They say a traveler is only as good as their pack. I say that’s not quite the whole story, but it’s on the right track. Adventure means hitting cobblestone streets, hiking trails, beaches or maybe a lazy café, and you need to be able to rely on a single top-notch travel backpack to fill all those separate roles. Choose one of these versatile, stylin’ (versastylin’?) backpacks for the next time you go jet-setting.
1. BE Outfitters Tahquitz Pack Top Travel Pack Filling the gap between performance and approachability.
The Tahquitz Pack, BE’s flagship product, hits the travel backpack mark perfectly with the combination of an attractively simple aesthetic and highly functional design. This pack is ready to hit the trail, workplace, or city streets, as exemplified by its raised internal sleeve that can comfortably and securely hold a 15” laptop or a hydration reservoir complete with tube ports. On the outside, the Tahquitz is highly water resistant with waterproof zippers, PU (polyurethane) coating, and a roll top closure system. Inside, the pack sports webbing for securing extra gear, a zippered stash pocket, and stretch pockets to fit water bottles of all sizes. BE’s Tahquitz ready-for-adventure pack is one of the slickest and most practical out there, and we’re ranking it as our #1 top travel backpack. 35L, 40.2oz. ($139, $111.20 with Reddy Yeti discount – plus free shipping!)
2. Piorama A10 The most versatile convertible travel pack on the market.
Piorama’s A10, while not the most aesthetically striking travel pack on this list, is far and away the most innovative. The A10 can be adjusted to three different sizes (31L, 46.5L, 62L) and be used as a backpack or a duffel, meeting any and all traveling needs. The “Adjustable Bag” is collapsible, water resistant, and features a lockable main compartment, an exterior quick access zip pocket, and two interior hidden pockets for passports and other key items. This travel pack has no competition in terms of size versatility and filling travel-specific needs, and will go with you wherever you want to explore. However, it bows to the Tahquitz travel backpack in style and hiking/trekking comfort (lacks waist and sternum straps, for example), bringing it to a highly admirable #2. Reading about it really doesn’t paint the full picture; I encourage you to check out the video demo of this top travel backpack for yourself. 2.4lbs. ($149, $134.1 with Reddy Yeti discount)
3. Hemetic Trading Co Cordura Top Cinch Low profile, high performance travel backpack.
The Cordura has the classic understated rucksack design with added modern conveniences to make traveling simple, accessible, and stylish. Its top closure system allows for the bag to cinch down or expand to perfectly fit the contents of the bag. This top travel backpack’s top pocket and front zip pocket are perfect for quick-access items, while the main compartment of the pack features a padded laptop sleeve and plenty of space for a change of clothes and a meal for the road. The Cordura backpack’s padded back panel is designed for comfortable prolonged use (read: exploration). Smaller than the Tahquitz and the smallest variation of the A10 and with fewer inside pockets and webbing, the Cordura wins the bronze for best travel backpacks. 25.5L, made in the USA, Lifetime Warranty. ($140, $112 with Reddy Yeti discount)
4. Timbuk2 Tuck Laptop Backpack Streamlined, straightforward roll-top travel pack.
Timbuk2’s sleek and simple Tuck Laptop Backpack is the more adventurous sidekick to accompany the bulkier travel suitcase that you’ll leave behind in your Airbnb. Smaller than the other top travel backpacks featured on this list, the Tuck features a roll-top top closure for max expandability, laptop sleeve, dual side slip pockets for water bottles and energy bars, side zip access, and internal organization pockets for small items. Timbuk2 Tuck is better used as a day pack and carry-on, and comes in at #4. 20L, 1.5lb. ($75)
5. Cotopaxi Nazca Travel Pack Designed for the weekend travel warriors.
The Nazca Travel Pack is designed to mimic a suitcase that fits comfortably as a backpack. The main zipper opens around three sides, allowing you to open the travel pack completely to access the internal mesh storage compartments and separate padded laptop sleeve. The backpack straps are able to be tucked away and there’s a removable sling strap you can attach for carrying versatility. My favorite touch is the zippered front pocket lined with fleece to prevent scratching on sunglasses. Like most of the other top travel backpacks in this list, the Nazca is water-resistant and has adjustable waist and sternum straps. This pack ranks at #5 because it’s a little too fancy for the trail, taking away from its travel versatility. 24L, 2lbs 9.5oz. ($140)
6. COR The Excursion The travel backpack for water sports enthusiasts.
While all of these backpacks are water resistant, the COR Excursion travel backpack is 100% waterproof. COR specializes in gear for water sports, and designed the perfect travel backpack for an adventurer checking out new spots to surf and kayak. You can trust this pack to keep your laptop safe and dry in its interior sleeve. With adjustable waist and chest straps, mesh side pockets, and top adjustable compression straps, this travel backpack can comfortably go from the city to the shore. The Excursion is also made with eco-friendly biodegradable TPU fabric and backed by a lifetime warranty. This travel pack is on the bulkier side and more of a specialty product for water sports enthusiasts, and so ranks on this more general top travel backpack list at #6. 40L, 2.2lbs, Lifetime Warranty. ($84.99, $59.49 with Reddy Yeti discount)
With one of these trusty packs on your back, you’ll be ready to take on anything your next travel adventure throws at you. Get out and have some fun!
Elissa loves striking that perfect balance between outdoor adventure and organized sports. Her ideal week is full of basketball, soccer, and rock climbing followed by a weekend of hiking and camping. She works on the website migrations team at HubSpot and is based out of Cambridge, MA. Elissa is passionate about startups, particularly in the outdoor industry, and her life goal is to one day win a Reddy Yeti gear giveaway.