Durable Carry-On Travel Backpacks

The ideal way to travel is hands-free with a carry on backpack. Travelers searching for the best carry on backpacks have a huge selection to consider. Modern travel backpacks offer a variety of styles and features to enjoy. These aren’t necessarily the backpacks you would take hiking or camping. These are backpacks made to withstand the pulling, tugging, and tossing that can happen during travel.

What to Look for in a Carry On Bags & Backpacks

Getting the most from your bag requires a bit of homework before buying. You’ll want to know what type of environments you’ll be traveling in and what kind of weather to expect. Following a packing checklist can help you eliminate items that are unnecessary and could add extra weight. Knowing what type of trips you’ll be taking will help you determine the overall size of the pack. Weekend trips may require one style of bag while overseas flights may require a different type. The best carry on backpacks have some characteristics that make them a top choice for traveling.

  • Weight – Weight restrictions on luggage apply for carry on bags. The lighter the bag, the more you can pack inside it.
  • Material – Pliable, tough fabrics make it easier to push your pack into place in the overhead bin or under-seat position.
  • Size – A pack that’s too long or too wide may have to be stowed in the cargo hold of the plane or bus. Look for carry on friendly packs that meet boarding restrictions.

Best Large Travel Backpack

If a larger backpack is what you need, you’re probably planning on taking longer trips. A big capacity travel pack should be able to hold bulky clothing, shoes, laundry, and toiletries easily. You should also be able to add tech gear, snacks, and personal items without a problem.

Arc'Teryx Covert Case Duffel Bag C/O – PILOT

Arcteryx Covert Case Duffel Bag

For weekend trips and business travel, you can’t go wrong with the Arc’Teryx Covert Case. This durable travel backpack opens like a piece of luggage and packs just as easily. Don’t be fooled by its soft duffel appearance. This bag can actually be carried like a backpack with its hidden adjustable straps. Inside is a zippered security pocket and flat pockets for documents and magazines.

The material is a tough nylon that’s been silicone treated for further durability. Exterior grab handles let you carry it like a suitcase, but it’s structured enough for fragile items to stay in place. Dual compression straps inside the packing compartment help keep contents from shuffling around.


Best Under-seat Backpack

The under-the-seat dilemma is not to be taken lightly. Who really wants to stuff their belongings under an airplane seat? This problem requires a travel backpack that can be prodded into place without worry about scratches and tears. Durability and resilience are necessary features of the bag you choose.

Cotopaxi Uyuni 46L Duffel Bag

We’ve decided this is our favorite all-round cute travel backpack. It’s a great bag visually and has good functionality, too. It’s made of soft recycled nylon materials that can be scrunched and squeezed. Each bag is unique because the fabrics, webbing, and combination of colors is chosen at the time of manufacture. It has a padded laptop sleeve for stowing a 13-inch laptop. An adjustable laundry compartment is included, and there’s an external zip pocket for items you want to keep within reach. It would be easy to overpack this bag which may make it too big for underseat use.

Cotopaxi Uyuni 46L Duffel Bag

Best Backpack for Laptops

Protecting your laptop can be a full-time job. If using one is a work requirement, keeping it safe is even more important. You’ll want the bag to have a dedicated pocket for your laptop. It also needs to be simple for you to find your computer inside the bag.

Swissgear 5625 Getaway Weekend Laptop Backpack

Swissgear 5625 Getaway Weekend Laptop Backpack

As far as a great laptop backpack goes, the Swissgear 5625 Getaway is a top choice. It’s a combination suitcase and backpack with a padded laptop sleeve for computers up to 15 inches. Plus, it’s designed for comfort with a padded, airflow back panel and contoured padded straps. It can take some dropping and rough treatment and keep items inside protected. There’s a water bottle pocket and a top-zip fleece-lined compartment for small items. This bag has room for clothes, shoes, and laundry. Built-in compression straps keep everything in place.

It’s a versatile, handsome bag. There’s lots of organizational capability inside with a variety of mesh pockets and zip compartments. An add-a-bag strap allows you to slip this bag over a luggage pull handle for easier toting.


Top Carry On Backpacks

All you want to do is get your bag in the overhead compartment and get settled in your seat. The right carry on can make that happen faster. Think streamlined design, compartment for everything, and easy open and close access.

Dakine Ranger 60L Duffle Bag

One of the best carry on backpacks we’ve found is the Dakine Ranger 60L duffel bag. It’s a basic carry on that can hold a lot of possessions. This is one tough bag made of weather-repellent 900d ATC fabric. Dakine has built a padded bottom that is abrasion and impact resistant. Don’t mistake this bag for a fancy gym tote because it’s not. The large U-shaped packing compartment is perfect for clothes and shoes. An internal mesh pocket can be used for tech cords, headphones, or toiletries.

The straps are padded on the Dakine Ranger. They can be removed if you want to carry the bag by the side handle. The whole bag will pack down into the external end pocket for easy storing when you aren’t on the road.

Dakine Ranger 60L Duffel Bag


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