to a whopping 30 liters. The downside of such a powerful bag is that it weighs in at just over 4 pounds even when empty.
Samsonite – Detour Travel Backpack
- Price – $160
- Size – 19” x 12.5” x 8”
- Pros – Full zipper, pockets for days, padded laptop compartment, side handle for easy carry.
- Cons – Inefficient use of size, return fee needed to return bag.
Samsonite is a very well known brand that the outdoor world knows pretty well. Yet they are known for numerous impressive products for the indoor world too. They are mainly known for luggage, but they offer some high-quality travel backpacks with the Detour. The full zipper makes packing simple.
There are plenty of pockets to stow everything in an organized fashion. The side handle makes this bag easy to lift and gives multiple carry options. Samsonite did not use the space offered in the Detour very well. They gave a lot of space to the laptop compartment, making this bag not the most optimized for extended travel.
Osprey – Porter 46 Travel Backpack
- Price – $139.95
- Size – 23” x 15” x 13”
- Pros – Straight jacket design, U-zip compartment, hip strap.
- Cons – Thin straps, heavy when full.
Osprey is a top choice here at #ManVs. Osprey has built a strong reputation as an outdoor brand. They continually put out rugged equipment for outdoorsy folk. The Porter 46 is their travel bag option. It’s a relatively low price if used as a hiking backpack, but for travel, it’s roughly middle-of-the-road.
The Porter does come in various size options which helps because the 46 liter is very large and can be heavy. That becomes a real issue with the thinner straps digging into the wearer’s shoulders. Luckily a hip strap helps alleviate the weight off the shoulders some. The u-zip main compartments hold quite a bit, and the straight jacket wraps help keep it secure for the long haul.
Eagle Creek – Gear Warrior Travel Pack
- Price – $139
- Size – 21.5” x 12.5” x 10.5”
- Pros – Airline compliant, lightweight, heavy-duty, multiple carry options.
- Cons – Few pockets, no hip strap, few color options.
Eagle Creek gives the Gear Warrior as their staple to the travel backpack list. The bag is very similar to the Osprey above, but it is a hair smaller, making it more airline compliant. Somehow Eagle Creek managed to make the bag incredibly lightweight, at 2.2 pounds, but extremely heavy duty.
There are multiple carry options: backpack straps, duffel handle, and single shoulder sling. The downside of the lightweight is that there are few pockets for separating items in the bag. This can be a problem because some may like having numerous pocket options to put their items. Nonetheless, at just over $100, the Gear Warrior is an amazing option.
Eddie Bauer – Bygone 30 Pack
- Price – $119
- Size – 20” x 11” x 6.5”
- Pros – Great aesthetics, 30-liter capacity, great for organization.
- Cons – Few color options, little outdoor design.
Eddie Bauer is a well known outdoor brand. The Bygone 30 Pack is a great option for those looking for top-tier travel backpacks. The design is similar to the extremely popular Herschel backpacks but has a classier look to it. The color options are a little lacking with only offering a marled black or marled gray.
The design isn’t very rugged looking, but Eddie Bauer is known for its quality. It mostly functions better as an urban backpack rather than an outdoor bag. The number of pockets allows for easy organization for anyone though.
Fjallraven – Raven 20 Backpack
- Price – $90
- Size – 17” x 13” x 6”
- Pros – Environment friendly, sleek design, durable.
- Cons – Similar look to Jansport, small capacity.
Fjallraven is a Swedish brand that was founded to help people navigate the world easier. They are an environmentally-conscious brand, which really shows with their most popular travel backpacks, the Raven 20. The look is similar to the popular Jansport backpack, but it is designed to be much more durable.
It offers an environmentally safe construction out of recycled polyester and organic cotton. The downside is that it maxes out at 20 liters, so it doesn’t hold very much. However, as most campers or hikers may tell you, you can still pack a lot into 20 liters if you know how to pack well. Therefore, we feel this can be quite useful.
Pacsafe – Metrosafe LS 450 Anti-theft 25L Backpack
- Price – $119.95
- Size – 18.9” x 11.81”x 6.69”
- Pros – Security hooks on zippers, slash protected straps and exterior, security straps to lock to bike racks or poles if left unattended.
- Cons – Bland exterior design, smaller capacity at 25 liters.
The Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 is the top of the line backpack for traveling through highly populated areas. The straps have a locking design that can be used to attach the bag to a bike rack or a pole for added safety. Equipped with a slash-proof exterior and straps, these travel backpacks ensure that no pickpockets can get in. The zipper locks also come in handy for added safety.
The exterior may be a little lacking, but the purpose is safety first. It comes in at a smaller total capacity of 25 liters, but the guaranteed safety make the price worth it. The company does have options for different sized travel backpacks as well. If there are any issues, Pacsafe offers a 5-year warranty as well.