The ONE Item I Never Travel Without: Best Travel Backpacks

I love to travel and no matter the destination, whether it’s traversing New York City, exploring Rome, or hiking in Hawaii, there is one item that I take every single time: a backpack.

In my opinion, it’s an item I would never, ever travel without. A backpack is a lifesaver for holding snacks, drinks, extra articles of clothing, my laptop, camera, first aid supplies, and pretty much anything I need for any type of trip. For the past two years, my current backpack got so much playing time that it’s started to rip at the seams. While researching the best travel backpacks on the market, here are the ones that kept popping up over and over again, with stellar reviews and personal testimonies.

If you love to travel, you need a backpack, plain and simple. With so many styles available, here are the best broken down by function.

The Best Travel Backpacks


When it comes to a fashionable backpack, there’s nothing more trendy than a Lululemon backpack. They are definitely on the spendier side, but if brand power and supreme performance are important to you, this is a worthwhile purchase. You can choose from a smaller 13L pack or the largest 18L backpack. What I love are the almost hidden side pockets for your valuables and smart devices where they are much safer than in an outside pocket.

Fashion + function

Of all the travel blogs and articles I’ve read, the Fjallraven Kanken is the one that appears the most. The wanderlust love this bag! This Swedish-made pack was first created in 1978 and continues to be the brand’s most-loved backpack. (It has fantastic reviews on Amazon.) Its design is simple and straight-forward, which is why it’s so popular.


Pack with a cause

If you’re a philanthropist at heart, you’ll love United By Blue backpacks. For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from our world’s oceans and waterways. And not only does this backpack represent a great cause, it’s a great travel bag made by adventurers for adventurers.




It’s hard to argue with nearly 6,000 reviews. If you travel for business, or need to bring your laptop along when you’re on-the-go, check out the Mancro laptop backpack. It’s got a combination lock zipper that gives you an added level of security. There are plenty of handy pockets and compartments that are so nice when you travel.


A classic backpack will never go out of style, and Herschel Supply Co. is as classic as it gets. Their designs are made for easy traveling and they even have a hip pack (aka fanny pack) that is great to take along.

Cool convenience

My husband swears by his Nixon backpack, which has all kinds of pockets and pouches for his stuff. When we travel together, I’m always asking him if I can stick a few extras in his backpack.

Great travel backpack for kids

How about a backpack you can fit in the palm of your hand? Now that’s what I call cool and perfect for kids. The Bago backpack is ultra lightweight so there’s no added weight from a bulky pack. It’s waterproof, comes in various fun colors, and can be used for sports too.

Lightweight Champions

These lightweights can hold their own in any adventure, whether camping or sightseeing. The Hikpro backpack has insanely good reviews on Amazon and weighs only 7.5oz. Plus the price is probably the lowest out there at under $16.

The New Outlander is very comparable, but has even more rave reviews. In fact, with over 7,000 reviews, it’s one of the highest-reviewed backpacks on Amazon. It’s also water-resistant, less than $20, and a great travel backpack for the price.


There’s something alluring about the get-up-and-go look of a sporty backpack like the Adidas Originals Big Logo backpack or the Adidas Originals National backpack (comes in camo and a lot of other cool colors).

Another durable sporty backpack is the Under Armour Hustle 3.0 Backpack.

 My son has this same backpack and I’m always asking if I can borrow it because it’s so great. For travel, there’s so much room to pack. When we travel, he can practically put everything he needs in this one backpack. It has a laptop compartment, divided sections so your stuff doesn’t get lost together, and is strong enough to hold up for years.

Camera backpack

If you’re vacation photography is a high priority when you travel, a good camera backpack is important. There are  many types available, depending on the type of camera and how much equipment you carry, but for the average traveler with a decent camera, I recommend the Nixon Logic Camera Bag. It still gives you room to pack other items like clothing and essentials, but the whole bottom half is a haven for your camera gear.

Airport convenient

When something has over 7,000 reviews, averaging 4.5 stars, you know it must be good. The KSwiss ScanSmart backpack is built to withstand an MMA fight. It’s durable as all heck and is meant to survive heavy or harsh conditions, including airport security. If you’ve got valuable to protect, this is your guy.

Best outdoor backpacks

Outdoor enthusiasts rave about the Venture Pal backpack. It has nearly 5,000 reviews and is around $20. It’s great for hiking and backpacking because it weighs less than a pound, is super roomy, and can function as a pillow if needed.

Wherever you go, do good, and Cotopaxi’s creed, “Do Good” is what all travelers try to embody. Cotopaxi isn’t just a stellar backpack brand, but a lifestyle. It’s for the adventurer who also tries to improve the human condition.

So no matter where you’re headed, you’re going to want to take a good backpack with you. Because sometimes the very best places can only be experienced with just your own two feet.

If you love to travel, join our HowDoesShe Travel Group! It’s tons of fun and we’ll email you some amazing deals and travel ideas. Also, follow @HowDoesShe_Travel on Instagram and Facebook where we have an amazing community who loves to travel too!


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